I was reading from the book, Respect-Me Rules.
The whole premise of the book is that people abuse us because we let them. And then it gives very simple ways to not let people abuse us. The example that we were working with was "Use Repetition".
BJ wanted to know how that would work. He talked about how he has felt really irritated and frustrated with her when she asks questions.
I played him. He played his ex.
He asked me a question.
Me (as BJ): I'm feeling irritated and frustrated, and I don't want to talk to you right now. I will answer your questions later.
Him (as Ex): Why can't you just answer right now? What's wrong with you?
Me (as BJ): I'm feeling irritated and frustrated. I will answer your questions later.
Him: (Raising his voice) It would only take you five seconds. Just answer my questions!!
Me (as BJ): (still very quietly and calmly)I don't allow people to talk to me in that tone of voice. I'm feeling angry and frustrated. I will answer your questions later.
Him: (now yelling) You WOULDN'T BE angry or frustrated if you would just answer my questions! Just tell me what I want to know!!!
Me (as BJ): I am leaving. I don't allow people to talk to me in that tone of voice. I will answer your questions when I am ready.
He stood in my way so I couldn't leave. He yelled at me. I stayed calm. I repeated myself. I stepped around him. And then I left.
He asked if I would be able to be that calm if it were real. I thought about it. I still have a really hard time with angry people... but... I also remembered intense conversations with BJ.
I can tell when my emotions are starting to escalate. I can tell the same thing for him. In those moments, I give us physical distance. I stand up and walk across the room. There are times when I have said, "I love you, and I am going for a walk." And I've left. And we always talk about it when I come back.
I have believed that the reason I feel safe with him is because of HIM. That is partially true. He is respectful. He doesn't do abusive things. We talk. Still, he is only half the equation.
I feel safe with him because I am different. I know what to do to keep myself safe, and I do those things. I don't even think about it. I just take care of myself.
I was very pleasantly surprised to realize how much I have changed.