Not being heard hurts, no matter your age or the relationship you’re struggling to get your voice and opinion across. It can all begin at a very early age. Trying to explain your actions to your parents, for example, only to see them not hearing your words, not listening to your thoughts, and failing to accept your explanations.
To a child, this can seem like a grave injustice, one that hurts and leads to them closing their parents off, refusing to share their innermost thoughts and feelings. And that can leave its mark. Now imagine experiencing that at a young age, only to find yourself in the same or similar position with your partner years later?
Can you just imagine being an adult, a person with opinions and feelings and difficulties which your partner simply doesn’t acknowledge. Imagine spending hours upon hours trying to get your partner to listen to what you have to say, only to be left unheard again. That’s hard, and fixing the relationship will require some intensive work. Let’s start from the beginning.
Why Do I Not Feel Heard?
Most people want to feel understood and heard by others, especially those closest to them. That is why when your partner is not actually hearing your thoughts and feelings, it can be emotionally tasking and difficult to accept. Being acknowledged by those we love is one of our deepest longings. When that sense of acknowledgment is missing, it’s easy for us to suffer emotional exhaustion.
This is not about our partner simply agreeing with our feelings. It has to do with validation. If that’s missing, communication becomes more than just a problem, it becomes a frightening endeavor you can find yourself dreading.
It is around this time that you start questioning yourself, the things you want to share, and the reasons behind your partner’s inability to hear what you have to say.
The reasons behind not being heard by your partner are varied and complex, and it is extremely difficult to pinpoint them without your partner being willing to openly discuss them. Some of the most common ones include:
- Different communication styles: Perhaps your partner is actually hearing you however your communication styles differ and they come across as not actually listening to you.
- Defensiveness: Sometimes, your partner may feel threatened by the emotions you’re sharing, which leads to them exhibiting defensive communication behavior that leads to your emotions falling on deaf ears due to their attempt to defend against non-existent accusations.
- Distraction: Depending on their personality, your partner might be distracted by their own set of problems which they are unwilling or unable to share with you for a variety of reasons, leading them to seem aloof to your feelings.
How Do You Know When You Are Not Being Listened To Or Ignored?
All of us have our own gut feeling, that indescribable sensation of not knowing exactly why we’re sure something is true, yet we believe it nonetheless. That pretty much sums us being aware of our partner not actually listening to us the way we would like them to. However, sometimes we’re not sure, or we want to believe we’re wrong simply so we don’t have to deal with the emotional consequences of confronting our partner on their communicative deficiencies.
Whether you’re subconsciously aware of your partner not paying attention to your feelings, or you’re consciously trying to dissuade yourself from believing the facts to avoid confrontation, start paying attention to your partner’s behavior. It could be good to know the telltale signs of your partner’s attention not being in the right place.
- Their head is too still and their eye contact is way too fixed.
- They try too hard to smile brightly.
- You catch them tapping their fingers and rushing the conversation.
- They have turned their body away from you.
- They’re pointing their feet in the opposite direction.
- Their body language does not mirror yours.
- They fail to react accordingly to the important points in the conversation.
How Do You Deal With Not Being Heard?
It really hurts not being heard by your partner and having to struggle and sometimes even beg for your emotions to be acknowledged. This can be so harmful to your mental wellbeing that it is important to address the problem quickly and try to resolve it efficiently. First, you need to begin with self-care before proceeding to resolve the communication issues with your partner:
- Be honest with yourself and understand that you’re not being heard.
- Keep reminding yourself that it’s not your fault. Don’t make it even more difficult on you by blaming yourself.
- Try to find support and acknowledgment from others before attempting to resolve the problem with your partner.
- Listen to yourself and speak your truth to your innermost you.
Once you’ve listened to yourself and your needs first, it might be time to approach them if you truly feel ready. Once you do, it could prove helpful to try some of these techniques to approach your partner more easily and to get them to listen to your words more carefully:
- Give them an example of you listening to their needs before you ask the same of them.
- Try stating your concrete needs clearly and gently.
- Try using a neutral question when asking them why they do not acknowledge your feelings.
- Be clear about your expectations and get curious about theirs.
- Take breaks in order to regain the necessary emotional stamina.
Join PIVOT Programs Designed To Help With Overcoming Relationship Challenges
It’s hard to speak, to try to communicate with your partner only to see your words fall on deaf ears. This can lead to you developing different kinds of problems, ranging from beginning to feel uneasy in your relationship to you yourself becoming more emotionally closed and starting to place your partner at a distance. That way, it all becomes a lot more difficult to deal with.
The wall of communication breakdowns and misunderstandings is composed of various bricks that simply started building up, one atop the other, across the years of your relationship. Sometimes, couples keep fighting with each other, creating a communicative barrier between them. Other times, they fail to communicate properly to avoid conflicts.
Uncovering the true reasons behind your words not being heard and understood is the first step in overcoming the underlying relationship difficulties. At PIVOT, our expert relationship advocates can help you either through individual workshops for you, or through couples workshops for you and your partner. We want your relationship to thrive.