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On the Regular Version …
Pam and I get into a conversation about how we as married people can so often find ourselves over-reacting to our spouse’s over-reaction.
Why does this happen?
What can we do to stop it?
On the Xtended Version …
Author and modern-day monk, Jay Shetty has a 4 E formula for better relationships. We discuss what they are and if we agree with him.
Enjoy the show!
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Corey Allan: Well, welcome to the show and we've gotta start off with one quick housekeeping, uh, message. What's that? I guess you would say? Uh, this is, as we're recording this one in 2023. This is the first year in a long time, minus Covid, the covid year of We didn't have a getaway.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Kind of miss it.
Corey Allan: Absolutely. Cuz it would've like just happened. Uh mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Not this year,
Corey Allan: Not this year, but mark your calendars. June 13th through the 15th of 2024, which is a Thursday. We start in the afternoon, we wrap up Saturday night late with our dance. Mm-hmm.
This is Dr. I'm Dr. Corey Allen, alongside my wife, Pam, where we're having honest conversations to help curate and cultivate the space between you and your spouse. Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Fair? Yes. I can see. Yes, we
Corey Allan: Do. And so today
Pam Allan: That'll be fun to talk about. We're
Corey Allan: Going to dive into that phenomenon or that concept of what's going on. What are some of the factors that help contribute to this, and then most importantly, what do we do about it? And then on the extended content today, which is deeper, longer, and there are no ads, you can firstname.lastname@example.org slash academy. And if you use the code Summer 23, when you sign up, you get your first month free. If you join the academy or masterclass level on the monthly level, you get a chance to taste out what the academy's all about mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: It's interesting for a monk who, you know, this show is about marriage, a monk to be giving the relationship.
Corey Allan: Well, we can explain his story more in the extended
Pam Allan: Context. I realize relationship is more than just marriage. Well, but
Corey Allan: He is married though, and he lives in New York City. So he is no longer a month thus than he did three years Okay. At a monastery. Okay. And for health reasons, he had to leave. Okay. And then he picked up life, but he's tried to keep a lot of that same, uh, characteristics in his life today.
Pam Allan: Interesting.
Corey Allan: And so all that's coming up on today show. So we tease this out at the beginning, that, um, a lot of what happens in close confine relationships is I will say something, you will react to it. I will react to your reaction and off we go. Right? Yes.
Pam Allan: And so I can see that's a, could be a normal cycle on
Corey Allan: Extreme circumstances. It becomes overreactions to overreactions, which then you're on and on and on and on and on and on. And so this is one of those things that what I think about we, to set the stage for this, we probably need to give some of the people, we've had a lot of influx of people lately mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: All at the same time, or
Corey Allan: Will overreact to your things that you say or, or believe or like, and they'll have an overreaction to it, and then you'll overreact to that and off you go. Yeah. And so happily Ever After is a myth from Hallmark and Hollywood, but we believe biblically speaking, God cares more about your character and your wisdom. And so marriage is designed to produce conflict to help you grow up. Okay. That's the point of it. Secondarily, we also believe that everything you do in marriage communicates.
Pam Allan: Right. So the common thing that people typically come to you and say is, well, we just don't communicate. We can't.
Corey Allan: Right. We can't, we can't communicate at all. We have trouble communicating.
Pam Allan: Yeah. And your response typically is, well, you're communicating just fine. Right. You, you each, you just don't other like what they're
Corey Allan: Saying, can you make each other mad? Yeah. Well then you're communicating just fine.
Pam Allan: Right. You just don't like what it is being said.
Corey Allan: Right. You don't like the messages being delivered mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Yeah. And I don't, it doesn't happen. No, it doesn't happen. I didn't know you wanted a knife.
Corey Allan: It doesn't happen. Um, so there's that. But then there's also the idealized, uh, we will, we have the same dreams, we have the same wants. Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Yes. Total overreaction.
Corey Allan: But it's part of what goes on in our brains because reality does not line up with idealized. Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Mm. True.
Corey Allan: Right. So true. When you first meet and fall in love with somebody, you are actually high. The brain produces a chemical that creates this obsessive longing feeling. And so it's akin to being high. That's where you see the people that are newly met. Yeah. Newly met and newly in, in relationship and they just fawn all over each other all the time. Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: And you're like, wow, I'll just wait. That that'll wear off. Right. Right. Because we all know it, but we love it when we're in it. Right. And so those are natural components and aspects of every relationship. And so when those two worlds collide, as far as reality versus what goes on in my idealized and my conceptualized relationship, there will be conflict in clash both between us and within me.
Pam Allan: Yeah. And you don't see that early on. You think that, well that won't be us, and then here we go. Right. So now where do we go? And then where do we go when I react
Corey Allan: Poorly? And then as this evolves, we have it on various levels and scales cuz we get to where the newness wears off, the shine is gone, different things simultaneous lives start aligning and being conflictual against, alongside each other. Yeah. And some of 'em are so small on the scale, it's not a big deal. Right. It's like, oh, well she doesn't like to do this this way. I like, okay. And it's just like, okay, no big deal. It's a simple little fix. It's just, I'll take care of that. Okay. Right. This is like what we talked about two weeks ago with the overfunctioning world.
Pam Allan: Even, even there sometimes they may be simple, but over time I think those little things feel like a big deal.
Corey Allan: Abso Well, and that's the kind of point I'm I'm setting up is that it adds up when you stack those on top of other things. Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Cuz I won't speak up
Corey Allan: Because you didn't speak up about the little things and it doesn't mean you get your way. Cuz again, this is simultaneous lives going alongside each other in close proximity.
Pam Allan: Yeah. And well, and speaking up about little things doesn't mean you're, um, ugly about it. It just mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Okay. And so this sets the stage for how the normal everyday life is ripe for possibilities of overreactions.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: Because you have a world going on that is different than mine. Again, idealized versus reality because we think well, we'll be in lockstep, we'll see things the same, we got the same experiences we, you know, rather than No you're a higher desire in some areas. I'm a lower desire in some areas and we flip those in other areas.
Pam Allan: Well, in reality is I'm not with you 24 7 and if I'm not with someone 24 7 I other things going on,
Corey Allan: Even if you're with somebody 24 7, you have other things
Pam Allan: Going on. Fair. Correct. Correct. That just the way we're, even if we're in business together mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: We see things differently. Yes. And oftentimes shockingly we will, are wired differently to where the things that speak to the deep parts of me are not what speak to you, they could freak you out. Yeah. Right. The dreams, that's the one we talked about in the past is all I'm the dreamer, quote unquote of the big grand scope of things and you're the devil and the details kind of woman I am. And those can be in incredibly conflictual mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Yes. Right. Yes. It, I can totally see how those two come at. They're at odds,
Corey Allan: Right? Yes. So a lot of times what causes our overreactions are different frameworks in which we go about life and relationship. That's kind of the, the basis for our initial reactions as well as you can compound it with timing, situation, circumstance. Mm-hmm. Cuz you know, if you have a tense situation, circumstantially, um, you're traveling, watch, watch overreactions happen in airports.
Pam Allan: Oh my
Corey Allan: Goodness. Watch them happen at train stations. Subways across the board where it's just there, it's already a heightened anxiety
Pam Allan: Situation. Yeah. You, you're, you're not in control of when you leave, how you get there. Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Edge. And then we attach a meaning to how our spouse is reacting or not reacting mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Depth. Accurate. Yeah.
Corey Allan: Well I know you didn't miss episode 6 26.
Pam Allan: No, I did not miss it
Corey Allan: Because you don't miss episodes, particularly when you get on the mic with me every week. Yes. Um, but if you're listening to this and you did miss the episode 6 26 with, with Chandler Rogers, which was entitled, you need to Try, um, this is your chance to go back and listen to it. Chandler's story is an all too common one. He struggled with chronic porn use and because it's all too common, it's affected a lot of marriages out there and a lot of people out there. But he and his wife overcame it and created a group recovery program called Relay, which now in turn helps other people quit pornography usage and any kind of chronic issues that you can have, there's groups that are available that help you walk through this so you're not alone. So in this epi episode, we debunk the myth that your spouse could be your accountability partner to help you quit porn. And we show you why may you need a peer accountability group instead like relay to help. So get go to listen to it soon, use the link in the show notes and go straight to relay or try the, and try the recovery program. Chandler made this to help people quit and overcome the different things. Because what it also does is it helps you strengthen and deepen your intimacy in your marriage, which we all benefit from when we can realize that's a natural occurrence that's gonna happen. And then there's another component we have to add.
Pam Allan: What's
Corey Allan: That? And this is where we get too dug in on the thought process that my memory of an event is golden and completely accurate.
Pam Allan: Uh, that's too close to home right there.
Corey Allan: Okay.
Pam Allan: Right. I mean, I get proven wrong on my thought process of the accuracy of my memory. Right. But you think regularly
Corey Allan: You think it's accurate
Pam Allan: In my world It is.
Corey Allan: You are completely locked in and and this is one of those fascinating things about the fallibility of our brains mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Okay. So the,
Corey Allan: The Challenger, uh, exploded in 1986 mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: We were watching it and they watched it happen junior high.
Corey Allan: Yeah. Yeah. I did not I, my school didn't, I I missed out, I missed out that day apparently. Um, but the, when we have these vivid flash bold memories that these professors, they took their students and they had them with their own handwriting on a piece of paper, write down where they were immediately after that happened. Okay. Okay. So they've got an accurate accounting
Pam Allan: Of it. I wrote it myself.
Corey Allan: Yeah. Written down. Then they came back three years, five years, 10 years later. Found those students and had them recount orally and from their memory, where were you? Hmm. You know, how many of the oral accountings of their memories matched what was written when they compared the two?
Pam Allan: I'm gonna say none.
Corey Allan: 7%,
Pam Allan: 7%
Corey Allan: Accurately remembered Wow. Where they were and what was going on when that happened
Pam Allan: On a big event like that.
Corey Allan: Absolutely. Okay. Yeah. But it even gets deeper because 50% were wrong in some major details. 66% were wrong in every major detail. Okay. And one student, this is what's so great to me, one student actually said, I know this is my handwriting, but I could not have possibly written this cuz that is not where I was when that happened.
Pam Allan: They didn't trust their own handwriting to say, here's what
Corey Allan: I was doing. No. They brain on their memory was accurate as they look back on it. Then when they actually what wrote about what it was when it happened,
Pam Allan: That's nuts. Or they know they were just a habitual liar.
Corey Allan: Myself. That's a
Pam Allan: Possibility too. I was skipping school that day and I wasn't gonna put it in writing.
Corey Allan: Yeah, that's a possibility too. But it's, but it, it's a great confirmation of how in married life you talk about a recipe for a disaster just waiting to happen of, I don't remember it that way. Hold on. And then we start digging in on the fact fighting missions Mm. Of which account is right. Hmm. Rather than it's two separate accounts Yeah. That are both also fallible and their memory and rec recalling of it. Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Which that's the overreacting. Yep. Right. Because it's something was said and then immediately becomes, no, that's not what, and now all of a sudden you change. Cause look at the way this unfolds, uh, communicatively Right. Just on the, on the process of a conversation mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: So now we're often rolling about what's not really the issue.
Corey Allan: We're often rolling about the account of the memory rather than the issue.
Okay. Or the fact of it, you know, it's like, remember that time when we were driving along and that thing happened? No, we weren't driving. We, we were writing and you know, and now all of a sudden we're talking about the facts of that rather than the premise was a recounting of an experience as a whole mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: And then you can overreact to that not recognizing the reason, part of your reason you're overreacting is I changed the subject and you didn't even recognize it, but it feels off the brain's aware enough to know something just was avoided. Something was dodged there,
Pam Allan: Something changed. Well, don't you have times think of that. You get to the, to the paying the bill comment. Okay, I've got a spouse that in our relationship, they maybe are the one that pays the all the bills mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Well they asked me about a bill. It's really easy to get to that topic and say, seriously, it's late again. Right. And then you're off on that tangent mean, now
Corey Allan: We're on character assassination in qualities.
Pam Allan: If you'll, well you can see it. It's not like as a spouse you, you're just pulling something out of thin air cuz you want to, you may not even be trying to change the subject. It's just that triggers the next topic. Right. I mean, topics trigger another topic. Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: That's, yeah, that's a great question. Which we're gonna head to in just a second.
Pam Allan: I'm going too
Corey Allan: Fast. No, no, no. Because that's, that's, but but you need, I want to account for or acknowledge a component that you just made a Yeah. A statement within that is incredibly important in this concept too. Which is you take a action or a statement or a reaction from your spouse personally, I bring up the idea of Oh yeah, hey, that was late again. And you could have the just as a sigh as a reaction. Yeah. And I hear that as a direct hit at my character, which I take personally then,
Pam Allan: Rather than, and it may be or it may not be
Corey Allan: Right. But it's, but usually our reaction of taking something personal is because there's hints if not some percentages of truth built in Yeah. That it is true. I am habitually late with paying for things for example, or, and I'm
Pam Allan: Mad at myself for it or I'm not. Right.
Corey Allan: And so it's, it is recognizing that's what becomes uncovered in these dynamics, particularly in the confines of a marriage cuz it's inescapable. Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Right. It was a double message there
Corey Allan: That doesn't make yeah. Sense to me. And so those are the things that get exposed in us and if that's brought out, we don't, usually the best in us won't like that about ourselves sometimes mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: The subject. Do we need to, yeah. Maybe we need to circle back. Yep.
Corey Allan: The other is, I am responsible with soothing my emotional bruises, whatever reaction I interpret as an atal, an attack, an assault, a dismissal, whatever. That's a bruising of my emotions. Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: If you're not good at soothing your emotions, how are you gonna be good at controlling your behavior? You start looking, they seem one and the same to me they
Corey Allan: Are. But this is the point of doing the work after the fact and separating that out to realize, okay, if I look back at how that all went down, I got mad, I got hurt and I attacked, well I could separate that out because there are ample opportunities in my life to be hurt and I don't attack mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Or I go into the camper, I get you a knife and I come out and I say, you realize that was an awkward conversation. Right. You realize you never asked me for a knife. Right. Right. Yeah.
Corey Allan: And at least you went to go get a knife when you weren't angry. Cuz that's, that's a whole different thing
Pam Allan: Hmm.
Corey Allan: That's one of the best things you can absolutely do when you get heated or hurt shut your mouth. It still communicates something. It
Pam Allan: Still communicates something. But at least then you're not spitting out knives.
Corey Allan: But here's the thing that's so fascinating about this is if what you're really trying to tell me if this makes sense as we kinda lay on this ship, if you're trying to communicate what I was just communicated about hurt me and my tendency is I react in kind to make sure it's known but it's not landing. If your tendency would be I could be real, uh, vocal and volatile and expressive, a surefire way to really deliver the message of your hurt is don't do it the no way you normally would. You take on yourself differently. Yeah. And you communicate it differently, which could just be that really hurt. I don't want to keep this conversation going for a moment. And you excuse yourself, you talk about freaking a spouse out most likely if that's total 180 of the normal way you guys would go about these things. Cuz then you're both now faced with
Pam Allan: What
Corey Allan: Do I do addressing yourselves mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Valid. Cuz so many times we make it mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Are. And when I can ask those questions while I'm drinking a glass of water or taking a time and walking around the block or just sitting outside or just removing myself for a moment, when I come back in from the time out, I have a better chance to be able to come in and say, okay, here's where I think I was off on trying to express this. Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: And to go back to your initial wording of this about overreacting to my spouse's overreactions, you leaving the situation to go get a drink of water or a spouse just becoming silent stops the domino effect. Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Right. Because that, that can easily seem like stonewalling. It,
Pam Allan: It could, it could seem that way. Mm-hmm.
Corey Allan: Mm-hmm.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Not so much anymore, but No.
Corey Allan: But there can be, but not,
Pam Allan: Not. Cause we've
Corey Allan: Learned of it. They're not high, they're not high on the, the scale No. Mm-hmm.
And that's the ability of cognize. We don't do this perfectly mm-hmm.
Oh yeah. That's still going on there. I, oh, I can see that there. Because that's the thing of when I look back at what goes on in my day or my weeks, I know the areas that I felt short or I've overstepped or well, do I have the courage to look back at that, look at the surroundings around it and unpack the elements of Yep. All right. That makes sense there. All right. Because the more I do that, the better I handle things in the moment. Mm-hmm.
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