In most of my relationships, the way I’d learned to show up was with my emotions completely shut down. I operated entirely through my head, and I was impervious to my emotional state.

This meant that I was highly efficient, which I thought was the hallmark of success as a human (nevermind success in a relationship).

“Look at everything I am getting done!”, I would shout triumphantly from the mountaintop I imagined myself sitting atop.

While I still had emotions, my story about them was that they were a waste of time or problematic, so they were largely ignored.

At the same time, my partners always with the reciprocal of this pattern. They showed up with what seemed like a surplus of emotions.

Not only did they have emotions, but they were completely awash in them. They had no ability to create any altitude. The way they felt was the sole arbiter of their truth, and further, whatever story they created around their emotions was also the truth.

For example, if they were angry, that was true, but it also meant that whatever the story their anger created (“I’m angry because that person cut me off in traffic, and they did that because they’re selfish”).

Together, my relationships had what I call an uncomfortable balance.

We were balanced because the extent to which I discounted my emotions was the extent to which my partners overly-credited their own.

You are always in this kind of balance, no matter what kind of relationship you’re in.

The extent to which you relate to your partner as selfish is directly proportional to the extent that you are a doormat.

The extent to which you relate to your partner as narcissistic is the extent to which you are dimming your own light and keeping yourself small.

The extent to which your partner is like an anchor, always saying No to everything, is directly proportional to the extent to which you are always a Yes to everything, without regard for how other people may feel.

The bliss in coming to an awareness of this fact is that it turns us back towards our own work and our own medicine.

If you are frustrated by the fact that your partner is overly emotional, you can use that to guide yourself back to discovering more about your own emotions, and starting to disrupt this uneasy balance.

The extent to which you have a complaint about your partner is the extent to which you are oblivious to your own side of the uneasy balance in your relationship.

You can, of course, end the current relationship and go out and seek a new one.

The caveat is, if you’re doing so without addressing your side of the equation, you’ll simply go about unconsciously recreating the same uneasy balance.

Begin to set yourself free: take a look at your complaints about your partner, and see what they may reveal about yourself.