Suggest ways to manage anger while with an overpowering partner
I've been with my girlfriend for many years now, we have many common grounds and have good compatibility, however, her being a strong women, as they say, which can be frustrating in arguments and in the long term I ended up feeling I had to take a back seat permanently and developed some unnecessary guilt. This is not something she wants, it's just the way she is made, but I'm more of a sensitive person who can easily lose all his space when someone around him might give me the feeling of over powering me. So I ended up now by having much hate towards her while I still like her and want to continue our relationship, but because she is a woman, I just cannot express this hate feeling without feeling worse about myself, if I come to say something to her about this, I feel terribly guilty. If this was a buddy, I could tell him off and feel good afterwards, but now this is eating me up inside.
The way I feel is, because I cannot get some satisfaction of getting this hate out of me, I feel I don't exist and have no XXXXXXX I can't seem to be able to rationalize this, it's probably because of my up bringing. My feeling is, I'd like to be able to remove this wall I built over the years, I know it's me responsible for this, and it's all in my head, but even knowing this, my rage is immense. We've had talks about this many times, so that's been done, it's just me that has this rage bottled up and as a result I feel so frustrated because I can't get any satisfaction of communication my feelings to her, because she is not emotional and in a way, I cannot relate to this, what I mean is, I would expect on the receiving end, I more vulnerable reaction, but that's not her, she has no outward reaction and her arguments are always intellectual, this drives my crazy. So I quickly end up giving up and bottling up my anger. As I said, despite this, we live being with each other, if only I could resolve this personal issue. I hope I explained this well.
Thank you for your question. I've read over your story carefully, and I appreciate your being open and honest. I feel like the situation is clear to me.
You describe a lot of pent-up aggression, rage, anger, and frustration because you feel like your girlfriend has, because of her strong nature, made you take a back seat in the relationship. You have developed guilt about these feelings, and feel like confronting her more directly is inappropriate because she is a woman and you would feel uncomfortable doing so.
First, it is important for me to validate that these feelings are normal. When we feel like we have been made small or unimportant in a relationship, it is natural to feel angry about it. You should not feel guilty about these feelings -- they are a natural response to the way your have been made to feel in your relationship.
It is clear to me that, although you say you have talked with your girlfriend about these issues before, they have not been talked about in an effective way. You leave the conversation feeling like she has intellectualized everything, and you are not feeling heard. You are leaving the conversation still with anger, and this means the conversation was not as effective as it could be. Sometimes, because of personality differences, couples therapy is necessary, because an impartial third party can make sure both sides are being heard effectively, and can draw each partner's attention to behavior you might not otherwise feel comfortable pointing out.
In order for your anger to be resolved, the root of that anger has to be addressed. The only way to do that, it appears, is to see your girlfriend together with a couples therapist. One-on-one conversations with your girlfriend have not been productive, and you feel guilty about confronting her more directly -- a therapist provides a safe, objective party to steer both of you through a conversation where you both are heard. This is my advice for you.
In the future, I encourage you to reach out to me via my direct link below, to provide continuity of care on this website.
My name is Dr. Sheppe, and I am an XXXXXXX psychiatrist working in New York City. For a personalized comprehensive evaluation, treatment recommendations, or individual therapy, ask me at HealthCareMagic at this private link: tinyurl.com/DrSheppeAnswers
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