Some few days ago, I was giving a lift by some young couple. It was such a quiet drive. No one was talking so I engaged myself with reading. Later, the lady turned to my direction and said Sir, why cant men read our minds?. I was stunned by the question. Before I could answer, the gentleman also said Sir, don’t mind her. Its same with women. They cant also read your mind even when you give them clues with your body language.
‘Why is the couple talking about reading their minds but not interested in speaking their minds? They are in fact performing magic in their home’. I thought to myself. No wonder they have remained speechless in the car since the ride. Everyone wants to be read.
The truth is, not everyone finds it easy expressing their feelings. Men may have the hardest time expressing their emotions though. We all at one time or another in our lives may find it difficult to say how we feel.
Learning why we sometimes have a greater challenge expressing ourselves can go a long way into changing that behaviour. Saying how you feel is something you can learn and must learn.
Most of us grew up in homes where the expression of thoughts and feelings was totally discouraged and condemned. To request a toy was to ask for a long lecture on the sad state of family’s finances. The child went away feeling guilty for having the desire, and he quickly learns not to express his desires. I still remember the knock I was given by mum when I requested for Maltina (a malt drink) instead of Fanta in one of my uncle’s house when we visited.
A child’s expression
A child’s expression of anger is reacted to with the parent’s harsh and condemning words. The child learns that expressing anger is not appropriate. If the child was made to feel guilty for expressing disappointment in his father for failing to give him a promised item, he learns to hold his disappointments inside. The child is terrified by rejection and ends up alone that he would rather swallow his emotion than take the chance of making the family mad at him. By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have learnt to deny and shelve our feelings. We are no longer in touch with our emotional selves. We have an excessive need to please people and to meet what we perceive to be their expectations.
We become afraid to admit that we are angry, hurt, or resentful because we do not want to feel guilty after expressing how we feel or felt about other people’s actions and inactions.
We tend to believe that we are not permitted to express our feelings or to ask others for what we want. We think we should always please individual’s and meet their expectations.
We believe that others should know how we feel and what we need (while we have not revealed what we need). The assumption that individual’s close to you can “divine” what you need provides an excuse to engage in non-disclosure, and thereafter, to feel resentful because people do not appear to care about your needs.
If there is something your partner ought to know, I urge you to verbalize it. Taking pride in controlling your emotions and experiencing hurt or resentment does not support clear and functional communication in any relationship. Talk how you feel. Don’t expect him to read your mind.
Mr. Evans Baffoe
Editor: Emmanuella Oduro Appiah