This isn’t my usual post, but I found this therapy session helpful. If you find that you are bogged down with stress and anxiety, hopefully this will help you too.
Last week at my therapy session, my counselor brought up a great point. I have a stress/anxiety problem, and I haven’t addressed it, like really addressed my issues. He deduced that one of the main issues with my husband and I is that when I’m stressed, he feels helpless, and can’t make me feel immediate relief. He desperately wants to, and has been telling me this for quite some time.
I truly believe I was born into stress. I’ve been like this whole life. I’ll stress about something small and before I know it I’ve blown it up into a crazy, huge deal. My therapist asked who it was that could help me destress, and the answer to that is my mother. My mother agrees with whatever I’m stressing about, which makes me feel validated. The therapist says that although it feels good, it’s actually a bad thing, as it doesn’t actually give me a solution. My husband, who walks me through how to fix the problem I’m stressing about is doing it right, but to me it feels like he is saying I’m wrong to stress. In the long run, my husband makes me feel better, but it’s in the immediate aftermath of my stress that he feels helpless. I need to change my way of thinking if I want to make my husband feel that he helps me most in my time of need. So in order to reduce my stress level, I must find something that takes my mind of my stressor so that I don’t allow myself to spiral out of control, and I need to be able to change my feelings on my own. I didn’t know that was possible. My therapist also wants me to face my “triggers”, and turn my reaction to one of anger, sadness, fear and stress and take back my original view of whatever the stressor was.
For instance, flocks of crows trigger me, as H sent the OW a picture of a huge flock of crows in one of his emails. As dumb as it sounds, it is a HUGE trigger for me, and since I live next to a pumpkin patch, is something I see on a daily basis. The other day, driving by the patch, I saw the flock of crows and I said to myself, “this is a beautiful work of God, it is not something to hate, I will not allow myself to get worked up by this” and instantly I felt like I could see the crows for what they were, and not a trigger. It felt so good to finally take back my life, one piece at a time.
We also talked about the affair, and how my answers aren’t always answered by H. He began giving me examples of “questions” and “question statements”. You see, he explained that most likely the reason my husband isn’t opening up is because I’m not actually asking questions, but making “statement questions” which makes him feel like he is being scolded, and not actually asked a question. The therapist said that in order to change this I must distinguish if I’m actually wanting to ask a question, and ask it as such, or make a statement.
Instead of: why did you hurt me like this?
State: what you did really hurts me.
You see, the first “question” has no real good answer, and most likely your partner will say ” I don’t know”, which makes us mad.
The second “statement” is not looking for a response. It is there to inform your SO of how you are feeling about the action. My therapist says that it helps significantly in the case of infidelity. Only ask questions that you know have answers. Most likely your SO doesn’t KNOW why they did it. But if you ask WHEN it started, that has an actual answer. You need to know the distinction of questions and statements, and go about your conversations carefully.
There is a huge communication barrier between my husband and I, which I believe has always been there, but didn’t really impact us a whole lot until it did… in a huge way. There were so many variables that caused all of this chaos in our life and neither of us are innocent in the matter. I believe my stress causes me to shut down when we are having conflict, which in turn makes my husband feel like I don’t care. By the time I’m ready to express my emotions, H has already said “f it” and moved on. It’s not okay to leave a fight like that, and we are both to blame.
Either way, today I feel like I’ve made progress not only with myself, but with my relationship. I’m learning how to express myself and how to address my own issues. Baby steps, I guess.