Sunday, July 29, 2012

Introversion or Passive-Aggression?

How can I tell the difference between a boyfriend who shuts down emotionally because he needs to energize and a boyfriend who is withholding intimacy? My boyfriend keeps making plans with me, does favors for me that inconvenience him, but lately he seems disconnected from me, less open, even less sexually interested. I'm worried he is going to have a pattern of withholding when I ask for more emotional connection. He has been open before but when I mention this he claims he doesn't remember. Feels passive aggressive to me. So how can I tell whether he's just withdrawing as an introvert or whether he's waiting on me to make up for something I don't know I did?

THE BEST WAY TO figure out which it is is to ask him in a way that doesn't come off as blaming or threatening. The tricky thing about asking for more emotional connection is that it's not really something someone can produce. There's no manual for creating emotional connection, and moreover, if you try too hard, your mind will be absorbed with thinking and self-consciousness which prevents emotional openness.

Opening up emotionally has two components: 1) the listener creates a safe environment for the other to open up, and 2) the other finds courage. Courage has to do with dropping all facades and being honest about whatever it is you're going through. It's being vulnerable and in-touch. The safe environment has to do with letting someone know that they don't have to be ashamed of who they are, and that if they reveal who they are--i.e., if they develop courage and share with you what they're feeling--they won't feel judged and won't have to defend themselves. There's nothing worse than being vulnerable and having someone start asking critical questions or try to give you unsolicited advice. Sometimes people just want to be understood and heard.

So back to much as you want more emotional connection, you need to ask yourself how that request is being framed and received. Ask him. Is he taking it as a demand? Does it make him feel unsafe and inadequate (highly likely). If it does, just listen to him. Hear him out. Listening and making space for him is where the emotional connection grows from. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be emotionally connected, but you do want to ask yourself whether the means you selected are the best means available.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Destination Meditation

When I sit down to meditate, I often think "okay, how am I going to get back to that state of calm and peace?" But I soon remember that I never actually went anywhere, I just stopped moving for a bit.

Monday, July 2, 2012

How do you adjust after you move away?

Dear Edahn,

I've graduated from college six months ago and have yet to find a job. I've relocated across the country away from all of my friends and family about two months ago, and thus far have yet to meet anyone at all. I'm starting to have anxiety, stress, and anger and have begun to take it out on my new hubby. I feel very much unlike myself and have no idea how to make things better, and I can feel myself slipping into a bitter depression. Any suggestions?

OKAY, IF YOU HAVE a laptop, here's what you can do. For the next 2 weeks, go to a new cafe every day with your laptop and do your job searching from there. At the end of the 2 week period, pick the cafe that seemed the friendliest, or the one where people seemed to know each other. From that point, do all your work/searching from this cafe with your laptop. Say hi to the cashier and ask them how they're doing (but don't get into a long conversation). When you sit next to someone or see someone you recognize, just say "hi" and offer them a little smile. Nothing fancy. But keep showing up consistently, maybe 4-5 times a week. 

Now, if you don't have a laptop, this is what you can do: first, get a laptop, because what is this? The 90s?
Second, find one thing that you like about your new place. Doesn't matter what or where, just something you can like for whatever reason. The less sense it makes the better. It could be a garden, a road, a street, sitting outside at a cafe, the sound of the birds in the morning--whatever. Try to find something that you can enjoy alone. Don't tell anyone what it is, just enjoy it as you can. Also, get a laptop, because they're awesome.

Thanks for the likes and shares. If you have a question, go here