Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Processing

Thank you for all of the feedback on my "vacation" conflict; it has been so helpful. I love reading and hearing different perspectives and find it to be valuable to my processing. I've learned so much in the past few weeks; I've learned a lot about myself and how I handle interpersonal conflict. One thing I've realized is that interpersonal conflict consumes me too entirely. I hate unresolved matters and obsess about them until I work it out in my head. And while it's good to work through things, it's not helpful to let those issues take precedence over God and comprise 50% of my thoughts. Although Carter is often on my mind, I didn't find it comfortable to be thinking about him so much (even if it was largely negative as I was building my mental case against the relationship).

So long story short: Carter and I had several long, productive conversations about our misunderstandings in D.C. We talked about how they made us feel, what we each could have done differently, and how we'd like to handle this issue in the future. And as I reflected on my response to the small misunderstandings, I realized how disproportionate my response was to the situation.

For example, on our way to church on Sunday we got lost, and Carter was frustrated. I thought his frustration was an overreaction, and I didn't like how tense things felt. And it totally reminded me of how my home felt growing up. It reminded me of how my step-father would get angry and how tense things felt so much of the time--and how my mom would avoid conflict because of that. And all I could think about is how I couldn't handle a marriage or a home like that. I completely forgot that I didn't tell Carter how I felt, that he makes a big effort to hear me out and resolve conflict and see things from my perspective, and that he's not my step-father.

A counselor told me that "emotional learning" is the hardest to unlearn--and that my response to Carter's frustration is a result of the emotional learning that took place during my childhood. She explained that I probably felt helpless as a child in that environment, which probably added to the intensity of my response to Carter's two minutes of frustration.

It's funny; I thought May would be a great month for Carter and me since we'd spend so much time together, and I'd hope I'd have a clearer picture of how I feel about him. And I do. It's just not come about in the fun and easy way I expected:) Thanks again for all of the words of advice. You guys are great.

p.s. I'm thankful for clarity....and that I may have the answer to what is next vocationally as my time as a volunteer in Nashville ends on July 31.
p.p.s. Here's a few of my photos from D.C. Ha.

12 comments:

AA said...

What, I don't get any special mention for convincing you that you were over-reacting the whole time? ;)

Actually, no. I'm glad we had a long chat and a lot to catch up on. It was an insightful look into issues that we all have at times. I seemed to have suffered similar circumstances with Sarah last night. I'll be blogging about it shortly...

Accidentally Me said...

Ally, where have you been lately?!?! I miss you terribly and am totally out of the loop on your current relationship status!

It sounds better, though:-). Very happy to hear that you feel like things are moving forward again...

And dying to hear about your next job!

ella said...

I missed you terribly!

So what is the status with Carter?

And most importantly, when are you coming to visit?

Betty said...

Hey,

I'm glad to hear that you've begun to work through things and I think that you are right, it is hard to unlearn the emotional reactions we had as children. Josh and I go through that too. So tell us more about what you've decided to do after your volunteering ends?

Betty

Pam said...

Wow, great insight from the counselor! We've had to talk through many an emtional reaction from things taht happened as children in our relationship. That's great that you both have an open line of communication and are identifying those things. You are on teh right track!

Are you going to move from Nashville then at the end of summer?

Flat Coke and Flies said...

You're leaving Nashville already? You just got here!!! We should meet up at Sam's sushi before you go.

I hope you receive the clarity you need about Carter. Relationships are hard.

Ys said...

that's such good news that you two were able to talk it out. it's corny and all that but it's totally true: talking through the problems - no matter how big or small - in a relationship makes such a difference, doesn't it? always makes me feel closer to ray afterwards as well :)

i'm excited to hear what your future job plans are! share! :)

Scotty said...

Glad that everything was able to be talked about. Sometimes, a little time and a chat make things so much clearer.. other times... not so much.

If only it were easy.

Jennifer said...

It's interesting to see how your hard and productive conversations have led you both to a deeper understanding of one another. HOpe you continue to enjoy your blossoming relationship - no matter how it comes about!

icadle said...

Amazing how quickly a year goes by! Think you will come back to the conga? ;-)

Kimberly said...

I think it's very big of you to start looking at how old wounds might blur your vision in new relationships...I have had the same stuff happen and it's always a relief to know that not everyone reacts the same way that you "emotionally learned"...thanks for sharing that...

Brad Ruggles said...

That's an interesting statement, "emotional learning is the hardest to unlearn".