How many times have you walked away from a discussion that turned into an argument with your partner thinking “but I was only expressing my feelings!”?
Yep, that was me…
Typically, I would have spent some hours to a few days, planning what I was going to say in my head. Working out the things he had done wrong. I might have even written it out in my journal.
I definitely wasn’t paying attention to my feelings and looking more deeply inside of me. I would be looking for what he had done wrong, What did I need? What did I want from him?
These would sit underneath driving my inquiry. I wasn’t connected to my feelings or showing how I felt, there was no vulnerability, and I wasn’t being clean about my needs and wants. I was using this “discussion” to try and get him to see it my way.
In that, I also wasn’t recognizing there was another human in front of me, a man, I wasn’t allowing space for his feelings, his needs and his wants.
My way wasn’t working and it definitely wasn’t working for the women around me or that came before me.
It took me a long time to find the courage to get really honest, clean and clear with myself. The vulnerability for me was overwhelming, to consider my contribution and role in the situation was too painful, and so I would push it aside, and keep my attention on him.
What I can see now is that I would be:
- Analytical and critical of my partner
- Avoiding my own feelings
- Discreetly adding resentment and blame inside my analysis of what had happened
I had to find a new way. And, I did..
Now I notice when I am having uncomfortable feelings, and acknowledge, show or express them. I have learnt to show or say what it is I am feeling even when it’s something small and I think it’s not worth paying attention to.
This has been challenging, I still have some lingering thoughts that “I shouldn’t worry about the little things, I should let them slide.”
However, my past experience has shown me that it’s always the little things that trip me up in a relationship. The little things (that I think I can brush off or handle) would always turn into big things.
I would unconsciously collect the little things until I had a number of them, and then I would be building a case against my partner.
If you are curious to know, building a case against your partner does not work!! It’s not a pathway to intimacy.
Why do I share all of this?
Because I have seen that I am not alone in this, and it’s a trap for many women. Holding back, holding back. Convincing ourselves that we don’t need to say anything, avoiding our feelings because “they’re bad and cause trouble!”. And then BANG! They do…
All the emotions and feelings come spilling out at once and the man doesn’t know which way to turn, what is going on or why, and how the hell do I use this information to navigate?.
And generally, these emotions and feelings have a lot of charge, blame and resentment packaged up in them. A nice mix that has been brewing, possibly for months and years, note for those interested, this also is not a pathway to intimacy.
Nowadays, if I can feel that I have built up blame and I don’t know how to get myself out of it, I will say to my partner “This is blamey - but it’s going around in my head and I need to say it.”
Which means I take ownership of my blame feelings. He and I know that I am in a process, and that there are some strong charges and resentments built up in it.
It allows my partner to be able to meet me in the conversation without getting his defences up. He can feel that I am working on emptying things out.
I also hold the awareness to keep it as simple as possible, to stick to I feel statements, such as I feel angry, I feel sad, I feel scared. Without making it about him.
Generally, the more words I am using the more I am creating a story and defence around the situation.
I will also show my partner how the feelings are in my body using sound and movement - roaring, crying, moving it through as pure energy - without pushing that energy onto him.
I can rage in such a way that the roar rips through my body - through my vagina, heart, and throat and has an energy of containment about it. Leaving both of us free of it.
Or I can rage in a way that I am pushing it as arrows through his aura and body, leaving him feeling attacked and accused.
I choose the first option here - knowing that my feelings need to be seen and felt, they do not need to be used as weapons. Weaponizing our emotional experience and directing our hurt and pain at our partner will destroy the intimacy we have created, leaving a sense of having to build something back rather than building on top of something established and making it bigger and better.
Internally we naturally crave this type of relationship, we just need to cultivate the skills and capacity to go with the longing and yearning.
As a summary, my suggestions for women reading this are:
- Own your uncomfortable feelings, keeping it as simple as possible “I feel sad, I feel angry, I feel confused”.
(Typically when people say “I feel that xyz is happening” or “I feel like you don’t…”. That’s a judgement or opinion,
not a feeling. Clue: pull yourself up if you follow I feel with “that” or “like” in a sentence).
- Own any blame and resentment present, this way it doesn’t poison the pool of the relationship.
- Express your feelings through your body in a way they can be seen, felt and heard. (Less words and analysis, more feeling, sound and movement).