For those of us who are a part of a long term relationship, partnership, or marriage, there are endless competing demands, changing circumstances, ever evolving human structures, that constant flux of exchanging our time, attention, affection for the expectation that our partner will to attenuate towards meeting our needs for attention, affection, sexual and emotional satisfaction, understanding etc. Often though, circumstances change and things like long work hours leading to exhaustion, or even the mounting heap of unresolved conflicts may create a pattern accidental neglect or even purposeful withholding within the relationship. In the majority of contexts this people pleasing, asking for little, passive communication structure, the needing to be needed, more often belongs to the feminine among us, yet there too are men who are indeed comprised of these trappings. The person who may remain in the shadow holding our silent or not so silent candlelight vigil buoyed by the hope that we will be seen, heard, understood by our significant other yet our very hopeful approach may be causing ourselves and our relationship to suffer.
The problem may come in to play when we remain silent, in the hopes that our spouse, children, parents or friends will pick up on our subtle cues that we are in need. All too often, this doesn’t happen and in turn we may retreat into brooding, passive aggressive communication including sarcasm and coldness, depression, loss of faith in the relationship, anger or a number of other maladaptive patterns. We can become so frozen in our non-direct approach to having our needs for power, choice, child rearing, financial distribution, household chores, pepperoni on the pizza, that we can no longer imagine what it would look like if we said “no thank you, I’m not in the mood for sex tonight” or “I could really use some help with getting the house ready for the 4th of July party.” Instead we may simply plod along, share our bodies with our partners when we don’t really want to so as to not disrupt any ego, we take on more chores than we have time to do because we don’t want to ask or even because we don’t think that we are worthy of help or that we should be able to do it all.
With all of the aforementioned examples there is an exorbitant cost, the psychological burden of betraying your kernel of authentic impulse. That tiny bud of truth which remains above and beyond the compulsion to fulfill duty of what you erroneously declare that you “should” do. For purposes of this consideration, you may want to contemplate upon that authentic impulse to not take on more than you logically and happily can, the healthy and whole part of you which states, enough is enough for today, the essential you which wants to draw boundaries and ask for your fair share of help! Just for today, maybe you will consider expounding upon the naysayer, and the demanding inner part of you. In recognizing that that part of you may be buried beneath layers of reasons, memories of relationships which may have encouraged or fostered you to build retaining walls, the enclosures which separate us from our true essence and the kind of soulful engagement which our highest self can compel, yet just for today and just perhaps you can channel that inner warrior and recognize that a whole voice doesn’t always sing the most pleasing of melodies.
In health and wholeness,
Stephanie McCracken MSPC
Offering Psychotherapy/and Marriage Counseling
Reviving Minds Therapy
1010 Western Avenue
Pittsburgh Pa 15233