Tip #1 for emotionally surviving the holidays in the midst of your marital crisis is to examine your self.
How bad is it?
It’s often helpful to have an idea of the extent of your pain. Once you know, you can monitor your pain as it ebbs and flows. This gives you, amazingly enough, a level of control over the pain and often a sense of relief – without the need to “do” anything.
Here’s a process that many professional therapists have integrated into their evaluation process.
1. What’s it like when you feel badly?
Every so often you return to a particular, familiar negative way of thinking and feelings that is the pain. Have you ever said to yourself, “Oh, here it is again. I’ve felt this way before. This is nothing new. Same old pit in the stomach (or wherever), same old thoughts that I can’t shake.”
Are you there now? Marital conflict will serve as a trigger for that feeling and those thoughts. Sound familiar?
Let’s be more specific. Where do you feel it in your body? Feelings are physiologically based, so if you pay attention to your body, you will be able to locate where that pain or tension is located. Pit in the stomach? Tight chest? Throbbing head? Stiff muscles? Sore back? Tight facial muscles? etc?
And, when you feel that pain or discomfort in your body, what negative thoughts are prevalent in your mind? What are you thinking? What negative thought keeps recycling to increase your pain and tension? What is the theme of your thoughts? Are your thoughts focused on your rage and what you want to say/do to him/her? Do you catastrophic about your future and what will happen to you? Of course, there are a myriad of other thoughts that can demand your energy and focus…and trigger your pain.
Now Let’s take the next step.
Here are three vital factors for getting to the bottom of your pain.
1. How intense is it? Measure this pain on a scale of 1-10, 10 being as bad as it can get. How would you rate it now? yesterday? the day before? Rate it on the 1-10 scale when it emerges.
2. How frequent is it? Does this pain visit you every week, every day, every hour? What are the triggers? What are the most powerful triggers? Does it ebb and flow or is it, at this point for you, in the midst of your marital conflict, a most prevalent feeling?
3. Can you find ways to move through and beyond it? Have you discovered actions or thoughts that will help you minimize, diminish and get rid of the pain?
Evaluate your pain now in terms of its intensity, frequency and your ability to move through it.