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Thread: My journal

  1. #21
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    I also learned from Gottman's book the dangers of coalitions and of catching at very early stages any drifting away from the person. I probably sought for advice too much from mutual friends outside of the relationship and I should address problems within the relationship more. Also, I should have been more clear on relationship status, either all in or all out, the ambiguous middle ground is not healthy. I should not have checked that OkC message or searched around out of curiosity about who was on there, even if I didn't have intentions of contacting. I should have just immediately deleted the account once I was reminded about it being there.

  2. #22
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    Attunement is the next chapter in the book. It talks about really getting inside the emotional world of your partner and how to have conversations where you're really listening and not talking past one another. I am excited to learn about how to do this better.

  3. #23
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    I wish that we had kept up with and created more traditions. Things like the monthly "life dinner", happiness diary, "what I appreciate about you", other little traditions like that would have helped a lot.

    I don't want to lose the memories of the good times though alongside all of this would have, could have, should have. I really liked the sweet cards she would write and send to me from time to time. I think I still have all of them.

  4. #24
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    Gottman suggests four steps in the "art of intimate conversations". First understand your own feelings. This is something I struggle with and need to practice. Second, ask open-ended questions. Third, deepen the emotional connection by repeating back to show your understand your partner's emotion. Fourth, express compassion and empathy. Don't problem solve, be the voice of reason or offer alternative perspectives or solutions (maybe later on but not until you've gone through these steps first). She was intuitively very good at this. This is a skill I need to practice. It feels a bit artificial to empathize when I'm already thinking of potential solutions. But I know I prefer it myself when she empathized with me first.

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  6. #25
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    Gottman's advice is do not give advice at all unless asked. Being there and listening is most important.

    He sums it up with open up about your own feelings, converse in a style that encourages confidences, and be an ally more than a problem solver.

    Amazingly simple, if only it were that easy to do!

    In their lab those who stayed married 6 years later, 86 percent "turned toward each other" whereas for those who had broken up, only turned towards each other 33 percent of the time.

    Gottman talks about the importance of turning toward your partner particularly when there is a tragedy and they need comforting. He talks about couples who eat in awkward silence at restaurants are stuck on a very low step of the bidding ladder. That reminds me of our NYE dinner. There were several times at the end where she told me that she needed me but I was too scared of the emotion and flooding and wanted to wait until she had calmed down rather than trying to be the one to help comfort her. I thought this was to protect us from saying regrettable things but actually it was due to my own fear, to save myself heartache and it was in fact missing bids and making things worse.

  7. #26
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    I will read on these topics each morning to make it a priority and journal what I learn here to force myself to do it.

  8. #27
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    Today's reading was on repair attempts. Apparently the emotion-based repair attempts are more effective than cognitive ones. Repairs are what you do when you miss a sliding door moment to calm your significant other back down and repair the disagreement.

  9. #28
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    Reading more Gottman last night. I learned about the Gottman-Rapaport Model for Constructive Conflict. He recommends a weekly 1 hour exercise in attunement and conversation skills. You have to listen to your partner and repeat back to them your understanding of how they're feeling until they are satisfied that you have it right. I like how he recommends buying a pulse oximeter to monitor pulse rate and oxygen concentration for flooding and then you take a 20 min. break if necessary. Wish we had done this. Wish I'd read about this earlier.

  10. #29
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    Gottman really emphasizes the importance of taking a break. He says that "taking a break can have a dramatic effect. In my therapy work, I find that partners return to the table looking and sounding as if they've had a brain transplant. Once more, they can be logical, neutral empathic and attentive. Their good humor also returns."

    He recommends beginning each meeting with a review of what's been going right between you lately to accentuate the positive and diffuse tension. He suggests beginning by naming 5 things the other did in the past week that you appreciate. After each one the receiving partner should express gratitude. Next you decide together which area of discord to focus on for the meeting. Starting with something recent in the beginning is his suggestion and then with practice moving to something that occurred in the past if it still bothers one partner.

  11. #30
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    During the hour, this is what the speaker and listener must follow:

    Speaker's job:
    A - awareness - Paying attention to your words and manner to avoid making your partner feel cornered, defensive or flooding. Be sensitive to the partner's triggers and childhood traumas.
    T - Tolerance - Acknowledge that your partner's perspective is just as valid.
    T - Transforming criticisms into wishes and positive needs

    Listener's job:
    U - Understanding - not problem solving
    N - Nondefensive listening - He says this is a difficult one to master. He offers some suggestions - pause and breath, relax muscles, doodle, later write down your partner's words and your defensiveness. Try to separate this issue from your overall feelings towards the relationship.
    E - Empathy

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