I had been at a retreat for the weekend and was so excited to share what all had happened with my husband. Bless his heart, he had juggled three kids for 72 hours as well as his very demanding job. Once the kids were in bed, he asked, “How was the retreat?” He was on his laptop, trying to catch up from work he had missed while he was busy filling up my kids love tanks all weekend.
I started telling him about my weekend while he continued reading and responding to emails. All the sudden I felt hurt. I realized he really wasn’t listening and was just trying to be kind by asking me.
There was a time that would have sent me into a spiral. The lies in my head would have been having a wonderful conversation with me that would go something like this:
“He doesn’t really care about my weekend. Work is more important than me. He loves work more than me.”
Or maybe I would play a game- I would start talking about something random, that had nothing to do with the topic and see how long it would take for him to notice! (I know, I’m ornery!)
The point is, I would respond in an unhealthy way.
This time, I simply said to him, “You know, I can tell you are in the middle of something else. I really appreciate you asking me how my weekend was. It’s really important to me so how about we wait and talk about it when you are done?” He then explained to me that he didn’t have time to get anything done because he had been with the kids. I told him I understood and we actually picked up our conversation in about 5 minutes, with laptop closed and opened ears. It felt much better this way.
In the past, when I was having this negative self talk (conversation with myself) we would have argued the rest of the evening and our conversation about the retreat would have been lost. I’m not saying I have a perfect marriage or that my thoughts are always this positive. But I have worked really hard to change my self-talk. I’ve also worked hard on trying to understand other people’s intentions instead of jumping to conclusions and mind reading. All of these are dangerous things we do to hurt our relationships.
The next time you are feeling hurt, have a different conversation with yourself. Ask yourself what might be going on with this person and how can I tell them what I need right now in a positive way. It will take you a long way!
Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful week!
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville