The Monster Counsel Report: The Disturbed Spouse Solution
Yesterday’s post ended on a bit of a cliff-hanger, with everyone huddled together in a Very Important, All Night Monster Counsel [sic](which pretty much seems to mean munching on cookies while wearing meaningful expressions and pointing vaguely at maps.)
The Counsel’s Agenda?
The finding of ways to make Disturbing-The-Spouse or Not-Disturbing-The-Spouse irrelevant to the success and productivity of The Circus. (And Me.) (And my Monsters)
The Counsel was further instructed to be sure that any solutions were pragmatic and self-contained. In other words?
No plans that require the Spouse to change or otherwise do anything (because that would just Disturb him), nor could the plans require me to engage in any spontaneous spiritual evolution. I mean, sure, I’m all about evolving, but that’s a life project, and it tends to be a wee bit disruptive on its own. The focus here is on Things Getting Done, not taking on more stress in hopes of transcending to an angelic state of bliss that’s beyond stress.
First Order of Business?
Anything we know doesn’t work gets sprinkled with powdered sugar and added to the snack table.
So a bunch of old notes about taking responsibility for our own emotions, effective communication, courage, 10-steps-to-a-quickie-divorce and a comic book about self-improvement were tossed together with some peanuts until it turned into a sort of Monster Trail Mix. We added extra cinnamon, which was yummy.
Then, while still snacking, The Counsel found a solution.
I was shocked, too.
The official recommendation?
Build Steel-Reinforced Habit Habitats.
Yay, Spouse-Proof, Reinforced Habit Habitats! If you missed the Habit Habitat post, you can find it here. I’m still madly in love with the concept, and the Circus Menagerie will be putting together all kinds of info on Habit Habitats as soon as in-humanly possible, but essentially?
It’s about creating safe living spaces for newly formed habits, so they are protected and well taken care of and not disrupted.
So the Monsters pointed out that if I create a strong enough Habit Habitat for my work-stuff-plans? Said work-stuff-plans should weather the storms of Spousal Explosions with ease.
And there’s a science-y side to this Habit Habitat thing, grounded in my background as a brain-blogger. But I don’t want to bog you down in that, so..
Here’s the not-very-science-y version:
(In other words, don’t yell at me because this isn’t scientifically accurate. I mean, I’m talking about monsters, for gawd’s sake. It’s not going to be scientifically accurate)
Each time we take a new action, have a new thought or experience, our brain creates a new neural pathway.
Each time we repeat that action, thought or experience, we strengthen that neural pathway – so the more times we do something, the easier it becomes to repeat that something, the next time.
Eventually, the neural path is so well established that our thoughts travel it easily, even automatically.
But until that pathway is well trodden, it takes a bit of effort to walk that way.
And if, say, a major flood rolls through the area before the path is well established?
Yeah. It gets washed away.
That’s what I think happens when the Spouse-Gets-Disturbed. It’s like a flash flood that overwhelms those barely-started neural pathways of productivity.
He exhibits some sign of stress, and my Highly-Sensitive self starts desperately seeking ways to solve whatever-the-crisis might be. Since the spouse in question tends to throw a LOT of issues out at once, whenever he’s disturbed?
I wind up with a whole bunch of brand new, tangled-together neural pathways.
Tangled up new neural pathways that may or may not lead anywhere, but certainly don’t lead towards my pre-existing plans of productivity. That bridge? Yeah. Totally washed out.
I even get the feeling that the whole mucky process may actually re-purpose the same neurons I’d already used for my barely established business planning things, completely erasing that tentative brain cell network of productivity.
So When The Spouse Is Disturbed?
It’s as if a flash flood obliterates my carefully planned paths. I’m left slogging through mud and debris of half-built neural pathways, with no clear way ahead. And the time between Disturbances is rarely long enough for me to get new paths firmly established.
Seen that way, it’s pretty obvious why no amount of self-compassion or working-it-out-with-The-Spouse has solved the problem. Being Highly-Sensitive means when I spot indications of the spouses distress, my nature is to focus on relieving that distress. And fighting my nature? Yeah. Serious drain on energy and neural-path resources, and the productivity pathways get overwritten that way, too.
Which brings us back to a Habit Habitat, and Monster Counsel.
The Big M’s are pretty excited about this Special, Awesome, Steel-Reinforced Habitat thing. They say that even if it doesn’t totally solve the productivity-plans-going-kaboom problems, we can still use it as a hidey hole for ourselves. They’re also working on a side project that seems to involve portable rope bridges.
I’m not entirely sure what all of this will look like when complete, but the Monsters are busy with architectural sketches and some rather extensive supply lists.
We’re all very excited to see how this turns out.
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The Comment Carousel; No Ticket Required
Oh, look, I finally found a Circus label for these little pre-comment notes! Cool. Anyway, I’d love to hear from you about this wackiness, so long as you don’t try and send me to a psychiatrist or suggest I need counseling. Because that would be annoying. Plus, there’s the insurance deductible to fret over.