Your Feelings Matter

"You shouldn’t feel that way!"  Really? Why not? So often parents or partners are annoyed by your feelings, which only makes you feel worse. They are discounting your emotions because they don’t want to deal with the issue at hand.

For example, you and your partner both work outside the home plus you have children to take care of after work. You’re having an a argument because you want him to pitch in with the child care.  In an abrupt and condescending tone of voice, he says “Oh? I don’t do enough for you? Give me a break!”

This frustrates and upsets you and you start to cry. You don’t like his response or tone of voice. He says “What’s wrong with you? Why are you crying?”  You tell him that you feel put down and overwhelmed with all that you have to do. His reply? “Well you shouldn’t feel that way.” 

Many people will stop at this point and question their emotional responses. They back off and feel even worse. But this is not a healthy thing to do. It’s not fair because your feelings are your feelings and they are important in any relationship. They are important to you. You can try to discuss this with you partner at a later time, when things have cooled off, but he or she may still discount you.

The problem has probably been there for a long time in your relationship. It may have even started in childhood with your parents, where you never learned to stand up for yourself. Anxiety and depression often results from this type of interaction. Marriage counseling is definitely indicated in this situation with your partner. But if he won’t go you should get some counseling to work this out within yourself, and hopefully bring home your new strength and insights to your partner. You deserve it to be heard and understood. You really do.

Maggie Vlazny

Maggie is a Certified Clinical Supervisor and Psychotherapist specializing in marriage counseling, EMDR, Imago therapy, anxiety & depression, women's issues, family therapy and grief counseling.