Not taking it personally
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Not taking it personally

How do you not take it personally when your spouse does those things or gives off those vibes that make it really tough to connect?
My husband came home from another looooonng day at work. He's been working 12 hours a day for weeks. I completely appreciate and respect that he needs to right now.
But sometimes it seems like he doesn't have much left to give after giving all his energy and time to work.
We went out for dinner tonight after he got home. He seemed to have very little interest in talking or listening to me. He tried a little.
It led to a little tiff, but for once we didn't let it get out of control (thank you, counseling).
Some of it is his crazy busy schedule and exhaustion; some is just his personality. Either way, how do I not take it personally or not let it bother me to the point that I feel really frustrated or hurt?
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

For me, I would cut my spouse a little slack and consider that his exhaustion is not just cover for not wanting to interact with me. That my spouse is not deliberately trying to withdraw or put distance between us, but rather that my spouse is really exhausted.

He's exhausted and you two went out to eat, meaning he came home exhausted just to go right back out. I wonder if you had welcomed him home with a beer or a glass of wine (whatever he likes to drink), told him take a seat, dinner will be ready in a few, and then helped him get ready for work tomorrow that he may have responded to you. But even if he didn't, I know as a spouse, I would welcome that over leaving the house to go out to eat.

My two cents...
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

I guess i left out a few details.

This morning he had told me to be ready when he's done at work, to go out with his coworkers for dinner.
*Every night* except nights such as this, he comes home to a cooked meal.
When he got home and suggested we go out, I did offer to make something or go get it and bring it home.
I also offered a backrub, as it's been bothering him.

The post-work exhaustion isn't the extent of what I don't want to "take personally," and I am trying from the bottom of my heart to cut him slack when it comes to that.
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

I was a little offended that you seemed to assume i suggested we go out to dinner and was being insensitive to his needs or exhaustion.
Maybe I'm being oversensitive, but when you don't know the full story, it's not always helpful to assume things---such as that I didn't offer to cook my husband dinner.
That said, I'd love to believe that his distance is 100% due to exhaustion.
Sometimes yes, other times I'm not so sure.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

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Originally Posted by credamdóchasgra View Post
how do I not take it personally or not let it bother me to the point that I feel really frustrated or hurt?
Im wondering who told you that you shouldnt take it personally, get hurt, or let it bother you? Being ignored by someone you love, justified or not, is going to hurt. I dont think its healthy to try and dissuade those feelings.

i think what one does with the hurt, the feelings of rejection, and the fear of withdrawal of love, is the important thing to focus on. for me i wanted to stop the fighting. a lot more hurtful things came out because of how i fought with my H about my hurt. i was really just throwing more gas on the fire. But the initial feelings of hurt was inevitable. There are options on how to deal with the hurt that dont lead to nasty fights and resentment. It just takes time. It sounds like you're learning some of it in therapy. Give it some time to soak in and things will get better. Learn about different options to express your pain and different ways to get comfort for it. but dont try and think yourself into not being hurt. that's just disastrous.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

You can get some counseling for your self or read some relationship books and learn how to communicate better to get what you want and need.
Taking things personally has something to do with your own sense of self worth and confidence. When you respect and honor your self, you know how to respond to others behavior and you do not get so personally hurt - if at all.
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

I think I understand what you mean. You understand he is exhausted and want to allow room for that, but you also feel neglected about it. Makes sense to me. I used to hold it in too, and just swallow it. Not a good idea AT ALL. lol. Now when I feel that way, I just tell my H that I feel a little hurt that he was ignoring/neglecting/etc, me and I give him the opportunity to tell me "oh, I'm so sorry baby. I'm really tired, but how can I make it up to you?" Usually he makes it up to me by us having a drink, actually talking ( or goofing off for a few) and we snuggle all night because I know he didn't mean to do it. Does that make any sense to you??
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

Its hard not to take it personally when its being directed at you (or within your presence).

My counselor said that most people take things out on those closest to them and don't usually mean it personally - so if you can look at it from that perspective, it might help. Works for me sometimes and sometimes it doesn't - I still take it personally, but I'm working on it every day.

When I don't take it personally and try to distract myself with other things/thoughts, it is easier on me and I feel less stressed and frustrated about it.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

my husband is the same way and he used to come home and head straight to his office where he could escape, but now he comes home, gives me a hug and kiss and usually hangs around to see how I'm doing before escaping because he's learned that I do understand that he's tired but just a little attention is nice. Sometimes if he sticks around, I'll give him a little neck rub for 5 minutes as a relaxation for him from work. But he also has to work hard at letting down from work BEFORE he gets home.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

Thank you, everyone!

To my husband's credit, many days when he gets home from work he comes right to me and gives me a kiss and hug.

Also, when I talked to him about things that pertained to my work (I'm a writer), he did show more interest. It was when I started to talk about things and people he didn't know (a human interest story I heard on the news, my friend's new job) that he was indifferent and didn't really engage.

So, part of it being "his personality" is that he just doesn't find certain things in the world as interesting as I do--that's what I mean by not taking it personally.

But yes, it can be off-putting when he says "I don't care to discuss this topic anymore."

@Bianca, I am interested in figuring out how to deal with those feelings of being offended, put off, or hurt, in ways that don't lead to more problems.

I actually think we handled it better, partly because of therapy. Like DawnD mentioned, I said something like, "I need to feel like what I'm saying to you is accepted and that you look forward to coming home and talking with me." At first he started to get defensive, but then I said, "Honey can you please just try to think of what I need right now?" and lo and behold, he took my hand, kissed it and said, "Yes honey, I understand." (Insert applause emoticon here.) That's a step better than it's been in the past.

Our counselor told us to "manage our expectations." Maybe over time and in the right way he can see the negative effect that "I don't care" has on our communication. For now, I can accept and be happy that he does show he cares about the things that pertain directly to me or us.

Also, this morning before he left for work he was sweet and affectionate, and I could tell he was making an effort to be that way.

Sometimes I feel like such a Mars/Venus cliche couple!!

Whew, long post. Thanks if you read all the way through.
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Not taking it personally

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Originally Posted by credamdóchasgra View Post
Our counselor told us to "manage our expectations."
This is essential what a counselor told me once. The counselor said to me, "That is a lot of power to give one person." I had come to my counseling session in a rage because my H was ignoring me. His advice struck me. I was giving my H, a man with as many issues as me, a lot of power over me. After the counselor told me that, i calmed down and when i went home i didnt argue or fight with my H.

Some things that have contributed to me being able to handle my pain differently are learning about boundaries, applying principles i learned from reading Seat of the Soul, and getting engaged in my life again. I think boundaries are important but if you dont know the principles from Seat of the Soul you will carry around a resentful and bitter spirit.
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