Sleep Apnea (Part Three of Three)

My sister takes very good care of her health but has constant dark circles under her eyes and gets tired and sleepy along with other symptoms. My brother also has dark circles and so many symptoms that it is a no brainer. He recently had surgery and his condition deteriorated to the point where it appeared he wouldn’t live. Doctors could not understand what caused it because the surgery wasn’t major enough to bring it about. He has always been slow to heal but this was very serious. I’m no doctor but knowing what I know now, I would bet that it has to do with his sleep apnea. However, as I have written before there comes a point where you just have to let go and allow people make their own decisions and experience consequences.

I had a lady tell me that her husband has obvious Sleep Apnea but is too macho to use a CPAP machine. Using a machine for a minimum of four hours a night for the rest of your  life seems to be the main deterrent. Yet, many have become dependent on sleep medications that don’t last more than four hours and do not supply restful sleep. I thought I was sleeping good after we moved to Colorado from Texas but in actuality I was getting very little restful sleep. In my opinion, most of us don’t give enough credibility to how important sleep is to our overall health.

Once I overcame many of the obstacles to sleeping comfortably with the CPAP, I have come to truly enjoy using it. I love the feeling of fresh air blowing into my face and have added aromatherapy to keep my sinuses clear. I have had a need to have air blowing in my face for quite some time thinking it was helping me breathe and it was. It’s nice to no longer have to lie awake for 2 hours before getting to sleep or dread going to bed knowing that sleep won’t come easily.

I now fall asleep easily and pretty much sleep through the night. I previously would get up sometimes 10 times a night to empty my bladder. While I would go a little, it was not enough to justify getting up for most people. But I could not sleep because I was obsessed with the urge to go. The truth of the matter is that often I would worry that I would have to get up which triggered the power of suggestion.

Getting adjusted to using the CPAP is not a walk in the park for most people but the suppliers know this and have come up with products that make using it more tolerable. There are many, many people who are dependent on CPAP therapy and most experience or have experienced common issues. By sharing what works for each of us, we all benefit. There is even a forum for CPAP users.

I have found cushy covers to pad the straps and liners for my mask that keep me from having air leaks and increases comfort. I add aromatherapy to keep my sinuses clear negating the day to day sinus cleansing and I have a hose management aid. Medicare pays for new masks complete with headgear and filters every 3 months and per my doctor’s  prescribed that I be provided a mask of my choice and I have been through four before I found the one that is right for me. I no longer have the whooshing sound of the air coming in and out and don’t hear my breathing magnified. Being diligent in my therapy has improved my lie immensely after just four months.

Physically, mentally and emotionally I feel much more healthy. I have more energy and feel more alert, and I find it easier to manage my anxiety and impulse control. I still get sleepy during the day but it is getting better.

If you suspect or if someone suggests that you have sleep apnea, please at least get tested or suggest that they be tested. It is much more important than you might think.

 

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Sleep Apnea (Part Two of Three Parts)

When I told Dr. Washburn that I was sleeping well at night, he explained to me that my apneas (breathing stops) would cause my brain to shout, “Wake up, wake up and breathe” I would start breathing and be right back to sleep without even realizing that I woke up. There were times that I probably woke up without realizing why and thought I had to use the potty explaining why I would go up to 10 times a night.

Having the apnea documented in order for insurance to pay for the therapy is a hoop jumping process. I went through a regimen of tests which included x-rays and blood tests to rule out everything else, a home sleep study, a lab sleep study and four pulse Oximetry’s.

The first test was pulse oximetry I had that showed a significant drop in heart rate when I slept. I don’t recall the numbers but the pulmonologist explained that I woke up 94 times. I was in denial because I certainly didn’t remember waking that many times. He explained that when my heart rate dropped or I stopped breathing, my brain would alert me to wake up and start breathing. He said I wouldn’t be conscious of being awake for the periods of time it took to start breathing again because they were very short. A technician also explained to me that we can be awake without being conscious of it which explains my being awake for two hours without it seeming like it. As if that wasn’t scary enough, I did a home sleep study that showed that I stopped breathing 699 times in about 6 hours.

I was put on a trial 30 day CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) therapy. The CPAP provider monitors my sleep and breathing activity by transmissions from my machine directly to them and the provider keeps the Pulmonologist apprised.

I had to have an in-lab sleep study done after the 30 day trial period to show that the therapy was working. My apneas were greatly reduced though my heart rate still drops enough that the pulmonologist wanted to add oxygen titration to my machine. The study showed that it wasn’t much under the satisfactory minimum so Medicare said no. Heck, I was just happy to have them pay for the machine and supplies. I had been fortunate in that I had turned 65 right before the therapy was prescribed so I had to go on Medicare in addition to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Medicare has less stringent requirements than Blue Cross. I am sure I would have qualified even for Blue Cross since my tests showed the Sleep Apnea to be severe.

 

Denial

Up until I had a hysterectomy and got happy (yes at the same time), I was tiny, bitty.

11979633-young-business-women-arguingPeople would criticize and comment and ridicule and I would try to gain weight to the point of making myself sick. Be careful what you wish for because now people are “worried” because I am overweight and I have no idea what they say behind my back.

18465933-fish-dish--fried-fish-fillet-french-fries-with-vegetablesI don’t think I gained all this weight overnight and I’m sure eating whatever I wanted had something to do with it. You see, I had developed that habit when I was thin so it was a part of me. My mother tried to tell me when I was younger that I was developing bad eating habits that would catch up with me. To be fair, I was and am a vegetable eater though not exclusively. As the weight was added, I would tell myself that a little weight wouldn’t hurt and I avoided the mirror like the plague. I was happy to be able to buy adult clothes and liked my face being a little fuller.

3487178-dos-muchachas-j-venes-intimidaci-n-otra-ni-a-al-aire-libreThen I started to worry that people wouldn’t want to be around me or like me
because I’m fat. There were actually articles as I was growing up on not hanging out with the “fat” or “ugly” chick in order to be seen as successful. Have you ever noticed that almost any magazine you pick up has an article on weight loss? While I agree that it is important to stay healthy, some people’s body types can handle a little added weight, mine isn’t one of them.

16686055-female-skier-looking-at-the-camera-after-falling-down-on-mountain-slopeNot only does the weight make me look unbalanced, it has affected my health. Being 4’11” my BMI is ridiculous and I now have to take blood pressure medicine, reflux medication even after having reflux surgery, medicine for high cholesterol… Having moved to high altitude country, I am constantly out of breath and because I have all my weight in the lower front, I fear falling over when I do outdoor activities. I can get up but I fear that someday I won’t be able to.

Family conflictWhen I recently took a trip to Texas, my mother made comments about my weight that she tried to backtrack by telling me that to her I would always be beautiful. My family have no filters so I tried to dismiss it. When I got back home, I wrote mom a letter telling her to stop worrying about my weight and making all these bold excuses and explanations. Being the child of an alcoholic, I know denial when I see it and that letter was complete and utter denial.

Weight loss surgery had been suggested by a previous doctor but I am fearful about A_Black_and_White_Cartoon_Two_Children_Walking_To_School_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100713-145833-444053something that will change my life forever. I did my research, made an appointment with my new doctor and requested that my husband accompany me. I feel like whatever decision I make is going to affect both of us and also he knows medication. Another fear I have is becoming addicted to weight loss medication.

Danny and I had already discussed a new medication that has been successful in 9319250-two-young-business-people-talking-and-discussingaiding weight loss. He was familiar with it and knew that it had been helpful in weight loss with little to no side affects. It was decided in my doctor’s appointment that we would start with this medication called Contrave and go from there. The doctor said that her patients who had tried it had experienced success in losing and keeping it off. Thoughweight loss surgery would see faster results, getting insurance companies to pay for it is tricky. Even though I have most if not all the conditions that they take into account, they will still balk at paying. So we made a plan that I would come in monthly to be weighed and check in with her so we will have documentation to present to the insurance company as well as monitoring my progress.

I would like to tell you that I have seen huge changes at least in my eating habits but I 9052883-a-shopping-cart-full-of-fresh-colorful-products-illustrationtend to be a lightweight when it comes to some medications. The drug makes me extremely drowsy so I am only taking half doses at this time. I still have to surrender to the drowsiness but it’s manageable. I am noticing a small change in my eating but some of it is knowing that I can’t just rely on medication. Fake it till you make it!

Gaining and losing WeightMy take on dieting is that unless you keep it up for the rest of your life,
it becomes the yo-yo effect. I lose inches fairly easy but as soon as I get the compliments and see the results, I’m right back to where I started. Some people eat to live and I live to eat. I do use common sense when I cook and mostly when I eat though binging is not unheard of. Yes, I will have to add exercise to my regimen. I do like walking so I just need to get started.

I am hopeful that this journey will take me to better health and increased self acceptance. It’s time.

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Life Happens Too!

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With every move we gain and we lose. We lost the creek but gained a forest like back yard and more isolation. Not really isolated but the houses are further apart. The first time we came to this house, I stood on the back deck and felt totally at peace. Our back yard is nothing but Pondorosa Pines (very tall) and all is very quiet. However, it is winter and the snow birds are back in warmer climate. In the mornings when I fix my coffee, I stare out the window and the sun shines through the pines yet we lost the view of the stars every night through the ceiling skylight over our bed. I don’t feel the loss as much as I feel the sense of wholeness and I can feel myself evolving. I guess it has become a combination of our home in Texas and our house on the creek.

The house itself has radiant in-floor heating and two fireplaces. There is a main floor and a walk out fully finished basement containing two bedrooms (one being Danny’s office) and a media/family room. The master and a bedroom (my office) are on the main floor. The main floor is totally open. We have reserved the living area upstairs as a quiet area – no television. It has a fireplace and is set up to be more formal. We enjoy solitude or spending quiet together time there. Our bedroom is huge and has a sitting area. Ceilings are Alder wood as are floors except the bedrooms which are carpeted. The house also has nice architectural features. There is a downstairs patio and an upper deck. It is a nice place for Danny and me to be separate together. Though it is a rental, we have full permission to make it our own with paint etc.

I have started a Law Enforcement Transcription business and am in the assessment phase of a contract. I have done the first part and am awaiting the results. It was more difficult than I anticipated because law enforcement transcription has to be verbatim and though I have always been good at voice recognition, when the voices are similar – not so easy. I did enjoy the work and am looking forward to improvement. Having done clerical work within a police department and having a soft spot in my heart for it, I am truly excited. I do have to say that doing this work without the benefit of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and blood pressure meds made it all the more difficult.😬 Note to self: Order your mail-order refills early. I love that I work from home and have the privacy of my own office.

Christmas is bought and shipped. We are having steak for our Christmas dinner which is a luxury on our new budget. I won a Big Green Egg cooker when we did the Parade of Homes to the tune of $1,000 so we are anxious to try it out. We were considering buying a George Foreman since our BBQ pit bit the dust in the original move but while we were working it into the budget, I won this state of the art dude. Woo Hoo!

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Wanted to let you know that I am still alive and kicking!

Useful Mental Health Lifelines

    Hotline List

    Hotline List

    Resources when and where you need them.

    We’ve Got Friends Who Can Help

    Worried about a friend? Dealing with some issues of your own? There are trained people who can help.

    If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local police station.

    General Crisis Support by Text

    Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741 (24/7). Our trained counselors can discuss anything that’s on your mind. Free, 24/7, confidential.

    Other Hotlines

    Depression & Suicide
    The Trevor Project Call 866-488-7386 (24/7) Live Chat with the Trevor Project (Fridays 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST)

    Dating Abuse & Domestic Violence
    loveisrespect Call 1-866-331-9474 (24/7)
    Chat Online with loveisrespect (7 days/week, 5:00 PM to 3:00 AM EST) or text loveis to 22522

    National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) Email the National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7)
    RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Call 1-800-656-4673 (24/7) Live Chat with RAINN (24/7)

    Child Abuse
    Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Call 1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
    National Safe Place Text SAFE and your current location to the number 69866 (24/7)

    Runaways, Homeless, and At-Risk Youth
    National Runaway Safeline Call 1-800-786-2929 (24/7) Live Chat 7 days/week, 4:30 to 11:30 PM CST
    Home Free Family reunification program provides free bus tickets to eligible runaway and homeless youth.

    Crisis Text Line (CTL)

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    If you are interested in doing volunteer work that you can do from home, here is an idea for you:

    While working as a Crisis Telephone Counselor for Crisis Hotline (CHL), we assisted CTL when we could so I am familiar with this organization. Now that I am no longer employed or volunteer with CHL due to having relocated, I have entered the volunteer program at CTL. Though I have been through a version of their training as a continuing education requirement and having been through CHL’s training, I am finding the CTL volunteer training to be very beneficial. This is a rewarding endeavor and for those who like doing things for others anonymously, this is your ticket. All training and working on the texting platform is done from your computer at home. You set your own schedule and the text line is open 24/7 so working it into your personal schedule isn’t difficult.

    If you are nervous about crisis support, let me reassure you that you will be well-trained and their training includes live observations. Also, you will have all the tools you need right in front of you. All texts are monitored by a supervisor who is always available if you get stuck or need assistance. Though it is a mandatory reporting agency for imminent risk of suicide or homicide as well as child abuse, the reporting is actually done by the supervisor, however, these instances do not occur often. The way I look at it is “It’s just a conversation.” There is no script but you will learn active listening and productive conversation.

    Rather than quote all the information regarding CTL, I am posting their FAQ sheet. You can also go to crisistextline.org

    Text START to 741-741

    FAQ

    Jump to

    Texting in
    Data
    Donate
    Financials
    Partnerships
    Tech Issues
    Media
    Volunteers
    Our Approach

    TEXTING IN

    Q: HOW DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK?

    A:

    1. You text 741741 when in crisis. Available 24/7 in the USA.
    2. A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
    3. The crisis counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform.

    Q: WHO SHOULD TEXT IN?

    A: We exist to help anyone in crisis at any time.

    Q: WHO ANSWERS THE TEXT MESSAGES?

    A: Crisis Text Line crisis counselors are both rigorously trained volunteers and employees of our crisis center partners.

    Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I TEXT IN?

    A: You’ll receive an automated text asking you what your crisis is. Within minutes, a live trained crisis counselor will answer your text. They will help you out of your moment of crisis and work with you to create a plan to continue to feel better.

    Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE ACTUALLY ANONYMOUS?

    A: Yes. Crisis counselors only know what texters share with them, and that information stays confidential. We take your anonymity seriously. Check out our terms of service here.

    Q: HOW MUCH DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE COST?

    A: We do not charge texters. If your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon, texts to our short code, 741741 are free of charge. If you have a plan with a different carrier, standard text message rates apply.

    Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE SHOW UP ON MY CELL PHONE BILL?

    A: Nothing will appear on your bill if your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. If your plan is with another carrier our short code, 741741 will appear on your billing statement. Read about how this happened here.

    Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK WITH MY PHONE?

    A: Crisis Text Line works on all major US carriers, and most minor regional carriers. However, shortcodes (like 741741) are not allowed on many prepaid plans like T-Mobile’s.

    Q: I HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE WHEN I TEXTED IN, CAN I TEXT IN AGAIN?

    A: You can text in again, if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.

    Q: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO TEXT WITH A CRISIS COUNSELOR?

    A: Our goal is to respond to every texter in under 5 minutes. During high volume times, such as at night or when people are talking about us on social media, wait times may be longer.

    Q: IS THERE A CHARACTER LIMIT WHEN TEXTING CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: Yes, our system is only able to process 140 characters in one message.

    Q: WHY AM I RECEIVING AN ERROR MESSAGE OR NO RESPONSE AT ALL?

    Sadly, there are some carriers who have not adopted the use of shortcodes–and the small percentage of people with these phones, can’t use Crisis Text Line. (We hear that sometimes you get an auto-error response. Sometimes nothing at all. We know this is shitty and we wish those carriers would enable us). If your phone carrier doesn’t enable shortcodes, here is a list of hotlines you can call.

    Q: IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO REACH CRISIS TEXT LINE BESIDES TEXT?

    A: Yes, you can reach us through Facebook Messenger. Access to message Crisis Text Line is located through Facebook’s Safety checkpoint. This is accessible by flagging a user’s post.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, DOES ANONYMITY APPLY?

    A: Yes. We do not have access to your Facebook profile. The only know information about you that we’ll know is what you share with us.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE DATA?

    A: Three parties: you (in your Messenger thread), Crisis Text Line, and Facebook.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER AND I WANT MY DATA DELETED, WHAT DO I DO?

    A: Message us back with the word ‘LOOFAH’. We’ll scrub your data from our system, and make a request to Facebook to do the same.

    Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHICH TERMS OF SERVICE APPLY TO ME?

    A: By contacting Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, users agree to Facebook Messenger’s Terms of Service, as well as Crisis Text Line’s Terms of Service.

    Q: WHAT ARE ALL OF THE CRISIS ISSUES YOU TRACK? CAN YOU ADD MORE?

    A: See the issues we track at www.crisistrends.org. If you’re a researcher or practitioner with interest in another issue, submit your suggestion in the form at the bottom of www.crisistrends.org.

    Q: WHO CAN APPLY FOR ACCESS TO CRISIS TEXT LINE’S DATA?

    A: Data access is available to approved academic researchers. The application will be available here in late January 2016. Otherwise, please visit www.crisistrends.org to see the latest trends in how texters are experiencing crisis.

    DONATE

    Q: HOW CAN I DONATE TO CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: You can donate via Paypal (link here) or by sending a check to:
    Crisis Text Line
    Attn: Finance Dept.
    24 West 25th Street, 6th Fl
    New York, NY 10010

    Q: IS MY DONATION TO CRISIS TEXT LINE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?

    A: Yes! Upon receiving your donation, we’ll send you a thank you letter that clarifies your donation is tax deductible.

    FINANCIALS

    Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE REALLY A NOT FOR PROFIT?

    A: Yes, we are! Here are our latest financials as proof.

    Q: HOW IS CRISIS TEXT LINE FUNDED?

    A: We’re privately funded. This means we receive funding from foundations, individuals, and corporations.

    Q: WHERE CAN I FIND CRISIS TEXT LINE’S FORM 990?

    A: 2014 here and 2015 here.

    Q: I SAW YOU RAISED A BUNCH OF MONEY (WOOHOO!) FOR THE ORG. WHERE IS IT ALL GOING?

    A: We are focused on three main initiatives: (1) supporting our Crisis Counselor community with better products and more emotional support, (2) integrating with tech companies to provide support to users inside things like After School, Kik, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger, (3) white labeling our service for other orgs and locations– providing a free text service for the National Eating Disorder Association and cities like Newark and Atlanta.

    PARTNERSHIPS

    Q: WHO CAN PARTNER WITH CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: We partner with not-for-profits, colleges and universities, and corporations. Want to partner? Fill out this form!

    TECH ISSUES

    Having technical issues with the site or text line? Check out our Help Center.

    MEDIA

    Q: CAN I GET MARKETING MATERIALS WITH THE CRISIS TEXT LINE SHORT CODE TO SHARE WITH MY COMMUNITY?

    A: Absolutely. Download our Volunteer Flyer or Text Flyer.

    Q: WHOM I CONTACT FOR A PRESS INQUIRY?

    A: Email support@crisistextline.org

    VOLUNTEERS

    Q: HOW CAN I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?

    A: We are always accepting applications! Apply Here.

    Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?

    A: To become a Crisis Counselor, you must:

    1. Pass a background check – that means no felonies and no violent or sex-offense misdemeanors
    2. Have a US Social Security number (in order to complete the background check)
    3. Be at least 18 years old
    4. Have access to a computer with a secure, reliable internet connection
    5. Commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year

    Q: WHAT’S THE TIME COMMITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS?

    A: We ask our volunteers to commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year. Volunteers are able to break up their commitment into two 2-hour shifts each week if they would like.

    Q: HOW ARE VOLUNTEERS TRAINED?

    A: After a rigorous application process, our volunteers complete a 34 hour training course over 6 weeks. This includes ongoing simulated conversations and personalized feedback from our experienced trainers as well as 8 hours of on-platform observation. Training content is based on best practices in crisis counseling and Crisis Text Line data.

    Q: WHEN IS YOUR NEXT CRISIS COUNSELOR TRAINING?

    A: We accept applications on a rolling basis. A new training cohort starts every two weeks, so apply whenever you want! We’re excited to meet you!

    Q: WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A CRISIS COUNSELOR VOLUNTEER?

    A: Check out our blog to read stories from our volunteers.

    Q: ARE VOLUNTEERS SUPERVISED?

    A: Yes. Our experienced supervisors oversee and assist our volunteers, when necessary, while on the platform.

    OUR APPROACH

    Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE COUNSELING?

    A: No, our specialists do not counsel, but rather practice active listening to help texters move from a hot moment to a cool calm.

    Q: WHAT IS ACTIVE LISTENING?

    A: Active listening is when someone communicates in a way that is empathetic, understanding, and respectful. It includes focus on the texter and thoughtful answers.

    Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRISIS TEXT LINE AND THERAPY?

    A: Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for therapy. Therapy includes a diagnosis made by a doctor, a treatment plan of action, and a patient/therapist relationship. Crisis Text Line helps people in moments of crisis. Our crisis counselors practice active listening to help our texters find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better. Crisis Text Line’s crisis counselors are not therapists.

    Q: WHO STARTED CRISIS TEXT LINE?

    A: We were founded by our CEO, Nancy Lublin. After seeing a need for the service we provide, Nancy hired a team to build what is our current platform. The original team included a data scientist and an engineer. Hear our story here.

     

    Didn’t find your answer? Check out our Help Center or email support@crisistextline.org.

    Privacy Policies

    Terms of Service

    Privacy Policy

    Website Privacy Policy

    FAQs

    Check out our FAQs

    Help Make it Happen

    Want to start a crisis text line in your country? international@crisistextline.org

    We’re hiring:
    Apply now

    Press inquiry?

    Email press@crisistextline.org
    If you are in crisis, text START to 741-741.

    Keep me posted

     

     

    Marriage Myths Six

    MYTH: YOU MAY REPEAT YOUR PARENTS’ RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS.

    How you carry your childhood baggage is more important than the fact that you have any. “Nobody escapes childhood without some crazy buttons and triggers, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a great relationship,”John Gottman says.

    Tom Bradbury, PhD, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, coined the phrase enduring vulnerabilities for these historical triggers. Certain words and actions might dig up old feelings and provoke a reaction. Make sure you and your partner understand what sets the other off, and avoid those weaknesses.

    Circumstances from your past could also prompt what psychologists call projective identification- an example is taking something from your childhood and applying it to your partner. If you had a distant cold parent, for instance, you might assume  your partner is being distant and cold too. Instead of blaming your partner’s character, explain how the actions make you feel and what he or she can do to help you feel better.

    I knew a man who was so eat up with his emotional baggage that he ran the gamut from tears to violence. He used braggadocio and alcohol to cover his feelings and built a very high wall believing it would protect him from emotional pain. One never knew what would trigger his anger and/or violence. While I understood how his background played into his emotions and actions, there was nothing I could do to change it. While I was somewhat of a balm for his pain, he often saw me not as myself but as his mother.

    When I met Danny, I was shocked to find that he was very much in touch with his emotions. He would let me know when I hurt his feelings rather than do the “macho” thing of acting like nothing bothered him. I fell so in love with this man! I felt safe with him because I didn’t have to guess about how he was feeling and there was no fear that I would unknowingly touch off a spark that would cause him to physically harm me.

    Eventually, Danny grew tired of all the analyzing we did through counseling and discussions. That was when I began learning to lighten up in the realization that both of our lives had been so full of drama that it was stifling our relationship. We both still have things that can trigger a negative response but the truth is that we cannot judge each other with our individual pasts.

    Enjoy life with your spouse! Don’t judge him/her based on your past, instead see them for the person you know them to be. Look for the good and give him/her a pass when they exhibit human behaviors. No one has a perfect marriage but we can come darn close.

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    Marriage Myths Five

    MYTH:  GENDER DIFFERENCES ARE BEHIND YOUR MEGA FIGHTS.

    Men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus; we’re all from Earth. As it turns out, “men are just as in touch with their emotions as women,” Julie Gottman says. “On the other hand, some women are very reluctant to express their negative emotions. So it balances out. There are more similarities than the culture generally believes.

    A study in Cognition and Emotion found that when women thought long term about their lives, they reported themselves as more emotional than men. But when participants rated their emotions on a moment-to-moment basis, the gender differences disappeared. Your cultural upbringing and family environment have a much bigger influence on your willingness to express your emotions than your X or Y chromosome, the Gottmans say.

    When I was single, I fell in with the old double standard that women were sluts if they slept around but men were expected to. However, I had male friends who informed me that men don’t like to wake up alone either.

    While my divorce was in progress, I had a situation with a fellow student. I was so angry but when I talked with the instructor about it, I couldn’t stop crying. What I learned that day is that women who have been taught that to show anger will get you labeled as a bitch will cry rather that exhibit anger. I also had a mother who could not deal with emotion so she always said, “Stop crying or don’t cry.”Then when I looked back at my then marriage, I realized that men are taught that it isn’t “manly” to cry so they exorcise their tears with anger.

    Thank God both women and men are slowly “coming out” so to speak. Men are claiming the right to be in touch with their emotions and women are claiming the right to show  anger. I have found that I have been saddled with gender beliefs passed down from generation to generation. Its difficult to blame your parents when they were subjected to the same beliefs.  Sometimes I see the roles exhibited by our parents but more I see Danny and I working together for a common goal.

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    Marriage Myths Four

    MYTH: TALK THINGS OUT UNTIL YOU AGREE WITH EACH OTHER.

    Sixty-nine percent of marriage problems are managed rather than solved, according to John Gottman’s research. “The common lore is that conflict avoidance is a bad thing, but it really works for a lot of people to just ‘agree to disagree,'” he says.

    The key is to avoid a “gridlocked conflict,” in which you can’t make headway in a recurring fight. At the bottom of these issues, the Gottmans have found, are core value differences that take couples by surprise. For instance, a fight about finances isn’t just about the cash but about the meaning of power, freedom, and security. You might not be able to find the perfect compromise, but by creating an open dialogue, you can discuss the issue without hurt feelings.

    Coming from different cultures but growing up in the same environment, Danny and I are different yet the same. Early in our relationship Danny and I unconsciously developed a method for conflict resolution. We will discuss a subject until we realize that we have hit a wall and neither of us is capable of climbing over it at the time so we drop the subject. Because the issue is unresolved, it will come up at another time and we discuss until we at least understand the others’ feelings or opinions. Sometimes it can take a long period of time and several discussions for us to find common ground. As I see it, we respect our relationship enough that we are willing to table the discussion knowing that eventually we will at least understand where the other is coming from. I think that during the time that the subject is being given time to breathe, each of us has stopped to consider the others’ side so we seem to get a little closer to a resolution each discussion.

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