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How To Effectively Communicate With A Hypersensitive Spouse

How To Effectively Communicate With A Hypersensitive Spouse

I love my wife. She is a beautiful, caring, and loving person. She has taught me a great deal about myself and how I communicate.

You see, I wasn’t always a sensitive person. I was raised to be tough and numb to feelings. I kept all feelings inside because I was not allowed to express them. My father was strict and to him feelings were nothing more than a sign of weakness. Imagine over 20 years of that type of conditioning!

As an adult, I had a difficult time expressing my true feelings to anyone because of my lack of experience with sharing while I was growing up. I do not at all place all blame on my dad — he came from an upbringing that was identical to mine, so to raise me this way was all he knew.

In my relationships, I struggled a lot with communicating my feelings. Most times, I just held it in, reverting back to my childhood conditioning.

It wasn’t until I met my wife that it all quickly began to change. She is truly a blessing to me because she is teaching me to allow my feelings to surface, to express and communicate those feelings in a way that is understandable, honest, and gentle. I wasn’t always the most careful, keen, and considerate when it came to expressing certain strong feelings like frustration and anger. Now that I have come to slowly accept my feelings as they arise, feel them, and express them considerately — both for myself and others — my life has changed for the better.

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It helps a ton that my wife is a hypersensitive person. She can sense my feelings, gauge my mood, and, with her strong sixth-sense of knowing that something’s off with me, she can somehow disable my inner barriers, allowing me to be open and free to express myself. The best part is that there are never any judgements — the space is always safe to explain my feelings. In fact, I think that’s why it got easier and easier to open up to my wife.

I’m not going to lie, her hypersensitivity sometimes scares me due to just how intuitive she can be. Our communication wasn’t always this good and productive during the early days of our relationship. I’ve definitely learned a lot about how to express myself to her in a more gentle and loving manner, regardless of how frustrated or confused I might feel. I am now experiencing the wonderful snowball effect of my newfound communication skills.

With my communication at its best with my wife, I have discovered that I have also improved my communication with others, bringing me closer to my best self. Here are 10 ways that I have learned to communicate better with my hypersensitive spouse.

1. Empathize

Put yourself in their shoes and truly try to understand where they are coming from. They are sensitive for a reason, and that reason is that they feel and interact with their environment in a way that you may not feel or understand.

Their sensitivity is a gift and a curse because they have the ability to feel not just their own feelings but the feelings and energies of others around them. Those other feelings can be heavy and negative, which can take a lot out of them when trying to communicate. Understand that it may take a while for your sensitive spouse to fully communicate their feelings to you because they have to let go of other energies.

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2. Listen

Listen, and listen very carefully to what your spouse is saying. When they are burdened with negative energy or feelings, they may say things that might not make sense or have a difficult time expressing themselves out of their own frustration. Recognize their struggle and listen intently to what they are saying and how they are saying it. Do not interrupt and interject with your answers. Let them speak freely because that just might be the only thing they need to do to feel better. All you have to do is listen.

3. Provide Physical Affection

Just like listening, physical affection can also be productive in communicating with your spouse. Nonverbal body language can speak volumes when communicating with your sensitive spouse. Just a simple touch or laying your hand on their hand will let them know that you care and are there for them. Sensitive people love affection because it gives them comfort and a sense of protection. When speaking with your spouse, try gentle touches or holding their hands.

4. Paraphrase

When you get the chance to answer or tell them how you feel, make sure you paraphrase what they have just told you. They will feel that you were intently listening and that you empathize with how they feel. One-word answers are not enough. I know this because I was the king of one-word answers. Paraphrase first, then reply to their question or statement. This also lets them know that you understand them and that you aren’t just trying to fix the issue at hand. They need a lot of this because it helps them figure their own thoughts and feelings out.

5. Adjust Your Voice Volume

Sometimes, we get passionate or frustrated and our voice volume elevates without us even realizing. To a sensitive spouse, it can be very loud and condescending. Your spouse is very sensitive to the tone and volume of your voice. Even when you speak under your breath, they can hear it.

Try to keep a very soft and gentle voice. Breathe between statements if you have to — it helps to regulate your volume in those passionate or frustrating times. Remember the type of person you are dealing with, because if you don’t, the conversation can quickly turn for the worse.

6. Acknowledge Their Feelings

Your spouse doesn’t need you to fix the problem or issues that they are facing. Sometimes, they only need you to acknowledge how they feel. This goes along with empathizing. If your spouse seems stressed and they are expressing how they feel, let them finish their thoughts, validate how they feel by agreeing, and apologize to show empathy for what they are going through.

7. Apologize

To some, this step may seem confusing because we have been taught to only apologize for the things we’ve done wrong. Do not take this personally or feel that you are always wrong. Most times, your spouse just wants to feel that you understand how they feel. I’ve learned that apologizing is also used to show empathy for what your spouse may be going through. Apologizing shows that you understand the discomfort that they feel daily. For them to even open up to you about their discomfort means it’s a really hard day, moment, or time for them. You apologizing to them let’s them feel seen, heard, and validated.

Apologies can go something like this, “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’m sorry you have to deal with that.” You are not apologizing for anything you did, but rather showing you care.

8. Be Patient

If you are not a patient person, you will need to learn and learn fast. You have to understand that your hypersensitive spouse can take quite a long time to process, feel, and let go of what they are going through. They may not be thinking logically about their situation because they are “feelers” — naturally hypersensitive people will automatically turn to their emotions first, then attach their thoughts logically. It’s your job to have patience through this process. Remember, when you go through your own trials and tribulations in life, they will also be patient with you.

9. Look for Solutions

After your spouse has settled down, expressed how they feel, and after you’ve empathized and apologized while showing physical affection, then come up with a practical solution. Phrase the solution in a question so it doesn’t sound like it is the absolute answer to their issues. Your whole goal is to make them feel better after they’ve fully expressed themselves. Ask them comforting questions like: “Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” or “how can I help you with your problem?” Most times, your spouse will tell you exactly what they need and that is the answer you are looking for.

10. Remember To Love

Relationships are hard. Period. With a hypersensitive spouse, it can be a little harder because they react to and feel things that you often overlook. Remember to choose your spouse every day. During those difficult times is when it’s the most important to remember all the reasons why you chose them for all of your days.

Remember: loving your spouse when it’s easy is great, but loving your spouse when they aren’t at their most lovable is the love that matters most. That love will move you forward through any difficult conversation or situation that you may both go through. Remember that their hypersensitivity is a gift that you should love and accept. Don’t be surprised if their intuition always seems right. Love them unconditionally with patience and your life will never be the same.

I continue to learn from my wife every day because situations are always changing. I become more and more patient, loving, and tender. What I learn from her, I take with me when dealing with others. With everyday pressures and responsibilities, we often forget to think about and feel what others might feel. We seldomly are wise with our words and tone of voice. People react to things differently, but if we are aware of ourselves and how we speak, we can better understand how to say things in a more loving and effective way.

Featured photo credit: Monica Ricci via snapwiresnaps.tumblr.com

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How To Effectively Communicate With A Hypersensitive Spouse

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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