I have found through coaching many couples that there is a hidden aspect to relationships that many people have no idea exists.
After the initial awe and lust phase of the relationship, many couples begin frequent fighting over what appears to be ridiculous and resolution seems ever elusive as a cycle begins to take form.
Love and attraction is still present in this phase, but if the secret key I’m about to reveal is not known or dealt with in a conscious and healthy way, the relationship will inevitably end or leave one or both partners unfulfilled and unhappy.
The secret key I am referring to is:
Recognizing and understanding your partner’s hidden pain.
I venture to say there is no one walking around on earth who has not been hurt in some way, shape or form. It’s inevitable and evident in everyone’s life.
However, a good majority of people feel they have overcome or healed their issues and continue on through life.
Little do they know their shadow (the unhealed aspects of their heart) continue to show up in ways that one might not connect back to their betrayals, losses and/or emotional or physical abuse.
At some point, the close proximity of a partner will trip an emotional trigger and cause us to act in ways that can damage the relationship. If our triggers are not recognized and we don’t seek to heal our underlying wounds, we end up in difficult, unruly and disconnected unions.
So how do we know when our partner has been triggered?
A great way to tell when our partner’s wound (or ours) has been triggered is they will either:
- Strike out verbally or physically
- Get silent and/or retreat
- Withhold love
- Or any other seemingly random display of emotion
I can always tell when one particular friend of mine gets triggered because her mood will change drastically on a dime. Her easy going, fun nature transforms in an instant to sarcastic and rude. A-ha! There’s that little bugger again.
So What Can You Do to Help?
- Share the pattern you are seeing – Let your partner know you notice an abrupt change in his/her mood and calmly ask them what your words or behavior touched in them.
- Give them a safe place to share – Judgment does not work here, friends. It may seem stupid or insignificant to you, but this is not about you. Your person has a past that hurt them. It’s their story and very real to them.
- Ask how you can help – At this point, your person may still be unconscious to why they are acting out or how you can help them. Encourage them to dig a little deeper into their heart and share with you. Tap into your own inner knowing and wisdom to help them recognize what’s happening.
- Talk about it often as needed – Relationships are designed to show us ourselves. And that stands for both parties involved. Wounds are not healed overnight. They need light to heal! Talking about it as often as needed brings light to the darkness.
- Take ego out of it – It can be difficult to be the recipient of your partner’s attack especially when it is unfounded or based on a wound being touched that has nothing to do with you. Our ego will always want to fight and defend. By removing your ego’s nudge to fight, you are clearing space for compassion.
- Encourage your person to seek professional help – You will not be able to “fix” your partner. Leave that to a professional. Your job is to hold sacred, loving space for them while they do the work to heal. Healing does not happen overnight, so your “work” as their partner will be an important piece to their healing.
Through all of this, it is vitally important to remember…
Love heals – ego wounds.
When we can clearly see what is going on behind the scenes of our partner’s psyche, we are better equipped to handle their trigger moments (love) and not take them personally (ego). Understanding brings healing. It may not happen immediately, but with love and patience nothing is insurmountable.
And lastly, if your partner is unwilling to work on his/her wounds and triggers and their behavior elicits a need for a firm boundary, be willing to set one. Healthy boundaries are rooted in love and what is rooted in love will serve the highest good for both parties involved always.