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Help me stop repeating the story over and over in my head.
Hi, I am in a blended family situation. I am the second wife and we have a baby together. We are financially stuggelling and have been for a few years now and it's getting worse. My partner did a binding child support agreement with his ex that is way to generous and now the kids are in high school he pays half of that too as part of the agreement. One household is very well of with overseas trips every year, top schools go out for dinner 4 nights a week, holiday house etc and we are up to our eyeballs in bills. The kids hardly see us and when they do they expect the same lifestyle of going out for dinner with Dad as they have with Mum. My husband will never tell them we cant afford it. We cant get any help with family tax benefit A or B as my Husband earns too much and it does not take into consideration that so much goes to the other household.
Look there are a lot of issues that upset me about our blended situations and repeating them here is probably not the answe,r it is just repeating what is ruining my days every day. Going over the story in my head. Going over the situation in my mind on repeat. I look like I'm watching tv but I'm not, I'm going over the story in my head. I need serious help to stop this, its ruining the beautiful time I should be having with my daughter and effecting my relationship.
Some help and insight appreciated.
Firstly welcome to the BB forum, I hope the responses you receive will help you manage what sounds like a pretty tricky situation.
I'm going to respond as a Psychology Masters student! But hopefully you'll get a range of responses from people who have been in a similar situation too.
When we are in difficult situations like yours, it is sometimes helpful to respond in a few different ways. When we feel like we have good control, we can take a Problem Solving approach. For example, how can I break this situation down into small steps and tackle them one by one? Who can I seek help from to solve this problem?
From the sounds of your post though, you probably don't feel like you have a lot of control. So when we can't do much that is practical and solution-based, we need to look at our emotions and how we can manage them because we do have some control over these. One way to do this is to try and use relaxation, mindfulness-based exercises that take you out of your thoughts. There are lots of apps you could try (like Smiling Mind). Another way is to take a CBT approach (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I'm not sure if you've heard of it? The basic idea is that our thoughts impact our feelings, which then impact the way we behave.
So for you, maybe you have thoughts like "This is so unfair, why do we have to pay so much for the kids when we barely see them and their parents are really well off anyway??". Which might lead to strong feelings of resentment, despair, anger; and might then lead to shutting down behaviours, not being able to focus on and enjoy the present etc. Does this sound like something that might be happening for you?
In CBT, we try to challenge those negative thoughts and turn them into something a bit less negative in the hope that our feelings and behaviours will also change. So for example, we might change your negative thought into something like, "It's unfair that we have to pay so much for the kids when we barely see them and their parents are really well off. But it is what it is I guess, the arrangement's been made and there's not much I can do". The idea is that in turn your feelings won't be so negative, and your behaviours won't be so affected by these thoughts and feelings you're having.
It may be worth giving this a try next time you're sitting on the couch, not watching TV, but actually getting stuck in these thoughts you're having?
I hope this helps a bit and all the best,
Thank you SannyD, I will try this. It will be hard as I am often having negative thoughts for a long time before I catch myself.
I also repeat in my head the horrible insults that my partner calls me when we argue or he might compare me to the ex. I feel like since this has begun I have closed myself of from my partner and we live as house mates. He never apologises and will even deny saying the insults at a later date. They turn over in my head for years. I cant reconcile how he could love me if he really thought of me like that. How can I stop this from happening and how do I get over the insults that are already in my head. How can I turn them off as they keep doing damage.
Apologies that I haven't been able to respond to you until today. My placement at Beyond Blue is once / week on Thursday mornings so whilst I saw your reply last Thursday I haven't had a chance to respond until now!
I wonder if you've been able to try any of the strategies I mentioned in my first post? If so, how has that gone for you? You're right, sometimes it is hard to 'catch ourselves' in those negative thoughts and then stop and think about how we can best manage these. When I have caught myself, sometimes I try and challenge the thoughts with the CBT type approach I mentioned. Other times I try to take a step back and just 'observe' them as you would if they were external to me. This one's a bit trickier to explain (!) but sometimes when I get angry I try to just get a bit curious about what these thoughts are, why I'm having them, how they're affecting me. I spend some time sitting with the thoughts, and then try and let them just float away like a cloud. This approach is a bit more aligned with mindfulness and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). If a CBT style approach doesn't really work for you, you could always give this approach a go?
Your second post added an extra dimension of difficulty - which sounds like it would make the thoughts you have about the child support situation even harder to manage. I think it would be one thing to accept the child support situation when you and your partner have a partnership in which the communication is open and respectful. It sounds like it is probably much harder for you if you and your partner are often having arguing and communication is difficult. Your response - to close down and feel like you are living as housemates - is very common in relationships in which there is conflict and stress.
Have you had a chance to look around the other Beyond Blue forum threads and posts? There's the Relationships and Family Issues section and whilst I haven't had a look at many of the posts in there, it's possible that there are people in very similar situations with their partner who have posted about what's helped them? Having a read through some of these might be helpful for you too,