Sharing My Pain and Looking For Empathy – The Challenge is Real – Part 2

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

hey y’all!

I don’t know how it goes down at your house but at mine – the time change in the spring always wreaks havoc on ALL of us.  Dragging myself and the littles out of bed, rushing off to school; then bursting with energy at 10pm – all of us – while sleep escapes.  And the cycle continues all week…

I had been feeling quite frustrated these last couple of months because I’d slowly gotten into the routine of going to bed late and then waking up only about 10 minutes before my littles started to stir.  So I had this brilliant idea – why not kill two birds with one stone and while my body was adjusting to the time change – go ahead and “reset” my routine and start waking up about 45 minutes earlier than what I’m used to.

Brilliant. (Insert eye-roll emoji.)

One of the things that is motivating me to wake up earlier is so that I have a little more time to write.  And one of the things I’ve desperately wanted to loop back to over the last couple of months is this blog post that created quite the stir.

I’ve been thinking through all sorts of angles I wanted to use to attack the subject of us wives being vulnerable in sharing our pain and likewise, what it looks like for our husbands to have empathy. {‘Cause like I said – the challenge here is real.}

What I never expected, though, was how this would play out at my house – except in reverse order (Jason being vulnerable and transparent in his pain with me and then me moving toward feeling empathy for him).

It was one week ago from last night and since then, I’ve been trying to figure out – what clicked in me that helped me see his pain, feel his pain, and validate him?  And how in the world can I put this into words in order to help those men out there that just can’t seem to get there?

Likewise, what did he do that allowed him to fully trust me in his time of desperation and pain and allow me into his heart and soul?

I don’t know if I have the right words but here goes –

Jason had been gone for 4 days and as expected, it wasn’t Care Bears and rainbows while he was away.  I had run into some parenting troubles and, well, Jason had been running into some parenting troubles for a couple of months.

After several heated exchanges between the two of us – abruptly stopped by me walking out of the room and then him – I found Jason in tears in our little study.  He was clearly upset and angry and I knew I hadn’t been fair to him.  I hadn’t heard him nor validated where he was coming from.  This in turn caused him to feel insignificant and like what he needed didn’t matter.

So he started crying and talking and yelling and stomping (he got pretty close to my big toe, just so you know, but for those of you that are worried – it was spared) and I knew my job was to take it ALL in.  To listen, to let him vent, to feel his pain with him.  So I eventually pulled up a stool and just sat next to him while he sat in my office chair getting it all out.

Minutes went by before it was ALL out.  And I realized – I had made a BIG mistake.  I had COMPLETELY missed it.  So that’s what I said – “I totally missed this.  And I’m so so sorry.”

Let me just pause there and tell you – it is usually really hard for me to admit when I’m wrong or when I’ve mistreated Jason.  Call it pride or my flesh or whatever you want to – but that’s just not something that’s ever been easy.  Just ask him and he will verify!

But – this particular night was different.  Something about him vulnerably showing me his pain, sharing what he shared – about how afraid he is and how much he hates how he is parenting – it DID something to me deep down.

In addition, I’d just come off of four days of parenting and UNDERSTOOD first hand what he was talking about.  I wouldn’t have had the same “me too” attitude if the convo had taken place a month prior – but because of my hard days – I GOT it.

So I told Jason – I missed it.  I get it.  And I’m willing to do what it takes to get the help we need, even if it comes at a cost like missing my favorite exercise class (ouch) or selling my car and stuffing the boys in the bike trailer and biking wherever we go (kidding, kinda).

It’s when I said that, that Jason realized – I got it.  And I was all in.

You might be wondering – how in the world does this relate to me?  What can I learn from your situation?  And in the next blog post (which I’ve already written) – we are going to discuss just that.  So stay tuned.

xo – Shelley



2 thoughts on “Sharing My Pain and Looking For Empathy – The Challenge is Real – Part 2

  1. caroline

    March 23, 2018  |  06:24 pm

    Very brave of you. I hate it when I have to see myself as being much less empathetic than Id like to think. Looking forward to your next post.

  2. Becky

    March 23, 2018  |  08:07 pm

    You amaze me with your vulnerability. These blogs come at perfect times and I’m already wishing for the next one! Thank you Shelley!

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