Recently in my monthly teleclass about “Standing Up for Yourself,” the topic was forgiveness. For these classes I ask people to write to me beforehand about their experience with the topic, and then I include their comments in a coaching-tapping script that I create for the teleclass. My intention is to help people stand up for themselves by coming back to their energetic harmony and their spiritual center.
Several comments this month were sent in from women who described being married to an angry, dominating man. They wondered how to stand up for themselves in a situation like that.
Note—I don’t mean to be “bashing” men here. Both men and women may admit to having anger issues that can be taken out on their partners. When you read these comments below you will see that they could as easily have been written by anyone about their partner. This includes work partnerships as well.
How could one tap for feeling dominated and dismissed by a dominating, angry person?
Of course here is no way we can change the other person, even though that always seems like it would solve the problem!
All we can do (and this is truly powerful) is to care about how WE feel, and take care of ourselves, whatever that may mean in the context.
As we have all experienced, being the recipient of anger can take us out of ourselves. We may “lose” a part of ourselves. We feel small and dismissed. Taking in another person’s anger can create a painful disharmony in our energy system.
And if you have grown up around people who made it seem that their approval was your key to survival, it was probably difficult to learn a sense of your own sacred individual sovereignty. No one mirrored for you how to return to energetic harmony after being knocked off base by someone’s anger. The angry person didn’t know how to do this themselves—no one had taught them either.
EFT can help, even if you feel that “I never got what I really needed and I never will.”
Here is how you can tap for being around a person with dominating anger. When you have any big, unwieldy issue to deal with, try this tapping strategy.
1. Write out a “stream of consciousness” paragraph or page about feeling dominated by another’s anger, including all your censored and uncensored thoughts, feelings, memories – whatever comes up. Just let it flow.
This is for your eyes only, so tell the truth to yourself about what you really feel. Telling the truth to yourself can be a powerful healing step in itself.
2. Read through the comments from teleclass participants below, writing out or copying and pasting the comments that you feel a resonance with or feel triggered by. Add them to your own stream of consciousness piece.
3. Look at what you have written. If it feels scary or alarming to read what you wrote, just look at the paper or page— don’t read it.Tap for “Even though it scares me to read this, I accept myself anyway…”
Repeat this tapping-and-looking until you can actually read through what you wrote without fear. Tap through the points, or on the karate chop point, as you read your thoughts about feeling dominated by someone else’s anger.
(If you are new to EFT, learn how to tap here:
Tap for all the thoughts and feelings and memories that are associated with that phrase, until it no longer triggers you.
5. Now, reframe your feelings about yourself.
Tap for the reframe. (Suggestions below)
Remember, you can’t change the other person! You can only change how you think about the situation, and how you think about yourself.
(Interestingly, I always find that when I change my thought, somehow , mysteriously, the other person seems to change too…)
Here are two longish comments that I received for this topic, one sent to me to be included in the tapping script, and one that came afterwards as a response to the teleclass itself. I have permission from both of these people to share their words anonymously.
Read through these comments below. Write out (or copy and paste) the sentences that bring up emotion in you. Add them to your own stream of consciousness piece.
When I was a child my basic nature was to be a peace maker. I became a people pleaser and in my family I learned that my needs were not really that important. If someone else had a preference, or their feelings could be hurt, I needed to behave and speak in ways to avoid pain to them. (This way of being has caused me great suffering in my marriage including various chronic health issues) I was to help other people feel happy or keep them from getting angry and upset.
I would do whatever chores or things my dad asked not to get him worked up. I normally would not speak up for myself for fear of anger or discord in a relationship. I wanted to please and avoid rejection. I became who others wanted me to be.
Currently in my marriage this inability to speak my truth and stand up for myself without feeling guilty has been strangling who I am and killing my spirit and joy in life. I am afraid of my husband’s anger when I disagree with his opinion or when I do something which he doesn’t like. He will harshly tell me not to do that anymore!! I have felt the need to please him and obey.
I am getting sick of making my choices based on his world view which is very rigid, black & white, and assumes that people will take advantage of you. I feel I have lost who I am and my joy in life. When I do stand up and speak my mind I am shamed and blamed. I go into confusion and guilt instead of . . . “having my own back” and knowing it is not unreasonable to make my own choices, have my own opinions and my own way of living life.
I would prefer to forgive him for needing to control me and still remain in my desires and truth without feeling a gnawing sick pit in my stomach and an internal chaos in my body and mind.
I would like to stop the program in my life that says “If you are mad I am bad.”
The reason I missed a large portion of the teleclass tonight is because my husband was raging around the house. He is always complaining that we have too much stuff. And tonight he went on a rampage to get rid of things. He just started pulling things out and instead of walking away, I get pulled into what he is doing and I get scared that he is going to throw away something that is important to me. He is claiming that all the “stuff” is mine and I feel shame about needing things. It is very related to my shame about needing to eat. Needing food. Needing love. Needing anything for that matter.
When I heard someone’s story about their husband using anger to get their needs met, I could really understand that. I can see it in my husband and I can see it in myself. And I realize that although I can need something from someone else, that I may not get my need met there. My husband needs less things in the house and so he goes around screaming at everyone and throwing other people’s things out, or threatening to. And then I get scared and chase him around yelling at him because I have a need for safety and I feel very unsafe when he is doing this. My father used to rage as well.
The biggest way this all manifests in my life is that whenever my husband is home, I am “doing what he wants”, whether it is stated like, ‘I want dinner at 6:30″ or whether I already know what he wants. I run around the house trying to please him. I do this even when he is not home, but when he is home, I am “on guard”, always on the lookout for what he wants.
And I put myself aside completely. I put my needs aside. I put my work aside. I put everything else aside and put him first. And then I stay up really late at night, after everyone else is asleep and I do what I need to do and then I get sick.
So, I realized a big thing for me is allowing myself to be controlled by my husband’s rage. If I could separate from the fear and shame that I feel when he rages, then I don’t need to get pulled into his anger and take on his shame and pain, which I had heard tonight in someone’s story as we tapped together.
Some examples of how to tap with phrases that you have written:
- Even though he is always complaining that we have too much stuff…I accept myself anyway.
- Even though tonight he went on a rampage to get rid of things, and and I feel very unsafe when he is doing this because my father used to rage as well…. I accept myself anyway and I honor myself for how hard that was, and is, now.
- Even though he just started pulling things out, and that scared and silenced me…. I accept that this has happened to me.
- Even though instead of walking away, I get pulled into what he is doing and I get scared that he is going to throw away something that is important to me….I accept myself anyway, and I wonder if there are different deeper ways to think about this.
Some positive reframes to consider (also sent by teleclass participants):
*Standing up for myself has often meant yelling back. I think there is another way to stand up for myself, a more empowering way. And one that won’t disturb my sleep and my life so much. I just don’t know what it is yet.
*Now I see that Standing Up For Myself is a stance that comes from inside me and is about me. It’s not about anybody else. That is so freeing!!
*I don’t have to be “against” anybody! Just consciously FOR myself. I finally feel like I have someone in my corner – and it’s me. And it feels good.
*I want to learn to stand up for myself and speak my truth in love and know that I CAN do whatever I want to do and not be afraid to try.
Finish your tapping rounds with some Stand-Up self-coaching!
Try using set-up statements that start out with “Especially because” instead of “Even though…”:
“Especially because connection is so important to me, I think there is another way to stand up for myself, a more empowering way. I make creating and maintaining a good and satisfying connection with myself my first priority.”
“Especially because I don’t have to be “against” anybody, I am choosing now to be consciously FOR myself. I finally feel like I have someone in my corner – and it’s me. That feels good.”
“Especially because I have been a peace maker, I know have a mission of bringing peace into the world. Now I choose a mission of bringing peace into my own life. I deserve this.”
“Especially because I want to learn to stand up for myself and speak my truth in love, I know that I CAN do whatever I want to do and not be afraid to try. I CHOOSE TO STAND UP FOR MYSELF, and express who I am with love and a light heart.”
“Especially because I love and accept myself so deeply and completely, I see that Standing Up For Myself is a stance that comes from inside me and is about me.”
“The world needs what I have to offer. I am ready to be more!”
With my love and blessings to you—