This post started out for Jeannette, who’s struggling with a caretaking situation, with the physical illness of her man along with her own needs getting unmet – and then, as I wrote, I saw this as helpful for us all (this is how my marriage works):
How to start sharing feelings with a man when there are serious problems and you want more, without scaring him, upsetting yourself – or devolving into complaining and repeating yourself over and over again:
Pretty much – you establish a system with every single man you begin to date.
The mindset is the start, and that starts with the choice that warmth is better than cold – and that anything that shuts down your heart is not good for the relationship.
And that, although we ALL have work to with our perceptions, our thoughts, our attitudes that lead to our feelings – the path to getting hearts to open is to regard everything you feel as important information that has real value when shared in a way that feels like teamwork.
You start by sharing that you feel so many things. That, as a woman, you are an “emotional creature.” That being an emotional creature feels important to you.
You share that some feelings you feel – feel childish to you, some you don’t like at all and you feel embarrassed sharing – and yet you’re now feeling that the most important thing with all the pressure and challenges you face as a couple is absolute total honesty. Total sharing. Total not holding back.
That when you don’t acknowledge and express what you feel, you start to shut down emotionally.
And even though shutting down and going cold often feels most comfortable and least scary most of the time, it doesn’t feel good for the relationship.
When you let your feelings sit, unexpressed to him, it makes things feel superficial, and you don’t want superficial. You want deep, and emotional, and bonded and harmonious. You want to be a team.
Even when one of you needs more from the other, you want to be a team…and for you, as the “emotional creature” on the team – it’s crucial for you to simply let him know what’s going on for you. And as you learn to express yourself in a way that’s not making him wrong (and him, too, with you) – but that just lets him know what’s going on with you so he can help you with your emotional needs just by letting him know what you need!
And though, even though you know that by expressing your feelings it may trigger feelings in him that don’t feel good either…to you it feels important for that to happen. That it makes you feel bad and shut down and cold when you hold back sharing your feelings – and that the sharing and the feeling of a team is more important to you than what’s comfortable.
Notice this about the above – it’s a bit “rambly.” I put the word “feel” in there as often as I could – the way I want you to.
It’s OKAY to sound “rambly.”
1. Put this in your own words, and make it make sense to you in your MIND. Yes, your mind. And then…
2. Put it into words for you to say to him.
So, the next time you have feelings and turmoil going on inside you – try writing them up and sharing them with him with the “speech” above as the foundation of how you relate to each other.
***Here’s a side note: See the film “Groundhog Day” if you haven’t yet (it’s a classic) to get what I’m referring to here…
Emotions happen organically. Cleaning and clearing and clarifying and upgrading your emotional and psychological patterns is an organic process. Just because you find yourself able to move from anger and revenge through guilt and depression through grief and sadness to a feeling of oneness with all there is and a sense of love and compassion and peace – that doesn’t mean you now have an “automated system” for doing that!
Next time you get triggered – you may “remember” that you once processed feelings in that wonderful feeling way and got to the love and compassion and peace AND got great results with a man as a bonus – but if you TRY to make it happen the same way (the way Bill Murray does in “Groundhog Day”) – it’s no longer organic.
In other words – what I’m saying is that you’re going to bounce around, you’re going to be processing, sometimes it feels like you’re always starting at “square one” (when, in fact – there ARE no squares you can keep track of). And so – you don’t want to be REPEATING yourself to a man over and over.
Just because you pass through the same feelings every day doesn’t mean you have to express those same feelings to him every day in the same way! Now it CHANGES.
Now it’s: “Wow, thank you so much for hearing me yesterday and I felt so much better expressing myself to you and feeling heard, and I’m still bouncing around today with so many feelings…I appreciate knowing I can express myself to you, and now I’m going to go for a walk in the park and process all of this….”
AND – if he does something that triggers you the same as last time: “Wow, I really noticed that I feel the same feelings now…what can we do to make this easier?”
In the end – a good man is going to ask you what you need him to do. He’s going to ask for directions – for instructions. So – write about THAT!!!
You might be surprised that it’s not as simple as you think.
Or – it might be…”I need to feel loved and appreciated, and a phone call every day would help me feel that way. Hearing in words that I’m loved and appreciated and that there’s some romance here would feel great.”
We’ll keep talking about this…because this is where it’s all at!
Hope this helps you, Jeannette, and all of us.