Thursday, May 5, 2011

Plank Pullin': Communication Training is Kicking my Tooshie


The Captain and I have been going to marriage counseling. We have been before but we couldn't stand the counselor which really doesn't work too well in the long run. But this new guy... he is something else. He is such a psych geek. Constantly referring to studies and books that I remember from college (I have a psych degree). But also quoting old (and I mean first season) SNL and working Pooh references into his dialogue. It's a trip just listening to him. Best thing about him is that he's good. He is helping us set goals. He gives us things to work on. He checks up on us to see that we have been following through. He coaches us. I quite like the man... though I wouldn't admit this at first. Because I'm totally a skeptic and a complete jerk like that.

I've always admitted that I have my issues. I know that I'm not easy to live with and I'm probably aging my husband beyond his years much in the same way that a rebellious teenager does to his or her parents. But one thing that I've always been good at is communication. Sure, I rebel and act like a brat and become cold and snarky and can be down right mean. But I'm the queen of communication. Right? Hell YES! It's my husband who sucks at communicating. And you better believe it. Because it's a fact.

Right?

right?

RIGHT!!!

Wrong.

Turns out that I suck at communication about as much at the man does. Maybe even more. You see, I have no trouble coming right out and telling him how I feel. Or how terrible he is at something. Or how he's bugged me. Or how he has offended me.

Sometimes. But not nearly often enough. And certainly not in the right manner. And then there is all of that stuff going on in my head that I don't tell him about. The counselor calls those things "fantasies". When I think that my husband believes that I'm incapable, stupid, crazy, a burden, unstable, a bad wife or mother, ugly... (I will spare you any more of this nonsense), I am supposed to tell him. When he does or says something that bothers me at all or that sparks one of these fantasies, I'm supposed to tell him. And then that's all. I'm not supposed to keep harping and nagging until he magically figures out what he needs to do in order to fix it. Instead I'm just supposed to supply information about MY resentment and MY fantasy. I can ask if there is any truth about my fantasy. He is encouraged to ask me what I'd like for him to do about whatever issue I've presented.

But get this...

My husband is not a psychic.

I'm not supposed to expect the man to read my mind.

I am ashamed to admit that I've been expecting this poor man to read my mind for 12 years. I was going along, telling him about how much he sucks and how badly he's screwing up and how sad, hurt, angry, broken up inside that I am... but I didn't bother to tell him what I expected him to do about it. I just thought he should figure that part out on his own. Now he's shown me time and time again that he isn't great at that sort of thing... yet I still expected it from him. Like it didn't count (the compliment, the kind gesture, the date, the affection) if I had to ask for it.

Please tell me I'm not alone here. I can't be the only crazy lady expecting her husband to be a psychic.

So yeah, all of these years I've been dwelling on the idea that my husband won't talk to me, doesn't talk to me, shuts me out, keeps me at bay... and turns out that maybe not only do I do that nonsense too, but perhaps he's been shutting me out because I'm such a terrible communicator that he feels like talking to me is just a bloody war scene waiting to happen.

I've gotten better. He's gotten better. It's really working for us. But man, it's been brutal realizing how blind I've been to my own communication issues. I can't wait to see what else this guy has in store for me.

4 comments:

  1. Have you read Love and Respect? Changed our marriage.

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  2. Yes, Jessica, I read it right after Ronin was born... right before I fell off my rocker. We are reading a marriage book right now but I think we might need to read that one soon too. :)

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  3. i am very guilty of thinking that since we've been together so long/he knows me so well, he should just know what's bothering me. as you just said, they're not psychic! i am trying to be better at talking through this stuff as it's happening, rather than letting it all build up.

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  4. Oh wow....
    I could have written this
    (well, if I was into posting deep honesty about such topics and was able to write so succinctly and such)

    Finding the RIGHT counselor is very important. I remember once going to a marriage counselor that after the first few failed visits, we asked her about HER marriage. She told us she was very experienced as she was on her seventh husband. o_O??

    ReplyDelete

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