Friday, July 20, 2007

Finally Learning to Get My Needs Met

I was reading a passage defining co-dependency, and it referred to anger as “the unwanted and unwelcome guest”. Certainly this is the role anger has played in my life. I hate my anger, and fear it, trying to suppress it. Still it’s always around, shows its face at the most inconvenient times, and embarrasses everyone in the room, especially me. I avoid it at all times, and yet it keeps coming back to haunt me.

Lately, I’ve been learning about acceptance and expectations. The fewer my expectations, the less I am disappointed. The better I’m able to accept the different situations I face, the happier I am, and the less anger I feel naturally. Perfect solution, right? Only problem is, I, like everybody, have needs that have to be met, and no one will advocate for those needs to be met if I don’t.

The key is balance, I discover. And this is hard, because in the past when sticking up for my needs, I have always resorted to anger. Today I’m learning a whole new way to deal with the people around me, and with expressing my wants and needs. I have to admit, it’s a bit scary. But I suspect that this is a very important growth process, and that I’ll come out on the other end with a real ability to handle the key issues I face.

In my group, I had a major test of this discipline yesterday. I have been going through a rough patch recently, and needed some time to discuss what I’ve been going through. However, one member of my group decided to monopolize the time, first with her own issues, and then pushing another person to speak. I had mentioned a couple times I needed time, but it just didn’t happen as this woman took control of the group.

I became increasing frustrated as the group went on, and my needs weren’t met, and finally said how upset I was that there was no time for me. I tried to keep it factual, and to use I statements to indicate my feelings from the group. I tried not to get too angry, and felt uncomfortable the whole time, but I got through it and expressed my needs.

After, I felt embarrassed about having gotten angry. But when talking with the group facilitator, she said that I had been totally appropriate, and had not been overly angry. She said I had really shown some balance, and that, on that occasion, I had handled the situation as well as possible.

I guess I’ll know next week if that’s really true, when I go into group and see if people resent me, or if I get the time I need. But I accepted the complement, and was given an assignment: to write about what I had done, and what it felt like to stick up for my own needs. So I wrote this post. You know what, I think it was pretty therapeutic. And I think if I keep working at it, I might find the balance that has eluded me all my life.

Posted by Scottage at 12:50 AM / | |