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Ongoing Stressors you can't get rid of

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Here4chocolate, Oct 30, 2022.

  1. Here4chocolate

    Here4chocolate New Member

    What do you do if you have a stressor in your life you can't get rid of?

    I was journaling today and started to write without a specific topic in mind hoping one would come to me. I've done a few month of journaling so I got all my past stressors out on paper. There are a lot but I'm thinking that, though I know when the pain started, the pain didn't persist beause of whatever caused it at that time. I think it persisted because there was always SOMETHING going on, with no breaks in between so my brain never released the pain because I was always stressed and not where I wanted to be.

    However, of all those thing that caused me stressed from the past 17 years I have changed them all. I'm not longer in school, removed toxic friend from my life, moved away from home, moved on from two jobs that made me miserable into one that does not. Probably others.

    The one thing I can't get rid of (and that's not what I desire) is my husband. But he causes me imense stress. I won't get into details here but we are not on the same page AT ALL. Maybe we need counseling but right now I'm dealing with the pain and he's dealing with his ADHD each with our own therepists. But I'm not sure it would even help because NOTHING gets through to him. I've even explained how what he does it making me sick and in pain and no effort is made to improve our situation.
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have ongoing stress due to my son who is severely autistic. In my case I had to change my own responses to things and I also had to get help...part of it was changing how I thought and part of it is simply practical. Your husband may not be part of your recovery but there are ways of reducing stress. It may require a combination of couples counseling, accepting aspects of his personality that will never change (managing expectations), and making practical changes around the house. Many couples have separate bathrooms or even beds or bedrooms for example. If you hate how he drives, you may need to drive separately. These are just examples off the top of my head. When my husband eats cereal, I literally have to leave the room lol! In a nutshell, there are solutions to everything and you can still get better.
    TG957, backhand, JanAtheCPA and 2 others like this.
  3. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    Here4 chocolate, perhaps I can relate a bit to your stresses related to your husband as I am the caretaker for my wife of 55 years who has Alzheimer’s. Oddly enough, though, I am going to talk about a woman, like miffybunny, with an autistic son. The story comes from ISTD therapist Jon Fredrickson in his book The Lies We Tell Ourselves: How to Face the Truth, Accept Yourself, and Create a Better Life. The story is about the psychological defense mechanism of denial. I hope it provides you some perspective on changing your thinking to accompany miffybunny’s practical advice on how to reduce your stress.

    The woman in Fredrickson's story had a 40-year old autistic son who lived in a group home. Her son got sick and had to come back and live with her until he recovered. She told Fredrickson about an incident that made her angry at her son. He crossed the street without looking both ways and was almost hit by a bus. Here is how the therapy session continued:

    "I yelled at him, 'I need you to be normal. I need you to be healthy.’ "

    "You need your autistic son to her normal?"


    "You need him to be not him.”

    “He’s got to change.”

    “A son whose autism has not changed in forty years has to change. Is that true?”

    “No I guess not.”

    “We wish our anger could un-autism him, but it doesn’t does it?

    “No it doesn’t.”

    “He keeps being autistic. You have been waiting forty years for a normal son to appear instead of the autistic son you have. I understand. Who wouldn’t? Shall we hold a funeral for the normal son you never had and never will?

    The mother broke down and sobbed.​

    Fredrickson explained in the book that he reminded the mother of what she had been denying not to cause her pain but to bring her relief from an illusion that had stressed her for forty years. He wrote:

    “By facing the facts of her life with her, I showed her that she could face them too. As she let go of her unreal son, she embraced the real son she had . . . . Once the mother acknowledged her wish [that her son was normal], she saw what she could now live with: her son as he was. The absence of her fantasy became the space in which her son appeared.
    When she saw that what she wanted was not real, how to live with her real son became self-evident. . . . Her ability to have fantasies did not die. She merely woke up from the dream her fantasies created. . . . We become well by relating to what is here; we become ill by relating to our fantasies.”
    What became self-evident, as I understand it, is that she needed to drop her fantasy about having a normal son and accept reality without stressing over it. I find that that perspective useful in caring for my wife whenever I start to get frustrated with her, i.e., stressed.

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2022
    TG957, backhand, JanAtheCPA and 2 others like this.
  4. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    @miffybunny is so right on! The stress is internal, not external. Your husband doesn't cause the stress, it's how you react that causes the stress: thoughts that generate emotions. I've learned that responding is far different than reacting. Reacting is often rash, it clenches and holds things tight. Responding lets you take a few seconds to breathe deep, accept your emotion to a thought and then made a decision on how you are going to deal with it, in your mind and in your actions and words. I thought I was super controlling - and this would be a more recent "thing" (not life long) I'm beginning to realize that my control is a reaction to my husband's control. I can't change him, I can't change his thoughts or behaviors. But I can change what I do and how I think about those things, including simply getting angry, and being totally OK with being angry. No guilt or remorse. My hubby is used to being the boss and calling the shots in his job, and it spills over to other areas in his life, my job is to learn not to worry about that part of it. I'm so used to trying to "keep peace" and smoothing everything over - no more. I actually relished two days of being royally pissed off and it was great!
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I can't add anything to all of this excellent advice, but I can contribute my own experience of how our brains will keep us in crisis even when we get what we want. In 2009 my husband and I split up after 24 years together, having gone through counseling and realizing that we simply weren't happy together anymore. Neither of us wanted a failed marriage, but we had to get over ourselves and accept that it wasn't the end of the world. It was amicable, equitable, and straightforward - I still do his taxes, and he does handy-guy things for me.

    So having married pretty late in life, I was excited at age 58 to be free and on my own again. But less than two years later, I was fully in the grip of a growing cascade of TMS symptoms which came to a crisis in the summer of 2011. I recall that I had an acquaintance who was older and didn't really know me that well, who assumed that I needed counseling because of the divorce, but I really did not think this was my issue. After discovering Dr. Sarno and this forum, and doing "the work", what I actually realized is that I'd had TMS all my life, and that this crisis was always going to happen sooner or later. What the marriage had done for quite a while was to provide a distraction. As soon as that distraction was gone, the only thing my brain had left to keep me from dealing with my lifelong repressed emotions was to focus on my various off-and-on physical symptoms, and make them all much worse.

    Bottom line: what everyone else has already said. Our brains will find a way to create symptoms as long as we are mindlessly reacting to the stressors in our lives, rather than mindfully uncovering and finding a way to validate and accept the much deeper underlying emotions that come up as a result of those stressors.

    And you're getting there!

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