|May 30, 2016 - I am
working on a few pieces of writing. I
will post what I have so far.
||May 30, 2016 - Dissecting
depression. Lately when I have been
feeling depressed I try to search for
more specific feelings. It doesn't help
me when I tell myself "I feel
depressed." It seems to make me feel
a bit worse actually.
But it does help if
I identify more specific feelings such as
discouraged, powerless, unimportant,
unvalued, not cared about.
I plan to
write more about this later... more on my
May writing page
|May 30, 2016 - Is "Neglected" a
||May 30, 2016 - "I feel
neglected" - Lisa story - will post
|May 30, 2016
anger and expressing feelings clearly,
directly and constructively
Let's say a boy lived in a
home where there was never enough food to
eat because the father spent all his
money on gambling and alcohol. Then one
day the father asks his son how he is
feeling and his son replies, "I feel
never believe me!
That is what my partner said in one of
the last "fights" we had.
We were in Puerto Iguazu, on the
Argentine side of the world famous Iquazu
waterfalls. We had planned to start our
new life together there. I was going to
teach English and she was going to teach
Here is an early draft
of the first chapter of one of the new books I am
working on. It will be called "Your
You never believe me!
That is what my partner said in one of the last
"fights" we had.
We were in Puerto Iguazu, on the Argentine side
of the world famous Iquazu waterfalls. We had
planned to start our new life together there. I
was going to teach English and she was going to
It is a place many couples go for their
honeymoon. But after only a few days there
together, she gave up on our short but intense
relationship. She packed her bags and left.
Over the next few days I thought about what she
really meant when she said "You never
believe me." For many years now I have been
trying to decode people's words and translate
them into a language of feelings and emotional
needs. I find this to be a very helpful exercise.
As I thought about her words, I started to
remember things she had told me earlier in our
relationship. One of the first things I remebered
was something she told me about her mother and
When she was in her early twenties her mother
re-married. She told me her step-father had been
touching her in appropriate ways. When she told
her mother this, her mother did not believe her.
I also remembered that she told me once that
her mother did not use the internet much and did
not like to read things online. My partner,
though, liked to do online research. She said she
would often tell her mother things she had read
online and her mother would not believe her.
So it became clear to me that what she needed was
to feel more believed by those important to her.
On the day when she said "You never believe
me" she was in pain. She was in pain from
not feeling believed by me. This set off a chain
reaction of painful memories of other times she
had not felt believed. Some of those were fresh
in her memory, others were not. She gave me more
clues to her painful feelings and her unmet
emotional needs that day. After she attacked me
with "You never believe me," she added
that I hadn't believed her when she told me about
the water in our hotel room and about something
else which I have now forgotten. So now, looking
back, it is all much more clear to me. For years
she had felt pain from not having her mother, and
probably others, believe her when she told them
things. So when she felt disbelieved by me she
sprang into a type of animal survival instinct
response. She went on the attack.
That day, when she said, "you never believe
me," I was too stunned to even reply. She is
normally an extremely peaceful and gentle person.
It was very rare that she would feel so hostile.
In fact, I am not sure there had been even one
time where I saw this kind of reaction from her.
I have learned that when people go into the
attack mode like that they are in some kind of
pain. Often, this pain is from some unmet
emotional or psychological need. We might even
call it a brain need because it seems the brain
needs certain feelings so it can maintain a
healthy, secure and peaceful chemical balance. So
on that day, knowing she was in some kind of
pain, I did not counter attack. I did not defend
myself. I simply remained silent, trying to
figure out what had sparked such painful
If someone would have asked me how I felt at that
moment I might have said, "attacked and
confused." I must admit did not feel a lot
of empathy for my partner. I felt some, but not
very much right at that moment. Nor did I feel
much connection to her pain. I suppose one reason
I did not feel connected to her pain was that I
did not understand it. If someone would have
asked me "How much do you understand why
your partner is in pain right now... from 0 to
10?" I might have said either zero or one.
Something else I learned a long time ago is that
it is very difficult, if not biologically
impossible, to feel both defensive and empathy at
the same time. I believe this comes from the way
we have evolved, in other words, the way our
brains have been wired over time. For example, if
we are being attacked by we probaby don't think,
"Oh, the poor lion. He must be hungry. I
will let him eat my arm."
So on that day in the romantic village of Puerto
Iguazu I did not immediately feel empathy for my
partner. I really did not feel very defensive
either, to be honest, since I was more surprised
and confused than anything else. But I definitely
felt a little attacked. So as I see it, my
partner was in the "fighting" mode of
her evolved and learned survival response
mechanisms. But I really believe that she did not
know what she was fighting for.
I say that she did not know what she was fighting
for because I feel sure that if someone had asked
her, "How are you feeling right now and what
do you need?", she would not have been able
to give them a very precise answer. I suspect she
would have said something like "I feel angry
because he never believes me!" But this
would not be telling us very much, as I will
Something else I have learned is that saying we
are "angry" is not very helpful. It is
not helpful because it doesn't help us identify
what we need and why we are upset or in pain.
I have also learned that saying things like
"because he never believes me" is
something like a road sign pointing you on a
detour or pointing you in the wrong direction.
I will explain why in the next chapter. I will
also talk more about why saying we are angry is
not very helpful.