How to Ease Stress by Getting Along with Your Partner Better

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Since I’m trying to recover from Fibromyalgia (includes Chronic Fatigue) which is directly linked to stress, I’ve been thinking about how I can reduce my stress even more.  At this point, I’m not working, so that is a big ease on my Adrenal Cortex and HPA Axis (the parts of us that react to stress by producing adrenaline and cortisol).

One thing I’ve been thinking about is all of the stupid bickering fights I have with FH (Fabulous Husband). He really is fabulous, yet I still fight with him.  I am REACTIVE to lots of things he says and does. FH is an absentminded wonderful creative artist and loses things a lot. Creativity often goes hand-in-hand with absentmindedness and when you love someone, and love their creativity, you have to learn to live with the absentmindedness that may come along with it.

Up until now, one stressor for me is when FH can’t find his you-name-it and I get stressed because he’s stressed. I’m annoyed that he can’t find it, that he’s huffing and puffing and frustrated. Part of me wants to help and part of me is so tired of looking for his daily lost items that I feel like saying, “find it your own damn self.” Usually I just get agitated, try to act like I’m helping and not feeling frustrated myself. But underneath, I’m stressed. Usually we have some stupid bickering conversation like “Where did you see it last?” “If I knew that I wouldn’t be looking for it, would I?” “Well, did you retrace your steps?” Our voices start getting that snarky tone, and eventually one of us says “ugh” at the other one and we are suddenly on opposite sides. We don’t even know what we’re on opposite sides of. This is very stupid. We are really not stupid people.

FH gets over stresses like this in about two minutes, but I can be out of sorts for an hour over something like this.  If the bickering escalates, it can put me in a bad mood all day. This is very bad for my body. He sometimes gets worried that I’m going to get in a bad mood all day, and that fear fuels some of his nasty bickering words. I sometimes fear he’ll turn out just like my dad and that fear fuels some of my nasty bickering words.

Is he going to stop misplacing his stuff? Is he going to follow my suggestion to, “always put your keys in the same place?” No. He is who he is, and that’s okay.  If he wants to change his behavior, he can.

My part in it (we always have to look at ourselves, right? Can’t change anyone else) is that I REACT. I am now working on not REACTING. Just breathe. Stay in my body, feel my feet. Notice if I’m feeling fearful and thinking that this will turn into a huge fight, that he will blow up like my father always did, that this is a problem I can’t tolerate and we’ll eventually separate over this. If I find I am fearful and thinking these stress-heightening thoughts, then I talk back to them in my mind, “this is no big deal. He’ll find it. He’s only momentarily frustrated. It will pass in a few minutes if you don’t react. You don’t have to help him. You can help him if you feel you want to, but you don’t have to help him because you’re afraid he’ll blow up at you if you don’t. Breathe. Just breathe. Don’t get frustrated just because he’s frustrated. Nothing bad is going to happen.” Then I attempt to hear the doors to my personal space (aura if you want to call it that) closing.  Keeping his feelings separate from mine.

Side note:  It’s a little hard to close off your aura if you’re especially empathic like me, but so worthwhile (many empaths use visuals like imagining a bubble of white light around them to keep other people’s feelings outside, that never worked for me, but imagining the sound of my personal space’s doors closing does work).

There are other similar scenarios not involving lost items, but I’m working on using this non-reactive-self-talk-breathing strategy for all of them. Yesterday was bicker-free!

Do you have situations with your partner where reactivity causes bickering, arguing, fights? Do you use any strategies? Please share!

Photo101Rehab note:  I added text and cropped this photo in PicMonkey. I thought it fit the theme because the white roses, which are a little withered, and the bricks made me think of home, and how everything in the home can be fine, beautiful, and still never perfect.

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21 thoughts on “How to Ease Stress by Getting Along with Your Partner Better

  1. Yup, my husband and I have bickering arguments like this all the time. Usually I’m the one who loses things, though.

    My strategy since high school (when I had to learn to separate myself from my now-divorced parents’ craziness) is to put one hand on my chest and think “me”, then face the hand away from me and think “not me”. Sometimes I do that a couple times. The point is, I can be ok even if someone near me isn’t ok. “Me” is what I’m feeling and “not me” is whatever’s happening with them. It helps me out a lot. Particularly because my parents are still crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the idea of imagining the doors of one’s personal space closing! I think I’m one of those people who needs a visual, but the literal quality of doors feels very powerful to me. I’ve often found it helpful when something is bothering/burdening me over a period of time to visualize a box with a lid and to place whatever I’m stewing about (such as a tiff with my husband) in there and close the lid. That helps me put things in perspective and also helps me get out of a funk and back to whatever I planned to do with my time. If the thing is important, I can always take it out of the box later and figure out what to do about it. Just knowing I’m not at the beck and call of my own triggers is a great help.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha — it was probably good for me to read this. I am the person who loses few things because she has great systems in place. My husband is the person who loses things because he exists without systems. But the loss of his things bothers ME! I can’t relax if I don’t know where my things are AND where his things are.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hail, fellow empath! I do a little ritual every morning to keep from taking on other people’s stuff. “Shields up” I will say, as soon as I can remember after waking, and visualize a sort of tulip bloom closing up around me. Oh, and I will sometimes just leave the room if my spouse is getting agitated about something that doesn’t have anything to do with me.

    Like

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