Deepening Your Love

Supporting Aliveness and Growth in Intimate Relationships

What to Do When You’re Upset With Me ?

Posted By on December 16, 2009

Kate and I  highly value a skill we call “Self Soothing” because we know that our partners, family members and friends are virtually guaranteed to trigger age-old reactions in us. Of this we can be certain. In order to create a safe space for our closest relations to let us know what happened, we must be willing to listen carefully to “their world” or their perspective on what happened. This is one of what we call the “willful practices” on the path of relationship. When we can’t hold onto ourselves, we are bound to interrupt our partner and usually kick-off another round of defensive behavior that often devolves into the blame game, you know how it goes, “I’m right, you’re wrong, here’s why”.

I was feeling poetic and penned this little self reminder this morning. Hope it’s helpful.

You’re upset…I can breathe and relax…IMG_2981

And let you be upset…And breathe some more….

And try to feel your pain, even if it’s me you’re upset with…

I can relax….And hear about what’s upsetting you…

I don’t need to defend myself…I don’t need to justify my behavior…

I can breathe and just be with you…In your upset….

I may have defensive thoughts from time to time…But you still are not wrong…

You have your own reasons…If only I can help make it safe…

To  tell me what they are…To breathe and enter quietly into your world…

Along with you….And feel your fear…

And not need to fix anything:

Because I can’t…and because there isn’t anything wrong…

…That a little love and compassion can’t soothe…

I breathe…and sometimes I bite my tongue…In case it gets any funny ideas…

And wants to explain….How it was for me (before its wise to talk)…..

Breathe or Bite or Both…Listen to the one I love..

With a receptive heart….And a quieting mind…

Everything’s OK


Comments

4 Responses to “What to Do When You’re Upset With Me ?”

  1. Kenn Holsen says:

    Hi Joel–This is a very cool piece! It’s nice to be reminded that we don’t need to defend ourselves and also that by listening to our partners when they are upset (even with us!), we dont’ necessarily have to give ourselves up or accept blame or caretake–just by listening compassionately can take most of the charge out of the other’s feelings and make them (and us) feel better. Thanks for this illumination!

  2. Mary (MPJ) says:

    I like this. It’s so easy to blame and jump on the defensive when someone else is upset and so hard (but so valuable to relationships) to let them feel their feelings and be with them. Thanks for the link to my blog on your blogroll!

  3. joelfeldman says:

    Thanks, Mary….yes isn’t it hard but sp worthwhile. Whenever I think I’ve got it down, I mess up again. Luckily, repair happens!
    BTW, I love your writing/blog!

  4. joelfeldman says:

    Boy, empathy is truly a most difficult skill to obtain, but yes, sooooo worth it. Dropping my own stuff and turning to my partners’ world seems to be one of those “lifetime practices”. At least Milarepa got some exercise walking up and down that mountain……

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