OlcayErtem/Pixabay

Source: OlcayErtem/Pixabay

Linda: Becoming an expert on our partner is not only for the purpose of not causing further harm in the tender areas, but also to heal them from past wounds. It is so much more than just a fleeting pleasurable experience when trauma is finally healing, it is a profound turning point. A series of positive messages from someone we trust is just what we need to shake us loose from old ideas of how limited or damaged we are. By knowing and respecting our partner’s areas of insecurity, we can give them a strong message that they can lift up to higher levels of well-being.

Here are a few examples:

Privacy: If our partner didn’t have enough alone time or privacy as a child, that experience may have left them craving solitude as an adult. To encourage that partner to give themselves time away from the family may be exactly what they need to rise up. She or he may be amazed that it’s acceptable to give to herself in that way.

Abandonment: The partner who was emotionally or physically abandoned as a child, the joy jolt comes in the form of feeling the strength of their partner’s full presence. Statements like “I am here for you. I am fully committed to you for the long haul. I will stand by you,” are all affirmations that reassure our partner that our commitment is firm. That reassurance gives the one who was once left, a sense of security, and results in a new belief, knowing that they now have a sturdy connection that will last. 

Comparisons: For the partner who had the sibling with the genius I.Q., academic accomplishments, athletic or creative gifts, or popularity can leave them feeling chronically inferior. When their partner says, “You are full of great ideas; I love the way you problem solve; I admire your creative mind,”  “you do well at whatever you set your mind to,” their pain from the past, feeling that they could never measure up, fades away. The new message is a shock, jolting them out of their old limited belief. Their self-esteem rises while basking in the feedback that their intelligence and other abilities are sufficient. 

Neglect: The partner who did not receive enough love and attention as a child, who was ignored may have concluded that they were unlovable. All words of affirmation, touch, acts of service, gifts, and deep appreciation of who our partner is, dismantle the old beliefs and over time, lifts our partner into the certainty that they are indeed lovable. 

Criticism: For the partner who as a child was held as never doing things right, now has trouble trusting his choices. When his partner can say, “You are a good man abundant with common sense. I see you are strong in leadership. I would follow you anywhere,” he is likely to be initially surprised, but the sincere positive statements have a mighty impact. Over time, his self-trust will not just rise temporarily, only to fall down again, but will remain in the high confidence range. 

These are just a few examples of tuning into our partner’s sore spots with the clear intention to heal them with words and acts of kindness. The many areas of sensitivity that we came into the partnership with, may still be there fifty years later. But they will no longer be as sore, because of the care that has been taken to no longer wound each other in those tender areas. The healing that goes on to give affirming messages to our partner, specifically aimed at bringing different positive associations to them, can catalyze those formerly weak areas to become strengths.

It’s possible that there never was any truth to the beliefs that we picked up as children that we were too much, not enough, ugly, lazy, stupid, a pest, a drain, a burden, and unlovable. But we were so vulnerable at those young ages when we internalized the beliefs, that they stuck to us. Our partner’s regular, sincere evaluation is so much greater than our original beliefs. When we trust our partner’s judgment, to let in their view of us, we lift up into the higher levels of happiness and well-being. Over time we can find ourselves living in that range consistently. These jolts of joy give way to a consistent way of living. 

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