“I really don’t like it when he buys me perfume, but I can’t tell him that. He’ll be so sad.”
“I feel guilty that I’m not helping my friend, so when they mention their need, I just politely nod and then change the topic.”
“I say I’m good with whatever the group decides to do. Truthfully, there’s things I’d rather not do, but I don’t want to be a problem.”
You think you’re protecting people by keeping your feelings to yourself.
I understand the compulsion to do this. When I was first processing the aftermath of my divorce 12 years ago, I realized that I’d been keeping some of my harder feelings to myself because I didn’t want to upset or hurt my spouse.
I thought I was SERVING our relationship by trying to manage my difficult feelings by myself, without troubling him or rocking our foundations. I thought I was doing a good thing.
But in reality, I was depriving us of the opportunity to work through hard stuff and make adjustments to make the relationship better for me.
When we don’t share our inner experience with our loved ones, they are left in the dark. They’ll often end up doing things that irritate or hurt us without even realizing it. Because they can’t read our minds.
I know it can feel scary to start sharing your feelings when they might go against what someone else wants, but the first step to being able to do it is acknowledging that keeping your feelings a secret isn’t helping; it’s hurting.
When we learn how to talk about difficult or challenging things and to do it in a way that feels kind, productive, and truthful, they can end up building closeness.
When your loved ones know they can trust you to take ownership of your feelings and advocate for what you need, the relationship feels more secure.
They’ll feel relieved they don’t have to try to read your mind or inadvertently upset you. And you’ll feel less resentful and more able to get close to people without being consistently hurt by their ignorance of your needs.
If you need some help to build your confidence in HOW to have these conversations without shakeups or explosions, check out my book, “Woman Overboard! Six Ways We Avoid Conflict and One Way to Live Drama-Free.”
You can also book a consult with me to discuss doing some guidance work together to clean up the places you’re hiding your true feelings.