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do you express or suppress your feelings

Relationships: Do You Express Or, Suppress Your Feelings?

do you express or suppress your feelings

 

Do you express or, suppress your feelings? How one feels about their feelings and what they do with them can have either a positive or negative effect on their marriage.

I had a conversation over the weekend with a friend and this subject came up. We talked about how our exes were convinced we were, “crazy.” Both husbands had been taught, as children, to suppress their feelings whereas she and I had been taught to express our feelings reasonably. I can clearly see how someone who suppresses feelings would view someone who expresses them as looney tunes. I can see it but, I can’t condone it.

Do You Express or Suppress Your Feelings?

It is far healthier to express feelings that to suppress feelings. When you marry someone who was taught, as a child, those bad feelings are a sign of weakness, that anger is scary and expressing feelings is harmful and can lead to them losing control of their feelings, it’s easy to understand them labeling someone who deals with feelings differently as “crazy.”

Below are ways people who have learned to suppress their feelings protect themselves.

  1. They don’t put a lot of thought into their own emotional state. They go through life on autopilot!
  2. They view people who express feelings as being “out of control.” This could be the reason so many men label an ex as “Borderline Personality Disordered.”
  3. They ignore negative feelings and “move on.” In other words, they don’t deal with or attempt to solve the issue that is causing negative feelings.
  4. They view people who express their feelings as “acting out.” People who are trying to get their way and not people who are simply talking about their feelings and trying to solve a problem.
  5. They ignore or pay little attention to people who are sad or angry. Doing so can cause a spouse to feel rejected, dismissed or disliked.
  6. They do whatever they have to do to keep from feeling negative feelings. This can be giving in to a spouse or, completely ignoring their emotional needs to keep from having to deal with an upset or angry spouse.

Suppressing Feelings Affect Marriage?

Suppressing feelings can cause a spouse to feel rejected and their feelings dismissed. Suppressing feelings interferes in a couple working through daily life stresses and even worse, major issues and problems that come up in a marriage.

If you are married to someone who suppresses their feelings and ignores your feelings it only makes sense that you won’t feel like your spouse is an ally that is as invested in the marriage as you are. This leaves the spouse who is open and honest about their feelings, feeling alone and lonely.

I’ll give you an example from my own marriage. There was an aspect of the marriage that caused me tremendous pain. My ex spent years ignoring me when I expressed the pain his actions caused. I eventually told him we needed to seek therapy. We made an appointment, he showed up and lasted about 10 minutes in the therapy session before walking out.

The moment the therapist said, “Can you try to listen to her and see the problem from her perspective” my ex walked out of the session. Marital therapy would have only worked in our situation if the experience had been similar to a fun day at the beach or, a trip to Disney World. Since it wasn’t there was eventually a divorce because my emotions suppressing ex didn’t feel that saving the marriage was worth him facing and working through his fear of negative emotions.

How Do Expressing Feelings Affect Marriage?

Expressing negative feelings, within reason, is good for a marriage. Getting feelings out on the table gives both spouses the opportunity to address the issues and find solutions. It goes without saying that those who feel comfortable expressing their feelings are more likely to succeed in marriage.

But, when is it a bad thing to express negative feelings?

  1. If nothing makes a person happy, they are a chronic complainer who constantly whines they will soon find their spouse withdrawing out of self-preservation.
  2. Finding something wrong with EVERYTHING a spouse does, being hyper-vigilant and defensive is an unattractive trait. That isn’t “expressing feelings” in an attempt to be heard, this is being downright mean. Mean destroys marriages!
  3. Expressing your feelings by using offensive language or in a loud voice is verbal abuse. You may have a negative feeling about an issue in the marriage, you also have a responsibility to voice that feeling in a respectful manner.

Suppressing feelings may cause a spouse to feel detached emotionally, dismissed and unimportant in the marriage. Expressing feelings can cause a spouse to feel flooded or overwhelmed by negativity if their spouse expresses their feelings inappropriately. Yes, suppression is more detrimental to marriage but, obsessive expression of negative feelings can be just as damaging.

The trick is to find a healthy balance, one in which both spouses are heard and all feelings are validated.

The post Relationships: Do You Express Or, Suppress Your Feelings? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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mastering relationships

The Secret To Mastering Relationships

mastering relationships

 

Our lives are an ongoing chain of relationships. From our life partners, children, friends, co-workers, companions, neighbors, bosses, and employees.

Some are warm and wonderful while others can cause a constant rub. The key to mastering all our relationships is to see them as a mirror reflection of our issues.

Let’s take a look at some relationship dynamics:

My boss doesn’t appreciate me

My partner doesn’t trust me

My child is disobedient and disrespectful

My co-worker is hurtful, bordering on abusive

My adult son is distant and judgmental

My neighbor is obnoxious and inconsiderate

My colleague is unprofessional and rude

How can any of these be a reflection of me? How can looking at my part in them help to change my relationships?

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” Gandhi

Mastering Relationships

The most powerful thing we can do in each of our relationships is to see our reflection in the problems that arise.  In doing so, we can expose our thoughts, patterns, and tender buttons, those things that we are responsible for.  Instead of focusing on the other person’s shortcomings, we can begin to work on our own.

Here is the logic:

I cannot change another person

Nothing changes until something changes

I choose to be the change I wish to see in the world.

The result: 

Sometimes the relationship will grow stronger and healthier.  Other times it will end, and I will have grown wiser and become more authentic.

The Abusive Partner

A young man was so angry with his abusive spouse.  His focus was entirely on how hurtful and nasty her behavior was (and it was terrible).  Upon looking at his actions, he began to see that he chose to accept her unacceptable behavior and then get mad at her for acting that way. If she truly loved him, she should change!

He seemed to have no power to make that happen.  He began to slowly set healthier boundaries and overcome his fears of what might happen if he took care of himself.  He could walk away, leave the situation, and choose not to accept such behavior.

She may or may not decide to change, but his experience transformed as he was able to remove himself from the abuse.  Knowing whether the relationship lasted or not, he had found his way to a healthier way of being. He noticed he had similar patterns at work as well. His new perspective and consequent behavior had a significantly positive effect on him and all his relationships.

The Disrespectful Adult Son

Raised by a somewhat controlling mother who often judged everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, Julie never saw herself as being judgmental. Upon struggling with her relationship with her adult son, who was distant and disrespectful, she tried to figure out how to change him.

Once she realized that the bond was weakened by her choice to focus only on those traits she disliked in Robert; she was able to see the role her judgment played in their struggles. Instead of strengthening the relationship by acknowledging Robert’s strengths, her perspective of him pushed him away.

She could not be the supportive parent she wanted to be until she let go of her judgment (forgave him for his shortcomings), providing a stronger foundation for him to trust her and for their relationship to grow.

Where are you struggling in your relationships? 

How can you see that person as a reflection, revealing an attitude, perspective or behavior in you that would benefit from your love and attention? Our reality is limited by the way we choose to perceive our world.  Often by changing our perception, we can change our reality.

Is someone pushing your buttons? 

If so, consider that you are being given a gift.  They are putting a spotlight on your tender underbelly…that which upsets you.  It may be touching on abuse, insecurity, unforgiveness, judgment or fear.

Whatever it is, the gift is for you to see your reflection, the part of you that would benefit from refinement.  Then put your attention there rather than on them.  The benefits you experience will be dramatic.

By keeping the focus on yourself, the relationships you choose to sustain and grow will fulfill both you and them.  The ones you let go of will make way for new healthier relationships.  Those (family) that you cannot completely let go of will give you an opportunity to set healthy boundaries that serve your needs and desires.

How we do something is how we do everything.

How you choose to be in your relationships will determine if they fill your life with vitality and love or stress and upset.  What choices are you making?

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