I’m going to jot down a few things I’ve been learning in therapy. You might find this boring but I’m doing it mostly for my reference. I know I’m going to need to review these things from time to time. I tend to forget. Hopefully you will find something in here that can help you too. Doris asked me to share my knowledge with anyone I thought could use it. Just think of it as getting free therapy. You’re welcome. ūüôā

Doris does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT revolves around how one thinks…how one thinks about himself/herself and the world around them. All our thoughts control our feelings and our feelings in turn, control our emotions, physical feelings (heart racing, calm, anxiousness, happiness, etc) and our actions. Pretty simple, right? So if we can control our thoughts and express our feelings in the right way, this should lead to feeling better physically. Many times all these things can lead to physical ailments like anxiety, high blood pressure, headaches, etc.

Often if one doesn’t express his/her feelings, he/she will harbor internal stress about it leading to things like acting out in anger. Have you ever bitten someone’s head off and realized later that it had nothing to do with the situation with that person but was more about something that happened to you earlier leaving you feeling angry? Yeah. I’ve done a lot of that in my lifetime. And I don’t feel good about it.

One KEY fact I’ve learned: I am NOT responsible for other people’s behavior. I can’t control how other people act. But what I CAN control are my own thoughts (and as I said before, my thoughts will eventually result in my actions). ¬†For example, my husband will often stomp around mad, slamming doors, and cussing because he is frustrated or angry about something. I have no idea why but my first thoughts are that I’ve done something wrong or something to make him angry. RUBBER BAND THERAPY: Now I wear a rubber band on my arm and if I have a thought that I am responsible for his behavior, I snap the rubber band. Not my problem! If he is angry about something, it is HIS¬†responsibility¬†to explain his feelings. Along with that, it is MY¬†responsibility¬†to tell him how his behavior makes me feel. It makes me feel scared, paranoid, and uncomfortable in my own home. And if I tell him often enough, he should eventually modify his behavior and NOT stomp around anymore. He should express his frustration or feelings before it leads to the stomping and slamming.

Here is another example. I woke up one Monday morning in a fine state of mind. I sat down to begin my work at my desk. I worked for about 10 hours that day on my payroll hours that were due in to my boss. My boss will generally review what I have and let me know any changes he wants made. I sent him the file I was working on even though it was not complete. I was assuming he would review it and get back to me with changes. What actually happened is that he distributed it to all the upper management of the company thinking it was ready to go. I was very upset because it made me look like I was¬†incompetent. I immediately began to feel incompetent and worthless. I started to get angry and cry. What should I have done? Well, first I know I’m not worthless or they wouldn’t pay me and keep me employed. I can’t control my boss’ action of sending the report. But I can look at the situation and decide next time, I should TELL my boss not to distribute the report until we’ve discussed it and it is finalized. I can’t change what has already happened; I can do better next time though.

Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over a mistake. Think about it and decide how you can do BETTER next time.

We also discussed another disagreement Luke and I had in July over buying a new¬†jet ski. Long story short, when I told him I did not agree with him buying a brand new jet ski and financing it for 5 years, he said, “I never get anything I want” and walked inside slamming the door. I told my therapist he acted like a child. She started to ask more about his upbringing. I explained how his dad left when he was 10 because he no longer wanted to be married anymore. And his mother, a¬†school teacher¬†was left to take care of the three boys alone. Doris piped in and said, “So I’m sure they had to sacrifice at times. Have ¬†you ever thought about how he might see this as yet another toy he can’t have?” I felt horrible. Don’t get me wrong…he’s still not getting it! But I did feel horrible.

Still…his behavior is out of my control and I shouldn’t take it personally. I am slowly retraining myself to STOP and consider the things I’m thinking. Is the thought unrealistic? Is it unhelpful? STOP! Snap the rubber band. Re-think it.

For example, my mistake at work. “Damn, DeAnna. That was stupid. Now you look like an idiot.” SNAP!! No. “Well, that didn’t work out very well. I can do better than that!” As for the¬†argument¬†with Luke, it’s not my fault he didn’t have the greatest childhood. Sure I feel for him but that doesn’t mean he is entitled to everything he wants in life now. He should consider what would make more sense for our family…like a small boat we can ALL fit in. Nonetheless, I can’t help his behavior. ¬†Make sense?


Overwhelming Rage

I hate so badly that I feel like I can’t put every single detail in here that goes with a situation. But I realize I have given this blog out to so many friends and I am just not comfortable with openly expressing such details with everyone. That being said…let’s move on.

Sunday just kicked off in a bad way. My husband managed to do one little (really minor) thing that set my day off on the wrong foot. But after I told him the error of his ways, he apologized and we moved on. It just seemed to snowball from there. One minor difficulty after another. And after about three, I had a feeling come over me that I haven’t felt in many years….since I was in my 20’s and I was “unmedicated”. This overwhelming sense of rage and anger possessed me and I wanted to smash things, throw things, beat on something or someone! I remember the feeling well because it happened often before I started taking anti-depressants and nearly got me fired from my job. I tried my best to refrain from speaking to my family because I knew I would lash out and say something I would regret later. I chose to do some cleaning tasks.

I tackled the litter box first. As I tried to empty the old litter into a trash bag, the box was so heavy I could not lift it alone. So I tried to prop it against the plastic tub of cat litter. It kept slipping and I kept throwing it back up there making quite a bit of racket. Not once did Luke come and offer to help. I finally managed to get all the old litter dumped into an old Target bag. When I set the box down and lifted the Target bag to tie it off, I saw litter on the floor and realized it had a hole in the bottom. More anger, more reckless tossing around of stuff until I got it wrangled into another plastic bag to contain it. Part 1 was complete.

Now to clean out the box itself. I chucked the lid into the box with the scoop and loudly threw them on the floor outside my laundry room. Then I hauled them outside in the back yard where I threw them around while trying to hose them down and use PineSol to clean them. Finally got that done.

I don’t need to go any further with all that. I think you can see that I was just full of pent up anger. I took on the ironing and laundry next. I never managed to come up with anything for dinner.

Here I am three days later. I talked to my sister tonight. I was trying to fill her in on everything since the last time we talked. Well, I had a little tidbit I had held back from everyone except one close friend. I spilled it to her. I told her I had been corresponding with Adam’s younger sister (see the Guitar Boy post). She was happy for me to make that connection. The down side is that his parents have not changed; they are still embarrassed by who he was. The stories she imparted to me were embellished…and I knew they were from speaking to one of his close friends in DC at the time of his death. I would never tell her so. Never. It would break her heart and damage her relationship with her parents. The poor girl only has ONE photo of her brother. And told me that her parents have held back information from her because she is the baby. I flowed freely with some great fun stories of times we shared together and she seemed so happy to hear about them. She sent me the only photo she had of Adam. When I opened it, my heart sank. It was taken just shortly before he died. He was so gaunt; his knees couldn’t be any bigger than my wrist. And his face and neck were so thin. His hands look like a skeleton. According to the family legend, Adam was interviewing for the Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist position (which (I do not doubt). He had some promotional photos made (one of the ones his sister sent) for the process. According to his sister, she was told he got the position and was with them for two weeks before he overdosed. Oddly, I was in touch with a very close friend of his via email when I found out about his death. Mike never once mentioned any of this. And I know he would have. That band meant the WORLD to Adam. If he’d gotten that position, everyone would know it. Again, just another way his parents were trying to make him look suitable for their liking.

So it just occurred to me tonight. This is where all the rage came from. I am mad at his parents to this day. I am mad at the world that he is gone. I am mad that his parents saw him looking so ill and gaunt and didn’t even care. I’m mad that they would feel they had to LIE about his position in life to look good. It all sucks. And they are evil. ¬†His sister told me I was welcome in their home. No thank you. I am not sure I could face them. He was no worse than any of the rest of us! As a matter of fact, he was BETTER than most of us because of his God given talent!

I don’t know what else to say about it right now. I’m sad. I miss him. He was such a beautiful person.