Emotional Safety in Relationships

As I began to love myself, my relationship with everyone changed.”    

Emotional safety is key to creating trusting, healthy, meaningful relationships. Some things to bear in mind as you think about this topic include:

1.To relax and trust in a relationship you need to feel both physically and emotionally safe. Even if we don’t we’re physically, at risk we may not feel emotionally safe with our partner.

2. Emotional safety is communicated by subtle non-verbal cues. For example, we can be triggered (so we start to feel unsafe) by things like tone of voice, a blank face, an uninterested look, a dismissive look, or by our partner turning away when we start to talk to them.

3. Words in themselves do not generally communicate safety, security, unconditional acceptance, and a feeling that we’re wanted and loved. Also, when our intuition doesn’t match the words we’re hearing we discount the words, and we trust our intuition. Generally, that is what is pointing to the truth.

4. Where trust has been broken, and we’ve been betrayed, it is hard to trust and feel safe again. We’re always on the look out for those tiny subtle cues that confirm the message that we’re not really loved, and this person isn’t safe, and isn’t really there for us.

5. One of the deepest forms of betrayal is sexual betrayal. However, betrayal can also include things like sharing personal information you’ve entrusted to your partner; not being there for you at a time of crisis, or when you really need their love and support; not being interested in you at all, and things that matter to you, and you care about.

6. Emotional safety is created by our partner listening carefully to us, and giving us their empathic and focused attention, when we take the risk and open up to them. It is responding with tenderness and understanding when we reach out for support, and feeling they pick up on our worry or distress.

&. In addition, we feel emotionally safe when we feel we can real – when we feel we can express our true self with this person, and we feel we are accepted just the way we are.

Being our authentic self also means being able to express negative thoughts and feelings without it leading to some kind of attack, or ending up in a bitter argument.

7. Related to this, we feel emotionally safe when a person respects our boundaries, and we feel unsafe when they breach our boundaries.  Boundaries can be physical (which includes our need for space and distance), sexual, financial, psychological and emotional.

8. Transparency and openness are crucial for creating emotional safety and trust. This is a two-way process, and includes us feeling that our partner or spouse is being open and transparent as well. When we are being transparent and real, neither us nor partner have anything to fear. We know we’re not being deceived as everything is in the light. In fact, if our partner gets angry or uncomfortable when questioned, or when we reach out to them for warmth and reassurance, then this should be a warning bell. Two well-known statements to remember here are: “Those who have nothing to hide hide nothing”, and “Reactions speak louder than words”!

6 thoughts on “Emotional Safety in Relationships

  1. Your thoughts today remind me of the words of Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

    We are not obligated to continue in a physically or emotionally unsafe relationship.

    Those who victimize others often follow abuse with kind and fair treatment—until it happens again. This vicious cycle is unlikely to change on its own.

    The person most responsible for your physical and emotional safety must be you.

    Wow, I sound like my therapist.☺️

    Liked by 2 people

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