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Focus Pocus
November 7, 2001
11:03 am
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Been thinking again. This time about being happy which I realized I'm not a lot of the time.
I had a discussion with my significant other last night and it didn't go the way I'd planned or the way I'd wanted and that made me angry and unhappy and of course I acted out before I could stop myself and I back slid into that resentful, sullen child that has been showing her face a lot in our relationship lately and the discussion once again ended in an argument. To both our credits, I didn't end up screaming like a banshee and he didn't result in physical violence but it's safe to say that we both went to sleep last night without warm and fuzzy feelings toward the other person (sigh).
I love walking/jogging with my dogs in the pre-dawn hours because that's when I do my best thinking--and I did some moderately OK thinking this morning and when my s.o. woke up I apologized for my angry and childish responses and he apologized for not listening and validating my opinion. So for the moment we are OK with each other. What will happen with this relationship remains to be seen but that's not the issue as I see it.
The issue as I see it is my perspective on life--the only thing I can truly change.
I am the one to blame for my own unhappiness.
I can control nothing except my own thoughts and actions. Not easy sometimes but it's my job and no one elses. Life will continually rewrite my script so I guess that I better learn to roll with it joyfully instead of sulking in a corner,whining.
I need this tatooed on my forhead so that when I look in the mirror I can remember and then maybe I'll have half a chance to build the life I want instead of feeling powerless
and out of control and at the mercy of others.
My recipe for well being--if I am not in a safe place--move to one--get away from danger. If I am not healthy--do what I can to get healthy--rest,exercise, eat well. If I am not happy--focus on myself and what I can change-- and leave the rest to God.
Oh and if my cake falls when I pull it out of the oven--I get to eat it anyway because it's mine all mine.
Artist:)

November 7, 2001
11:42 am
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Ladeska
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Very well said...very proud of you and I know how hard this is, believe me. I don't know how old you are, but figure you're pretty young and it's especially hard for young people to do.

I think the healthier you get by doing the things you mentioned - the more apparent some answers will become to you about the relationship. So, I would just encourage you to stay committed to doing these things. You can change quite a bit and the more you see that - the more enabled to change it - you will become. We don't have to be paralyzed in situations. That's the worst thing we can do and dancing just for the sake of engaging - isn't good either. It's a cycle we get into that really accomplishes nothing except enforce the unhealthy pattern.

So, start blasting out and shaking up the pattern. Do what you can to go against it and see what happens. If you used to sit and sulk - don't. Make yourself do something very different even if it doesn't feel right.

If you used to continue bantering with him - just all of a sudden stop in mid-stream and go - ya know, I'm going out for ice cream now, just because....check ya later.

I tell people alot, who are involved with abusive people that one good way to start stepping out of it - is for you to control the conversation as to - when it ends. So many grown daughters will hang on the phone with their abusive moms until the mom is ready to end the conversation. I say - just set a limit as to how long is comfortable for you and then stop it. You be the one that stops it. Gotta go, need to attend to dinner, need to blow my nose, whatever.... Just a good exercise in feeling what's like to have that control in your court and not feel like you need to explain why - you're ending it. It's none of their business why.... And that's the place you need to come to with this significant other in your life and anyone else that is busting your boundaries or is unhealthy for you. You don't owe them a computer printout on how your mind works. That is private. If you need to have a boundary - it's none of their business - why. No. 1 - if you have need of the boundary - that means whatever they are doing - is offensive to you - so even more - they don't have the right to know anything except there's the boundary - don't cross it, thank you very much.

We give way too much of our power away and squander it as well - by going round and round in vicious circles. So, stop giving it out and keep it for you and continue on the path you are on. (smile) Sometimes beating the dead horse with someone simply means...the horse is dead.

November 7, 2001
11:44 am
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Molly
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right on.

November 7, 2001
12:50 pm
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Thanks for calling me young--although it's not true. I am just really inexperienced when it comes to dealing with my "stuff" --probably because I have lived by denial river for the last 51 years.
I'm a lot like my female rottweiler--I'm really smart once you get my attention--it's getting my attention that's a bitch. What is going on in my current relationship has got my attention.
I don't want to believe that he is abusive. I know that he is strongly opinionated ,highly intelligent,has quite a bit of schooling and is a take charge kind of guy. Sometimes his opinions are too strong for my tastes and he will attempt to take control given any opportunity.
He is generous and has done a lot for me. We argue(and I usually start it) when I feel he has over stepped his bounds. I was raised by a controlling mother and I do resent authority(he and I have discussed this many times).
He has many fine qualities and a great sense of humor. I truly think I love him--it's just some things drive me up a wall and I have had trouble getting through my own issues and dealing with what is going on between us calmly. In my own way, I think that I abuse him. So, maybe this is a justification--I don't know but I don't want to give up the good parts of our relationship if we are just going through a bad patch. I've always walked away in other relationships when things got uncomfortable or life wasn't going the way I planned. I don't want to give up until I am absolutely sure this horse is dead.
Artist

November 7, 2001
4:31 pm
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Ladeska
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Well....then you just have to keep hammering away trying "new" kinds of communication approaches. Don't try the same ones for crying outloud. They don't work! So, those horses are definitely dead. But, you both have to be willing to go on this little journey. Doesn't have to be nasty either. Can be rather fun because you are "learning".

I think the No. 1 thing you have to find out here is - how do things get to this point of this much anger. What are the steps that lead up to this? I'm listening....

November 7, 2001
5:21 pm
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Ladeska
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Thought I would help the process along a little here....(pushy broad, aren't I?) *smile*

When conflicts arise -

Identify - what position is each one standing in? Who is the accuser and who is the defendant? Make mental note of who’s who...and who's usually who - on a regular basis.

If that is the positioning that’s going on then proceed to ask yourself - if accusing is going on then the talk needs to stop there and go no further - because nothing will be accomplished. The one that is aimed at will take a defensive stance and war will ensue which means no one will be listening to each other. All that will happen is one will listen long enough to start the ball rolling as to how will I rebuff that statement and on it will go...yada, yada. People won't be listening, they'll be thinking of their next retort.

So, how intelligent are you? If the person accusing stops and looks at this for what it most definitely is - then you have to acknowledge there is no hope of understanding, solving a problem or anyone listening to anyone else. So, why do it? Good question.

The only time you “accuse” is when the door is about to be slam shut permanently about something and you're giving someone the verdict, end of story and there is no need for a conversation about much of anything. You know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that - this is the way it is, as you see it and your consequent boundary is announced and that’s pretty much it. As in - "you are a drunk and I won't let you back in my house when you are drinking. No discussion." You are accusing and you are stating a boundary. Truth may hurt but at this point, that's not the issue. The issue is - I am protecting myself from you and that's that.

But to exact your will over another one when things need to be worked out by bullying and accusing isn’t a fair fight and anyone doing that is lying straight out if they say different. Then the relationship isn’t a democracy or a partnership - it’s a dictatorship - governed by whoever has the stick in their hand - that’s assuming the position of the accuser.

So right off the bat - this won’t work and to be astounded because it doesn’t work from this point on is definitely significant because it says - after a person has read this and still continues to do it - RED FLAG. A relationship is a one-way street with this person and should be terminated.

There are ways to approach something that will bring both people to the table and if a person is willing to do that, then this means they are willing to have a two-way street. If you’d like for me to post these things, I’ll be glad to.

We are human beings, which means we have more intelligence than a couple of pit bulls, so we should act like it. It’s nuts that anyone has to be reminded of this but when it’s in print it’s not so easy to avoid.

No. 1 - if we profess to love and honor and respect the other person - we don’t do the “one-way approach to anything”. Period. End of story. Actions always speak the heart I always say, so time to identify the actions after everything has been clearly laid out, then it will be obvious who wants to move on and who doesn’t. It should also be obvious who operates in love and who is totally self-centered regardless of what is laid out in front of them. A person who is worth their salt will be glad to be put under the light of accountability. The person who gets puffed up about it - isn’t interested in anything except - “being right” at the expense of the person they supposedlly....love, and that one trait, my friend - should never be okay with anyone. If you don’t respect you, then they certainly won’t. Won’t you allow - you invite with open arms, so don’t be surprised when it moves in and takes up permanent residence.

Feel free to show this to whoever you have conflict with. You won’t move on until you identify the problem and if both are doing it - hey.....if the fhue shits - wear it and be accountable to one another and G>>>R>>>O>>>W. It really doesn’t hurt that much. It HURTS when we don’t grow....

November 7, 2001
6:03 pm
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Ladeska
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Figured I'd post this anyways, without you asking (smile)...

When someone has a grievance with the other person -

No. 1 - you are facing a person you claim to...love. Therefore, if you go to them with "anything less than" genuine respectfulness - that is mindful of tone of voice, body posture and the overall way in which you present things - then you don’t love them at all - period.

A person that really loves another - respects them and is very mindful... They don’t say things to hurt them intentionally, they don’t say things they can’t take back, and they don’t slam them into their walls so bad that they are so confused and hurt - they couldn’t communicate if they wanted to.

This is not love and if anyone feels differently - then at the very least you are quite deceived and deceitful and most probably the person who you profess to love is rather deceived as well.

You approach a person you love - being aware of how you are in your speech, your tone, your attitude in general. You don’t have to kiss their butt by any means - but having your head a little lower to the ground in a position of honor - isn’t about kissing butt. Fact is - a truly strong person has no problem doing this because their ego isn’t over-inflated (indicating total lack of real self esteem, btw) and they can afform to be full of grace and are totally approachable.

You don’t start your sentences with....

You should.....
You never.....
You always....
I don’t care how you feel about it......
Why don’t you.....
I don’t want to hear....
You’re nothing but a....

Etc., etc.....

You do start your sentences with.....

I feel that....
I understand that.....
This makes me uncomfortable when....
I am in pain when....
I am open to....
I am listening....

Short list of both, but I’m sure you get my drift.

When there is conflict about something and both feel passionate about it - sometimes the best thing to do is to say....

I’d like to just share with you how I feel. I’m not attacking you, just telling you my feelings. Maybe you could just think about it for awhile and then come back to me later with your thoughts and I will listen then to you and spend time away thinking about it also.

That puts someone in a position immediately of - not being defensive and as long as one remains in check on how their feelings are worded - it should be received a lot better than railing at one another. It’s the way of - respect. And it honors the other person. Gives them the time to mull things over and gives them their space. Then you leave it with them and don’t nag them about it.

But, the minute that slamming starts - one person should have enough whatever - to put a stop to it and go - NO, this isn’t productive - we’re just lashing out and we’re not listening, so I’m pulling out of this. Then the other person is left to - railing at themselves and you don’t have an argument because - it takes two.

We aren’t helpless, we just allow that. We can do quite a bit to correct things. It’s all about - what you will allow in your life and what you won’t. If you leave the barn door open to whatever - then don’t cry like a baby when the big bad wolf comes in take whatever from you.

If you want me to go on with this, I will - otherwise - I really will shut up this time. (smile)

November 8, 2001
8:20 am
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Thanks , Ladeska--I will definitely print this out for myself and to share with my significant other.
How do things get to this point you asked.

I think for me, I have been conditioned to hold in feelings of resentment--when anyone in my family did or said any thing I didn't like or if I wanted to do something that I believed that someone else would dislike--I learned that open talk just lead to conflict and disapproval so I have a tendency to take the cowards way out and hold in things when I feel I've been disappointed or that I will disappoint people important to me if I express a different opinion. But the resentment doesn't go away and I think I have a backlog of unaddressed bad feelings toward my significant other--things that I didn't have the guts to talk about that are coming out in very nasty ways and he has his own issues with anger--which to his credit--he controls pretty well most of the time. I truly think that he is far better at that than I.
The attributes of love that you were mentioning were not what I learned at home. Respect was not given--hurtful words were always said and monologues of abusive, controlling, manipulative ideas were always finished with. "I'm only saying this because I love you."
That being said, I see that I have MUCH work to do.

I am a very insecure person--this relationship has challenged me to grow in many good ways. Most of the time, I like who I am when I am with him.He is very supportive of my goals but sometimes it's like living with my mother all over again.
I need to reflect on all that you've said before I go on. He doesn't want me to leave, he just wants the fighting to stop and so do I--this damn bat is getting way too heavy.
How intelligent am I? Well , I guess it's time I found out. You've said all I think I can process for the time being--if I need more, I'll let you know. Thanks.

November 8, 2001
10:46 am
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Ladeska
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It's hard to undo patterns, to be willing to go back and rip up the floor and lay a new one. However, it is not impossible. Everything is work and uses our energy, especially beating ourselves with the bat someone put in our hands a long time ago. Your will wasn't involved then - you just did it because of the conditioning. However - now your will does need to be involved and the energy you spend doing it the wrong way - put towards doing the healthy way. Actually you end up spending less energy because this way is - life giving, not destructive.

So, I'll let you be for now and just give a holler when you want to chat some more. Even when I work with people in person, I like to give them things to read because they can read them in their own space, at their own leisure and then come back to me when they need more or have put things into practice and want to discuss it.

I tend to think that doing these things makes us feel alive. If we can hurt ourselves in order to feel alive then I think we can do this and have a much better outcome and reward in the feeling dept., as well. We just have to get past the learning curve of saying - No, no, I want the poison, turn back, turn back...(smile)

November 8, 2001
1:49 pm
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Molly
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Artist, you said a very key thing,"most of the time its like living with my mother all over again"
I didn't know until I had married my mother the second time, and I learned in school during the second marriage, that we usually marry the parent we are most incomplete with!!!!! I also managed to create a daughter just like her. Thus the pattern continues. Very difficult to love, or be loved by.
Communication styles are interesting, came from one of those houses where a duck gets called a duck, discuss it, debate it, celebrate it or kill it, both husbands came from homes where you don't acknowledge the duck far less mention it.

November 8, 2001
2:47 pm
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Thanks, Molly--more food for thought--I'm making a copy of "Just Words", too.
In my house,--whoever brought the duck in the house got screamed at and told how stupid they were for bringing a duck in the house because a duck would make a mess,--then the person who got screamed at felt bad and got mad in return at the person who screamed at them but couldn't tell that person because that person was still screaming and wouldn't listen--so they got mad at the duck for being in the house even though they themselves had brought the duck in the house but--they couldn't take that anger out on a poor defenseless duck so they internalized it were it sat for a very long time and festered. Sounds like a fractured fairy tale to me. Thanks, Molly

November 11, 2001
7:21 am
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A Focus Pocus update. I took home a printed version of this thread to discuss with my significant other. We had a discussion after I read it to him and I was able to stop the discussion when I heard "the accusation formula" you described Ladeska. It was great --it stopped the accusation and allowed me to tell my significant other that I was hurt by what he had said and allowed me to vent my feelings AT THE MOMENT THEY HAPPENED instead of holding them in and allowing them to fester. It made me feel strong and confident to do it. I was able to discuss instead of scream.
I think it helped to open his eyes as to how he speaks to me. I am doing my best to pay attention to our interactions because I think that is the only thing that will lead me to the truth about myself and our relationship.
We had a disagreement again last night but it went a lot better than it ever had before--we both made an effort to be calm and use our heads and stay respectful of the other person.
The situation is still difficult. I have a lot of things to work through before I decide what to do about the relationship but you have helped me find some solid tools to use and I am eternally greatful.Thanks.
Oh, sorry about my "duck" story Molly
I was joking in away but that IS what would have happened in my home--but in psychology the duck is supposed to represent something--correct? I don't know what--I am not familiar with pschology--I've been limping through life for years with this stuff and never have gone for help before.
I appreciate your input, too.
Artist

November 14, 2001
11:45 am
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Ladeska
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Artist...this sure is good to hear!! Most awesome! And congratulations to you for being so pro-active. Feels good doesn't it? See, the thing is - we get so frustrated sometimes just because we don't have the tools we need. And if people are willing to use the tools and not sit and spin - sometimes - you can dig yourself right out of your hole. Maybe you will look at each other and say - hey, we might not be right for one another...who knows? But, at least - what you do in addressing these issues and communication styles - is helpful to both of you - regardless of what you do or who you're with.

Yes, it is work, but just like you've experienced already - it is empowering, so it's like the strength you get to "do it" comes from "doing it". (smile) Quite a bit different doing something "life-giving" and something "life-taking and draining" isn't it? One is energy used that multiplies and gives back to you - the other way is just feeding a black hole that takes another chunk out of you and returns nothing.

So, let me know when you're ready to take some more steps. I see you're quite busy with these right now. (smile) My compliments to the both of you. Today - Now - is all that matters....

November 14, 2001
12:29 pm
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Ladeska
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Artist....good website for ya....

http://www.oprah.com/phil/resc.....mtest.html

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