The Black Umbrella syndrome

I’ve learned a great deal through my Life Coaching experience.  Things I didn’t even know I needed to know! So the experience has been enlightening in so many ways!  I do feel far better equipped to deal with a future relationship than if I’d just ‘got over’ the breakdown of my marriage and then – hopefully – found a new one.  Now I know what my needs are!

Stephen (LC) writes a great deal about this aspect of relationships.  Meeting each other’s needs is critical.  The problem I had in the beginning of my coaching experience was I didn’t really have a clue as to what my needs were.

Working this out took time.  What they truly are, rather than what I thought they might be.  Finding out what my needs were from a solid position of being the real me and not from a position of fear where I was trying to be someone I thought Alex wanted me to be.

I can now see that fears can appear when our needs aren’t met but I’m not convinced that it is truly possible to work out what our real needs are when in a ‘fear state’ – too easy to get them wrong!

So if it took me such a long time what about everyone else – does everyone else know?. Because for a relationship to buzz and be passionate I agree with Stephen you each have to meet the other’s needs all the time (or as near to it as you can get!).  And if your partner is not voicing their needs or – doesn’t truly know what they are – then you can both bash on day by day thinking you’re doing everything right for your relationship when actually you’re not because neither of you has clearly stated what you each need from the other.  And actually meeting each other’s needs is fun!!

So why the title of this post?

Well one Christmas many years ago my mother announced that amongst other things, she needed a new umbrella.  My younger brother said he would get her one.  Confident on the ability of her stylish daughter-in-law to choose something lovely and not wishing to be over prescriptive on what umbrella she’d like she said no more.

My mother’s favourite colour was red.  My mother NEVER wore anything black – ever – Brown Yes, Black No! (it really didn’t suit her – at all and she hated it – we all knew that!)

My mother’s old, broken umbrella was a telescopic one – easy to carry in a bag or her favourite shopping basket.

On Christmas morning my mother was given a very ordinary, long handled, BLACK umbrella! (a colour that said daughter-in-law loved!!)

She said nothing at the time but later told me how hurt she felt at what she saw as the lack of effort and thought that had gone into choosing the present.

Actually she saw the funny side of it in the end and it became a joke between a few select friends and members of the family every time one of us was given an unwanted  Christmas present – with questions like “How many black umbrellas did you get this year?”

So I now realise that I was probably getting too many “black umbrellas” on a day by day basis, and not enough “red ones” to be truly happy all the time,  in my marriage.  And I didn’t tell him as I didn’t know I had to.  As for Alex?   I don’t think he knew what colour he wanted – he certainly never told me.

I wish we’d discussed “umbrellas” before it was too late!  I wonder if my older brother and his wife have ever done so?

3 thoughts on “The Black Umbrella syndrome

  1. Hi Caroline. I hope you’re having a fun weekend. Mine is filled with soccer. Two of the granddaughters have games today. I have quite a long drive to get to the second one.

    I love the umbrella story. It makes me wonder how many times I have given someone a gift that I just loved, thinking that because I did, they would too. And I think D and I were both giving each other black umbrellas for a long time. Too bad. Sad.

  2. What a wonderful way of putting things – this is a fab and thought provoking post. Don’t think I will be able to keep my face straight next time I go out with my husband and he puts his brolly up – his is black! (Might tell him you’re story though – now there’s an opportunity)


  3. I’ve NEVER been a fan of JET BLACK umbrellas!!!! Jet black Steinway concert grand pianos? YES!!! But CERTAINLY NOT JET BLACK umbrellas!!! Especially the oversize 47 to 68 inch jet black doorman’s and golf umbrellas!!!!! Anytime I see one of those (To me) TERRIFYING, DARTH VADER like nylon monstrosities open while being carried or left open to dry, I literally FREAK OUT!!!! I start breathing heavily and break out in cold sweats!!!! I told a friend of mine about this and he agrees with me that jet black is certainly NOT the most attractive color for any kind of umbrella!!!!

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