217: From Conflict to Connection: Building a Safe Space for Our Family (Sort Of)

We’re striving to cultivate a psychologically safe space for our children, where they feel emotionally validated and comfortable expressing their vulnerabilities. Witnessing our past interpersonal conflict may have unintentionally created an inhibitory environment for open communication. We acknowledge our own emotional dysregulation and limited capacity for affective connection, which could be contributing factors. We’re actively working on enhancing our communication skills and practicing emotional acceptance to foster a more nurturing environment.

We’re also navigating the challenges of household responsibility distribution. Feeling overburdened and lacking adequate collaborative support can create frustration and tension within the family unit. We recognize our past tendency towards emotional avoidance and unproductive aggressive communication, and we’re actively seeking to replace them with assertive communication centered on “I” statements and focusing on desired outcomes rather than blame. We’re open to therapeutic interventions and appreciate any guidance towards fostering a more collaborative and emotionally supportive family dynamic for all members.

How to find us and join the conversation:






Email: RecoverySortOf@gmail.com

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welcome back it’s recovery sort of the podcast where we explore the struggles of Life the challenges of mental health and recovery and the spaces between we express our personal views on life here and this podcast is not meant to replace medical advice or tell anyone the right way to live this podcast is best used as a place of curiosity and questioning to accompany you on your journey be aware there is strong language this week we’re picking up where we left the conversation off last week here we go [Music] [Applause]

[Music] how do you instill in your kids as they get to be adults that you are a safe place for them to go you know how many adults they get married and they go out into the world and they end up either in financial struggles or abusive situations or issues with their marriage or their kids and they don’t look to their parents as a source of Refuge you know a place of Refuge or a place that they feel safe and that’s like what I think now is like that’s what I want to be for my kids as they go into the world in adulthood and as we talked about you know my daughters are getting older uh one of them you know is potentially in the next year getting married and moving away and some of the conversations we’ve had have been about if she gets out there and has struggles you know what

I mean they have any marital issues or whatever like she’s talking about moving to Arizona we were already talking like my oldest daughter and me and my wife were like she’s very unlikely to like call us and tell us that she’s struggling you know because she’s like me that’s the one that wants to shut down the feelings she’s very unlikely to say hey I’m out here and he’s the only one working I don’t have an income I don’t have any money I need to get out of here can you help me like that’s just not who she is yeah and that is scary you know what I mean like we I would always hope that she would you know that she would feel like we were a safe place but if I haven’t conditioned that in her right that’s not going to be her reaction and and that’s where I got 2 18y olds and one that just turned 15 and

I know my time to teach them something different and show them something else is very very limited and I am like doing my best and not trying in a way to pressure myself cuz that’s not going to [  ] get Anywhere But like I know the time is now I got a limited amount of time to model for them that they can come and be safe and that my place is a sanctuary and truthfully right now Billy I’m falling short of my intended goal because I argue with my wife way more than I would like to for a guy that thinks he understands what the [  ] is going on between us you know yeah uh and that does not create a sanctuary like feeling and I will say that look hey you know I will give myself credit where it’s due that that arguing today looks a whole lot [  ] different than arguing has throughout my life most of the time right you know it’s a lot calmer it’s a lot more likely one of us is going to walk into the other room for a few minutes and then come back and join when we can like there are some positives being displayed in this disagreeableness too you know there’s some how to get through being disagreeable which I think we all need it’s it’s hard can’t just get along with everybody they don’t want the [  ] you want right you know yeah and I mean my wife and I got into a pretty I call it a deep conver

I don’t know if she felt it was very deep but we got into a pretty deep conversation about what like when I say I love her and she says she loves me we mean very different things of what we’re talking about we do we look at our marriage and our role as a partner very differently and we don’t even know it because we haven’t deeply discussed and worked out some of that stuff you know for me when I talk about you know being her husband and loving her I’m talking about taking care of all of her physical needs uh providing a safe place for her to live uh a nurturing environment for our children uh wanting to help her pursue her goals and dreams a lot of those kind of things what’s missing that she’s looking for is like to participate in her life and emot partner yeah like you know I’m speaking for my relationship and so anyway we got into this big like conversation about you know we both believe that we love each other but I don’t know that I love her from her perspective of love and we don’t even understand that this is how we inter we just say

I love you and think that you mean the same thing that I think I’m talking about right and the problem is it’s like you remember the thing with the colors of the dress where there was like is it gold or brown or whatever the two I [  ] can’t remember the two colors but it’s like the same thing when I look at that dress it looks this way and so when someone says it’s brown I’m like how the [  ] do you see brown like what are you like I don’t even understand what you’re talking about right right so when she describes her version of love in our marriage I’m the same way I’m like I don’t [  ] understand what you’re talking about like I see it this way right and so where we’ve been lately is trying to understand the other person’s way of love and recognizing like our differences right and like she’s trying to know that I’m doing the best I can and I’m getting better but I’m not when she says she needs these things I’m not there I I I don’t have that to give and it’s not from lack of effort or desire or or want it’s because it you’re saying it’s [  ] Brown and it looks like this to me and so we’re trying to to bridge that Gap a little bit from from both ends one

she’s trying to be a little more understanding and not take things quite so personally and I’m trying to really get in touch with like feelings and emotions and like like you said like just being like intimately involved in her day-to-day life about like feelings and stuff you know because again my version of my day is [  ] all my feelings I got to go to work I got to come home and [  ] take care of the dogs and this and that at the house and get these things done and then at the end of the day I can lay down and I how I [  ] feel doesn’t cross my mind at 90% of my day so when I’m not even thinking about how I feel there [  ] really isn’t any space to think about how you’re feeling you know what I me right right that’s what I keep trying to yes so I’ve taken to um how do you reprogram somebody that’s got shitty programming and doesn’t have the ability yet to be aware when it’s happening so I text my wife throughout the day and I say hey take a breath ask your body what it needs do you need something to drink do you need to slow down and take a breath for a couple minutes do you need to use the bathroom do you need to you know just stop what you’re doing like whatever it is like and I don’t know that’s my beginning idea of like

how the [  ] you reprogram somebody is start putting a new idea in their head right because that’s where this came from watching somebody else do a behavior repeatedly so maybe if I’m the one who starts asking hey stop take a breath what do you need maybe that will become the routine for her to think in her own head you know I get this thing throughout the day yeah and like say it gets back to almost like we talked about with the kids I’ve I think I’m experiencing the most understanding and growth for myself when I stop trying to think that I’m [  ] broken and that something’s wrong with me and that I’m not okay exactly how I am right now because if you know if you want to get into whatever God or H maybe I’m this way because God [  ] made me this way this is exactly who I am because this is exactly who God wants me to be I am exactly who I was intended to be all along so there’s nothing wrong with me I’m not broken there isn’t anything that that I need to psychoanalyze I’m just me and let’s start with that being 100% okay and I can love this just exactly who I am and it can be okay and I don’t have to feel bad about being me anymore yes so when I can start there 100% then I can start looking at things that I can get better at yes not necessarily that are broken but that I can get better at absolutely and so I spent most of my life thinking that

I’m broken and that I’m I’m [  ] up and that something’s wrong with me and when my wife uh intentionally or unintentionally hits those notes it’s conflict because I don’t need her to tell me that I already feel that way about myself I already feel broken stop telling me that I’m broken right you know so we’ve had better growth starting from like and I’ve been defending myself with her like I’m [  ] okay exactly how I am this is me and you know what I mean this is where I’m at and let’s just start there here’s my hesitancy with that because I 100% agree with you like I don’t think we can make growth and change in our life starting from a place of I need to be better or different than I am right now right I do believe it starts with accepting hey this is where I got to this is where I am and I’m a human and that’s still okay and I just need to like relearn how to [  ] enjoy life honestly CU that’s what I’m realizing and lately nobody showed me how to enjoy life they showed me how to be [  ] miserable in life and that’s what I do a lot of times when

I sit alone and and Nothing Stops my thinking from just going by itself and like I guess the my hesitancy is to say at all times I am okay just as I am does not account for the times when I am not recognizing my nervous system has taken over and I’m not being me because when my nervous system takes over it shuts down my front lobe and it shuts down what I know to be Jason this this compassionate connecting guy and so if I just claim in any moment that I am okay right now and allowed to be this way I can justify anything because as soon as my nervous system gets active it says Jason here’s a fear this thing is going to happen in the future and in order to avoid that which is going to be catastrophic you were allowed to do whatever the [  ] you have to do right now everything is on the table it’s all Justified because you can’t go there got to avoid that and in that moment I am not human anymore I am not Jason anymore and I cannot say that I am okay here because I am hurting people around me yeah and like if I can’t see when those moments are how can

I say I’m okay this way too and I agree but I don’t think that happens just from me thinking about it and it definitely doesn’t happen in those moments when I’m already triggered like where I improve in those areas are at least for me what I believe is exercise meditation diet it’s it’s all the like precursors to healthier mental state that gives me a place to not just to let that nervous system take over you know what I mean like 10 years ago this situation with the dog and my son would not have went down this way and I don’t know you know how much of that is just from from information that I’ve gained or how much of that is because I do certain things through meditation and exercise and all that to calm my nervous system yeah you know and maybe it’s both and you know all of that the awareness too right you had the forethought you knew ahead of time that day what was what was coming for you so that awareness gave you the ability to be more prepared in the moment so your nervous system didn’t go as Haywire right because you saw it coming right and that’s what I think a lot of this is so when you say I’m 100% great rate where I’m at I’m like yes and

I think maybe there’s a struggle for you to see your nervous system disregulation because it’s not fight ORF flight energy right you know what I mean so maybe there’s a times when you’re missing that you’re disregulated because it doesn’t feel disregulated necessarily it feels oh c right fine I’m okay and I think recognizing those times would be much more helpful for you from this place of accept acceptance because you can say okay I’m seeing that now and it’s helped you know it’s and you had said this earlier like it’s helped me to get into a a place of stop judging things from like right or wrong or good or bad or should be this way or ought to be that like I really like I recognize that’s a struggle for me because I’m an absolutist on you know this is the right way this is how it should be this is ideal and when I get stuck there it limits me so if I can just be like this is what it is with all it’s good and all it’s bad and so if I can just recognize you know what the sitting there use good and bad anyway because I don’t have another descriptor right like you know if I I that way I can recognize the get a full picture and then try to be like all right so this is a a better way to deal with it this maybe not so good and and but when I’m at a place of like this is the right way to do it and we just got to all head down this [  ] path and if anybody goes off this path it’s my responsibility to get them all back on the same path using whatever means necessary bullying whatever it Tak yes so the interesting thing and this doesn’t help me at all but

I think Dave has said this on every [  ] time he’s come on the episode and he said it again last time and his version of that recognizing that is when he is making everything one thing and like I wish I could use that because it seems so goddamn helpful but like my brain is not there access that kind of thought in that moment like I am just better at recognizing that I am out of my [  ] mind like there’s too much going on I’m trying to force [  ] I feel awful it’s terrible pressure no so kind of circling back around to where we started where you said my body doesn’t like to you didn’t say these words I’m saying it my way my body can’t tolerate the experience of Hope or or of whatever like there’s something here that I’m trying to avoid by being practical and just saying let’s go this route and it’s over and and you got emotional saying that right and I literally think that’s what you were avoiding we spend our whole lives it’s like when I spend four days dreading doing the dishes and then I finally get the ability and the the energy and I go do them and it takes me 12 minutes right right we spent a lifetime avoiding the scary ass feelings we might have I think that’s what you’re trying to avoid and I think right here right now as you’re being willing to do what your family is asking and recognizing that your body is saying [  ] that but you’re going to do it anyway because you love those people I think you’re going to cry a couple times over the next couple days and I think that’s it

I think that’s what we’ve been avoiding all these years Billy oh yeah and if you need a hug while you’re experiencing that buddy call me like well and immediately I go to the you know our our other we had a previous dog that had to be put down you know she had limes to and she was 13 or 14 years old she lived a long life was a wonderful dog and got sick so it was definitely time to put her down and uh when we had to go put her down like I went by myself to the vet to put her down you know was super sad I was like and there’s almost I don’t want to say a resentment I don’t know if it’s a resentment but it’s like that’s what you guys are going to do like I’m going to be dealing with all this by myself again this time you know that feels like this cycle or pattern or established roles in my house that I have been coming up against lately or seeing or noticing um let me try to describe it the way I’ve been saying it it feels like everybody in my house has some level of I pick up after myself myself

I tend to the house I clean up I take care of things this way right from the from the person in the house that’s the person that like you know sets their book down and it’s got the even edges on the counter it’s on and they wipe the dust off of it and blow on it like to the person who like takes a book and they lost it three weeks ago because they don’t remember when they brought it home and and what I’ve been seeing it as is like it’s almost like everybody’s got their level of where they’ve been trained to do it and and some of that’s age-wise right the four-year-old’s not going to be as good as the 18-year-old but there’s always a place where they stop and somebody has to come behind them and do something or it gets undone right and and what it feels like for me in my role is that I’m the last guy in the line I’m the adultist adult in the house in my mind right so like the four-year-old doesn’t do it maybe somebody else comes along but when nobody comes along it [  ] falls down on me when nobody takes the trash out when it’s full it falls down on me it’s got to be done it falls down on me and that’s what I’ve been trying to express to my partner is hey everything that gets Beyond you and goes past you as too much adulting for you to do if

I don’t do it it ain’t getting done like I’m picking up all your slack like all the Loose Ends and and and I think there’s been some receptivity to like being able to see that from her end but it’s weird and I feel like you’re describing the same thing to me right now is is at some level when it gets to be so much like all these people want a new dog they’ll love it for three months and then it’s going to become my job because at the end of the line I’m the adultist adult in the house and I guess what I’m saying is I’m [  ] tired of being that guy yeah well and I I don’t know because immediately I think well what about the people that do all the [  ] that you’re not doing like you know there’s all that [  ] and at least in my house that happens like a lot of times dishes get done and laundry gets done and it I’m not doing that you know and or things do get cleaned up that I’m not sometimes it takes a little bit of like hey the house is a mess I really need you guys to pick up stuff um but

I for lack of a better way of saying it like we fall into more like what I’ll call like traditional sexist type okay roles you know I’m doing the yard work or my son’s doing all the yard work and outside maintenance and you know um any maintenance stuff on the house repairs things like that right you know the the my wife is better at doing the dishes and the laundry and so we’ve got a we’ve got an odd system that doesn’t fit your typical system yeah we would say we’re not like right sexist home in that way it just sort of works out well and and look I think some of it falls along those lines from what we learned what we saw from our caregivers it doesn’t mean it’s wrong right it’s just is it comfortable and is it healthy and is it working yeah but I guess in in my system there’s an added two grandparents right and and the way it goes down is um grandom is doing the dishes and the laundry which is very appreciated but it still leaves me with a feeling of there ain’t much getting done that I ain’t the one doing yeah right you know at least in my partnership yeah there’s people in the house doing extra stuff and I appreciate that thank you but but my partner doesn’t seem to be pulling her weight is what it feels like it feels like a lot of [  ] ends up falling on me that everybody else is just good with being distracted and oblivious and ignoring and

I want done maybe they don’t want it done as bad as I do I get that but for me to be okay yall going to have to do some of this stuff like I can’t be the only guy doing it um picking up after all the people and and I’m not saying I’m the only person that does it and look I will tell you I have been very encouraged by the results of me trying to go about this differently um because people are doing more and it’s been lovely but I I’ve been trying to approach it from this place of of saying it kind of like that like who do you think comes and does that when you leave it undone like what person comes behind you when your mail is sitting there or when your dishes ain’t washed or when the food gets left out overnight like just ask him like yeah who who’s the one doing that like and maybe that’s the question who’s going to be the one taking care of this dog in four months or in seven months when it’s not as fun or what this looked like before but I I don’t think I’m saying it the right way I guess all I can think though is I look at all the My Fault in all that like I as much as I can point out the things that I do that they’re not and maybe it’s different in your house but I can see like what

I mean by that is I’ll bring home you know we’re doing this bathroom remodel thing and I’ll bring home stuff that I just ordered and picked up at the supply store earlier that day and I’ll [  ] sit a whole box of [  ] right in the middle of the living room and I’ll be fine with that cuz it’s my box that I sat there and I know what it is and it doesn’t need to be sitting there in the middle middle of the living room that [  ] can sit there for 3 weeks and I’m 100% fine with looking at it every day but as soon as the kids come in and sit some box of [  ] or their shoes are in the middle of the floor it’s like what is your [  ] doing in the middle of the floor like why don’t you get this out of there and they could easily say to me well you got a box sitting there in the middle of the floor it’s been here for weeks like what but it’s my box and I know what it is so it’s fine there but when it’s your stuff it’s not okay there so I see that in my house a lot I definitely got that I definitely got that there’s no doubt in my mind we are all biased to ourselves how can you [  ] not be you’re in your own body but I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with that either right

I think that’s fine and I’m glad we recognize it right cuz hopefully I think I see it a lot more when it’s happening and I don’t act like that but I I guess the thing I’m trying to get to when saying this is I play a role in that I play a role in the fact that everybody in my house doesn’t pick up after themselves and it becomes mine and the role I play is that for all these years what I’ve done is just been mad about it or done it myself I have never held them accountable to me yeah I have never said hey you’re my wife you’re accountable to me and I’m tired of picking up after you in this way oh yeah I get that and like that’s the thing that’s been helping me is to to do the hard part on my end instead of just doing the things after people and picking up this saying I need to hold you accountable now out of love because you’re hurting me yeah and see so I used to like hold them accountable in worse ways yes for everything in like bad ways same yeah that didn’t work you know it was like and now it’s

I don’t know I I I feel like I try to be like 5050 like my son shoes are in the middle of the floor every day and his shit’s everywhere and a lot of days I’ll just pick him up and then some days like if he’s down there in the kitchen I’ll be like hey man can you come get your shoes they don’t need to be in the middle of the floor just pick them up and put them over where the other shoes are just so we don’t trip over them but I try to do it like in that way instead of like hey come get these [  ] shoes yeah yeah no and that’s and that’s what I think it is right there was a part of me that said I wasn’t allowed to complain unless it was from that place right waiting until yeah was a overreaction yeah and like and like you said I’m not like a a a a dictator with it like once it’s way better and it’s only a few things I can pick up a few things for the people I love I don’t have no [  ] problem with that it’s when it’s everything everywhere I can’t keep up the other thing I never got in my house that I’ve gotten better with you know and my wife too is like appreciating when things are good like if we come home and things are picked up or the dishes are done like letting them know hey I see that you took care of that today

I really appreciate it it’s a huge help for the rest of the house and those are the like again the kind of conversations we try to have if things feel like cuz we always go back and forth between it’ll be like a couple of weeks where it feels like everyone’s contributing and pulling their weight and then it’ll get to the place where just like it feels like the house is a mess and nobody’s doing anything thing yes you know go and so then we’ll have like a sort of family get together Pow Wow of like Hey we’re real busy we need you guys to pick it up a little bit like there’s there’s not enough going on around here you know and that seems to work no no for a week or two and then well and and in general I think that’s life yeah I think everything we do is going to be let’s try to get better at this together cooperate and make it work for all of us a little better and it will be a little better and then it won’t be and then we’ll do it again right I think that’s just what we do every day in life um but yeah I think that’s the way to do it right just that that my job now in my mind is to be the one to be able to stay aware and on top of when it starts going bad so that

I can just report back to the system immediately and not ever get mad I just want to tell you all as soon as I can hey that thing happened I didn’t like it right I get it you can be mad you can say you have a right to do it I’m not telling you you don’t I’m just telling you when you do it it sucks right that’s it right let’s move forward from here and see what we can do that’s my job and I I didn’t know that I didn’t realize my job is to report back to the system just in a way that I can be heard and that’s been a [  ] challenge for me so ask there’s so there’s a part of me that’s been like with this whole you know the dog putting the dog down there’s a part of me that’s like all right this opportunity for me to teach my son the the tough lessons of life and maybe he’ll I’ll get him to come with me when we have to put the dog down and and and I’m like

I don’t know if that’s good or bad you know I don’t know if that’s a situation I want to have him deal with maybe it’s just a conversation with him of saying hey you know got there before I could get you there yeah of of saying like you know this is again not to the old me is like come on this is the [  ] reties of having a pet you guys want to have pets you’re all coming with me all dealing with this like you’re going to feel it too well but but I think maybe there is a part to that not in that way obviously right but like maybe there is something to hey remember when we had that vote about taking a pet on like this is part of the reason I wanted to vote no I knew this day comes and it would hurt me and like I need y’all to go through the experience with me one to help carry me through it because it hurts but two because

I need you to know what you’re voting on next time you get a pet right I need you to know the full experience I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with that that’s beautiful yeah I never learned those lessons like as a kid we had a dog and you know I don’t know the dog died at some point and I don’t even remember bro we had a dog and it bit me and my parents couldn’t tolerate my reaction cuz it wasn’t even a hard bite it was like a playful puppy bite and I just didn’t know cuz I was little and uh they guys just got rid of it that was it no can’t take that reaction we make sure it never happens again just get rid of that dog right I don’t know I think we wrapped up the though yeah I’m sorry about your dog Billy it’s really sad yeah it’s sad I got lots of hugs for you if you feel anything about it do man all right take care of each other out there we’ll see you next [Music] week have you found that listening to the recovery sort of podcast has helped you in your day-to-day Journey please share the message of compassion and wellbeing with the loved ones in your life connect with us more at recovery sort of.com Facebook Instagram threads YouTube and other social media spaces and have a great [Music] [Applause] [Music] week