Your Mind Matters: Episode 2 – Trusting Your Partner, Tracking Thoughts, and Decision Paralysis

Your Mind Matters: Episode 2 – Trusting Your Partner, Tracking Thoughts, and Decision Paralysis

In this week’s episode we discuss Chris’ pronunciation of the word “bag”, how to rebuild trust after an affair, how to identify our thoughts, and speak about decision paralysis. We’ll also cover expectations and comparisons and how they can affect us.

Call us with your questions for future episodes: 415-855-0553.

Introduction

Back for another week, Dr. Christine and Chris are excited for episode 2 of the “Your Mind Matters” podcast. We appreciate the positive feedback we’ve received on the first episode, and are looking forward to answering more questions.

Many have expressed a reluctance to call in and ask their question. We propose that you to use this as an opportunity to challenge your anxiety, whether it’s a fear of making a mistake, public speaking, or making a phone call. You can call as many times as you need to if you want to start over, and we can edit mistakes. You’re just calling to leave a voicemail, you won’t have to speak to anyone, and you can feel free to use a fake name and location if it makes you more comfortable. You may surprise yourself and find that calling in isn’t as bad as you thought!

Question 1: My husband has been having an affair for a while, but ended it before I realized what was going on. He won’t admit it to me, even though I have plenty of evidence for it, and I feel very stressed over this situation because they work at the same place. Being unfaithful is not my husband’s nature, which makes me wonder even more about what has really been going on between them, and I feel even more stressed because he doesn’t admit it. But I trust him not to do it again, and I know he loves me, and he probably hates himself for it. But my question for you is, how do you suggest I work with myself to strengthen the faith I really do have deep down for him and for us?

  • Knowing what to do when someone cheats on you can be difficult. Being cheated on is considered a traumatic experience. It’s a disruption of your trust in someone and it can make it difficult to build relationships in the future. It’s important to realize that feeling stressed in this situation is appropriate and valid.
  • Relationships are based on trust and partnership. An affair can break that trust and make it hard to move on in the relationship.
  • When deciding what to do about an unfaithful partner, you should consider what your goal for the relationship is, and decide if you think you can move forward. Decide what’s important for you and if you think you can live with the situation. Be sure to take care of yourself and do what you decide is right for you.

Question 2: How can I become more aware of the thoughts that are running through my head that I should track in thought logs to be further considered? What I find is that I go through the day, and I’m probably acting on a lot of less than conscious thoughts that are affecting what I’m saying and doing, but when I go to write down my thoughts to look for traps, I don’t really notice what the thoughts were that led to those actions. They might be subconscious about who I should trust or how I’m feeling about certain people or situations. So, just wondering if there’s anything I can do to become more aware of what the thoughts are that are leading me to do things?

  • First, it’s important to “buy in” to the idea that our thoughts affect us, and that there is value in recording thoughts and challenging them. Then, you can begin to be more aware of the thoughts you’re having and the responses they cause in moments of anxiety.
  • Thought records can be difficult at times, especially when you’re removed from the situation. One thing that may help is to identify the stressful situation, then start by identifying the emotions you were feeling in that moment. This can help the thought be more identifiable. Generally cognitive behavioral therapy teaches that thoughts cause emotions which cause actions, but approaching it from another angle can help you remember your thoughts.
  • Analyzing the story you tell yourself in an anxious situation allows you to identify the evidence for and against your thoughts, and approach them in a more balanced way in the future.

Question 3: Just wondering how I can deal with anger? Like when I have anger from not meeting a man, and falling in love, and having kids, not having a man in my life. I just have this anger and no way to exercise that anger. I turn it inward towards myself, and of course anger becomes depression. Just wondering if you have any tips on how to deal with anger?

  • A lot of people deal with anger or frustration about not meeting expectations that society puts on them. Social media can give us an idealized picture of what we think life should be like, but it’s not real. When considering these expectations, be aware of this and be kind to yourself.
  • One strategy is to try to not worry about things that you don’t have control over. There may be some things you’re doing that are preventing you from meeting the expectations you have for yourself, but some of it could be completely random, and you have no control over it.
  • Despite this, your feelings are valid and it can be beneficial to be open to them rather than resisting them. Meditation is one way to focus on yourself, step away from what others are doing, and let yourself access your feelings and acknowledge them. Feelings of jealousy are okay, acknowledging that you’re feeling a certain way and being able to coexist with it and move on from it is better than pushing feelings away and trying to ignore them.

Grab Bag: I struggle with decision paralysis in many things but especially doubting what I need to do for my future career. What is decision paralysis, and what mental illness is it rooted in, and what can we do to solve decision paralysis?

  • Decision paralysis can be related to perfectionism and anxiety. One helpful way to deal with decision making is prioritization, or deciding what tasks are more or less important, and breaking things down into one step at a time.
  • Perfection is the enemy of progress. Knowing your goal can be helpful in moving forward. Do you need to do something absolutely perfectly, or is doing something better than doing nothing because you weren’t able to decide? Oftentimes we struggle with small and big decisions, but usually most decisions are smaller than we think, and there aren’t as many consequences for making a small decision as we may think.
  • Self doubt can be another cause of decision paralysis. If something doesn’t go well, you may feel at fault, or you may fear failure. On the other hand, we often fear success as well. Success can mean that something big, new, or different may be on the horizon, or that we’ll get added responsibility, and for many change is scary. Success also creates a sort of cognitive dissonance with the narrative of self doubt many struggle with. It may feel easier to stick with your core belief that you aren’t good enough and not even try than it is to make the decision and do something.