I get to spend a lot of time talking to individuals and couples discussing the things that got them frustrated when it comes to their relationship. A lot of people, well let’s admit, all of us like to get some validation about how frustrating and infuriating our partners can be at times. However, the word frustrated is a highly over used word in our society in general, and definitely in relationships with significant others.

What other emotions are you experiencing?

We know that this takes place inside of us, the American people, and that we actually often really struggle to name, and identify, and notice a larger variety of emotions inside of our bodies. So, we can easily and quickly say we are frustrated with our partner but we may or may not be able to identify other emotions that go along with that.

In fact, researcher Brene Brown found that Americans on average can identify 3 different emotions: happy, sad, and angry. She also found in her research that we need to be able to identify 30 different emotional experiences because different emotions indicate a need for a different response, or a need for a different solution.

Why not to dwell on frustration

So, when I dwell on the word ‘frustrated’ and I talk about how frustrated I am with my partner or how angry I am with them, that is a defensive emotion that is just going to make them want to back away. They’re not going to want to be in the same space as me and they’re not going to want to talk more about my frustration.

However, if I can broaden my vocabulary and I can identify that maybe I’m feeling incredibly alone in my relationship – wow! ‘Alone’ is a word that expresses to my partner the severity of the situation. It gets them to stop and think “Geez I knew I’ve been a little checked out lately, but I had no idea they were feeling alone.” Or if I express to my partner that I’m feeling overwhelmed, then that might indicate to them that I need them to step in and be more supportive.

Different emotional words indicate a different response that is needed or a different solution but, if we keep coming back to frustrated and dwelling on how frustrated we are, we are going to hit a dead end pretty quickly. So, if you have been feeling frustrated with your significant other recently, I want to challenge you to ask yourself, “…And what else are you feeling?”

Happy New Year everyone!

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