2) What specific actions by my partner would make me feel better (your positive need)?
The difference between vulnerable communication and non-vulnerable communication is clarity. Vulnerable communication only has one meaning, but non-vulnerable can be interpreted in multiple ways. In Attached, the authors demonstrate the difference between fuzzy communication and vulnerable communication
|What’s Happening?||Fuzzy Communication||Vulnerable Communication|
|She seems more focused on the TV than listening to you when you’re talking. This makes you feel unimportant and unloved.||Stop talking mid-sentence and walk into a different room (hoping she’ll follow to apologize).||Can you turn off the TV for a moment? I feel like you’re not listening to me and I really value your opinion and want to know what you think.|
|She talks about her ex-boyfriend, which makes you feel insecure.||Talk about your ex-girlfriends to make her feel insecure. Or shame her for talking about her ex.||Let her know that the conversation makes you feel insecure and unsure of her feelings towards you and that you need to feel secure to be happy with her.|
Note: Vulnerable communication is not the answer to all of your problems. If you have a low self-esteem, vulnerability can drastically boost your self-esteem and decrease neediness. But if you continue to suppress yourself and see yourself as unworthy due to bad belief systems then you’ll struggle even in healthy relationships.
Individuals “who are troubled by low self-esteem might project their self-doubts onto their partners, leaving them uncertain of the constancy of their partners’ affections. As a result, occasional self-doubts or personal failures might turn into relationship insecurities.” 2
As Brene Brown highlights, true belonging in relationships only happens when we share our authentic, imperfect, and vulnerable self to our partner. The paradox is belonging can never be more than accepting yourself. When you accept yourself, you bravely ask for what you need and want. And that courage deepens your relationships with your partner and yourself.
If you want to transform conflict into material to build a stronger and more connected relationship then read Kyle Benson’s conflict blueprints here.
- Book: Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel and Wantby Nocholas Epley (2014) Pg. 183 ↩
- Murray, S.L., Holmes, J., MacDonald, Ellsworth P., (1998) “Through the Looking Glass Darkly? When Self-Doubts Turn Into Relationship Insecurities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol.75, No.6, 1459-1480. ↩
Written by Kyle Benson
Originally appeared in Kyle Benson
You may also like:
- The Art of Sexual Communication: How to Strike the Best First Impression
- 12 Important Life Hacks To Improve Communication In Your Relationships
- Soul Communication: 7 Ways Your True Self is Trying to Guide You
- 8 Ways to Break the Distancer-Pursuer Communication Pattern
- Chronic Stonewalling Imprisons a Relationship