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Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. #45967
01/06/11 05:55 PM
01/06/11 05:55 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
Retired Therapist
AlTurtle  Offline OP
Retired Therapist
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
I never intended to open this topic.

My goal in life at this point is to share what I have learned that assists couples in making better decisions. My whiteboard in my office is a learning/teaching tool. Over the years I have become comfortable with what to me is the simplicity of getting along.

True, it seemed complicated to me when no one could explain it, when everyone out there seemed to have half-fixes. And I am aware it seems complicated to people who come to my website where I share what I have found. But I now think of it as profoundly simple - a series of concepts that create series of specific skills, that work to bring peace, nurturance and delight in being together.

But repeatedly couples in my office and people here online have wanted to enter into sharing about how to deal with others or how to approach other people's problems. The most common pushes I think come around the topic of affairs or addiction, seen through the lens of "misbehavior." I think that hidden in these pushes is often my old friend "righteous indignation."

I believe that if a friend, partner, professional succumbs to the "cleansing purity of righteous indignation" in any of its forms, they are harming rather than helping. Without awareness, I imagine they've slipped into being part of the problem.

So here is a place where I will be open to the questions of how to approach "wrong" behavior. My thoughts may reflect a very long (50 year) journey on this topic.

I think the way I'll handle this in practice, is that if in one of my topics you bring up what I think is a focus on approach, I'll quote and reply here and note that shift.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #46008
01/06/11 06:35 PM
01/06/11 06:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
Retired Therapist
AlTurtle  Offline OP
Retired Therapist
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Thanks, OurHouse, for more clarity. I will not debate with MB about their advice. I can hear it. Not sure I like it. But this is a tough situation with addiction or affair going on.


This is precisely the point with much of what is confronting most people who come to this site or to other sites for help in dealing with an affair crisis. For most, they come seeking ways to end the spouse's affair and recover their marriage rather than help in immediately ending the marriage.

It is a "tough" situation regardless of "when" in the scenario someone comes seeking advice, but it's especially tough when the affair is ongoing, especially if it's an involved, long-term affair.


I have no additions to these thoughts. I will not take time to amend all the MasterTalk I see. I think it is too bad that you use so much, as I think that distracts and dilutes your clarity of vision.

Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
It's also "tough" depending upon whether or not someone is a believer in God and Jesus Christ because that speaks to the issue you don't appear to like…the reality of a true Master over our lives. Without that, each individual is their own "master" and sits on the sovereign throne of their own lives, ascribing to themselves all the prerogatives and rights of a true sovereign, which "demotes" everyone else to the position of servant to them and their wants and desires.

Well it is all a good point of view. Thanks for sharing yours.

Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
Perhaps I am misunderstanding your aversion to "Master Talk," but I get the feeling that it's based in the idea of a human being sitting on the throne of their life, and each person is an equal "monarch" in their own life. Without God as Sovereign Lord in someone's life, I can see the sense in what you say about Master Talk, at least up to a point since I also believe that there are some truths that govern despite one's possible self-serving opinions and actions and despite whether they believe in God or not. That is because God has established Truth and it functions regardless of human opinions (sort of like the Sun rises and sets regardless of whether or not we "like it" functioning according to a schedule we have no control over).


I think your points are clear to me (I read carefully) and I do think you have no idea of what I am talking when it comes to Faith or Bullying or much of an idea of what I mean by MasterTalk. This can all be found in the material I suggest for reading in Topic #3.

Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
The problem, and the strength, of strict No Contact is that it is pretty much one-dimensional. It really is a "last ditch" effort for a Faithful Spouse to try to penetrate the fog of an affair with the reality of the consequences of no longer being "in the life" of the Unfaithful Spouse. It MAY result in an opportunity to save the marriage, assuming that's what the Faithful Spouse still wants, but it most likely will result in a divorce simply because it IS a form of an ultimatum, to which there is built-in "choice" to be made by the Unfaithful Spouse.


Even the language "faithful spouse" "unfaithful spouse" seems to drip of "righteous indignation." I love to approach the situation as someone trying the help and also as someone who not only will not "cast the first stone" but who remembers the precepts of "forgiving your enemy." Just my way. But I did pick it up from Jesus, a good Friend.

Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
By and large I agree with your thoughts on this issue of No Contact with the Unfaithful Spouse, but it is also essential to have No Contact, in my opinion, with the Other Person in the affair. That person cannot be involved in any way with the Faithful Spouse, even if they wind up repenting of the damage they caused and seek forgiveness. I put that into the category of a consequence of the affair that must be lived with for the rest of someone's life.


I see it only a bit differently. Yes, I want people to be responsible for their behavior - consequences. I want the Faithful Spouse to become responsible for their behavior, too. I do not want to neglect one partner to focus on the other's transgressions. I think the usual distraction is to focus on your partner's behavior, try to change it (manipulation, threats, guilting, punishing), and neglect to change your own behavior. In the process of trying to change their behavior, you give a leaving person all the more reasons to leave.

Tis a bit of a problem. Usually a person comes to me when their partner is leaving in one form or another: silence, affair, overwork, addiction, golf, hunting, etc. They want to know what to do, because they are hurting. They don't want to be left behind, abandoned, etc.

Now, I am aware that the partner who is leaving is doing so for damn good reasons. It may be foolish behavior, but it clearly makes sense to them. Meanwhile, the hurting partner in my office is a) hurting and bleeding on my floor, and b) clearly responsible for a great deal of why their partner choses to leave. I want to deal with both problems in the person before me. (I am neglecting, not forgetting, the other person. They just aren't in my room. I wish they were.)

Dealing with the bleeding, to me, is a process and takes patience, skills of listening, and skills of validation. I think it is also fundamentally a grieving process: inherently chaotic, sometimes incapacitating, healthy/recreating, and will end. I am grateful for having learned the skills of facilitating grieving. I think all people should get good at this.

Dealing with the problem of this person's responsibility seems to me one of education. This person wants to do something effective. The way I see it their instrument is their own body, mind and spirit. By changhing/learning themselves they can hope to effect their partner. By stopping/changing/replacing all the foolish stuff they have been doing over the years with wise stuff, they give their partner a powerful reason to reconnect. Well, over the years their foolish stuff has given their partner powerful reasons to leave. Learning takes time. But relationships seem built on hope and stop when hope reaches zero. Most often the leaving partner is signaling that they have no hope left.

The most powerful tools for me and for the person with me are clear understanding of boundaries.

Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
Affairs strike at the heart with an attempt and an intent to destroy. They must be excised, cut out, and not left to be a part of the recovering or recovered person in any way. Like cancer, they can leave behind scar tissue that can cause painful adhesions and that can even "flair up" years later. Since the Other Person IS external to the Faithful Spouse's body, they CAN completely remove that potential through No Contact.


I really think you are pretty far off from what works, here. I see an affair as a perhaps foolish attempt to stop a relationship that sucked. I see them as often the first healthy sign of moving to something much healthier. Of course affairs are risky, but probably not as risky as staying in the relationship without solving the pains.

Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
Protecting from the Unfaithful Spouse having another affair is something to be addressed by changes in the marriage, but there are no "guarantees," only greater odds depending upon how they both work are building a newer and better marriage from the ashes of the old marriage.


Right on.

Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
I read your two articles; WHAT TO DO WHEN SHE (HE) LEAVES Assuming you want her (him) back and When to Fold 'Em?, and found them to be pretty much the way I see and approach the No Contact with the Unfaithful Spouse issue.

While I may also say the frequency and content of any communication can vary from your suggestions, I think the underlying idea of how and what is communicated is sound.


Ok.

Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
When my wife and I separated back in 2002, I was advised to "go dark" and implement No Contact with her. I rejected that idea, maintained some communication, and I believe that communicating was instrumental in finally getting her to end the affair and attempt to recover our marriage. Today we ARE recovered, the OM is completely out of the picture….but the process took several years to get to where I felt we had finally recovered the marriage and our love for each other. Now we are feeding and maintaining the marriage and each other.


Great for you! and thanks for sharing.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #46089
01/06/11 07:57 PM
01/06/11 07:57 PM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,381
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CajunRose Offline
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CajunRose  Offline
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I really like what I've read on your website Al, although I admit I don't quite understand all of it. I'm using your onion analogy and understanding what I can before peeling back the layers and trying to get to the next level.

In trying to deal with being a "left-behind spouse" I feel like I've had a crash course in relationships. I'm much closer to understanding what "vintage love" ought to look like and how to get there. I wish I had found your website months ago; I might still have a marriage.

I agree very much that it's easy to get into blame and indignation. We're hurt, and hurting people lash out. I am trying (not always successfully) to go back and reread some of your articles when I get to the very angry and indignant moments, to remind myself that my husband is hurting too. That my actions hurt him. If I don't keep that in mind, then I'm acting without a full view of the situation and can mess it up more.

What's missing, I think, and where the previous thread started to get off track, was how to apply those principles to the situations that a lot of us are facing here. We're largely a community of "clingy" spouses who are in the process of a divorce because we didn't make our partners feel safe and they had no hope the dynamic would change. Many of us are doing our best to learn as much as we can so that we can work on our own communication and boundary issues. The big question most of us have is how to display those changes, how to interact, with the spouse who left. There are a few different approaches being advocated here, with the Plan B letter and "going dark" being one of them. You've said you disagree with that to an extent.

How do those of us who are physically separated, who are in the process of divorcing, and who have young children, which necessitates some regular contact with the leaving spouse, act with the spouse? I love your When to Fold 'em article, and I would follow-the 5-month plan except that I already see my estranged husband at least once a week. Should we be businesslike during the child exchanges and then send a letter once a week as recommended? How to leave it open for contact when we already see each other?

I guess I'm really looking for a more detailed version of how to apply some of this to compare it to some of the other plans for situations like mine.


Current spouse: Night. D10, D9, S7

About me

You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

http://www.divorcedmomfinances.com
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: CajunRose] #46334
01/07/11 12:02 AM
01/07/11 12:02 AM
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LotsaLove Offline
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Originally Posted By: CajunRose

What's missing, I think, and where the previous thread started to get off track, was how to apply those principles to the situations that a lot of us are facing here.



I totally agree... coming to forums is a bit like trying to find a similar court case to your own, in order to understand the law better, as well as where you stand.

Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: CajunRose] #46344
01/07/11 12:42 AM
01/07/11 12:42 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
Retired Therapist
AlTurtle  Offline OP
Retired Therapist
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: CajunRose
I really like what I've read on your website Al, although I admit I don't quite understand all of it. I'm using your onion analogy and understanding what I can before peeling back the layers and trying to get to the next level.
I love it. Good thinking I believe.

Originally Posted By: CajunRose
In trying to deal with being a "left-behind spouse" I feel like I've had a crash course in relationships. I'm much closer to understanding what "vintage love" ought to look like and how to get there. I wish I had found your website months ago; I might still have a marriage.


Sometimes its hard to say or realize that without our partner walking away (my first one did also), we might not have woken up. That we are "better off" for our partner walking away! That is was a "good thing" that they walked away. That we are becoming a better person for this experience. Wow, perhap I believe this, but these are for me profound and tough lessons.

And, think how many people we are surrounded by who are walking the path we walked, the path of blindness, right now. Very humbling.

Originally Posted By: CajunRose
I agree very much that it's easy to get into blame and indignation. We're hurt, and hurting people lash out. I am trying (not always successfully) to go back and reread some of your articles when I get to the very angry and indignant moments, to remind myself that my husband is hurting too. That my actions hurt him. If I don't keep that in mind, then I'm acting without a full view of the situation and can mess it up more.


Good for you. Keep plugging. Keep working to get a bigger and more complete view of the whole situation.


Originally Posted By: CajunRose
What's missing, I think, and where the previous thread started to get off track, was how to apply those principles to the situations that a lot of us are facing here. We're largely a community of "clingy" spouses who are in the process of a divorce because we didn't make our partners feel safe and they had no hope the dynamic would change. Many of us are doing our best to learn as much as we can so that we can work on our own communication and boundary issues. The big question most of us have is how to display those changes, how to interact, with the spouse who left. There are a few different approaches being advocated here, with the Plan B letter and "going dark" being one of them. You've said you disagree with that to an extent. How do those of us who are physically separated, who are in the process of divorcing, and who have young children, which necessitates some regular contact with the leaving spouse, act with the spouse? I love your When to Fold 'em article, and I would follow-the 5-month plan except that I already see my estranged husband at least once a week. Should we be businesslike during the child exchanges and then send a letter once a week as recommended? How to leave it open for contact when we already see each other? I guess I'm really looking for a more detailed version of how to apply some of this to compare it to some of the other plans for situations like mine.


Oh, I know, I know. "How specifically should I handle this situation? Give me more detail, please." I feel for you and you and you. And I recall feeling a whole bunch of caring for me, the lost guy that I was back in 1979.



Everything I been learning and sharing is aimed at "what the hell to do that works." I have opened three topics out of maybe 6-8 total. Each one refers to papers I wrote as I figured out what to do. Each one is full of specifics.

I believe many of you want a simple a,b,c. But I don't think life is like that. Each of us has to walk our path. (It's ok to be pissed at me, by the way. You can yowl your frustration, then get down to the work of learning.)

My best advice is to use friends to dig into your past with your partner and find where things were off, locate the behaviors to change and change it.

Come to MA, and to my Whiteboard, to share what you've learned, to help all those friends. And remember, when they/you feel stuck, to cheer each other on.


  • Take care of your Lizard and that of others around you. Don't stop until people around you are Playing, Mating, Nurturing and doing Creative Work.
  • Clingers learn to take care of your need for connection without letting your Lizard panic. Avoiders, learn to take care of your need for quiet without shutting down.
  • Bullies, get rid of your habits of using temper to control people. Learn to hear what people think of you and celebrate their differences.
  • Passive Masters, learn to earn what you want.
  • Slaves, get to know and treasure yourself and build piles of boundary skills to set yourself aside and delight in life.


And more, but not endless.





Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #46409
01/07/11 02:46 AM
01/07/11 02:46 AM
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LadyGrey Offline
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I have to say I saw this topic heading and Lizzy went crazy thinking "I hope Al has special ops training in a bomb disposal unit as this is going to look a great deal like that."

Lizzy is so reactive for people she cares about who are kind-- it's like she has no shades of grey.

And for the record, when I read your stuff I feel physical relief -- my head drops, my eyes tear up, a feel exhausted and sleepy for a time, followed by a period of numbness and staring into space, followed by a period of exhaustion.

I don't understand how people get through your material so quickly. It takes so much out of me, and I try (and fail) to let it come full circle and energize me.

Sadly, I'm STILL trying to parse out the subtleties of the Lizard.

Last edited by seekingbalance; 01/07/11 02:53 AM.

Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: LadyGrey] #46526
01/07/11 05:06 AM
01/07/11 05:06 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
Retired Therapist
AlTurtle  Offline OP
Retired Therapist
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
I have to say I saw this topic heading and Lizzy went crazy thinking "I hope Al has special ops training in a bomb disposal unit as this is going to look a great deal like that."


Lots of counselors think that dealing with couples is a nightmare. I am not sure they'd say it, but I think they are scared a) cuz they don't know how to setup and maintain a learning environment, and b) they don't know how to handle their own relationships so they don't know how to model the skills. Ah well.

I can share a couple of amusing thoughts. Most couples enter the therapy room as if it were a car repair facility and they are bringing in their broken car ---- and its sitting in the other chair. They often seem to want me to simultaneously forgive them and beat the heck out of their partner. My job is to shift that mind-set toward colaborating in helping each other learn to be better partners.

If it comes to learning, they often seem to wait for the other to do the learning. Tis so silly.

A lot of people think that learning is a passive act where a TV, a teacher, a book rambles on and suddenly they now know better. I think that improving your relationship is all about building skills. Skills are only learned through practice, practice, practice. Tis, I think, a bit like learning to type on a qwerty keyboard. You start with ghghghhghghgghghgh then gjgfghgjgfjf etc. Lots of repetition.

I have found that people learn much more quickly from being together with their partner and I actually go through the various classes in front of them. Then they take a chart or paper home. I don't think it is easy to learn from my papers - too much data to quickly. But what else can I do?

Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
I don't understand how people get through your material so quickly. It takes so much out of me, and I try (and fail) to let it come full circle and energize me. Sadly, I'm STILL trying to parse out the subtleties of the Lizard.


Well, I think it is really easy to tell if someone has read my paper(s). I think it shows. You can lead a horse...... My college education professor reminded us students that there is not such thing as teaching. There is only learning. A good teacher puts people in a situation that they cannot get out of without learning. I think marriage is such a clever learning situation. "Want a good one? Ok, get to work learning."

I salute your digging into the Lizard. I believe you will get good stuff directly in proportion to how much you put in.

Oh, yeah, and CajunRose, you don't know how scared your words made me for a moment. You used the phrase "What's missing...." That phrase has always stirred up my panic. After my divorce and the terrible pain I felt, I became obsessed in fixing my relationship troubles. I thought I was missing a lot and tried to get it. When I married Sandra, I found I was still missing lots of stuff. I then read many authors (Harville Hendrix, etc, etc) and could feel that each of them were missing lots of stuff. My guess is that my beautiful sense of completion or sense of something missing has helped me all along the way. From your point of view, CajunRose, lots of stuff is missing. From mine, cuz I have my whole website "memorized," cuz I wrote it, I find nothing missing. It's all there. Aaaaaahhhh.

Read on.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #46572
01/07/11 05:55 AM
01/07/11 05:55 AM
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flowmom Offline
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Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
  • Take care of your Lizard and that of others around you. Don't stop until people around you are Playing, Mating, Nurturing and doing Creative Work.
  • Clingers learn to take care of your need for connection without letting your Lizard panic. Avoiders, learn to take care of your need for quiet without shutting down.
  • Bullies, get rid of your habits of using temper to control people. Learn to hear what people think of you and celebrate their differences.
  • Passive Masters, learn to earn what you want.
  • Slaves, get to know and treasure yourself and build piles of boundary skills to set yourself aside and delight in life.
This is actually very specific and helpful advice, Al. Thank you for expressing your thoughts so clearly. I am sharing your work with others who are finding it as insightful as I am smile


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #46639
01/07/11 01:47 PM
01/07/11 01:47 PM
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PEEKSKILL NY
Rich57 Offline
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Rich57  Offline
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Posts: 1,285
PEEKSKILL NY
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle



  • Take care of your Lizard and that of others around you. Don't stop until people around you are Playing, Mating, Nurturing and doing Creative Work.
  • Clingers learn to take care of your need for connection without letting your Lizard panic. Avoiders, learn to take care of your need for quiet without shutting down.
  • Bullies, get rid of your habits of using temper to control people. Learn to hear what people think of you and celebrate their differences.
  • Passive Masters, learn to earn what you want.
  • Slaves, get to know and treasure yourself and build piles of boundary skills to set yourself aside and delight in life.


And more, but not endless.

So this could be summarized as "Look in the mirror and work on yourself"

We are all not perfect and have things we must work on.
This list will get us in the right ballpark.


Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: LadyGrey] #46649
01/07/11 01:59 PM
01/07/11 01:59 PM
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OurHouse Offline
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Quote:
Sadly, I'm STILL trying to parse out the subtleties of the Lizard.


DITTO! I feel like the class dunce. Everyone else has moved on and I'm stuck on "Lizard".

Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: OurHouse] #46671
01/07/11 02:21 PM
01/07/11 02:21 PM
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OurHouse Offline
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I just wanted to expand on my previous post.

It's not that I'm having trouble understanding the concepts, although they are new to me and complex, and as Seeking said...take some doing to parse successfully.

Where I'm getting hung up is figuring out how to apply these to my own life. Have I successfully applied them in the past? Can I do it again? How do I do it if I haven't? What results should I expect? What do I do if I hit a snag? And the big kicker: What if I'm simply just not a "big enough" person to actually do all this hard work? What does that mean I might really want out of life? Do I just want to bail? Or do I want to stick around and do the hard work?

So your concepts raise more questions for me than they answer and I think as a result, that I tend to "let" myself stay "stuck" on the "beginner" concepts, such as Lizard.

I dunno. All this stuff is still swirling around in some primordial soup in my head. Along with a kick a$$ head cold I seem to have picked up in the past day or so. Not a good combination.

One sort of off topic observation about Lizzie.

I'm coming to believe that my Lizard is actually calmed by a particular geographic area of the country. The Pacific Northwest. Why do I say this? Quickly: I was born/raised/attended college on the East Coast. After college, I moved west, got a decent job, made lots of friends and in general, had a nice life. But I felt as though something was "missing". I couldn't put my finger on it. One summer, I took a camping trip with some friends and we drove up the CA coast to Oregon, Washington and BC. Al, the MINUTE we rolled over the CA/OR border, I felt something. It was calming; it was centering. I didn't make much sense out of it until we rolled into Portland, when I had an A-HA moment. I felt more at home within 60 seconds of being there, than I had felt the previous 24 years of my life. That feeling continued as we toured around the PNW and intensified when we got to Seattle.

When I returned home, I embarked on an aggressive job hunt. Within 6 months, I was offered a job in Seattle, complete with full relo! Unfortunately, 8 months after I got there, I was promoted and relocated to the Southwest. It was ok, but it was not "home". Two years later, I wrangled another promotion and move to Portland. Ahhh.

And so the story goes, Al. Was in PDX for a while, met my husband who convinced me we had to return to CA for the sake of both our careers (??? mine was fine). Returned. Was miserable. Wrangled a transfer with that company back to Seattle. Was happy. Five years later, I allowed myself to be talked into moving back East. And 15 years later, I'm still here.

I developed massive panic/anxiety disorder when we moved back to CA. I suffered for 2 years. We moved up to Seattle and it went away. We moved East...I was ok for a year or so, but it all came back full-force and worse than before. If it weren't for an outrageously great CBT and the aid of some Klonopin...which I had refused all those other years because I'm med-phobic, I would not have been able to function these past 15 years.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

smile

Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #46733
01/07/11 03:56 PM
01/07/11 03:56 PM
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CajunRose Offline
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Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
[quote=seekingbalance]Oh, yeah, and CajunRose, you don't know how scared your words made me for a moment. You used the phrase "What's missing...." That phrase has always stirred up my panic. After my divorce and the terrible pain I felt, I became obsessed in fixing my relationship troubles. I thought I was missing a lot and tried to get it. When I married Sandra, I found I was still missing lots of stuff. I then read many authors (Harville Hendrix, etc, etc) and could feel that each of them were missing lots of stuff. My guess is that my beautiful sense of completion or sense of something missing has helped me all along the way. From your point of view, CajunRose, lots of stuff is missing. From mine, cuz I have my whole website "memorized," cuz I wrote it, I find nothing missing. It's all there. Aaaaaahhhh.

Read on.


I guess that was my MasterTalk rearing it's head. I should have said, "What my brain is still trying to figure out is...." Thank you for pointing that out in such a nice way.

I totally agree with the "sense of what's missing" helping along the way. I had already figured out for myself that one of my biggest problems was being complacent - assuming I had all the tools I needed to be in a good marriage. I hope to never fall into that pit again, but to keep seeking new knowledge and skills so I just get better and better at this stuff.

Last edited by CajunRose; 01/07/11 03:58 PM. Reason: add last paragraph

Current spouse: Night. D10, D9, S7

About me

You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

http://www.divorcedmomfinances.com
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: CajunRose] #46754
01/07/11 04:41 PM
01/07/11 04:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
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ForeverHers Offline
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ForeverHers  Offline
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Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I never intended to open this topic.


It's too bad you never intended to open this topic because couples in crisis are what most often lands at sites like this seeking to get some help. When they arrive all bleeding and wounded, it doesn't seem the time to try to educate them on "relationship speak." Rather it seems more like the time to begin clamping the bleeding arteries and to begin CPR to keep the "patient" alive long enough so that they might get to the "relationship" stuff.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
My goal in life at this point is to share what I have learned that assists couples in making better decisions. My whiteboard in my office is a learning/teaching tool. Over the years I have become comfortable with what to me is the simplicity of getting along.


Assisting couples in making better decisions is a good goal. I don't think anyone would argue with that objective. Getting along is also a good idea. Simplicity in theory is also not quite so simple in real life, which I know you are aware of, so it's a good thing to try to identify some of the motivating factors, such as what you call the Lizard.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
True, it seemed complicated to me when no one could explain it, when everyone out there seemed to have half-fixes. And I am aware it seems complicated to people who come to my website where I share what I have found. But I now think of it as profoundly simple - a series of concepts that create series of specific skills, that work to bring peace, nurturance and delight in being together.

But repeatedly couples in my office and people here online have wanted to enter into sharing about how to deal with others or how to approach other people's problems. The most common pushes I think come around the topic of affairs or addiction, seen through the lens of "misbehavior." I think that hidden in these pushes is often my old friend "righteous indignation."


Bringing peace, nurturance and delight in being together is a very good objective.

But to label the "wrongness" of an affair as "just" a "lens" of misbehavior is to seemingly equate the seriousness of infidelity with something like jaywalking instead of crossing at the crosswalk.

So are we to believe that you don't believe in "righteous" indignation or "righteous" anger? I'm curious about that because that does seem to come through from some of things you have written. If you don't believe in "righteous" indignation or anger, are you saying that it's all "unrighteous" and/or "wrong?"

For my part I go with God on this point; "Be angry, but in your anger do not also sin."
There is a restraint to NOT commit one evil in response to another evil, no "eye for an eye," no having a "revenge affair to level the playing field," etc..

The "anger" is against the sin that violates the standards of God which are embodied in the First and Second greatest commandments as stated by Jesus Christ.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I believe that if a friend, partner, professional succumbs to the "cleansing purity of righteous indignation" in any of its forms, they are harming rather than helping. Without awareness, I imagine they've slipped into being part of the problem.


That's a pretty broad and sweeping statement, Al. What do you mean, or what are you thinking of when you say "succumbs?" It seems you are thinking of some sort of action that results from that "succumbing," so I'm curious as to what is and what is not that sort of action as you see it. The "cleansing purity of righteous indignation" sounds like out of control rage and anger and a total lack of reason in responses to an affair, but that is not what "righteous indignation" means. Your use of pejorative terms here seem intended to restrict any response from being a "righteous" response.

If you believe in boundaries, do you also believe that boundaries have consequences for violations of those boundaries? Would the application of those consequences be "succumbing" or "cleansing purity of righteous indignation?" By what standard or standards do you apply your judgment that is implied by your statement that there is no righteous standard by which behavior can, or should, be judged against?


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
So here is a place where I will be open to the questions of how to approach "wrong" behavior. My thoughts may reflect a very long (50 year) journey on this topic.

I think the way I'll handle this in practice, is that if in one of my topics you bring up what I think is a focus on approach, I'll quote and reply here and note that shift.


That's fine. A place is needed to discuss the practical applications. Philosophical discussion is nice, but since no two situations are identical and no two people are identical, there doesn't seem to be, at least to me, a simple "cookie cutter" approach that works in every situation.

In some respects it (active affairs) seems more like war. Do what is necessary to end the conflict and win the war, and then begin peaceful reparations. But to do otherwise seems to run the risk of invoking the "Chamberlain" method of non-confrontation and appeasement, with the inevitable loss for the appeaser.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Thanks, OurHouse, for more clarity. I will not debate with MB about their advice. I can hear it. Not sure I like it. But this is a tough situation with addiction or affair going on.


This is precisely the point with much of what is confronting most people who come to this site or to other sites for help in dealing with an affair crisis. For most, they come seeking ways to end the spouse's affair and recover their marriage rather than help in immediately ending the marriage.

It is a "tough" situation regardless of "when" in the scenario someone comes seeking advice, but it's especially tough when the affair is ongoing, especially if it's an involved, long-term affair.


I have no additions to these thoughts. I will not take time to amend all the MasterTalk I see. I think it is too bad that you use so much, as I think that distracts and dilutes your clarity of vision.


Al, you are entitled to your opinion and your judgmental stance.

"Go along to get along" is an interesting topic in itself. "I'm okay, you're okay" seems to be where you are headed with much of your dislike of ANY MasterTalk. You don't like the "defensive posture" that someone feels when someone states things in a "MasterTalk" way that states or implies disagreement with them or their thoughts and opinions. That's fine too, but you never have answered my previous question of whether or not there ARE "universal standards of right and wrong behavior" that are, inherently, the measure against which "Talk" can reflected. Or are you really saying that there is no such thing as "right and wrong" and that any behavior is "right?" I get what you have said previously about it being "damn right" to the person who is doing the behavior, but that simply dodges the question of any standard of behavior even existing wherein one's "opinion" of what they want to be right is judged "true or false." If everything is "just" opinion, then hey, get rid of all MasterTalk because no other person has the right to establish universal standards that apply regardless of personal opinion.

"Hey, the movie house is on fire. Maybe we should consider the sanity in remaining to see the end of the movie or getting out now." Or maybe we should say "abandon ship" because it's sinking. Or maybe we should try to plug the leaks and save the ship. By the way, while I'm considering abandoning ship or fixing the ship, what do I do about that torpedo in the water that is headed straight for the ship?


Having gone through a recovery process that took many years, I'm quite comfortable with my clarity of vision and what I learned along the way. I can tell you categorically that had I tried to "teach" my spouse your ideas BEFORE dealing with the crisis of an ongoing affair, we would never have saved our marriage nor been in a position to discuss "Lizzie" or anything else to help our relationship.

But as I said earlier, SOME of your "topics" do have a bearing on what can be done when confronted with an Affair, as do many other topics on other sites and in other writings. Others are quite relevant to a couple who is interested in building a better marriage. Timing often has a lot to do with the "worth" or "relevance" of any information and advice. In any event, it's rarely, if ever, a "one time thing." It usually takes a long period of time, often extending into years.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
It's also "tough" depending upon whether or not someone is a believer in God and Jesus Christ because that speaks to the issue you don't appear to like…the reality of a true Master over our lives. Without that, each individual is their own "master" and sits on the sovereign throne of their own lives, ascribing to themselves all the prerogatives and rights of a true sovereign, which "demotes" everyone else to the position of servant to them and their wants and desires.


Well it is all a good point of view. Thanks for sharing yours.


I take it then that since it's "my point of view" you don't believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Would that be correct?


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
Perhaps I am misunderstanding your aversion to "Master Talk," but I get the feeling that it's based in the idea of a human being sitting on the throne of their life, and each person is an equal "monarch" in their own life. Without God as Sovereign Lord in someone's life, I can see the sense in what you say about Master Talk, at least up to a point since I also believe that there are some truths that govern despite one's possible self-serving opinions and actions and despite whether they believe in God or not. That is because God has established Truth and it functions regardless of human opinions (sort of like the Sun rises and sets regardless of whether or not we "like it" functioning according to a schedule we have no control over).


I think your points are clear to me (I read carefully) and I do think you have no idea of what I am talking when it comes to Faith or Bullying or much of an idea of what I mean by MasterTalk. This can all be found in the material I suggest for reading in Topic #3.


Well that's a nice way to shut down discussion and/or disagreement with any of your points of view.

But to give you your due, I will be happy to go back and re-read much of that material that I've already read. Nevermind that I also quoted your "MasterTalk" table in a previous post on another thread. It would appear, however, that you are employing the very things you don't like. You have all the answers, I got that.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
The problem, and the strength, of strict No Contact is that it is pretty much one-dimensional. It really is a "last ditch" effort for a Faithful Spouse to try to penetrate the fog of an affair with the reality of the consequences of no longer being "in the life" of the Unfaithful Spouse. It MAY result in an opportunity to save the marriage, assuming that's what the Faithful Spouse still wants, but it most likely will result in a divorce simply because it IS a form of an ultimatum, to which there is built-in "choice" to be made by the Unfaithful Spouse.


Even the language "faithful spouse" "unfaithful spouse" seems to drip of "righteous indignation." I love to approach the situation as someone trying the help and also as someone who not only will not "cast the first stone" but who remembers the precepts of "forgiving your enemy." Just my way. But I did pick it up from Jesus, a good Friend.


If Jesus is your good Friend, then I guess I don't have to remind you that He also said on occasion; "You brood of vipers!" Just one example of "dripping righteous indignation" against sin against God.

God Himself wrote: "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

The Scriptures clearly state the "MasterTalk" that: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1Cor 6:9-11)

Al, this is not about "casting the first stone." It is also not about condoning or excusing sin and sinful choices and actions. There is an accountability, and it is to God. God grants the Faithful Spouse (even if you don't like that term) the right to a divorce. He would prefer forgiveness AND reconciliation, but because the sin of adultery is so grievous God grants the Faithful Spouse the right to impose the "penalty" of divorce for the sin of adultery because we are ourselves are not God. Divorce IS the expression of the "MasterTalk" that the Faithful Spouse will NOT accept the premise that adultery is "right," even if the Unfaithful Spouse thinks it is for whatever reason they want to justify that behavior in their own mind.

What Jesus was telling the crowd was that their "Righteousness" was false and that they were trying to "trap" Him. Righteousness is found only in and through Christ. But Jesus also told the woman to "go and sin no more." He judged, as He is the rightful judge, that her actions had been wrong and that it needed to stop. Period.

It is the responsibility of God's people to stand for, and not be afraid to speak, HIS principles and standards for behavior. If that makes you uncomfortable or gets your Lizard in a tizzie, then I'm sorry. But if I have to choose to follow one "guru" or another, I will choose God. God speaks as the Master of all, because He is Sovereign. We don't have to "like" everything, but it is our responsibility to humbly submit our will to His and follow in humble obedience even when we might not "feel like it."


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
By and large I agree with your thoughts on this issue of No Contact with the Unfaithful Spouse, but it is also essential to have No Contact, in my opinion, with the Other Person in the affair. That person cannot be involved in any way with the Faithful Spouse, even if they wind up repenting of the damage they caused and seek forgiveness. I put that into the category of a consequence of the affair that must be lived with for the rest of someone's life.


I see it only a bit differently. Yes, I want people to be responsible for their behavior - consequences. I want the Faithful Spouse to become responsible for their behavior, too. I do not want to neglect one partner to focus on the other's transgressions. I think the usual distraction is to focus on your partner's behavior, try to change it (manipulation, threats, guilting, punishing), and neglect to change your own behavior. In the process of trying to change their behavior, you give a leaving person all the more reasons to leave.


Al, no one here is saying what you are describing. We all work with and talk with the Faithful Spouse to be responsible for their behaviors as well. What we call the "atmosphere of the marriage" is part of the problem in some, but not all, Unfaithful Spouse's decision to commit adultery and have an affair. In those cases where the Unfaithful Spouse (Wayward Spouse) felt their needs so neglected that it "justified" their choice to have an affair, we tell the Faithful Spouse (Betrayed Spouse) to work on making changes in themselves that are beneficial regardless of whether or not the marriage is saved.

No one is advocating for trying to change the behavior of the Unfaithful Spouse merely as a "manipulative" objective to "get what they (the BS) wants." It BEGINS with the BS expressing the desire to save their marriage BECAUSE they love their spouse and they are willing to change things in themselves too even though they are dealing with monumental pain caused by the Unfaithful Spouse (the WS).

When you say; "In the process of trying to change their behavior, you give a leaving person all the more reasons to leave." you are feeding into the lie that is something that Betrayed Spouses often say: "If I do this or that, it will only drive him/her into the arms of the Other Person." That's nonsense. The WE is already in the arms of the OP. The BS is taking action, taking a stance, that adultery is NOT permissible in any stable marriage and is a direct violation of the promises and vows of marriage to "forsake ALL others and keep myself only unto you, until death do us part."

If you think that disagreeing with someone and their actions is okay, but taking some action to get the person to see that their actions are wrong is somehow "manipulative" to get them to behave in a "better" way, then there would seem to something wrong with all counseling, because by its nature counseling is directed at change. It points out the "wrong thinking" and encourages the embracing and implementing of "right thinking" that results in "right behavior" or "good behaviors." In much the same way that counseling guides and offers thing for the counselee(s) to think about, so does suggestions and advice to BS' offer things for getting the WS to think about their choices, to have an affair or to return to the marriage and attempt recovery to a better marriage. It also offers things for the BS to consider for changes within themselves too.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Tis a bit of a problem. Usually a person comes to me when their partner is leaving in one form or another: silence, affair, overwork, addiction, golf, hunting, etc. They want to know what to do, because they are hurting. They don't want to be left behind, abandoned, etc.

Now, I am aware that the partner who is leaving is doing so for damn good reasons. It may be foolish behavior, but it clearly makes sense to them. Meanwhile, the hurting partner in my office is a) hurting and bleeding on my floor, and b) clearly responsible for a great deal of why their partner choses to leave. I want to deal with both problems in the person before me. (I am neglecting, not forgetting, the other person. They just aren't in my room. I wish they were.)


I would suppose that we might have a difference of opinion about what ARE "damn good reasons." Rationalizations yes; good reasons, no. Self-centered reasons, yes; caring and loving even in difficult times, no.

But they are NOT responsible for the CHOICES made by the Unfaithful Spouse to engage in adultery. That is NOT a "good choice." That choice is 100% "owned" by the Unfaithful Spouse. They (both spouses) ARE responsible for how they care and relate to their spouse, and the thought here is to "never be the source of unhappiness" for their spouse. That comes from loving submission to each other, each other's needs, and to fulfilling their roles in a marriage. It is NOT a "Master-Slave" relationship, it is "completing" each other, relating to the strengths and weaknesses and skills that each spouse brings to the marriage. It is sharing the journey, as co-equals, not as a "one-sided" enslavement situation.



Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
In the process of trying to change their behavior, you give a leaving person all the more reasons to leave.Dealing with the bleeding, to me, is a process and takes patience, skills of listening, and skills of validation. I think it is also fundamentally a grieving process: inherently chaotic, sometimes incapacitating, healthy/recreating, and will end. I am grateful for having learned the skills of facilitating grieving. I think all people should get good at this.


I agree with you concerning learning the skills of facilitating grieving.

But that's focused solely upon the individual. What is presented here is a couple, and the individual is the Marriage, of which the husband and wife are the "parts" of that one body.

If you want to use the body, or medical, analogy, then the bleeding that is presented is NOT from a "mere cut." It is a compound, life-threatening fracture, complete with torn arteries that are gushing the life-blood. This is a Trauma situation. One must stop the bleeding. This is not a time for anything in the realm of extensive patience. This is short-term patience. Put on temporary hold the "process" things you are talking about and save the patient before, or else there will be little to address later on. After tending to the immediate problem, then things like setting broken bones and stitching up wounds can be addressed. Infusing them with life-sustaining blood (support, comfort, understanding, advice/suggestions) comes from "without" until their own body is healed enough and enough time has passed for their own body to make up for the lost blood.

Instructions and help with "rehab" follow later. All with the goal of restored health and a vitally functioning body (or marriage [and the individuals within the marriage] in the case of recovery or in themselves in the case of a divorce).

In the process you do not "give a leaving person all the more reasons to leave." They have already left. Dealing with the BS is to deal with either accepting the decision that has been made by the WS to leave, or to attempt the very hard work of trying to end the affair and recover their marriage, which is no easy task in itself. Trying to tell a BS that attempts to get the WS to end the affair will only result in giving the WS "all the more reasons to leave" is cruel and uncaring. Become a "shrew" or any other "negative" type of person or using such behaviors will NOT give the WS a reason to think that going back to the marriage might be a good idea. But that is not what Betrayed Spouses are advised to do. It is more of a "strength and compassion" of behavior that is what is advocated. What is also not advocated is for the BS to become a "doormat" in their behaviors simply because they are afraid. And it's just that sort of thinking, that they will "give a leaving person all the more reasons to leave," that frequently paralyzes a BS into "tolerating" and not taking a stand against the adultery.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Dealing with the problem of this person's responsibility seems to me one of education. This person wants to do something effective. The way I see it their instrument is their own body, mind and spirit. By changhing/learning themselves they can hope to effect their partner. By stopping/changing/replacing all the foolish stuff they have been doing over the years with wise stuff, they give their partner a powerful reason to reconnect. Well, over the years their foolish stuff has given their partner powerful reasons to leave. Learning takes time. But relationships seem built on hope and stop when hope reaches zero. Most often the leaving partner is signaling that they have no hope left.


I agree with your description of the "education" needs.

I also disagree with your conclusion. The "leaving partner" is not "signaling" that they have no hope left, they are signaling that they HAVE left, the amount of hope left notwithstanding. Most affairs are not "leaving affairs" anyway, or the WS would be initiating divorce proceedings. In most cases they are signaling that they have decided that self-preeminence, self-centeredness, "me," comes before all other considerations, regardless of what the BS has or has not done to meet their needs. Understanding needs IS part of the education process, as well as an assessment of how well or poorly those needs of the spouse have been met, and implementing changes in those that have not been met well.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
The most powerful tools for me and for the person with me are clear understanding of boundaries.


No quibble here. Boundaries are very powerful, as are the consequences that attend to violations of those boundaries. They come in two basic flavors: those that I will not allow myself to do others, and those that will not allow others to do to me.



Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
Affairs strike at the heart with an attempt and an intent to destroy. They must be excised, cut out, and not left to be a part of the recovering or recovered person in any way. Like cancer, they can leave behind scar tissue that can cause painful adhesions and that can even "flair up" years later. Since the Other Person IS external to the Faithful Spouse's body, they CAN completely remove that potential through No Contact.


I really think you are pretty far off from what works, here. I see an affair as a perhaps foolish attempt to stop a relationship that sucked. I see them as often the first healthy sign of moving to something much healthier. Of course affairs are risky, but probably not as risky as staying in the relationship without solving the pains.


You are entitled to your opinion. Is an affair "foolish"? Yes, I'd agree that it is, but it's not an attempt to "stop a relationship that sucked." That may be the rationalization used by the WS to justify the choice to commit adultery and to go against their own boundary of "keeping myself only unto you," but it is not a remotely valid attempt to stop a relationship that "sucked." That's what marital counseling and divorce are for. There is nothing "healthy" in this "sign." Can some affairs be a "cry for help" for the marriage? Yes, but that still doesn't mean that choosing adultery as the way to voice tha cry is "healthy." That marriages that do survive infidelity can develop into something much healthier than what existed prior to the affair is NOT because of the affair, it is in spite of the affair. It takes work and change, repentance and forgiveness, love and commitment.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
Protecting from the Unfaithful Spouse having another affair is something to be addressed by changes in the marriage, but there are no "guarantees," only greater odds depending upon how they both work are building a newer and better marriage from the ashes of the old marriage.


Right on.


Thank you. That is the position that we all take in trying to help people recover from infidelity in their marriages.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
I read your two articles; WHAT TO DO WHEN SHE (HE) LEAVES Assuming you want her (him) back and When to Fold 'Em?, and found them to be pretty much the way I see and approach the No Contact with the Unfaithful Spouse issue.

While I may also say the frequency and content of any communication can vary from your suggestions, I think the underlying idea of how and what is communicated is sound.

Ok.


Nothing like a little flexibility depending upon a given situation.



Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
When my wife and I separated back in 2002, I was advised to "go dark" and implement No Contact with her. I rejected that idea, maintained some communication, and I believe that communicating was instrumental in finally getting her to end the affair and attempt to recover our marriage. Today we ARE recovered, the OM is completely out of the picture….but the process took several years to get to where I felt we had finally recovered the marriage and our love for each other. Now we are feeding and maintaining the marriage and each other.


Great for you! and thanks for sharing.


Thank you. And sharing is also what we do around here in trying to help others.



In Christ-like love at all times.

So that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2Cor 1:4b)

Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: OurHouse] #46776
01/07/11 05:13 PM
01/07/11 05:13 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
Retired Therapist
AlTurtle  Offline OP
Retired Therapist
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
I think all of you are doing really well. Let me suggest some structure for working and sharing on these topics.

Reflecting on what I had learned, ohh this was around 2006, I was stuck with several problems: Where to start? and What level of writing should I use?

My experience with couples was that each couple was really unique. No one approach would work. I had to, and did, customize whatever I was doing to them. But how to do that on my website? Twas a puzzle. You may see several articles attempting to address the problem, and you might see that we/you/I (the cool people who run Marriage Advocates) are struggling with this puzzle, too.

At least one thing I think has been cleared up. Emergency! I salute star*fish, who I think is the "god" of this site, for using the quote from me, "If a person arrives 'bleeding,' you don't start talking at them about what led them to 'be cut'. First you deal with the flowing blood." I imagine she picked that because that phrase happened to put into words her own guiding philosophy.

It certainly fits mine. I look at individuals or couples who come near me as "bleeding a lot" after sometimes years of blindly cutting each other up and having been cut by others (family). So I have to start with a whole shelf full of bandages and splints. At the same time, I am scanning the couple/individual to see what are the things/skills missing from their lives that led to all this blood.

I think this site does a good job letting the newbies arrive and bleed around a bit.

But eventually, with the bleeding reduced, people want information, ideas, and directions to go - what I often call skills (what to do), and theory (explaining why).

And so, back to this original problem on my website, what order to share, where to start given that everyone is asking different questions.

Fortunately for me, I had figured "everything out" (sounds kinda cocky?)and had written about it in a structure - based on my understanding of why people come together in relationships in the first place. You can follow my (perhaps bold) thinking in my lengthy script for an unmade DVD called the Map of Relationships. This gave a structure based on the 5 components of what I called the Biological Dream: Safety, Reliable Membership, Autonomy, Diversity, and Purpose. And it gave the several additional study topics that came along: Communication, Boundaries, Healing the Past, and Emotions (vs Thinking).

I was also fortunate in that I had chosen the name "University of Life" to describe the process of learning all this shi@. This gave me several useful concepts: a curriculum (set of studies) and the idea of Freshman, Sophomore, etc. levels. I then began spreading my online material with the ideas of "This is Freshman material," "This is Junior thinking" and this is damn well "Graduate Logic!"

The Lizard paper, Topic #1 here, I call the Freshman course in Safety. In Topic #2 the paper on Reliable Membership is a Freshman course, but the second paper called the Testicle Principle I think is more advanced - perhaps Sophomore stuff. In Topic #3 (perhaps because I am now approaching the skills in our complex Cortex), I think the Master/Slave paper is Freshman, The Power of Passivity is Junior or Senior level with the follow-on paper, Passivity in the Foundations, being really written for a Senior level seminar. ETC.

(By the way, this posting I think is Graduate Stuff.)

The image of a college reflects my thought about how long it takes the average bandaged, post-panic person to really injest this stuff and convert it into a life style. And so you might see how I visualize and accept all your thoughts about how long you are struggling with injesting the Lizard Paper. Seems normal to me.

Also when you think others are going much faster, could be they learn quicker. Could be their grades haven't yet been posted for the exams they haven't taken. I'm not in the business of judging - just undertanding.

Speaking of exams, quizzes, friday pop-quizzes, extra points and all that wonderful stuff, I think everyone of us get these whenever we meet or are with someone else - particularly our partners or potential partners. And damn if these tests don't apply to all subjects at once! Not easy. Thus I think we have to get used to failing and trying and failing and trying and failing less often and trying, etc.

So now you might see how I handled my challenges of Where to start? and What level of writing should I use? on my Website.

But what to do here? I think Marriage Advocates has some wonderful advantages. Built in is a structure for seminars, casual chats at the college food place, and a lot of potential for tutors, buddies helping buddies, mentors, etc. (Of course it has an generous infirmary as I mentioned before. Thanks Star*fish.) I think of this whole site a potential peer counseling.

If you are interested in my stuff, we might try this in my corner of MA - Turtle's Whiteboard. I will lead the Topics, one at a time. I will create an application seminar (Applying Safety, etc) for each topic as we go. If you are learning the topic, post questions there. If you are working on applying the topic, posting progress, successes, even better failures, wanting feedback on attempts, ideas, etc. go to that application topic. If you wonder about the whole scheme, come here. (Oh. I've come up with many structures in the past. Only the ones I make for me do I ever see followed. And not all of them. And so you-all will do what you will do. I have a rule of thumb that helps: "All people are chronically disobedient. Learn to live with it.")

If you wanna chat with each other or in groups (on the green grass of the commons) set it up anywhere, in any forum, you want. If you wanna chat about me behind my back, don't put my name somewhere in your posting.

So far I am tracking any posting in this Forum, Turtle's Whiteboard. My cell phone gets a hit whenever you post there and so far I can manage and am enjoying this. Sometimes I do a Search on my name to see what people are saying about my stuff. Other than that I don't check. I gotta have a life and it is my job to protect it from too much - overload.

Besides I am really safe cuz my wife is watching me.



Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #46790
01/07/11 05:28 PM
01/07/11 05:28 PM
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ForeverHers Offline
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Thanks Al. That was a good and informative post! Ya, I know both of those terms are subjective and "judgmental," but I like process oriented approach as I've also found that it seems to work best.

Since I have a background in Emergency Care and Orthodpaedics, I relate to the "medical analogies" of dealing with trauma, casts, splints, PT, etc.



In Christ-like love at all times.

So that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2Cor 1:4b)

Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: ForeverHers] #46874
01/07/11 07:13 PM
01/07/11 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted By: foreverhers
The "leaving partner" is not "signaling" that they have no hope left, they are signaling that they HAVE left, the amount of hope left notwithstanding.


This "leaving partner" was signaling that I have no hope left.

Originally Posted By: foreverhers
In most cases they are signaling that they have decided that self-preeminence, self-centeredness, "me," comes before all other considerations, regardless of what the BS has or has not done to meet their needs.


I'm not sure what "most cases" means.

I certainly wasn't signaling that self-preeminence, self centeredness, "me", comes before all other considerations.

I've been told that my A was selfish and entitled more times than I care to count, and I don't agree. The fact that people tell me that is my reality doesn't make it my reality.

I was signaling something very, very different than that.

Originally Posted By: foreverhers
In the process you do not "give a leaving person all the more reasons to leave."


This process has given this leaving person all the more reasons to leave.

An already emotionally unsafe relationship has become even more emotionally unsafe. Never give a high powered rifle to a skilled marksman is my motto.

His anger, manipulation, guilt jerking and control just have a specific subject matter to act on and a more malleable target (thank you MB!).

I handed it to him on a silver platter together with the razor sharp tools of the MB Infidelity Recovery Program. Some really sharp knives there -- hardly feel the cuts.

I can't decide which was stupider. There was a moment in there where I had his attention and I blew it.

Oh well.

Originally Posted By: foreverhers
regardless of what the BS has or has not done to meet their needs


Do you believe this to be true in most cases?

Originally Posted By: foreverhers
Is an affair "foolish"? Yes, I'd agree that it is,but it's not an attempt to "stop a relationship that sucked."


Disagree. It can be.

May not be a "valid" attempt (whatever that is) but it can be an attempt.

Originally Posted By: foreverhers
Can some affairs be a "cry for help" for the marriage? Yes, but that still doesn't mean that choosing adultery as the way to voice that cry is "healthy."


What does a "healthy" cry for help look like?

Is it possible for a "healthy" cry for help to fall on deaf ears?

Originally Posted By: foreverhers
That marriages that do survive infidelity can develop into something much healthier than what existed prior to the affair is NOT because of the affair, it is in spite of the affair.


Is this always true?

How do you know?

I don't know if it is nature, nurture (or lack thereof) or training, but I rarely assume anything about anything or anybody -- I think I have always intuitively understood Al's maxim that what people do makes sense to them at the time.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: LadyGrey] #46947
01/07/11 09:01 PM
01/07/11 09:01 PM
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ForeverHers Offline
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Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
Originally Posted By: foreverhers
The "leaving partner" is not "signaling" that they have no hope left, they are signaling that they HAVE left, the amount of hope left notwithstanding.


This "leaving partner" was signaling that I have no hope left.


Hi SB. The "leaving partner" is a general term as I see it. It can encompass many actions but the one specifically that I was referring to is if the "leaving partner" chose to have an "exit affair." In that case there is no "signal," other than perhaps a desire to hurt the spouse. They are not signaling that the marriage is in trouble, they have decided the affair is over, or at least appears hopeless to them. I would suggest that an affair is never a "good" choice and in such a circumstance the better options, complete with a "signal" that they have no hope for the marriage left, would be to separate or get a divorce.

For others, they may be involved in an affair while still having some hope for the marriage remaining, but are getting some of their needs met through the affair.

One "sure way," in my thinking about this, to determine that it's not a "signal" is if the affair is being kept secret. No signals of any kind can be sent if they are secret and not disclosed to the spouse.



Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
Originally Posted By: foreverhers
In most cases they are signaling that they have decided that self-preeminence, self-centeredness, "me," comes before all other considerations, regardless of what the BS has or has not done to meet their needs.


I'm not sure what "most cases" means.


The vows are simple: "keeping myself only unto you." In order to have an affair, the person must renege on their vow and covenant, replacing it with some sort of "I'm entitled to have an affair because….."

That places "self" ahead of spouse and ahead of the marriage. Would have some other words in mind to better describe the "I deserve it or want it because…." sort of thinking?



Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
I certainly wasn't signaling that self-preeminence, self centeredness, "me", comes before all other considerations.

I've been told that my A was selfish and entitled more times than I care to count, and I don't agree. The fact that people tell me that is my reality doesn't make it my reality.

I was signaling something very, very different than that.


Okay, then what sort of signal were you signaling? Was the signal sent in an "I'm going to have an affair or I am having an affair" sort of way or was it more subtle, perhaps even inaudible?


Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
Originally Posted By: foreverhers
In the process you do not "give a leaving person all the more reasons to leave."


This process has given this leaving person all the more reasons to leave.


Not sure I understand what process you are referring to. Regardless, "leaving" is not the issue, choosing an affair is the issue. If someone wants to leave a marriage, they can, and they don't need an affair to do so. So I'm a bit confused about what you are trying to say here.


Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
An already emotionally unsafe relationship has become even more emotionally unsafe. Never give a high powered rifle to a skilled marksman is my motto.

His anger, manipulation, guilt jerking and control just have a specific subject matter to act on and a more malleable target (thank you MB!).


So is your intent to "answer" by having an affair or by leaving the marriage? It would seem to me that he doesn't have a clue about what real forgiveness is like nor does he probably think that he needs to change any of his "less than desirable" traits and actions.

That is unfortunate, if true, for you and for the marriage. It may well be justification for leaving the marriage, but I would maintain that it is not justification for having an affair in the "two wrongs do not make a right" sort of way at a minimum.


Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
I handed it to him on a silver platter together with the razor sharp tools of the MB Infidelity Recovery Program. Some really sharp knives there -- hardly feel the cuts.

I can't decide which was stupider. There was a moment in there where I had his attention and I blew it.

Oh well.


Not sure what you meant by you "blew it." All I can say is that it seems that while tools might be available, they are of little use if they are not held and used.

Poor example coming, so sorry about the limitation, but it seems like if a woman wants to change her hair color from blonde to brunette or from brunette to blonde, and she has the hair coloring but doesn't apply it, all the wishing in the world won't change the hair color.

That's why I've often said that "knowledge" is only part of the solution, but it is totally ineffective if it's not embraced and implemented in one's life and in the recovery efforts.


Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
Originally Posted By: foreverhers
regardless of what the BS has or has not done to meet their needs


Do you believe this to be true in most cases?
Originally Posted By: seekingbalance


If you are speaking about affairs, then yes, I believe it to be true all cases. There are many other avenues of "escape" that are not affairs.


[quote=seekingbalance] [quote=foreverhers]Is an affair "foolish"? Yes, I'd agree that it is,but it's not an attempt to "stop a relationship that sucked."


Disagree. It can be.

May not be a "valid" attempt (whatever that is) but it can be an attempt.


Obviously you see it that way. If it's seen as an 'attempt to stop a relationship that sucked' then I'd call that a rationalization to justify having an affair, maybe even weakness wherein the person didn't think that they could actually leave. Stopping a relationship that sucked would entail separating and/or getting divorce. That applies whether the one leaving is the husband or the wife.

Think of this way; if you are in a kitchen and being cut by someone through their careless use of some cutlery, you don't stop that relationship by going into the wood chipper for "escape" or to "send a signal." You leave the room permanently or temporarily, but you don't go to another place where you get further injuries.


Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
Originally Posted By: foreverhers
Can some affairs be a "cry for help" for the marriage? Yes, but that still doesn't mean that choosing adultery as the way to voice that cry is "healthy."


What does a "healthy" cry for help look like?


What does a "healthy" cry for help look like?

Coming to a site like this before having an affair. Going to counseling. Separating. Getting a divorce. A lot of things other than having an affair as a way to "cry for help."



Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
May not be a "valid" attempt (whatever that is) but it can be an attempt.Is it possible for a "healthy" cry for help to fall on deaf ears?


Sure it's possible for a healthy cry for help to fall on deaf ears. And yes, an affair may be an "attempt" in the mind of the WS, but it's not a good way to attempt to signal a cry for help.


Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
Originally Posted By: foreverhers
That marriages that do survive infidelity can develop into something much healthier than what existed prior to the affair is NOT because of the affair, it is in spite of the affair.


Is this always true?

How do you know?


Yes it's always true. Granted people may say things like "I'm glad in one respect that the affair 'woke me up'." That's usually the BS who says something like that, not the WS. But the affair was the end of the marriage and if the BS had not chosen to forgive and to attempt to save the marriage despite the enormous pain that is about the only "message" conveyed by the affair. Likewise, if the WS had not chosen to end the affair and attempt to recover the marriage, the "cry for help" wouldn't exist. They recover, if they do, despite the affair and all the emotional damage related to it, not because of it. It would be far "simpler" to simply divorce and "cut one's losses."


Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
I don't know if it is nature, nurture (or lack thereof) or training, but I rarely assume anything about anything or anybody -- I think I have always intuitively understood Al's maxim that what people do makes sense to them at the time.


Ya, that's one of Al's things that tends to grate on me. All people are very good at rationalizing (makes sense to THEM) things that they do, want, or desire. But that doesn't mean it's right, good, or desirable. But I agree with it because I believe in the fallen sin nature of mankind and it's attendant "self-focus." It takes learning and practice to "love your neighbor (spouse included) as yourself" even if it's a command from God.

Ultimately it comes down to who is really in control of MY life. Because only one person can be in control, it's either going to be the individual or God. That's how sovereignty works. As servants of the sovereign we can carry out the commands but we can't change them without the approval of the one who is sovereign. If it's ME, then I get to decide what's right regardless of what anyone else thinks. If it's God, then even I have to submit myself to Him and carry out His commands, or risk the penalty for being disobedient.



In Christ-like love at all times.

So that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2Cor 1:4b)

Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #47049
01/08/11 12:15 AM
01/08/11 12:15 AM
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Gateway to the West
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Not2fun Offline
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Originally Posted By: AlTurtle


I really think you are pretty far off from what works, here. I see an affair as a perhaps foolish attempt to stop a relationship that sucked. I see them as often the first healthy sign of moving to something much healthier. Of course affairs are risky, but probably not as risky as staying in the relationship without solving the pains.


Al,

I've been reading along. Interesting stuff. I am, however, confused by this statement above.

Not2fun


" If you couldn't change your partner when you were together, you sure aren't going to now that you aren't together..." Words of the teacher of the court mandated parenting class...and the ONE thing that stuck out to me!!!
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: Not2fun] #47064
01/08/11 12:44 AM
01/08/11 12:44 AM
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LadyGrey Offline
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Originally Posted By: foreverhers
It would be far "simpler" to simply divorce and "cut one's losses."


THIS CUTS BOTH WAYS.

One of the few points on which I have refused to budge with my husband is that I should have divorced him rather than having an affair.

And I believe that. I'm not a complete moral relativist, but am more of a moral relativist than I perceive you to be.

He, on the other hand, likes neither one of those options -- he maintains there I SOMETHING I could have done short of divorce to make our M more tolerable for me (you will note my low threshold for success) but when I ask what that SOMETHING is, he's got no answer.

Complain more? Run away more? Fight more? Withdraw more? Demand more? Move out?

He doesn't like any of those options either.

The reality is that he was just fine with how things were and I need to slip right back into the role of doormat, which (thanks again MB! That POJA thing works just GREAT unless you want to leave the house, see your IC, talk to your brother or have a friend and Transparency is a fantastic idea because it feels GREAT when it is used as a weapon, so I'm just SURE I am going to feel Romantic Love any day now!) is exactly what I have done.

Whatever.

And yes, I'm bitter, so you need not point it out.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: LadyGrey] #47069
01/08/11 12:53 AM
01/08/11 12:53 AM
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LadyGrey Offline
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Originally Posted By: foreverhers
Ultimately it comes down to who is really in control of MY life. Because only one person can be in control, it's either going to be the individual or God. That's how sovereignty works. As servants of the sovereign we can carry out the commands but we can't change them without the approval of the one who is sovereign. If it's ME, then I get to decide what's right regardless of what anyone else thinks. If it's God, then even I have to submit myself to Him and carry out His commands, or risk the penalty for being disobedient.


I don't even begin to understand these statements.

Do you have a hotline to God or something? How do you know whether it is you or God in charge at any given moment?

Sure, there are some bright line commandments but mostly I see it as a bunch of grey. Love my neighbor as myself? I hate myself. Where does that fit in?

I think I am again going way off topic.... Sorry Al.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: OurHouse] #47070
01/08/11 12:54 AM
01/08/11 12:54 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: OurHouse
I'm coming to believe that my Lizard is actually calmed by a particular geographic area of the country. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
Great application. Tis fascinating to notice what my Lizard loves and what scares it. I see no problem with yours liking the northwest. Sounds right.

No matter what I do, looking back, mine likes the northern tier - lets say north of northern Calif - 46th to 50th parallel. I imagine it might like parts of Europe or Asia at that more or less Latitude. I imagine it might like the southern hemisphere at about that same place. It clearly likes four seasons and begins to get weird on me whenever I live in a relatively unchanging weather place. LA is out, but so was Bora Bora. Interesting. Don't know what it would think of Alaska or Norway. Been to both but only momentarily.

Oh and one other thing I am guessing about you. In the past I think you've not listened to your Lizard and have suffered because of that. You may want to change that habit, I hope you are. I suggest you stick to it.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #47072
01/08/11 12:58 AM
01/08/11 12:58 AM
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OurHouse Offline
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Quote:
Oh and one other thing I am guessing about you. In the past I think you've not listened to your Lizard and have suffered because of that. You may want to change that habit, I hope you are. I suggest you stick to it.


I agree. But first I have to figure out HOW to do that! That might seem like a ridiculous statement to you. But when I think about listening to my Lizard, my stomach gets tied up in knots. It's almost like I have a second Lizard who freaks out at the concept of listening to my first Lizard.

And the corollary to that. Once I figure out how to listen, how do I do what it says to do?

I'm a mess.

Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: ForeverHers] #47083
01/08/11 01:18 AM
01/08/11 01:18 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
Retired Therapist
AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: ForeverHers
Assisting couples in making better decisions is a good goal. I don't think anyone would argue with that objective. Getting along is also a good idea. Simplicity in theory is also not quite so simple in real life, which I know you are aware of, so it's a good thing to try to identify some of the motivating factors, such as what you call the Lizard..... Etc, etc. etc.


Dear ForeverHers, for you I have a gift. I printed you posting and then laughed and laughed. Took it with me to work - 12 pages - and I skimmed it a bit. I saw MasterTalk throughout and wondered if anyone would "flare" back at you or not. Later I saw SB's posting and thought, "Well at least one person spoke up." Then I saw more.

It seems so predictable to me. Here's my gift. Share your message by losing the MasterTalk. It isn't necessary.

But what came to me more clearly is a bit wisdom from my friend, Jesus, that was handed to me today out of the blue.

I have defined MasterTalk as "any sentence that implies there is a single truth." I have shared and studied this phenomenon for a decade since I first ran onto it. I believed it was important when a) random people could identify MasterTalk immediately with almost no instruction, and b) I found that people who listened or read MasterTalk reacted with adrenaline and tension. For me I saw it as almost an objective phenomenon, one that implied threat. I further then found that MasterTalk generally implied threat more strongly to anyone who a) disagreed or b) wanted the freedom and perhaps time to decide things for themselves.

I began to seen MasterTalk as a kind of "throwing down the gauntlet," a signal that a fight is about to happen, kind of like cocking a pistol in a quiet room. I have seen meetings explode among professionals when one person utters just one too many MasterTalk sentences.

Today was handed me the phrase from Matthew 26.52 that he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. I believe MasterTalk to be such a sword. I think it is your call.

My experience is that people who habitually use MasterTalk end up alone - which is a kind of death.

My intention, while I don't dislike you or your opinions or your beliefs, is to manage the communication style between you and me to be safe. I am not available for an argument. Other's can do as they wish. If you drop the MasterTalk, I'll continue with you.

That is my gift.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: OurHouse] #47103
01/08/11 01:38 AM
01/08/11 01:38 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
Retired Therapist
AlTurtle  Offline OP
Retired Therapist
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: OurHouse
Quote:
In the past I think you've not listened to your Lizard and have suffered because of that.


I agree. But first I have to figure out HOW to do that!


Seems like a problem, but I bet your Lizard is just awaitin for you to listen. (Makes me think of the children's story of Peter Churchmouse.)

By the way this should probably be in Topic #1, Lizard. Ah well.

I realized I had never listened to my Lizard even though it was calling out all the time. I wasn't taught to listen. Or rather I was repeatedly taught to not listen. Here are my thoughts.

The Lizard is an extremely simple little guy inside you. It communicates primarily by chemistry in your blood stream. The first I notice it has to do with breathing. When my Lizard is scared I breathe shallowly and quickly. When it gets scared there will be a catch in my breath. It is dropping the oxygen level to my brain. (When it kicks off Fighting, then the chemical soup kicks of rapid deep breathing.) So I watch my breath, and I often say to myself, "Easy big fellow, breathe, breathe, breathe." You can control your breathing and steady deep breathing can calm a Lizard.

Next I look for my urges to Flee, Freeze, Submit or Fight. I get to know my habits - the ways I do each. I use the appearance of those habits to let me know that my Lizard is freaking and I use the absence of those habits or the appearance of smooth breathing, Playing, Mating, Nurturing or Creative Work, to indicate that my Lizard likes this - whatever is going on. My Lizard is feeling safe.

Using these barometers, I begin to identify where, when, who scares my Lizard. This topic then blends over into the topic of Individual Boundaries. Tis all about the rough measure of Lizard behavior called "I get upset".

I think it was a) fun to figure out what my little friend was saying and b) what made him feel safe. Nurturing your Lizard is the way to go.

You might find a friend and the two you share notes as you both learn about your Lizards. You will then probably note how different their Lizard is from yours and learn to respect both.



Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Thoughts on how to approach couples/individuals. [Re: AlTurtle] #47110
01/08/11 01:41 AM
01/08/11 01:41 AM
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OurHouse Offline
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Sorry! I can move my Lizard topics over to the Lizard thread.

But ooops...I just worked Lizzie into the Bullying thread.

Goshdarn it, I'm breaking all the rules here!

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