This month's guest blog comes from Michelle Ferris. Michelle started her practice two years ago because she loves helping others create the life they want. Doing her own personal growth made her believe that positive change happens when we are willing do something different.
Michelle has worked in substance abuse, anger management and addiction recovery and has additional training in chemical dependency and relapse prevention, Gottman Couples Therapy, Domestic Violence certification focusing on anger management. Her practice is in San Jose, CA and she does online therapy for those living in CA.
Do you think your partner is unsupportive?
If you think your partner is unsupportive keep reading! This may indicate relationship trouble but not always. Here are a few different areas to look at first.
Learning how to be supportive is a great relationship skill that takes work. Do you think that your partner should "know what you need" without having to tell them?
A common theme I hear is that women want their husbands to support them like their girlfriends - but men don’t often recognize support in the same way you do. Men are generally more solution focused. They feel frustrated when they can't fix it because they genuinely want to help.
This frustration can lead to feeling emotionally distant because if he feels like he’s failing you, he may start to disengage emotionally.
People are unique when it comes to how they view support. Gary Chapman who wrote The 5 Love Languages, talks about different ways people recognize love. This is a great tool if you struggle recognizing or giving love. Learning your love language can clarify you and your partner’s needs. If you don't know what you want, how can you ask for it?
The 5 Love Languages
- Words of praise
- Quality time
- Receiving or giving gifts
- Physical touch and affection
- Acts of service
You may relate to more than one but typically, there is one that's predominant. Share this with your partner and find out theirs. It can open up a great discussion for increased closeness and bypass misunderstandings.
Looking at expectations
How much support are you expecting from a partner? For instance, do you rely on your mate for most if not all your emotional support? That may be creating too much stress on your relationship.
Draw a pie shaped circle and write out the percentages of support you receive from close friends and family. It may surprise you. Sometimes, people expect more from their partner than is possible.
Is that the case?
How you treat your partner
If you want more support, ask yourself, are you supportive and encouraging? Do you treat your partner with kindness? It only takes one person to shift the dynamics in a relationship. Even if you partner drinks heavily, is not communicative, and doesn't meet your needs, you can still change the energy if you are willing to do something different.
How difficult it is to argue with someone pleasant? Words like please and thank you get forgotten and they are so important! Everyone loves genuine appreciation. Just making this one change can make a positive difference.
- Be clear about what type of support you need.
- Share your love language with each other.
- Watch your expectations.
- Be the example.
- Journal writing is an outlet to express resentments.
- Check out Al-Anon for additional support.
- Make sure you have your own support system.
- Don't make your partner responsible for your happiness.
If you feel unsupported, focus on what you can do differently and examine your own expectations. This can improve relationships because you are only in control of yourself, never someone else.