Q. How do I help my girlfriend deal with her negative emotions? She is highly sensitive and has her feelings hurt frequently by minor things that other people do and say and things I do and say. She has trouble standing up for herself too. (via Quora)

A. It’s hard when we’re dealing with a partner who is highly sensitive or struggling with deep personal issues. We love the people we build our lives with, and seeing them suffer can cause us to suffer too. On top of that, their issues leak over and explode into the relationship that we share with them.

You have to remember, though, that your partner’s emotions are their emotions. You’re not responsible for making your partner happy, or fixing their pains for them. No matter how “sensitive” they are, you shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells in order to avoid setting them off. While you should be compassionate and understanding to her needs, it’s important that you ensure she’s also not using it as a means of controlling you and your relationship.

Rather than catering to her comfort, sit your partner down and have a serious conversation. Allow your partner to see how their deep insecurities and sensitivities are hurting you, and give examples of how this behavior is impacting your relationship.

If she is truly hurting, then it is her responsibility to get help and resolve those issues — especially when they’ve been made known. Rather than lashiung out at you and forcing you to change your behavior, she needs to work on becoming a more confident and balanced person (that is enjoyable to be around). Encourage her (compassionately) to tap into her own self-esteem and happiness. Do not cater to poor behavior that manipulates you or your relationship. Instead, be the partner that pushes her to be her best self.

I help you unlearn your pain. Author & NLPMP. My book “Relationship Renovator” is available now.

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