Sex and Relationship Therapy

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Holding Feelings

If you are going to share your wounds from the previous exercises, you need to feel safe.  This is how you create safety:

1. Speak about yourself and your feelings rather than about the other person or your thoughts. “I feel like a failure rather than you are never happy with me.”

2. The person receiving the message must suspend their feelings for a later time so they can listen. If they get involved with their feelings, they can no longer listen.

3. The person receiving the message must avoid defensiveness because we can’t listen and be defensive at the same time.

4. As your partner states their pain, you may think it’s crazy, unfair, or untrue. It doesn’t matter; what matters is that it is true for them.

5. Imagine what it must be like to feel like your partner does.

6. If that is hard, what would you say to a friend who told you the same thing about how they are feeling?

7. Asking questions and being curious about what your partner says shows you want to understand. Ask questions similar to,
“Have you always felt like this?” “Do you feel like this sometimes more than others?”

8. Ask if there is anything you can do at the moment.

9. Finally, take a moment and ask yourself in what way what your partner is saying is true.