John Wineland on how you can transmute anger from your partner into deep trust.
I work with a number of men who struggle with their woman’s anger. I am certainly not immune :-). My girl can be downright nasty when she feels I am “misbehaving” and I have found over the years, the need to develop a special set of skills and a whole new attitude to her anger. The primary problem is that men tend to want to avoid anger and resentment like the plague. So when our partners are in a mood, the general response is either attack or avoid. Neither create much love or trust. Sound familiar?
There is another way…well….two ways I have found that work beautifully and can actually create intimacy and relaxation where there was rancor only moments ago. The most artful approach is to use humor, physicality, play and sexual energy to overcome her mood. That might look like kissing her madly until she giggles, to saying “God damn you are hot when you are furious at me” to throwing her over your shoulder and saying “I love it when you are so bratty”. The concept is to lean in to her anger with love, like you are encountering a tropical rainstorm. Breath it in. Enjoy it! Allow it to nourish you.
The second method involves a beautiful dialogue techniques that requires more skills and patience. The most important element in this work is the commitment that you will not make her wrong for whatever she is feeling. Her feelings, all of them, are welcome and even appreciated. This is a massive difference to what most women experience in the world and it opens a whole new realm of deep relating possibilities, including better sex, when it is embraced. Let’s face it. Your lover is suffering when she is angry most of the time and creating a container where anything she feels is safe is incredibly liberating and healing for her.
Again, most men have the knee jerk reaction of resisting anger and will go to great lengths to do so. But if you go with the flow you can actually, instantly turn your interaction into a playful, passionate moment where you maintain your masculinity while she can own her emotions and really trust she can’t do anything you can’t handle. I dive into this practice Transforming Anger into Deep Trust and Love explaining this entire concept. Here are the three basic steps:
1. Get aware (this requires a certain level of courage, generosity, meditative concentration…. And frankly, just the ability to feel into your partner) when something is brewing under the surface, and instead of avoiding it, let it happen.
2. Then allow your partner free rein to say what they need to say. Periodically you are going to stop them and repeat back, word for word, what you are hearing as much as possible. And then when she is done and you say, “Is there any more?” she’ll say, “No.” And the very first thing you want to say is, “That makes sense. I understand why that would bother you. I understand why you would be mad. It makes sense that you are mad.” The words: That makes sense, are key to whole process… those three words validate her entire experience and make her feel seen, accepted and loved!
3. And finally, the third piece (which is the hardest piece for a lot of men, a lot of people in general in fact) is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and empathize with what she is feeling. I know, this is especially hard if they are mad at you! It’s important to know you do not have to agree with her, all you have to do is be able to see how it makes sense from her perspective given her history and shared experience. As you learn to really try your best to put yourself in your partner’s shoes you will actually start to feel like their experience is more important than yours. It’s a really deep and beautiful spiritual practice when you can say, “All right, how you are feeling about this is more important to me now than whether I agree with it or not.”