“My partner has no compassion for me when I’m sick!” This is a common lament among people in a relationship with a partner who lacks compassion toward them.
You know the usual drill. A lady starts dating a guy. She buys him gifts, does his laundry, and cooks for him but when she is ill, he doesn’t care. He can only say, “sorry” at best with no effort to help her feel better. Soon she gets frustrated and leaves.
(Compassion is the combination of feeling empathy for someone’s suffering and taking action to help alleviate that suffering.)
How much compassion you both possess depends on how intimate you are with your partner. In some cases, your partner may be empathetic. But it isn’t enough to understand how sick you feel. If your partner isn’t doing what is necessary for you to get better, it may lead to resentment and this may cause you two to drift apart. Which is painful because you love them.
In this article, we will discuss how you can deal with the lack of compassion to make your relationship better.
How Important Is Compassion In A Relationship?
It is unpleasant and discouraging to speak with your spouse only for them to ignore, judge, ridicule, disregard, or misunderstand you. When your partner has compassion for you, they are less likely to treat you this way.
Compassion facilitates selflessness among partners. With compassion, your partner will put you first in a bid to make you as comfortable as possible. Even if doing so will sometimes make them uncomfortable. No doubt, you both will be happier because of it.
When you’re feeling down, your partner’s act of kindness can do wonders for your disposition. Hugs and encouraging comments help ease a lot of agonies and reinforce emotional security. Also, maintaining eye contact with your partner (when speaking, working, or having sex) can generate deep emotions that improve your emotional bond, and consequently compassion towards each other.
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Lack Of Compassion In A Relationship [Compassion Blockers]
Your partner may have a hard time expressing compassion because of compassion blockers.
Compassion Blockers are feelings or actions that restrict access to, use of, and expression of compassion. Like construction zone detour signposts, they redirect your partner’s affection away from you.
Here is a list of a few Compassion Blockers:
- Emotional trauma (mostly from childhood)
It can be difficult to stay on a road of compassion when we’re feeling anxious and overburdened. So also, your partner may only appear to be judgemental and unfeeling because of one or more of these factors.
They could even become fault-finders and use words like “You’re lazy.”, “He’s selfish.”, “She’s narcissistic.”, and so on. They may even ignore responsibilities, rain insults on you, and compare you to others, (which is the opposite of being compassionate)
You may not even be the reason your partner may experience most of these Compassion Blockers. Sure they are unfair to you. But you don’t have to start making them feel bad as well.
First of all, you need to take responsibility for your expectations, feelings, and actions. Don’t constantly seek external validation from your partner. It can lead to low self-esteem. Especially when they lack compassion.
Secondly, you should seek to make your partner more compassionate. Yes, be compassionate with your partner who lacks compassion.
In order to cope in a relationship with a partner who lacks compassion, you must learn to build compassion in the relationship. But not from a selfish point of view. You must do it because you want to help your partner.
How To Make Your Partner More Compassionate
Each person is an individual with their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You can’t force someone to be more compassionate or change their personality.
Also, no one enjoys being talked to in a condescending manner. It makes them feel inferior or disrespected. So, if you adopt a dominant attitude and try to “teach” your partner how to be more compassionate, it may prove to be counterproductive.
So, it’s better to simply lead by example. Being compassionate to your partner can encourage them to reciprocate since they feel emotionally safe with you.
Here are rather a few ways to make your partner more compassionate:
1. Model compassion yourself;
Compassion can be contagious. You should lead by example. Whenever you can, request that they follow your lead. Show them how to be kind and understanding by being kind and understanding towards them and others. Let them know it’s not because you know better but because it would make you feel valued and appreciated by them.
It can be discouraging to do this when you’re sick and rather in need of such favor. But the results can be worthwhile.
It’s crucial to be kind and loving throughout the day. But you can leverage certain opportunities. Make the most out of these particular moments during your day;
- When you first see each other in the morning,
- When you say goodbye (maybe for work),
- When you first see each other at the end of the day (maybe after work), and
- When you say, “goodnight” at bedtime.
This is optimal because those gestures done at those times, give a more endearing effect and last longer.
You can make it a daily routine or ritual. For example, you can have a cup of coffee together in the morning before going to work. Or read a book together before bed at night.
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2. Increase Positive Interactions Everyday;
As frequently as you can, let your partner know how much they mean to you. It will make them feel you value and consider them important. Or don’t you?
No matter how long you’ve been together, never downplay the relevance of the three words, “I love you”. Yes. They should know already. But an often reminder can be soothing.
3. Be Understanding;
You’re terribly sick. Yet, you are the one who needs to understand and show compassion to your partner. (Because fretting will only worsen the situation).
This can be a horrendous effort. But it can enable them to see how valuable the relationship is to you by putting it first (because they also have struggles).
While you also want to be heard, all they need is for you to listen. Pay them undivided attention and validate them. Then you can tell them about your plight.
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4. Be kind to them;
The most enduring influence comes from how you say something, not what you say. I know it can be difficult, but endeavor to control the urge to lash out at your partner when they provoke you. Practice kindness.
5. Encourage your partner to engage in compassionate activities;
Suggest activities that involve helping others. Such as volunteering at a local charity or offering support to a friend in need.
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6. Express your gratitude and appreciation;
Praise and congratulate your partner when they go out of their way for you or just go through a difficult time. This can help reinforce their positive behavior and encourage them to continue showing compassion.
7. Encourage honest communication and listen actively;
Criticism, condemnation, and sarcastic comments are painful. Simply put, Allow your partner to be themselves.
Help your partner understand your perspective and feelings by being open and honest with them. Tell them to listen and understand you as well without judgment.
8. Ensure your own health;
This may seem counterintuitive. But the fact is if you don’t take care of yourself and solely take care of your partner, you’ll burn out. This can make you become resentful and bitter. You definitely can not show compassion in such a mental state, can you?
Self-compassion is something we must practice. This doesn’t mean you should engage in severe self-criticism. Rather, it is more effective to understand the dynamic that triggers our anger. This will ensure we find the most effective solution.
On the other side, ruthless self-condemnation just serves to bury the pain or unmet need further. This may lead to a potential recurrence of the explosion. Especially when you bottle them up.
In the same vein, how can you expect your fatigued and burnt-out partner to have compassion for you?
As a result, motivate your partner to care for themselves as well. Give them the space and time they require to relax after a hard time.
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Nurturing compassion in a relationship is a process that may take time. Endeavor to be patient and understanding.
Everyone has their own way of showing compassion. So you have to be open to different forms of expression. Though, this does not mean you should remain in a toxic relationship.
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