Why appeasing a partner never works.
Author -- Giordana Toccaceli
Today I was thinking of a client I had a while back. He was terribly unhappy in his marriage of almost 2 decades. The conversations he shared with his partner revolved around basic household needs, errands needed to be run and the children's lives.
It took months of coaching before he even felt safe enough to be honest with himself about his feelings. He had developed a long and drawn out habit of appeasing vs. connecting with his partner as well as with everyone else in his life. This is something that can start to happen so easily and yet it kills the soul of a relationship fast.
See appeasing is pleasing someone else while hiding your true feelings from them.
Appeasing someone is taking action that is divorced from your heart. The problem here is that the fundamental cornerstone of a living relationship is intimate connection, where hearts are increasingly becoming more vulnerable, open and naked to each other over time. Hiding our true feelings is a death sentence for any relationship.
Why? Because it is moving in a relationship out of fear instead of love. It seems practical to avoid the confronting nature of sharing our true feelings with each other and yet it is actually highly impractical because appeasing doesn't actually meet any needs or resolve anything.
It is rearranging the furniture on a sinking ship instead of meeting real needs.
And day by day, as we keep hiding, we slowly begin to grow apart, even while sleeping on the same bed. Or we go on date after date and are unable to touch a man's heart in an authentic way.
We can often mistake being in a relationship of any kind, including a marriage, to mean our hearts are in it, but the opposite can be true. There are few things more painful than being in physical proximity to another human being and yet feeling FAR away from them.
In order for us to be able to form a habit of appeasing and make it sustainable, we also have to accompany that habit with another one- the constant disconnection from our own feelings as well as lying to our own selves about how we really feel.
"But we are happy and close."
...and yet that ship is sinking, and sinking fast. Your partner, friend and family want your heart, your true feelings, your vulnerability, as hard as it may be for them to hear, because that is you.
We have been programmed to hide in order to keep the peace, to not stand out, to minimize risk
and yet the deepest fulfillment we can have as human beings is to be known through intimacy.
Intimacy is the process of revealing who we really are in a space that is safe and accepting.
And you might be thinking right now, "Yeah that sounds great on paper but in real life, I can't think of anything more threatening than sharing how I really feel with my loved ones."
I've been there, and yes there have been times when sharing who I really was meant some people close to me fell away. However the bold truth I want to share with you is that while others fell away, the more open and capable my heart became the more I attracted into my life others with the same desires to show themselves as they were. The fulfillment of having this level of honesty in relationships is greater that anything I know.
YOU CAN ONLY BE PRESENT WHERE YOUR HEART IS KNOWN
My client would often say in sessions:
"I feel so guilty, my children are growing up and though I am home with them, I am not present. I have to recommit to being present."
But the reality is...how can you "be present" when your heart isn't there? To be present you have to feel connected, and to feel connected you have to share who you truly are. You will always be naturally present where your heart is known.
The Purpose of Relationships
Relationships were designed to be a sacred and safe place for your heart to be known, for your feelings to be expressed in true intimate freedom. When relationships become the place we hide then we start creating more and more pain in our lives. Relationships were designed to be home, in the fullest sense.
So, after months and months of coaching we were able to reprogram that tendency to hide and appease, and inevitably turn to fantasies to cope (which is what often happens)......and begin learning how to create deep connection and freedom.
Relationships don't just happen, they are created...with the right tools.
If sharing more of who you are is something not only terrifying but foreign to you, know that you are not alone. If you know you could be experiencing so much more depth, fullness and intimacy in your close relationships then know that you have to set an intention to create that and also that you don't have to do it alone. You can get the support to get you there.
Every end of the year we take in the gains and the losses, the enormous blessings and the lessons we learned that year. It's still the first month of 2015 and I would like to invite you to begin tracking something else in your life every year....and that is the growth in your personal freedom and true fulfillment in relationships.