The romantic adage “opposites attract” often plays out in real-life couples. One common pair of opposites is Emotional Expressers and Emotional Suppressers. The danger in this relationship is that the Expresser can easily become the guardian—and garbage collector—of all the emotional energy generated in the partnership.
To picture an Expresser/Suppressor relationship, imagine the couple as two cylinders side by side with a connecting conduit at the bottom. Anything poured into one cylinder will flow through the conduit and eventually fill both containers. As you can imagine, Expressers clear their cylinders regularly by being aware of their feelings and dealing with them. Expressers empty their trash. Suppressors often don’t even know they have trash and simply squash their feelings into their containers until the energy is forced through the conduit into their partner’s cylinder. Without conscious awareness, an Expresser can begin carrying both her own and her partner’s emotional energy. Because we Expressers are often caretakers, emptying our partner’s trash can feel noble and helpful at first. But it quickly grows exhausting and frustrating.
If you feel tapped out, overloaded, used, or are being labeled “too emotional,” you may be allowing your mate to stuff unresolved feelings and emotions in your personal cylinder. Time to close the conduit and handle only your own emotional/feeling energy. Take a moment to visualize the conduit between your two cylinders. Remove the conduit by whatever means comes to you and carefully patch the holes left in both containers. I put strong heart patches over mine. Thank the conduit for its work, and ask that its energy be transformed and transmuted into energy that is good for the Whole and release it to Source.
Be gentle with yourself and your mate if this scenario rings true for you. None of it was done maliciously or even consciously. Now that you know the pattern, you can change it. You can embrace the idea that loving your mate is your job, but taking out your mate’s garbage or feeling for them is not.
A good way to start changing the pattern and closing the conduit is to stop trying to fix anything for your partner. Pay attention and be interested if they fume or ask for advice, but don’t give it. As my teacher Mary Bell says, “I just say to my hubby, ‘Hmmmm, that’s interesting. I don’t know what I’d do. What do you think?’”
Although I’ve used the metaphor of a romantic relationship here, the Expresser/Suppressor dynamic can also play out in other relationships.
During your day...
Close or re-close any conduits bringing unwanted energy your way.
Gently be aware of your own emotional energy and lovingly tend to it.
Own your own stuff and be careful not to step in someone else’s.