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 Post subject: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:40 am 
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Hi. I just wanted to "report" that I had 2 incidences this weekend where I used some skills to overcome potential BPD behavior in myself. I am really pleased the way it worked out.

First, on Friday night I went out to a fundraising dinner with my H. We were sitting at a table with about 8 other people, some I knew, some I never met before. We were talking about politics (we were all on the same page) and I said something. All of a sudden, my H said to me that I should stop talking and be careful of what I say. I got very angry with him. I felt he was (again) invalidating me. I told him I can say what I want. He got up and walked out. I stayed at the table. I thought about what happened and that I didn't want to stay angry at him. I hate it when he does this to me, but I also did not want to revert back to my "victim mode" and get all huffy and sulky. So when he came back a few minutes later, I put my hand on his, smiled at him and told him what a good time I'm having.

The second incident happened yesterday (Saturday). We were out and he needed some cash from me. I gave it to him and he said "well, it's my money anyway." I felt terrible - like we're not in a partnership or anything. Again, I could have gotten all sulky and angry at him, but instead I just Observed and Described how I felt, and then let it go.

I know I used DBT skills here - I used Observing and Describing, and then got to Wise Mind. But this is my way of getting to "happy, healthy living." I feel pretty proud of myself for diffusing what might have become, at another time, a nasty situation. I can't believe I am getting better at this. Wow.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:57 am 
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The way you reacted was wonderful! I don't think I can do that yet. Those DBT skills have really sunk in for you, and I'm very much impressed. Keep up the fantastic work!


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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:30 am 
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Wondering, the way I looked at it was a choice: either I act like a big baby or I let it slide (Teflon Mind). I had to decide what was more important. Also, sometimes you have to pick your battles. I've always said that if I ever got divorced, it would be over something stupid. I don't think it's worth it. I won't allow people to walk all over me, but I also don't want to play the "victim" anymore. But believe me, it's very hard work. Sometimes it's easier for me to slip back into the old ways.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:03 pm 
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excellent ((BG))

i might have said, i feel hurt when you call it "your " money tho....but you may not have felt hurt! i do, or did, because nothing here is mine. my H considers it all his, and i spend "his" money. he always reminds me how much money he would have if me and my daughter werent around. course he calls her "my" daughter, like he had nothing to do with it! lol. i always threaten a DNA test. lol.

so were you able to let it go completely?

i love how you separated your behavior from the situation. fantastic. yes, its hard. daily work. and look at you doing it:)

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:24 pm 
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Oh, that 1st situation would been sooooo difficult for me -- sounds like you were awesome! =)

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:23 pm 
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I really like that you posted this. I encounter some of the same types of situations, and I still get stuck with them. I like how you reacted. Especially in the first situation. It's inspiring!

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:27 am 
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Thanks. You don't know how hard it was for me, especially the first situation. As I said, I could have gone into a snit and gotten really mad at him. Spent the evening sulking. But I didn't want to. I knew I had a choice. But on the other hand, I'm soooo tired of being invalidated - that's my big trigger with BPD, I think, being invalidated. My parents did it, my sister sometimes does it, and my H does it. Do I look like a doormat or something? Anyway, it WAS very hard to let go but I'm glad I did it.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:57 am 
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my H said to me that I should stop talking and be careful of what I say.

Did he really say "Stop talking"?

I do think that it's wise to be careful of what one says in mixed company (those we know mixed with those we don't) when discussing politics. This is a very sensitive and deeply held belief system area which can very easily tip into a realm of ugly personal attacks with a single comment.

Perhaps he was trying more to help you avoid a landmine than invalidate your beliefs. I don't think he was saying "You shouldn't think that" so much as "This might not be the right time/place to share your thoughts as candidly as you otherwise might."

Knowing that invalidation is a trigger for you, do you think that maybe you paint more situations than not with the invalidation brush? Even when not necessarily the case?

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:50 am 
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Well Ash, if I think back on it, he did tell me to stop talking. I know he was trying to get me to think about what I was saying, but I knew who I was talking to and it was okay. We were all on the same page. In my mind, it feels like he is saying that I can't assess a situation by myself. I'm not stupid and I wouldn't say things if it wasn't appropriate.

I know I'm sensitive to the invalidation issue. I need to stop and think carefully if that is what is at play when this happens. But I think on Friday night I knew what I was doing and it was okay. I appreciate you helping me to think about this - I do have to stop and ponder this when it occurs. Thanks!!

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:36 am 
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I don't think I've ever disagreed with the notion that your H could probably use some assistance / growth of his own for his own issues. ;)

Are you able to see things from his perspective? Why would he want you to stop talking? Why might he think you might not be best able to assess the situation? Is there something there he was trying to protect - you from embarassment, his reputation, a business relationship - that may have come out/across inappropriately?

What could you have said (looking back on it now) that would have conveyed your self-confidence and self-assurance while also assuring him of your ability to handle the situation without embarassment to either of you?

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:52 am 
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I honestly think he was trying to get me to stop talking so I wouldn't potentially say (in his mind) the "wrong thing." But again, I knew what I was doing, was in my right mind and in control. I believe he was worried that I might offend someone. I don't recall ever doing that in the past, but he's sensitive.

I honestly don't know what I could have said at the moment. I think I tried to tell him it was okay, but he wouldn't listen and he got up and left. I didnt' want to get into an argument so I let him go. I honestly didn't know what to say. I think if I did say something, we would have gotten into an argument and I didnt' want to. So I let it be and when he came back I just put my hand on his and smiled at him.

We didn't discuss it after that. Maybe I need to reassure him now that the episode is over that I would never say anything to embarrass him or other people. I think he thinks I have a big mouth (to put it bluntly). Maybe in the past I have said things he didn't approve of, but as I said, I was very careful that night. I knew the people we were with were on the same page. 2 couples were friends of ours and the others were young people we had just met (not business acquaintenances). I realized they were on the same page as us so I didn't feel it would be wrong to say what I did. No one was offended and things just went pretty smoothly. And by the way, what I said was nothing inflammatory.

So the bottom line is - what do I say to my H to reassure him that I know what I'm doing? I don't want to get into a potential argument with him so I don't know how to word it. He can be pretty stubborn and often doesn't give me the benefit of the doubt. He brings up things I might have done in the past and I hate when he does that. This is today, not yesterday. If anyone has any suggestions I'd be willing to take them! Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:55 am 
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Quote:
So the bottom line is - what do I say to my H to reassure him that I know what I'm doing? I don't want to get into a potential argument with him so I don't know how to word it. He can be pretty stubborn and often doesn't give me the benefit of the doubt. He brings up things I might have done in the past and I hate when he does that. This is today, not yesterday. If anyone has any suggestions I'd be willing to take them! Thanks!

My H does this too. All the time. I admit, he may have had reason to in the past- I mean I may have not been so careful with my words. But today is today and then was then. I asked my T about this. I have asked many about this, because it is one of our major problems. It makes me feel like my H is controlling me, not trusting me. My T suggested that I don't try to talk to my H about it. My H doesn't see things like that yet. He is very stuck in the past. What I do is simply do as you did the other night. Show him through my actions. Be impeccable with my word, expecially when I am around any of his family, friends or co-workers. I know that if I 'mess-up' just once, I am back to square one. But I think you did just the right thing. You not only kept your cool whereas he had to get up and leave, but when he returned you welcomed him without animosity. I believe this is His Stuff, not yours. He needs to learn to trust you to be an adult, behave as an adult with opinions of her own. Show him you are capable of rational decision making and adult conversaion without his supervision by your Actions.

Just my :2cents , I can recognize I may be viewing this through my own filters!

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:23 am 
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now we will have 4 cents...lol.....

yes, this is his stuff. trust takes time, not to mention he probably might just have this pattern that kicks in from the past.

i think you handled it well, BG. you cant get him to change his thinking, only show him over time and remember, this comes from him and his experiences. i dont think he means it as you arent capable.

reassurance takes time and trust takes time and old habits take time to stop.

actions, as H said.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:22 pm 
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Thanks. I am just nervous to bring it up because it might cause another argument. I'll have to think about this.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:48 pm 
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Hi. As I said before, if anyone has any suggestions on how to talk to my H about this, I'd appreciate it. Thank you!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:50 pm 
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suggestions? how about asking him during a time there is no anything going on.

say, have you noticed this? and explain it. ?

not during a time its happening, not when he is HALT mode, but just a nice quiet time. explain it like how you think or feel you are healing and wanted his input on it?

try to not have it a "H, you do this and i dont like it" but reword it to have to do with you and how you dont think "people" need to monitor you much anymore.

?

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:08 pm 
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Thanks Jody. I will give it a try. I'll let you know what happens! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:18 pm 
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It looks like you have been gaining so much from DBT! I think it is great that you can make different choices and see the benefits of those choices as a result of what you are learning in therapy.

You mention that your husband asking you to stop talking feels invalidating to you. Have you ever considered that to continue talking when he has requested that you stop is invalidating him? You are questioning his judgment as if you know best, and perhaps in this situation you do know better than him and he would not have been disappointed if you had continued talking after he asked you to stop, but it sounds like you recognize that in the past you have gone too far and done some things that were embarrassing to your husband. He may not be looking to you to be the "model wife" but if he is feeling embarrassed about being with you in a public setting because he thinks you might say too much, it could mend the relationship if you could agree to stop talking on those occasions he asks and then discuss his reasons with him later.

I was brought up to only speak if I had something important to say. I had to measure every word by asking myself if my thoughts were important enough to speak them and the measure I used was whether or not it would benefit the other person in some way. Now that I am an adult and can "speak my mind" whenever I want, I don't tend to be as cautious with my words and that is not always a good thing. There are times I feel that what I have to say is important enough to say when really it did not need saying after all. Keeping my thoughts about things to myself does not invalidate the thoughts or invalidate me as the person thinking such thoughts, it just shows respect to other people who may be feeling as if their thoughts are so overwhelmingly important that they will burst if they don't have a chance to speak them out loud.

I suppose for me it comes down to the two ears and one mouth thing - I try to listen twice as much as I speak. I may have also gained this in my training to be a teacher because there are times that kids just want to be heard and it is important for me to be a good listener at those times rather than to expect them to always listen to me as a teacher. I also tend to fear judgment from others and the best way to avoid being judged is to remain silent.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:38 am 
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Thanks Denim for your support! I appreciate it. I struggle hard with the DBT skills and am still learning.

I have varying thoughts about the "keeping my mouth shut" thing in regard to my H. I resent being monitored. I know I have to respect other people and choose my words carefully. I think I did that. But I also do not like my H bringing up my past transgressions. I know what I have done in the past, but that is over. I am learning new skills and I do think twice before I speak now. So I think I'm a big girl and can decide for myself what is appropriate or not. See, as I learn new skills I feel I am growing and becoming my own person. So to have someone monitor me feels like Mommy or Daddy are telling me what to do. Maybe it is a bit reactionary, but I don't like it. I also was told to not say things that might hurt others. But as I said, I assessed the situation carefully and was careful in my words. I am not saying this to be contrary to what you said, by the way. I appreciate your input and welcome it gladly. I have been in many situations where I know the words I may say would seem volatile, and in those instances I do keep my mouth shut. I know better. So to me, the bottom line is - do I need someone to monitor me? And to me, the answer is no. And of course, if I did question the situation, I might at some point take my H aside and ask him what he thinks. So I am open to suggestions. But at this time, what he said was not a suggestion - it was more, imo, like an order.

After reading the posts here, I think I need to take him aside at some point, when we are both relaxed, and talk to him about it. Tell him how I feel and discuss how he feels. I dont' want to point a finger at him, but just have a conversation. I'm sure he was nervous about what he thought might have come out of my mouth, so I need to reassure him that I can deal with these situations. I can understand his nervousness because of the way I may have acted in the past, so as I said, I think reassurance is what I need to give him. I dont' want to get into an argument so I'll have to choose a time when we are both relaxed and in a good mood.

Thanks for your help Denim, I appreciate it. The more input I have, the better equipped I will be to speak to him!! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:28 am 
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My suggestion would be two different but related tacks ...

Use the Socratic Method to engage him in conversation about what it is that bothers him so much that he feels compelled to try to control your behaviour.

The other thing I would consider an affirmative but firm statement. "I appreciate your concern over my past tendency to stick my foot in my mouth but I am a completely separate person from you and I'm allowed to make my own mistakes."

Way back in the day (wow, over eight years ago!) my husband and I (though we had only been dating a few months at that point) went to a party at the house of a friend of mine and I expressed to her that I was mortified at the outfit he had chosen to wear that night. I took his outfit choice so personally that it was worth my time and effort to mention that I had nothing to do with what he was wearing and that I was embarassed by his choice and to reiterate that it wasn't a choice I had made for him. My friend, Dana, said "Oh please, I love it when they dress goofy like that because I just know people are looking at the two of us thinking 'wow, she's too hot to be with that goober guy!'" I've not forgotten that and to this day, I still sometimes wonder what on earth he was thinking when he made his apparel selections but I remain committed to letting him wear whatever he wants. It's not a reflection on me, my tastes, my choices so much as it's a testament to how chic I look by comparison! LOL

Seriously though, perhaps your husband could benefit from a reminder that you're two separate people and even if you make a gaffe in mixed company, it's yours to make and has little bearing on him. If he really and truly doesn't trust you to open your mouth at any time, then each of you can make decisions accordingly - will he even bother to ask you to attend knowing that you are dedicated to being your own person & speaking your mind regardless of how he might prefer things to play out? Will you even accept an invitation to attend with him knowing that he will not allow you to be your own person & speak your mind as a unique & separate individual?

Yes, that sounds a bit black-and-white but there are times when the black-and-white can help clarify our positions within the grey. If he sees that he's essentially asking for all black and you're telling him "if you say all black, I will only respond with all white" then it's up to him to decide how committed he is to that all-black stance. Usually it will help the other person see how black-and-white things have gotten and more often than not, they will take steps to move into the grey with you.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:15 pm 
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Thanks Ash. I do plan on talking to him. I spoke to my T about it today. He knows my H and has a good take on him. He thinks that my H is obsessed with how he appears to others, and that if I open my mouth, it reflects badly on him. Well, I sort of agree with that. But it's tough. I am an independent person. I am not stupid. So, I will talk to him. But it has to be at the right time. We will have to come to some agreement about this. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:48 pm 
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Bordergirl wrote:
He thinks that my H is obsessed with how he appears to others, and that if I open my mouth, it reflects badly on him. Well, I sort of agree with that. But it's tough. I am an independent person. I am not stupid. So, I will talk to him. But it has to be at the right time. We will have to come to some agreement about this.


Perhaps there will be a good "trade off" to your making sure your husband does not have to worry about the things you say reflecting poorly on him and you can ask him for something in return. I imagine that if your husband is concerned that you will refuse to honor his request to keep quiet at times he feels it is necessary, he will most likely not invite you places anymore and that would not be much fun either. There are most likely things he does that you want him to stop as well and he is not likely to want to honor your request if you won't consider honoring his, you know? It would be nice if the two of you can do things for each other and have positive interactions together in return.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:01 pm 
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Actually Denim, the event we went to Friday night was a joint decision. He didn't "invite" me. We went together to a fundraiser. I know my H and I think that if I try to use the "you do this for me and I'll do it for you" it won't work. I don't want to ask him to stop doing anything. I can't think of anything anyway. I just want to be up-front and tell him how I feel and lay some boundaries. I appreciate your input though. It's always good to get different opinions and weigh them as to how they would work. Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:51 pm 
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From my own experience with this, as my H feels the same way it appears yours does, I feel I need to share what I have tried. I did what Ash suggested-- long before I found this site.
Quote:
The other thing I would consider an affirmative but firm statement. "I appreciate your concern over my past tendency to stick my foot in my mouth but I am a completely separate person from you and I'm allowed to make my own mistakes."

It was something my T suggested. I thought it was a good idea. I did it at a time when we were both calm, in good moods. I tried to approach from a pov that was non-threatening. It got thrown back at me. I was told that everything I do, because we are H and W, is a reflection on both of us. I was told that I was therefor not allowed to make my own mistakes if my H could 'see them coming'. Wow, his powers of prophacy must be great. Anyway, I did not have the skills at the time to refute these words. I hope and believe that if that situation were to exist for you, you DO have the skills necessary to rebutt.

I do like the Socratic Method idea and think that I will try it myself on my own H.

I wish you the best, BG, and really hope that your H can see that you are two distict people. Good luck. Let us know if you feel like you can share. I know I could use some help with this same problem. I feel for you in this. I do feel that your actions over time will show him that you are capable, but that does take time and if you feel you need to address this issue now I certainly respect that.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Experience with Skills
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:07 am 
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Thanks Harmonium. I looked at the site for the Socratic method but my eyes began to swim. I could not understand it at all. If someone could condense it for me and tell me in simple words what it is, I would appreciate that. I have not had the opportunity to speak to him about this yet.

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