I’d like to tell you the story of the man with two wives. His first wife is Jenny, the serial communication buster. One day she came home from an awful day at work and ready to fire at anything that moved. Her patience that was usually the size of a pumpkin had shrunk to the size of a pea. When she walked in, she saw her husband sitting on the couch with their son, engrossed in practicing on his newly purchased guitar. He nodded a quick hello barely looking up from his music. Clearly out of control, she charged through the living room, angry that he didn’t acknowledge her entrance with more enthusiasm. Can’t he see what an awful day she had at work? When he finished his song, she challenged him, "What do you think? Am I just invisible? You can’t even say hello when I walk in!" If she was looking to be visible and heard, by now she certainly succeeded! If she was looking for some kind of compassion, what do you think she got? Not much. Instead she got a silent non-committal stare that just fueled her disappointment.
Let’s take apart what happened here. Jenny subconsciously processed this event in what I call the Internal Chain of Command.
Jenny walks in and sees her husband sitting on the couch next to her son and playing the guitar. This is simply a pure observation, simple data. However, when he doesn’t say "hi" as enthusiastically as she would like, she processes that data in her ultra sophisticated, well-oiled, top of the line and highly experienced unconscious fantasy filter and out pops her story. Now her story is pure fiction filled with thoughts that lead to her internal feelings and emotions and sounds something like this.
"When he doesn’t say hello to me the way I want him to, I feel invisible, unworthy and sad. I’m not loveable." See, in the past, some people who were important to her didn’t acknowledge her the way she wanted and so she started believing that if people didn’t acknowledge her all the time, she wasn’t visible and if she wasn’t visible, she didn’t exist and if she didn’t exist, it’s because she wasn’t worthy of love. Unable to love herself from the insides, she needed outside acknowledgement to feel valuable, visible, loveable and happy.
Consequently, Jenny is feeling like a victim out of control and when we feel like a victim, conflict is a faithful partner and anger is a common reaction. Now Jenny is fuming mad and boy is her husband going to hear about it. Was feeling more loved the result she is looking for? Yes. Was it the one she got? Nope. All she got was a defensive husband and more bickering. Keep Reading...
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