Not for Men Only: The Anatomy of a Woman’s Complaint.

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Please. Give us this, your gift of masculinity. We so sorely need it.

“The bags under your woman’s eyes and the lines in her face may reveal much about how clearly you are living your highest purpose. Try to do your best to determine which of her “problems” are actually exquisitely sensitive bodily feedback to the way you are living your life. You know the amount of bullshit you are kidding yourself with. So does she. It just hurts her more than it does you.”
~David Deida

Gentlemen, we women can feel it when you are not living your highest purpose and fulfilling your highest good by staying in your integrity. We know these things, can feel them. And when you are not living your highest purpose, not following through and doing what you told us you were going to do, we begin to not trust you.

We start to not trust you because we can see and feel that you do not keep your word, that you don’t do what you say you will do. Even when it’s a seemingly small thing, we see it as a very tell tale sign about your integrity and your masculinity. Even when it doesn’t directly involve us, we are affected by your lack of integrity.

“A man should hear his woman’s complaints like warning bells, and then do his best to align his life with his truth and purpose.”
~David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man

We always want the masculine energy to be dominant in you, regardless of our mood or our complaint. We don’t see you as less masculine because you are not cleaning out the car like you promised you would, so much as we see you as less masculine and trustworthy because we feel unsupported and unsafe with a man who does not remain impeccable with his word.

If we see and feel that we can’t trust you with your own life—to do what you tell us you will do—then we certainly can’t trust you with our life and the relationship. It is too scary. We need you to be trustworthy. We need you to be impeccable with your word.

And being impeccable with your word doesn’t mean that you never, ever get to veer from what you said you would do. And it doesn’t mean that you never get to change your mind about something. And it doesn’t mean you have to be rigid and hard and unmoving and unable to be vulnerable.

It means, rather, that you do what you say you are going to do, and you do it in a timely manner. If for some reason you can’t fulfill that promise, goal or end result, we need you to tell us that—with a brief, firm, confident explanation.

When asked if that would work for her, a girlfriend said, “Only if he doesn’t do that all the time. If that is his pattern, if he doesn’t do what he says he will do, doesn’t take care of the difficult decisions in his life, and then expects to always be able to explain that away, and I’m supposed to be okay with that, then no, that won’t work.”

The thing we are complaining about is very seldom what we are really complaining about.

It goes like this.

We begin to feel restless and angry toward you and about something that you said you would do but have not yet done. Sometimes we can’t even pinpoint the problem ourselves. So then we bring this restlessness and anger to you in a complaint, query or accusation.

That is the way women process and figure out what we’re feeling. We don’t know how we feel, what we want, until we talk out loud about it and figure that out. That’s just how our brains work.

Keep in mind that often we do not consciously know what the issue really is. We think we do. We think it’s that thing you promised us you would do several weeks/months ago but haven’t done yet. We really think it’s about you not cleaning the car like you said.

We feel uneasy and scared and this often comes out as anger and/or sadness—a feeling of being let down or disappointed.

We usually feel weird about and hesitant to bring it up, too, because we may not be clear on what the problem actually is. We don’t want to potentially rock the relationship boat about something we’re not clear about, but at the same time, because our brains function as they do (everything’s connected to everything—unlike men’s brains), we are unable to keep this problem/worry/issue from affecting everything in our lives.

If we are aware and start digging, we will unearth the feelings of lack of safety and security, but most of the time, we simply know something is wrong—something doesn’t feel good. If just feels “off.”

Steve Horsmon is spot on when he writes about how we women can sense our man’s intentions. In our complaint/confrontation, we will tell you what we think we’re upset about based on those intentions we feel from you. We will probably name some things about which we are upset/angry/sad/etc.

And when a woman brings you a complaint like this it will be because she is in pain—physically as well as emotionally. Women feel emotional pain as physical pain. When our feelings are hurt, we hurt physically too—our bodies hurt.

We will bring you this pain and it seems to you like we are asking you to fix it, because that’s what men do. Men fix things—and thank God for that—except in this situation. It will feel like we want you to answer us, to fix us, to fix the problem. But in that specific moment, we do not want you to fix anything—even if we say we do.

We want you to listen to us. We want you to stand firm and strong and let us pour our pain out to you. It’s the only way we know to get the pain out, to make the pain stop—and the only way we know how to process and get to the meat of why we are actually upset.

Please don’t argue with us. Please don’t ask us to stop talking, crying or thinking about it. If we did that, we’d be acting like a man—and you wouldn’t be attracted to us. To remain in our own integrity, our femininity, we have to bring these emotions to you.

It feels drastic, immediate and all consuming. If we don’t talk about it, we feel like we’re going to explode. The longer we hold it in, trying not to talk/think about it, the worse it gets, the angrier we get, the sadder, the more depressed, etc.

Just listen to us, please. Hold us—yes, even when we’re angry and even when we’re angry at you. Tell us it’s going to be okay. Reassure us.

Don’t take it personally—yet.

Don’t waver. Be the strong, unmoving cliff against which we can throw these wild, scary (even to us) waves of emotions. Be still and firm and calm. We know it’s confusing to you; it’s confusing to us too in that moment. We need you to be our rock in that moment, the groundedness in the wildness of our emotions—even when we are directly accusing you of something.

Please. Give us this, your gift of masculinity. We so sorely need it right then.

And the ROI for you standing strong for us and just hearing us without arguing or trying to fix us?

We will be our happy selves again; we will be the confident, laughing, woman you know and love; we will want to have sex more often; want to connect with you more; be able to appreciate you more; be better able to give you space when you need/want it; be able to do our lives and the relationship more effectively and efficiently; etc.

We will feel supported, loved, cared for, listened to, heard—the list of good things just goes on and on—simply because you listened, didn’t get defensive, didn’t argue, just stood firm for us. It makes us feel like we can go out and conquer the world when you do this for us, when we know you have our back.

“It is a mistake to believe the content of what she is saying, and then respond to her complaints, point by point.” ~David Deida

Please don’t try and argue with us or try to shame us for our emotions, our wildness. It is this wildness that makes us feminine. The Feminine is wildness, emotions, senses, the physical body, power flowing from us in the form of emotions.

Don’t take apart our complaint and try and fix it and us. Don’t try and address each complaint point by point. Just listen.

Because we are not really complaining about what we’re complaining about. We are feeling like we can’t trust you because you haven’t done what you said you would do.

And from that distrust comes the feeling that we are not safe.

Most women will rate safety/security/certainty very high on Tony Robbins’ list of The 6 Human Needs. If we feel that you are not safe because we can’t trust you, we may not know that’s why we feel so “off,” but we will feel that “off-ness”—probably even more than you feel it—if you even feel it.

After you reassure us, after we have wound down into calm, after this “crisis” is over (and that is exactly how it feels to us—yes, that urgent)—then is the time to take our complaint personally.

“Don’t argue with her about… (what you didn’t do). That’s not what she’s talking about, even though that’s what she’s talking about. Hear her complaint as the universe giving you signs about your life.

Did you purposely lie to your woman about (this)? Or did you just let it slide, like you do with so many commitments you make in your life? Can you really blame your woman for being hurt by the lack of integrity that shows in your life?” ~David Deida

And by “personally,” I mean it is time to see if the complaint is true. Are you telling us you’ll do stuff that you have no intention of doing just to shut us up in that moment and to avoid a confrontation and accountability, because you are confused or scared by our emotions? Or do you mean to do those things but then let them slide?

I’m not saying the woman will be correct every time about your integrity. Rather, see/hear her complaint as the tool it can be—use it as a barometer, use it to check your integrity. This is just one of the feminine gifts available to you if you will see it as the gift it truly is.

Don’t ask your woman not to be emotional, not to bring you her pain. Instead, stand firm, be her rock, reassure her that you got this—and then take a look at yourself, see it as the gift and warning that it is—and receive it in that manner, being thankful that you can use it to your advantage instead of making her feel bad about being a woman with feelings.

Remember, if she brings you her pain (in the form of sadness, anger, depression, etc.), it is a gift to you.

“A man should hear his woman’s complaints like warning bells, and then do his best to align his life with his truth and purpose. Her complaint should be valued as a reminder to “get it together,” and perhaps as an indication of how. But more often than not, the specifics of her complaint do not describe the real, underlying action or tendency that needs to be changed.” ~David Deida

Ladies, stay tuned for the next post on how to avoid the complaint meltdown in the first place, so that your man doesn’t have to try and figure out what it is that you are needing, because according to Alison Armstrong, a complaint is just a cowardly way to avoid asking for what we need…

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo

Also published at elephant journal.

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2 thoughts on “Not for Men Only: The Anatomy of a Woman’s Complaint.

  1. Pingback: Not for Women Only: How to Avoid the Complaint Meltdown. | a wilder grace

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