August 2, 2015 at 5:46 am #81048NatalieParticipant
I am hoping you may have some good advice for me. I have been interested in self development for some time, and have been on various courses, I am currently having counselling for my marriage break up, I read many books, read many articles, use guided meditations, eat well, I would love to have a solid yoga practice. I know all of this helps me with my health well being and emotional stability. The main issue I am really struggling with is keeping my emotions in check when dealing with my estranged husband, he always puts his needs before the children and myself, he is so calm, collected and almost aloof about his behaviour, as though he has no emotions, he can be passive-aggresive with a slight covert narc traits. When he behaves in a way that serves himself over the children, I find my self going beserk, it’s almost as though I’m standing back watching this woman totally lose it, even though I know I will got nothing, I think this is what makes me worse. I know I need to give as little as possible, know I will get nothing back, no emotion no nothing. When I see the children in pain I find it so hard to keep my head together. I almost feel very young in my behaviour, afterwards I am able to stand back and see the mess, and how I’ve only caused myself huge unrest. I have to deal with this man closely for many years to come, and I know time and practice will help, but any guidance I would be hugely grateful for.August 2, 2015 at 8:10 am #81055anitaParticipant
I like it that you wrote again. As one familiar with pain, the emotional pain you are referring to, it is extremely difficult to not react to intense hurt and anger. A few days ag9o, two to be exact, I was reading about Zen, read that Nirvana or enlightenment is in accepting the present moment as it is with no attachment to the past or the future, not wishing to change anything in the present moment. Sure I read about this concept many times before, as I am sure you have. But something else happened two days ago: as I was sitting in the air conditioned coffee-area of the market I was in, I felt my body temperature rising, i touched my forehead, I was sweating. I realized I felt fear. I listened to my thoughts. They were: what is happening? How bad is this going to get? What do I do?
Then I realized in these thoughts I was wishing not to feel the fear I was feeling. I was attached to a moment in the future I wished not to feel this fear and I was holding on to the past, to the moment when I started feeling the fear.
I accepted at that moment what I was feeling. I paid attention to the experience itself without thinking- just where does it feel heavy, temperature… and incredibly, within seconds the intensity was lifted and I was no longer fearful.
It was amazing.
anitaAugust 2, 2015 at 11:58 am #81068NatalieParticipant
First of all gratitude Anita for answering my posts, I also have enjoyed reading your straight forward style of writing on many posts. I do totally understand what you are saying, and I sense also my anger stems from the past where my eldest son’s father let him down, so massive trigger for emotional outbursts, and your right for totally knowing what the future will bring.
I can see if I simply thought ‘okay he let the children down by going to see his girlfriend for two days after working away for 3 weeks and knowing he had taken her to work with him’ I could stop and sit with the feeling and make no judgement. I guess I feel if I do this there is a sense in condoning what he’s done, but also I could just say after collecting my thoughts that that behaviour is unacceptable.
I think giving myself a conscious practice week of sitting with feeling and thought, ask the questions you quoted above and see how it goes, practicing is key, to making the change I believe. I also perhaps could meditate and affirm ‘I will not lose it in front of this man, I am able’ or similar!
Yes be present, accept what is now.August 2, 2015 at 12:19 pm #81070anitaParticipant
I think it is the most recent article on Tiny Buddha: Lashing Out is Losing Control; Calmness Is Strength and Power. Did you read it?
It is enraging, what you describe. I experienced something similar when in the presence of my nephew’s father. He is very, very irresponsible and in no way better in any way than what you describe your ex husband to be. I love my nephew very much and the intensity of my hurt about his father neglecting him so much was extreme. It hurt me so much to see my nephew’s vulnerability, his hurt. My nephew waited countless times for his father to pick him up (divorced, living in another country) to pick him up when visiting but his father chose to be with other women instead of his son. Over the years, years went by without a single phone call. All the years his father chose to not pay child support. Forced to pay child support, a good amount from his paycheck went to a general fund that went to child support to ALL the children in the country of his residence and only a ridiculously small amount, insignificant amount, got to my nephew. 95% did not. One time I found myself SCREAMING at the father: why don’t you send that money to MY NEPHEW??? It boggled my mind. The RAGE in me. It has been way more than 10 years ago and I feel rage as I type this.
My heart is beating fast. I am reacting. I CAN go crazy at this point, I am so angry at the injustice, the unfairness and the hurt oleft with my nephew, which was so unnecessary, if only his father behaved differently. So, what do I do…a line from The Impossible Dream comes to mind: “to bear with unbearable sorrow.” It is painful. Instead of fighting against feeling the pain, I bear it because I have no choice, because I have no way of changing the reality of the injustice, of the WRONG done to my nephew so I have no choice but to bear the pain, not try to get rid of it but to carry it.
anitaAugust 4, 2015 at 7:39 am #81200Bethany RosselitParticipant
You’ve got some excellent advice from Anita, and I’m just going to add a bit to it. Accepting the emotion, calming yourself, and sitting with it are some great first steps. Nothing good will come from pushing an emotion away.
The next step is to realize that emotions come from thoughts. So what do you think is causing you the emotions? WHY do your ex’s words and actions upset you? His words can only show his thoughts and misunderstanding. They have no inherent meaning about you.
When you talk to your ex, make sure that you are asking open-ended questions. If he says something, ask him why he said it. Ask him what he means. If you can do this from a place of being calm, rather than defensive, you will be guiding him toward examining his own misunderstandings and his own reasons for doing and saying what he does. When you tell someone what you think in a situation like this, all they hear is that you are right and they are wrong, which causes the situation to escalate. When you are curious with him, you are guiding him to focus inwardly, which can cause him to reflect on his words–and can help you to see his misunderstandings and learn to depersonalize his words and actions.