Emotional Limits

Mar 23, 2013 by

Family arguments were always a challenge for me as I was growing up. I was able to choose from two different models:

  1. Scream at each other and escalate the argument until punches were thrown, guns were fired and/or cars were damaged.
  2. See the argument starting and literally run away.

In my adult life I realize that neither one were ideal situations. It took me years to learn that there are more appropriate ways to deal with anger. I haven’t been able to catch it before it starts yet, but once it’s going I quickly gain awareness that I have made a mistake and fallen back into my old habits.

It seems like I’m in a movie.

I hear the words coming out of my mouth like an old tape. I feel the emotions flowing through my body. I see the typical reactions coming from my partner.

We have the same argument. Over and over. Both of us are good little soldiers who know the steps to the dance by heart. We do it without even thinking about it.

Each of us work on doing things differently. Ideally we both come into awareness at the same time and stop before we do more damage. Realistically it doesn’t usually work that way.

Speaking for myself is an important step to changing my behavior. I can only change myself. When I realize that I’ve gone too far I make moves to change it. I begin to apologize for my part. I listen more instead of purely reacting or attacking.

That’s where it gets tricky. My husband doesn’t trust it. He is still going through the steps in his head and this is not part of the routine. It doesn’t compute.

Now what?

I must remember to stay true to my course. I must remain…really? You’re really going to say that to me? How can you think that of me?That’s not what I said! That’s not what I meant! It isn’t like that!

My willpower falters. Eventually I snap out of it. I read in a book that I should leave and take a break from the situation to cool things off. In a panic I try that. I forget to tell him when I will be back.

By the time I return he is more upset and feeling abandoned. This creates a new set of issues to pile on top of the first set. What were we fighting about again? Then he decides to leave. Now I feel abandoned. Couldn’t he have fixed it while I was gone? More issues.

Our fight goes back and forth all day long. Eventually I get to a point where I can’t take the fight anymore. I’m emotionally exhausted and I just want it to stop. Just tell me what to do to make it stop. I typically end up in a sobbing heap in the corner. I can’t function for days. I can’t think straight. I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want to breathe. I have reached my emotional limit.

Time to replenish.

The next day I went out to lunch with friends. I went to get my feet rubbed. I wandered around a store and did a little shopping. I refused to let myself wallow. Today was harder. It snowed again. I didn’t want to go to work. I wanted to stay in bed.

This is what I used to run away from.

I noticed that I was drawn to the mindless games yesterday. I didn’t want to think about the mess I was in. I am well aware that the communication in my marriage is unhealthy. I’m working on it the best I can for where I’m at. And that is good enough for now. I don’t want to judge myself. That makes my head hurt and my habits spin out of control.

Why am I sharing this?

Because it’s real.

Part of my committment to you in helping you live a better life is talking about what is true. I don’t live in a fantasy land. My life isn’t perfect. My husband and I fight like crazy people yet we love deeply. I am a funny goof ball who likes to laugh. I’m unorganized. I have a giant heart.

I am a recovering compulsive gambler…who has a LIFE!

Step by step with lots of practice I am learning to deal with things in a healthier way. It doesn’t happen overnight. I have to remain committed to the journey. As much as it hurts, it’s really good to feel.

Blessings my friends,



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  1. This post moved something in me. I hide from life now. Dealing with our emotional problems takes time. Take care of you first and you’re bound to notice some improvement soon.

    • Christina,

      Thanks for sharing from your heart. I hope you’re honoring yourself by giving the time and kindness that you deserve. I agree that the improvement will come. Hugs!


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