Posts tagged ‘expectations’

April 4, 2011

Women and anger

by Dandy

The past couple of weeks I’ve received a few emails from women concerning my post on Boundary Lessons.  This has created some lively discussion on women’s issues, anger, betrayal, forgiveness, expression.  So I’ve been asked to write about this topic some more. 

There was a rough patch in my life awhile ago that caused me to have some serious anger issues.  I didn’t like experiencing  that emotion and sought out counseling and read many, many books about the subject.  I would like to share some of the tools I’ve learned. 

Know your triggers

For most women, our triggers are around issues of power, justice, and responsibility.  We  become angry when we cannot meet our own expectations, when we cannot change frustrating circumstances from work or home, and being treated unfairly or disrespectfully.

The self-esteem factor

Venting anger is even more harmful than keeping it in.  Labels like bitch, shrew, ball-buster mean to undermine self-esteem.   To enhance self-esteem people need to feel loveable, and competent, and venting anger does neither of these.  Having low-self esteem makes people more likely to be easily provoked and to express their anger in volatile ways.  When we are angered we  tend to regard innocent acts and words as personal affronts, further undermining self-esteem. 

Another counterproductive response to anger (this one was so me) is a tendency to ruminate and brood about the precipitating event, construing it as unfair and deliberately provoking said rumination only worsened angry feelings.

When we have high self-esteem we have fewer anger symptoms and are much less likely to brood about the events that provoke anger.  We also have a less propensity to become angry or to keep anger in, or to vent it. 

Rather than suppressing anger or negatively expressing it, women with high self-esteem tend to discuss their anger in a problem solving way, either with a confidante, or with the person who provoked it, or both.

Women with high self-esteem also do not have to busy themselves with protecting a fragile sense of self, but can identify the salient aspects of the anger producing situation and approach it from a problem solving stance.

Women who suppress their anger also suffer from low self-esteem, because they’d allowed themselves to be treated as doormats or punching bags.  Occasionally after prolonged suppression, their anger would erupt in a way that was out of proportion to the triggering event, making  them feel guilty and worthless, further lowering self-esteem( this was me too).

 

The difference between venting and expressing

*Analyse what makes you angry with out walking around it.  Without blaming or reaching for complaints.  Recognize it.  Validate it by writing it down. 

*Admit your anger, feel it out.  Exercise, yell into a pillow.  Go running.  Tear apart old phone books. Depending on the intensity of the emotion this may not always be necessary, some may prefer to draw, paint, or write in a journal.  Expressing anger in this way is so positive and healthy, and it is not venting out, hurting people.  Regardless of whether or not they make sense our feelings are an essential part of who we are – no longer allow repression.  With expression there is no room for it!

* Understand the deeper meaning.  Once you’ve allowed yourself to really feel it and you are aware of where or who it has been directed to.  There is almost always another feeling behind anger. 

* Set boundaries!  Plan ahead.  Say what you want.  Hold yourself responsible for your own happiness.

* Know your limits.  Recognize those triggers.  Find the roots of them.

* Value yourself and forgive.  Forgive others for not always getting it right.  Forgive yourself.

On a side note, any emails sent to me will absolutely, positively be private.  I do not share emails or names, and do not discuss private conversation with anyone, ever.  Privacy is a huge issue for me!  If there is anything you would like to discuss or comment on in private please email me at thereflectiveself@hotmail.com

December 13, 2010

Do you get lost in a relationship?

by Dandy

It happens.  Even strong people can lose themselves in a relationship.  We can become so happily wrapped up in our partner that after a while we feel something is amiss within ourselves.  Where did we go?  When we are in love our partner gets high on the  list of priorities.  That’s ok.  They are supposed to be on that list.  Their time schedule, their hobbies and interests, their priorities, it all becomes our own priorities.  It’s when we get lost in them we become unbalanced.  How do we hold onto our selves and have a healthy relationship?

To have a healthy relationship you must be a healthy person.  A symbiotic relationship is an unhealthy one.  One person is needy and dependent.  One person has power over the other.  The result of this is the loss of integrity of both partners.  A healthy relationship is one where there is maturity, peace, and stability.  Both individuals have plenty of room to be themselves and there is genuine acceptance.  In a symbiotic relationship one partner is driven by fear that the other will leave.  In a healthy relationship, each individual is free to take up room in the others life and each person has balance in their own life.  A person will choose rather than be driven to give love to the other partner. 

  We have all seen negative, sick, grossly unhealthy relationships.  Many of us don’t even have much of an idea of what a healthy relationship even is.  In a healthy relationship we give our love freely, with no conditions and expectations.  Many of us have learned through our observances of other relationships, that to give love means to “give up” or “give away”.  In essence creating a deficit in our own selves.  We also learn to give only as much as we expect to receive, so that we don’t feel cheated by giving more.  In a healthy relationship, giving is very different from these types of messages we have received.

In a symbiotic relationship one partner gives up a significant part of themselves in order to keep the peace.  This unhealthy individual is ruled by a fear of being alone and they will give away parts of themselves for the sake of staying in the relationship.  So while short-term conflict is avoided, the status-quo will be maintained.  In the long run the price paid is high.  The price is the precious loss of self.  If one partner sacrifices themself too much then the other partner has more power and control over the entire relationship.  When there is an unbalance of power the relationship will feel very unsatisfying for both individuals.  The price paid for not being alone is to give up who and what they are, their wants and needs. For not wanting to be alone the individual will ultimately feel alone. 

To have a healthy relationship we have to love ourselves.  To give up ourselves or shrink it down to make room for the other partner, will haunt us.  We will feel resentment, regret, and anger.  Therefore, the relationship will deteriorate.  We all need relationships, but we also need to be fulfilled within ourselves.  When we give up pieces of ourselves for the sake of a relationship we do so at the cost of our identity and personal growth.

Our lives should never totally change when we enter into a relationship.  We have to maintain our individuality and personal goals.  We need to maintain and continue to develop our friendships, hobbies, careers, and interests that we had before we met our partner.  If we give these up, we give up our uniqueness.  Maintaining our individuality will enable us and our partner to build a healthy relationship.  We will also be more interesting for our partner.  They will want to stay with us.

Symbiotic relationships fail in many ways because they are unsatisfactory.  When we enter a relationship and give up all the wonderful things that make us who we are we aren’t giving ourselves the love we need.  We have to love and respect ourselves first before we can give love to another.  The loss of self, identity, authenticity, whatever you wish to call it is a profoundly sad loss.  It is devastating.

We also must not confuse identity and individuality with flexibility.  Identity is about all the great things that make us who we are.  flexibility and compromise are crucial to a healthy relationship and will always be necessary in any relationship.  To compromise we have to be committed to honest communication of our feelings and needs at all times.

Neither you or your partner should give up what makes you unique and the special person you both are.  It’s up to you and your partner to create and maintain a balance.  Healthy boundaries will accomplish this along with loving ourselves.

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