Relationship Advice Tips by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

cluster20of20orange20purple20violas - Four ways to make sure your partner values your help 

feeling valued means staying connected from the same root

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Are you beginning to feel frustrated and useless that all your efforts to help your partner get over their upsets ends up backfiring on you?

Do you wonder why you bothered to try and solve your partner’s problems when they just come right back bigger and louder than ever?

Is it making you wonder if anything will make your partner see and value your best efforts at soothing them?

When you feel unable to solve the problems that your partner seems to be distressed over, it stresses you out and makes you want to keep a distance. Your partner then perceives it as not caring and becomes even more upset and demanding.

three20wisteria20blooms - Four ways to make sure your partner values your help

You have much to give, but it just droops and makes you feel useless

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

You are in a catch 22 position, but you don’t have to settle for this sense of entrapment.

There is one thing that you need to shift in your presentation that will make all the difference.

Rejection of his help made Rhys feel useless and undervalued

A year after living together and getting ready for marriage Rhys found himself wondering if he and Brandy would make it down the aisle and have a chance at a stable life. He got increasingly concerned at Brandy’s outbursts of jealousy and forcing him to choose between her and his family. Rhys felt pressured to prove his loyalty and demonstrate that he was keeping his promise to take care of Brandy financially and in every other way. He tried to understand her sensitive nature having been let down by her father. Rhys couldn’t understand why he was tarred with the same brush of being untrustworthy when he himself had never betrayed Brandy.

So why did Brandy get even more upset when Rhys tried to make things seem less bad or easy to tackle if she just saw it differently, thought differently or remembered to consider alternatives before getting in such a tizzy?

yellow20nastursuims - Four ways to make sure your partner values your help

good blooms look down like Rhys’s efforts that backfire

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Three ways Rhys’s efforts stop him from feeling valued

1.    At the peak of Brandy’s anxiety and upset she wants her experience to be acknowledged as real.

Giving her another perspective makes her feel that she is not justified in her feelings. That is when Brandy escalates and gets even more angry, upset and anxious. Rhys’s efforts backfire.

2.    When Brandy is out of her mind with worry and fear, she wants validation and acceptance.

Giving her the message that she is making too much of the issue makes her feel that she is crazy and that makes her more scared, more anxious and accelerates her explosiveness. Rhys’s efforts backfire a second time.

3.    When Brandy is feeling insecure and unsafe in her relationships, she wants an ally and a solid foundation to hold her in a way that makes a stable connection.

Giving her reasons to do think differently makes Brandy feel isolated and unsafe. Instead of helping her feel secure and comforted, Rhys’s efforts backfire a third time.

pink20freesia - Four ways to make sure your partner values your help

the scent of freesias is valued when it comes in early spring

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Timing is everything

Four ways Rhys can be helpful and feel valued by Brandy

  •       Notice Brandy’s fear and anxiety and express how he sees it and how he can imagine how bad and stressed she must feel.
  •        Hold out a hand of empathy and understanding so Brandy doesn’t feel judged or crazy and in danger of losing Rhys.
  •        Wait until Brandy feels safe, connected, understood and validated. Let the upset come down from its peak and then have a different conversation.
  •      Give advice and make suggestions after the storm has passed when Brandy feels accepted in her anxious place. She will be able to access her rational self and have a dialogue with Rhys on that footing.

So the secret of timing is to wait until the worst part of the outburst has passed. Then Rhys will feel valued and of real help but only if he first accepts her fear and anxiety without trying to kill it.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Read more on empathy

secret ingredients of empathy part 1

secret ingredients of empathy part 2

Secret ingredients of empathy part 3

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have when reading the article or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.