Here’s How You TRULY Connect! (aka The Consequences of Crummy Communication)

Posted by tonyoverbay

Tony talks about how to get to the deeper parts of a conversation with your spouse using his 4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation. Without the right communication skills, and techniques, you’re not simply having an unproductive conversation, you’re missing out on an opportunity to truly connect, and grow closer to your spouse. And these techniques are not as difficult to put into practice, they just don’t come naturally.-Sign up at http://tonyoverbay.com to learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!-This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.
Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ
Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!
Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.
Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo
Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.
You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.-
Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery


[00:00:00] On today's episode of The Virtual Couch, we're talking about communication, specifically what happens when couples or when people in general don't know how to communicate effectively because without the tools to communicate effectively, you are not only having a bad experience in that very moment that you're trying to communicate, but you're missing out on so much more primarily the opportunity to truly connect with somebody that you care about that that is so much more coming up on this episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:39] Welcome to episode 237 of the virtual couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay, and I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and I'm grateful that you're here. I am going to try to get to the topic a little quicker today. I'm going to try things a bit different. I want to talk about communication. So just a heads up. I'll probably slip in an ad or two at some point, honestly. But if you just want to stop by Tony Overbay Dotcom and sign up there to find out more about some upcoming projects I'm working on, or better yet, go follow me on Instagram, a virtual couch. That would be fantastic. Wonderful. And honestly, if I really get on a roll, I may in fact, forget the ads. Thank you, ADHD. But let me start with a story and then I'm going to dig more into today's topic of communication. So in the intro that I've used over the last I don't know what two hundred and thirty six episodes, I like to call out the fact that I am an ultra marathon runner and probably a year and a half maybe actually pushing. Two years ago, I sustained a bit of an injury playing basketball with my son, of all things, and it wasn't the twenty five years of ultra running that kind of did me. And it was a quick pivot in a basketball game. So, you know, I actually first took a hit trying to defend somebody and I separated a rib from some cartilage and that put me out for a little while. And then I come back and I plan funny one time.

[00:01:57] And I can't say that I felt anything necessarily wrong in my knee right then, but it hurt and I ignored it and I kept running, but I was not able to put the miles on it would get sore and tender and I would ignore it and I would ignore it again, assuming that it would just go away until there was one day I was running along a trail in Washington State. And I think at that point it was probably it was several months after this initial injury it occurred and I was doing some consulting for a very large software company. And I just I just couldn't take it any longer. It just hurt. And and I the pain was just excruciating, excruciating. And I remember in that consulting meeting, I was there for about three days. And this happened, I want to say on day two. And I remember propping my leg up underneath the table and just trying to walk. I just couldn't plant. It was just crazy and it really, really hurt. So then fast forward to an X-ray and an MRI.

[00:02:52] And I had what my doctor basically said was a shredded meniscus. I still remember he said that it looked a bit, I think, like some shredded chicken, which has never allowed me to look at chicken in the same way. But he said that he could operate. But he first suggested that I take off some weight and see if that would help with the pain. And that was hard to hear because I was sitting there and I had ever since the rib cartilage injury, I really had not been able to run. But I was still eating like an ultra runner. And all of a sudden I was that guy. You know, I was the one that was telling this doctor, you know, I've run one hundred and fifty marathons and ultramarathons and over a dozen races of 100 miles. And I used to do this fundraiser and and I felt like he was just looking at me, sitting there probably wearing sweat pants because I couldn't fit into my regular pants anymore, just thinking. Right, I've heard this one a time or two. And so I was that guy. I had been unable to really run as I had literally for twenty five years, but still eating. And again, my pants are shrinking and I feel like the scale had kind of gone haywire at my house, haywire at my house and it added an extra twenty something pounds. And what was wild was that the scale worked fine for everybody else, so something was definitely up.

[00:04:04] So I just say, OK, sure doc, I will lose the weight and then fast forward another year. And I had still tried to run a little bit off and on. I tried to do some elliptical machines. I tried to ride a bike, that sort of thing. And I just wasn't able to just exercise like like I valued. So I said enough. And I reached out to the surgeon and I said, forget it. Let's remove that meniscus. I will take a little bit of running to no running. And he said, how's that weight loss coming to which I owned it. I fessed up and I said, I'm about another five pounds. So then I just thought I got to do something about the weight. And I went on my first serious diet for it was a couple of months. I lost about seventeen pounds. The knee started to feel better. And now I can tell you as of December, whatever, today is seventh, eighth, something like that. Then I'm eight months into a comeback where I can now run daily and I don't have much of the pain. I actually don't really know if I have much of the pain at all. And I bought a peloton and I love it. And if you're a fellow peloton rider, then come find me.

[00:05:03] My username is Virtual Couch Pod and there is some hope that even as I just turned 51 a few weeks ago, that while I probably won't get back to where I was and I'm not saying that from pity, I don't know if I want to get back to, you know, multiple ultramarathons a year. At one point I thought, man, if I could just get back to run a few miles at a time, I would be happy. So now I am back to running. Many miles at a time all be it slower. And I absolutely I just I love it. But so a few days ago I had put on a little a few extra miles on Saturday and I had a pain and it could be pinpointed. Right, right in my right side, gluteus maximus, the derrière, the fanny, and specifically where it attaches to my pelvic bone, and that reminded me of a story that is going to tie in to communication, I promise you. So it reminded me of when I used to do a lot of ultra running, and especially when I would do a race of over a 50K distance. So 32 miles I did a 50 mile or 100 K or 100 miler. And man, you hit sore after. I mean it's a nice sore but boy you get sore and I would go get this deep tissue massage. There was a wonderful older gentleman named Viloice who owns a local deep tissue massage place called Monsters of Massage that focused on athletes and specifically runners.

[00:06:20] And when he would work on your IT band or your sciatic nerve or your glutes, he would leave you bruised. He would always say this is no princess massage and he would bury his elbow into your butt cheek and you would immediately tense up. And I'm talking tense up, you know, fight for dear life to keep that elbow from not getting digging deep into your butt cheek. So and I promise this is going to make sense. So you get defensive and then he would say relax and loosen up. And I would think I was, I really would think I was. But you had to really focus. You had to be present. You had to honestly turn to your breathing. You had to let your defenses down. And then when you'd relax, all of a sudden his elbow would kind of go just it would just dig in there deep and it would hit the right spot and it would hurt. But, man, it was a good hurt. And then he could get in there and dig and dig. And when he was done, it would honestly feel amazing. But every time and I'm talking every time, even though I knew that he was about to do that, I would still tense up and I would feel the elbow and I would have to really focus and be present and loosen up.

[00:07:21] And he would get to that area sooner and more relief would follow. So why that story? So now go to a session I recently had with a wonderful couple. And we are trying to implement my connected conversation, scrimps my connected conversation method, which is based entirely on Sue Johnson's emotionally focused therapy or E F.T.. And again, it's a game changer. This is why I now do couples therapy, and it is what my upcoming magnetic marriage course is founded on. And over the past few years, I've come up with some rules to follow to ensure that you have a more connected conversation. And with the help of my buddy and magnetic marriage course cocreator Preston Pugmeier, who happens to host his own podcast called Next Level Life. We came up with what I like to refer to as the four pillars of a connected conversation. Now, the four pillars are absolutely essential. They are imperative to a healthy conversation. And when a conversation in marriage or in general goes south when it devolves, it is undoubtedly because you or your spouse or your kid or your co-worker broke one of these four pillars. And that is not an indictment. They honestly mean well. And you may be the only person who is hearing about these four pillars. You may be the only one that's trying to work on the relationship.

[00:08:29] But even if you are the only one knowing and understanding, these four pillars will help you communicate more effectively and can help change the entire dynamic of your family, of your marriage, of your relationship. OK, but first and I will make this so quick, let me tell you a little bit about betterhelp.com. Here's the ad now. As a therapist myself, I, of course, recommend that everybody give therapy to try and truly we are hanging on to some things that would be helpful to process. We're going to talk about that
a little bit more in this episode or there are things in our life that we maybe thought we'd achieve by now, or there's things that we desperately want to achieve so that we won't live a life full of regrets. Or there are people listening right now who may be noticing that their anxiety or their depression is is getting a tiny bit more or it's getting quite amplified. The longer that we are in this state of ambiguity, the the shelter in place, orders are cropping back up again. We've got a worldwide pandemic. I mean, there's still a lot of things going on in the world. So you owe it to yourself or to those around you, your spouse, your kids actually, you know, owe it to you at the very least to give therapy a try. So if you're nervous about finding the right fit, if you're worried about bumping into somebody in therapy, waiting room, or if you have any worries about therapy, might I recommend that you go immediately to betterhelp.com/virtualcouch again? That's betterhelp.com/virtual couch and all one word.

[00:09:45] And take a look at the world of online therapy. Go check out what over a million people now than before you signing up. Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, get the help that you need, help you didn't know you need. There's a broad range of expertise and their counselor network, which might not even be locally available in many areas. It's available worldwide. It is real licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapist. It's not just motivational speakers or that or that sort of thing. You will get timely and thoughtful responses. You can schedule weekly video or phone sessions. You won't have to sit in an uncomfortable waiting room, as with traditional therapy, although I like to say that my waiting room is very nice. They will assess your needs, match with your own therapist. You can start communicating in twenty four to forty eight hours and if you don't like the fit of your therapist, they make it really easy to switch. So if you do go right now to betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, you'll receive ten percent off your first month services. So what are you waiting for? You owe it to yourself at the very least to check it out.

[00:10:37] So go ahead. Pause the podcast. Do it right now. I'm not going anywhere. OK, so back to the topic at hand. So I'm talking with this couple and we're making some progress. And remember, it's hard to be vulnerable because we have so much baggage that we bring along with us. Just thinking about this over the Thanksgiving break, if it's it's like if you've ever been going on vacation and you just overpack, I mean, what if we're going to be able to exercise, are going to run or what if they have a gym or should we bring our own boogie boards if we go to the beach because that's cheaper than renting them and buying food there is expensive. So shouldn't we just load up with groceries now? Well, you can bring an entire semi truck full of experiences, both positive and negative into a conversation. And that is going to affect how you show up. And that's OK. Acceptance that it is going to that's how you how you interpret the things that somebody says. Words can mean something different to one person versus another. And so one of the people in the session just looks at me and just says, so when are you able to either really look introspectively at what role your previous relationships or your childhood experiences may be affecting you in that moment? And I feel like maybe even what this person was also wondering and if this person wasn't wondering, I sure was, was, hey, what if I feel like my spouse often is projecting some of their own childhood or previous relationship wounding onto me? Because if you have ever felt like that in your relationship, trying to say, hey, look, I'm not your mom or look, I'm not your dad has not led to.

[00:12:08] Oh, well, tell me more about that. You know, it leads to defense and it leads to people jumping down into their bunkers. And so this was one of those light bulb or kind of aha moments for me as a therapist, because it was truly an amazing question. The key, the way to have one of these deep accountable own your own stuff conversations is only if the conversation is set up to encourage open "tell me more" kind of dialogue. If we can stay away from the. Well you do this? You make me feel this way. You're always telling me this. Those are all what I'm starting to develop. This concept I'm calling a reactance hook. You know, again, reactance that instant negative reaction to being told what to do. And I can watch it in a session. If somebody says you you always say that, you know, you always say this. You always tell me that I'm not doing enough. Well, then the person doesn't listen.

[00:12:59] At that point, the person that was just was accused of always saying that you're not enough is you can watch them right there. I'm looking at a couple. You can watch that person start looking for times in their head where they haven't said that. Now they're going to defend that this reactance hook. Or if somebody says, you know, you're supposed to do 50 percent of the yard work and I feel like you only do 25 percent. Well, now that's a reactance hook. The person that is now doing the math is saying, you know what, I actually OK, I'm out of fifty. I think I'm doing forty percent of the work. And all of a sudden and we're off and we're talking about something that's completely unproductive. So again, the key to having one of these deep and accountable own your own stuff conversations is to have this encouraging opening, "tell me more" kind of dialogue, because I believe that by default, by programming, by previous experiences, the reason we don't get to productive conversations sooner is the same reason that I couldn't let Lavoice get to my sciatic nerve, because we go into conversations with our butt cheeks so tensed up that we rarely and and I wanted to say never, but I'm trying not to do an all or nothing statement. But we rarely get to the area that truly needs healing. The part where, as Sue Johnson said, we are designed to process emotion in concert with another human being.

[00:14:08] We are not supposed to just figure out on our own all the stuff that we got to figure out and then come back to the marriage and then tell her spouse, hey, I figured out all my own stuff. So now we can go have a shared, meaningful experience without getting triggered or finding ourselves taking offense to something that your spouse said or that they didn't even know that you took offense to. No. If you take offense to something, there's a reason. And it's because of what your spouse said or how they reacted to you means something to them. It means that they are trying to be heard and they don't know how or they are communicating in a language style that works for them or that they think works for them or that they saw modeled growing up. If they saw their parents yell and scream, but then work things out, they might bring that into your marriage. And if you grew up not dealing with any emotion around the home and then those intense emotions can feel overwhelming and you tense up those butt cheeks and say, oh, no, there is no elbow making its way to my sciatic, man. I hope you're still following my analogy or that one out of context is going to make absolutely zero sense. So let me give you a real life example.

[00:15:11] And this is one that admittedly I did not quite get permission from my wife to share. So I hope that she will forgive me. But this is one where I truly am being the difficult one in the story. But having an epiphany that day in the session that I'm talking about, when this couple ask the question of how do you get to the real core of an issue, the childhood wounds or the projection or the unrealistic expectations that we place on our spouse based on our own experiences, not on what their experience as a human being is. So we were running recently in a new neighborhood, it was behind where we currently live, we just discovered this neighborhood. The streets are paved. The cars can not get to the neighborhood. So there and there are no houses. So it's just a perfect place to run. So we're running down the middle of the road and my wife is telling me a story and and she just veers slightly and I'm talking slightly over toward me. And I jump out of the way like she's about to take me out at the knees. And I honestly really didn't even think about it. It was somewhat impulsive. And then she moves back over to where she was running. And I could tell the energy and our conversation dissipated. I ask a question or two about the story that she was telling and she seems a bit more flat in her response.

[00:16:19] So now my anxious attachment style kicks in big time. And if you're not familiar with the anxious attachment style, it's oh, my gosh, I did something wrong. I blew it. I'm going to check in. You know, this is on me. I'm getting anxious and I and I need a real OK, did I do anything wrong, are we OK? So I'm really starting to worry that I blew it, that I messed something up, that I ruined this conversation, that I ruined the run. Most likely I'm off to ruin the day. And so I ask her, hey, is is everything OK? Did I say or do anything that offended you? And at first she just said, no, I'm fine. And so I stated that I feel statements because again, if that was where I said, well, you're acting different, you're you're acting cold, you're you withdrew, you retreated, then that's again, I call a reactance hook. And I just made that one up a couple of weeks ago. But I feel like now she's going to be looking for ways that she is has not withdrawn or that she is present and not necessarily being fully engaged in the content that I'm talking about. So I stay in those I feel statements. I feel like the energy shifted. I feel like I just offended you. I worry that I did something wrong and that you may not feel like you can share with me.

[00:17:24] Funtime is married to the therapist, right? They believe she shared with me that my reaction did seem to her a bit extreme, that nobody else was on the street, that she didn't fall into me or jump in front of me, and that she felt like I was trying to show her that she wasn't paying attention when she runs or that I'm more aware. I'm more aware runner. I don't remember all the specifics, but it was in that vein. So while my first reaction wanted to be to tense up those butt cheeks, to get defensive, to say that's ridiculous or well, I mean, you do need to be more aware. I mean, if I would have done one of those. We're off we are off into just an unproductive conversation. And so I turn to my four pillars and let me be very clear. I say often in my practice, these work with a bit of an asterisks for a personality disorder. If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, then I understand how difficult it can be to be vulnerable because it can and often will be used against you. And a quick example. I shared this on the Betrayed the Addicted and the expert podcast recently, and I've been leaving the link to that podcast in the show notes of the last handful of episodes, because I've just gotten a lot of feedback from that episode.

[00:18:37] And that's the episode where I announced that I am putting together a group for women who are finding themselves in relationships with narcissistic men or people that might be struggling with narcissistic personality disorder, narcissistic traits. But where the women who have heard these these episodes, I've done a narcissism or emotional abuse or gaslighting and have had these oh my gosh, I didn't know it was a thing. I thought it was just me, that I got a group that started. So you can reach out to me through my website or contact@TonyOverbay.com and I can give you some more information on that group. But I shared this story again on the Betrayed the Addicted in the expert podcast, where they had me talk in depth about what personality disorders, narcissism in particular, can look like in couples therapy. Because when I've seen over a thousand couples in my office, it becomes obvious. I mean, we're talking night and day. And so here's the here's the story I gave. And I don't think I've done this on another podcast if I have forgive me, but I remember at one point I was talking to my wife about E F.T. about emotionally focused therapy. In essence, it was the precursor to these four pillars of a connected conversation. And I was sharing with her that, you know, if there are things that she has kept inside, things that I have maybe offended her, then I really wanted her to tell me more when I was really begging for her vulnerability and she shared with me.

[00:19:56] And this is this shows you how powerful but yet simple this can be. She would go to the dentist and need dental work and sounds kind of can sounds benign. Right. But we all need dental work at times, I'm sure. But I would make this joke because she loved eating candy corn. I'm not a huge fan of candy corn. And I would say to others, yeah, her teeth are made of candy corn. And I would laugh and people would maybe give it a good laugh. And I didn't really think about what that was like for her. So when I was expressing this EFT emotionally focused therapy kind of concepts, she said, hey, you know, I know it sounds silly, but when you say my teeth are made of candy corn, it hurts because I grew up not liking my teeth. I'm I when I smile or I'm so aware of them, and so when you say that it really hurts and I just remember thinking, oh my gosh, I am so sorry, that is the last thing I want to do is offend you or make you feel less than. And so from that day forward, other than giving an example like this, I haven't talked about it.

[00:20:57] I haven't used it. I haven't said yeah. But it was really funny. Or, you know what? You need to just relax or you just need to lighten up. That's not, she can't. I mean, if somebody if it really bothers you, then you need to be able to have a voice and express because she took me on her train of thought and it was a lot deeper than me just making an impulsive joke or thing that I thought was funny. And at that time, I was working with a couple and the spouse that had shared that she, I think it was, didn't care for her extremely curly hair. It was something like that. And the husband said, oh, my gosh, thank you for sharing that. And I'm grateful you did. And I always thought I was just being funny and I'll never do it again. And I remember they came in about three or four weeks later and had been on a on a vacation. And the first thing that came up was, well, he he made fun of my hair again in front of a couple. And the guy said, yeah, but we didn't really know the couple. We just met him on the vacation. So it wasn't a big deal. And I just told her, don't worry about it, like, I won't do that again. And I remember just thinking that that right there is the difference. And I know it sounds simple, but when you've watched that with a thousand couples and eight hundred of them hear oh my gosh, thank you for sharing with me.

[00:22:10] I'll never do that again. And two hundred of them say I'll never do it again until they do it again, because now they know it is a button that they can press when the conversation is not being productive, then then that's something that we need to be really aware of. So that is a long way for me to say that. I understand that all the things I'm about to share, I always say there's an Asterix here. If you're working with somebody who may have a personality disorder because they may take this information that you put out vulnerably and use it against you. If that's the case, man, I would encourage you to go seek some help because that no one wants to continue to put themselves out there and be vulnerable if it's going to be used against them. So back to these four pillars of a connected conversation. Number 1 is to assume good intentions. Again, nobody and this is going under under the guise of nobody wakes up and thinks of themselves, how can I hurt my spouse? So in this scenario, I know I know that Wendy didn't wake up today and just lay out her day and just think, OK, this I might have an opportunity to get to him today if we go running and if I just veer off into the middle of the street and he reacts, oh, I got him.

[00:23:15] So of course, of course you do that. I'm going to assume good intentions that if she you know, if she veered a little bit and then if she started sharing with me that that hurt her, that hurt her feelings, then I need to assume that she's not trying to hurt me, that that she is showing up, that I'm grateful that she's willing to express this to me, because if she wouldn't, then I might end up failing a test that I never knew I was taking. The whole day could be off. And as you're going to see, we were able to not only communicate about it, but I feel like grow closer. So pillar number two, you cannot convey the message that I don't believe you or that you're wrong, because that will absolutely take a conversation down a negative, unproductive path so quickly. Even if you don't believe the person, honestly make room for that in your brain, set it to the side. But if you're following pillar number one in this case, when he did not set out to make me feel bad. So she says she feels like I was trying to show her that she wasn't paying attention. When she runs, then I need to lean in, be curious. It helps me turn to empathy to tell me more and then too if I would have just said, look, that's ridiculous. Seriously, that's what you think I was doing. Then she's off to her bunker to defend her position.

[00:24:27] I'm off to mine and nothing productive is going to happen. So that leads to pillar number three, ask questions before making comments. So in this scenario, I asked her a lot of questions. Tell me more about that. Have I done that before or what? Or other times it may maybe come to mind? Or is it just more of a general vibe or energy that I put off? And, you know, so in doing this, I'm starting to loosen up those glutes and that elbow is starting to find my sciatic. So she goes on to give me a few other examples or similar types of interactions or things that I've done in the past. And now I'm really hearing her. I am not shutting her down. I'm being present. I sure I can make room for those. I don't know. I don't know if I believe that or I can make room for that in my head. But that doesn't mean that I need to just blurt it out and shut the conversation down and questions before comments. The way that this can show up in a negative way at times or people that are going to make the comments before asking the questions. So if I would have said to her, OK, I want to hear you, but first I just got to say, I cannot believe that you think that that's what I would do. But go ahead. I mean, do you see the difference there, the shift in energy? If I put it out there, if I'm going to make my comment before I ask questions, that shuts her down.

[00:25:28] So, you know, set that those I don't, This is hard for me to believe. Set it aside, ask questions and pillar for stay in the conversation. What? Does that mean and I love the fact of having a podcast where I can say this, because this can be hard to say in a session, honestly, don't become the victim. Don't withdraw and become an energy vampire and in turn, the empathy and the attention back to you. I mean, that victim mentality and I have seen this happen so many times, you're having a good conversation. You get through three of those pillars and pillar 4 the guy who says, OK, well, I guess I'm just a horrible husband, I'm a bad father. I never get it right. Because now what now? There now he goes into the the victim role and now the spouse is required to go be the rescuer. No, no, no. I'm not saying that you do a lot for the family. I'm grateful for all that you do, because then we just we just lost the conversation because now it just went from her feeling heard to now her having to rescue. So stay in the moment. Wait until she feels heard and then you repeat. But now you're the speaker. She's the listener. So then thank you. I appreciate you sharing that.

[00:26:35] That helps me so much. And I'm sorry that I put out that vibe or that energy, but I'm grateful for what you shared. So now this is me saying to Wendy, let me take you on my train of thought. And now it was her, wendys turn to assume the good intentions, which can be really hard when you're new to these four pillars to assume that my jumping out of the way had a purpose or a reason. And this is the key. We're only going to get to it now because of the work that we just did minutes before. Nobody's in their bunker. Nobody's playing the tit for tat game. Oh yeah, we said this or I never do that. So then I started to share with her. And I'm telling you this, this was something that was just incredible for me. I do. I literally had this epiphany in this session with the couple when they gave this example. And and while I had shared with Wendy, I appreciated her sharing with me her her feelings and that I had jumped out of the way. And I really apologized. But we I didn't really get too much deeper, but it went well. So that's what I was saying at the beginning. It went well. So now I could think about it. Now, your job, when that conversation goes well, to think about where she's coming from and I'm hoping she'll do the same and think about where I'm coming from. Instead of when conversations devolve, we find ourselves just constantly thinking, I should've said this or Oh yeah, I should have told you this, or next time I'm going to use this analogy instead of I just I kept thinking, what was that all about for me? And so I had this epiphany, thanks to this couple of saying, when do you dig into the deep stuff? And because the four pillars have been used in this conversation about running on the streets with my wife, Wendy, I thought about it and I haven't even shared this with her yet, but I thought about where does that come from and why did I jump out of the way? And it really is because I realized and this is coming from good intentions for me, but it's because I care about her.

[00:28:20] It's because I'm worried about her. It's because for twenty over twenty years and and I've shared this with her before. I've said this to a lot of people. My running has always been I have a zero impact on the family policy. So my running is just gotten earlier. And earlier in the morning I used to teach an early morning gospel study class for my church for seven years. And when I did that, I didn't give up running. I actually started running at four or five in the morning. And there are days like today where I got up in the threes so that I could get a get a run in before coming to work because it's it's that important. Makes me feel like a better husband, father, a therapist, all those kind of things that it raises my emotional baseline. It's my self care is my mindfulness. That's my meditation. I love it.

[00:29:01] But when you are running at 3:30, 4, 4:30, 5 in the morning, it's dark. I've been running with a headlamp. I've often joked ninety five percent of my entire life when I do races that are all day and I'm running out in the sunlight, it's kind of amazing. It almost is a really cool thing because I don't ever do it. So then it makes the race stay even better. Or on Saturdays when I get to run with my wife, it's just so great to be running in the daylight and to be talking with somebody. But so for over two decades, I have been running with a light, a headlamp, a flashlight and and I see cars blow through stop signs. Oh my gosh. At 4:00 in the morning, cars don't even stop at stop signs. I mean, I'm talking I've lost track of the number of cars that do that. So I'll be darned if I'm going across at a crosswalk or if I'm going to assume that a car sees me or my headlamp or anything. And it's to the point where even when I do run in the daytime, I still I don't I, forgive me, but I don't I don't wait on crosswalks. I go run as far away down the road to get behind the cars as I can, because I've not only witnessed these cars blowing through stop signs, but my sainted beloved wife is shared with me on numerous occasions of times where she's almost been hit while she's running or on her bike by motorists that are on their phones or they're not looking or and I have witnessed that on the few times that I do run in the daylight.

[00:30:15] So as as we had this connected conversation, as we follow these four pillars, as I felt safe and I and I heard her and I felt heard that was where I was able to not be defensive and not try to, you know, break down her reality. But I was able to really dig deep and I realized, wow, that that reactive jumping out of the way of mine is not from a, you know, a negative, you need to pay attention, but I really do feel like it's from a man I want you to be aware I subconsciously didn't even realize how bad I want you to be aware because I worry I worry that you are going to not be paying attention and a car is going to run through a stop sign or it's going to run through a crosswalk. And and I am planning on being with her for another 50 years plus and throughout eternity. So I would rather be around. So I would never have been able to get to that had we not had a healthy, productive conversation.

[00:31:06] And that's what I'm grateful for. So following these four pillars is the way to have a productive, connected conversation. And if you don't have a productive, connected conversation, then you can't get to the good stuff.

[00:31:20] You can't get to the hey, I wonder if I'm projecting some of my childhood issues onto my spouse or I can't get to the holy cow. I did not even know I was doing that. I got to own that and I feel safe enough to own that. So, I mean, obviously, I'm grateful for my wife to hang in there with me and be the wife of a therapist who's going to be trying these things out all the time. But I'm also just grateful for people that continually go after these four pillars of a connected conversation. If there's something that I will sound like a broken record about it Is this, because as I mentioned earlier, when a conversation goes south, you can you can regularly say always kind of do feel like always go back and look at, OK, I did not assume good intentions or I didn't believe her and I told her so or I put myself I put my thoughts out there before I started asking questions or I turned into a victim mode. And I just got I hung my head and said, well, I'm just a big piece of garbage, so I guess, I don't know we're going to do about it. You can't. So if you break any of those four pillars, you can see how the conversation is going to devolve. All right. That's all I have for you today. Thanks for taking the time. Don't forget, if you're looking to overcome turning to pornography as a coping mechanism visit pathbackrecovery.com. You'll find a ebook that is describes five myths that people fall prey to and trying to get pornography out of their lives once and for all. And there's group calls. Now, the group calls have been amazing once a week. And you can reach out to me if you want to be a part of this group of women that are in relationships with emotionally abusive, maybe even narcissistic tendencies or traits men in their lives. And that group is starting to grow. And it's I want it to become a real thriving community. There's a free parenting course at TonyOverbay.com.

[00:32:58] And if you sign up there, you're going to hear more and more about my magmatic marriage course featuring the four pillars of a connected conversation. All right. Hey, thanks so much again for taking the time to join me. I hope you have a fantastic week. I'm hoping to have another bonus episode out at the end of this week and just be safe and we'll see you next time on the Virtual Couch.

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