Monday, December 31, 2018

Feel Unsupported, Remember your Power

If you landed here chances are you are experiencing a sense of feeling unsupported whether it be from a partner, family member, friend, or colleague.

Feeling unsupported may come about after trying to communicate an experience or interaction with another person and receiving the following responses:
  • No response - person walks away or does not reply to speaker about the topic
  • Changing the subject - person begins talking about self and not probing further
  • Minimizing your experience - person says “You are too sensitive.”
  • Denial of your feelings - person says “You are not depressed.”
  • Insulting - person says “You’re crazy for thinking or feeling that.”
These are just a few simplistic examples of feeling unsupported. As a result the speaker may feel a sense of disconnection, and possibly discontent depending on the frequency of these events. Feeling unsupported may lead to sadness, disappointment, frustration, hurt, anger and other unpleasant emotions. Physical sensations may include pit in one’s stomach, tightness of the chest, heart racing, wanting to flee or fight. Wanting to be understood and heard is a normal human need. One’s own power comes in many forms, including not taking one event or situation and overgeneralizing and personalizing it into an “all or nothing” situation, for example: “No one ever listens to me, no one supports me. What is wrong with me for not being able to make this person support me?” Critical thinking is valuable when it comes to dealing with one’s emotions. “How did I get here? How often does this happen to me? Am I someone who offers support to others, Especially the person I believe is being unsupportive to me? What is my communication style?” Pay attention to extraneous details amplifying the story of this event. Navigating your thoughts and feelings comes from experience and awareness of your own needs, and interpretations of how and why these needs are not being met. First, decide how much this particular event matters in the scheme of things (perspective taking). Then discuss your concerns with the other person; let them know how you felt (it hurt me when you…) as a result of their behavior (you said I was crazy for thinking/feeling...). The example above is a typical assertiveness training technique. Lastly, avoid labeling and/or name calling (you were a jerk to me when…) or retaliatory threats (I will no longer talk to you). It is a lot easier to be heard when feelings are shared in a non-defensive way. It is wonderful to be supported and feel heard, but while some people experience this from their loved ones on a regular basis, others experience this less often or almost not at all. Don’t let other people’s behavior sidetrack you from how you want to behave or get in the way of you pursuing the goals you want to reach. Keep on Trucking!