The (Relational) Space Between Us

Hey, it’s not as bad as it sounds.  We had our third week of what I have begun to call “Fat Class.”  Week three is reserved for prospective bariatric patients and the support people.  It was a full room, and good for those people who brought someone.  There we were, the 5 or 6 of us who brought no one, in the back row looking at each other knowingly.  We live alone, some by choice, some not, and I am confident we’ll figure something out when the time comes.  I’m sure I could get a member of my family or a co-worker to come and sit with me to make sure I’m okay.  I’ll sleep downstairs to be close to everything relevant.  But this night, I was flying solo.  Come to think of it, if I were a pilot, flying solo would be a badge of honor; it’s something one has to graduate into.  Go me.

flying solo
from robynhobson.com

It was a good class, which surprised me, because it wasn’t as much about food as it was relationships.  One of my favorite sayings regarding the fairer sex comes, of all places, from Popeye: “It’s been proven through history that wimmenz a myskery.” Dr. W. was discussing the relational system, and how it needs 3 things from all involved to keep going

  1. Flexibility
  2. Adaptability
  3. Accommodation

    Feminist popeye
    The mystery is what the hell happened to her forearms.

If one of these things is missing, the system starts to break down.  To put these things into a diagram, draw a box, and write “ME” in it.  Then draw a large circle to the right of that box.  To the right of that, draw another box and write “YOU” inside.  That circle represents the relational space.  This is where things get worked out.  I pour in my thoughts, needs, hopes, and wants.  You pour in yours.  And from that we get our compromise.  We say, “When you ____, I feel ______, and what I really need is _____.”  Keep in mind, this means that we have to tell people what we want, and we have to be direct.  Now, write all the wants and needs in the circle.  Remember the Tinker Toy exercise, where we draw spokes off the circle and figure out how to get these things in the circle?  We are NEVER, EVER stuck in a problem!voodoo doll

Picture instead a fight. Arguments and fights happen when we don’t use the relational space, and instead go around it.  Draw an arrow from your box around the top or bottom of the circle directly to your partner’s box.  Admittedly, I have worn a path of fire in the area around the outside of the relational space.  Which is why I was alone on support night, let’s be honest.  Anyway, that path leads to the pyramid of escalation.  On the base, level 1 is discussion and compromise.  Level 2 is “Attack, defend, counterattack, retreat.”  Level 3 is the level reserved for goading and button pushing (you know who you are).  Level 4 is verbal abuse – demeaning, name calling ugliness.

Argument
Careful, lady.  I’ll bite that finger clean off.

And the tip of the pyramid is physical abuse.  If something comes at us from levels 2 or 3, we must always respond from Level 1.  We could say, for example, “Could you help me understand what some of your concerns are?”  It gets to what is happening in their head, not addressing the escalation.  Nothing good ever comes from anything above level 1!

Before the class  started, I was talking to a guy in the back with me.  He mentioned that he’s been doing the exercise, eating the way he is supposed to, and he still feels like he’s gaining weight.  I feel exactly the same way!  I met with the dietician Friday, and she thinks I’ve hit a temporarily plateau in my weight loss.  She thinks because I’ve been trying to stick to 1200 calories a day that my body thinks it’s starving and is slowing things down.  So we’re going to add a few hundred calories a day and see if that changes things up.  I also need to change what I eat every day for lunch to keep my body guessing.  Not the first time I’ve heard that.  So tomorrow I will spend time looking for other lunch alternatives.  I was only up a pound over a two week period, but I still see that as going in the wrong direction.  I mean, I wound up here by overlooking one pound at a time.  It eventually became 100.  As the saying goes, a nickel here, a dime there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.  At least I think that’s the saying.

Gain weight
Um…no.

I was approved for the in-lab sleep study two Wednesdays from now, so I’m (not) looking forward to that.  I mean, I sleep naked, so between having to wear something to bed and being in a strange bed on a weeknight, I may not sleep at all. Thing is, the in-home sleep study isn’t as comprehensive, and apparently many people end up needing the in-lab study anyway.  So no sleep, and I might get to come away from it with a stinking C-PAP machine.  And I get to go to work the next day.  Awesome.

No Sleep
Thursday’s warning to my coworkers
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