If you're the kind of man that loves and appreciates women for their beauty, allure and radiance, there are some things you need to understand.
Most modern women carry a significant amount of trauma. Some of this trauma comes from transgressions that have occurred in relationship to men. Men that have sexually violated them, fathers that were emotionally unavailable, men that have lied, cheated and been abusive physically, emotionally or verbally.
It's true that you are not responsible for what has occurred in her past, yet you need to understand that when a woman opens up to you sexually, her heart opens, and her wounds also re-open.
All of her story comes with the opening of her sexuality; including sometimes the pain from her past relationships with other men and all that has been handed down to her generationally in her family lineage, especially if she has not done significant work on herself to heal all of it. If you've ever been in a relationship with a woman only to discover you are in the line of fire, understand that it may not entirely be about you.
As men, when we are criticized in any way it can bring to the surface this feeling of being bad or wrong. Often our reaction to this feeling is more connected to our past than it is to the present moment. We may have stories in the back of our mind from our childhood that are being called forward. Part of the self-work we need to do outside of the relationship is working with the inner child part of us, so he doesn't undercut our conscious mind in the heat of the moment. This way we have more access to options that allows us to respond vs. react.
So in those moments when the heat is on; when you're feeling attacked, nagged, judged, and criticized here are a few tools that will help you lead the two of you into new territory that will allow for a deeper connection to unfold.
Be A 'Yes' To Whatever Is Here Now, Between The Two Of You
Depending on your own level of development and capacity to hold what she's got, you might automatically get defensive, dismiss her, shut down and attempt to avoid what's happening.
Or you might choose to embrace her right where she is. What we resist persists. If you are fully choosing the woman you are with then you're going to need to learn to be with all of her. Rejecting parts of her is going to create tension in the relationship and leave her feeling unloved, unwanted and unsafe to open further with you.
When you cower in the face of her emotional reaction she will get a primal sense that you can't handle all of her. This will start to erode the trust and sense of safety she has with you. There is likely a part of her that wants you to be bigger than any storm she can throw at you, big enough that you're not going to get triggered and collapse when the lightning strikes. This means that you're conscious and aware in those moments so you're able to recognize that it's not necessarily about you. She may be reacting over you not having paid the phone bill but in actuality it's a compound reaction about all the men that have ever let her down, not following through with the thing they said they would do. In those moments she might just need a space where those offenses can unwind from her nervous system. It's a good sign that she has arrived here with you because it means her subconscious feels safe enough to open up those deeper parts of her psyche. It's here that you can feel beneath what's being pointed at you and learn to love her through the storm.
Our body language is often unacknowledged for the powerful impact it has on expressing a truth. It is one of the most potent forms of communication. Being a yes begins with staying connected with her through the shape of your body, when we resist we turn away, we slump our shoulders, we hold our breath. To be a yes physically means you are squared off with her, your shoulders rolled back, heart is forward. There is a fearlessness in your presence. You are neither armored in an aggressive stance nor deflated in a defeated stance. You are upright, relaxed, open and present to what's happening with and through her expression. Your yes conveys both an acceptance of where she is, and also that you are not trying to fix or change her. Both of these are priceless gifts that can be quite healing for a lot of women, who have lived their lives often in response to how they’re supposed to be according to society's standards.
Listen Without Defending
Your need to defend yourself to a woman may come off as aggressive. When a man defends he often attacks. He might get loud, he might get big. He might close himself down to hearing what she is bringing. Your receptivity and curiosity in these moments, shows your humility and respect. Quite often there is at least some granule of truth in her upset. Your job in these times is to detect what that truth is.
Listening without defense equates to listening with an open heart. This also presents itself through your physical posture. When we are on the defense, our muscles get tight, our jaw clenches, our breath gets shallow. Letting go of defense, means you’re relaxed and open in your body. You’re present, taking in what she is saying rather than planning what you’re going to say in response. For the time being you may need to set aside your personal agendas, desires, complaints, grievances and the need to be right. This doesn't mean there won't ever be a time and space for you to share your perspective and experience, it just doesn't need to happen right away. Not defending doesn't imply she is right about everything. It might be a total projection coming from her. As satisfying as it would be to your ego to call it forward, the truth is she will more likely be able to recognize that on her own accord than having you point it out to her.
You’re not trying to fix her in these moments. What it may feel like is, you are sacrificing your ego as a practice in service of loving her more wholly. From here you can deeply listen to her. Not just to the words she is throwing at you, but what's underneath her words. Behind every complaint is a desire in disguise. What is it she's really wanting? In most cases it's to be seen, heard, loved or validated. Any defense from you will most likely activate her defense or need to drive her point home further. If you just allow her to express and acknowledge with your eyes that you're taking her in, eventually a part of her will relax and she will feel complete in knowing that you’re really hearing and getting her at a deep level.
Breathe With Her
In the tantric and yogic traditions breath is considered to be intrinsically linked to the subtle vital force that connects us all. Our breath helps to regulate the sympathetic nervous system or stress response, which often gets triggered at the height of a conflict. Through consciously breathing in sync with your partner it activates mirror neurons in her brain. This will help her shift to a parasympathetic nervous system response, bringing both of you into more coherence with one another.
In some cases, you may not be able to track her breath right away based on how she's interacting with you. What you can do is bring more intention to your own breathing. This will start to move you from a fight or flight state, to a state of calm. It will also strengthen your capacity to be with the intensity of her emotions or your own emotional response, without reacting. As you breathe deeper with your attention on her, trying to sync with her breath, it will give her a sense that you’re feeling her. If you are doing this well and tracking her body, you will often notice that she will sigh or take a deeper breath. The skill of sensing into her emotional experience without energetically leaning in so much that you're losing your groundedness, becoming off-center and disconnected from your own experience, will help her to relax in your presence. Simply having your attention on her, while being present and not caught up in your own feelings or thoughts, will be a settling experience for her. This level of intimacy could even make way for the deeper emotions that lie beneath the surface of her anger or irritation to bubble up. She may move from anger very quickly into tears. Her tears are generally a signifier that she has dropped into her heart. Her body may be more responsive at this time and you can continue to stay right there with her, meeting her inhale and exhale with your breath and awareness.
Touch is a powerful force. For women it can feel like a grounding rod when the movement of energy in their body is going in an upward direction, which is generally what's happening with intense emotions. Artful and conscious touch can pull her out of her head back into her heart and her body, which is the place she most likely prefers to be. Depending on how connected you feel with her and how much confidence or trust you have in yourself, your touch can be bold or even playful. You might try grabbing her and pulling her closer in to you. Not with any agenda or trying to get anything from her, but in service of giving her a physical experience of being held by something larger than her. Being held physically with love creates a container that is a safe space for her nervous system to let go into. You need to know how your woman ticks. Touch in a certain moment could feel like a threat to her. How you move in, even the speed and force that you are moving with makes all the difference.
Generally it’s wise to start with the other practices outlined before moving into physical contact, if you’re unfamiliar with diffusing conflict in this way or you haven’t built that kind of rapport with your woman. Uninvited touch can be confronting in a heated moment, especially for a woman that might have experienced physical abuse in her past. This is why your sensitivity in tuning in to her is essential. You might try reaching for her hand, stroking her face or hair, or even go as far as twirling her in a circle. Of course you really have to be aware of what would really serve her in that moment. This means you need to feel her. Your actions need to be coming from a desire to love and serve her, not from a place of control or manipulation. Feel into what would be in her highest good and act from there. Be forewarned, any timidity around some of these actions will most likely have them backfire and may upset her even worse. You need to trust the wisdom of your body and act without thinking, while accepting failure as a possibility. This kind of confidence in handling her body is more what she’s responding to than the actual moves. Where you come from in your touch, meaning what you're thinking and feeling, will be transmitted right into her body. So these kinds of physical moves require you to have an awareness of her experience and a kind of fearless, yet loving quality to them.
Tell The Truth
As men we often need to face the hard facts that a lot of the things that are upsetting our women are a result of some unconscious behavior on our part. It may seem minor to you, the things she is suddenly blowing up over. But it could be the straw that broke the camels back. It’s often the compounding of many micro breaks in trust over time, that are unresolved in her heart, which leads to an eruption.
A woman's sensitivity is very often more dialed in to us on an emotional level than we are ourselves. It's both the curse and blessing of being in relationship with a highly sensitive creature. If we treat it as a curse we will miss out on an opportunity for the growth and self-awareness that comes from paying attention to this kind of feedback we are getting from our woman. If we treat it as a blessing she will feel more cherished for the gifts that she brings. And you have an opportunity to up-level in a way that will bring you into greater alignment and integrity in all areas of your life. Like I said earlier, not everything she brings to you belongs to you, but when it does, and you learn to own it fully, it's foundational to building trust in your relationship.
Taking full responsibility frees her from needing to nag and monitor you. She can then settle into knowing you are a trustable man that she can count on to be honest. Your transparency around your mistakes and shortcomings might feel hard for you to come to terms with, but know it will be disarming for her. Little things that may not seem like a big deal to you can put a tremendous strain on her ability to feel stability and security in your presence. Safety is the precursor to intimacy. Many women need this depth of intimate connection to keep opening sexually.
All of these skills and practices will create more of a sense of agency in your relationship if you work with them, rather than feeling overwhelmed and victimized by experiences that seem beyond your control you will learn to steer your relation-ship through these stormy waters like a skilled captain.
In any case of holding space for a woman's experience you need a solid sense of self-awareness to discern what does not belong to you. These tools are not about inviting or giving license for her to treat you as a dumping ground for her toxicity, you should never tolerate abuse from her, where you draw that line is up to you. If you're not clear about where that line belongs, it's important for you to have a neutral place: a coach, a counselor or men's group where you can share what's happening in your relationship and get feedback on how to best handle it.