But, I'm here to talk about the scars left behind from the battles. When I deliver barbs, there's the guilt, and when they are received, there's the resentment. For me, getting rid of guilt is hard but not accumulating any more is easier. I practice staying mindful to stop myself before I open my mouth and spew venom at venom; then repeat to myself "silence is golden" to quote a coach friend of mine. I can control what I'm putting out there, but it's the stuff coming at me that is difficult to control. In fact, it's impossible since we all know we can't control the other person. So, if the barb finds its mark (and we all know where to throw it after 30+ years), the hurt or anger comes, the scar is formed and its name is Resentment. Again, if we are not mindful, the resentment can pile up and cover over the love. Where does that lead us? We have at least two choices: 1) leave (but there might be another special someone lurking out there who will get to know our hot buttons; and then there's the history and the love), or
2) stay put and find a way to shield ourselves against the jabs and stabs. After all, it's been 30+ years and who wants to start over with a new person - think about it!
Here's what I've done. I've tried the following self-talk: "I will picture that criticism under the guise of sarcasm rolling off my back" - didn't work. I've tried turning it back on him - oops, more guilt. I've made light of it but that didn't work either because I didn't feel light when I was angry or my feelings were raw. So, after a lot, lot, lot of thought I finally came up with something to help decrease the pile of . . . . resentment. I fell back on my old favorite: The two energies in me, ego and Spirit. When my dander comes up, when my heart hurts, when my stomach roils, ego will automatically come forward to protect me. But, as I've told many friends, clients, and family members, ego doesn't do the best job in relationships. It does great when trying to find better insurance or a good doctor, keeping a schedule of work, social events and meetings straight, and countless other things in our day-to-day lives. But, letting ego lead in relationships? . . . not so much. So, I call on Spirit (my direct line to the Divine) to come forward and ego to get behind when I find myself knee-deep in a relationship battle. Spirit will never steer me wrong - it reminds me of all the good work I've done for others and myself and how much I care about myself. You may wonder what comes out of my mouth when Spirit is leading me? Nothing, because it just doesn't matter. The barb might touch me but it falls to the ground without doing harm. After a very long time the barbs stop coming because the effect is not there anymore. Granted, I've given the barbs so much power in the 30+ years relying on my Rambo or special victim selves that it will take a long time to extinguish, but it will happen. I trust my Spirit.
By the way, it doesn't hurt to talk about the communication break-downs from time to time during peace time and also to pray everyday for the relationship to thrive.
Love to all, Deb B.