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A Voice in the Night
Written By: Mark Smith


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Fall Break - time to grab the kids and go try to find something fun to do while enjoying the last little bit of crisp fall weather. We started with a trip to the State Museum to see the Titanic artifacts. That was cool. If you haven't gone yet it is well worth the time and the $17.00. It turns out that I went down with the ship though. In our quest for lunch we were caught in a stampede of Future Farmers of America. I think all 55 thousand of them were lunching while we were searching for nourishment. We finally settled for some very pricey and uninspiring sushi. By ten minutes after lunch I was semi-joking about picking a weak FFA'er off from the pack so that I could homicidally take my frustrations out on the whole bunch. I was more than ready to hit the road north to St. Joe. When we went to unload the car at the hotel I discovered that my beautiful Italian leather bag was still sitting on my bed. Oops.

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Okay, life is an adventure. I bought a couple of shirts, some underwear and some socks. The hotel provided toothpaste and a toothbrush so I thought I was good. It turned out though that my $150.00 hotel room employs a rack of torture disguised as a double bed. Then the voice started talking. This isn't a crazy, delusional or bad voice. Actually what I'm talking about is the voice that knows more of the truth about you than you usually allow yourself to know about you. I like and dislike this character. I dislike the psychological discomfort. Ignorance is bliss...at least for a while. I won't go into great depth about my issues as that would turn into a work just a few pages shy of War and Peace. What I like about the voice is that he is trying to wake me up while he is keeping me from sleeping. He is showing me some of my many blind spots. Human beings have an absolutely amazing capacity to be waist deep in alligators without having the slightest clue. It is about not being present with one's self. It is about being numbly entrenched in a sleepy routine that can very easily lead you to steer way off your intended course.

Okay, I'll give you a tiny picture into my stuff but know that we'll be addressing your business presently. The voice that insisted on the very untimely late night chat regarding the brutal truth about me had the unmitigated gall to say that I ate too much, I spent too much, I don't pay enough attention to what my accountant has to say and I would be well served to accept people for who they actually are rather than spend a ton of energy attempting to turn them into a version of Mark Smith. Ouch. Got it. Thank you for that.

Your turn. What is that voice trying to tell you? If you listen now it could save you a great deal of pain later. Is that pesky little voice pointing out some possibly addictive excesses...work too much, drink too much, eat too much, fuss too much? Are there some actions your little voice is wanting you to commit to? Do you need to confront someone? If you cooperate with he or she they just might let you get some sleep. What is going on with you? What is going on with your marriage? Have you started to steer off course? Don't try to shut this little voice down. It is your salvation. In fact, hand that little fella a freakin' microphone. Write his wisdom down and then process it in the light of day with a friend, your spouse or your therapist.

I am not talking about an overly harsh, shaming voice that really needs to take a chill pill. I'm talking about knowing stuff that is true that would benefit you to know about. Staying deeply connected to one's self comes at a steep price. If that is your issue please don't beat yourself up. Again, I am not talking about that. I'm talking about a disconnection to one's self that could benefit from waking up and smelling the coffee. If you aren't present with yourself you might just forget something really important...like your luggage.

It is difficult to know cold hard truth about one's self. I'd much rather know the truth about you. But seeing the big picture without getting defensive is priceless. I wonder if Captain Edward Smith had a tiny voice inside him telling him that he might be better served to SLOW the damned boat down? That ship was gorgeous and incredibly grand. It was seemingly indestructible. What an unnecessary and shocking waste of precious human lives. The ocean was FULL of icebergs that night for God's sake!

None of us are indestructible. The truth is that trouble of many sorts can and will find you out if you aren't careful and aware. If you hear a little voice telling you to slow your grandiose boat down I hope you pay attention before tragedy befalls you. Arrogance can sink your ship. You might be in danger without knowing it. Pay attention. Talk it over with your spouse, your true friends and a direct, truth telling therapist. I felt how cold the iceberg was and unfortunately the water the Titanic went down in was even colder. You don't want to be up that creek without a paddle. Stand corrected. Let your heart instruct you. An ounce of prevention truly is much better than a pound of cure. The reason the voice is trying to talk to you in the middle of the night is that you aren't available to pay attention during the day. Deal with your marital issues now. Don't wait until the icey waters of alienation, loneliness or threat of divorce are up to your neck before you take action. It might be too late then. Though that typically is exactly when couples begin therapy, I can't recommend it. The fastest and least painful way through your stuff is directly through it.

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I'm headed back to bed now. I'm glad that I got that off my chest. I am centered, present, at peace and I believe much more aware of my blind spots and that is a very good thing. That is my wish for you as well my friend.

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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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