PDA

View Full Version : how to work after relationship snarlup?


Cathy Morgan
09-28-2003, 11:46 PM
Every once in a while, during studio time I have an upsetting encounter with my partner. I come up to the cabin to get something, or there's conversation before I go to the studio, and the conversation suddenly turns into something that gets me upset. Usually it's a request or demand that I don't want to deal with right then, during studio time or before starting work.

It seems obvious (now) that the thing to do is to say, "I love you and I care about this, and I have to get to the studio now so let's talk about it this afternoon."

Instead, I often feel plunged into a kind of vortex - I feel overwhelmed, pulled in two. I start to feel guilty because I don't want to deal with something that matters to my partner. I feel guilty because I'm angry at a request during studio time. Etc. I plunge instantly, it seems, into a sort of quagmire of anger, guilt, etc.

This can happen in less than a minute, and then it takes me a long time to recover. I can go back to the studio, but I feel too upset to work. (This is embarassing to reveal, and part of what's upsetting even at the time, is that I feel as if I shouldn't be upset, or if I'm upset I should be able to get over it right away and get right back to work.

By a "long time to recover" - I'd say, maybe an hour. I did get some work done this morning, but what happens is that I feel so unresourceful and clumsy that I usually back off from anything really challenging. It feels as if I'd be likely to ruin things because I'm in such inner turmoil. Of course I try to calm myself.

I do deal with things outside of studio time - not perfectly, but mostly. I've tried just being more accomodating and stopping what I was doing to help my partner right at the time, or discuss a household matter, etc. It makes for a smoother time, but I still lose my art time and energy.

Any suggestions as to how to recover faster and better, from some kind of relationship snarlup, miscommunication, even fight? And get back to work?

deborahbart
09-29-2003, 12:50 AM
Hi Cathy!

I can relate...I find it very hard to work after a fight or argumrnt too. I think there are 2 issues here:

1. how to avoid/get over the original fight

2. how to avoid/get over the anger and/or guilt caused by the original fight.

I'd approach number 1 by sitting down with my partner over a glass of wine or some other non-stressed situation and in the most non-confrontational way possible explain that you cannot afford to allow domestic issues to infringe on your work. I am sure if you were in an office job he would understand that you would soon get fired if you let personal issues cloud your productivity, and this is no different. He needs to understand the affect domestics have on your work...he perhaps doesn't realise it, and then you need to make it clear that you won't dscuss domestic issues in your time, unless it's an emergency. (IE, unless the house is burning down I don't want to know about it)

If this doesn't work...ie if he agrees with all this but just continues to act anyway, his behaviour might be passive-aggressive. IE he is passively trying to sabotage your work (and there might be a few reasons for this). This is not to say he realises he is doing it - it is usually unconcious behaviour but a very dangerous pattern for you to indulge...and it seems he is getting the "right" reaction from you. If you suspect this is the case I would be inclined to train myself to ignore his requests...ie to smile sweetly and say "Yes darling" but don't actually even go as far as thinking about what he has asked. Train your mind to stay on your work and then let him bring the issue up again later. Basically he will soon get the message that while you are working your headspace is somewhere else so it's not worth trying to bother you.

If however you find yourself unable to react, and find yourself to overcome with stress or guilt to be creative, I would recommend some meditation. Take fifteen minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breathing and use this to remove the negative blocks. I find that helps alot. If you can't get over the anger give yourself permission to express it, through art, through some music...put on a song - Gloria Gaynor "I will survive" is a goodie, turn it up full blast, dance around and splash paint everywhere. Laugh at yourself!

Feelings need to be expressed so express them and give yourself leave to do that. Feelings only get control over you when you give them too much power by being afraid to go through them. They pass.

Whatever you do, don't be a victim. Be assertive and if you feel guilty then let the guilt flow off you like water off a ducks back. It won't last long.

Good luck
Deb

DanaT
09-29-2003, 11:51 AM
This is a tough one Cathy. I'm usually very responsive to people's body language and expression, that's why I'm a portrait painter but it can get annoying when they want something from me at an inopportune time.

May I ask you, is your mind totally focused on your creative work on your way to the studio or when you go back to get something in the middle of a session? I've found its easier for someone else to pull me off on a tangent when my focus isn't 100% on my endeavor.

Creativity, I am finding, requires an enormous amount of focus and part of that focus starts awhile even before one ever picks up a paintbrush.

Cathy Morgan
09-29-2003, 08:03 PM
That's a good point, Dana. I could sort of reinforce my focus first thing in the morning, on the way to the studio - and if I have to have some sort of interaction with someone during studio hours.

I was thinking about yesterday some more, and I think I felt fairly edgy and anxious about what I was doing in the studio, too. Maybe when my anxiety gets too high, some part of me automatically chooses that getting overtly upset is better than just feeling anxious. So I could think about ways to deal with my anxiety too.

Thanks for answering!

dodger
10-01-2003, 02:58 AM
Originally posted by deborahbart
If this doesn't work...ie if he agrees with all this but just continues to act anyway, his behaviour might be passive-aggressive. IE he is passively trying to sabotage your work (and there might be a few reasons for this). This is not to say he realises he is doing it - it is usually unconcious behaviour but a very dangerous pattern for you to indulge...and it seems he is getting the "right" reaction from you. If you suspect this is the case I would be inclined to train myself to ignore his requests...ie to smile sweetly and say "Yes darling" but don't actually even go as far as thinking about what he has asked. Train your mind to stay on your work and then let him bring the issue up again later. Basically he will soon get the message that while you are working your headspace is somewhere else so it's not worth trying to bother you.

You are one smart lady, Deb. Your whole post is right on the money, & I was especially agreeing with this excerpt, as I was in a relationship with a passive-aggressive, & didn't realize it until many many years into the marriage.

I was left with the feeling that it was all my fault, ridden with guilt, confusion, frustration. He convinced me that all my troubles were my own, that there was something wrong with me, when it really was about the relationship, both of us. It didn't get really bad until I started to gain more independence, & then the passive-aggressiveness really started to escalate.

I wouldn't say that this is the case with you, Cathy, because I obviously have no idea what your partner, or you, or the relationship is like. But, it isn't just you. If you're feeling that way, then perhaps you can sort it out with your partner. An artist doesn't always need a partner, but if they have one, it's important for them to be supportive, or at the very least, to not make things difficult. As an artist, I can be pretty hard on myself. I don't need a partner to reinforce that. I found that out the hard way.

deborahbart
10-01-2003, 03:37 AM
Thanks Judy :)

I was in a relationship with a p/a too...we nearly got married. I know what you mean re. the not realising. I didn't realize it too. I always blamed myself for being "selfish" and causing him to get upset. Then I started to notice that the times I was happiest or at my best, were the times that a fight would suddenly start!!

One day I got a book on Passive/Aggresive realtionships out of the library. It could have been written about us! I remember reading it and being completely stunned and this feeling of total relief.

I was left with the feeling that it was all my fault, ridden with guilt, confusion, frustration. He convinced me that all my troubles were my own, that there was something wrong with me, when it really was about the relationship, both of us. It didn't get really bad until I started to gain more independence, & then the passive-aggressiveness really started to escalate.

Oh yeah I can relate to this! P/As are unable to take responsibility for their feelings. They always blame people (usually their partner) for their anger, frustration, personal failures....and for everything else!

Women naturally take it to heart because we loooove to fix things. Our mothers drummed into us that we had to be the nuturers and make everything harmonious. Men seem to be more easily able to ignore an angry/upset woman...at least they don't seem to get all wrapped up with guilt about it!!!

As you say, no woman needs a partner and I'd personally rather be single than go through that again. Luckily I have found a very supportive partner now...but I don't indulge any temper tantrums or emotional blackmail...I just ignore it and do what I want to anyway (within reason). It makes a happier relationship because I am not resentful or full of repressed anger.

And after lots of practise, I don't even feel guilty anymore!! :clap:

Cathy Morgan
10-01-2003, 06:49 PM
This makes me want to check my own behavior for passive aggressive qualities. :confused:

Anyway, what I want to report is that I think this last upset was caused mostly by my being so anxious about making my first listing on ebay. I'd been working for days (weeks really) to learn how to make a good looking listing - and to scan in the paintings, edit the photos, make the photos the right sizes, etc. etc. The closer I got to making that first listing, the edgier I got overall. It was like a cloud hanging over me. I wanted to do it but boy was I scared. It seemed scary out of all proportion, but that's how it was.

Once I finally DID IT - I relaxed and can focus much better on my studio work. Who knows, maybe on some level I precipitated the upsetting encounter just out of anxiety. Sometimes anger and total upsetness is better than anxiety, oddly enough. A change, anyway!

Now I'm listing a painting every day on ebay (so far) with calm happiness. :rolleyes:

deborahbart
10-01-2003, 08:53 PM
LOL Cathy....er yes...women are not immune!!

You are right, anxiety is the worst because when we are anxious we don't know what to do! At least when we are angry or upset we usually resolve things.

Some people never allow themselves to indulge their anger or let themselves get upset so they spend their entire lives in a state of anxiety caused by the fear of repressed feelings!

Anyway, enough psychobabble for one post. I am glad you have got your ebay listings up now....good luck!

DanaT
10-04-2003, 12:50 AM
Great Cathy! I hope ebay works out for you. We were talking in the TAW chats how letting your art out in the world can be scary. Like sending your child to school for the first time. And oddly enough, if I show my stuff to others, for some reason it doesn't seem to be mine again and I don't want to lose that.

Good luck and I'm glad you got over your "hump"

Cathy Morgan
10-04-2003, 02:40 PM
Yes, now that I got past that hump, ebay is starting to be fun. It's odd - I don't fret at all about how people are responding to the work, whether or not they bid, buy, etc. I'd have expected that this would be a problem. But I guess once I did the best I could, for my part, I'm willing to let other people do whatever they want to do. Whew.

Hope I remember this when I get to the next hump! That will be getting back into film photography, probably - and after that, finishing my website. Who knows, maybe taking slides will not involve a hump. (Yeah, in my dreams!)

paintergirl
10-27-2003, 10:31 AM
Originally posted by deborahbart
Hi Cathy!

I can relate...I find it very hard to work after a fight or argumrnt too. I think there are 2 issues here:

1. how to avoid/get over the original fight

2. how to avoid/get over the anger and/or guilt caused by the original fight.

I'd approach number 1 by sitting down with my partner over a glass of wine or some other non-stressed situation and in the most non-confrontational way possible explain that you cannot afford to allow domestic issues to infringe on your work. I am sure if you were in an office job he would understand that you would soon get fired if you let personal issues cloud your productivity, and this is no different. He needs to understand the affect domestics have on your work...he perhaps doesn't realise it, and then you need to make it clear that you won't dscuss domestic issues in your time, unless it's an emergency. (IE, unless the house is burning down I don't want to know about it)

If this doesn't work...ie if he agrees with all this but just continues to act anyway, his behaviour might be passive-aggressive. IE he is passively trying to sabotage your work (and there might be a few reasons for this). This is not to say he realises he is doing it - it is usually unconcious behaviour but a very dangerous pattern for you to indulge...and it seems he is getting the "right" reaction from you. If you suspect this is the case I would be inclined to train myself to ignore his requests...ie to smile sweetly and say "Yes darling" but don't actually even go as far as thinking about what he has asked. Train your mind to stay on your work and then let him bring the issue up again later. Basically he will soon get the message that while you are working your headspace is somewhere else so it's not worth trying to bother you.

Whatever you do, don't be a victim. Be assertive and if you feel guilty then let the guilt flow off you like water off a ducks back. It won't last long.

Good luck
Deb

Yes...encountered that with my husband and teens...

It was quite some time before I realized how destructive and destracting this behavior was to me, my goals and my inspiration...While all three supported me and were proud, in the same token, their behavior at times when I was needing to concentrate at the task at hand, was one of sabotage.

Deb said : "(IE, unless the house is burning down I don't want to know about it)"..
Yes! :D
I honestly don't think they recognized it at the time, but I began to resent being at everyones 'beck and call and whim'.
I have no escape here, I work long hours from home. I recognize that my painting is a very solitary pursuit, and some might even regard it as a selfish one, but I make no apologies. I have had freindships drift away as well because they don't understand why I pursue this the way that I do. Most people removed from thse type of activities, art, writing ,music, do not realize that creativity is not a stop-and-go endeavor.

I initated many firm discussions this year...things along the line of : I do not show up at my husbands office or my kids school, their sports and recreation to discuss issues/distract them from the task at hand . There is a time and a place......thus they owe me the same respect. Even though I am home...when I am at the easel, in my studio...I am not...

I acknowledged that it must feel strange for them to have me there, yet I am not (when I am working) ...but that it is the way it is, when you work from home or in close proximity to loved ones ...
It has gotten much much better...behavior modification...but really, it all just boils down to a little respect.