Sometimes it’s how and when you say it. Sometimes it’s something that shouldn’t be said. But you’ve said it, and later you regret it.
“Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?”
How do we learn to stop and ask these questions while spoiling for a fight, in a bad mood, out of hormonal balance, hangry?
How do we learn to repress the inner asshole?
I will always fall short on this sometimes. Couples’ therapy has helped shorten the distance between saying it and regretting it – being able to calm down, more quickly see that I’m being an ass, and apologize.
The fact remains that I said the quiet part out loud and I meant what I said, even though I said it in a way designed to hurt and not a way designed to help us talk about it.
What to do?
Our therapist helped us to center the fact that we are human and that means that we are assholes once in a while, full stop. It’s irrational to expect your partner to be perfect 100% of the time forever.
She also gave us an exercise when we listen to each other talk for ten minutes in silence, without feedback or asking questions or being defensive. This helps to understand where the other person is coming from. And later we have brought it up, “Hey, you said XX, can we talk about that?” and it feels like a much gentler way to go about it.
Aside: Oddly enough, not the same source as the ten minutes of silence in one on ones, but same concept.
Recognizing when I shouldn’t be interacting with other people is probably what will help the most in the long term. These first three are common advice and I’ve added the last one:
- If you hate everyone, eat.
- If you think everyone hates you, sleep.
- If you hate yourself, shower.
- If you hate your family, take a walk.