* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
We often go about our lives without thinking about the people in our lives and their significance to our mental health, as there might be some relationships you adore and some that have you doubting yourself often. What Is Emotional Safety?
This might result from being in past relationships that have made you question your value and the amount of effort you have put into them, and now you might be in a place where you can accept this inadequacy and want to improve upon it.
The main goal for any type of healing is to have relationships that create a safe and welcoming environment for you to be able to express yourself comfortably.
In this article, we’re going to show you some ways that you can begin taking to improve your emotional safety in any relationship you have, and the important thing to note is that this process takes time.
You should also proceed at a pace that suits you, as mental health in this area is important, and you want to take a careful approach that allows you to do some reflection if this is possible for you.
How To Define Emotional Safety
If you’re struggling with relationships, the best place to start is by identifying what emotional safety is to help you determine if this aspect affects you or not.
Emotional safety is defined as removing any barriers that allow you and others to express themselves freely. It consists of you being able to identify your feelings and feel them.
It’s also a good way to learn more about yourself in an environment where you can express your dreams, fears, and insecurities without it turning into an argument or difficult interaction.
Some people might avoid relationships for fear of being subject to ridicule or confrontations that can be uncomfortable and frightening in some circumstances.
You want to be in relationships where you feel emotionally safe and are able to be your best self, however other people perceive that self.
How To Build Emotional Safety
Create Boundaries And Maintain Them
The first step you can take in your relationship is to place limits on areas of yourself that you would rather not delve into; these boundaries can be physical, intellectual, financial, or sexual.
You can go further by placing limits on topics or current affairs that might trigger a negative emotion or past traumas. You should allow the other person in your relationship to place their limits, so you can both see what is most important to you both.
This can also benefit you both by being able to share more personal information over time, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for space when you want to be alone, so this step is all about communication.
Be Aware Of Body Language
This can be specific to areas of subtext, so if you broach upon something that the other wants to avoid, they may not have set it as a limit, but you can clearly see that their posture, eyes, and facial expression are tightened or wound up.
If you notice this, you can divert the conversation towards something else, and there’s nothing wrong with stopping the conversation suddenly.
This way, the other person can acknowledge you’ve read their displeasure and is more likely to be more open with you in the future, and you should consider how the words you say and the way you deliver them can have an effect on the other person.
Learn To Listen
Another important factor is being receptive to other people in your relationship, as they need to feel as secure and validated as you need to be, and it shows you’re taking an active role in your communication, creating a comfortable and open environment.
A good way to be receptive is to maintain eye contact, nod, and ask follow-up questions if possible to make the other person aware that you are both receptive and interested in what they are saying.
This makes it possible for either of you to share personal information as you feel as if you’re being understood, which is how all relationships can be maintained.
Avoid Judgements And Be Considerate
When discussing any topic or learning more about each other, it is best to be open to the views and opinions of the other person, as being curious to learn about the motivations for the person’s behavior.
This way, you’ll begin to see the other person favorably with compassion and understanding, and we create an environment that avoids confrontation if you don’t agree with the other person and avoids snap judgments of them.
When Creating Emotional Safety Doesn’t Work
Relationships are complicated systems that have many layers, and both people in the relationship will bring with them needs and baggage that they may, over time, want to express in a safe way.
You might have a relationship where you feel that you aren’t valued, or you’ve tried the above steps, it might be worth taking some time out to question what you value in this dynamic, and perhaps you need some distance to improve your emotional learning.
Suppose you feel or know that you’re in an abusive relationship. In that case, you shouldn’t try to improve it and contact a trusted friend, family member, or professional help, as your physical safety is just as important.
There might be times in your relationships when you feel afraid to express your feelings openly, and some of these interactions can feel either difficult or, at worst, hostile, and if the relationship doesn’t make you happy or satisfied, you have every right to raise your concerns.
It might end with you having to sever ties and go your separate ways, but at least you can go forward knowing what you value most.
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)
988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640.Both services available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org
Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish
Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)
Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228
Planned Parenthood Hotline: 1-800-230-PLAN (7526)
American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255
LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)
The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)
The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com
The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.
‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories
- Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
- GoodTherapy.org: http://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy: https://aamft.org/Directories/Find_a_Therapist.asp
- Emergency: 911
- Hotline: 1-888-353-2273
- YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/
UK & Republic of Ireland
- Emergency: 112 or 999
- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
- Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
- Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
- YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/