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A way to help a tense person without accidentally hurting them

[update] This was back in April 2014. I had been going through some messy stuff for years up to that. It’s now 2018. Making the shift of life and work and career has given time to heal. It’s so hard to escape the depths when you’re there. Having people you can genuinely trust is a huge help. I don’t think the Me from then, could even imagine the Me from now. I’m happy to update, the me and he from then are married now. He’s still a ‘good’ guy and I’m doing worlds better 🙂

[End of Update]

I’ve had a few stresses and tensions that I seem to be stuck with. It’s not fun. 

It’s difficult for the partners of someone like this to know what to do in these moments. Something happened recently that helped me. I wanted to share it, maybe it’ll help someone else.

Sometimes my mind is going a million miles with everything I’m trying to get done. After a few days of this I get agitated and twitchy. I bounce and can’t sit still. This is nothing new.

What’s different, this time, is the response.

To these times, from past boyfriends I’ve seen mostly 3 responses.

1. Annoyance.

2. Genuine concern.

3. Blank.

Both responses 1&2 cause me to fold on myself. It self feeds. With the annoyed ones I get annoyed and I close up.

With the concerned ones, I feel guilty for upsetting them, I take to trying to mask my anxiety so as not to upset them.

The blank ones. They don’t even notice or register, or it simply means nothing to them if I’m wound. That makes me feel unwanted.

Now I’ve met a New response. This one. This works without taking anything away.

I was bouncing. Wired and wound trying to work out all the things I have to do over the next few weeks. Feeling a little overwhelmed. Then I felt a hand on the side of my head over my ear. I looked. Expecting concern? Expecting annoyance? I don’t know. But I didn’t get it. I got a quiet face, just watching me, projecting calm. We stayed that way for a while and my body slowed and the tensions eased. I finally calmed. Exhausted but relieved. And then he just went back to doing what he was doing.

There was no… consequence

I wasn’t made to feel any less – he was there when I needed him. I wasn’t made to feel an inconvenience – he just went back about his day. Nothing was taken or asked for. There was no feeling of owing it to him to be ‘fixed now’. It was done for that moment regardless of any moment past or future. And that. That, was new. And that. That, is worth more than words can ever say.

It might not work for everyone. But it helped me and I never knew it could be done. Maybe it’ll help someone else know what to try.


a bit of a shutter bug with a soft spot for antique cameras

2 thoughts on “A way to help a tense person without accidentally hurting them

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