Many of the women I work with tell me that they have trouble expressing their anger with their partner. Either they blow up and lose control, or they hold back and never say what they really feel. In both instances, a woman is not being authentic when she does not express her true feelings. And men feel safer loving women who feel authentic. It may not be something he can even put words to, but he just knows when she is being who she really is.
Now I'm not saying that you have to tell him every time anything bothers you (do not do this)! And I'm not telling you to rage at him (do not do this)! I am telling you to let him know when you are angry by expressing it in a way he can hear and by owning your feelings.
The first step is to get really clear and 'get to know' your anger. Don't be afraid of it. It's just a feeling and it cannot kill you! Also remember, that just because you feel something does not mean you have to act on it. But if it's there and you pretend it's not, there is always some form of suffering you are creating:
- You are using an addiction as a coping mechanism to not feel it (overeating, overspending, drinking...there is a long listing of ways to numb)
- You are displacing it somewhere else (yelling at your kids, your boss, your customers, your friends, your dog...)
- You are storing it in your body creating illness, stress, and physical pain (yes, that is why your neck is always hurting!)
You also act it out with him by being passive-aggressive. You know, like when you punish him in other ways or make subtle or biting 'hints' which turn into nagging. Do you get good results with nagging? I sure don't! It only makes him want to tune you out and push you away.
So back to getting in touch with your anger. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I notice something in my body when I'm angry? Where? Pay attention to it. Our bodies never lie to us.
- Can I identify what triggered me?
- Is there a pattern here? Do I tend to get triggered by similar situations?
- Am I giving myself permission to feel?
- Do I tell myself negative messages about my anger? Such as 'nice girls don't get angry'?
Once you have really gotten 'clean and clear' about your feelings, you are ready to express them to him. The most important aspect of this communication is to speak about YOU and not make him wrong. Here are two examples,
"I got really upset when I didn't hear from you all day because I got scared that meant you didn't care"
"I'm so upset that you didn't call me all day. If you cared about me you would call me"
The second one makes an accusation which will probably make him feel defensive. The first one tells him about YOUR feelings. It makes it easier for him to want to respond.
When a woman starts trusting her feelings by looking inward first, she can express it in a way that brings them closer together. It increases intimacy because it increases his trust that she is showing him who she really is.