Getting and Giving the Support We NeedI think many of us find it difficult to get the support we need from our partners. When we hear from a distressed person, our instinct may be to protect or to fix, in addition to being kind. But men and women tend to respond differently when it comes to support.

I used to have this whole dialogue going on in my head about how I was being ignored and taken advantage of—until I realized no one was listening but me!

As a woman, I feel there are times when the support I want is simply acknowledgment. I want to be recognized for everything I’m responsible for: working, managing two businesses, taking care of our two children, managing our home. I want that pat on the back; I want that “Hey, you had a long day—I can see it in your eyes.” When I’m feeling tired and overwhelmed, I want that hug; I want my partner to tell me, “Thanks for taking our son to his baseball practice.”

Simple little words can mean so much! They can turn our mood around in a heartbeat! But instead of asking for that hug or that pat on the back if it’s not voluntarily offered, many times we retaliate, internalize, and become spiteful. I can attest to that! I used to have this whole dialogue going on in my head about how I was being ignored and taken advantage of—until I realized no one was listening but me!

I would tell my husband (way too) many times, “It’s so simple!” It’s so simple to support a woman, to make us happy. After a while I couldn’t stand listening to myself anymore. What’s that saying about change? In order to change your external world, you have to change your internal world? Somehow that resonated with me, and I realized that if change was going to happen, it was up to me to make it happen.

Men who are people pleasers don’t ask for support and may not know how to be supportive in the ways we need them to be. Fear of disappointment may prevent them from showing up in the ways we’d like them to.

The more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder what my husband was feeling. I was looking for a pat on the back, so why wasn’t he? Didn’t he need one? Come to think of it, I couldn’t recall a time when he had ever asked for any kind of emotional support at all. I knew he was a sensitive guy. I’d seen him cry during the Olympics every time the U.S. won a medal. I’d seen him lend a hand to a friend in distress or bring food to a shelter. And he never left my side while my father was dying.

During my contemplation I could feel the wall of my defense begin to crumble. I could feel my heart begin to soften. I could begin to see life through the eyes of my husband. What does acknowledgment mean to him? I pondered. What kind of pressure does maintaining a career and providing for our family put on him? Men who are people pleasers don’t ask for support and may not know how to be supportive in the ways we need them to be. Fear of disappointment may prevent them from showing up in the ways we’d like them to.

Before I knew it, the healing process had begun. With my heart in a softer place, I could feel it slowly liberating me, allowing me access to that place of love in my heart.

We know that positive attracts positive and that happiness is contagious, so I wasn’t surprised that when I started communicating from that place of love and sincerity, my partner was there to meet me. When we surrender to the forces greater than ourselves, we open the door to endless possibilities.

Allow yourself to soften and see what happens for you.

Rose
Rose Caiola
Inspired. Rewired.

2 Comments

  • Shannon
    Posted June 28, 2013 11:13 am 0Likes

    This is such a beautiful piece Rose. It’s true that when you “allow yourself to soften” and view everything through the lens of compassion, it can change your entire perspective!

  • graciela ronchini
    Posted July 3, 2013 10:36 am 0Likes

    What an amazing article. I read it at the perfect time. It gave me exactly what I needed at the moment.

    Thank you!

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