October 13, 2020
Word of the Week: Communication
A few weekends back, I had one of those days when nothing seemed to be going my way. I woke up early for a business collaboration that ended up being a disaster, was triggered during writing class and was grumpy about working a second Saturday in a row. When Andrew came back from his run, I complained to him about my shitty day, and instead of comforting me, he muttered something like, “That’s too bad,” and moved onto getting himself something to eat.
Annoyed, I continued working, while Andrew waited—impatiently—for me to wrap up so that we could head to an event he had been looking forward to. By the time I was ready to go, he was annoyed. So there we were, two super annoyed married humans, growing more and more passive-aggressive with each other as the day went on.
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Finally, by 4:30 p.m., we went on a hike, which was all I wanted to do that day. A little over a mile in, I gashed my knee on a tree branch—that was the final straw. I let out a blood-curdling scream to no one in particular—one of the joys of being in the woods—crumbled to the ground and cried. I waited for Andrew to hug me and ask what he could do to help, but instead he responded with, “Stop crying, it doesn’t help anything.” I was livid. I wanted to scream, “Why are you such an asshole?” or “You are such a dick!” but instead I blamed myself for getting hurt and stomped my way home. Eventually, I told him that I was crying because I was in pain and sad about my awful day. And then he said the words I wanted to hear from the start, “I’m sorry love. That does sound upsetting.”
See, it’s far more effective to focus on your own internal state, instead of on what you find obnoxious about your partner. Using fear, shame or name-calling won’t get you anywhere. Usually Andrew gets upset at me when I’m upset because he doesn’t like seeing me in pain and wants to solve the problem, instead of just being present to my pain and comforting me. Yes, we need to learn how to self-soothe and not rely on our partners all the time for emotional support, but we also need to be clear on what our needs are and coach them on how they can support us—they aren’t mind readers.
Ask Yourself: How well do I communicate my needs? Do I tend to lash out, blame myself or become passive aggressive when I feel upset?
Weekly Mantra: I am safe to communicate my needs.
When in Doubt, Jam It Out!
Bridges by Mickey Guyton (Follow the Spotify playlist “Jam it Out with Elizabeth” to stay up-to-date with the weekly tunes 🎵)
Things I Think You’ll Love:
I opened up about my self-love journey battling stress, anxiety and depression on Realistically with Liz podcast and shared how I started Monday Vibes, plus the mission behind it.
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Debating on trying premarital counseling? I share why it’s important in my latest Talkspace article, “All of Your Premarital Counseling Questions Answered,” and how it can help with:
Sending love to you and every emotion you’re feeling,