Marriage Advocates

Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust

Posted By: AlTurtle

Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/16/10 11:11 PM

I believe that for most online people this is the first, most urgent, issue. The article I wrote on What to do when he/she leaves? is far and away the most sought out. It has been the top read article every month for over five years. I like its success.

While it seems to come first, I really thought you would benefit more from having the Lizard material under your belt. I think you will see this when in the papers I mention Panic - read Lizard. I open the topic now because it just seems to flow from AntigoneRisen's note on Topic 1: Friend your Lizard(s).

I believe that here is the whole problem of Abandonment and its solutions.

For this topic I want you to have the background of several articles. They're not as long as the Lizard paper. They are all articles on the Skills of Reliable Membership.

The first paper I used to call The Two Wall Problem, but now it is simply called Reliable Membership. A chart goes with the paper.

The second paper I suggest you look at is a more indepth look at the problem. It is called The Testicle Principle, and when you've read it you may see why I prefer talking to online people rather than your partners at home.

Curiously I haven't found any writings by anyone else about this topic. I am still looking.

Read away and come back with your observations, ideas, examples.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/17/10 07:35 AM

Thanks for those writings and this thread Al Turtle smile .

I have two questions:

Isn't it in the avoider's best interest to throw the clinger a bone sometimes? Doesn't the avoider's habit of avoiding actually increase the clinging (often manifested in hostile/negative ways) when some simple meeting of reasonable needs could short-circuit the pattern? I can think of situations when STBXH was the avoider and when I was the avoider and I wonder if the avoider can play more of a role in preventing the negative clinging.

How does the clinger avoid "giving up" on getting needs met from the avoider? Again, that happened to STBXH and I at different points.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/17/10 05:08 PM

Originally Posted By: flowmom
I have two questions:

  1. Isn't it in the avoider's best interest to throw the clinger a bone sometimes?
  2. Doesn't the avoider's habit of avoiding actually increase the clinging (often manifested in hostile/negative ways) when some simple meeting of reasonable needs could short-circuit the pattern?
  3. I can think of situations when STBXH was the avoider and when I was the avoider and I wonder if the avoider can play more of a role in preventing the negative clinging.
  4. How does the clinger avoid "giving up" on getting needs met from the avoider?


Ah, you've read the article. Ok let's go to work. Great questions! Remember I believe all this stuff is unconscious.

In order:
  1. Sure I think it's in the best interest of an Avoider to reach out. I've found they just usually don't, as long as they are anywhere near overload mode. Avoiders seem to anticipate all that overloading contact, and thus wait a hell of a long time to surface and request connection. Kind of like how quick do gophers come out of their hole after you've fired the first shot. In my experience Avoiders will start to "throw out bones" after they've begun to feel reliably free from the onslaught.
  2. Yep. But I fear that's looking at the situation from the outside. Don't assume that both Avoider and Clinger are coming from the same state of their Lizards. That is what the Testicle Principle is all about. The "Lizard panic" in Clingers is toward frantic action - fighting. "Rational" thinking is possible with some practice in self-soothing. The "Lizard panic" in the Avoider is toward shutting down - freezing and submitting. In both cases the Lizard prevents good "rational" thinking, and frequently involves a drastic drop in blood pressure in the frontal parts of their brains. They just zone out! Generally speaking, when trying to solve this problem, don't even think of counting on the Avoider to help for a long time.
  3. People can and do seem to switch roles at times. Sometimes they switch roles when they switch partners. Sometimes they switch on topics. Whatever...the principles seem the same. Whoever is Clinger starts the work.
  4. I wonder if I wrote clearly enough at the end of the first paper on Reliable Membership. Let's see. From the Clinger's point of view, the Avoider has the best love units in town, just not many. While the battle is going on it may seem as if Avoiders have none. But that is temporary. I believe the Clinger has to shift to taking care of themselves, keeping themselves out of abandonment panic, forever. By doing this in front of their Avoiding partner, by becoming a source of safety that person will shift into more safety and be able to produce more and more love units over time.


I believe this process is all unconscious. We can become trained in what to do and aware of it. We can't stop it.
Posted By: Rich57

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/17/10 05:30 PM

This all just seems the same as the Pursuit and Distance axioms.
Written by Phil Delucca.

It is a little different but for the most part the same.

Since most LBS are pursuers and they are chasing distancers.
Or avoiders and clingers - same thing.

Anyways my .02
Posted By: Amadahy

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/17/10 06:27 PM

i was thinking of the rubber bands and the waves from men are from mars women are from venus. After reading that book, i stopped pursing my H when he was moody - instead suggestion he go down into his man cave basement and beat on some metal for a while. Eventually I hear the "HONNNEEEEEEEEEY." and he wants me to descend into his pit and and see what he has created.

the flip side is I very rarely get privacy. I have actually taken to hidding int he bathroom when I need spce. invariably someone will knock on the door and ask what I am doing. I spend more time getting and sitting down at night than actually writing my book or knitting. I dont think my husband and sons realize that for every "little" request i lose twice as much time in getting up and down all night. Finding my place in my knitting pattern or getting back into the creative mode in my book is very difficult.

My H goes so far as to insist the boys let mommy write...but yet he calls to me at least every 15 or 20 minutes to come look at something.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/17/10 07:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Rich57
This all just seems the same as the Pursuit and Distance axioms. Written by Phil Delucca.


Thanks so much for the reference. I feel better knowing you are there. Your 2 cents is worth much more to me. First I've heard and I will look into it.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/17/10 07:25 PM

Originally Posted By: SisteReed
i was thinking of the rubber bands and the waves from men are from mars women are from venus.

the flip side is I very rarely get privacy.


Great points. I think John Gray did us all a terrible miss-service whenever he taught that all men are from Mars or all women are from Venus. I am so glad he put forth the different roles (mars/venus) so clearly and colorfully. But in my experience about 60% of men come from Mars and the other 40% come from Venus. Mars men tend to marry Venus women, but Mars women tend to marry Venus men.

The problem I am working on in this topic is about the core issue and solution to the clinging and avoiding. I think it has only a slight statistical connection to gender.

Still, SR, you got to see the solution working with that guy down stairs in his cave.

Now take a look at your need to "cave" from you kid's need for connection that seems excessive to you. Well you are probably coming across as inadequate or unreliable or both to the kid. Meeting his needs may exhaust you, but might reduce his adult clingy behavior. His behavior is simply clingy. Bless him.

This unconscious stuff seems so easy to understand once the principles are clear. Good examples. Thanks.

Posted By: Amadahy

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/17/10 08:34 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: SisteReed
i was thinking of the rubber bands and the waves from men are from mars women are from venus.

the flip side is I very rarely get privacy.


Great points. I think John Gray did us all a terrible miss-service whenever he taught that all men are from Mars or all women are from Venus. I am so glad he put forth the different roles (mars/venus) so clearly and colorfully. But in my experience about 60% of men come from Mars and the other 40% come from Venus. Mars men tend to marry Venus women, but Mars women tend to marry Venus men.

The problem I am working on in this topic is about the core issue and solution to the clinging and avoiding. I think it has only a slight statistical connection to gender.

Still, SR, you got to see the solution working with that guy down stairs in his cave.

Now take a look at your need to "cave" from you kid's need for connection that seems excessive to you. Well you are probably coming across as inadequate or unreliable or both to the kid. Meeting his needs may exhaust you, but might reduce his adult clingy behavior. His behavior is simply clingy. Bless him.

This unconscious stuff seems so easy to understand once the principles are clear. Good examples. Thanks.



I have been working on setting boundaries on this. I used to just get up and respond...always always putting their needs ahead of mine. Now I will say, "I will come look at your lego building when I finish this row I am knitting." Or "I will come and see what you are making once I finish this paragraph."

The other rule I have put into play is that unless a person is hurt I do not respond to the "MOOOOOMMMMMMM" that they insist on yelling through the house. IF they need me they can come to where I am and tell me what they need. And not "mom come look at this" But "mom come look at this neat video I found on youtube." or "mom come see this video game level I built". I am trying to get my little cavemen to communicate in full descriptive sentences rather than guttural grunts and demands.

My H...different matter and I recognize that my children behave this way because HE does. with him, if I dont respond immediately it is because I dont care about him. And since we are still healing from my infidelity...it is important he knows his needs are important to me. I am practicing an immediate verbal response, "Be right there honey, just finishing X".

Still hide in bathroom though. And yet I get the fingers under the door. Its like if I am out of their collective site for more than five minutes they all need to check on me.

I notice this in public places too...like at a party...where one by one my children and my husband will swing past and just check on me to make sure I am okay. Its like touching base on the mother ship than swooping off again. Sometimes they dont say anything....just walk up and touch my hip and look at me. I look at them and than they go off to play. It happens every five minutes or so...I never noticed it until a coworker pointed it out. She noticed it was worse when I was speaking to a man. The boys, one by one would come by and check. Like wolf cubs protecting their female, they would all come and check on what was happening. Wonder if this is normal male behavior.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/17/10 08:55 PM

Fun stuff. Keep up the thinking. Another way to look at this public behavior and the kids is found in Attachment Theory. It really explains young kids and older for that matter. And it all has to do with Reliable Membership.

The goal of Attachment Theory Attachment Theory, I think, is to describe all the behavior that comes from becoming, and being "securely - attached" and also the troubled behavior that arises from insecure attachment.

The normal cycle of a kid and a caretaker is a) they are together, b) the kid wants to go away and explore, c) the kid looks back to see that the caretaker is approving, d) the kid explores, e) the kid begins to feel a bit insecure about being away, f) the kid heads back toward the caretaker, g) the kid checks that the caretaker is welcoming, h) the kid and the caretaker are together. Kids and people just repeat this cycle over and over. Trouble arises in each stage but most problems arise in either step c when the kid perceives that their own exploring threatens the caretaker or in step g when the kid perceives that the caretaker doesn't want them to come back.

I think it fun to look at people doing this cuz you can see the same stuff in dogs and cats and it is all so visible.

With your husband you are working on changing his experience of you from being unreliable to being reliable. That doesn't mean always being there. It does mean that he learns to rely on being able to know where you are. This is both physical, emotional and intellectual.

And it is all about his Lizard being cautious. Back to the topic of learning to soothe his Lizard, wipe the worry lines off his Lizard's snout.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/17/10 10:07 PM

Quote:
Curiously I haven't found any writings by anyone else about this topic. I am still looking.


My fiance has a book on relationship communication. It details two roles - the distancer and the pursuer. I'll see if I can't find the book. This is the essence of what you cover in The Testicle Principle.
Posted By: TACticGAL

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/18/10 02:19 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
But in my experience about 60% of men come from Mars and the other 40% come from Venus. Mars men tend to marry Venus women, but Mars women tend to marry Venus men.

AMEN! My moniker is theAntiChick because I am a typical "guy" in so many ways, and I married (the 2nd time anyway) a total "girl" of a guy.
Posted By: Telly

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/18/10 02:26 AM

Love this thread and this section!!!!!

So happy and intrigued!!!!
Posted By: OurHouse

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/18/10 03:10 AM

Quote:
People can and do seem to switch roles at times. Sometimes they switch roles when they switch partners. Sometimes they switch on topics. Whatever...the principles seem the same. Whoever is Clinger starts the work.


At times? How about multiple times in one day?

In general, I think he is the Clinger and I am the Avoider. But I'm the one with abandonment issues, and I think the avoidance tactic just insures I have control over who abandons whom.

Often when I'm angry, sullen or withdrawn, he will coax me out of that state. But as soon as I'm out, he goes in!

Maybe this section needs a Passive-Aggressive addendum?
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/18/10 08:22 AM

Thanks for the replies Al - they are helpful.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/18/10 04:43 PM

Originally Posted By: OurHouse
At times? How about multiple times in one day?

In general, I think he is the Clinger and I am the Avoider. But I'm the one with abandonment issues, and I think the avoidance tactic just insures I have control over who abandons whom.

Often when I'm angry, sullen or withdrawn, he will coax me out of that state. But as soon as I'm out, he goes in!

Maybe this section needs a Passive-Aggressive addendum?


I love it. What a great example of real life struggling. Note that no matter what, the Lizards are bug-eyed panicked.

My guess, like yours, is we need to address your tactics under another topic. Yours sounds a bit like "withdrawing as a power tactic." When I do it, I call it sulking. Boy, did I have that one down cold. The key is that in me it is more a display of abandonment than a real panic sense of abandonment.

I think it is an example of "passive" bullying tactics, and of using "withdrawing" as the punishment. If you were more dramatic, you could threaten divorce daily and more or less obliquely to get him to be obedient to your wishes or at least to give you a sense of some power. (Lizards would still hate it, so don't do it.) My guess is that he's more consistently the Avoider, but your more primary issue between you is Control and Who's Boss. That does belong in another topic where we can look at passive-aggression.

But I love your example as it might help people clarify the distinctions between Reliable Membership struggles and Power struggles. Remember I think of the Panics that surface from Reliable Membership are pretty unconscious. What you are doing sounds perhaps automatic but pretty conscious.

Since you are conscious of all this, look for new ways of meeting both of your needs together while not frightening Lizards. What can you do to get what you want that doesn't attack his Lizard? [The answer can be found in the question, What can you do to get a coke from the foodmart that doesn't involve using a pistol? I wrote a quick article some time ago on this.]
Posted By: OurHouse

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/18/10 10:28 PM

Was that supposed to link to "want them to do things for you? Invest wisely?" The article makes sense in this context..but I didn't see that question mentioned.

I don't want to derail this topic, so I'll wait 'til you start in on passive-aggressive to post more.

BTW, expectations and resentments are two sides of the same coin, aren't they? I could be crowned Queen of Resentment land, very easily. And you know what they say about resentment...
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/19/10 12:53 AM

Originally Posted By: OurHouse
Was that supposed to link to "want them to do things for you? Invest wisely?" The article makes sense in this context..but I didn't see that question mentioned.

BTW, expectations and resentments are two sides of the same coin, aren't they? I could be crowned Queen of Resentment land, very easily. And you know what they say about resentment...


Well, that was the link I intended. I thought the link was useful for the topic of "getting what you want from your partner without threatening them." That seemed to me the context of the paragraph the link was in. Sorry to be confusing.

I don't see expectations and resentments as the same. Close, in the same field, but just a bit different. And wouldn't you know I wrote articles on both. I tend to operational (make into concrete operations) these common relationship words so that I could develop solutions. But in that way I move away from using the terms abstractly. It helps me, but may seem picky to others.

I am not sure what your are referring to when you say, "you know what they say..." I've heard lots of things said about resentments. I think there is even a definition of resentment in the Lizard paper ( Topic 1 )

If you think of yourself as the "Queen of resentments" (sounds sad to me), then my article on removing resentments (same link as above) may be interesting to you.
Posted By: OurHouse

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/19/10 01:08 AM

"Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

That was the quote to which I was referring.
Posted By: Larry

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/19/10 04:47 PM

I had problems digesting that much at once, so I yanked myself back to the first article you linked and worked on it first. Maybe small bites will help me.

After a full meal, I decided that what you said made way more sense to me than Harley's Plan A/B with which it can be compared in some ways. Yea I get it that you may not want to comment on my observation, but that doesn't stop me from so doing.

Plan A has a carrot and stick set of components, while Plan B is going dark. Both have some merit, but in my mind, there is a down side to both which I cannot find in your model.

Plan A/B was devised to deal with infidelity, yet has been used as an attempt to deal with walk away because I don't see any other POV by Harley on the subject of walk away and I have seen Plan A/B passed out as silver bullets on the issue. I would protest that it doesn't even work well in a ton of affair deals either.

The subject of walk away is very real and very often, so to speak. It often, there's that word again, has elements of infidelity to it. Which means more stuff to figure out.

How about a slant back to the subject of infidelity when he/she leaves since we get so much of it here. That might help me eat the elephant.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/19/10 05:56 PM

You guys sure move fast -- I'm still processing the lizard concept, tuning into her signals and their context and trying to identify my H's lizard and I've been at that for a couple of months!

Al, is your material designed to be studied sequentially or concurrently? I had it in my head that I needed to truly grasp the lizard concept before I moved into the next set of concepts.
Posted By: TACticGAL

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/20/10 12:04 AM

I finally had a chance to look at these articles. AMAZING work. I am definitely more on the avoider end. I wouldn't say I'm emotionally cold, but I do need a high level of trust in order to open up to someone. And I **HAVE** to have my space. Ex#2 is definitely a clinger, and cannot seem to understand my need for space. Even when I clearly explain it to him, and ask for explicitly what I need (an hour alone in my office) he runs after me, making me feel claustrophobic. And pouts if I insist that he give me said space. Which results in my needing MORE space. Ultimately it's not what ended our marriage, but it's a huge factor in my unhappiness in it.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/20/10 03:48 AM

Originally Posted By: OurHouse
"Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

That was the quote to which I was referring.


I didn't know that quote and I don't think I like it. Seems to me it is kind of like those pieces of advice to forgive people. Some I like and some not. Forgiving "too soon" seems to lead to trouble. Besides I think it wise to hold people responsible for what they do.

I imagine we will get into that in another topic.

Thanks for clarifying your message, OH.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/20/10 04:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Larry
How about a slant back to the subject of infidelity when he/she leaves since we get so much of it here. That might help me eat the elephant.


Oh, I think we will get there. It is a topic that very much interests me. For the time being I am building the groundwork for dealing with what most people call infidelity.

I've seen Clingers who cheat and Avoiders who cheat. Lizards are always greatly involved with the subject of Infidelity. And a couple of the next topics (Diversity and Autonomy) seem always to be involved as well. I say "involved" because each situation seems different, thus resolving the problems seems a complex. [Fortunately I believe there is a limit to the complexity.] I doubt any one solution would reasonably come close to fitting all situations. But I do think all facing all components is required.

So far I have only focused on Safety and Reliable Membership. Here are some thoughts on the subject - kind of casual framework. Most people who move on or cheat have already decided that "where they are sucks" to a greater or lesser extent. And they've decided things are not going to get better. Unsafety sucks. Being overwhelmed a lot of the time sucks (Avoiders). Being left alone hanging a lot of the time sucks (Clingers). Lots of other things suck, too.
Quote:
By the way "suck" is a very high level technical term invented by some very high level psycho-professional. eek That's why I use the term. Cuts to the chase.
Needless to say people move away from where it sucks. They have the idea that the new place will suck less.

As I move along here, I am hoping to build a good basis for dealing with the situation - and create room for specific actions to change the trajectory of a person walking away or cheating.

More as we move along.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/20/10 04:31 AM

Dear SB, Wouldn't it be cool if I had a program that fixed everything! Step 1, 2, etc.

While I do try to create some order, I was more interested in finding the concepts and skills that people need to be happy with each other. I think that ideally this stuff should be taught by example to all kids by their parents. That way all lessons would just flow into the kid. Didn't happen to me. I had to grab the materials I could.
Originally Posted By: seekingbalance
You guys sure move fast -- I'm still processing the lizard concept, tuning into her signals and their context and trying to identify my H's lizard and I've been at that for a couple of months!

Al, is your material designed to be studied sequentially or concurrently? I had it in my head that I needed to truly grasp the lizard concept before I moved into the next set of concepts.


I think you need to know all the ideas and skills at once. You might check my references to the Anna Karenina Principle. I first heard it from Jared Diamond in Guns Germs and Steel. This does make learning and learning to apply all this to be a bit tricky. Sorry.

Oh, Sandra and I often used the "Onion Principle," working on the layer that seemed to be on top at the time. It took quite a time until we figured out all the principles and then we had to continue applying 'em for years.
Posted By: Lil

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/21/10 04:16 AM

Enjoying these articles/writings Al.

I have been trying to explain the lizard to DH... not sure if he's getting it.

After reading this thread and the testicular stuff I see I am by nature an avoider, but because of the A have some very strong clinger tendencies.

and I need to re-read men are from mars - although I totally reject the cave idea since leaving DH in his cave, gave him quality affair time.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/21/10 08:16 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Most people who move on or cheat have already decided that "where they are sucks" to a greater or lesser extent. And they've decided things are not going to get better. Unsafety sucks. Being overwhelmed a lot of the time sucks (Avoiders). Being left alone hanging a lot of the time sucks (Clingers). Lots of other things suck, too.
Quote:
By the way "suck" is a very high level technical term invented by some very high level psycho-professional. eek That's why I use the term. Cuts to the chase.
Needless to say people move away from where it sucks. They have the idea that the new place will suck less.
Describes my STBXH's thought process to a "t" frown. Don't know if there was infidelity involved, but at some point that's irrelevant.
Posted By: ForeverHers

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/21/10 04:33 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: OurHouse
"Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

That was the quote to which I was referring.


I didn't know that quote and I don't think I like it. Seems to me it is kind of like those pieces of advice to forgive people. Some I like and some not. Forgiving "too soon" seems to lead to trouble. Besides I think it wise to hold people responsible for what they do.

I imagine we will get into that in another topic.

Thanks for clarifying your message, OH.


Al, I would agree that the term Forgiveness is often used inappropriately.

I've heard the same thing you stated many times; "Forgiving 'too soon'." And it certainly can lead to trouble, but the problem may not be so much because of the forgiveness as it is with the person being forgiven and with a lack of understanding by the forgiver of what forgiveness is and when it's appropriate.

"Forgiving too soon" and "Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself" are two phrases that often raise my "alert level." If the focus is on self, the action (forgiving) is basically meaningless. It may give someone a little "warm fuzzy" feeling for a while, but the minute something happens to cause them to feel "not safe" they forget what forgiveness is, and the promises that they make when they choose to forgive someone for something they have done.

I look at forgiveness as primarily two things. First, it is a command concerning sin from God's perspective. To forgive as I have been forgiven is the operative thought.

Second, it is NOT a "blanket command" but is dependent upon an action by the one who is seeking forgiveness. To grant forgiveness without a "requirement" is to fool oneself, because forgiveness is not the same thing as expunging all consequences.

So, for example, when Jesus instructed us to forgive "seventy times seven times" it is because of the reality of sin. But the operative "trigger" for that granting of forgiveness is the repentance of the sinner. It our responsibility to forgive when repentance is present, even if the person later succumbs to more sin and has to again seek forgiveness.

But integrally tied to forgiveness are two other realities.

The first is that forgiveness does not remove all consequences of sin or the offense for which forgiveness is sought. Sometimes the consequences can be eliminated by choice of the forgiver and sometimes the consequences will be around for a while, perhaps even for the rest of one's life. Some things cannot be "undone," they can only be forgiven.

The second reality is that the person who is granting forgiveness is simultaneously promising that they will do some things related to the sin and the sinner.

"You promise:

1. I shall not use them against you in the future.

2. I shall not talk to others about them.

3. I shall not dwell on them myself.

Just as the only way to begin to feel right toward another is to begin to do right toward him, so the only way to feel properly toward another, and ultimately even to forget those wrongs that he has done to you, is to keep the threefold promise that you make when you say ‘I forgive you.' You see, you don't have to feel forgiving in order to grant forgiveness; you just have to forgive. " ( What Do You Do When Your Marriage Goes Sour? by Jay E. Adams)

These promises hold true for all instances of forgiving, but are especially essential when dealing with infidelity and the potential recovery of a marriage.

This sort of forgiving will play a big part in reestablishing trust as the "weapons" that both the faithful and the unfaithful spouse use, or may use, are laid down and "safety" is realized by choice, by conscious decision. It's not that consequences are done away with, it's that we learn to live with the consequences that may still be present from the original act of sin or offense.

They are a types of boundaries that are established, regardless of feelings. Obviously there are also many other boundaries that may need to be established in order for the goal of a recovered marriage to become a reality. They may include such things as places I can no longer go, people I can no longer see, things I can no longer do, etc. that would be detrimental to both the marriage and to self, as well as to our spouse. The boundaries will usually revolve around things I no longer allow myself to do to others and things I will no longer allow others to do to me, each with attendant consequences for violations of those boundaries.

As you said, it may be a topic for another thread, but proper forgiveness does seem to be an integral part of reestablishing trust.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/21/10 07:21 PM

Quote:
Forgiving "too soon" seems to lead to trouble.


Yes, it does. Janis Spring calls this "cheap forgiveness", and it tends to enable behavior.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/21/10 09:49 PM

Originally Posted By: lildoggie
I have been trying to explain the lizard to DH... not sure if he's getting it.

After reading this thread and the testicular stuff I see I am by nature an avoider, but because of the A have some very strong clinger tendencies.


Keep slugging away, Lildoggie. Should have seen me trying to explain the Lizard to my partner! Wow! Not easy. Tough for a Clinger to teach an Avoider anything, I think. Took lots of time and patience. In the meantime I used the concepts of the Lizard to help me in the tasks of "making her feel safe around me," and to "get the benifit of leaving while she was still with me."

Eventually the concepts of the Lizard and Reliable Membership became hers too. Afterall we were observing the same phenomena and even if we value things differently, the concept and experiences were useful in bringing us together. She reads my articles and says, "OK."

OH and while you are observing your Avoider nature, remember that everyone is both. It often becomes stable in a particular relationship. If I get over 80 units, I display avoider traits. If I get under 80, I start to display clinger traits. I wrote a bit more about this in an unfinished article called the Other Feelings for those of you who want to go deeper.

Keep figuring it out and applying it to your buddy, too.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/21/10 10:00 PM

Great to have you back here, ForeverHers. Thought I might have run you off.

By the way I like your name FH. The whole purpose of my life sometimes seems to help people be foreverbuddies of each other - all the long way through death.

Also I enjoy the familiar language that you use. Being raised Christian and having explored and ventured into many denominations, the words are so familiar -- familiar tends to comfort my Lizard.

I think the subject of Forgiveness is really really for another topic. But you never know when it will come up so I will share some here about it. First I don't think of forgiveness as an act - rather as a state of being. That's how I interpret Jesus. I think He was trying to teach that one does not forgive or not forgive - one tries to live a) in a state of knowing God's forgiveness and b) passing that on among each other.

I think the magic is in PreValidation (look up on my site) which is an attitude of forgiveness even before you connect with others - for both self and others.

Oh I'd better stop this. Back to Reliable Membership.

Enjoy.
Posted By: TACticGAL

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 12:39 AM

I think letting go of resentment is different than forgiveness. I can refuse to forgive my ex for his lies to me, and what they cost me (especially since I don't feel genuine remorse from him), but I can at the same time choose to quit holding that resentment that keeps me from moving forward... hence I agree with the statment about resentment being like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 02:58 AM

Quote:
I think letting go of resentment is different than forgiveness. I can refuse to forgive my ex for his lies to me, and what they cost me (especially since I don't feel genuine remorse from him), but I can at the same time choose to quit holding that resentment that keeps me from moving forward... hence I agree with the statment about resentment being like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.


Yes, acceptance is important. Harboring resentment and hatred hurts you, and doesn't really affect the other person at all. Acceptance is an act of self-care and self-healing.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 04:06 PM

Al,

Oddly enough, I think that I switch from clinger to distancer fairly frequently. Although I am overall the clinger, in many situations I distance. I can think of many times I've run away just to get out of a tense situation when my lizard was not feeling safe, and felt the situation was beyond my influence.

Regards,
AR
Posted By: ForeverHers

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 04:24 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Great to have you back here, ForeverHers. Thought I might have run you off.


On the contrary, Al, I have simply been reading the posts and responses, not wanting to potentially interfere with the process you seem to be establishing. I do disagree with some fundamental assumptions, but that is also why I have chosen to not interject my thoughts on any regular basis. I will respond to this post since I do think it touches on another fundamental issue, but then I'll probably just go on to other things.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
By the way I like your name FH. The whole purpose of my life sometimes seems to help people be foreverbuddies of each other - all the long way through death.


Thank you. It is a commitment statement, not of "buddies," but of my commitment to my vows, my marriage, my wife, and my God. It's a short recognition that there are more important things in life than "just me," and in the context of infidelity was my statement that regardless of the outcome of that crisis, some things are always forever regardless of circumstances. That was my "stand" regarding my wife regardless of her infidelity.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Also I enjoy the familiar language that you use. Being raised Christian and having explored and ventured into many denominations, the words are so familiar -- familiar tends to comfort my Lizard.


As do many people, but the "language" isn't necessarily intended to be soothing because words do have meaning. It certainly can be soothing, but the words come from the reality of, not just the "nice idea" of, God and Jesus Christ.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I think the subject of Forgiveness is really really for another topic. But you never know when it will come up so I will share some here about it. First I don't think of forgiveness as an act - rather as a state of being. That's how I interpret Jesus. I think He was trying to teach that one does not forgive or not forgive - one tries to live a) in a state of knowing God's forgiveness and b) passing that on among each other.


Forgiveness certainly can be, perhaps should be, a subject of another topic, and maybe I'll reproduce a thread that I had on another system from some 7+ years ago on the topic of "Forgive? Trust? Really?" You might find some of it interesting reading, or not.

I would agree that being a forgiver is a state of being, but forgiving is an act, a conscious choice to forgive. It is not, imho, merely a feeling or a state of being.

I would also have a different interpretation of what Jesus said about forgiveness and perhaps the best way to address that difference of opinion would be to "go to the source" and see what He actually said about forgiveness as an act and a choice, as well as a state of being.

As a state of being, this is what Jesus meant should be our "natural state," having received forgiveness for all of our own sins.

In Matthew 18 Jesus is talking to Peter about forgiveness. The custom of the time was that forgiving someone 3 times was considered to be a lot, and Peter thought that if he forgave 7 times, more than twice the "usual," he would be forgiving as God meant.

Jesus answered Peter in Matt. 18:22; "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (NIV) The point that Jesus was making to Peter is about being a "forgiver," the state of being if you will, that there is no arbitrary limit wherein once it is met the person can "safely" no longer be a forgiver. The number, or phrase if you will, that Jesus used was so much larger than anything anyone of that day would consider so as to emphasize the continual requirement for forgiveness, and the attitude that someone should have as a forgiving person. Jesus went on in that parable of the Unmerciful Servant to illustrate the "state of being" that one should have. Jesus summed it up in verses 32-33: "Then the master called the servant in: 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?"

But being willing to forgive is not just a state of "being," it requires an action, which is the act of forgiving someone. Choose to be a forgiver and choose to actually forgive "as I have been forgiven" is what we are instructed by God to be and do.

Matthew 18:35 - "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." This verse "marries" the state of being and the action and precludes a simplistic sort of "I forgive you." It's not just a "feel good" thing, it must be a heartfelt choice, and one that includes the promises that I quoted earlier in the previous post. It is both a choice and a commitment.

In Mark 11:25-26 Jesus stated; "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Jesus is again speaking of the state of being a forgiver, but He is also stating that we cannot hold onto resentment and be a forgiver. That thought was embodied in the Lord's Prayer when Jesus said: "forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (other's trespasses against us)." It was further embodied in His plea to the Father as He paid the price for our sins; "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus was not saying to the Father, "forgive everyone" just to feel good because forgiveness only comes from God and only according to His requirement for His granting forgiveness. God does require an action as a precursor to forgiveness, and that action is repentance that leads to acceptance of Jesus as one's personal Lord and Savior.

That is where forgiveness often "goes astray" in that not only can it be given "too soon," but it can also be confused with resentment. "Letting go" of resentment is something we need to do, and can be thought of as a form of forgiveness, but only in the sense of releasing that resentment to God because He is the judge concerning actual forgiveness of sin.

One cannot disconnect the state of being a forgiver from that act of forgiveness. In Luke 17:3-4 Jesus spoke about this: "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

In John 20:23 Jesus gave His instructions to His disciples concerning forgiveness: "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." That is not a call for "blanket forgiveness." It presumes the true need for repentance and seeking forgiveness as a result of that repentance. It is not that the disciples were not forgivers at heart, a state of being, but that forgiveness was a choice, and that choice was dependent upon the person seeking forgiveness. It was not intended to simply make them "feel good" that they had "forgiven" someone.

So being a forgiver is a state of being, but it's not enough. That is a starting point. One must also choose to forgive, to actually do the act of forgiveness with all it's attendant promises.



Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I think the magic is in PreValidation (look up on my site) which is an attitude of forgiveness even before you connect with others - for both self and others.

Oh I'd better stop this. Back to Reliable Membership.

Enjoy.


Al, thanks for the link to your site, I did enjoy reading the articles. I guess "magic" is in the eye of the beholder whether it's the pre-validation idea or whether it's God as Creator. No doubt substantive change in a person may look quite "magical."

From your PreValidation article:

"Once you see this iceberg metphor, you will probably realize that people are not capable of doing something that is not a result of all those molecules, all those components, in their iceberg. People are not capable of doing something that is not a result of all their stuff."

Two brief comments;
1) I would disagree that pre-validation is synonymous with forgiveness. It does seem to bear heavily on communication and discussion, even understanding, but it's not the same thing as forgiving someone for sins against you. AT least that's my humble opinion.

2) I agree with your iceberg metaphor as it relates to people in their natural, pre-forgiven by God, state. We are incapable of changing on our own without God's active participation in such a change. The idea here is that people naturally have a "heart of stone" and no human being can make that heart a "heart of flesh." But that is precisely what God does for believers when they accept Christ. That is, if you will, a "game changer" of very large magnitude. That is especially true with what you referred to as "the Wall of the Unconscious or Wall of the Unknown.

One way of looking at it is that God changes people at the level of desire. The "inclination of the heart," if you will.

But in general, I think the iceberg metaphor works well. Your conclusion; "People are not capable of doing something that is not a result of all their stuff" is also a good description of the basic nature of fallen human beings. It is the "stuff" that needs changing if there is to be a real change. God is very good at changing the "stuff" of which we are made, but we are not. "Alchemy" doesn't seem to work for humans because we lack the ability to truly create a new person from the old person.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 04:32 PM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Although I am overall the clinger, in many situations I distance. I can think of many times I've run away just to get out of a tense situation when my lizard was not feeling safe, and felt the situation was beyond my influence.


A great example of the difference between the need for Reliable Membership and the functioning of the Lizard. Lizard panics and flees. Well, that is one it's tactics. It does this when it get's in its "head" that it is gonna die. The triggers for this thought are many. While we may think these reactions are "misunderstandings," the Lizard doesn't care.

One of the things that triggers the Lizard is mid-brain fear of not enough connection (loneliness) and of too much connection (overwhelm). That is the material for this topic. The Lizard supplies the reactivity, the mid-brain in this case provides the trigger.

Among the other things that trigger the Lizard are upper-brain functions: feeling unheard, feeling misunderstood/invalidated, feeling rejected or judged defective, feeling dominated, etc. But those are for future topics.

All these things go on in a human at once. I separate the functions out so that I can understand them and share them.

And bless you, AR. I believe the term "odd" is one we use on something/someone that is making sense right before we get to see that sense. Once we see their sense we stop thinking of them as "odd." This includes yourself.

Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 04:43 PM

Quote:
One of the things that triggers the Lizard is mid-brain fear of not enough connection (loneliness) and of too much connection (overwhelm).


I trigger from too much connection and connection/interaction of a negative type. This includes your list of higher brain activities, but that's a future topic...so I won't go into it.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 07:37 PM

Yup. You got it.

Let me share an example. My cortex really hates criticism or critical words. Depending on my mood, I can handle listening to these more easily or less easily. My Lizard is the "freaking" agency, but my cortex is the part that handles the words.

Let's say, and this is kind of real, I can listen to what I think are 5 criticisms-per-minute under most circumstances. Remember I don't like one, but can handle/be amused by more. That also means that if I get 6, normally I my Lizard will take over. If I am a bit tired, hungry, etc. I may only handle 2 before things get too much for my cortex and my Lizard freaks quicker. In both case the "criticisms" are seen by my cortex as negative inputs. The difference in reaction is the issue of "what now is too much, too often." And the Lizard is the reacting agency - "I'm gonna die." Tis very very logical to me, now that I can see the interplay of these components.

Also this understanding, this model, makes it much easier to craft functional and specific solutions to these situations.

  1. Lizard freaks? You manage to give it reliably caring/nurturing behaviors until it relaxes.
  2. Lizard tense (not freakin'] because of excessive (often impatient pushing) or insufficient or unreliable contact? Give it space/time. Be predictive to it. Give it more contact.
  3. Lizard tense (not freakin') because of higher level triggers, then create good boundary skills. Oh and if Lizard freaks, use step 1, til it works, then step 2 if necessary til it works, then step 3.

    Heres a list of some of the higher level triggers:
    • people interrupting you,
    • misunderstanding you,
    • disrespecting you,
    • threatening when you show that you are different,
    • people theatening you cuz you don't want to be obedient,
    • people telling you who you are, defining you,
    • people mistaking who you are and judging their fantasy of who you are,
    • people blaming you or anyone,
    • people trying to get you to be responsible for their troubles, etc.

Ah, not bad. How's that? Keep them examples of Lizard and Reliable Membership examples coming.
Posted By: OurHouse

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 08:51 PM

So let's say you have a spouse prone to AOs (angry outbursts)...a lizard behavior for sure. How does one go about calming his lizard to divert the AO? Or does one calm their own lizard (by taking it on a walk OUT of the room), instead?
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 09:13 PM

Quote:
How does one go about calming his lizard to divert the AO?


I think the point is that you can't calm someone else's lizard once it's been triggered, at least not by contact. One cannot reason with a lizard. The lizard has no reason. At the point of an angry outburst, it is best to remove yourself from the situation until it calms down...and before your lizard takes over and reacts in kind.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 09:22 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Let's say, and this is kind of real, I can listen to what I think are 5 criticisms-per-minute under most circumstances. Remember I don't like one, but can handle/be amused by more. That also means that if I get 6, normally I my Lizard will take over. If I am a bit tired, hungry, etc. I may only handle 2 before things get too much for my cortex and my Lizard freaks quicker.


Not only do I have a sliding scale for mood, but I have a sliding scale depending upon the source and the expression of the criticism. For instance, if a stranger criticizes me, no matter how badly, my lizard barely cares. If my partner criticizes me I can handle it only to a point. That point is a function of how the criticism is expressed, my mood, and the subject matter.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle


Heres a list of some of the higher level triggers:
  • people interrupting you,
  • misunderstanding you,
  • disrespecting you,
  • threatening when you show that you are different,
  • people theatening you cuz you don't want to be obedient,
  • people telling you who you are, defining you,
  • people mistaking who you are and judging their fantasy of who you are,
  • people blaming you or anyone,
  • people trying to get you to be responsible for their troubles, etc.

Ah, not bad. How's that? Keep them examples of Lizard and Reliable Membership examples coming.


Pretty good, especially the coping/handling behaviors. I've bolded the higher level triggers that hit me hardest, and italicized the ones that trigger (but to a lesser degree). None of them are left without an indicator, though.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/22/10 10:46 PM

Worst things I think you can do are a) be silent, withdrawn while he pursues his AO, or b) give in, try to placate him or divert him, or c) have an AO back at him. All I think are foolish.

I think of AOs as simple temper tantrums. Sure they are Lizard behavior, but have morphed into a "successful" tool for the user. And it turns out I found these are easy to fix. I am with AR on this. Basically you generously claps almost instantly give your partner a TimeOut . Name the length of time and go!!!. Let his Lizard discover that the result of an AO will be loneliness. Since his AO has some reason behind it, respect the reason but do not tolerate the AO. Let him select a more successful skill than AO.

A TimeOut is a powerful akill, part of the issues of Reliable Membership. If you have Clinging and Avoiding issues or AO's, get good at the skill of TimeOuts.

By the way, I think this advice is simple, direct and I believe in it completely. But it does seem hard to do. :santa:
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/23/10 07:07 AM

Quote:
Basically you generously claps almost instantly give your partner a TimeOut . Name the length of time and go!!!. Let his Lizard discover that the result of an AO will be loneliness.


At some point I suggested to my sister that she try a timeout with her H when he has an angry outburst. She later told me that she felt that it was a positive choice for her when she tried it. She has done a lot of therapy and personal development over the years, but she was almost tearful when she said to me "no one ever told me that it was OK to walk away from someone who is having an [AO] before" and she was grateful that I had "given her permission" to do that. No one ever told me that either and it wasn't until I started learning about boundaries recently that I encountered that idea.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/26/10 04:40 PM

Quote:
Let his Lizard discover that the result of an AO will be loneliness.


Al, are there any lizards who either don't mind or have become indifferent to loneliness?
Posted By: OurHouse

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/26/10 04:55 PM

I either need to get better at the Time Out, or it's not the right strategy. He gets angrier. It's best when he gets angry enough to leave the room...because I *don't* follow him (as he does to me when I calmly announce I'm leaving the room, the house, etc., as he follows me around telling me I don't get to control the conversation).

If I say something and he gets mad, he will often utter a sarcastic comment, or try to argue with me or pick me apart/pick apart what I'm saying. Either is followed by his stomping out of the room before I have a chance to reply.

Quite honestly, I prefer this. Even though it's really bad behavior, it lets me be in peace.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/26/10 08:13 PM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Al, are there any lizards who either don't mind or have become indifferent to loneliness?


Dear AR,

As far as I know, all humans posess Lizards and all Lizards like to be alone. One thought I have is that when you see a person moving toward quiet, aloneness or indifference, you are watching a human who is dominated by their Lizard - at that moment. I think it is the mid-brain which supplies the desire/need for connection and it will do this whenever the Lizard is calmed down. If you see them withdraw and they appear calm, I suggest that their calm appearance is just Freezing or Submitting.

Oh, Timeouts. If your Lizard needs a quiet timeout, and you don't get it, I think your Lizard starts to mistrust you. Take it for a walk. Do not let your partner follow you. Do let them know how long before you will either reconnect or allow reconnection.

And my wife reminded me, "Avoiders often experience contact as conflict."
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/26/10 08:16 PM

Originally Posted By: OurHouse
I either need to get better at the Time Out, or it's not the right strategy. He gets angrier.


Of course he does. That's why you are taking a TimeOut.
Posted By: lost rabbit

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/27/10 03:38 PM

This is fantastic, in reading this I have realised I have tamed to a certain degree my own lizard.. I have a very panicky one, I always used to jest that my H couldnt see past his own nose and I could see the consequences of a single action for the next fifty years.. The result being that whilst H was admiring his own nose, I was getting in a right panic about not being heard, listened too or him realising how this single action filled me with fear!

Well last year my worst fear happened.. My darling H of nearly 25yrs left me, my lizard went into melt down. Thanks to some very dear DB friends I managed to retrain my lizard, yes it does have its moments when I need to kick it into touch and tell it to behave grin But the upshot was my avoiding husband came home!

Hence the next bit about avoiders and clingers which reading today has opened my eyes to what we are, I am a serial clinger and H a serial avoider.. I was so bad that I would fill any space without words with my own, I hated the very sound of silence between us.. NO MORE! I let him have his space, I leave gaps in the talking, felt very weird at first but gradually after his own verbal time out he begins to fill them.. Im no longer scared of time on my own, I get busy GAL and fill them for myself so fill doubley filled when my H fills my needs too!

AL you have put into words and logic what happened to me and I cant wait to carry on reading

Thank you

Rabbit
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/27/10 04:24 PM

Congratulations, Rabbit. I imagine your Lizard feels a whole bunch better just having an idea of what is going on for you and for him. Go 4 it.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/27/10 04:35 PM

Quote:
And my wife reminded me, "Avoiders often experience contact as conflict."


When an avoider is in a conflict situation, they usually experience contact as conflict.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/27/10 10:11 PM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Quote:
And my wife reminded me, "Avoiders often experience contact as conflict."


When an avoider is in a conflict situation, they usually experience contact as conflict.


Sandra's thought is that for some Avoiders "just contact," any kind, is often taken as conflict. Thus they often need non-contact, alone-time, to feel at peace. She would say that sometimes an Avoider would start feel in-conflict 30 minutes before the next contact happens. She showed me that a salesperson walking toward her on the beach in Mexico was a "source of conflict" while 100 feet away. Stunned me. For me learning to be a source of Peace and Safety to her was quite a challenge, but doable. Really taught me a whole lot about Lizards.
Posted By: TACticGAL

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/27/10 10:23 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Quote:
And my wife reminded me, "Avoiders often experience contact as conflict."


When an avoider is in a conflict situation, they usually experience contact as conflict.


Sandra's thought is that for some Avoiders "just contact," any kind, is often taken as conflict. Thus they often need non-contact, alone-time, to feel at peace. She would say that sometimes an Avoider would start feel in-conflict 30 minutes before the next contact happens. She showed me that a salesperson walking toward her on the beach in Mexico was a "source of conflict" while 100 feet away. Stunned me. For me learning to be a source of Peace and Safety to her was quite a challenge, but doable. Really taught me a whole lot about Lizards.


Wow. I'm an avoider then. I thought it was part of being a SCREAMING introvert. People exhaust me, the better I know them the less they exhaust me, but to some extent, everyone does. It's something my Ex#2 never understood, since he's pretty much an extrovert. I **HAVE** to have alone time, and he doesn't get that. Whenever we were both home, it's like he hadn't seen me in years and had to be next to me, TOUCHING me if possible, every moment.

A **SALES**person?? I'd be feeling conflict the moment I saw him, regardless of distance.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/27/10 10:33 PM

Quote:
I **HAVE** to have alone time, and he doesn't get that.


I, also, have to have time alone. I like people, in small doses. I can make exceptions for people I like and my partner, but I really need alone time on a frequent basis.
Posted By: Danf

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/28/10 07:22 AM

Wow. Hard to keep up with everything going on here and still run my life too!

Anyway, I think I read Al say that men are typically clingers when it comes to sex and avoiders on everything else. I think that about sums it up for my situation, until AFTER she had her blow-up about everything that was wrong with me/us. Then I became a clinger on everything because my lizard was in sever PANIC over the thought of losing my W. I was distraught and kept sliding into craziness every time she talked about not loving me. Dr. wouldn't give me any meds until I had already driven her off.

I never really thought about W as being a clinger, but one of the major complaints in her divorce letter was my lack of attention to her, except in regards to sex. I can see now that she has a genuine gripe there, but never addressed it effectively until she was ready to leave.

So, we seem to have drastically switched roles in the last year. It will be one year since her meltdown on 1/3/11. And what a damn year it has been.

The latest advice I have been given and am trying to follow is to go dark on her to show her what it will be like without me. I have been about as unclingy as you can get since we separated, hoping that she will retreat from the divorce wall, but I am doubtful.

Is that the same advice that you would recommend at this point, Al? Is that how I stop chasing my partner away? I'm afraid that she has jumped the wall and is long gone already. My final court D date is supposed to be 2/15/11. It is coming up quick and my lizard is beginning to feel distraught again.

Thanks!
Posted By: Soleil

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/28/10 06:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Danf
I never really thought about W as being a clinger, but one of the major complaints in her divorce letter was my lack of attention to her, except in regards to sex.


I think a lot of women feel this way. I know I did in my M.
Posted By: OurHouse

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/28/10 06:46 PM

Ditto. I get very little physical affection that is not directly linked to sex.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/28/10 06:56 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
One of the things that triggers the Lizard is mid-brain fear of not enough connection (loneliness) and of too much connection (overwhelm). That is the material for this topic. The Lizard supplies the reactivity, the mid-brain in this case provides the trigger.
Al, do you think that people differ in how much bandwidth there is between "not enough" and "too much"? ie some people's comfort zone of connection is relatively small whereas others can tolerate more on either end of the gradient?

Also, can you share your thoughts on the overlap and distinction between introversion/extroversion vs clinger/avoider?

I'm definitely an introvert (I have to "recharge" after interactions with people, even if they are positive). I think I've been mostly a clinger in my M, but I also really relate to a lot of avoider stuff and can remember many instances when my lizard was triggered both from not enough and too much.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/28/10 08:51 PM

Originally Posted By: flowmom
Al, do you think that people differ in how much bandwidth there is between "not enough" and "too much"? ie some people's comfort zone of connection is relatively small whereas others can tolerate more on either end of the gradient?


Good questions. Below is the chart I use. I think the issue has to do with the life experiences the Lizard involved has faced. Has it learned to tolerate a lot of changing? Has it become sensitized to abandonment? Has it been sensitized to onslaught? This is all about getting to know your Lizard and its history. Also a person can change their sensitivity at differing times. E.g. when I am hungry my Lizard is more easily triggered by Abandonment.



Originally Posted By: flowmom
Also, can you share your thoughts on the overlap and distinction between introversion/extroversion vs clinger/avoider?


There are many ways to look at people. My memory is that the Hindu in India have hundreds of words for depression - lots of lists. I prefer Clinger/Avoider as the words immediately both refer to a unique part of our human dynamics and they also link to the behaviors that one can see.

I threw out Introvert/Extrovert as not as useful. I don't think you will see those words on my website.

While I think they do refer to behaviors, the sources of these behaviors seem so numerous to me as to not be "clarifying." I think of an Extrovert as a person who has learned to connect by talking, telling stories, but can also use their voice to argue and torment others (fighting and bullying). I think of an Introvert as a person who has learned to "lay low" and has not learned yet to tell their own stories. They can also pull away from disagreement and thus provoke their partner into "bullying." These seem often quite similar behavior but are triggered by very different parts of our brains - and have different solutions. Hopefully we'll get to those issues.

Oh and by the way, while I find it wonderfully validating to find my own "tribe," (the Clingers, the Avoiders, the Introverts and the Extroverts, and the Tyrants and the Manipulators and the Wusses, etc.), I have to remind people that every one is every thing. All are Clingers and Avoiders under different circumstances. The goal of the labels is to point to tactics of dealing with problems so that people can become closer buddies.

I am happy to announce I am a member in good standing in the Clinger tribe. I salute all you Clingers out there. I also salute all you Avoiders out there, cuz you have to deal with Clingers. And I sure know what it is like to Avoid and I married an Avoider.

Originally Posted By: flowmom
I'm definitely an introvert (I have to "recharge" after interactions with people, even if they are positive). I think I've been mostly a clinger in my M, but I also really relate to a lot of avoider stuff and can remember many instances when my lizard was triggered both from not enough and too much.


Good point. Lizard doesn't seem to care, once it's triggered. It just goes nuts: into Flee, Freeze, Submit, and Fight. Till it is calmed down, the trigger isn't important. Multiple triggers can be particularly difficult. If my partner is yelling at me that she will leave, I am hit by the loud noise and the message of leaving at the same time. Poor Lizard!

"Recharging" sounds a lot more like Avoider than Introvert. Sounds a bit like reassembling your sense of grouded-ness, that weak Boundary Skills have somehow allowed to leak out.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/28/10 08:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Danf
Wow. Hard to keep up with everything going on here and still run my life too!


I feel for you Danf. I think I am lucky. I stubbornly learned all this stuff over 15 years or so. You can read it in several days. I fear you brains may blow up. Be kind to yourself, please.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/29/10 06:02 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Sandra's thought is that for some Avoiders "just contact," any kind, is often taken as conflict.


I understand your wife's feelings about the salesperson. I feel the same.

I was wondering at what point, or what signs, do you know that the behavior isn't avoidance, but something else? I'm sure you know why I'm asking this question. smile If this question is leaping the discussion too far ahead, just let me know. We can table it.

Originally Posted By: Danf
My final court D date is supposed to be 2/15/11. It is coming up quick and my lizard is beginning to feel distraught again.


Hugs for you and your lizard, Danf! hug hug
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/29/10 06:23 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: flowmom
Al, do you think that people differ in how much bandwidth there is between "not enough" and "too much"? ie some people's comfort zone of connection is relatively small whereas others can tolerate more on either end of the gradient?


Good questions. Below is the chart I use. I think the issue has to do with the life experiences the Lizard involved has faced. Has it learned to tolerate a lot of changing? Has it become sensitized to abandonment? Has it been sensitized to onslaught? This is all about getting to know your Lizard and its history. Also a person can change their sensitivity at differing times. E.g. when I am hungry my Lizard is more easily triggered by Abandonment.


Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
"Recharging" sounds a lot more like Avoider than Introvert. Sounds a bit like reassembling your sense of grouded-ness, that weak Boundary Skills have somehow allowed to leak out.

OK, that is helpful. So for some people (like me) the black line in the above image would be relatively narrow compared to the average. It's helpful for me to look at my "clinger" tendencies as being triggered by abandonment issues (which I know I have), and my "avoider" tendencies may be triggered by loss of groundedness due to weak boundaries (also an issue that I am working on).

I am appreciating this discussion a lot.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/29/10 04:55 PM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
I was wondering at what point, or what signs, do you know that the behavior isn't avoidance, but something else?


The Lizard if active is always avoiding, I believe. It can use different tactics: Fleeing, Freezing, Submitting and Fighting. Some people walk into my office and immediately criticize the color scheme. That seems to me to be Fighting to avoid something else that is scary to their Lizard.

In this topic I am focusing on data input, or connection input, or whatever that is either too much or too little.

When someone pulls away it is sometimes an challenge to decide if they are Avoiding too much input, or they are Fleeing something else that is obnoxious to them. This is for the next topic, really. But here's and example.

People who are "competitors" are trained to like winning and fear losing. While the Lizard doesn't know what the hell winning or losing is, the upper brain does. So competitors often avoid a situation where they think they will lose. Has nothing to do with "too much input."

All these things work at once. If it seems complicated, I think it is. But I like my view of it, cuz it seems the simplest that covers all the issues.

Are we ready to move onto Topic #3? I wonder. (I think this is where your answers are, AR.)

By the way, eventually I learned that Avoiding behavior (Lizard moving away from too much input) was partially related to the Lizard's lack of confidence in Boundary Skills. I imagine that people who avoid salespeople are probably also people who don't know how to say, "No" easily. My wife often talks about having to build better Boundary Skills.

Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/29/10 05:47 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
By the way, eventually I learned that Avoiding behavior (Lizard moving away from too much input) was partially related to the Lizard's lack of confidence in Boundary Skills. I imagine that people who avoid salespeople are probably also people who don't know how to say, "No" easily. My wife often talks about having to build better Boundary Skills.
So interesting. I am also loathe being approached by salespeople in any situation and will often leave stores due to that. It makes sense that that would be a boundary issue but I never made that connection.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/29/10 10:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Danf
Anyway, I think I read Al say that men are typically clingers when it comes to sex and avoiders on everything else.

Hey, I imagine a woman who sees a man as attentive for sex and nothing else, ends up feeling used and resentful. "So we are all here to take care of your manhood! Bet me, turkey!" How do guys get into this state? I recall that phrase that "a teenage boy is just a support system for a penis." Well, they need to come out of it sooner or later - need to grow up. (Same for women who encourage this.)

Originally Posted By: Danf
I think that about sums it up for my situation, until AFTER she had her blow-up about everything that was wrong with me/us.
Coolest thing in the world is when a silent person finally starts to share. Can be a bit surprising.

Originally Posted By: Danf
Then I became a clinger on everything because my lizard was in sever PANIC over the thought of losing my W. I was distraught and kept sliding into craziness every time she talked about not loving me. Dr. wouldn't give me any meds until I had already driven her off. I never really thought about W as being a clinger, but one of the major complaints in her divorce letter was my lack of attention to her, except in regards to sex. I can see now that she has a genuine gripe there, but never addressed it effectively until she was ready to leave.
Great story! Bet lots of others have been through this. I love your phrase "genuine gripe." Suggest to me that you probably (both) tend to be pretty judgmental. Like every word out of her mouth is valuable, but you had learned to judge which are "genuine." Woooeee. Bit of controllng issues there. I'm just quessing. Probably the next topic.

Originally Posted By: Danf
So, we seem to have drastically switched roles in the last year. It will be one year since her meltdown on 1/3/11. And what a damn year it has been.

Yup. Changing and learning can seem pretty chaotic.

Originally Posted By: Danf
The latest advice I have been given and am trying to follow is to go dark on her to show her what it will be like without me. I have been about as unclingy as you can get since we separated, hoping that she will retreat from the divorce wall, but I am doubtful.

I am not sure what this "going dark" shinola is. I don't like it. I like the four steps. Still they are some of the best advice I have come up with.

Originally Posted By: Danf
Is that the same advice that you would recommend at this point, Al? Is that how I stop chasing my partner away? I'm afraid that she has jumped the wall and is long gone already. My final court D date is supposed to be 2/15/11. It is coming up quick and my lizard is beginning to feel distraught again.


Once you have falling in love, lived with, and then gotten into the power struggle, you are probably with a good match. We used to say, "If you fell in love, and are now fighting, you are probably with the right person." Which suggests that long after "divorce" and other such legal thingies, she is still probably a good match for you and you for her. 70 years from now, she's been married with someone else for 69 of those, I imagine she will see your name on Facebook (2080 version) and her heart will still leap a bit.

This topic is about the single issue of overloading or underloading your partner. I've seen a lot of people divorce cuz one will not stop panicking and doing awful clingy stuff. I've seen a lot of people divorce cuz one just goes in their cave and stays there.

There are lots of other things you can do to be obnoxious to your partner. Prove that you are learning to stop all those things and it's likely she will start turning around. Refuse to address those issues and I think you are in for more pain.

I hate pain. But it does teach.
Posted By: TACticGAL

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/29/10 11:30 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Once you have falling in love, lived with, and then gotten into the power struggle, you are probably with a good match. We used to say, "If you fell in love, and are now fighting, you are probably with the right person."


Does this count even when there's been huge betrayal, lying, and refusal to protect? One of the things I'm struggling with is that I still see the good things in my Ex#2 and wish things could have changed so I could trust him, because I want my marriage back... well, a better one anyway. But he had LOTS of chances to straighten up and fly right, and kept refusing, and I had to separate out of self preservation. Is he still the "right one" for me??
Posted By: ForeverHers

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/30/10 12:28 AM

TAC, it would seem to me that understanding is impotent without implementation. The "scary" thing to a lot of people is the idea that "I" might have to actually change something in the way I relate to others, especially to my spouse. Call it the "lizard factor" or anything else, but I call it the "self-preeminent factor." It's one of the reasons why I think the Second Greatest Commandment is so important in all relationships, especially in a marriage relationship.

But it also seems that what Al was describing is the adage "opposites attract."

From a biblical perspective, I would refer to that as being "completers" of each other.

Balance is the key, imho. Knowing when to take the lead and when to let the spouse take the lead, because no one is "perfect" in all things. Strengths and weaknesses are meant to compliment each other in marriage, not be shoved aside for "dominance" because someone wants to always be the "leader."

Just my two cents worth.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/30/10 12:54 AM

Originally Posted By: theantichick
Is he still the "right one" for me??
Dear TheAntiChick, That's a profound question. I think the answer is simple, with two parts. First I think you misquoted me in a dangerous way. I wish you had asked the question, "Is he still one of the possible 'right ones?" I would have immediately said, "Yes." Do I think that status changed because of his really awful behavior? Nope.

Is he the right one for you? That is up to you and to him. If you want to make it go, I think you can.

I personally don't buy into what I call the Romantic idea that there is one perfect, right, soul mate for each of us. Just find that person and all will be allright. Nope, don't buy it. Never seen it happen. And "never" is a big word.

But I think this is better for another discussion topic. It's not for dealing with the mid-brain's need for connection.

The topic you are focusing on, I believe, was opened by Pinhead some time ago. Called Interesting Roadmap. I believe the topic is the Map of Relationships. It is about the whole story of relationships from my point of view. I wasn't thinking of this being the "next" topic. It could be. What do you want?
Posted By: TACticGAL

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/30/10 02:49 AM

"I wasn't thinking of this being the "next" topic. It could be. What do you want?"

Oh, certainly follow your original plan. Don't change stuff up for me... I jsut comment as things strike me, and I can wait for my "stuff" to come around. grin It's not like I'm in an urgent sitch here. smile
Posted By: Danf

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/30/10 04:46 AM

Thanks Al, not sure if I should continue to pursue my issues here or not, but you are right about a lot of it. Although maybe I have been taking too much of the blame on myself.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Danf
Anyway, I think I read Al say that men are typically clingers when it comes to sex and avoiders on everything else.

Hey, I imagine a woman who sees a man as attentive for sex and nothing else, ends up feeling used and resentful. "So we are all here to take care of your manhood! Bet me, turkey!" How do guys get into this state? I recall that phrase that "a teenage boy is just a support system for a penis." Well, they need to come out of it sooner or later - need to grow up. (Same for women who encourage this.)

I'm sure this is how W feels.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Danf
I think that about sums it up for my situation, until AFTER she had her blow-up about everything that was wrong with me/us.
Coolest thing in the world is when a silent person finally starts to share. Can be a bit surprising.

Ok, STARTED talking, but QUIT trying.

Originally Posted By: Danf
I can see now that she has a genuine gripe there, but never addressed it effectively until she was ready to leave.
Great story! Bet lots of others have been through this. I love your phrase "genuine gripe." Suggest to me that you probably (both) tend to be pretty judgmental. Like every word out of her mouth is valuable, but you had learned to judge which are "genuine." Woooeee. Bit of controllng issues there. I'm just quessing. Probably the next topic. [/quote]
W is EXTREMELY judgemental. I don't really think I am, but I just may not see it. She did say I was controlling, along with selfish, lazy and a hundred other names. She only sees the bad and none of the good.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle

Once you have falling in love, lived with, and then gotten into the power struggle, you are probably with a good match. We used to say, "If you fell in love, and are now fighting, you are probably with the right person."

The thing is, we never really fought about anything. This is our first big "fight" and she just bailed out.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 12/30/10 04:58 PM

Thanks, Danf, for your sharing your experiences. They trigger me into deciding which topic to move on to. I am going to focus on "controlling" and "bullying" and "passivity."

One phrase you used was that "we never really fought about anything". I recall a saying some years ago. If a couple has been together for a couple of years and they haven't gone through a fighting period, oh, just wait for the huge blow up. I believe a fighting period is both essential and needs to end. But that's for the next topic. Topic 3 "Stop the Bullying! Building the habits of Trust."
Posted By: dazedconfused

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/15/11 08:58 PM

My H started A in Feb. We filed for D in Aug. He has been going back & forth between OW/me ever since. I'm the clinger/chaser. I keep trying the NC but fail every time he calls or comes around. I've been forgiving, patient, kind, considerate and we will be enjoying ourselves then OW calls or after connecting, he runs out saying he can't cheat on OW with me anymore which last about 2 weeks and he's back again.
I then go into panic mode & start telling him what he's doing is wrong, I can't believe he did this to us, He needs to come home, he's teaching our kids bad lessons, etc.... blah blah blah to him!
I told him I could no longer be his friend or continue being with him as long as he is with her. He is now pushing the D. Is it possible for me to turn this situation around?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/16/11 12:31 AM

Originally Posted By: dazedconfused
Is it possible for me to turn this situation around?


Sure. That's what I am sharing here. There are many models for you of what to do. I offer one, which you'll have to decide whether to follow. Good luck. I'd start with Topic #1.

Originally Posted By: dazedconfused
My H started A in Feb. We filed for D in Aug. He has been going back & forth between OW/me ever since.


Yup. He's probably ambivalent caught between his memories of how it is when he's with you, and his increasing awareness of the troubles with the OW. I think you want to come across as the woman in his life who is willing to change and learn. If he thinks you are stuck ---- much harder.

Originally Posted By: dazedconfused
I'm the clinger/chaser. I keep trying the NC but fail every time he calls or comes around.


Get that Clinger stuff under control. Your choice. Topic #2.

Originally Posted By: dazedconfused
I've been forgiving, patient, kind, considerate and we will be enjoying ourselves then OW calls or after connecting, he runs out saying he can't cheat on OW with me anymore which last about 2 weeks and he's back again.


Been there and done it. Forgiving doesn't work much for me. Validating does. Topic #4.

Patient.... As a clinger I doubt this. I would always come across as an impatient SOB who was holding it back.

Kind and Considerate. We humans are cool. I sure can fake it. Doesn't help much cuz my partner can detect the "hooks" in my behavior. "I will be kind if ......" "I will be patient for 2 hours and then...." "I will forgive you if you...." I had to "become" a patient, forgiving, kind and considerate person. Tough, but possible.

Originally Posted By: dazedconfused
I then go into panic mode & start telling him what he's doing is wrong, I can't believe he did this to us, He needs to come home, he's teaching our kids bad lessons, etc.... blah blah blah to him!I told him I could no longer be his friend or continue being with him as long as he is with her.


Doesn't take much for that Master stuff (Topic #3) to come arolling out. Panic is right there always for you to manage (Topic #1). Of course he probably thinks that you will never give up telling him who he is and what he should be doing. People hate this "bullying shinola." Quit it! Tis a good plan I think.

Originally Posted By: dazedconfused
He is now pushing the D.


If you mean he is moving ahead with the Divorce, then I would guess you got a good clue that he's gone back into thinking you are hopeless.

I don't think you are, but who cares what I think. Change. Learn. Tis, I believe, your only choice. Oh, and be kind to yourself for acting like a dork. (PreValidate, Topic #4) I had to get good at being kind to me and and and at changing my behavior for good.

By the way, if he wants a D and you don't, I suggest you drag your heals - if you can. You might be the more skilled in the relationship. I wouldn't put those skills behind his wishes and wants for D.



And remember to breathe. Topic #1.
Posted By: Chris

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/27/11 10:36 PM

Hi Al,

I just wanted to say that I am so glad to have found your site.

The information there has helped me tremendously.

Regards,

Chris.
Posted By: holdingontoit

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/08/11 09:16 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I don't think you are, but who cares what I think. Change. Learn. Tis, I believe, your only choice.


Sneaky MasterTalk alert. Don't you mean that she has several options, one of which is to change and learn? Which has a chance of showing her STBX that she is not incapable of change? But she is entitled to choose not to change or learn or grow. Which is unlikely to convince her H that he is wrong to see her as hopeless. But is still a valid choice on her part.

I am curious to hear which way she is leaning. wink
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/09/11 09:50 PM

I like how NVC deals with "incorrect" communication. In NVC, receiving nonviolently involves listening with an intention to recognize the person's feelings and needs. It's not my job to train someone how to communicate (that most likely would activate their Lizard), but if my Lizard gets activated by MasterTalk, Al gives useful guidelines for subtle boundary-setting by restating the MasterTalk in "friend" language.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/09/11 10:38 PM

Thank you flowmom.Perhaps you would be willing to share how NVC does this. I have only a passing acquaintance with NVC, having just read his book a few years ago, and I am curious to learn how it compares and contrasts with Al's approach. I do remember that Rosenberg talks about giraffes and jackels (and I would equate "jackels" with Masters"?)

Originally Posted By: flowmom
It's not my job to train someone how to communicate.
I find this very valuable. I think an effective approach to communication would "work" regardless of the level of skills of the other person.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/11/11 02:46 PM

I have a very specific challenge with my estranged wife's lizard I would appreciate your perspective on, Al.

We have been separated for about a year and recently, largely I think motivated by some jealousy on my wife's part, she tested the water with me very gently. We had what I thought was a very respectful exchange and I felt her expression of gratitude that we talked when we were done was very genuine.

I saw her a couple of times very briefly over the next couple of days and again the interactions were almost sweet, certainly no raging lizards.

A couple of nights ago I went to her place to talk to my kids about some vacation plans we were making and I could sense a certain hostility from her that I just couldn't account for.

Afterwards I learned that she seems to have been 'talking herself' into that state. I wasn't surprised because I felt the hostility in her energy very strongly.

I wasn't sure how I wanted to deal with this. In the end I decided to send her a message rather than just let it 'work itself out' because I heard what she was telling herself and not only did I think it was unfair to me but I was afraid that if she kept it up she would talk herself into hating me.

I thought raising it with her would freak her lizard out but I decided it was better than the alternative. Here's what I sent:

"I want to share with you something that came up for me last night.

There are times when I see you when I feel as though you really don't like me. As though you think I'm a bad person and that you're just tolerating my presence. I don't just mean sensing that you're angry with me but that you feel I'm malevolent in some way.

I don't feel that way all the time but I felt it strongly yesterday.

You said on the weekend you still cared deeply about me and I do sense that too at times but I feel pretty certain this other thing is real also.

I'm not imagining this am I?".

Unsurprisingly, she didn't want to respond to this in an e-mail but she has made no attempt to speak with me since.

My questions are, first, if you believe someone is nurturing fear in their lizard, what do you think is the least scary way of drawing them out on that? And second, if you get confirmation that is in fact what's going on what if anything do you think can be done to "stop chasing your partner away"?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/12/11 03:39 AM

Dear Edmond Dantes, I carried you posting around in printed form all day. I underlined all sorts of stuff. I am not sure how much or how many observations you want. As usual I have a lot. If this is too much, don't read it all.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I have a very specific challenge with my estranged wife's lizard I would appreciate your perspective on, Al.


I suggest your reframe the challenge you face from being one between you and her Lizard, and instead see is as one of how to assist her with calming her own Lizard. My belief is that an outsider cannot do much about someone else's Lizard except to create and manage a peaceful nurturing environment. I believe any thought you have of verbally wrestling with her Lizard will be a waste of time and effort and may further frighten her Lizard and slow any reconnecting with her.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
A couple of nights ago I went to her place to talk to my kids about some vacation plans we were making and I could sense a certain hostility from her that I just couldn't account for.
Good observation. Going back to the Lizard paper, recall that you cannot see probably 90% of what her Lizard can see. So this situation, a cue that your partner's Lizard has become active, is for most people the first clue they get.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Afterwards I learned that she seems to have been 'talking herself' into that state. I wasn't surprised because I felt the hostility in her energy very strongly.
Even if this is what people say, "I am talking my Lizard into a Panic," I think this is a very poor description of what is going on. Sure the activity in her cortex, conscious or unconscious, probably involves ruminating on scary thoughts, beliefs and ideas, but it is the Lizard that wants this. The Lizard wants safety and thus provokes our cortex to reflect on stuff it feels unsafe about in order to develop resolutions and more reliable safety. It wants solutions - a path away from threat. What you are describing I think is the normal process that at its extreme is often called a panic attack.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I wasn't sure how I wanted to deal with this.
Sure, and who ever trained you to deal with this kind of thing. Probably no one.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
In the end I decided to send her a message rather than just let it 'work itself out' because I heard what she was telling herself and not only did I think it was unfair to me but I was afraid that if she kept it up she would talk herself into hating me.
Lots of stuff here.

Most of us aren't trained and so we just wait for things to get better. You were doing your best.

You got to listen in to what she was thinking, I see. That's cool. I would have listened and validated gently. One of my friends says, "When in doubt, Validate the shinola out of her!"

OK you got the impression her thoughts weren't fair. Who the hell told you life had anything to do with "fair"! Silly guy. Well, ok.

Then you got the fear that she would talk herself into hating you. Let's see if I got that. You shifted from trying to calm her Lizard into protecting your own. And wanted to change her thoughts. Well that won't work. I've tried.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I thought raising it with her would freak her lizard out,
I get the impression her Lizard is already freaked and no one, either you or her, is helping it calm down.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Here's what I sent:"I want to share with you something that came up for me last night.
Oh silly guy! Her Lizard is freaking so you decide to talk at her. Oh and you decide to focus on her actions and your imaginations about her. Gad, I tried that over and over till I became convinced that my partner would never listen to that. It usually comes across as an invasion of her selfhood and her Lizard goes into double time.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm not imagining this am I?".
Sure you are imagining it. You are getting almost no data from her so all you can do is imagine it. Of course you are not nuts to imagine this, but I would not ask her to confirm your imaginations. Nor would I share my thoughts when her Lizard is active. Better to calm her Lizard and get in touch with what she is experiencing.

But lets you and I stop. Your imagination includes the idea that she thinks you are malevolent in some way. Well, that's an old familiar theme in my nightmares, too. Not only do you feel misunderstood, cuz after all you are a good guy, but you fear she is labeling you as a bad guy. By the way, she probably is - at times. If you have nightmare imaginations about her, I can certainly see why she would have nightmare imaginations about you. I recall how much progress Sandra and I made when I developed good enough boundaries to respectfully hear her hatred of me. Was mostly about her parents, anyway.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Unsurprisingly, she didn't want to respond to this in an e-mail but she has made no attempt to speak with me since.
I gather you've had enough experience with her to predict this. I am guessing you are the needy, frightened, clinging, pursuing kind of guy - like me. So of course you pick a partner whom you can't get to talk with you. Gotta deal with this. Topic #2. Oh that is where we are.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
My questions are, first, if you believe someone is nurturing fear in their lizard, what do you think is the least scary way of drawing them out on that?
Reframe that thought right away. I believe no one ever ever ever wants to nurture fear. Lizards are designed for moving toward safety --- period.

My guess is that you are frustrated by your awareness that she is frightened of you (and other shinola) cuz you wanna "fix it" and don't know what to do. Just a guess.

My suggestions are to set yourself a goal of "becoming a source of safety to her Lizard." Learn what makes her Lizard relax and do it. This does not seem to be a case of defending yourself at this point.

This seems a case of your needing connection with her and she is running away. Probably lots of things you do drive her away. Find 'em and remove them. Could be a 2 year project to get really good at it. Take your time.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
And second, if you get confirmation that is in fact what's going on what if anything do you think can be done to "stop chasing your partner away"?
Set aside the MasterTalkie part of "it is a fact." Let's just assume you become more and more convinced that "she's scaring her Lizard." I suggest you get better at listening respectfully to what she is telling herself. Her Lizard does not want to be scared. You don't have to persuade her to not be scared.

I think you have convince her Lizard that chatting with you is a way to feel safer - that being with you is a way to feel safer. I see this as a matter of finding the specific actions that her Lizard needs. When she wants to move away, it is cuz you are doing things or reminding her of things that are scary. So her Lizard wants to get away from you.

I suggest you read that Lizard paper again and focus on Caring Behaviors and Caring Days. I suggest you read the Testicle Principle and focus on giving her Lizard the space it needs in your presence.

Tis just my theories and beliefs. Good luck.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/12/11 05:39 PM

Thanks you for the time you spent thinking about my situation, Al. There is a lot there for me to meditate on.

I wish now I had made it clearer that the 'self talk' I became aware of was in the form of things she had written and they were not communicated directly to me. As a result I haven't been able to validate her feelings or beliefs about these things. I experienced it as the two of us having some lizard calming interactions and then her going away and, as you suggest, 'reminding' her lizard that she doesn't think I'm safe and that I'm a 'sociopath' etc. (that one hurt).

The result seemed to be that her lizard looked to me to be on high alert when we next interacted and I, at that point, didn't know what had changed since our last interaction. Now that I have an idea what's going on, I was looking for a way to encourage her to share that view openly with me so I could validate it. It's clear to me she doesn't feel safe enough with me to be honest about that kind of stuff though. Oh well, as you say, one step at a time.

I'm a bit lost about how to become more safe for her when I have reason to believe she retreats to a private place and essentially innoculates herself against me after every interaction. I think it's at this point that the impulse to 'fix' gets mixed up with the desire to have more honest communication. I'm going to have a close look at that especially since I think she may well experience my desire to 'fix' our relationship as manipulation which only further aggravates her lizard.

Perhaps I'll share some more thoughts when I've had a chance to fully digest your feedback. Thanks so much again, Al.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/13/11 10:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I wish now I had made it clearer that the 'self talk' I became aware of was in the form of things she had written and they were not communicated directly to me. As a result I haven't been able to validate her feelings or beliefs about these things. I experienced it as the two of us having some lizard calming interactions


Ok. I had an "oh, oh" reaction. My imagination was that she takes time to think her thoughts - can't do it well in front of you and so is doing some healthy diary stuff. Given my imagination, I am delighted that you are getting to a) hear some of the thinking that is maybe more accurately her than what she says in front of you, but I am worried that b) you might be snooping - a kind of clinging or stalking behavior very typical of really strung out Clinger. Of course this is my guessing.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
and then her going away and, as you suggest, 'reminding' her lizard that she doesn't think I'm safe and that I'm a 'sociopath' etc. (that one hurt).
Lots of normal people in relationships act damn sociopathic. I wouldn't worry. But hey, would you rather she share what she thinks or keep it all hidden?

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
The result seemed to be that her lizard looked to me to be on high alert when we next interacted and I, at that point, didn't know what had changed since our last interaction. Now that I have an idea what's going on, I was looking for a way to encourage her to share that view openly with me so I could validate it. It's clear to me she doesn't feel safe enough with me to be honest about that kind of stuff though. Oh well, as you say, one step at a time.
Good to hear all of this. The goal for you (both) is to be relaxed when talking about anything. Now all you have to do, I say "all" with a warm feeling inside about how big that word is to me, is discover the specifics that you do and have done that scares her lizard when you guys talk.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm a bit lost about how to become more safe for her when I have reason to believe she retreats to a private place and essentially innoculates herself against me after every interaction. I think it's at this point that the impulse to 'fix' gets mixed up with the desire to have more honest communication. I'm going to have a close look at that especially since I think she may well experience my desire to 'fix' our relationship as manipulation which only further aggravates her lizard.
Yep. Yep. Sounds just right. Gotta be a source of safety and at the same time "not have to fix the relationship" (which will probably comes across as fixing her).

My guess, Edmond, is that you may come across like a bit of a super-controller (and Clinger) and are trying to fix your dysfunctional (and avoiding) partner. Well, I think that thought is a good starting place. If you do this/come across this way, why? Who taught you (try Mom or Dad)? And how much work do you think it will take you to re-learn/un-learn what you were taught? Give yourself a break, be kind to you, and get to work.

Focus on you much more than her. I think it works better and both of you will appreciate it. Here's an article on this.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/13/11 11:50 PM

Thanks, as always, Al.

I think I'm going to have a "Super-Controlling Clinger" T-shirt made up.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/14/11 12:08 AM

I think that is a good idea. I had one that simply said,

Insatiable
and
Proud of It


another that said

Official Member
of
Walking Wounded.


T-shirts, I think, are good.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 03/14/11 04:35 PM

I moved several discussions on MasterTalk to a new Topic 3b on that topic. Here's the link.
Posted By: Don Quixote

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/20/11 09:02 PM

Do you think being or sending a slightly flirtatious message is a good idea? Or does that scare the lizard off if shes not ready. Last time I saw her she seemed happy to me (she was in a group of friends). She has been running a lot lately and I was thinking of complementing her just a little bit. Just to let her know I noticed. I was thinking if I did it in an innocent, none pushy sort of way, it could be nice just to offer up a complement and expect nothing in return.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/20/11 11:55 PM

Expecting nothing in re2rn is a good way 2 interact with people, in my view. I wouldn't send flirtatious messages. Let her send the first flirt! wink ...but be receptive, if she does.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/21/11 12:27 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Expecting nothing in re2rn is a good way 2 interact with people, in my view. I wouldn't send flirtatious messages.
Nope. I'm with 2long. Of course you can, but I wouldn't. First thing to do is get her to stop moving away. That means really doing nothing that looks like pushing - among other things. Flirtatiousness, I think, generally has a pushy end in view. I'd wait and do the other things I recommend.
Posted By: Coach

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/21/11 01:19 AM

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
Do you think being or sending a slightly flirtatious message is a good idea? Or does that scare the lizard off if shes not ready. Last time I saw her she seemed happy to me (she was in a group of friends). She has been running a lot lately and I was thinking of complementing her just a little bit. Just to let her know I noticed. I was thinking if I did it in an innocent, none pushy sort of way, it could be nice just to offer up a complement and expect nothing in return.



It's pursuing. What would you have to do to get your wife to flirt with you? This mindset changes the dynamic and let's her choose you.
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/22/11 08:53 PM

I have learnt a lot from reading Al's work here and I very much identify with Edmund and the many considered and heartfelt observations he has made about his frustrations and situation.

I have an extra wrinkle in that my wife travels substantially each month over seas, and so I have our young children a lot, which has never been an issue.
I, like Edmund, have been the master clinger, but now my wife (active avoider ) wants to be the master and frankly I have stepped down, as the headbutting powerstruggle seemed pointless and frankly destructive. Actually being the master is tiring, frustrating and plain old stressful.

Now since seperation I find that each time she returns from os, her emails are full of mastertalk to me, she just out right commands me what to do, makes decisions for me and ceases all politeness. Boy oh boy does my lizzard ( Arnie ) get fired up for days. I hear you on the validation and when I started doing it after reading your material(the wise lady grey guided me here ) i did see an improvement in her responses, but these relapses are quite brutal and take a good week to calm down.

To my thinking, we both feel very unsafe with each other, but my wife needs me to back off with the kids upon her return, so she can fit back in. I was working to be a source of safety but now im getting to the point of walking away.

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/22/11 10:30 PM

Hello there Manup, I think your different experience is a great contribution to this topic and to anyone who is reading my Whiteboard.

Originally Posted By: Manup
I have an extra wrinkle in that my wife travels substantially each month over seas, and so I have our young children a lot, which has never been an issue.
One quickie thought. Many couples, when they don't know how to manage safety when together, unconsciously figure out how to have less time together. Your partner's professional overseas stuff sounds a bit like a "solution" that, in the long run, doesn't solve but postpones the solutions. I've seen this a lot, and never have I seen the decision to accept a night job, a truck driving job, a traveling job as a conscious decision. But I am used to watching couples, who improve their abilities to be together happily, then amazingly no longer "need" that job in Alaska. smile

Originally Posted By: Manup
I, like Edmund, have been the master clinger, but now my wife (active avoider ) wants to be the master and frankly I have stepped down, as the headbutting powerstruggle seemed pointless and frankly destructive. Actually being the master is tiring, frustrating and plain old stressful.
Yup, being a Master is exhausting and fruitless. I think they are the easiest to help of the three power positions. Topic #3.

Also this is pretty normal as everyone is trained to be all positions. So for you a Master to want to give it up is pretty common. For your partner to want to step into that position is just a matter of following part of her training. Lots of people think that either they gotta be boss or they gotta lose (be slave). I've seen co-dependent people wandering through a time of bullying on their way to reliably being in Friend-Friend. My belief is that no one of those Power positions is satisfactory.

Originally Posted By: Manup
Now since separation I find that each time she returns from os, her emails are full of mastertalk to me, she just out right commands me what to do, makes decisions for me and ceases all politeness. Boy oh boy does my lizzard ( Arnie ) get fired up for days.
Yup. Good old Arnie. He knows something is really wrong and really seriously wrong. He doesn't know what to do, but that is not his job. He keeps you alive and lets you know you gotta learn a new way. When you've learned it well, he'll tell you. Oh. and he won't tell you what to do.

Originally Posted By: Manup
I hear you on the validation and when I started doing it after reading your material(the wise lady grey guided me here ) i did see an improvement in her responses, but these relapses are quite brutal and take a good week to calm down.
Well. Remember, the solution to giving up Master is not to be Slave. The solution, I believe is to be Friend-Friend, which means you learn to Validate her and yourself.

Originally Posted By: Manup
To my thinking, we both feel very unsafe with each other, but my wife needs me to back off with the kids upon her return, so she can fit back in. I was working to be a source of safety but now im getting to the point of walking away.
Hang in there. Safety, Arnie and her Lizard and the kids' come first. Regulating contact levels so both are relaxed is next. Then all that stuff about power and slavery. Good luck.
Posted By: OTS12

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/22/11 10:38 PM

Hang in there... do what YOU can for Arnie. Figure out what he likes. When Arnie is twitchy, limit contact with W.

From MY personal experience, when W's lizard sees my lizard freak, they BOTH freak.
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 01:48 AM

Al thankyou for your support and observations to my post.

Yes the travel has been a big part of our lives for a long time and her affair partner works with her overseas , so they travel together and he flies here when she doesnt have the children. She wont admit to affair, hence my hopes for a marriage recovery are not good obviously.

But I can safely say that I have done a pretty good job in chasing her away with my actions ( mastertalk, clinging, judgemental - a familiar menu ) , and I wonder if the damage is done and if we have passed a point of no return so to speak.

The thing is we are now both feeling unsafe around each other. Which is causing us to run away from one another ( I gave up the pursuit after a week , realising she was running faster - Boeing speed )

I have instigated several boundaries ( when i mentioned them my wife emailed me wanting to negotiate the wording and terms - I kid you not )

Sadly neither of us trust one another. I suspect her intentions, her words , her actions. I know some are emotionally driven, but there is also the financial and factutal lies that drives my mistrust. I believe she would mistrust me as trying to manipulate her back in..and there is an undercurrent of anger in her emails, that sometimes spill out in full on attacks. I try to take the high road, but it is a test of patience and will power not to respond to all of the bad behaviour and accusations.

We have backed down to just email now, and even then I restrict it to once a week ( which for a clinger is like going cold turkey ) We both got very agitated ( nothing physical or verbal - she took off inside the house as I pulled in to pick up the kids) when we last saw each other and it can take several hours to calm down. We have some childrens concerts coming up which will be the first time, frankly Im dreading them .

Al - whats your view on men leading? I have read elsewhere, that women - regardless of how powerful they are in business etc, still want a man to lead. And if yes, balancing leading with mastertalk could be a fine line.The other point then is how do you lead , when the family is seperated, the wife is ensconced in an affair,I mean I hardly have my wifes attention let alone co operation. Whats to lead? And where to? Friend - Friend? Divorce?

Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 02:11 AM

Hey OTS thanks for the support. I am still figuring out what Arnie likes - I seem to have switched from being a clinger to an avoider - when I reduce contact with my wife it does settle down. The problem with that is if you play it out, then you might as well get the D done with.

I hear you loud and clear about the wifes Lizzard being set off by mine. I see that - her voice kicks up higher, her actions become stilted. Apart from becoming hyper confident, she has also become very sensitive to me in a reactive bad way - if that makes sense. One perceived wrong word in an email and I get hammered for it in long vitriolic responses.

You know what as I write this I realise Arne hates all this drama. My wife seems to love it - like its some adrenalin rush ( go bungy jump then) So I have a list oif things Arnie hates, not much what he likes yet....

Posted By: OTS12

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 04:30 AM

Believe me, I know it's harder than it sounds. I just let Mongo (my lizard) do exactly what I told you not to do. LOL.

Mongo likes: cakey snacks, lifting heavy things to near exhaustion, sleep, reading, and "mindfullness meditation".

Believe me, I'm a former special operations soldier and powerlifter... meditation wasn't something I tried before... but just sitting still and relaxing for 10 minutes.... helps.

As far as weather she likes drama: you have no clue. You aren't a mind reader. Concentrate on Arnie, so you can concentrate on the greater Manup, so you can concentrate on your marriage in a productive manner.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 05:45 AM

Hi Manup - I agree with Al, your presence here adds a lot.
Originally Posted By: Manup
Now since seperation I find that each time she returns from os, her emails are full of mastertalk to me, she just out right commands me what to do, makes decisions for me and ceases all politeness.
My take on hearing MasterTalk is that it is coming from the other person's strategy in trying to make their Lizard feel safe. If this is true, it also means it that it is not about you. Which is where validation comes in (for me at least). In these MasterTalk statements you read, there is an unmet need being expressed. Validate that need and her Lizard will likely start to calm down.

Originally Posted By: Manup
Boy oh boy does my lizzard ( Arnie ) get fired up for days. I hear you on the validation and when I started doing it after reading your material(the wise lady grey guided me here ) i did see an improvement in her responses, but these relapses are quite brutal and take a good week to calm down.
When this happens, you find it impossible to get Arnie feeling safe for quite some time. And nothing you have tried to calm him has ever worked.

Originally Posted By: Manup
To my thinking, we both feel very unsafe with each other, but my wife needs me to back off with the kids upon her return, so she can fit back in. I was working to be a source of safety but now im getting to the point of walking away.
Perhaps you are starting to believe that it will be impossible to find a way to reconcile.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 02:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Manup
Al - whats your view on men leading? I have read elsewhere, that women - regardless of how powerful they are in business etc, still want a man to lead.
Lots of amusing crap out there. What do you think? what do you chose to belief?

Originally Posted By: Manup
And if yes, balancing leading with mastertalk could be a fine line.
Written a bunch on this. I only see MasterTalk as a potential clue to someone bullying/tyranting or maybe trying to lead. Mastertalk I think is an alerting cue to checking out the "potential" Master/Slave situation, so that you can decide how to handle it.

Originally Posted By: Manup
The other point then is how do you lead , when the family is seperated, the wife is ensconced in an affair,I mean I hardly have my wifes attention let alone co operation. Whats to lead? And where to? Friend - Friend? Divorce?
Personally I would skip all the theoretical stuff right now. You only have to learn the lessons about this woman and these kids. On the one hand that is simpler that learning about all men and all women. On the other hand it is in your face.

Leading is a mutually consensual situation. If she ain't consenting, I suggest, STOP, move to Friend-Friend no matter what she does. Tis the best way to avoid the chaos that comes along with Divorce, methinks.
Posted By: hoosiermama

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 02:22 PM

whoa...y'all's lizards have names??

I never thought to ask mine! no wonder she's so easily riled....
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 02:42 PM

How do you chat with your lizard if you haven't named her and can't picture her?

Lizzy is absolutely gorgeous no matter where she is in the spectrum - but she turns the most amazing colors when she thinks she is going to die.
Posted By: hoosiermama

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 02:53 PM

excellent point...so elegantly pragmatic, LG! I'm gonna have to ponder this!
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 03:16 PM

Just to be open, neither Sandra nor I have names for our Lizards - and we talk about them all the time. I think names help many people. I suppose we use the language "My Lizard" or "Your Lizard" and that's close enough.

I was thinking about the image of that LG uses about the glorious colors of her beautiful Lizard. I love the image. I guess it translates to my sense of gratitude toward this "little guy" that has been keeping me alive for so long. I have lots of affection for him.

Of course he can do some remarkably awful things in his frantic attempts to protect me - like the word hissy-fits. I have to persuade him to help protect Sandra's Lizard. He tries so hard.
Posted By: hoosiermama

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 03:30 PM

Quote:
I was thinking about the image of that LG uses about the glorious colors of her beautiful Lizard. I love the image. I guess it translates to my sense of gratitude toward this "little guy" that has been keeping me alive for so long. I have lots of affection for him.

excellent points. I think that for me, this has been an intellectual exercise that I haven't connected with at deeper levels...just haven't explored it that deeply. LG--and Al--by personalizing Lizzy you have helped me move to a deeper and more "effective" level. thanks! and yes--I love the imagery of a technicolor, kodachrome-worthy lizard!
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/23/11 05:30 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Personally I would skip all the theoretical stuff right now. You only have to learn the lessons about this woman and these kids. On the one hand that is simpler that learning about all men and all women. On the other hand it is in your face.
I think this point deserves emphasizing. For me, it underscores the problem with cookie-cutter "solutions." Your relationship is with this woman, and how that works out (who leads, when, who's chasing, who's pursuing, etc.) is something that is best negotiated between the two of you. I like the term "negotiate" since all the "moves" by each of you have been a form of negotiation, albeit not necessarily ones that are beneficial to the relationship.

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Leading is a mutually consensual situation. If she ain't consenting, I suggest, STOP, move to Friend-Friend no matter what she does. Tis the best way to avoid the chaos that comes along with Divorce, methinks.
More wisdom here! And I believe that the first steps towards this can be done by just one spouse. They include getting to know your Lizard - what makes him freak out, what calms him down. Allowing your Lizard to run the show is like having your 7 year old drive the car on a freeway with you in the passenger seat. If he's scared, though, he'll want to grab the wheel. I believe the next most valuable thing is to learn how to validate your spouse. Which is not the same as agreeing with her. I have never witnessed anyone who felt heard and accepted whose Lizard did not calm down.

And listen to Al! smile
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/24/11 06:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Al
Well, that's an old familiar theme in my nightmares, too. Not only do you feel misunderstood, cuz after all you are a good guy, but you fear she is labeling you as a bad guy. By the way, she probably is - at times.

I believe no one ever ever ever wants to nurture fear. Lizards are designed for moving toward safety --- period.


I’m not sure about the nurturing fear part. After all, fear has kept Lizzy and I alive. Not understanding what it was we needed to be fearful of almost killed us. Lizz and I think fear is a hair better than death. So yea – I think we court it. Or at the very least are uber sensitive to it.

I heard the “I am a good guy” from my husband a lot. And I cannot disagree with that statement. He is a good guy. He really is. He does the best he can. He even makes sense to me.

Lizzy is distinctly unimpressed with my assessment on this point.

So what is it about him that makes old Lizz so batshinola crazy?

Part of it is he wants what he wants when he wants it. He wants intimacy, “Presto, chango, intimacy it is”. He wants to go hunting every weekend and have that not be a problem, “Presto, chango, it is so.” He wants me to need nothing from him, “shazam – it is done.” Or he wants me to need a lot from him, “abra cadabra, now she does.”

In the shifting tides of what he expected from me I could never, ever get a foothold. One day it was this, the next that, and I scrambled – oh how I scrambled – to make it happen, telling myself I wanted to keep him happy.

I was lying to myself though – I don’t think I much cared if he was happy so long as he wasn’t mad.

You can never feel good about that kind of performance. It is nothing more than a holding action – finger in the dike. But of course the dike eventually breaks.

I’m beginning to think it is just me – or, more accurately, I am returning to the view that it is just me --but something about angry men – particularly large angry men – completely undoes me.

If there was one thing I could wish for the men on this site, it would be that they would truly understand the devastating impact of their anger.

I’ve had many, many people post to me that I invited the anger to escalate by having an affair, I totally deserve his raging, and how dare I whine?

I can’t disagree with that. Only a fool enters the cage of a hungry tiger. I know he can’t control his temper and I had an affair anyway – duh.

Yet there I was, wanting to make it right. I wish I could express to you all how paralyzing the fear of that anger is, and now you all have RIGHTEOUS anger.

Egads.

Lord, please just let me die.

It was a nightmare of my own making, but a nightmare nonetheless.

I’m fleeing – I tried for close to a year. I TRIED. But the fear is just too much as is knowing in my heart that he will ALWAYS have the upper hand, and I will ALWAYS be a man down.

Some people can tolerate that. I am not one of them. I strongly suspect that neither of your wives are one of them either.

“Answer every question, no matter what it is (!), turn over your passwords, agree to a keylogger on your computer, a GPS permanently in your ear, a VAR embedded in your abdomen, take a paternity test (FYIWSYIH!!), polygraph (!!!), sign a post nuptial handing everything over to him if he decides you have cheated again (DFUIWSYIH!!!!), tell all your family and friends you had an affair, apologize often, genuflect frequently, expect nothing, (all so minor as to not even be exclamation point worthy), terminate all relationships with anyone who knew about the affair and didn’t tell your spouse (!!!!!), practice humility, patience and remorse, understanding that despite all your best efforts, your spouse will NEVER get over it (#@$*^&^$#!!!!!!), table all of your needs/issues for 2 years/5 years/the rest of your life, and, most importantly, agree to live a man down and hate yourself forever.(!!!!!!!)”

My affair no doubt put my marriage already sick marriage in ICU.

Those things killed it dead, dead, DEAD. I could only tolerate them for so long, then I was done, done, DONE.

Again.

I had a window of opportunity to salvage the marriage that I recklessly squandered on the list above.

Please, please do not make the gargantuan mistake of insisting on all that stuff should your wife indicate a desire to return to the marriage. That desire will be EXTREMELY short lived, measurable in nanoseconds only.

The thing that would make me stay and continue to work on the marriage is if he would agree he will NEVER play the affair card again, and I could bring myself to believe him.

But I know better – never give a sniper a high-powered weapon and a desirable target and expect him not to shoot at some point. I am many things. Stupid is not on the list.

Perhaps your wives have a history with you that suggests the same. I have no way of knowing – I tell my story on Al’s forum because I believe that my narrative is the most powerful thing I have to offer.

Sorry -- this post was mostly about me. I am so sad that I took the path I did because I so believe a different path might have saved my marriage -- and that isn't selfish -- it isn't just about me. My husband is devastated by my decision, and, in the end, his pain is my pain.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/24/11 11:27 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGreen
Part of it is he wants what he wants when he wants it...
And so you have had no choice but to jump when you hear "jump".

Originally Posted By: GreenLady
something about angry men – particularly large angry men – completely undoes me.
You have no idea why this might be.
Posted By: OTS12

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/25/11 07:14 AM

LG: Thank you for sharing that. It has given me a perspective that I did not have before.

Can you talk to my W? Thanks, lol.

In all seriousness: I'm sorry that things worked out the way they did. I hope that you and husband both find peace, no matter how it works out.
Posted By: hoosiermama

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/25/11 06:01 PM

hmmmm...I read this on another thread, and *bingbingbing* it hit home!

I picture my lizard looking and behaving much like the Geico gecko! cute, endearing, proper, articulate.

I doubt she's at all like that!!!! lol!

apologies--just had to throw that in. back to posts with insight and wisdom.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/25/11 07:33 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: Al
Well, that's an old familiar theme in my nightmares, too. Not only do you feel misunderstood, cuz after all you are a good guy, but you fear she is labeling you as a bad guy. By the way, she probably is - at times.

I believe no one ever ever ever wants to nurture fear. Lizards are designed for moving toward safety --- period.


I’m not sure about the nurturing fear part. After all, fear has kept Lizzy and I alive. Not understanding what it was we needed to be fearful of almost killed us. Lizz and I think fear is a hair better than death. So yea – I think we court it. Or at the very least are uber sensitive to it.

I heard the “I am a good guy” from my husband a lot. And I cannot disagree with that statement. He is a good guy. He really is. He does the best he can. He even makes sense to me.

Lizzy is distinctly unimpressed with my assessment on this point.

So what is it about him that makes old Lizz so batshinola crazy?

Part of it is he wants what he wants when he wants it. He wants intimacy, “Presto, chango, intimacy it is”. He wants to go hunting every weekend and have that not be a problem, “Presto, chango, it is so.” He wants me to need nothing from him, “shazam – it is done.” Or he wants me to need a lot from him, “abra cadabra, now she does.”

In the shifting tides of what he expected from me I could never, ever get a foothold. One day it was this, the next that, and I scrambled – oh how I scrambled – to make it happen, telling myself I wanted to keep him happy.

I was lying to myself though – I don’t think I much cared if he was happy so long as he wasn’t mad.

You can never feel good about that kind of performance. It is nothing more than a holding action – finger in the dike. But of course the dike eventually breaks.

I’m beginning to think it is just me – or, more accurately, I am returning to the view that it is just me --but something about angry men – particularly large angry men – completely undoes me.

If there was one thing I could wish for the men on this site, it would be that they would truly understand the devastating impact of their anger.

I’ve had many, many people post to me that I invited the anger to escalate by having an affair, I totally deserve his raging, and how dare I whine?

I can’t disagree with that. Only a fool enters the cage of a hungry tiger. I know he can’t control his temper and I had an affair anyway – duh.

Yet there I was, wanting to make it right. I wish I could express to you all how paralyzing the fear of that anger is, and now you all have RIGHTEOUS anger.

Egads.

Lord, please just let me die.

It was a nightmare of my own making, but a nightmare nonetheless.

I’m fleeing – I tried for close to a year. I TRIED. But the fear is just too much as is knowing in my heart that he will ALWAYS have the upper hand, and I will ALWAYS be a man down.

Some people can tolerate that. I am not one of them. I strongly suspect that neither of your wives are one of them either.

“Answer every question, no matter what it is (!), turn over your passwords, agree to a keylogger on your computer, a GPS permanently in your ear, a VAR embedded in your abdomen, take a paternity test (FYIWSYIH!!), polygraph (!!!), sign a post nuptial handing everything over to him if he decides you have cheated again (DFUIWSYIH!!!!), tell all your family and friends you had an affair, apologize often, genuflect frequently, expect nothing, (all so minor as to not even be exclamation point worthy), terminate all relationships with anyone who knew about the affair and didn’t tell your spouse (!!!!!), practice humility, patience and remorse, understanding that despite all your best efforts, your spouse will NEVER get over it (#@$*^&^$#!!!!!!), table all of your needs/issues for 2 years/5 years/the rest of your life, and, most importantly, agree to live a man down and hate yourself forever.(!!!!!!!)”

My affair no doubt put my marriage already sick marriage in ICU.

Those things killed it dead, dead, DEAD. I could only tolerate them for so long, then I was done, done, DONE.

Again.

I had a window of opportunity to salvage the marriage that I recklessly squandered on the list above.

Please, please do not make the gargantuan mistake of insisting on all that stuff should your wife indicate a desire to return to the marriage. That desire will be EXTREMELY short lived, measurable in nanoseconds only.

The thing that would make me stay and continue to work on the marriage is if he would agree he will NEVER play the affair card again, and I could bring myself to believe him.

But I know better – never give a sniper a high-powered weapon and a desirable target and expect him not to shoot at some point. I am many things. Stupid is not on the list.

Perhaps your wives have a history with you that suggests the same. I have no way of knowing – I tell my story on Al’s forum because I believe that my narrative is the most powerful thing I have to offer.

Sorry -- this post was mostly about me. I am so sad that I took the path I did because I so believe a different path might have saved my marriage -- and that isn't selfish -- it isn't just about me. My husband is devastated by my decision, and, in the end, his pain is my pain.


I wish I knew of a way to make your deep pain easier to bear, LadyGrey. The best I can offer you is the promise that if my wife ever shows an interest in moving forward with me, I will find a way to manage my insecurities without humiliating her and treat her with compassion and understanding.

Thank you for everything you've shared. You've been such an enormous help to me.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/26/11 02:58 AM

I am having weekend guests and we are having so much fun digging into relationship stuff and also just got back from a drive in the forest (wild turkeys, baby deer with mom, black bear) and I am neglecting my contact with you LadyGrey. I want to work slowly through your posting as there are, for me, so many great points.

Right now I wanna pull out two pieces of your posting, add my two cents, and then go have dinner.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
[quote=Al]Well, that's an old familiar theme in my nightmares, too. Not only do you feel misunderstood, cuz after all you are a good guy, but you fear she is labeling you as a bad guy. By the way, she probably is - at times.
I’m not sure about the nurturing fear part. After all, fear has kept Lizzy and I alive. Not understanding what it was we needed to be fearful of almost killed us. Lizz and I think fear is a hair better than death. So yea – I think we court it. Or at the very least are uber sensitive to it.[/quote

I think of you as a pretty advanced student (been studying a lot) so here goes some picky stuff. Often times I find people who seem to be, I repeat, seem to be staying with a fearful situation. They seem to be nurturing fear, making it, making it last, not turning away. This can be confusing. Why the hell would a lizard stay in a fearful place or state? The answer was given to me years ago in such a simple fashion. I share it so you also can ponder it.

This was the teaching. People do things for three, only three, reasons:
  • It feels good and pleases
  • It avoids pain
  • It avoids the bigger pain.
If you see someone doing something that is painful, and they seem stubbornly, durably to continue, then look around for the pain or fear they have that they think would happen if they didn't do the thing they are doing.

A person does not drink themselves into oblivion every night because they enjoy it, or because it is painful, but because it helps them avoid the bigger pain they think would happen if they didn't drink. If you look shallowly at them it could seem they are nurturing fear and pain.

I tell a story in the office about this called the Old Dog. This kind of pain, this kind of misery is not fun and games. I know. See if this fits you at all?

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Sorry -- this post was mostly about me. I am so sad that I took the path I did because I so believe a different path might have saved my marriage -- and that isn't selfish -- it isn't just about me. My husband is devastated by my decision, and, in the end, his pain is my pain.
From this I draw out that last phrase, "his pain is my pain." I believe there is a group of people, trained from early childhood, who are specialists in pain. I believe they have PhD's in pain. They feel their own pain, but they also feel the pain of everyone else around them. They don't have skills at turning the pain off.

I believe most people don't have this problem/benefit and have a hard time validating these pain specialists. Most people have poor empathy skills with people in pain.

But the reverse is not true and these fairly special people make wonderful therapists (once they have got their shinola together), because they are not thrown off, repelled, by other people's pain. They can often learn to quite easily and deeply empathize with other people's pain. What an asset!

Now I gather this group makes up perhaps 5% of a normal population of people. And how would I know about this group, you ask? I is/was one. I am imagining that LG, you might be one. You sure write like one.

Anyway, try this on for size. Might fit.
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/26/11 03:09 AM

I think the task is how do I move over to friend friend and bring a currently non responsive partner over who is on the D exit ramp... Isnt this leading? I would assume after reading Als essay, this is my challenge.

I do feel like giving it up at times, the only contact from my wife is just a bunch of insults and tirades in emails, always finishing with how good a mother she is and how considerate she is to email me to tell about decisions she has made for the children. Like clockwork, she will be like this for 48 hours when she gets back from os, then nothing. She got back from os a couple of days ago.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/26/11 04:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Manup
The only contact from my wife is just a bunch of insults and tirades in emails, always finishing with how good a mother she is and how considerate she is to email me to tell about decisions she has made for the children. Like clockwork, she will be like this for 48 hours when she gets back from os, then nothing. She got back from os a couple of days ago.


Makes absolute perfect sense to me.

Tells me she still gives a shinola.

For me, life skipped out of control during my affair.

In fairness to me though, and I get to be fair to me on Al's forum because Al won't tolerate beating me up, life had already skipped out of control before I had the affair. By a couple of decades or so.

I grew up in Texas where skipping rocks off water was a serious pastime.

I suspect that is what your wife is doing - skipping off your surface to see if....to her memory, likely your emotional water has skipped her on.

For me, a consistently safe emotional space would have been the diiference.

I think you guys are so way ahead of the curve because you are here, sensible enough to stay in Al's forum, and meeting your wife's lizards.

If OTS and Mr.Dantes have not yet read Manup's list of what it would take to get his wife to return to the marriage, I suggest you do so. I was, honestly, slack jawed that there was anyone on the planet - much less a -oh my god I totally cannot make myself write the descriptors because I am so weary of it - got it.

I told him he is LIGHTYEARS ahead of anyone I have seen, and he is.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/26/11 03:58 PM

Fair enough, where can I find Manup's list?

For myself, I think any list I make will have to start with learning to love and accept who I am long enough to drop the control freak thing. I suspect most everything else would sort itself out from there.

Unfortunately, I'm finding it extra hard to do when I've been so beaten up by the person I most love and care about.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/27/11 04:15 PM

I think this might be a good example of the pitfalls of being a former master. I thought had a very good day with my wife yesterday.

We've been experiencing a lot of turmoiL with our teenage daughters as we get ready to go to separate places and I think we've both been putting in extra effort to be present for them. We spent several hours talking about them and how we could best handle the situation. We had a wide ranging conversation. There was some laughter and some warmth. My wife had some sparkle back and I enjoyed it very much. I thought we were both more open with one another than I could remember in a long time.

At one point she was talking about some thoughts she had about labile moods. I hadn't heard the term before and we both chuckled at the pronounciation that sounded like labial.

Later that night she sent me an e-mail confirming the spelling, pronounciation and the meaning. I sent her a message back thanking her and joking that I would try to find a way to work the word into a conversation today.

This morning at 6am I get a message that reads:

"For what it's worth, through this whole labial/labile interaction I'm left with that icky feeling that I am so well acquainted with, that you're smart and I'm stoopid. Just sharing."

I validated her feeling put down. She responded by telling me she thought I was shaming her in order to control and manipulate her. I mirrored that and she wrote:

"Yup. You put me down. And the funny thing is that I was using the word correctly. I wasn't wrong. But in the end I still feel like I'm the idiot when in fact you made fun of me because it sounded like labia.

How is it that you manage to do this? Ick."

At that point I told her:

"I'm sorry you feel I put you down. I laughed at the word because it reminded me of labia. I didn't intend to laugh at you."

At that point I felt I had to call her or risk having the tone lost. She told me she thought my validation was hollow. She said by saying I was sorry she felt that way it told her that I didn't seem to get it that I had 'made her feel put down'. I wasn't sure how to respond and I told her that I could understand how she could feel I was laughing at her and it triggered her. I also told her I responded the way I did because I was trying to take responsibility for what I did and that maybe my laughter left things open for interpretation but I didn't intend to insult her. I said I didn't think it was a good idea for me to take responsibility for her reaction even though I understood it.

In the end I thought she left with a 'more of the same' feeling and after hours of honest relating where I thought we got on well, I discover she felt put down.

At least I know better now. If she hadn't shared what she did I wouldn't have known what was going on with her. Which of course is exactly how we got in this mess in the first place. Sigh.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/27/11 05:38 PM

Good work, ED.

Most common experience I note in couples is a kind of "slap-to-forehead" accompanied by some phrase like, "I never knew that about you!" If you can multiply that by 10,000 and also project it back in time, then you can begin to wonder a) how much you have to learn about her and b) how you were raised so as not to know before now. You can also congratulate yourself on moving forward. (Edmond Dantes Version 4.2) smile

Goal, in my mind, is that you are kept up to date, forever, about whatever is going on in her that is critical to you. (OH! and she you.)

And I offer encouragement. "Hope" is built from "displayed effort in the right direction," not from anything like doing it perfectly. Falling on your face is critical to learning. If you think you have a lot to learn (about being yourself and at the same time not coming across arrogantly and put downie), she's got an equal amount to learn. At least that is my experience.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/27/11 06:13 PM

Edmond, I think you're doing great and hopefully won't let hiccups get in the way of making some progress in validating her. What she expressed about "I'm sorry you feel ... " has also been my observation in many instances. Which is why when I'm listening/validating I try to never use the word "I" or even any other word that includes both (such as "we" or "us'). This has the added benefit of not taking on responsibility for the other person's feelings.

There is much more to what she was expressing than the words themselves, which is why my experience has been that simply mirroring the words has not been that effective in helping the other person feel heard and understood.

Also, I find that explaining or defending is not effective either until the other person feels validated and heard.

Right now, you are frustrated that after so much time and effort into trying to validate her, things seem just as they were with no progress whatsoever. Perhaps you are getting discouraged that things will ever change or that this validation stuff will ever make a difference.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/27/11 06:15 PM

Quote:
If you think you have a lot to learn (about being yourself and at the same time not coming across arrogantly and put downie), she's got an equal amount to learn. At least that is my experience.


Yes, like that Ed is not responsible for how she feels - he doesn't "make" her feel anything. That's her responsibility - how she reacts or responds 2 things he says.

I said this several years ago on MB, back at a time when I wasn't very good at it: I'm a big fan of communication. In si2ations with infidelity, it's all 2 easy 2 make assumptions and blow things out of proportion (beyond how out of proportion the si2ation itself is, that is!) as we wonder what's going on in our spouse's head and (initially, at least) try 2 find ways and advice from discussion forums 2 help us get our spouse 2 do something or make a decision that meets with our image of what our relationship is supposed 2 be like.

But if we don't have contact, because we're trying 2 protect ourselves from more emotional pain, we lose out on the chances 2 learn something about the other, and 2 get feedback about what we're learning from our perspective about the experience.

Conversations like the one you describe, Ed, are awkward and sometimes painful. But they're better than nothing by a lot and, looking back on them, are the locus of our biggest, most profound spurts of growth.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/27/11 06:46 PM

Thanks for the encouragement, Al. It was an eye opener for me. I felt a sense of hope when I went to bed and didn't expect her reaction at all.

I'm choosing to hang on to a sense of hope today if only because she decided to share her feelings with me. After I got on the phone with her this morning and we neared the end of our exchange she told me she hesitated to tell me because she 'knew I would feel bad about it'. That gave me a chance at least to let her know that I didn't think she needed to take responsibility for how I would react to what she shared and that I didn't feel bad, I actually appreciated the information because I would have been left with completely the wrong impression about how that exchange had gone.

I know this probably belongs in the validation thread but I'd appreciate any comments you might have about how to respond to a situation where my wife seems to expect not only understanding but agreement with her point of view.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/27/11 08:14 PM

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
Edmond, I think you're doing great and hopefully won't let hiccups get in the way of making some progress in validating her. What she expressed about "I'm sorry you feel ... " has also been my observation in many instances. Which is why when I'm listening/validating I try to never use the word "I" or even any other word that includes both (such as "we" or "us'). This has the added benefit of not taking on responsibility for the other person's feelings.

There is much more to what she was expressing than the words themselves, which is why my experience has been that simply mirroring the words has not been that effective in helping the other person feel heard and understood.

Also, I find that explaining or defending is not effective either until the other person feels validated and heard.

Right now, you are frustrated that after so much time and effort into trying to validate her, things seem just as they were with no progress whatsoever. Perhaps you are getting discouraged that things will ever change or that this validation stuff will ever make a difference.


Thanks for the look in Fddr3.

Right now I'm feeling a little unsure of myself. We discussed a lot of things yesterday, some of them difficult. My wife told me she wanted to be be great co-parents and friends, "Can't we be friends?" she said. But the idea we would ever be lovers again seemed impossible to her. I validated her feelings about this.

She admitted she missed my strength and acknowledged she has been feeling emotionally out of control since she left. She's been thinking about medication and a co-dependancy group. I admitted her new living arrangements were freaking my lizard out and she admitted she felt 'safer' that way. She also told me she felt as long as my lizard was freaked out it would mean that I hadn't really let go and that I wasn't safe for her. I listened mostly and tried not to argue or be defensive.

She found ways to give me small reassurances without making any committments. I understood that too. She eventually admitted that she believed that I would heal and grow into an extraordinary person and that person wouldn't want her. I could see how badly her self-esteem is hurting when she said that.

I'm unsure now because I don't know what she held back or what I misunderstood. Her feelings about the chuckle surprised me and I could be off about any number of things. Having said that I'm encouraged that we are starting to talk and share things. I think she dropped some significant walls and the fact that she followed up with me to express her negative feelings seems to me to be a place to start to build a friendship. I think if we can get to friendship and I can show her some consistency, maybe her feelings will evolve.

She told me she's feeling unsafe and I think I get it. I'm working toward being a source of safety for her and I don't think her saying she missed my strength can be totally negative in that regard. She also said she wants to be build her own strength and I intend to respect that.

At first I was a little disappointed that, after what I thought was a pretty good exchange of views, I would get negative feedback. Now I see that any feedback is a positive and it is probably naive to expect anything else at this point. So frustrated? A little. But I do see progress also.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/27/11 08:21 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Quote:
If you think you have a lot to learn (about being yourself and at the same time not coming across arrogantly and put downie), she's got an equal amount to learn. At least that is my experience.


Yes, like that Ed is not responsible for how she feels - he doesn't "make" her feel anything. That's her responsibility - how she reacts or responds 2 things he says.

I said this several years ago on MB, back at a time when I wasn't very good at it: I'm a big fan of communication. In si2ations with infidelity, it's all 2 easy 2 make assumptions and blow things out of proportion (beyond how out of proportion the si2ation itself is, that is!) as we wonder what's going on in our spouse's head and (initially, at least) try 2 find ways and advice from discussion forums 2 help us get our spouse 2 do something or make a decision that meets with our image of what our relationship is supposed 2 be like.

But if we don't have contact, because we're trying 2 protect ourselves from more emotional pain, we lose out on the chances 2 learn something about the other, and 2 get feedback about what we're learning from our perspective about the experience.

Conversations like the one you describe, Ed, are awkward and sometimes painful. But they're better than nothing by a lot and, looking back on them, are the locus of our biggest, most profound spurts of growth.

-ol' 2long


Thanks 2long, I appreciate your perspective.

One of the things I found encouraging about our talk was how often she admitted her own doubts and shortcomings. In my experience this has not been easy for my wife in the past. I took it as a sign that she's feeling stronger and that I'm not quite as scary to her as I was.

I agree this could be a spur to some growth. The whole interaction had a slightly different feel to it for me. I think it might have for her also and if so, it might encourage her to think that things maybe could change for the better between us.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/27/11 10:41 PM

Thank you for the reply Edmond.

She's giving you terrific information; the challenging part is how to respond to it. She's either afraid or one step away from being afraid. That's a tough place to respond to, but not impossible. In my experience, validating someone in such a place means putting my own agenda completely aside, since any hint of it sends warning bells to their lizard.

Listening without getting defensive is a great way to be with her now - keep that up! You say you "tried" - perhaps that means there were times when you were defensive. If so, not the end of the world - simply notice the difference when you choose that response over one that accepts her right where she is now.

Feedback is neither positive nor negative - it simply is. As long as you continue to create a safe space for her to express herself, she will feel safer in doing so. Hearing that your lizard is freaking out scares her - and you had a reason for telling her that. Perhaps there is something you feel she doesn't understand.

She is giving you such important information - for example, she is feeling very much weaker than you and perceives you as being "above" her. She is even more afraid that with your personal growth, she will be found wanting and be left. So the only way she has found to avoid these painful self-judgments and feelings is to leave you first. This actually makes sense. And she's right in a way - can you guarantee with 100% certainty that you will not eventually become bored with her and leave? So what she is expressing does make a lot of sense.

Maybe you could try finding out from her what it would take on your part for her to feel safe.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 12:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I know this probably belongs in the validation thread but I'd appreciate any comments you might have about how to respond to a situation where my wife seems to expect not only understanding but agreement with her point of view.
Sure, and this may seem casual. PreValidate what you see are her wishes.

"Sure you want understanding. And I often haven't given it. I can learn. I am still learning about validation and PreValidation."

"Oh, and of course you probably want agreement. I do to. But I've learned more and more that the best I can give and get is understanding. Agreement.... well, twood by nice, but mostly I keep learning that no one ever agrees with anyone unless they are lying or deceiving each other. I think you want me to be truthful to you."
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 12:31 AM

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
Thank you for the reply Edmond.

She's giving you terrific information; the challenging part is how to respond to it. She's either afraid or one step away from being afraid. That's a tough place to respond to, but not impossible. In my experience, validating someone in such a place means putting my own agenda completely aside, since any hint of it sends warning bells to their lizard.

Listening without getting defensive is a great way to be with her now - keep that up! You say you "tried" - perhaps that means there were times when you were defensive. If so, not the end of the world - simply notice the difference when you choose that response over one that accepts her right where she is now.

Feedback is neither positive nor negative - it simply is. As long as you continue to create a safe space for her to express herself, she will feel safer in doing so. Hearing that your lizard is freaking out scares her - and you had a reason for telling her that. Perhaps there is something you feel she doesn't understand.

She is giving you such important information - for example, she is feeling very much weaker than you and perceives you as being "above" her. She is even more afraid that with your personal growth, she will be found wanting and be left. So the only way she has found to avoid these painful self-judgments and feelings is to leave you first. This actually makes sense. And she's right in a way - can you guarantee with 100% certainty that you will not eventually become bored with her and leave? So what she is expressing does make a lot of sense.

Maybe you could try finding out from her what it would take on your part for her to feel safe.


I'm grateful for the feedback, Fddr3.

I have considered asking her what I could do to help her feel safer. For now I decided only to ask her how much contact she feels comfortable with because I didn't want to smother her or ignore her. She told me she'd think about it.

I believe she is scared right now and I think the trust is so low that she might be reluctant to share with me what would help her feel safer for fear that I would somehow turn the information on her. I've decided to just take things very slowly and earn her trust one small step at a time by doing a lot of listening without probing too much.

Regarding the sense that she might feel below me based on what she shared, I think it's part of the picture and I think she does make perfect sense. I think your impression that she left before she was left is consistent with some things she has said. I suspect LadyGrey can imagine the part of my wife's psychic landscape that feels in the down position and stifled. I'm thinking deeply about that tonight.

I took a calculated risk in telling my wife that my lizard was freaked out by her impending move next door to her 'friend'. I did believe that sharing that was likely to set off her lizard but I also believed I needed some clarity from her.

As it happened I thought her lizard remained fairly calm and I didn't sense a lot of defensiveness from her. I got the sense that she has stopped moving away and now she's thinking about just observing from a distance to see if I can get my act together without committing to anything with me. The 'friend' was never a viable option and I think his star has dimmed quite a bit. I think that's all good information.

I just remembered her saying 'I spit in the face of the traditional family' with some humourous contempt. She's an amazing woman.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 12:39 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I know this probably belongs in the validation thread but I'd appreciate any comments you might have about how to respond to a situation where my wife seems to expect not only understanding but agreement with her point of view.
Sure, and this may seem casual. PreValidate what you see are her wishes.

"Sure you want understanding. And I often haven't given it. I can learn. I am still learning about validation and PreValidation."

"Oh, and of course you probably want agreement. I do to. But I've learned more and more that the best I can give and get is understanding. Agreement.... well, twood by nice, but mostly I keep learning that no one ever agrees with anyone unless they are lying or deceiving each other. I think you want me to be truthful to you."


Thank you for these examples, Al. The perspective coded in the words seem like just what I needed to hear at just the right time.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 01:28 AM

Dear LadyGrey, Here's another piece of your message and some thoughts of mine.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I heard the “I am a good guy” from my husband a lot. And I cannot disagree with that statement. He is a good guy. He really is. He does the best he can. He even makes sense to me.

Lizzy is distinctly unimpressed with my assessment on this point.

So what is it about him that makes old Lizz so batshinola crazy?
I love your question and observation. Tho I see it differently. My question would be, "How is Lizzy's behavior an example of her wisdom and complete sanity. Let's validate Lizzy's view of things."

By the way I love your humor in the understatement of "Lizzie is so unimpressed!" Sounds so British and perhaps a bit Monte Pythonish. "Stiff upper lip and all that. Pip! Pip!"


Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Part of it is he wants what he wants when he wants it. He wants intimacy, “Presto, chango, intimacy it is”. He wants to go hunting every weekend and have that not be a problem, “Presto, chango, it is so.” He wants me to need nothing from him, “shazam – it is done.” Or he wants me to need a lot from him, “abra cadabra, now she does.” In the shifting tides of what he expected from me I could never, ever get a foothold. One day it was this, the next that, and I scrambled – oh how I scrambled – to make it happen, telling myself I wanted to keep him happy.
Ok something about "his expectations," any expectations?, makes Lizzie wild. Might be something about "impatience" too. His expressed impatience. Well, we are on the trail of Lizzy's sense.


Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I was lying to myself though – I don’t think I much cared if he was happy so long as he wasn’t mad.
Great. Lizzy has super-trouble with temper. Other stuff, but "temper" is a great clue. Hmmmmm.... cool. Good old, woops, pretty Lizzy.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 02:19 AM

Expectations + impatience + temper cubed = grief + obligation - (fear x resentment) divided by disallowed feelings + loneliness = LadyGrey.

(I think that ends up as a negative number.)
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 02:36 AM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Expectations + impatience + temper cubed = grief + obligation - (fear x resentment) divided by disallowed feelings + loneliness = LadyGrey. (I think that ends up as a negative number.)
Holy mackerel!

Oh. Yeah. Multiplied by number of "days experienced."

My guess total might be about -200,000, according to Lizzy. (and me) Yup. Sucks!
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 04:52 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Expectations + impatience + temper cubed = grief + obligation - (fear x resentment) divided by disallowed feelings + loneliness = LadyGrey. (I think that ends up as a negative number.)
Holy mackerel!

Oh. Yeah. Multiplied by number of "days experienced."

My guess total might be about -200,000, according to Lizzy. (and me) Yup. Sucks!


+ Stuff that happened with my only daughter = really, really, really tired.

Some things change who you are. What went on around my daughter destroyed my trust in the goodwill of my fellow woman.

So what.

Worse, it destroyed my trust in me and my ability to accurately assess a threat - it destroyed Lizzy's trust in me too. I think, all other issues aside, Lizzy had some trust in me until then, trust built over many sessions with therapists and lots and lots and lots of prescribed drugs.

Yet I totally missed the magnitude of the threat against my daughter and my family.

And for that, quite frankly, I deserve to die.

In actual fact, I deserve to be carved with a dull knife and set on fire. We know from recent events on this site that there are those who will applaud that outcome, albeit for a different reason.

OMG, sometimes my hate knows no bounds and in those moments I am no different from them.

Not for my affair - all roads do not in fact lead there.

It is for my negligence that I deserve that fate.

I won't seek death out nor will I fight it should it choose to grace my door. I've got a fair shot at a breast cancer diagnosis in August. I'd be good with that as a respectable exit.

Quote rightly, Lizzy has been on edge.
Posted By: OTS12

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 01:18 PM

LG: I'm sorry you are in such pain. You should do something for LG that makes Lizzy happy. She's showing some pretty bright colors at the moment, by the way.

No, you do not deserve to die.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 02:53 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
My guess total might be about -200,000, according to Lizzy. (and me) Yup. Sucks!

+ Stuff that happened with my only daughter = really, really, really tired. Worse, it destroyed my trust in me and my ability to accurately assess a threat - it destroyed Lizzy's trust in me too....And for that, quite frankly, I deserve to die.
I think it fascinating to hear your situation and beliefs. How does a Lizzie, designed to keep you alive, talk about death so clearly?! And she seems to. Lizzie makes sense. I like it. What a puzzle? I think you are a master of Pain and probably a master at Guilt. Sure handle a lot.

However did you get those skills? I wonder. My usual tool is to look for "always" and "forevers" and "all my fault" and "and all his/her fault, and enormous pain, etc. and to look for stuff before age 2 or so. That young stuff is mostly what the lizard has in its memory. Seems there is a funny twist in very early childhood that results in a kid blaming themselves for their parent's/their world's failings. Tis the old, "If I were different / better, Dad would not have been killed in VietNam." "If I were better, Hitler wouldn't have bombed London." (I personally have run into these beliefs in people.) This doesn't sound like Lizard stuff. Sounds like Cortex stuff. Hmm.

I'm still working on validating (PreValidating) Lizzie.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 03:22 PM

Edmond,

I think you have a very good grasp of what might be going on with her. It is very likely that you are accurate in assessing that she doesn't feel safe enough to share what might help her feel safe. She may not even know what that is at this point. Also, if she has stopped moving away and is simply "observing," it as a great opportunity for her to be able to see how the dynamic need not be how she has experienced it in the past.

I have found that when I am experiencing a lizard freak-out, it is helpful to express what is happening in a more toned-down way. It is often easier for the other person to hear and take in.

Maybe you have some thoughts on what your next move might be.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 04:48 PM

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
Edmond,

I think you have a very good grasp of what might be going on with her. It is very likely that you are accurate in assessing that she doesn't feel safe enough to share what might help her feel safe. She may not even know what that is at this point. Also, if she has stopped moving away and is simply "observing," it as a great opportunity for her to be able to see how the dynamic need not be how she has experienced it in the past.

I have found that when I am experiencing a lizard freak-out, it is helpful to express what is happening in a more toned-down way. It is often easier for the other person to hear and take in.

Maybe you have some thoughts on what your next move might be.


Great, timely question Fddr3. I'm sitting down today to make a plan for myself and set some goals.

I think I got some great information from my wife in our recent discussion but I also think it's likely to set us back some because there was an element of me chasing her to it. I think it would be best to back off now and respect her space. I think my next move will be to put my focus back on me and work on healing myself and building some skills.

I saw a phrase that inspired me, it reads:

"Be strong; it's attractive. Be consistent, it's reliable. Be you; it's authentic".

If I'm honest, I don't feel my strongest and I don't think I've been very consistent or authentic for a long time. I want to get better grounded and more centred and I think I would be happier and safer to be around if I was more comfortable in my own skin.

I also want to concentrate on Pre-Validation. I don't think I'm respecting my wife and her choices the way I want to and I can understand how she might continue to feel undermined and belittled by me. I think I'll just try loving her from a respectful distance for the time being.

I'd happily listen to any suggestions people may have for a controlling master clinger interested in personal recovery.

Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 07:00 PM

Sounds like you have some great thoughts on how to proceed from here. You are recognizing the importance of work on your self, getting back to being more clear about who you are, and becoming more grounded in accepting that.

Sometimes the phrase "fake it till you make it" helps some. Acting confident when you don't feel confident has the odd effect of sometimes causing you to actually be more confident.

Also, recognizing your own clinging tendencies is the first step towards addressing them and developing strategies that work better for you. Realistically, it may not be possible for a chronic clinger to totally reverse polarity, so having realistic expectations might be helpful, especially if there is a tendency to beat oneself up for falling short. Rather "Opps, I did it again" (to coin a phrase).

Al's web site is a treasure-trove of information for working with this.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/28/11 09:20 PM

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
Sounds like you have some great thoughts on how to proceed from here. You are recognizing the importance of work on your self, getting back to being more clear about who you are, and becoming more grounded in accepting that.

Sometimes the phrase "fake it till you make it" helps some. Acting confident when you don't feel confident has the odd effect of sometimes causing you to actually be more confident.

Also, recognizing your own clinging tendencies is the first step towards addressing them and developing strategies that work better for you. Realistically, it may not be possible for a chronic clinger to totally reverse polarity, so having realistic expectations might be helpful, especially if there is a tendency to beat oneself up for falling short. Rather "Opps, I did it again" (to coin a phrase).

Al's web site is a treasure-trove of information for working with this.


Thanks for the suggestions, Fddr3.

I think to start I'm going to concentrate on mindfulness meditation and a focusing process described in a book I like called "The Radical Acceptance of Everything" by Ann Cornell. I like the idea of working with the energy of my body as well as my mind. I like yoga for the same reason.

I know some people swear by the 'fake it til you make it approach' and I'm sure it's an approach that can work for some folks. I have a little resistance to the idea for myself because it seems like there might be an element of self-bullying involved and I'm not sure how it lines up with the idea of being more authentic.

I hear you when you say it might be useful to set realistic expectations to manage the clinger energy. My mother died when I was 10 yrs old and I think this ordeal has triggered some old abandonment issues that are activating my lizard. Just trying to breathe my way through it.

Thanks for your help.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/29/11 12:09 AM

That book is on my list - I'll have to move it up the stack. smile I love the title. I've been reading Byron Katie's Loving What Is, and she's pretty amazing.

Body work and yoga is great stuff - my oldest keeps trying to get me to try this "hot yoga" thing.

It makes sense that FITYMI feels inauthentic. Whatever strategies work. Being aware of Lizard freak-outs and developing strategies for calming them to safety seem to me to be very positive steps forward - at least they have been for me. smile
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/29/11 05:03 AM

I've been looking at the Byron Katie videos that FM has linked to and finding a lot to like in them.

I had an opportunity to use my cortex to calm my lizard tonight. I've been having some challenges with a couple of my staff members, people my wife has been close to. She called one of my staff to see if I 'had my head in the game' this evening and then called me to discuss the situation. The office still supports her even though she's not here and it had also been a big source of stress for her.

It's been a tough call to decide how much information was enough to keep her lizard calm and when too much information would freak her out. I think we made a start on some progress finding the right mix there during our call.

But not before she told me "it's been a year and a half, why are you still stuck? It's time for us to move on, it's a new day." This is the most direct she's been with me and I had a chance to validate that point of view. I also told her I understand our marriage is over and what I was looking for was a new relationship with her. She told me it would have to be based on radical honesty and I told her I accepted that challenge.

She even gave me the opportunity to voice some of my resentments and though I thought I could tell her lizard was on alert, it seemed to me we both managed to be respectful and genuine and end up in a place where we felt on the same side as we worked through some things and she seemed calm when we finished. I think it was a first pass but I think it was a start.

I was able to communicate to her that I thought a good deal of what she has interpreted as my lingering pain and 'stuckness' might also be attributed to my own decision to become a better man and future partner by taking this opportunity to do some introspection and that I no longer blamed her for devastating me. I told her my perspective was that if I become a better person and she still moves on, at least I'll be my version of a better man, so I can't lose. It's just slow, time consuming work becoming a better version of me.

By the time we were done she suggested she could use a golf partner and that maybe we could play one of these days. There was definitely an element of last resort communication about the future of the relationship from me and deep skepticism mixed with a resolve to get through some pending difficult times as a partnership from her.

I want to respect her desire to move on but I also see that I will have plenty of chances now to let her see my changes. She's amazingly intuitive and a great person for me to learn from. I believe my respect for her insight will help keep me honest. If she gives me the opportunity.

Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/29/11 05:30 PM

It may seem painfully slow at times, but I believe you are making great progress. And as you observe, regardless of the outcome of your marriage, you will still be better off as a result.

She may or may not be at a place where she is completely ready to give up on the marriage (I think you've made your position clear). There are ways of validating that also can help her get some clarity as to where she is.

I'm wondering if you'd be open to hearing a few suggested responses.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/29/11 06:22 PM

Originally Posted By: fddlr3
It may seem painfully slow at times, but I believe you are making great progress. And as you observe, regardless of the outcome of your marriage, you will still be better off as a result.

She may or may not be at a place where she is completely ready to give up on the marriage (I think you've made your position clear). There are ways of validating that also can help her get some clarity as to where she is.

I'm wondering if you'd be open to hearing a few suggested responses.


Yes, I am interested. Thanks, Fddr3.

I believe she is done with the marriage and she probably is reasonably certain she is done with me also. I think she's convinced that I am who I am and that won't change. But maybe part of her is wondering if there might still be something there apart from the girls and the memories we share.

I think like me, she is rebuilding herself and she doesn't want any constraints or committments to interfer with her journey of self-discovery. But maybe some small part of her hopes I'll have grown and still be available if she ever wants to commit to someone again.

I imagine some would describe what she is probably attempting to do as 'having her cake and eating it too'. I wonder if anyone sees a problem with my developing a friendship with no buy in to our marriage. It seems to me that the closer we work together for the benefit of the kids and being friends, the more opportunities we have to heal old wounds and resentments and open a path for a new way of seeing each other. I appreciate the responses Fddr3, thanks again.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/29/11 08:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I believe she is done with the marriage and she probably is reasonably certain she is done with me also. I think she's convinced that I am who I am and that won't change. But maybe part of her is wondering if there might still be something there apart from the girls and the memories we share.
I am imagining that neither of you is including in your thinking the "enormous connection" that exists between you in the Imago match stuff. I completely believe in that at this point. That stuff is humongous. Longer you are "friends" the more chance it has to re-emerge.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I think like me, she is rebuilding herself and she doesn't want any constraints or committments to interfer with her journey of self-discovery. But maybe some small part of her hopes I'll have grown and still be available if she ever wants to commit to someone again.
Sure. She's been wanting you to change consciously and unconsciously, in specific ways, I believe, for years and years. Prove it, prove you are moving and all bets about the relationship being over are off.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I imagine some would describe what she is probably attempting to do as 'having her cake and eating it too'.
Well, who the heck doesn't want that. As adults we know we can't have it. Tis a nice dream.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I wonder if anyone sees a problem with my developing a friendship with no buy in to our marriage. It seems to me that the closer we work together for the benefit of the kids and being friends, the more opportunities we have to heal old wounds and resentments and open a path for a new way of seeing each other.
Sounds like a wise plan to me. Of course my beliefs plus a dollar get me a poor cup of coffee. smile
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/29/11 08:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I wonder if anyone sees a problem with my developing a friendship with no buy in to our marriage. It seems to me that the closer we work together for the benefit of the kids and being friends, the more opportunities we have to heal old wounds and resentments and open a path for a new way of seeing each other.
I believe that is a healthy choice for coparents if they can do it in a way that is not harmful to themselves and if there are no expectations (beyond a healthy coparenting relationship).
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/29/11 08:52 PM

My take on statements like these is that they may or may not be expressing fully what she intends.

Mrs ED: "it's been a year and a half, why are you still stuck? It's time for us to move on, it's a new day."

Mr ED: "So you're completely ready to end the marriage now."

Explanation
Click to reveal..
This is what is called a "gentle challenge" - although it may not seem so "gentle." The idea is to not accept what is being implied but to have it be stated baldly (or boldly, as the case may be). To me, this is what is being implied, and responding in this way (note that the response is not a question) holds it up for her to examine whether that is what she does intend. If the answer is "yes," then it could save a lot of heartache. If it is "well, no" or "well, not right now" or any other form of equivocation, it means that there is a part of her that does have some hope.

Case 1:
Mrs ED: "Yes - I'm completely done."

Mr ED: While I feel sad about that, I see that it is time to end it, and I'll start moving forward on the dissolution.

Case 2:
Mrs ED: "Well, maybe not just yet."

Mr ED: "So there's a part of you that still is holding out some hope."

This might seem too much to try. So another tack is to address the temporal issue:

Mrs ED: "it's been a year and a half, why are you still stuck? It's time for us to move on, it's a new day."

Mr ED: "So you feel thing have been in limbo much too long and want to see some movement forward.

Explanation
Click to reveal..
A similar approach, to hold up what is being implied to see how "true" it is for her. This one almost certainly will have a "yes" response...

Mrs ED: "Yes!"

Mr ED: "And maybe you have an idea of what the next step might look like."

Instead of trying to guess what she wants or suggest something, let her say what she would like to say. Note how this directs things towards a specific suggestion from her rather than allowing vague statements to sit.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
She even gave me the opportunity to voice some of my resentments
I'm glad that this trap was escaped without too much damage. I would have responded something like "So something has given you the impression that there are lingering resentments."

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
By the time we were done she suggested she could use a golf partner
I have found it useful to gather more information before responding to things like this. Some examples include: "So you would find playing golf together comfortable" or "You have a reason for asking." In other words, this could be purely a matter of convenience or it could be a tentative overture for non-threatening time together (or something else entirely). I think it prudent to have more information so you know what you are agreeing (or not agreeing) to.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I wonder if anyone sees a problem with my developing a friendship with no buy in to our marriage.
Something has given you the impression that there might be difficulties should you choose that.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/30/11 08:21 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I believe she is done with the marriage and she probably is reasonably certain she is done with me also. I think she's convinced that I am who I am and that won't change. But maybe part of her is wondering if there might still be something there apart from the girls and the memories we share.
I am imagining that neither of you is including in your thinking the "enormous connection" that exists between you in the Imago match stuff. I completely believe in that at this point. That stuff is humongous. Longer you are "friends" the more chance it has to re-emerge.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I think like me, she is rebuilding herself and she doesn't want any constraints or committments to interfer with her journey of self-discovery. But maybe some small part of her hopes I'll have grown and still be available if she ever wants to commit to someone again.
Sure. She's been wanting you to change consciously and unconsciously, in specific ways, I believe, for years and years. Prove it, prove you are moving and all bets about the relationship being over are off.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I imagine some would describe what she is probably attempting to do as 'having her cake and eating it too'.
Well, who the heck doesn't want that. As adults we know we can't have it. Tis a nice dream.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I wonder if anyone sees a problem with my developing a friendship with no buy in to our marriage. It seems to me that the closer we work together for the benefit of the kids and being friends, the more opportunities we have to heal old wounds and resentments and open a path for a new way of seeing each other.
Sounds like a wise plan to me. Of course my beliefs plus a dollar get me a poor cup of coffee. smile


Thanks for the thoughtful replies everyone, I've found them very helpful.

I'm not sure I understand everything that is implied in the term 'Imago match' Al, but I have been counting on our enormous connection resurfacing. Right now I'm finding it a bit of a double edged sword. The more 'friendly' time I spend with her, the stronger I feel the attachments and the harder it is to manage some of my clinger tendancies. At times I think it's making it harder for me to heal and move myself forward. That's the reason I wondered about, not the wisdom of working on a friendship at this point, but maybe the practicality of it.

I hate that fear seems to play such a prominent role in my life these days.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/30/11 09:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm not sure I understand everything that is implied in the term 'Imago match' Al, but I have been counting on our enormous connection resurfacing. Right now I'm finding it a bit of a double edged sword. The more 'friendly' time I spend with her, the stronger I feel the attachments and the harder it is to manage some of my clinger tendancies. At times I think it's making it harder for me to heal and move myself forward. That's the reason I wondered about, not the wisdom of working on a friendship at this point, but maybe the practicality of it.
I hear you. Sometimes I am grateful for the concept of Imago Match and sometimes I wish I'd never heard about it. No. no. I am glad. Very glad. I fought the idea until the data in my hands overwhelmed my natural skepticism.

This concept is at the core of Imago Relationship Therapy. Lots and lots has been said and written about it. I tried Google-ing it and got 3400 hits on the exact phrase. Even in wikipedia.

It is the concept that explains why we fall in love with who we fall in love. It explains the why of first attraction, of the huge power struggle, and the courses of study to obtain Vintage Love (not an Imago term). It is behind the idea that "We always fall in love with our worst nightmare or a reasonable facsimile."

I think you can either learn about this stuff or stay unaware, but I believe it is all around you

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I hate that fear seems to play such a prominent role in my life these days.
So does your Lizard. Time to quit it and make some space for peace.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/30/11 11:24 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: OurHouse
At times? How about multiple times in one day?

In general, I think he is the Clinger and I am the Avoider. But I'm the one with abandonment issues, and I think the avoidance tactic just insures I have control over who abandons whom.

Often when I'm angry, sullen or withdrawn, he will coax me out of that state. But as soon as I'm out, he goes in!

Maybe this section needs a Passive-Aggressive addendum?


I love it. What a great example of real life struggling. Note that no matter what, the Lizards are bug-eyed panicked.

My guess, like yours, is we need to address your tactics under another topic. Yours sounds a bit like "withdrawing as a power tactic." When I do it, I call it sulking. Boy, did I have that one down cold. The key is that in me it is more a display of abandonment than a real panic sense of abandonment.

I think it is an example of "passive" bullying tactics, and of using "withdrawing" as the punishment. If you were more dramatic, you could threaten divorce daily and more or less obliquely to get him to be obedient to your wishes or at least to give you a sense of some power. (Lizards would still hate it, so don't do it.) My guess is that he's more consistently the Avoider, but your more primary issue between you is Control and Who's Boss. That does belong in another topic where we can look at passive-aggression.


Al, this came up earlier in this thread and I'm wondering if the Control and Who's Boss, passive-aggression topic ever got it's own thread. I'm very interested in exploring further the relationship between reliable membership and control issues.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/30/11 11:45 PM

I'd be very interested too! smile
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/02/11 05:14 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm not sure I understand everything that is implied in the term 'Imago match' Al, but I have been counting on our enormous connection resurfacing. Right now I'm finding it a bit of a double edged sword. The more 'friendly' time I spend with her, the stronger I feel the attachments and the harder it is to manage some of my clinger tendancies. At times I think it's making it harder for me to heal and move myself forward. That's the reason I wondered about, not the wisdom of working on a friendship at this point, but maybe the practicality of it.
I hear you. Sometimes I am grateful for the concept of Imago Match and sometimes I wish I'd never heard about it. No. no. I am glad. Very glad. I fought the idea until the data in my hands overwhelmed my natural skepticism.

This concept is at the core of Imago Relationship Therapy. Lots and lots has been said and written about it. I tried Google-ing it and got 3400 hits on the exact phrase. Even in wikipedia.

It is the concept that explains why we fall in love with who we fall in love. It explains the why of first attraction, of the huge power struggle, and the courses of study to obtain Vintage Love (not an Imago term). It is behind the idea that "We always fall in love with our worst nightmare or a reasonable facsimile."

I think you can either learn about this stuff or stay unaware, but I believe it is all around you

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I hate that fear seems to play such a prominent role in my life these days.
So does your Lizard. Time to quit it and make some space for peace.


Thanks, Al. I'm struggling with some co-dependency issues right now and I think that's where the fear is coming from. I'm very aware of how much I lost my individual identity in my marriage and my clinging lizard is feeling quite lost.

Not sure I'm healthy enough to make a great partner at the moment. Trying to pre-validate myself about that too.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/02/11 06:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm struggling with some co-dependency issues right now and I think that's where the fear is coming from.
Sure is a good source. Lots of people are with you, I fear. That training toward co-dependent connecting seems a major part of our culture right now. See if you can find some buddies with whom to find mutual support.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm very aware of how much I lost my individual identity in my marriage and my clinging lizard is feeling quite lost.
Yep. That sure sounds like the result of co-dependent training. Well the good news is that you can retrain yourself completely - tho it takes time. Oh, and I would set your thinking to a larger framework of time. Sure you may have "lost" yourself in this relationship, but chances were that you were trained to "not know yourself" way back when you were little - age 2-4. So tis a grande task.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Not sure I'm healthy enough to make a great partner at the moment.
I've always thought the coolest thing about partner selection is that you always pick a partner equally crazy - in your terms, equally unhealthy. So healing is such a joint process, both healing the "same amount", different woundings, both need outside help.


Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Trying to pre-validate myself about that too.
Yup. Good goal. I certainly can PreValidate you. Of course I no longer forget often. Might put up some signs to remind yourself or get a tattoo on the back of your hand thats says, "Remember, PreValidate yourself."

Good luck.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/02/11 08:10 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle


Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm very aware of how much I lost my individual identity in my marriage and my clinging lizard is feeling quite lost.
Yep. That sure sounds like the result of co-dependent training. Well the good news is that you can retrain yourself completely - tho it takes time. Oh, and I would set your thinking to a larger framework of time. Sure you may have "lost" yourself in this relationship, but chances were that you were trained to "not know yourself" way back when you were little - age 2-4. So tis a grande task.


I'd appreciate your thoughts on how to start re-training myself, Al. I can understand how my wife might feel that the job of unraveling our enmeshment with a partner she no longer trusts might be too daunting for her at this point. I'm prepared to apply the testicle principle and take the lead on this and hope I can show her she might expect better results with me this time around but I need to make more personal progress, I think.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/04/11 01:52 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm struggling with some co-dependency issues right now and I think that's where the fear is coming from.
Sure is a good source. Lots of people are with you, I fear. That training toward co-dependent connecting seems a major part of our culture right now. See if you can find some buddies with whom to find mutual support.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
I'm very aware of how much I lost my individual identity in my marriage and my clinging lizard is feeling quite lost.
Yep. That sure sounds like the result of co-dependent training. Well the good news is that you can retrain yourself completely - tho it takes time. Oh, and I would set your thinking to a larger framework of time. Sure you may have "lost" yourself in this relationship, but chances were that you were trained to "not know yourself" way back when you were little - age 2-4. So tis a grande task.

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Not sure I'm healthy enough to make a great partner at the moment.
I've always thought the coolest thing about partner selection is that you always pick a partner equally crazy - in your terms, equally unhealthy. So healing is such a joint process, both healing the "same amount", different woundings, both need outside help.


Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Trying to pre-validate myself about that too.
Yup. Good goal. I certainly can PreValidate you. Of course I no longer forget often. Might put up some signs to remind yourself or get a tattoo on the back of your hand thats says, "Remember, PreValidate yourself."

Good luck.


I found your Boundaries for Individuals paper, Al. It seems to me like as good a place as any for a control freak to start trying to protect his Lizard and keep it reliably calm. Thanks
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/26/11 10:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Futurehealing
"Because he won't move here."


Ouch. That hurts.

In her book Traveling Mercies Anne Lamott describes that moment in cartoons where the plate glass window is broken, spidery cracks everywhere, but it has not yet fallen into shards as a metaphor for her life at that moment.

I think some women are exhausted and frustrated beyond words with sweeping up the broken glass in the relationship, some cracked for a long time, unsightly and unfixable, then broken at the point of weakness, some carelessly shattered. I think for some women, an affair is a way of smashing all the glass, not just the cracked bits – frustration and resentment and rage and despair made manifest. And I think some women are weary of sweeping and while they might be willing to put in new glass, they simply can’t face cleaning up the shards.

I think some women who have affairs have already grieved the loss of relationship and connection with their husbands – likely for a long time, so long that the disconnection is nursed and nurtured as a defense against the pain. "You can't hurt me because I don't care", and "I don't care" becomes the mantra. For them, being expected to grieve with their newly wakened husband seems like a further investment in a hopeless cause, going backwards, ceding hard won emotional ground taken at a high cost, without the certainty that they will ever again muster the strength to pull away again and the knowledge that this thing will always be there. The expectation that they take responsibility for the healing of their husband, if only by witnessing it, is just too much – too, too much.

And I think for some women who have affairs there can be a “what about me?” factor that is difficult to accommodate in a textbook recovery – this sense of “well, gee – I think I have already seen this movie – it’s always about him, but now it’s about him in 3D! I’m so out of here.” Women who are burned out emotional caretakers may simply be unwilling – or maybe unable – to table their needs in favor of their husband’s, and at the first sign that that might be expected or required, they bolt.

I think some women who have had affairs are skittish creatures -- watchful, suspicious, broken, fearful, empowered beings, knees bent, head up, eyes wide, senses alert, heart racing, ready for flight to that safe emotional remove.

I don’t have an answer for you. I wish I did.

Here is the full post I'm responding to
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/27/11 06:22 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: Futurehealing
"Because he won't move here."


Ouch. That hurts.

In her book Traveling Mercies Anne Lamott describes that moment in cartoons where the plate glass window is broken, spidery cracks everywhere, but it has not yet fallen into shards as a metaphor for her life at that moment.

I think some women are exhausted and frustrated beyond words with sweeping up the broken glass in the relationship, some cracked for a long time, unsightly and unfixable, then broken at the point of weakness, some carelessly shattered. I think for some women, an affair is a way of smashing all the glass, not just the cracked bits – frustration and resentment and rage and despair made manifest. And I think some women are weary of sweeping and while they might be willing to put in new glass, they simply can’t face cleaning up the shards.

I think some women who have affairs have already grieved the loss of relationship and connection with their husbands – likely for a long time, so long that the disconnection is nursed and nurtured as a defense against the pain. "You can't hurt me because I don't care", and "I don't care" becomes the mantra. For them, being expected to grieve with their newly wakened husband seems like a further investment in a hopeless cause, going backwards, ceding hard won emotional ground taken at a high cost, without the certainty that they will ever again muster the strength to pull away again and the knowledge that this thing will always be there. The expectation that they take responsibility for the healing of their husband, if only by witnessing it, is just too much – too, too much.

And I think for some women who have affairs there can be a “what about me?” factor that is difficult to accommodate in a textbook recovery – this sense of “well, gee – I think I have already seen this movie – it’s always about him, but now it’s about him in 3D! I’m so out of here.” Women who are burned out emotional caretakers may simply be unwilling – or maybe unable – to table their needs in favor of their husband’s, and at the first sign that that might be expected or required, they bolt.

I think some women who have had affairs are skittish creatures -- watchful, suspicious, broken, fearful, empowered beings, knees bent, head up, eyes wide, senses alert, heart racing, ready for flight to that safe emotional remove.

I don’t have an answer for you. I wish I did.

Here is the full post I'm responding to


Yeah, it did hurt, but at least I finally got her to come out into the open and be honest.

The affair definitely did shatter all the glass. That was the good that came from it. When we started to reconcile everything felt new, and we both commented on how the "knots" in our relationship felt untied now. It was a great feeling.

To me, the only shards that needed to be cleaned up were how she behaved during her affair. She did some truly reprehensible things, lying, manipulating, using. Things I'm not even comfortable posting about anonymously, because of how humiliated they left me feeling, once I learned the truth. The couple times I brought them up, not from a place of anger, but just asking how she deals with them herself, she would get very uncomfortable, say something vague about being confused, and change the subject.

She sure seemed to still care when she thought I found someone else. She did everything she could to get my attention, including suing me for full custody of the kids. Once she was convinced she had me back, she dropped the lawsuit.

There was definitely no "what about me?" going on. All during the last year of our marriage, her affair, and our attempted reconciliation, it was all about her. I treated her like a queen during our reconciliation attempt. We went out and had great fun times, the best dates we'd had since long before we were married. We had long talks. We enjoyed doing things together as a family with the kids. I offered her what I thought she was missing in our marriage. Still, every time she saw a glimmer of my pain, like when something came up that reminded me of her affair, she took a step back. She said "I can't give you what you need", meaning a real demonstration of remorse. Her affair was too important to her to reject. I tried to make it clear that it was her BEHAVIOR I needed her to reject. I can't ask her to reject her feelings.

She wants me to give her a pass from her behavior and move forward, but that isn't possible. I need and deserve her to own what she did and show me some sort of remorse. She won't, or can't, if my needing that chases her away, then there is nowhere for us to go but divorce.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/28/11 03:49 AM

Originally Posted By: futurehealing
I need and deserve her to own what she did and show me some sort of remorse.


I don't know how one goes about balancing the need to see remorse against the need to avoid shaming.

Seems like such a dance to me - I'm frankly astonished that anyone does it successfully.

I'm wondering what showing you some sort of remorse would have looked like to you? What would a remorseful Mrs.Future have done or not done?

Originally Posted By: futurehealing
She said "I can't give you what you need", meaning a real demonstration of remorse.


I'm wondering if your "what you need" -- a real demonstration of remorse is the same thing as her "what you need".

Originally Posted By: futurehealing
]Her affair was too important to her to reject.


Maybe a different way to consider this idea is that her affair became part of who she is, and she found SHE is too important to reject.

I've noted that the program wants to draw a bright line between who the unfaithful spouse was during the affair and who they are post affair. During they are "wayward" after they are "former wayward", evidently the highest class of person to which the affairing spouse can aspire, a pyrrhic victory if ever there was one.

I think that is too simplistic.

And I am now going to shut up before I get in trouble again.


Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/28/11 07:27 AM

Is shame part of the trigger for remorse?

If someone was showing remorse, I think their shame would be evident.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/28/11 03:15 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: futurehealing
I need and deserve her to own what she did and show me some sort of remorse.


I don't know how one goes about balancing the need to see remorse against the need to avoid shaming.

Seems like such a dance to me - I'm frankly astonished that anyone does it successfully.

I'm wondering what showing you some sort of remorse would have looked like to you? What would a remorseful Mrs.Future have done or not done?

Originally Posted By: futurehealing
She said "I can't give you what you need", meaning a real demonstration of remorse.


I'm wondering if your "what you need" -- a real demonstration of remorse is the same thing as her "what you need".

Originally Posted By: futurehealing
]Her affair was too important to her to reject.


Maybe a different way to consider this idea is that her affair became part of who she is, and she found SHE is too important to reject.

I've noted that the program wants to draw a bright line between who the unfaithful spouse was during the affair and who they are post affair. During they are "wayward" after they are "former wayward", evidently the highest class of person to which the affairing spouse can aspire, a pyrrhic victory if ever there was one.

I think that is too simplistic.

And I am now going to shut up before I get in trouble again.




LadyGrey, I gotta tell you, I for one am glad you're here speaking your mind, because out of everybody here, I think your mindset is most similar to my wife's, and it's been brutal for me to try to figure out where she is. At this point, I've mostly given up, and accepted the need for divorce. Doesn't help that she's being an absolute jerk about the divorce terms.

She has been adamant that she will not be shamed. We were planning on doing Retrouvaille, and she said "If I feel shamed there, I'll get up and leave." I reassured her that wasn't part of the program.

I have no desire to lay shame on her. True shame can only be self inflicted anyway. From my point of view, she did things she should be ashamed of, and the actual affair isn't even on the top of the list. Ironically, her reactivity to any notion of shame being cast on her tells me that deep down she is ashamed of herself.

A year ago I told our MC what I needed to see in her, and it is still clear to me. I need to see a glimmer of the pain I felt, reflected in her face. That's pretty much it, because if it was there, and it was real, everything else would fall into place. She would throw out all the reminders of the affair, she would go out of her way to make sure I know it's over, and she wants to be with me. I've never seen that glimmer.

Yes, her affair did become part of who she is, or at least she feels strongly that it did, and she will not reject that. What I see is that she did grow and reclaim herself, but I think it had far more to do with the shattering of the strangled relationship our marriage had become, than her affair. Still, I realize she feels differently. I get it, and I never asked her to reject who she now is. In fact, I often expressed admiration and attraction to how she had grown. I do need her to acknowledge the price exacted out of me and and the kids though.

I think the strong distinction between wayward and former wayward expressed here is due to the behavior, rather than the degree of fidelity. My wife and I are not reconciled, and she may be dating other men for all I know, but she is not acting wayward any more. While her affair was going on, her behavior was atrocious. She was totally selfish, inflicting pain and destruction on anyone in her life who stood in her way. She was financially reckless, vain, aloof, superficial. Yuck.

She seriously considered abandoning her own kids to run off with her OM. Unbelievable.

Many of the betrayed spouses here witnessed similar behavior from their wayward spouses.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/29/11 12:48 AM

Originally Posted By: futurehappy
She would throw out all the reminders of the affair


Ouch. That hurts.

I’m not a hardline fundamentalist about much of anything, but I make an exception for no contact: I’m a believer.

To me, no contact isn’t just no communication. It is also a state of mind. I took a myriad of steps to implement no contact—stopped listening to certain music, tossed certain clothes, avoided certain places – if it reminded me of the Guy, I got rid of it or avoided it. I didn’t share any of that with my husband – I figured the least I could do was end the damn affair without troubling him about what steps I took to do so.

Seems to me your wife hasn’t ever implemented no contact if she’s hanging onto reminders. She can’t finish the process of ending the affair until she has started it. She would feel a lot better about herself if she would start it – I wish there was more emphasis on the idea that doing the following things, 1, 2, 3 may help you rebuild integrity which will raise your self esteem which will in time bring you to the point that you understand you deserve a relationship with an integrity, and doing the following things, 1, 2, 3 may help build that relationship. Oh well.

I’m wondering why hanging onto reminders makes sense for her.

Originally Posted By: futurehappy
she would go out of her way to make sure I know it's over


One way to look at it is that it isn’t over as no contact has never truly been implemented. So long as she is reaching for those memories, I see it as an active affair. I know there are some who want their affairing spouse to hate their affair partner – refer to him as the POSOM – but I think the affair winds down as indifference – not hate – takes over.

And, believe it or not, she may not realize that it would help you loads if she would take affirmative steps to show it is over. She may not understand that telling you the affair is over may not hold a whole lot of water seeing as how she forgot to tell you the affair started. I was lucky enough to have a really good IC who walked me through what I needed to do on this point – it requires a certain amount of discipline to overcome habit, as in “I need to remember to take my phone out of my purse when I get home and leave it on the kitchen counter giving him ample opportunity to look at it” or “I need to remember to text him that I decided to stop at the book store so I’m going to be gone 30 minutes longer.” It’s very awkward and it is a short step from being transparent to being controlled.

Originally Posted By: futurehappy
I need to see a glimmer of the pain I felt, reflected in her face


My immediate reaction to this was that she would have to REALLY trust you to show you that vulnerability - I got that feeling in my stomach where the elevator drops.

I’m still processing my thoughts on shame, so I’ll leave those for later.
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/29/11 03:16 AM

Lady Grey

I just wanted to say how much I value you being here and how your honesty and sharing really create these epiphanies for me. You put yourself so much into this and it has my deepest respect

MU
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/29/11 06:25 AM

Thanks, I go back and forth on the wisdom of continuing to post. My raw and unfiltered side doesn't go over well -- the measured, rational side seems OK. I've been bifurcating myself for a long time depending on who needed which LadyGrey, here and in real life, and am recently trying to bring them into congruence.

i haven't known where to say this, so I pick here. My husband and I are reconciling. I said some things to him that I needed to say, and he showed himself worthy of trust with my feelings, or at least those feelings. Sounds neat and tidy but was anything but. I won't be saying anything else about the reconciliation as I don't think it is safe to do so.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/29/11 04:09 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Thanks, I go back and forth on the wisdom of continuing to post. My raw and unfiltered side doesn't go over well -- the measured, rational side seems OK. I've been bifurcating myself for a long time depending on who needed which LadyGrey, here and in real life, and am recently trying to bring them into congruence.
Personally I believe one component of a great relationship is the ability of everyone to share raw, uncensored/unfiltered thoughts. Takes lots of boundary skills. But I believe it is all about building trust and the fundamentals of trust.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
i haven't known where to say this, so I pick here. My husband and I are reconciling. I said some things to him that I needed to say, and he showed himself worthy of trust with my feelings, or at least those feelings. Sounds neat and tidy but was anything but. I won't be saying anything else about the reconciliation as I don't think it is safe to do so.
Congratulations and high-five. Sometimes working together seems like only-marginally-managed chaos. Get's better in time.
Posted By: LivingWell

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/29/11 04:45 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
i haven't known where to say this, so I pick here. My husband and I are reconciling.

Happy for you. dancing

Posted By: Gnosis

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/29/11 07:38 PM


Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I’m still processing my thoughts on shame, so I’ll leave those for later.

My suggestion is to forgive yourself. I know, NOT EASY to do.

I'm glad to hear your news. Unfortunately it seems that a crucial step (for things to go in that direction) is one of the parties has to put themselves in a vulnerable position so the other can step up. Take your time with that.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/30/11 02:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Al
the ability of everyone to share raw, uncensored/unfiltered thoughts


What I think is interesting about what I will always think of as my Jack Nicholson moment (“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!") was that what started out as anger turned quickly to grief. Had he argued with my anger, I would never have gotten to grief. I haven’t cried that hard since I was a teenager. Actually, maybe never.

And I learned I have a lot to grieve which I didn’t know. So I set aside some time every day to do so, to let my mind go those places it has been skipping off of like a rock off a lake in the interest of getting through the day and making everyone happy (I am that powerful). And I cry every day during that time. But at least it is controlled.

So yes, chaos. But since the Jack Nicholson moment, Lizzy is cool with me hanging out with him. I’ll have to stay mindful to keep her relaxed.

Originally Posted By: Gnosis
Unfortunately it seems that a crucial step (for things to go in that direction) is one of the parties has to put themselves in a vulnerable position so the other can step up. Take your time with that.


Yes, I heard this a lot – some form of “lay down your weapons”, from people I hold in high regard, but are clearly unfamiliar with Lizzy's temperament.

And I will take my time.

I think I am too broken to have the sort of marriage that people here aspire to, to know and be known. I want to know, but I have no desire to be known, not really. Probably the converse – I have a desire to not be known. When things start to head in the knowing me direction, I duck out or engage in diversionary tactics or say something outrageous sure to alienate– pushing people away ain’t all that hard. I do it here. I do it with my husband. I do it to friends and family. I even sort of know I’m doing it and do it anyway. Since I know it must make sense to me, I’ve stopped struggling with it.

All I really want him to do is be nice to me and talk to me. If I haven’t learned and gotten the gumption over the past year to say “I am tired of cooking and want to go out to dinner tonight” or “I don’t like that tone of voice so I am going into the other room to read”, well, you all are just fired. I don’t think I’ll ever fully trust him, or anyone else for that matter, and I don’t think sex will ever mean anything to me, although I am all for it. I’m OK with that, at least today. What scares me is that I thought I was OK with the marriage before the affair, and that was kind of a big thing to be wrong about.

Originally Posted By: futurepeaceful
She has been adamant that she will not be shamed.


First, thanks for sharing on the shame aspect (and everything else). It was very helpful to me.

It seems to me she has two feelings, fear and shame, that are getting rolled into one feeling, “fear of shame.”

With me, the shame, or potential for shame, is there already – no one is MAKING me feel that way. I can marshal all the evidence on why I should feel shame all by myself. And that is a useful exercise to a degree when I choose to do it. But I have allowed all kinds of irrational access points to trigger a spot inventory. I reached out and grabbed stuff to add to the inventory, then got mad as a wet hornet at whoever said whatever I took and used as a drill to mine my shame.

I looked at several formal recovery programs, and emailed a couple asking “what are you going to do TO me?” Intellectually, I know how ludicrous that question is – you don’t heal marriages by grinding one of the parties under the heel of righteousness. Emotional issues aside, it isn’t logical.

So I totally get “what might they do to me?” coupled with “if they do X to me, I’m leaving.” I’m way further down the timeline than your wife – arguably she hasn’t started – and, while I talk a good story, I am not at all sure I am willing to risk Retrouville.

I see her trying to keep control over a situation that is seriously out of control. Honestly, I wish my husband had insisted on a program although that’s real easy to say now. Had he done so, I might have taken that as more manipulation and controllingness, possibly true, possibly not.

I wish that you could somehow communicate to your wife that you are THE safe person to work through the shame with, cuz if you get divorced, the shame meter ain’t going anywhere but up. I’ve looked in vain for a faithful husband on a forum who says “Hey! You will NOT talk about my WIFE that way. You will NOT call her a [Bleep!], a pig, or any other perjorative term. She is my WIFE and she will be treated with respect, regardless of how dreadfully she is behaving.” So far, they are silent or join in (this is NOT MA just so we are all clear!).

To be honest, I think that is what my husband would do – it’s one thing for him to say that stuff, but another altogether for someone else to say it. There was a time when this wasn’t true, but he wouldn’t tolerate others speaking to me in a shaming way, at least once he figured out that was how I was experiencing it. I know that with certainty. That’s powerful, knight in shining armor stuff.
Posted By: Telly

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/30/11 07:35 PM

LG--

I'm happy for you that you are going to try to work things out with your husband.

Also, I've missed you.

It's nice to "see" you.

I'm interested in all the sides of you.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/31/11 05:01 PM

Originally Posted By: lildoggie
After reading this thread and the testicular stuff I see I am by nature an avoider, but because of the A have some very strong clinger tendencies.
Everyone has both, I've found. But one at a time, generally.

Originally Posted By: lildoggie
and I need to re-read men are from mars - although I totally reject the cave idea since leaving DH in his cave, gave him quality affair time.
John Grey seemed to me to be too strongly advocating men as avoider and women as clingers. Sandra and I are clearly reversed, and chose to throw his book out of the window. smile
Posted By: Gnosis

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/31/11 06:33 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I think I am too broken"

Here's something for you to consider everyone thinks they're 'too broken' and beyond repair. It's a common trait. To get rid of it usually comes down to accepting yourself that you're not perfect and are never going to be.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I think I am too broken to have the sort of marriage that people here aspire to, to know and be known. I want to know, but I have no desire to be known, not really. Probably the converse – I have a desire to not be known.

LG I'm not trying to play 'pop psychologist' and I have a question for you to think about (no need to answer it here, just think about it and answer it for yourself.)

Do you fear that if people got to know who you really are that they will not want to know you?

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/31/11 08:08 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
And I learned I have a lot to grieve which I didn’t know. So I set aside some time every day to do so, to let my mind go those places it has been skipping off of like a rock off a lake in the interest of getting through the day and making everyone happy (I am that powerful). And I cry every day during that time. But at least it is controlled.
So glad you have learned to do this. I did a lot of studying about expressing emotions back in the 80's. Learned how cleansing that weeping can be and how to do it effectively. I think most people have about 35 solid hours of crying in them. Can't do it all at once, but can start catching up.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I think I am too broken to have the sort of marriage that people here aspire to, to know and be known. I want to know, but I have no desire to be known, not really. Probably the converse – I have a desire to not be known. When things start to head in the knowing me direction, I duck out or engage in diversionary tactics or say something outrageous sure to alienate– pushing people away ain’t all that hard. I do it here. I do it with my husband. I do it to friends and family. I even sort of know I’m doing it and do it anyway. Since I know it must make sense to me, I’ve stopped struggling with it.
The metaphor your words remind me of is that each person wanders their own path/trail through the jungle. I am on mine, and you are on yours. When I see someone who does not want "to be seen," I try to look back along their path and see where the horror was once when "they were seen." Exposure can be really horrific in the wrong circumstance. Lots of kids learn to be invisible by an early age. Hang in there.

Oh. and thanks for being visible here.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/01/11 08:14 PM

Quote:

I’m not a hardline fundamentalist about much of anything, but I make an exception for no contact: I’m a believer.

To me, no contact isn’t just no communication. It is also a state of mind. I took a myriad of steps to implement no contact—stopped listening to certain music, tossed certain clothes, avoided certain places – if it reminded me of the Guy, I got rid of it or avoided it. I didn’t share any of that with my husband – I figured the least I could do was end the damn affair without troubling him about what steps I took to do so.

Seems to me your wife hasn’t ever implemented no contact if she’s hanging onto reminders. She can’t finish the process of ending the affair until she has started it. She would feel a lot better about herself if she would start it – I wish there was more emphasis on the idea that doing the following things, 1, 2, 3 may help you rebuild integrity which will raise your self esteem which will in time bring you to the point that you understand you deserve a relationship with an integrity, and doing the following things, 1, 2, 3 may help build that relationship. Oh well.

I’m wondering why hanging onto reminders makes sense for her.


I totally agree. 100% no contact is essential.

Very simple, she didn't implement no contact because didn't want to, and saw no real reason to.

Quote:

And, believe it or not, she may not realize that it would help you loads if she would take affirmative steps to show it is over. She may not understand that telling you the affair is over may not hold a whole lot of water seeing as how she forgot to tell you the affair started. I was lucky enough to have a really good IC who walked me through what I needed to do on this point – it requires a certain amount of discipline to overcome habit, as in “I need to remember to take my phone out of my purse when I get home and leave it on the kitchen counter giving him ample opportunity to look at it” or “I need to remember to text him that I decided to stop at the book store so I’m going to be gone 30 minutes longer.” It’s very awkward and it is a short step from being transparent to being controlled.


Yeah, she wanted me to just immediately buy into her assurance that the affair was over, when it was clear to me that it wasn't, at least not in her head.

Quote:

First, thanks for sharing on the shame aspect (and everything else). It was very helpful to me.

It seems to me she has two feelings, fear and shame, that are getting rolled into one feeling, “fear of shame.”

With me, the shame, or potential for shame, is there already – no one is MAKING me feel that way. I can marshal all the evidence on why I should feel shame all by myself. And that is a useful exercise to a degree when I choose to do it. But I have allowed all kinds of irrational access points to trigger a spot inventory. I reached out and grabbed stuff to add to the inventory, then got mad as a wet hornet at whoever said whatever I took and used as a drill to mine my shame.


You're welcome! I agree, she is loaded with fear and shame, but she's got it all wrapped up in a blanket of "I know what I'm doing". It's hard to know when to rebel against shame, and when to listen to it.

Quote:

I wish that you could somehow communicate to your wife that you are THE safe person to work through the shame with, cuz if you get divorced, the shame meter ain’t going anywhere but up. I’ve looked in vain for a faithful husband on a forum who says “Hey! You will NOT talk about my WIFE that way. You will NOT call her a [Bleep!], a pig, or any other perjorative term. She is my WIFE and she will be treated with respect, regardless of how dreadfully she is behaving.” So far, they are silent or join in (this is NOT MA just so we are all clear!).

To be honest, I think that is what my husband would do – it’s one thing for him to say that stuff, but another altogether for someone else to say it. There was a time when this wasn’t true, but he wouldn’t tolerate others speaking to me in a shaming way, at least once he figured out that was how I was experiencing it. I know that with certainty. That’s powerful, knight in shining armor stuff.


I tried, for a long time, but we couldn't get there. Just too treacherous of a path. How can I be safe in her eyes, when she knows what she did to me? How can she be safe in my eyes, when I know what she's capable of? Very sad, because I believe exactly what you said. Her shame meter will only go up.

I never experienced any forum calling her foul names, so I never felt the need to defend her. I would not have responded well to that! The folks on the DB forum where I started just called her a cake eater, which I agreed with completely.

I'm happy you are trying to reconcile. You sound very hopeless though. Why not try Retrouvaille? What's the worst that can happen?
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 01:46 AM

I need to be reading this thread, but I haven't. I don't think I really realized what it was about. But funnily enough it is kinda making my lizard go crazy. Okay....it's probably not JUST this thread making my lizard crazy.

Ugh. I hate my lizard.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 02:56 AM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
Ugh. I hate my lizard.


I hear you. Lizzy is responsible for, among other things, my chronic, grinding, soul destroying anxiety. I also hold her responsible for me pushing -- in some cases forcefully shoving -- anyone away who is trending towards wanting to know me.

She is regally undisturbed by my assessment.

Herf, the single most important thing that has happened in the last year+ was meeting Liz. I read about the concept and grabbed on like the drowning woman I was.

I visualize her -- she is a wonder of nature. When she gets agitated, she turns the most magnificent colors. And she sits heavy and warm around my neck resting on my shoulders -- where I carry my tension.

Don't get hung up on the lizard thing. Pick the metaphor that works for you. Could be a Petunia the Pitbull who goes whacko, barking, teeth bared when you are threatened, then curls up on your feet while you sit at your computer, the occasional low growl when you read something that threatens you. Or Lolly the Lion who paces about, watching your perimeter, alert with wide eyes, crouching low and baring her teeth when you are threatened, then curling up in your lap at the computer, baring her teeth when you read something that threatens you.

Lizzy the Lizard, Petunia the Pitbull, Lolly the Lion -- whatever you choose to call her, her role in life is to keep you alive. You cannot argue with her or tell her she is being irrational, PMSing, or overreacting. She KNOWS.

There have been some suggestions that the concept of the lizard is at odds with religious belief systems. I'm not seeing that at all. I see Liz as one of God's voices in my life, because I believe God wants me safe.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 03:08 AM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
But funnily enough it is kinda making my lizard go crazy. Okay....it's probably not JUST this thread making my lizard crazy. Ugh. I hate my lizard.
In a way I am with you on this one. It took me quite a time to grasp the underlying principles inside of me. This "trust-thing" was for me a core.

The original term I used for it was "the reptilian brain." Kind of awkward. It was my wife who handed me the phrase, "my Lizard." It was the thousands of people who, like LG, adopted the metaphor and made it their own, that encouraged me to keep speaking about "Lizards" or "Lizard brains."

Also, I think, the Lizard concept is very useful in "going sane." If it's giving you trouble, it's probably encouraging you to "wake up" in some way.

Just a guess.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 03:17 AM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
There have been some suggestions that the concept of the lizard is at odds with religious belief systems. I'm not seeing that at all. I see Liz as one of God's voices in my life, because I believe God wants me safe.
This is fun. Thanks, LG. I often teach "Safety" to people of different religions. (I think every idea is at odds with some religious belief somewhere, and I am sad how often many beliefs are used in threatening/Lizard-aversive ways.)

To me, it appears that God created the "lizard functions" first and then wrapped humans/human capacities around them. Best way, I know of to look at and grasp the primacy of those drives and needs for safety.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 03:20 AM

Originally Posted By: futureawesome
Very simple, she didn't implement no contact because ....she saw no real reason to.


Why not? Were you able to express to her the importance of this?

Here is an heretical thought: no contact is as important for her as it is you. And while I want to help you -- truly -- my eye will always be on the nightmare that the affairing wife is living.

I can get sort of shrill about no contact, so forgive me.

I think there are meaningful things that a faithful husband can do to make the path to no contact appealing.

I think there are meaningful things that a faithful husband can do to make the path to not implementing no contact very unappealing.

I think you have done the former. What are your thoughts on the latter?

How direct are you? It PAINS me to say this, but every so often I wish my husband would just take over. What if you said "lets create a ritual where we get rid of these reminders together?". I'm not a warm fuzzy sort of person, but we burned my journal together.

Somewhere along the way if a marriage is to be rebuilt I think the focus must change from you vs. her to us vs. everyone else. My husband actually did a really good job with this. I'm not sure where he read it, but he repeated over and over "run towards the hurting spouse, not away."

I STRONGLY suggest you read "The Way of the Superior Man." It was the only book my husband read -- likely the only one he ever will. I read it after him and noted the stuff he underlined.

On the forums, I see little distinction between being weak (bad) and being vulnerable (good). The two get rolled into weakness.

My husband showing me his pain without asking me to fix it -- that's vulnerable.



Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 12:44 PM

I wanted to clarify that the concept of the lizard makes a lot of sense to me. And the name "lizard" isn't an issue either. It's more the idea that...sometimes - okay a lot of times - the liz makes it harder for me to just let go and open up.

But the liz seems to have a delayed reaction at times. It's like she's off sleeping or shoe shopping, and while she's gone, I take the opportunity to share or be intimate or open up or reach out.....and when she gets back she looks at me, appalled, and says, "WTH have you just done????" Then she goes into damage control mode.

I am not most vulnerable BEFORE I share a part of myself.....I am most vulnerable immediately afterward. Because then the bell has been rung and all that I can do is wait and try to figure out if that part of me was accepted or if it scared someone away. And if there is no feedback or response for some undetermined amount of time, the liz assumes the latter and retreats. It is a bad pattern that I need to break, and I need to learn to break it without that external feedback. Otherwise I am going to continue to be stuck in the "pattern of paranoia."
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 01:45 PM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
It's more the idea that...sometimes - okay a lot of times - the liz makes it harder for me to just let go and open up. But the liz seems to have a delayed reaction at times. I take the opportunity to open up or reach out.....and when she gets back she looks at me, appalled, and says, "WTH have you just done????" I am most vulnerable immediately afterward.
Really interesting. My Lizard does something like that, too.

I recall it first described as a Beta Personality (so many labels!). Someone would compliment me and I would get scared. Turns out that my parents would come to me with some "correction" to my behavior (which they misunderstood), but first they would say something nice. My Lizard learned that "nice" was a preliminary to some pain. So, even to this day, if you give me a kudo, I look around for the incoming baseball bat.

I imagine that you have lived with betrayal in your past. You trusted someone/somebodies and they later stuck in the shiv. Could be they invited you to share all, and then gossiped about you later. "Trust me, Trust me!" then stab in back.

If this were true, the Lizard would not know how to get out of this situation. It's not that bright. It would be up to your cortex to make better decisions about who you can share with, be candid with.

Anyway, the Lizard is always right from its point of view. Hope you can figure out what/who has been so dangerous to you when you open up and how to find people with whom you can truly relax.

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
Otherwise I am going to continue to be stuck in the "pattern of paranoia."
Yup, till you find that solution/that place.

Or perhaps like me, 60 years after the original training, you'll still be mumbling, "Omigod, did I really say that?" "Oh, oh, I should never have told them that!" And then as you hear yourself whisper that, you may smile.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 03:30 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: futureawesome
Very simple, she didn't implement no contact because ....she saw no real reason to.


Why not? Were you able to express to her the importance of this?

Here is an heretical thought: no contact is as important for her as it is you. And while I want to help you -- truly -- my eye will always be on the nightmare that the affairing wife is living.

I can get sort of shrill about no contact, so forgive me.

I think there are meaningful things that a faithful husband can do to make the path to no contact appealing.

I think there are meaningful things that a faithful husband can do to make the path to not implementing no contact very unappealing.

I think you have done the former. What are your thoughts on the latter?

How direct are you? It PAINS me to say this, but every so often I wish my husband would just take over. What if you said "lets create a ritual where we get rid of these reminders together?". I'm not a warm fuzzy sort of person, but we burned my journal together.

Somewhere along the way if a marriage is to be rebuilt I think the focus must change from you vs. her to us vs. everyone else. My husband actually did a really good job with this. I'm not sure where he read it, but he repeated over and over "run towards the hurting spouse, not away."

I STRONGLY suggest you read "The Way of the Superior Man." It was the only book my husband read -- likely the only one he ever will. I read it after him and noted the stuff he underlined.

On the forums, I see little distinction between being weak (bad) and being vulnerable (good). The two get rolled into weakness.

My husband showing me his pain without asking me to fix it -- that's vulnerable.


Last summer when she expressed to me that she wanted to reconcile, I tried to show her how important is was for her to implement no contact, but her reaction was to view it as me being controlling, and laying guilt on her. The affair was over, from a practical point of view. The OM lived thousands of miles away in another country, he made it clear he wasn't moving here, and they hadn't had any communication in a couple months, so from her point of view, it was over. I knew it wasn't as easy as that, and I knew I needed it to be 100% gone from her life, forever. She resented that, which eroded the positive energy between us as it degraded into a power struggle.

She desperately wanted to cling to the notion that what she did wasn't so bad, so why would it need such a dramatic response as no contact? On top of it all, my wife is a marriage and family therapist, and therefore, from her point of view, she always knows better than me when it comes to relationship issues. What a crock.

As our reconciliation attempt was withering away, I thought to check her FB page. We weren't FB friends, but her friend list was public, and there he was. OM was still her FB friend. I confronted her with that, not from a place of anger, but of great concern. She was annoyed, said it was no big deal, and again laid on this attitude about me being controlling. She made it crystal clear to me that she didn't care a whole lot how I felt about it. Then I did get angry and I left.

Just like you recommend LadyGrey, I finally did do something very unappealing to her as a response to her attitude. I walked away. I made it clear to her I was just fine in my life without her, and that I would never allow her to control my custody of the kids. I could see she was frustrated, trying to maintain a line that minimized her fear and anxiety about the consequences of her decisions. I slowly came to see her actions as simple manipulation toward that end. I still thought there was still maybe a chance, but I needed to make a strong point.

After a couple months of complete withdrawal from her life, something came up that made me wonder if fate was showing me the way. A wonderful little pub in our city was closing. This pub was right next to the place we had our wedding reception, and one of the best memories we share was when our reception was over, a bunch of our closest family and friends all went to that pub and took over the place. I knew it had meaning to her, so I mentioned to her about the closing, and she said "I know! I want to go one last time, but I don't have anyone to go with." I didn't say anything right then, but the next day I offered for us to go there together before it closed.

We went out and had a wonderful time and talked. At the end of the night she was emotional and said she didn't want a divorce but that she didn't know what to do. That's when I brought up Retrouvaille. I thought I was "taking over", as you say.

You know the rest. Before we went to Retrouvaille I asked her why she wasn't with OM, and I got the "Because he won't move here" answer. I threw in the towel. I have completely withdrawn from her since last October, and our divorce is in the works. For the first couple months she'd tried to flirt with me, or pursue me a little, but I'd had enough of her games. I held tough, and she finally gave up. She's being a real jerk in the divorce proceedings.

Our relationship was such a power struggle. It was exhausting.

There is no communication between us any more, other than scheduling needs for the kids. Any interaction is extremely strained and stressful. Something enormous would have to happen to break the current status quo. My belief is she needs to reach crisis and spontaneously offer me sincere remorse for what she did. Only then would the playing field be finally level, and we could maybe move forward from there. I am not optimistic. She is suspicious and guarded about everything now. She keeps upping the ante in a negative manner, making me like her less and less. I know she hates it being like this. I think she's completely clueless that the opposite approach would get her what she wants.

Why is it when some people do something wrong and hurtful, they decide that it's the other person's fault, and then they decide to react with anger, and treat the other person even worse?

I've thought in the past about getting "The Way of the Superior Man". I'll look into it.
Posted By: TimeHeals

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 04:24 PM

Quote:
knew it wasn't as easy as that, and I knew I needed it to be 100% gone from her life, forever. She resented that,


Quote:
She desperately wanted to cling to the notion that what she did wasn't so bad


Quote:
from her point of view, she always knows better than me when it comes to relationship issues. What a crock.


I pulled these three comments out because you seem to be doing a lot of mind reading in them.


Quote:
OM was still her FB friend. I confronted her with that, not from a place of anger, but of great concern


Concern? Weak. Be honest with yourself here: this is not acceptable behavior from a woman who you allow in your life. If she wants to be facebook friends with him, that's OK, but it doesn't work for YOU, and rightly so. No hard feelings, you love her and wish her luck finding happiness and go your own way because you aren't interested in chasing a woman who is chasing somebody else.

No big deal, but it's not a "concern"; it's a "do not pass go, no hard feelings, and maybe we can be friends" (friends who don't speak to each other) type thing.

Quote:
I know she hates it being like this.


And we now return to mind reading.

Quote:
know she hates it being like this. I think she's completely clueless that the opposite approach would get her what she wants.


What does she want?

Quote:
Why is it when some people do something wrong and hurtful, they decide that it's the other person's fault, and then they decide to react with anger, and treat the other person even worse?


You aren't at this place in your life ONLY because your wife had an affair. Long before she had an affair, chances are that she was bored and took you for granted, and she probably even felt sorry for you.

I don't know for sure ... because I can't read minds. She's a woman. You're a man. This much I know. She once liked you enough to marry you, and even if this can never be repaired, those early good times are something that can't be taken away. They obviously didn't last, but nothing ever does.

What I am getting out of all of this is that you don't accept that she is doing what she is doing because she thinks it is the right thing for her to be doing at this point. She might or might not be certain (people rarely are), but I think maybe that she's doing the best she knows how to do at this point is probably closer to the truth.

So..., let her figure out her life and get on with living your life. She's going to do it with or without your approval, so disapproval buys you nothing that I can see anyway.

I just realized I posted this response on Al's board, and he--no doubt--could provide more insight, but I do stand by the idea that you both are doing what you think is best at this point considering, and it isn't just you trying to do what is best.

I wish ya all the best.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 05:35 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Why is it when some people do something wrong and hurtful, they decide that it's the other person's fault, and then they decide to react with anger, and treat the other person even worse?
Seems this is normal people doing normal things. I see it all the time. I can't change people, but I can learn what works for me. I can't make people do what I want, but I can understand them. I can't control people, but I can live in peace with them. I keep encouraging you to focus on the lessons for you in this situation and put only a tiny bit into the lessons you think she needs to learn. Seems to work better.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 05:38 PM

Originally Posted By: TimeHeals
I just realized I posted this response on Al's board, and he--no doubt--could provide more insight, but I do stand by the idea that you both are doing what you think is best at this point considering, and it isn't just you trying to do what is best.
You are welcome here, TimeHeals.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 06:32 PM

Originally Posted By: TimeHeals
Quote:
knew it wasn't as easy as that, and I knew I needed it to be 100% gone from her life, forever. She resented that,


Quote:
She desperately wanted to cling to the notion that what she did wasn't so bad


Quote:
from her point of view, she always knows better than me when it comes to relationship issues. What a crock.


I pulled these three comments out because you seem to be doing a lot of mind reading in them.


Yeah, maybe. I'm just summarizing from what she said and what she did. She acted resentful when she realized I needed her to establish 100% no contact. She has told me she doesn't consider what she did to be that bad. However, she has also told me things that indicate deep down she has much regret. I have lived with her attitude of "I know much more about relationships than you" for many many years.

Quote:

Quote:
OM was still her FB friend. I confronted her with that, not from a place of anger, but of great concern


Concern? Weak. Be honest with yourself here: this is not acceptable behavior from a woman who you allow in your life. If she wants to be facebook friends with him, that's OK, but it doesn't work for YOU, and rightly so. No hard feelings, you love her and wish her luck finding happiness and go your own way because you aren't interested in chasing a woman who is chasing somebody else.

No big deal, but it's not a "concern"; it's a "do not pass go, no hard feelings, and maybe we can be friends" (friends who don't speak to each other) type thing.


Well, it is a big deal when she is on the one hand purporting interest in reconciling, while pursuing OM on the other, and particularly when three little kids are pinning on their hopes on Mom and Dad getting back together.

I didn't make a big stink about it, but I did tell her I was done reconciling, and I totally withdrew from her life. After a couple months of that, she voluntarily removed OM from her FB, and asked me if I was still on board with trying to reconcile.

Quote:

Quote:
I know she hates it being like this.


And we now return to mind reading.


She told me in the past that she hates being totally withdrawn from each other.


Quote:

Quote:
know she hates it being like this. I think she's completely clueless that the opposite approach would get her what she wants.


What does she want?


At a minimum, she wants us to be ok with each other, to support each other in coparenting, to be friends. Not mind reading, she has told me that before, and her mother has told me that's what she wants.

Beyond that, she wants to be free to do whatever she wants, including dating other men. She told me that too.

Oh, but she is also jealous of any other women in my life.


Quote:

Quote:
Why is it when some people do something wrong and hurtful, they decide that it's the other person's fault, and then they decide to react with anger, and treat the other person even worse?


You aren't at this place in your life ONLY because your wife had an affair. Long before she had an affair, chances are that she was bored and took you for granted, and she probably even felt sorry for you.

I don't know for sure ... because I can't read minds. She's a woman. You're a man. This much I know. She once liked you enough to marry you, and even if this can never be repaired, those early good times are something that can't be taken away. They obviously didn't last, but nothing ever does.

What I am getting out of all of this is that you don't accept that she is doing what she is doing because she thinks it is the right thing for her to be doing at this point. She might or might not be certain (people rarely are), but I think maybe that she's doing the best she knows how to do at this point is probably closer to the truth.

So..., let her figure out her life and get on with living your life. She's going to do it with or without your approval, so disapproval buys you nothing that I can see anyway.

I just realized I posted this response on Al's board, and he--no doubt--could provide more insight, but I do stand by the idea that you both are doing what you think is best at this point considering, and it isn't just you trying to do what is best.


I know she is doing what she feels is best for her. I'm not contesting that her building her own life and deciding to divorce is what she feels is best for her. What I don't understand is why she chooses to continue to make things more negative between us when I know she'd far prefer things to be positive between us. I've seen other people behave in a similar manner, and it always perplexes me. Person A does something horrible to person B. Person B calls person A on it, and decides to not have person A in their life any more. Person A decides person B deserves to be punished, and starts treating person B even worse, when all person B wants is an honest apology, and to be treated with respect. Usually it continues like this until things get really bad, and something triggers true remorse in person A, and then they finally reach out to person B for forgiveness.

I'm definitely letting her live her life, and I'm trying to get on with mine. She oscillates between spewing venom at me, and vague attempts at pursuing me. I NEVER let her get a reaction out of me. I don't talk or interact with her at all. The divorce is in progress. She fires these strange legal shots across my bow. Why? To remind me she is there? Since this all started I've wanted her to either work to fix our marriage or leave me alone. She seems unhappy with both options.

The point of all this is that reading LadyGrey's posts made me wonder if she could help me understand why my STBXW is behaving the way she does. I also hoped my thoughts could help LadyGrey appreciate the BH point of view.

Quote:

I wish ya all the best.


Thanks! smile
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 07:30 PM

Why as the affaired against do we need our affairing partners to show remorse? Is remorse an emotion or some concrete actions? Im interested in what we think on this, coz whilst I do want my wife to show remorse ( somehow it will be salve to my wounds) she doesnt and perhaps Im being controlling to want it...
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 07:40 PM

Hi Future, my wife oscilates between legal sounding emails to emotionally laced outbursts to being nice. Its tiring as you never know what to expect, so I put lots of space in between us as a safety barrier.

Anyway I told my L this and said it didnt make sense and L reply was, " coz she aint finished with you yet" .

Im thinking of changing my handle to Doofus.
Posted By: TimeHeals

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 09:08 PM

Quote:
She fires these strange legal shots across my bow. Why?


I have no idea. Maybe she thinks she is being helpful sometimes? Maybe she wants to see how you react? Maybe talking things over with you is habbit? I don't know.

How do you react?

Quote:
I NEVER let her get a reaction out of me


That's fine, but the way you word it makes it sound like it is difficult. Kind of hard to be witty and charming when you're being sued, ain't it?
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 09:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Manup
Why as the affaired against do we need our affairing partners to show remorse? Is remorse an emotion or some concrete actions? Im interested in what we think on this, coz whilst I do want my wife to show remorse ( somehow it will be salve to my wounds) she doesnt and perhaps Im being controlling to want it...


We need to see sincere remorse as the beginning of building trust again. Not unique to affairs at all, but rather whenever one person violates another person's trust and treats them with extreme disrespect. For a while after dday I sometimes felt like you Manup, but that's the negotiation side of grieving talking. You are willing to forfeit your right to see remorse if she would just come back. It's BS, and if you search deep down, you'll know that it would lead to a very hollow marriage, filled with resentment. You deserve better.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 09:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Manup
Hi Future, my wife oscilates between legal sounding emails to emotionally laced outbursts to being nice. Its tiring as you never know what to expect, so I put lots of space in between us as a safety barrier.

Anyway I told my L this and said it didnt make sense and L reply was, " coz she aint finished with you yet" .

Im thinking of changing my handle to Doofus.


You gotta make her start wondering if you're finished with her!
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 09:40 PM

Originally Posted By: TimeHeals
Quote:
She fires these strange legal shots across my bow. Why?


I have no idea. Maybe she thinks she is being helpful sometimes? Maybe she wants to see how you react? Maybe talking things over with you is habbit? I don't know.


Ding ding ding! We have a winner!


Quote:

How do you react?

Quote:
I NEVER let her get a reaction out of me


That's fine, but the way you word it makes it sound like it is difficult. Kind of hard to be witty and charming when you're being sued, ain't it?


It is hard not to react when someone is challenging my custody of my kids, accusing me of lying, reneging on previous agreements, trying to get way more money than they need or deserve, and alienating my kids from me.

Being witty and charming isn't exactly my goal. I choose to just ignore her rather than react with anger or hostility.

Last year after I totally cut her loose she did similar things, even sued me for full custody of the kids. We weren't speaking at all, and had an ugly court appearance. When I finally gave her an opening in my defenses, she pulled complete 180s, pursuing me, flirting, dropping the lawsuit, etc. That's what so perplexes me, that she behaves in such a nasty negative manner when she apparently wants things to be better.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 10:13 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
We need to see sincere remorse as the beginning of building trust again. Not unique to affairs at all, but rather whenever one person violates another person's trust and treats them with extreme disrespect.
I doubt this. Watched a lot of people reconnecting. Seems a bit silly. Both partners are probably going to get going into a lot or remorse before trust starts to build. I work on trust building all the time, and neither "sincere remorse" nor "no contact agreements" seem to be very useful.

Becoming candid with each other, finding and removing the walls that both have built, being respectful when your partner slips, and above all building a space of safety for the two of you, now that sounds more like it.

Tis fun to think that we all have only two examples of a great marriage: in the dreams we all have when falling in love and in the experiences of the few couples who turn the romance into reality after a lot of learning. In between those two examples, I fear there's a whole lot of stuff that needs fixing.

I don't see needing remorse as building trust, but more about posturing who is the good one and who the bad one, and will lead to more trouble.

Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing. Complicated, confusing, painful, clumsy, sure. But at least it is a positive step toward ending a painful way of living with a partner. There are, I think, much better ways of doing this, but as things go, an affair ain't too bad. Tis the next steps that count.

Of course I am off into my own experiences.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 10:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Manup
Hi Future, my wife oscilates between legal sounding emails to emotionally laced outbursts to being nice. Its tiring as you never know what to expect, so I put lots of space in between us as a safety barrier.
Great work, Manup. Couldn't think of a better example of applying boundary skills. When your partner is all over the map, best to back up and watch. Too close and you'll get hurt. Too far and you'll miss when she reaches out to you. Sounds as if she's riding a wild horse.

Good luck.
Posted By: TimeHeals

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 10:27 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I work on trust building all the time, and neither "sincere remorse" nor "no contact agreements" seem to be very useful.


"No contact agreements" always seemed a bit too legalistic to me too smile

I mean, I get not even wanting to chase somebody who is chasing somebody else. That makes sense to me. You can't make them stop chasing somebody else, but you don't have to be available to somebody who is doing that.

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 10:29 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
It is hard not to react when someone is challenging my custody of my kids, accusing me of lying, reneging on previous agreements, trying to get way more money than they need or deserve, and alienating my kids from me.
You might change the dynamics for the better by learning to PreValidate her. I see it is hard for you not to react, but that is your job. When you watch your partner being reactive and dramatic, tis the time, I think to stand your ground and "validate the shinola out of them," as a friend of mine says.

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Being witty and charming isn't exactly my goal. I choose to just ignore her rather than react with anger or hostility.
May not be enough. Ignoring somebody can be pretty hostile behavior. By the way, what is your goal?

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Last year after I totally cut her loose she did similar things, even sued me for full custody of the kids. We weren't speaking at all, and had an ugly court appearance. When I finally gave her an opening in my defenses, she pulled complete 180s, pursuing me, flirting, dropping the lawsuit, etc. That's what so perplexes me, that she behaves in such a nasty negative manner when she apparently wants things to be better.
Well, she makes sense in both tactics. "Cut her loose" sounds a grim step on your side.

Lots of stuff to learn here, it seems.
Posted By: Medc

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/03/11 10:39 PM

futureunknown...when it comes to your kids and custody, I would strongly suggest that you take the advice of an attorney that specializes in father's rights. As father's routinely get screwed in court, pay close attention to his/her words and follow them to the letter.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/04/11 02:54 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
We need to see sincere remorse as the beginning of building trust again. Not unique to affairs at all, but rather whenever one person violates another person's trust and treats them with extreme disrespect.
I doubt this. Watched a lot of people reconnecting. Seems a bit silly. Both partners are probably going to get going into a lot or remorse before trust starts to build. I work on trust building all the time, and neither "sincere remorse" nor "no contact agreements" seem to be very useful.

Becoming candid with each other, finding and removing the walls that both have built, being respectful when your partner slips, and above all building a space of safety for the two of you, now that sounds more like it.

Tis fun to think that we all have only two examples of a great marriage: in the dreams we all have when falling in love and in the experiences of the few couples who turn the romance into reality after a lot of learning. In between those two examples, I fear there's a whole lot of stuff that needs fixing.

I don't see needing remorse as building trust, but more about posturing who is the good one and who the bad one, and will lead to more trouble.

Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing. Complicated, confusing, painful, clumsy, sure. But at least it is a positive step toward ending a painful way of living with a partner. There are, I think, much better ways of doing this, but as things go, an affair ain't too bad. Tis the next steps that count.

Of course I am off into my own experiences.


If I betray someone's trust, or show them disrespect, and they are hurt by it, and I want to repair that damage, I absolutely feel like I owe them a demonstration of remorse. That's the first step to recovery, and they aren't being silly or posturing by needing that. It's not about who is good or bad, but about my acknowledgement that I acted poorly. How else do they know I care about their feelings?

However, I agree with you that the affair itself wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It did exactly what you say. I even expressed that to my wife. My need to see remorse isn't about that, but rather the lies, manipulation, and extreme disrespect she showed me.
Posted By: Medc

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/04/11 04:34 PM

Quote:

Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing.


mad

Al, you say some things that provoke thought(and more often than not do it in a very respectful fashion)...and then you say something like this that sounds nuts/insensitive/sad/disgusting IMHO.

Sorry sir..but(I think) you couldn't be more wrong. Families are destroyed, hearts are broken and lives shattered because of affairs(I know).

Perhaps there are some people here on MA that are afraid to confront such nonsense...I am not one of them. I don't care what letters you have after your name, this, I think, is simply BS wrapped up in psychobabble.

While you may not think an affair is a bad thing...for you...let me say that it is a horrible tragedy for many. I know of people that have killed themselves as a result of this "not a bad thing." I have seen...with my own eyes people murdered over this "not a bad thing."

I am no fan of Dr. Harley for many reasons...but he certainly hits the nail on the head when it comes to affairs being terrible tragedies for all involved.

Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/04/11 05:40 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
It is hard not to react when someone is challenging my custody of my kids, accusing me of lying, reneging on previous agreements, trying to get way more money than they need or deserve, and alienating my kids from me.
You might change the dynamics for the better by learning to PreValidate her. I see it is hard for you not to react, but that is your job. When you watch your partner being reactive and dramatic, tis the time, I think to stand your ground and "validate the shinola out of them," as a friend of mine says.


Validating or pre-validating would require me to have a relationship with her, and I've decided to not have one. Very sad, but I believe she'd treat any validation or prevalidation as weakness on my part, and use it to try to manipulate me. Trust is gone.


Quote:

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Being witty and charming isn't exactly my goal. I choose to just ignore her rather than react with anger or hostility.
May not be enough. Ignoring somebody can be pretty hostile behavior. By the way, what is your goal?


What is not enough? Being witty and charming, or ignoring? I did the witty and charming thing for a year, and all it got me was more of her games. Maybe she does perceive my ignoring her as hostile (offensive), when in reality, I'm doing it to protect myself (defensive). My goal is to get through this with my sanity, dignity, and finances in salvageable condition.


Quote:

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Last year after I totally cut her loose she did similar things, even sued me for full custody of the kids. We weren't speaking at all, and had an ugly court appearance. When I finally gave her an opening in my defenses, she pulled complete 180s, pursuing me, flirting, dropping the lawsuit, etc. That's what so perplexes me, that she behaves in such a nasty negative manner when she apparently wants things to be better.
Well, she makes sense in both tactics. "Cut her loose" sounds a grim step on your side.

Lots of stuff to learn here, it seems.


I'm sure it makes sense to her, but I don't get it, and I'm tired of playing her games. Cutting her out of my life is the only thing that seems to get through to her. It feels empowering, rather than grim.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/04/11 05:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Medc
futureunknown...when it comes to your kids and custody, I would strongly suggest that you take the advice of an attorney that specializes in father's rights. As father's routinely get screwed in court, pay close attention to his/her words and follow them to the letter.


Thanks medc, I do have a father's rights specialist in my corner.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/04/11 06:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Medc
Quote:

Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing.


mad

Al, you say some things that provoke thought(and more often than not do it in a very respectful fashion)...and then you say something like this that sounds nuts/insensitive/sad/disgusting IMHO.

Sorry sir..but(I think) you couldn't be more wrong. Families are destroyed, hearts are broken and lives shattered because of affairs(I know).

Perhaps there are some people here on MA that are afraid to confront such nonsense...I am not one of them. I don't care what letters you have after your name, this, I think, is simply BS wrapped up in psychobabble.

While you may not think an affair is a bad thing...for you...let me say that it is a horrible tragedy for many. I know of people that have killed themselves as a result of this "not a bad thing." I have seen...with my own eyes people murdered over this "not a bad thing."

I am no fan of Dr. Harley for many reasons...but he certainly hits the nail on the head when it comes to affairs being terrible tragedies for all involved.



Medc, I sort of understand what he's saying. In my case, I'm forced to admit that the affair might have been the only thing powerful enough to blast me out of the the suffocating rut myself and my marriage got into. Could something else have worked? Maybe. I don't know. What I do know is that I like myself much better now, and I see and appreciate life much more now.

That's why I say the affair itself isn't on the top the list of damage, but rather the lying, manipulating, and disrespect that went with it.

I TOTALLY understand what you're saying though. Extremely volatile forces are unleashed when one spouse decides to have an affair, and the result is very unpredictable. Many times disaster is the result.

To be clear, I'm not advocating affairs in any way shape or form. Just like other major challenges in life we may find ourselves facing, I'm choosing to view it as a chance to grow and overcome.
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/04/11 08:16 PM

My wife doesnt show remorse either, but the more I think about it, she doesnt show remorse the way I want remorse to look like. she could be showing remorse the way she believes it to be. But if Im blunt, this whole issue has emasculated me , and feelings of you should show me remorse, or act contrite, or be miserable, are probably more about giving me back my power.

I believe if we were to start reconciliation, I would look for respect , understanding , empathy and validation. Perhaps if my wife validated how hurt I am to begin with, that would be get the ball rolling. As it is she still runs away as she doesnt feel safe. Anyway my $0.02c
Posted By: TimeHeals

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/04/11 08:36 PM

Quote:
But if Im blunt, this whole issue has emasculated me


Sometimes there is nothing more fragile than a man's ego, eh?

Buck up. Just cuz one chick done ya wrong once ain't no reason to return all of your equipment to the ball return smile

Having misplaced my own mojo not too long ago, I have to tell ya she didn't take it from you, and maybe you ought to think about what it means if you think she did. She didn't take it. You put it down.

In my case, I put it down because I figured I wasn't as smart, cool, and all that as I thought, and then it sort of spiraled down from there. After a while, I was just being silly. As if nobody can love ya if ya aren't smart enough and cool enough smile Silly stuff. But that was me.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/04/11 10:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Medc
Quote:

Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing.


mad

Al, you say some things that provoke thought(and more often than not do it in a very respectful fashion)...and then you say something like this that sounds nuts/insensitive/sad/disgusting IMHO.
I believe you and hear you.

Originally Posted By: Medc
Sorry sir..but(I think) you couldn't be more wrong. Families are destroyed, hearts are broken and lives shattered because of affairs(I know).
I've seen a whole lot of that awful stuff, too. And I get it that you think I am "wrong."

Originally Posted By: Medc
Perhaps there are some people here on MA that are afraid to confront such nonsense...I am not one of them. I don't care what letters you have after your name, this, I think, is simply BS wrapped up in psychobabble.
Sound pretty pissed off. It is a challenge to speak up, for many people. I'm very glad you can share your beliefs here.

Originally Posted By: Medc
While you may not think an affair is a bad thing...for you...let me say that it is a horrible tragedy for many. I know of people that have killed themselves as a result of this "not a bad thing." I have seen...with my own eyes people murdered over this "not a bad thing."
Yup. Me too. I still recall the face on a friend when he found out his wife at home was having an affair at home. Next day, he stole a 45 automatic and swam ashore in VietNam, never seen again. Yup. People can do amazingly tragic things.

Originally Posted By: Medc
I am no fan of Dr. Harley for many reasons...but he certainly hits the nail on the head when it comes to affairs being terrible tragedies for all involved.
Well, I can hear his point, too.

Very glad you shared, Medc. I am going to look back over what I wrote to see if I could say it better. At this point, I get the impression you misunderstand me by quite a bit.

But let's take some time for there may be something great to learn going on here.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/04/11 10:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Manup
My wife doesnt show remorse either, but the more I think about it, she doesnt show remorse the way I want remorse to look like.
This puzzle faced me for about 10 years. I would say "I'm sorry." and nothing would happen. I would want my partner to say she's sorry and found out that she couldn't say that. Both of us had very very different perspectives - at the same time. Fascinating.

Eventually the solution came in the form of Making Amends, which is an extension/simplification of all the stuff I've written on Frustrations. I think the stuff on Frustrations is the highest level stuff I've worked on. The revelation behind this solution is that both points of view have to be taken into account. Both people have to be Validated almost simultaneously. If you want to get remorse from your partner, you are going to have to give understanding to them also. And vice verse.

The sticking point for me, the discovery, was that my request for remorse was a fundamentally self-centered, not relationship-centered. Remember the phrase, "You can either be right or in relationship. Take your pick."
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/05/11 10:33 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing. Complicated, confusing, painful, clumsy, sure. But at least it is a positive step toward ending a painful way of living with a partner. There are, I think, much better ways of doing this, but as things go, an affair ain't too bad. Tis the next steps that count. Of course I am off into my own experiences.
Well, I read this again and am happy with it. It may be a bit understated.

I am aware my opinions may not be mainstream, and I now sure they don't match medc's beliefs, but it does capture my learnings.

And I was certainly not taught this in my college/school training. I can share this or keep it a secret.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 12:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Al
Both partners are probably going to get going into a lot or remorse before trust starts to build.


I'm finding this to be true. It seems to me that the remorse requirement has a tit-for-tat aspect to it that I found unhelpful. I consciously gave up the urge, replacing it with the message "he made sense and was doing the best he could" which is, over time, healing resentments for things I considered he did TO me.

It has been very liberating to understand that I do not need him to understand or feel bad to heal those resentments, that I can recast the events and grieve them for both of us -- I cry as much for him and how hard certain things were on him as I do myself.

For example, he worked so much he was never there to help me get the kids to soccer games. I have resented his absence for years. Recasting it in light of his family history, he made perfect sense and was doing the best he could. He missed all of his children's soccer games. So terribly sad for him, me and our children.

I feel no anger about things I have grieved the loss of.

Originally Posted By: Medc
I know of people that have killed themselves as a result of this "not a bad thing." I have seen...with my own eyes people murdered over this "not a bad thing."


Some people respond to divorce with suicide or murder. I had a friend who had filed for divorce and her husband strangled her with a lamp cord and basically decapitated her with scissors in front of their three small children the day he was to move out of the house.

Originally Posted By: Al
Eventually the solution came in the form of Making Amends


Al, you mentioned in the article that you can use this process with someone without them being aware. I'm wondering how you do that.

I'm also wondering how the process could be implemented in the passive/aggressive "there is NOTHING wrong" context.
Posted By: Medc

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 01:17 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing. Complicated, confusing, painful, clumsy, sure. But at least it is a positive step toward ending a painful way of living with a partner. There are, I think, much better ways of doing this, but as things go, an affair ain't too bad. Tis the next steps that count. Of course I am off into my own experiences.
Well, I read this again and am happy with it. It may be a bit understated.

I am aware my opinions may not be mainstream, and I now sure they don't match medc's beliefs, but it does capture my learnings.

And I was certainly not taught this in my college/school training. I can share this or keep it a secret.


An affair is a positive step....it would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

I am hopeful that others choose to share their perceptions as well. While people feel free to discuss these things off-board they sometimes feel intimidated to discuss their true feelings.

Al, I respect that you are a good guy that feels compelled to share his feelings. I don't find any value in a sentiment that suggests that an affair "ain't that bad" or is a "positive step." Frankly, I think you miss the mark by miles on this as well as the "it takes one to make a marriage" concept. With most others, I would just assume that outrageous comments were being made in order to provoke a response. I truly believe that you have examined these thoughts and believe them.

Inasmuch, I see no reason to continue posting to/reading your thread. I sincerely hope that a newly betrayed person doesn't wander into a thread that suggests that an affair ain't so bad. It reminds me of a very destructive comment made by my personal trainer. Right after I discovered my wife's infidelity, he said that I shouldn't "throw away my marriage for something that could be washed off with soap and water." I am thankful that I was able to receive real advice and help at a later point.

Al, do you feel there might be a reason that your opinions are not "mainstream?" eta: I took a look at the link you posted. Al, are you a licensed therapist? I only ask because you seem to list a Masters in Education as your training. I see that your wife is a LCPC. Perhaps I have missed something. I am just short of a Masters in Education and would not feel qualified as a therapist based on that training/degree.

I appreciate the time you took to respond.



Posted By: GloveOil

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 02:07 AM

My wife, who has spent 24 years as a registered nurse in neonatal intensive care units, one of which she now manages -- settings where over the years she has seen dozens of instances of parents confronting the death of a child -- asserts that the pain caused by a spouse's affair is "at least equal" to that experienced by a parent who loses a child.

She speaks with some authority on this, "thanks" to my affair.

We have overcome it together. But it was so very much more than "complicated, confusing, painful, clumsy." It was selfish, cruel, unnecessary.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 02:43 AM

Originally Posted By: GloveOil
My wife, who has spent 24 years as a registered nurse in neonatal intensive care units, one of which she now manages -- settings where over the years she has seen dozens of instances of parents confronting the death of a child -- asserts that the pain caused by a spouse's affair is "at least equal" to that experienced by a parent who loses a child.

She speaks with some authority on this, "thanks" to my affair.

We have overcome it together. But it was so very much more than "complicated, confusing, painful, clumsy." It was selfish, cruel, unnecessary.


Hey GloveOil. I am VERY pleased you are here.

We have had a few discussions here on the comparing the affair to X, Y or Z horrible thing that might happen, and I think for the most part, people have agreed that if someone reports that X, Y or Z was their experience, that was their experience. If one hasn't had both experiences, that person may be challenged here. I'll hunt down the link if you are interested -- it was, IMO, a testament to the fact that if you let people communicate openly with respect, even on such an emotional subject, they will come to grace.

Your wife's experience is her experience, but she hasn't lost a child so she can't know.

I will tell you that my husband laughed out loud when I told him the MB message that my affair was more painful than the Stuff we went through with our daughter -- he thought it was absurd, and it was one of the reasons he has a very low opinion of the program. And my daughter is alive and kicking -- thriving in fact.

Al has a different perspective from what you are, I think, used to. Masterful understatement there.

Al's stuff has been catalytic to changing everything about how I approach me, him and our marriage. Had I not stumbled in here (THANKS ALLEN), I shudder to think where I/we would be. MB was going to destroy me -- I believe that with every fiber of my being.

You met your lizard yet?

Posted By: Vittoria

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 03:01 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing. Complicated, confusing, painful, clumsy, sure. But at least it is a positive step toward ending a painful way of living with a partner. There are, I think, much better ways of doing this, but as things go, an affair ain't too bad. Tis the next steps that count. Of course I am off into my own experiences.
Well, I read this again and am happy with it. It may be a bit understated.

I am aware my opinions may not be mainstream, and I now sure they don't match medc's beliefs, but it does capture my learnings.

And I was certainly not taught this in my college/school training. I can share this or keep it a secret.

I had to read this a couple of times, I had an extremely hard time believing that you or anyone for that matter would view an A as 'not a bad thing' or a 'positive step' towards anything. I agree with Medc that these will be hurtful statements for a new BS to come across. Pretty much dismisses the devastation felt. I'm almost 3 yrs. post d-day 1 and they make me cringe ......

so

your view on A's don't match up with what I've experienced IRL, with anyone I know who has experienced one, and from what I've read from BS's. I can't imagine a FWS who realizes the pain and damage that an A causes would agree with your POV either.

I don't know if you've mentioned or not if you have ever experienced infidelity in your M and I can't tell if you have from what you've posted here on this page. If you haven't ever felt the pain of this type of betrayal, I hope that your mind is open to the fact that your view is based on a perception from others and not what you've experienced. Two very different things.
I do get what you are saying about an A ending a painful way of living with your partner ... if marital recovery is the goal of both spouses. I still don't see it as a positive, there are other ways to end that type of living with each other. Filing for D comes to mind as a wake up call, certainly not lying and sneaking around with an AP, deceit is not an answer to anything. Marital recovery after an A is emotionally and physically the hardest journey I've had. Personal recovery from the A, well ..... that's harder. And I'm not fully there yet. I can't imagine ever forgetting how painful this has all been. Fade I think is a more realistic goal.


Thus far in my M, in my life, infidelity has been the worst experience I've had. Medc summed up fairly well the effects A's have on persons/families, I see nothing positive. My worst fear regarding my M is that myself or my kids would ever have to endure that pain again.



Posted By: GloveOil

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 03:27 AM

Thanks, LG.

I don't doubt that different people can experience matters in different ways, and with varying reactions that could include any combo of shock/pain/apathy/stocism/zen-like calm, and all the ones in-between that I surely haven't mentioned. (And there is also surely a distinction between an immediate pain reaction vs. pain accrued/dissipated/intensified over the longer term, that probably should be taken into account before one gets too much into "this hurts worse than that" comparisons, for it may be relevant over what period of time -- 1 day? 3 months? 12 years? -- into which the pain is compressed, or over what period it is drawn out, to be either magnified or ameliorated.)

Your assumption that my wife has not lost a child of her own happens to be correct. (Caregiver bonding with patients doesn't count the same, I will suppose.)

Having jumped onto the discussion late without reading most of the intervening material, I just had my eye caught by something that, out of its context, could be taken (or mistaken) as a generalization ("affairs - not so bad") that some might perceive as trivializing their experiences. I'd be interested to have it put in its context, if you could indulge me.

Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 04:13 AM

Originally Posted By: GloveOil
Your assumption that my wife has not lost a child of her own happens to be correct. (Caregiver bonding with patients doesn't count the same, I will suppose.)


I think this typifies some of the thinking we are working towards overcoming here on MA.

Your wife has caregiving bonding experiences which are real and hard and demonstrate her spirit and resilience and you are stating that she is reporting how she experiences those times and relating her reaction to them, the grief and loss and helplessness, to how she experienced your affair.

That's real and raw and meaningful and a far cry from the blanket "an affair is more painful than the death of a child" stuff we see elsewhere.

I think that how your wife responds and relates to what she sees in her work is a huge piece of who she is, and in turn who you are that you would choose her as a mate. I would want to know that stuff before I gave any advice.

ForeverHers is dead on on this, IMO.

I don't understand why it is necessary to engage in the hyperbole and histrionics I see elsewhere. If an affairing spouse shows up on a marriage support website and posts, I think it is fair to give them the benefit of the doubt that they want to do the right thing. That approach is about to drive off yet ANOTHER woman who has been posting for about 48 hours, seems deeply religious, very troubled, and sadly, will grow quickly tired of being told how selfish, dishonest, etc., etc., etc., she is and she will go the way that we go -- away. First time I have had the urge to post there in a very long time, but I won't (can't?).

I think building trust starts with wanting to know the other person, not to judge, correct, wound, seek vengeance, label, disparage, humiliate, etc. -- to know that person, wherever on the infidelity spectrum they might fall, because you honor their baseline humanity and care enough not to cut and paste.

Have you read about pre-validating? I've been a pre-validator my whole life -- never had a term for it. I'm convinced that is why teenagers are drawn to me.

I see some people considering pre-validating as weakness -- I don't get that AT ALL. Pre-validating is SO empowering -- among other things, it keeps Lizzy happy.
Posted By: GloveOil

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 04:57 AM

I hear you, LG. Re: the poster you mentioned, I've been trying to be one of the "good cops". She's getting plenty of zingers from the "bad cops;" I can't control them, but I won't cede that arena all to them either. And I can self-validate from my own experience that sometimes things they say do get through to some of the subset of people who refuse to be run off -- just as you can validate that for some other WSs, sometimes the generalizations & blanket statements (and I've made 'em, too) get to be too much, and so people who might otherwise (or will regardless) come to see some light & make progress in their marriages if given time & a little more customized attention, sign off instead, 'cuz they're sick of getting hammered on while their consciousness is on a different wavelength and/or merely a different clock.

It can work in the other direction, too. When you have someone whose spouse experienced the pain of betrayal as akin in some sense to seeing parents lose a child, a seemingly laid-back & seemingly blanket comment along lines of "affair - not so bad", divorced from its context, just might stop a conversation or impel a visitor to click elsewhere. I happen to be the inquiring sort, so still I want at least the Cliff's Notes context. Maybe Al's the best person to provide that ... but maybe he's gone to bed for the evening, for which no one in the Eastern or Central time zones could be faulted...
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 01:42 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Al, you mentioned in the article that you can use this process with someone without them being aware. I'm wondering how you do that.
Yup, LG. I am very much a believer in the idea that it takes only one to make a marriage, two to make a divorce. Everything about the Making Amends process is set for having a team, both parties can do their part. I think that is much better. But if one person does their part alone, I think it goes a long way to doing the job.

Example: I did something yesterday to someone that I now consider a mistake. I think it might have led to a rift in our relationship. I feel sad, sorry. I want to amend our relationship/fix the possible rift. (And let's assume for the moment this person is not a partner, but is instead a friend, co-worker, neighbor's kid, etc. This sets up that you may not get much cooperation in the process.)

Step 1 is to get their attention and to get across to them what you did and wish you had not. "Say, Jane, I swore at you last night and I sure wish I hadn't." I think of this first statement as "testing the waters to see how deep you can go" in this meeting.

Possible the person won't give you much of their time. (Remember that what you did may/probably likely pissed them off a bit/etc. You need to PreValidate them, sight unseen, and be ready to hear their frustration. That's the second part of the Making Amends process. Maybe it will come up right now in step one just cus you raised the topic. Listen and Validate and you've taken care of this critical second step before you finished your part. Whooeee. Making progress. Then get back to you steps.)

Step two is some comment about what you wish you had done to them because you think they deserved better. "I sure wish I had just listened to you as you are so interesting to me."

Step three is often a short, "And I'm sorry I didn't."

Step four, if they are listening, is some bit of sharing about your habit of swearing (in this case). "My daddy was a sailor and swore at my mom a lot. I hated it and it scared me." Don't have to say much here and if you've come to PreValidate and Validate yourself a lot, this should be easy.

Step five is some gesture, some token of balancing a situation you see as unbalanced. I've seen a long hug do it. I've seen getting a cup of coffee do it. I've seen a guy hand a ticket to a day spa to his wife. This might be a time for flowers or some such gift. Make it about as big as you think the situation deserves. Not bigger.

Step six (which in the situation above came almost first) is to PreValidate your friend and be curious about what the experience was like for them. If they can share, listen and validate. If they have nothing to say, tell them you'd be interested whenever they get around to sharing. I find that "I'll keep the light on for ya." is a great way to invite people who are not used to sharing quickly.

I think all the steps are necessary, but can be spread out over several days. The other person may have no idea what you are doing. And the steps are amazingly simple. Lots of life breaks down to simple steps.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I'm also wondering how the process could be implemented in the passive/aggressive "there is NOTHING wrong" context.
Actually I see this as a two step process here.

I believe that the "there is nothing wrong" part is MasterTalk and has to be handled that way. The goal in this step is to continue working toward a relationship where each person's point of view is treasured. Friend-Friend is the goal. And to Make Amends, "showing remorse", I think only works in a Friend-Friend situation. So your job is to "lead" your partner into Friend-Friend or what I call a Dialogical relationship. I guess I also believe this step is in the long run more critical than Making Amends.

"Saying you are sorry to a bully is a good way to waste your valuable life." I think of that as placating. On the other hand, if the bully has a gun, go ahead and say "I'm sorry" til they go away. smile Bullies and good relationships hmmmmm are mutually exclusive, methinks. (Here's my story of the future laid out before bullies. (Short Tempers))

If you start step one and they say "there is nothing wrong," then I use the lead, "I'm glad for you. But I am feeling sorry for something I did. Could you hear me out?" Remember the goal is to take their phrase "there is nothing wrong" and reframe it into the context it deserves. It is their belief. And your goal is to establish firmly that there are always at least two points of view present. The person who says, "there is nothing wrong" probably has forgotten than.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 06:22 PM

Originally Posted By: GloveOil
Having jumped onto the discussion late without reading most of the intervening material, I just had my eye caught by something that, out of its context, could be taken (or mistaken) as a generalization ("affairs - not so bad") that some might perceive as trivializing their experiences. I'd be interested to have it put in its context, if you could indulge me.
Well, I'm not sure where to jump in here either. Do I start with other people's valid upset when I share my beliefs? Medc seemed to be so growly that he was not going to continue here. Do I run away cuz some people are upset? Hell, I've done that before. Don't feel like doing it now.

I guess the best for me is to continue practicing my own beliefs, PreValidating everyone including myself. And I can start here with you, GloveOil, cuz it sounds as if you are curious how I ended up sharing my beliefs. Tis only words anyway. (LadyGrey seems to track me almost continuously. smile )

Something all of you may know is that I am a "shinola disturber". I was raised in a family that avoided honest, candid, interchange. Twas very much a "proper Bostonian" existence, or at least close enough for me to develop a survival trait of rebelliousness.

Out of this, the phrases I say, and offer, often have a bit of a "shock component". It was part of the way my best teachers taught. I love it as a style and have been part of it for years.

Affairs: If you read my works you will, I feel sure, never find me encouraging people to have affairs. I see people doing them, discovering from them, and recovering from them, all the time.

If you want to interpret my words to be encouraging affairs, I think you are mis-understanding me. But I do not believe people have to understand me. (After all it is legal to misinterpret and then get angry at the misinterpretation. Turn on talk radio.) Often people don't get my thoughts at first.

Saying "affairs are not so bad" is kind of like saying that compared to being filleted with a sharp knife in the jungle of VietNam, I think an affair is a bit of a luxury. I know the pain of discovering affairs and it can be exquisite and long lasting.

Ever since I wrote my Map of Relationships, I changed my attitude toward affairing situations and began to see the positive potential wrapped up in that often horror. "Gold often comes wrapped in manure." Me, I'm into gold - wisdom. I keep looking for it.

I look at the build-up to the affair, the acting out of the affair, the discovering and that period of stunned-ness, and the repair and rebuilding process. If I had my way couples would live in such a way that they were not building up to an affair. Etc. Not my choice.

By the way, I think that the building up process often leads to murder and suicide. More often it leads to divorce. The first two I have seen and one doesn't seem to learn much wisdom from suicide - though murder can be a hell of a lesson for some. I don't recommend either.

I discourage divorce or the more common "just walking away." Neither solve much nor lead to much wisdom, to my way of thinking.

I am very much into people living happily as buddies for the rest of their lives.


Affairs, affairs, affairs.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/06/11 11:35 PM

Quote:
Saying "affairs are not so bad" is kind of like saying that compared to being filleted with a sharp knife in the jungle of VietNam, I think an affair is a bit of a luxury.


I had 2 laugh out loud at this. And I mean that in a good way, Al.

When I was a teenager, driving a vanload of other teenagers from Chinle 2 Second Mesa 2 watch a Hopi Snake Dance from one of the rooftops (we were invited), A gal I had a ridiculous crush on was trying 2 kill time by asking others in the van, "Which would you rather be - hanged or guillotined?" I didn't hesitate a minute: "I'd rather eat ice cream!"

I'd much rather have been awakened in pretty much any other manner I can imagine than discovering my W's affair. But I discovered my wife's affair. In just the few months after d-day, I learned more about relationships than I had in my previous 48 years. I am truly grateful for the experiences and wisdom I've gained since d-day. Doesn't mean I'm grateful for the affair.

I've often wondered why so many of us need 2 cheat or be cheated on 2 gain some wisdom on our walk through life, but we do. Maybe some don't. I don't think either of my parents ever were subjected 2 infidelity by the other. They were married almost 50 years when my mom passed away. I think they were wise, but I never really spent the time with them 2 find out what impetuses (impeti?) they would attribute their biggest growth spurts 2.

I've said before that reminding newbies that being betrayed is worse than some other "well-known" traumatic experience in life, in the manner that it's done on MB's forums, is doing them more of a disservice than offering a comfort. It keeps them as stuck as the board's bullies are. My wife's affair doesn't hurt me anymore.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 02:13 AM

As a FWW, I will say that having an A was without a doubt the worst choice I ever made. Hands down. But arguing about which kind of pain is "worse" is kind of like...um...

arguing about how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic (some of you will get a chuckle from that)

smile
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 04:56 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
I'd much rather have been awakened in pretty much any other manner I can imagine than discovering my W's affair. But I discovered my wife's affair. In just the few months after d-day, I learned more about relationships than I had in my previous 48 years. I am truly grateful for the experiences and wisdom I've gained since d-day. Doesn't mean I'm grateful for the affair. I've often wondered why so many of us need 2 cheat or be cheated on 2 gain some wisdom on our walk through life, but we do. Maybe some don't.
Looking back I've come to believe that most of my great learnings arose out of pain, hurt, etc. At some point, oh about 1995, I figured out that all I can do to avoid or reduce pain is "learn like hell." I watch and learn from other people's pain. If I get into something painful, I almost stubbornly shift to learning as a way of shortening the pain. I see a whole bunch of people who are hurting and just sitting in the pain. Very sad.

But a funny twist is that if I protect people from pain, they don't seem to learn.

I think very acutely before helping an adult avoid the pain they are "asking for." For example, if someone wants to drive drunk, I tell 'em to go for it cuz I will be calling the cops.

I recall a woman in my office who got a call from a shop owner in town. The man had the woman's 13 year old daughter whom he had caught shoplifting and wanted to know what the mom wanted him to do. She calmly told him to call the police and to let her daughter know that she would be picking her up after the girl was booked. Wow! Scary wisdom!!!

Originally Posted By: 2long
I've said before that reminding newbies that being betrayed is worse than some other "well-known" traumatic experience in life, in the manner that it's done on MB's forums, is doing them more of a disservice than offering a comfort.
I want to act with empathy for the pain new people are feeling. I tend to engage their hurt, encourage them to share, and later move to inviting them to learn their lesson before them. No rush. Also I really avoid measuring one pain against another. Lots of trouble seems to come from that.

Originally Posted By: 2long
It keeps them as stuck as the board's bullies are.
Tis amusing to work on bullies. I used to see a lot of them in the office.[/quote]

Originally Posted By: 2long
My wife's affair doesn't hurt me anymore.
I salute you.
Posted By: LivingWell

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 05:59 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Tis amusing to work on bullies. I used to see a lot of them in the office.


You "used to" see a lot of bullies in the office.....and I'm wondering what happened to them.

...I'm wondering if they became less bullying (so at some point you no longer counted them in the bully stats).

...I'm wondering if they quit coming to the office.

...I'm wondering if they tried to get others to stop coming to the office.

...I'm wondering if they tried to get you to change your methods to accomodate their bullying behavior.

...I'm wondering if they parted ways with you with no hard feelings.

...I'm wondering if they came back to work with you in the future.


Those are the things off the top of my head that I'm wondering about......but what I'm most curious about is what actually happened to them, which wouldn't surprise me to discover was something that I wasn't already wondering about. smile
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 06:16 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I want to act with empathy for the pain new people are feeling. I tend to engage their hurt, encourage them to share, and later move to inviting them to learn their lesson before them. No rush. Also I really avoid measuring one pain against another. Lots of trouble seems to come from that.


I wonder, however, if telling someone in pain from their spouse's affair that affairs aren't bad is acting with empathy? I'm not sure that the shock effect of such a statement evokes growth versus resistance 2 what you're trying 2 convey?

While I'm not in any pain from my wife's affair now, after 9 1/2 years since d-day for me, I think I can say with some certainty that, if she told me now that she felt the affair was a good thing, I'd most certainly chase her away! Perhaps with the garden hose!

Like they used 2 like 2 say, 28 years ago when I was working in the oil fields of central California, when someone was fired, "We ran him off the location!"

shocked

-ol' 2long
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 05:10 PM

I think timing is so crucial.....for example, A dear friend of mine lost his daughter in a car accident years ago. At the funeral home, someone actually said:

"You know, you were wondering why she didn't seem to have any direction for the future. maybe this was why. Maybe God knew she would be going to be with him, so she didn't need direction."

Religious ideas about God's sovereignty aside, really??? At the funeral home????

Telling someone who has processed that horrific acute pain upon discovery and is now working toward recovery and a renewed marriage that the horror of an A can end up reaping some benefits might make sense. Telling someone in agony from the initial discovery "eh, not so bad....might even be good for ya," is not a new form of effective therapy - it's just cruel. And I don't say things like that lightly.

When I found out in the lunch line one Monday in HS that the boyfriend who had been hit by a drunk driver the previous Friday was indeed dead.....I would have taken that tray and beaten someone who tried to tell me "hey! Look at all the good that can come from this. It's not so bad."
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 07:01 PM

Wow, what a HOT thread!

I think what I'm seeing here is a lot of reactivity ( devil ) springing from a dearth of pre-validation and a lack of appreciation of perspective.

I think I get the sensitivity behind the reactivity, but the hostility comes across pretty potent.

Whose thread is this anyways? Remember?

What's that cliche' about "no pain, no gain?"

Just my thoughts...
Posted By: LivingWell

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 07:21 PM

Originally Posted By: TC_Manhattan
I think I get the sensitivity behind the reactivity, but the hostility comes across pretty potent.

I wasn't feeling hostile.....that I was aware of, anyway. Would you point out what indicated to you that I might have been hostile?


Quote:
Whose thread is this anyways? Remember?

Do these questions mean that my questions are out of place for this thread?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 07:53 PM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
As a FWW, I will say that having an A was without a doubt the worst choice I ever made. Hands down.
I'm with you on how stupid choosing to have an affair may be. I just want to remind you to be kind to yourself and PreValidate that person you were who at the time thought the affair was a good idea - or at least not as bad as not having an affair. Sure, now you know it was the "worse choice," but at the time - not so much.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 07:55 PM

I was actually enjoying the passion I saw being shared. smile
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 08:00 PM

I feel comfortable being vehement with Al because I sense he can handle it smile
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 08:07 PM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
I think timing is so crucial.....for example, A dear friend of mine lost his daughter in a car accident years ago. At the funeral home, someone actually said:

"You know, you were wondering why she didn't seem to have any direction for the future. maybe this was why. Maybe God knew she would be going to be with him, so she didn't need direction."


Holy cow! I don't know whether I would've passed out from shock, or decked the person. Your poor friend.

I am reminded of what some people say when hearing that someone had a miscarriage. Trying to help them "look on the bright side" they say things like "It's nature's way, there was probably something wrong with it anyway." Well that doesn't help! The parents-to-be wanted a healthy baby! It may be something they themselves could say, when they are ready to look at it like that, but not something everyone can benefit from hearing early on.

IMHO what your friend was told is much worse and much more insensitive. But it's strange how the need to say *something* can sometimes lead to the most insensitive things imaginable.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 08:25 PM

I've been away and traveling for a 10 days and have gotten online sporadically. Some spots in Texas don't have wifi, and I don't find my Blackberry convenient for posting on MA.
Originally Posted By: LivingWell
You "used to" see a lot of bullies in the office.....and I'm wondering what happened to them.

I am in the process of retiring and see much less clients these days. During my heavy work I would say, "A bully a day keeps the doctor away."

Originally Posted By: LivingWell
...I'm wondering if they became less bullying (so at some point you no longer counted them in the bully stats).
All my stuff on "bullies" is under Topic 3 and 3a. The first couple of postings point to the relevant articles on my website.

I do not see a bully as a person. I see a bully as a way that any person can adopt to relate to others. All of us can, I believe, slip into that bully position. All of us can move out of it. The resolution to bullying is, I believe to adopt what I call a Friend-Friend way of relating. Almost every single couple who comes into my office is struggling with bullying, passive-bullying, or passivity. My goal is to teach them how to be Friend-Friend. To some minor extent I can feel a failure if I can't get them to shift. I start on it the second they walk in. Most learn to reliably give up the bully habits for doing "something that works for them better."


Originally Posted By: LivingWell
...I'm wondering if they quit coming to the office.
Yep, in my experience some have. I recall the guy who believed God told him to sexually use his wife immediately after birth of their child while her she was healing. He yelled at her for both her complaining and for her bleeding from torn tissues on the bed. I recall being firmly in his face and he didn't come back. Yep, some leave.

Originally Posted By: LivingWell
...I'm wondering if they tried to get others to stop coming to the office.
Most of my clients come from referrals. I imagine some people who hate for being blunt or whatever excuse they have, will bad mouth me. Sure.

Originally Posted By: LivingWell
...I'm wondering if they tried to get you to change your methods to accomodate their bullying behavior.
Heavens yes. Bullying people are all about pushing other people around. I don't think it works to get them what they want. I point that out. I think Bullying people are often the easier people to help toward good relationships.

Originally Posted By: LivingWell
...I'm wondering if they parted ways with you with no hard feelings.
Some, yes. Some have dramatically stormed out the door.

Originally Posted By: LivingWell
...I'm wondering if they came back to work with you in the future.
Yes, quite frequently. I think I have two right now how are in that situation. Essentially they told me I was the only person who had ever called them on their shinola and they could trust me to work honestly for them.

Originally Posted By: LivingWell
what I'm most curious about is what actually happened to them, which wouldn't surprise me to discover was something that I wasn't already wondering about.
I think its a great question. I repeat, a person who is the bully posture is more likely to be seeking Friend-Friend than either a passive-bully or a codependent/passive person. Once they discover that what they are doing doesn't work, they often really look for what will work. Often all they need is for their partner to walk away whenever they are in the bully-mode.

Check out other things I have written on this. Here's a Link.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 08:40 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
I wonder, however, if telling someone in pain from their spouse's affair that affairs aren't bad is acting with empathy? I'm not sure that the shock effect of such a statement evokes growth versus resistance 2 what you're trying 2 convey?
I think you are mistaking MasterTalk with sharing. First thing in the office is to get rid of MasterTalk altogether from my mouth and reframe it from theirs. Last thing I want to do is bully a client. They are in for a whole pile of shocks and I would rather help them get through that process.

A lot of the posts in this thread that seem to contain hostility, seem to also contain a) MasterTalk and b) some reframing my thoughts as MasterTalk. I fear it makes for sure clumsy communication.

Originally Posted By: 2long
While I'm not in any pain from my wife's affair now, after 9 1/2 years since d-day for me, I think I can say with some certainty that, if she told me now that she felt the affair was a good thing, I'd most certainly chase her away! Perhaps with the garden hose!
Not sure what you are saying here. Are you saying that if she shared her thinking, and her thinking included some positive judgement on her affair, you would punish her? If so that sounds a pretty risky position for you to take. But I may be misunderstanding you. I hope I am.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 08:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
I think timing is so crucial.....for example, A dear friend of mine lost his daughter in a car accident years ago. At the funeral home, someone actually said:

"You know, you were wondering why she didn't seem to have any direction for the future. maybe this was why. Maybe God knew she would be going to be with him, so she didn't need direction."


Holy cow! I don't know whether I would've passed out from shock, or decked the person. Your poor friend.
I think it takes a lot of Boundary Skills to handle that situation and come out smiling. I have heard the point of view (about God, etc.) before. But in general I have difficulty with people trying to be cheering at a funeral. Seems a good time to "celebrate" grieving rather than whitewashing it. I recall attending one funeral service where the Pastor told many jokes. Seemed really awkward, to me.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 09:01 PM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
Telling someone who has processed that horrific acute pain upon discovery and is now working toward recovery and a renewed marriage that the horror of an A can end up reaping some benefits might make sense. Telling someone in agony from the initial discovery "eh, not so bad....might even be good for ya," is not a new form of effective therapy - it's just cruel. And I don't say things like that lightly.
I am reminded of the story of Carl Jung, the great pschoanalyst. He supposed to have two styles for the tragic and for the positive. If someone came to him all happy, with good news, he would respond, "Vell, this is not good. Perhaps ve need to open a bottle of whiskey to get through this stage!" If someone came to him after losing a job, discovering they had cancer, and after finding out his wife ran a way with a soldier, Carl would clap his hands, "Hey, open the best Champagne. Let's celebrate! Good things gonna happen now!" Seems shocking but I think there is a whole lot of wisdom in there. (My apologies for the poor way of writing down this story.)

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
When I found out in the lunch line one Monday in HS that the boyfriend who had been hit by a drunk driver the previous Friday was indeed dead.....I would have taken that tray and beaten someone who tried to tell me "hey! Look at all the good that can come from this. It's not so bad."
Yup. I think we are often trained very well on how to try to control/manage what other people say. "Don't you dare say that!" Etc. Doesn't seem to work, though, very well. In my way of thinking it produces a whole lot of deceit, lying, and really big surprises.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 09:14 PM

What I seem to get from the overall gist of your affair observation is that while an affair itself does a lot of damage, it can produce a wake up call to a M that is dying on the vine. Not that an A is the best choice of wake up call.....

I can buy that something horrible can be used by those who want to learn to produce something beautiful later. In fact, I think that it is that perspective that helps recovery. And that perspective should be nurtured. I remember reading in other places sometimes where a person would say "I hate the fact that an A happened, but I can see how they way we dealt with it produced great things in our M." They would be immediately quashed for "saying the A was a good thing" when that isn't remotely what they said.

Just like there can be a danger of minimizing pain when we immediately tell people to look for the lesson.....spending years and even decades pounding the pain can produce bitterness. Yes.....I used the "b" word. I think it's allowed here. smile
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 09:18 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Jayne241
Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
I think timing is so crucial.....for example, A dear friend of mine lost his daughter in a car accident years ago. At the funeral home, someone actually said:

"You know, you were wondering why she didn't seem to have any direction for the future. maybe this was why. Maybe God knew she would be going to be with him, so she didn't need direction."


Holy cow! I don't know whether I would've passed out from shock, or decked the person. Your poor friend.
I think it takes a lot of Boundary Skills to handle that situation and come out smiling. I have heard the point of view (about God, etc.) before. But in general I have difficulty with people trying to be cheering at a funeral. Seems a good time to "celebrate" grieving rather than whitewashing it. I recall attending one funeral service where the Pastor told many jokes. Seemed really awkward, to me.


ITA!

A few years ago, a very dear friend passed away. I heard the news while my mom was visiting. She didn't allow me any space to be sad; she kept being loud and joking. She was laughing loudly in the background while I was talking o the phone about a memorial service. frown frown frown frown frown

A short time later one of her sisters passed away. I wasn't able to fly back for the funeral but I talked to my mom several times on the phone while she and her sisters traveled to the funeral. There were several times they were joking and laughing.

I suppose it's some people's way to handle it. It isn't mine. And it hurts to have someone "in my face" trying to force me to be like that.

You're right, I'm not very good at boundaries. I'm trying to learn.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 10:42 PM

No, not punishing her. Freeing me.

I'll elaborate later
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 10:45 PM

That was out of context, huh?

Fargin' iPhone! grin

-ol'2long
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 11:21 PM

It's in context 2long. smile A 2ple ( wink ) of convos going on, but that's ok. If anything I feel like *I* interrupted *your* convo.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/07/11 11:47 PM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
What I seem to get from the overall gist of your affair observation is that while an affair itself does a lot of damage, it can produce a wake up call to a M that is dying on the vine. Not that an A is the best choice of wake up call.....
Pretty close. Lemme use your summary to add a bit.
Quote:
while an affair itself does a lot of damage
I think of the movie,Fatal Attraction. Real scary stuff can emerge in an affair. Not all the time, thank goodness. In general affairs seem to lead, within themselves, to lots of messiness. Lots of people can get hurt.

Quote:
it can produce a wake up call
I think it is a wakeup call, typically used cuz nothing else seemed to be getting people's attention. I like the term "wake-up call" as it makes me think of the "alarms on clocks" where people turn them off again and again and how inventive people can be with noises, and buzzes and movements, etc.

My simple preference is that during a wedding the community would hand a powerful/adequate-wake-up device to the couple. They will probably need it and it might be nice to do the wake-up at some level significantly below the "affair level."

Quote:
M that is dying on the vine.
The fruit/vine image ain't anywhere dramatic enough for me. A multi-personal catastrophe. A two person nuclear meltdown. A disaster - ongoing. Hmm what do you call it when aliens invade your farm and you call the sheriff and he says, pompously, "Ain't no aliens, little lady." Horror movie-time.

Quote:
Not that an A is the best choice of wake up call.....
Darn tootin. Not the best choice, but people somedays wake up and discover it seemed like the only choice. (Nuclear option)


Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
I can buy that something horrible can be used by those who want to learn to produce something beautiful later. In fact, I think that it is that perspective that helps recovery. And that perspective should be nurtured. I remember reading in other places sometimes where a person would say "I hate the fact that an A happened, but I can see how they way we dealt with it produced great things in our M." They would be immediately quashed for "saying the A was a good thing" when that isn't remotely what they said.
Could be I am personally optimistic and thus want to assert there is something good to be produced even from an "affair."

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
Just like there can be a danger of minimizing pain when we immediately tell people to look for the lesson.....spending years and even decades pounding the pain can produce bitterness. Yes.....I used the "b" word. I think it's allowed here. smile
Dear me, I've witnessed people choosing the road of "bitterness." Seems to me a tragic way to spend the life that the Lord hands you. A waste. Just my opinion.

Thanks HMF.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/08/11 01:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
It's in context 2long. smile A 2ple ( wink ) of convos going on, but that's ok. If anything I feel like *I* interrupted *your* convo.


There is a little known federal regulation that restricts the number of "2 People" (a highly technical defined term) to one per forum.

Extreme consequences could be experienced by violating this regulation, including, but not limited to, numerous exploding heads.

Originally Posted By: 2long
That was out of context, huh?


Not 2 me.

(Simply couldn't resist...)
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/08/11 01:50 AM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: Jayne241
It's in context 2long. smile A 2ple ( wink ) of convos going on, but that's ok. If anything I feel like *I* interrupted *your* convo.


There is a little known federal regulation that restricts the number of "2 People" (a highly technical defined term) to one per forum.


It would make more sense if it was restricted to TWO people. lol

Then, there could be three 3 people (not much use for 3's though) and four 4 people (could have some fun with that) but There Can Be Only One 1 person.

I 1t 2 b that pers1. I call dibs. I 1!!

Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/08/11 11:51 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: 2long
I wonder, however, if telling someone in pain from their spouse's affair that affairs aren't bad is acting with empathy? I'm not sure that the shock effect of such a statement evokes growth versus resistance 2 what you're trying 2 convey?
I think you are mistaking MasterTalk with sharing.


I'm pretty sure I'm not understanding here. That the "not a bad thing" is sharing, but I'm mistaking it for mastertalk? Or the other way around? (or some other way?).

Quote:
First thing in the office is to get rid of MasterTalk altogether from my mouth and reframe it from theirs. Last thing I want to do is bully a client. They are in for a whole pile of shocks and I would rather help them get through that process.


I think I understand this, but this is why I asked about the value in making shock statements, which I think you described them (the not that bad statement, for example) as being.

Quote:
A lot of the posts in this thread that seem to contain hostility, seem to also contain a) MasterTalk and b) some reframing my thoughts as MasterTalk. I fear it makes for sure clumsy communication.


Yes, though I tried not 2 mastertalk 2 you. Did I fail?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: 2long
While I'm not in any pain from my wife's affair now, after 9 1/2 years since d-day for me, I think I can say with some certainty that, if she told me now that she felt the affair was a good thing, I'd most certainly chase her away! Perhaps with the garden hose!
Not sure what you are saying here. Are you saying that if she shared her thinking, and her thinking included some positive judgement on her affair, you would punish her?


I promised I'd elaborate. I don't find punishment of much use. It certainly didn't accomplish anything but piss us both off when I lashed out after d-day. No, I really mean that I'd free myself or, 2 put it in a more common set of terms, remove myself from the triangle. I thought I was being cute with the garden hose image. I think of being chased in that way as calling attention 2 the ridiculousness of the si2ation over 9 years after d-day.

You see, Rat Meat (my wife's OM, and I don't want 2 get in2 the DJ of calling him a name - he earned it) and my W had a couple of "same time next year" affairs over an 11-year period of time. And while my W is recovering nicely from her part in the affair, RM is not. He "persued" her up until very recently. He even named his daughter Adrianna, my W's middle name (his xW obviously didn't know this until she was at least 6 years old). His xW is still dragging him in 2 divorce court over custody (though their daughter should be approaching 18 by now) and therapy for said daughter (poor thing!).

At best, the guy's a pitiable goof, and the world already has more than its share of pitiable gooves. whistle

Quote:
If so that sounds a pretty risky position for you to take. But I may be misunderstanding you. I hope I am.


I think you are, but I'm not sure I'm understanding your response. I don't see the risk of me wanting clarification as 2 where she stands, relationship-wise and triangle-wise. She gets 2 make her own choices about what she wants in life, and she's said she wants 2 stay married 2 me. Likewise, I get 2 make my own choices about what I want in a relationship, and I'm happy 2 rebuild our marriage with her, but after all this time and all the hiding that went on, I would rather she pursue a relationship with RM and find happiness, than try 2 continue lead some vestige of the double life she led for so long.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/09/11 02:20 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: 2long
I wonder, however, if telling someone in pain from their spouse's affair that affairs aren't bad is acting with empathy? I'm not sure that the shock effect of such a statement evokes growth versus resistance 2 what you're trying 2 convey?
I think you are mistaking MasterTalk with sharing.


I'm pretty sure I'm not understanding here. That the "not a bad thing" is sharing, but I'm mistaking it for mastertalk? Or the other way around? (or some other way?).
I am not sure where to start. I teach that MasterTalk is any sentence that implies there exists a single truth. In its assertive form, I believe, the phrase, "Affairs are not bad" is MasterTalk specifically because the sentence has no room for the point of view of the listener. I doubt I would say any such thing - ever, let alone to a wounded person who walked in my door. (However, I am human and so am prone to make mistakes.) I saw one of those wounded people about 4 hours ago. He was hurtin pretty badly.

I have shared that "Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing. Complicated, confusing, painful, clumsy, sure. But at least it is a positive step toward ending a painful way of living with a partner. There are, I think, much better ways of doing this, but as things go, an affair ain't too bad. Tis the next steps that count. " There are four sentences there. I think #1 and #3 are not MasterTalk. The sentences seem to me to make plenty of room for other people's opinions. I am simply sharing my beliefs - not in an office, not to a new client, but online in MA . Sentence #2 and #4 do seem MasterTalkie a bit. But I thought in context a reader would catch the idea that I was sharing my beliefs throughout.

I certainly can see how the idea that I tell people (facts) that affairs are not bad (fact), might and would bother some people. I don't do that, but I imagine "the thought that I do" could lead to a lot of dismay.

I am not sure what you would like from me at this point, 2-long. Any thoughts?

Originally Posted By: 2long
Quote:
First thing in the office is to get rid of MasterTalk altogether from my mouth and reframe it from theirs. Last thing I want to do is bully a client. They are in for a whole pile of shocks and I would rather help them get through that process.


I think I understand this, but this is why I asked about the value in making shock statements, which I think you described them (the not that bad statement, for example) as being.
I gather you were asking me what value I saw in doing something I don't do. I think there are lots of times to be blunt and direct. I don't think this is one of them.

Originally Posted By: 2long
Quote:
A lot of the posts in this thread that seem to contain hostility, seem to also contain a) MasterTalk and b) some reframing my thoughts as MasterTalk. I fear it makes for sure clumsy communication.


Yes, though I tried not 2 mastertalk 2 you. Did I fail?
Except for transforming my sharing into MasterTalk in one tiny instance, nope. I thought you did fine.

Originally Posted By: alturtle
Originally Posted By: 2long
While I'm not in any pain from my wife's affair now, after 9 1/2 years since d-day for me, I think I can say with some certainty that, if she told me now that she felt the affair was a good thing, I'd most certainly chase her away! Perhaps with the garden hose!
Not sure what you are saying here. Are you saying that if she shared her thinking, and her thinking included some positive judgement on her affair, you would punish her?
I was completely unclear, but I was concerned that what might be humor, didn't come across as funny. I am by nature and training pretty reactive to any comments about physical violence. Tis enough work to deal with the emotional violence around me!

Originally Posted By: 2long
I promised I'd elaborate. I don't find punishment of much use. It certainly didn't accomplish anything but piss us both off when I lashed out after d-day. No, I really mean that I'd free myself or, 2 put it in a more common set of terms, remove myself from the triangle. I thought I was being cute with the garden hose image. I think of being chased in that way as calling attention 2 the ridiculousness of the si2ation over 9 years after d-day. You see, Rat Meat (my wife's OM, and I don't want 2 get in2 the DJ of calling him a name - he earned it) and my W had a couple of "same time next year" affairs over an 11-year period of time. And while my W is recovering nicely from her part in the affair, RM is not. He "persued" her up until very recently. He even named his daughter Adrianna, my W's middle name (his xW obviously didn't know this until she was at least 6 years old). His xW is still dragging him in 2 divorce court over custody (though their daughter should be approaching 18 by now) and therapy for said daughter (poor thing!).
Sounds very messy and a good situation to practice a whole pile of Boundary Skills.

Originally Posted By: 2long
At best, the guy's a pitiable goof, and the world already has more than its share of pitiable gooves.
One of the scary but fun things about working in relationships is that you get to see the couple, the two (or more) sets of parents, the affair partners, and of course the children. The patterns are fascinating. Once Harville Hendrix was asked by Redbook Mag to write an article on how wives could get along with their mother-in-laws. After several months, he gave up that attempt and told Redbook, "Nope, wives ain't gonna like mother-in-laws and vice versa." (Non existent quote, good story though.) Looking at your wife's affair partner can help you make a whole of guesses about her, about you, about her parents, etc. I haven't written much about this topic but I sure see it a lot.

Originally Posted By: 2long
Quote:
If so that sounds a pretty risky position for you to take. But I may be misunderstanding you. I hope I am.


I think you are, but I'm not sure I'm understanding your response. I don't see the risk of me wanting clarification as 2 where she stands, relationship-wise and triangle-wise. She gets 2 make her own choices about what she wants in life, and she's said she wants 2 stay married 2 me. Likewise, I get 2 make my own choices about what I want in a relationship, and I'm happy 2 rebuild our marriage with her, but after all this time and all the hiding that went on, I would rather she pursue a relationship with RM and find happiness, than try 2 continue lead some vestige of the double life she led for so long.
Well good for you. I was responding to the idea of you using punishment. You say you were not and don't, so my comment doesn't apply.

Someday I am going to have to write an essay on the Blindness of the Partner Left Behind. I hear so much about the one having the affair that I think the other partner deserves respect and attention. My head is working on the practical styles of being unaware, for years and decades, of your partner's distress.

Oh, and good luck to her and/or you in that "finding happiness" thingy. I don't think that happens. I believe you gotta build it.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/09/11 03:13 AM

I've known for years now (thanks 2 the recovery process, not the affair), that happiness comes from within.

But I don't believe in the concepts of "emotional needs". I believe that people meet others' needs because they want 2, not because it's a job.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/09/11 03:12 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle

I have shared that "Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing. Complicated, confusing, painful, clumsy, sure. But at least it is a positive step toward ending a painful way of living with a partner. There are, I think, much better ways of doing this, but as things go, an affair ain't too bad. Tis the next steps that count. " There are four sentences there. I think #1 and #3 are not MasterTalk. The sentences seem to me to make plenty of room for other people's opinions. I am simply sharing my beliefs - not in an office, not to a new client, but online in MA . Sentence #2 and #4 do seem MasterTalkie a bit. But I thought in context a reader would catch the idea that I was sharing my beliefs throughout.


I don't have a problem with the way you've broken this down. I think I, and probably many others who've chimed in here, are perhaps less able 2 separate ourselves from the experience of infidelity sufficiently 2 not be alarmed by your thoughts about it, expressed above. Sure, you are stating your opinion and leaving the listener 2 do their own fact-determining, but if one were looking for a therapist 2 help them recover from their spouse's affair, would their interpretation of those thoughts lead them 2 you or elsewhere for help?

Sort of related 2 that, from my own experiences, I've had coaches and counselors who shared their personal views on various aspects of relationships. Some of it was TMI - like I felt I shouldn't know that much about their personal life - and sometimes I knew 2 little, such that I couldn't understand a point they'd make because I didn't understand them enough. But I suppose I had a net positive from all the sessions, when I put things in2 perspective later and fit it 2 what I was experiencing at the time.

Quote:
I certainly can see how the idea that I tell people (facts) that affairs are not bad (fact), might and would bother some people. I don't do that, but I imagine "the thought that I do" could lead to a lot of dismay.


That's the key, I think. We all perceive what we read and hear from our own point of view.

Quote:
I am not sure what you would like from me at this point, 2-long. Any thoughts?


I'm not sure either. When I post, I try 2 resist using jargon but still try 2 get my point across. For example, I try not 2 use what you call mastertalk without saying that's what it is or what I'm doing. I think this comes from my upbringing as a Christian Scientist - a religion full of jargon and unique terms. It would get so as when I made a point of listening 2 the jargon as if I were a lay person unfamiliar with the religion, nothing would make sense - as if I was tripping over every little term and losing my footing.

But I'm sure I don't succeed in conveying that my posts are my opinion and could differ markedly from others'. As Dennis Miller finishes all his "rants", "That's just my opinion, I could be wrong." grin

Quote:
I was completely unclear, but I was concerned that what might be humor, didn't come across as funny. I am by nature and training pretty reactive to any comments about physical violence. Tis enough work to deal with the emotional violence around me!


Sorry you perceived that as physical violence and not funny. Perhaps I should have used a pie-in-the-face metaphor instead! grin wink (I hope the smileys have made it clear I am at least trying 2 be funny!

Quote:
One of the scary but fun things about working in relationships is that you get to see the couple, the two (or more) sets of parents, the affair partners, and of course the children.


Not all at the same time, right? I mean, these are individuals from multiple sitches, right?

Quote:
Looking at your wife's affair partner can help you make a whole of guesses about her, about you, about her parents, etc. I haven't written much about this topic but I sure see it a lot.


This wasn't much use for me, though it had some, perhaps surprising, benefits. I was able 2 put events in2 perspective years after the fact and determine what ac2ally happened (within reasonable limits). In some cases, I found that my assumptions at the time were wrong, and the feedback I got from MB helped me blow things out of proportion 2 what really was going on at the time. In a couple other cases, though, I discovered a few lies I hadn't been aware of before. One of these was pretty big, 2. My W had come 2 me crying, telling me that RM was getting remarried. I was taken aback because she was admitting she just talked 2 him on the phone, but I was relieved - even laughing a little inside - at the "news." I only periodically ran people searches 2 see what he might be up 2 or who he was living with. And it was only a couple years ago that I realized that Adrianna wasn't his new wife, she was his daughter. And he's not remarried, and has not been "redivorced." So, did he lie 2 my wife 2 push her off the fence? Or did she lie 2 me? It doesn't matter now, but I suspect both (and I will ask her, when I think the time is right). The point was that this wasn't just a "for fun" affair. RM was really smitten, and stayed smitten and single all these years in hopes my wife would leave me (she told me this herself, just recently). Sorry for the ramble. Once again, I find that when I talk about this crap, it comes back up like a bad garlic/onion/Limburger cheese sandwich and assumes a reality it no longer holds.

Quote:
Someday I am going to have to write an essay on the Blindness of the Partner Left Behind. I hear so much about the one having the affair that I think the other partner deserves respect and attention. My head is working on the practical styles of being unaware, for years and decades, of your partner's distress.


There are a lot of reasons for this (my opinion, I could be wrong ;)). Chief among these, I think, is blind trust. We trust so strongly and believe so much in the fairy-tale "ending" of getting married 2 our soulmates that we resist accepting what would easily be obvious 2 a bystander watching events unfold, when our spouse chooses an affair. I don't want 2 go in2 details now about it, but I had all kinds of signals, even in-my-face warnings from my wife that something was wrong and something worse was about 2 happen. But I "trusted" that she would "do the right thing" and avoid the trouble. When she went underground and improved her secrecy skills, I simply assumed she'd dealt with it and we'd deal with our problems gradually over time.

Quote:
Oh, and good luck to her and/or you in that "finding happiness" thingy. I don't think that happens. I believe you gotta build it.


I was referring 2 her decision 2 hang on2 RM "in the wings" (she used those words at one point) for so many years after the affair ended - I meant that I'd prefer she follow her heart and look for that happiness elsewhere, if she believes it's elsewhere, while I enjoy the happiness I'm finding by realizing that it doesn't come from outside sources.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: flowmom

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/09/11 06:10 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Someday I am going to have to write an essay on the Blindness of the Partner Left Behind. I hear so much about the one having the affair that I think the other partner deserves respect and attention. My head is working on the practical styles of being unaware, for years and decades, of your partner's distress.
My personal experience and what I've observed in the fora is that the left behind spouse is usually aware of the distress (and usually has their own). My assumption is that the difference is that the spouse who walks away believes that the Power Struggle is futile and the left behind spouse doesn't. I'm curious about your thoughts on the left behind partner being blind in light of my own observations/assumptions.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/09/11 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
I don't have a problem with the way you've broken this down.
I think that was the way I originally shared my thoughts.

Originally Posted By: 2long
I think I, and probably many others who've chimed in here, are perhaps less able 2 separate ourselves from the experience of infidelity sufficiently 2 not be alarmed by your thoughts about it, expressed above.
I believe it. The shock of an affair can take quite a time to assimilate. My goal would be to effectively speed this process up.

Originally Posted By: 2long
but if one were looking for a therapist 2 help them recover from their spouse's affair, would their interpretation of those thoughts lead them 2 you or elsewhere for help?
Good point. I am not trying to attract clients. I am trying to speak with integrity and let people react as they choose. I get a lot of clients who say they speak with me because they often, in the lives, cannot access professionals, family members, friends who speak with integrity. I think this is sad, as I believe people in distress are often wanting honesty.

Originally Posted By: 2long
Sort of related 2 that, from my own experiences, I've had coaches and counselors who shared their personal views on various aspects of relationships.
Too much too little. Always a decision. But much more important, for me, is the avoidance of MasterTalk with these people.

Originally Posted By: 2long
That's the key, I think. We all perceive what we read and hear from our own point of view.
I believe it is a matter of training or perhaps mis-training, to handle incoming words (listening/reading) smoothly and peacefully. Tis part of the benefit of Mirroring a lot, I think.

Originally Posted By: 2long
When I post, I try 2 resist using jargon but still try 2 get my point across. For example, I try not 2 use what you call mastertalk without saying that's what it is or what I'm doing. I think this comes from my upbringing as a Christian Scientist - a religion full of jargon and unique terms.
I think you do very well. I imagine your CS/jargonful upbringing provided some significant experiences on "what not to do."

Originally Posted By: 2long
But I'm sure I don't succeed in conveying that my posts are my opinion and could differ markedly from others'.
My idea is that if the sender isn't clear, then the receiver has to fill in the rest. Some writers require me to work my ass off to keep their messages as simple sharing. Some, like you, make reading pretty easy for me. I imagine you would be easy to chat with.

Originally Posted By: 2long
Sorry you perceived that as physical violence and not funny. Perhaps I should have used a pie-in-the-face metaphor instead! grin wink (I hope the smileys have made it clear I am at least trying 2 be funny!
I tend to purposely misread humor about violence in the direction of it being serious. I think Sandra and I just are "picky" about humor around us. Often people (esp on TV Comedies) use humor to cover anger, cruelty, etc.. Kinda like a smoke screen. I'd rather have that stuff out in the open. In this case, thanks for clearing it up.

Originally Posted By: 2long
Quote:
One of the scary but fun things about working in relationships is that you get to see the couple, the two (or more) sets of parents, the affair partners, and of course the children.
Not all at the same time, right? I mean, these are individuals from multiple sitches, right?
I like that question. The answer is perhaps funny. I think it is "all that the same time." If one PreValidates, then when you see one person and they speak of another, that other being is kinda in the room. The guy who showed up yesterday was growling at his wife's behavior over the past month. Of course I believe she was making sense while he was unaware of it. He was telling me a) how she came across and b) how he reacted to it. I was pondering how she came to do the things he was complaining about. So in a way all these people are in the room at the same time.

Originally Posted By: 2long
Quote:
Looking at your wife's affair partner can help you make a whole of guesses about her, about you, about her parents, etc. I haven't written much about this topic but I sure see it a lot.
This wasn't much use for me, though it had some, perhaps surprising, benefits. I was able 2 put events in2 perspective years after the fact and determine what ac2ally happened (within reasonable limits).

The point was that this wasn't just a "for fun" affair. RM was really smitten, and stayed smitten and single all these years in hopes my wife would leave me (she told me this herself, just recently). Sorry for the ramble.
I like your ramble, actually. Thanks. Twas interesting.

Originally Posted By: 2long
Once again, I find that when I talk about this crap, it comes back up like a bad garlic/onion/Limburger cheese sandwich and assumes a reality it no longer holds.
My general thought is that if "it comes back up" tis because one isn't finished with it, yet. So I encourage people to share till they have that sense of "I'm done with that." Seems the brain just wants to chew on these things - till done. Share away.

Originally Posted By: 2long
Quote:
Someday I am going to have to write an essay on the Blindness of the Partner Left Behind.
There are a lot of reasons for this (my opinion, I could be wrong ;)). Chief among these, I think, is blind trust. We trust so strongly and believe so much in the fairy-tale "ending" of getting married 2 our soulmates that we resist accepting what would easily be obvious 2 a bystander watching events unfold, when our spouse chooses an affair. I don't want 2 go in2 details now about it, but I had all kinds of signals, even in-my-face warnings from my wife that something was wrong and something worse was about 2 happen. But I "trusted" that she would "do the right thing" and avoid the trouble. When she went underground and improved her secrecy skills, I simply assumed she'd dealt with it and we'd deal with our problems gradually over time.
Great summary and sharing. I've certainly seen lots of people doing this. I'm looking for the specifics of different styles of staying in that fantasy. So thanks for sharing. I would love to be able to help people out there avoid the troubles of affairs, etc. Wouldn't you?
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 03:27 AM

Originally Posted By: flowmom
My assumption is that the difference is that the spouse who walks away believes that the Power Struggle is futile and the left behind spouse doesn't.


Some people may find the Power Struggle preferable because if their spouse stays in the Power Struggle or even exits to Giving Up, they can continue to control/try to control their spouse, I suppose in hopes that their spouse will someday learn to behave in accordance with the controlling spouse’s expectations.

Specifically in the affair context, the faithful spouse may control/try to control their unfaithful spouse to exhibit certain behaviors and/or emotions that demonstrate that the unfaithful spouse feels the requisite degree of remorse -- i.e. misery -- which I guess balances the intergalactic scales.

I do not understand the supposed connection between the idea that if the unfaithful spouse feels the requisite level of remorse, the faithful spouse will heal. It fails the logic test in my mind. Someone else being in miserable pain has never served to alleviate my pain.

I see the remorse dynamic as an extension of controlling behavior -- if you do X then I will feel Y and if you don't do X I will feel Z, Y and Z feelings being totally your responsibility because you either did or didn't do X.

The University stage suggests to me that abandoning controlling behavior is a Biological Dream Skill.

The Divorce stage seems an effort by one spouse to terminate the Power Struggle with extreme prejudice.

It seems to me that a person who refuses to accept their spouse for who they are and/or respect their spouse’s autonomy might be content in the Power Struggle stage forever. I see their dream being very different from Biological Dream -- their dream is that one day their spouse will wake up and smell the coffee and morph into the person the controlling spouse envisions.

I think some controlling spouses can’t or won’t give up their dream, and the subject spouse may alternate between conforming and being invisible, both of which involve deceit, with occasional forays into rebellion, which likely also involves deceit.

One of the more challenging aspects of recovery from an affair for the unfaithful spouse may be the requirement of ceding their autonomy as that may be experienced as giving up on self and accepting that their dream will remain just that: a dream. Properly grieving that may be an important step that might potentially be skipped absent an understanding of the dynamic.
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 07:36 AM

I agree with your last 3 paragraphs. Spouses never morph into the envision of the controlling spouse, the controlling spouses vision keeps changing.
Posted By: Vittoria

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 12:18 PM

Originally Posted By: hrf

I can buy that something horrible can be used by those who want to learn to produce something beautiful later. In fact, I think that it is that perspective that helps recovery.

Originally Posted By: Al
Could be I am personally optimistic and thus want to assert there is something good to be produced even from an "affair."

I agree with these statements. The way that you both have phrased this comes across differently than asserting the POV that A's are not a bad thing. All in the wording, I know.
Being reminded that a healthy and strong M can be rebuilt is vital motivation. Recovery is hard and needs that nurturing. I know that I needed it and I know that it helped me to stay plugging along a very bumpy road. Optimism is a great thing.
Posted By: Vittoria

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 12:44 PM

LdG, I really liked how you put down all of your thoughts in this last post. There's bits that I don't understand and that's okay. This bit below, I can try to elaborate on from my side.

Originally Posted By: LdG
I do not understand the supposed connection between the idea that if the unfaithful spouse feels the requisite level of remorse, the faithful spouse will heal. It fails the logic test in my mind. Someone else being in miserable pain has never served to alleviate my pain.

If I remember right, there was another thread that we touched on this.
It wasn't that I wanted my H to be in miserable pain (actually in the anger phase I did, not before or after it passed), over my pain. For me, I felt that if he didn't show the remorse that I felt was needed, I didn't trust him to not repeat his actions. I didn't feel that he was sincere in his efforts to repair the M or keep it protected in the future. Basically it's a feeling of unsafe, can't heal if you don't feel safe with that person. You are always on guard, IYKWIM. I realize that my H was working through his stuff too, it's a fine balancing act when both are working through the hurts.

Posted By: GloveOil

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 01:30 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
...I do not understand the supposed connection between the idea that if the unfaithful spouse feels the requisite level of remorse, the faithful spouse will heal.
Has a straw man been injured here?

I've never seen it credibly defended that provided remorse is sufficient, healing will occur. Who supposes such a connection?

I think a more common (and defensible) formulation is that without remorse, healing cannot occur.

To me, it seems reasonable to suppose that remorse is necessary, but that it is not necessarily sufficient in all situations. I think it'd be reasonable to suppose that in some cases, there'll not be healing even where deep remorse is felt & expressed.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 02:31 PM

I wonder, could your comment about affairs not being "all that bad" be akin to stating "All things work together for good" or "That which does not kill me makes me stronger"?

If so, then I understand *that* concept. I've been trying to reconcile the concepts I agree with ("All things work together for good", "That which does not kill me") with the uneasiness I feel with the statement "Affairs aren't all that bad."

If it is trying to see how good can come out of even a bad situation, I agree. If it is saying that someone who commits adultery is only doing something like telling a little white lie, then I disagree. I am not very comfortable trying to "grade" various immoral acts since on a small scale, various people may see things in various ways (like saying you like a person's haircut) and larger things can contain so much emotional attachment (someone who has experieced betrayal/abuse/a loved one being murdered may be alienated by a comparison that seems to minimize their experiece).

Re. the comparison to being killed in Vietnam, it would seem your friend preferred to face whatever awaited him there than to face his wife's infidelity. Just an observation - I'm not trying to be argumentative. There are those who vehemently argue that having an unfaithful spouse is worse than having a child murdered. I strongly disagree, but I accept that they may experience it differently than I do.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey


It seems to me that a person who refuses to accept their spouse for who they are and/or respect their spouse’s autonomy might be content in the Power Struggle stage forever. I see their dream being very different from Biological Dream -- their dream is that one day their spouse will wake up and smell the coffee and morph into the person the controlling spouse envisions.

I think some controlling spouses can’t or won’t give up their dream, and the subject spouse may alternate between conforming and being invisible, both of which involve deceit, with occasional forays into rebellion, which likely also involves deceit.


I never thought of it like this before: that not accepting your spouse as they are is an attempt to control them. (I haven't read much of "Turtle's Whiteboard" yet so maybe this is Basic 101 stuff y'all have already covered, but the concept is new to me.) This is a very interesting observation even apart from the issue of infidelity.

I want to think on how this applies to me, but I don't want to t/j this conversation. LadyGrey, do you mind if I copy and paste these two paragraphs to my "Aha" blog?
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 03:05 PM

For me, remorse was a key component of my own feelings about the A. I am a very emotional person by nature. And so it was just....natural for me to feel this crushing pain when I realized what I had done and how it had hurt those I loved. And because of my personality...that remorse had to be outwardly expressed.

I do know a couple of people in my life who just are not expressive. And remorse would probably look different for them. I'll go ahead and say that when my kids were 2 and a baby and I stumbled upon the use of porn, watching of porn, chatting, etc. that h had been doing......his remorse was very stoic. I knew he felt badly about it....but there was really no display, and what he wanted more than anything was for us to not ever mention it again because he couldn't bear how much it hurt me. So basically we didn't, not after that first couple of nights of talking......not for a long time. I never saw him cry about it. I never heard that anguish in his voice.

But I believe he was remorseful. It just didn't look the way my remorse does. So maybe that makes a difference too - the personality of the one who feels the remorse.

I will admit this: I did not get the questions answered that secretly plagued me for years. I felt I could not ask. It affected me for a long time, and when we went to counseling after the initial fallout of my A, I wanted to delve more deeply into his porn use....but I was afraid it would be viewed as a distraction or some attempt on my part to change the focus from what I had done. So his lack of outward emotion and his desire to put it to bed quickly did affect me negatively. Not that him looking at other women, seeking out images of both gay and straight activity, and chatting with a couple of men is even close to what I did.....but yeah....it hurt.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 03:16 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: flowmom
My assumption is that the difference is that the spouse who walks away believes that the Power Struggle is futile and the left behind spouse doesn't.


Some people may find the Power Struggle preferable because if their spouse stays in the Power Struggle or even exits to Giving Up, they can continue to control/try to control their spouse, I suppose in hopes that their spouse will someday learn to behave in accordance with the controlling spouse’s expectations.

Specifically in the affair context, the faithful spouse may control/try to control their unfaithful spouse to exhibit certain behaviors and/or emotions that demonstrate that the unfaithful spouse feels the requisite degree of remorse -- i.e. misery -- which I guess balances the intergalactic scales.

I do not understand the supposed connection between the idea that if the unfaithful spouse feels the requisite level of remorse, the faithful spouse will heal. It fails the logic test in my mind. Someone else being in miserable pain has never served to alleviate my pain.

I see the remorse dynamic as an extension of controlling behavior -- if you do X then I will feel Y and if you don't do X I will feel Z, Y and Z feelings being totally your responsibility because you either did or didn't do X.

The University stage suggests to me that abandoning controlling behavior is a Biological Dream Skill.

The Divorce stage seems an effort by one spouse to terminate the Power Struggle with extreme prejudice.

It seems to me that a person who refuses to accept their spouse for who they are and/or respect their spouse’s autonomy might be content in the Power Struggle stage forever. I see their dream being very different from Biological Dream -- their dream is that one day their spouse will wake up and smell the coffee and morph into the person the controlling spouse envisions.

I think some controlling spouses can’t or won’t give up their dream, and the subject spouse may alternate between conforming and being invisible, both of which involve deceit, with occasional forays into rebellion, which likely also involves deceit.

One of the more challenging aspects of recovery from an affair for the unfaithful spouse may be the requirement of ceding their autonomy as that may be experienced as giving up on self and accepting that their dream will remain just that: a dream. Properly grieving that may be an important step that might potentially be skipped absent an understanding of the dynamic.


I agree with a lot of what you say. I think the power struggle often times does take over as the primary link between the spouses. The battle for control isn't necessarily one sided though. In my case, my wife and I each tried to control the other in different ways, leading to increasing resentment, and eventually the breakdown of the marriage. Ironically, after my wife started her affair, and then left after I found out about it, she fought my efforts to let go and move on with my life. The more I walked away the more she chased after. Unfortunately, as her playful and flirtatious attempts at keeping me emotionally connected failed, she got hostile and threatened me where she knew she'd get my attention, the kids and my financial security.

Whereas my attempts to control her was based on my expectations of the wife I thought I wanted, her need to control me seemed more desperate. It was fascinating, because all throughout our marriage she painted me as the controlling one, but once I gave up trying to control her, her need to control me was revealed. Such an unhealthy dynamic.

As for remorse, I commented on that before, and I agree with Vittoria. Demonstration of remorse is not some sort of balancing of scales, but rather an effort to re-establish safety and trust. Apparently Al disagrees, but when my wife and I tried to reconcile, and she refused to show any real remorse, it felt hollow, and definitely unsafe. There were genuine good feelings between us again, better than had been in a long long time, but it had no foundation to build on. Again, it wasn't that I needed or expected her to reject her feelings about her affair, and whatever positive impact it had on her. No person can make another reject their own feelings. What I needed was acknowledgement and rejection of her behavior during her affair. Lying, manipulating, and blatant disrespect are not acceptable behavior in a relationship. She obviously knows how she behaved, but rather than own it, she wanted to just sweep it under the rug, and be "future oriented". I have no desire to continually dwell on the past, but sometimes the past needs to be dealt with before moving forward.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 05:00 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Some people may find the Power Struggle
I feel so honored, LG, that you use my Map and terms so well and thoroughly. Reading you post gave me warm tummy feelings. Thanks.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I see the remorse dynamic as an extension of controlling behavior -- if you do X then I will feel Y and if you don't do X I will feel Z, Y and Z feelings being totally your responsibility because you either did or didn't do X.
I'm with you on this. I see the remorse request ("You should show remorse, first.") as part of the continuing Power Struggle process. It seems a continued placing of responsibility on the other and not focusing on self-responsibility.

Power Struggle and Romantic Love seem all about a retreat to the infantile, "I will be happy if you....." and "I don't have to do anything." This posture seems functional in a 3-day-old, and a 3-year-old. But in an adult member of a growing community (marriage) it seems fairly dysfunctional, even if it is common.

I'll add another thought. I think of Remorse and Guilt as pretty similar. The feelings we have when we realize that yesterday we did something that we now wish we had not done. The flip side of both I think is in learning new and better things to do that will make our memories of yesterday full of "Whooops. I wish I had known then what I know now." or my favorite "Why didn't anyone tell me this before now."

To me both parties have to do a heck of a lot of learning, remorsing. Doesn't matter who starts as long as someone does.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
The University stage suggests to me that abandoning controlling behavior is a Biological Dream Skill.
Yep. Hooray for that University! Replacing Biological Dreaminess and horrible behaviors with nice reliable Biological Dream Skills.

Great sharing, LG.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 05:05 PM

Originally Posted By: staytogether
I agree with your last 3 paragraphs. Spouses never morph into the envision of the controlling spouse, the controlling spouses vision keeps changing.
Tis my experience, too. Give into a controlling spouse and you just encourage them to keep on controlling.
(Are you a Controller?)
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 05:13 PM

Originally Posted By: GloveOil
To me, it seems reasonable to suppose that remorse is necessary, but that it is not necessarily sufficient in all situations. I think it'd be reasonable to suppose that in some cases, there'll not be healing even where deep remorse is felt & expressed.
I'm with you, here. Expressions of remorse without proving that learning is going on, seem to me to be a waste. "I'm sorry." sadly does nothing for me. Nor did I see it do anything for my partner.

Now, showing her that I was learning better skills and that I was sad about what I had done before I learned, and that I was interested in Validating her memories of being on the receiving end of those past behaviors of mine --- yup.. That worked.
Making Amends
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 05:15 PM

Future, I was actually contemplating your situation in light of Manup's comment that remorse may not be manifested in the way he would like to see it but nonetheless be present. I was trying to get into the heads of some of the wives I read about - yours, hydin's Manup's.

I'm not sure I understand the connection between demonstration of remorse and safety but it seems clear that the absence of remorse can be an impediment to recovery so I think it is worthwhile to delve a little deeper into the "why" and "how" of it so that demonstrations of remorse that don't mesh with the expectations of the faithful spouse aren't missed altogether.

I am reminded of a time when simply remaining in the same room with my husband, ready for whatever he might throw my way, when every instinct said to flee felt like a gift to him, or maybe to our marriage. I am fairly certain he was completely unaware of my internal struggle.

I cry a lot over what I did, on a drive or in the shower, again unknown to him as I lack the courage to do so in his presence.

Could those things qualify as remorse? I don't know. I do know the experiences are immensely painful, and completely unknown to him.

Perhaps it is that I don't fully understand the definition of the term, although I looked it up.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 05:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
I wonder, could your comment about affairs not being "all that bad" be akin to stating "All things work together for good" or "That which does not kill me makes me stronger"? If it is trying to see how good can come out of even a bad situation, I agree. If it is saying that someone who commits adultery is only doing something like telling a little white lie, then I disagree.
I imagine you are I may see this pretty similarly. I consider an affair as a huge issue. I actually consider a white lie as a tiny clue to perhaps huge issues. I love the idea that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. I recall my high school football coach saying that he only picked on me because he thought I had as yet unexpressed talent.

I just see an affair as a clue to a much bigger issue that needs attention. Would it help if I said I see an affair as a symptom to an ongoing disaster. Hopefully the couple can pay attention to the symptom (the affair), and move forward to fix the disaster-in-process. And recovering from the "affair" is often easier than recovering from years and years of the disastrous relationship.

I did see this once about 10 years ago. A couple came in because of a discovered affair. They'd been married 40 years and during that time had been horribly physically and emotionally abusive. As we moved through the loss of trust engendered by the affair, we found ourselves in horror of 40 years of loss of trust. I fear they were never able to recover joy in being together. Any move toward intimacy would open up the doors to these memories, which they "couldn't handle", and they would avoid. They could do it, dip slightly into intimacy, in my office, with me as traffic cop. But without me...??? Well, they are still together, 10 years later. I saw them in a shop last week. Success??

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
Quote:
I think some controlling spouses can’t or won’t give up their dream...... which likely also involves deceit.
I never thought of it like this before: that not accepting your spouse as they are is an attempt to control them.
That was a stunner for me, too. In trying to change someone, I am Pre-Invalidating them. In persuading (not sharing), I am pre-judging their world view, sight-unseen, as defective - just because it is different.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 05:54 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
The battle for control isn't necessarily one sided though. In my case, my wife and I each tried to control the other in different ways, leading to increasing resentment, and eventually the breakdown of the marriage.
Thanks for sharing. I'll pick out one piece to tag onto. I think the battle for control is always two sided. (Do you really think it is all the Democrat's/Republican's fault?) It takes two. But I firmly believe one can stop it. ( Link )

I once told some people that my wife and I hadn't argued in 14 years (this was some time ago). She was listening and added, "But it is not from lack of trying." I will probably never forget the skills of acting like a narcissist [Bleep!]/bully. But both of us have the skill now to stop an argument, recognize the signs/symptoms rapidly, and abort that ugliness. The result is that we chatter about anything all the time.

Thanks for sharing your views. (This thread is great!)
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 07:44 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey


I'm not sure I understand the connection between demonstration of remorse and safety but it seems clear that the absence of remorse can be an impediment to recovery so I think it is worthwhile to delve a little deeper into the "why" and "how" of it so that demonstrations of remorse that don't mesh with the expectations of the faithful spouse aren't missed altogether.


I cry a lot over what I did, on a drive or in the shower, again unknown to him as I lack the courage to do so in his presence.

Could those things qualify as remorse? I don't know. I do know the experiences are immensely painful, and completely unknown to him.

Perhaps it is that I don't fully understand the definition of the term, although I looked it up.


I'm grateful for this discussion. I'm finding it's helping me organize some of my own thoughts about remorse and what role it might play in the possible recovery of my marriage.

Myself, I am not troubled by the idea that my wife's affair might not be 'such a bad thing'. I think we were badly stuck before then and something had to change. Her relationship has been extremely painful for me and I'm far enough along now to see how much the pain inspired me to learn and grow.

Naturally, I wish there had been a less excruciating path to walk to get to where I am now, though in retrospect, I don't know if there was one.

As far as remorse goes, I've tried to consider it from both my point of view and my wife's.

From my point of view, I don't think I need to witness the kind of pain LG describes herself feeling from my wife to have my lizard feel safe. At some point I would like some validation and empathy from her of the pain I experienced but I think that's different than wanting her to show me her pain. That seems to me like expecting her to punish herself and show me that she's done the job to my satisfaction.

What I think I would need is something like what Al describes in his paper on Amends. I'd like to know something has been learned so I can have some confidence things would be handled differently the next time there is a challenge. I accept that her affair made sense from the place where she was. Now, I'd like to know how she believes she got to that place and why she thinks she'd do things differently in the future.

Looking at things from my wife's point of view, I can imagine her telling me how, from the place she was, she believed she was doing what she 'had' to do, how it helped her get to a better place and from that perspective 'was not all bad'. I think I could accept that even if she didn't 'feel bad' about what she had done as long as there was some empathy for my experience.

I see Future's situation a little differently. To me it's not his wife's seeming unwillingness to blame herself for her past conduct that is the problem. And I think I understand that he now says it was her lying and manipulation and disrespect that is what he wants her to repent of and not the affair directly but I confess, I don't understand that distinction. I found everything about my wife's affair disrespectful even knowing it wasn't 'about me'.

Where I felt I got Future was when he said he asked his wife why she wasn't with the OM and she said ' because he wouldn't move to be with me' or words to that effect. I took that to mean she was still in the affair in her heart and that the possibility of amends didn't exist because she was acknowledging only circumstances interfered with things between them not that she would change her behavior based on anything she had learned. I can imagine how painful that must have been to hear.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this subject.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 08:07 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Some people may find the Power Struggle
I feel so honored, LG, that you use my Map and terms so well and thoroughly. Reading you post gave me warm tummy feelings. Thanks.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I see the remorse dynamic as an extension of controlling behavior -- if you do X then I will feel Y and if you don't do X I will feel Z, Y and Z feelings being totally your responsibility because you either did or didn't do X.
I'm with you on this. I see the remorse request ("You should show remorse, first.") as part of the continuing Power Struggle process. It seems a continued placing of responsibility on the other and not focusing on self-responsibility.

Power Struggle and Romantic Love seem all about a retreat to the infantile, "I will be happy if you....." and "I don't have to do anything." This posture seems functional in a 3-day-old, and a 3-year-old. But in an adult member of a growing community (marriage) it seems fairly dysfunctional, even if it is common.

I'll add another thought. I think of Remorse and Guilt as pretty similar. The feelings we have when we realize that yesterday we did something that we now wish we had not done. The flip side of both I think is in learning new and better things to do that will make our memories of yesterday full of "Whooops. I wish I had known then what I know now." or my favorite "Why didn't anyone tell me this before now."

To me both parties have to do a heck of a lot of learning, remorsing. Doesn't matter who starts as long as someone does.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
The University stage suggests to me that abandoning controlling behavior is a Biological Dream Skill.
Yep. Hooray for that University! Replacing Biological Dreaminess and horrible behaviors with nice reliable Biological Dream Skills.

Great sharing, LG.


We seem to have some disconnect about remorse. There is no remorse request. I never asked my wife to show remorse. The fact that she doesn't show remorse, or at least I can't see it, prevents a feeling of trust and safety from returning.

I also did not need to see remorse before I was willing to put myself back into the relationship. Once she told me she wanted to reconcile, I thought about it for a while. I decided to give it a shot, so I dropped my guard and let her back in. We went out on fun dates, we talked a lot, we did family things and enjoyed the kids together. There was a lot of good feelings between us, but there was also the giant elephant. I was fine with ignoring the elephant for a while, but I knew our reconciliation was doomed if we didn't address it.

After a couple months I told her we needed to discuss our deal breakers before going any further and she agreed. She assured me her affair was over, there had been no contact in several months. I told her I would need her to commit to never contacting him again, and immediately telling me if he contacted her. She agreed without hesitation. I told her she could never travel to OM's country again on her own. I purposely put in the "on her own" part as a concession to her connection to that country that I knew went above and beyond OM. She again agreed without hesitation, and thanked me for not ruling it out altogether. She said she hoped someday we could go together. Then the tough one. I said I needed her to get rid of everything related to him. That's when her demeanor changed. She paused, looked pained, then said "I will, but it'll take me time. If we get to the point where we're together, it'll all be gone." Huh? I thought we were together! We're trying to save our marriage, and save our family for our three little kids! She was looking more pained about the thought of getting rid of that stuff than she ever showed me about what I went through. I felt my self protection kicking in, and I was trying to fight it off. If she was truly serious about reconciliation, getting rid of that stuff would not have been an issue. Our reconciliation chances were dropping fast, but I tried to hang in there. Distance was growing between us. A few weeks later I saw that her OM was on her FB friend list, and I knew it was over.

When someone has already repeatedly lied to you and betrayed your trust, your guard is up, and for good reason.

Al, it seems to me your philosophy about recovering from an affair already presumes that the unfaithful spouse has rejected their affair, and is committed to trying to save the marriage. The only way the faithful spouse knows that is the case is by the words, actions, and demeanor of the unfaithful spouse. A demonstration of remorse is part of that process. The fact that my wife did not show any remorse was indicative of the reality that she had not actually rejected her affair.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 08:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes

...
Where I felt I got Future was when he said he asked his wife why she wasn't with the OM and she said ' because he wouldn't move to be with me' or words to that effect. I took that to mean she was still in the affair in her heart and that the possibility of amends didn't exist because she was acknowledging only circumstances interfered with things between them not that she would change her behavior based on anything she had learned. I can imagine how painful that must have been to hear.
...


BINGO!

That hits the nail on the head. Concepts like remorse, amends, and reconciliation are all meaningless because the affair was (is?) still going on, in my wife's heart if nothing else.

To beat myself up a bit, and to bring in the philosophies of some of the harder core folks here (robx and DMD), I believe the reason my wife held onto her affair in her heart was because I didn't require her to give it up in order to get me back. We can't directly change someone else's feelings, but we can certainly influence them. My wife was stuck between two places. She was emotionally invested in her OM, but I believe she also still loved me and wanted to save her marriage and family. I truly don't think she was insincere when she expressed that. The more I showed her that I was no longer interested in her, the more she rejected her feelings about OM, in favor of me. It was ridiculous. She was singing my praises to her friends, she was fantasizing about our wonderful reconciled marriage. Like I said before, her affair fantasy was being replaced by a reconciliation fantasy. Had I not caved so easily when she asked for reconciliation, I believe that process would have continued, until she was desperate to get me back, and OM was totally pushed out. By jumping back in and eliminating her fear of loss, I gave her the option of holding onto her feelings for her OM, so she did.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 09:38 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Future, I was actually contemplating your situation in light of Manup's comment that remorse may not be manifested in the way he would like to see it but nonetheless be present. I was trying to get into the heads of some of the wives I read about - yours, hydin's Manup's.

I'm not sure I understand the connection between demonstration of remorse and safety but it seems clear that the absence of remorse can be an impediment to recovery so I think it is worthwhile to delve a little deeper into the "why" and "how" of it so that demonstrations of remorse that don't mesh with the expectations of the faithful spouse aren't missed altogether.

I am reminded of a time when simply remaining in the same room with my husband, ready for whatever he might throw my way, when every instinct said to flee felt like a gift to him, or maybe to our marriage. I am fairly certain he was completely unaware of my internal struggle.

I cry a lot over what I did, on a drive or in the shower, again unknown to him as I lack the courage to do so in his presence.

Could those things qualify as remorse? I don't know. I do know the experiences are immensely painful, and completely unknown to him.

Perhaps it is that I don't fully understand the definition of the term, although I looked it up.


Hi LG-

I can tell you are putting a lot of time and thought into all this, and I appreciate it.

I have thought quite a bit about what my wife did say and do to indicate that she is troubled by what she did, and she wanted to make amends. Here is a what I can remember:

She was almost over the top with her praise and compliments for me. Seemed completely contradictory to the walk away wife demeanor.

She showed jealousy when she thought I was interested in other women. Whereas jealousy can be destructive, it was just a little, to let me know she didn't like it.

She told me she would do anything to stop one of her friends from having an affair. She sat in front of me railing against affairs, telling me she said to her friend "Do you want to lose everything?! Do you want to only see your kids half the time?! It's not worth it!"

She told me the way I stood up to her made her mad, but was the right thing to do, and that she even bases her advice for a client whose wife is unfaithful on the way I treated her.

She pleaded with me "I don't want to co-parent with anyone else! I don't want you to co-parent with anyone else!"

On Christmas Eve, she invited me to go to church with her and the kids. We sat on opposite sides of the kids, and didn't speak to each other, but when the pastor invited everyone to wish each other peace, she came over to me, humbly looked me in the eye, reached out her hand and said "Peace".

I have to admit, I have never felt like she stopped loving me. I mean, we barely ever even speak, and we're in the midst of a nasty divorce, but a couple days ago our son hurt his foot, and had to go to the emergency room. We had to sit with him for hours, hardly acknowledging each other, and just concentrating on him. Eventually they had to put him under to do some minor surgery on his foot. Was surprisingly hard to watch. When it was done, and he was coming out of the anesthesia, I put my head down on his bed in relief. I felt her hand on the back of my head and she stroked her fingers back and forth through my hair several times. Just a week earlier she was challenging my custody and I almost needed to call my lawyer to get a court order. Totally incongruous! It's maddening!
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 10:12 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Al, it seems to me your philosophy about recovering from an affair already presumes that the unfaithful spouse has rejected their affair, and is committed to trying to save the marriage.
Nope. That's just one situation. I actually am used to people in all kinds of positions. The early reason for creating the Map of Relationships was to give me a solid reference for where an individual or couple was and what intervention or support would probably help them the most. Listen to the people online and it is relatively easy to make a more or less reliable decision about what they (severally or together) are facing. My personal goal is to meet people where they are. (Maybe people could put their guess of their current (and partner's) place on the Map in their signatures. Hmm.)

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
The only way the faithful spouse knows that is the case is by the words, actions, and demeanor of the unfaithful spouse. A demonstration of remorse is part of that process. The fact that my wife did not show any remorse was indicative of the reality that she had not actually rejected her affair.
... and probably that she hadn't decided being with you was of much hope either.

I am with you about seeking to understand where your partner "stands." That's eventually vital, I believe. But in general I find that focusing on what you want and where you are is a more fruitful line of inquiry - first. If you want to go forward and build a better relationship for yourself, with her potentially, I think you've got a lot of really practical work ahead of you. Pursuing that work, getting on with it, is the best way I know to increase the likelihood that she will reject affairs as a potential solution to her problems.

In building trust between you two, sure remorse, regret, etc. will be on the agenda. But probably not first.

I think this thread has become a great place for people to ponder these things.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/10/11 10:24 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
I felt her hand on the back of my head and she stroked her fingers back and forth through my hair several times. Just a week earlier she was challenging my custody and I almost needed to call my lawyer to get a court order. Totally incongruous! It's maddening!
More I work with people, the more normal or even consistent this "odd looking" behavior becomes. My suggestion is to work on becoming an expert in validation. Twas the best remedy for me when I was faced with "odd behavior" from my partner. (Link to Odd Dialogue Practice)
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 12:59 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Al, it seems to me your philosophy about recovering from an affair already presumes that the unfaithful spouse has rejected their affair, and is committed to trying to save the marriage.
Nope. That's just one situation. I actually am used to people in all kinds of positions. The early reason for creating the Map of Relationships was to give me a solid reference for where an individual or couple was and what intervention or support would probably help them the most. Listen to the people online and it is relatively easy to make a more or less reliable decision about what they (severally or together) are facing. My personal goal is to meet people where they are. (Maybe people could put their guess of their current (and partner's) place on the Map in their signatures. Hmm.)

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
The only way the faithful spouse knows that is the case is by the words, actions, and demeanor of the unfaithful spouse. A demonstration of remorse is part of that process. The fact that my wife did not show any remorse was indicative of the reality that she had not actually rejected her affair.
... and probably that she hadn't decided being with you was of much hope either.


Yup, probably right, but I would have preferred she didn't bother telling me she wanted to reconcile if she had so little hope.


Quote:

I am with you about seeking to understand where your partner "stands." That's eventually vital, I believe. But in general I find that focusing on what you want and where you are is a more fruitful line of inquiry - first. If you want to go forward and build a better relationship for yourself, with her potentially, I think you've got a lot of really practical work ahead of you. Pursuing that work, getting on with it, is the best way I know to increase the likelihood that she will reject affairs as a potential solution to her problems.


Our marriage is over and we have no relationship, so whatever she does is her business now.


Quote:

In building trust between you two, sure remorse, regret, etc. will be on the agenda. But probably not first.


Well, like I said, I didn't put it first, but I did need to see it eventually to keep me vested and trusting in her.


Quote:

I think this thread has become a great place for people to ponder these things.


I agree! smile
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 02:01 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
I felt her hand on the back of my head and she stroked her fingers back and forth through my hair several times. Just a week earlier she was challenging my custody and I almost needed to call my lawyer to get a court order. Totally incongruous! It's maddening!
More I work with people, the more normal or even consistent this "odd looking" behavior becomes. My suggestion is to work on becoming an expert in validation. Twas the best remedy for me when I was faced with "odd behavior" from my partner. (Link to Odd Dialogue Practice)


I looked over the Odd Dialogue Practice page, and sad to say, my first reaction was, if I was to ask her to meet to discuss her behavior, she would immediately see it as an opportunity to manipulate me.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 02:28 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown

I looked over the Odd Dialogue Practice page, and sad to say, my first reaction was, if I was to ask her to meet to discuss her behavior, she would immediately see it as an opportunity to manipulate me.


Or it could be an opportunity to practice validating, boundaries and sharing, not telling.

Could you pre-validate how you think she might behave in such a meeting?

Might be good practice for the co-parenting you all will be doing.

More thoughts for you, but I'm on my IPad.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 02:52 PM

I'm having a hard time thinking of a reason to have such a meeting. What would be the point?

Our co-parenting is very minimal. I've adopted the parallel parenting style, where we each have our times with the kids, and operate as a single parent during that time. We do not ask or inform the other about anything we do with the kids, except for a courtesy note if we are going out of town. Other than a simple e-mail here or there to convey scheduling, arrange for summer camps, inform about illness, etc, there is no communication. I trust she is handling the kids sufficiently during her time, and I insist she do the same for me.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 03:22 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Yup, probably right, but I would have preferred she didn't bother telling me she wanted to reconcile if she had so little hope.
Getting mixed messages is a pain.

My observation is that when couples get near that Choice Point, (Door #1 or #2 or #3) they do a whole pile of waffling back and forth. The primary product at the time is "hope", I believe. Hope goes up and down. Her's goes up while his goes down. You can build it or dash it. You can even build your partner's hope or smash it. Lots of confusion. Not much trust and lots of suspicion. Fascinating and horribly stressful time. A good time to look back on!
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Our marriage is over and we have no relationship, so whatever she does is her business now.
Glad you are clear for the time being. My experience is that relationships or marriages, once solidly begun, are never fully over. But people can announce that they are over.

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Well, like I said, I didn't put it first, but I did need to see it eventually to keep me vested and trusting in her.
Ah, trust. Tis critical. I think my whole Whiteboard, my work, is about building trust.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 03:32 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
I'm having a hard time thinking of a reason to have such a meeting. What would be the point?
Your thought is exactly why I suggest focusing on your self, first. I think you are looking for a "Point" outside of yourself. Might try to decide what you want to accomplish - irregardless of what she's up to. If, for example, you want to be a great father to your children, then learning to get along with their mother and learning to demonstrate to your kids how to go about it, has value to your goal.

Might consider demonstrating to your kids, after you've learned, how to be solid, relaxed and unmanipulatable (is that a word?) when someone tries to manipulate you.

Just my thinking.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 04:23 PM

All this discussion over whether remorse is necessary or whether requiring a demonstration of remorse is vindictive or even what remorse might looks like reminds me of Gary Chapman's other book.

Gary Chapman's book "The Five Love Languages" really spoke to me. He has another book, co-authored by Jennifer Thomas, called "The Five Languages of Apology." This book was a real eye-opener to me. It says that different people have different "requirements" in order to feel a true apology has been extended. The categories are:

from The Five Languages of Apology


  • Express regret
  • Accept responsibility
  • Make restitution
  • Genuinely repent
  • Request forgiveness


I believe that different people will need different "kinds" of apology, as categorized above, in order to feel the other person is truly sorry and in order to start to rebuild trust. Not only do different people feel the need for different "categories" of apology, but also how a particular "category" is expressed will look different to different people.

Anyway, I'm reminded of this every time I see people differing over what exactly constitutes a "true" and "sufficient" indication of remorse.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 05:23 PM

That is awesome, Jayne. I want to get that book.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 06:27 PM

Maybe that could be a book club selection. It's a really short read, and not very heavy reading, unlike Passionate Marriage which I am way behind on (although I am TOTALLY enjoying it, and APPLYING it to my life!!!).

Since I was reminded of Gary Chapman's books, I just added several of his videos to the MA YouTube channel:

MA channel for Gary Chapman, 5 Love Languages

If I find a discussion of the 5 Apology Languages on YouTube, I'll add that.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 06:36 PM

For me, a genuine apology-and-commitment-to-not-it-again consists in large part of expressing regret, which to me looks like the person feels sadness and "remorse" for the behavior and for the consequences.

For my H, who does not show emotions easily, I think for him the main point is accepting responsibility. When he matter-of-factly takes responsibility for some action but doesn't show sadness, I don't feel like amends have been made. Conversely, when I act sad and try to hug and "soothe" him, but I don't come out and verbally "take responsibility", he acts annoyed.

Learning that a person can have a different view of what constitutes a genuine apology/remorse/changing behavior was very enlightening to me.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 08:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
For me, a genuine apology-and-commitment-to-not-it-again consists in large part of expressing regret, which to me looks like the person feels sadness and "remorse" for the behavior and for the consequences.
Great point, Jayne241. This whole discussion around the word "remorse" or "apology" I think is made more clear when I consider what I call transpersonal words. These are words that refer to a relationship phenomenon and not just to an action or state. In other words if I apologize my goal is to cause an effect in the person I am apologizing to. The goal of my action is a result in the other person. Or I am successful when they "feel apologized to." I brought this up in my WhiteBoard Topic 7b: Communication-words.

The phrase you used, "a genuine apology-and-commitment-to-not-it-again", I fear refers to something that doesn't exist. On the other hand, it is possible to find out what I need to do that my partner will interpret as a genuine apology. It is also possible to find out what I can do so that my partner "will trust I won't do it again." To accomplish both means I have to get out of my own head and get into/respect hers.

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
For my H, who does not show emotions easily, I think for him the main point is accepting responsibility. When he matter-of-factly takes responsibility for some action but doesn't show sadness, I don't feel like amends have been made. Conversely, when I act sad and try to hug and "soothe" him, but I don't come out and verbally "take responsibility", he acts annoyed.
Yup. You probably have certain words or gestures you need from him. Either he simply doesn't know what or has difficulty doing what you want. (My guessing.) Same for you only reversed. Both probably feel disrespected and misunderstood a bunch. Tis very common. "Close but no cigar." smile

I recall Harville Hendrix speaking of the Platinum Rule. Golden Rule is Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Platinum rule is Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
Learning that a person can have a different view of what constitutes a genuine apology/remorse/changing behavior was very enlightening to me.
Oh, go for that. Lots of enlightenment ahead for everyone! - me too.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 09:19 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Yup, probably right, but I would have preferred she didn't bother telling me she wanted to reconcile if she had so little hope.
Getting mixed messages is a pain.

My observation is that when couples get near that Choice Point, (Door #1 or #2 or #3) they do a whole pile of waffling back and forth. The primary product at the time is "hope", I believe. Hope goes up and down. Her's goes up while his goes down. You can build it or dash it. You can even build your partner's hope or smash it. Lots of confusion. Not much trust and lots of suspicion. Fascinating and horribly stressful time. A good time to look back on!


She's been waffling all over creation for years now. She would make grand declarations that she's finally clear on exactly what she wants, only to waffle again a month or two or three later. I have facilitated that waffling by allowing her to keep me as an option no matter what she does. That's why I finally removed myself from her life.

Quote:

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Our marriage is over and we have no relationship, so whatever she does is her business now.
Glad you are clear for the time being. My experience is that relationships or marriages, once solidly begun, are never fully over. But people can announce that they are over.


Yeah, there's a bit of "convincing myself" going on, but I have removed myself from her life in every way that I can, and still share custody of the kids with her.


Quote:

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Well, like I said, I didn't put it first, but I did need to see it eventually to keep me vested and trusting in her.
Ah, trust. Tis critical. I think my whole Whiteboard, my work, is about building trust.


Which is why I'm not sure I should be posting here, as I am doing nothing to build trust, and my goal isn't to build trust. Unfortunately, legal documents now need to substitute for trust.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 09:30 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
I'm having a hard time thinking of a reason to have such a meeting. What would be the point?
Your thought is exactly why I suggest focusing on your self, first. I think you are looking for a "Point" outside of yourself. Might try to decide what you want to accomplish - irregardless of what she's up to. If, for example, you want to be a great father to your children, then learning to get along with their mother and learning to demonstrate to your kids how to go about it, has value to your goal.

Might consider demonstrating to your kids, after you've learned, how to be solid, relaxed and unmanipulatable (is that a word?) when someone tries to manipulate you.

Just my thinking.


I want to get through the divorce with my sanity, dignity, and finances in salvageable condition.

The kids see me being civil with their mother. There is never a raised voice or harsh word. Unfortunately, there is never a kind word either, because I have none to offer, and when she offers them to me, I assume they are attempts to manipulate me, so I ignore them.

I am unmanipulatable now, finally. Solid? I don't know. Definitely not relaxed, not when I need to deal with her. Very stressful.

When I read some of LadyGrey's posts, they rang true with some of the vibe I get from my wife, so I was curious to get her take. I guess part of me still wants to believe things could be better.

Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 10:33 PM

Originally Posted By: future unknown
Which is why I'm not sure I should be posting here, as I am doing nothing to build trust, and my goal isn't to build trust.


Seems to me a worthy goal is to build trust in yourself - your perceptions and emotions. I can imagine those have been mighty shaken by Mrs. Future.

My husband and I got in a fuss a couple of days ago. We went through a semblance of Al's "Making Amends" process - I couldn't remember all the steps. At the end, I was able to access the fact that my husband's behavior was triggering some feelings from my childhood - when telling him, I even cried a bit (!!!).

I also realized that I responded by getting angry then trying to control him so I'll observe my anger more closely to see if my instinctive response is to try to control the subject person.

Going through that process helped me build a tiny bit of trust in myself and my ability to understand and manage my feelings.

I still have no idea how to express anger in a healthy way without an express or implied demand for a change in behavior. I've gotten all tangled up in "I messages are bad" ...... wait, no, "You messages are bad". Got to use one or the other!
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 10:42 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
My experience is that relationships or marriages, once solidly begun, are never fully over. But people can announce that they are over.


I think this applies 2 all kinds of relationships, including affairs.

My W has known RM now for 22 or 23 years. I realize that, at some level, their relationship may never end - I've certainly seen evidence that she did not want it 2 even while recognizing that I needed it 2 for ours 2 continue.

I've been watching her healing from the experience, and I do believe she's learned a great deal about how 2 remove him as a "friend" from her life - one way has been 2 recognize how manipulative he was of HER for so many years.

But all this has taken a very, very long time 2 transpire (like I said, they met over 22 years ago), and I'm not convinced that, in many cases, people live long enough for the wisdom 2 be gained and the trust 2 be built.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 10:48 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
She's been waffling all over creation for years now. She would make grand declarations that she's finally clear on exactly what she wants, only to waffle again a month or two or three later. I have facilitated that waffling by allowing her to keep me as an option no matter what she does. That's why I finally removed myself from her life.
I think your job is not so much to watch her waffling as it is to get clear what you want and to work toward that - while she is waffling. I believe that if you just watch her, then you too are waffling. Being Passive while someone else is scattered certainly doesn't work.

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Which is why I'm not sure I should be posting here, as I am doing nothing to build trust, and my goal isn't to build trust. Unfortunately, legal documents now need to substitute for trust.
Well, you are always welcome to post here. This thread has certainly wandered from it's original point which has to do with Reliable Membership and Clinger/Avoider problems and solutions. I'm not worried about how far we've wandered.

Trust, trust. Well my thought is that if you are "doing nothing to build trust" then probably it can be said that you are part of destroying trust. Seems to me it takes active and consistent work to maintain trust. Doing nothing would probably lead to sliding backward. Hmm. Well, you are doing your best.

Hang in there.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 10:55 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
But all this has taken a very, very long time 2 transpire (like I said, they met over 22 years ago), and I'm not convinced that, in many cases, people live long enough for the wisdom 2 be gained and the trust 2 be built.
I love it. smile I once was studying Leonardo Da Vinci and ran across a bit he wrote near his death in France. Something to the effect that he was [Bleep!] that life just was not anywhere near long enough to learn it all.

I often say, "Well you are either gonna learn this or die first."

Also it seems to me that one way to look at all this is "how to speed things up." What are the wise things you could have done to speed up the process with your partner? Collect those ideas and pass 'em around. Learn from your mistakes. That's what I'm doing.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/11/11 11:17 PM

I am not trying to be frivolous. Tis a really great question.

If relationships are never over (including affairs) how does anyone ever build trust, rebuild trust, establish and maintain trust, with a new partner? How do you know trust has been achieved? How does my wife of 27 years come to trust me that I will not go back to my first wife of 17 years? And what can I do to help this happen? How is trust built?

That is what all my writing is about.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/12/11 03:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
All this discussion over whether remorse is necessary or whether requiring a demonstration of remorse is vindictive or even what remorse might looks like reminds me of Gary Chapman's other book.

Gary Chapman's book "The Five Love Languages" really spoke to me. He has another book, co-authored by Jennifer Thomas, called "The Five Languages of Apology." This book was a real eye-opener to me. It says that different people have different "requirements" in order to feel a true apology has been extended. The categories are:

from The Five Languages of Apology


  • Express regret
  • Accept responsibility
  • Make restitution
  • Genuinely repent
  • Request forgiveness


I believe that different people will need different "kinds" of apology, as categorized above, in order to feel the other person is truly sorry and in order to start to rebuild trust. Not only do different people feel the need for different "categories" of apology, but also how a particular "category" is expressed will look different to different people.

Anyway, I'm reminded of this every time I see people differing over what exactly constitutes a "true" and "sufficient" indication of remorse.


Interesting. I do know in my marriage we had a very hard time expressing apologies in a manner that was accepted. Another contributor to the "silent mountain of resentment".
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/12/11 03:36 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: future unknown
Which is why I'm not sure I should be posting here, as I am doing nothing to build trust, and my goal isn't to build trust.


Seems to me a worthy goal is to build trust in yourself - your perceptions and emotions. I can imagine those have been mighty shaken by Mrs. Future.


Exactly right. My W was an expert in making me doubt my own perceptions. It's taken a long time for me to regain that trust in myself. I guess that's why I think maybe things could be better eventually. Once I know I can maintain that trust in myself, even in the midst of her manipulations, then maybe I wouldn't need my impenetrable wall of protection.


Quote:

My husband and I got in a fuss a couple of days ago. We went through a semblance of Al's "Making Amends" process - I couldn't remember all the steps. At the end, I was able to access the fact that my husband's behavior was triggering some feelings from my childhood - when telling him, I even cried a bit (!!!).

I also realized that I responded by getting angry then trying to control him so I'll observe my anger more closely to see if my instinctive response is to try to control the subject person.

Going through that process helped me build a tiny bit of trust in myself and my ability to understand and manage my feelings.

I still have no idea how to express anger in a healthy way without an express or implied demand for a change in behavior. I've gotten all tangled up in "I messages are bad" ...... wait, no, "You messages are bad". Got to use one or the other!


Figuring out how to express hurt and anger in a constructive safe manner is brutally hard.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/12/11 04:29 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
She's been waffling all over creation for years now. She would make grand declarations that she's finally clear on exactly what she wants, only to waffle again a month or two or three later. I have facilitated that waffling by allowing her to keep me as an option no matter what she does. That's why I finally removed myself from her life.
I think your job is not so much to watch her waffling as it is to get clear what you want and to work toward that - while she is waffling. I believe that if you just watch her, then you too are waffling. Being Passive while someone else is scattered certainly doesn't work.


Agree 100%. I was waffling right along with her.

Get clear what I want. Hmmm... What I'm finally accepting is that what I want probably won't include my wife. From what I can tell, we seem to want similar things, but we've been unable to find a path to walk together, which is sad.


Quote:

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Which is why I'm not sure I should be posting here, as I am doing nothing to build trust, and my goal isn't to build trust. Unfortunately, legal documents now need to substitute for trust.
Well, you are always welcome to post here. This thread has certainly wandered from it's original point which has to do with Reliable Membership and Clinger/Avoider problems and solutions. I'm not worried about how far we've wandered.

Trust, trust. Well my thought is that if you are "doing nothing to build trust" then probably it can be said that you are part of destroying trust. Seems to me it takes active and consistent work to maintain trust. Doing nothing would probably lead to sliding backward. Hmm. Well, you are doing your best.


No matter what I did, my wife never seemed to trust me. She would accuse me of having intentions of malice, and although I wasn't perfect, I never had any malicious thoughts or intentions toward her. Closed sometimes, inconsiderate sometimes, grumpy sometimes, but never malicious. We talk here about pre-validating, but what I lived with was someone who presumes malice of thought in those around her, and pre-attacks. I can't count how many times I got accused and attacked out of thin air. Worse yet, nothing I could say or do would ever convince her her assumptions were wrong. Tough way to live.

Maybe there is some strategy I could work to break that core insecurity and suspicion inside her, but I've never been able to find it, and neither has anyone in her family.

Truthfully, in my distance from her now, I am left with much sympathy for her. She is so lonely.


Quote:

Hang in there.


Thanks, I'm trying.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/13/11 06:55 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
No matter what I did, my wife never seemed to trust me... We talk here about pre-validating, but what I lived with was someone who presumes malice of thought in those around her, and pre-attacks. I can't count how many times I got accused and attacked out of thin air. Worse yet, nothing I could say or do would ever convince her her assumptions were wrong.


Strikes me as an excellent strategy for an Avoider to guard the emotional perimeter.

I think some people are just not cut out for intimacy. I've given up on Al's Biological Dream/Harley's State of Intimacy in favor of guarding my privacy and protecting my heart from more pain. Truth be told, I do not think Lizzy will ever permit the level of sharing those states contemplate.

I simply don't see an upside that merits risking the downside. Perhaps your wife feels the same.

I find I have less and less to say, here and in real life which is pretty much the way I expected this deal to play out. Talking to anyone is too risky - may upset him and I'm not up for any more controversy. But something about Mrs. Future touches me - I hate to think of another woman living my life. One of us is arguably one too many, but then again I think people often hand themselves the life they think they deserve, and without question I deserve a life of lonliness.
Posted By: hydin

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/14/11 05:08 AM

LG, I just saw your post about getting into the wives head in posts you have read. I see it as extremely possible that my W came to the point in the power struggle where she just wanted out. She and I were basically using the same tactics and were both hurting but not sharing our thoughts. I was the one who wanted to work on things. When the "silent treatment" (our preferred tactic... we both were professionals) started to get old I was the one who wanted to talk 90% of the time. I did not validate her and her reality. A counselor actually told her to get a job and not discuss it with me a couple of years ago. I found out about 2 days before she started. I would have had no issue with it but it hurt for her (and the counselor - she rated him a 3 out of ten) to do this. My reaction was to ignore her job. No negative or smart comments. I just acted like it was not there. It was my avoidance of the hurt. I can see where it hurt her for me to react that way. I have never told her that it hurt me. Around the same time she told me that I would never be more important than the kids... 4 years short of the empty nest..from which she is flying 2 years early from current appearances.

So if a spouse gets out of the power struggle (certainly because her lizard was feeling unsafe) by leaving the M, how do you become safe for them? Is it even possible? Now she is not open to discussing relationship (have not tried in 3 months) or even Divorce stuff. Shut down in those areas. If you saw us, together you would not know divorce had been filed. In fact, 3 weeks ago, someone from church, who is closet to W than me was shocked to hear she had filed for D. 4 months later. Interesting to think about this in the way you defined it. I am guilty as charged and changing since realizing it (OK, part of it) 8 months ago. I am in better mental shape than ever but it seems too late. Benefit is I will be happier post divorce than in the last 3 years of marriage. I still want to reconcile but at this point as legal wheels turn, how does the "defendant" lookout for his and the kids best interest without scaring the hell out of her lizard when she realized the standard of living she is volunteering for? I don't see much hope as the financials are starting to come in to play. I want to but I struggle with being a safe place and having to communicate through the legal process that I can't commit to paying for the kids college... etc. I am wide open for advice on this. Part of me wonders if she is waiting for me to show remorse.. not just hurt but true appreciation for what I am losing before she starts the process of dealing with me on the M or even the D. I don't have a clue...
Hydin..
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/14/11 09:15 PM

Originally Posted By: hydin
LG, I just saw your post about getting into the wives head in posts you have read. I see it as extremely possible that my W came to the point in the power struggle where she just wanted out....

I am wide open for advice on this. Part of me wonders if she is waiting for me to show remorse.. not just hurt but true appreciation for what I am losing before she starts the process of dealing with me on the M or even the D. I don't have a clue...
I was reading your post, hydin, and thinking of what LG had written. Then I began to ponder where on the Map you both are. My general rule of thumb is that people stay in the Power Struggle for probably no more than 3 years before they slip-slide into Door #2, just surviving and waiting. So my curiosity is for both of you and is the phrase, "What do you want?"

In the Power Struggle people are angling, pushing toward that "being in love" stuff. In Door#2 I think they are just trying to be safe, avoid conflict, keep things calm, just make it through another day - to hell with that "in love" stuff. Door#2 is Lizard stuff - only.

Anyway. So I started another thread for this stuff. Topic 6b "Living without Romantic Love" - Building Trust.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/14/11 11:53 PM

Al, you once asked me the same question, "What do you want?", when I was very stressed about the end of my marriage. I think your post to Hydin has helped me to better understand what you were asking of me. I think my wife and I have now both passed through Door #3 after a time when she went first.

For awhile, from my perspective, I was trying to draw her back in and gently, albeit ham handedly, lead us toward the University of Life. I think she saw my efforts as a desperate attempt to re-ignite the Power Struggle to eventually lead her back to Door #2. Looked at that way, I can see why she wouldn't be interested.

Now that I have reached a level of acceptance that we are 'divorced', notwithstanding that nothing has been filed nor is there a legal separation, I'm trying to use the current period of loneliness to learn as much as I can about how to get started with my next partner in the right way. I haven't yet given up hope that my wife will see my efforts and one day make the leap of faith to join me and try again to 'Go for it' with me.

Eventually, I imagine I will have to decide how long I'm prepared to wait before actively looking for a new potential partner.

Does it seem to you that I'm reading your Map correctly or might I be like one of those people behind Door #2 who thinks they're in Vintage Love? smile
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/15/11 03:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Eventually, I imagine I will have to decide how long I'm prepared to wait before actively looking for a new potential partner.
Does it seem to you that I'm reading your Map correctly or might I be like one of those people behind Door #2 who thinks they're in Vintage Love?
I think you are reading it mostly rightly. Given my theory you are both either at the bottom of the Door#3 alley or you've crossed into the Divorce #something area. My guess is that you are still nearing the Divorce Door, are in the hallway before the door.

The clue for me is that you are still wondering how long to wait for her. Once you go through the Divorce Door, I think you will be focusing on living alone, will have written her off as a possible partner and will be having vague dreams about a "new partner." Oh and paperwork will probably be started, or done.

By the way, the shortest way for you to the University is by reconnecting with her. The second shortest way is to go find another partner, go through Rom Lov, Pwr Strg, and then hit the University.

The time from where you are to there is pretty much in your hands. The longer you wait, wondering, the longer either way will take.

Good luck.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/15/11 05:23 PM

Thanks, Al. I hope we're both still at the Choice Point.

I think my wife would probably identify closely with the wonderful LadyGrey. She has told me she feels broken and sometimes she seems very fragile. I've been told that to move forward we will need to get rid of the negative feelings, then re-establish a friendship before re-introducing romance. This makes sense to me in theory but I'm finding dealing with negative emotions is a very slow process when her interest is so ambivalent. I think it makes it hard to find opportunities to validate and deal with her resentments.

Recently, we have both established our own places. My wife is now living next to her (former?)affair partner. I believe things have cooled to a 'close friendship' there but there are other complications. Prior to the move I was letting her initiate contact with me and she was slowly moving closer in a very cautious way. Since the move I've had more trouble managing my Lizard and I believe she's felt me distancing myself somewhat. Her house also requires some extensive renovations and her parents have come down to help her.

Her father is a very skilled carpenter and a very difficult, old world German. I think he's making her life quite difficult right now and he's harboring a lot of palpable resentment toward both of us. I've chosen to keep my distance until he leaves in early September.

I don't want to waste my time and I feel a certain pressure to quit rather than 'wait' for her. I also think the time I've spent working on myself, my end of our co-dependency issues and learning about healthy relationships has not been wasted to this point and I believe I can still do more for awhile before I will definitely need a partner to practice with.

I believe once her parents leave she is likely to focus on her 'space' and getting it the way she wants as an expression of her need to make an identity for herself and express her independence. Even so, I think I'll try again to coax her slowly into a friendship and try to rebuild our trust in each other.

I find it hard to imagine ever closing the door completely on reconciliation with her, such is the strength of our Imago bond. Unfortunately, I understand that very thing can also be a symptom of how messed up our FOO issues are. We've also been together a long time before starting the University stuff and I'm a lawyer, all poor prognosticators too. Perhaps, as you say, relationships, once solidly begun, are never really over, I only hope we can find a way to bring some joy back into it instead of living out our days with a sense of sadness between us.

Right now my sense is that slow is the fastest way forward, with or without her. I hope I'm right about that.
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/16/11 10:57 AM

So we talk a lot about where the two of us are in relation to the map. My wife and I are in the power struggle but in the corridor heading to door # 3 divorce. But for most of us there is a third person exerting considerable influence, the om / ow. The title of the thread is stop chasing them away, but i think the tractor beam of the affair partner, who is standing on the other side of door 3 , should also be plotted, because they are the most powerful person in this equation. Just my 2 cents.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/16/11 03:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Manup
So we talk a lot about where the two of us are in relation to the map. My wife and I are in the power struggle but in the corridor heading to door # 3 divorce.
Yup. And I am usually trying to share that I think it takes two to get into that corridor and one to lead the way back to Door #1.

Originally Posted By: Manup
But for most of us there is a third person exerting considerable influence, the om / ow. The title of the thread is stop chasing them away, but i think the tractor beam of the affair partner, who is standing on the other side of door 3 , should also be plotted, because they are the most powerful person in this equation. Just my 2 cents.
I hear you and that is one way to view the situation. There are a couple of possibilities.

Perhaps my chart is off a bit by leaving out this other person. I did think of this quite a bit between 1997 and 2000. I finally rejected adding this person as I began to see them as less and less important - almost incidental to what I was teaching.

The component I suggest to you that you might be missing is the choice power, the perhaps hidden self-responsibility, of the partner having the affair. If I PreValidate their actions, then the other man or woman in really just incidental to their reflections on how awful their partner is. If you go shoot the other man or other woman, and that's all you do, I am pretty sure the affairing partner will find another. They are choosing to move away. Unless the stay at home partner really starts to wake up and changes themselves, this situation will probably continue.

I suggest that your phrases "they are the most powerful person in this equation" or "tractor beams" is based on an idea that your partner is a victim, weak, or unable to choose for themselves - i.e. not responsible. I don't think that is a useful model.

Oh and by the way, we are way off topic at this point in this thread. I'm ok with this, but the title referred to Clinger/Avoider or Reliable Membership dynamics - which are often at play in the corridor to Door #3.

Thanks for adding your 2 cents.

I do reconsider the place of the other man or other woman. In fact when I was single, after a 17 year marriage, I was aware that all the great women out there would not be single. They would be in a marriage. I was going to have to be the other man. I had to be ready to offer a better "product" than the guy at home. In many cases that might not be very difficult, I fear. It didn't mean I would be attracted to that woman, tho.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/16/11 06:45 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Manup
So we talk a lot about where the two of us are in relation to the map. My wife and I are in the power struggle but in the corridor heading to door # 3 divorce.
Yup. And I am usually trying to share that I think it takes two to get into that corridor and one to lead the way back to Door #1.

Originally Posted By: Manup
But for most of us there is a third person exerting considerable influence, the om / ow. The title of the thread is stop chasing them away, but i think the tractor beam of the affair partner, who is standing on the other side of door 3 , should also be plotted, because they are the most powerful person in this equation. Just my 2 cents.
I hear you and that is one way to view the situation. There are a couple of possibilities.

Perhaps my chart is off a bit by leaving out this other person. I did think of this quite a bit between 1997 and 2000. I finally rejected adding this person as I began to see them as less and less important - almost incidental to what I was teaching.

The component I suggest to you that you might be missing is the choice power, the perhaps hidden self-responsibility, of the partner having the affair. If I PreValidate their actions, then the other man or woman in really just incidental to their reflections on how awful their partner is. If you go shoot the other man or other woman, and that's all you do, I am pretty sure the affairing partner will find another. They are choosing to move away. Unless the stay at home partner really starts to wake up and changes themselves, this situation will probably continue.

I suggest that your phrases "they are the most powerful person in this equation" or "tractor beams" is based on an idea that your partner is a victim, weak, or unable to choose for themselves - i.e. not responsible. I don't think that is a useful model.

Oh and by the way, we are way off topic at this point in this thread. I'm ok with this, but the title referred to Clinger/Avoider or Reliable Membership dynamics - which are often at play in the corridor to Door #3.

Thanks for adding your 2 cents.

I do reconsider the place of the other man or other woman. In fact when I was single, after a 17 year marriage, I was aware that all the great women out there would not be single. They would be in a marriage. I was going to have to be the other man. I had to be ready to offer a better "product" than the guy at home. In many cases that might not be very difficult, I fear. It didn't mean I would be attracted to that woman, tho.


Whereas I fundamentally agree with you Al, this is a very slippery slope to doormat status. Once an affair is entrenched, and the affairing partner has decided to pursue the affair rather than work on the marriage, the affaired against partner is in a tough spot. I agree they should wake up and start making changes, but at that point, it has to be entirely for themselves. Let the affairing partner go, become unavailable to them, work on yourself, and live the best life you can. If the affairing partner chooses to notice (they usually do), and if you are starting to look like a superior choice to the affair partner, you are back in the game, and the tables are turned.

Instead of thinking of the affair partner as the most powerful person in the equation, you need to embrace YOURSELF as the most powerful person in the equation. That sort of thinking will lead to good things, regardless of what happens to your marriage.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/16/11 09:15 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Whereas I fundamentally agree with you Al, this is a very slippery slope to doormat status.
Heck ,I didn't know you ever agreed with me. I'm glad to hear you speak up when you disagree. This kind of sharing always helps me sharpen my understanding of things and my understanding of others. Thanks. "Doormat status"! Sounds pretty awful. Nope don't want that.

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Once an affair is entrenched, and the affairing partner has decided to pursue the affair rather than work on the marriage, the affaired against partner is in a tough spot.
Yup. Tis a tough space.

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
I agree they should wake up and start making changes, but at that point, it has to be entirely for themselves.
I gather you mean by that word "entrenched" that the affairing partner is definitely committed to the new partner and they are heading toward Vintage Love.

By the way, the way I see it is that affairs, like Romantic Love, have a clock running until the "dream" collapses or wears off. The way I see it is during the first bit of an affair the affairing partner is comparing the dork-at-home to the dreamboat before them. But dreamboats are bullshinola and fall apart under the light of experience. So then the affairing partner begins to compare the dork-at-home to the dork-before-them.

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Let the affairing partner go, become unavailable to them, work on yourself, and live the best life you can. If the affairing partner chooses to notice (they usually do), and if you are starting to look like a superior choice to the affair partner, you are back in the game, and the tables are turned.
Tis possible we are pretty close in our views. A dork-at-home who is working on him/herself is worth dorks-before-you who are still asleep.

But I wanna focus on that "letting your partner go" bit. You gotta do this anyway. This is part of growing up, learning all about letting people go. Part of learning to respect them.

And the "working on your self for your own benefit" bit. This onion called working-on-yourself is a project with many dimensions. Where do you start? I believe that clearly the dimensions to first work on are the ones lit up, focused on, by your partner's frustrated and rejecting behavior. That behavior is in the past. It is in the present found in the kind of person they select to affair with, and hopefully in the future. I believe the details of your partner's rejection of you often point acutely at the specific first things you need to work on. True in the long run all of this benefits you. Tis just a matter of finding the gold in your partner's cues.

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Instead of thinking of the affair partner as the most powerful person in the equation, you need to embrace YOURSELF as the most powerful person in the equation. That sort of thinking will lead to good things, regardless of what happens to your marriage.
I am completely with this. I would edit the phrase "most available and potentially powerful person." Of course if you don't wake up - you got nothing, I fear.
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/16/11 09:18 PM

Thanks Al for your views. Would be great if there was a general Al's Corral area, where we could accumulate all of our learnings from your various topics, as I appreciate Im off topic on my post.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 12:58 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I do reconsider the place of the other man or other woman. In fact when I was single, after a 17 year marriage, I was aware that all the great women out there would not be single. They would be in a marriage. I was going to have to be the other man. I had to be ready to offer a better "product" than the guy at home. In many cases that might not be very difficult, I fear. It didn't mean I would be attracted to that woman, tho.


As stated (or as I interpreted it as I read it, perhaps), I found this incredibly dis2rbing. Part of my trepidation has 2 do with the way most people say "all would not be" when I would say "not all would be" - the former seems 2 be an absolute statement, equivalent 2 saying "none would be". I'm sure it's my own inability 2 understand the English language and some of it's peculiarities. Like, when I hear a reporter say "a billion and a half dollars" that is saying exactly "$1,000,000,000.50", when I know they mean "one and a half billion dollars."

Given, then, that there are a lot of fish in the aquarium, and that not all the great women in the world would be single, a lot of them would be, and my own integrity/values/morality would prevent me from even contemplating what I would have 2 do or how I'd have 2 present myself 2 lure one of the great, but unavailable women, away from their husbands.

I agree, doing that would probably not be difficult in many cases. But why would anyone want 2 do that? ...but you only suggested you might not be attracted 2 such a woman in your last sentence. How come?

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 06:16 AM

I'm also confused by that statement. I've tried every which way to see if there's a way I can interpret it such that I'm not bothered by it, but I can't. I'm not sure it's the phrasing.

(Although I'm with you, 2, on the "billion and a half dollars" etc. Similarly, I know they say to not split infinitives (!) but IMHO saying, for example, "The key is not to do A and B" is different from saying "The key is to not do A and B." The first leaves me wondering, ok you've told me what the key is not, now tell me what the key is.)

So this could be sayig that all of the great women, every single one of them, is not single - they are all married. Or maybe it's saying that not all of the great women are single - some of them are married. Either way... I'll ask for clarification here. I'm not sure I understand this paragraph and I don't want to put words in your mouth so I'll just ask if you could perhaps explain a little more about what you mean here?
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 09:24 AM

hit the button twice - woops
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 09:31 AM

Thanks Al for clarifying the points. My wife does see herself as the victim. I had our first face to face today and she kept repeating that over and over said her counsellor said I was controlling. I love being diagnosed by someone who has never met me.

I think what I saw visually with the relationship map was I was trying to gently bring my wife back from door 3 up to university of life, whereas the OM's efforts are more extroverted and stronger trying to pull her through the 3rd door.

But your very right ( duh )about self responsibility, she sees everything as totally my fault. I did though do a good thing today, I did sincerely apologise for something I did at the beginning of our relationship and I used the way you suggested. It had a real impact on her.She was very emotional and I kept it together, no accusations, actively listened and made it brief as well, learning so many skills and lessons in these time. I have no idea what will become of my wife or our marriage or the om, but I feel better for apologising.

I appreciate the insight and wisdom.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 01:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Manup
Thanks Al for your views. Would be great if there was a general Al's Corral area, where we could accumulate all of our learnings from your various topics, as I appreciate Im off topic on my post.
You mean a thread open to any topic, perhaps called Al's Corral? Or do you have another idea.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 02:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
I'm also confused by that statement. I've tried every which way to see if there's a way I can interpret it such that I'm not bothered by it, but I can't. I'm not sure it's the phrasing.
Well, thanks for not going too far with all your intepretations. I probably didn't state my point very clearly. Besides it is, I think, a disturbing point, particularly to those who have experienced an affair by their partner.

I recall long ago wondering how many "Ms. Rights" there were in the world for me. I had given up, as fantasy, the idea that there was just one in about 1977. (See my article on this from 2007 Finding Mr./Ms. Right.)

But here I was, single, and pretty messed up as people are wont to be after a divorce. As I guy I looked around for "nice" women and "eligible" women. Sure this was all judgmental on my part. And I wondered where would eligible (the ones I wanted to pick among) be?

Why did I do this? I was lonely. I wasn't interested in a short-term relationship. Looking back, I clearly wanted Vintage Love.

I was in my 30s and if I looked for only "single" women my options were limited. Single women were either a) never married or b) officially divorced. The former scared me and the latter often terrified me. But I became aware there was a vast collection of women who were currently in bad to miserable relationships and who were "on the way to becoming single." Were they also eligible candidates for dating or should I keep my "hands off?"

Nowadays when I meet one of these, I aggressively tell them to go back and work with their partner. In those days I was not very wise and was not in Vintage Love. I considered their ambivalence valuable to me - a lonely guy. A friend called these people, "Low hanging fruit." which sounds pretty awful. Still there it is. So I mingled.

Remember to read my story and remove the genders. I think I shared this as part of my thoughts about PreValidating and not vilifying the OM or OW.

I hope this is more clear.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 05:49 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Jayne241
I'm also confused by that statement. I've tried every which way to see if there's a way I can interpret it such that I'm not bothered by it, but I can't. I'm not sure it's the phrasing.
Well, thanks for not going too far with all your intepretations. I probably didn't state my point very clearly. Besides it is, I think, a disturbing point, particularly to those who have experienced an affair by their partner.

I recall long ago wondering how many "Ms. Rights" there were in the world for me. I had given up, as fantasy, the idea that there was just one in about 1977. (See my article on this from 2007 Finding Mr./Ms. Right.)

But here I was, single, and pretty messed up as people are wont to be after a divorce. As I guy I looked around for "nice" women and "eligible" women. Sure this was all judgmental on my part. And I wondered where would eligible (the ones I wanted to pick among) be?

Why did I do this? I was lonely. I wasn't interested in a short-term relationship. Looking back, I clearly wanted Vintage Love.

I was in my 30s and if I looked for only "single" women my options were limited. Single women were either a) never married or b) officially divorced. The former scared me and the latter often terrified me. But I became aware there was a vast collection of women who were currently in bad to miserable relationships and who were "on the way to becoming single." Were they also eligible candidates for dating or should I keep my "hands off?"



I haven't read very many of your other postings/articles. Thanks for giving the additional details here. I still have a question: why did the already-divorced women terrify you, but the still-married-but-willing-to get involved women didn't?

I've heard that some men find wearing a wedding ring actually helps them pick up women, supposedly because the women are looking for something guaranteed to be casual, or something, I dunno. But I've never heard it the other way around before, that a man would preferentially seek out married women as opposed to unmarried women.

Quote:
Remember to read my story and remove the genders. I think I shared this as part of my thoughts about PreValidating and not vilifying the OM or OW.

I hope this is more clear.


I'll try to do so, but thanks again for responding here for those of us who haven't read your other stuff. FWIW I think I don't necessarily villify the OW/OM like some BH/BWs do. I don't have much anger toward my XWH's OW, for example. Each person and each situation is different.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 06:03 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Whereas I fundamentally agree with you Al, this is a very slippery slope to doormat status.
Heck ,I didn't know you ever agreed with me. I'm glad to hear you speak up when you disagree. This kind of sharing always helps me sharpen my understanding of things and my understanding of others. Thanks. "Doormat status"! Sounds pretty awful. Nope don't want that.


Ha! I hope I don't sound that disagreeable! The reason I'm posting here is because when I read about your relationship map and concept of biological dream, they really struck a chord with me. I get a lot of value out of these kinds of discussions.

Yes, being a doormat is bad in pretty much every way, but the affaired against spouse often finds themselves in that situation, often times not even knowing about it at first.


Quote:

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Once an affair is entrenched, and the affairing partner has decided to pursue the affair rather than work on the marriage, the affaired against partner is in a tough spot.
Yup. Tis a tough space.

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
I agree they should wake up and start making changes, but at that point, it has to be entirely for themselves.
I gather you mean by that word "entrenched" that the affairing partner is definitely committed to the new partner and they are heading toward Vintage Love.

By the way, the way I see it is that affairs, like Romantic Love, have a clock running until the "dream" collapses or wears off. The way I see it is during the first bit of an affair the affairing partner is comparing the dork-at-home to the dreamboat before them. But dreamboats are bullshinola and fall apart under the light of experience. So then the affairing partner begins to compare the dork-at-home to the dork-before-them.


Right. The affairing partner does often keep and eye on their spouse, particularly if they think their spouse might be slipping away.

Quote:

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Let the affairing partner go, become unavailable to them, work on yourself, and live the best life you can. If the affairing partner chooses to notice (they usually do), and if you are starting to look like a superior choice to the affair partner, you are back in the game, and the tables are turned.
Tis possible we are pretty close in our views. A dork-at-home who is working on him/herself is worth dorks-before-you who are still asleep.

But I wanna focus on that "letting your partner go" bit. You gotta do this anyway. This is part of growing up, learning all about letting people go. Part of learning to respect them.


I find letting them go to be as much about getting back your self respect as it is about respecting them, but I see what you mean.


Quote:

And the "working on your self for your own benefit" bit. This onion called working-on-yourself is a project with many dimensions. Where do you start? I believe that clearly the dimensions to first work on are the ones lit up, focused on, by your partner's frustrated and rejecting behavior. That behavior is in the past. It is in the present found in the kind of person they select to affair with, and hopefully in the future. I believe the details of your partner's rejection of you often point acutely at the specific first things you need to work on. True in the long run all of this benefits you. Tis just a matter of finding the gold in your partner's cues.


Agree 100%. I was never so clear about what I needed to fix in myself as when I found out my wife was having an affair and then decided to leave.


Quote:

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Instead of thinking of the affair partner as the most powerful person in the equation, you need to embrace YOURSELF as the most powerful person in the equation. That sort of thinking will lead to good things, regardless of what happens to your marriage.
I am completely with this. I would edit the phrase "most available and potentially powerful person." Of course if you don't wake up - you got nothing, I fear.


If your wife having an affair and leaving doesn't wake you up, nothing will!
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 06:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
I still have a question: why did the already-divorced women terrify you, but the still-married-but-willing-to get involved women didn't?
Well, I was in my 30s. A woman that age who had never been married was scary cuz "what the hell had they been doing for 15 years or so?" Many I met had big chips on their shoulders from childhood. Didn't mean this couldn't all be worked out, but it seemed a bit daunting. Women who had been relatively recently and solidly divorced seemed often to be peaches-and-cream with rage-at-men just under the surface. I had a real fear of people who might smile as they cut your throat.

I don't think at the time I was looking for an "easy woman." At this point I realize I wouldn't have ever been attracted to one. Not my Imago Match at all.

The ones in a relationship (married or not) were often curious and learning and relatively open to exploring better relationships skills. At the time I sure knew I had a lot to learn, too. I found those people really easy to be around (men or women).

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
I've heard that some men find wearing a wedding ring actually helps them pick up women, supposedly because the women are looking for something guaranteed to be casual, or something, I dunno.
Heck, I've heard of men who pretend to be gay because women sometimes see that as safe and attractive. Of course I am/was not into quantity. I have always been a clinger and wanting a solid partner. (I tried a few one-nighters, but that for me was no fun at all. I'm clearly not part of the pick-up community.)
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 06:39 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Yes, being a doormat is bad in pretty much every way, but the affaired against spouse often finds themselves in that situation, often times not even knowing about it at first.
Yup, you make wake up and discover you are being used as a doormat, but you do not have to be a doormat. Frequently a person may find that the leaving partner had been a doormat for years and has awoken before them. I recommend that no one ever takes on the role of doormat. What's the phrase? Oh. "Never let anyone disrespect you." Followed by, "A true man never allows anyone to be disrespected in his presence." Switch man and woman in that phrase and you have my belief.

Good thinking, my friend. All of your posting.
Posted By: black_raven

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/17/11 11:46 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing.



Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I do reconsider the place of the other man or other woman. In fact when I was single, after a 17 year marriage, I was aware that all the great w mad omen out there would not be single. They would be in a marriage. I was going to have to be the other man. I had to be ready to offer a better "product" than the guy at home. In many cases that might not be very difficult, I fear. It didn't mean I would be attracted to that woman, tho.


eek eek mad

My eyes are bleeding... shocked

Wayward and wayward!!!




Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 02:45 AM

Originally Posted By: black_raven
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing.



Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I do reconsider the place of the other man or other woman. In fact when I was single, after a 17 year marriage, I was aware that all the great w mad omen out there would not be single. They would be in a marriage. I was going to have to be the other man. I had to be ready to offer a better "product" than the guy at home. In many cases that might not be very difficult, I fear. It didn't mean I would be attracted to that woman, tho.


eek eek mad

My eyes are bleeding... shocked

Wayward and wayward!!!


I think Al's stuff can be a bit jarring for those who have come from the MB forum - makes the lizard a trifle anxious.

I have found Al's stuff enormously helpful. He starts at the beginning which is a very good place to start. For me, the MB program kept/keeps Lizzy in a constant state of extreme agitation - "have you cleaned the house meeting DS, had SF 3 times in the last 7 days, participated in X hours of RC whether you wanted to or not, etc."

Lizzy NEVER looks at what she's done to ensure safety - she is prospective only. For someone with my personality profile, the MB program is one long nightmare of quantifiable failure.

I believe the MB concepts have merit. But they aren't the only concepts out there with merit.

Al starts with friending your own lizard, never mind your spouse's. That only SOUNDS easy.

Based upon the quotes you chose, it is clear to me that you were searching for sound bites to support a pre-existing position and weren't really reading for content.

The content is life changing - consider being open to it.


Posted By: black_raven

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 03:58 AM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: black_raven
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Of course I don't see an affair as a bad thing.



Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I do reconsider the place of the other man or other woman. In fact when I was single, after a 17 year marriage, I was aware that all the great w mad omen out there would not be single. They would be in a marriage. I was going to have to be the other man. I had to be ready to offer a better "product" than the guy at home. In many cases that might not be very difficult, I fear. It didn't mean I would be attracted to that woman, tho.


eek eek mad

My eyes are bleeding... shocked

Wayward and wayward!!!


I think Al's stuff can be a bit jarring for those who have come from the MB forum - makes the lizard a trifle anxious.

I have found Al's stuff enormously helpful. He starts at the beginning which is a very good place to start. For me, the MB program kept/keeps Lizzy in a constant state of extreme agitation - "have you cleaned the house meeting DS, had SF 3 times in the last 7 days, participated in X hours of RC whether you wanted to or not, etc."

Lizzy NEVER looks at what she's done to ensure safety - she is prospective only. For someone with my personality profile, the MB program is one long nightmare of quantifiable failure.

I believe the MB concepts have merit. But they aren't the only concepts out there with merit.

Al starts with friending your own lizard, never mind your spouse's. That only SOUNDS easy.

Based upon the quotes you chose, it is clear to me that you were searching for sound bites to support a pre-existing position and weren't really reading for content.

The content is life changing - consider being open to it.




I do not recognize your poster name from MB so I have no idea who I am addressing but you make a lot of assumptions about what I believe and don't.

When Medc and Vit took exception to at least one of those comments you didn't say anything. I find them offensive and morally disturbing...all the other content becomes fluff at that point. If holding that belief is a pre-existing condition then it is one I have had long before my arrival at MB and is still a condition I am gladly afflicting with.

Posted By: CajunRose

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 04:26 AM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
No matter what I did, my wife never seemed to trust me. She would accuse me of having intentions of malice, and although I wasn't perfect, I never had any malicious thoughts or intentions toward her. Closed sometimes, inconsiderate sometimes, grumpy sometimes, but never malicious. We talk here about pre-validating, but what I lived with was someone who presumes malice of thought in those around her, and pre-attacks. I can't count how many times I got accused and attacked out of thin air. Worse yet, nothing I could say or do would ever convince her her assumptions were wrong. Tough way to live.

Maybe there is some strategy I could work to break that core insecurity and suspicion inside her, but I've never been able to find it, and neither has anyone in her family.

Truthfully, in my distance from her now, I am left with much sympathy for her. She is so lonely.

futureunknown, you just described my xH. Frustrating in the extreme to realize that every assumption he made (and still makes) about me and is geared to paint me in the worst possible light. Since those thoughts never crossed my mind, I was usually blindsided by the accusations and his subsequent actions/reactions.

For a while I've considered this to be projection - he knows that in situation X he's capable of doing Y, so he assumes that I would do Y. For him, I think there is some truth in this, but I was taken aback a bit by LG's followup observation that this sounds like classic Avoider techniques.

I did notice that the more unhappy my xH was (not necessarily with me), the worse the assumptions about me.

Could it be that simple? Were the nasty assumptions a preemptive strike - "if I assume you're awful, then I won't get close to you, and then you can't disappoint me and hurt me more"? And if I'm defending myself against something, then I don't have the time and energy to be forcing him to think about/talk about/engage with some other conversation that he didn't/doesn't want to have. Hmmm....
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 05:17 AM

Originally Posted By: black_raven

I do not recognize your poster name from MB so I have no idea who I am addressing


I wonder why it matters but my name was saddestwife then seeking balance. You weren't all that fond of me.

Originally Posted By: black_raven
. but you make a lot of assumptions about what I believe and don't.


I apologize. Will you share with me where my assumptions were wrong?

Originally Posted By: black_raven
When Medc and Vit took exception to at least one of those comments you didn't say anything. I find them offensive and morally disturbing...all the other content becomes fluff at that point. If holding that belief is a pre-existing condition then it is one I have had long before my arrival at MB and is still a condition I am gladly afflicting with.


I don't post to Medc nor does he post to me, and I am of the belief that Vitt and Al are in conversation about the points of misunderstanding.

Possibly if you would read the whole of Al's work you would see some of inflammatory statements in context and be more open to finding your truth in them.

I don't understand dismissing the entire body of work because you experience one part of it as fluff, but I know you amending the best you can and that reasoning makes perfect sense to you.
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 05:33 AM

CR

Its probably some of both. My wife is a major avoider and assuming the very worst of my intentions. It would stop me dead in my tracks,Put me on my back foot and make me say things like " i never meant for it like that" Im on the defensive and immediately she has space / distance. Just what she wanted

Now i see them coming a bit better and i make my communication simpler and clearer
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 08:05 AM

Hi Black_Raven.

I'm on the same page as Vitt and MEDC and you -----and me a FWWW
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 01:50 PM

Originally Posted By: black_raven
eek eek mad My eyes are bleeding... shocked Wayward and wayward!!!
Oh, Please take care of your eyes.

One of the advantages of working for so many couples is that you get to see a broad spectrum of belief systems. And my goal is to affirm them.

I imagine, black_raven, you speak up for many people. The state of relationships and marriages seem horrifying. These situations, I find, truly scare and sadden many people.

Please respect yourself.

And thanks for speaking up here.

Oh, and I like your 'name'. Raven are both a frequent visitor here but is also a powerful totem to me.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 02:20 PM

Originally Posted By: CajunRose
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
No matter what I did, my wife never seemed to trust me. She would accuse me of having intentions of malice......Truthfully, in my distance from her now, I am left with much sympathy for her. She is so lonely.

futureunknown, you just described my xH. Frustrating in the extreme to realize that every assumption he made (and still makes) about me and is geared to paint me in the worst possible light.


A common problem with two components, as I see it. I'd like to PreValidate the person who does this "misunderstanding to the negative" and the person "who get's defensive." Add the two problems together and they make for a "merry mess."

One part is purely a Lizard function. I found that a frightened person will almost always jump to the most negative conclusion possible. The way I see it, the Lizard is not too smart. If something is "going on," then the safest route is to consider it to be the worst. Plan on that and, while you may be wrong, at least you'll survive. Apparently all Lizards who misunderstood things equally to the negative and to the positive died out a long time ago. smile

I think we have to listen to our selves, notice our assumptions, plan on them exaggerating the negative, and deal with our own thought accordingly. It sounds like this, "When you did that, my mind jumped to these pretty wild conclusions. Regardless, tell me more about what is going on for you."

You can see all about this in Topic #1 - Friend your Lizard.

Now to the defensive person. First thought is that getting defensive in front of a person who's Lizard is active is a good way to further frighten their Lizard. So it not only doesn't work but makes things worse.

But why do it anyway? (Remember I am PreValidating.) I fear that it is part of the Power Struggle and the world of Master/Slave (Topic #3). As a kid lots of people have their self-esteem pretty well smashed. Seems sad, but true. My definitions are "High Self-esteem means I like/respect myself even when other's hate me." "Low Self-esteem means I like/respect myself if others like or respect me." I find that the Slave portion of ourselves has very Low Self-esteem, and offers itself up to Masters and Passive Masters.

Thus when someone "defines me in a negative way" I can assume that their Lizard is triggered and I have to protect myself from their attempt to take away my self power - (probably cuz they feel powerless).

Thus using my model, in your stories your partner's sound as if they are in the Master or Passive/Master positions and you are occupying the Slave position. The only positive response is in Friend-Friend and good Boundary Skills. "Wow, share more about what is going on in you, cuz over here I am doing my best."
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 03:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Manup
My wife is a major avoider
Great. Then you know what to do to solve that problem.

Originally Posted By: Manup
and assuming the very worst of my intentions.
Yup. Lizard plus Master or Passive/Master. I find one helpful clue is that they usually state their assumptions as MasterTalk. Another is that they use temper. Final clue I am aware they do not know who I am nor seem to care. If I become sensitive/aware to the MasterTalk, then I am alerted to getting out my Boundary Skills/soldiers.

Originally Posted By: Manup
It would stop me dead in my tracks,Put me on my back foot and make me say things like " i never meant for it like that" Im on the defensive and immediately she has space / distance.
Yup. You slide into Slave position, and maybe start placating behavior. You may try to share who you are, but at that point she may not be interested in listening. Note that she needed Space anyway and by bullying you she got it. Better to give space easily so that it doesn't become a power battle. Try to remember not to conflate/mix those two separate issues: space and bullying.

Originally Posted By: Manup
Just what she wanted.
Well, of course, except that she will experience her bullying as successful and thus do it again. For those of you who's partners (or yourselves) do things repeatedly, it is because it works or you fantasize that it works. Simple Rule in nature: "If it works, do it again."

Solve the Space issue (Topic 2) and the Bullying issue (Topic 3) and there may be only little stuff left to clean up.

Keep going.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 05:54 PM

I believe an A to be wrong in all circumstances. I also believe that the inability to see any viewpoint or thought except one's own (or even a professional's) is pretty much always short-sighted with the potential for self-righteousness at the very least.

It is possible to believe infidelity is wrong without dotting one particular i and crossing one particular t.

But this thread is about chasing one's partner away. And I am one who feels remorse when I know my own ....um....vehemence has chased away someone.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 06:05 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: CajunRose
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
No matter what I did, my wife never seemed to trust me. She would accuse me of having intentions of malice......Truthfully, in my distance from her now, I am left with much sympathy for her. She is so lonely.

futureunknown, you just described my xH. Frustrating in the extreme to realize that every assumption he made (and still makes) about me and is geared to paint me in the worst possible light.


A common problem with two components, as I see it. I'd like to PreValidate the person who does this "misunderstanding to the negative" and the person "who get's defensive." Add the two problems together and they make for a "merry mess."

One part is purely a Lizard function. I found that a frightened person will almost always jump to the most negative conclusion possible. The way I see it, the Lizard is not too smart. If something is "going on," then the safest route is to consider it to be the worst. Plan on that and, while you may be wrong, at least you'll survive. Apparently all Lizards who misunderstood things equally to the negative and to the positive died out a long time ago. smile

I think we have to listen to our selves, notice our assumptions, plan on them exaggerating the negative, and deal with our own thought accordingly. It sounds like this, "When you did that, my mind jumped to these pretty wild conclusions. Regardless, tell me more about what is going on for you."

You can see all about this in Topic #1 - Friend your Lizard.

Now to the defensive person. First thought is that getting defensive in front of a person who's Lizard is active is a good way to further frighten their Lizard. So it not only doesn't work but makes things worse.

But why do it anyway? (Remember I am PreValidating.) I fear that it is part of the Power Struggle and the world of Master/Slave (Topic #3). As a kid lots of people have their self-esteem pretty well smashed. Seems sad, but true. My definitions are "High Self-esteem means I like/respect myself even when other's hate me." "Low Self-esteem means I like/respect myself if others like or respect me." I find that the Slave portion of ourselves has very Low Self-esteem, and offers itself up to Masters and Passive Masters.

Thus when someone "defines me in a negative way" I can assume that their Lizard is triggered and I have to protect myself from their attempt to take away my self power - (probably cuz they feel powerless).

Thus using my model, in your stories your partner's sound as if they are in the Master or Passive/Master positions and you are occupying the Slave position. The only positive response is in Friend-Friend and good Boundary Skills. "Wow, share more about what is going on in you, cuz over here I am doing my best."


As I read this I thought about my cat. As a kitten, she was a stray, living by her wits, until brought into a shelter, where she was adopted by my W and me. I've never seen even a glimmer of aggression in her, but she's what is called a "scaredy-cat". She perceives every situation as a threat, until she is very sure everything is safe, and then she is as nice as can be. The thing is, I've had her for almost 15 years now, and I've never been anything but kind to her, and although she seems least reactive to me, whenever I walk into the room, her first reaction is one of fear and alarm. Once she sees it's me, she calms down fast, but if it's anyone else, she bolts.

I admit, it's frustrating that she seems incapable of accepting that she is safe in my home, but it's who she is. I have made the most progress with her because I never pursue her, and just let her deal with situations the way she does. The kids pursue, and she fears them very much.

I'll also admit, if her fear was expressed as aggression, hissing and biting and clawing when alarmed, I'd have a much harder time being tolerant of it. Because she is so gentle, my instinct is to protect her.

Hmmm...
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 08:38 PM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
I believe an A to be wrong in all circumstances.
Actually I think we agree on this one.

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
I also believe that the inability to see any viewpoint or thought except one's own (or even a professional's) is pretty much always short-sighted with the potential for self-righteousness at the very least.
Yup. Also I think it is dumb - i.e. leads to consequences that one does not want. I tend to call anyone who is doing this, including myself, "blind." Tho I believe there are lots of reasons why people can get temporarily blind.

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
It is possible to believe infidelity is wrong without dotting one particular i and crossing one particular t.
Sure. I will fight for the right of people to believe that. Tis part of being an American, I think.

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
But this thread is about chasing one's partner away. And I am one who feels remorse when I know my own ....um....vehemence has chased away someone.
Yup. I encourage the value of sharing your beliefs, as fervently as you wish, while simultaneously respecting those who disagree a lot, a little, or just temporarily don't want to take a position - state their belief.

I think this is really part of Topic #3. Thanks for keeping your sharing brief here.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 08:50 PM

I love all I have learned from cats. One thought I had about your stray and "but it's who she is," is that it is sometimes more easy to see in cats (other pets) what their life was like before we met them and how that past, which we didn't share, profoundly affects the way they react to us.

I've been told that most of the material that Lizards use to inform their actions actually occurred before age 4 or so. I don't believe it is quite that simple.

Still, when I witness a scaredy human, I quickly start imagining their past life. When I am creating a plan to make them feel safe, I include their past as well as their present in my thinking.

One of my own Lizard rules is that "Lizards have no sense of time." They react to a reminder of something that happened to them 30 years ago as if the thing is happening now. The rule helps me understand cats and humans - especially my partner.
Posted By: black_raven

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 10:15 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: black_raven

I do not recognize your poster name from MB so I have no idea who I am addressing


I wonder why it matters but my name was saddestwife then seeking balance. You weren't all that fond of me.


You said, "I think Al's stuff can be a bit jarring for those who have come from the MB forum - makes the lizard a trifle anxious." You obviously know I come from MB so I was wondering who I was addressing. No mystery here...I like to know who I am "talking" to. Thank you for telling me.

Originally Posted By: black_raven
. but you make a lot of assumptions about what I believe and don't.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I apologize. Will you share with me where my assumptions were wrong?


That I must be anxious, have misunderstood what I read, am close minded because I disagree...basically everything you wrote when you responded to me.

I have no idea what I am "amending" means. There is not one part fluff here...most of it is fluff, psychobabble or whatever word describes it. The points that have merit don't really mean much when followed by comments like that...it's no different than the apology that has a "but" attached to it. Either you are sorry or you aren't. I like simple and direct...we obviously differ here.


Posted By: black_raven

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 10:18 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: black_raven
eek eek mad My eyes are bleeding... shocked Wayward and wayward!!!
Oh, Please take care of your eyes.

One of the advantages of working for so many couples is that you get to see a broad spectrum of belief systems. And my goal is to affirm them.

I imagine, black_raven, you speak up for many people. The state of relationships and marriages seem horrifying. These situations, I find, truly scare and sadden many people.

Please respect yourself.

And thanks for speaking up here.

Oh, and I like your 'name'. Raven are both a frequent visitor here but is also a powerful totem to me.


I respect myself plenty and will always speak up...no worries there.

Removing myself from this thread...
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 10:33 PM

Originally Posted By: black_raven


I respect myself plenty and will always speak up...no worries there.

Removing myself from this thread...
_____________________________
Get off my lawn!!


What was that all about? confused (Is it too late for "good-bye"?)
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 11:37 PM

Originally Posted By: black_raven
have no idea what I am "amending" means.


Amending=IPad predictive text for "are doing." By the time I noticed it the edit period had passed.

As amended with "are doing", what I said does sound patronizing. One of Al's tenets is that all people are doing the best the can and make sense to themselves so I work on applying that. I see there is room for different interpretations of the intention behind those words. I'm from the South -- you know "the poor dear" can mean different things depending on emphasis.

When I read Al's material the first time I was struck by the differences between his approach and what I experienced at MB. I made an assumption that you had the same reaction, and I was hoping to offset that a bit.

I'm sorry you found what I said off putting. I think Al's stuff is so terrific I want it for everyone. No future in marketing for me.....
Posted By: Manup

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/18/11 11:44 PM

I think someone stepped on his lawn.

cry
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/19/11 12:48 AM

Originally Posted By: black_raven
Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Originally Posted By: black_raven

I do not recognize your poster name from MB so I have no idea who I am addressing


I wonder why it matters but my name was saddestwife then seeking balance. You weren't all that fond of me.


You said, "I think Al's stuff can be a bit jarring for those who have come from the MB forum - makes the lizard a trifle anxious." You obviously know I come from MB so I was wondering who I was addressing. No mystery here...I like to know who I am "talking" to. Thank you for telling me.

Originally Posted By: black_raven
. but you make a lot of assumptions about what I believe and don't.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I apologize. Will you share with me where my assumptions were wrong?


That I must be anxious, have misunderstood what I read, am close minded because I disagree...basically everything you wrote when you responded to me.

I have no idea what I am "amending" means. There is not one part fluff here...most of it is fluff, psychobabble or whatever word describes it. The points that have merit don't really mean much when followed by comments like that...it's no different than the apology that has a "but" attached to it. Either you are sorry or you aren't. I like simple and direct...we obviously differ here.




I'm finding it valuable to sort through my reactions to your recent exchanges with Al and LG, Raven. I like your strong opinions. I hope you'll stick around.

When I saw your comment saying 'most of it' is fluff or psychobabble, I wondered what in particular you were referring to. I understood that you were dismissing something as not having any value but I'm not sure what or why. I'd like to hear more.

I also noticed I found Al's request to you that you 'Please respect yourself', a little off putting. I wondered why. When I reflected on it, I concluded I heard in those words an implication that Al thought, for some reason, something you wrote earlier reflected a lack of self-respect. I realized that's not exactly what he said when I read the exchange again but I noticed it came across that way to me and it left me asking myself if that's what he had intended to communicate. I doubt it but I thought you might have read it that way too. If you did, I can see how that might piss you off.

Hope to hear more from you sometime.

Posted By: Don Quixote

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/21/11 08:23 PM

I haven't been on here in awhile. I had been doing really well. I sent a short email about 6 weeks ago and she never responded. That was ok because I've been moving on. This weekend I saw her out walking and basically cuddling while he kissed her on her head. She didn't see me but my lizard was in full freak out mode. So, I sent a 2 page letter telling her all the things I've thought about in the last 6 months. This was definitely a set back on a number of levels.

Having to see her happy with someone else definitely set me back emotionally. They were walking around like they've been dating for 6 months and have only even known each other for 2 weeks.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/22/11 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
She didn't see me but my lizard was in full freak out mode.
Yup. Lizard is gonna do that. Of course it doesn't know what to do. Lots of need for good learning to decide what to do.

My guess is that you've learned that you are still in the middle of "moving away."

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
So, I sent a 2 page letter telling her all the things I've thought about in the last 6 months. This was definitely a set back on a number of levels.
Long letter may not have been a good idea, though 2 pages is better often than 10 pages. We don't know if she is currently into listening to you at all, or is currently stacking up the points against you, or perhaps is beginning to stack up points against the new guy. At least we know she can be/appear happy.

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
Having to see her happy with someone else definitely set me back emotionally. They were walking around like they've been dating for 6 months and have only even known each other for 2 weeks.
Romantic love is beautiful, and amazing, but probably not from where you sit, right now.

Here are my thoughts. Well, got a few lessons for yourself. She is still capable of being happy. She's into Romantic Love, which doesn't last long. Your Lizard still thinks that her leaving you is gonna kill you. It ain't.

Now's a time to grieve, take care of your Lizard, learn more about what your part was in blowing this relationship to this point, and get ready to do better. The clock on Romantic Love is ticking for her. That's how I see it. Don't try to compete with that energy. Patience.

Hang in there, Don Quixote.

Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/22/11 05:13 PM

Great response, Al!

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Don Quixote

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/23/11 01:22 AM

Yes, thank you so much for that. I felt like I was punched in the stomach all day and my chest was burning, like I was having an anxiety attack all day. I couldn't focus at work. So I made a counseling appointment for tomorrow because I'm absolutely sick of feeling this way. I get free counseling at work.

But you're right I wish I could see it that way in the moment. It didn't help I had been out with my friends having a drink or to. Alcohol really amplifies your emotions and sends you (or at least me) into a slight depression the next day. Which is when I sent that regrettable letter.

I guess I should be grateful if she is stacking points up. I treated her quite well. I never even as so much raised my voice to her during our relationship. Instead I lacked the ability to take care of my self during a very stressful period of my life (its was stressful for her too). I obsessed with school because I had to be. Unfortunately,that lead to me gaining weight and becoming a slight slob. Hence her attraction really started diminishing towards me. It was really hard to put my energy into so many things. I felt like I could only do so much.

I've thought about what I contributed to things going wrong. The part that's hard now is facing the need to either move on or for her to see what I have accomplished (the patience is not easy). I've lost 20 pounds and picked up a new sport (rock climbing) to stay active and I've fallen in love with it. It puts my mind at ease, so as you can imagine I've been trying to go as much as possible. Not to mention I've worked diligently to make sure my apartment is no longer messy. I keep it clean now, even when no one is looking, haha.

How did you get so calm? I need to practice this more. Just the way you view things brings my anxiety crashing back down to reality. I will be printing your post off and putting it some place. To remind me of what my lizard felt like during this moment and what brought me back a sense of calm.

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/23/11 02:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Don Quixote
How did you get so calm? I need to practice this more. Just the way you view things brings my anxiety crashing back down to reality. I will be printing your post off and putting it some place. To remind me of what my lizard felt like during this moment and what brought me back a sense of calm.
I could say that I've learned a lot about boundaries, etc. but I think the truth is that I've just collected a many- long-year pile of scars from doing things that I thought were a good idea and that proved to be stupid. Perhaps it's just those old scars that help me stay peaceful.

(Perhaps all this is your problem and not mine.) Not sure. Keep hanging in there.
Posted By: poet

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/23/11 03:48 PM

My problem is not so much freaking out anymore, but more of a flashdance frozen mode (no movement). He calls to talk to me on the phone (business, of course) and I freeze and don't answer. I don't call him back because there's really nothing to say.

What now?

poet
Posted By: 2long

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/23/11 05:23 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I could say that I've learned a lot about boundaries, etc. but I think the truth is that I've just collected a many- long-year pile of scars from doing things that I thought were a good idea and that proved to be stupid.


In my line of work (I really am a Rocket Scientist) it is often said that "we learn more from our failures than our successes". That is definitely true, I just wish the education wasn't so expensive! grin

-ol' 2long
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/23/11 07:16 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
In my line of work (I really am a Rocket Scientist) it is often said that "we learn more from our failures than our successes". That is definitely true, I just wish the education wasn't so expensive!
Great pondering. At some point I took an graduate degree in Education. The most powerful lesson I received is that there is not such thing as education. There is only learning. A "good" teacher places a student in a situation which they cannot get out of without learning. So for me the wisdom (and I guess that's what we are talking about) is to heck with education and to focus on learning.

Next thought. Long time ago I read a wonderful SciFi book called The Voyage of the Space Beagle. Long before Startrek, this book had a wandering spaceship manned in a fashion similar to a college. There were Biology, Math, Physics, etc. departments. Each department had its own myopic blindness - blindness to the wisdom in other departments. The story presented various crises to the ship, as it wandered through the cosmos. On board was one Nexialist. I think the author was teaching that specialization creates great risks. The Nexialist was trained in the overlappings and non-overlappings of various fields of science. AND the Nexialist was a specialist in Learning - knew how to learn like lightning. Of course every crisis was solved by the Nexialist inspite of the hidebound specialists and he (yeah, gals, twas written in the 50s I think) became elected as ship's captain.

I recall reading the book, about 1968, and determining that I was going to learn how to learn, and get really good at it.

My wisdom is that when pain shows up, I shift into a hyper-learning mode, one that fits my personal style. This I have discovered is the way to dig the gold out of all the pains. Learn like crazy in order to reduce the pain. Seems to me that anything I do to slow down my learning, just makes the pain last longer.

Just a thought.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/23/11 07:22 PM

Originally Posted By: poet1
My problem is not so much freaking out anymore, but more of a flashdance frozen mode (no movement). He calls to talk to me on the phone (business, of course) and I freeze and don't answer. I don't call him back because there's really nothing to say. What now? poet
First of all I like your name. I recall it as about poetry and also about POETS (piss on everything tomorrow is Saturday).

Next I hear just a bit about this "frozen mode of flashdance." My curious brain asks, "Is this your goal?" or "What do you want to have happen?" Once I have a idea of what you want, then I would be curious about how long you've been in this frozenness? How long were you together with this guy? How old are you? And back again to "what do you want to have happen?"

You say you are over him, and I don't believe it, yet.

I'm glad you've dropped by.
Posted By: poet

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/24/11 01:57 AM

"...also about POETS (piss on everything tomorrow is Saturday)."

Like I said, this made me giggle. It's good to have a good giggle once in a while.

"Next I hear just a bit about this "frozen mode of flashdance." My curious brain asks, 'Is this your goal?' or 'What do you want to have happen?'"

No Turtle, it is not my goal...but I've been here for a while. I mean, it's difficult to thaw out when one has been dark for almost three years. (You do know what "dark" means right? It's a DB code for not letting your soon-to-be-ex, or ex see you, hear you or know anything about you).

What do I want to have happen? That's a very good question. I've been in limbo so long, I think I've gotten used to being *stuck.*

When he left, I thought I wanted him back... I was deliriously anxiety ridden and went to EMDR therapy (are you familiar with it)? I found out I had complex PTSS, but have mostly recovered. What I wanted then and what I want now are two different things. Now, I just want to be happy. I would love to have someone else in my life though I do not think I'm ready for it, emotionally maybe, but not physically. Do I want the ex to be my friend? Well, I would have liked that, but I know it is impossible for he is a lost soul. And, yes, I mean that. It is not simply a conjecture, or an opinion, but more of an observation.

This frozenness, as I said is about three years old. We are quite recently divorced, June 1st. We were together for a little more than 14 years. There were no children. He is 60. Me, well....a lady never gives her age, so I'm sorry if you are curious about that! smile

In my wildest dreams, what I would want to have happen is for him to realize he has a problem, go to serious counseling and get help. I know this is never going to happen because he's been who he is forever.

If I could wave a magic wand, I'd spend six months at a spa or fitness center getting myself back on track physically, and then I'd go walking the Appalachian Trail in search of my new emotionally fit man! smile

How's that for an answer???

Am I over him? Probably not...but my head knows he's poison to me...not anything I've never experienced before. Seems like I'm a magnent for attracting the bad boys. Go figure. I've turned to God! Do you believe me now?

I'm glad you're glad I dropped by. I'm glad to make your acquaintence. I'm sorry for Raven. I wish he weren't hurting so badly. I can feel it through the computer and his words scream hurt to me. I feel the anxiety. I've been there myself from these kinds of boards. Wish it wasn't so, but it is what it is...

peace,
poet

Posted By: black_raven

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/24/11 08:27 PM

Originally Posted By: poet1
I'm sorry for Raven. I wish he weren't hurting so badly. I can feel it through the computer and his words scream hurt to me. I feel the anxiety. I've been there myself from these kinds of boards. Wish it wasn't so, but it is what it is...


No need to feel sorry for me...I am quite well. I am not sure why you think my words scream hurt and anxiety...my stbx's did hurt me but the wounds are healing and I feel better than I have felt in years. I am not a "he" either BTW.

No magic wand, get thee to a fitness center. Exercise was of great benefit to my healing and still is. Make it happen...you will look and feel better. smile

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 02:53 AM

Originally Posted By: poet1
No Turtle, it is not my goal...but I've been here for a while. I mean, it's difficult to thaw out when one has been dark for almost three years. (You do know what "dark" means right? It's a DB code for not letting your soon-to-be-ex, or ex see you, hear you or know anything about you).
Interesting. Three years seems like a long time. I don't particularly like the "DB going dark" stuff.

Originally Posted By: poet1
What do I want to have happen? That's a very good question. I've been in limbo so long, I think I've gotten used to being *stuck.*
Being "stuck" sounds too much to me like being depressed. I don't encourage being stuck. Hell of a way to run a life.

Originally Posted By: poet1
When he left, I thought I wanted him back... I was deliriously anxiety ridden and went to EMDR therapy (are you familiar with it)? I found out I had complex PTSS, but have mostly recovered.
Good for you for getting help with that. Yup I know about EMDR. Can be very helpful.

Originally Posted By: poet1
What I wanted then and what I want now are two different things. Now, I just want to be happy.
In the long run, I don't think that is a good enough goal. Sounds a bit like being stuck with some good chemicals that put a smile on your face. My hesitancy probably involves a lot of my awareness of what makes people feel happy.

Originally Posted By: poet1
I would love to have someone else in my life though I do not think I'm ready for it, emotionally maybe, but not physically.
I hear you. What makes you so "fragile?" I'm just wondering.

Originally Posted By: poet1
Do I want the ex to be my friend? Well, I would have liked that, but I know it is impossible for he is a lost soul. And, yes, I mean that. It is not simply a conjecture, or an opinion, but more of an observation.
Again I hear you. I don't agree with you. Of course I do not see what you've seen. I just have my thoughts and experiences about "lost souls." But I am more concerned about you, the person who picked a "lost soul."

Originally Posted By: poet1
This frozenness, as I said is about three years old. We are quite recently divorced, June 1st. We were together for a little more than 14 years. There were no children. He is 60. Me, well....a lady never gives her age, so I'm sorry if you are curious about that! smile
I bet the frozenness goes back a heck of a lot more than 3 years. Just a guess. If it does, wonder what challenge you have to unfreeze more successfully. I don't think people are supposed to live life frozen.

Originally Posted By: poet1
In my wildest dreams, what I would want to have happen is for him to realize he has a problem, go to serious counseling and get help. I know this is never going to happen because he's been who he is forever.
"Never" is a longish word. But again, I am more interested in that gal who picked him. What is her life, hhmmmm, script, or path?

Originally Posted By: poet1
If I could wave a magic wand, I'd spend six months at a spa or fitness center getting myself back on track physically, and then I'd go walking the Appalachian Trail in search of my new emotionally fit man! smile
Sounds like a good place to start, if you can afford that kind of support. I'd start today.

Originally Posted By: poet1
How's that for an answer???
Great start of an answer. I'm still curious about you.

Originally Posted By: poet1
Am I over him? Probably not...but my head knows he's poison to me...not anything I've never experienced before. Seems like I'm a magnent for attracting the bad boys. Go figure. I've turned to God! Do you believe me now?
Now this is exciting, a "magnet" for bad boys. Lots of them out there, magnets and bad boys, and all are different. How'd you get that way?

Originally Posted By: poet1
I'm glad you're glad I dropped by. I'm glad to make your acquaintance. I'm sorry for Raven. I wish he weren't hurting so badly. I can feel it through the computer and his words scream hurt to me. I feel the anxiety. I've been there myself from these kinds of boards. Wish it wasn't so, but it is what it is...
Oh even more exciting. Are you a really sensitive person? Can you read feelings in people really easily? A great skill, tho you may need extra boundary skills to manage it and have peace for yourself. Can't rescue others, till you are fairly sure about yourself, I believe.

Thanks for sharing so much.
Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 02:35 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: poet1
No Turtle, it is not my goal...but I've been here for a while. I mean, it's difficult to thaw out when one has been dark for almost three years. (You do know what "dark" means right? It's a DB code for not letting your soon-to-be-ex, or ex see you, hear you or know anything about you).
Interesting. Three years seems like a long time. I don't particularly like the "DB going dark" stuff.


Al, I can see you don't like the idea of going dark, but what value is there in continuing to expose yourself to someone who doesn't value you?

I feel like the greatest revelation I've had in my situation is that I have the power to remove myself from such relationships.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 02:58 PM

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Al, I can see you don't like the idea of going dark, but what value is there in continuing to expose yourself to someone who doesn't value you?
I see absolutely no reason to stay where you are not valued, particularly if you see no way toward becoming valued. At the same time, I don't think anyone is entitled to feeling valued - except children. Walking away doesn't seem to me a very practical way of becoming valued. It seems a way to be alone.

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
I feel like the greatest revelation I've had in my situation is that I have the power to remove myself from such relationships.
I love this. A great expression of a core principle and skill of boundaries. Since you call this a "revelation" I guess you were not taught this as a kid. I certainly wasn't.

Glad you have it in your tool kit now. If it takes a 3 or 10 year dark period to learn this tool, I think it might be worth it.
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 03:13 PM

Future,

I love the visual of you as a magnet for 'bad boys'. Made my day!

Posted By: futureunknown

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 03:51 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: futureunknown
Al, I can see you don't like the idea of going dark, but what value is there in continuing to expose yourself to someone who doesn't value you?
I see absolutely no reason to stay where you are not valued, particularly if you see no way toward becoming valued. At the same time, I don't think anyone is entitled to feeling valued - except children. Walking away doesn't seem to me a very practical way of becoming valued. It seems a way to be alone.


I'm not entitled to feel valued, I just prefer it, and I have the power of choice. Walking away from something bad is often necessary before walking toward something better.

Quote:

Originally Posted By: futureunknown
I feel like the greatest revelation I've had in my situation is that I have the power to remove myself from such relationships.
I love this. A great expression of a core principle and skill of boundaries. Since you call this a "revelation" I guess you were not taught this as a kid. I certainly wasn't.

Glad you have it in your tool kit now. If it takes a 3 or 10 year dark period to learn this tool, I think it might be worth it.


No, I wasn't taught this. Took me 40 years to learn it. I don't consider going dark on someone who doesn't value you to be a "dark period". In many ways, it was like turning off the light in an enclosed room, and walking out into the daylight.
Posted By: holdingontoit

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 04:34 PM

Originally Posted By: CajunRose
Were the nasty assumptions a preemptive strike - "if I assume you're awful, then I won't get close to you, and then you can't disappoint me and hurt me more"? And if I'm defending myself against something, then I don't have the time and energy to be forcing him to think about/talk about/engage with some other conversation that he didn't/doesn't want to have. Hmmm....


That would be me. Beaten down by the constant rejection. Hurting. Not willing to leave. Only way to stay even remotely sane is to pull away. And to build a negative mental picture of spouse to justify pulling away.

This kind of negative mental picture can be created by people at either end of the personality spectrum (or anywhere in between). Aggressive people who aren't willing to admit their flaws will do it to justify their continued mistreatment of their partner. Meek people who aren't willing to confront their fears will do it to justify their continued mistreatment of themselves.
Posted By: poet

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 05:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Future,

I love the visual of you as a magnet for 'bad boys'. Made my day!



Ah, EH..HEM!

That would be me who said it; not Future, Edmund.

If you're going to give compliments, please give it to the one who deserves it. And thank you. I'm glad I could make your day. LOL

peace!
poet
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 06:32 PM

Sorry, Poet. I meant no offence. I was clear that Al had confused the two of you, including the refenence to three years of darkness, which I think was also meant to be directed to you, in his response to Futureunknown.

I was amused by the visual the mix up inspired not the mistake or the idea that someone could be a poetic bad boy magnet.

Cheers!



Posted By: poet

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 06:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes

I was amused by the visual the mix up inspired not the mistake or the idea that someone could be a poetic bad boy magnet.

Cheers!



Ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, and hey, that used to my signoff line on the other boards. Do we know each other???

peaceful, poetic bad-boy magnet that I am...
poet
Posted By: Edmond Dantes

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 06:43 PM

Originally Posted By: poet1
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes

I was amused by the visual the mix up inspired not the mistake or the idea that someone could be a poetic bad boy magnet.

Cheers!



Ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, and hey, that used to my signoff line on the other boards. Do we know each other???





peaceful, poetic bad-boy magnet that I am...
poet


No, I don't believe we do, Poet. It's probably just a synchronicity born of your magnetism. I was occasionally bad when I was younger, lol.
Posted By: poet

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 07:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
Originally Posted By: poet1
Originally Posted By: Edmond Dantes
No, I don't believe we do, Poet. It's probably just a synchronicity born of your magnetism.
.

Ah, sweet. I blush! Thank you. smile

I was occasionally bad when I was younger, lol.


A past tense, occasional bad-boy ... hmmm, let me see. I think I have to sit down and ponder that one for a minute.

If I were really as much of an empath as Mr. Turtle alludes to, I would say you are asking for love that is much needed. (Insert, longing) but .... I think I have to hear more. Would you care to share yours?

peace and cheers,
poet
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/25/11 10:13 PM

Quote:
This kind of negative mental picture can be created by people at either end of the personality spectrum (or anywhere in between). Aggressive people who aren't willing to admit their flaws will do it to justify their continued mistreatment of their partner. Meek people who aren't willing to confront their fears will do it to justify their continued mistreatment of themselves.


bullseye
Posted By: poet

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/26/11 12:51 AM

Agreed. I just wish I knew of a way I could stop it!

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/26/11 11:00 PM

Originally Posted By: poet1
Agreed. I just wish I knew of a way I could stop it!
Not clear what you are trying to stop. Being a "bad boy magnet" is pretty common, tho I have certainly met "bad girl magnets."

Or are you trying to stop the stuff ("negative mental image") you project on your partner(s)?

(I did mix you up with Futureunknown in a previous post, but caught some of my unclarity as I was sending it.)

In this situation, I am just trying to get clear what you are trying to do.
Posted By: poet

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/26/11 11:07 PM

Dear Mr. Turtle,

I have read your reply to my message, and I respect your opinions and feedback. Thank you so much. I also see you have asked me to elaborate on some of it, and I hesitate to do so because, hmmm (I think my lizazd is a bit scared).

I must admit, I am new to these boards, and I have not read any of your research yet. Until I *read* the article or articles, I would be grasping in the dark and spinning your wheels. These threads were started last year, as far as I can see. So, I have to work to do.

I've printed out the "Lizard" article and touched on a few of the posts from the "Friend your lizard" thread. And, when I have read and digested it all, I will get back to you....

Please be patient with me. I'm just poet.

So Sincerely,
moi
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/27/11 12:33 AM

Originally Posted By: poet1
I also see you have asked me to elaborate on some of it, and I hesitate to do so because, hmmm (I think my lizazd is a bit scared).
I hear you. I wouldn't post anything you don't want to. I have lots and lots of patience. (I didn't about 15 years ago, but I've learned a lot.)

I am only inviting you to share so that I can grasp where you are coming from. Little snippets of phrases often leave me inventing/imagining what's going on for someone. My imaginations are sometimes useful and sometimes way the heck off. So I let you know I am curious.

Take your time reading my schtuff.

Originally Posted By: poet1
I've printed out the "Lizard" article and touched on a few of the posts from the "Friend your lizard" thread. And, when I have read and digested it all, I will get back to you....
Seems a good place to start. Take your time.
Posted By: for to fade

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/16/11 05:30 AM

Ok, I am pursuer he is avoider from situations in our childhoods. He deserted me is with a person who leaves him alone all the time, he has said in the past he likes that. He says our marriage and family are too much drama. I always thought we were a typical family. He is not speaking, ran into him in a grocery store, he ran away with a cart of food, down the isle.

Your charts make a lot of sense, but how can the information be used in this?

He started the arrangement he is in now when I was sick and moved me and then left.

Was pursuing with phone and letters etc for a long time, now it is very weird. Not sure if your well thought out information will help this, but very good information.

Also he is avoiding everyone now, complete total dark on his part. He has gone through the black hole to the other side.

They have this creepy music they played I think on star trek, I envision him there in space with this music
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/16/11 08:59 PM

Maybe it took all that to finally let him feel safe.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/16/11 10:54 PM

Originally Posted By: tinkerbell
Your charts make a lot of sense, but how can the information be used in this?...............Not sure if your well thought out information will help this, but very good information.............Also he is avoiding everyone now, complete total dark on his part....They have this creepy music they played I think on star trek, I envision him there in space with this music
As I read your piece I was thinking of the Twilight Zone music. Often my wife can't express something with words so she makes what it sounds like. Heck communication anyway it works.

Purpose of my charts is to help people see how normal behavior can look pretty bizarre - if you don't understand it. So I start with the idea that "all people make sense all the time" and then look more closely at the behavior you are describing. I have to make guesses at removing the dramatic interpretations that you put on things. And then I am left with what looks like panic, frustration and clingy/pushy stuff on your side and panic, frustration and fleeing/avoiding behavior on his side.

There are probably a few areas of trouble, but I focus first on the Lizard status (Flee,Freeze,Submit,Fight) and simultaneously look at the Avoid/Cling status. I temporarily set aside all the other issues of Autonomy/Differentiation, etc.

I settle with the idea that I have two panicking people: you and your partner. I focus on getting you to first take responsibility for keeping your lizard calm, regardless of what your partner does. Then I look at the Cling/Avoid, note that you might be/probably are the Clinger and assess that you thus have almost all the tools you need to fix this problem in the short run. Don't need your partner's help much. My papers on Lizard and Reliable Membership tell you in theory exactly what to do. (Mind you "in theory" and "exactly" really belong to different sentences.)

Because you are writing, I feel hopeful about the outcome. (If the avoider were writing I would not feel so optimistic.)

Go for it. Ask anyone (most people at MA seem to be recovering Clingers) for examples of what they've tried that works.
Posted By: Coach

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/17/11 12:52 AM

Quote:
most people at MA seem to be recovering Clingers


I have had the same thought. So we all group here and cling together to grow wings.

Cheers
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/17/11 01:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Coach
Quote:
most people at MA seem to be recovering Clingers


I have had the same thought. So we all group here and cling together to grow wings.

Cheers


That made me smile.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 04/08/12 02:57 AM

Al, we've gotten through the breast cancer diagnosis and treatment pretty damn well. Had some really good healing and bonding moments in there.

Last week I had the second part of reconstruction where they put in the permanent implant leaving a 4 inch incision where my nipple used to be with lovely black stitches sticking out. I've refused since early on to let my husband see this....thing.

I kept most of my hair but where it is growing in looks like, in his words, rat fur which is absolutely correct and I found charming and funny up to 48 hours ago.

Lots of other stimulus going on which is leaving dear, forgotten Lizzy enraged -- like the Pearl Harbor movies with "incoming! Incoming! Incoming!"

I'm not being fair to my husband. I'm actually not even being civil. I am, in fact, being cruel. I don't like him one bit right now.

It seems like it all fell apart, BAM -- at around 5 yesterday with a total non event than on another day I would have probably not have commented on, but now I can't let it go.

Fight, freeze, flight, freeze, flee... I tried to talk about it a few times but I keep crying (not my deal) and I know intellectually I'm not responding rationally except my response is SO by the book in that im suggesting we POJA this point of disagreement that it must be rational and the corrext thing to do for our marriage no matter how destructive it feels now.

His Clinger is going nuts in between wanting to whack me and my Avoider is screaming at me "you've been beating your head against this wall for a couple of decades -- WTF is wrong with you?"

I sometimes think I was better off before I knew all this stuff -- he says things to me and I'm like, "really? THAT's the way you are going to word your opinion?"

My spastic efforts to communicate what I'm feeling today have not helped -- probably because I don't know what I'm feeling.

We were visiting my middle son at college and I asked him if we should make reservations for his graduation in a couple of years and thought "I hope can be here."

It is an irrational fear in that there is no reason to believe this cancer will kill me, and as an irrational fear it is hard for my husband to respond to -- he doesn't actually say "that's stupid" but... My cancer freaks out his lizard.

What do you do when both lizards are freaking out from threats from several different directions, including your mate?

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 04/08/12 03:43 AM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Al, we've gotten through the breast cancer diagnosis and treatment pretty damn well. Had some really good healing and bonding moments in there. .....
Wow. Big Stuff! I feel for both of you - a lot.

It's hard to start of giving advice which will probably sound remote and weird. Like trying to speak calmly to people who are currently in a bombarded WWI trench in France. Sorry. I am here, listening, for what that is worth.


Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Fight, freeze, flight, freeze, flee... I tried to talk about it a few times but I keep crying (not my deal) and I know intellectually I'm not responding rationally except my response is SO by the book in that im suggesting we POJA this point of disagreement that it must be rational and the corrext thing to do for our marriage no matter how destructive it feels now.
Well, that old Lizard is doing what it can to keep you alive. His is doing the same. I do not think of the Lizard as an opposing force, but a dearest (if sometimes confused) friend.

One thought is about crying/weeping/snarfling up a pillow, etc. It may not have been your "deal" but it is now!!. Grieving is there for a damn good reason and you are facing that reason, many of them, right now. Cry away. Get good at it. Here's a link to my "new" website. First one I've given out. Learning appropriate expression of Emotions.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I sometimes think I was better off before I knew all this stuff -- he says things to me and I'm like, "really? THAT's the way you are going to word your opinion?"
I think that everyone who learns this stuff says that at some time. "Wasn't life easier before I learned this." Oh and his response is a funny kind of mirroring, I think.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
My spastic efforts to communicate what I'm feeling today have not helped -- probably because I don't know what I'm feeling.
Then you communicate spastically and about stuff you are unclear about. That's ok. He may have to work a bit harder at keeping his feet on the ground. So what!

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
We were visiting my middle son at college and I asked him if we should make reservations for his graduation in a couple of years and thought "I hope can be here."
Hey, you've been close to death's door. The thought will pop into your mind probably for the rest of your life. Certainly pops into mine. Part of getting older.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
It is an irrational fear in that there is no reason to believe this cancer will kill me, and as an irrational fear it is hard for my husband to respond to -- he doesn't actually say "that's stupid" but... My cancer freaks out his lizard. What do you do when both lizards are freaking out from threats from several different directions, including your mate?
I wondered if you would get here.

First who the hell taught you that fears are supposed to be "rational." Shoot 'em. Fear is just one "sensible" reaction of a little Lizzy that is trying to keep you alive and is fairly confused. So is Anger. So I strongly suggest you forget all about "Fears" being either rational or irrational. They just are. We soothe 'em.

Second, it is really normal that two Lizzies go whacko at the same time. Two person "panic" is very normal. (What the heck is a yelling argument anyway.) Take breaks. Breathe. Move to calm places. Stay away from each other when panicked, if it's safer. TimeOuts are cool.

Blessings and good luck.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 04/10/12 01:05 AM

I believe the both of us have been continuously schooled over the last several years on how little control we have over much of anything.

I think my husbands reaction to that is to tighten down and mine is to back off.

Today was mammogram day and naturally there were things, blah blah blah. Husband is worried, I am, for want of a better word, apathetic, and sure as hell not having another biopsy so he's not worried.

Maybe I'm more worn out by this than I'm willing to admit.

On the plane back from seeing our oh-so-happy son at college I shared with him my fears about not being there at graduation which is for me a metaphor for everything after. He mentioned that it scares him that if I'm not telling him those fears, what else am I not telling him? Pro that I am, I reminded him that my life is an open book -- he can see whatever, whenever. He came back with "that wasn't a fidelity related slam" and I said "I know - I'm slamming me because I put us in the situation where this is an issue.".

Honestly, when I looked up I expected someone there with a "Way to Never Forget" medal and a bunch of clappy hands.

And we didn't really speak again the rest of the night. Or much since.

How do I leave the affair in the past? It's been two years. When have I done enough to heal him?

Posted By: NewEveryDay

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 04/11/12 05:54 PM

Hi LG, I don't want to offend, so I put it in spoiler text, please don't read if religious stuff offends you.

Click to reveal..
God already forgives you, washes you clean, right? So all you have to do is keep showing up, which you're great at already, and let that forgiveness, that grace, find you where you are. The same way, He forgives your H, and healing will come for him when he lets that grace find him. Sometimes we need to consciously take a moment to sink into the grace every day, let it remind us, until it becomes part of the way we see the world again. And there will still be times your lizard is triggered, where you need to take that moment to self-soothe, to consciously sink into that grace again.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 04/11/12 07:54 PM

Well, in the department of effort, you sure get very very high marks. Lizzy running all over the place. Breathing the calming to a Lizard - among other things.

Remember the top principles is that a Lizard likes Predictive Information and loves a Sense of Control. You've got little of both so Lizzy(s) are squealing.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
How do I leave the affair in the past? It's been two years. When have I done enough to heal him?


Two good questions.

Leave Affair in Past --- not possible, I believe. We humans, I believe are little "sense making machines" and part of that design is we have a Write Only Memory. We forget nothing. Not built that way. We seem designed to learn and become wiser based often on doing some pretty dumb things. I think an Affair is something to be learned from, and not something to be forgotten. When you both have squeezed the last bit of wisdom out of that experience, I imagine you will not dwell on it much at all.

When have you healed him enough? Well, I have two answers. A) you don't heal him, you just assist. (I think you have to "get this" at a deep level.) He has to become engaged in healing himself. All my papers on Frustrations and boundaries comes in here. Your first step may be to continue to help him identify is part in all this (the affair, the reactions, etc.) B) He will be healed enough when he no longer reacts uncomfortably to the provoking triggers.

E.g. Let's assume one thing he reacts to is the word "affair." He will be healed enough when he hears that word and his lizard stays calm.

That's the long and the short of it.

Hang in there.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 05/30/12 04:18 AM

I am picking this up from your post to Herf on another thread.

I am struggling with -- and, I think, at times failing miserably at, separating my reactions to my mother from my reactions to my husband.

"Old ghosts" is what my psychiatrist calls it. Probably your term is Imago -- that's a total uneducated guess by the way.

What happens is we get in a fuss which often ends with "I'm not your mother!" and he has an excellent point-- he isn't.

Since I stopped suggesting that since he got so upset, he stopped reaponding that way which did NOT mean I stopped feeling it.

So, we had a bit of a fuss over my daughter two nights ago which I would have put in the NBD (no big deal) category. But it struck him and he initiated a Relationship Talk yesterday afternoon.

Liz is not a fan of Relationship Talks.

He told me that it is very hurtful to him when I treat him like he is not on my team -- well, in this case, he wasn't so what do you say? "You were being an idiot playing fast and loose with the safety of our daughter by having her drive 14 hours by herself then hooking up with the Craig's list movers to get her out of her apartment which is in a not so great part of Denver."

He said he had not focused on the danger piece of it which, while good, didn't actually make me feel all better.

My daughter is an exceptionally charismatic, beautiful, engaging and essentialy naive 23 year old. They don't lock anything where she lives most of the time at a house in the mountains.

I played the safety card and my nephew ended up driving with her. I had an infusion this morning -- damn those steroids, and if my nephew hadn't, I would be driving right now.

In the relationship talk, he clarified some things surrounding daughter -- she can be a bit of a drama queen -- and highlighted some instances recently where what was meant as an innocent comment from him put me on high alert. A more or less innocent comment--not as innocent as he thinks or as dreadful as I think. A "I'm going to fix you now don't you feel all better" comment.

He says he wants to be my best friend -- that he gave up the criticism thing long ago but I hear something different from what he is saying because he did criticize me for a few decades (his words) and my mother did the job until he could take over.

He says he wants for me to want to be with him so he understands he has to stop with he anger and criticism.

Evidently, he hates it when I startle when he walks in the room and jump out of my chair to see what he wants.

As an aside, I've been saying for 15 years that if I could stay seated with a book in my hand and no elevated heart rate when my husband walked in the room -- THAT is a content marriage.

My IC says I need to lose the rationality -- that I'm unusual in that regard -- and I need to start speaking my feelings. Is there a Rosetta Stone course for that?

I have no idea how to go forward from here. He makes me nervous. I soothe him. I don't want to be nervous around him.

Aha! Maybe he DOES want me to be nervous around him as then he gets what he needs?

Surely not.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 05/31/12 04:16 PM

Lots of little bits of things that all seem important to me. Thanks for sharing. I can add my thoughts, which you will use as you see fit.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey

I am struggling with -- and, I think, at times failing miserably at, separating my reactions to my mother from my reactions to my husband. "Old ghosts" is what my psychiatrist calls it. Probably your term is Imago -- that's a total uneducated guess by the way.
Since you are both bright and thoughtful, I think you'll have to make peace with this one. People always marry/stick with people who can easily act like Reasonable Facsimiles of the originally wounding people. This means that in many ways he (any partner) will have habits that will seem exactly like those of your mom (or dad) when they were at their worst. Reciprocally, he's got the same situation. "You remind of my dad/mom!" Some people become aware of it and others (like us) even learn to be amused by it. Most are unaware. My guess is that you two will have to just get comfortable with it.

Sandra's first burst of wisdom to me was this conversation. "Damn it you are just like my dad", says I. Her response, "And you picked me that way! Work with it." Her provoking behavior was taught by her family. It provokes me, cuz I picked her to be like my provoking parents.

NEXT step is to heal the reactivity that is provoked.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
What happens is we get in a fuss which often ends with "I'm not your mother!" and he has an excellent point-- he isn't. Since I stopped suggesting that since he got so upset, he stopped reaponding that way which did NOT mean I stopped feeling it.
Better response is something like, "Of course you are my mother. But you sure can do shinola that reminds me of her and I am working on learning healthy reactions to it. Thanks for reminding me that I ain't finished learning."

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
So, we had a bit of a fuss over my daughter two nights ago which I would have put in the NBD (no big deal) category. But it struck him and he initiated a Relationship Talk yesterday afternoon.

Liz is not a fan of Relationship Talks.
Not sure what's scarying Liz about RTs. Sounds like sharing new stuff. Work on mirroring, validating with Timeouts in the wings ready for use.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
He told me that it is very hurtful to him when I treat him like he is not on my team --
Sounds like a mom/or dad issue for him was emerging. I loved that period when both of us would react at the same time. Uglyyyyy. Timeouts stopped that.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
well, in this case, he wasn't so what do you say?
Seems you guys still argue over "facts". Master-Slave at its best. Might want to quit it. And the next sentence seems pure MasterTalk - a "you message" usually is.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
"You were being an idiot playing fast and loose with the safety of our daughter by having her drive 14 hours by herself then hooking up with the Craig's list movers to get her out of her apartment which is in a not so great part of Denver."
Nice theory!

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
He said he had not focused on the danger piece of it which, while good, didn't actually make me feel all better.
Gotta run. Far as I can get this morning.

Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 05/31/12 06:47 PM

Continued ...
Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
He said he had not focused on the danger piece of it which, while good, didn't actually make me feel all better.
You may not like what he said, but I hope you were glad he was candid.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
My daughter is an exceptionally charismatic, beautiful, engaging and essentialy naive 23 year old. They don't lock anything where she lives most of the time at a house in the mountains.
Sounds nice and normal. I gather she is in the middle of learning who she can trust and who not.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I played the safety card and my nephew ended up driving with her. I had an infusion this morning -- damn those steroids, and if my nephew hadn't, I would be driving right now.
Not sure what a "safety card" is. Sounds as if in the name of "safety" you got your way. Not sure that is a good idea.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
In the relationship talk, he clarified some things surrounding daughter -- she can be a bit of a drama queen -- and highlighted some instances recently where what was meant as an innocent comment from him put me on high alert. A more or less innocent comment--not as innocent as he thinks or as dreadful as I think. A "I'm going to fix you now don't you feel all better" comment.
I really enjoy drama queens. Tracking the drama is fun for me. And they throw out a lot of stuff that I could react to, and don't. Lots of boundary skill practice.

I like your Relationship Talk. Sounds like a growing laboratory where you can both learn how much you misread each other. Nice to remove that misreading shinola.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
He says he wants to be my best friend -- that he gave up the criticism thing long ago but I hear something different from what he is saying because he did criticize me for a few decades (his words) and my mother did the job until he could take over.
He sounds like a "keeper." Wants to be best friend (Vintage Love) and has lots of work ahead of him. My guess is it's not easy for you to relax and be a durable friend back. Well, keep a going.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
He says he wants for me to want to be with him so he understands he has to stop with he anger and criticism.
Good awareness of a couple of good targets for him to pursue. I think you managed to get to him. Oh, by the way, your part of those goals is probably to be less bothered by his anger and maybe amused by his attempts to criticize. Work for everyone! Sounds like a couple on-the-way.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Evidently, he hates it when I startle when he walks in the room and jump out of my chair to see what he wants.
Let's validate that. He walks in feeling lovey and gentle. You startle, cuz your lizard freaks at something, noises, etc. He reacts to your reaction as a proof that you are rejecting his lovey feelings. Hmmmm Suggest he learn to hum a bit on the way into the room to give your liz some heads up.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
As an aside, I've been saying for 15 years that if I could stay seated with a book in my hand and no elevated heart rate when my husband walked in the room -- THAT is a content marriage.
Right. And with a Liz and a background like yours that is not a simple goal to reach. But it is reachable. Liz hates surprises. So give it warnings - slow build up. As he starts toward you from another place in the house, he could try saying, "Gonna be your friend, gonna be your friend..etc." Till you hear him coming.

My wife and I have solves several of those things. One phrase I use when I walk into a room with her is, "I was looking/hunting for you." Seems to work.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
My IC says I need to lose the rationality -- that I'm unusual in that regard -- and I need to start speaking my feelings. Is there a Rosetta Stone course for that?
Rosetta Stone course. Hah. Learning to speak "safety." Great idea. You are in the middle of a personalized course like that.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I have no idea how to go forward from here.
If you know how to go forward, you would have. So this is exactly where you should be right now -- hunting for a new way forward.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
He makes me nervous. I soothe him. I don't want to be nervous around him.
Well, back to a sign on the wall. He cannot make you nervous! No one can make anyone feel anything. He can do things. Your Liz can detect them and freak. He can change what he does over and over until you find things he can do that makes your liz purr. Probably will be quite a search.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Aha! Maybe he DOES want me to be nervous around him as then he gets what he needs? Surely not.
Doubt it, but it's a fun theory. It might have been some of the habits he learned as a kid. Most NPs who walked in my office used to be scared and would try to make me nervous so that I wouldn't focus on them. He could have that habit, would needs to unlearn it, with your help. Hmmm. I wonder if a NP would practice saying, "I'm gonna like my therapist, I'm gonna like my therapist...." as he walks into the therapy room would make more use of therapy?

Oh. Sandra said something the other day that might be of help. If you build boundary skills (soldiers) and really train them, they may get confused and not let you out of the castle.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/03/12 02:35 AM

Quote:
He told me that it is very hurtful to him when I treat him like he is not on my team -- well, in this case, he wasn't so what do you say?


My H says this every once in a while. The thing is, you actually have to be on my team for me to treat you like you are. Telling me what I should think and feel doesn't fall under my definition of "my team".
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/03/12 02:52 AM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Quote:
He told me that it is very hurtful to him when I treat him like he is not on my team -- well, in this case, he wasn't so what do you say?


My H says this every once in a while. The thing is, you actually have to be on my team for me to treat you like you are. Telling me what I should think and feel doesn't fall under my definition of "my team".


I hate it when reality gets in the way of my theory.

The telling me what to do is so pervasive and ingrained, I can't even really recognize it until hours or days after the fact, but nonetheless I can see that I laid the groundwork to not do what he says for days.

And I think that, for him, being on the team means doing what he says.

And I KNOW that one can lie to get around all of that. You just need to be clever enough to stay ahead of the criticism curve while still doing what you want.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/03/12 02:55 AM

Quote:
And I think that, for him, being on the team means doing what he says.


Interesting. Can you tell me why you think that?

Quote:
And I KNOW that one can lie to get around all of that. You just need to be clever enough to stay ahead of the criticism curve while still doing what you want.


Sure, one can. What a lot of work. I'm too lazy to do all that work. "Uh, no." is a lot less work.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/03/12 09:11 PM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Quote:
And I think that, for him, being on the team means doing what he says.


Interesting. Can you tell me why you think that?


I think a lot of it stems from my relationship with the kids -- he wants to manage them through me.

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
And I KNOW that one can lie to get around all of that. You just need to be clever enough to stay ahead of the criticism curve while still doing what you want.


Sure, one can. What a lot of work. I'm too lazy to do all that work. "Uh, no." is a lot less work.


This is learned behavior from a very young age. Doesn't make it right -- just automatic. What happens is I give predictive information and he often uses that information to control:

"I'm going to Wal Mart".

"You should wait and go tomorrow when I have all the measurements done."

I don't want to go tomorrow. I want to go right now because I need gardening gloves or cat litter or whatever.

That's a benign example but it illustrates the mindset.
Posted By: 20yrsdone

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/04/12 11:30 AM

As a man, I'd write that off as she needs a shopping fix and would not have said anything to you knowing it wouldn't have mattered anyway! But that's just me...I've learned discretion is the better part of valor. Not my decision to make or change!
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/08/12 05:00 AM

Quote:
"You should wait and go tomorrow when I have all the measurements done."


"I see that you believe I should wait until tomorrow. You have every right to believe that. Can we talk about this after I get back from Walmart?"

grin
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/08/12 10:41 AM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Quote:
"You should wait and go tomorrow when I have all the measurements done."


"I see that you believe I should wait until tomorrow. You have every right to believe that. Can we talk about this after I get back from Walmart?"

grin


AR, there's something about that last part of your reply that sounds like a con.

Perhaps if you said "later," or maybe "when is a good time for us to talk about this?" rather than "after I get back from Walmart." There's something about that last phrase that sounds dismissive or defiant to me. It's not the intent, but how it comes across that affects the dynamic.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/08/12 02:25 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey


"I'm going to Wal Mart".

"You should wait and go tomorrow when I have all the measurements done."
The word "should" alerts me to a possible attempt to control me. To me "should" implies "there is a belief system around here" and "someone is trying to stuff it up someone's ...."

So I almost always, habitually, reject the "should" (internally) and look for the rest of the person's message which is usually the beginning of some sort of sharing. I RETAIN my right to decide what I am going to do about it - always. I just gather data.

Thus my response would be something like. "Hmm. What are your thoughts about waiting till tomorrow?"

The "Hmm." is what is left over from my internal Lizard screaming, "You a..hole! Who are you try to tell me what to do? Etc. Etc."

To me my tactic can save the day from an unpleasant mess.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
That's a benign example, but it illustrates the mindset.
Could be benign. Might not. I thought it a great example.

Oh. And as you are illustrating a "mindset," are you referring to yours or the one you imagine he has?
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/09/12 03:38 AM

Quote:
AR, there's something about that last part of your reply that sounds like a con.

Perhaps if you said "later," or maybe "when is a good time for us to talk about this?" rather than "after I get back from Walmart." There's something about that last phrase that sounds dismissive or defiant to me. It's not the intent, but how it comes across that affects the dynamic.


I see that it seems like a con to you. However, I am having trouble seeing that when it is directly stated. Defiant is interesting, as to defy someone that someone must have some level of authority to dictate or control your actions.

My point here is that just because someone tells you that you "should" do something does not place any onus or obligation upon you to do so.

Acknowledging that someone believes you should do something is one thing. Doing it simply because that person says so is quite another. This would be a boundary issue.
Posted By: LovingAnyway

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/13/12 07:38 PM

My goal is to do a "should/shouldn't" conversion in my head, close to what Al was doing.

When I hear "You should wait and go tomorrow when I have all the measurements done." I convert that to:

"I want you to wait until tomorrow when I plan to have all the measurements. I'm afraid I'm going to give you the wrong measurements, or be blamed if something goes wrong. I don't want to be wrong or to be blamed for your anger, disappointment."

That's long...not my usual conversion. Shorter: "I'm afraid right now, my lizard is on high alert as it does when I feel rushed. I fell in love with you for your passionate, instant responses, and now, mostly I fear them. Like what drew me to you now hits my lizard the hardest."

Reassuring someone's lizard when yours is reactive isn't easy...just our job as partners in this world. I love to know what's up with my DH, what he's really saying or not. My should conversion may be totally wrong for your DH, LG. It's what I do in my head to calm my own "you-aren't-the-boss-of-me" lizard and to really understand what my DH is saying. And yes, I blamed him for 15 years for my stuff...so these last nearly eight years, I haven't and he no longer says "should/shouldn't" anymore. He doesn't fear my responses any longer...and he does his own conversion and clarification for me, as needed. Which is how we formed a new trust area.

LA
Posted By: SmilingWife

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/14/12 04:30 AM

Originally Posted By: LovingAnyway
My goal is to do a "should/shouldn't" conversion in my head, close to what Al was doing.

When I hear "You should wait and go tomorrow when I have all the measurements done." I convert that to:

"I want you to wait until tomorrow when I plan to have all the measurements. I'm afraid I'm going to give you the wrong measurements, or be blamed if something goes wrong. I don't want to be wrong or to be blamed for your anger, disappointment."

That's long...not my usual conversion. Shorter: "I'm afraid right now, my lizard is on high alert as it does when I feel rushed. I fell in love with you for your passionate, instant responses, and now, mostly I fear them. Like what drew me to you now hits my lizard the hardest."

Reassuring someone's lizard when yours is reactive isn't easy...just our job as partners in this world. I love to know what's up with my DH, what he's really saying or not. My should conversion may be totally wrong for your DH, LG. It's what I do in my head to calm my own "you-aren't-the-boss-of-me" lizard and to really understand what my DH is saying. And yes, I blamed him for 15 years for my stuff...so these last nearly eight years, I haven't and he no longer says "should/shouldn't" anymore. He doesn't fear my responses any longer...and he does his own conversion and clarification for me, as needed. Which is how we formed a new trust area.

LA



Hi LA. Good to see you. waves

Really enjoying this thread. LG I also have the 'startle response'. A holdover from my years when if my now XH came home and I was sitting down it was proof to him that I sat on my butt all day doing nothing.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/21/12 03:37 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: LadyGrey


"I'm going to Wal Mart".

"You should wait and go tomorrow when I have all the measurements done."
The word "should" alerts me to a possible attempt to control me. To me "should" implies "there is a belief system around here" and "someone is trying to stuff it up someone's ...."

So I almost always, habitually, reject the "should" (internally) and look for the rest of the person's message which is usually the beginning of some sort of sharing. I RETAIN my right to decide what I am going to do about it - always. I just gather data.

Thus my response would be something like. "Hmm. What are your thoughts about waiting till tomorrow?"

The "Hmm." is what is left over from my internal Lizard screaming, "You a..hole! Who are you try to tell me what to do? Etc. Etc."

To me my tactic can save the day from an unpleasant mess.

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
That's a benign example, but it illustrates the mindset.
Could be benign. Might not. I thought it a great example.

Oh. And as you are illustrating a "mindset," are you referring to yours or the one you imagine he has?


Interesting question. Got me thinking.

For SO long, EVERYTHING was just SUCH an effort. I had one, then two, then three infants/toddlers/children and NO ONE to help me working full time at a demanding job.

Honestly, at the ripe old age of 52 with all of that at least a decade behind me and quite a few events between now and then, I still cry at those words.

So when he was home, I would try to slip out to go to the cleaners or the grocery or whatever. Not to do anything WRONG like have lunch out. Just to get stuff done -- taking three kids in and out of the car at every stop -- and I had a strict never leave them in the car for even 5 seconds policy -- is SO tiring.

His rule was I had to take the baby and one other kid whenever I left him home with the third.

And I honored that 90% of the time -- but if I could slip out, I did. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with just one kid.

He was gone ALL the time -- he worked hours that communist China would reject but he also played golf and he hunted -- he hunted a lot. He left me in the ER with the baby who needed a CT scan and the two older kids running around to go dove hunting.

Wow, I cant even write about this anymore. It's too upsetting.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 06/21/12 03:11 PM

Glad to hear from you, LG, even if things sound tough as you retell them.

I was thinking of you yesterday while I was responding to a Comment on my website. I'll include it here. Twas about the process of Waking Up. I even dug up an old unfinished article on the topic.

This point of view is helpful to me.

Question:
Originally Posted By: Undecided
Hi my name is Undecided,

I left my husband 1 month ago and I feel pretty good. I love him with all my heart but there has been a disconnection between the both of us for years. I do not trust him at all. I've told him over and over again, but he doesn't seems interested in nothing I say.

Now that I'm gone I have his undivided attention. It's sad to say but this is the most attention I've received from him in years and it feels pretty darn good. I don't know whether or not if I'm ready for a divorce or even if I want to go back. I'm in need of what direction should I go in….


Response by Al:
Originally Posted By: Al Turtle
Thanks, Undecided, for your question.

For me the problems of fixing and improving a relationship often involve this kind of "waking someone up." One or both partners seem to be ignoring major ugly stuff that is going on. It is as if they are asleep. Typically, something makes one wake up while the other sleeps on.

Mind you, what people are waking up to is "situations that are painful," "behaviors that hurt," and a sense of "I don't know what to do to make this better, but I want it to be better." And so I see the first step is waking up, both waking up. The second step is all about learning how to make it better over and over.

But what is common, and your question points to, is that often one partner won't wake up until something extreme is done (divorce papers, moving out, etc. etc.) AND the question is "will they stay awake?" It is a great question. If I get my partner to wake up and pay attention by throwing divorce papers at them, do I have to keep throwing divorce papers at them in order to keep them awake? If I "give in" on the divorce papers, will they go back to sleep?"

Have I got your situation?

If I have this is a problem with solutions, I think. And one person can do it. I refer to this in my paper on Individual Boundaries. We often do not have in our kit of skills, a wide range of different levels of a tools. Think of different sizes of screwdrivers. To live life we need a whole set of different sizes from tiny ones to fix our glasses to huge ones to undo the bolts that hold the boulders on the side of our driveways.

Now shift the metaphor to a "partner wake up tool" and you'll see that you had to use divorce (huge pain of leaving) which takes a lot of effort and is probably overly large. Kind of like using a shotgun to kill a mosquito. It will work, but…..

The principle, for me, is "he/she who can leave has all the power." But you want to use this tool wisely.

Learn to use easier and simpler signs and tokens of leaving in order to keep your partner awake. I am not talking about controlling him, cuz that will become another problem by itself. I am speaking of keeping him and you awake in a relationship that slowly, progressively, cleans up the ugly stuff that is going on. It takes time to get there, so the easier the tool to use, the better. (A specific set of examples of these tools surround the TimeOut. Anyone is a working relationship who doesn't seek to become expert at this tool, I think, is foolish.)

You could start by saying, "I'm willing to work with you. I'm not willing to go back to what we were doing. I'm divorcing that, and you if that is the only way to build a better relationship for me to live in. I want a good one. (see Biological Dream and Vintage Love) I'd rather get there with you. I like that you are paying attention to me, but I don't want to turn this relationship into a bullying one (see Master/Slave) one. Would you give me some ideas of what I can do to "wake you up" if I think you are going to sleep, again."

Good luck.


Also here's my article on Getting to Work .

Posted By: Otherwise

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/29/12 06:34 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
She showed me that a salesperson walking toward her on the beach in Mexico was a "source of conflict" while 100 feet away.


My wife is just like that, so I guess she is an avoider?

And I guess I am a clinger

BUT

when I feel abandonment may be about to happen to me
and my lizard panics

my reaction is to withdraw from the scene. Get my withdrawal in first.
Rather than pursue and cling and chase.

So what does that make me? Still a clinger?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/12/12 04:30 PM

Good question, but I am used to people having both Clinger and Avoider skills that may display in different situations. That old get-out-of-town-first sounds like avoiding (Fleeing) based on experiences of getting slammed. Certainly my wife's behavior was avoiding.

To tell which you are in any "stable" way, I'd have to hear more about your partnership. My clue for me was that when I had no data from my partner I would pursue getting that data long after she showed major signs of distress. "You gotta tell me!! Don't walk away!" Real stupid stuff. Made me a fairly rabid pursuer. Gave me little clue. She told me I looked like an Alien running straight at her.
Posted By: ohmy_marie

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/23/13 12:46 AM

deleted-- not feeling so brave today. *sorry*
Posted By: ohmy_marie

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/23/13 12:59 AM

deleted.
Posted By: believer

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/23/13 01:46 AM

Sorry you aren't feeling so brave today, marie. Thinking of you.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/23/13 05:43 PM

Dear Friend, I see that you deleted your posting, but it did get to me (down here in Mexico). Your situation sounds very painful and scary, and normal. I would title your post: A call from Door #2. The sad place where most couples end up. Good luck finding your way out.

No, I don't advise being quiet and passive. I'd get strong help.
Posted By: ohmy_marie

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/24/13 12:44 AM

thank you for the link. hope you are enjoying mexico! i love vacation. blessings to you al, marie
Posted By: believer

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/24/13 12:51 AM

I absolutely love Mexico, and everything about it!
Posted By: ohmy_marie

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/01/13 01:25 PM

dear al,

i wanted to follow-up to let you know that I made it out from behind door #2.

and i did it based on changes i made on my own (to/for myself)-- without directly involving my husband (tho, he did notice the changes, and my changes set off an impressive chain of positive reactions in him).

thank you for your website!

love, marie
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 07/01/13 02:49 PM

Thanks for the update. And congratulations. Lots of learning and applying going on.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/27/13 06:53 PM

Hi Al, we had some contact about a year and a half ago, when me and my ex weren't talking, over on your own website. Since then, we've become friends again. We met in the street, and over time, re connected. She has been to visit and stay with me in the country were I live (her home country). We recently got back from a short trip to France that I organised.

However, she is resolute that she doesn't want me back romantically. She says she can't risk it, and doesn't trust me.
I have dedicated the last 3 1/2 years since we split to huge growth. She told me she hardly recognises me from the guy I was. I have dedicated myself to becoming a place of safety to her. However, I am also stuck unable to express myself. I don't do rejection well, my feelings for her are quite strong, and that has me walking on egg shells.

Also, I have invited her on a number of times to talk about the past. She always refuses, with some comment about us not heading in that direction. However, she will later bring something up about the past, without checking to see if I am open to the discussion at that time. I call this emotional sniping. She drops little emotional bombs on me. The most recent: We're driving to our short holiday, and suddenly, she mentions how important it is for her to feel desired in a relationship, and how undesired she felt by me in the past. I'm doing 130km and hoping for a lovely, safe, fun, relaxing holiday, so I simply freeze, and mumble some kind of apology.

I am now building fresh resentments over our 'friendship', not least that I see no hope of a rekindled romance. I try to heal on my own, but I am angry now.
I see that perhaps I am being underhand, by being her friend, and yet wanting more. I have told her in the past that I thought the path to our mutual healing was together but she said she want's a clean slate with someone else.

We are clearly each other's imago. Doesn't she see there is no clean slate with someone new? The only slate you can clean is the internal one, when you let go of the past.

I think that she is repressing resentments and hurts about me, running scared when I suggest a talk, but later letting them slip anyway.

I question why she wants me in her life, when she doesn't trust me.

I think I am abandoning myself to her, and trying to win her back instead of having a good relationship with her (platonic if necessary).

Right now, I feel the best course of action is to walk away permanently, and go and find someone who is available for a relationship, as she clearly isn't.

But I am terrified of having the talk with her, of making it so final.

I could go on and on, but I think this is enough.

I have read your page on healing resentments, but I can't imagine she would be up for it, as she says no to any suggestion I make for a conversation, and I feel stupid requesting it 3 1/2 years after we broke up.

Kind regards
Sim
Posted By: NewEveryDay

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/28/13 12:42 PM

Maybe she gave up some things for the relationship back then that still affect her today, so that's why she brings it up in the present?
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/28/13 05:22 PM

Hi Newevryday.
Thanks for your reply.
And for sure, she gave a lot away. It was a classic case of avoider/clinger. She clung, I ran!
I wont go into too many details.
But after many breakups initiated by her, I pulled the plug.
I went away and got therapy for my issues. I am far along the road to better health.
She ran off with a younger guy, but left him after a year as he "took up all the space in their relationship" (her words). I pointed out the irony in that, and she agreed but didn't pursue it.

I guess I know deep down, that we are done. I have got to a place of responsibility for my behaviour, and have changed. She refuses to talk about the past in a dialogue, but snipes at me. She obviously doesn't feel safe with me and also insists that she sees me only as a friend. I don't want to second guess her, so, for me, she no longer is interested in a romance with me.

I do think it's time for me to walk away. I am starting to give up part of myself, to try to win her back. Not good.

I do want to discuss this with her, and end this on good terms.
I am afraid though to open up to her, and be vulnerable. She can crush me quite easily.

Thanks again.
Posted By: Validate

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/28/13 05:54 PM

That's a real horrible situation, Sim. I feel your pain, really nasty stuff. I went through something similar a few months ago. It's gut-wrenching.

Here's an idea. In my opinion you want her back, in ,y opinion she wants you back. Why do I think this? I BELIEVE in the Imago theory of relationships. Once an imago match..always an imago.

It seems to me, that you are more often than not a clinger and perhaps she's an avoider type. That was the case in my relationship...

Here're some more ideas...Safety/feeling understood, etc, is VERY important to avoider types...I suggest you learn to make her feel safe QUICKLY...Al Turtle's work is the best I've seen on that..so far...

Make her feel safe to BE HERSELF...Make YOU feel safe to be yourself...

In my opinion, I think she STILL wants to be with you...You have to make her feel SAFE!

That's a skill you need to learn. Learn it Quick...Al STUFF really, really works...Of course that's my experience.


All the best


Warmly.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/28/13 06:37 PM

I'm off on vacation and have a terrible internet connection, Sim. Sounds rough. I'm glad Validate is there to give some good thoughts.

Sounds as though you are still into pushing her. At the point that she "snipes" at you is exactly the time to PreValidate her and understand what she's up to.

You do sound like a married couple/Imago Match in the Power Struggle. It is a rough time. And there is no such thing as rekindling a romantic relationship. I think you guys are beyond that and have an ongoing friendship (trips together). Well, I can think of people who would die for that much connection.

I'm glad you went off and got some therapy. Still looking for the critical work that you haven't done - yet. She's probably pointing her fingers at that. One place you mention is that you fear speaking to her. I think that is a good place to focus. Making it to Vintage Love, and I think you both are heading that way, means that you can share everything. When you make the (Share it all.) decision to not share your desire to get to Vintage Love, I think your may threaten her. Better to say, "hell, I want Vintage Love with you, sure, but never at the cost of threatening you or me."

Oh, and shift that thinking. She can't crush you. She can't make you feel anything. Only you can do that. I would really suggest you don't.

Anyway, keep a going.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/03/13 07:59 PM

Well, thank you both for your words.
I must say, that I don't think she wants to get back with me.
She has been very clear on that point, not only verbally, but in other ways.
I can see that I no longer appear on her sexual radar.

Yes, we are Imago matches, so perhaps, deep down, she 'wants' me back, but consciously, she doesn't.

To be honest, I have pretty much given up.
I have detached myself from her.
I haven't felt this good in a while.
Pursuing her has knocked my self esteem down.
It isn't healthy to desire someone who doesn't desire you back.

Al, what do you mean by 'Still looking for the critical work that you haven't done - yet.'

I am a way down the line towards more healthy.
I think that my lack of attraction for my EG, in the face of her lack of desire for me is a big step. I would usually pine more in the face of that rejection. Now, I reject back. That seems more healthy to me, and leaves me ready to accept love and give love, to someone who offers and wishes to receive.

What ever me and my ex may be, she is clearly unavailable.

You think I should pre validate her sniping at me? I was thinking more on setting some boundaries about acceptable ways to engage me in talking about our past. At the least, she could invite me to discuss it, rather than force it on me unawares.

Yes, I can't control her behaviour, but I could tell her what I reasonably expect and deserve.

Somehow writing this, I feel a slap coming my way.
Hmmm.
Do I have my back up?
Perhaps.
My detachment from her springs from anger.

I am not angry now, but I am happy she is not in my heart.
I feel free.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/03/13 09:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I must say, that I don't think she wants to get back with me.
Wanting to get back with you often means her facing her fear of dealing with you the way you were. Too bad she can't see who you are becoming.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Pursuing her has knocked my self esteem down.
It isn't healthy to desire someone who doesn't desire you back.
Yep, that sucks. But it is normal - painful- normal. Pursuing just doesn't work.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Al, what do you mean by 'Still looking for the critical work that you haven't done - yet.'
I tend to want to head off the trouble ahead. Learning the new ways of behaving doesn't come very fast. After I cleared up one bad habit I would seemingly always run into another of my bad habits. Fortunately there is a finite number of things to learn, just my thought that you aren't to the end - yet.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I am a way down the line towards more healthy.
Great for you. Go for it.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
You think I should pre validate her sniping at me? I was thinking more on setting some boundaries about acceptable ways to engage me in talking about our past. At the least, she could invite me to discuss it, rather than force it on me unawares.
PreValidating helps you be prepared and doesn't stop you from setting up good boundaries also. I don't like that "sniping" stuff.

Glad you are moving on.
Posted By: Rich57

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/04/13 12:01 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Fortunately there is a finite number of things to learn, just my thought that you aren't to the end - yet.

Hmm just wondering if this was a typo?

I would think that there is an infinite number of things to learn?

Although I agree you never get to the end.
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/04/13 01:07 PM

Sometimes I learn so many things that were HARD to learn in a short span of time, and I find myself saying "are we there yet?"

lol!
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/04/13 02:48 PM

Nope, Rich. Twas not a typo. Was/is just my belief. I think it very good news that the number of things to learn and the number of childhood thingies to recover from is NOT infinite. But it sure can seem that way. Also I believe you do get to a place where you think you are at the end - close enough.


It is a bit like the old story of walking across a room toward a wall and each step taken is half the distance of the last step. Do you ever get to the wall? No. But then eventually you are close enough.

Most people, I fear, use the image of "infinite things to learn" as a reason to not thoroughly learn the step in front of them. I think it was Sam Gamgee (Lord of the Rings) who said, "It is the journey not started that is the longest."

Originally Posted By: Rich57
Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Fortunately there is a finite number of things to learn, just my thought that you aren't to the end - yet.

Hmm just wondering if this was a typo?

I would think that there is an infinite number of things to learn?

Although I agree you never get to the end.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/04/13 02:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Miranda
Sometimes I learn so many things that were HARD to learn in a short span of time, and I find myself saying "are we there yet?"

lol!


Yup. Sounds familiar to me. That's a great question. I think it often stirs around the issue of "when is a thing learned?" or "finished being learned."

I tend to define something a learned when I use it regularly, automatically and easily in my life and it has "completely" replaced the other thing I used to do before. Thus the only way to know is to look back from some point in the future and say, "I sure am glad I learned that - somewhere is 2012". Or some such. smile
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/04/13 03:00 PM

Ah, I viewed learned as when I am aware of the process/application. Not flawless in it's execution but aware enough to know what OUGHT to be happening and the steps necessary to make that the case.

So even if my execution is only 10% if I'm working towards 100% then I've learned better, and am attempting to do better.

to me learning = knowing. mastery is a whole nother thing.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/04/13 03:08 PM

I got it. Different use of terms.

I spent a lot of time figuring things out and then I discovered I would be forgetting them. I used to really trash myself for my "lousy memory." (Hello, all you perfectionists!) So finally I gave up and used what you might call "mastery" to refer to "learned" and call everything else just "the process of learning".

I love words and the distinctions between how all of us use them.
Posted By: Rich57

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/04/13 05:21 PM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
I think it very good news that the number of things to learn and the number of childhood thingies to recover from is NOT infinite.
Maybe I misunderstood what we were learning.
I have come to the conclusion that I will never stop.
You know sometimes I have heard of people getting PHD's in there 70's and 80's just because they are still learning.
You know and then you offered these classes in the UNIVERSITY of LIFE.
Wasn't expecting it, didnt want to know about it but here I am taking classs. smile smile smile

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
It is a bit like the old story of walking across a room toward a wall and each step taken is half the distance of the last step. Do you ever get to the wall? No. But then eventually you are close enough.

Oh I like this, VERY GOOD!
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/08/13 07:34 PM

Hi Al,
I have some questions, some stuff I need to clarify.
I had a discussion on a blog the other day, and I mentioned to someone that no one 'makes' anyone else feel anything, that we trigger emotions in others, but there is always a component of them choosing or agreeing to feel that emotion.
The person I was talking to got very angry. They said they thought I was blaming victims for how they feel after an assault, or rape. They said that an abuser had to be held responsible for the pain they caused others, and that the victim should never be blamed for what happened to them.

I have been mulling this over for a few days, and it seems that the problem here is one of language.

But also, i'd love to hear your thought on what happens emotinally when someone is assaulted or raped for example. This is extreme, but it would help me understand the boundaries about emotions, and who is responsible for them.

My take is that, the word responsible means 'able to deal with or manage' and doesn't mean 'caused by.' I can cause or trigger many emotions in someone, both positive or negative, but they aren't something that I am actively able to deal with or manage as they are in someone else's body. However, I must still be held accountable for my actions if they impinge on another's rights, or hurts or damages them physically or emotionally, even if technically, I didn't cause their feelings, but only triggered them. Or am I off the mark here?

Still, if I hug someone, they may feel pleasure, or discomfort. If I hit someone they will feel pain, and perhaps anger, but they could also feel pleasure.

I have been reading up on your emotions essays on your website.

A couple of things confused me.

You mention hunger and thirst as emotions.
I was under the impression that they were drives, rather than emotions, that they take place in a different part of the body. I can see how there can be an emotional component to drives, as they can be upsetting if not met, and pleasurable when met. I do understand they both drives and emotions are events that take place inside the body.

I read somewhere that some scientists were starting to view romantic love as a drive, not an emotion, hence the life or death effect it can have.

Also, lastly: Pain, is it an emotion, or merely a sensation?
I can feel pain from stubbing my toe, the emotion is more likely to be anger, or sadness, or frustration.

Apologies if this is so long.
It would help me understand a bit better what is happening with the people I interact with. I am trying to not blame others for my feelings, but I think this is making me less able to call someone's bad behaviour out.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/09/13 03:16 PM

Great questions. I'm delighted to see you puzzling these things out. I'm very interested to see if you arrive at the same conclusions I arrived at.

I found my use of the words "No one can make anyone feel anything" went directly in the face of a cultural tradition of blaming other people for your feelings. (Passivity and victimicity, I think.) I, too, often found people pretty angry - a response I am always interested in. Understand their anger, its source, validate it and I think you'll have your solution to your question. Remember the sign is a OneLiner whose purpose was to help Sandra and I become more dialogical. We had it on the wall at home for years to help us learn. Years of "mulling" as its meaning is so profound.

To your examples of (physical, I assume) assault or rape, I add shooting and stabbing. I also add all those examples of trying to give positive feelings to others, "cheering up" or comforting or soothing or delighting. These are, as you say, language. But how do they work? Just because there is a word doesn't mean that's a "useful" word. Some words are misleading, I think. Consider the example of "I was relieved when she hit me." Where is the "relief" and where is the hitting? In whom?

I think one of your problems may be that you are puzzling along and still using MasterTalk. Shift to using Dialogue and I think these issues become more clear. How many of my charts are dialogical and how many are monological? How do you tell? Answer, which ones have two people, two icebergs, two boxes, etc. on them.

It is possible to do something that triggers someone. The way I see it, the "do something" is in one person and the "triggering" is in the other. This, to me, is part of the glory in understanding Frustrations. I focused on this issue as I sought clarity on The Trigger does not cause the Frustration.

Assaulter on one side, assaultee on the other. Raper on one side, rapee on the other. Perpetrator on one side and victim on the other. Encourager on one side and discouraged on the other. Labeling shrink on one side and patient with label on the other. I think habitually we are taught to focus on one or the other while often overlooking the roles/responsibilities of the other.

If you are still puzzled we can always chat.



Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/10/13 04:13 PM

Yup, still puzzled!
:-)

I understand in theory that feelings are internal, and are triggered.
I looked over your frustrations page, and yup, it makes sense, BUT.
Why are people still held accountable for how they treat people?
Why do we have laws to prosecute people who invade anothers boundaries to the degree that their victim is feeling intense pain.

Why can an abuser not say 'sure, I hit you, but your hurt is your responsibility, not mine. I didn't CAUSE it, I just triggered it. Not my problem.'?
(i have a feeling quite a few abusers DO say this actually).

I know I'm using extreme examples, but I think that if I understand the extremity, the middle ground will take care of itself.

Also, I'm confused by how I am using Master talk. Am I using it with myself, with this problem? Am I looking for a 'right' answer?
I think I am. I want to understand this.
I felt kind of powerless to counter this persons anger on the blog I mentioned.

I admit, I am full of Master talk, or at least was full of it. I am learning to hear another's opinion even if I don't agree.

Isn't your statement 'no one can make you feel anything, but they can try' kind of Master talk?

Or does the 'but they can try' bit make it dialogical?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/10/13 07:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Yup, still puzzled! I understand in theory that feelings are internal, and are triggered. I looked over your frustrations page, and yup, it makes sense
Glad you are still trying to figure this stuff out. I hope sharing my views, theories and definitions are helpful

Originally Posted By: Sim54
BUT. Why are people still held accountable for how they treat people?
I fear that few are. The legal system, while it may be the best in the world, has lots of holes in it.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Why do we have laws to prosecute people who invade anothers boundaries to the degree that their victim is feeling intense pain.
Wow, kinda a why is the world round question. My belief is that the law is a compromise between a culture's need for individual expression and the culture's need for structure and less chaos. Sounds a bit like my definition of a hierarchy. Use of a Hierarhy.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Why can an abuser not say 'sure, I hit you, but your hurt is your responsibility, not mine. I didn't CAUSE it, I just triggered it. Not my problem.'? (i have a feeling quite a few abusers DO say this actually).
The law seems mostly involved with it's view of the facticity of breaking rules and not so much with pain.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I know I'm using extreme examples, but I think that if I understand the extremity, the middle ground will take care of itself.
Me too.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Also, I'm confused by how I am using Master talk. Am I using it with myself, with this problem? Am I looking for a 'right' answer? I think I am. I want to understand this.
Yup. That's what mastertalk is, for me, a pursuit of an arbitrary definition of truth as though there is such a thing. I think you are caught up in it.


Originally Posted By: Sim54
I felt kind of powerless to counter this persons anger on the blog I mentioned.
What is this word "counter?" Did you want to invalidate the person's anger, understand it or respect it? I'm not clear what your intent was.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I admit, I am full of Master talk, or at least was full of it. I am learning to hear another's opinion even if I don't agree.
Me too. I fear MasterTalk was all I knew. I now think I was a monster in those days.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Isn't your statement 'no one can make you feel anything, but they can try' kind of Master talk?

Or does the 'but they can try' bit make it dialogical?
Sure, I think that statement is MasterTalk. After I became clear what MasterTalk was, and how dangerous it was, I found many situations were it may be quite desirable. Almost all my OneLiners, my reminders, are in the MasterTalk form. That was intentional. I had a friend who is a Presbyterian minister and he tried to give sermons in "dialogue" and gave it up. MasterTalk seems to sound right when you are speaking for God. Lots of situations involving emergencies support MasterTalk, I believe.

Keep puzzling.


[/quote]
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/11/13 07:48 PM

I think I understand a bit better why I am caught up in Mastertalk in searching for a 'right' answer here.

I am somewhat frustrated though, with some of your answers. I feel safe to voice that frustration here. :-)

I'm not sure you understand my line of questioning regarding abusive behaviour.

I'll rephrase it another way.
If someone isn't responsible for the pain they inflict on another, then why do we hold people accountable for their behaviour?
I'm assuming that if you saw someone being assaulted, you would act to prevent it if you had the means, or at the very least, report it to the police.
If so, why? Why do we think it's wrong to assault someone, if we believe that 'no-one is responsible for the hurt they trigger in someone else.'

I'm sorry to labor this point, but it's a sticking point for me.

Re the word 'counter', I thought about it, and i felt that I wasn't communicating my view well, and this person was getting angry by misunderstanding me. I felt powerless to express myself in a more clear way. I don't think I wanted to invalidate this persons anger, but I didn't want them to be angry with me, as they said I was thinking things, that I thought were clearly NOT my thoughts. (felt invalidated).

On another point, but connected I guess. I've been trying to work out what to do with my ex. I have felt stuck for a few weeks now. She contacted me on Sat, and we had a chat. She invited me to chat, as she had some news about her mentally ill brother. She felt that, as I know the story, i would want to hear her good news. I think she used that story to get me to respond, as I have been 'radio silent' for a while now. I don't want to just disappear, but at the same time, I have been dragging my feet on confronting her, and telling her I want to stop contact with her.

I am deeply confused, as I'm finding it very hard to let go, and to get her out of my life for now. It feels wrong to do so, on a deep level, but staying in contact with her is hurting me. It seems fruitless, and self defeating to keep talking to a woman I want to be closer to, when I know she doesn't feel the same way.

I penned the following email and wondered what your thoughts were:

Hi ***
I've been thinking a lot about us since France. I've been trying to find the right words to say what I need to say.
In the end, what I need to say is simply this.
I need to step away from our 'rekindled friendship' as you put it.
It doesn't serve me well to stay in contact with you, so for now, it's best we don't have contact.

I thought back and forth about speaking with you on Skype about this, but I am wary of having a conversation with you that could so easily become emotional.
I no longer feel safe being open with you about how I feel.

That's it.

I wish you all the best with your current projects, and I'll send your stuff from France to you as soon as I get my next pay cheque.

Regards

***
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/11/13 08:27 PM

Hello there, Sim. Been reading your posts with much interest, always more for me to learn with all this. Anyways, I want to share my impression of your proposed email (above). I am imagining myself as the recipient of such a message, and here are my thoughts for what it may be worth.

What really comes across loud and clear (to me) is your emphasis on feeling unsafe with further/future contact with your friend. Sounds like you are basically signing off without any in-depth explanation of why (beyond your 'unsafe' message.) So, to me this comes across as a rather cryptic message. It's as if you're leaving it up to her to understand the 'why' behind your actions. Maybe she can, maybe not. But this way you may never know if she truly does. Maybe you don't care if she does. Maybe she doesn't.

I just know that were I her, it would make me wholly crazy to get such an incomplete message. It leaves everything to her imagination. Unless she truly doesn't care at all anymore about you and/or your mutual friendship, it seems almost a cruel 'tease' to me. Would you be willing to consider a more in-depth explanation for her sanity's sake? (I would die for that.) Unless your intent is to leave her hanging on purpose, which seems antagonistic to me.

The other part that seems missing is any attempt at pre-validating her feelings/actions toward you. Actually, I think you leave her entirely out of your calculations in this message. Do you really think she's gonna hear this the way you want her to? Seems to me like there's a whole lotta misunderstanding going on here. But then I am really touchy about this kinda stuff.

I doubt you and I would do well with each other. We'd match too well in how to trigger each other's wounds. JMHO

Sometimes it is us that have to be the first to promote an environment of safety BEFORE we can expect to receive the same in return. At least that is the lesson I've been working on of late. I wish you well.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/11/13 09:18 PM

I'm sticking with you, Sim, cuz I want this to be a safe place to puzzle out these things and cuz it's a "sticking point" for you. Big lesson here for you, I am guessing. Wonder what I can say. (I'll leave the issue of your letter to your partner to TC's kindness.)

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I'll rephrase it another way.
If someone isn't responsible for the pain they inflict on another, then why do we hold people accountable for their behaviour? I'm assuming that if you saw someone being assaulted, you would act to prevent it if you had the means, or at the very least, report it to the police. If so, why? Why do we think it's wrong to assault someone, if we believe that 'no-one is responsible for the hurt they trigger in someone else.' I'm sorry to labor this point, but it's a sticking point for me.


I hear you.

For me the issue involves keeping the experience and worldview of the "perpetrator" separate from that of the "victim." The usual problem in solving these issue is to blend both points of view into one "correct" one, then get distracted from solving the problems by arguing about which point of view is correct. Problem of MasterTalk. I want to separate and preserve both points of view.

Our court system occasionally does that, but most often f##Ks it up. Look at how often we focus on the "murderer" as to whether he/she did the murder and what circumstances and only secondarily look at the issues of the "victim" or "victim's family." I enjoy watching cop-dramas (NCIS, etc) and laugh each time they say to a victim's family, "I'm sorry for your loss." followed by a non-verbal, "but shut the blubbering up and tell us happened." Hah.

To me hurt and pain are phenomena in one person just as perpetrating (doing something) is in another. The causal connection, "my act caused your pain" is a bogus formulation. My act may trigger a god-awful amount of pain in you. We gotta deal with it. My god-awful act may not trigger any pain in you. We gotta deal with that. Tis lots and lots of invalidation to think otherwise, I fear.

Looking a the court system, I think generally we have come to hold people responsible for their acts. That I like. We as a court system are looking at the "damages, damages". I like our court system, and I am very happy we turn things over to a jury of boobs, dorks, fools like me.

But between people, in relationships, I want to validate the person who did the act AND the person who feels pain. For me, it is cruel to neglect the responsibilities, the issues needing attention, of either. If you look at my paper on Frustration, you'll see how often we manage to waste energy focusing on the "perpetrator", the one who does the triggering behavior, and neglect dealing with the pain in the "triggered person."

Though blame and guilt are normal.

Hope this helps more.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/12/13 07:18 PM

TC_Manhattan, thanks very much for taking the time to reply.
Tbh, I need all the help I can get right now.
I've slowly spiralled into a bit of a hole, and of course, it's mainly of my making.

I do think the following statement is a bit rash:

'I doubt you and I would do well with each other. We'd match too well in how to trigger each other's wounds. JMHO'

I have spent the last 15 or so months with her trying to make things safe between us and I'm kind of done. So, you and I might not trigger each other so much, but right now, yes maybe. However, I haven't send the email, so, I haven't done anything yet. :-)

Anyway. To be frank, i'm angry and upset. I took my ex away for a lovely trip to France. I had wanted to do it for a long time.
It was originally going to be a week alone for me, but I later invited her.
I shortened the trip to fit her schedule.
It cost me a fortune.
Within a few hours of us starting, she suddenly mentions how undesirable she had felt when we were together. (relationship ended 3 1/2 years ago).

This plunged me into anxiety, and I stayed there for the rest of the trip, alert to any sign she might still love me, and wary of the next 'snipe' from her.
Ruined my holiday.
To preserve my attempt at having a good time, I said nothing to her, but couldn't really hide my upset. She questioned me, and I lied, and said everything was ok. I simply couldn't bare us fighting when we had just a few days together.

I'm so angry that she feels free to bring up our past whenever she feels like it, without checking to see if I want to discuss it. However, if I ever suggest we talk about the past, she says there is no need as we are not heading in that direction.

Now, you suggest I pre validate her? And try to explain things to her for her sanity?
I am pulling my hair out daily, in rage and sadness.
I oscillate between wanting this selfish woman out of my life for ever, and damn her feelings, and the wave of sadness and hopelessness that washes over me when I realise what that means.

My email above is my desperately avoiding spilling a rage attack on her, and pouring out all my frustration and resentment. I feel that the adult thing to do is call her and tell her what is up, but I'm terrified of what may happen, of her coldness, more rejection from her, or anger from me.

An email seems the best way, and not a long one.

I hear you, on what you say, and I have tried to help her feel safe.
She is, however a deeply damaged woman, with wounds she acknowledges need therapy. Her fear, her lack of feeling safe goes way back, and I don't see how I can possible change that? I think her deciding she cannot trust me IS her feeling safe. To open up to intimacy terrifies her.

It could take years for her to feel safe with me. Really, is it worth it? She will find another guy before I can impact that kind of insecurity. As Al said above, he thinks she still sees me how I was in the past, even though she can see that I have changed MASSIVELY. She admitted I am hardly recognisable as the guy from before. But therein lies the issue. She went crazy for the idiot I was, but now, I'm calmer, kinder, present, open to intimacy, not heartbroken over another girl, and in every way 100 times more attractive a partner than I was 4 year ago. And I don't even register on her radar. I think she LOVES the messed up guys. And I'm not one anymore. (yeah, I'm not perfect by a LONG shot, but I way down the line from the jerk I was.)

I just think I should get her out of my life as quickly as possible.

I am actually weeping as I write this, I'm so frustrated.
Even friends of mine can't understand why she doesn't see me as I am now.

Thanks for taking the time to read it.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/12/13 07:19 PM

Al, thanks for you response. I'm going to take some time out from grilling you on this, and try to let your words sink in a bit, and let my brain puzzle it out slowly.

Peace.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/12/13 07:26 PM

I'm sorry, i'm having a really bad day. I'm a bit ashamed of how whiny and childish my post above is. I'm not normally so out of control over this, but it's hit me hard today. Hopefully, I'll be back on form in a few days.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/12/13 08:45 PM

Al, i've just been reading your topic 4a about Validation, and I can see that I'm in np mode. Full time narcissistic prik!!

I like this.
Much to think about.

I wonder, rather than getting my ex out of my life, I could let go of trying to get her back, and instead, try to find out how she feels about this all?
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/12/13 08:53 PM

Sim, I don't follow much of Al's stuff, but I have been playing with some things I learned from a book called "daring greatly"

I've been speaking my truth and letting go of the outcome a lot lately. It's really a good and freeing exercise to just put yourself out there to the universe in a real and honest way and then let the rest sort itself out.
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/12/13 09:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
TC_Manhattan, thanks very much for taking the time to reply.
Tbh, I need all the help I can get right now.
I've slowly spiralled into a bit of a hole, and of course, it's mainly of my making.

I think the first (and a very big) step is your own self-awareness..

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I do think the following statement is a bit rash:

'I doubt you and I would do well with each other. We'd match too well in how to trigger each other's wounds. JMHO'


Just to make myself more clear, I meant this statement as referring to you and me (TC), not you and your friend. It was my way of saying that I really feel how she (as clinger) would feel communicating with you on such a hot-button issue, that's all. Your avoidant behaviors would really zing me personally. It's my weakness.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I have spent the last 15 or so months with her trying to make things safe between us and I'm kind of done. So, you and I might not trigger each other so much, but right now, yes maybe. However, I haven't send the email, so, I haven't done anything yet. :-)


Good move, this. Give yourself ample time to process this and calm your own lizard down first. That will permit you to respond rather than react from your gut, which would only serve to further scare her. It's sort of like the two of you are taking turns scaring the bejeezus out of each other. I'm guessing that is the gist of this whole Imago thing.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Anyway. To be frank, i'm angry and upset. I took my ex away for a lovely trip to France. I had wanted to do it for a long time.
It was originally going to be a week alone for me, but I later invited her.
I shortened the trip to fit her schedule.
It cost me a fortune.


Ahh... This sounds like Al's whole dissertation about expectations and frustrations, with a bit of "cathected libidinal energy" thrown in for good measure. Perhaps consider re-reading those essays of Al's. I think your stuff is all in there.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Within a few hours of us starting, she suddenly mentions how undesirable she had felt when we were together. (relationship ended 3 1/2 years ago).


Just a guess here, but maybe this was her attempt at testing the waters with you. Certainly sounds to me like she was making an honest self-disclosure here, which is really taking a chance at sharing her vulnerability with you. Maybe that just freaked you out (the vulnerability thing.) Just a guess.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
This plunged me into anxiety, and I stayed there for the rest of the trip, alert to any sign she might still love me, and wary of the next 'snipe' from her.
In an effort to pre-validate her, maybe her comment wasn't meant as a snipe. Maybe, possibly, it was her attempt to be open with you. Could it be your pre-conditioned filter that took it not as she intended it? Maybe she was implying her vulnerability while you were inferring a personal snipe? Just a thought.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Ruined my holiday.


I'll bet it did! I can see this happening to me so easily. One can become so sensitized to perceiving slights where they truly aren't there, it's like the old 'chip on the shoulder' syndrome. Been there. Lots.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
To preserve my attempt at having a good time, I said nothing to her, but couldn't really hide my upset. She questioned me, and I lied, and said everything was ok. I simply couldn't bare us fighting when we had just a few days together.


Al says lying (or withholding) scares the crap out of folks. We feel safe when we receive reliable, predictive behavior. Lying does the opposite. It's a defensive tactic, and our lizards don't like it at all. Kids know when they're being lied to, so do our lizards. It's part of our survival mechanism. This probably really had her running scared by this time.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I'm so angry that she feels free to bring up our past whenever she feels like it, without checking to see if I want to discuss it. However, if I ever suggest we talk about the past, she says there is no need as we are not heading in that direction.


Does she really "feel free"? Or perhaps maybe she's just as unfamiliar with how to communicate with you as you perhaps are with her? This communication stuff is really, really difficult to master. We're, I think, used to talking, answering reflexively and takes lots of time and tons of practice to begin slowing our thought, hearing and speech processes down enough to transmit what we really intend. Instead, we can often come across the wrong way. You know, defensive and intimidating (scary). Just how I see it.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Now, you suggest I pre validate her? And try to explain things to her for her sanity?


Someone's gotta go first. Once you figure it out, maybe you can little-by-little begin teaching her by your examples.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I am pulling my hair out daily, in rage and sadness.
I oscillate between wanting this selfish woman out of my life for ever, and damn her feelings, and the wave of sadness and hopelessness that washes over me when I realise what that means.


Sim, talk to Al. You will be amazed at how profoundly a chat with him can help you figure this communication thing out. I doubt you truly are ready in your heart to part with this woman. It's just way too painful for you right now, and you're prioritizing your own safety first. Lizard stuff. Al can help sort it out for you and get you pointed in a better direction, I think. Go for it.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
My email above is my desperately avoiding spilling a rage attack on her, and pouring out all my frustration and resentment. I feel that the adult thing to do is call her and tell her what is up, but I'm terrified of what may happen, of her coldness, more rejection from her, or anger from me.

An email seems the best way, and not a long one.

I hear you, on what you say, and I have tried to help her feel safe.
She is, however a deeply damaged woman, with wounds she acknowledges need therapy. Her fear, her lack of feeling safe goes way back, and I don't see how I can possible change that? I think her deciding she cannot trust me IS her feeling safe. To open up to intimacy terrifies her.

It could take years for her to feel safe with me. Really, is it worth it? She will find another guy before I can impact that kind of insecurity. As Al said above, he thinks she still sees me how I was in the past, even though she can see that I have changed MASSIVELY. She admitted I am hardly recognisable as the guy from before. But therein lies the issue. She went crazy for the idiot I was, but now, I'm calmer, kinder, present, open to intimacy, not heartbroken over another girl, and in every way 100 times more attractive a partner than I was 4 year ago. And I don't even register on her radar. I think she LOVES the messed up guys. And I'm not one anymore. (yeah, I'm not perfect by a LONG shot, but I way down the line from the jerk I was.)

I just think I should get her out of my life as quickly as possible.

I am actually weeping as I write this, I'm so frustrated.
Even friends of mine can't understand why she doesn't see me as I am now.

Thanks for taking the time to read it.


I believe you when you say you've become much more mature and authentic with your self-work so far. Now what you need to consider is honing your communications skills so you can get all this improvement across to her without scaring her off.

You probably will have to be the one to lead her down the path of better communication and dialogue, which can then eventually lead to evolving trust and intimacy. I'm hoping that's how it works. Best luck, Sim!
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/13/13 05:57 AM

TC, I don't have time for a proper response to your message as I have to run off to work, but thank you SO much for your words.

You write beautifully, concisely, and really helped calm me down.
I feel heard and understood, and at the same time challenged to keep looking deeper.

I am somewhat perplexed why everyone things I should keep trying with her.
She has been crystal clear in her intention to never come back to me.
She stays in contact with most of her ex's in some way or other, so our friendship is no special sign.

Have a good day, what ever you're doing!

Sim
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/20/13 07:54 PM

Hi TC, I'm back, and want to respond properly to your post.

Firstly, I didn't mis understand your original comment about you and I not being good together>

"Just to make myself more clear, I meant this statement as referring to you and me (TC), not you and your friend. It was my way of saying that I really feel how she (as clinger) would feel communicating with you on such a hot-button issue, that's all. Your avoidant behaviors would really zing me personally. It's my weakness."

What I meant in response was that I wasn't usually so avoidant, that only this email I quoted above was 'avoidant'. In other words, perhaps you and I wouldn't 'zing' each other so much. My avoidant response to my ex, comes after much rejection from her in France.
This last year, I have been very present, and not avoidant at all.
I try to validate her, although am not always successful. I have very different views on what went wrong between us, and also on us being together, and I find it hard to resist arguing my case.

I believe that my avoidant response to my ex recently is triggered by her disregard for my own feelings about us, and also on her inappropriate timing on discussing things.

"Just a guess here, but maybe this was her attempt at testing the waters with you. Certainly sounds to me like she was making an honest self-disclosure here, which is really taking a chance at sharing her vulnerability with you. Maybe that just freaked you out (the vulnerability thing.) Just a guess."

I REALLY don't have a problem with her vulnerability, but she needs to understand that she can't just decided to start talking about our past whenever she feels like it. These conversations are hugely triggering for both of us. She knows this and she pointedly refuses any suggestion by me to discuss some point about our past saying 'we're not heading in that direction', but she then brings up something later when she wants to, and does so without checking to see if i'm open to the talk, or in a good place to hear it.

Specifically, in this case, we haven't seen each other in 6 months, I'm taking her on holiday, and without warning she states that she felt undesired when we were together. My lizard hears another in a long line of criticisms over the years and I freeze.

I really want to talk about the past, but am afraid it will all be about her, and how badly she felt, and how bad a boyfriend I was, etc.

Perhaps I sound childish, but I REALLY want her to get how badly I felt with her, how invaded, controlled and manipulated by her. She crushed the life out of any hope we had of intimacy, and screamed at me for abandoning her. She just doesn't see how messed up her behaviour was. Of course she felt undesirable. She acted like a 4 year old girl, and I don't desire infants. She ended up repulsing me, with her clinging, and screaming, controlling and manipulating. What did she expect me to do?

I know that I was often unavailable, and so, I can spin this around on it's head, and ask, what was she supposed to do? But well, she wasn't supposed to cling to me, even though I understand why she did it, and it made sense to her. I backed away from her in a desperate attempt to get her to pull away.
Even my therapist told me that my repeated pulling away from her was a sign of my sanity and that only a mad man would want to stay in an enmeshed relationship.

Ultimately, it is not a bad thing to leave someone if you feel unsafe, but it is in my opinion a VERY damaging thing to invade someone when you don't feel safe. Adult abandonment hurts, but you will survive, however invasion, at it's most extreme is kidnapping, rape, etc.

I am sick of it.

How on earth can I validate her, when I believe she is in complete denial about her issues, and what happened?

I know I messed up, that is why I got therapy, and I search the web and forums looking to heal and grow, and be a better man.
She doesn't seem to care that she messed up. Her feeling is 'it didn't work out because we weren't right for each other, it will be better with the next guy.'

It's never been better with the next guy, and there have been lot's for her.

Well, this has turned into a rant again.
I'm not happy.

We have had some contact, she has 'liked' some pics of mine on FB so I decided to send her the following so she didn't panic:

Hey ***,
just wanted to drop you a line to say hi, and also to say sorry for being a bit vague and distant right now. I'm kind of working through some stuff and trying to adjust to Autumn and Amsterdam, and post school life.
I gather you were sick? Hope you're feeling better.
Well, I hope this will make you laugh.

"inserted a youtube clip here"

Sim
x


She responded with this:

So funny!

Don't worry about it... Hope your alright x

Ps: this one was really funny too
"another link"
X


There was also this convo on skype over the last couple of days

Her: Hey, when are you coming to London? It was somewhere in September non? Or was it October?

Me: No plans to anymore. Just working, and dealing with debt. We'll see.

Her: Ok.. Let me know if you want to talk again x


I think it's telling she says if I want to talk again, not when...

Ok, enough.

If you read this far, then thank you.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/20/13 07:55 PM

Could someone help me with how to insert quotes from another users posts? I can't seem to find how to do it, so use exclamation marks instead.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/20/13 07:59 PM

Oh, and I wonder, is my posting full of Mastertalk? I hear that Al thinks I'm looking for the 'right' answer, and yes, I am. I want to find a solution to this problem. It seems there is only one, to walk away.
Posted By: NewEveryDay

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/20/13 08:48 PM

Sim, thanks *so* much for sharing all of this. I am going through something similar with a family member. I want to be back to normal, but she's not ready, she still needs me to hear how wrong I was and am in her eyes.

And I listen to her, and keep putting myself out there. And I have to let go of the response. Maybe she doesn't want to be close to me, if this is who I am and what I do. I need to respect that. To give her the dignity of living the life she wants for herself, not the one I want for her.

How can I keep expecting that of her, to give me the dignity of my viewpoints and decisions, when I'm still working on being consistent extending that dignity to her? Maybe I just need to keep letting go of the response. Maybe I haven't learned everything that's in there for me to learn yet. My experience has been when I learn all the stuff I was supposed to, the unsettled-ness lifts.

Okay, enough of my projecting. How about your situation? You want her to listen to you, but you're not ready to keep hearing her until she feels heard yet. You want her to understand your point-of-view, and respect you for it, but hearing her point-of-view is still painful to you. If it's painful stuff to hear, it means you haven't made peace with it, yourself, yet. My guess if maybe you're still in that if-only stage, and need more time to grieve. You're doing the right things, and I think you'll find more peace. And then her stuff won't be so painful to hear.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/20/13 09:41 PM

Wow, thanks for that response.
Beautifully written, and pulled me up short on what I"m doing and where I am.
I think I beat myself up for so long (years) about how I treated her, that I can't tolerate her agreeing with me. Perhaps I feel like I've had enough of feeling bad about the past. But maybe she still doesn't feel heard by me, so yeah, I see your points.

I guess I still have a lot to do, and yes, need to grieve the loss of her.
I do believe deep down that I've lost her forever. Somehow, it's that that keeps me hanging on.
If I saw hope, I would let go easily, trusting to a reconnection.

You're not projecting, at least, I don't think so.

Thanks again!
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/21/13 03:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Oh, and I wonder, is my posting full of Mastertalk? I hear that Al thinks I'm looking for the 'right' answer, and yes, I am. I want to find a solution to this problem. It seems there is only one, to walk away.
Now I am very much in favor of solutions and I generally take a position opposing "leaving your partner" while at the same time leaving that decision up to you. I respect that you are "on the scene" and have much more experience and input than I do.

In general, I think your issues are more about Power and only secondarily about Clinger/Avoider. How can you learn to think, and share that thinking, in a way that comes across respectfully? What are the ways to respond to another person's clumsy way of expressing themselves - their wishes, their boundaries,, again in ways that come across respectfully.

I read your understandings of her and your expectations of her and I imagine you are "pretty far off." I encourage you to continue learning about MasterTalk and masterthinking and boundaries. Keep a going. Good luck. (I'm on vacation with an iphone and weird bluetooth keyboard and poor internet connection.)
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/22/13 06:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Oh, and I wonder, is my posting full of Mastertalk?


Yes... and yes. And I also read a lot of frustration, resentment and anger. Took awhile to write your response, which to me comes across sounding like a defense brief of your position. Whew. Lots of pent-up energy. Sometimes that can really scare folks off. At least me.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I hear that Al thinks I'm looking for the 'right' answer, and yes, I am.

Maybe I have this wrong, but I believe that there is no one single, undisputable RIGHT answer. Believing there is makes for MasterTalk. Also for lotsa wars and fighting and killing eventually.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I want to find a solution to this problem.


I hear that, but I'm thinking you are going about it in a most ineffective way. Step back, breathe deeply, calm down. Maybe imagine seeing things from another, outside angle. Not everything has to be so darn personal, only if one makes it so. Sounds like there is lots more learning ahead for you. Keep reading, keep blogging, work on calming yourself and perhaps read up a bit on the subject of "non-attachment."

I'm learning the hard way that the world is not all about me and my needs and wants and hurt.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
It seems there is only one, to walk away.

I don't think walking away is the only answer. (In fact, I know it's not the only answer.) However, it is one way to avoid accepting responsibility for how I am treated and how I respond. It, to me, seems the easy way out. Give up. Walk away. But..... I would hesitate to believe it will be different next time, if you do.

Power struggles are power struggles. A fixed world view is just that, only one fixed view. Doesn't mean others don't see, hear and feel otherwise. Just means you won't let it into your world. My thinking.

BTW, I realize how hard this all is for you, Sim. I really do. In my view, ultimately the hardest part is the power struggle one has with one's own belief system first, which infiltrates everything else, like everyone else's world views. Who's to say which is more right, or better?
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/22/13 08:58 PM

Thanks TC for your thoughts, and you too Al. I appreciate the time you both have taken to write to me. TC, your reading of my emotional state is pretty accurate. I am however a lot calmer since I wrote my last post. Perhaps it shows? :-)

Lot's of stuff to ponder, and a fare few things you've both said resonate with me, and seem a bit like a hot knife in butter, cutting through some of my crap, easily.

I don't always write my response too quickly, as I want to make it a response, rather than a reaction, so I tend to think about things over a day or so.

I've also been having quite extreme mood swings, and anxiety, and I think I want to avoid blurting the symptoms of these strong emotions on the page here.

I've decided today that going forward, I want to start working with only the data I have about her, and stop second guessing or analysing her. I think there is a huge amount of projection going on. Also, I think it behooves me to concentrate on me, what I'm doing, what I can change. Seems to me that that is good boundary skills: work out what is my stuff, and deal with that.

I really am trying to take responsibility for my actions. I think I've been in a pretty good place this last year, regarding how I've been going about things, but this trip to France kind of threw everything up in the air again.

I see I have been over attaching: to her, to an outcome. I started to walk on egg shells not to provoke her getting upset, or to provoke rejection. This needs work.

And I hear you when you say I should read up on non attachment. I think detaching from her is vital, and I'm doing it now, I'm just not telling her about it.

I'm not sure how much to share with her, but when we do speak, I think I simply want to express my thoughts and feelings on safety between us, and see where she is at and her response.

Al, I hear you on the power struggle aspect. I have some thoughts about why I am struggling for power, but I will save them for another time. Need to sleep now.

Something I need some clarification on:
"I read your understandings of her and your expectations of her and I imagine you are "pretty far off.""

What do you mean by my expectations of her are pretty far off? I don't quite follow. Are you saying I am expecting too much from her?

Just one more thing. I hear you when you say you are opposed to leaving a partner. However, I am not this woman's partner, nor have been for over 3 1/2 years. She has been very vocal and clear in her decision to never have a romantic relationship with me. Her words: 'I can't risk coming back to you. I can never be with you again, I can never sleep with you again.'

I like this statement. It is clear data. She is being clear.

I'm going to stick with working with the clear data she has so far given me, whilst trying to make a safe space for her to share more data.

Her stance seems pretty clear no?

Anyway, thanks again, and have a good day/night.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/25/13 10:54 AM

Hmm, was hoping for a little feed back here. I'm a bit at sea on my own, trying to figure out how to proceed. I feel that the margin for error is great, and damage at this stage could last a long time.

I very much want to avoid an argument with my ex, but I can see that it could happen. I am almost certain of the way she will respond to me, and it will feel very threatening and rejecting to my lizard. I will probably have to end the conversation when she does or says something that triggers me, and that could very likely happen extremely quickly.

I am going over what I want to say to her in my head, trying to remove threat, master talk, ultimatums, etc, and just express my wish to make things safe between us, as friends only.

I must be honest with myself about my desires.
I have a strong desire for her.
But, I can see that we are not in a place to be able to have a safe and healthy intimacy together.
This, for me, means I must remind myself that I don't want to be with a girl who invalidates me, as she does.

I wish to stop my side of the dysfunction.

I must repeatedly remind myself that she is very clear in not wanting to be with me anymore.
I question her desire for friendship with me, when she claims to not trust me.
I also question why I still desire a woman who no longer desires me.

I think that is deep imago stuff.
I have a history of chasing women who reject me.
I have a burning need to 'prove' I am loveable.



Peace.
Posted By: NewEveryDay

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/25/13 11:56 AM

Sim, I think what you did, spent your vacation with an ex who says she doesn't want to be with you, put you in a really tough situation that it would be hard for anyone to avoid overthinking after. You made your best effort, she still felt the same, but now it's a hard road to get back to status quo. You'll get back to normal, but you already want to feel resolved. Maybe it will just take a little more time.
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/25/13 01:13 PM

Sim, she's gone and clearly said she doesn't want you in that way. When people tell you who they are and how they feel, you should believe them. It's disrespectful in the extreme not to.

That ship has sailed. Let it go. Cut the cord, drop the rope, whatever term you want to use. She's allowing the relationship to continue hobbling along because it's familiar and comforting and it strokes her ego. Is that worth the cost to YOUR soul? I think not.

The sooner you get her all the way out of your life, the happier you'll be.
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/25/13 03:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Hmm, was hoping for a little feed back here. I'm a bit at sea on my own, trying to figure out how to proceed. I feel that the margin for error is great, and damage at this stage could last a long time.

I very much want to avoid an argument with my ex, but I can see that it could happen. I am almost certain of the way she will respond to me, and it will feel very threatening and rejecting to my lizard. I will probably have to end the conversation when she does or says something that triggers me, and that could very likely happen extremely quickly.


Hello Sim, I think you have it right. The damage from thwarted communicating can last a long time. Or even forever. I guess that's why Al Turtle emphasizes learning all about communicating effectively (i.e. dialogue v. diatribe), and practicing it religiously in all our interactions with everyone we encounter, not only our 'Imago' match. (Besides, I think it's easier to practice with acquaintances first because what is at stake is not so severe, and our lizards get practice in not freaking out with every disagreement or mistake.) Anyways, this is what I have found for me.

Al goes all out in his website and his practice to emphasize listening skills and empathy FIRST, and well before we begin practicing how to say things better. In a big way, his article about The Testicle Principle sums up this idea as a basis for any dialogue or successful relating. I believe his idea is to create that elusive "zone of safety" for the other person.

At the same time, I think you have to work on your own safety initially by doing so outside of your relationship. You need to develop the ability to feel safe independent of that Imago relationship, since it is exactly this one relationship that holds the greatest intensity of triggers that threaten oneself. (That's what makes it such a perfect match in the first place, according to Imago theory, if I'm reading it right.)

You can't make your partner make you feel safe. And there are no "shoulds" about it. Insisting they allow for your safety before you can fully engage is just another demonstration of the power struggle between parties. You can only work on YOU. For me, that means two steps:

First, you have to nurture your own sense of safety in all circumstances. This is multi-fold. You need to learn your various triggers (issues) and work on them in a variety of situations first. With practice, you can become better and better, and your lizard will begin to trust YOU more. (Meaning trust your ability to stay calm and focused and not triggered in the face of threat.)

Secondly, you begin developing your ability to hear out your partner (listen, empathize, validate) fully. Until they have nothing more to say. This step can take a longgg time. It can seem like forever. But it's the first step in putting their needs first and foremost above your own need to speak your piece.

Bottom line is I don't think you stand a chance of being heard yourself (at all) until they're given the chance to be fully heard by you. Someone has to go first, and I doubt it will be them. So you decide. Are you willing to do what it takes up front to earn the opportunity (later) to then share yourself with them? It is a choice. It's your choice. And, it is hard work learning to BE patient, to LISTEN attentively, and to place on HOLD your own need for being heard.

Yes, it's unfair to have to be the one to go first, BUT that is the difference between leading and forcing. It's one big way out of the power struggle.

Drop the power struggle, NOT the relationship!

Anyways, this is what I have found for me, and it is a tough assignment. requiring lots of patience with myself (in learning) and with others (in listening.)

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I am going over what I want to say to her in my head, trying to remove threat, master talk, ultimatums, etc, and just express my wish to make things safe between us, as friends only.


As above, it's not in what YOU say to HER. It IS all about what you encourage HER to share with YOU. (First step, and it's a biggie.)

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I must be honest with myself about my desires.
I have a strong desire for her.
But, I can see that we are not in a place to be able to have a safe and healthy intimacy together.
This, for me, means I must remind myself that I don't want to be with a girl who invalidates me, as she does.


Well, you've had a prime example that she feels the same with you, i.e. she doesn't want to be with a guy who invalidates her the way you do, either. So, who's gonna be the one to take the first steps and lead the way out of this nightmare of the power struggle and start developing safety and trust?

My guess is if you wait on her to do it first, you will wait forever and have wasted much time. If you try to bully her into doing it first, she will run from you like a herd of cats.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I wish to stop my side of the dysfunction.

I hear you. That's why I'm taking the time to share my thoughts with you. Keep pushing on yourself. It takes much effort to break through a hard head (like mine).

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I must repeatedly remind myself that she is very clear in not wanting to be with me anymore.
I question her desire for friendship with me, when she claims to not trust me.
I also question why I still desire a woman who no longer desires me.


While her words say she doesn't want to be with you, the reality is that she keeps making attempts to come back and re-test you, so... I'm guessing her words belie her attraction to you, while at the same time highlighting her lack of trust. She'll be ambivalent until she is convinced you have changed. It will take time to convince her, and that is only once your approach HAS changed.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I think that is deep imago stuff.
I have a history of chasing women who reject me.
I have a burning need to 'prove' I am loveable.


This is why I think you don't want to give up. It's where the gold is. Keep digging!
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/25/13 03:55 PM

Really great, TC. Also that last bit, SIm, about chasing women sure sounds like a normal childhood wound. Keep a going
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/26/13 05:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Miranda
Sim, she's gone and clearly said she doesn't want you in that way. When people tell you who they are and how they feel, you should believe them. It's disrespectful in the extreme not to.

That ship has sailed. Let it go. Cut the cord, drop the rope, whatever term you want to use. She's allowing the relationship to continue hobbling along because it's familiar and comforting and it strokes her ego. Is that worth the cost to YOUR soul? I think not.

The sooner you get her all the way out of your life, the happier you'll be.


Hi, and thanks for the short sharp treatment. I needed to read this when I woke up this morning. I'll explain more in a bit, but I heartily agree with this. Part of me fights it, but yeah, ignoring someones clear desire about you is a gross invalidation.
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/26/13 05:39 PM

I'm glad to hear that it was helpful, Sim. Although I believe it to be true, I was afraid it might have been a bit too blatant and might have been too harsh in delivery.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/26/13 05:42 PM

Well, it's tough also, because the main advice I keep getting here seems to promote my hanging on. I don't agree. Perhaps I'm reading it wrong.

I think I have a lot to learn, but first step is letting her go, in my heart. She very much doesn't want me out of her life (we spoke last night, more on that later), and I know she loves me and cares about me, but, yes, that ship as sailed. Whatever may come, I have to believe she won't come back. This is very hard for me, when I love someone, I want them close. Their rejection doesn't stop my love, and I struggle to know what to do with it.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/26/13 05:44 PM

Originally Posted By: NewEveryDay
Sim, I think what you did, spent your vacation with an ex who says she doesn't want to be with you, put you in a really tough situation that it would be hard for anyone to avoid overthinking after. You made your best effort, she still felt the same, but now it's a hard road to get back to status quo. You'll get back to normal, but you already want to feel resolved. Maybe it will just take a little more time.


Thanks for this, and yes, it was perhaps a mistake to go, but I tried, and we did have some fun times there.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/26/13 06:13 PM

TC Manhatten, thanks for the kind attention. It was well received! I actually ended up having 'the talk' with her last night. I didn't really want to keep holding out against it. I had disappeared, and there was no way to really continue to avoid it, in light of how we have been up till now.

A couple of things. We live in different countries, so, only see each other every few months, and mostly, communicate via skype video. I wanted to talk face to face but couldn't.

I agree with most of what you say. Certainly it would be great for me to have mastered these skills before talking. Not possible. Also, as much as I see I should learn to listen well, before talking, this issue with us, involved all 'my stuff' and little of 'her stuff'. I can't really invite her to share, when I'm the one with the problem that needs explaining.

I was right about how it would go. She was pretty invalidating.
I explained that I didn't feel safe opening up to her and often I felt belittled and patronised by her and that she always had to be right.
Her response?
'So, why do you want to be friends with me if you feel like that?'

I think I managed it all pretty well, she got angry quickly, at hearing how upset I was, and that I had festered for 6 weeks rather than speak straight away. As she got angry, I pointed out that she was doing the very thing that made me not open up to her, by getting angry with me.

In the end, the conversation was hard. She was upset. She reitterated that she had no desire what so ever to get back with me and was happy just being friends.

She felt my emotions were an over reaction, and if we were just friends it wouldn't matter to bring up the relationship as It wouldn't bother us/me. I pointed out she was emotional when she mentioned it, and perhaps she was still hurt and felt the need to express things. I told he I was happy to hear this, but she needed to not just drop it on me, when she felt like it.
She denied being emotional when she talked about the past. (total denial of what was happening at the time).

She felt that I wanted to repair things between us, regarding the past.
I said I did.
She said she didn't.

All told, it went as expected.
I don't regret this.
It wasn't going to go any other way.

She is in a totally different place than me. Sees no need to learn from her behaviour, and prefers to reject the person, and try again with the next one.
'I haven't met the right guy yet.' her words.


Originally Posted By: TC Manhatten

You can't make your partner make you feel safe. And there are no "shoulds" about it. Insisting they allow for your safety before you can fully engage is just another demonstration of the power struggle between parties. You can only work on YOU. For me, that means two steps:


I like this. I was trying to work out how to get her to make me safe.
Not gonna work.
I saw that last night. She perceived even my talking about safety as an issue between us as threatening.

I have to get working on those steps, but first things first, is to let go off her, and my desire to get her back. Not going to happen any day soon. My feeling with her, and I know her well, is, until she gets the wakeup call that she is the one responsible for messing her relationships up, then nothing is going to change. I still get the feeling that throwing away the person is the best solution for her. Can't blame her. I felt the same for years too. You get it when you get it, or you don't. Not my business.

I have SOOOO much to learn, practise, and implement. And you're right, doing it with my last image partner, who runs scared from me, is not a good way to start.

I'm practising not interrupting people at the moment. It's one of my hates when it's done to me, and I know I do it to. Wonder why? Probably don't feel heard.

Originally Posted By: TC Manhatten

As above, it's not in what YOU say to HER. It IS all about what you encourage HER to share with YOU. (First step, and it's a biggie.)


Yeah, I hear you. Wasn't possible this time. I needed this skill when she mentioned how undesired she felt with me. I was too busy managing my lizard to hear her. Lot's to do!

Originally Posted By: TC Manhatten

Well, you've had a prime example that she feels the same with you, i.e. she doesn't want to be with a guy who invalidates her the way you do, either. So, who's gonna be the one to take the first steps and lead the way out of this nightmare of the power struggle and start developing safety and trust?


Not sure she sees it like this. Not sure she feels invalidated by me. She felt unwanted and unloved, so she rejected me, and moved on. Can't say I blame her really. Would be nice for her to recognise how unlovable and undesirable she behaved. Then perhaps she would say 'hmmm, can't blame him for leaving'.
Doubt that's coming any time soon. :-)

Originally Posted By: TC Manhetten

While her words say she doesn't want to be with you, the reality is that she keeps making attempts to come back and re-test you, so... I'm guessing her words belie her attraction to you, while at the same time highlighting her lack of trust. She'll be ambivalent until she is convinced you have changed. It will take time to convince her, and that is only once your approach HAS changed.


Not sure where you're getting this from?
Let's run through some key points with her.
-happy to be friends and spend time together.
-came to see me in my home last year, Nov, and stayed with me a couple of times, firstly in my bed, but freaked out, so moved her to second mattress, but she insisted I stay close in case she had a panic attack. We ended up in each others arms a few times, in just her knickers and t-shirt, but finally panicked, then told me she could never come back to me, never sleep with me. (this was our first real time together after over 2 years apart.
-since then lot's of chats on skype, no more attempts by her to visit me.
-Missed my birthday.
-Comes on holiday with me in Aug, but makes many references to not seeing me as a potential partner. Talks about me moving to a new city when I meet the right woman.

I have to say, that apart from last Nov, she has made no more attempts to test me out.

Can you elaborate on why you think she does?

Originally Posted By: TC Manhatten

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I think that is deep imago stuff.
I have a history of chasing women who reject me.
I have a burning need to 'prove' I am loveable.


This is why I think you don't want to give up. It's where the gold is. Keep digging!


Doesn't this mean I should give up chasing unavailable women?

Thanks Al, also, for your short but sweet input. :-)



Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/26/13 06:13 PM

Damn, think that post was waaaay too long! haha
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/26/13 06:33 PM

Oh, sorry, one more thing.
She told me she was aware she could be 'verbally dominant'.
I pointed out that when she is like that, she pushes her friend into a submissive place.

She told me she was aware it was a problem, and was working on it.
Wasn't convinced, but at least it's data.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 09/30/13 04:44 PM

This conversation is a bit slow. I wanted to post some more, but didn't want to keep writing and writing...

It seems the Whiteboard is a rather quiet place these days.
:-(
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/01/13 07:47 AM

Well, I'll just keep posting.

Al, I have a question.
My ex is very controlling.
She admits this.

I think I may well be very controlling too.
I am always trying to influence or 'change' people.
I think that I probably know best what is right for others to do.

My question is this:

If I stop controlling and allow others to just be, how can I defend against someone controlling me back?
It seems that my controlling is in part, a defence against being controlled.
I can imagine that if I stop allowing someone to control me, I will have to set very strong boundaries, and that the controlling person may become extremely angry at not being allowed to continue to control.
They may well reject me quite harshly.

It seems that people are heavily invested in the way they 'do things' and won't give that up easily.

It's one thing to try to lead a relationship to a better place, but i can imagine the resistance to this could be very high.

What do you think?
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/01/13 07:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Well, I'll just keep posting.

Al, I have a question.
My ex is very controlling.
She admits this.

I think I may well be very controlling too.
I am always trying to influence or 'change' people.
I think that I probably know best what is right for others to do.

My question is this:

If I stop controlling and allow others to just be, how can I defend against someone controlling me back?
It seems that my controlling is in part, a defence against being controlled.
I can imagine that if I stop allowing someone to control me, I will have to set very strong boundaries, and that the controlling person may become extremely angry at not being allowed to continue to control.
They may well reject me quite harshly.

It seems that people are heavily invested in the way they 'do things' and won't give that up easily.

It's one thing to try to lead a relationship to a better place, but i can imagine the resistance to this could be very high.

What do you think?



Are You a Controller? Sure you are.

Read this. ^^^

And this: Pulling Back, Not Pushing, Yet Wanting To Talk
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/01/13 08:02 PM

Haha, funny, I've just come from that article to check to see if someone had posted.
Thanks for the link, it was a good essay.

Just quickly, I asked you a question above about why you thought my ex was coming back to re test me.

I was curious what gave you that impression.

Hope you're doing well by the way. :-)
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/01/13 08:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Haha, funny, I've just come from that article to check to see if someone had posted.
Thanks for the link, it was a good essay.


I posted links to two articles. Hope you read each of them.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Just quickly, I asked you a question above about why you thought my ex was coming back to re test me.

I was curious what gave you that impression.


YOU did. At least everything you posted about regarding your interactions with your partner gave me that distinct impression. If she were over and done with you, you would likely never have heard from her. At all.

Likewise, from all you've shared earlier, this shadow dance between you two is driving you nuts. Yes, there is a big part of you that hurts and feels resentment in having what you expect (of her behaviors) not being met. That's where I hear a great deal of MasterTalk in your iteration of your beliefs and position statement. But there is also that other part of you that, quite frankly, is just not ready or willing to "drop the rope" on her or the promise of a relationship.

And I don't think you need to, either. (Drop the rope, that is.) As long as you are willing to pursue learning about better communication and better relating and all this University of Life stuff, I say go for it! That need can be the motivation to keep working at learning better.

As I see it, you can either use this relationship to push yourself into learning better, or you can drop this one and start all over with someone new, and likely end up repeating the same scenario all over again until you push through your resistance to learning how to relate dialogically with folks.

After all, in the words of Al Turtle, don't drop the person, drop the (old) relationship (habits).

Oh, and he (Al) also suggests starting with MasterTalk and learning and recognizing when you are using it (and thinking it), as well as recognizing when others are using it on you. Then you can learn how best to respond when you hear it aimed at you (thereby protecting your lizard from being so scared and defensive in turn.)

At least this is how I see it.

Good luck. Keep reading and learning. There is gold in them there hills!
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/03/13 05:58 AM

Thanks TC.
I agree with you, I am full of Master Talk, i'm starting to notice it throughout my day. Even mentioned it with someone last night, when I saw myself using it.
So, I am growing more aware daily.

Just one thing. My ex isn't my partner. Both you and Al have referred to her as my partner. We actually broke up over 3 1/2 years ago and have only been friends for the last 1 1/2 years. It does make me feel a bit unheard when you refer to her like that when I have already stated we aren't together.

What I am noticing, that as far as learning these new skills, It is very much harder to do so with a very unwilling person, like my ex, where there is a lot of triggering and hurt on both sides, and it is very easy to slip to old ways of relating. So whilst I hear you that leaving her behind and trying with someone else will likely lead to the same issues, I do think that practicing this stuff with a new partner from day one would allow both people to grow together, and avoid the more painful aspects of the inevitable power struggle.

Sometimes, I think it's easier to let something that has died, stay dead, and move on. Also, just because someone is my imago doesn't mean they are ready for all this stuff.
I was a total nightmare 10 years ago, and not avaialble for learning ANY of this. An awful NP as Al would put it. I've had to do a lot of growing to get to being open to self evaluation and learning new skills.

My ex seems extremely resistant to seeing her faults. I understand why, and she makes sense. She is a very very hurt girl, going back into her history. I would be very willing to help heal her wounds, and have her do the same to me. She is totally against this idea in every way.

Now, as far as I can see we are no longer speaking. No doubt we will again some day.

I am feeling much happier since I was open with her last week, and have let go the desire to reconcile. I feel like I can start to live my life again, and meet some new people. Staying hoping to rekindle with her was hurting me, and allowing me to slowly enmesh with her again. Not pleasant.

Well, I am enjoying becoming more aware of my behaviour, and am practising some of this with people at work.
My big thing at the moment is letting people finish what they are saying.

Anyway, thanks and have a good day.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/03/13 03:09 PM

I hear your thoughts around the word "partner." I prefer to use it not to refer to some amorphous state of being. I prefer it as a term of intention by one person -"this is the current person I want to partner with."

Anyway I hear you and will try to respect your preference.

One way to look at "letting people finish their sentences" is to see it as stopping pushing them into secrecy - keeping their thoughts and feelings hidden from you.

Darn I am looking forward to getting home tomorrow and having a full keyboard. Working on my iphone. smile
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/03/13 06:10 PM

Hi Al, always a little rush of excitement in seeing you've written something.
Hmm, I wonder if I need 'Dad's' attention? :-)

Thanks for sharing your definition of what partner meant.
I think I only started using this term just after me and my ex split.
She told me:
'my next boyfriend will be a REAL partner to me.'
This said with a strong stare at me, to see if I was wounded.

I'm reading up on lot's of stuff.
I'm particularly interested in validation and mirroring.
The validation, I think I'm getting, slowly.
I've started to use the phrase 'I hear that you....'
I like that.

The mirroring I'm not so sure about.
I can see it becoming very annoying very quickly.
Part of me thinks, it's a way of just parroting back someones words, to show you've heard them, but not absorbed them (their words). In fact, it seems that is exactly what it is.
But if I want someone to absorb my words, then, perhaps I am trying to have control over them?
Hmm, scary thought.

I am currently wondering how I come across to people.
I'd be curious to know how my ex see's me.
If I was to guess, then I think I can come across as always arguing my point, and disagreeing with her views, especially where us and our past is concerned.
I think she spent a lot of time with me, trying to get me to notice her, and failing.


My BIG fear is that in validating her view, I sound like I am agreeing with it, and therefore I enter into a win/lose. She wins, I lose. She get's to be right, which further enforces her decision to not be with me.

It's very difficult to validate something as painful as rejection.
And in any case, how can I disagree with her choice? It's not subjective.

I can't wait till you get back to a real keyboard and deluge this board with your musings! (we can only hope).
;-)
Posted By: NewEveryDay

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/05/13 07:38 PM

Sim, you're not in an exclusive relationship with her, but you're not dating anyone else, either, correct? Maybe if you put yourself back out there you'll meet another Imago match who is more interested on taking this journey with you. But in the meantime this could be a good springboard for growth. You are more candid and open with her than you are with anyone else right now? If you're feeling more pain than growth, then there is the What to Do When They Leave article for a gentle way to ease out of this.

Quote:
My BIG fear is that in validating her view, I sound like I am agreeing with it, and therefore I enter into a win/lose. She wins, I lose. She get's to be right, which further enforces her decision to not be with me.


But it's not a win-lose. There is connection and lack of connection. Prevalidating is not agreeing with someone, but believing in them that they make sense. And it doesn't sound like you do think that she makes sense. It sounds like you think she's not looking at things clearly. But she may just be looking at a different set of pieces of the puzzle than you. And if you want to connect with her that has to be okay with you, that she gets to choose what pieces are relevant to her.

I undersand TC though. As fruitless as this looks, the power struggle with the next one is inevitable, too.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/06/13 03:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Hi Al, always a little rush of excitement in seeing you've written something.
Hmm, I wonder if I need 'Dad's' attention? :-)
I imagine that lots of us, me included, like that "Dad" or "Mom" attention all our lives. Particularly if we didn't get enough when we were little.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Thanks for sharing your definition of what partner meant.
I think I only started using this term just after me and my ex split.
She told me:
'my next boyfriend will be a REAL partner to me.'
This said with a strong stare at me, to see if I was wounded.
Even the smallest bit from her seems such a beautiful clue. Sounds as if she clearly wanted some things from you. Her concept of partnership was one of them. And sounds as if she's gonna work on that partnership. Wonder which parts of her concept of partnership it would be useful for you to work on first.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I'm reading up on lot's of stuff.
I'm particularly interested in validation and mirroring.
The validation, I think I'm getting, slowly.
I've started to use the phrase 'I hear that you....'
I like that.

The mirroring I'm not so sure about.
I can see it becoming very annoying very quickly.
Part of me thinks, it's a way of just parroting back someones words, to show you've heard them, but not absorbed them (their words). In fact, it seems that is exactly what it is.
I think your phrase "I hear that you" may be kind of mirroring anyway. For me there is a huge distinction between mirroring and validation. I see mirroring as a "skill teaching tool" which teaches you/people perhaps 400 different skills over time. One skill is to pay attention. Other skills are to interrupt when appropriate, to encourage to "say more" when appropriate, to ask to go deeper when appropriate, to be clear when it is your turn. One skill is to mirror when appropriate. Another is to do it in a fashion that is not irritating. The goal of all the skills is to create an environment for that other person so they trust you are a good listener and hear them when they want to be heard.

While I see mirroring about satisfying "their" need to feel heard, I see validation about satisfying "their" need to feel understood.


Originally Posted By: Sim54
But if I want someone to absorb my words, then, perhaps I am trying to have control over them?
Hmm, scary thought.
Not so scary. If you take turns with this "control" thing and it seems fair to both of you. When I talk, the listener is I think allowing me to have some control over them. When I listen, I am allowing the speaker to have some control over me. Not all control. Tis one of the challenges, creating this sense of fairness.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I am currently wondering how I come across to people.
I'd be curious to know how my ex see's me.
If I was to guess, then I think I can come across as always arguing my point, and disagreeing with her views, especially where us and our past is concerned.
I think she spent a lot of time with me, trying to get me to notice her, and failing.
Well, each of us has to start somewhere. Sounds like the old NP stance. Glad you've identified it, at least as a guess. Remember, if you acted that way a) you were taught to do all those things by someone, b) you probably remember how obnoxious they were, c) and you certainly can guess that you will continue to drive people away if you don't learn new habits. By the way, I believe you are designed to learn those new habits.


Originally Posted By: Sim54
My BIG fear is that in validating her view, I sound like I am agreeing with it, and therefore I enter into a win/lose. She wins, I lose. She get's to be right, which further enforces her decision to not be with me.

It's very difficult to validate something as painful as rejection.
I like your fear cuz for me it reminds me that you are still working on grasping how validation works. If anything validation strengthens your beliefs and values as well has "the other's" in a very Win-Win way.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
And in any case, how can I disagree with her choice? It's not subjective.
Not sure what the hell you mean here.

Some people note that I like to extensively "quote" what people write here. I do. To me quoting is closer to mirroring that I use in real life. Lets the writer know I am focusing on their message, closely. It does take time. Good communication can be slow. Fast communication can be lousy.

I say this somewhere on my website. “There is a short way that becomes the long way, and a long way that becomes the short way.”

Keep a going.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/08/13 06:44 PM

Hi Al, and Neweveryday. Thanks for taking the time to respond.
I'm having trouble figuring out the quoting system here, so for now, I just write a response. Perhaps someone can explain how I can quote passages without having to go back and forth over pages?

NED, no, we're not in an exclusive relationship, but I have started to very casually date a girl. We've been for drinks only, no 'physical' stuff. I've been single and practically celibate for a long while, and we get along well. I need a little tender attention in my life right now.

I'm not sure I'm so candid and open with my ex right now. We just had a bit of a bust up because I tried to open up to her after months of stuffing my feelings down. I feel censored by her.

I will try the article you mentioned.

I absolutely agree that I have to change, and now is the time to start. I will practise with her for sure, but with others around me also. I know that I will meet all these same problems with my next image match. But I can't force my ex into joining me in this. As for me creating safety, I can't even talk to her about THAT! Anything that suggests I am somehow trying to change, or heal our 'broken' romantic relationship freaks her out. We are just 'friends'. Done deal.

Well, it's a big project to start to try to validate her, but it starts with me validating myself, and taking my own pain and fear seriously.

Thanks for your time and thoughts.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/08/13 07:08 PM

Al, thank you very much.

I want to say how much I appreciate your time and thoughts.

I agree, even small data from her is invaluable. I am not in a position right now to ask her for new data. As a guess, I would say that right now, she really wants me to take her rejection of me seriously. That I take her stance seriously. That's just a hunch. The partner stuff. Well, she says she doesn't see me like that anymore. I think for now, these questions are for further down the line.

My primary goal is to learn validation and to make myself a source of safety. That means I have to tread carefully. It sometimes feels like i"m walking on eggshells though.

I have a strong impulse to 'abandon' myself. I think I've been doing that in the previous months, in the face of her rejection.
I think I need to get myself back to firmer footing before I can make any improvements in the way we relate. My lizard can go crazy when talking to her.

I wrote to her today, first time since we 'fell out' over 2 weeks ago. I was very anxious, but once we were 'chatting' (text chat, not talking), my lizard calmed down. I was happy. Not long after we stopped speaking, I became very anxious again. I see this as a cycle. It feels addictive. Contact makes me feel very warm and good, but it can quickly fade once I realise she is not around, and we are not intimate. I think this needs work.

I have been an awful NP in the past. I have to say, that I'm a much nicer person than I was in my 20's (I'm 41 now). I was simply horrendous: verbally abusive, drink, drugs, theft, arrogance, suicide attempts, horror. I've been through a lot, and am in a much better place. At least, in a place where I can see quite clearly what needs work! :-)

My comment about her choice not being subjective means that I can't argue with her desires. I can validate her desire: I understand you don't want to be with me any more. But I can't say: I have a different opinion about that. It's not up for debate. Does that make sense?

I've just read up, and then printed off your Getting To Work article. I really like it, especially the Shift bits at the end: Shift from complaining know-it-all to student.
BOY can I be a complaining know-it-all!! hahahaha.

My lizard FREAKS over this. I think that, actually, the more I complain and blame someone else for my problem, the worst the critter feels. Kind of makes sense. Someone else being responsible for my pain robs me of any agency, and my lizard of any belief that I am in control, and capable of keeping him safe.

On a side note, I've just had a very long chat with my mum. It was lovely, as we rarely talk. I noticed at the beginning, she asked me how I was, and I started to tell her. I got about 3 sentences out before she interrupted me and proceeded to tell me how she thought I must be feeling right now, since I graduated with my Masters. She talked for about 3 mins not stop, telling me how I was. I was actually bemused!! But was good to see where I've learnt to butt in, and why I've been desperate for attention all my life.

I hope you're having a lovely day, whatever you are doing.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/08/13 09:48 PM

I was reading through your post and I realized I wanted to share a bit to probably each paragraph, maybe sentence. Tis too much, too fast. We'd have to slow this conversation way down. I believe Clingers often write/talk close to the speed that they think and that is way (way, way) too fast for a) quality thinking, b) problem solving and c) for sharing with others. Best I've found is for using phone calls or face-to-face chatting for teaching a clinger to slow down.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Al, thank you very much. I want to say how much I appreciate your time and thoughts. I agree, even small data from her is invaluable.
I think she's giving you lots of data that you are ignoring.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I am not in a position right now to ask her for new data.
Sure you are. Just depends on how you ask and whether she's in the mood to share.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
As a guess, I would say that right now, she really wants me to take her rejection of me seriously. That I take her stance seriously. That's just a hunch.
That's a whole pile of data. If she wants you to take her stance seriously tis probably that she's telling you that you don't or haven't come across as taking her serious for a long time. Not so much about the "stance" of rejection, but the "stance" of "take me seriously or you are history." My guess is she's telling you she's tried for a long time to feel taken seriously. My guess is, from what I've known about Imago, that this has been a theme in her life for decades, with lots of people in her life, that is not becoming vital to her. And she picked you cuz your not too good, yet, at coming across as if you take people seriously. So you are a good "lab partner" for both her learning to get others to take her seriously and you learning to take people seriously. WIN-WIN.

Beautiful piece of data. You want her, or anyone like her, then get rid of habits that come across as "not taking other people seriously." Become a model of empathic skills. Go for it.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
The partner stuff. Well, she says she doesn't see me like that anymore. I think for now, these questions are for further down the line.
Horse pucky. These questions are right in your face, now. Be curious about what she is trying to say and not doing it very well. Wonder about who she is and how she uses words. Theres a lot here. What did she see you like? What dozens of things made her change her mind? What does she think of "partnerships" now? What does she want in her future? She probably won't answer those question cuz your communication channel sucks. But the answers, fragments, guesses, hunches, etc. are inside of her waiting to come out when the process of her thinking and sharing is freed up. You want to position yourself to be there, I think.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
My primary goal is to learn validation and to make myself a source of safety.
Sounds good - familiar.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
That means I have to tread carefully. It sometimes feels like i"m walking on eggshells though.
Sure, anything new feels kind of scary. How would you feel learning to ride a bike? How would you go about it? Never learn by just thinking about it. Got to climb on === and fall off.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I have a strong impulse to 'abandon' myself. I think I've been doing that in the previous months, in the face of her rejection.
What the hell does that mean, "abandon" yourself. You can move into paralysis, but the task is to move forward. Find friends, therapists, clergy etc to move you forward. Don't look for NPs to help. They don't know. Look for one or more recovered NPs. NPs who have learned empathy. Don't do this alone. It relationship stuff and can only be learned in relationship with friends, partners, professionals, etc.

Nuff. Keep a going.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/10/13 06:27 PM

Ok, I hear you about the speed and intensity and amount of communication.
I've already thought about how much I've written. I could probably write a lot more at any given moment. I have actually restrained myself! :-)

I am already thinking about arranging a chat with you.
I think it will go much smoother if we speak.

Just one thing:
Originally Posted By: Al Turtle
What the hell does that mean, "abandon" yourself.


Firstly, are you angry with me here? I read the 'Hell' as anger. Kind of made my lizard twitch.
What I mean be abandon myself, is not have clear boundaries, and so allow my self to enmesh with someone else. I would also call ignoring my lizards attempts at getting my attention as abandoning myself. (I prefer the term enmeshment than emotional symbiosis, but they mean the same to me).
In the face of my ex's withdrawal from me, and in the face of her rejection, I have tried to 'get her back'. This pursuit has slowly dragged me back to where I was with her when we broke up, although not as deeply. Still, I was allowing myself to place my centre in her, and make her my source of happiness. Have to pull back from that now, and I have. It makes me feel a lot calmer to detach from her.

I here what you are saying about avoiding NP's.

So far, the only two men I've met who seem trustworthy are my therapist, back in the UK, and you (not met you properly, but you know what I mean).

Well, I'll leave it at that.

I will arrange a chat with you near the end of the month, when I have some more money.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/10/13 09:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Ok, I hear you about the speed and intensity and amount of communication. I've already thought about how much I've written. I could probably write a lot more at any given moment. I have actually restrained myself!

Me too! The problem for me was that my chatty-cathy, which I think is just a rapid verbalizing brain coupled with ability to get those words out, can come across as incredibly abusive to others. Kinda word diarrhea to them. I needed a firm slower "listening" intimate partner to teach me to gear down my mouth. Now, while I can say it "long", it's fun to be concise.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Firstly, are you angry with me here? I read the 'Hell' as anger. Kind of made my lizard twitch.
Yeah I was a bit abrupt. No, not angry. You'd done so well expressing yourself and then you shared that abstract bit about "abandoning" and I was lost and a bit frustrated. Thanks for handling my crudity.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
What I mean be abandon myself, is not have clear boundaries, and so allow my self to enmesh with someone else. I would also call ignoring my lizards attempts at getting my attention as abandoning myself. (I prefer the term enmeshment than emotional symbiosis, but they mean the same to me).

Much clearer. Thanks. I call this "losing myself" and "being panicked". My lizard just goes crazy. Number 1 thing is to get it calmed down. My job.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
In the face of my ex's withdrawal from me, and in the face of her rejection, I have tried to 'get her back'. This pursuit has slowly dragged me back to where I was with her when we broke up, although not as deeply. Still, I was allowing myself to place my centre in her, and make her my source of happiness. Have to pull back from that now, and I have. It makes me feel a lot calmer to detach from her.
Clinger panic. Yup. Me very familiar with it. "Never get love by chasing a Lizard." Put that sign up at home for many years cuz I would forget.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
So far, the only two men I've met who seem trustworthy are my therapist, back in the UK, and you (not met you properly, but you know what I mean).
Chances are you need a few, perhaps 4 or more, in your area that are in your support team. Keep you balanced.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/14/13 07:19 PM

I'll keep it short.
I think the best part of these last two posts, is the 'Hell' bit.
I like that I allowed my panic feeling at your use of that word to surface enough for me to ask you about it.
And I like your response.
This little exchange seems brim with good dialogue.
At least, for me, it was a fairly new experience.
Some raised blood pressure was not pushed aside, but talked about, and resolved amicably.

That show's me a lot.

On another note, I've been thinking about Pre-validation.
I've noticed that whenever I pre-validate my ex, my Master talk internal blame/shame monologue dissolves, and is replaced with calm and love.
Pre-validating someone is good for you! It calms down your own anguish.
It has allowed me to observe my behaviour and I can see my Mastertalk as a defence mechanism, one that doesn't work. But defence from what? That's a tough question. I'll work on it.

Whilst I like the idea of learning new skills a lot, I am very drawn to healing the root causes of why we practise 'things that don't work'.

I just read your article on talking too much, and I like it a lot.
I remember my school reports when I was very young.
Every teacher said the same thing:
'Could do better, talks too much.'

Would of been nice of someone to try to figure out why I talked 'too' much.

Thanks.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/14/13 08:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Would of been nice of someone to try to figure out why I talked 'too' much.


Would have been nice, but then the adults didn't know to do that. Would have been great if they could have Validated you and guided you to learning how to slow down the communicating. (Can't slow down the brain, I fear.) So now it's left up to you.

Me, I talked fast cuz I needed attention and connection vitally. And my parents taught not to interrupt. So I learned to talk so fast that no one could interrupt and thus got all the attention. Kind of a bummer of a birthmark. Pix
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/15/13 08:04 PM

I have a question that's been bugging me for a bit, over the last month or so whilst reading your articles. I guess i've needed to slow down my deluge of 'sharing' before I could find a space to ask it.

You don't seem to discuss attraction much, or re attraction.

My ex appears, and claims to no longer 'see me like that'.
I have got no attraction signs from her in the last year. Admittedly, I've only seen her twice. Did I mention we live in different countries?

I've always kind of believed that once you're attracted to someone significant, then it doesn't really go away, but it might be pushed aside, or drop away depending on circumstance and behaviour: I think clinging is a huge attraction killer for eg.

If I had to guess, I would say that attraction also falls under the playful aspect of safety and that when someone doesn't feel safe, they don't feel free to allow their attraction to flourish.

But, well, a lot of people seem to be very attracted to unsafe people.

Do you think attraction plays a significant role in returning to an old imago partner?

Also, I have the thought that, if your imago partner grows out of displaying behaviour that fits your imago, then you will lose attraction for them. For example, if my imago is a woman who is unavailable, then if she grows out of being distant, and learns to connect and be present, then won't I lose interest in her?
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/16/13 02:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
You don't seem to discuss attraction much, or re attraction. ---- Do you think attraction plays a significant role in returning to an old imago partner?


WARNING: MY POINT OF VIEW:

I don't write much about "attraction" cuz I fear much emphasis on it is based on marketing, cosmetic sellers, advertising, and is in the long run bull$%&t.

Being attracted to someone, liking to be with them, delighting at the sight of them has to be a durable issue. Remember it has to work even with both people are 90 and look like oak trees.

When most people talk about attraction they are usually talking about the first tiny events in the Romantic Period, a period that is involved with 10s of thousands of factors. Looks are a small fraction. People selling hairgel would want you to think it is all about looks. But then they are selling product.

Attraction in Vintage Love seems more about the inner soul in you pushing toward the inner soul in the other no matter how those souls are wrapped up.

I would look more at the inner urges no matter how triggered than the outer ploys.

Maybe a bit harsh here, but I'm feeling blunt.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/19/13 09:23 AM

Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
Originally Posted By: Sim54
You don't seem to discuss attraction much, or re attraction. ---- Do you think attraction plays a significant role in returning to an old imago partner?



I would look more at the inner urges no matter how triggered than the outer ploys.

Maybe a bit harsh here, but I'm feeling blunt.


Blunt is good! :-)

I am more interested in the internal aspects of attraction.
I wasn't really talking about external factors.

My ex has a history of being attracted to emotionally unavailable men, guys who give a little, then disappear. They are all usually pining for old loves, or want other women as well as her. She tends to leave guys who love her, or 'cling' to her.

I have the same problem.

This seems an impossible problem.
Now that I am available to my ex, she feels no attraction for me.

I don't know.
We are at an all time low now.
communication is all but gone I think.
Since I told her how upset I was with her behaviour and that I didn't want to be friends with her anymore, she has retreated.
Guess that makes sense!
I retracted all that in a letter 2 days later, apologising, and saying I still wanted to be friends, but I got no reply to that.

Everything I do doesn't work! Time to learn new things? Maybe. I tried validating her in the letter I sent.
Didn't seem to work much.

I fear it will take a couple of years before I could reliably 'make' her feel safe.
In the mean time, I will just keep messing it up.

Not feeling very happy today. :-(
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/19/13 02:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I am more interested in the internal aspects of attraction. My ex has a history of being attracted to emotionally unavailable men, guys who give a little, then disappear. They are all usually pining for old loves, or want other women as well as her. She tends to leave guys who love her, or 'cling' to her.
Now, seems more clear what you are saying. I think that there are lots of internal reasons for attraction. However, who a person is interested in, what kind of person they are interested in, is more a study in a) cultural trainings b) the Lizard and c) tangentially the influence of the Imago. On the surface I think it looks as if the Lizard and the Imago are the two biggies.

"Lizard" means I am specifically and unconsciously attracted to situations that are familiar to my Lizard. Those situations are enormously specific. E.g. A gal can be attracted to "people" who pull away (one of thousands of factors) because that feels safe - familiar, predictive information etc. When their partner turns around an starts to cling, that attraction stops. Pretty normal.

Might be worth remembering the boundary issue that "attraction" is not caused by the other, but is caused by the self. The word "attraction" might be replaces by "interested in", to avoid the crazy phrase "She attracts me" as though "she" has power or responsibility in this situation. Common myth, I fear. "I am interested in her" places the focus more correctly in looking at "me" and understanding "me". (Gotta be a better phrase than "interested in"!)

During this attraction period the whole thing is fairly quick. Same thing is kinda happening in the Power Struggle. But the overriding principle seems to me is "Deep down I want someone familiar (particularly like the worst parts of my mom and dad) with whom I can experience change away from Traditional Family behaviors toward Biological Dream behaviors - Vintage Love. It might be worth considering that you are in the Power Struggle with this gal and your goal might then become "heading for the University of Life".

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Now that I am available to my ex, she feels no attraction for me.
Probably more like, "Now I am/have come across as overwhelming in my behavior, she's consistently seeking getting away from me." She probably still has some "attraction factors" but the "get away from overwhelming" is much stronger.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
communication is all but gone I think. Since I told her how upset I was with her behaviour and that I didn't want to be friends with her anymore, she has retreated.
Guess that makes sense!
I wish I had seen that transaction. Sounds as if you came across judgemental and controlling and maybe overwhelming all at once.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I retracted all that in a letter 2 days later, apologising, and saying I still wanted to be friends, but I got no reply to that.
Hey. I've found you can't retract. Doesn't work. People are not built to forget. You can "metabolize" something you've done, though. I wrote this up in Making Amends .

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Everything I do doesn't work! Time to learn new things? Maybe. I tried validating her in the letter I sent.
Didn't seem to work much. I fear it will take a couple of years before I could reliably 'make' her feel safe.
In the mean time, I will just keep messing it up.
Very discouraging at first, but it's at least the right direction. Good luck.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/27/13 08:07 PM

Hi Al,
I've taken some time to think a bit about some of the things you said above.
I've realised that this forum is also a pretty low bandwidth mode of communication.

Originally Posted By: Al Turtle

Originally Posted By: Sim54

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Now that I am available to my ex, she feels no attraction for me.


Probably more like, "Now I am/have come across as overwhelming in my behavior, she's consistently seeking getting away from me." She probably still has some "attraction factors" but the "get away from overwhelming" is much stronger.


Well, I spent a long time discussing the twin poles of invasion/withdrawal with my analyst. He told me that these two poles are anti relationship, as they invalidate the other, and are basically selfish in nature. Relationship, he told me, consists of two separate people. I have aimed to be that separate person, neither invading, nor withdrawing, but merely present. I don't believe I have come over as overwhelming. I have been extremely careful to not invade her, nor push. We have spoken on skype, chatting amicably about stuff. I never brought us up, never pushed, never tried to get closer. About a year ago, we had a hug when she stayed with me, and I saw that I was pushing then, and it scared her so I vowed to be very careful with her. This however has left me walking on eggshells. She is terrified of people shouting at her, or even near her, due to her past, so I never do it. (i haven't had a reason to shout at her anyway!) That doesn't stop her shouting at me though, even though I too have issues with raised voices from my childhood. I am careful not to trigger her, she doesn't afford me the same respect.

Although I have been in a more 'clinger' mode of late, I was in fact the avoider during our RS. She was unbearable needy and invasive. I kept seeking the space wall, then eventually took the leaving wall.

Originally Posted By: Al Turtle

Originally Posted By: Sim54

Originally Posted By: Sim54
communication is all but gone I think. Since I told her how upset I was with her behaviour and that I didn't want to be friends with her anymore, she has retreated.
Guess that makes sense!

I wish I had seen that transaction. Sounds as if you came across judgemental and controlling and maybe overwhelming all at once.


I wished you had. I did make more of her bringing up our past, and not bothering to check if I was ok with it, but I was basically very scared to open up to her. I spoke quietly, and tried to simply tell her how I felt, rather than judge or blame her. I told her I was afraid to open up to her, as she had taught me that in doing that, I would be invalidated, shouted at, and rejected. She did all three.

I must say, I felt a bit invalidated by you, with your assumptions on how I have been behaving with her. I am no saint, but I have made the first tentative steps into the University of Life. She doesn't even think there is a problem. She believes her relationships have failed by choosing 'Turkeys'. I understand that you can only go by what I say here, so it's fair that you might miss in your assumptions. And of course, I may well see my behaviour in a more positive light than you might, if you were able to witness it! :-)

In any case, I have realised that I have to let go completely any desire to get her back, until I can keep my lizard calm. Any attempt to talk with her about our past, or us, leads straight to anger and rejection from her. Whether that is triggered by my bad communication, or is simply her projection doesn't really matter, as I am unable to handle that hostility at present. It is liberating to let go, and I have been feeling much better recently. No anxiety.

So, I have decided to give up on retrieving anything with her.

I have started dating someone in the town I live in right now.
I don't thing she is an imago match, but we get on well, and I am able to start to practise better relating with her, without fear of hair trigger reactions, and all the incumbent drama around me and my ex.

I think, my absolute first goal is to create safety for myself, and my lizard, before even attempting to re-enter the fray with my ex. Until I can handle myself, and her hostility, and can better learn to communicate and to help her feel heard, then it is pointless.

I can see that I could write, and write, and write!! But, also, if I don't write enough, I fear that I will not be understood. Well, I will arrange a chat with you soon, to discuss some steps I can take to communicate better. I find mirroring appears scary. However, I was talking with my current date, and she was talking about some anxiety issues she has, I gently pulled, using the statement, 'please say more about that', and it didn't feel awkward.

Hope you're well.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/27/13 10:38 PM

Still sounds like you are on a good path.

Sorry for any misunderstandings. I tend to approach a relationship (even one that is over) that is being described to my by PreValidating both people. That prepares me for meeting the "other" partner some time in the future.

But given that many people kinda link "validation" with agreeing, they can easily experience my PreValidation of their partner or ex-partner as "invalidating" them. Never my intention.

Anyway, I like your thoughts about the narrowness of the bandwidth of email and forums. I'd much rather meet face-to-face or at lease phone-to-phone.

Hang in there.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/28/13 06:44 AM

That's interesting. I can see that I am still trying to make my ex wrong here. I think that that is an issue. although I can understand why she sees things the way she does, I still think she is wrong to do so, and that, with more data, she would naturally change her mind about me, and see me, and us differently. It's a kind of 'if only' statement in my head.

I guess that her refusal to talk about us, when I bring it up is a defence against my trying to force, coerce, or cajole her into accepting my view of us, over her view of us.

Something I've been thinking about: how can a discussion about getting back together be win/win, if one person doesn't want to get back, and one does?
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/28/13 12:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
That's interesting. I can see that I am still trying to make my ex wrong here.


Ding! Ding! Ding!
By Jove, I think he's on to something big!

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I guess that her refusal to talk about us, when I bring it up is a defence against my trying to force, coerce, or cajole her into accepting my view of us, over her view of us.


That is certainly how it sounds to me.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Something I've been thinking about: how can a discussion about getting back together be win/win, if one person doesn't want to get back, and one does?


Well, once you can pre-validate, then validate (understand fully) exactly what it is and why they don't want to get back - meaning what it is about you and your behaviors that cause them to shut down or run away - you can choose to address and alter those behaviors. You have to show them, and prove to them convincingly that your behaviors, beliefs, feelings about/toward them have changed before you'll achieve that successful conversation. At least that's what I think.

Let's see what Al says..

Best luck!
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/28/13 02:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
That's interesting. I can see that I am still trying to make my ex wrong here. I guess that her refusal to talk about us, when I bring it up is a defense against my trying to force, coerce, or cajole her into accepting my view of us, over her view of us.
Me, too. I had to keep trying that "force, cajole, etc." stuff till she proved to me that those tactics would never work. Why would anyone want to be in a relationship with someone who wants to "prove them wrong? or bad or stupid?" Why would anyone want to go back into a relationships where their partner wants to prove them wrong, bad, stupid, etc. And then I asked myself, how to I learn fast how to not come across that way.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Something I've been thinking about: how can a discussion about getting back together be win/win, if one person doesn't want to get back, and one does?
Pretty easily. Make it dialogical - always.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/28/13 09:27 PM

What if the reason they won't come back is something that happened, that can't be undone?
She fell pregnant by me 10 weeks after we first started sleeping together.
We had an abortion, and she has resented that, I believe, ever since.

She told me, that she went through something similar with a previous boyfriend, they broke, and then got back together some years later.
She told me that the abortion hung over the relationship, and coloured how she saw him, and because of that, she could never come back to me.

I told her I would happily have a child with her now, but she said that she wanted to do that with someone else, and have a clean slate.

I can't change this.
I wish she could see how trust worthy I am, now. She knows I've moved on, she said she thought I'd moved on further than her, even, but she still won't trust me.

I think a lot of her trust issues are not even about me. She was abandoned as a child by her father, and her step father too, and screamed at by her mother for just existing.

I don't think I can help her with this. She won't even let me close now.

I left her originally because I wasn't ready for a relationship with her, nor anyone. She clung, I ran. I went into therapy, to heal, and come back to her, and now, over 3 1/2 years later, she simply refuses to even discuss it.

I have been so careful with her, until this trip to France, and then, I collapsed. I couldn't handle any more rejection from her. How can I even stay in contact with her, and do what I need to do, to convince her I have changed, when I can't stay strong in the face of her rejection of me?

I am contemplating getting her out of my life for good, and forever, deleting her from facebook and skype, blocking her, and just trying to move on.

I can't honestly see any other solution that could change things.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/28/13 11:13 PM

A couple of thoughts.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
What if the reason they won't come back is something that happened, that can't be undone?
She fell pregnant by me 10 weeks after we first started sleeping together. We had an abortion, and she has resented that, I believe, ever since.


To my way of thinking, everything you two have done cannot be undone. The thing that makes this potent is that our brains don't forget. As a "survival trait" we remember the past more or less forever. This attribute has complications. Such as needing to get over things (learning, embracing mistakes, grieving, Making Amends, processing resentments, etc.). I think it is very useful to get good at these skills.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
She told me, that she went through something similar with a previous boyfriend, they broke, and then got back together some years later. She told me that the abortion hung over the relationship, and coloured how she saw him, and because of that, she could never come back to me.
Well, that's her current logic, as you are aware of it. Maybe she blames her boyfriend for the whole thing. Maybe she doesn't yet know how to grieve the loss of that kid. Maybe... guessing.

Also you quote her as saying "never." She may have said that about her first boyfriend. I am used to the idea that we all are in "little child" states when we say, "ever or never or always, etc." Real life changes a lot.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I am contemplating getting her out of my life for good, and forever, deleting her from facebook and skype, blocking her, and just trying to move on. I can't honestly see any other solution that could change things.


Then go for it! We all need the right to decide to "move on." I respect your decision. Either it will be the "right" decision or you'll "learn" from it. Either way you win.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/29/13 06:51 AM

That's what I thought, when she said never. Her exact words were: 'I can never sleep with you again, I can never be with you again.'

We had just spent the previous 3 days getting close, having fun, some hugs, and non sexual touching, and then I held her in the morning and my intention was sex, and I scared her. I know I did this, and I haven't done anything like it since, but she hasn't stepped closer to me again.

When she said 'never', I thought to myself, why do you say that? There is no such thing as never ever. I can't stand next to never. I wanted to walk away then, but she reeled me in again, and I allowed myself to be reeled in.

Now, she does nothing. We have chatted a bit, by instant message, but always started by me. She didn't respond to my apology letter. I have learnt yet again that opening up and expressing myself to her leads to rejection and coldness.

The reason I hesitate to 'move on' is that I have tried to in the past, with her, and with others, and I have always regretted it, and it has always damaged the relationships further.

The reason I am in this hole is because I decided to leave my ex, as I couldn't give her want she wanted. I needed therapy. At the time, I told her, 'I need to go away and make some space in my head and my heart and this isn't a permanent breakup.' Two weeks later I came crawling back in a panic, regretting it, and telling her I wanted to come back. From that moment on, the power dynamic changed, and she rejected me, and it has stayed that way for 3 1/2 years. I am still trying to get her back after this long, and so I fully regret trying to move on then. I doubt I will feel any better about trying to do it now.

I have huge issues with letting go (image stuff I guess).
It takes years.

I fear the learning I will get from cutting her out of my life is 'don't you remember? DON'T do that!'

I have tried to make amends with her: lovely birthday dinner, holiday away, without actively bringing up the past, which always triggers her, so, I just tried being different from how I was. It doesn't seem to work. I don't think she trusts it.

Well, I'm pouring it out on the page. I don't expect answers from you, but I need to put it down.

Thanks for your help.
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/29/13 01:06 PM

Sim,

Sounds like you got involved with someone who has serious unhealed abandonment issues. And then you abandoned her. Yes, yes, I know you told her it was temporary. I'm here to tell you, doesn't matter what you said, it was what you DID that counts.

Look, my DH has the same issue. I left him once. He chased me, relentlessly until I came back. We worked through it, but I know one thing for sure, I can't ever even give the APPEARANCE that I'm abandoning him ever again. It'll break us.

You didn't come back when she pursued. I would be willing to wager that unless/until she deals with HER abandonment issues, there's NO WAY she can take you back. You aren't going to be "safe" for her, no matter what you say, because what you SAY is never as telling as what you have DONE.

You can't fix this for her. Nothing you do will help unless/until SHE works on the issue. Because in order to PROVE to her that you are safe, you have to be let in. And she can't do that because you've already proved you aren't safe.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/29/13 09:12 PM

Miranda,
Thanks for your frank comments.
Pretty much everything you say is on the nose.
Except, she didn't really pursue me after I left. She did for about 10 days, and then, I 'caused' a fight, and said some mean thing, and that shut her down. To this day, I think I did that deliberately to get the space I needed. We spoke almost everyday after we split. I was as gentle as I could be with her (apart from that one mean comment). I was always there for her, tried to let her down gently, and also not just disappear. But yes, you are right. She has huge issues from her childhood and she still hasn't had therapy for them.

I experience her as in huge denial about the severity of her problems.
I know deep down that I have to get away from her, but then, I just abandon her again. I could stay stuck here for a long time. I want to talk to her, face to face, and find a way to separate from her as gently as possible.

I find her hard to understand though. She doesn't trust me, but at other times, she get's so close to me, curled up, asleep with her hand in mine, or coming away on holiday with me. I asked her if I was such a crappy boyfriend, and you don't trust me, then why am I still in her life? She can't answer that question.

Yes, I can't fix this for her. I know that talk is cheap. I have tried to SHOW her that I have changed, and she can see it. She has acknowledged it. She knows I have, but that just throws up another block. Now SHE has to change, and she is too scared to.

Letting go of her is so hard. I do love this powerful, fragile, sensitive, cracked woman. She is a rare person, very special, with a huge heart, and an angry determination in her.

I am very afraid to let go, but I have learnt that those things we fear most, have the most to teach us, so whether I like it or not, that is where I have to head.

Thanks again.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/30/13 07:47 AM

Al, I'd be curious what you think about what Miranda said?
I know it sounds like 'making her wrong', but I do understand that my ex makes sense right now. I agree with Miranda, that I can't become a source of safety for her, because I need to be let back in to able to show her.

I have had therapy for my issues, and whilst not 'fixed' I am vastly improved. I know that she would improve massively as well, with therapy, and she knows she needs it, but at the same time, is hugely resistant to it, and I think doesn't feel any great impetus to get it. That saddens me. She doesn't seem to see how much her issues have sabotaged her happiness with her boyfriends, and continues to do so.
Posted By: NewEveryDay

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/30/13 12:02 PM

Sim, you sound "on the fence," what a bad feeling. Have you read When to Fold 'Em. If that's what you're ready for, it's a much gentler thing than No Contact.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/30/13 03:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Sim54
Al, I'd be curious what you think about what Miranda said?
I liked her post and while I remain a bit more hopeful, I think her conclusions are fine. The focus on your ex's therapy/recover etc is a fun one. I believe we are all built to recover. The question is always a) recover by what path and b) how long does it take. I said something to a friend yesterday. "There are two for sure things in life: recover and death. I think the issue is which comes first and what can we do about it." We certainly can chose do things that likely will speed both up or slow them down.

So I think there are things you can do to help speed your ex's recovery.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I know it sounds like 'making her wrong', but I do understand that my ex makes sense right now.
Making who wrong? Miranda or your ex? I think Miranda is fine and like her writings. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what you mean by "making her wrong."

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I agree with Miranda, that I can't become a source of safety for her, because I need to be let back in to able to show her.
I'm not quite where you are. My thinking is more "at this point what are the things I can do that would likely move my ex toward safety - her Lizard being relaxed?" At this point I would just gladly give her space, work on yourself so that you more likely do reliable safe-making things in the future.

Remember, she's got a whole section of her brain working on her safety. And it is telling her "Safety means staying away from you." Gladly giving her space is a lot about "being a source of safety at this point." You are working in concert with her Lizard.

If you two have contact, then there would be other instructions but they would all be toward reliably doing safe-making things.

Building theories about what your ex can or can't do is a low priority for me. I would do it, but not stress it. Focusing on what you can do is critically important.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I have had therapy for my issues, and whilst not 'fixed' I am vastly improved.
Between my marriages I did a great deal of therapy (years and years) on myself. While it did help me enormously, it didn't do much about the relationship skills that I have never learned and that my therapist couldn't teach. I think of 1992 as the year when I came to the belief that I was just as screwed up now in relationship as I had been in the word troubles of my first marriage, perhaps 15 years before. Lots of sadness about those 15 years lost.

Originally Posted By: Sim54
I know that she would improve massively as well, with therapy, and she knows she needs it, but at the same time, is hugely resistant to it, and I think doesn't feel any great impetus to get it. That saddens me. She doesn't seem to see how much her issues have sabotaged her happiness with her boyfriends, and continues to do so.
I hear you and your beliefs about her. I also hear what sounds like a lot of caring/love toward her. That's great. I also hear the sound of a "fix-it guy," like me, who probably needs to learn better how to integrate your desire to "fix-it" with practical "respect" for the other. If you don't come across as "repectful first" then most of your attempts to "fix-it" will be at best wasted and at worst they will slow down the recovery process in your partner. I learned this the hard way. Sigh!
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/30/13 09:03 PM

Lot's to ponder here.
To clarify, I was talking about my ex, not Miranda, with the making her wrong statement. I meant that it is easy to analyse someones so called psychological issues from a distance, with limited data. It can often sound like 'making someone wrong'. For example: Oh, she has anger issues (when she is screaming in frustration at not being listened too) or someone has abandonment issues (when they just don't want to be with someone any more). :-)

I do think Miranda's analysis is pretty close to it.
My ex has a long history of picking emotionally damaged men, and trying to get them to love her. For a long time, I hoped she would stay single, and do the work she needs to do to move past that. She now seems to be doing that. I have to remember that one of the ways in which she is healing is learning to not make the same mistakes, and to take her own safety seriously. Keeping me out, is one of those things. So, I am happy for her.

I think I read somewhere that one of the components of co dependency is the desire to fix the other. It comes with an if only statement: if only I could get them to stop doing a, b, or c, or could help them fix issues 1, 2, or 3, that are keeping them from loving me, then I would get my dream relationship.

It's funny you suggest my giving her space. Space was the buzzword of our relationship. I was the avoider, she the clinger. I was constantly asking for space, and usually taking it in very not safe ways, by simply disconnecting and withdrawing from her. My parents commented on how clingy she was. She would literally hold onto me all the time, always needing some physical contact.

Of course, the world works in lovely ways, and now shows me what life was like for her. I get to experience wanting closeness with someone I love, and being denied it, and so, I get to 'walk in her shoes', and learn new skills.

Well, I think that everything is going forward in the only way it can. Things are better for both of us. I am not pretending to be her friend right now, and well, there is some healthy distance.

I have no expectations about anything. I am learning.
I am practising with people I meet, trying to notice when I slip into Master talk, etc.

And yes, I was/am, a fix it guy. My ex is a fix it gal. We loved nurturing each other, often with food. I am trying to let go of it. There is some joy in watching someone struggle, and cheer them on from the ropes, but NOT getting involved. In a way, it's much more rewarding to see someone figure it out, especially when you love them.



Thanks for your thoughts and have a good day.


Oh, and NED, thanks for your comment. I don't think I have to do anything much here. I don't think I need to do no contact, I just have to change how I am feeling about all this, and let go.
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/30/13 09:09 PM

Oh, the bit about not being able to be a source of safety for my ex, was because of what Miranda wrote, that I can't prove my trustworthiness to my ex unless she lets me close, and she won't do that, because I can't be trusted. My ex is comfortable with me in lot's of ways, travelling with me, for a holiday, sleeping in the same room as me, undressing in front of me, sharing a bed with me in the past, so, in lot's of ways, I don't scare her, but anything that hints at more, scares her. Oddly, whenever I do something safely, or behave in a trustworthy way, that pricks her fear more. Like, she expects bad behaviour from me, and my behaving better, doesn't fit her view of me, so that is not predictive behaviour, and she gets scared. She was like this when we were together.

Her fear is extreme, and she once told me she doesn't trust anyone.
Poor thing.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/31/13 03:03 PM

Hang in there. Still sounds as if you are on the right path. That fear thingy. Lots of people discover they have been "Lizard active" all of their lives. Pretty common to hear that. Yeah and I think it's sad.

Oh. also. It is interesting that people can share things that are just sentences that help them get clear. Mirroring and just listening are useful skills. Once had a guy weepingly tell me "no one ever listens to me." I mirrored. Had I not known how I might have foolishly said to him, "Hey, I'm listening to you. What am I? Chopped liver!"

When someone says to me, "I don't trust anyone." I am apt to say, "Gee, that sounds sad." and to think "Wow, he/she is trusting me by sharing that."
Posted By: Sim54

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 10/31/13 09:08 PM

Funny, for the first time, I mentally pictured what mirroring that guy must have looked like
Guy: 'no-one ever listens to me.'
You: 'so, you think no one listens to you?'

I imagine saying that in my mind, and it didn't seem weird.
:-)
So far, the thought of mirroring someone felt really clunky and insincere.

I'm kind of itching to try it out with someone around me, just to see what it feels like.

At the moment, if someone tells me something personal and painful, I tend to wait to let them finish, but occasionally I will interject with something like: That sounds bad or that sounds like a tough thing to handle, etc.
I might also ask for clarification on what the feeling is: Where in the body, what exactly does it feel like, etc, and if it's something I've experienced as well, I may tell an anecdote of my own experience, but I'm aware that I don't want to drag it over to me all the time.

On a side note, I came across this woman writing about her communication style, and how it differs from the norm in Canada. If you have a minute, have a read. I thought of you when I read it, as it seemed provocative.

Amd now, A brief moment for sociolinguistics
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 11/01/13 12:21 AM

Took a look at the article. My guess is that when I am playing tennis or hockey and I think things are going in a dangerous direction, I shift into the curling mode. I avoid the fisticuffs mode at all times. smile
Posted By: uncertainone

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 11/03/13 05:46 PM

Quote:
When someone says to me, "I don't trust anyone." I am apt to say, "Gee, that sounds sad." and to think "Wow, he/she is trusting me by sharing that."


I always think, wise choice and good start. Now move forward to stop looking at that as a constraint and realize trust in yourself is all you really need to enjoy people for what they offer rather than rely on them for what you can offer yourself to begin with so won't need from others. smile
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 11/04/13 02:09 PM

Trust in yourself is really the only trust that works. If you don't trust yourself, you wind up nervous all the time waiting for someone ELSE to fail to do for you what YOU should be doing for yourself, imo.

Of course, as always I might be full of crap...
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 11/04/13 03:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Miranda
Trust in yourself is really the only trust that works.
I happen to agree with this one, Miranda with the addition of a bit of a definition of Trust.

Seems to me that the word Trust is used pretty abstractly. That bugged me,

When I defined it as Trust = Safety = Lizard Brain being relaxed = Lizard Brain being into Playfulness (not competition), Mating (playful joy producing), Nurturing (spending energy on people's well-being), Creative Work ("following your Bliss" even at the simple level), then a reliable definition of "trusting yourself" became possible.

"Trusting yourself" became "taking responsibility for keeping your own Lizard in that state of Safety" inspite of what the world or others throw at you.

So, we are born into the world needing others to provide this Safety. Somewhere over childhood we are designed to learn those skills of Safety for ourselves - learn from our Caretakers. And as we become older we apply those skills on our selves first and on others also to create and maintain an area/room/field of safety for ourselves and others close to us.

For most of us this is remedial learning cuz our Caretakers where humans and thus not too perfect. Doing their best, they may have done fairly poorly providing Safety and teaching us how. smile

Tis what I believe.
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 11/04/13 03:42 PM

I think you put that perfectly, Al.

Expecting other folks to create a sense of safety for my lizard was NEVER successful. I'm the only one in my body, I'm the only one with all the good intel on this.

I've been working this angle for a while now, and have progressed into Lizard brain being relaxed, but haven't gotten to playfulness, mating, creative bliss etc.

So I've got a little ways to go, but I am a LONG way from the regularly appearing, frantic, thrashing, hissing, tongue flicking stage I started at. So good progress.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 11/04/13 05:50 PM

Go for it!
Posted By: Oedipus

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/28/14 04:45 PM

Al,

I have been in a relationship with a widow for almost 18 months. She lost her husband close to 2 years ago. A big issue we are having is how to move forward telling her deceased husband's family we are dating. When we began dating she asked that we be discreet with our relationship since I worked with her husband and it had only been about 6 months since his passing.
We have told a small handful of people we are dating. One of the friends she told had a really bad reaction early on and this has added to her anxiety. The situation is compounded because the parents are understandably having a terrible time with the loss of their son. The mother in law told my GF last year that she (MIL) is not ready for my GF to begin dating anyone. She is very close with the ILs and does not want to hurt them. GF has told me she is not ready to tell the IL we are dating and does not know when she will be. Because she doesn’t want to tell them we have not told many people at all. Although they live on another coast the fear is they might find out through someone by accident.
This is incredibly hard for me. Not telling people has put a strain on the relationship and causes me anxiety (Fear of abandonment). When we have talked about it GF has stated she sees us together forever she just needs the time and support to figure this out her way. As I am not the most patient person in the world I am trying to find practical ways to remove all pushing from the situation.
I’ve asked her to participate in caring days with me. My hope is that we can find ways to create safety every day in each other.
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/28/14 05:15 PM

Tricky situation, Oedipus, but a great one learn better boundary skills - always seems a good idea. I have a couple of thoughts.

Generally, I believe withholding information from people leads to trouble in the long run and so keeping your lives (you and your gf) secret from her family sounds like a bad idea. Perhaps they need to grow up a bit more (everyone does).

On the other hand these people are her family not yours and thus she gets first and last say on dealing with them. If she wants secrecy at this point, support, understand and validate her need for privacy. Be her team mate all you can.

Her friends "bad reaction" is more likely an example of Passive Master behavior on her friends part. Families can be ever so controlling and your gfs's response to her friend and be just good ole codependency stuff - which you'll have to deal with anyway.

And then there is you yet-to-be-learned patience and clinginess that has to be validated and learned to deal with on both your parts.

Lots of work. Sounds good. Go for it.
Posted By: Oedipus

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/28/14 05:33 PM

Al,

Thank you for the response. I'm glad you brought up boundary skills and I agree with you about learning better boundary skills.

In this particular situation can you give me some practical examples of what better boundary skills would look like from your perspective?

Thank you
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 01/28/14 10:34 PM

Oh, that is just a broad subject. Seems Sandra and I chat about boundaries many times each day. The principles are in my article on Boundaries for Individuals. In this case I think it is worth first distinguishing between what each person involved is a) responsible for and b) what they may think they "own."

Principles that come to mind are a) All People Make Sense All the Time, b) No One can make Anyone Feel Anything, c) All people make their own Decisions (It is your life and it is your gf's life), d) All Boundary Skills are Defensive (you take care of your own) and if you help other's with their boundaries, that is nice.
Posted By: ohmy_marie

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 02/09/15 05:31 AM

*bump

this is such a great topic-- and lots of great conversations here-- that I wanted to bump it to the top of the list.

sometimes, I still don't understand others, but I've learned to embrace the fact that it's not always important for me to totally understand another's thoughts/emotions/reactions, etc.-- it's often enough to simply acknowledge that their truths are different from my own truths, and that's perfectly okay.

thank you for your site! marie
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 02/09/15 04:17 PM

You're welcome, Marie. Been quite an adventure to post and tend all this stuff.
Posted By: ohmy_marie

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/20/15 02:19 AM

Hi Al, I haven't seen you post for a while... I am hoping you are well! perhaps simply enjoying the sand and sea?

I was pondering earlier today, and my thoughts turned inward as I reflected on "self," and wounds, and anger and hurts, and disappointments ... and the importance of giving your own thoughts and feelings "weight"-- not in the sense that you are right-- but in a sense that your own feelings are/were valid (and not make-believe).

and then my thoughts turned to you. and I remembered what I liked best about you(besides your kindness)-- it was/is your belief in everyone's feelings (regardless if those feelings seem backwards). your belief that those feelings come from somewhere-- that they are valid-- even if those feelings occur in only one small space of time, in only one small person's life.

Thank you for helping me understand. I'm not the fastest learner ... but I tend to eventually get it.

hugs, marie
Posted By: AlTurtle

Re: Topic 2: "Stop chasing your partner away!" - Building Trust - 08/20/15 03:32 PM

Hello Marie, Thanks for the good thoughts. I've been enjoying retirement and just lightly watching MA. (I do check my website often.) It means I may miss things posted on MA for a while.

I do like reminding myself, even, that thoughts and feelings one has are real and important. I imagine that when you think your memories are "make believe" you've been around some adult/parent who told you as a child that your thoughts were not valid, just because your thoughts were different. I believe that is kind of a parental malpractice. Sad, but common, I fear.

And you see a lot of this in public - Donald Trump, for example. We've all gotta develop Boundary Skills to deal with this silliness.

Oh and I found another thought last week. It is about the idea that memories can be passed down genetically, for generations. Here it is in a poem from a friend.

WAR WOUND by Neil Meili

There are, the epigeneticists say,
memories that haven't gone away

What happened
to your grandma when the troops came by
is still barbed-wire wrapped
around your DNA

Dreams that aren't yours
neurons firing like the war's still on
and mines set off by a word or a touch

So please be gentle with one another
and your mother and your mother's mother


I, Al, like that image of memories wrapped around our DNA like barbed-wire. My dad would have told me that memory was a figment of my imagination and I fear he would have dismissed me. Long time ago. Sad.

Another place this has come up is in the scripts of a recent TV show called Proof. Good stuff to ponder.

Anyway, Thanks for the good wishes.
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