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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:38 pm
Posts: 67
Christmas is a terribly hard time for us. I have been dreading it since October. It hasnt been as bad as I thought but its still hard as we had 23 years together. But when I take the rose tinted spectacles off I can remember how often he was drunk, how much time he was 'sleeping' upstairs during the day, how my Christmas holidays were spent cleaning out kitchen cupboards and he would never help out unless I kicked up a fuss, how it was always me sorting out the needed household repairs, and always me who bought the presents and wrote the cards. And how all my hobbies were done without him because he never wanted us to do things together. One way or another me, the relationship and our life together were never high on his agenda because he didnt get high off us. Remembering that clears the glasses somewhat...!!!

'The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows'. Buddha.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:39 pm
Posts: 29
shell shocked that is so true! To remind ourselves of the way life really was, the everyday life, not the "good time stuff" that also, had some things that I would cringe at. The going for dinner and having to tell him to put his cell away! always having to Google something! and yes, I would make sure it was not anything else, that really sucked! thank you for your post, I can be in a "dream" of only all the good, but there definitely was more stressful, annoying, irritating, frustrating etc, times in the 28 years of marriage, not saying there were not good times, but even with every vacation, came problems that would create the holiday to not be so great, always having his laptop was a major problem for me that would put me into a negative mood whenever he opened it....

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:39 pm 
Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
To stop overthinking it is necessary (I think) to give the thoughts the attention they are looking for. When your thoughts are running the show, pay attention to them. Engage in an inquiry as to where the thoughts are coming from. Shining a spotlight on them will allow you to inspect them and ask yourself if they are founded in objective evidence, or not. If they are founded, attending to them will allow you to consider your options.

Of course, this is effortful. It requires a willingness to interrupt those thoughts and the willpower to do it. Our primitive minds are programmed to run on autopilot. This is the foundation of learning--automatizing processes so we can free up cognitive resources for other tasks. For example, none of us have to think about walking anymore (although there is merit in paying attention when we do...) but we certainly devoted a lot of resources to this task when we were emerging toddlers. Once we mastered walking, we moved on to learning other useful things such as stringing words together to form meaningful sentences, and now we can hold sophisticated conversations with little thought (although, some would benefit by paying more attention...). ; )

Anyhow, the same it true with thinking. Our thought processes can become so automatized that we may have trouble sourcing the originating or triggering thought or event. We learn "scripts" for how to act in different contexts in our environment. When we live in a particular kind of environment for long enough, we "learn" how to navigate within that environment and that learning becomes second nature to us. With that, we might want to consider whether or not unlearning the thought habits are adaptive or not. If there is something that causes valid anxiety (i.e. the anxiety provoking situation or event warrants a need to remove oneself from the environment) then to "unlearn" this thought process will only keep you in harms way for longer than necessary. If there is no real threat (i.e. when the perceived threat is not a violation of your vision or values, or basic safety and wellbeing) but merely an over learned reaction that is proving to be unadaptive to your current situation, then it will likely prove to be harmful to continue in this automatic way.

A fact is that prolonged anxiety takes a toll on one's health. If the anxiety is warranted, it is serving a purpose by being there and it is wise ask what purpose it is serving and take appropriate action. If the anxiety is not warranted, it is not serving purpose and is instead an overreaction to something that is not really a threat (well, it might be serving a purpose but that purpose is probably not an adaptive one). Regardless, it is wise to give attention to anxiety to determine the source as valid or invalid, and then to take appropriate action. What is appropriate can only be determined by each individual, according to their vision, values.

Activities that promote calming or centering oneself are excellent, but sometimes it is necessary to face our thoughts and give them attention rather than silence them. Further, such activities can be good means for learning how to be present (which is to give attention to what one is doing at any given moment, which is what I have suggested doing with regards to rogue thoughts). Silencing them is good for when we don't have time to devote to the work of illuminating them, but over the long run, such activities could become avoidance.

Be well.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)

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