Another talk with PA Man….part 2

So I decided to ask PA Man the three questions that are in the book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.
The author believe that these questions will be very helpful for several different reasons..
“First, they will give you an opportunity to have a different kind of dialogue with your husband…one that will catch him by surprise and allow you to see beyond his anger and defensiveness, into a deeper part of his heart.”

Ok. That sounds pretty good. Right??

Second, “It will give him time to be self reflective and more aware of his own thoughts and feelings.”

Ok, that sounds great!

Third, “His answers or lack of answers will give you feedback that will help you to know how to best shape future conversations with him.”

Awesome! Future conversations….I can dig that! πŸ˜‰

So ok, I’m ready to roll…I have my sympathy hat on…my respect alert button in on full throttle (all suggestions she makes in the book) and I PROMISE…no eye rolling, no arguing, no debating if his answers are wrong or unfair….check! I sooo have this!!

Ok, so here I go…I calmly ask PA Man if I can talk to him, that I’d like to ask him three questions from the book that I’ve been reading (he knows about THE BOOK since I mentioned it to him several days earlier)

PA Man is sitting on the couch, with his laptop on his lap (first mistake, I should have asked him to put it down)
Anyway, I’m at the table in the dining room, it’s a open concept so while technically we aren’t in the same room, we can see and hear each other.

Ok. Here it goes…the first question….

ME: “Are you happy?”
PA Man: Am I happy?
ME: Yes, are you happy?
PA Man: No.
ME: Ok, I’m sorry you’re not happy.
PA Man: Well I’m not happy because I know YOU’RE not happy!
ME: OH, ok….ME: “Well you know I’m not happy because of how broken our relationship is”…. <silence>…Okaaayyy then…on to question 2…

ME: Question two…”What do you see as our most important goal or challenge as a couple if we’re going to improve our relationship?”

PA Man:I don’t know…want do YOU think??
ME: This isn’t about me, I want to hear what you think. (By this time he’s now looking down at his laptop, more then he’s looking at me!)
PA Man: Well, I guess I want us to understand each other.
Me: “Ok”….I wait, hoping there would be more…nope. Nothing.

Last Question…
ME: “What kind of husband and father do you most want to be?”
PA Man: A good provider.
ME: Well, ok, but you’re already a very good provider.
PA Man: (As he’s looking down at his laptop) I guess a good relationship with the boys…and you.

And that was it. Those were his responses. I sat there in silence for a couple of minutes…and then I asked him one final question…It was MY question, not from the book I was reading…
I asked him, “What are your future goals in life?”
PA Man: “What so you mean?”
ME: You know? Future plans…looking down the road, do you want to still be with the same company, do you want a higher position within your company? Do you want to live elsewhere? Where would you like to retire to one day?”

PA Man: “I don’t know, I never think that far ahead.”

ME: “Oh.”

So there ya go. That little experiment was a dismal failure.

In her book, Leslie Vernick says that “Honest talk, when bathed in compassionate listening, builds intimacy.”

I do agree with her…but that’s in a NORMAL marriage…and marriage with a PA is ANYTHING but normal.

But at least I tried.

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12 thoughts on “Another talk with PA Man….part 2

  1. Oh this brings back memories of “conversations” past! πŸ˜€ The key words of my abuser is/was: I guess, I don’t know, I’ll have to think about that (sure you will), what did you say?, what do you mean?, I don’t understand, etc. etc. etc. As I read your blog I see yours read the same book of quotes to use. πŸ˜€ Definitive answers are rare from these people, they don’t want to be held accountable for their words so it’s I guess, maybe, I’ll let you know, etc.

    The really frustrating part? You will have the same “conversation” many times and I mean the exact “conversation” because he’ll say he don’t remember the last one! There is no such thing as having a meaningful conversation with these abusers. Again the key word here is DRAINING.

    • Yes GS…soooo emotionally draining!! I knew the conversation wouldn’t get me anywhere, but I do it for me, more than him…I want to know that I tried EVERYTHING once this marriage is over….OR when he moves into another bedroom….you really didn’t think I’d leave MY nice, big bedroom…did you?? LOL!!!
      He can have the twin in the spare room!! πŸ˜€

  2. He might truly want a better relationship with you and want to understand you, but it’s going to take a little effort on his part that he doesn’t seem willing to give. He didn’t even want to put the laptop away and talk with you when you were giving him a chance to air his grievances. “I don’t know, what do you think?” Grrr!! I know exactly what those words mean, “I’m tuning you out but you can go on talking if you want.” Kudos to you for trying! You are giving him all the chances he needs.

    • LOL!!! Wow Marscomom…you said it! β€œI’m tuning you out but you can go on talking if you want.” LOL!!! This is so true…it’s almost sad!!
      And then he’ll tell me, “I AM listening to you, I listen to you all the time!!”
      Yes, he listens, but it never goes beyond that!

      Just like a few weeks ago….I’d been upset with him, and he knew it…so he reeled me back in with kind gestures and sweet words…ugh! Still makes me mad when I think about it! I KNEW better! But I was sooo desperate for a connection with him….that I fell for it…again!
      Anyway….I asked him if we could talk…just spend some time together, away from the house, and quietly talk, and he could pick the day, time and place…and he said Yes, he’d like that.
      And so I waited…and waited….and waited…and 8 days later, the night before he left on a week long business trip, I asked him about it.
      He looked at me and said, “I don’t remember you asking me that.”
      Really? We were sitting in the car, in the Walmart parking lot, talking before we went into the store…and he was listening to me.
      But in actuality… he wasn’t.

      But like you said, Marscomom….I’m trying, so when it’s over I will have no regrets. None.

  3. P.S. This is where I think Dr. George Simon ‘gets’ the covert abusers, and other well-meaning professionals miss the boat. He believes that it’s a wrong assumption to think that the right treatment/approach/method will make the connection for them to ‘see’ and get better. He says ‘They already see, they just don’t agree.’

  4. Mine picked up a magazine and started flipping through it midway through a conversation! πŸ˜€ I have no idea why I had a problem with that! LOL πŸ˜€

      • Sigh…darn another one of my problems to work on. LOL πŸ˜€

        Regarding the bedrooms, mine is into TV big time and since he owns the remote on the BIG TV I was relegated to our bedroom to watch my shows. So when I politely asked him to leave, one of the points I made was that he should go to another room because if I did I wouldn’t have a TV to watch. I think this was my winning argument. LOL πŸ˜€ He never commented on the I feel more lonely with you in bed with me than when I’m alone in bed. LOL πŸ˜€ Didn’t even blink! πŸ˜€

  5. Ditto to Marsocmoms comment. Norman always uses the tv, computer, ipad, book or anything else to distract himself from me. In the past I’ve had to treat him like a little boy by demanding that ‘ look at me when I’m speaking to you’ !!! I’ve also had the grueling job of making him repeat everything I say to him just so I know he heard me and also to force him to commit to his own statements. It’s exhausting trying to have a simple conversation about anything.

    Lonely, your Norman’s apathy is truly pathetic and yet so typical for PA people. Also, my Norman mumbles or speaks so low that I can’t understand him. He’s apparently been doing this since childhood because he told me that his father used to smack him at the dinner table for mumbling. Obviously, the smacking was ineffective and only fueled more shame and anger.

    • Exodus….I know…he’s so apathetic…some days I think I can handle this, that it’s not so bad…other days I want to run for the hills!
      I need to work on my CORE strength, as per The Emotionally Destructive Marriage…once I have that down then I feel I will be able to make a better decision if I stay or if HE goes!!

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