Have you ever gotten so angry that all you wanted to do was point fingers and blame other people for what went wrong?
That was me. Was I angry? You betcha. Did I blame my husband for what was not working in our relationship? Unfortunately, I did. But when I stopped the blame and took full responsibility for how I felt, that’s when I saw a real shift in our relationship.
We got into an argument. Or rather, I started arguing. I got so mad, my body shook harder and wouldn’t stop. My breaths became sharp and shallow. It was like something inside of me was pressing down with all its weight on my chest. Fear crawled up beside my anger. I felt an overwhelmingly panicky urge to withdraw to an emotionally safe place and shut down so I could process alone and figure out what to do with myself.
I became acutely aware of my shallow breathing, my pounding heart. I knew I was in full-blown upset. As soon as I realized that I was upset and a part of me wanted to blame my husband, I stopped my train of thoughts. I just knew it was all coming from inside of me not from outside myself.
I told myself, “Just wait… be patient… just listen.”
I listened as he shared his perspective.
Calmer… I became calmer… I started to breathe more easily. I continued to listen. Soon he started to pour his heart out. Gleaming were tears in his eyes… I could see he was being totally authentic with me. More authentic than he had ever been. Maybe there had been clues that he was trying to communicate to me, but I couldn’t read them well enough. I knew there were issues in our relationship… but I didn’t realize how serious they were until he spilled his feelings. I realized that my perspective was based on a false assumption all along – I was angry about something that wasn’t really accurate.
After hearing his side, and sharing my side, I realized that we had been in a dance in our relationship, and not the romantic kind. If anything, it was a dance to avoid the pain of us not being available for each other. We both blamed each other for the lack of intimacy… but, really, we realized that we set ourselves up for this to happen. When I turned inward for the source of the problems in our relationship, I took ownership of my own experience. It was an incredibly eye-opening shift in our communications.
It didn’t matter whether he turned inward and took ownership of his truth, what mattered was that –I- looked within myself and took full responsibility for what was happening inside of me.
My anger stopped me from seeing what I needed to see about myself – that the problems in my relationship with the man I love and cherish with all my heart didn’t come from him, they came from myself. The moment I totally owned what caused my anger and my problems, my world opened up.
New possibilities flooded my awareness. I saw the way to re-create my relationship with my loving, passionately creative husband as exactly how I want it to be. Now, I can say I live with greater emotional intimacy with in my relationship and I cultivate a deeper appreciation of the things he does for our family, including me. What’s more, I enjoy a new level of freedom through being who I am with him and celebrating how he is with me.
By learning that I am 100% responsible for how MY LIFE SHOWS UP, I have the tools to stop looking outside of myself for the upsets in my life. Therefore, I am free to express my feeling with love. Instead of engaging with anger I can also be more present to how others feel and truly hear what they are trying to communicate to me. I now get the joy of living a very different experience in my relationship with others.
It sure is nice to have a life filled with happiness rather than anger and upset.