Readers and clients ask me all the time, “How do I make my ex feel emotionally safe?”. 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. But they have no idea why their ex doesn’t feel emotionally safe; or why they can’t make their ex feel safe.
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’t open up to them and be vulnerable without worrying about them:
- withdrawing their love, affection or attention
- misunderstanding you and taking things personally all the time
- criticizing, blaming or making you feel not good enough
- blowing up or losing their temper
- using private knowledge about you against you or sharing it with others
- taking advantage of your vulnerability
- becoming needy and clingy
You might want to take a second look at how you are attempting to contact or connect with your ex; and see if your interactions exhibit an ongoing pattern of “emotionally unsafe” behaviours.
Here are 10 things that may be doing that are making your ex feel you’re not emotionally safe:
1. You’re too proud to show how you truly feel about your ex. You believe that showing/telling someone how you truly feel about them is a weakness.
2. You have your own set preconceived ideas about love and reject any other way your ex shows you love.
3. You’re afraid of feeling vulnerable which happens automatically when you open yourself to receive love.
4. You tell people who love you that you do not believe they truly love you; even when they are doing all the things you’re asking of them.
5. You complain your ex never demonstrates their love enough or “right”; but when they attempt to be open – in their own way, you respond in a hurtful way.
6. You put on a performance of “accepting” your ex without actually accepting them. You verbalize the words but don’t accept them in your mind and heart.
7. When they do something to show they love you; you quickly give it back or do something for them too so they don’t think you owe them anything.
8. You hold back accepting affection and intimacy because you fear that if you enjoy it too much; it will be taken away. It’s happened before, many times in fact.
9. You give and withhold love as away to manipulate (make your ex miss you); or punish (pay for breaking up with you).
10. You end a relationship because you think you’re offering the other person a chance to walk away from you.
Without you intending it, inability to receive love makes your ex feel you’re not emotionally safe. You can only close someone out for so long, at some point they’ll walk out of your life.