We Can Accept And Own, But Need To Do This To Truly Transform
I have been delayed in the San Antonio airport for the better part of 5 hours waiting for our plane to arrive. I’m tired, cold, and want a hot cup of tea but I'm too lazy to get up and find one. So, instead, I decided to people-watch, daydream, and tick away at the laptop keys.
In today’s random thoughts, the crack squirrels took a moment and reflected on my conversation with a Veteran’s spouse. Her husband has been struggling with untreated PTSD, and like many who struggle, it is a significant event that results in them getting the resources they have either avoided or wanted…but either way, needed.
The spouse, we’ll call her Jessica, was commenting that her husband has accepted and owned a lot — his struggle, where some of his issues stem from, his maladapted responses to situations, how his actions have hurt his family, the need for mental health care, etc. She said was proud of the steps he has taken, but she was keeping clear boundaries with him and cautiously evaluating the situation before she made any big decisions regarding their future as a family. All fair.
However, he is struggling to understand her response.
Let me preface my next thoughts as only my thoughts. I am not a therapist…will never claim to be one…haven’t played one on TV. I am just thinking out loud. Maybe it will resonate with some of you, maybe not.
As the world works hard to normalize mental health (*clapping*), we hear the terms ‘accepting’, to be amenable/open, and ‘ownership’, to have legal rights over something. We hear people opening up about their failures (accepting), standing before others in their vulnerability (ownership), and vowing to help others avoid similar pitfalls. Every bit of it is brave and commendable. But it is not always enough.
As I talked to Jessica, her husband was doing all of that, but he was still struggling to understand her cool responses. While he was delighted his treatment was helping, and excited to finally be able to emotionally open up, he did not realize she was just starting to process her pain. While he was eager to show her he was committed to doing things better, he could not grasp her measured responses was a huge effort to…