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  #1  
Old 12-30-2012, 07:50 PM
Hannahfluke Hannahfluke is offline
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Default Emotional Flooding

On her blog, GalaGirl was talking about emotional flooding and said this about an experience she had recently with her husband. She was wondering why he reacted the way he did and why it was so hard for him to recognize that she was flooding.
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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
EMOTIONAL FLOODING
and just whip out the automatic general purpose TLC comfort bandaid of
"I see you are upset. There, there. Poor baby. It will pass. We'll sort it out. You'll tell me all about it. For now though... there, there.Just shush..."
Pat, pat, hug and rock me or something. How come my KID can get that on auto pilot? Why are adults not able to see/do this for other adults easily?
Galagirl
My boyfriend is wonderful at doing just this for me. Holding me, petting me (sometimes literally petting my hair calms me down), just letting me spew out everything that I feel like crap about and letting me just get it all out. My husband, not so much. He wants to know what's wrong so he can fix it right now, with me giving him step by step instructions on how to fix it for me.

My boyfriend has been out of town since the 18th of December. I've been dealing with the stress of Christmas, the stress of life in general, the stress of possibly adding a friends with benefits relationship to my life, the stress of coming off birth control after getting an IUD (I think this is resulting in my hormones being all out of wack). In general, I'm just feeling kind of on edge. My husband has been reacting to it with frustration. He just doesn't seem to get that I sometimes can't give him a detailed list of what's wrong and what he can do. Yesterday afternoon, he did hold me for a while, which helped, but then he kept pressing for something he could do, which I don't know. We did have a good night playing board games with some friends, a good dinner and good conversation.

This morning, a few things he said triggered me right back to the emotional flooding. We're throwing a New Year's Eve party tomorrow. The problem is that he's gone all day today, I work 8 am to 6:30 pm today and 5:30 am to 4:00 pm tomorrow and New Year's Day. I'm leaving the party early and crashing at my boyfriend's place, but it's still stressful. I told my husband it might be good if he cleaned off his part of the dresser today before he left and he just got frustrated with me, because he was late already. A few other little details happened that just left me frustrated and feeling unheard. I sent an email to my boyfriend, asking him to reassure me that I'm a valuable part of his life. We talked on the phone for a few minutes, but he's in Scotland, I'm in the US and there's not much he can do from there.

I suppose I'm looking for advice on how to communicate with my husband in a way that leaves me feeling understood instead of frustrated because he just wants me to solve my own problems. How do I get out of this loop without the usual physical and emotional support I get from my boyfriend, how do I help my husband learn these things that help me?
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:21 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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That's interesting-my husband sucks at it too. My boyfriend has always been good at it and now that I consider it, two of my kids are really good at it also (one boy and one girl).
The boy is 12, so now Im interested in watching to see IF he loses it, WHEN it will happen. :/
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:26 PM
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... (one boy and one girl).
The boy is 12, so now Im interested in watching to see IF he loses it, WHEN it will happen. :/
I was wondering, LovingRadiance, if you were wondering more about what might befall the boy than the girl because the boy is older (?), and apt to experience the shift before the girl, or if it was because you have no worry that the girl might shift in this way.

Of course I'm asking as an adult male -- and one who suspects that his "emotional intelligence" is a bit higher than the typical of my species.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:18 PM
CattivaGattina CattivaGattina is offline
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Same here. Fiancee not the best at being there. Boyfriend does much better.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:18 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
I told my husband it might be good if he cleaned off his part of the dresser today before he left and he just got frustrated with me, because he was late already.
So the TIMING of the telling was not good. You were catching him when he was already feeling "Ack! I am late."

What did you say verbatim? Sometimes it's the HOW you say it, as well as the WHEN you say it. Is he better with email than verbal with the "honey-do" lists?

Then there's letting him own the METHOD. If the goal is clean dresser by ____ time?

How about just say "Could you please make sure the dresser is clean by 8 pm? Would you be willing to take that on?" And leave it to him to deal with the method -- before work, after work, 2 seconds before 8 PM -- so long as it is done by then, right?

All purpose template around here?

"I feel ___. I need ____. Would you be willing to please _____? By (timeframe?) So I can _____?"

That usually works out with kid or DH or me. If they are not willing at this time, they are not willing at this time but maybe later. If not willing at ALL, I deal with it another way. If they are willing, great! It's part of the give and take of life around here.

Where things go awry is if I'm incapacitated by anxiety/emotional flooding and I cannot broadcast the information verbally like I usually do. My DH is not good at paraverbal. DH can't yet assess that way and go "Weird. She's not transmitting like normal. I could ask her if she's about to flood or is flooding" yet because her body language right now is screaming "Help! Help!" We work on it.

In your case? Are YOU transmitting clearly to him in a way HE understands? Could check on that. Maybe that could help with the frustration. You have to broadcast on a frequency he can pick up. (Ex: Can't hand a blind guy a paperback book for them to read. They need a Braille version.)

Give him the specifics -- the who, what, when, where, how, and why in the situation when you are trying to get a need met.

Quote:
I suppose I'm looking for advice on how to communicate with my husband in a way that leaves me feeling understood instead of frustrated because he just wants me to solve my own problems. How do I get out of this loop without the usual physical and emotional support I get from my boyfriend, how do I help my husband learn these things that help me?
Before going too deep -- could ask if he is willing to learn the things that enable you to solve your problems more yourself.

If he's a Mr Fix It personality, could telling him his job is "Be Mr Ear and LISTEN to me for an hour. That's it. Not be Mr Ear with Feedback, but just Mr Ear. Feedback time will come later."

Then you get listened to and he has "his job to do" and can deliver to spec: LISTEN. Let her know if she goes on longer than an hour.

You both get what you need. Is that the bottom line needs that need meeting for each person? You need listening and he needs a job?

HTH!

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-30-2012 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:47 PM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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My husband sucks at this too. After living with him for almost 20 years, I think I am almost at the point where I no longer expect him to pat me on the back and say 'shush I'm here for you'.

He has accepted that I respond to stress with emotional flooding instead of with logic and practical solutions, much longer ago
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:17 PM
Hannahfluke Hannahfluke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleo View Post
My husband sucks at this too. After living with him for almost 20 years, I think I am almost at the point where I no longer expect him to pat me on the back and say 'shush I'm here for you'.

He has accepted that I respond to stress with emotional flooding instead of with logic and practical solutions, much longer ago
I'm not sure which of us changed, or if it's just more noticeable now that we have other people in our lives. We've been married 21 years and you'd think we would have figured this out by now. I think having a girlfriend who has a very similar style of conflict resolution to him has changed how he reacts to me, with my very different personality. I also think that having my boyfriend who reacts very similar to me has changed how I react to my husband a little bit. I think we're in the midst of rediscovering how to balance what each of us need from the other while having partners that are similar to us in so many ways, if that makes sense.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:29 PM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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Originally Posted by Hannahfluke View Post
I'm not sure which of us changed, or if it's just more noticeable now that we have other people in our lives. We've been married 21 years and you'd think we would have figured this out by now. I think having a girlfriend who has a very similar style of conflict resolution to him has changed how he reacts to me, with my very different personality. I also think that having my boyfriend who reacts very similar to me has changed how I react to my husband a little bit. I think we're in the midst of rediscovering how to balance what each of us need from the other while having partners that are similar to us in so many ways, if that makes sense.
that makes perfect sense, and is very interesting.

My boyfriend is much more the 'pat on the back and tell me all will be okay' type. In my case, the funny thing is, I'm so used (almost attached) to my husband's style of dealing with my emotions and panics, that I much prefer his style to my BF's style and it's actually an issue in my relationship with my BF, that he's not a little ' tougher' with me.

Years ago, I was depressed, had anxiety attacks, was basically crying every night. At the time, all I wanted was my husband would just hold me and tell me everything would be okay. He never did. One night he looked at me and said, if this goes on, I can't take it anymore. I looked at him and saw he was serious. I went to my room, went online, and still crying, started to look for a job (one of my main issues then, was that I hated my job, but was too paralyzed by insecurity to make a career change).
After a couple of hours I had found an ad for a trainee ship in the field I really wanted to work in. I applied that same night, and was hired. The job paid zero money and I did it besides the regular job I already had (the one I hated). It was an extremely difficult and stressful time, but I was finally doing something I loved (and I was good at it).

Ten years later, I have made myself a modest, but satisfying career in this field. I still think of that defining moment often.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:50 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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River- definitely because of his age. he's an awesomely emotion conscious person! He's VERY MUCH like my boyfriend in that way, but I think he gets it also from my brother.
I'm actually primarily surrounded by guys who are quite gifted in being emotionally receptive.

My older daughter is 21. She flip flops. Her brother at 12 is DEFINITELY more emotionally in tune with others needs and feelings than she is. She's compassionate and caring, but you have to spell out exactly what you need or she misses it.
Yet, I recall she wasn't that way as a child. I don't recall when that changed.

So, I have great curiosity about my boy-cause he still has it. Maybe with a bit of conscious effort in promoting that-I can effect a change and both of the younger ones will keep it. Or maybe they would have anyway.
Either way-very intriguing!
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:10 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
I think we're in the midst of rediscovering how to balance what each of us need from the other while having partners that are similar to us in so many ways, if that makes sense
Makes total sense to me. It's changing mindset from "This is how I am with my partner" to "This is how I am with THIS partner, this is how I am with THAT partner." Because not all people are the same.

"Platinum rule" is to treat others how THEY want to be treated. So one actually has to go find out how from the source.

GG
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