If it is hard to connect with your ex, I can help. We’ll look at a major blockage that causes relationship problems. If your ex has put up an emotional wall, keep reading.
Table of Contents
The Key to Unlock Closed Hearts
When someone puts up an emotional wall, they no longer have the “ears” to hear your words.
You are not trusted and your word has no currency in their heart and mind.
So, what are you to do?
For starters, stop putting yourself in their story.
Let me explain —
Everybody has an opinion.
This is neither good or bad. But it is easy to smother other people with your opinions and wall them in. And that is bad.
If you assert your opinion in an attempt to understand your ex’s point of view, you will fail. Miserably. And push them away.
When you talk about yourself, you risk making your ex feel that you don’t understand them. Or that you do not appreciate their perspective. As a result they will feel invalidated and separate from you.
I recommend making the effort to see your ex with fresh eyes. Look at everything through their perspective without adding your story into the mix.
Without your judgement.
That means without offering your perspective and opinion. Which will take practice but this will break-down walls.
So there you have it. I want you to get curious and enjoy being curious about how things look from their perspective. And to look at the meltdown of your relationship from their perspective, too.
This exercise will dissolve the emotional barriers to communication.
When your other half can see you want to understand them, they will drop their guard.
If you help your ex feel understood and validated? They will not feel a need to keep the wall up between you both.
With each step of progress it is like you add another crack to the wall. Make enough cracks and the barrier between you will fall away.
Only then can you make a meaningful connection.
Psst: You need a certain “something” to do this. But if you can do it and do it right, you will help this stubborn man or woman see that you understand them. Not feeling “understood” is why the emotional barrier remains. And it is why they’re staying distant.
We’ll get to that “something” in a second. But first a detour.
“I Can’t Do This Anymore…”
I want to talk about something that may not apply to you yet will be valuable all the same.
What does “I can’t do THIS anymore…” mean?
Because it’s a common thing to hear before the emotional walls go up. It is a sign that communication is about to get a lot harder.
This line can point to several things.
For example, they might say it when they feel isolated or alone (even when in the relationship.)
Feeling isolated is a terrible position to be in. Imagine how awful it is to be the only one “working at it” in the relationship. Whether true or not, the perception is not pleasant.
It is no wonder many who find themselves in that position will decide to break it off.
Being a couple while experiencing the interaction alone? It feels like you are carrying dead weight. You feel trapped.
If your ex felt they’re the only one “paddling in the boat,” and you did “nothing,” or worse, punched holes in the hull?
That can’t last.
The “I can’t do THIS anymore” line is a form of surrender. It is expressed when things feel so sad and hopeless that to endure them for one more second is too long.
It is possible you reached this stage. I don’t know.
The Fix: Breaking Down Walls
If you do not recognise and validate your ex’s experience and perspective? You will not relate or connect with them on the level you need to.
Emotional barriers go up fast if we don’t feel understood.
The solution is to see the problems from your partner’s perspective. To “get” what he or she was living and experiencing during your time together. And during whatever it was that happened when you separated.
You have to understand. Right in your bones.
- If you want a good chance at reconciliation;
- If you want to learn from your relationship (and stop the bad stuff happening again);
- If you want to develop a useful skill that can open many doors.
All these things and more are yours once you develop the particular skill we’re about to address.
The Something You Need to Make It Happen
Warning: Not everyone has this specific thing that is needed. No joke :-/ I wish this wasn’t true. The world would be a better place if everyone had it.
What is it?
You have to have empathy.
If you want to tap into what another person experiences, and “get it” deep in your bones?
Empathy is the skill you will use.
If you want him or her to know that you get them, you have to develop this invaluable skill.
If you do not have it? I can’t help you. Sorry.
You can read every guide written but without empathy you won’t succeed.
So empathy is key.
But it has to be already present to some degree before it can be developed.
Some people don’t have it.
If you don’t have empathy, your partner is better off without you.
That goes both ways.
How to Develop Your Empathy
There are many ways to enhance your empathy skills.
Listening — many people don’t listen when you talk to them. Right? They’re half present, half not. They’re off in their own world, thinking about other things.
If you are not listening fully you have room for improvement. Simple as that. So try listening more. Hear the words and the intent behind them. And do it without injecting your thoughts in-between and around them.
The more you do this, the better the connection you’ll have with the people around you.
But what about your partner?
What about the past when you were happier together?
Well, you have to use your imagination. You have to practice expanding your mind to include other information you haven’t considered before.
Get curious — look around you, watch what people do. Then think about your relationship. About what you did together. The little things and the big things. What you talked about. The non-verbal communication as well.
What do you think it was like for your ex? Can you imagine what they felt?
What you are doing is changing your perspective for one you haven’t considered or thought about before.
I suggest you walk “a mile in their shoes” and feel what the experience might be like for them. Without colouring the experience with your viewpoint.
What fears, emotions, doubts, anxiety, etc. would they be experiencing?
Would they have felt smothered? Some clients have told me, “Michael, I was too controlling with my ex, but I did not see it at the time…”
Not uncommon. The fear of losing what we have can make us act in ways which destroy the connection entirely.
If you can tap into these details, you can develop your empathy. Of course, it is only fair to think about the good emotions and high-times as well. At the very least, this gives you a fuller picture.
The more you immerse yourself in other people’s experiences of life, and see things from different viewpoints, the more empathy you develop.
With this enhanced state you will connect with people far deeper than before. It’s a powerful state to achieve.
What we’re talking about here is your ability at taking a different perspective to your own.
The more easily and deeply you can do this, the better you become as a person.
When you try on different perspectives, keep your judgment and opinions out of it because in doing so you “colour” the experience with parts of yourself.
When you do this with your ex, you will validate them in your recognition of what they felt and establish a meaningful connection.
Let them know that you have made serious efforts to understand their point of view.
It’s All a Choice You Know?
Empathy is a choice.
You can choose to close it down or you can tap into it and connect with your ex on a different level.
You must choose to go deep within yourself and find the connection to what the other person is feeling.
If you can do this then you can tear down emotional walls.
Empathy is a beautiful skill.
It’s your choice whether or not to use it.
In your corner,
PS. This page talks about one blockage that stops many couples figuring “it out” so I hope you’ll take it onboard.
Know that there are other blockages too.
Letting someone know you feel what they feel and understand them on an emotional level, is key. But so are your deeds…