Comments for Pam and Greg
Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos, Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com
Dear Pam and Greg, you really have your plates full!
Keywords: Honesty, openness, and willingness.
Communication is going to be very important. Learn how to say what you mean, and how to keep from saying things that wound. Some of the things my husband said to me 20 years ago still make me cringe. You can't ever "un-say" something. When you are angry, say so. Don't bottle it up and explode later.
Trust is a tough one. Sounds like you may have some walls in place, and not without reason! Put some small gates in the walls, and entrust a few LITTLE things to each other, then BE trustworthy. Take baby steps. Don't make promises that you don't think you will be able to keep. Don't pressure each other to make promises, and don't make promises that you don't want to make. Make promises only for the right reasons. See Boundaries, below.
Be careful how you handle anger. If you are angry, tell, don't YELL. State what the anger is about, how you feel when the spouse says or does what was said or done. Strive for solutions, rather than winning the argument. If anyone wins, both of you lose. A problem that remains unsolved is a thorn that stays in your heart.
Patricia Evans' book "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" might give you clues about why your last relationships failed. She talks about boundaries a lot! You may be able to identify the dynamics that ensured the previous failures.
Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend have written a series of great books for us. The first one is "Boundaries, when to say yes, when to say no, to take control of your life." They are "available everywhere" and are a godsend. Couples therapy probably shouldn't be put off since you have both been so horribly wounded, and since a therapist's office gives you such a safe place to work on things. There are even couples groups!
Read Dr. Irene's site VERY CAREFULLY. Come here often. New stuff goes in all the time.
Be prepared to work hard. Know that some of the work will be painful. Each of you needs to talk and each of you needs the support of the other. Be ready to be responsible to each other in this.
God bless you both. Good luck.
I promise to only hit submit once, LOL. Hmmm. I have an idea. Every time you start falling into the past, say to each other "Bygone's" in a cheerful way, and smile. They use it on Ally McBeal, and it seams to work with my family. It may help you break the tension and stop falling into that trap. Write a note that says that you love each other, and that you will not let the past become your future. Good luck, Wretched Heart
Well...IF you can keep being honest with each other.. and patient and kind and loving...why not? But if you each have individual therapy why not do some jointly as well. Keep your eyes and hearts open. It is really nice to see people like yourselves still be open to love!! good luck.
Pam and Greg,
It sounds like you have a good friendship!! Sometimes it is best left at that, but only you can make that decision. I would think it might be helpful to take some time apart and work on your own issues. The book "In the Meantime" by Vanzant is very helpful for this kind of work. She encourages the reader to deal with core issues of fear, anger, blaming... It is a very healing process of letting go of old garbage, rather than continuing old patterns and carrying them with us into new relationships. It isn't fair to either of you, or the relationship, to bring so many past hurts and fears into a potentially new and wonderful situation. Maybe some people can do this work while in a relationship, but for me I needed the time by myself to get really honest with myself. Then there is a time to come together and share what you've learned without all the obstacles that fear and anger can cause. I think fear and anger are huge blocks to love - love for yourself and love for others. Best of luck,
Pam & Greg: I would like to share a quote I have framed which will enhance my opinion for the two of you. "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." by Soren Kierkegaard
I feel you are both experiencing a healthy relationship like most couples do, who have not been an abusive environment, but are looking and reacting to hard to make sure that this time it is perfect.
Most couples when starting and developing a relationship don't really think very deeply about what they are saying or how they are being looked at. They just fall into trying to cohabitate together. "I would really rather you just put the mail here where I am accustomed to finding it," that form of balancing. Your way and space. My way and space. Our way and togetherness. They have small arguments or discussions about infringements and get on with the living of life together. Life is not perfect for healthy couples either, is what I am trying to show you.
My Ex-boyfriend/fiancee did the same thing to me, where incidents in my past are concerned. I had told him about a very truamatic experience, that I believe that I had, had with a man whose name is Tony Ryan. He had worked on the Psychiatric Ward at the Janeway Children's Hospital. We were lauging and carrying on, because he wanted me to do something, and when I had told him that I would do it in a few minutes, he said, "Do it now, or I'll get Tony after you!" That comment had really, really, HURT me! So much so, that I was literally speechless, for the few minutes that he had said it. He had told me that he was aorry, afterwards, but his apology had sounded forced. I also don't like to talk about another incident, for fear of being judged, but he got me pregnant with fraternal twins, and I had an abortion, for very decent reasons, even though I fully regret doing it! He had told me not long after I had, had that done, he said, "Well at least I don't go around killing babies!" That had hurt me more then I can describe with words! If you would like to talk to me, my e-mail address is, firstname.lastname@example.org. My prayers are with you! Emotional Abuse Suvivior.