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  • Elizabeth Billingsley

Listening Intentionally and Those Rabbits: What Really Happened


Hello everyone! As I did with my R-E-S-P-E-C-T blog last week, I will start with my old blog and then expound on what I have learned since that time about listening intentionally and what exactly the rabbit chasing means. I will also expound on what exactly prompted this blog and it's not what you think. Again, please bare with me, this will be quite honest and a bit lengthy.

Here is my old blog:

"Listen Intentionally and Stop Chasing Two Rabbits."

Now I will turn my attention to a very important part of communication- listening. Ladies we must listen intentionally to the men we love. We are there sounding board and their best friend. Who wants to talk to a best friend who doesn’t listen and value what they say? When you listen, write things down too; especially if it’s something that you need to remember later on. If you aren’t sure about something during a conversation, ask him. Engage him 100% in conversations-believe me, he values your time and attention.

As you all know, life can get hectic and I will tell you that multi-tasking isn’t always the best way to go about life. My fiance told me about a Chinese proverb. The proverb speaks of chasing two rabbits and the individual losing both of them because he couldn’t focus on just one chase. Many times in our busy lives, we are multi-tasking and chasing our “two rabbits”. The problem is we fail to listen and become distracted. In doing so, we miss not only what our fiances are trying to communicate to us, we miss what we should be focused on as well. Our “two rabbits” get away from us and our fiance in the meantime may feel hurt or misunderstood. He also may not understand your distraction.

I told my fiance today that I’m not chasing “two rabbits” anymore. I’m going to focus on one chase. I believe this will help me be a better listener too. Only by intentional listening and focus can you and he solve problems and communicate effectively with one another. Ladies, listen to him, really listen to him-I promise you that you will see his heart if you do. You will find that so much can be avoided by intentional listening-and believe me he will appreciate that and your love and trust for each other will grow. Keep your ears and your heart open to the man you love!

Until next time,

Beth

My insight in 2016:

First of all, I want to say that listening intentionally is a very important part of marriage or any relationship for that matter. It does make us good listeners as well as good communicators. Did I always get this right? No. Did he always get this right? No. I have never met one person who listened like they were supposed to all the time.

And what about the two rabbits and multitasking you ask? To be honest, I have no idea if there even was an old Chinese proverb about chasing two rabbits. However, I can speak to multi-tasking. It has its advantages and disadvantages. Women are typically better at it than men although not always. Multitasking is good if you can focus on just that, multitasking. Now, if you are trying to have an in depth conversation and multitask, that usually doesn't work as well.

As I mentioned above, this blog was written as the result of something that happened. Allow me to shed some light on that subject.

My late husband, who was my fiance at the time, needed a lot of attention. I, of course, did not realize how this would take a toll on the relationship nor did I recognize what was going on. What I was seeing was a symptom of a psychologically unstable condition known as BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder. I would only find out after he died that he had been diagnosed with this years before and chose not to deal with it, a fact that made me very sad.

Borderlines are extremely narcissistic and crave attention, undivided attention, much like a small toddler. They get very angry when their perceived attention is taken from them and given to something else or someone else, including a hobby or another family member. The reason there was ever any mention of intentional listening or even "two rabbits" is because I had been lectured, actually more like berated, when he had not gotten the attention he thought he was supposed to have two days prior to that blog being written. I was accused of multitasking and not giving him my undivided attention. Yet, he had not told me we needed to discuss something serious. He also resented when I wanted to do other things around the house, even house work. He would resent this even after I had spent a lot of time with him and done something we both enjoyed. I wrote the blog and agreed with him to keep the peace. I was forever giving a peace offering to someone who was never going to be satisfied, he couldn't be because he had something else battling for his mind and heart. This revelation made me sad in the coming months after his death.

Now please understand, ladies, there are time you and your husband will need to have serious conversations and attention for both of you will need to be undivided. There will also be times your husband will just want you to hang out with him and you all do something together that you both mutually enjoy. Both of these scenarios require the undivided attention of each partner. And of course, your husband or wife should be your best friend and we should always do our best to listen to our best friend and make sure we are trying to understand before we are understood. However, none of us are going to get this right 100% of the time. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Anyone who is berating you because you don't is not only lying, they are abusing you.

When you love someone, you let them be themselves. You let them have their space and you enjoy space and conversation together. You even love them when they don't listen so well and they love you. When anything becomes one sided or if anything about a spouse is used to put down that person or something or someone they love, an abuse is occurring. This should not be tolerated nor kept silent. If these types of issues are occurring in your relationships, address them. Address them quickly. I can assure you if you don't, they will only get worse.

I hope my current insight in these last two blogs has shed some light on the things going on both prior to and in my marriage. I will continue to provide that insight over the next few days in three more blogs. Again I want to say, I still believe in love and marriage and what happened in my previous marriage I do not believe to be the norm in most marriages. I also want you to see the great effect mental illness has on any relationship - devastating effects. If I can help save one relationship or one person, these blogs have been worth it to me.

Thank you for reading them! More to come!

Until next time,

Elizabeth

**To learn more about Borderline Personality Disorder and how it affected my husband, please see my book, The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything In Between. You can find it on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Audible.com, Kobo.com and the Kobo app, and Books A Million. You can find it in Canada at any of these retailers as well as McNally Robinson and Russell Books.


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