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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Building or Breaking

Monday, January 14, 2013

Building or Breaking

"It seems like you are offering me everything yet giving me nothing."  ~  anonymous....

But when I heard this sentiment, it resonated with me because it is the emotional experience of many of the men and women I work with who are in relationships that feel unsatisfying, difficult or frustrating.  It reflects the  sensation that comes along with feeling minimized, compartmentalized, or unappreciated.  And disconnected emotionally.

Many people experience this feeling in many of their relationships.  Others, only in their primary one.  Men will often tell me that they feel that their wife is capable of tuning into their partnership needs - for a well run home, good feelings, support, sex, food, companionship - but that they don't feel she shows up really, that she gets caught up in her own feelings and needs and does not deliver for him.  That while she takes care of the kids or the house in some ways, she does not really give him the idea that he is successful, useful and appreciated and that she wants to partner with him.

Women say the same thing, but in a different way.  That they believe their husbands could call more, talk more, pitch in more, care more, love more, pay attention better but that they don't really step up.  Somehow they think they are showing up by earning money (and they are), or pitching in now and then, or what seems like now and then only.  But it does feel like enough, and that they are focused more on their own needs for an uninterrupted work life, some guy time, or down time, not on her need for emotional connection.

The pain picks up when the focus becomes what we don't get, what we don't have and when the feelings of being unappreciated, over burdened and misunderstood get maximized and the feelings of what we do have, what we do get become minimized.

We can most always benefit by studying how our own histories in our own earlier lives have shaped our emotional receptors, and we can most always benefit from tuning into the idea that when we get further and further into the feeling of being offered everything but being given nothing that we can begin to break our relationships and our partner instead of building them.

When the feelings get too big, too hot, too painful, it's hard to refocus on how to build.  We forget that it's even possible.  That there are positives, and that most likely we do get, and sometimes more that we think we do, more than we feel it.  And that it is possible to have and feel more and better if we take a good serious look at how react to what we feel, and what we believe and why.

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