Discover the difference between sharing feelings as a form of control or taking responsibility.
One of our members emailed me with the following request: "Margaret, would you consider writing some dialogue on people sharing feelings, and the differences between pulling and taking responsibility for own feelings?"
Following are examples showing these differences:
"The other night you said some things in our argument that really hurt my feelings, and I'm still feeling upset about it."
This woman is letting her partner know that she is upset by what he said, and she is making him responsible for her hurt and upset. Instead of recognizing that she caused her own hurt by whatever she told herself regarding what he said, she is avoiding this responsibility and blaming him.
If she were taking responsibility for her own feelings, she would first do an Inner Bonding process to learn about what she told herself that caused her hurt. Then she might have the following dialogue with her partner:
"The other night you said some things in our argument and I ended up feeling really hurt. I did some dialoguing about it and realized that I had let myself take your attack personally. But I'm wondering if we can set some ground rules regarding what we say to each other in our fights. Are you available to talk with me about this?"
In this case she is not making her partner responsible for her feelings. Instead, she is requesting a learning discussion. If her partner is not available to discuss this, then she would need to accept this and learn to disengage from conflicts that are personal attacks.
"I just want to let you know that I'm really angry at you for changing our plans at the last minute."
This man is making his friend responsible for his anger. He is telling her that she caused his angry feelings. He is hoping that by letting her know that he is angry with her, she will change her behavior and not do that again.
If he were taking responsibility for his anger, he would first do an Inner Bonding process to explore why his inner child is angry at him - how he did not take care of himself in this situation. He might discover that he often puts himself in this position with this friend, knowing that she is not reliable. If he were focused on taking care of himself rather than controlling her, he could decide to either accept that this is likely to keep happening, or only make spontaneous plans with her. If he doesn't want to accept it, he might then have the following discussion with his friend the next time she tries to make plans with him:
"It seems that changing plans the last minute is something that you often do. I don't like it, so I'm going to stop making plans ahead of time with you. I really enjoy being with you and I am willing to make spontaneous plans at the last minute, but not future plans. If you still want to get together next Friday evening, give me a call late on Friday and if I don't have other plans, then I'd love to get together."
Instead of trying to change her and make her responsible for his feelings, he is taking care of his own feelings and letting her know what he will and will not do.
The sharing of feelings can lead to emotional intimacy, such as in the following example:
"I felt hurt and angry the other night by a statement you made, and I did an Inner Bonding process around it. I learned so much from it about myself and about why I get hurt by that kind of statement. I learned about how often I judge myself as bad or wrong. I think I've been doing this most of my life, and it's such a relief to discover this! I'm really grateful for this new learning."
Your intent determines whether the sharing of feelings leads to intimacy or to conflict.
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" – the first two weeks are free! ! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.