Readers and clients ask me all the time, “How do I make my ex feel emotionally safe?”. But when I ask, “why doesn’t your ex feel emotionally safe?” most of them have no clue.
Some know it’s something they said or did. They point out an incident that happened and think that one incident made their ex pull back or end the relationship. Others use the word “emotionally safety” because it somehow makes them sound emotionally aware. They have no idea why their ex doesn’t feel emotionally safe but are trying to create an “emotionally safe environment”.
How can you create an emotional safe environment when you don’t know why the environment is not emotional safe in the first place?
First things, first. What does emotionally safe mean?
Emotional safety is the feeling that you can trust someone with your emotional well-being. You can open up to them and be vulnerable without worrying about what they’ll do with the information you give them or if they’ll take advantage of your vulnerability.
Some of the ways we seek love, attention or intimacy however well-intended make the people we want to love us feel emotionally “unsafe’
Here is a list of a few things that make most people feel emotionally unsafe around you, and in a relationship with you. They are also the things that make you emotionally unattractive to the people you want to be emotionally attracted to you.
1. You “fall in love” before you even really know someone, get too close too soon and demand commitment from someone who isn’t even sure they want to be with you.
You are not “emotionally safe” because you get close too soon, and need or demand closeness that the other person is not ready for.
2. You put those you love on a pedestal, make extreme sacrifices to please them, rearrange your plans and life around them and leave most, if not all relationship decisions to others.
You are not “emotionally safe” because you are too dependent on the other person. Some people leave because they feel guilty that they are unable to “love” you as much as you “love” them. Others leave because they are scared that you are somehow morphing into them, taking over their life ad sucking the life energy from them with your “love”. You know, like an energy vampire.
3. You don’t have any strong opinion, belief or stance on anything and even exaggerate or underplay your feelings because you’re afraid that you might say or do something to upset him/her and cause someone to stop liking and/or loving you. In most of your relationships people leave because they think it’s what’s best for you, or want you to be happy. That’s because they really don’t know you, what you think, feel, want, need etc.
You are not “emotionally safe” because you are not emotionally open enough for others to see what’s inside of you. It’s liking looking in through a 10 inch thick steel door wondering what’s inside. It could be anything…
4. You play mind games and are consumed with who has more power and control in the relationship (who calls who first, who says ‘I love you’ first, who loves who more etc).
You are not “emotionally safe” because you can’t be trusted.
5. You over think relationships and worry so much about what the other person said, worry about what they meant by it, worry about how you reacted etc.
You are not “emotionally safe” because your anxiety and too much worrying creates anxiety, stress and doubt in your relationships.
6. You can’t regulate and/or control your emotions. Even when you “express how you feel” , you go to the deep end, create drama or emotional distance.
You are not “emotionally safe” because you emotionally exhaust the people you love. At first this comes across as you “love intensely” and “passionately”, but over time your need for “emotional intensity” drains the other person to the point that they feel they have to leave or become emotionally depleted.
7. You privately harbour deep anger, insecurity and sense of inadequacy and react purely from emotion in situations that require a measured, thoughtful response.
You are not “emotionally safe” because anytime you can “go off”. It’s like living with a ticking time bomb in your house… not safe emotionally and physically.
8. You generally don’t trust anyone, not even yourself. Even when there is no reason to, you question the love, intentions, motives, and commitment of others, but especially of your partner. You feel that you have to constantly watch your back because someone will hurt you.
You are not “emotionally safe” because the other person has to constantly reassure you that you are “emotionally safe”. Your lack of trust keeps the other person in constant self-protection mode. They don’t feel emotionally safe because you don’t feel emotionally safe.
9. You’re constantly asking for the other person’s attention and time. It’s like trying to fill a bottomless pit. Any attention, even “negative attention” is better than the feeling that you are being ignored, you don’t matter, you aren’t important/priority or not worthy.
You are not “emotionally safe” because you need and demand from others more than they can give you, want to give you or are capable of giving to anyone. You are needy!
10. You’re “too independent” and talk and act like you don’t “need” anyone. You won’t accept help or support because you don’t want to be “indebted” to anyone.
You are not “emotionally safe” because you are closed down for a relationship. A relationship is about give-and-take. When you are incapable of “taking” it creates an imbalance in the relationship. That imbalance is felt by the person as “I don’t need you”. Most people feel that they are not good enough for you or that they can’t make you happy however hard they try.