By Bridget Wood
You could cut the air with a knife. Me; vulnerable, trying to summon the right words that would connect me to my love, to feel truly seen, heard, understood. Him; tired, unequipped to communicate on the level I so wanted him to. A master provider in every other way, my greatest love, and yet, so devoid of all the things I yearned for in that moment.
It's a familiar story. When I relayed it to my mum, she recounted an almost exactly the same scenario with my dad days before. A clue to the pattern, likely playing out for me since I was a child. My desire to connect on a soul level to my husband in that moment, brought up the same feelings i'd felt since I was a little girl trying to connect with my dad. Unheard, unvalidated, not enough.
In scrawled handwriting my journal tells the story: "I'm here a blubbering mess of tears as I confront a familiar, painful part of myself i've tried so hard to cover up, to mask, to not go near because it's so vulnerable, such a gaping, painful wound that I thought I could fill with outward achievements".
I was reminded again in that moment of the wisdom, 'The cure for the pain is in the pain'. And so I sat with it. I felt every heaving of my chest, asking what it was seeking to reveal to me. This emotion a feedback to tell me I have a lopsided perception to be equiliibrated; but first, my task was to feel, to express. Then I could get to work.
We so often think our task is to 'fix' the other person. And yes, the communication about my needs is part of moving forward, but this is only half the equation. First, the work begins with me.
The belief I had of him is that he 'wont' engage emotionally', so where do I not engage emotionally? I was humbled by all the times I could see I also withdrew from people and situations. But the big learning came when I could see all the benefits to me of him not engaging emotionally. How that created a drive in me to seek that for myself; to go inward, to know myself more deeply, to grow in my own consciousness and seek the tools and learning I needed to transcend my own emotional states. To do the inner work.
In that moment my heart opened, something shifted within me and I smiled in gratitude because he had given me what I really needed; not what I thought I needed, to grow.
Now that I could find 'love' for this pattern, I could change it; it could change. This is the power of doing the inner work.
The more we bring awareness to our feelings, emotions, values, and relationship dynamics, the more we can consciously create the life we love, while still moving with the flow of life and what it's revealing to us to help our growth.
My husband and I found a stronger depth of connection in the resulting conversations, and I learnt there's more I can do to be conscious of the best times/moments/ways in which to communicate with him. We're each building our own new toolkit, to help heal the wounded inner child within each of us. And that's love.
Bridget Wood is Co-Founder of Nourishing The Mother and a lover of life and connecting people to themselves through wisdom, introspection and quality questions. Bridget is also the Director and Events Manager of Suburban Sandcastles. With an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a desire to understand the bigger picture of human behaviour and how the world works, Bridget is on an inspired path to learn more deeply who we are beyond the limitations that we, and our society and culture, place upon us.