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Issues when we talk...

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Sam793 posted 3/22/2013 22:37 PM

Again tonight the issue of me not looking directly at my BW when we talk about the A came up. I'm usually doing one or more of the following: looking down, laying down, looking away, have my face buried in a pillow, or distract myself my fidgeting. This drives my BW nuts. The reason I do this is because I find it easier to talk. I have never been an eye contact person. I have no explanation for it but it goes back to my childhood. It doesn't make me less sincere. I just makes me feel better when in difficult situations.

Any comments or help would be appreciated.

hardlessons posted 3/22/2013 22:42 PM

Do you think this is something that maybe is time to do things differently? If your BS sees the same behavior she saw before, do you think she is going to believe in anything you say while your face is buried in a pillow?

BaxtersBFF posted 3/22/2013 22:43 PM

slight t/j...how do you tell an extroverted engineer from an introverted engineer? The extroverted engineer looks at your shoes when he talks to you.

No joke, I know many guys like this...

end t/j

I have difficulty with eye contact too. Even with my wife. Something that helped was the communication process we learned from Imago therapy. Next time you talk about the A, sit facing each other with your knees touching. Sit on your hands if you have to. Just do it.

cinnamongurl posted 3/22/2013 22:59 PM

I have difficulty with eye contact too. I get really flustered and jumble my words with BSO. It's so hard to see the constant anguish in his face. My heart breaks and I have trouble focusing my thoughts.

Sam, maybe you could try brainstorming an outline of what you want to say ahead of time and write it all down. Then you could practice reading it out loud in the in the mirror, making a conscious effort to look straight into your own reflection when doing so. Sounds kind of hokey, I know, but the more you say it aloud, the easier it becomes. Just a thought.

Unagie posted 3/23/2013 01:02 AM

SO has issues with eye contact and distracting himself. It drives me up the wall and I remember a fight we had one day where I pushed his chair away from the computer, turned the screen off and sat on the desk begging him to talk to ME! Please try harder, you have no idea how much it will mean to her.

fallingquickly posted 3/23/2013 01:16 AM

Lack of eye contact is a sign of lying. When my WH talked to me without looking at me it made me feel invisible and unimportant. He wasn't focused on me. He would rather look at anything else. It would be a really good thing if you could learn to look her in the eyes when you talk to her.

Syzy posted 3/23/2013 02:12 AM

so is looking someone in the eyes directly and giving a lot of detail. typically when people are describing an event they look away to remember the event. one way you can know they are lying is they don't look away at all while talking.

cinnamongurl posted 3/23/2013 06:09 AM

Syzy, absolutely agree with that.

Being unable to make eye contact can come from shame or from a lack of self esteem. It doesn't always mean a person is lying. Its tough to be able to talk about what you did, especially when you realize how much pain and destruction you have caused. Sometimes it helps to focus on another point (be it your lap or something in your hands) so you don't distract yourself from the important point at hand.

cinnamongurl posted 3/23/2013 06:12 AM

And again, with practice and preparation, you can learn to look your BS in the eyes again when you talk. It just takes time and work, as does everything about this process.

SurprisinglyOkay posted 3/23/2013 08:18 AM

^^ What cinnamomgurl said.

As time has gone on there has been a shift in me, and my ability to talk about the A. At first it was awful. I would hide, i'd turn away, or completely curl up, legs under me, face in my pillow, a little ball of guilt and shame.
My BS would beg me not to hide. Over time and with practice it's gotten easier. We can talk openly about the A's, I don't hide, I don't avoid eye contact. I don't distract as much...still working on this one
WE talk about it. I share my triggers, my hard times. It's good for him to know I struggle too.
I've also been talking with others, my Sponsor, my IC, my sister, etc.
My BS has also told several people we both know. At first that was hard to make eye contact with them too When they didn't treat me any differently than they had before they knew, it got easier.

I've also done a lot of work on myself. I'm in a 12 step fellowship and I'm actively working the steps, I'm working with my IC. I've done A LOT of hard work. My self acceptance has grown immensely.
It's just gotten easier.
Practice. Practice. Practice.

[This message edited by broevil at 8:20 AM, March 23rd (Saturday)]

Sam793 posted 3/23/2013 12:21 PM

Of course it's time to do things differently but I find it so hard to look at my BW. Her beauty, her pain, and her anger. I do agree with some of the reasons for lack of eye contact. If looking away from people when I talk means I'm lying then I must lie to everyone. It's going to take a lot of conscious effort on my part to change things both with our marriage and the discussion aspects. I believe I have changed as a person but I need to be everything my BW needs me to be to make her feel better.

Neithan posted 3/23/2013 13:26 PM

If you can't look her in the eyes, at least look at the bridge of her nose.

Seriously.

sosorry5454rl posted 3/24/2013 09:42 AM

Also agree with CG.. guilt and shame. I struggle with this as well. It is tough to look BH in the eyes knowing what i did to him and how badly i hurt him. He is super helpful with this and will address it with me, turn my face towards him, shut tv off, etc... gets easier with time but still tough.

hardlessons posted 3/24/2013 10:17 AM

Sam, there are whole cultures where direct eye contact is rude, I think you find what is your true reason and work on that. It is hard work, but you can do it.

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