I guess I need better boundaries. My usual response to other people’s attempts to control me is to simply not let them. I use How Important Is It to decide whether it matters to resist or not, and if it does, what form. I can say, “You may be right,” and then just do what seems best to me anyway. Or if it’s something unimportant to me but very important to them, I may accommodate them anyway, if it doesn’t feel resentment inducing. Or I can say, “No, thank you.” Or even just, “No,” since it’s a complete sentence.

But constant evaluation can wear me out. I don’t want every interaction to be something I have to weigh. So the more controlling people are, the tireder I get. Plainly I am not taking care of myself.

I don’t know what I can do about it. Limit interactions? Maybe take regular short breaks?

No wonder people have communication problems! Note that not only does the message get processed by the listener’s filters on the way in, but also by the speaker’s. So it’s like a game of telephone. What I mean to say may not come out in the words I would have wanted, and the words that come out may not be the same words the listener hears.

It’s a darn good reason to not beat around the bush, speak in euphemism or metaphor, or any of the other non-direct communication methods we use. It’s just too easy for the meaning to get mangled.

It’s frequently said that the active disease of alcoholism is baffling and cunning. The family disease is baffling and cunning, too, and putting together people who are recovering from each sometimes means life is really, really confusing. It’s easy to despair sometimes.

I went on retreat for 24 hours to do some prayer and meditation and some work on the Traditions. I came back on a high, feeling good about having figured out what it was that was disrupting our marriage. I was sure it had to do with shame, which is a hot trigger for both of us, and how feelings of shame, fear of shame, filters about shame, perceptions about others trying to inflict shame, and self-inflicted shame could be eroding our trust in each other. I sat down with my spouse to talk about this and am not quite sure we were both having the same conversation.

This is happening rather a lot. I think each of us has filters that are a lot thicker than either of us thought they were. Whenever I finally find out what my spouse heard, it doesn’t usually bear any resemblance to the thought I was trying to express.

My spouse’s mood is better, so I hope that means that some progress is occurring. We’re due to inventory our relationship this week, and I hope that means some progress is occurring too.