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Thread: My journal

  1. #11
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    I still remember when mom wanted to get a present for her to express her strong gratitude and appreciation for her taking such good care of me when I was so sick. I suggested that she send her the bottle of wine I'd picked out. Mom pointed out that it wasn't legal to send wine through the mail, but said she'd pack it really good and just hide what was inside and take the risk. I knew she liked wine but suspected that wasn't enough of a gift. So I wanted to do something special and wanted to find some jewelry. All the necklaces that looked decent were out of my price range, but there were some earrings that looked good. I vaguely recalled that maybe she didn't wear earrings, but thought that perhaps she might think about getting her ears pierced if they weren't already so that she could start wearing them and I could get her the first pair. I wish now I'd sent a note along those lines because instead she just got offended that I didn't know her ears weren't pierced. Mom asked how she liked the gifts and it pained me to tell her that she thought the wine was too much of a friend gift and had sent the earrings back since her ears weren't pierced. Mom never gets involved in my love life, but it was then that she told me that I needed to find someone who made my stressful life more peaceful, shared activities and hobbies, and created a good, calm environment. I wanted to tell her that I had screwed things up too and created the problems in the first place, yet it was too complicated to explain the whole story. But I was also surprised by mom's strong opinion and first intervention, it was hard to ignore, though she still said how incredibly grateful she was that she was there to take care of me and was so ready to help when mom couldn't be there and I was so sick.
    Last edited by chuckee; 06-28-2013 at 07:04 PM.

  2. #12
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    I wish I had just told her when I had started dating again from the beginning. Ironically when I chose to be honest and do the right thing, that was what tore us apart. But if I had told her earlier, that would have torn us apart as well, just as I was starting to appreciate her qualities in contrast to what I thought I wanted.

  3. #13
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    I've been reading more of Gottman's new book. I wish I had started reading this stuff earlier. I had read one of his books back in 2003 and really liked it then, but I guess I assumed that was all there was. His new book contains a lot of new insights. I'm starting to feel that I'm not bad at relationships because I'm a horrible, selfish person. I just never learned and never dedicated time to learning the skills and frameworks necessary.

    I always thought that by being conflict avoidant, I was reducing the level of conflict and problems in the relationship. But Gottman has a lot of stories showing how being conflict avoidant can create problems as well by not giving your partner the chance to address problems and by reducing trust. I can also see what he was talking about with the Negative Sentiment Override, where you start to interpret the partner's actions that could be ambiguous in a negative way rather than trusting that they was a positive interpretation. I think that early on, she was going through a tough time at work and I was starting to feel like she was negative a lot, but I didn't say anything to her. I figured it wouldn't help and she just needed support. I also suspected that perhaps it was my fault as well because I was absorbing a lot of negativity at work and from other friends and it was just too much cumulatively for me to handle. I wanted to avoid conflict about it. But it didn't give us the opportunity to talk through it and as a result I got very good at catching times when she was being negative. I was too fixated on this. Eventually I finally said something and a regrettable incident (Gottman's term for them) occurred on Cape Cod. But I had waited too long and brought it up indelicately. It was my fault. Later on, I think she may have slipped into this negative sentiment override thing with interpreting my thoughts and actions in a negative way as well, but it started out being my problem, which I never expressed.

    I also noticed where he was giving examples of bids and sliding doors where you turn towards the person or turn away. I think this was another problem. We missed each other's bids. I know I missed many of hers, probably because I was being too obsessive about work or because I was just caught up in my own baggage or fears. Gottman seems to identify missed bids as the earliest building blocks of starting to lose trust. I watched the videos I shot of her on the beach in Santa Barbara and can now see her bid attempts in showing me the heart shaped rock. I could have turned towards her and responded with something romantic. Instead I was too focused on, ok, where are we going to go and what will we do next. I missed the bids and a sliding door closed, destroying a little bit of trust that could have been built up. Another example is about her parents singing to one another. I could have taken that as a bid and suggested that we sing together. Instead I foolishly just felt silly imagining us singing to one another, but it might have been a really great tradition and responding in that way would have built trust.

    It's not because I'm a terrible person. I just didn't have positive examples of these skills and behaviors as a kid. I never read enough books on this stuff to make up for it. She did have a lot of positive examples, but similarly just didn't know what to do when things don't go perfectly. She was better at expressing her feelings though when things weren't right. Instead I bottled things up and avoided conflict, which doesn't actually help either. I also flooded very easily (I do this often accross relationships), I just flooded, battened down the hatches and just tried to survive the storm, rather than responding to bids when she was talking.
    Last edited by chuckee; 07-05-2013 at 12:31 AM.

  4. #14
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    I missed her many bids because they made me emotional and flooded and I misinterpreted them. Like when I visited after Christmas. To me everything went very well the first couple of days. I could really start to see us back together again. Sure, I hadn't tried to kiss her or anything but I was trying to keep things from getting too intense and to just have a nice, peaceful, good time together and get our footing back again. That's why I was so shocked that morning at the coffee shop when she started getting so emotional and pointing out all the reasons why it was never going to work. I can see now that her being vulnerable and emotional like that was her bid to me and an opportunity for me to turn towards her by reassuring her that we could get over those problems and I was committed to doing so. Instead, though, sadly, I was caught off guard and just believed her when she pointed out all the difficulties. I got flooded by the emotion and instead of turning towards her I again just battened down the hatches and tried to survive, telling myself the emotional storm would be over soon and things could go back to normal. But to her, I had let the sliding door closed and it was a missed opportunity to respond to her bid.

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  6. #15
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    I missed her many bids because they made me emotional and flooded and I misinterpreted them. Like when I visited after Christmas. To me everything went very well the first couple of days. I could really start to see us back together again. Sure, I hadn't tried to kiss her or anything but I was trying to keep things from getting too intense and to just have a nice, peaceful, good time together and get our footing back again. That's why I was so shocked that morning at the coffee shop when she started getting so emotional and pointing out all the reasons why it was never going to work. I can see now that her being vulnerable and emotional like that was her bid to me and an opportunity for me to turn towards her by reassuring her that we could get over those problems and I was committed to doing so. Instead, though, sadly, I was caught off guard and just believed her when she pointed out all the difficulties. I got flooded by the emotion and instead of turning towards her I again just battened down the hatches and tried to survive, telling myself the emotional storm would be over soon and things could go back to normal. But to her, I had let the sliding door closed and it was a missed opportunity to respond to her bid.

    I am learning. Slowly. Too slowly, but I am getting better, I am learning. I can do this. A lot of good did come out of the relationship.

  7. #16
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    But she must have missed my bids as well. There were several times where I tried to tell her what I needed. That I needed emotional stability, that I needed reassurance about never getting divorced. That I was unsure about kids and not wanting to be an absentee dad. That I needed to understand that we could make the finances work and not forget about my dreams too and saving for philanthropy. She was very supportive most of the time, but somehow I never felt like these areas were directly addressed with actions. It's not her fault though. I should have taken responsibility for making sure that we were communicating correctly and building up a bank of happiness and support mutually.

  8. #17
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    It's wrong though to focus on things that she could have done differently. If I'm really going to learn how to do better, I have to stay focused on the things that I did wrong and what I need to do and how I should react differently in the future. Must stay focused on that.

  9. #18
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    Why do I get flooded so easily? Why am I so sensitive. I need to figure out the answers to these questions and correct it. It's like I don't have a middle ground. I'm either a stone or I'm completely wiped out, there's no functional middle for me.

  10. #19
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    I hope I did not make her bitter or distrustful towards guys. I know I have issues and problems. Those are specific to me. I get flooded too easily, I'm not sure about kids, I'm afraid of divorce. I'm no good at long distance and I work too much. I didn't prioritize learning how to be in a relationship early enough in life. I must fix these things about myself.

  11. #20
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    I think my conflict avoidant thing and my easy flooding are related. I don't really have a lot of examples in my life of things getting emotional and then turning out well. In the example of my parents and in every previous relationship, when things got really emotional, esp. negative emotions, then it always turns out badly. I think if I had positive examples of things getting heated and then turning out well and drawing us closer, then I wouldn't avoid conflict so much and I wouldn't flood so easily. Gottman talks about discussing sources of conflict with your partner and that this can draw you closer together. My first reaction was disbelief. I think that's because I've almost always seen the opposite happen. This may be what I need to work on, seeing that discussing conflict can lead to greater intimacy and that it can turn out well. Then maybe I can be less conflict avoidant and flood less easily.

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