Posted in Midlife Journey, Relationships

Midlife and the Dark Night of the Relationship – Part 2

The purpose of the midlife and menopause journey is to birth our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment and through which we are called to contribute to the betterment of our world.  In the process of birthing our Soul, we are invited to heal and sometime release any inner, as well as outer obstacles to enjoying the life of Soul.  Our intimate relationships are not exempt from this invitation.  It is not a coincidence that the Dark Night of the Relationship often surfaces during midlife and even becomes the catalyst through which real transformation can begin to take place.  For the next few days, we will be exploring the Dark Night of the Relationship, its signs, symptoms and characteristics and where to get help during this critical stage of transition.  Click HERE to learn more about Dark Night couples’ mentoring.

dark night of the relationship

The Second Worst Movie Line in History

In yesterday’s blog, I called out the worst movie line in history (“You complete me”) as being the origin of relationship issues.  Coming in as a close second is the famous line from the 1970 movie, “Love Story” starring Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw (I know, no one under the age of 40 even knows what I’m talking about!), which boldly states, “Love means never having to say I’m sorry.”  WRONG!!!!!  What I have observed is that authentic love, especially love which is directed at cultivating healthy relationships, is all about learning to say we are sorry….and meaning it!  In fact, I contend that the health of our relationships is dependent upon our ability to acknowledge our failures, take responsibility for them, apologize when appropriate, make amends and then learn new behaviors. Every single relationship, without exception, is made up of two imperfect human beings with their own fears, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, unhealed wounds and emotional baggage.  As such, it is guaranteed that sometime in the relationship, if not often, we will mess up.  We will say or do something that will hurt, disappoint or harm the other, and they will do the same in return.  If we move through our relationship believing the “Love Story” lie, and never apologize for the ways in which we have failed, then all we are doing is creating an environment in which resentment will take root, fester and grow.

Resentment – The First Horseman of the Apocalypse

John M. Gottman in his book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,  calls resentment one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  Resentment, especially harbored resentment, is one of the key destroyers of relationship.  Resentment is a natural response to our needs not being met or feeling as if we are not free to express how we are really feeling in our relationship.  When resentment surfaces, it is our job to acknowledge its presence and inquire within about what need is not being met or what truth is not being spoken.  If it is about our significant other (and it usually is), then our job is to speak up.  Unfortunately, many of us were taught to ignore the voice of our truth, or to suppress our needs, so instead of opening our mouths, we clam up and resentment begins to take root within us, it festers, it grows, we feed it with ruminating thoughts and eventually it turns into outright hatred.  Not a recipe for success in the goal of healthy intimacy!

Love Means Saying We are Sorry

If we have been hurt, disappointed, wounded, by our partner, it is our job to say so and it is their job to take responsibility for their actions and to say they are sorry.  And, this goes both ways.  If we have hurt our partner, it is our job to take responsibility for our actions, apologize and make amends.  Please note, it is also our job to find out why we were hurt.  Is it because our partner’s behaviors triggered unhealed wounds from our childhood?  Did we misunderstand their words or actions?  Did we project our own unrealized self into the situation?  Missteps in relationships are usually owned by both parties equally….it is our job to own what is ours, make amends and it is their part to do the same.  And that is a whole other topic for discussion.  🙂

A Quick Note on Abuse

Please note:  if you are in an abusive relationship and have been “trained” that it is unsafe to name and claim your needs or express your truth, the rules here are a little different.  If you believe your emotional, mental or physical health will be in jeopardy for speaking your truth, then PLEASE GET HELP.  Seek outside support through the local domestic abuse shelter/services or find a counselor who has experience with abuse.  You are not alone.  You need not suffer in silence.  There are resources to help you understand abuse and be freed from it.

Lauri Lumby collaborates with Ted Balser to provide Dark Night of the Relationship mentoring.  Contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to find out more.  

Posted in Midlife Journey

Midlife and Menopause – Dealing with Resentment

The purpose of a midlife crisis, perimenopause and menopause (from a spiritual perspective) is to move us beyond childbearing to birthing ourselves…and this is as true for men as it is for women.  During midlife and menopause, we are invited to leave behind the life we have known to make room for the new life that is trying to be born through us.  In birthing our new selves, we are birthing our Soul – the unique way we are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we find fulfillment by contributing to the betterment of our worldDuring the midlife journey, we are invited to confront the obstacles to our Soul’s birth, those things that stand in the way of our ability to find meaning, peace and fulfillment.  Today, we explore the RESENTMENT as an obstacle to our path.

midlife-menopause-resentment
midlife-menopause-resentment

 

Midlife and Menopause – Dealing with Resentment

John M. Gottman, in his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, calls resentment one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  Resentment, he points out, is the great relationship destroyer and at the heart of most relationship conflicts.  I would argue that this is true not only in our marriages or intimate partnerships, but that resentment is the great destroyer of all human relationships.  Like Gollum with his “Precious,” we grab resentment, harbor and cultivate it until the darkness overtakes us and everything around us.  Resentment is toxic, it poisons us, it keeps us from the noble qualities of compassion and forgiveness, it steels us against opportunities for love and it obscures the loving and peaceful truth of who we are and who God/dess calls us to be.  In the midlife journey, harboring resentment keeps us trapped in our past and imprisons us in our fears and compulsions, thereby blocking the way to the freedom of knowing and sharing our gifts and the meaning and purpose that our gifts offer, not only to us, but to the world.

Resentment – what is it really?

In order to move forward in our midlife journey, we have to confront our relationship with resentment.  The challenge is that few of us have been taught about the true nature of resentment and its purpose in our lives.  Instead, we feel it, we harbor it and it imprisons us.  I had the great fortune of a teacher who taught me the meaning and purpose of resentment and I wish to share it with you here today in the hopes of helping along your own midlife path. Resentment, I was taught, is simply a bio-chemical response to our needs not being met.  That is it.  Resentment, is simply an alarm, a flashing light, a billboard, trying to alert us that one of our needs is not being met.  When we understand resentment in this way, we can now choose a different response.  Instead of feeling resentment and then harboring it, we can feel resentment and simply take notice:

I’m feeling resentment, so there must be a need here that is not being met. 

Then, we might ask ourselves a question:

What is the need here that is not being met?

Once we identify what that need might be, then we have the opportunity to name and claim that need:

Honey, when you said this, I experienced resentment arising in me, which means that I have a need that is not being met here.  I have stopped to ask myself what that need might be and this is it………….  Now, I’m identifying this need and inviting us to work together toward getting this need met. 

Now we’re having a conversation and not getting stonewalled behind the prison of resentment.  In midlife, we are invited to learn how to deal with resentment and to work toward naming and claiming the needs that resentment helps us to know are not being met.  I know, easier said than done…..but if we want to know peace in the second half of our lives, we have to start somewhere.  🙂

What role has resentment played in your life?

How has resentment been an obstacle to inner peace?

How has resentment been harmful to your intimate relationships?

For help and support in the midlife transition, I offer one-on-one mentoring, classes and workshops.  To learn more, call me at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.