She and I have both gotten better at this. When she is upset/tense about someone/something "else" - I am calm supportive, listen and don't try to fix "it or her". She can say/do anything as long as she isn't taking out her frustrations on me. If that starts to happen I just give her a look of surprise and then quietly wait a long moment. At that point she can retract - or she gets the "sounds like you have this under control" followed by the receding sound of my footsteps. That is my version of "I am here to help you with this situation - take it out on me and I disappear". To her credit, she rarely does that anymore.
It took me a long time to build the anxiety "disconnect" switch. Used to be when she felt anxious - I felt anxious. Not good. Now when she gets like that I flip that switch, and can be relaxed and helpful and just as important patient.
A time machine, a time machine, my kingdom for a time machine.....
Originally Posted by Conrad
>>Emotional - I am still working on this one
The good part:
She has the right to vent without being corrected, fixed or helped "in the moment". I have gradually gotten good at this.<<
We've had a huge revelation over this one relatively recently.
Like many here, when we hook up in a disagreement, we're both strong-willed.
My personal flaw has been to show my own whiny-assed baby at those moments and I summon everything to "fix in the moment".
"Fixing in the moment" coupled with "whiny assed baby" is a really toxic formula.
At the marriage builders forum, Willard Harley points out that if you don't leave room for the other persons point-of-view in a disagreement, it's a 'de facto' disrespectful judgement.
Suffice it to say, when I really internalized this, I was devastated. I can look back over a lifetime of relationships and see this very dynamic where I push others away for no reason other than wanting to prove myself right.
The solution isn't to be a doormat and let everyone else have their way. But, there's no reason to fight to the death with hurtful commentary and anger.
This is one reason why I've been quiet lately. This one hit like a ton of bricks.