"Incremental Progress"
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question "Incremental Progress"

I wonder if anyone can relate...

Been in marriage counseling for about 2 months.

I can say with confidence that it is saving us, and without it we would be in real trouble.

So even though we're getting better at resolving issues, empathizing with each other, owning our own parts in disagreements, and keeping things in perspective...

We aren't "there" yet. Where exactly? I'm not even sure!

But tonight we had another productive counseling session, left feeling happy and close to one another...

And on the way home had an argument...for me, let's just say a sensitive wound had been inadvertently re-opened. In other words, nothing "happened" tonight, but a reference was made that brought BACK something that had really bothered me before, for good reason.

Ugh. We didn't handle it like champs, but it could've been worse. I suppose that's "incremental progress," or baby steps??

I feel like overall our love is deepening and we're trudging uphill to a better place together, but then with something like this, I just feel so angry with him all over again, and tempted to mistrust that he'll stay on my team with the counseling and progress we're making. I know in my heart he will, but the anger and fears come back even with a "stupid fight," because it should've been NO fight at all.

I guess I'm just venting. Hoping we are approaching a more stable, smooth ride than the roller coaster we've been on in the past...
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Old 11-18-2010, 01:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

Quote:
Originally Posted by credamdóchasgra View Post
I wonder if anyone can relate...

Been in marriage counseling for about 2 months.

I can say with confidence that it is saving us, and without it we would be in real trouble.

So even though we're getting better at resolving issues, empathizing with each other, owning our own parts in disagreements, and keeping things in perspective...

We aren't "there" yet. Where exactly? I'm not even sure!

But tonight we had another productive counseling session, left feeling happy and close to one another...

And on the way home had an argument...for me, let's just say a sensitive wound had been inadvertently re-opened. In other words, nothing "happened" tonight, but a reference was made that brought BACK something that had really bothered me before, for good reason.

Ugh. We didn't handle it like champs, but it could've been worse. I suppose that's "incremental progress," or baby steps??

I feel like overall our love is deepening and we're trudging uphill to a better place together, but then with something like this, I just feel so angry with him all over again, and tempted to mistrust that he'll stay on my team with the counseling and progress we're making. I know in my heart he will, but the anger and fears come back even with a "stupid fight," because it should've been NO fight at all.

I guess I'm just venting. Hoping we are approaching a more stable, smooth ride than the roller coaster we've been on in the past...
On the roller coaster of life there are no guarantees and maybe this explains the trepidation you are feeling? It sounds like you trust things are heading in a good direction but are fearing the worst when anything comes up which I think is normal. Talk to him, share your fears and be honest.
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

I think my feeling words are:
disappointment in us
yes, fear
yes, anger

@Trenton: The good news is I feel more comfortable with the idea of sharing my fears with him. In the past I did not.

But like I said, we did handle it better than we could've and than we have in the past.

I let him know clearly and respectfully what bothered me (I won't get into it here). He heard and *appeared* to understand, but when we were starting to calm down and relax, he brought it up again, which was maddening to me.

We have counseling again Monday.
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

I guess I'm trying to stay rational enough to "move on" from this particular argument, without letting myself get down about it.

What I mean is this:

He said something that really bothered me.
At first I reacted strongly and got very upset.
He also reacted.
Then I calmed down, apologized for losing my cool, and let him know it bothered me, and explained why.
What he does with that information, I cannot control. At first he seemed to understand and respect my point of view, but decided to repeat the very statement that had bothered me in the first place.
That really bugged me.
But I'm working on not "owning" his problems, just my own...
If I get all bogged down in sad feelings today, it'll be because I didn't like that HE said it again, and how HE responded.
But I don't want to let it bog me down.
I did my best to be clear and respectful, and I want to be respected.

Based on how things have been going with the help of counseling, I do have a little more faith that he can respect me and my point of view.

But last night his approach was arrogant and judgmental, which does not show respect. That disappoints me, but I don't want to let it destroy my faith in him, which has been growing.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

So we're moving on but I'm a little sad and angry and jaded inside.
I got some good news today about work/school, and he was vert supportive and happy for me. I got out of the house, got my mind on other things, but just got home and am a little weighed down again by it.
I don't know what good it will do to tell him i feel sad and jaded, unless he can respect my feelings and respond in a loving way.
At the same time, I can't put my happiness solely in his hands. I'm happy about the news I got today, and I want to also feel happy with him over the jaded feeling I get after another episode of poor communication.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

Hey i think we're having the same kind of week! my H and I have fought twice this week which is a lot. We both handled it much better though, but its still hard to see the small progress as progress. sometimes i label it as just another fight and things will never get better.

i dont know if you exercise but that has helped me. i was so angry at my H the other day but i got on an elliptical, cranked up the music, and went as hard as i could for as long as i could. felt good actually. i never brought it up to my H.
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Old 11-18-2010, 10:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

Blanca, thanks for relating. H and I had another dumb little tiff tonight but we kept it under control.
He's now in his "cave" doing work, we needed a break.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

Credam,

If I may, it sounds like you're owning his response.

I'm glad the counseling is helping. May I ask in what way?

What exactly are you working on?

There are two levels to this - if you want to kick it around, I'm willing to listen and give some feedback.
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

I'm trying not to own his response, but am not entirely sure what that means, or how to do it.
How is counseling helping?
In counseling, he empathizes with my feelings. He articulates commitments to be more patient and sensitive.
It's the day to day when the stressors come up that the commitments made in counseling (the empathy and sensitivity) still need to show up more reliably.
We're both working on not being as reactive toward each other, being more conscious, less default.
Seeing the positive in each other more than criticizing.
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

Conrad, here's my question:
If I don't own his response, will he?
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

Hi Crem,

This looks positive to me. The first great thing is he agreed to go to counseling, multiple times. Many, many partners do not even agree to that. Also, he appears to be generally trying, right? So he is even showing some response to the therapy. You could be hard-pressed to ask for more.
Btw, what you mean by "own his response"?
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Incremental Progress"

Jack, thanks for your encouragement!
Yes, it is very significant that he's coming to counseling with me and is willing to try to change things from his side.
I'm guessing "owning his response" would be if I blame myself entirely for both sides of the argument--mine and his, the stuff I say and the stuff he says.
If every issue and problem were totally my fault, it would be within my power to change. But that's not realistic.
I'm trying to be the best person I can be and hope that has a positive influence on our relationship. And when it feels like I'm more conscious of that and putting in more effort, it is frustrating.
But yes, it's true, we are both invested in the process or we wouldn't be in counseling together.
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