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Ask Coach Jen K. Your Own Question

Coach Jen K.
Coach Jen K., LMSW, CPC
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1723
Experience:  Providing the Utmost Care and Support
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I have been with my fiance for a year now and I am starting

Resolved Question:

I have been with my fiance for a year now and I am starting to see new angles of his personality that i couldn't see in the beginning. Keeping in mind that no one is perfect, including myself, I need to figure out what is acceptable and what is not in a relationship. My fiance has a very very demanding and stressful job, and recently he has been under a lot of pressures with deadlines and approaching certification exams that will determine whether he will be able to practice in his profession. That being said, all of his stress is extremely noticeable because he is treating me differently. He talks to me in a belittle manner. When I bring this up to him, he tells me that it is because of all his stress, and that I should be more understanding of his situation. Of course I am understanding, but that is no excuse to treat someone poorly. The way he treats me is worse than he would treat a stranger. It is true that it is reflective of the stress he is feeling, but we can't go around treating our loved ones poorly because we feel poorly. The worst part is, that I feel disempowered. I know this, because I cannot recognize my feelings or whether what I am feeling is accurate or if I am making it up. This is because when I bring up things to him, he finds a way to blame it on my way of thinking or my stress level and he never takes personal responsibility for his issues and places it on me. I am now doubtful of my emotions and what is mine, and what are his issues.
My question is, how do I put the ball in his court? I do not want to be in a relationship where I am not honored and where my opinions are brushed off. How do I show him that what he is doing is wrong and if he doesn't change, he is going to lose me?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Coach Jen K. replied 2 years ago.

CoachJenK :

Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families on a variety of issues.

Customer:

Hi, have I paid for this session?

CoachJenK :

I am sorry you are going through this

CoachJenK :

you put a deposit down but I am not paid until you click accept.

CoachJenK :

are you not desirous of continuing?

Customer:

I am. Last time I didn't have a chat room, just a written response.

Customer:

do we have a certain amount of time to chat?

Customer:

I am. Last time I didn't have a chat room, just a written response.





do we have a certain amount of time to chat?



CoachJenK :

ok and are you comfortable being in this chat with me? I dont put a time limit on things but we stay within reason, but i am not here to rush you.

Customer:

oh, i see. that sounds good

CoachJenK :

I might get tired after hours and hours....:-)

Customer:

:) i'll keep it short and to the point :)

CoachJenK :

no worries

Customer:

so, i am engaged to a man who has been divorced

CoachJenK :

and this behavior is new and seems to be around this stress?

Customer:

and I am beginning to see some communication faults that make it difficult

Customer:

yes

CoachJenK :

and him not taking responsibility for things does not make it easy for you to try to comuicate

CoachJenK :

does this particular stress have an ending in sight? when are the exams?

Customer:

one exam is next month. the other is in october. on top of that we are moving states next month

Customer:

new state, new job, everything

CoachJenK :

ok so we cant say lets wait the two weeks and see how it goes.

CoachJenK :

and i agree with you that there wil always be stress and that cannot influence how we treat our loved ones

Customer:

nope. the thing is, that his job will always be stressful, it is the nature of the occupation. i don't want to be treated this way forever

CoachJenK :

sometimes we all act a bit nutty and feel poorly afterward but this seems more than that.

CoachJenK :

I agree with you

CoachJenK :

and somehow you have lost yourself here and your ability to trust your feelings about this

Customer:

yes

CoachJenK :

so we need you to regain the power and take some control back

Customer:

yes

CoachJenK :

You feelings are valid and seem to me to have a handle on things well and it doesnt sound like you are making things up

CoachJenK :

just to validate your experience

CoachJenK :

so how to talk to him to tell him how you feel....

Customer:

thank you. i try very hard to see things from different perspective so i don't take things out on other people.

CoachJenK :

what have you said to him when trying to communicate your feelings?

CoachJenK :

and you have that ability and it seems like he may not

Customer:

the issue with that is, because i have tried to express to him my point of view, he is very stressed and doesn't want to talk about it

CoachJenK :

not atypical of men

Customer:

true

CoachJenK :

thats the bad news

Customer:

his job is stressful and the last thing he wants is to feel demands from me

CoachJenK :

but the good news is that doesnt mean you disappear and silence your feelings and your needs

Customer:

he wants to come home and feel relaxed and peaceful

Customer:

exactly!

Customer:

!

CoachJenK :

expressing yourself isnt a demand it is wanting to be heard and responded to

CoachJenK :

and he deserves that peace but you can carve out some time to talk of how you feel and in a way that he might be able to take it in without feeling attacked or demands placed on him

CoachJenK :

so tell me how you have brought things up in the past

Customer:

in the past, i don't think i have done a good job of pin pointing what it is that i want him to do differently

Customer:

he is a guy, he has a 'fix it' mentality

Customer:

he wants me to tell him what to do so he can 'fix it'

Customer:

i need to find out what it is that i want him to work on

CoachJenK :

honey when you speak to me and say things like....I feel hurt and tend to withdraw...do you think that maybe you can not put me down? you may not think you are and i understand that, but it feels that way to me

CoachJenK :

as an example

Customer:

i see

CoachJenK :

it is not attacking and focusing on something specific that he can grab onto and letting him know how you feel

Customer:

for example, he will act in a demeaning manner, and talk to me as if i cannot understand him

Customer:

it makes me feel terribly

CoachJenK :

I get that.... hoeny when you speak to me as if I dont understand you, I feel small. I am your equal.

Customer:

and if he denies that he is speaking to me in that way, what is a good way to respond

CoachJenK :

he wil deny it because it is hard for anyone to feel that they may be hurting someone but I would say...

CoachJenK :

I hear you when you say you dont feel like you are doing that, but all I am asking is that you think about it a bit and maybe you will hear it. I love you and i am not attacking you, i just want to speak to each other in a way where we both feel good.

Customer:

that sounds good.

Customer:

i think my shortcoming here is my ability to express myself. i can formulate it in written words, but speaking it is challenging for me

CoachJenK :

I appreciate your honesty about that...it is very difficult and it takes some practice

CoachJenK :

but if you dont practice and continue to shrink away then you could have a marriage filled with that and things wont change

CoachJenK :

it can feel scary but do it in baby steps.

Customer:

yes, i agree

CoachJenK :

and if you have a tough time then it can come to a breaking point for oyu and then it could be coming out in a way that feels demanding of him

CoachJenK :

sounds silly...look in the mirror and practice

Customer:

exactly. the only way i know how to express myself is , 'you talk to me in a belittling way and i don't know if i can deal with that'

Customer:

it sounds like a ultimatum

Customer:

an*

CoachJenK :

yes and that can be tough to hear it in that way and causes him to shut it down immediately.

Customer:

yes

CoachJenK :

dont beat yourself up here...it takes practice and i am so glad we are here together to go through it

Customer:

yeah, it is helpful for sure

Customer:

we have scheduled a time to talk tonight

CoachJenK :

and we often do better talking about our feelings not in the heat of the moment but in a quieter time when things feel calm

Customer:

and i want to make sure i express myself in the best way possible

CoachJenK :

that is perfect

Customer:

because this is something i need to learn to do if i want to be in any close relationship

CoachJenK :

I love you and I am working on my end of things and i want to communicate better and I want to feel heard too. I dont want you to feel attacked I hope that you can hear me

Customer:

perfect

CoachJenK :

I am sure you do not do it intentionally but sometimes when you talk to me I feel belittled...how can we speak to one another with more love rather than that stuff?

CoachJenK :

I am so excited for our life together and want things to feel wonderful for both of us

Customer:

thats awesome

CoachJenK :

I am proud of you for being open to it all!

CoachJenK :

see how great this chat thing is?

Customer:

yeah, its definitely helpful

CoachJenK :

excellent

Customer:

it's so easy to blame the other person

CoachJenK :

yes and we ALL do it

CoachJenK :

so hard for any of us to look within but that is growth and we get to a new space and it is very freeing

Customer:

it's challenging because the way he speaks to me is very belittling and hurtful. but i suppose that isn't even the point, the point is how i react to it and what I do to make the relationship change

CoachJenK :

yes and how you communicate your feelings about it

Customer:

right

Customer:

i think he had this issue in his past relationship

CoachJenK :

are you feeling more strength than when we first started?

CoachJenK :

and he might have for sure

Customer:

yes, i am.

CoachJenK :

I am happy for that

Customer:

it is his weakness for sure, but it is also mine for not communicating where i am coming from in regards XXXXX XXXXX

Customer:

because if i knew how to do all of this from the beginning, it would have never fully come out the way it is now (his belittling talk)

CoachJenK :

and you are so strong for being able to look within and see your part and that is fantastic

CoachJenK :

it will help when you have your talk and any other talk moving forward

Customer:

i agree

CoachJenK :

well take responsibility for your part only not his...he needs to make some changes to but do not force that sentence on him...that is just girl talk

Customer:

yeah

CoachJenK :

:-)

Customer:

i wonder if there is a book about this i could read? do you know?

CoachJenK :

on what...how to commnicate?

CoachJenK :

communicate?

Customer:

yes

CoachJenK :

http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-People-Will-Listen/dp/080106144X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336069760&sr=8-1

Customer:

thanks!

CoachJenK :

How to talk so people will listen!

CoachJenK :

nice!

Customer:

perfect.

CoachJenK :

I agree. so you've got homework and practice.

Customer:

this is awesome, thanks so much

CoachJenK :

I truly am proud of you.

CoachJenK :

and you can always come here and request me if you want my support.

Customer:

thanks. i will if i get stuck the way i have been lately

CoachJenK :

it will be my pleasure. do you feel satisfied for now?

Customer:

this is kind of an abstract question, but :if i feel hurt about something, and it isn't obvious to point out what it is, it makes it challenging for me to be so elequent about my feelings. at this point should i retreat into myself or find a way to talk about how i feel?

CoachJenK :

its a great question and one that i think comes up for most of us...I will answer it based on what i do is that okay?

CoachJenK :

yes?

Customer:

yes

CoachJenK :

ok....

CoachJenK :

I dont attend to everything.....meaning that i may feel some hurt about something but i choose to let it not get the better of me and maybe find some understanding about it and then let it go.

Customer:

yes, that makes sense

CoachJenK :

I am fortunate in that we dont assign tremendous meaning to things said or how it was said but rather look at why it may be coming up and what factors caused us to speak sharply

Customer:

i see... that is smart

CoachJenK :

that takes practice too

Customer:

i can see why we are having these issues now

CoachJenK :

do not beat yourself up at all...you are growing as we speak

Customer:

it is true

Customer:

this is my first long term relationship too

CoachJenK :

yes so give yourself a break here too please

Customer:

i suppose that is another thing, i happily take blame

CoachJenK :

yes and you dont have to

CoachJenK :

your part only

Customer:

it makes me feel better, in fact because i feel that i can control things if it is my fault

Customer:

it is a challenge to seperate my part from his

CoachJenK :

yes but in the end you dont feel better you feel worse and then you boil over

Customer:

this is true

CoachJenK :

you are a pleasure...I must say

Customer:

lol

CoachJenK :

I am serious

Customer:

am i giving you a lot of work? :)

CoachJenK :

I love my work and so it doesn't feel like a lot when you love something

Customer:

:)

CoachJenK :

you feeling okay and ready to tackle it all?

Customer:

yes, i think i got it

Customer:

thanks for your time

Customer:

btw, how do i pay?

CoachJenK :

excellent. so come back to me anytime

Coach Jen K., LMSW, CPC
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1723
Experience: Providing the Utmost Care and Support
Coach Jen K. and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

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