Have you ever been in a relationship where you didn’t feel like you could be yourself? Or perhaps you felt that you couldn’t fully express your thoughts and feelings to your spouse, despite the fact that you trusted them? If such is the case, either your partner acted in an emotionally hazardous manner or your relationship lacked emotional safety. You may wonder what emotional safety is. I’m going to explain what it means, how to recognise an emotionally safe person, and how to assess whether you are in an emotionally safe and healthy relationship, in addition to the fact that it is a crucial element of every good, successful, and lasting relationship. Let’s begin straight away.
What Exactly Does It Mean to Feel Secure Emotionally Mean?
Being able to let our guard down and be wholly real around someone is a sign that they make us feel emotionally safe. In a relationship where there is emotional safety, both parties can be honest, open, and completely trust one another. They are at ease, relaxed, and most importantly, safe. In his article, psychotherapist John Amodeo skillfully explains:
“Feeling emotionally safe with someone is being internally at ease. We are at ease lowering our guard and revealing our true selves, including our wounds, worries, and longings. We don’t need to be as protective when we feel safe around someone because there isn’t much to guard against. We relax with a person when we consistently feel that we are being treated with respect, kindness, and care. We get more at ease with our partner or friend as we gain confidence in their ability to see, hear, and understand us, even though they don’t always succeed. This builds the foundation for intimacy.
Let’s imagine you recently started dating someone and want to know if they can give your relationship emotional safety. How can you tell if someone is emotionally secure? These are five warning signals that may be of assistance to you. The list is by no means comprehensive, but it includes illustrations of the key characteristics and actions that characterise an emotionally secure individual.
- They Inspire You to Express and Accept Your Emotions – Those that are emotionally secure will constantly be curious about your real, inner thoughts and feelings and will prod you to express them. They want to know the whole narrative, including how, why, and what caused you to feel that way. Regrettably, there are many people, who, after professing they want to know your sentiments would rush to dismiss then by saying things like “You should just not have that feeling, or I don’t understand why you might think that.” Nevertheless, when it comes to emotionally secure individuals, things are very different; instead of being critical and dismissive of your emotions, they understand and accept them, even if they don’t share your opinions.
- They Express their needs and feelings clearly. – How often have people you know told you they broke up because they and their partner just couldn’t communicate? In reality, a lack of effective communication is the main cause of failed partnerships and divorce. If we’re being completely honest, a lot of us have embraced the widespread but harmful idea that our spouses should always be aware of our wants, feelings, and thoughts. In actuality, even after being in a relationship with someone for a long time, they won’t be able to read our minds. Communication is essential because of this, and fortunately, emotionally secure people are excellent communicators. An emotionally secure person is more forthright and honest when expressing their needs, wants, and ideas. They don’t leave you wondering what the hell is happening inside their thoughts and they make sure their communication is clear and constant.
- They don’t see you as a rival but as an equal – Not everyone feels equally positioned in their connections with others. Regrettably, a sizable portion of people base their interactions on games of power and control rather than on mutual respect and equality. But an emotionally secure individual cherishes equality above everything else. As opposed to merely one person commanding or attempting to control some aspects of the partnership, equality in a relationship now implies that each individual’s demands and interests are recognised and satisfied to a reasonable extent. In his essay for Psychology Today, Mark D. White, Ph.D. writes: “Let’s be clear: Individuals in a relationship are never equal in all (or any) aspects. One person can be considered to be more attractive (by conventional standards) or might have a higher income. One person might be smarter in one area than another. One person is more extroverted, one person manages money better, etc. Living with difference! We esteem each other in accordance with how well they balance, highlight, or counterbalance our varied positive and negative attributes.
- They Honour Your Demand for Space and Privacy – Contrary to popular belief, everyone occasionally needs solitude and space, both inside and outside of partnerships. To put it another way, we must all be able to respect the boundaries that others have established for us in our relationships. The best way to put it is according to psychotherapist John Amodeo: “Having boundaries implies honouring ourselves as unique individuals with needs and interests that frequently differ from those of others. Without appropriate boundaries, we let other people’s feelings and desires take precedence over our own. When someone respects your boundaries and doesn’t make you feel like you need to defend or explain them, you know they can give you emotional safety. They will also freely give you both time and space without being invasive, threatening, or beginning to doubt your feelings because they are aware that occasionally you might need them.
- They Try to Improve and Become Better – I genuinely believe that we should all work hard to improve both outside and inside of our relationships throughout our lives. For ourselves first and foremost, but also for our spouses and our loved ones. Because we all have weaknesses and defects, and we all make (a lot of) mistakes. Those who are emotionally secure are not an exception. Those who are emotionally safe aim to improve themselves as people and as partners, as opposed to those who are emotionally unsafe. The phrase “I am who I am, take it or leave it” will never be used by them. Instead, they: Own their errors and work to correct them.
- Accept accountability for your actions.
- I’ll take your criticism.
- Consider your sentiments before you act.
- Stay away from destructive patterns.
Basic Comparisons of Safe and Unsafe Behaviors – It can occasionally be challenging to identify particular behavioural patterns in our spouses. This is the reason I came up with a list of straightforward comparisons that might assist you in determining whether you are in an emotionally secure and wholesome relationship:
Unsafe: Your partner ignores your sentiments and encourages you to repress them.
Safe: Your spouse welcomes you and lets you freely express your emotions.
Unsafe: Your partner avoids having key dialogues and communicates incoherently or unclearly.
Safe: Your partner is constantly willing to express their needs, wants, and views in an open and straightforward manner.
Unsafe: Your spouse dismisses your viewpoints, mocks them, thinks they’re absurd or irrational, and tries to get you to embrace their own ideas.
Safe: Even when they don’t agree with you, your spouse respects and listens to your ideas.
Unsafe: If you point out that your partner did something incorrectly or made a mistake, they become defensive, furious, and frustrated.
Safe: Your partner takes ownership of their behaviour, owns up to their errors, accepts your criticism, and makes an effort to clean up the mess.
Unsafe: Your partner treats you as if you are less important than them and tries to dominate and influence your relationship without taking into account your needs and feelings.
Safe: Your spouse respects and satisfies your needs to the same extent as you respect and meet their needs, doesn’t try to control your relationship, and acknowledges that you both have different strengths and shortcomings.
You need to acknowledge a basic but important relationship truth before you can start making plans for the future with your significant other: you can’t have a healthy relationship without emotional safety. You might have the most attractive partner, someone who is really intelligent and witty, or someone who has a terrific sense of humour and can make you giggle uncontrollably. But if they don’t provide you that sense of security, you’ll struggle in your relationship one way or another. Look for trustworthy folks. The best thing a relationship can provide you is emotional security.
Hi, I’m Garima and I write about life experiences. I have several books available on Amazon. Check them out today! Any purchases or KDP reads will be greatly appreciated. If you like my books, do leave a review. Here’s my author page on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0BQDZXYNV
4 Comments Add yours
I love the term emotionally safe. My husband makes me feel emotionally safe, and I chose him because the house I was raised in did not have an emotionally safe person in it. I never heard this term, emotionally safe person.
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I am so happy for you and your husband Nicole (knock on wood).
Being with an emotionally safe person can make a relationship healthy and safe for the other person. A relationship requires a lot of effort, understanding and through it all, we need to learn to control and manage the intense surge of emotions that we feel when we are in love. In love, people often feel extreme emotions which can get very difficult to manage. Hence, when we learn to be emotionally safe, and are lucky to be with someone who is emotionally safe in nature, it helps in controlling such emotions and directing them in a healthy way.
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This was very insightful!
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Glad you liked the post, Annj