Sometimes we can feel trapped in our relationships. This
may be because we feel we can’t express what we truly
think and feel, or we feel incapable of getting our needs and
In this video and blog I give some personal examples of feeling
suppressed by a partner and then some tips to start creating
more empowered connection.
What is Suppression?
How are we defining suppression? Feeling trapped in our
inner world and unable to express what we truly think and
feel. Feeling incapable of getting our needs and wants met.
The Many Ways I Felt Suppressed in my 1st Marriage
When I was married to my first husband, I felt very suppressed.
Several friendships slipped away because of drama created
in interactions with him.
I left my church due to pressure he put on me for “my childish
dependence on God.” I left this supportive community because
I didn’t know how to stand my ground inside the container of his
He would often criticize my body/weight, and I took his words
to heart because I didn’t accept myself and felt unattractive.
When he tried to prevent me from hanging out with my mom,
I drew the line, “What! She’s my mom. Are you jealous of her?”
I was thinking. She was a vital source of my emotional support,
and I wasn’t going to stand for that.
After we had our daughter, Maddie, our problems continued to
escalate. As I gained more financial independence, I gained
more confidence in my capabilities and trust in myself, that I
no longer wanted to be controlled in this way.
So I asked for a divorce and joint custody. He was adamant,
”Over my dead body!” about splitting custody of Maddie.
So I gave in to his wishes and didn’t fight for her.
I realized much later that I was trying to protect HIM. Though
it may seem insane, that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t want
to punish him because I was the one wanting out of the marriage.
I didn’t feel like I deserved her more than him because I
was the guilty one. I was so suppressed by his beliefs about
who I was, that I conceded custody of Maddie at not even 2
My Loyalty was Misguidedly Given to My Suppressor
I should have been focusing on protecting HER because she
had no voice, but my loyalty was misguidedly given to HIM.
I’ve carried much shame over this decision for the longest time.
It took 11 years, but Maddie came to live with me when she
turned 13 in 2009—no court proceedings or anything. We
worked as a team to visualize the outcome, did some tapping
on our beliefs, and had faith it would happen.
Maddie has since passed away with complications of cystic
fibrosis on 10/26/18. To lose a child is incredibly painful, but
it’s even worse when we carry around the burden of guilt and
shame that we could have done more, that we were selfish,
that somehow we were to blame for how they turned out, in
this case, for her untimely death.
I’ve been playing this Guilt/Shame dance the last 16 months.
Shame and guilt don’t allow us to freely grieve without the burden
of the past. I figured if I gave up the guilt story, I’d be a bad mom.
So I was imprisoned.
What Past Choice Has YOU Imprisoned?
You can apply this thinking to your partner too. What are
you feeling guilty or ashamed about in that relationship OR
from a past relationship, seemingly unrelated?
What feelings are you suppressing? What needs and wants
are you afraid to admit you have? What wound have you
sustained that makes some past choice unforgivable?
When my husband, Steve, asks me to spend quality time
with him (if there is the slightest hint of blaming that I’m
not doing enough of that), what my Shameful One hears is:
”I’m a bad person. I’m not prioritizing my time wisely. I am
selfish and self-protected with my time, and one day I will
regret my choices, just like I did with Maddie.” UGH.
I immediately want to defend myself and…stay stuck.
The opposite of shame is self-forgiveness. So I’ve been doing
a lot of this lately, and it is freeing! We can’t change the past.
My new perspective and words of encouragement:
It’s time to forgive myself and know I was a good mom
to Maddie, good mom to Chelsea, and am a good wife to
Steve. I did and am doing my best. Now is the time to
love and trust myself, give myself permission to
relax about life, truly live, and stop hiding my emotions
and pretending I have it altogether. I am lovable, good
enough, and deserving of a life of joy.
Encouraging words to yourself will always help. For me,
I had to experience this forgiveness in my heart, and then
the words came more easily… and landed.
Ask yourself how it serves you to hold onto the guilt and
shame with your partner (which reflects that you are somehow
I Felt I Deserved to Be Punished for My Poor Choices
For me, I felt I deserved to be punished for giving
custody of Maddie to her dad so long ago. This shameful
decision bled over into my relationship with my husband.
TIP: You Don’t Have to Over-Protect Your Suppressor
TIP: You don’t have to over-protect the suppressor because you
deserve to have the freedom to be you, however that looks–it
doesn’t make you selfish or bad. The ones that stick around your
life are the ones you need and who truly have your back.
Check out more awesome tips on my and Morgan’s YouTube Channel.
I’m very grateful for you!