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Corrective Emotional Experiences

How to Change Your Marriage with Corrective Emotional Experiences

Dr. Hawkins talks about Corrective Emotional Experiences as a powerful tool to change your relationship or marriage for the better.

Have you been labeled as a narcissist, co-dependent, or emotionally abusive? As much as your past actions can lead someone to believe something about you, your current and future actions can change their thoughts and feelings about you.

While one grand gesture won’t change things, making a habit out of one healthy action will eventually help your partner feel differently about you and see how committed you are to changing your ways.

How to Change Your Marriage with Corrective Emotional Experiences

The journey of life is often filled with moments that test our emotional resilience and push us to our limits. In relationships, particularly marriages, there can be instances where we have either been the emotional abuser or the abused, or perhaps even both. These experiences can leave lasting scars and disrupt the harmony in our lives. However, there is a concept called the “Corrective Emotional Experience” that offers a glimmer of hope, a chance for transformation and healing, not only for ourselves but also for our relationships.

Understanding Corrective Emotional Experiences

A Corrective Emotional Experience, as the name suggests, is an opportunity to correct the emotional wounds of the past by actively participating in shaping a healthier future. It acknowledges that while we cannot control every aspect of the future, we can certainly have a profound impact on our present. Whether you have been an emotional abuser or a victim of emotional abuse, or if you have exhibited narcissistic tendencies or been subjected to narcissistic abuse, the concept of Corrective Emotional Experiences applies to all.

Embracing Change Today

The core principle of Corrective Emotional Experiences is simple yet powerful: Change begins today. It doesn’t matter what your past actions or experiences were; what matters is your commitment to becoming a better, healthier individual starting right now. If you’ve been abusive and wish to distance yourself from that behavior, the journey towards healing begins by actively choosing to be a different, kinder person today.

Taking Responsibility for Your Actions

Acknowledging your past mistakes is an essential step towards change. It takes courage to accept responsibility for your actions, especially when you’ve caused pain to someone you care about. However, this acknowledgment is the first step towards healing. It demonstrates your willingness to change and your commitment to making amends.

Seeking Professional Help

Changing harmful patterns of behavior often requires professional guidance. Therapy can be a vital tool in your journey towards self-improvement and healing. A qualified therapist can help you delve into the root causes of your behavior, understand your triggers, and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Becoming a Healthier Individual

Being a healthier individual encompasses various aspects of your life, including your emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Emotional Health:

  • Practice self-awareness: Understand your emotions and their impact on your actions.
  • Develop empathy: Try to see situations from the perspective of others.
  • Practice active listening: Give your full attention when someone is sharing their feelings with you.

2. Physical Health:

  • Exercise regularly: Physical activity can boost your mood and reduce stress.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Proper nutrition is essential for overall well-being.
  • Get enough sleep: Quality rest is crucial for emotional regulation.

3. Spiritual Health:

  • Explore your beliefs: Reflect on your values and what gives your life meaning.
  • Engage in mindfulness practices: Meditation and mindfulness can help you stay present and reduce anxiety.
  • Cultivate gratitude: Focus on the positive aspects of life to foster a sense of contentment.

The Ripple Effect of Change

When you commit to being a healthier individual today, you set in motion a series of positive changes. These changes may not be immediately apparent, but over time, they can have a profound impact on your relationships, particularly your marriage.

1. Improved Communication:

  • As you become more self-aware and empathetic, you’ll find it easier to communicate openly and honestly with your spouse. This can lead to better understanding and resolution of conflicts.

2. Rebuilding Trust:

  • Consistent positive changes in your behavior will gradually rebuild the trust that may have been eroded due to past actions. Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship.

3. Emotional Connection:

  • Your efforts to become emotionally healthier will foster a deeper emotional connection with your spouse. This connection can lead to greater intimacy and closeness.

4. Positive Feedback Loop:

  • As you change, the people around you will notice. You don’t need to announce your transformation; let your actions speak for themselves. When others experience you differently, it can create a positive feedback loop, reinforcing your commitment to change.


In the complex landscape of relationships, the concept of Corrective Emotional Experiences offers a beacon of hope for those seeking to heal and transform themselves. Whether you’ve been an emotional abuser or a victim of abuse, or if narcissistic tendencies have played a role in your marriage, remember that change begins with a single step – a commitment to be a healthier individual today.

As you embark on this journey of self-improvement, remember that it’s not about perfection; it’s about progress. Small changes made consistently can lead to significant transformation. You have the power to change your marriage and your life by actively participating in corrective emotional experiences. So, embrace change today, and let the positive ripple effect bring healing and renewal to your relationship.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: Why Narcissism Is So Widely Misunderstood

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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