Your right to self-expression.
There can be a price for nice – is at the expense of your self-expression?
“But she’s supposed to be a nice lady, nice ladies aren’t supposed to get angry?”
The conversation proceeded, “ so, are you telling me that ladies aren’t ‘nice’ if they get angry?” The answer was in the affirmative. This way of thinking isn’t mainstream but it’s still a view many hold.
Gender stereotyping, pre-conceived ideals relating to gender, attitudes and behaviours are slowly changing. Thinking back to my childhood I can remember my mother reciting the poem:
Little boys are made of:
Snips and snails & puppy dogs tails
Little girls are made of
Sugar and spice and all things nice
(incidentally, the old version was ‘snigs’ instead of snips. Snigs refers to eels).
Male and female stereotypes
Boys were meant to be tough, allowed to get into scrapes, play with toy soldiers and be protectors of girls. In contrast, girls were encouraged to engage in more feminine pursuits, play out family life, pretend at raising a child, playing dress-ups, using dolls which cried and ate. And I might add, perform all manner of realistic bodily functions. Girls also copied their mothers by preparing meals and general domestic chores.
Today, this way of thinking will probably horrify some, and others will say, “what’s wrong with that?”
The idea behind this article is to try and explain the inequity between males and females regarding healthy self-expression.
I’ve found that a number of women are reluctant or more guarded when expressing their anger. When questioned why?
“because I tend to keep it inside, bottle it up, I was always told as a child not to get angry, it’s very un-lady like.”
Imagine going through life not being able to express certain feelings for fear of offending someone, how damaging that must be, storing all that anger inside. Likened to a bottle of fizzy drink being shaken and shaken so much it eventually explodes.
Have you ever been labelled aggressive?
Is it any wonder women’s mental health issues are far higher than men’s?
As a women, if you’ve openly expressed your anger, have you ever been labelled: aggressive, hostile, neurotic, selfish, unfeminine or a cranky bitch? Whereas, on the other hand, for your partner it’s okay for him to get angry, because it’s generally accepted that it’s part of him being a man.
So there is a price for being nice. If you would rather keep quiet, not having the ability for healthy self-expression, voicing your anger for fear of offending or upsetting somebody, where do you draw the line? Do you stifle other emotions like excitement, sadness, guilt, shame or pain? Is this because it’s likely to make someone else feel uncomfortable because you’re embracing your true self?
If this has been another pattern which you’ve chosen to adopt over the years or from early.childhood, maybe it’s time to change?
Is your partner invested in you staying the same?
Yes, you will get push-back, that’s inevitable. Remember, your partner has a huge investment in you staying the same. What does the ‘same’ look like? Silence, vagueness, being subservient, unheard, ineffectively fighting back until you get to the point of rage?
Wouldn’t life be easier and simpler if you kept the status quo? Maybe, but for only a short period of time, until you started to question yourself again.
What are the options? We’ve mentioned remaining silent, but that doesn’t work. The act of de-selfing to preserve harmony just betrays your true self. Flying into a rage and feeling remorseful and guilty after, that’s that’s totally ineffective. If what you’re trying to do is get the other person to change, the above tactics will only lead to them becoming further entrenched.
Self-Expression is conducive with mutuality and co-creation, getting back to a ‘we’.
Invest in you, you’re worth the effort, for you and for your relationship
.N.B. Not discounting males experiences, who have also suffered at the hands of an oppressive partner, by their controlling or overbearing ways.
The process will be challenging, but we’re talking about changing potentially a lifetime of bad habits. If you’re ready to embark on this life changing process, please give me a call or send and email.