It’s pretty easy to start a relationship. Most of us have done it many times. Here’s where the sticky part comes in: What do you do the first time you feel angry and you don’t want to come across as a bitch?
Oh come on now. Tell the truth – at least to yourself. Somewhere inside you, you know you have to be real but...
“But he’s a pretty good guy. He won’t always be this jerky. He’s so sweet, really. I must have just had a hard day that’s why I’m so super sensitive.”
So you say nothing. You swallow how you really feel and come back for more of that “easy” relationship.
But what is it like being in that relationship now?
• Do you feel the same love you felt in the beginning?
• Do you feel hurt, confused, unhappy, just ok, kind of shut down?
• Do you want to spend less and less time with your significant other?
• Do you resent doing the things for your partner you used to do happily?
• Do you sometimes feel, “If this is how it’s going to be, then I’m better off alone?”
Is this the way to have a relationship? What went wrong?
Since I’m a woman and I understand women better, I’ll speak from my experience. I was brought up in a family where only certain feelings seemed to be okay for me to express. Anger certainly was not one of them. And in my particular case, I never wanted to be like my mother who was a raging bitch!
How about Maggie? She was brought up to be a very good girl, and very good girls do not act that way. Or how about Savina, brought up in a culture and a family that barely sees females as capable of much beyond cooking and cleaning and caring for the kids. Expressing feels allowed? Not for her. Maybe for her brother but certainly not for her.
Somehow, somewhere, most of us girls were taught to be nice. To be nice you have to stuff your anger into a box and hide it away, or you won’t be nice.
To be fully whole and fully supportive of yourself, you have to allow yourself to have and express your feelings – appropriately, of course. And that includes anger.
When that particular muscle is re-developed, you will be amazed at how your relationship goes. (I say re-developed because we are all born with our emotions in perfectly fine order. Have you ever watched a very small child? If they are angry, they holler but as soon as they are comforted or had their diaper changed or are fed, they are happy again. No stuck feelings. No being a “good girl”. Although I can hear the seeds of what’s coming when parents talk about how “good” their baby is. “Good” translates into “doesn’t cry” which translates into doesn’t express much anger. See where this is going?)
After two failed marriages, I decided to try an experiment. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that what I had been doing, stuffing all my anger away, did not work. It created anger, resentment, arguments, and upsets of every variety.