Not feeling secure in a relationship

If You Don't Feel Secure In Your Relationship, Experts Say You May Fixate On These 7 Things


by Carolyn Steber


If you ever find yourself fixating on the little things your partner does (or doesn't do), and it feels like you can't stop worrying, it could be a sign your relationship lacks security. You might bite your nails when they don't text back, or wonder what it means if you don't see each other for a few days. And while it may seem like you're making a big deal out of nothing, small worries like these can actually stem from a larger issue.

"A person fixates or feels insecure because their intuition is telling them that something doesn't feel right," Jennifer L. McBride McNamara, MA, LAMFT, a licensed associate marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "The fixation becomes the guidepost for where the relationship lacks security. " For example, if you're hung up on their texting habits, it may mean you don't trust your partner, or that you need to communicate more.

By recognizing these worries, and talking about them with your partner, you can start to create a greater sense of security within your relationship, McNamara says. It's best to be honest, validate each other's feelings, and keep a conversation going in order to establish trust.

From there, it'll be easier to feel secure, no matter what happens. "Trust takes time and it takes the accumulation of lots of little not-broken trusts," McNamara says. "It requires consistently doing what you say you're going to do, being where you say you're going to be, talking about subjects that need to be addressed, and being vulnerable with feelings." Here are a few things you might fixate on, if security is an issue in your relationship.


How Much Time You Spend Together

If you're feeling anxious or insecure within your relationship, you may start to fixate on how much time you spend together, and use it as a way to measure or assess your partner's commitment level, McNamara says.

When this is an area of concern, it's not uncommon to keep a running tally in your head of how many days you spend together versus apart. It's even possible, McNamara says, to feel jealous of your partner's other relationships, because they take away from your time together as a couple.

If that seems to be the case, you'll want to figure out why. Are you worried about the strength of your relationship? By bringing it into the light, it'll be easier to make improvements as a couple.


Who Does The Chores

"Many people who are insecure in a relationship will 'keep score' on issues like money and chores, getting resentful if there isn’t total equality," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. And while this can occur in any relationship, it's way more likely to happen if you feel like partner doesn't appreciate you, or as if they aren't fully committed.

It may help to keep in mind that, "while each partner needs to be fully invested in the relationship and contribute, there are times where one partner might pick up more of the slack in certain circumstances," Bennett says. And try to let it go.

But if this has become an ongoing concern, think about why you keep score, and why you get upset over chores or money. There may be a lack of security in your relationship, that's been lurking beneath the surface.


What Your Partner Is Doing On Social Media


If you ever find yourself worrying about what your partner is posting online, or who they are interacting with, take note. "Constantly checking up on your partner’s social media can be a sign of insecurity, especially if you’re always looking for signs that your partner is acting inappropriately," Bennett says.

If you've had breaches of trust in the past, you might be on the lookout for signs your partner is doing it again, and crossing boundaries within your relationship. And if your connection could still use a little work, this type of vigilance may feel all the more necessary.

That said, if you create a relationship that's secure, you won't feel the need to monitor each other's lives, Bennett says. So work on ways to build trust, possibly by talking about boundaries again, and always making each other a priority.


What They Do When They're Away

"It’s normal to spend time apart in a relationship," Bennett says, as you'll want to see friends, go away on a vacation with family, have a few solo hobbies, and come back to tell the tale.

And yet, if the relationship lacks security, these everyday things can start to feel really intimidating. "This can stem from a fear in the insecure partner that time spent apart could lead to eventual abandonment," Bennett says.

By assessing the health of relationship, as well as what happened in the past, you may be able to pinpoint where this insecurity came from. If your partner doesn't prioritize your relationship, for example, it might be worth it to bring that to their attention, so they can make a few changes.


Your Partner's Friends


It's not uncommon that, with a lack of security in a relationship, your partner's friends may begin to feel like a threat. And while we often write this type of behavior off as 'jealous' or 'controlling,' "the inherent issue here is really an insecurity towards [your partner] leaving and the relationship ending prematurely," Chantalle Sawision, BA, JD, a family lawyer and relationship expert, tells Bustle.

If you've been through issues in the past, like infidelity, that's completely understandable. But for the sake of the relationship, it'll be important to move past these insecurities as a couple, and possibly even call in reinforcements. While it'll take commitment on both sides, it never hurts to chat with a therapist about these types of concerns, and figure out how to overcome them.


What They Do On Their Phone

"Focusing on what your partner is doing on the phone constantly is a sign of insecurities," Bennett says, especially if you're trying to catch them in something or demanding to see their texts.

The thing is, some concerns may be warranted, while others will be blown out of proportion, or based in old insecurities. "Like with social media, a secure relationship requires a relatively hands off approach to the phone," Bennett says.

So if you find yourself worrying, you'll want to get to the bottom of the issue ASAP. This is way better than wondering, or worrying for no reason. And can be a step in the right direction towards establishing more trust.


Your Partner's Needs


If you aren't 100% sure your relationship is stable and secure, you might begin to focus on creating happiness for your partner, McNamara says, instead of speaking up and saying what you need.

"This is a sign of insecurity because one person is afraid that the other will get angry or leave if they don't get their way," she says. "It tells me that the person accommodating the other partner's wishes doesn't feel like they can have a say."

Of course, it's always OK to do nice things and make each other a priority, but it shouldn't be at the expense of your own happiness. So if you always come second, consider how a lack of security might be playing a role, and what you and your partner can do to create more of it — and work on building a stable, fair, and strong relationship.

How to Feel More Secure in Your Relationship

How to Feel More Secure in Your Relationship

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credits: Juniore, “Panique”

How To Feel More Secure in Your Relationship

OVERCOMING INSECURITY | It’s not uncommon for both women and men to feel insecure in a relationship from time to time. 

Insecurity affects more people than you think. Many of the couples who come to us searching for life coaching and personal growth discover that insecurity was one of the main issues in their relationship. Insecurity isn’t always obvious at first. It might even look like your relationship issues aren’t related to insecurity at all. That’s because when couples don’t feel completely emotionally safe and secure with each other, it tends to create conflict and problems in many other areas of their partnership.  

[For more on the importance of emotional safety and how it may be impacting YOUR relationship, access our free “How Healthy is Your Relationship” Quiz and my mini-couples coaching follow up video series.]

It’s typical for people in new relationships to have some anxiety, but even people in long-term relationships sometimes worry about their partner’s feelings for them. While very common, feelings of insecurity in your relationship can create problems for both of you. 

Root Causes of Insecurity

If insecurity is an issue in your relationship — either for you, or your partner — you might be speculating about the root causes of insecurity and how to heal them. Here are six of the most common causes of insecurity, and some tips on how to address them.

Insecurity After Infidelity 

If you’ve been betrayed by a partner in the past, it’s completely natural to struggle to feel secure in your present relationship. Feelings of insecurity after an experience with infidelity or an emotional affair are very common. In these cases, the path to healing can be a long one. The person who did the betraying often needs to work very hard, for a long time, to show (not tell, but show) their partners that they can trust them again.

Anxiety After Being Let Down Repeatedly 

Insecurities can also start to emerge after less dramatic betrayals and disappointments. Even feeling that your partner has not been emotionally available for you, has not been consistently reliable, or was there for you in a time of need, can lead you to question the strength of their commitment and love. 

Trust is fragile

If your relationship has weathered storms, learning how to repair your sense of trust and security can be a vital part of healing. Often, couples need to go back to the past to discuss the emotional wounds they experienced with each other in order to truly restore the bond of safety and security. These conversations can be challenging, but they are necessary.

Insecurity Due to Past Trauma 

Sometimes people who were traumatized in past relationships can struggle to feel secure with their present partner. For some people, their very first relationships were with untrustworthy or inconsistent parents, which led them to develop insecure attachment styles, which make them feel apprehensive or protective when anyone gets too close. However, even people with loving parents and happy childhoods can carry scars of past relationships, particularly if they’ve been through a toxic relationship at some point in their lives. It’s completely understandable: Being burned by an ex can make it harder to trust a new partner, because you fear being hurt again.

Long Distance Relationships

Sometimes, insecurity has more to do with the circumstances of the relationship than the people who are in it. For example, you might feel more insecure if you’re in a long-distance relationship.   Not being able to connect with your partner, or see them in person all the time, can take a toll on even the strongest relationship. Couples in long-distance relationships should expect that they will have to work a little harder than couples who are together day-to-day in order to help each person to feel secure and loved. In these cases, carefully listening to each other about what both of you need to feel secure and loved is vital, as is being intentional, reliable, and consistent.

Feeling Insecure When You’re Dating Someone New 

Dating someone new is exciting, but it can also be intensely anxiety-provoking. In new (or new-ish) relationships where a commitment has not been established, not fully knowing where you stand with a new person that you really like is emotionally intense. If you’re involved in a new relationship, you may need to deliberately cultivate good self-soothing and calming skills in order to manage the emotional roller coaster that new love can unleash.  

Feeling Insecure With a Withdrawn Partner

Different types of relationship dynamics can lead to differences in how secure people feel. The same person can feel very secure and trusting in one relationship, but with a different person, they might feel suspicious, worried, or like they’re on pins and needles. Often this has to do with the relational dynamic of the couple. For example, in relationships where one person has a tendency to withdraw, be less communicative, or is not good at verbalizing their feelings, their partner may feel worried about what’s really going on in the other person’s head. This can turn into a pursue-withdraw dynamic that intensifies over time; one person becoming increasingly anxious and agitated about not being able to get through to their partner, and the withdrawn person clamping down like a clam under assault by a hungry seagull. However, when communication improves and couples learn how to show each other love and respect in the way they both need to feel safe and secure, trust is strengthened and emotional security is achieved.

Types of Insecurities

Insecurities can take many forms, and emerge for a variety of reasons.

Emotional security (or lack thereof) is complex. In addition to having a variety of root causes, there are also different ways that insecurity manifests in people — and they all have an impact on your relationship. People who struggle with low self esteem may find it hard to feel safe in relationships because they always anticipate rejection. The “insecure overachiever” may similarly struggle to feel secure in relationships if they’re not getting the validation and praise that they thrive on. 

For others, insecurity is linked to an overall struggle with vulnerability and perfectionism. People who feel like they need to be perfect in order to be loved can — subconsciously or not — try to hide their flaws. But, on a deep level, they know they’re not perfect (no one is) and so that knowledge can lead to feelings of apprehension when they let other people get close to them. In these cases, learning how to lean into authentic vulnerability can be the path of healing. [More on this: “The Problem With Perfectionism”]

Sometimes people who are going through a particularly hard time in their lives can start to feel apprehensive about where they stand in their relationship. For example, people who don’t feel great about their career can often feel insecure when they’re around people who they perceive as being more successful or accomplished than they are. This insecurity is heightened in the case of a layoff or unexpected job loss. If one partner in a relationship is killing it, and the other is feeling under-employed or like they’re still finding their way, it can lead the person who feels dissatisfied with their current level of achievement to worry that their partner is dissatisfied with them too. 

Insecurities can take many forms, and emerge for a variety of reasons. However, when insecurity is running rampant, the biggest toll it takes is often on a relationship.

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How Insecurity Can Ruin a Relationship

To be clear: Having feelings is 100% okay. Nothing bad is going to happen to you, or your relationship, or anyone else because you have feelings of anxiety or insecurity. The only time relationship problems occur as a result of feelings is when your feelings turn into behaviors.

If people who feel insecure, anxious, jealous or threatened don’t have strategies to soothe themselves and address their feelings openly with their partner, and have those conversations lead to positive changes in the relationship, then their feelings can lead to behaviors that can harm the relationship. Some people lash out in anger when they perceive emotional danger, or if they think their partner is being hurtful to them. Often, people who feel insecure will attempt to control their partner’s behaviors in efforts to reduce their own anxiety.  Many insecure people will hound their partners for information about the situations they feel worried about. Still others will withdraw, preemptively, as a way of protecting themselves from the rejection they anticipate.

While all of these strategies are adaptive when you are in a situation where hurtful things are happening, (more on toxic relationships here) problems occur when these defensive responses flare up in a neutral situation. A common example of this is the scenario where one person repeatedly asks their partner if they’re cheating on them because they feel anxious, when their partner is actually 100% faithful to them and has done nothing wrong. The insecure person might question their partner, attack their partner, check up on their partner, or be cold and distant due to their worries about being cheated on or betrayed — when nothing bad is actually happening. This leaves the person on the other side feeling hurt, controlled, rejected, vilified… or simply exhausted.  

If feelings of insecurity are leading to problematic behaviors in a relationship, over time, if unresolved, it can erode the foundation of your partnership. 

How to Help Your Partner Feel More Secure In Your Relationship

The key here is consistency…

It’s not uncommon for partners of insecure people to seek support through therapy, life coaching, or couples counseling either for themselves or with their partners. They ask, “How do I help my wife feel more secure,” or “How do I help my husband feel more secure.” This is a great question; too often partners put the blame and responsibility for insecure feelings squarely on the shoulders of their already-anxious spouse or partner. This, as you can imagine, only makes things worse. 

While creating trust in a relationship is a two-way street, taking deliberate and intentional action to help your partner feel emotionally safe with you in the ways that are most important to him or her is the cornerstone of helping your insecure girlfriend, insecure boyfriend, or insecure spouse feel confident in your love for them.  The key here is consistency, and a willingness to do things to help them feel emotionally secure — even if you don’t totally get it. This is especially true if your partner’s insecurity stems from past trauma or betrayal.

Tips to help your spouse feel more secure in your relationship

  1. Ask them what they need from you to feel emotionally safe and loved by you
  2. Give that to them (over and over again, without being asked every time)
  3. Rinse and repeat

How to Stop Being Insecure

While the partners of anxious people do need to try a little harder to help their loved ones feel secure, the person struggling with insecurity also needs to take responsibility for their feelings and learn how to manage them effectively.

[For more information of how to uncover your hidden obstacles, check out this article] 

Note: This doesn’t mean never worrying or feeling insecure (feelings happen y’all), but rather, learning how to have feelings that don’t turn into relationship-damaging behaviors.

Without the ability to soothe yourself, become grounded in the here and now, and get your emotional needs met by your partner (or yourself), unbridled insecurity can put a major strain on a relationship. But how? How do you manage insecurity? That’s the million-dollar question, and that’s why I’ve made it the topic of the latest episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast! 

If you’re struggling with insecurity in your relationship — either as the person who worries, or the one who’s trying to reassure them — you’ll definitely want to join me and my colleague Georgi C., an Arkansas-based marriage counselor and family therapist who specializes in attachment therapy, as we discuss this topic. We’re going deep into the topic of insecurity in relationships and how to overcome it. Listen and learn more about:

  1. The root causes of insecurity
  2. The surprising ways insecurity can impact a relationship
  3. Practical strategies to help someone else feel more secure
  4. Actionable advice to help yourself feel less insecure
  5. How to heal and strengthen trust and security 
  6. Concrete tools couples can use to banish insecurity from their relationship

We hope that this discussion helps you overcome insecurity and create the strong, happy relationship you deserve.

With love and respect, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby & Georgi C., MS, LAMFT

P.S. Pro Tip: Once you listen to this podcast, consider sharing it with your partner. Doing so can be an easy, low-key way to start an important, and necessary conversation about how to increase the emotional safety and security you both feel in your relationship. xo, LMB

P.P.S. We have so much more support for you here! To access other podcasts and articles on this topic, like “How to Deal With Trust Issues,” please visit our Emotional Wellness Collection, our Growing Together Collection, our Relationship Repair Collection, and more. It’s all there for you. — LMB

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How to Feel More Secure in Your Relationship

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credits: Juniore, “Panique”

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Episode Highlights:

  • How Insecurity Can Ruin A Relationship
    • A relationship can reveal sides of you that you may not know about.
    • The more experience you have, the more open with your partner you should be.
    • If you don’t feel secure in your relationship, you will be more distant
  • Root Causes of Anxiety
    • ‘Attachment injuries’ can cause anxiety.
    • Affairs, whether by yourself or by your partner, can cause anxiety.
    • Be true to your feelings fortress anxi
  • How to Help Yourself Feel More Secure
    • Find something that makes you feel fulfilled
    • Understand your uniqueness
    • Work with a professional
  • How to Help Your Partner Feel More Secure
    • Listen to your partner
    • Do not be immediately defensive
  • What Couples Can Do
    • Be each other’s support
    • Try our relationship quizzes!

Lisa Marie Bobby, PhD, LMFT, BCC PhD, LP, LMFT, BCC

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Learn more about Dr. Lisa

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About trust and security in relationships: ru_psiholog — LiveJournal

The story is complex and confusing.

I divorced my husband about a year ago, before that we had not lived together for about a year, in the process of parting and trying to cope with it all, I became close to a young man. We had known each other for a long time, rotated in the same company, but we never communicated particularly closely.

And then it happened. He supported me, in a certain way helped me get out of the terrible apathy and self-loathing in the process of divorce. For a long time, we began to meet with him, and then completely live together.

It may seem that I was in a hurry with my life together, but my husband and I had a very close relationship for six years, we were constantly together and when we broke up, I panicked with the onset of the weekend, because I didn’t know what to do with myself and What can I do alone. So I think a completely single life after that would be too much of a test for me.

In general, we've been together for about two years, everything has more or less settled down, I regularly visit a psychotherapist - it's been a year now, sharp moments have been smoothed out, there is a lot of reflection in the relationship, etc.

But at some point I realize that I don't feel happy, that I lack mutual trust and a sense of security in relationships. I am trying to discuss the situation with a young man and am faced with a wall of
misunderstandings and resentment.

If I talk about my emotion (for example, "I am very sad that you decided to spend this evening with friends, although
we planned to spend it together during the week"), this is perceived as an attack on personal freedom, an insult and a manifestation dislike (if you loved me, you would not forbid me to communicate with your friends). But I’m not trying to forbid anything, I deeply respect him and I will never allow myself to communicate with a person in an orderly tone, I just try to talk about my feelings and not swallow it (I have already been treated for not saying my negative emotions and directing my aggression inward clinical depression and trying to learn how to act differently).

If I try to answer that I'm not forbidding you anything, I just want to share my emotion, he also starts saying in a raised voice that I'm inconsistent, I say first one thing, then another, I twist his words, etc. At some point, I can’t stand it any more and either withdraw into myself and stop communicating or get involved in this ridiculous quarrel and a scandal, hysteria, etc. occurs.

If I do not talk about my emotions and that something is unpleasant for me, swallowing them or sublimating them, he says that he feels that I have moved away from him, and there is no intimacy, and I do not love him.

As a result, I am under constant stress and pressure, afraid that whatever I do will be perceived as an insult, reproach or humiliation.

If we don’t discuss this situation in any way, releasing it on the brakes, my unexpressed emotions accumulate to a certain limit, after which a petty quarrel can plunge me into a terrifying state and then he starts to get angry with me because I get upset because - for nothing.

The fact that I had a career growth does not add to the optimism of the picture, and therefore I work from morning till night and come home completely exhausted and tired, incapable of anything. Therefore, it is very difficult for me, in response to some words that hurt me, to turn on the wise part of myself, carefully reflect everything and then answer.

Recently, the sphere of signs that I do not love and respect him began to include, for example, uncooked breakfasts and lunches on Saturday (when I just want to lie down like a dead stone after a terribly hard week), even though not before , now self-cooking was not a problem, and two years ago I clearly explained my position in relation to everyday life - that during the week I don’t have time for it, and the rest of the time - everything is collective. And this position was accepted and supported, and until recently caused no complaints.

Yesterday the conversation ended with his words: just if you want me to treat you well or that I marry you (the proposal came from him, in addition to regular repetition in words, do not proceed to any real actions), you must do some things. And if you don't do them, what makes you think that I will treat you well in return? In general, sorry for the footcloth text, but I'm really exhausted. I no longer have the strength or desire to do anything. Maybe, in this text, of course, I am not quite objectively evaluating my or his actions, and I really deserve such an attitude, but in my opinion I did not exaggerate anything at all.

I don't feel supported in this relationship, I don't even feel like he hears what I'm saying at all.
I often think about suicide, but now I have fallen into a terrible apathy. What to do with all this?

How can a couple avoid relationship problems? | Man and woman

There are three basic needs in a couple relationship.

1. Security. Security in a relationship is, first of all, a sense of security, confidence that a partner will be there not only in joy, but also in difficult times. It is important for partners to feel stability in relations, the ability to confront threats together.

• For a woman, the main threat is competition in relationships, and not only with other women, but also with friends, partner's parents. She turns on the fear caused by the instinct of self-preservation, because just 100 years ago, being left without a man was a significant threat to the survival of a woman and her children.

• For a man, the main threat in a relationship is to become insolvent in the eyes of his woman, not needed. It is important for a man to feel her support, approval, gratitude. If a woman constantly nags and devalues ​​a partner, he loses interest in her, and with him love.

2. Energy supply. A woman is not as strong as a man. Men are stronger physically, more stable emotionally, able to concentrate on tasks, more effective in difficult and risky situations. Men draw energy from the outside world, they get an energy boost by implementing complex projects, achieving goals.

A woman needs more energy and strength than she has to fulfill her life tasks, mostly long-term and routine ones (birth and upbringing of children, maintenance of the house). She receives this energy in a relationship. It is important for a woman to feel her value for a man so that he notices the result of her routine housework, how well she takes care of children, what a warm atmosphere she creates in relationships.

If a man can convey why he loves his woman, if he feeds a woman's energy and self-esteem with attention, compliments, care, then a woman will always be filled with energy that she is able to transform into love. Receiving energy from a man, a woman gives it in the form of warmth, tenderness, care and support. Smart men know that it's easier to iron a wife than a shirt. It is impossible to "overlove" a woman, this is a myth. The more energy a man gives to a woman, the more energy she spends on caring for her loved ones. And she leaves a little for herself, for self-realization, in order to remain interesting and please her man.

3. Emotional connection with a partner. This need is more feminine. Men often consider emotional openness as a sign of weakness and try not to show their emotions once again. In an area of ​​fierce male competition, this is true, but in a relationship with a woman, the exchange of emotions is the basis of intimacy.

Moreover, a woman's physical attraction directly depends on how much she feels the partner's emotional openness. In addition, men believe that sharing emotions with a woman is an expenditure of energy. He is so tired at work that he has neither the strength nor the desire to communicate. Men underestimate this energizing channel. The fact is that a woman is stronger in the field of emotions, so this is where a man can get help and support. A heart-to-heart talk with a woman can help clarify negative or conflicting feelings and emotional blocks, dispel doubts, a man can use a woman's natural insight and intuition to make decisions, especially in the field of relationships with colleagues.

If partners do not feel satisfied in these three areas, they do not receive enough support and energy from each other to function properly. A woman becomes eternally dissatisfied, annoyed, ceases to take care of herself, “nags” and scolds her man. The fact is that in such a strange way she tries to reach out to her partner, to inform him that something is wrong in the relationship. Often she herself does not understand what exactly, therefore, instead of constructive negotiations, she gives in to emotions and makes a scandal. The man, not hearing the arguments, does not understand what exactly the woman wants from him, decides that “she is phoning again”, and, instead of deciding and acting, removes himself from the battlefield. Problems multiply, relationships can collapse.

What to do?

• First of all, know your needs. From time to time, listen to yourself and your partner: how much do I feel full in a relationship, do I give everything necessary to my partner. Be sure to ask how your partner feels.

• If you feel there is a problem, be sure to talk. When discussing difficult relationship issues, proceed from the fact that you want to return love, and not to establish control over each other. As a rule, when a crisis in a relationship sets in, each of the partners feels a threat to their relationship, so they try to fill their needs and control the other. By such behavior, partners transfer relations into the plane of military operations. Remember the important rule : if you feel a crisis in a relationship, try to turn off your ego and take care of your partner. If you find yourself on the slippery road of a crisis in a love relationship, turn the steering wheel in the direction of a skid.

• Women, learn to be aware of your needs and convey them to a man, try to do it with words, not just emotions.

• Men, learn to understand the importance of women's emotionality, help her translate the language of emotions into understandable words, tasks and joint actions.

Learn more