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She Says She's Fine But She's Definitely Not

Transcript: What's up guys, this is Justina Victoria. I am a psychosexual expert for men and couples if this is your first time here. Today I'm going to be responding to this question that I received about what to do if your wife or your girlfriend seems to suddenly be disconnected or seem like something's off and she says she's fine, she's okay, there's nothing wrong.

So first I'm going to speak to this pattern because this is what this is. It's a pattern and this pattern can be actually quite destructive. It on the surface, it seems like it's a bit annoying. It seems a bit frustrating, but under the surface, it is quite a destructive pattern that really, really needs to be healed.

for a relationship to be healthy. The reason is because for us to have a healthy relationship with ourselves and with others, we have to have a really good relationship with the system of feelings, needs and boundaries. Okay, so our feelings tell us what our needs are. Our needs then are protected by our boundaries.

It's one system, and when we grow up with insecure attachment, meaning that our caregivers were not very good at consistently validating our feelings, meeting our needs, or respecting our boundaries, then what happens is we internalize. That models behavior. We internalize the relationship that our parents had with our feelings, needs and boundaries.

And it becomes the relationship that we now have with our own feelings, needs and boundaries. And within ourselves, it's extremely important for us to be able to use this system in a very black and white matter of fact way. We only experience dysregulation meaning. Not feeling good inside, right? So, you know, any, any form of stress hormones, any form of anxiety, depression irritation, irritability, that kind of stuff we're going to experience when our needs are not being met.

And so if we were taught to invalidate our feelings, then the message of what we need is not going to get through. And then if we add on top of that, You know, insecure attachment styles, right? There are certain things that we learned as children that, you know, our needs are not going to get met or our feelings are not valid according to our caregivers or our parents.

So I might as well just repress that or If I'm dysregulated, if I'm having a difficult time, if I'm angry, if I'm sad, my parents will punish me for that or they will abandon me or they'll ignore me and I have to be good or I have to do something, be something, have something in order to get love and attachment.

And so what happens is, is there's There becomes this impairment in the system of our feelings, needs and boundaries, which puts sort of a kink in the hose of our relationship to ourselves and our relationship to others. So what's really happening in a simple form when your wife or girlfriend is, is, is going into the state where she's disconnecting a bit.

She is repressing her own needs. This is very important because we build these patterns of what I call maladaptive strategies. If our needs were not met in a healthy way and consistently as children, we have to deal with the chronic pain that comes from that. Like I said before, we don't have our needs met.

It causes us to feel pain, emotional pain. So we feel emotional pain that we don't have a solution for, meaning our parents never modeled to us that it's possible to get our needs met and, and get rid of the pain, right? Dissolve that pain. Then we live with chronic pain. If we live with chronic pain with no solution, then we have strategies for that.

We have strategies to sort of numb or disconnect from that pain. So if we're taught from a young age that our feelings are not valid, our needs don't matter, and our boundaries are disrespected, when we come into a relationship, we're going to have a program That uh, a program of beliefs that tell us that, you know, our needs are not going to get met.

So we have this, because of this impairment, we have this idea that there's no reason to identify my needs and speak them to my partner because they won't get met. Or if I identify my needs and speak them to my partner, communicate them to my partner, they will abandon me because I'm too much. I'm asking for too much.

They may have experienced that in the past. They may have experienced in childhood that, you know, when they needed something, they were abandoned. When they were, when they needed something it was a burden to their caregivers. And they found that when they can meet the needs of other people, they can get other people into a good mood.

When other people are in a good mood, then they typically connect and they meet their needs. Much better than when they're not. And so this becomes the strategy, this maladaptive strategy from childhood where we have a need and we stuff it way down. Don't actually communicate that need. So what you're perceiving is correct that there is something going on and she is not fine.

She's definitely not fine. We are very intuitive as human beings. We know we read energy off of other people's bodies when someone is okay. And when someone is not okay. So what I would do is I would encourage you to have a conversation with. your partner around the mutual meeting of each other's needs, making it safe to identify what we need, and really communicate that to one another.

And needs are a tricky thing. When you first start this work, it's a little bit tricky for a lot of people because the strategy has been to repress the need, repress the feeling, right? There can be a bit of a learning curve when it comes. to identifying your needs. So there's a couple of steps. We first need to get good at identifying the need that the feeling is bringing up.

We have to then learn how to communicate that need in a healthy way. And then we have to make it tangible. So for example, if I noticed that I was becoming very angry with my partner and then it was shutting down and I was ignoring him. And he came to me and was like, what's going on? What are you feeling?

What's happening? What do you need? Right? I would take a moment. I would notice that I'm angry and I would check in with myself. Why am I angry? And I'm noticing that the reason I'm angry is because I feel disrespected. Right? So felt disrespected then. It's pretty clear that what I need is to feel respect in my relationship.

But this is the problem is a lot of people can identify their need, they can speak their need, they can say to their partner, Hey, I need you to respect me.

Everybody experiences Respect in a different way and if everyone receives the feeling of respect in a different way, right? So you say this to your partner and then your partner goes, okay heard what she said and I'm now going to try to figure out how to make her feel like I respect her and he's doing all kinds of you know mental gymnastics, right?

And this is something that I take my clients through in our calls. And it's really funny because I'll say to them like, all right, I want to, I need you to respect me. How are you going to do it? And you just see the wheels turning and they're like, trying to come up with ways. And it's like, well, okay, I'm going to be really present with you.

I'm going to look. at you when you're speaking to me and I'm going to ask you questions and I'm going to really get involved and I'm going to, you know, make it that your opinions matter to me. And they come up with all these different ways that they think will Make their partner feel like they're respected, respectful of them.

Right. So but then I always pose the question of like, but what if none of those things make me feel like I'm respected? What if the only way that I, I experienced respect is if you make an effort to get to know my family. Like I experienced. partner, making an effort to be close to my family. And they're always like, well, then I would have missed the mark.

And that's, that's where we're at most of the time. So as you get over the hump of not repressing our feelings, which is telling us what our needs are, identifying the need, communicating the need, we have to also learn how to make it tangible. For our partner, we have to do the work of sitting down and going, okay, the need is to feel respected, but like, how do I experience that?

Like, what can I tangibly ask my partner for? And this is something that needs to go both ways. This, you know, a relationship is a mutual, um, agreement. That we are going to validate each other's feelings. We are going to meet each other's needs and we are going to respect each other's boundaries. Now we're also interdependent, meaning that we should be able to meet our own needs in a healthy way.

And we should be able to receive from other people in a healthy way. And when we have an insecure attachment style, Like, a dismissive avoidant, for example, would be hyper independent and feel that they cannot rely, it's not safe to rely on other people to get their needs met with other people. A anxious preoccupied person.

Does not feel that they can regulate on their own, that they can meet their needs on their own. So they rely on someone else to get all of their needs met. And what we want is actually to be in the center of that scale, right? As a person who has secure attachment. You feel good about asking people for help and getting your connection needs met in a healthy way.

And you also feel good about being able to provide for yourself and meet your own needs. And it's 50 50, right? It's, it's more of like a, you're getting your cup full. from within and from outside of you, not one or the other. And we'll go into a bit more on this topic in later episodes. But for now, I just want to give you that kind of basic frame of why we have this because it's.

not only women who experience this, though, I think it is quite often that a woman represses her needs in relationship because we as women are taught, like we're the caregivers, like we need to give, we need to like, you know, essentially run the household and not ask for anything and not bother our husband or whatever it is.

So you can see a lot of that repression going on with, with women have just sort of sacrificing for the family, sacrificing for the relationship, but, but we should never be sacrificing. And that's one of the core issues with insecure attachment is that there's no understanding of compromise. So we must compromise.

We must be able to um, identify our needs. And this is where we get connected to, you'll hear people, you know, say, I really need to work on my boundaries. I really need to get more connected to my feelings and need to feel my feelings. It's one system. You need all three in order for the system to function well.

So the feelings. Tell you what the need is what the unmet need is and then the boundary protects that need right to get that need met So I hope this is helpful One thing that you can really do is just sit down with your partner and talk to her, you know And just say hey, this is seems to be a reoccurring pattern.

Let's really get to the bottom of this You know I, I think that maybe you need something let's, let's see if we can get to the bottom of it. It seems like you're off. It seems like you're missing something. Let's figure out what that need is. Maybe you need some alone time. Maybe you need a bit of space.

Maybe you need a break. Maybe you need some rest or maybe you need a bit of connection. Maybe you need me to give you a back rub. Maybe you need me to help out around the house. Like there's something missing. Now, I will give this to you with just a little... Side note. And that is, is it's not your job to figure this out for your partner.

You're meant to be a team. Not one of you is meant to carry the weight of the relationship. We both want to carry the relationship. So it's easy to carry, right? We have this flow and this mutual understanding between us. It's not that you're going to your partner and you're saying, okay, I'm going to figure all this out for you.

Here's what's going on with you and, and, and, you know, start to do all the work because for her, she has to really start to connect back and start to understand why she represses what she needs and why it's hard for her to identify what she needs because that's literally what this pattern is. I mean, If you're not okay, it means you have an unmet need, right?

So if you're dysregulated, your body's producing some form of stress hormones, you're going to be dysregulated. And when you're dysregulated, it means that there's an unmet need. In some other cases, it can mean that you have a destructive narrative. So there's a story that you're telling yourself that's causing you to feel not okay.

But typically it's an unmet need, so she has to be able to sort of come to terms with that and start practicing, reconnecting to the feelings, identifying the need, communicating the need, and then finding a way to tangibly get that need met, whether it's through herself or through you or through her wider social circle at large.

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