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10 Things To Understand When You Love Someone From A Broken Family

10 Things To Understand When You Love Someone From A Broken Family

No one person that comes from a broken family is the same as another. For some, a broken family was caused by a divorce, abuse, neglect, or the death of a parent at a young age. For others, a broken family is the only thing they know.

For many, it came at a young age, and a big cost to who they would become. There is no definition that explains what it feels like, or what it means to come from a broken home.

It’s not simple to explain, it’s not what most would see as normal, and it’s something that can bring both happiness and pain. Those who come from a broken home are doing their best to figure life out, just like everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong here, loving someone who comes from a broken family can be work, but they will love you and cherish you with all of their heart. You are their safe place, and they will always have your back for that.

To be able to give back the love and loyalty you are getting, here are a few facts of people from broken homes that will help you to better understand how to love someone who comes from a broken family.

1. They don’t trust easily

Trust is something that is earned for them, and it is taken very seriously. This will be relevant throughout your entire relationship.

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At some point in life, someone they trusted ended up disappointing them big time. For this reason it’s hard for them to just give up their trust to you.

This might be hard to crack at first, but when they let you in, they likely won’t hold anything back.

2. At the beginning of the relationship, they won’t think they deserve you

You are simply too good for them. They don’t deserve the love, or even the attention that you are showing them. This can last for a very long time, but it is likely that you won’t even know they feel this way.

Those who come from a broken family are used to holding in their feelings and covering up with a smile. When they seem down to you, just give them a compliment and hold them close.

3. While in the early stages of dating, they will focus on you, and avoid long conversations about themselves

At some point at the beginning of dating, you will feel like they know everything about you, but you don’t exactly know everything about them. This is normal. When they get into a relationship it’s easier for both sides to talk about positive things, and their home life is not positive, so they avoid it.

You might be told names of family members, or a funny story here or there, but you will have no idea that their parent is or was an addict, or whatever their home situation might be. Don’t push on this subject.

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When they trust you, they will tell you what growing up was like for them.

4. They will be the independent one in the relationship

If at times it seems like they don’t act like they need you, it’s because they don’t, technically. They had to grow up at a young age, and some of them even had to take care of themselves and their siblings on their own.

They can get by without you, but they don’t want to. Don’t hold this against them, as it will benefit them when they have a family of their own. And if you’re lucky, that family will be with you.

5. Meeting your family will be hard for them

A normal family is something only dreams are made of for them. Talking about your family is uneasy for them, and meeting them is terrifying.

They don’t know what to expect, and your stories of childhood and good relationships are a far cry from their reality. Be supportive, and introduce them to the family slowly. Once they see how your family interacts, they will open up to you about theirs, giving you a better understanding of who they are.

6. Arguments will either be filled with emotion, or be completely shut off

Depending on the topic, and how comfortable they are with you, an argument will go one of two ways. Earlier in the relationship it is likely that when an argument arises they will tend to listen more than they talk.

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They don’t necessarily want to disagree with you, and they want two things to happen. They want you to be happy at the end of the argument, and they want the argument over NOW.

In the heat of an argument at this point, they will feel extremely anxious, and wonder if this might lead to you leaving them – just like everyone else has left them. The second way this can go is with extreme emotion.

By this point in the relationship it is likely they are comfortable with you. They no longer worry about you leaving them just because of this fight, and they will let you know how they feel. Regardless of the situation you find yourself at, don’t leave things unsettled. At the end of the day, they need to know that everything is okay.

7. Once they fall in love with you, they are done hiding from you

However long it might take for this to happen, when it does, you will know. Letting someone in enough to fall in love is a big thing for them. At this point in the relationship they will have started to open up to you about their past, and their family.

You will know exactly how they feel about their home life. It might feel to you like this came out of nowhere, but it most certainly did not. They thought this over in their heads many times, and they came to the same conclusion each time.

You are worth letting in. You are understanding and non-judgmental, and they know you love them back.

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8. Marriage will be an awkward conversation for them

By this point, they love you, you know everything that makes them who they are, you’ve both met each others families, but something is still off. First of all, try not to get frustrated with them. To most, marriage is a fairy tale, and one that didn’t go so well in their family.

Don’t get mad, as it’s all they know. Over time they will start to see a long future with you, and they will be more open to trying to understand what marriage with you could be like.

9. Marrying you will be the happiest day of their life

Once they get over the initial shock that they are actually getting married, they will be overjoyed. At this point, they have moved on from their past, and they are looking forward to starting a new life with you.

They are all about you, and this will genuinely be the happiest day of their lives – until the two of you have kids.

10. They will make an amazing parent

Because of all they have gone through as a child, they will know exactly how they want to be with their children. They will want to give their children the life they wish they would have had.

Becoming a parent can be terrifying for anyone, but they will take it in stride. If you are lucky enough to make it this far with them, they you are their everything, and they will look forward to making your little family the best it can be.

Featured photo credit: Cute couples via blog.lib.umn.edu

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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