#1 Rule of Coupleships: Your partner is not responsible for your feelings (neither are your parents--holidays much?)!
When Jami and I first learned this "rule" twenty years ago I was pissed (to say the least)! Jami had cheated* on me and I was terribly hurt, angry, and betrayed and it was most definitely HIS FAULT. Fast forward a few counseling sessions and this is what I discovered...
I have the key to the prison I've locked my heart inside. It's when I choose how I feel that I unlock it. Yes, it's true even when somebody has done something that hurts us. Ughhhh. I agree. I discovered that nobody could "make me feel" anything because it is always a choice what emotion I am experiencing. I can shift how I feel at any time.
"So, how is that possible? When someone betrays me they made me feel betrayed because of what they did," you respond.
Yes, and... Let me explain. We have such deep-seated trauma (and by trauma I mean anything that has caused us pain throughout our lives such as emotional abuse or, as crazy as it sounds, the birth of a younger sibling--really!) that we get triggered by someone else's feelings, actions, behaviors and have learned to blame them even though the feeling I'm experiencing originated with me.
The most powerful gift you can give yourself is the gift of feeling your emotions and embracing them as your own. I am a recovering codependent which is a pysch word that just means that I cared about other people's feelings so that I could "make" them feel better which "made" me feel better. See all that blame, there?
When Jami does something that elicits a feeling of hurt in me I now know that I have to dig deep and discover where that emotion originated from. If it's old (like when my much older brother and sister didn't want me around) then recognized it is not Jami hurting me but touching that old hurt of which I have already forgiven. If it's new then I need to feel it, forgive, and shift to feeling "free" (which is the opposite feeling on our Feeling Wheel (posted in the comments). Here are the steps:
Be free, friends!
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Marla and Jami
Cofounders of JamiAndMarla.LOVE (fka Passion Provokers and Keller Coaching) Jami and Marla are proud to bring a new level of success to coupleships worldwide with their unique coaching, mentoring, and consulting process. Their blogs are not only informative for coupleships they are personal. For over 25 years they have been helping people create emotionally and physically intimate coupleships.
Ariel is a freelance blogger, web designer, and SEO consultant. She is 23 years young, married to her soulmate, and a proud “mother” to boxer Bruce and Yorkie Dexter. She focuses on writing content that is raw and relatable. (Info relevant at the time of writing, circa 2013-2015)