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Are You Listening?

by Anonymous

When my husband and I were working, we never learned to resolve any problem because we just didn't have time. We would go to work where there was plenty to keep our minds busy, then family, other activities, etc. and the little problem would just slip to the back of the to-do pile. Consequently, nothing was resolved. We never learned to communicate.

Now that we are retired, the little problems seem to face me almost every day. After more than 40 years, we are still not communicating. I think I have made myself clear to him, but I wonder if he is even listening when we're discussing any situation.

I make a request about getting my feelings hurt and it's as if I didn't say a thing. He has always escaped into his creative world which is completely satisfying to him. I feel that all my anger is building and it comes out in a flash. Today, for instance, we returned from the market and when he put the bags on the kitchen counter, rather than as I requested to put them on the floor, I threw one of the bags into the pantry. I am known to slam doors.

I have had issues with depression, but have had success with minimal assistance.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I can see that you're having a hard time, and it's good you're asking for help. This anger doesn't feel right to you, because it doesn't match up with who you are inside.

The key to healing and managing anger is taking total responsibility for your own emotions and your own happiness. I know it seems like your happiness depends on your husband doing or not doing certain things, but that is nothing less than a prescription for unhappiness.

I strongly encourage you to focus on what makes you feel good, and spend more time and energy in that direction. Shift your focus away from your husband to yourself. To help you with that, I will recommend some exercises for you to do.

From what you've said, it's clear to me that you have some underlying issues that need addressing.

I strongly suggest you do all of the journaling exercises on this page on a daily basis. They are Trauma Writing, Anger Journaling and Goodfinding. This will really help you in shifting your focus. As long as you let yourself stay focused on your husband in a critical way, things will only get worse. In the Goodfinding part of the journaling, you can focus on what you like and love about him--and try to keep your focus there.

One more step--just as important as the others--that is to deal with the emotional healing of your past experiences. Use these imagery processes to revisit your past in a loving, healing way, and you will find tremendous relief and comfort.

Also, in the Goodfinding journaling, be sure and focus on what you appreciate about yourself. You're a good person, and that's why you're wanting things to be better.

Believe in yourself. You can do this.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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