I am so irritated today.

Polycurious_Adam

Active member
Can anyone reccomend a good callender app for this purpose? Physical things aren't safe around the house. We have a dry erase callendar magnet, on the fridge that the boy hasn't managed to destroy, but he will still just randomly wipe everything off, so that's not reliable either. An app might work, though. If there's a simple one that we can both access and edit. I'm going to look for one right now, let me know if you can save me some time searching!
 

Polycurious_Adam

Active member
I actually didn't realize that google calendar had a whole family functionality like that. Until recently, my schedule has never really been complicated enough to need a calendar, so I never really used one. Now to learn how to apply my positive energy to administrative work. It's time to formalize some stuff.
 

Inaniel

Active member
Inaniel, thank you for checking my confidence. I don't want to disregard the way I've behaved. I just feel like I understand how I got to that point, and I am perfectly capable of keeping it from happening again.

You have made a lot of progress and grown a lot, im not trying to deny you that. In fact I encourage you to stay the course and not become complacent. We always have more work to do on ourselves.

God, how many guys use the "baby, I've changed" line? I know those words are empty until I have a track record to back it up. I'll try not to jump to the assumption that choosing to forgive myself will make everything okay, but I need that self-forgiveness, or I'll always run the risk of a hurtful outburst.

Absolutely. Guilt is a nasty beast. You owe it to yourself and those around you to forgive yourself. You owe it to yourself and those around you to manage and eventually overcome the guilt you feel.

I will need her to acknowledge that the decision to stay with me was hers.

???

"Or else I will __________"

Leave her?

I will need her to acknowledge that the decision to stay with me was hers.

???

"Before I can _________"

Take responsibility for my part?
Acknowledge her experience?

If the conversation goes something like:

Ms Fisher: "You did xyz to me in the past!"
Adam: "It was your decision to stay with me!"

It is a tit for tat style of conflict that does not go anywhere... This is not how conflicts get solved.

Where does your need for her acknowledgement come from? How are you letting this "need" impede your own growth and recovery?

Your acknowledgment, your responsibility
Her acknowledgement, her responsibility

The two don't have to coincide, and need not impede one another. That is were ego and stubbornness enter the equation...

Only YOU can:
Continue your journey of self-forgiveness
Take full responsibility for your own actions
Acknowledge Ms FIsher's experience

Those things are not Ms Fisher's responsibilities, they are your responsibilities. If you need Ms. Fisher to concede something to you before you can give her any of the above, you are pushing your own responsibilities onto Ms Fisher.
 
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Polycurious_Adam

Active member
You should make needles with those fine points.

I can't tell you all how grateful I am for your support here. I can come in here and say all the things I want to say without fear of destroying something beautiful. You guys tear down my BS like piranhas on a chicken leg! I'm looking forward to being able to tell her what I'm feeling without that fear, but until then, I feel safe here to get a perspective.

Inaniel, thank you for explicitly completing my veiled threats. I didn't realize that's what they were. If I had tried to approach her as I was planning, I would have hurt her feelings, and it wouldnt help anything. I guess I just need some time to deal with it. Goes well with needing time to build a track record more representative of my renewed commitment to being a better person.

I really made a mess of things with this one. I completely missed the point of the argument, and while I did the right thing by walking away when I started getting heated, I came back to the conversation too soon. I had not yet regained my wits. I was still combative, I was just being quiet about it. I need to be more patient with myself when I'm riding out a volatile emotional response. It only feels urgent. I can take the time to cool down between chapters, even if that takes a couple of days. And I think I will recognize the onset of my irrational state, before I start shouting next time. I actually tremble when it happens. Now to manifest the intent to recognize it in the moment and interrupt myself from acting out of habit or impulse.

Humaning is hard sometimes.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
It only feels urgent. I can take the time to cool down between chapters, even if that takes a couple of days.

That is something to learn to discern.
  • Important AND urgent. (Everyone get out! The house is actually on fire!!!)
  • Important. But not urgent. (I have to talk to partner about X. But I can wait to cool off. Even a few days. It might FEEL ugh to sit with discomfort, but it is not like actual house on fire.)
  • Urgent. But not important. ( I have to pee, but I don't like this gas station bathroom. I can wait to be done filling up the car, and use the grocery bathroom when I drive across the street to get grocery.)
  • Not urgent. Not important. (Junk mail on the counter. Not gonna kill anyone if it stays there a few days til recycle.)
Galagirl
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
"Kitchen sinking" during an argument! My ex husband did that to a ridiculous degree. Unfortunately, I didn't understand emotional overload back then. If he and I were having an argument about how I "didn't respect him," or didn't care about our relationship enough, or didn't actually love him, etc. (none of which was true, btw, they were just feelings he had because of his low self esteem), he'd go on and on, and finally bring up the time when our kids were very young, and I used to give them rides on top of our old portable dishwasher to hook it up to the sink. It was one of the ways I got to do a bit of housework with 3 small rugrats underfoot. One time I rolled the dishwasher across, and I didn't realize one of the casters on the base had bent, probably from the excess weight of a kid or 2 on top of it. The edge of it scratched our newly-installed vinyl flooring.

Yes, it was a brand new floor. Yes, it had been an effort to pick the floor out when our kids barely ever gave us 5 minutes to have an adult conversation. Whatever! I called the flooring company right away, and the guy repaired the cut to where you couldn't even see it. I apologized to my h at the time, (oopsie!) and moved on in my life, caring for 3 needy small kids. Ex h fixed the caster on the dishwasher.

My ex h would bring up that incident every time we had a fight, to prove I didn't care about him, well into the future, 15 or more years later! We didn't even live in that house anymore. The toddlers were teenagers. I'd forgiven myself for the mistake on the day the floor was repaired. He'd never forgiven me for forgiving myself. He sure didn't forgive me. He never forgave me. And he used that as a tool in his "this proves you don't respect me" toolbox for a decade and a half. It was almost laughable.

One more reason he's my ex.

Back then, I didn't know it was OK to walk away from an argument when one or both of us got emotionally flooded. If I'd known it was OK to do that, I probably could've saved myself from the "floor scratch proves you don't love me" sob story a couple dozen times haha. I thought it was rude to walk away from an argument while one of us didn't feel things were fully resolved. Like GG's mother, I felt we had to get to "the truth." Live and learn!
 

Polycurious_Adam

Active member
I have to get better at telling the difference between kitchen sinking and relevant statements that I'm just being resistant to, or just not picking up. I know that effective listening should clue me in, but when I'm focused on something particular, like a boundary I want to explain, or a specific point I want to make, I'll miss her focus change and see what she's saying as irrelevant. In the moment, it just feels like she's changing the subject because she can't argue with what I'm saying. All too often though, I just miss something and it comes across as willfully disregarding what she said. I'm thinking of asking for a slower pace when we discuss a disagreement, so I don't fly off the road when we turn a corner.

I want to have confidence in my convictions, but it comes across as arrogance.
(I think I am right often enough to justify my confidence, and I can admit when I'm wrong, if it's effectively communicated.)

I want to express my wants and needs, but it comes across as making demands.
(I don't expect her to be able to meet all of those wants and needs.)

I want to be able to point out when Ms Fisher's behaviors are having a negative impact on me, but it comes across as an attack.
(I have the same issue when my actions are in question.)

This is very much a random dump of things in my head right now. I'm not trying to make any points, just examining my perspective.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Adam, I hear you. These are the kinds of things a good counselor can help with. She can be a mediator to make sure you are both feeling heard, instead of "talked over" to avoid knowing they can't deny your point. She can help you with meta-communication skills like using "I statements," being non-accusatory, etc. She can even recommend medications through a MD, if needed.

In my case, my ex was very invested in the idea that he was "low man on the totem pole" as compared to our kids. Of course, every mature parent should put their kids' needs first (especially when they are very young). But in his case, he was the first born, and his mom had another child every 2 years after that, 4 more kids, so he was forced to be the "big boy" too much too soon, and was neglected emotionally. Even though he was aware that this childhood trauma was still affecting how he felt in our marriage, he couldn't let go of it. Our therapist told him she could see I loved him, expressed it in many ways, did and said all the right loving and caring things. He couldn't feel it. He always needed/wanted more. He was so stuck in this headspace, after a year of weekly sessions, our therapist let him go. (I continued to go individually for 2 more years.)

People who are stuck feel this need to frame themselves as unloved or unlovable, disrespected, controlled, etc., depending on the trauma they underwent as kids, and the archaic coping skills they cling to. Sometimes they can learn to "see the light" with skilled support. Sometimes they refuse to change. I think my ex's ego was (is) so weak, he was afraid of losing himself completely if he changed. I realized our relationship was going nowhere. I'd changed, and he had not, would not, could not. It took a few more years (I was so determined to be loyal and "try everything" first), but eventually I had to let go.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I have to get better at telling the difference between kitchen sinking and relevant statements that I'm just being resistant to, or just not picking up. I know that effective listening should clue me in, but when I'm focused on something particular, like a boundary I want to explain, or a specific point I want to make, I'll miss her focus change and see what she's saying as irrelevant.

Sounds like you know when you are not actively listening for understanding.

You are busy in your head thinking what you are going to say next.

So if you want to be a better listener, you have to actually practice active listening.

If you really are dealing with an unmanaged bipolar patient, active listening ALONE won't solve all the things. You may have to seek medical help.

I'm thinking of asking for a slower pace when we discuss a disagreement, so I don't fly off the road when we turn a corner.

Slower pace is good.

Could also say "Wait. Let me repeat what I understand so far in my own words so I get it how you mean it. You correct me if I get it wrong...."

Or ask "Ok. Could you please repeat back what I just said in your own words so I can know you got it how I meant it?"

I want to have confidence in my convictions, but it comes across as arrogance.
(I think I am right often enough to justify my confidence, and I can admit when I'm wrong, if it's effectively communicated.)

Well, HOW do you say things?

I want to express my wants and needs, but it comes across as making demands.

Again... HOW do you say things?

Because something like "I would like ____. Could you please be willing to do that?" is a request. It is not a demand. They can say "no."

If people take that as a demand? That's their brain machine flying wonky, not me doing mean things to them.

I want to be able to point out when Ms Fisher's behaviors are having a negative impact on me, but it comes across as an attack.
(I have the same issue when my actions are in question.)

Sounds like both of you are quick to take things personally.

Why do you want to point stuff out? For what purpose? Is there another way to solve it?

My dad does the same thing -- takes unsolicited feedback on his behaviors as a personal attack. He's super vain, super sensitive, and lacks empathy for others. I also get the vibe that as a child he was "shamed into behaving" or "guilted into behaving" a lot. So old buttons get pushed if I take that kind of approach or he perceives that I'm doing that even if I'm not.

I find it easier to just skip the "feelings stuff" with him and move on to "behaviors" I want to see from him. I deal with my feelings around his care with other people, not him. Result? I have a way easier time with him that anyone else.

I just note when behavior X he is doing is impacting me negatively.

I would not really care to discuss or process my feelings with him if he's busy being Mr Angry Bear. Does that change the behavior that bothers me? Nope. It's like going off on some side track conversation. My Mr Angry Bear is too angry to listen to that. IME, he just gets madder if I throw MORE things on the pile. He gets overwhelmed and then the anger will come out aimed at me because he thinks I'm the one piling on more stuff. And I would be.

Instead? I just request a different behavior. Skip the talking and get on to actions. "Could you please be willing to ____?" He either is or isn't.

If he is and changes to a new behavior? There. My problems get solved. He's doing something else now and not bugging me.

And if he's not willing to do the new action behavior? Well, I asked and tried to connect/collaborate.

I'm ok with my train leaving the station at that point and just moving on to deal with whatever it is by myself. He can sit around fretting on his own. I can leave the room to cool off and solve the thing. Or cool off and just wait til next opportunity to address this.

There's no cure for him. Only management, so some of this stuff just circles back around. Like I said, there is no such thing as "cow free" here. All I can do is try to help him manage so there's smaller cows, spread further apart.

Take from that whatever is helpful in your situation.

Galagirl
 
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Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Sounds like you know when you are not actively listening for understanding.

You are busy in your head thinking what you are going to say next.

So if you want to be a better listener, you have to actually practice active listening.

If you really are dealing with an unmanaged bipolar patient, actively listening ALONE won't solve the things. You may have to seek medical help.



Slower pace is good.

Could also say "Wait. Let me repeat what I understand so far in my own words so I get it how you mean it. You correct me if I get it wrong...."

Or ask "Ok. Could you please repeat back what I just said in your own words so I can know you got it how I meant it?"



Well, HOW do you say things?



Again... HOW do you say things?

Because something like "I would like ____. Could you please be willing to do that?" is a request. It is not a demand. They can say "no."

If people take that as a demand? That's their brain machine flying wonky, not me doing mean things to them.



My dad does the same thing. He's super vain, super sensitive, and lacks empathy for others. I find it easier to just skip the "feelings stuff" with him and move on to "behaviors" I want to see from him. I deal with my feelings around his care with other people, not him. Result? I have a way easier time with him that anyone else.

I just note that whatever behavior X he is doing is impacting me negatively. I would not really care to discuss or process my feelings with him if he's busy being Mr Angry Bear.

Does that change the behavior that bothers me? Nope. It's like some side track conversation. My Mr Angry Bear is too angry to listen. IME, he just get madder if I throw MORE things on the pile. He gets overwhelmed and then the anger will come out aimed at me because he thinks I'm the one piling on more stuff. And I would be.

Instead? I just request a different behavior. Skip the talking and get on to actions. "Could you please be willing to ____?" He either is or isn't.

And if he's not? Well, I asked and tried to connect/collaborate.

I'm ok with my train leaving the station at that point and just moving on to deal with whatever it is by myself.

Take from that whatever is helpful in your situation.

Galagirl
Yes, these active listening skills and "I statements" are examples of what a therapist can explain, model and, importantly, reinforce.
 

HaloOnFire

Active member
That is something to learn to discern.
  • Important AND urgent. (Everyone get out! The house is actually on fire!!!)
  • Important. But not urgent. (I have to talk to partner about X. But I can wait to cool off. Even a few days. It might FEEL ugh to sit with discomfort, but it is not like actual house on fire.)
  • Urgent. But not important. ( I have to pee, but I don't like this gas station bathroom. I can wait to be done filling up the car, and use the grocery bathroom when I drive across the street to get grocery.)
  • Not urgent. Not important. (Junk mail on the counter. Not gonna kill anyone if it stays there a few days til recycle.)
Galagirl


Honestly, I would love to print this out and stick it on the wall somewhere. The fridge would be the best place since it is used more frequently. :p

Thank you, so so much for this!
 
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