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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:48 am 
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We're here now, and will be starting lessons this week so watch for us.

Nellie James


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:05 pm 
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:g:

_________________
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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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Couples' Lesson 1:

Quote:
a. An updated vision for the life that you are leading (this may require no effort at all if your current vision established in your individual workshop is accurate)

I want to: continue on my path of recovery, develop emotional maturity, let go of and free myself of old family/childhood related issues, learn to properly make amends to and express my empathy for my wife, ingrain the ability and willingness to feel and express my emotions, learn to love myself. I want to become less fearful especially of failure.

I want to develop a level of intimacy with my wife such that we can confide feelings, joys, and fears to each other. I want to develop a physical and emotional closenss so that we are both comfortable and confidnet with sex, touching, hugging, kissing, talking, laughing, and confiding.

I want to be a father that I am proud to be and that my son is proud to have as a father. I want to help my son face and deal with his issues. I want to help my step son set some goals in his life and manage his life in a way that he is proud of.

I want to make us financially comfortable, develop my business such that we can be financially secure and still have flexibility of time. I want to help my wife with her business so that she has the opportunity to shine and to have all the joy that she can from her business.


Quote:
b. An expansion of your vision in the area involving partnership (specifically focus on two areas: what you hope to experience within your partnership over the next year; and, in looking back on your life from the point of your death until now, what challenges, experiences and memories you hope to share with your partner)


Over the next year, I hope to experience with my wife clear, palpable progress in my recovery / her healing. I hope to experience more activities together that broaden our life and bring us both joy and meaning. I hope that I will develop more pillars in my life. I hope to experience some time of peacefullness together with my wife.

Looking back on my life at the point of death I hope to have shared with my wife an acceptance and enjoyment of the aging process, lots of laughter, an acceptance of our immediate family/extended family, an acceptance of life as it was. I hope to look back with some pride and respect for what we have done together. I hope that we have shared lots of incredible skies, clouds, and sunsets.

Quote:
c. A simple list of the likely obstacles that are/will be standing between you and enacting this vision. (Think current or likely future obstacles only; such as inefficient communication rituals, alcohol, lack of forgiveness, etc.).


My obstacles include: inability to express emotions, a habit of being defensive, fears, an ingrained tendency to be passive/agressive, a need to control my surroundings, emotional imaturity.

[quote]d. A simple list of goals that you have for the remainder of your life. (Important goals that you feel the need to accomplish to experience a sense of fulfillment in your life. Don’t leave any out. If there is something that you feel that you must experience, list it. For instance, I know that at some point in my life, I need to spend a year or more in the mountainsâ€â€


Last edited by Chrysler on Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:28 am 
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Couples Work Shop - 1st lesson by Nellie James - Work in Progress

Quote:
a. An updated vision for the life that you are leading (this may require no effort at all if your current vision established in your individual workshop is accurate)


First, I want to clarify that this is a VISION, not reality at this point in time. I want to work to accomplish this vision and may add and delete as I go.

The life I see for myself is one in which I reclaim me - as a woman of value who is strong, unique, caring, joyous, creative, healthy, respected and playful. :g:

I see me in partnership with my husband sharing intimacy, fun, adventure and love in our daily lives as we grow old together. I see us as mutally accepting, respecting, supporting, valuing and forgiving. I see us as a couple with openly honest communication sharing our fears, anger, joy, and sorrow on a daily basis and showing empathy and compassion for one another. I see us as playful, vibrant, spontaneous, and creative both individually and jointly.

I see me re-connecting with my older children and becoming more of a grandmother by making trips to see them more often and they journeying to see me. I want to have fun with them and be the wise woman they might need to share their lives with.

I see myself as a creative force in my community as I continue to develop and promote my new art gallery. In this role, I see myself as someone willing to take a risk in life and follow my dreams :g: with my own art as well as my husband's, son's, and emerging artists in the area along with showing the work of established artists.

I see myself being better organized and more focused in handling financial matters. I need to stay on top of things in a timely matter: paying bills, monitoring where the money goes, planning for a rainy day.

I see myself traveling to far-away places: Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Spain,
the Inca and Aztec ruins. :g:

I see myself in my yard digging in the dirt, planting flowers, weeding and watering and watching things grow - enjoying the sunshine, the air, the bees, and the ladybugs. I see myself pausing to take it all in and smiling
approvingly at my efforts.

I see myself eating healthier - low cholesterol diet - and walking more to keep my osteoporosis under control. I see my husband and I on seasonal walks together hand in hand, taking in the seasonal colors and crunching autumn leaves underfoot - taking photographs of our finds.

I see myself DANCING in public or around the house or in the back yard moving to the music that I adore and sometimes harmonizing with the vocalist. I feel my energy flowing through my aching bones. :g:

I see myself dressing like a gypsy at times in bold colors and patterns and big beaded earrings and strappy shoes with painted toenails. I see myself trying new haircuts, smiling back at myself in store windows, feeling good about that elegant older woman that I am and honoring who I am, and who I have been along the way.

I see myself laughing spontaneously and loudly watching a funny movie, hearing a good joke or enjoying life's humorous moments. And I see my husband, my friends, my kids and grandkids loving my laugh and smiling at me understanding my slightly crazy streak.

I see myself cleaning my house, organizing, putting out fresh flowers and making everything warm and welcoming and beautiful. I see myself creating a safe haven for me to rest, recover, and re-group when I need to do that.

I want to continue building new friendships with women my age who share my passion for music, dance, art, gardening, education, or great movies. I want to be part of a group of intelligent women who value themselves and aren't afraid to speak their minds or laugh loudly.

I want to find ways for me to give back to the world - probably doing things with and for children or teaching teachers and mothers how to do art or theater activites with their children or staging art fundraisers on their behalf within various organizations or non-profits.

I want to finish those children's stories that I have been carrying around in my head for the past 5 years. I want to find an illustrator to collaborate with.

I want to stay connected to my brother and his family and build a closer relationship with my little sister with more family get-togethers and trips to visit them along with emails and phone calls.

I see myself in a different house - away from the old ghosts of my past. I see myself making it a home and sanctuary - where I can grow old with my H, sit in a porch swing and enjoy back rubs.

I see myself making the best use of TIME which is of great value to me now. I don't want to waste it on anger, sorrow, hurt, worry or ambivalence. I want to live life to the fullest doing the things that give me joy, comfort, peace, and a sense of accomplishment by pursuing everything described above.

NJ :w:



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
An expansion of your vision in the area involving partnership (specifically focus on two areas: what you hope to experience within your partnership over the next year; and, in looking back on your life from the point of your death until now, what challenges, experiences and memories you hope to share with your partner)


What I hope to experience within my partnership over the next year may be a tall order for us, but this is what I hope to see happening in our relationship:

1. Reclaiming myself and my sense of vitality for life, my creativity, my self-respect, my self esteem, trust in myself and my judgement, my strength, my courage, and stability in facing the hard parts of life.

2. Experiencing honest, open and compassionate communication with my husband and learning to recognize and not buy into or react to his passive aggressive tendencies and behaviors.

3. Giving myself the gift of patience when I need it by using my various songs, mantras, dances, cheers, grace. And giving him the gift of understanding. And staying aware of my attitude. :g:

4. Experiencing a life with more ease, relaxed effort,and spontaniety in my relationship with my husband so we can feel safer, more comfortable, more joyful and more excited about the life we share and possibilites that are ahead.

5. Making our house a safe haven, a place that reflects harmony and joy,
a place to find respite, peace, and comfort. Finishing all the projects, adding the final touches, playing favorite music, curling up to nap, reflect, read a good book, give or receive a massage.

6. Using my TIME wisely in healthy, happy productive ways.

7. Working to accept and forgive my husband for his destructive behavior. Working to forgive myself for ignoring the red flags and indulging his behavior all the years prior to discovery.

8. Choosing a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, exercising regularly, worrying less, and playing and laughing more. :g:

Quote:
Looking back on my life (from death forward) what do I hope to remember and share with my husband - what memories, challenges, and experiences? :pe:


I realize that I did this backwards - so start reading from the end and work backward because I don't think I could cut and paste it together very well and I don't think I want to change or leave anything out. This was a tearful journey for me to set down - I'm actually glad I began at the beginning and went forward to death. It made me so aware of how much work we have ahead of us to create loving meaninful memories to carry us to death.

I want to be able to share those early loving years when laughter was so easy that we lost our breath, when our parenthood was so much fun that we painted happy dinosaurs on our son's bedroom wall, when we had such a chemistry that Lorrie at the pizza parlour commented on it, when sickness was so scarey that we re-newed our wedding vows.

I want to be able share memories of my husband as the talented young artist that he was, that his nude drawings were elegant, graceful, emotionally packed statements. I want to be able to remember how I was his muse and his partner as he planned his shows. I want to share with him how very special those times were for me. I want to remember that the talented young artist was a big part of the man that I fell in love with.

I want to be able to remember myself as a strong independent woman who made a very tough choice when I walked away from my first marriage and how my husband-to-be stood by my side through the whole ordeal.

I want to share memories of our pregnancy, how you loved and hugged my "roundness" as you spooned with me in bed. How you planned to walk off the stage of the play you were in if I went into labor. How you rubbed my back with cornstarch when I was in labor. How excited you were to see the baby's head, and then cut the cord, and, when the doctor asked if you had a dimple under your beard, you replied, "No, but my friend Roger does." I want to share the memory how you cried in the shower after the birth.

I want to remember the journey across the country caravaning in two cars with our young son so we could experience the "east" and so I could pursue Waldorf education. What an exciting adventure. How we depended upon one another and supported one another and loved one another. How I got lost in the traffic outside of Chicgo and cried. You had given me instructions for finding you if that happened - I did find you.
I was so both happy and mad at the same time - and so relieved.

I want to remember New Hampshire, the museum, the exhibits, the huge board of directors, each with an agenda. I want to remember how much you learned in dealing with people and honed your skills. I want to remember our backyard tree house that you and our son built. I want to remember that amazing Halloween out in the country when I was the "guiding light" and you and our son followed me througth the night.

I want to remember the trek back west, the challenges of finding new jobs, a new home, new friends, stretching a dollar, sharing creative projects, raising our precocious son. It was a hard time for both of us.
You worked two jobs and we hardly saw each other. I worked on making a dump into a home - remember the stick that propped up the shower door and the mushrooms that grew in the leaky cracks. I also worked in a wonderful toy store and on more children's exhibits and mowed our weedy yard with a push mower.

I want to share the memory of moving north to a new job. How you and our son over-packed the van and then booby-trapped the front seat to prevent theft. Then we had a flat and couldn't jack up the truck because it was so over-loaded. But we arrived at our destination. Found a new home in a quaint and misleading Victorian town. The challenges of living there and schooling our son there were horrendous.

I want to share memories of home-schooling our son and all the projects like the popcorn lessons in physics, all the algebra that I had forgotten. The monthly newspaper he wrote as part of his English studies, all the books we read, then the college courses he undertook as a young teen.

I want to share the memories of finding the old Dogetruck overgrown with weeds that had to be towed down a mountain road. How you and our son worked at restoring it, and I began to write a boys' story based on the "Summer of the Blue Dog." Remember the little mouse that lived in the truck and there were no inside handles on the door. You two finally decidedto sell the truck after the police followed us home once night because the tail lights didn't work.

I want to share my memories of my mysterious illness with you. I was so sick, so scared, and so obsessed with figuring out what was wrong with me when the doctors couldn't. How you took me to see the Chinese doctor. How hard it was for you to show compassion as the illlness dragged on. You were so busy with your job. My friend stepped in to take me to the doctor and hold my hand when I learned that I had lost five more pounds.

Then there were the deaths, one after the other. I want to share my memories of my pain, my lonliness, my sorrow. How I felt myself falling apart over and over again. Then the days when my other son was lost in a snowstorm on a mountain top; then my aunt died , then my mom. It was such a hard time for me. I want to share this memory with you because I will still need your comfort

I want to share my joyous memory of finally finding our own home. How hard I worked on transforming it and the yard into something warm and wonderful. Then there was the gully - all the dirt, the rocks, the gravel to build the retaining wall - and what a wall it was. I tended to planting it because it was so beautiful down there and I truly loved it and felt it was such a joint effort.

I want to share my memory of my confusion over your distancing yourself from me after we had moved into our new home. You were working so hard on your job. We saw very little of each other. I felt so jealous of your other activities. I felt at a loss in understanding what our life had become. I want to share this memory with you because I will still need your compassion for me for this period of our life.

I want to share my memories of sending our son away to college in another state. I want to share the sadness and alone-ness I experienced. It was such a lonely time. My two good friends had moved away as well. I want to share this memory because I will probably always remember it with sadness and I will need your shoulder.

I want to share the memories of selling my precious home when you decided to retire. I want to share the cleaning, painting, advertising, showing the house, and all the sadness I felt it leaving it. I will want to share this memory with you so you will understand how important our finding another new house was to me - a place to grow old together.

I want to share memories of arriving back in our home town. How hard it was to see all the changes, be lost in the traffic, finding old friends had moved on, trying to figure out what kind of life I would have with you who were so distant. I want to remember this with you, not forget, because it was such a turning point in our life.

I also want to share the memory of discovery, as unpleasant as it was. I want to share it with you because it marks a beginning and an end. I don't want rehash, but acknowledge that without this day, our life together would have surely ended sooner or later.

I hope to share memories of buying a new house that we make a home with new memories and grow older together.

I hope to share new memories of going on trips to see new scenery,take new photos, paint new pictures, discover new restaurants.

I hope to share memories of being grandparents together to all of my children, traveling to see them, holding new babies, changing diapers, and singing nursery rhymes, feeling that soft baby butt in our hands.

I hope to share new memories of laughing and crying together and holding each other close and telling each other our deepest secrets without worrying what the other will think.

I hope to share new memories of walks through the leaves, or watching incredible sunsets, or hanging new shows in my gallery.

I hope to share memories of being there for each other and our children when there is sickness or sadness or happiness.

NJ


Quote:
c. A simple list of the likely obstacles that are/will be standing between you and enacting this vision. (Think current or likely future obstacles only; such as inefficient communication rituals, alcohol, lack of forgiveness, etc.).


!. Honest and open communication
2. My coping with my H's passive aggressive traits
3. My H learning to manage his passive aggressive traits
4. Enjoying a more relaxed relationship with my H
5. My H's fear and need for control
6. Accepting my age and health limitations
7. My wanting a fuller life with a new home, travel, and adventure
8. Trust issues.
9. My H's learning to empathize & make amends
10.My learning to forgive

[quote]d. A simple list of goals that you have for the remainder of your life. (Important goals that you feel the need to accomplish to experience a sense of fulfillment in your life. Don’t leave any out. If there is something that you feel that you must experience, list it. For instance, I know that at some point in my life, I need to spend a year or more in the mountainsâ€â€

In re-reading this, I see that there is no list of goals for the remainder of my life. I can't remember if I created one - or if it got lost in the crash. Doesn't matter except that I do have a few goals.
1. I need to spend more time with my grandchildren. Find a way to get there and be a bigger part of their lives.
2. I need to visit the Aztec and Incan ruins before I die.
3. I hope to see my oldest son recover from ahis ddictions. Since I have no control over that, I can only hope he finds peace and happiness.
4. I hope to see my gallery survive - actually take hold. Again, I have no control over so many things that affect its survival. I will try my best.
5. I need to visit my dear friends that I left behind when we moved back "home." They still hold a part of my heart.
6. I need to stay connected with my remaining family - in their sorrows as well as their joys.


Last edited by nellie james on Fri May 13, 2011 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:34 pm 
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I made the mistake of pasting in topics and then filling them in which led to confusion on my part :s: and makes my post look like I did it at one setting. Hardly! Lot of work.

Now to continue on.....whew. :pe:

How does one get anything else done? :? :? :?

Nellie James


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 Post subject: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:18 pm 
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Exercise 2

For this exercise, I put together a meal, it was a light summer meal of strips of chicken, ham, cheese, fruit, crackers, humus, which we ate together and talked. For dessert I had gone to our favorite gelato (Italian icecream) place and had brought home her favorite flavor, black cherry swirl. I feed it to her with a spoon, and took a few spoonfuls for myself. She laughed and smiled and indicated that she was enjoying it. It had been a rather busy Sunday for me with some play and some work, and I felt a little rushed getting the meal together which worried me a bit because I did not want to get keyed up from being in a hurry to the extent that I could not slow down and relax, but it went very well. I did slow down and relax. Feeding her with her favorite flavor added a sense of joy to the process of feeding. I think that if I had fed her something other than a dessert, a basic sustanence type food, it may have been a different feeling, perhaps less joyful but very meaningful.

I ran some bath water and gave her a bath. I think that it is quite important that the instructions in the lesson said to not let these activities get sexual. It would have been easy for the bath to become sexual. But keeping it non-sexual opened the door for a very intimate feeling of caring for her body. I felt from the exercise that we all live in our bodies, that our bodies are a place for our spirits to live, and that our spirits are really how we connect with love, compassion, intimacy. She has some sugar-scrub which she suggest I use. She seemed to really relax and enjoy it. We both started out being a little nervous, but we both relaxed into it.

I brushed her hair, which felt very good to me, very compassionate and caring. I would like to do it more often. She said that she enjoyed it, that getting her hair brushed took her back to her childhood. I liked that she liked it. I liked that I could care for her in that way.

I was nervous about brushing her teeth because I was not sure how it would work and I think she was nervous about it too. But we both worked through it and it felt good. It felt good to me that she accepted my not-so-competent efforts. I think that the process of together working through something that is a little awkward is meaningful in itself.

I read to her from a book that she purchased for me about a year and a half ago for Christmas. It is an antique book, a first hand account written by a man who experienced the development of the American West as it was happening in the 1800s. We both enjoy that topic and his writing style was very colorful and down to earth. She was very sleepy from the dinner and the bath so she started to doze off as I read, which I see as a compliment because she relaxed enough to doze off.

We then watched a movie that I had rented for her, The Secret Life of Bees. It is one of her favorites. It is a very touching movie about people who have struggles, but seek a higher order in life.

I enjoyed this exercise very much and would like to do it regularly. We did talk about doing some of these activities on an on-going basis. I came out of this exercise feeling very close to her. The feeling of caring for her in a very basic way felt very good to me. The feeling of relaxing into these very intimate tasks felt very meaningful to me, very meaningful and loving in that she and the activities touched my basic core.


Last edited by Chrysler on Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:03 pm 
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EXERCISE TWO - THE MEAL

Sunday my husband told me that tonite was the night if that was OK with me. I said "Surprise me." :ex:

It was a busy day. He was gone all day helping our youngest son, and then agreed to hire my oldest son to do a repair job - he would pay my son $100. So they did that at 4 pm - it took a couple of hours.

Then my H came home, told me that he had to get some things for the dinner, and left. I was somewhat surprised that it was still on but glad that it was.

I stayed busy doing work on the computer for my gallery. I heard him return and bustle around making preparation. It wasn't long before he called out "It's ready."

He had prepared a snacky meal (his term) and said that we would eat together and then he would feed me dessert. So that's what we did. He had sliced up roast chicken, ham, cheese, added strawberries, bananas, and olives along with hummus and chips. He fixed me a gin and tonic and we dined together. It was fun and light hearted but I felt his tension a bit. He was eager to be attentive and do a good job.

It didn't take long to eat and then he got up and brought out a cup of gelato - my favorite dark cherry swirl which is almost sinfully sensous to eat. I smiled and giggled as he spoon fed me taking a few bites for himself. I knew he had to make a long and special trip to get this dessert and keep it from melting on the drive back home. Very sweet. He had to pick up the gin, too, so he did a lot of driving and shopping.

Then he said it was time to bathe me so I followed him into the bathroom and he began looking around for the soap, not sure which tube/container was what. He was preparing to shower me :s: and I told him I would prefer a bath. So I undressed while he ran the water, and then instead of soap, he gave me a sugar scrub which was great. I loved every minute of it although I expected to be a little embarrassed. A soon to be 68 year old woman whose had four babies and grown thick in the middle is a bit self conscious. But we did it and it was fun. He smiled his way through it.
Held a towel for me to get out. We had a towel hug as he dried my back.

Next, I got into my pj's and we went into the TV room where he read to me from an antique book that I had gotten him for Christmas two years ago. It's an accouting of the Indian life at the turn of the century in the high plains states including ours. It read like prose - quite beautiful, but I started to fall asleep before he finished his 15 minutes. :sat:

I asked if he was going to comb my hair. He had forgotten, but jumped up and got the brush. I relaxed as he brushed away - my hair is quite short right now but curly so he seemed to enjoy it. I know I did.

All in all, I thought it was a very sweet experience. One thing I missed, though, was his telling me he loved me as we went to bed. We didn't cuddle much at all - we both fell asleep very quickly. We talked about it a bit the next day, and agreed that this would be a fun thing to do again and maybe on a regular but surprise basis. :ex:

Nellie James


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:56 am 
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This morning we talked about the meal lesson. I learned that my H had ruminnated about it worrying that I wouldn't like what he did and worried in particular about brushing my teeth. That night I could tell that he was a bit hurried and intent on including everything on the lesson list. I told him that it did feel somewhat like he was doing his assignment according to the directions given and that I missed his not being more tender and loving when we went to bed. I don't mean I wanted sex. The way the evening ended was a bit of negative for me since I thought it was a lesson on intimacy. I realize that being spontaneous for that kind of exercise might be difficult. However, I was actually looking forward to the evening and what surprises it might hold because my H hasn't cooked in years other than popcorn or a sandwich let alone ever bathed me. :w:

Over all, I thought it was a fun lighthearted experience that had a few awkward moments, and I realized that I tried to react in ways that helped alleviate those moments. :pe: Now I wonder if that was wrong or a little dishonest. I'm not sure what my role was except to be the one being pampered a bit and to learn about my own hang-ups and his.

I'd appreciate a coach's comments.

Thanks,
Nellie James


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:13 pm 
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NJ, your have a wonderful vision for your life. I just want to put some thoughts and questions out there for your consideration. Understanding that this is your vision and not reality at this given point in time, what is it that is standing in between you and your vision? What actions can you take today to begin to align yourself to your vision? What do you have to give up in order to live fully into that vision? What are you willing to give up and what are you not willing to give up?

Also, recognizing that in Partnership there are some things which are beyond our control, apply these same questions to your vision for this particular area of your life.

It is apparent that you and Chrysler have some very beautiful memories from your past. I hope that you will be able to fulfill on your vision of sharing those memories together.

Quote:
When he read through the initial lessons of the couples workshop, he came to me smiling as he said," yeah, he did come up with some things that he still wants to do." Then he asked me if I had read the lesson topics before talking to me? WHAT? I said, "NO." Then he told me what he wanted to do. But he said he realized that those things didn't include me. Problem? Not for me. Seems that is a problem for my H since he feels he spent so much time avoiding spending time with me. My reaction was different.


I think that his perspective is coming from a desire to fix or right the wrongs of his past. This is not the point of the exercise. The point is to connect to yourself as an individual and to the deeper meaning in your life. It is unheatlhy to expect that those things will always include your partner. It is the tendency of the addict to latch onto their partner as their life support... but this is not the goal of the workshop. A healthy partnership cannot rest solely on the pillars of one of the individuals in the partnership.

When it is part of a converstion with me (your wife), you can't. I felt a bit perturbed and a bit like it was the same old antics in a new context. Oh, well.

Quote:
We actually talked about this tonite. He seemed hard for him to understand his change of attitude, too. We both seemed a bit on edge about this.


It could be he needed time to reflect. It could also be that there is a bit of resentment toward you and anything that comes from you by way of healing conversation is taken as a threat? Either way, it is good that you are both open to talking about it.

Quote:
It would have been easy for the bath to become sexual. But keeping it non-sexual opened the door for a very intimate feeling of caring for her body.


Very good insight and good for you for sticking to the boundaries of the exercise! This displays respect, integrity and selflessness. :g:

Quote:
I felt from the exercise that we all live in our bodies, that our bodies are a place for our spirits to live, and that our spirits are really how we connect with love, compassion, intimacy.

Another good insignt!

Quote:
I told him that it did feel somewhat like he was doing his assignment according to the directions given and that I missed his not being more tender and loving when we went to bed. I don't mean I wanted sex. The way the evening ended was a bit of negative for me since I thought it was a lesson on intimacy.


What there is to understand is that addiction is about avoiding intimacy along with other emotionally uncomfortable situations. This exercise is an introduction to experiencing true intimacy. The stress and anxiety he felt is normal given the presence of addiction. I like that you plan on practicing on a regular basis as it will facilitate natural intimacy.

Quote:
I'm not sure what my role was except to be the one being pampered a bit and to learn about my own hang-ups and his.


Your role in this exercise is to allow yourself to accept being cared and nurtured and acting in ways to relieve awkward moments is not wrong, unless you feel it is wrong (ie. it goes against your boundaries and values) Sometimes it is the automatic way for healing partners to correct our recovering partners which may be healthy in terms of asserting our boundaries and self-empowerment but it also may hinder or undermine their ability to figure some things out for their own. This is why healing and recovery in partnership is a more difficult task. A healthy healing partnership will honour the individuals as well as the partnership so it becomes and exercise in balance. I looks to me that you both fulfilled on the exercise successfully and honestly as your current ability allowed you to. As you continue to practice it will become more authentic and natural to you both.

Be well.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Thanks, CoachMel, for your quick and thoughtful response.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:36 pm 
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Thanks for reading through our thread and for the suggestions and comments that you gave us. I need to study those suggestions as they apply to my vision and do some work there. Thanks.

Nellie James


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:31 pm 
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Thank you for sharing your journey and allowing me to be a contribution!

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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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:12 pm 
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10/06 I added to one of my responses due to some input from Coach Mel. The changes are in italics.
Exercise 3
Quote:
The first step in developing a healing contract is to clearly document your existing values and boundaries. Again, there are you values--not your partner's and not your relationship's. If you aren't clear what these are, simply list five to ten areas of your life that you value (your values) and ways you will protect those values (your boundaries).



Below is a list of my values and proactive action plans that were developed through work on the Recovery Lessons and were revised a few times.
Recovery Nation Values and Action Plans

Value #1 Communication
1) Be clear and honest when I communicate.
2) Communicate about how I feel, what I have done, what I am worried about or stressing on.
3) Do not procrastinate with communication. Immediacy is very important.
4) Do not make my wife or others guess what is going on with me.
5) Recognize the urge to play word games and stop the urge.

Value #2 Foster only thoughts, words, and deeds that are respectful of my wife and our marriage.
1) Actively continue work on the Recovery Nation Program.
2) Monitor my feelings of stress or anger that might trigger any acting out.
3) Manage any stress or anger by recognizing it and talking about it.
4) Monitor my thoughts, my actions, and what I say, for anything that would be outside the boundaries of
marriage.
5) Do not foster any thoughts or actions that are outside a boundary.

Value #3 Maintain Fidelity
1) Have no female relationships or sexual relationships/activities other than with my wife.
2) Actively continue with Recovery Nation Program.
3) Maintain intimacy with my wife, holding nothing in my life above that intimacy.
4) Establish and live by boundaries that value our life together.

Value #4 Be honest
1) Speak only the truth, tell the whole story, do this immediately.
2) Monitor myself throughout the day; limit my actions to only those that I would talk openly about.
3) Keep in mind that truth provides freedom and strength.
4) Rely on my own approval, not the approval of others.

Value #5 Develop Emotional Maturity
1) Actively continue with Recovery Nation Program.
2) Rely on my own approval for self value, not on the approval of others.
3) Make choices that are for the benefit of long term gain, ignoring any short term benefits.
4) Make choices that are within the boundaries of my value system.
5) Make the hard choices even though they are hard to make.
6) Realize that I may not be able to do what I feel like doing at the moment, and that I may not get what
I want when I want it.
7) Become comfortable with connecting with my own feelings.
8) Learn to acknowledge my emotions, but not act on my emotions.
9) Monitor myself for all-or-nothing thinking.
10) Monitor myself for a need for immediate gratification
11) Do not dwell on guilt and shame, but maintain a healthy regret for my bad actions and decisions.

Value #6 Learn to accept conflict.
1) When I disagree with someone, I will state my opinion without an intention of changing the other person's opinion.
2) Repeatedly remind myself that conflict is natural and does not lead to permanent damage.
3) Realize that if someone disagrees with me, it is OK.
4) Realize that if I disagree with someone, that is OK.
5) Keep in mind that differences of opinions create the diversity that makes life interesting.
6) Think of the atmosphere of the Bill Moyers Genesis Series.

Value #7 Discuss my feelings, fears, mistakes, joys, and pains and connect with my own feelings.
1) Acknowledge my feelings as I go through the day and allow myself to feel and remember them.
2) Allow a time to talk about feelings.
3) Initiate conversations with my wife about feelings.
4) Keep discussions centered on "I feel ...." statements.
5) Do not expect advice or sympathy or anything except to just talk about feelings.

Value #8 Listen to and have empathy for others’ feelings, fears, and pains.
1) Listen completely and without distraction when someone is talking about their feelings, fears, and pains.
2) Imagine that I am in a similar situation and how I would feel.
3) Think of how I would react to those feelings.
4) Think of what measures I would take to alleviate those feelings, fears, or pains.
5) Do not add to my wife’s fears and pains.
6) Be aware of other people’s needs for happiness.
7) Allow myself to feel happy just from another person's happiness.
8) Do not rob anyone of their joy.

Value #9 Be Accepting
1) Accept that who I am is adequate
2) Accept how the world is.
3) Accept that I have made some very bad choices and am moving on to a better self.
4) Accept that I do not need to control others.

Value #10 Be aware that I am not the only person that is important to me.
1) When working on something, think of who has had input on that work, how to do the work, when to do it, and what to use.
2) If there is someone who should have input, but has not yet given it, seek that additional input.
3) Remember all of the input or write it down.
4) Re-read the input or run it through your mind before starting and run it through your mind as you work.
(Note: This value is intended as a positive motivation from a negative motivation of "stop being controlling and stop the passive/aggressive tendency of just doing it my own way".)

Value #11 Be aware that my wife's intelligence, experience, and talents are necessary for my life.
1) When my wife expresses an opinion about how we should do something, acknowledge that she has lots of intelligence, experience, and talent.
2) Take my wife's opinions seriously.
3) If I disagree with my wife, I should state my opinion reasonably and listen to her response.
4) Work with her to develop a conclusion of what to do.

Value #12 Maintain intimacy with my wife.
1) Hug my wife regularly throughout the day.
2) Snuggle with my wife each morning and each night (unless she declines).
3) Kiss my wife at least each morning and each night (unless she declines).
4) Be aware of the feeling of fulfillment and completeness that comes from hugging, kissing, and snuggling with my wife.
5) Be spontaneous and loving in our sex life.
6) Allow for and work on an emotional connection.

Value # 13 Find joy in my work.
1) Read an affirmation at the beginning of the day.
2) When driving to work, think of several things that I am grateful for.
3) When starting work, think of what I like about work.
4) If problems arise, take some deep breaths, take your time and don't rush it, discuss with others what are some possible solutions.
5) Take regular breaks.
6) At the end of each day, think of several things that I am grateful for and things that went well that day.

Value #14 Maintain a sense of joy while helping with my wife's business.
1) Read the Joel Osteen calendar of affirmations that is at her business.
2) Appreciate that her space is a beautiful space in which to work.
3) Realize that it is her turn to be in the spotlight.
4) It is enjoyable work.

Value #15 Tell my son that I love him and that I am proud of who he is.
1) Frequently tell my son that I love him.
2) Explain to my son, why I am proud of who he is.
3) Accept who he is.

Quote:
Both of you will take some time to create an individual list of perceived value conflicts that focus on your values that are being or may likely be violated by your partner's behavior. Use the outline shared earlier in the lesson to establish awareness of all major conflicts. Note that we will not be addressing all of these conflicts in detail, only establishing that they exits. Additionally, we will begin to define the values and boundaries that are at the core of these conflicts. And an initial probe into the severity of each conflict (as dectated by the consequences).


In answering the following questions, I felt that the questions fit more for the partner in identifying the problem behaviors by the addict that have violated the relationship. I know that there is a long list of my unacceptable behaviors or behaviors that cause worry. It is difficult to come up with any of my wife's behavoirs that are unacceptable. I don't feel that my wife is, and is likely to, violate any of my values.

Quote:
What behaviors would you find completely unacceptable in your partner?

My wife really has not had any behaviors that are completely unacceptable. She has certainly felt anger and has expressed her anger, but that is not unacceptable, but necessary in the process of dealing with her anger. There have been times when the arguments got heated to the point that I worried or was fearful about my own possible reactions and wanted to get away from the situation. Those were times when she got physical with me. In the event that that happened again, I would get away from the situation immediately and wait until we both cooled down.


Quote:
What behaviors would cause you to worry about your partner's overall balance?

If she were to hold on to anger for long periods of time. If she were to lose sight of her boundaries or her activities that give her joy, I would worry about her overall balance.


Quote:
What behaviors would symbolize a return to their addiction and/or a detriment to their own healing?

Behaviors that would symbolize a detriment to her own healing would be for her to stop doing her art work, stop being interested in other peopole's art work, stop working in the yard/garden, stop caring about herself, stop watching her favorite programs on TV.


Quote:
What healthy behaviors would you like to see from your partner in response to what has been identified above?

I would like to see her continue with her art (jewelry, photography, watercolor). I would like to see her take more walks. I would like to see her cultivate more friendships. I would like to see her have joyful time with her children and grandchildren. I hope she continues to spend joyful time with me.


Last edited by Chrysler on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:14 pm 
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Quote:
The first step in developing a healing contract is to clearly document your existing values and boundaries. Again, there are you values--not your partner's and not your relationship's. If you aren't clear what these are, simply list five to ten areas of your life that you value (your values) and ways you will protect those values (your boundaries).



1. FEARLESS HONESTY- being open and transparent about everything in a timely fashion
- The natural consequence of lying will result in my emotionally distancng myself; omission, mininmalization, selective memory and deflection are forms of lying. On-going lying will result in my physically distancing myself.

2. FEARLESS COMMUNICATION - the core of our healing & a healthy marriage requires our joint participation by contributing and initiating
- The natural consequence of avoidance or shutting down will be my feeling distant and detached.
- I need immediate communication when there is a conflict situation which results in your feeling you need to stay away for any period of time, especially overnight. I will not accept any excuse for your not communicating (by phone). If you stay out all night withhout any communication, I will ask for a physical separation.
- When passive aggressive devices are used, I will feel your attempt to control/manipulate, and will tell you, wait for correction, and if none comes, I will end the conversation and tell you why.

3. EMOTIONAL HEALTH - I will only accept responsibility for my own well being and focus on me
- by acknowledging any anger, hurt, or grief - old or new - and embrace it knowing it will run its course and be over in time
- by recognizing rumination at the start and use my songs, mantra, exerises to change my focus
- by expressing my feelings in "real" time to you by using "I feel_____when you_____"
- I will be aware of depression and work myself through it allowing myself to feel my emotions and I will communicate these times to you
4. SELF ESTEEM - I accept responsibity for maintaining my self-esteem.
- I will not define myself by your attention or perceptions or lack of
- I will remind myself of what's good about me: loyalty, honesty, creativity, loving, caring, trustworthy woman
- I will not react to your offensive remarks or behavior but will use a feeling statement: I feel _____________when you__________
5. JOY - I will seek JOY in my life
- by doing art and working in my gallery
- by taking nature walks and looking at the sky
- by dancing and listening to music or watching a performance
- if I feel my you are attempting to rob me of my job with attitude or ambiguity, I will tell you how I feel when you_______, BUT I will work hard not react with drama, but instead emotionally distance myself from you until I regain my stability.

6. RESPECT - Respect for myself by honoring my vision, my values especially my emotional health.
- respect for your honesty, transparency, empathy, fidelity and honoring your values and I will expect the same from you.
- When you show me disrespect , I will use a feeling statement to tell you how I feel when you ______
- If it's serious disrespect , there will be a serious consequence to be determined at the time. (best I can do)
- I consider it seriously disrespectful when you choose to avoid conflict and avoid communication about that conflict by staying out all night The consequence for lack of communication in this instance will be my physical separation from you.

7. EMPATHYand MAKING AMENDS - to heal and restore our relationship and marriage will take a mutual effort and exchange of apologies and forgiveness based on empathy and making amends.
- I will show empathy when I see you struggle with your fears, past, guilt but will not indulge that behavior
- I will graciously receive your showing empathy to me when I have a rough day with anger, hurt, sadness, old memories, triggers
- I will use feeling statements to express how I feel when you lack empathy or avoid taking the initiative to express empathy when it's called for.
[color=#BF0000] -I ask that you be aware of my awareness of your past behaviors, sexual and other supporting behaviors, and work toward making amends based on that awareness

8. TIME - I will use my time wisely
- I will be aware of ruminations and take action to stop them before they get out of hand
- I will make healthy choices to avoid wasting time and energy
- I will make time to bring JOY into my life and pursue my dreams
- I will recognize depression for what it is and work through it facing my feelings and fears and sharing them with you and allow myself time to do this.
9. INTiMACY -
- I will hug, snuggle, kiss, and enjoy caring and loving sex with you as long as you sincerely wants that with me, only.
- I will communicate when I feel uncomfortable with having sex and explain why
- I will trust my gut if I feel that you are being distant and cold, and I will be heard by using feeling statement: I feel _____when you_____.
- I will be sensitive to your feelings, your down times, and will tell you that I need that from you as well.
- I will be honest about my sexual triggers relative to your sexual fantasies about "E" and ask that you show me compassion when this happens[/color]
10. FIDELITY -
- I will honor our promises to be faithful to youand expect you to honor me in the same way.
- If you pursue any female relationship with sexual fantasies or stimulation outside of our marriage, there will be a physical separation, additional counseling, and possible divorce.
- If you pursue any sexual stimulation or practice, such as scanning, masturbation, strip clubs, cybersex, we will physically separate. I will request that you get additional counseling to address your unhealthy choices/behavior knowing now that ignorance is not an option or excuse.

[color=#FF0000]11. TRUST - Rebuilding trust in myself and my gut and your becoming trust-worth is key to our building a healthy relationship.
- If you are deceitful in any of it's many forms, your trustworthiness and our relationship will be compromised or destroyed.
- If you cannot be vulnerable to trust me with the truth, not worrying about my reaction, I will feel that the intimacy and strength of our relationship will be compromised until you develop that ability.


(to be continued)
Nellie


-


Last edited by nellie james on Fri May 13, 2011 2:58 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
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Quote:
Both of you will take some time to create an individual list of perceived value conflicts that focus on your values that are being or may likely be violated by your partner's behavior. Use the outline shared earlier in the lesson to establish awareness of all major conflicts. Note that we will not be addressing all of these conflicts in detail, only establishing that they exits. Additionally, we will begin to define the values and boundaries that are at the core of these conflicts. And an initial probe into the severity of each conflict (as dectated by the consequences).


1. Fearless Honesty - My H ' mindset regarding transparency and fearless honesty bothers me. He has told me on occasion that he didn't know if he could be transparent. When I asked if he would be able to tell me if he did slip or act out, he said that he thought that he would probably fall apart first. I feel we need to address this opening and figure out what he will do in this situatiion as well as others that cause him fear.

2. Honest Communication - His participating actively by initiating tough discussions has improved dramatically in terms of making amends about old behavior, but we haven't talked much lately about his current SA although he assures me, when I ask, that he feels that he won't act out, that he reads through his values to stave off any complacency. His focus seems to be about his childhood, his mother specifically. Recently, I feel he has become complacent about communicating anyything but daily trivia and household stuff. I find his use of the Victim Triangle as an explaination of himself is a crutch of sorts in that it seems to stop there - I am not sure if he is taking the steps he needs to take to act on his awareness.
His Passive Aggressive tendencies have also diminished, but he worries about this creeping back into his communication - when it does, I don't over react but do point it out. I may be missing some of it because my focus has changed in my life. This is still a problem for both of us because when I am under stress, I react instead of pointing it out. I need to not react.
3. Empathy - He is working on actively showing me empathy regarding past behavior. This is a work in progress. I am not keeping score, but will stay aware of his efforts because, for me, it allows me to forgive him - each small step will bring us closer together and help re-build trust. I have recently asked that he become aware of my awareness of his past behavior, sexual and non-sexual and keep this in mind when making amends. He finds this very hard. His memory lapses are still there - we have talked about some specific dates that are important to me, but he depends upon me to remind him which, at this point, is like reminding him to do his homework. He is currently working on a "list" of transgressions and seems worried about leaving something out so it's taking him more time than I expected but in keeping with his need to please me, it seems. Not good, I know.
4. Trust - Rebuilding what was lost depends on his ability to be fearlessly honest with me about the past, but more importantly about the present. His being vulnerable enough to trust me with the truth is a concern. We each need to trust the other with the truth. We recently had a "staying out all night" situation that grew out of a conflict. His not calling me to tell me what was going on became a trust and respect issue for me. I feel we have lost ground on a serious level.

Quote:
What behaviors would you find completely unacceptable in your partner?


!. Infidelity - developing or attempting to develop a relationship with another woman on any level of sexual stimulation: actual or fantasy or minor crushes.
2. On-Going Dishonesty about sexual stimulation outside of the marriage, past or present.

Quote:
What behaviors would cause you to worry about your partner's overall balance?


1. Being cold, distant, avoiding me
2. Being defensive, irritable, deflective in conversation
3. Being overly fearful and anxious
4. Being ambiguous, controlling, judgemental
5. Avoiding conflict - Not dealing with his anger or other emotions
6. Being secretive, deflective, omission
7. Not having healthy pillars in his life
8. Working too hard at his job
9. Trying too hard to do what he thinks I want/need

Quote:
What behaviors would symbolize a return to their addiction and/or a detriment to their own healing?


1. Being cold, distant, avoiding me
2. Being angry and judgemental in general
3. Being secretive, avoiding communication
4. Lying and blame-shifting
5. Irrational arguing instead of healthy communication
6. Putting work/earning a living before our relationship
7. Trying to explain away questionable behavior
8. Trying to set me up emotionally

Quote:
What healthy behaviors would you like to see from your partner in response to what has been identified above
?

I would like to see my husband open and transparent in his communicating with me as well as initiate conversations about where he sees we are in our relationship. I hope he will share himself, his thoughts and concerns with me about everything we are facing in our lives together.

I would like to see him less fearful about life and what it holds, good and bad, and learn to trust me with his most intimate secrets and truths. I apreciate our talks after his counseling sessions. Since he ended his counseling, our talks have become about practical things in our life. He does not initiate much unless it follows a conflict. I miss our more relaxed talks that delt with harder issues.

I would like to see him continue putting our relationship first, before his commitment to his work and continue to pursue a caring relationship with our son without fear of doing it wrong.

I would like to see him face conflict in healthy ways and understand that this is part of life and our relationship. Conflict is an intimate way to deal with differences and is healthy. Avoidance is unhealthy. This is a big issue for us. I feel that as much as he avoids conflict, he perpetuates it or sets it up. Strange. I need to learn to identify this and not react emotionally. :pe:

I would like to see him find joy in his life in healthy ways, pursue healthy activities and broaden his circle of male friends so he can hike with them, bike with them, talk with them.

I would love to see him continue having fun/joy with me with our new pastime of fishing along with photography, art projects, house and yard projects, watching good movies together, listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, playing good music, and just being together living life spontaneously, and enjoying caring loving sex with each other. I would love to see him accepting that we are growing old and that we can do it joyfully together. This has waned a lot over the winter - our level of having fun and joy together has diminished sadly or at best has been up and down. I feel I am to blame as much as he is - stressful family stuff, money worries, gallery worries, and house hunting have all contributed. Makes so aware of how fragile our relationship is.

I would love to see him building on his valuing me as his life time partner by showing me affection, being my soft place to fall, sharing his thoughts and fears with me and listening to my thoughts and fears, being fearlessly honest with me and trusting that I will accept him for who he is.

I would love to see him cherishing a truly intimate life with me, savoring every aspect of our intimacy, honoring and valuing the incredible connection we have forged never to tarnish it again. How can he do this?
All the above.


Last edited by nellie james on Fri May 13, 2011 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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