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.
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 good....it 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.
"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 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.
"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.
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