Has your partner or ex locked you out of their heart? Do your words no longer connect? Do you find it impossible to relate to one another? I can help! On this page we will look at a significant cause of relationship conflicts. One which explains why your partner has put up an emotional wall (to stop you getting through.)
This article also shows you how to break down emotional walls and change your situation. Even though I don’t know YOUR situation.
Sounds bold (smile.)
The key to unlock closed hearts
When the one you love puts up an emotional wall between you, 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?
It starts with this:
Stop injecting yourself into their story
Everybody has an opinion.
This is neither good or bad of course. But it is easy to smother other people with your opinions and wall them in. And that is bad.
If you assert your opinion to attempt to understand another person’s point of view, you will fail. Miserably. And push them away.
You leave them to feel like you don’t understand them or want to. That you can not (or will not) appreciate their perspective. The result is they’re left to feel invalidated which sadly can lead to separation.
I recommend making an effort to see your relationship with fresh eyes. To look through his or her’s perspective without injecting YOUR STORY into the equation.
Without your judgements.
That means without YOUR perspective and opinion screaming for attention. Which will take practice but your relationship will thank you.
I want you to get CURIOUS and enjoy being curious about how things look from your partner’s perspective. And, to look at the meltdown of your relationship from the perspective of the one who has put up the wall between you.
Can you do that?
This valuable exercise can begin to dissolve the emotional barriers to communication. When your other half can see you want to understand them, their guard softens.
If you help your partner to feel understood and validated? They will not feel as strong a need to keep the wall up between you both.
Each time you make progress at this 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. That’s huge by the way. 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 (how would I know?!) yet will be valuable all the same.
What does “I can’t do THIS anymore…” mean?
Because it’s the kind of thing you hear before the emotional walls go up. When communication is about to get a lot harder.
Maybe your partner said this line to you (?)… or not. I don’t know, but play along ok?
This “I can’t do this…” line could point to many things, right?
For example, your partner might say it when they feel isolated or alone (while IN the relationship.)
And, that’s common.
Feeling isolated is a terrible position to be in. Imagine how awful it would feel to be the only one “working at it” in the relationship? Whether true or not, the perception would be unpleasant.
It is no wonder that many who find themselves in that position will decide to break it off.
Being a couple while experiencing the interaction ALONE? You would feel like you are carrying dead weight. You would feel trapped.
If your partner 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 kind of surrender thing. It is expressed when things feel so sad and hopeless that to endure it 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 parner’s experience and perspective? You will not relate or connect with them on the level you need to.
Especially if you are still in the relationship!
And doubly so if you hope to REPAIR a broken one.
Emotional barriers go up fast if we don’t feel understood.
The solution is that you MUST do what you can to see the problems from your partner’s perspective. To truly “get” what he or she was living and experiencing during your time together. Oh, and during whatever it was that happened before you separated, if you did.
You have to understand. Right in your bones.
- If you want a good chance at reconciliation (?);
- If you want to LEARN from your relationship (to stop the bad stuff happening again and again..);
- If you want to develop a VALUABLE skill that can open many doors in ways you’d never guess…
All these things and more are yours once you develop a particular skill we’re about to address.
So if you’re nodding along, that leaves me to tell you about it so you’ll know how to break down emotional walls more easily…
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?
EMPATHY (of course!)
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.
Maybe no one can?
I mean, wise guys can read every guide written but without empathy they won’t succeed (or only do so temporarily.)
And the same will be true for girls. No matter how good the information or their ability to follow it, something will be seen as off sooner or later.
So empathy is damn important!
But it has to be ALREADY present —to some degree— before it can be developed.
Some people (rare) don’t have any at all.
If YOU don’t have empathy, you are probably “broke,” and your partner is better off without you.
And that goes BOTH WAYS. I mean, if he or she didn’t have empathy? Then YOU are better off without them. See?
Works 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.
What about you?
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 own 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. To 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 partner? 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 own viewpoint.
What fears, emotions, doubts, anxiety, etc. would they be experiencing?
Would they have felt smothered? Some clients have told me, “Michael, I was 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 (very hard!) because in doing so you “colour” the experience with parts of yourself.
When you DO THIS with your partner, you 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 partner on a different level.
You must choose to go deep within yourself and find the connection to what the other person is feeling. In your case, that might be your ex, or soon-to-be distant partner…
If you can do this then you can tear down emotional walls effectively.
Empathy is a beautiful skill.
It’s your choice whether or not to use it — I hope that you will.
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.