Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Little About Listening

Scott and I are in therapy.
Or should I say still.
This is our 3rd therapist.
The first one we saw, after only a few sessions, told us we don't really need to see her, because we pretty much have everything together, and that we were well aware of "our part" and still have an affection for each other.
That was our last visit, and I was annoyed.
Next I decided to try a male therapist, maybe switch things up a bit.
He cracked jokes mostly.....and laughed at them.
His own jokes.
Not very funny.
We saw him only a few times.

After almost giving up I decided to give it one more shot.

I got a list of providers from my insurance, went down the list,
and started calling.
I left a couple messages, some voicemails I hung up on,
because I didn't like the sound of their voice.
Yeah, I am weird like that.
Maybe you are too?
Someone answered at her office, and I left a message.
I got a call back the next day.
We had a great talk, I liked her voice, and the sincerity behind it.
The center she works at is called The Child Development Institute.
She specializes in couples with small children, and the
challenges that arise as a result.
Our first visit was 2 days after this last Christmas, I didn't
want to waste anytime.
It went well, we talked about our concerns, our gripes,
our issues, our history, 
and then the hour was up.
I liked her, even he liked her.
We made another appointment for 2 weeks from then.
This visit was interesting because we got into an argument during the session.
Perfect opportunity for her to see what its like right?
Embarrassing for me, but helpful to her.
Before that happened she asked: "When conflict arises in your daily life, lets say at work...
What do you do?  What do you say to yourself? How do you calm down?"
I replied: "I say to myself what could their motive be? I often think: maybe they don't know, they could have misunderstood, they are only trying to be helpful.  Something like that. 
I can usually talk myself down from the ledge."
She then asked Scott, I don't remember what he said because I was too busy thinking what I was going to say next. (I do this a lot)
She then asked " Where is that voice when Scott is talking
to you and upsetting you?"
I quickly replied: "Oh then?Yeah,that voice doesn't exist
when he upsets me."
She nodded in acknowledgement, with that..... interesting, look on her face.
(You know the one)
So her suggestion (my homework) to me was instead of listening to his tone, or the way he says something, try to listen to what it is that he is asking for, and distinguish the feelings behind what is being said.
My other assignment she said was to write down all
the nice things that he does for me.
My first thought was- "why do I get all the assignments what about him?!"
I guess there are things that I need to work on, and it was noticeable. :(
Reflecting on the past week, and keeping in mind my assignments,
I realized a few things.
I am not a good listener.
I want someone else to hurry up and finish talking so
that I don't forget what I am about to say.
I sometimes interrupt and cut them off.
I know when I am doing it, and when I am about to do it,
and I just can't stop myself.
I don't like that about me.
I don't want to be that person
I really want to be a good listener.
I know how comforting it feels to be heard.
To share your feelings and thoughts with someone.
When we  listen it shows we care.
I do not want to be labeled as someone who doesn't care,
because that is quite the opposite of me.
but I am a good talker,
And my peeps are GREAT listeners.
And I want to be that for them too.

The other thing that came to me is this:

I have a wonderful husband.
One who listens, when I don't think he is listening.
One who is not afraid to tell me that I am wrong, and is
not always on my side.
One who wants us to work out.
Who is the best Da-da to our son than I ever though he could be,
One who makes me laugh, EVERYDAY.
One who loves me enough to go to therapy even when he doesn't want to,  
or think we need to, and participates anyway.
Because his actions speak louder than his words,
and we are judged by our actions not our intentions.
His actions show that he cares, even when he doesn't say it.
And that is good enough for me.

~Bryant H. McGill