ERP 086: How To Handle The Stress From Your Partner’s Lost Job – Part One

By Posted in - Podcast November 22nd, 2016 0 Comments

Listener’s Question

“I sought out your podcast a few days ago and have found it very helpful for the difficult situation my relationship is currently in. My partner lost his job a couple months ago due to downsizing at his company. Since then he’s also lost a lot of confidence, reignited many insecurities, become extremely negative about everything related to job searching, been unmotivated. Meanwhile, I work hard 40 hours a week so it’s really hard for me to remain positive and supportive. I would love to hear an episode that could speak to this.“

(Please listen to the podcast episode or read the transcript to hear my stories and examples to describe these points.)

Getting laid off or let go from a job can be an extremely upsetting event.

Here are some things to consider as you navigate this challenging time:


Ego Blow:

Losing a job can:

  • Shake one’s identity and self-definition. Who am I?
  • Put one’s self-worth into question. What is my value?
  • Trigger old feelings of inadequacy and insecurities.
  • “”At this point, I’m so terrified of rejection, I don’t know how to go back out there and try again.” As a multitasking, very verbal woman, I often inundate Dan with ideas of thisses or thats—the things he could do to get a job. And I frequently get silence in return. I’ve come to realize, finally, that it’s not that he doesn’t want to try my ideas. Instead, the problem is that Dan’s wound is deep enough that it might take awhile to heal.” By Caitlin Shetterly From “6 Things Your Unemployed Husband Might Never Say Out Loud”

Upset & Loss:

  • Often, there is a natural grieving period (i.e. shock, resentment, sadness).
  • People’s process will range from a few weeks to several months.
  • Losing a job can put serious mental and emotional strain on someone (i.e. depressive symptoms).
  • People can feel embarrassed, ashamed, and humiliated, especially when facing loved ones, family, and friends.
  • Losing a job may bring up feelings of failure, vulnerability, and anxiety,
  • “I love you; I just don’t love myself that much right now.” Your husband might be telling you this already. Only it might come out like, “May I make you a sandwich to take to work with you?”” By Caitlin Shetterly From “6 Things Your Unemployed Husband Might Never Say Out Loud”

Increase of Stress:

“But whether the reason you lost your job has everything to do with your perceived performance, or absolutely nothing, it’s how you respond in the wake of it that will set you apart from others when it comes to finding a new job.” By Margie Warrell From “Bouncing Back from Job Loss: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Job Hunters”

Here are 2 (of 8) tips on how to handle the stress, support your partner, and support yourself through this difficult time:

1. Listen

  • Be silent with him.
  • Allow him to talk and “empty the cup.” If you give him time, space, and interest, he will reveal more.
  • Be patient.
  • Empathize, if you can. Feel with him.
  • Even when communication is hard, it is important to keep the lines open.

2 Believe:

  • Don’t buy into his negative story.
  • See his strengths, resources, and capabilities, even if he can’t.
  • Encourage him when the time is right.
  • Attempt to have a balance between validating and hearing him (and the hardship) and believing in him (he can get through this).
  • One of the hardest things to do is to believe in the process when it looks like a mess.
  • Recognize the negative basis.



Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: ERP 086: How To Handle The Stress From Your Partner’s Lost Job – Part One [Transcript]

If you have a topic you would like me to discuss, please contact me by clicking on the “Ask Dr. Jessica Higgins” button here.

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If you are interested in developing new skills to overcome relationship challenges, please consider taking the Empowered Relationship Course or doing relationship coaching work with me.

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