Turn On is Medicine. But What if Your Partner is Driving You Nuts?
4 Steps to Deal with Intense Emotions Toward Your Intimate Partner
In the last Shakti Story with Blaire, I asked her any tips she would give to anyone who isn’t feeling sexy or attracted to their intimate partner right now. I loved her point about how you just can’t force it. She recommends to spend some time to yourself, play your favourite song, move your hips. See if you can find even 5% more pleasure and if anything opens up from there. Be curious!
I love how she validated that if you’re spending more time with your partner right now and they are driving you crazy, you are not alone!
I imagine most people know what I’m talking about here.
I’d like to elaborate on dealing with the related emotions that might be coming up right now that may be on the intense side.
Some emotions are strong and that can make it difficult for us to submerge any further in to more subtle layers of experience. If you are angry, for example, your brain might feel almost hijacked as you are reacting from a fear or panic; you might yell at the partner and say “You’re so selfish!! You ALWAYS..” or “you NEVER…”
Some emotions can basically drown out the rest of our experience. But it is not an emotion that causes our suffering; our suffering is caused by our lack of understanding of how to relate to them in a meaningful way.
Let’s say I am angry at my partner because we had a plan and now he is unexpectedly working rather than hanging out with me. #1. Your anger makes sense! #2. Snapping at the person probably does not.
Your anger is telling you that something doesn’t feel right. Anger means that a boundary has been crossed or a important need of yours has gone unmet. If you can acknowledge that there is a huge alarm bell going off, you might choose to disengage as you might need some space to reset. You can remember that anger is intense and can’t last long if you let the feelings run, rather than stoke the flames with your mental points. Sometimes simple acknowledgment is enough to help you slow it down and take a pause to let the feeling run. Then you have a chance to shift into awareness of more sensation-based or nuanced feelings.
When you recognize that you had a need to feel connected to your partner and for your time to be respected, you may realize that you’re not just angry. You may also be disappointed, sad or rejected, for example. From this place you might actually be able to turn towards yourself to “welcome each guest” as Rumi said in his poem the The Guesthouse. And you might communicate what you need – maybe that’s simply for him to listen and show some understanding around why you would be upset.
Carl Jung said that without the “feeling function” as he called it, we would have no discernment of an ethical gauge. By Affect or Feelings, Jung meant the more subtle sense within. Being in relation with myself means that I am able to feel myself. When we are triggered we are no longer in the feeling function. We are typically dissociated from the body and thinking in endless circles about the situation. More trauma can happen there because we are so off-center that we might say things we’ll regret or solidify our own beliefs that we are alone or difficult to love.
However, if we can identify that we are triggered (ie. reacting out of the past) and not in the current moment and stay with ourselves with a tone of self-compassion than we can identify what it going on (am I reacting to my history/something I perceive that is not actually happening in this moment?). From there we can communicate with the real person in front of us, not the inner image of our partner.
So step #1 is to let the energy of the feeling run through. The 2nd step is to see what more is there. The 3rd is to see if there is something that might anchor me back into this moment. And, #4 is to ask yourself: “In this moment, what matters?” Is there something I would like to express or request? As irritating as it may be to hear, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. Arguing will just increase the friction.
In most cases, what matters most is to take space, anchor back in to your own center, and make real emotional contact with your chosen one. From there you can see if something fresh opens up between you!
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“Circlework provided for me a space to reflect and feel connected to myself and other women. To be able to take that feeling—that space—with me day to day provided me with a sense of empowerment and reassurance to any challenges I may face.”
-NADIA, VANCOUVER, BC