Message Of Expression

Goal

Our goal with the Message of Expression is to help guide clients to express how they feel and what they need from their partner.

What is Connection?

When expression happens then there is a chance at connection. When partners are attuned to how each other feel and think at each moment. By maintaining a connection:

  • Partners feel safe and understood - they can trust one another to be treated the way they want to be treated.

  • Conflicts get resolved - partners quickly realize why their partner behaved the way they did and they express themselves effectively and make appropriate compromises in order to restore the connection.

What is Disconnection?

When partners experience a disconnect which, for example in cheating is a given, they feel less safe and trusting and feel more lonely and vulnerable. In unhealthy relationships, the pain and vulnerability experienced by a disconnect causes partners to:

  • Prevent themselves from being hurt more by detaching further

  • Stonewall

  • Be cold/distant

  • Conjure false explanations, or rationalizations, for their behavior to make them feel like they still understand each other, and therefore connected (not always a positive belief)

  • “He still cares about me, he’s just very forgetful”

  • “She’s not interested in what I have to say because she simply isn’t smart enough”

  • “What I said wasn’t hurtful, he’s overly sensitive”

  • Push partner do something that would restore connection

  • “Why don’t you just say you’re sorry already?!”

  • Attack partner for making them feel hurt

  • The partner feeling the disconnect might feel hurt while the other isn’t, and would try hurting them back, often because they are struggling to express their needs

The first step in creating an impactful message of expression is to effectively diagnose the core emotion, fear or anxiety that the client is currently experiencing and what their needs are.

  • What has the impact been on the client?

  • What is their current fear or worry?

  • What needs are not being met/what do they need?.

Basic Formula Example is for cheating

If the person was cheated on

  • Greeting/Intro that gives context for what they are about to say

  • I've been reflecting these past few days...

  • Since we last spoke, what you/I/we said has been on my mind.....

  • And then adding their feeling and needs

  • Right now I feel............because

  • What I need right now is..........

For the person who cheated

  • Greeting/Intro that gives context for what they are about to say

  • I've been reflecting these past few days...

  • Since we last spoke, what you/I/we said has been on my mind.....

  • And then adding their feeling

  • Right now I feel............because

  • If the last interaction involved high emotions, showing ownership of how they weren't expressing themselves effectively

  • I went too far when I said....

  • I didn't take responsibility when I said ......

  • I blamed ............ when I said........

  • When I said......my emotions got the best of me and I wasn't thinking clearly.

  • Using examples from your assessment of the core issues of disconnect, highlight what they were feeling/needing/misunderstanding that contributed to the disconnect. The content in the message changes depending on if the person was cheated on or did the cheating.

If the person was cheated on:

[Ex's Name],

I feel like I am in shock, and that my life has totally been turned upside down. I feel very hurt and confused. I need space to process what I am feeling and when I am ready I really need the truth from you as I need answers to move forward. I will reach out to your when I am ready, till then I need you to respect my space. Thank you.

If the person cheated:

[Ex's Name],

Your words have given me much to reflect over these past few days. You’re right to be angry and upset with how things went down, I too am upset with myself not only for what happened but for how I handled it. You have never faltered in this and I hope to emulate you in this way. I'm taking the first steps to correct my mistake/s this weekend, and have gotten professional help to help me work through the choices I have made and how I can overcome this. I was wrong for what I did and it is over. I understand you must be feeling "ADD EMOTION" and I understand you needing to have space to process your emotions and I will respect that. Know that I will be holding you in my heart during this time and will be turning my focus to taking responsibility for my choices. I hope we can reconnect soon and get back to the amazing times we had together.

Yours Always,

[Name]

Key Components

  • Connection requires and understanding of emotions - an important part is acknowledging and validating emotions - which usually negates the barrier to connection.

  • A compassionate tone to the message is important – incorporating words and phrases that make the reader feel understood and cared about.

  • True statements that you likely wouldn't have been able to identify or wouldn't have told your ex on your own.

  • Using "I" statements focusing on the way you feel

  • Avoiding assumptions regarding how your ex might be feeling or putting blame on your ex.

  • By describing why you feel how you do, you are validating your ex.

Things to be mindful of

MOE Composition

While the compassionate tone is a big part of the MOE, another very important piece to consider is message length. We need to correlate how much we send in the message with how long the relationship was. For example, if the couple was together for a few weeks, we wouldn't want to send a two paragraph MOE; that's too much for such a short relationship.

We also want to focus on times when it's not appropriate to send a MOE. There are a few instances when the MOE shouldn't be sent;

  • If you aren't emotionally ready to express what you feel and what your needs are. It must be done when you truly feel like you can lean into that emotional space.

  • you have said something similar in person or in a message

  • your ex has requested you stop contacting them