Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wow!!! Hard Therapy Session!!!

What I learned: I am a good victim.

The Drama Triangle info (link)

Some of the things that happened this week and how I needed to see them:

1. Hubby said no do doing the dishes earlier this week  when I was swamped with my yoga studies for my teacher certification. (who cares counselor said dishes can wait. have kids do. Thinking that he does not care is a distortion and then I am a victim)
2.Said my job is to heat up food for kids when we were both home. (sometimes people say things that don't mean. Especially addicts)
3.When I was talking about how my Faith was tried as I have been studying Old Testament, didn't listen. Just put his opinion on top of mine. (does not understand my struggle with my church's history and things that I am not sure about).
4. I wanted to start waking up earlier to do yoga. He said no....not if it wakes him up. He has to go to work. (he falls into same controlling pattern I throw on him if he does not jump when I say.)
5. I talked to him about starting a yoga studio. Shot it down as fast as I could bring it up. (we are both in  not good places in the drama triangle and so hard for him to listen to me as well.)

The problem for ME was not that these happened but that I became a victim in many of these situations. I was troubled by each of these situations and fell into the victim roll each time. All I know is that I tend to fall into the victim roll. I don't know how not to get out of it yet. It all has to do with the thinking in my head.

We discussed the Drama Triangle. I thought I was all grown up but I am not. The counselor said "How old were you when you walked into this session?" A CHILD. How old were you now? AN ADULT.
That took an hour. It took an hour for me to see that I was playing a victim role. It does not change that I have been victimized but by not being a victim I am empowered.
I really like being an adult. I like how I feel. People who are victims are anxious and depressed. That was me. I don't want to be that any more. I don't want to be trapped by the Drama Triangle. It zaps the energy out of me.
I said, "Now how do I do that?" That will take longer than 3 minutes. He just wanted me to see I was playing the role of victim. That is why counseling is important. It is impossible to see things in yourself that others may be able to see.
He said, "You are both doing exactly the same thing"....but, but, but it is his fault (in my head thinking)...RIGHT??? He has done things that are very painful and hurtful to a marriage but I am responsible for me and my part in the drama triangle. Can people pull us into the triangle? Yes!
The thing is that we all dabble in the triangle. That is being human. It is no excuse though. We live in a world full of rescuing, depression, anxiety, stress, persecution (abuse mentally and physically). It makes the world go round....LOL.

I go home with my heart open seeing my own weakness. I see that I am only hurting ME by being childish (not something I saw in myself before).

I get home and my husband is helping the kids clean. That melts my heart.
I then had a date with my daughter. We came home. We had a fun time.
Get home and my daughter had to clean her room. The drama triangle in action. Tears, Temper tantrums, daughter persecuting sister, daughter victimized by brother....and on and on. I sat at he computer. I closed my eyes and I said to my self. "I will not be sucked in" BREATHE..."I will not be sucked in" BREATHE..."I will not be sucked in" BREATHE.

My husband does much better with the girl drama then I do. He lets me not get involved  this time(someone had to intervene). He gets her to calm down after at least an hour of roller coaster emotions on her part. She cleans her room and by husband takes her shopping. He gets home and she is calm, smiling, and relaxed. I am so grateful for the relationship their father has with his daughters (something that was foreign to me growing up).

He says I am hungry. I was to. He asked if I wanted to go to dinner (risky considering on valentines I had him take me home from the restaurant before we ate). I said sure (felt my heart open to some time together). Where do you want to go? He lists a few places. I said how about....insert name of restaurant we tried to go on valentines...and we could try again? He smiles and said sound good. So we leave. We talked and talked and talked for 3 hours. Just the 2 of us. We sat in the car for the first hour before. We finally decided we better go in. (hour wait) Another hour of talking. Then we sat and ate and talked the entire meal (rare to even speak....I am usually shut down). It was wonderful. He listened to me. Understood me. I listened to him. Understood him.  Great evening.

 (side note: then we get a call from son on way home from dance at midnight...heart he OK? Car stopped in middle of road. Husband leaves. I go to bed. Call in an hour. Get a tow truck. They get home at 3 am. Timing chain broke. Engine may be ruined...felt peace  because it was just a car. People are more important!).

Sunday we both wake up with stomach flu. Dinner? We ruled that out because my son had the stomach flu earlier in the week and we ate different things. So we sent kids to church and we laid in bed feeling nauseous, vomiting (just me. He has iron stomach), and diarrhea (TMI). It was awesome time. Kids away and we talked for 3 more hours and we laid there in fetal position holding our stomachs. Thankful it only was a 24 hour bug.

I was able to talk to him about my yoga training, the drama triangle, my faith challenges (for another post), my ideas for a studio, the kids, and more. He said it was nice to have me talk to him. I said it was nice to have you listen and understand me.

Today (2 days after counseling appointment), I have so much gratitude in my heart. I feel such peace and love between my husband and I. I know it will go away again but it comes back sooner and sooner each time. I know that as we continue on our paths for each of us to get healthy individually that we can be healthy in our relationship as well. I can't believe we talked for 6 hours over the weekend. That was like a binge after a famine. It filled me so full. It is nice to feel full. Take those moments and run with them.

 Side Note:
I just got Yoga Teacher certified. I am so excited. I have been teaching but it will only take it to the next level. Yea!!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Afraid and wandering, we lost our way.
With no aid in sight, we began to pray:

“Please keep us safe in such hostile lands,”
Then came the warm touch of Heavenly Hands.

Perhaps one on our shoulder when we felt alone,
While another pointed the way which then led us home.

The help came unseen like the wind as it blew,
But we all felt it upon us, and that’s how we knew;

That angels still watch and sometimes send us a “rose” –
A gift to remind us that Heaven still knows

All that we go through and all that we need.
Surely Heaven is with us, if we’ll only give heed.

Greg Olsen - 2001


I love going to counseling. I usually find a healing and growth as I progress. My heart is so full this morning. I left feeling so grateful for the progress we are on.

So I brought up this new realization I have in my communication. I have these same triggers with money. We talked about this Flight/Fight response I go through. The you have to sit there with adrenaline and cortisol running through my body. My heart rate goes up and my brain function decreases. It is like a check out. The intervention has to come early. He even talked about how my husband needs to see these clues from me that I may be going into one of these "triggers" and to then be sensitive to it. End the conversation, approach it later when there is greater safety and calmness, give me some time and space, etc. He understood and it was great. I am also go to be sensitive to when I am going into these episodes so I can intervene early. Sometimes I am so shocked that I don't even see it until the "episode" is over. I am just learning these things about me. My husband is just learning these things about me as well and that I am not malice in these moments. I am just checked out into non-functioning.

We talked alot about communication. We are suppose to be doing this communication exercise. Then I started to discuss the fact hubby was not there. The hubby brought up why he was not there. and on and on. The counselor said I don't care who did what and stopped our non-important conversation and each of us defending our position. He said this is what I want to hear:  I only want to know if you showed up (not him). Did you (not him) go to the kitchen table at 830 for 15 minutes? If he is not there just sit there and send him a nice text if he is not home or anything but I want to know if YOU (speaking to me) showed up. Did you speak for 1 minute? Then him? Did you tell him a % on how he did for content of listening. He tell you how you were feeling. You tell him a % on if he was accurate in describing what you were feeling. That is all.

Communication is more about LISTENING and HEARING what the OTHER person is saying.

I did alot of talking about these things I have posted lately on this blog. Hubby sat there listening to me. I think he learned alot about me and my good intentions. I loved how the counselor would say to certain things that we needed to work through that each of us would bring up, "I would love to discuss that in an individual appointment". His goal is for each of us individually to be healthy and marriage then can get healthy too.

At another appointment he showed us, as he puts his hand out with two people going along together and then occasionally touching, how marriage is suppose to be. This occasional touching that occurs but our  healthy individuality is most important. If hubby is acting out, that is his problem. NOT MINE!!! I really think he is NOT masturbating or looking at pornography. For months I have not felt safe even thinking this but for a moment I feel this may be TRUE.

fight or flight
I really didn't think I was going to have to put to test my new skill this quickly. I should have known better. So last night I said...Do you want to go to dinner for Valentines? He was keeping expectations low. He knew he needed to go back to work that night but he was not sure how I was going to be feeling about Valentines Day so he kept things low key. I actually was not sure either but after a good counseling visit, I wanted to go out with him. I was in the mood for a "potential" nurturing date.

He comes home from work today with a tulip plant, card, and chocolates (I had nothing tangible because I just needed patience with my heart. Valentines is full of sexual expectations in my mind.) Earlier in the week we talked about Valentine budget. I said if he was going to spend money he had to use his "fluff" money. I just feel like there are a million times a year that money is needed to by "fluff" or junk as I see it (I know I am suppose to see the intent with which it is given. I am trying but it feels like a wast at times. Give me a pot over flowers that die. How about some goggles or a swim cap that I need and keep putting off. OK I know I am bad about things that most women appreciate. It is just not me. I am OK with that but will appreciate that he is giving from his heart.) It was sweet and I took it with the intent he gave. Out of Love! He gave each of the kids a box of chocolates as well and I really liked the kindness he showed toward the kids. That meant alot to me.

I opened his card. He knows I like had written notes in card over a card. I do appreciate the words he wrote in the note. In the card he said, "...I want to have a life of peace and love with you. I know you mentioned restitution at our appointment...last night in regards to money. I can't change the past, only the future. I make restitution every day I am honest with you about money. I can't pay back profits that are lost, but I can be true to you and to me. I love you!..."

We left for dinner. We had an hour wait. We actually had a few moments to talk. I had printed out over 100 fun questions to ask each other  at dinner if we were stuck with what to say to each other ( I am tired of silent dinners). I felt safe to maybe discuss some feelings in my heart in regards to the things he wrote in his card. I poured out my heart for 10-15 minutes about how he makes restitution when he is compassionate regarding money, sensitive to my money triggers (my heart rate will go up to triggers), willing to sacrifice for the family or me something temporal, etc. He listened the entire time. I poured out how just as I am triggered regarding worldly objectification, this same things happens with money. When I am triggered, I am learning that I have to do something different. To feel a peace return. When you are compassionate, sensitive, and understanding to my damaged heart regarding your dishonesty and deceit regarding money, I can find safety and healing.

I felt I had emptied my heart and he was quiet and listened  to me with his arm around me the entire time. It felt safe and good to pour out my heart to my husband. To have him listen to me felt all was about to change.

He said, "I can relate to a lot that you just said. I feel the same way about alot of what you said."....

What? This is not what I was expecting.Then came the SHOCK. The TRIGGER!!! Feelings of cortisol and adrenaline start elevating, heart rate increases (where is the bear?)....STOP this flight/fight response!!!
I say to my mind. I am triggered. I am going to deescalate. I will not allow this trigger in me. I will not be a victim to triggers. I am not safe. First I will try to clarify that I am not feeling understood. So I continue.
Alarm 3 

"I don't feel understood. By saying that,  you don't know how I feel."
"I do. I just listened to you for the last 10 minutes and I understand. I feel like you said too."
"I don't feel like you even understand what I was saying. I don't even know if you know how I feel"
"I just told you I did. I listened to you and I understand"
"You can't understand what it is like to be lied to and deceived for 20 years regarding money. I have always been honest, unselfish, and trustworthy regarding money"
"I feel just like you described"
"No you don't understand how I feel"
"I do."
"I am not feeling safe any longer. I am triggered. We need to either leave or change the subject and discuss later in counseling"
"Lets go" he says
we get into car.
"Please take me home"
"I listed to you. I don't understand how I could have listened any better"
"You did listen but I don't feel you understand how I am feeling."
"I do. I feel the same"
"Please just take me home"
"What could I have done differently to help you feel understood?"
"I don't feel safe discussing this. Please discuss this with the counselor."
 Breathe. Just focus on the Breathing and let the trigger pass.
"Please take me home"
 I decided that if he was not going to start driving, I was going to walk. I needed to deescalate this situation. I was not going to defend myself. I was not in a court of law. I do not need to defend myself. I will not go back and forth with positions. If he did not want to understand me that was not my problem. I was not going to fight for understanding.
I know in his heart he wanted to understand me but he was not capable. He can't know what I have been through by comparing it to what he has been through. I know he has had many hurt feelings as well but we were not talking about his feelings. I spent 10 minutes describing mine.
I want to hear and understand how he feels but comparing them did not help me feel understood.
He took me home.
"Drop me off on the corner please. I want to go for a walk before I go inside."
"Yes, I need a few minutes."
On the drive home. I felt all the tension leave my body. The trigger was passing. I made it! Stress hormones never had a chance to peak. Heart rate back to normal with only a slight raise for a short period of time.
I am calm and I can think straight. I say, "I am glad we went. I am glad we tried. Lets keep trying. I love you. Good night."
I walk down the street and feel a peace in my heart. I say a prayer of gratitude. It was not perfect but it was OK. I made it through a trigger without a full blown panic and defensive position. Feels so good. It feels right.

Weak Foundations 3Self-care 1

"We are fighting strong, deeply grooved habits of thinking. Habits take time and effort to change. It’s a whole new skill set for most of us, this learning to examine, question, challenge and change our thinking. 

Can Somebody PLEASE shut off That Alarm?

The answer is yes – you can. You’re also going to keep pulling the alarm for a while (assuming you’re in this work or just getting started.) So get some earplugs, and more importantly, start the practice of reminding yourself that the alarm, by itself, isn’t dangerous, can’t hurt you and doesn’t have to scare you the way it’s been scaring you.
That’s the bottom-line for this blog post: it’s time to start challenging the meaning of the alarm system that is Flight or Fight." Fearmastery Blog 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Roller Coaster

When things are good you have to just run with it.

If I feel safe, I am not going to deny myself feeling. When I feel  feelings of peace and safety, I a have learned to trust my intuition during that moment but when it leaves I will not beat myself up (or him) that it is gone. It has never stayed for more than a week in our entire marriage (for me). It has been impossible to maintain that kind of feeling for any length of time. I pray the times get longer and closer together (until then I will be patient). I feel patient as I am becoming happier inside.

Yesterday, a miracle happened. A tender mercy. My teens were going on a Youth temple trip for church (or so I thought). My husband was driving and going as a leader. Both of my sons were not going because they are not worthy. I figured my oldest would not go due to worthiness. I found out yesterday that my younger son was not going either. I am so grateful they will not do something they do not feel worthy of doing but inside my heart broke.

My husband was getting changed and I went to talk to him. "So both of our son's aren't going?" "It looks that way" "Well at least they are not going unworthily". "Yes that is true"....wait is my husband going unworthily??? I have no idea. I can ask him. I can be brave. "Are you going worthy?" "Yes, I would not be going if I wasn't". "That has not stoppd you before. " "Yes, that is true. I have done that in the past. I am not doing that now". I felt he was humble and sincere in his words. There was no defensive or need to show off how he was worthy. 

My husband leaves and I have the kids. I call everyone down for scriptures but first I ask my daughter to go read to the younger ones so I can talk to the older ones. I showed them a couple of videos on Fight the New Drug. I was so tired. So tired of a broken heart. So tired of the men and boys in my life struggling with fighting addiction to pornography. I wanted my boys to FIGHT. So I showed them a few videos and I begged them to fight. Well my younger son spoke up and put me in my place...

 "Mom, do you really think we are not fighting? Do you really think we have given up?" 
"I am not sure. You don't talk to me about how you are doing. I just see that you are struggling. You are angry at you sister way to often. I am just tired." 
"Do you not think I am tired. I go to school every day. Everyone is struggling. I go sit in classes I don't want to be in. I am around people doing drugs. The guy next to me is drinking Vodka. Another guy is selling. Another guy is doing drugs in class. I don't think you understand what it is like mom to be a guy. I know you understand from the perspective of girl. Take a guy who is complicated and multiply that by 10 and you get girls. God gave them periods and these mood swings. He gave us guys these constant hormones. Then you have to walk around school and be around girls who" (pause).....
(i insert) "...don't wear much". 
"Yes. You know how hard that is? I fight. Every day I fight. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I don't. When I was 12 I finally understood what I was going through for a year. When I fall, I fall back to when I was 11. I meet with the bishop and I then get back into fighting. (he continues to go through the years) I turn 13....14...I fall back to 11 and think to give up. But I don't mom. I have to fight. I am a guy. Every guy struggles. What matters is they fight. ......"

This lasted for at least 30 minutes with him just sitting with his arm around me. Talking. I am listening and saying nothing. It was so wonderful to have him pour his heart out to me. 

Hubby gets back from temple as we are talking. We finish up. He comes home humble and really kind. Later he said to me.

"I don't want to do what I used to do. When things are not good between us, I just hold onto the memory of when things are really good. I hold onto that hope. I want to you to have your body. I only want you to share your body with me because you want to. I don't want you to feel obligated. Your body is yours. I have not wanted to pressure you because that is not what I want (and he has I assume he is messing up) "
"I don't feel safe. I am scared. I need intimacy"
"I want intimacy to. I need intimacy. I miss you and love you. It is understandable that you are scared and don't feel safe. I don't blame you. It is OK. Just know I love you. "....more was said but this was the main idea. 

Well my heart melts even more. Two men in my life pouring their hearts to me. I am crying and feel so amazing. My heart is full. I just hold onto these feelings and feel them. I was fed and filled. So healing.

Today I feel good. My heart has had a bucket of love poured onto it. It has a short shelf life. If not sustained. It goes away but that is OK. I feel hope. I can't lose hope. Even when things are not good, it is important to have HOPE! A marriage has to be nourished, fed, and weeded like a garden and weeds grow back quickly. Hope is a gift from God. Hope is given to you from taking care of yourself and finding peace in Him. It has no bearing on a husbands actions or inaction. Hope is in eternal things. This life is short but hope in something better is always in the front of my mind.

I sat in a bishops office once and said "I have no hope". "You can't lose hope". " I have none!" ...Hope has been restored because I got help. Hubby got help. We are getting help. Kids are getting help. We all need help. Most important help from a higher power, help from each other, and even professional help is important. These issues are to big to understand on your own. 


Like I said....when it is good you just have to run with it because....

I have many "financial" wounds. These wounds are deep and painful. I am triggered by similar things that most "normal" people would think as silly...i.e going to the grocery store, the mall, the movies, etc.

For me the wounds financially have the same kind of "triggers". Purchases made without talking to me. Even if they are legitimate or needed. For example "finding" these purchases on the bank statement in a period of a week was very triggering: $50 toward Superbowl party food for family. $100 toward clothing that we talked about but not to this amount. $200 in car repair costs that were needed but not talked about. $75 grill for the car that seems selfish overall when it could "maybe" be spray painted for $5 (in my opinion but though it wouldn't hurt to try.) Also we did talk about $220 for trampoline pad that was purchased. I was on overload. I tried to talk about it but we couldn't not disagree.

I think for me it is the restitution part that I was hoping to come out by meeting with our financial 3rd party (not our counselor). We are suppose to work just dollars but it seems my feeling are not capable of being a part of the picture. So I see that we are spending more than we are making. We are not behind...yet. I see future expenses and see red flags in my brain with the numbers. I try to talk to husband but he is not hearing me. I tell him we will discuss this with 3rd party.

The problem is that I am not represented. Yes it makes sense that he needs to get the clothes, have a party with the family is good isn't it, car needs to be repaired (it didn't pass inspection), wanting the car to be nice isn't the end of the world (after all it is only $75), and it is understood by the 3rd party as not a big deal.

 My pain and triggers are not even understood. My lack of safety and my fear financially. Yes I know we have no debt and that we sit better than "most"....but it is not brought up that I worked for a full year to pay off his $20,000 sex addiction/food addiction bill as the reason there is not debt (and we I just paid off recently). In the early part of our marriage.... that I sacrificed through 9 years of school...going without. Stressing where the next gallon of milk would come. Living on student loans. Dependent on my mother-in-law for food so I can be home with my babies. He is bringing home $300 a month at times and looking at porn 10 hours a day. Lies about money. Going out to eat and shuffling money away from his checks. House and utilities I would pay up each semester with loans and grants. I was home broke and depressed. That I had 2 babies a year apart  and I didn't realize that we were living under poverty level at that time. So I went to work full time for the next 2 years juggling  house, cooking, depression, exercise, etc...and not seeing my kids except 2 evening a week during that time. I was full of depression by the end and I was told you are doing to much. So I cut back to a couple days a month and went to living on a meager budget so I can be home more, while my husband still is hiding and pulling money from the family to live his life of lies and deceit.

Yes I know this is in the past but there as only been 3 months of no debt and financially being able to live on a budget that we are living on. I have to work to keep us on our current budget and with that I must still sacrifice while he gets what he wants. He makes me feel like I am the problem. I just want to control everything. Get my way....etc.  I agree that the more he lied and hid money and I found out the lies the more stressed and controlling I would want to be. We are talking about years and years of lies and deceit. This is normal to feel betrayed...RIGHT? ...YES and I am not going to be told otherwise.

I hate my carpets. Builder grade carpets that have needed to be replaced for years. I clean them myself regularly (or put the kids to the job) but they look like my husbands grill on the front of his car. It does the job for which they are on the floor for but could use a replacement years ago. So he gets his grill and I see no foreseeable time frame for my desires.

It is not even that I truly care that I get flooring. Can't he care just a little bit to make up for his wrongs that he has done to my heart regarding financial security. To put the family above him. To put his wife over his appetites for .....??? To make some restitution to his broken-hearted  wife. Probably to much to ask of him. He is not capable of even seeing my pain right now. So I will trust in my God and pray for.... More patience. More long-suffering. More sacrifice. More forgiveness. More healing. OK God I trust you are in charge here because I am weak.

So I didn't get through our meeting without tears. I walked out. Sat on the curb crying. My peace gone from my feelings I had toward my husband I described above. The humility gone. The love gone. Trust gone. Thanks goodness I have a counseling appointment tonight. So helpful to work through things.

 I can still be happy. I am not tied to money, sex or food for my happiness or to cope with life. I am a good person.  I am enough. I have money to feed my family. I am blessed. I am grateful I can work at a flexible job. So much to be grateful for.

I was talking to my good friend today. We talked about how we need to learn to deescalate situations. I know that I felt trapped in the situation with the 3rd party. He was put in an odd situation because of my issues regarding hubby's spending. I was triggered. When I am triggered regarding trauma from sexual addiction I get out of the situation. My goal is to limit and decrease triggers. Having a third party was suppose to do this regarding money. It didn't work this time. So how could I have deescalated?

My husband went into the situation with an arsenal of attacks ready for his defense. It worked. I was unprepared. I assumed he would be humble and kind like he was the night before....I was shocked again. This is paralyzing for me in being able to respond in a healthy way. I need to be more aware of how I am feeling in a given situation. I need to pause and reflect. I don't have to feel unsafe. I should have left a long time before. I should have somehow been in tune to the fact that this was more than just numbers to go over but also vulnerable feelings on both of our parts and it would be best for us to visit with the counselor instead. I should have jumped on this the first time there was a defense needed on any of our parts.

I am going to need to learn more about deescalation and how I can put it into practice better. I want power over these situations. I don't want to be a victim to these feelings or his defensiveness. I don't want to get defensive, criticize, show contempt, or stonewall. So how does one do this?  It will be a journey. I know it will not mean ignoring how I feel. It will not mean shutting down. The issues will still be addressed. My pain and feelings will be dealt with in a healthy way. This does not mean I will feel safe or he will be any happier. I will use the resources that I have available to keep me in a good place physically, emotionally, and spiritually. to be cont....

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Life is not about control. It is about surrendering to God. Why is this so hard?

 I remember back when I was first married.  I had no clue how to handle triggers. I would panic. Were they accurate. Was my intuition correct? YES...MOST of the the time. How did I handle them? PANIC! Inside my heart rate would increase. Unfortunately for me it seemed my blood pressure did the opposite and decreased (I suffer from low blood pressure that only seemed to get lower under stress). I ended up passing out many times. Cortisol and Adrenaline would run through my body as if I needed to fight off a lion or a tiger or better yet a dragon. I wouldn't need to run or fight but I would start looking for the dragon as if could somehow discover it's hiding place and shielding the prey as if I could protect him from the dragon. The dragon was very good at stalking his prey and very good at hiding from the loved ones who were trying to protect the prey. There was a real dragon to fight all those years of lies and was pornography (sexual addiction in all it's forms as it progressed to new levels in our home of the same addiction to lust to numb REAL life in unhealthy ways). 

For years I would feel this way and be denied there was anything wrong...I was the CRAZY one for even thinking this. To justify his feelings and actions, he would BLAME me. I would beg and even fight for intimacy and connection. If we had a good fight, I could at least feel something besides emptiness and loneliness for a husband that would connect with me. The thing is that addicts have LITTLE (wanted to say no) ability to connect. He does not know how and his ability even in brain capacity to connect with real people decreases because of frontal lobe damage as a result of drug addiction changes. 

I still don't really know what I was to him all those years but what I felt like was I was in the way frequently of his acting out (I know he loved me in a mother of my children, trapped by by other life, and don't want to lose my family kind of way....I think). Excuses were needed to be alone or leave the house.

The only way to cope over the years was to die inside. The lies and lack of connection reached a point that the only way to stay in prison was to shut down. NOT FEEL the pain, the shock, the loneliness, and a need to greatly decrease the contention. I was tired of fighting. I was tired of crying and sitting in a closet curled up in ball (to this day he says this only happened a few happened hundreds) and feelings of pain so intense your heart could break. My heart was stomped on so many times and put back in and told to feel happy, love, sexual feelings, and that it was my fault for being so critical and belittling. I DIED to live, to breathe, to survive. It was the only way I knew to survive. It is so sad but I read Victor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning" a few weeks ago and I related. I related to his experience in a concentration camp. I love his quote: 
"An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior"

My shock I felt at first was normal. According to Frankl it the first state of psychological reactions. It is not normal in a marriage...

  •  to be lied to
  •  to be told you are attacking, critical, and belittling when you are trying to make sense of the craziness
  •  to have a spouse not able to connect at all (OK an ANT Automatic Negative Thinking... connects rarely)
  •  to have more and more lies and told you are crazy for thinking such thoughts
  •  for tears with no empathy in return
  •  money problems that he seems to not care about and seems only concerned with his need for hiding some for food and sex addiciton (and claims he cares and you are crazy for your concern to feed clothe and shelter your family....isn't that his job too?)
  •  sex given out of a check off list because if you don't you are a bad wife (yes he always still wanted sex with me; I know some women this is not the case that husbands actually decrease the sex they want to have with them but it is the same craziness)
  • working so hard to increase my spirituality and begging the Lord to help me feel love towards him. 
  •  if I could be a robot sexually then our marriage would be better because then I wouldn't feel bad at my inability to meet his needs because he continued to push I was the problem to a way only addicts can do well.  (now I know this was all done because his desperate need to keep both of his worlds going at the same time. In a warped way if I was the problem then it is justified that he can act out.) 
  • continual denying there was any looking at pornography or masturbation. Never any computer history. Intimate moment promised of faithfulness and loyalty. 
  • Feeling dirty during sex. 
  • More and more LIES
It is normal to have an abnormal reaction.

The second stage a prisoner (referring to his experience in a concentration camp for years) goes through is he does not avert his eyes any more. ..."His feelings were blunted, and he watched unmoved...the prisoner soon surrounded himself with a very necessary protective shell" This is true no matter what kind a trauma a person experiences. 

So with these things going on in my life since the beginning. I DIED. My heart could not take any more shock. I became an expert and feeling numb. I coped with eating till I had no feelings left. I gained weight (5 or 10 pounds) and would then lose that weight. I yo-yo'd up and down for years trying to not feel any pain. I knew i was depressed and I tried to overcome it. I wanted to be happy. We were broke and I never thought to reach out. It was my secret and I suffered alone. I started exercising to overcome my depression. I loved it and fell in love with it. It was the only time during my day that I felt happy, in control, and able to cope with my food and not want to binge. I fell in love with running, biking, hiking, yoga, and Pilate's. I learned about health. I knew I was depressed and had low energy. I just believed all the negative hype about medication. I didn't need it. I would just pray more and God would heal me from my inability to feel, my depression, and anxiety.

 I wanted to be a good mom. I loved my little children (now they are bigger but then my big kids were little). I loved nursing my babies. I loved to lay down and nurse them and hold them close to me. It felt so real. Those moments I cherish and hold so close to my heart. My days overall were just lonely struggles with depression (and now I know inattentive ADD masked behind depression) and trying not be so depressed that I couldn't function. My house was (and still is) in various stages of disarray (I have improved with my increased mental health and feeling like I can function).

 Life was really hard but I was trying to be NORMAL. Have a normal marriage in all appearances, work harder at my marriage. I read a stack of marriage books (now I can't even open a marriage book at all) and hoping we could have a better marriage. I was always full of guilt at not being good enough. I canned fruit, made my Christmas gifts, cooked, tried to garden with a focus on saving money, being healthy, and living within our means. It became more difficult to accomplish things so I stopped starting things. I wanted to be a mom. I remember when I was in nursing school. Where do you want to work? I just want to be a mom but I want my education as well and felt driven to finish.

Less than a year  ago I started therapy. I remember my first appointment. He said I don't care what he does. I want you to be happy. You can be happy no matter what he decides to do. You can be HAPPY whether you stay married or divorced. WHAT? NO WAY? NOT POSSIBLE!!! (and by the way he is the problem and I have nothing wrong with me....NOT!)

Well I am here to tell you that there is HOPE.

Therapy is crucial for betrayal trauma. Your thinking is so inaccurate that it takes a third party. It takes alot of work but most of it is done by letting go. Yes my greatest work has been letting go of the work (or control) of those around me. My husband and kids. My son who struggles with porn addiction and I couldn't even protect him from the dragon. My husband who I really have never been able to control (even though I never was intentionally trying to control him but did try often). 

By letting go, I had room in my heart to learn who I AM. Who I want to be. To be free from his addiciton cycles (even though at this post he is suppose to have almost a year of sobriety- he is not free from addiction (food) or the cycles or possibly even acting out). It is really powerful and healing to let go.


Medication has also been VERY important for me. I believed all the lies on the Internet that medication does not really help. Treatment of mental health is very important with medication and talk therapy. I have tried many medications from family doctors but going to a psychiatrist has been crucial because that is what they do every day. They know what to try if one is not as effective. They follow up more effectively. I am learning to feel again. YES FEEL!!! When I feel an urge to cry, I am so glad because that means I can actually feel hurt, sadness, pain and hopefully may even feel love someday. I love my husband for children he has given us, covenants I have kept, kids who love their dad, and providing (he has always gone to work but not always provided our needs...he is always blessed in this area when he is having some sobriety.)


So my husband has been working LOTS lately. He comes home for dinner and goes back to work till 11 or 12 at night. Is he really working...I think so. Can I do anything to find out? YES. I could drive 30 minutes to his work and see if his car is there at night. I could sneak into his car and his the trip button and see if he is really going just to work. I could call his work number instead of his cell number and see if he is really sitting at his desk. This is what I used to do. I would panic and spend hours doing these things. Plotting to find evidence. 


I enjoyed my evening. I read to my kids. We had family scriptures and prayers. I had a neighbor girl I pay to help me once a week clean out my fridge. It felt so good to have a clean fridge. I then got ready for bed. I decided to call my husband and even tell him good night, which most nights I have not done. I answer. I finish getting ready for bed and I lay in bed and call answer. I feel triggered!!! 

I say to myself:. SELF: "I am feeling triggered. Is he really at work? Why is he not answering his phone?..."STOP MIND", I say to self....these are not healthy thoughts. I will only become anxious and not able to sleep.
Is it my problem if he is not at work? NO!
Is it my problem if his not following the commandments? NO!
Do I need to lose sleep over what he is doing? NO!

I close my eyes and think about the YOGI in me. FOCUS on just my breathing. I do not need to be anxious. It does me no good. Focus on the breath. Next thing I know it is morning and I am waking up fully rested. No whirlwind of emotions.

I said to hubby, "I tried to call last night to say good night but you didn't answer".  Response: "I am so sorry. It was turned off. I see now that you called (as he looks at his phone)"
"Did you have a good evening at work?" "Yes I did"
This is the end of our conversation.

Do I feel safe? NO!
Do I feel loved? NO!
Do I have sex when I don't feel connected? No! Hence we not had sex in 7 weeks (sorry if TMI) and have had no connection since then.  He honors this because I won't live the life of a robot anymore. Intimacy is required. He just does not know how and we have a long way to go. I am OK with that. I am just trying to be healthy and take care of me.
Is he lying? Possibly but I can't stress over things that cause me suffering for things that I have not done. I do not have to suffer for my husband. He needs to suffer for his own actions. If I walk around in pain every second, I am only hurting myself. If something is still hurting 2 weeks after, I have not handled it correctly.
Does that mean I don't feel hurt, pain, or suffer. NO!. I feel these things but I can't feel these things for long periods of time. I must use the appropriate resources to deal with them in a healthy manner. Talk to a friend. Write in a journal. Exercise. Make an emergency counseling appointment (helps me the most). Even talk to your spouse about how you feel but if no empathy is there, you have to be OK with that or you may just feel more pain, hurt, and suffering.

So after I woke up this morning I still felt peace in my heart, rested, trigger gone, and ready to have an awesome day.

I have to take each trigger and approach each one with knowing it is just a trigger. I can work through it. They are real and intense automatic reactions . Dealing with them is important. I also try to prevent them. I don't go to movies with spouse, no beaches, little TV, don't look at covers at grocery stands, etc. Funny how I feel like I am being careful to keep him safe but in reality my only goal now is to protect myself from triggers. I used to have a goal of protecting him and keep him safe. That is a crazy way to live!!!

I am learning how to be RESILIENT. I will continue to to journal about this process. I love this word RESILIENT. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Escalation (good at) vs Deescalation (learning)

First this is what happened...THE CONFLICT. I hate conflict like this and after years I shut down, dead inside. I am trying to feel again and handle my issues (and his) and address them in the appropriate way. I learned a lot in the past 2 days. Here is my journey:

I am going to write these thought down but then I am done feeling the pain of them. My husband feels no remorse for the way he treated me last night and I am not going to feel pain for something I did not do or say.
Starts out like this: I am just getting ready for my son's birthday, running kids for piano lessons, ran out of baking powder and cake delayed, and I got home a few minutes late because I was talking to a friend who needed a listening ear. Well I walk through the door and hubby says let me show you something (after he complains I am late and pizza is getting cold). We walk outside in the cold and he shows me the front grill of the car. It is a 10 year old car that replaced the totaled car my son wrecked. He said I like my new (old) car but this front grill is an eyesore...etc. I look up close. It has no damage...only fading. I think wow this is an easy fix. I say lets just spray paint it. It would be easy. It is just plastic. He then reacts and it goes downhill from there. I don't want it spray will look is only $ has a plastic coat and you can't paint it without it looking bad (what is spray paint??? a coating of a plastic sort that actually works well over plastic) is chrome painted....yes chromes spray paint on plastic ....a very easy fix to spray paint (they actually make chrome colored spray paint). What a mess to turns into. I say this is ridiculous to spend $75 when it can be fixed for $5 and look brand new. He says I don't want a spray painted one (Today I think maybe he already ordered it and has to fight because he already bought it....just some good old mind reading but sure sound plausible for the reaction)

 It went on to an escalation. You always get your way. You are a hypocrite. I didn't even want these cars. I wanted to look for cars. (I talked to him and he agreed it was a good deal)  At some point daughter gets fingers squished by chair from brother pushing his out....hubby reacts again and tries to grab son's arm. I said it was just an accident. He pulls away from situation. He continues with his get your way with everything. You are getting your way with the flooring. I said yes I am good at picking out those kind of things. It is what I am good at. ON and On he is your way and that is attack and don't listen to me...etc.

After a while of this and getting no where I said....You are acting crazy. What happened? Do you need to talk about something? What is going on? .....he breaks in now you are mind reading.

I am done with this conversation. He continues...NO you are not allowed to be done with this conversation. I am not done. You.....and he continues with this line of talk in the kitchen in front of the kids on our son's birthday.

I am in shock. I feel myself come out of my body and look at the situation from the outside and his words are going around and around in circles in his conversation and the it lead me me thinking is he making me think I am crazy again. I said to my mind and heart. Mind and Heart you are GOOD, and STRONG, and BRAVE, and HONEST, and FAITHFUL, and this is not how a husband should treat his wife. Again I say....I AM DONE....NO he says. YES I AM.

I pick up the phone. I need help. Son #1 had gone upstairs and is crying or shut down. Daughter and the little ones are huddled around a laptop playing a game. Son #2 is zoned out on the other computer.
I pick up the phone call the answer...leave message. I call his answer...leave a message. He said I can't believe you just called my mom. I said I am not doing this alone. I refuse to be treated this way. I will not run into the master closet and curl up in a ball and cry alone. Look at how you are treating me. He says...If you are calling my mom then I am going to call your mom. I said OK, I will dial the for you .

I pick up the phone and call her. I tell my mom. Your son needs someone to listen to how he is feeling and give the phone to hubby. He spends the next 1.5 hours or so talking to my mom, the bishop, and his mom. When I called my mom later, I see that he portrayed the perfect pity party to her and convinced her that I am the problem. NO I WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR HIS MISERY!!! I am sure he did that with his mom and the bishop as well. I sure they have a clear picture of how crazy I AM. He is good at that...done it for 20 years. Addicts are experts at that. Wife is the problem. I said,  if you think I am the problem why are you still with me? So STUPID!!!

 Intermission: spoke with couselor for 45 minutes on the phone. Wow I had new light and felt better continued:

.......counselor just called when I got to this point in my post. There is something amazing about venting to a therapist. I am sure there is some weird psychobabble regarding how talking to a therapist is helpful.
Well he is very truthful with me. We are on the phone and I relate to him what happened above. He is usually tells me like it is. I can take it at this point in my recovery.

He said there are 4 things that destroy a marriage (or conversation for that matter). Contempt, stonewalling, defensiveness, and criticism. He said you both did them. He said hubby did lots wrong but he said there are things I did wrong as well. He said when you get defensive it also breaks things down no matter what he said. I can deescalate the situation but it has to be done early or it is usually already escalated. I said when he took me out to the car I was shock with how he responded that I did become defensive. He said that is when I should have intervened. I could have said. Can we talk about his later? I have a birthday party waiting inside and it looks like we are not going to be able to work it out now. Can we just wait till another time and talk about this? I know a response like this would have deescalated it from the start.

I have the power to deescalate. My first sign of a need to deescalate should have been the SHOCK if felt. He really had empathy for what I am doing. He said even after 5 years have gone. You will have done more work and had to suffer more. It really is not fair but I guess if in the end all is well that ends well. I will not have suffered in vain.

I told him how I react when I feel a trigger. For instance... Say we are watching a show and a scene comes on that sends a trigger inside me (almost like a mini panic). The first sign that I feel this I choose to do something about it. I will not sit there until I am in full-blown panic. I feel a trigger and then I do something. I usually just get out of the situation. I have learned that I don't even care if hubby stays because I don't want to be triggered. It has nothing to do with him. I will not stay because I don't feel safe but also I will not have sex if I don't feel safe either.

Back to deescalation. He said that is a perfect example. You have to intervene early or it gets out of control. I will be a Deescalator (kind of like Terminator) from now on. No more defensiveness on my part. I have learned a powerful lesson from this. IT IS NOT WORTH IT!!! (but shutting down is not either...tough line)

The counselor said that he has found over the years women do more of the work and more of the suffering over these betrayal issues. Men do less of the work and less suffering. It is not fair but what is in life. If in the end we have a good marriage a miracle will have happened.

So now time to learn: 
I found this free ebook online. It seems like a good resource. link:

I also found this great article. These are really the things that our therapist has been teaching us. I can be found  at:
My comments
Things the author said that I felt were valid for me.

Communication and Conflict Resolution 

By Dr. Nathan Cobb
Communication problems are very common among couples seeking help for their relationship. Frequent arguments, fear of touching off a fight, heated exchanges, and avoidance of issues are all common complaints among couples I work with.
Communication problems can be confusing and discouraging but there is a way out of the fog. There are positive adjustments that couples can make in how they respond to each other that can make a big difference to their relationship.
(I am afraid of fights. I shut down for years and years. I just beginning to not live in a shut-down state anymore. The problem is that I don't know how to fight well. I do avoid issues. I avoid the subject of how hubby is doing with his addiciton. I don't want to be lied to so I just avoid it. Not that it is bad either. I just HATE fighting)

The Balance Theory of Marriage

According to research by Dr. John Gottman, one of the foremost experts on what makes marriage work, happy and healthy couples demonstrate an optimal ratio of 5:1 positive to negative behaviors in their relationship.
In other words, when happy couples communicate, there are five times as many positive interactions between them (i.e. listening, validating the other person, using soft words, expressing appreciation, affirmation, physical affection, compliments, etc.) as there are negative (i.e. raising one’s voice, stating a complaint, or expressing one’s anger).
By contrast, among couples on the path toward divorce, this ratio is just under one to one. For every negative interaction there is less than one positive interaction.
One way to improve the quality of your communication is to increase the amount of positive behaviors in your relationship and to decrease the amount of negatives.
Reflect for a minute on what ratio characterizes your conflicts. Is there respect? Is there kindness? Do you genuinely listen to each other? Do you soften your tone with each other? Are your intentions helpful and positive?
It is hard for me read the words "each other" because sometimes I feel alone and I am doing the research and studying on how to be better. Not live in fear. Strive to grow spiritually. Live free from Triggers of trauma. I have to focus on me. I can be more positive, soft spoken, listen, kind, etc. This does not mean that I don't have to be heard. It just means I can learn a better way to be heard. I will try to think of positive things. I told the therapist that my heart is not in this marriage. i am here becasue it is convient becasue of the kids, work, and becasue ulimately I have to have a hope for something better. 

Divorce Predictors

Over the past twenty-plus years Dr. Gottman has conducted an exhaustive and thorough study of married couples, seeking to understand what distinguishes couples who divorce from couples who create strong and vibrant relationships. Much of Gottman's earlier work, summarized in his first book What Makes Marriage Succeed or Fail?, highlighted the relationship between marital stability and how couples handle conflict with each other.
His more recent work, summarized in his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work integrates his later findings about the importance of friendship and fondness as the primary factors that predict the health of a marriage. In other words, how spouses are with each other when they are not fighting is a telling measure of how they are with each other when they do fight and of the long-term viability of their relationship.
For purposes of our discussion about conflict and communication, however, let me outline some of Dr. Gottman's predictors of divorce that have to do with how couples communicate with each other about difficult issues.

Harsh Start-Up

Imagine starting off a discussion with your spouse about an issue that upsets you. If you are feeling frustrated and resentful your first uttered words might be harsh, sarcastic or critical. For example, "The trouble with you is ...," or "Why do you always have to be so selfish?" or "My problem with you is that you never ...." Notice the accusing and hostile tone of these words. Imagine the body language associated with the tone. This is what is called a harsh startup, meaning how you "started" discussing the issue was severe, sharp or accusing.
According to Gottman, ninety-six percent of the time a harsh startup predicts how the argument will end—negatively and without resolution. Once an argument starts off in a negative direction, it very rarely "rights" itself. Harsh start-ups are strongly associated with divorce and relationship break-up.

The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse

These are four hostile forms of communication that put couples at high risk for divorce when these patterns take up permanent residence in the relationship.
  1. Criticism is defined as blaming, faultfinding, or using global and negative labels to attack your partner's character. For example, "How would you know? You're never home," or "My problem with you is ...." A harsh startup often comes in the form of criticism.

  2. Contempt is a lack of respect for your partner’s dignity, an attitude of looking down on your partner as unworthy. Forms of contempt include name-calling, put-downs, sarcasm, cynicism, swearing at each other, rolling of the eyes, mockery or hostile humor. Contempt is demeaning and conveys not just disapproval of your partner's behavior, but disgust with who your partner is. While the other three horsemen show up in small amounts in most marriages, contempt is only found in toxic relationships. This horseman also includes belligerance, which is an aggressive and angry provocation or threat.

  3. Defensiveness is a way of turning back a perceived attack. Someone who is defensive denies their partner’s statements, refuses to admit their role in problems, avoids responsibility for how they impact their partner, or deflects their partner’s complaints back onto the other person. Defensiveness is destructive because it escalates tension and creates an adversarial interaction.

  4. Stonewalling usually occurs as a result of escalating criticism, contempt and defensiveness as emotional overload becomes intense. Spouses who stonewall stubbornly refuse to give any verbal or nonverbal feedback that they are listening or attending to what their partner is saying. Often they just get up and leave the room. It's like talking to a stone wall. Stonewalling is best seen as a containment strategy that spouses use to avoid further escalation of the conflict. The problem is that the stonewaller does not just avoid the fight, but avoids his spouse and the relationship as well. According to John Gottman's research, 85% of stonewallers are men.


Normally, when you encounter a stressful and threatening situation, your body reacts in a way that helps you to deal with the danger. Your body temporarily shuts down non-essential systems, channels blood flow to your large muscles, creates extra fuel for energy, heightens your sensitivity to signs of danger and releases hormones that help you deal with stress.
Normally, this "fight-or-flight" response works well when we have to fight off an attacker, escape from a burning house, or perform a miraculous feat of strength. The problem is that it also impairs our ability to process information and to think clearly before we speak—exactly the abilities we need to have in order to work through difficult areas of disagreement with our spouse.
John Gottman has a vivid word for this physiological "fight-or-flight" reaction. He calls it "flooding." Flooding occurs when you and your spouse get into hostile arguments where the Four Horseman (criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling) are allowed free reign in your relationship.
Physical signs of flooding include rapid heart rate (above 100BPM), high blood pressure, sweating, and the overwhelming urge to leave or to say something hurtful. When we become flooded, we operate mainly from a self-preservation mindset. We seek mainly to protect ourselves from the turmoil of an escalating argument, either by becoming aggressive (verbally or physically) or by trying to get away.
In distressed marriages, we commonly find habitual harsh startups by the wife combined with frequent flooding and subsequent stonewalling by the husband. This common pattern leads to a vicious communication cycle where one partner repeatedly complains, nags, criticizes and blames her spouse, while the other person repeatedly avoids, withdraws, stonewalls, or dismisses his partner. The withdrawn spouse might initially respond by counterattacking or by being defensive but eventually he switches to withdrawal in order to avoid being overwhelmed.
It becomes a cycle because the more the husband withdraws and avoids his wife, the more frustrated and resentful she becomes. Eventually the resentment comes out as criticism and blame, which leaves her husband (his wife) feeling unappreciated and overwhelmed, and so he (she) avoids her (him) more, so her resentment continues to build, and on it goes. Sometimes the pattern is reversed and it is the wife who withdraws and the husband who pursues.
This vicious cycle is maintained by each spouse's reaction to the other person, and by their respective fear-based focus on self-preservation. It is important to note that their reactions, on a core level, are really attempted solutions to difficult situations; but each person's "solution" fuels the flames instead of extinguishing them.
So the example above is really switched with us or a mess of both messed up and twisted to become a combination of a bigger mess. Overall I have reached a fear level and I feel a need for self-preservation or safety as I like to call it. I need to feel safe. I usually withdraw but it is really more of an eternal shut down of the relationship after 20 years. How to ignite something that is dead with no flint nearby will take a miracle. 

Failed Repair Attempts

Repair attempts are efforts to de-escalate conflict and avoid flooding. Repair attempts are words, phrases, or responses intended to soften the conflict, to get things back on track, to start over, or to acknowledge or recognize the other person's view. For example, "I'm sorry," or "I see your point," or "Please don't raise your voice with me," or "Maybe we can compromise," or "That's not what I meant."
According to Gottman's research, couples in distressed marriages actually make more repair attempts than do happy couples. The problem is that these repair attempts repeatedly fail.
Distressed couples are often so ruled by negative intentions and the desire to protect themselves or to hurt the other person, that they either ignore or do not recognize each other's repair attempts. In happy marriages, spouses make fewer repair attempts, but that is because the ones they do make are received. They work.
When couples stop responding to each other's attempts to de-escalate the conflict, when they use the Four Horseman on a habitual basis, when they become frequently flooded, until one or both partners withdraw without resolution of the conflict, then the marriage will become a source of pain and torment rather than comfort and support. Where repair attempts are repeatedly failing, and the Four Horseman are habitually present, Gottman found that over 90% of couples will eventually divorce.
What determines whether repair attempts will succeed or fail? The strength of the marital friendship and how positively each partner feels about the other. This is why it is so important to focus on building friendship, positive sentiment and goodwill toward each other. Friendship, goodwill and fondness become the foundation for effectively using communication and conflict resolution skills.
When we were first married I would try these repair attempts. They usually failed. I eventually just withdrew to protect myself.  I stopped reading all marriage books and peace in the home, no contention became my only objective. So there was rarely resoultion. Even last night I made phonecalls and there was no resolution. When we went to bed he still felt the same- I was critical. I even asked what I said that was critical....he couldn't come up with anything. I don't recognize his repair attempts as genuine becasue I take very little as genuine from sad. We have little friendship and fondness. Sounds like a nice dream. 

Resolving Your Conflicts

If you have been married for some time and you recognize some of these signs in your own relationship, don't be discouraged. (20 years...yea I have been committed but a little discorage)As long as you are willing to make conscious efforts and you are committed to your relationship these negative patterns can be reversed.
If you are fairly new as a couple, start now to build mutual respect and goodwill into your relationship and learn how to protect your relationship from these corrosive behaviors ever taking hold in the first place.
Time and space don't permit a full discussion about how to turn things around, but let me offer a brief summary of principles that can stop or help prevent these negative communication behaviors from consuming your relationship. Some of these principles are inspired by Gottman's work mixed in with my own clinical experience.

  • When you raise an issue, approach your spouse softly, respectfully. Let your choice of words be guided by an attitude of friendship and respect. Remember that this is your life partner. Think about the things you love and respect about this person. If you habitually treated a friend of yours in a mean-spirited or aggressive way how long would that person stay your friend?

  • Let your partner influence you. Learn to open space for your spouse's ideas, feelings and perspectives to arise as real and valid. Try to be responsive to your partner's requests. Adopt the policy of never saying "no", outright, to your partner's needs. If you can't accomodate a request, then negotiate alternatives or other options.
  • I guess I could have delayed discussion until he could be calm about the subject. 
  • Act with positive intentions to create understanding, to show respect, and to find win-win solutions, instead of acting on your immediate, negative intentions and fears. Use your positive intentions to make and receive repair attempts.

  • Learn how to self-soothe and soothe your partner through appropriate time-outs and self-reflection. Sometimes this is a necessary step in order to re-align your intentions with positive goals and to calm down enough to think about what the real issues are for you.

  • Pinpoint the real issues that fuel the conflict. These are underlying needs, dreams and goals and sometimes the fears related to your needs, dreams and goals. Don't get sidetracked by arguing about details such as what your spouse said three months ago. If you are not sure what your spouse's underlying issue is, ask. Be curious. Not recognizing these underlying issues will often keep couples stuck in gridlock.

  • Learn the art of compromise. Adopt a mindset that each of you have dreams and interests that need to be honored. You can find creative win-win solutions if you stop allowing your fear to be your dominant motivator. I know what some people might be thinking: "I'm not afraid. I'm just mad." But if you really stop and think about it, fear is usually at the root of what keeps people from moving out of their polarized positions—fear of losing face, fear of losing self, fear of beng used, fear of getting hurt, etc. I know fear is my motivator especially regarding sex and money. 

  • Learn to accept your differences and not be threatened by them. A good deal of your conflicts may arise because of how you view your differences. Conflicts rooted in personality and life experiences are not likely to go away anytime soon. It is best to learn to accept each other and focus on positives and strengths than to be pre-occupied over annoying habits or dissimilar interests.

  • Make requests instead of demands. Requests are respectful and open the floor for discussion. Demands will usually just intensify a power struggle.

  • Begin to recognize the vicious cycle that you both co-create and take ownership of your part in that cycle. Change the cycle by interrupting it, that is, by not giving your usual response, or by stepping back and doing something different. Often this is the very opposite of what you feel like doing in the moment.
Well what I would have different. I would have felt that shock feeling with how he was talking to me and this would be my clue. This is a conversation that will escalate because it has one of The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.  I would say...hubby I know you want something done to the grill of the car but I have a birthday we need to put on in the house. Lets wait and talk about this when we are not so busy and stressed. So lets go inside and have a birthday party. All would have been well. We then can address issues at counseling sessions until we are ready for something on our own