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Author Topic: My Story Rebuilding Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC

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My Story Rebuilding Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
OP: October 04, 2020, 08:00:04 AM
My last thread: https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11368.150

.............

Rose, Milly, KIT, Roo, Treasur and LL, thank you very much for your thoughtful posts in my last thread!

We had been sharing our thoughts that MLC is not a phenomenon that happens in a sterile test tube but in addition to whatever is going on in life. 

I think we can all agree that LBS or marriage is not the root cause(issues) of MLC.  It is my view that MLCers are not to be blamed for the presence of issues, either. I don’t know anyone who ordered ‘issues’ as a side dish to life and chose to have MLC.   

(Of course, the way MLCer chooses to deal/not deal with his crisis is all on him, just as LBS is entirely responsible for the way she handled the situation.  As everyone knows, each choice begets its unique consequences; some are minor and forgettable, and some can be life-altering, either positively or negatively.)

Having clearly stated that the issues of MLC has nothing to do with LBS or M, that in no way invites LBS to give herself permission to blame MLC for most everything that didn’t work out as she wished.  There are more explanations to life’s happenings than ‘it’s MLC!’ aren’t there? 

So, I believe *a reality check is quite helpful to LBS for her own growth and moving forward in a healthy manner.

(*reality check: an occasion that causes you to consider the facts about a situation and not your opinions, ideas, or beliefs . - Cambridge  English Dictionary)

I am all for seeing the facts in the eye and avoid living in denial or fiction. I would be the first person to say that is difficult to do until some measure of detachment from the situation has been gained.  However, I believe it is necessary in order to accept what is, to heal, and to move forward. 

Surely, one of the top items on the reality check list is the state of the marriage before the advent of MLC.  After all, ‘marriage’ is a hot topic around here! 

A calm and objective look at one’s marital history may show that it had been mostly a loving and happy relationship. Some minor ups and downs but the couple stayed emotionally connected, communicated well, lovingly considerate, respectful, and had each other’s back.  Alas, MLC came along and put an end to it, and that’s the reality for some.

In some situations, a careful examination of the past may reveal to LBS that their marriage had been deteriorating over many years and there were some seriously deep cracks.  It is possible that MLC compounded the situation and was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back of a crumbling marriage.  (Who knows, some may even come to the conclusion that what they are witnessing is not really MLC.)

The above are just two possible scenarios.  The spectrum is wide and variations are endless, obviously.

We advise each other not to get sucked into MLCer’s history-rewriting of a good marriage which is important.  However, that goes both ways. It would not serve LBS well to ignore or minimize what had clearly been a marriage in serious decline for a considerable period of time before MLC.  A clear eyed introspection has nothing to do with fixing MLCer or the marriage, but it gives LBS an opportunity to learn from it to further self awareness and development.

Even if an objective and honest examination reveals to LBS that it had been a good marriage overall before MLC, it doesn’t hurt to address any unhealthy aspects of relationship that might have been present.  Often mentioned on HS are: a high degree of codependence, fixing tendencies, habitual conflict avoidance behaviour, parenting the spouse, etc.

As James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced.”

Just my view.  :)

Wishing you a great weekend! 

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« Last Edit: October 04, 2020, 08:50:34 AM by Acorn »
Feb 2015: BD. 
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#1: October 04, 2020, 10:24:16 AM
Attaching! 

All of the above is what I needed to hear this morning!
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#2: October 04, 2020, 11:08:33 AM
Attaching as well, excellent messages. The truth many times is somewhere in the middle, but even the best marriage is between two humans and therefore imperfect. There is always work that can be done, as long as there is love present and as long as the relationship can be a safe place for those involved.

The hardest thing for me in detachment is really understanding that the pre-BD relationship is gone. I can recognize easily that my W is changing/changed. Whether the post-MLC version resembles the version I married, I won’t know until she’s through the tunnel. But any relationship will be new - whether we are friends and nothing more, or whether reconnecting leads to a reconciled/new M. And there is the possibility that we will have changed enough through this process that one or both of us won’t have enough in common to sustain any close relationship at all. I don’t think that will be the case, and yet I admit I fear it on some level. But whatever the outcome, I am finally accepting that whatever was here was gone, I am not seeking to rebuild on the flawed foundation.

There is always much to be learned from your journey and your words, Acorn, as well as all of the contributions on your threads.
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#3: October 04, 2020, 12:46:11 PM
Following along!
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"I'm slowly learning to expect nothing and appreciate everything."

Together 28 years, married 27. Two adult kids, ours

BD #1: 2016 - EA  |  BD #2: 2018 - FA

W moved out - June 2019 | OM#3 - July 2019
W asks for divorce - August 2019 | Divorce final - September 2019 | Moving on

My thread: https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11537.new#new

New Here? Read this! http://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=1149.0

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#4: October 04, 2020, 01:08:23 PM
Welcome to your new thread Acorn!

It is lovely hearing the snippets from your H about how his mind was working during his MLC years, what made him decide what he did and how he moved forward.

Others (like ‘Shocks Sis’) have said they felt like they were on a movie set where they were the main character. Has your H said anything like that? Or talked about his awakening?

Thanks as ever
Rose 🌹
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Married 15+ years with 2 children
BD1 - 2016
BD2 - 2017
BD3 - Sept 2019
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OW2 - Feb 2019, age 30
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Link to advice by my mentor, Phoenix, on what to tell the children about H leaving - reply #33 (it had a glitch)
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=9313.30

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#5: October 04, 2020, 06:01:30 PM
Attaching
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#6: October 05, 2020, 02:57:53 AM
Others (like ‘Shocks Sis’) have said they felt like they were on a movie set where they were the main character. Has your H said anything like that?

I'm also interested in this question since my MLCer has said this repeatedly. 

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September 2019 - H commits to leaving OW
November 2019 - OW moves back to her country (temporarily). Reconnection with me begins but contact with OW continues.
January 2020 - H informs me he has broken up with OW. Continues seeing her anyway.
April-June 2020 - H moves home. While "rebuilding", H continues contact and some PA with OW (BD2).
July 2020 - H leaves home, fence-sits.
Aug 2020 - H plays heavy pingpong, then announces he will rent a place with OW "at least temporarily"
Aug 2020 - I decided enough is enough. Filing for D.

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#7: October 06, 2020, 11:10:18 AM
Attaching...
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#8: October 07, 2020, 08:52:46 AM
Well, gosh darn it Acorn between your post and Barbie's I have been spending a lot of time digesting what you both as well as others have written in your threads.  I have reread your post often the last couple of days and see that it is actually brilliant and so very relevant to me right now. 

With my new level of detachment I have really had to focus on myself and start to dive into marital issues that have been present before MLC.  Not an easy thing to do.  I have started a few small talks with my H (Very calm and not reactive, which I have been working on) and he even said the other day "Roo, some of the things you mention are things that have always been in our marriage"  and it's true.  My response was "just because they were there does not make them right" We have a long way to go on healing and working towards a new marriage. 

Quote
So, I believe *a reality check is quite helpful to LBS for her own growth and moving forward in a healthy manner.

(*reality check: an occasion that causes you to consider the facts about a situation and not your opinions, ideas, or beliefs . - Cambridge  English Dictionary)

I am all for seeing the facts in the eye and avoid living in denial or fiction. I would be the first person to say that is difficult to do until some measure of detachment from the situation has been gained.  However, I believe it is necessary in order to accept what is, to heal, and to move forward.
 

This right here is golden.  This is right where I am.  This is also very difficult.  Sometimes I think I wanted things to be the way they were so much I didn't see that they actually weren't.  I was very caught up in kids and my H and making sure all parts flowed together with no bumps.  I was quiet when I should not have been and I am at a point now where that no longer works.  My H is having a hard time understanding this. 

I am learning detachment is a gift.  Your post brings this to light Acorn, you are so wise :)

Quote
Often mentioned on HS are: a high degree of codependence, fixing tendencies, habitual conflict avoidance behaviour, parenting the spouse, etc.

Yep, guilty of all of the above.....

Quote
As James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced.”

The best and most relevant quote I've read in a long time. 

Thanks again for continuing to post Acorn.  It is truly appreciated. 

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#9: October 07, 2020, 09:18:27 AM
Roo, despite the fact that my W is no longer at home as of this week, I feel like the lessons you are learning along the way always seem so timely and relevant for me, so I appreciate your insight. And Acorn as well...though our stories are different, the insight around “we didn’t cause their MLC, but that doesn’t always mean the marriage was perfect before MLC” is so timely. I know that our M was flawed, and I also know that I probably minimized the flaws in my mind. However, even looking back on our M through the harshest lens, clearly W is exaggerating the flaws and minimizing the good. But clearly, even in the best reconciliation scenario, it is impossible to go back to the old M - and it’s not something I would want even if we could. Even going back to the old M as a starting point for therapy probably isn’t healthy because it means rebuilding on the old, possibly flawed foundation. To me, it is better to tear it all down - the relationship as well as the people involved - and rebuild from scratch, incorporating all the lessons we learn along the way. We start be rebuilding ourselves as individuals, and that will be a lifelong process. Somewhere in that individual process it will become clear whether the relationship can or should be rebuilt, and what form it will take...but you can’t even consider relationship rebuilding until the individual work is underway. Just my thoughts as a relative newbie who is still very much finding my way...
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#10: October 08, 2020, 07:36:42 AM
Thank you very much for following along, Roo, LL, PJ, Rose, FW, Tinnat and UM! 
Good to have you on board.

DETACHMENT

We often talk about detaching from MLCer but I found that it is beneficial to see detachment in a holistic way. 

By all means, separate your emotion ecosystem from that of MLCer.  It is just as important to step back from the MLC situation, not only the person afflicted with it, and see the big picture — a prerequisite for reality check. 

In my view, one of the signs of detachment is when the need to learn more about MLC or MLCer’s state of mind hardly registers on the scale.  You realize one day that you know enough and more knowing won’t get you anywhere.  So you shift your focus from trying to figure out what’s going on in someone else’s head to making your every day as meaningful and beautiful as you can — that is my litmus test for detachment!

I fear that intensely focussing on MLCer for a prolonged period of time may result in LBS’s unhealthy obsession with or addiction to MLCer and distorts LBS’s perception of reality.  That has to be detrimental to LBS’s mental health and hinder LBS from healing and getting the best out of life.  It’s a great pity to let life pass you by while you are playing a mental ‘ring-o-ring-o-Rosie’ around MLCer.  Stepping out of that ‘ring’ is difficult but a task worth your while, I suggest.

What is empowering for LBS is that she can proactively choose actions to shift the focus away from everything to do with MLCer.  These actions needn’t be heroic, such as cleaning up Mt Everest.  It could be as simple as heading outdoors and pulling some weeds in your garden while listening to your favourite podcast or music.  You fake it proactively, doggedly, and consistently over a long period of time till you make it.  At least, that’s the way it worked out for me, but then I’m only one sample...

‘Do something that has nothing to do with MLC/MLCer, and as often as you can,’ helped me greatly.  Just sayin’.

Wishing all of you a wonderful day!  Perhaps MLC/MLCer free for some parts of it?  :D


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« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 08:03:36 AM by Acorn »
Feb 2015: BD. 
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H never left home.

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#11: October 08, 2020, 09:47:44 AM
Beautifully said! There’s a big difference between getting off the roller coaster and really, truly detaching. It is essential for the LBS to overcome the anxiety and the volatility that comes along with being on the MLCer’s roller coaster, that is true. But the real mirror work can’t start until the LBS’ focus shifts from the MLCer and the crisis itself to a more inward focus. What does it mean for you to be your best self?

I admit I am still working on that and I do want to understand what (if any)specific things have defined my MLCer’s journey. But I also know that if I ever learn those things, it will be from my MLCer and it will only happen if and when we reconnect on the other side of this. Until that time, anything I came up with would be speculation. Far better to spend the time figuring out myself. Am I happy, and could I be happier or more fulfilled? If there’s something more I want for my life, how can I get there? Thanks for expressing this so eloquently...as much as your overall story offers hope for reconciliation, the real lesson is in how you have come through this process whole, happy, and maybe even better than you were before.
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#12: October 08, 2020, 11:43:30 AM
Wise advice, Acorn.  I remember the first early days of trying to wrap my mind around what had actually happened, and in those days I simply couldn't believe it was real.  There was NO WAY it was real, there was no way my whole life had been wiped out so completely.

But after I got my bearings and realized that my entire life was in fact wiped out, it would have done me no good whatsoever to simply sit in the rubble of the past lamenting the fact that I had carefully planned out a life that was now gone.  The only thing I could do was accept that it was gone and figure out what my life would look like going forward.  So I figured out where I wanted to be (keyword "I" - I had to find a place for ME, not a place that would suit some future "us" or be easy for my H to return to).  I didn't think of the future in terms of anything he had done, was doing or might do in the near or distant future.  I thought in terms of what I wanted my life to look like, and then I ended up choosing a city hundreds and hundreds of miles away from anywhere I'd ever lived, packed up and moved to start MY new life.  (And it turned out I loved the new city I moved to - though I eventually had to leave that behind too, but that's a different story altogether, lol.) 

The point is, what's done is done, what's gone is gone.  I had literally planned out my entire life and it was all gone in what seemed like the blink of an eye, not even a shred of it left.  Repeatedly asking why wouldn't change that.  "Live like they're not coming back" is not just empty advice.  It's crucial.  Life happens, whether we like it or not.   It throws curve balls left and right and more often than not, we get no say in how things turn out for ourselves, never mind how they turn out for anyone else.
The only thing we actually get to dictate is the kind of person we want to be.
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#13: October 12, 2020, 09:15:44 AM
Thank you, LL and Nas, for chiming in with your insights.  I very much appreciate your mature view on life. 

‘What’s done is done.  What gone is gone’ indeed.  That’s acceptance in a nutshell, isn’t it.

...........

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, everyone!
A special nod to all the Canucks, particularly my fellow Ontarians! 

Cheers!
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#14: October 13, 2020, 01:06:14 PM

‘Do something that has nothing to do with MLC/MLCer, and as often as you can,’ helped me greatly.  Just sayin’.


This is gold.  Of course I think I do all things that have nothing to do with my MLCer, and yet, my thoughts are often times overrun with him. So now, thanks to your musings, I think I will try in earnest to get past that. How does one train oneself to not think of something? Or someone? Alcohol? LOL--kidding of course though I admit I've tried that approach which always fails miserably.


‘What’s done is done.  What gone is gone’ indeed.  That’s acceptance in a nutshell, isn’t it.


Indeed. Thanks for the reminder.  And Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
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#15: October 13, 2020, 10:32:17 PM

‘Do something that has nothing to do with MLC/MLCer, and as often as you can,’ helped me greatly.  Just sayin’.


This is gold.  Of course I think I do all things that have nothing to do with my MLCer, and yet, my thoughts are often times overrun with him. So now, thanks to your musings, I think I will try in earnest to get past that. How does one train oneself to not think of something? Or someone? Alcohol? LOL--kidding of course though I admit I've tried that approach which always fails miserably.


I am in that situation at the moment. What helped me to not think of something is if I have other things which absorb me. I've taken up 1 new hobby and 1 new sport which require me to attend classes and to do "homework" whenever I can. I am loving it, I am feeling very fulfilled, and most importantly, I find that my mind doesn't drift to the MLCer as much as before.   
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January 2018 - 1st BD - "I'm not happy"
June 2019 - I discover existence of OW since November  2017. Lives on another continent
July 2019 - OW moves to live in my city.
August 2019 - H on holiday with OW, despite ultimatum
September 2019 - H commits to leaving OW
November 2019 - OW moves back to her country (temporarily). Reconnection with me begins but contact with OW continues.
January 2020 - H informs me he has broken up with OW. Continues seeing her anyway.
April-June 2020 - H moves home. While "rebuilding", H continues contact and some PA with OW (BD2).
July 2020 - H leaves home, fence-sits.
Aug 2020 - H plays heavy pingpong, then announces he will rent a place with OW "at least temporarily"
Aug 2020 - I decided enough is enough. Filing for D.

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#16: October 15, 2020, 11:24:22 AM
Acorn - Attaching and learning from your amazing insight and wealth of understanding.

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#17: October 19, 2020, 12:51:02 PM
KIT, Tinnat and Sea, thank you for reading and commenting on my thread!  (((((HUGS))))))
............

H and I had a conversation a few days ago regarding what H described as ‘the period when I mentally and spiritually broke down.’ He summarized it as a ‘complete break down of his core.’ 

He said, ‘I shattered.’

His heart and mind hurt unbearably and his anger was bottomless. He was desperate to discover the source of his pain and rage.  If only he knew the cause, then maybe he could resolve it and lead a peaceful life. 

He talked about the possible origin of his pain and rage with me several times during his crisis and he slowly figured out where this all-consuming anger came from — FOO issues.  And then he questioned if he had any identity to call his own.   He examined his previously held beliefs and attitudes.  He likened it to cleaning his slate of other’s writings and newly inscribing on it with his own pencil.  For that, he needed a lot of time and space.  He thanked me for my ‘quietness.’  Whatever that means. I did not ask. 

The term ‘midlife crisis’ does not seem to adequately express the serious nature of what my husband experienced. I don’t know, MLC sounds almost too bland or frivolous to me.   Just my opinion.

If I were to rename H’s crisis, I would call it DIP - Dramatic Individuation Process, fuelled by FOO issues from his childhood.  The ultimate purpose of his crisis was to define his own identity and value system, apart from what his parents and society dictated.  I assumed wrong for the longest time that resolving FOO issues was the goal of his crisis. It was merely a preparation for individuation.  It appears that the purpose of his crisis was to build his identity from the ground up.  It matters little that his ‘new’ identity is similar to the one before BD.  What matters is that he now owns and operates it.

Wishing you all a great week!

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« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 12:54:54 PM by Acorn »
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#18: October 19, 2020, 01:00:37 PM
Thanks for that really helpful insight from you and your H, Acorn! I think it is really useful to think of things that way. It is reassuring on some level to know that for your H, the post-crisis person is very similar to who he was pre-BD. Not that I have any intention of extrapolating his experience to my W’s. But it is helpful to see that at least some of the time, the person we knew for our entire pre-BD life is fundamentally the person they continue to be - that is, it’s the MLC version that is not a true reflection of how they want their lives to be. I know that hasn’t been everyone’s experience, but I am very happy it’s been yours
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#19: October 19, 2020, 01:16:22 PM
His core beliefs are similar to pre-BD, and so is his value system. 

There are some aspects that are quite different from before his crisis.  One aspect is his relationship with others.  It’s fundamentally changed; so much so that I wonder at the fact that we actually reconciled.  I’ve done my share of changing and growing, and so did he.  It happens that our journeys brought us to the same junction — a blessing for which I give thanks daily. 
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#20: October 19, 2020, 01:23:15 PM


What you posted today spoke to me a lot, particularly where you describe the Dramatic Individuation Process and the role of FOO issues.   

One aspect is his relationship with others.  It’s fundamentally changed; so much so that I wonder at the fact that we actually reconciled.

This part intrigued me.  Would you care to elaborate on why you wonder how you could actually reconcile?
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January 2018 - 1st BD - "I'm not happy"
June 2019 - I discover existence of OW since November  2017. Lives on another continent
July 2019 - OW moves to live in my city.
August 2019 - H on holiday with OW, despite ultimatum
September 2019 - H commits to leaving OW
November 2019 - OW moves back to her country (temporarily). Reconnection with me begins but contact with OW continues.
January 2020 - H informs me he has broken up with OW. Continues seeing her anyway.
April-June 2020 - H moves home. While "rebuilding", H continues contact and some PA with OW (BD2).
July 2020 - H leaves home, fence-sits.
Aug 2020 - H plays heavy pingpong, then announces he will rent a place with OW "at least temporarily"
Aug 2020 - I decided enough is enough. Filing for D.

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#21: October 19, 2020, 03:51:53 PM
Hello,

I am so glad that you brought this up. Many times we speak of Mid-life crisis. However that relates to age and not to the core issue of disintegration of one's identity. The crisis is tied to loss of identity or self. The inability to understand one's own actions, purpose, or even thought process.

We all question our purpose and design, but the crisis breaks when someone feels, I don't want to be who I am, I want to be someone else.  This disassociation with reality. To suddenly seek new by revisiting the past would be more embraced and accepted by professionals then a mere "it's a mid-life crisis". One focus's on true description of the crisis the latter sounds like an idea for a movie.

While Erickson's work on identity and identity crisis focused on adolescence, the idea of loss of identity leading to a period of confusion holds even for adults. The idea of questioning all aspects of their life particularly their marriage, work, and even children is not exclusive to those in their forties or fifties and can happen throughout one's life.

Very interesting points and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

(((((Ready)))))
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#22: October 20, 2020, 07:05:10 AM
Thank you LL, Tinnat and Ready for your comments!

Tinnat,

H nuked his relationship with me, our children, his parents, siblings, friends and the community.  So, yes, his relationship with important people in his life was fundamentally changed; as in, the DNA of the relationship got fried.  How do you come back from that?  It’s more logical to leave all that charred remains behind.

Specifically about our marital relationship:

His emotional abandonment of me and his affair completely destroyed our marital relationship.  I mean 100% destroyed.  Innocence and trust, gone.  It is not possible to resurrect the relationship of pre-BD.  It’s gone.  Kaput.  Obliterated.  A sample of one.

H was able to reclaim his beliefs and values as his very own through the crisis process.  Mind you, he is not so black and white any longer.  His grey areas have expanded considerably.  Fundamentally the same, yet different in details.

He was able to retrieve most of his old personality as well.  As a person, he is similar to who he used to be before BD, albeit wiser, gentler, and more mature and peaceful.  Fundamentally the same, yet different in details, as above.

But relationship is a totally different beast.  Relationship is not a frozen-in-time concept that you can reclaim and carry on.  It is altered, sometimes unrecognizably, by the choices humans make.  Even without any adverse events, it evolves with time.

After all that had gone on, including a period where he did not love me at all but despised me and then became indifferent, it is a wonder of wonders that both of us came to the same conclusion to reconcile. 

The following may explain why we both wanted to reconcile. 

1. He worked on his FOO issues and then went on to define his identity.  Simply put, he wasn’t messed up any longer.

2. We share similar values and attitude toward life after all the tribulations of MLC and LBSC.  We are compatible, too, emotional age-wise.

3. We each processed what his choices had done to our marriage and how I reacted; we accepted the reality of destruction they caused; consistent actions of remorse, forgiveness and compassion did their thing, and here we are. 

4. He remembered that he loved me for decades and he loves me again after a period of break from it. Having some emotional connection or a soft spot for me because of the the shared history, or feeling duty-bound to honour promises made, were good enough for the initial tentative reconnection, and I was willing.  However, we had to love each other deeply for reconciliation to become a possibility.  I see that now. 

5. If one of us still clung to how things were between us before his crisis and wanted to go back to that — which is quite immature and a delusional thing to do — we would not have reconciled.   We would have been incompatible.

6. The most crucial aspect our reconciliation is that he did not leave. If he had, that would have been a bridge too far.  For us, that is. 

.........

Ready,

I can see how some people may experience loss of identity, as you mentioned. 

For my H, it was more a case of questioning the authenticity of his identity. The questions he asked were: Does he truly own it?  Or, did he merely mould himself to what his parents and our society dictated? 

He did not wish to be someone else.  That idea never occurred to him.  He just wanted to be authentic Mr. Acorn. 

I guess losing identity, wanting to be someone else, and wanting to define one’s own identity, do fit under the umbrella of ‘identity crisis.’ 

Throw in an existential crisis which is related to his identity conundrum, H had a tornado within his soul. 

The ‘script’ we often talk about here hardly scratches the surface of what it means to be in midlife crisis. To primarily focus on the ‘script’ to deem someone a ‘MLCer’ is akin to the frivolity of Hollywood rendition of MLC.  I thank you for taking MLC seriously, Ready.
 
Let’s face it, a bit of googling on infidelity will show that the ‘script’ and expressing hesitation before making the leap seem to be on the menu for cheaters in general, MLC or not.  So, MLCers and the garden-variety cheaters cannot be differentiated by the script, in my opinion — a bit like, coughing does not mean you have covid 19.  It goes so much deeper than the visible symptoms of the ‘script’ and the out of character things they do.  A person in crisis has a deep fracture in their core in just about every aspect of life that involves even a little bit of emotion. 

Just my view. A sample of one.  :)
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« Last Edit: October 20, 2020, 07:22:51 AM by Acorn »
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#23: October 20, 2020, 05:20:28 PM
Still following along Acorn - Thank you for sharing and your openness.

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#24: October 21, 2020, 01:27:14 AM
Thank you for sharing your 'sample of one' perspective with the gift of time and distance, Acorn. More of us doing that here do so from a POV of LBS recovery or post-divorce life, so it is useful to have a different perspective and other information about an MLCer than some of us have.

I do agree that my xh blew our marriage up completely at BD and perhaps even more so post-BD. Obliterated as you say. Looking back, I think it took me a couple of years to really 'get' that which seems silly now. But it did. I suspect our relationship lived on in my head for much longer than it lived on in my then h's head. But perhaps that is just how grief and mourning work sometimes.....

Looking at your list, I have no idea if my xh is now a more or less authentic self than he was before but how you describe it makes sense. It is remarkable really that there are any healthy reconciliations at all, it seems to me, given the complexity of all the moving parts  :)

But, again looking at your list, my experience - from what was available for me to see - had none of these things. I don't know why it didn't, but it didn't, and in a strange way that makes me feel better somehow that reconciliation just wasn't in the mix of possibilities. I don't think I ever felt even once after BD that my h had any memory of ever having loved me before or any soft spot towards me at all....whereas for a while I couldn't unremember it so I got lost searching for something suddenly missing to the point of being consumed by it perhaps ::) It was tremendously painful to push myself to accept that, based on the reality I could see, my then h simply did not care what I thought or felt about anything at all and did not care what happened to me. At best, he was indifferent....which isn't a great kind of reality in any human interaction is it?  ??? But it did make it easier to stop trying to communicate with him  :)

Which was all my sample of one lol.
Albeit a sample without the voice of my xh so I have no idea what he might have said if he had ever spoken about any of it as your h evidently with time has done.
But it is good to have different samples of one here, bc there are different routes forward.

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« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 01:58:26 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
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#25: October 27, 2020, 02:59:09 PM
Sea and Treasur, thank you very much for reading and commenting on this thread. 

Yes, Treasur, all we can do is to share our sample of one.  Our individual stories contribute to the big picture so, each story plays a role. 

...........

I have (too) many inspiring quotes I used to read aloud to myself in order to live that particular day meaningfully, rather than stay marinated in despondency and self pity during my early days as LBS. 

I have deleted many of them but the following quote is a keeper.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much it helped me.  Ruminating on the past is one of the most insidious way to sabotage TODAY.  Yeah, speaking from personal experience. 


“Forget yesterday - it has already forgotten you.

Don't sweat tomorrow - you haven't even met.

Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift - today.”


- Steve Maraboli, behavioural scientist and writer




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« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 03:16:26 PM by Acorn »
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#26: October 29, 2020, 07:22:24 AM
Over the last few months, I have received some questions regarding our reconciliation.  The most common questions are:

- What were the major differences you saw between reconnection and reconciliation?

- What had to take place during reconnection before reconciliation was possible?

- How long did you reconnect before reconciliation?

(I am more than willing to share my experiences which is but one anecdote, even an anomaly...

Reconciling after a garden variety affair is difficult enough.  Throw in MLC and all the issues that caused it, it is hard to believe that reconciliation is even possible.  H and I are well aware of this and view our reconciliation as an amazing blessing and a miracle, and we are truly humbled by it.) 

Much of the following is in hindsight.  There are some aspects of reconnection and reconciliation which were not visible to me while it was happening — one of the reasons I continue to record my journey.

Our reconnection was about finding out whether we were compatible enough after all the crisis hullabaloos and if there was any love and desire to spend the rest of our lives together. 

The tools of reconnecting process were interaction and communication, with more focus on hearing than speaking. I think respectful and non-aggressive communication worked very well for us because of our temperament.

The end of MLC and LBSC could have placed us at opposite poles in how we view the world, spiritual matters, values, interests, relationships, and other key aspects of life.  Verbal communication and the way we individually lived each day amply revealed our views on those aspects, and it was clear to both of us that we belonged to the same tribe, so to speak.   I am most amazed and thankful for this outcome.

For us, reconciliation was about each person’s determination to consolidate and increase love and commitment to each other.  The seed was sown during reconnection where we deeply heard and learned about each other anew. There was plenty of material (reconnecting experience) on which to base our confidence in each other’s positive outlook on our relationship.

That answers the first 2 questions, I hope. 

I can’t say how long our reconnection lasted.  We started to seriously reconnect in Dec 2017.  A few months ago, I realized we had been reconciled for some time.  It’s the peace.  It’s the quiet love that’s palpable whenever we interact.  It’s the thoughtfulness for each other that comes as a matter of course.  We have each other’s back instinctively.  I saw that my trust in H is the standard mode again.  All of this had come without any fanfare.  I did not see it arrive.  It just was. 

One important aspect of our R&R is that we did not measure, analyze, or put labels on any part of the process.  We just went with the flow.  It helped that we had a conversation sometime during reconnection and agreed that healing would take time and we will let it happen without pushing it.  From then on, ‘it’s going to take time’ became our unofficial motto for moving forward.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!
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« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 07:32:58 AM by Acorn »
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#27: October 29, 2020, 08:34:02 AM
Acorn, speaking of your post about Dramatic Individuation Process.  That seems to hit the nail for my h.  He just told me he didn’t know who he was before.  Now he knows what he wants.  He wants to meet tonight to speak about who he is now and what he wants from life.

Of course still all about him, but I guess progress nonetheless.
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BD-October 2018-ILYBNIL, wants a divorce, this after I found out about OW 1(EA), OW2(PA) no longer together. 
April 2019 He got an apartment and moved out.
Oct 2019-Apologized for a years worth of monster behavior.  Still wants to start divorce this Spring, is distant, but friendly.  Tries more with kids, but superficial.
2020-He has continued to help out when asked and be polite.  I do think he questions his choices at times.  I do not believe he has OW.
Oct 30 2020-He wants to get back together.  I am unsure.
August 2021-He has shown very gradual progress over the last 1 1/2 years.  I did allow him home on a trial bases and in another room.  We go to counseling, I do not currently allow touch.  So far so good.

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#28: October 29, 2020, 09:00:39 AM
Thanks...as always, Acorn, you highlight some of the most important lessons of this process. I feel like one of the most significant things I have learned is that you are only going to recognize reconnection (and it seems the same applies to reconciliation) in hindsight. Which I guess goes along with the mantra of “no expectations.” When my W spends more time here or makes overtures toward the two of us going out together, when she shares things with me about what she is doing or learning, when she is interested in me and what I am doing...at first, every single gesture on her part felt to me like it was a start toward reconnection - because she said she did want to be connected to me but she needed to figure out herself first. So every gesture felt like a new beginning...and then she cycled back and I was disappointed and hurt and angry. But over time, I have learned that I can appreciate the positive interactions in the moment, take them at face value, and continue to keep my expectations at zero - avoiding those negative emotions and therefore staying on my own path.

I am still learning and don’t always apply these lessons perfectly. But I can’t tell you how much I appreciate reading of your experience. Even knowing it’s not meant to be advice, just your personal experience, it does help to know that there is the potential for reconnection, but most importantly personal happiness, on the path of “no expectations.”
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#29: October 31, 2020, 11:38:26 AM
Thank you FJ and LL! 

FJ, I sincerely hope he was able to define his identity.  That means he is emotionally mature and will not confuse ‘identity’ with having a ‘I want’ list.

Yes, LL, I’m just recording my personal experience. 

There is good reason why I repeat ‘sample of one’ in most of my posts.  I do not wish to mislead others in any way that my situation is the norm.  If anything, it is more like a case at the edge of standard deviation. 

So, forgive me if I am rather insistent on ‘sample of one.’
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#30: October 31, 2020, 04:44:38 PM
In truth, aren't we all a sample of one? Sure, the script might sound the same, and the behaviors similar, but if there was a tried and true way to get an MLCER back, there'd be a checklist for us all to follow.  And since people return for reasons from "they actually did the work and figured it out" to "there was no where else to go", there wouldn't even be a guarantee that if there was a checklist and we followed it, we'd get the former return not the latter.

The only thing I do notice is that vanishers seem to stay vanished. Kind of sad for those of us with vanishers, but maybe that is just as well if they can't face the person they turned on for no apparent reason.

But I thank you for letting us know what your H says, and how it works for you. Some people's reconciliation stories make me cringe, as that is nothing I would want. Yours is not that way, and I am very interested to read how it has been navigated. And happy for you that your sample of one has the, well, not ending, but is continuing in the direction desired.
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« Last Edit: October 31, 2020, 04:46:40 PM by OffRoad »
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#31: October 31, 2020, 05:25:26 PM
Acorn.-
Thank you for sharing.
Again, a sample of one, but following along and hoping one day...

Hugs
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#32: November 06, 2020, 09:45:49 AM
Thank you, OffRoad and Seahorse, for reading and commenting on my story thread.
I do have something to say about ‘a sample of one’ but maybe later. 

............


It has been a long time since I was triggered but, last night, a trigger came out of left field. 

I was watching news last night and suddenly, the president appeared on the screen.

Mere minutes into his speech, tears came...  I turned the TV off. I was triggered by what I saw as lying, gaslighting, blaming, accusations, apparent narcissism and a lack of empathy.  That so much reminded me of H in high replay.  (It’s hard to believe H could fall so low.  Yet, he was able to climb out of it.  A miracle, indeed.)

I have not been triggered this badly for at least a year, if not two.  I still feel a little shaken by the experience but I know I will recover soon.  It’s a beautiful Indian summer day here and I shall head out for a walk on my favourite trail right now. 

I am recording it here to show that recovery from all the hurt takes a long time. 
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#33: November 06, 2020, 10:36:35 AM
I think quite a few of us - regardless of our political bent - have had moments of finding some of Mr Trump's behaviour triggering tbh, Acorn. Most LBS are left with a kind of allergic reaction to gaslighting and narcissistic rants from anyone after this experience aren't we?

Out of interest, does it affect your h now? Does he remember behaving like that?
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#34: November 06, 2020, 11:01:07 AM
Acorn-
I’m so sorry that you had that trigger the other night.
It’s truly amazing how damaged we are, deep down, by the MLC shenanigans.
I think Treasur’s question is interesting about how your husband saw Mr. Trump’s actions/posturing...

We’re here with you, giving you support and lots of hugs.

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#35: November 06, 2020, 12:30:38 PM
Acorn, (((HUGS))). This public figure has triggered so much for so many, these past four years. Exposure therapy didn’t exactly help me, lol. I watched anyway, but mostly through the comedians and accordion music videos.

I understand the other night was particularly intense, and maybe it can be thought of as an extinction burst. I hope it all recedes or quiets down soon.

Just letting you know I feel it. Hope you will always be able to tease any trigger apart and keep healing. (((HUGS)))
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#36: November 06, 2020, 12:49:43 PM
Acorn, just joining in to say that I get it. That even when you don’t realize something is a trigger or when you think the wounds from a particular trigger have healed... sometimes they reveal themselves. Thinking of you and wishing you continued peace and healing and growth.
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#37: November 08, 2020, 01:27:47 PM
Thank you, Treasur, Sea, Terra and LL, for your gracious comments and hugs...

I went for a walk in the woods and it wan’t long before I found my equilibrium. 

Quote
Out of interest, does it affect your h now? 

He has a visceral reaction to it all.

Quote
Does he remember behaving like that?

When replay was all but gone, H mentioned a few times that he had acted contrary to Christ’s teachings, willingly, thoroughly and repeatedly.  So, yes, he remembered his wrong doings then.  I’m sure he remembers them now as his occasional comments indicate.

I would like to add that he does not beat himself up or wallow in it.  Time for that has long since passed.  He has shown deep remorse and sincerely repented over a long period of time.  It was not a singular occurrence but a long process where each wave of remorse and repentance further opened his eyes to the depth of pain he caused in the loved ones and prompted him to work even harder to recompense.  It is a beautiful thing to behold.  For my part, I’m mindful to show my humble appreciation for his sincere efforts. 

Wishing you a lovely afternoon/evening/night, depending on where you live.
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« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 01:31:55 PM by Acorn »
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#38: November 11, 2020, 11:53:46 AM
I’m triggered by Trump too. For so many reasons. But I am so sorry it triggered you the way it did. Hugs to you my friend—even though I know your walk in the woods brought you back to equalization. The way you can address  something like this and face it head on is pretty amazing. And that you can see Hs progress with such humility. Seems like this is the only way something like this can ever work. A reconnection like yours, albeit a sample of 1, requires so much work for both parties involved. It’s so nice to see it bc we know more often than not these just are not the norm. And it’s pretty heartbreaking for all involved.

Thank you for continuing to post. Your strength and humility are inspiring to me.
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#39: November 12, 2020, 08:44:35 AM
KIT, thank you for your kind words.  You are so sweet....

Were I in my H’s shoes and had MLC, I don’t think I would have had the wherewithal or the strength of character in my DNA to tenaciously see to the end of crisis and wholeheartedly try to repair all that I broke. That knowledge keeps me humble.

.............

About love, empathy and detachment which I regard as 3 essential ingredients that drove my attitude during the most trying period in my life:

Detachment was not about withdrawing love and empathy from my H.  Rather, to me, it was an act of love and empathy.  I loved him enough and felt empathetic enough to give him much needed space, even though my instinct was to cling to him.

Detachment did not equal severance of my emotional tie to H; it was a radical lengthening of the emotional cord between us so that H’s volatile emotions were not enmeshed with mine during his crisis.  If he angrily jerked at the cord, I felt the tremor but there was more than enough slack in the long cord that I could stay where I wished to be — ‘emotional equanimity’ at which I failed miserably in the beginning but got better at it as time went on — and not get pulled into his crazy orbit that was spinning at a million miles per hour.   

It took me a long time to get to that place of tranquil detachment; with a lot of prayer, meditation, breathing technique, visualization of distance, etc.  I wish I could have achieved detachment sooner than I did but it’s what it is. 

(In addition, balancing my empathy for his pain and respecting my dignity with enforceable boundaries was not easy.  That’s where detachment, once again, proved essential.) 

I am quite sure detachment helped me preserve my love for H and kept my heart beating and ready for reconnection and reconciliation — I am not saying this flippantly.  It is in hindsight, and, as always, a sample of one. 

Wishing you a wonderful day.  Carpe Diem!
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« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 08:48:05 AM by Acorn »
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#40: November 12, 2020, 09:02:03 AM
This is beautiful and feels so true... I think it perfectly describes what detachment is and why the idea of being “too detached” isn’t something we have to worry about if we are doing it with the goal of allowing both people to heal.

I love the visual of lengthening of the emotional cord, the idea that you still feel the tremors of his emotional cycling but that the slack in the cord and the length of the cord allow it to just be a gentle vibration; you’re aware of it but not thrown off balance.

No one story can serve as a template for how to reconcile. Each MLCer is different, each spouse is different, and each crisis is different. But the common threads of love, empathy, and detachment seem like they can benefit each of us, whatever happens with the relationship. I am glad you have had the outcome that you have, but I suspect your growth would have made you (and your H) just as much a success story even if you had not reconciled. That is one of the most wonderful things about this forum; there are so many examples of whole, healed people no matter the status of their marriage.
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#41: November 12, 2020, 01:50:20 PM
Hi Curiostiy, welcome to my thread and thank you for sharing your observations.  What you said about ‘success story’ resonates with me.  Also the point about each MLCer, LBS and crisis being different. 

..........

Before I put the following in the garbage, I will put it here, just in case someone finds bits of it useful for self introspection, healing and growing.  It is particularly relevant to ‘detachment.’

My note says ‘by a marriage and family therapist.’ 
(I most probably kept only the parts that were relevant to me at the time.)

.........

LETTING GO

Fundamentally, we’re powerless over someone else. Knowing this intellectually and knowing it emotionally are different, but practicing these tips will gradually change your thinking, feeling, and actions. There are many situations where we need to let go, and not all of these tips will apply to yours. Still, they’ve worked for me and countless others:

# Mind your own business & don’t give advice.

# Focus on yourself. Do things that make you happy and further your goals.

# Practice compassion for the other person. This doesn’t mean you accept unacceptable behavior, but understanding can help you to not react and to see him or her as separate from you.

# Remember:
     
 - You didn’t cause the other person’s problem or addiction.
 - You can’t control it.
 - You can’t fix it.

# The 4 Don’ts:

- Don’t watch
- Don’t expect
- Don’t judge
- Don’t obsess

# Q.T.I.P. Quit Taking It Personally. Other people’s actions don’t reflect on you. Practice listening without reacting.

# Meditation and Mindfulness. This helps you think before you speak and respond instead of react.

# Journal your feelings. Instead of acting on them, write and reflect on them. Share it with a good friend.

# Act as if. Visualize how you’d like to act and respond. Practice doing it even if you feel like strangling the person instead!

# Have a “Plan B.” Instead of feeling like a victim of his or her moods, make alternate plans, even if it’s to stay at home and finish a novel. Don’t allow your happiness and serenity to be controlled by someone else.

# Practice accepting reality. Are your expectations realistic? Unreasonable expectations feed resentment, disappointment, and futile attempts to control.

# Prayer. Praying for someone you care about, whom you can’t control or change is a positive action. See him or her surrounded in light and send the person blessings.
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#42: November 13, 2020, 05:50:35 AM
This is great Acorn.  I will be printing this one out!
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#43: November 13, 2020, 05:59:48 AM
Yes Acorn - that is great advice to be sure...
Thank you for sharing it with us.
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#44: November 16, 2020, 11:23:15 AM
Thank you, Roo and Sea!  (((((HUGS)))))

In these dark times of political unrest and raging pandemic, I’d thought I’d share a positive story.  :)

S1, who was most affected by H’s MLC and had to have numerous counselling sessions to mend his broken heart and overcome situational anxiety and depression, is thriving in his studies at a professional school.   

Interestingly, he was told by his professor that he had never encountered a more mature and objective student in all of his 30 years of teaching in this particular subject.  S1 apparently had to deal with a simulated situation where a ‘difficult client’ (played by an actress) with multiple problems tried to provoke him to anger.  The prof was impressed that S1 didn’t take the ‘client’s’ words personally, treated her with respect and compassion, validated her but was firm with his boundaries.  Sounds familiar?  (This is what LBSs strive for, right?)

H and I teared up when he shared his experience with us.  S1’s experience illustrated one of the silver linings of H’s MLC.  This kid went through so much but turned his horrible experience into gold.  He has healed and grown so much so that he was able to tell me that his experience during H’s MLC was not something he would have ever wished for but he is now thankful for it! 

I know S1 did it all himself.  He did the painful and hard work of recognizing his deep wounds; taking the ownership of his mental state, rather than blaming people and situation; searching for the right therapist; persisting with those painful sessions. 

What I have learned from observing H and our children is that no amount of therapy would have done much good unless they were willing to face themselves and work diligently to resolve their respective issues.

Wishing you a great day! 
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#45: November 17, 2020, 08:28:34 AM
During H’s replay, his toxic MLC fume was suffocating our children.  He not only turned off his love for them, he was downright aggressive and mean to them, and then they became just some meaningless pieces of furniture to him — one of the most curious things about his MLC.  I suspect he is not the only MLCer with this ‘anti-kids’ syndrome.  I’m willing to bet it is rather common. 

It’s one thing to be mean toward me.  After all, he believed that I was the source of his misery.  But what did the kids ever do to him, except love and respect him? 

Now I see that one of the main reasons I searched for family law attorneys was to protect my kids from further harm.  That was my ulterior motive, the extent of which I wasn’t even fully aware until now.  I was prompted to this realization by a conversation H and I had last night, regarding a friend of mine who unfortunately had to deal with her spouse who became very angry and aggressive toward her and their kids.  Early onset dementia...  He is in a long term care home now, even though she could care for him at home for a while yet.  She did it for her kids and now they are thriving again.

It looks like H turned toward us in the nick of time before I could launch a ‘save the kids’ action by filing for separation. 
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#46: November 20, 2020, 11:17:02 AM
I am so please about S1. What an accomplishment. I love to see when the children (even if these children are older or even adults) can flourish in spite of all that has happened. To be verbally abused and/or abandoned, their issues run so deep and it makes me burst into tears every time I allow myself to think about it.

"Save the Kids" action. Makes so much sense.  And always a difficult, if not impossible question. When there is no monster, and a disappearing "father," the question becomes moot I suppose, unless one were sufferings too much emotionally?

I like that list of Letting Go. It seems I need to re-engage it. Thanks for posting.
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#47: December 02, 2020, 12:33:33 PM
KIT, I know you are doing your very best for your boy.  He is extremely fortunate to have a mother who is devoted to him and focussed on being the best role model that she can be for him.  (((((HUGS)))))

..............

It is getting close to the 4th anniversary of my beloved father’s passing.  My mind wonders back to him throughout the day, every day in December and January.  I cry a little...  It was a difficult period in my life.  H was in replay, disconnected from me and our beautiful children who were struggling, and I was on the other side of the world, caring for my father who was declining rapidly in the hospital.  (My daughter, who is working in ICU at the moment, described recently what serious covid 19 sickness and death look like.  I was shocked at how eerily similar her descriptions were to what my father went through in the last few days of his life...) 

He was a pastor, a scholar, a prof, the author of many scholarly books, and a mentor for numerous pastors and writers.  He was working till the day he was admitted to the hospital for his serious lung condition.  He refused to be intubated for ventilation (he did have some help from non-invasive ventilation) because he wanted to be present in the moment and be able to talk to us if he could. 

I miss my father so much.  He was such a beautiful human being whose aim in life was to give, and give some more.  He was one of the most unselfish people I have ever encountered.  He lived to be of service to God and his neighbour. A true Christian. 

It is a beautiful day.  The blue skies and pristine white snow.  Off to walk on my favourite trail for the second time today.  I saw a soaring eagle this morning.  Maybe I will see a cardinal or two this afternoon?

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#48: December 02, 2020, 12:38:14 PM
What a lovely tribute to your father, A.
I hope you have a nice peaceful walk.
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#49: December 02, 2020, 01:00:36 PM
Ah, dear girl, I did not know that you had lost your father too during the dark days. I am so sorry for your loss.
But weren't we blessed as women to have such fine fathers? I miss mine too very much but I carry him with me every day as I'm sure you do. Every time I see an LBS father here digging deep to be a lighthouse for his kids, I am reminded of how beautiful these good fathers are....and that sometimes we may forgot to tell them, in a society that perhaps acknowledges motherhood more readily, how much they matter in the lives of their daughters.
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"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#50: December 02, 2020, 03:30:04 PM
Acorn, loved to read your beautiful thoughts about your father. I'm another one who was lucky enough to have had a great father. Every thought I have of my father is a positive one, he did nothing but wish the best for me, my sister, and everyone. There are plenty of great dads out there as we know personally, and as we learn from the wonderful male LBSes on here. One thing I'm glad of is that I know this so that I can tell my kids. We were blessed with at least one amazing parent and I feel very lucky about that.
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#51: December 02, 2020, 05:12:30 PM
Acorn,,, I was emotional reading your post.  What a beautiful acknowledgment of all your Dad was to you and the many others as well.   My father passed away a long time ago but my mother passed away 6 weeks before BD.   To be honest, I'm glad it was before BD because she loved my h and was comforted in her dying days believing that I would be fine because I was happily married.    :'(
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#52: December 07, 2020, 05:58:16 AM
Thank you Nas, Treasur, Milly and Anon.  You understand...  ((((((HUGS)))))

...........

Alas, the end of my stay-cation is near.  Like, 15 minutes left!

H has had one of the busiest weeks while I indulged in my favourite things!  ;D

I needed(!) the whole week off before I get back to some serious work.  End of fiscal year for us and some serious number crunching coming up.  Yikes!

It was good to toss the usual routine to the wind and just do whatever tickled my fancy.  Reading, playing the piano, hiking, sewing, trying out some recipes from Julia Child.

It wasn’t that long ago when I used similar activities in order to take my focus off H and redirect it toward myself — a part of ‘make it till you make it’ plan.  I don’t know when ‘make it’ happened. I’ve been doing the same favourite things purely for pleasure for several years now.  They feel me with joy, peace and contentment.

But I digress.

I took a long walk through the woods after sharing my tribute to my dear father here.  I was hoping to see some cardinals flitting from branch to branch.  After all, tis the season.  Instead, an eagle glided high above my head, circling back a couple times to where I was standing. It must have a nest close by. 

Twice on the same day? It was a most moving experience and I could not help but cry quietly at the tender memory  of my father and the sheer beauty of the scene.  Nature does speak a most eloquent language...

It must have been a day of tears.  As I told H about my experience later in the day, tears started flowing again.  He was there for me — no words, just holding me close.   

Four years ago, I and my extended family were standing quietly at my father’s grave side.  Suddenly, my nephew’s little boy shouted, ‘look, a birdie!’  We all looked up and, behold, a hawk!  A rare sight in a highly urbanized place.  I hold this memory close to my heart, together with “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.”

Wishing you a wonderful week! 
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#53: December 07, 2020, 06:13:39 AM
Acorn,

Thank you for sharing this special time with us. The memories of your Dad are clearly such a source of comfort, appreciation and renewal for you.
It sounds like a very busy time coming up for you - so glad the staycation provided you with the rest.

I’m very happy for you that H was there for you as you shed your tears. It was such an emotionally intimate moment for you and to feel the compassion and security would have been wonderful I’m sure.

Wishing you much energy and positivity as you crunch those numbers. I must admit I don’t mind a good numbers crunch as long as the crunch balances in the end 😂.

Hugs, Believer
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#54: December 13, 2020, 10:34:58 AM
Thank you, Believer, for your lovely empathetic comment.  You don’t mind number crunching?  Shoot, I’m allergic to it!

........
Tinnat,

I understand your fear and anxiety about your H’s mental health and suicidal thoughts.  I also had similar experiences with my H.  He declared he had no desire to keep living in such excruciating pain and proceed to describe in detail how he was going to end his life.  He had worked it all out...

When he told me about all that, all bets were off for me.  Who cares about boundaries and so on when a life and death matter is concerned? 

I told him that he needed some serious help and he could start by seeing our family doctor.  He did go and see the doc but only after our daughter pleaded with him as well.   The doctor immediately recognized that H was in a serious crisis and found a therapist who was experienced in helping men in difficult midlife transition because he experienced it himself.  That started the ball rolling in regards to figuring out why he was in so much pain. 

The thing is, he had to get there himself.  It’s ‘Horse. Water. Drink.’ thing...

I wonder if you should hold off mentioning your conditions (getting rid of OW’s belongings) again.  He heard you the first time.  Besides, it sounds like he is in the psychological fight of his life, and relationships are not likely to be on his agenda in his present frame of mind.  For you, it’s relationship issue but, for him, it’s an existential issue.  Give him time. Give him the gift of no pressure. What he does with that gift is up to him.  I sense that knowing what he wants and figuring out how to get there are likely very far apart at the moment.

(((((HUGS)))) because it is heartbreaking to see our loved ones in so much suffering.

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#55: December 13, 2020, 12:24:29 PM
Thank you Acorn.  I do see I need to ease up the pressure on him.  But you know what? Once bitten, twice shy.  Except that in the last 18 months it‘s been 50 times bitten.  At the very least though, I should take the pressure off myself and stop hoping for things to happen.
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January 2018 - 1st BD - "I'm not happy"
June 2019 - I discover existence of OW since November  2017. Lives on another continent
July 2019 - OW moves to live in my city.
August 2019 - H on holiday with OW, despite ultimatum
September 2019 - H commits to leaving OW
November 2019 - OW moves back to her country (temporarily). Reconnection with me begins but contact with OW continues.
January 2020 - H informs me he has broken up with OW. Continues seeing her anyway.
April-June 2020 - H moves home. While "rebuilding", H continues contact and some PA with OW (BD2).
July 2020 - H leaves home, fence-sits.
Aug 2020 - H plays heavy pingpong, then announces he will rent a place with OW "at least temporarily"
Aug 2020 - I decided enough is enough. Filing for D.

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#56: December 22, 2020, 08:36:07 AM
I get it, Tinnat.  It’s one hurt after another...  You just wonder how much more you can endure.  ((((HUGS))))

I guess detaching with love may provide that necessary distance where you can clearly see you cannot fix another human being and just let him be to fix himself if and when he wants to.   With loving detachment, comes the realization that you have no control over MLCer’s outcome. 

But in all this, detaching with love is always, always, in your control. 

In this forum’s context and as I understood and tried to practice:

Detachment is not about not loving MLCer. 
Detachment is not about not caring about what happens to MLCer. 
Detachment is about not letting MLCer’s topsy turvy turmoil cause the same in us.
Detachment is about LBS being able to love and be empathetic toward MLCer from emotionally safe distance — far, far away — and in serenity.

......

Hi all,

I sincerely wish you peace and joy this Christmas and beyond. 

When some wished me the same in the years following BD, I was bewildered and could not fathom how and where I could find them. 

It was a long road to that peace and joy — they were within.   Things, situations and people cannot give them to you.  It is elementary you say, but I was ‘young’ and foolish so I did not see...

When you let go of what you cannot control and let God, your mind’s eye may open to what was there in you all along.  I guess that is one of the themes of our LBS journey.

Wishing you peace and joy once again. 

To all champagne lovers, cheers!

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#57: December 24, 2020, 07:39:41 AM
A surprise WA gift (last week) from H — No cooking for Christmas.  Yay!!!!  He has ordered a Christmas feast from a well known local restaurant.  It helps them during covid lockdown and it is a special treat for me. 

I’ve never felt so relaxed on Christmas Eve.  I even have time to check on my friends on HS!

Wishing you peace and joy in these troubled times, in more ways than one...
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#58: December 24, 2020, 07:53:46 AM
Acorn -
Enjoy your relaxed Christmas Eve and Day.
That was a thoughtful gift from your H.

Merry Christmas!

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#59: December 31, 2020, 10:34:12 AM
Thank you, Seahorse.  You are so sweet... 

The last day of 2020 and I reflect on TIME.

Isn’t it true that whether you are rich or poor, short or tall, highly educated or illiterate, we all get 24 hours a day?  TIME sure is an equalizer. 

If I were to pick the winners for ‘Time Well Spent’ and ‘Time Stupidly Wasted’ categories (ummmm, from my personal experience, especially in my early LBS days):

For ‘Time Stupidly Wasted,’ the trophy goes to:

   ‘Speculating, conjecturing, guessing, imagining, assuming, and brooding on what’s in other people’s minds’

The runner-up:

   ‘Speculating, conjecturing, guessing, imagining, assuming, and brooding on what other people think of moi’

The second runner-up:

   ‘Speculating, conjecturing, guessing, imagining, assuming, and brooding on what MLC stage MLCer might be in, what he is thinking, why he said this, why he did that, what he might do, etc., etc.’

For ‘Time Well Spent,’ the trophy goes to:

   ‘Introspection that leads to self-awareness.’

The runner-up:

   ‘More introspection that leads more self-awareness.’

Here is to 2021.  Cheers! 


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#60: December 31, 2020, 01:11:34 PM
Thanks for that, as always! Hard not to spend time on the various time wasters... those things happen almost reflexively. It’s a very primitive thing. But knowing that the introspective work is what matters... sometimes it is helpful in redirecting oneself when the monkey braining gets out of control.

Wishing you a peaceful and happy New Year!
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#61: December 31, 2020, 02:21:09 PM
Acorn,

That’s for that reflection on Time. Gosh how true were they !

I’ve been there for sure, thankfully I’m spending my time so much better.

Happy New Year !

Hugs, Believer



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#62: January 03, 2021, 08:17:19 AM
Thank you, Curiosity and Believer, for your sage comments and good wishes.  Happy new year to you!
........

Quote
Hard not to spend time on the various time wasters... those things happen almost reflexively. It’s a very primitive thing. But knowing that the introspective work is what matters... sometimes it is helpful in redirecting oneself when the monkey braining gets out of control.

‘Wasting’ time is also an integral part of the first bit of our journey, is it not?  (Ahem, I should know all about that. ;D)  I guess it can become a problem, even an unhealthy obsession, if you get lost in the wasteland of conjectures and assumptions about what’s in other people’s heads and cannot find your way out of it, even after many, many years.  That, in my opinion, is indirectly allowing what we think others think define us more than we would like or healthy for us.  Isn’t it better to progress to the next part of the journey where we become good learners of our own selves?

I spent more than enough time speculating about what’s in the heads other than mine (H, OW, family, friends, whoever), and I eventually realized it was quite silly and unhelpful to me. After all, aren’t my thoughts about another person’s thoughts and intentions — which were formed from a limited amount of evidence and expertly(!) cherrypicked by me — the product of my own brain cells? I perceived them in a certain way to make them fit into my own preferred narrative. That is just my observation of myself. (Sure, one can make informed guesses if there were numerous verified and consistent evidences, and if they were not cherrypicked.)

The following proverb left a strong impression on me.  Don’t know where it comes from.  Such a simple statement, yet I found it profound in regards to not making assumptions.

“What you THINK of your mother-in-law is NOT your mother-in-law.’ 
.....

Related to the topic is what I was sharing with a friend the other day:

One thing I have learned though my LBS experience is that what I think/feel/say/do are mine, all mine.  Once you take full ownership what’s in your head, the words you spoke, the choices you made, that could herald the beginning of healing.   After all, if it is yours, you may be able to do something about it.  H expressed the same and said that taking full ownership of his mental state, choices and consequences, instead of blaming others, was the beginning of his march forward. 

Speaking of which, that’s what my children learned as well.  We had a lot of one on one time during the last couple of weeks, and that was the theme of our conversations. We talked about this very subject before but not in such detail and depth. I wish I had learned it when I was their age but a silver lining is that I didn’t have to go through such painful experiences as my kids did. It seems that once they owned what were in their heads, they felt empowered because they realized it was up to them to do something about it.

Wishing you a wonderful new year. 




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#63: January 03, 2021, 08:29:31 AM
Wise words as always, A. ❤️
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#64: January 03, 2021, 08:38:33 AM
‘That, in my opinion, is indirectly allowing what we think others think define us more than we would like or healthy for us.  Isn’t it better to progress to the next part of the journey where we become good learners of our own selves?’

Hello Acorn,
I haven’t replied to your post before but I have been following along since I joined this forum. I must say that this resonated to me, I think you are so right. I can really take this to heart... Thank you and I will keep on following your story.
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#65: January 11, 2021, 08:51:19 PM
Happy New Year Acorn.  Loved your wise words. 
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Survival Instructions for Newbies

The Apology Every LBS Deserves

My Journey

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain."

"Don't become a container for bitterness.  It's a toxin that destroys what it's carried in."

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#66: January 19, 2021, 08:17:25 AM
Dear Nas, Cootge and FW, thank you for following along!

.........

The pandemic and the resulting public health measures across the globe (stay home!) have given H and me a gift — lots of time and opportunities for conversations about everything under the sun.  That includes some descriptions of his mental state during his sojourn in the land of MLC; in particular, Replay.

While watching what was unfolding at the Capitol, I got another glimpse into his mind during his most toxic period.  He said, ‘the most harmful conspiracy theory is the one you make up about yourself and the people who care about you.  You perceive enemies where there is none.  That’s really messed up.’

.........

What did it take for us to reconcile?  I am asked that question more often than any other...  I have touched on the subject a few times.  I can augment that by incorporating what I have learned through our countless conversations during the covid months.  The following is a brief summary of it.  I think it is important to note that our views on reconciliation undoubtedly reflect what we believe in regards to our relationship to God.

Our reconciliation was made possible by:

1. taking full accountability for one’s wrong doings — no excuse, no blaming, no minimizing
2. getting to a place of deep and sincere sorrow for those deeds.  AKA ‘remorse
3. and then the final step of repentance, which is proven by a thorough change in attitude and consistent, heartfelt, eager actions. 

I think the last step, repentance, was the most arduous and the longest, and the ultimate test for H and our marriage.  And me... 

I can see how he could have easily stopped after the first step of taking full responsibility —‘Yep, I’m responsible for all I have done’— and gone merrily on his way to find his ‘happiness.’   

Or, he could have stopped at ‘I feel deep remorse for all I have done.’  Remorse is a feeling. An attitude.  An awakening to the harms he has inflicted on others.  It does not necessarily involve any action, maybe except a bucketful of tears and a box of Kleenex.

Alas, that was only the first 2 tentative baby steps toward the next stage, repentance.  In the context of my sample of one, repentance is DOING and LIVING remorse.  I observe that it requires genuine humility and an extraordinary amount of emotional energy.  The journey from remorse to repentance is a thousand miles.  I see how that can present an unbreachable distance for many, including myself, if our roles were reversed.

It was difficult for me at the beginning to take the responsibility of recognizing and showing my appreciation for his hard work without a sense of entitlement and arrogance.  It was finger-snap easy for me to get on my high horse with the attitude of ‘he really messed up and he’s better show how sorry he is. He owes me, d***it.)  Not often but that attitude pops up occasionally even now!  Hence, my daily need to approach God in prayer and ask for humility and a thankful heart.

H, likewise, lean on God to sustain him and keep him safe from all evil, understanding fully that ‘God helps those who help themselves.’  One simply can’t pray away his responsibility.  H shared that he has no desire to be Jonah ever again.  That he tried to hide from God and that put him in the belly of the beast of his own creation that steered him to evil. 

Oh, by the way, he had absolutely NO intention of leaving me.  I knew that before but nice to hear it simply and directly stated.  He knew deep down that something was really wrong with him and that it wasn’t about me or our marriage. He said, ‘Where would I have gone? What use would that have been? I would have taken myself along!’

As always, this is a sample of one; my personal story. 

Wishing you a wonderful week!

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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#67: January 19, 2021, 03:07:37 PM
Acorn,

Your last post made me cry...tears of envy, tears of jealousy and most importantly TEARS OF PRIDE!  Envy and jealousy as you are one STRONG woman, not an acorn, but bamboo which bends in the wind not to break, but to restand. 

So very PROUD of you, the strength, veracity, intelligence and just down right hard work that you have shown and done to get this far. 

Between each of us, my alum, what different paths this has taken. 

You my friend, are awesome, keep growing and setting that fantastic example for your h.

Hugs,
1P

PS:  What is needed in your supply box for replenishment after the hurricane?
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I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear — Nelson Mandela

I never lose.  I either win or learn! - Nelson Mandela

For we have fallen from our shelves, To face the truth about ourselves.  "The Gift", Annie Lennox

Hmmm....to cross the monkey bars, you have to let go.....

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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#68: January 20, 2021, 07:47:46 PM
Thanks for the update, Acorn. Good to hear you snd your family are doing well.

I think the thing to note that you wrote is that your husband had absolutely no intention of leaving you. And he didn’t. And he knew all along that there was something wrong with him. I think that’s really really important. I honestly feel that the minute my ex moved out, it was a point of absolutely no return, even though it took me another year+ to really admit that to myself.
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#69: January 21, 2021, 12:36:09 AM
Thanks for the update, Acorn. Good to hear you snd your family are doing well.

I think the thing to note that you wrote is that your husband had absolutely no intention of leaving you. And he didn’t. And he knew all along that there was something wrong with him. I think that’s really really important. I honestly feel that the minute my ex moved out, it was a point of absolutely no return, even though it took me another year+ to really admit that to myself.

I must admit I agree with this. My former h did know that there was something very wrong with him, hence his dashing off to a psychiatrist  :) Actually everyone who knew him knew there was something very wrong with him  :) (no idea what ow thought but I guess she didn't know him before and as an ow type probably had her own story about why she was just what he needed  ::) )

But, like others, he obviously decided that either I was the problem, ow was the solution or that it was just easier to run away and start over than do the hard internal work of owning his own demons (as he called them  ::) )

None of us can know what is in someone else's head, or those significant shifting points when they reach an internal crossroads...we can only infer it from their behaviour...ha ha, I haven't always been entirely clear about my own in the last few years often until looking back after the shift has shifted. And tbh they have nothing to do with us, do they, as I suspect Acorn your h's decision not to leave had nothing to do with you bc it sounds as if you were completely unaware of it at the time.

But perhaps they do explain why our paths as LBS can differ and why our responses are not a 'one size fits all' game as you and others often remind us.
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« Last Edit: January 21, 2021, 12:39:19 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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#70: January 21, 2021, 09:55:00 AM

One thing I have learned though my LBS experience is that what I think/feel/say/do are mine, all mine.  Once you take full ownership what’s in your head, the words you spoke, the choices you made, that could herald the beginning of healing.   After all, if it is yours, you may be able to do something about it. 

I love this. And I do believe it is part of the hard work we LBS are challenged with. Through the hurt and pain, we also must examine ourselves and how we ended up in this place.  One more thing for me to work on!

As in the 12 steps, I do believe that 1st step is the hardest--taking full accountability. That is a tough one even for those who have not lied, cheated, stole and abused. That would be a heavy burden to bear indeed. It requires so much inner strength: the one thing most, if not all, MLCers do not possess. At least while they are running.

He said, ‘the most harmful conspiracy theory is the one you make up about yourself and the people who care about you.  You perceive enemies where there is none.  That’s really messed up.’


I think the initial role of the LBS is to be the enemy. But those awful conspiracies conjured up in the twisted mind of the MLCer are truly awful. And depending upon whatever (or more likely WHOever) they surround themselves with), the myths are perpetuated and then take on a whole new life. My H was convinced I was seeing someone the entire time he was with OW. Still might believe that.  Who knows really.  Not my problem.  But he did come the the realization at around 3/4 years in that all of his problems, his misery, his crappy life, were ALL the result of his own doing.  He may have known this before, but didn't let me know until much later.

As always, thank you for sharing your journey Acorn. Your wisdom and humility are always so inspiring to me.

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#71: January 22, 2021, 11:09:32 AM
Thank you,1P, Nas, Treasur and KIT, for sharing your thoughts! 

H had no intention of leaving me, however, every cell in his body screamed, ‘LEAVE,’ as he describes it.  Yet, he did not act on that call because he ‘knew’ that if he crossed that line, there was no coming back from it.  He really wanted to leave behind everyone and everything in his ‘past’ life but it wasn’t as if he had a place he wanted to be at.  I think that just about sums up the nature of the first part of his crisis.  It was not goal-oriented but escape-oriented.  Escape from himself. 

Treasur, you are spot on.  He stayed, not because of me, but because of him.  I did tell him he was free to leave. There is that.   

He knew deep down that something was terribly ‘wrong’ with him and it wasn’t about me or M as far as the reasons for his deep pain and uncontrollable anger were concerned.  He voiced that a few times during replay.  However, that did not stop him from blaming me for his unhappiness in our marriage.  He had a long list of why we should never have married, how incompatible we were.  I can now chuckle about the absurdity of it all.  I used to stew a lot over the said list.  In hindsight, it wasn’t all that complicated; he wanted to justify his affair to himself— I didn’t know about the affair at the time — by projecting on me his guilt, shame and lack of integrity.

KIT, the fact that your H took full accountability is a notable step in the right direction.  A long and arduous journey lies ahead of him and I wish him all the strength and tenacity. 

1P, you asked:

“What is needed in your supply box for replenishment after the hurricane?”

Your question gives me a frame work to put into words the jetsam and flotsam of thoughts regarding the ingredients of rebuilding our marriage relationship. Thank you for that! 

I will come back later with my answer. 
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« Last Edit: January 22, 2021, 11:15:28 AM by Acorn »
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#72: January 22, 2021, 04:52:35 PM
Acorn - my wonderful friend -
What a touching post, and so insightful.
It really is different how our MLCers play out their crisis.
Your H knew that he would never leave, but I believe that mine knew that he COULD NOT stay.
I agree with the others; that is a huge difference in one versus the other.

I also am so proud of all your hard work, and so so happy for you, your children and your H - basically the family.
Such a high wall to climb, but the other side is so sweet.
Keep enjoying your time together,
We appreciate your thoughts and how you dealt with your MLCer.  Those are good actions to follow, if one is able.

And, lastly, I do believe that having God as a foundation of your family does make ALL the difference in the world.
Through Him ALL things are possible.

Hugs,
Sea
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#73: January 23, 2021, 07:54:21 AM
Dear Sea, my sweet friend, thank you for your comment. (((((HUGS)))))

My H felt it in his bones that he COULD NOT stay, but he knew he SHOULD stay. His struggle with the two opposing primal forces was evident in his words and behaviour.  He found a compromise; he travelled a lot for work. That gave him the opportunities to do both — ‘could not stay’ by travelling, and ‘should stay’ by coming home.

As he tells it, he felt utterly alone among the big crowds at meetings and conferences, and that he spent a lot of time in his hotel room, thinking and crying...  He had to be alone, though he felt desperately lonely.  Yes, a paradox.

Now I’m going to go off on a tangent and ramble about his need for solitude.

I am still gaining more understanding in regards to how vital being alone, physically and mentally, was in his healing.  I did talk about the importance of it many times before, however, now I gasp at the magnitude of it.

I eventually realized I could not persuade him to move forward by giving advice, critiquing, or enabling, all of which I kidded myself as ‘helping’ H.  I could not teach, lead or pressure H to heal from a crisis.  That might have been obvious to most of you fairly early in your LBS-hood, but I was a slow learner...

Advices, etc. may have pulled (I chose this word with care) him a bit in the right direction, but that would have been like a piece of elastic that’s been stretched by me.  When I let go of it, it would have recoiled and set him back even further.  And I have experienced that, unfortunately...  I guess I could have held on to it and did all the work of maintaining that ‘stretch,’ and, voila, we would have become a world-class example of codependency, or end up in a relationship that is akin to parent-child, teacher-student, boss-employee.  Besides, it is likely that unresolved issues will lead MLCer to another descent into rabbit hole, deeper than before.

Anyway, It’s all pretty arrogant and patronizing to think that I could help fix another adult. 

H had to work it out all by himself.  No one could help or save him, except himself.  Also, ‘leaving him alone’ would not have led him to look within.  It was merely a gift of silence if he wanted to make use of it.  How many LBSs did exactly that and MLCer has not utilized it. 

Leaving him alone’ is ultimately a most precious gift I gave myself as it aided me greatly in detaching from his emotional tornado.  I cannot emphasize that enough.

1P, I did start writing my answer to your question last night.  Until a glass of wine intervened... You asked an important question as it compels me to summarize our rebuilding experience thus far.  My response is coming.  I promise.  ;D
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« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 07:58:50 AM by Acorn »
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#74: January 23, 2021, 08:11:06 AM
Acorn, this is so informative.  Thank you.  I must ask this though....are they really able to look inside and heal themselves when they are distracted by an OM/OW?  Or does this not happen until the OP is out of the picture? 
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#75: January 23, 2021, 08:37:54 AM
You insight is invaluable Acorn. I see his need to be alone. It is contrary to my need to be in relationship with others.

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H had to work it out all by himself.  No one could help or save him, except himself.  Also, ‘leaving him alone’ would not have led him to look within.  It was merely a gift of silence if he wanted to make use of it.  How many LBSs did exactly that and MLCer has not utilized it.


My husband, as so many other MLCer's have used the words "I need space". I thought that if I allowed him that space ( how very presumptuous of me) that he would  do "his thing", "get it out of his system" and then return back to his family. Not so.

As we often tell people, this is not a marriage issue.

We spent so much time trying to understand what "stage" they were in, how long that stage "should" last and when would they "get through the tunnel" and although I understand MLC better, I have not seen any indications of what causes one spouse to come home and another to never return.

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‘Leaving him alone’ is ultimately a most precious gift I gave myself as it aided me greatly in detaching from his emotional tornado.  I cannot emphasize that enough.

For some, this is easy as their spouses distance themselves or marry the OP and there is little if any contact between the LBSer and MLCer.

My husband has always remained in contact with me. I have also allowed him to do so. The problem with that "approach" is that each contact would hurt me..because it would be quite nice, albeit very superficial and I could never figure out why he didn't want what I want.

Time allowed me to be able to have contact with him, with less pain afterwards...there is always a bit of sadness, for I do think we could have a very good life together.

I question God about why this is right for us, for I trust in God's plan for my life.... that's all I can do now...time is short...we do not know what is ahead and so it is really vital to heal and move forward with your life and other family members, loving him from afar is all I can do.
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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#76: January 23, 2021, 11:07:12 AM
Wise Acorn strikes again.  So much valuable information here, just so much. 

Quote
Leaving him alone’ is ultimately a most precious gift I gave myself as it aided me greatly in detaching from his emotional tornado.  I cannot emphasize that enough

Really the best thing we can do as an LBS for ourselves.  One more thing I would like to add that is happening in my own experience.  Another gift is learning self respect  in order to put up boundaries as the MLCer tries to come back and work on things.  I am learning boundaries are crucial in all relationships.

I will update my thread soon, just wanted you to know Acorn I’m following and learning from you.  Thanks for continuing to post. 

Roo
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#77: January 23, 2021, 02:02:15 PM
Thank you, Mentelly, xyzcf and Roo, for your comments!  A lot packed in there... 

I will try to respond to your posts. 

are they really able to look inside and heal themselves when they are distracted by an OM/OW?  Or does this not happen until the OP is out of the picture? 

I can share what I know of my H.

H had moments of introspection during A. (I didn’t even know that he was having an affair then.)

I’d say H’s serious work of looking within, grappling with FOO issues, wrestling with redefining his identity and eventual healing could take place, once the affair was over and most of his other distractions were in the past or drastically reduced. 

In my reading of many anecdotes here, OP being out of the picture does not necessarily herald the end of so called, ‘replay,’ and the beginning of work within.  Nor does it guarantee that they won’t take on or continue with other activities to make them ‘happy.’  Though affair looms large in LBS’s eyes, I tend to think of it as the tip of the iceberg, the most visible and hurtful part of their crazy.  There are still plenty of other activities to engage in — obsession with work, exercise, physical appearance, money, booze, and the list goes on — to keep the crazy going.  The end of affair is not the holy grail.  In some cases, though, it could prove to be significant in kickstarting the shedding of many undesirable choices MLCer has made.  It was so with H.  You don’t know that until much time has passed. 

Just my view.

We spent so much time trying to understand what "stage" they were in, how long that stage "should" last and when would they "get through the tunnel"

I hear you.  I did the same.  However, it eventually made no sense to me to think of H’s MLC as a linear progression. When Martin described it as an ‘event,’ I knew that was the word I was looking for!  H’s MLC was exactly that, an ‘event.’  I’m not saying there was no progressive element to it, and there was — warming up to it, running wild with it, and then winding down. 

I think many of us initially view MLC as a step by step process — like a chemical chain reaction in wine making or whatever — which most MLCers walk through.  Or think of it as a 2 dimensional journey through a dark ‘tunnel’ with an entrance and an exit, although it may sometimes be an apt metaphor for a few aspects of MLC.  We diligently study what each stage entails and keenly watch for the signs of the next stage to come up; read into their behaviour to make conjectures and predictions about which stage our MLCer is at or will be soon.  Alas, we humans are well adapt at ‘seeing’ what we desperately want to see, especially if we are invested in the outcome of another person’s life journey.

Really the best thing we can do as an LBS for ourselves.  One more thing I would like to add that is happening in my own experience.  Another gift is learning self respect  in order to put up boundaries as the MLCer tries to come back and work on things.  I am learning boundaries are crucial in all relationships.

Self respect and self love. Two must-have ingredients for drawing and enforcing boundaries! 
.........

Now to 1P’s question:

What is needed in your supply box for replenishment after the hurricane?

Before I start my rambling, do you mind If I call it my ‘bonus box,’ instead of ‘supply box’?

The reason is that none of the content in the box is essential for living my life joyfully and to the full.  They are really bonuses; cherry on top. 

Here is the list of the content in my bonus box as it relates to our life as a married couple. A sample of one.  Definitely.

- Trust

This is at the top of the list.  Trust takes 2 to establish, obviously.

H worked/is working diligently in rebuilding trust, and he did/is doing his best.  It wasn’t much at the beginning of our serious reconnecting period but his ‘best’ got better as he continued to heal and grow stronger. 

For my part, I had to pry open my eyes, ears and heart to see his efforts and appreciate what he was able to give at that particular moment.  Responding with a smile, ‘thank you for letting me know,’ refraining from interrogating him for more information; all of which I had to constantly work at.  It was so much easier to take the default position of entitlement.  That attitude of entitlement came naturally to me and showed my lack of character in that area.  That bothered me a lot...  Taming my heart not to be greedy for more than he was able to give at any particular moment in time was really hard work...  Constantly reminding myself how broken he had been, how far he had come, and how he was doing his very best, were my best friend. 

I know my trust in him has lost its innocence. There is no such thing as unconditional trust any more.  Yes, I trust him now but he had to earn every bit of it.  H is well aware of this change in the DNA of my trust, hence, earning my trust has been a way of life for him since reconnecting started.  The way he does this is very subtle sometimes but I do notice and show him that I did.  He responds with a smile and a nod.  I can see he appreciates my acknowledgment. 

- Spontaneous interaction

I had trained myself too well in ‘respond, not react.’  You know, the rule of 3 which was vital in helping me detach and not get caught up in his drama.  I had to let go a bit and restore my spontaneous smart a$$ quips and humour. I noticed that he mirrored me with the rule of 3, and then, as I relaxed, he did, too. 

- Conversation

The ‘bonus box’ was devoid of enthusiastic discussions and debates during the major part of his MLC.   My goodness, did I miss conversing with him!  You don’t talk deeply, you don’t have a meaningful relationship.  For us, that is.  No wonder there was NO relationship while he was running around in circles in the boggy marshland of MLC.  Conversation was slowly resurrected from the time we started reconnecting in earnest. 

- Quality time, sharing common interests.

One of our common interests was going to concerts.  We are classical music aficionados and regular concert goers.  That went out the window at BD.  We resumed that while seriously reconnecting.  Alas, we have not been able to enjoy concerts in person, thanks to Covid. But we’ve bought some concerts online to enjoy at home.  And movie classics from days gone by.   Watching at home has its own advantages.  We can enjoy champagne while watching concerts!

Cheers!   
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« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 02:30:24 PM by Acorn »
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#78: January 24, 2021, 06:31:08 AM
That was a great summary, and perfect answer to 1Ps question.  Good to know in the event the time ever comes to use it - for me...
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#79: January 24, 2021, 06:47:46 AM
Quote
For my part, I had to pry open my eyes, ears and heart to see his efforts and appreciate what he was able to give at that particular moment.  Responding with a smile, ‘thank you for letting me know,’ refraining from interrogating him for more information; all of which I had to constantly work at.  It was so much easier to take the default position of entitlement.  That attitude of entitlement came naturally to me and showed my lack of character in that area.  That bothered me a lot...  Taming my heart not to be greedy for more than he was able to give at any particular moment in time was really hard work...  Constantly reminding myself how broken he had been, how far he had come, and how he was doing his very best, were my best friend. 

This right here is what I am coming to terms with.  I was greedy for more than my H is able to give. We were stuck in a cycle of me trying to pry and him shutting down.   Learning to step back (detach) and really focus in the small things he is doing.  Realizing he is doing the best he can at the moment.  As I step back and put my pain aside I see how truly broken he is.  Somedays  it hurts my heart to see him this way, but I know this is something he needs to get through on his own.  The other morning he broke down a cried, I have no idea what for.  I gave him a hug and told him I was here for the long run. 

The calmer I am the more I am able to deal with my own hurt, the calmer he is and able to do the same. 

Thanks for putting this into words Acorn.  Reconnecting really is about 2 individuals trying put themselves back together instead of trying to put a marriage back together.  Lots of individual work from both parties. 

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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#80: January 24, 2021, 12:53:28 PM
Oh you mighty Oak!   

With tears through your words...what is it with you and your posts woman!!!;)

Those are reflections of a sage woman to any and all people going through any relationship issues. MLC or not...words of how to build that foundation from a strong brave mate. 

I admire you so. Going to hang on this limb again here as you have a lot to teach me...ALOT!

Hugs and love,
1P

(Bonus box huh?   Your bonus may just be another’s essentials...just sayin...)
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Hmmm....to cross the monkey bars, you have to let go.....

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#81: January 28, 2021, 11:00:16 AM
Thank you, Roo and 1,P for your comments and following along!   

...........

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Learning to step back (detach) and really focus in the small things he is doing.  Realizing he is doing the best he can at the moment.  As I step back and put my pain aside I see how truly broken he is.  Somedays  it hurts my heart to see him this way, but I know this is something he needs to get through on his own.

Roo, you are spot on!  I think detachment gives you that necessary distance for you to discern how broken MLCer is and if he is doing the best he can in that broken state at any particular point in time. I guess it is also a part of being empathetic toward a person in crisis. Detachment with empathy. Empathy with enforceable boundaries.  Boundaries, out of self respect.  I am sure you have found them indispensable in your life with a stay-home MLCer. 

I just would like to add that without detachment, LBS may build a mountain of expectations that a broken MLCer has no hope of scaling (in the context of reconnecting) and then LBS feels frustrated and angry with MLCer when he fails.  Repeat that enough times, I don’t know how any couple can possibly reconcile in the true sense of the word. You either call it quits or settle for a hopelessly entwined codependent relationship.  Or merely coexist as housemates. 

I know for sure that you, Roo, wish for a reconciliation between two emotionally mature and fully autonomous (not codependent) people.  For what it’s worth, I think you are doing your part splendidly, because you are always ‘educating’ yourself about yourself.😊  I’m wishing with all my might that your H is doing the same.
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#82: February 20, 2021, 11:53:26 AM
It’s that time of the year again for a trip down the memory lane. 

It’s been almost exactly 6 years since BD, which happened at my birthday celebration with our children.  A mile-thick iron curtain came down between H and the rest of us, right there and then.  H could not keep that curtain up any longer and simply let go of his grip that evening, thereby shutting out God, wife, kids, parents, siblings and friends from that moment on.

He did not leave but continued to live at home, mostly in the guest suite and his study.  ‘A crazy uncle who lives upstairs’ became our new normal.  Who could have imagined...  Hitherto a man of faith and integrity, he became a wild beast, full of malevolence.  If I had written a novel about it, people would have called it ‘too unrealistic.’

Our lives were turned upside down, of course, and we had to pick ourselves off the floor and seek help from those close to us and a few wise and experienced counsellors. We learned to let H/father be and get on with our lives.  One of the most important lessons we learned is that there was nothing you could do for H/father but we could do so much for ourselves.  We eventually came to decline to hang our hats on his crisis outcome.  And, to not wait for him to get ‘better’ — for all we knew, that’s who he had become and may stay that way for the rest of his life.  If he did manage to get ‘better,’ well, we will see then. 

Now, 6 years later, we are rebuilding our marriage and family.  Mutual respect and love is once again our theme and it’s been that way for quite some time.  There is no place for angry outbursts and sour silence — they used to be H’s MO during the early part of crisis until I recovered somewhat from the shock of BD and placed strict boundaries against his outbursts which were disrespectful and, frankly, emotional abuse. 

H shared with me recently that he has learned what depth of depravity he was capable of — he was referring to A and his emotional abandonment of me and kids.  This is not new to me because he told me the same while reconnecting. He sobbed then because he was thoroughly disappointed in himself.  The context of the conversation was quite different this time.  It was about humility that self awareness brings and how grateful he is for forgiveness.

I’m grateful, too. 

Wishing you a great weekend! 
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#83: March 21, 2021, 10:23:58 AM
Good Afternoon! 

Life is good.  We continue to live each day with love and gratitude in our hearts.

........

When we are thrusted upon LBS journey, there are several lessons many of us learn or relearn, some of which are:

- detaching with love and kindness
- finding one’s inner oasis
- being present in the moment
- seeing reality and not dwelling in fantasy
- refraining from speculating and assuming what’s inside another’s head

And many more.

“World of Wisdom,’ a Documentary podcast by the BBC, discusses and explains some of these valuable lessons.  The podcast uses anxiety — due to unusual circumstances covid 19 put us in — as the springboard to discuss several points that I think are relevant to many LBSs.

One of the speakers is no less than Eckhart Tolle himself! 

There are some parts of LBS journey and the lessons you and I have learned that I could not grasp enough to put into words.  Tolle put them in context and explained.  I’m grateful to hear them spelled out clearly. 

I highly recommend this podcast.  The first haft of the programme is particularly relevant to us. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09b8p7c

Wishing you a great weekend! 


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« Last Edit: March 21, 2021, 10:30:41 AM by Acorn »
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#84: March 21, 2021, 11:25:18 AM
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful podcast Anon, really inspiring 🙏
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#85: March 21, 2021, 11:26:44 AM
Sorry Acorn ofcourse
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#86: March 23, 2021, 12:36:31 PM
Nice update Acorn - as usual.
I hope to attain the introspection and growth that you have at some point.
I’m moving, sometimes like a turtle, but I’m getting there.

I look forward to listening to the podcast.
It sounds enlightening.

Enjoy your reconnected family.  It’s nice that your H is able to look at his crisis with humility.

Hugs, always,
Sea
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#87: March 25, 2021, 02:57:03 PM
Thanks Acorn for sharing your wisdom!
Since I am in this forum you have been my favorite teacher!
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#88: March 25, 2021, 03:04:31 PM
Acorn--
Thank you for the lovely update. You have such wisdom and insight.  :)
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#89: March 30, 2021, 10:41:23 AM
Thank you, Ccotje, Sea, Yo and Marching, for following along and your kind remarks.  (((((HUGS)))))

.....

H and I had quite a conversation last weekend.  All about forgiveness. 

It started with sharing our thoughts on the meaning of Good Friday and Easter, Agape, grace and forgiveness. 

Interestingly, our meandering convo led to H extensively describing the process of forgiving himself.

While reconnecting, H did confess how difficult it was to forgive himself. Now, at last, he found the words to explain why that was so.

The summary of his long monologue is that it all comes down to taking personal responsibility for one’s words, actions, reactions and feelings, and how difficult that is— the same lessons I learned as LBS. 

He did not want to:

    give himself any excuses for what he had done.   
    minimize any aspect of his misdeeds.
    minimize the negative impact he had on me and the kids.
    assign blame to anyone or anything for the choices he alone had made.   

H told me that forgiving himself was like peeling back the onion.  There was yet another layer for him to work through when he mistakenly thought he was at the core. 

I asked him if he finally arrived at the core and dealt with it.  He said, ‘Yes, I think so. I’m at peace with myself.’ 

Just for the record.😊

Wishing you a great week!
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#90: March 30, 2021, 11:20:06 AM
Such a lovely update - making one’s way through MLC and truly being healed, being a better and truer version of yourself, is such a massive undertaking. The consistent message is that your h truly understands the scope of the crisis and that he has done and is doing ALL the work to come through it. It is a truly beautiful thing when it happens, and I couldn’t be happier for you, your h, and your family.
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#91: March 30, 2021, 12:52:17 PM
Thank you Acorn for posting this.  Very relevant for me right now.  H and I had a conversation about this very thing a few weeks ago.  I told him that I had forgiven him awhile ago but the he has to face the hard part of forgiving himself.  He is currently working through this with his therapist.  It is coming in layers I see it now.  thank you for continuing to share your journey, 
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#92: March 30, 2021, 03:14:46 PM
Thank you Acorn for the update, I'm so happy for you, your husband and your family. When I'm able to detach I can sometimes empathize with the chaos and the pain that my MLCer is feeling. Hearing that your husband is able to get beyond it, get to a better place, is really wonderful.
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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#93: March 31, 2021, 03:48:17 PM
Joining the others in thanking you Acorn for sharing your reconciliation journey with us. We love to hear of our LBS families re-uniting. Your H is one of the very few MLCers he hear about who actually wants to take full responsibility for his actions. We don't expect perfection, just an attempt to improve oneself. Seems your H has done his very best. I hope he has truly forgiven himself. He's certainly done a really good job and deserves his own forgiveness. Have a lovely Easter weekend, Acorn.
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#94: April 06, 2021, 08:28:39 PM
Acorn -
Thank you for sharing...
It seems as if your H has done a remarkable job at picking through the issues surrounding forgiveness of himself and his actions.  I am so happy that he has taken yet another step toward self-healing and making himself stronger.
It’s so nice to see your family knit back together.

So glad that you had a nice Easter.

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#95: April 08, 2021, 11:58:02 AM
Thank you, Curiosity, Roo, deparis, Milly and Sea, for following along and leaving comments.  Much appreciated! 

........

I certainly appreciate that H chooses to share his thoughts with me.   It is his prerogative to keep them to himself and I would respect that if that were the case.  However, the fact that he shares them with me on a completely voluntary basis adds another layer to our bond.  Some of what he shares with me can be described as baring his soul to his closest confidant.  That kind of intimacy between us is one of the most important aspects of our relationship.

I would like to note:

By the time he talks about any aspect of his crisis, it appears that it is loooong after he processed it, resolved it to his emotional and intellectual satisfaction, has had taken his sweet time to let it sink in properly, and then he finally verbalizes some of that to me if and when he feels like it.  And when that happens, which is quite often, I’m all ears!  I even write about a few of them here. 

As time passes, there is one thing that becomes clearer to me than ever:

All aspects of his MLC — identifying and resolving his FOO issues, defining his own identity, dealing with all the consequences of his shocking choices, remorse, repentance, forgiveness and healing — were completely and utterly a one-man show.  Makes perfect sense — I did not make him, I did not break him, I could not fix him.  It simply was not my job to mess with HIS crisis.  Intellectually understanding that truth is not equal to being able to practice it.  (Drat!) 

Detaching with love and compassion makes it easier to stay away from messing (yeah, that is a fixer’s dream!) with another person’s profound crisis at his core.  I think an important aspect of detachment for me was to become fully aware of and respect that H was responsible for his own internal issues, to choose/not to choose to resolve them, and how he goes about doing it.   

My choice was to leave him to it, draw and enforce boundaries for my self respect, make sure I was there for my kids and keep a sharp eye on the finances.

Wishing you a pleasant day!
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#96: April 09, 2021, 10:38:02 AM
This is very insightful Acorn. I wish for myself to reach this level of detachment. I will keep reading this over and over again to remind myself not to dwell in the past of to move forward without hatred in my heart.
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#97: April 10, 2021, 08:00:10 AM
Dear Dragonfly, thank you for reading and commenting on this thread. 

May I share a personal story, please? 

A book by Dr. Rosenberg, ‘Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life,’ had the strongest impact on me, out of all the books and articles I read since BD. 

It was recommended to me by my counsellor after he patiently listened to me rattling off all the questions and accusations I hurled at my husband soon after BD and continued to do so for many months. 

One of the points I learned from the book is that my feelings were generated by ME!  MY needs, MY wants, MY assumptions, MY expectations, MY attitude, etc. laid the foundation for the type of feelings external happenings evoked in me.  No one ‘gives’ me feelings, no one can ‘make’ me feel this way or that. I am the author of my feelings and I own them. 

Sure, H’s words and actions were external stimuli of my feelings.  But they were not the cause.  The cause was solely within me.  He struck the match (stimulus) but I was the one with all the fuel (cause) which was unique to me and had been shaped by decades of my life experiences. 

Taking full responsibility for my feelings was an important aspect of my detachment process.  If I am responsible for my feelings, then it is up to me to deal with them.  If I put the onus on H for my feelings, I am handing over my autonomy and control over to him, and I would harbour resentment and anger toward him for not generating enough positive feelings in me. 

Paradoxically, that’s exactly what MLCer often does — he holds LBS responsible for his feelings! 

Doesn’t detachment boil down to being responsible for one’s feelings and not get tangled up with someone else’s? 

I would go as far as saying that MLCer starts to see a little sliver of light when he realizes that exact point — he is responsible for all his feelings.  It is a good starting point for healing. 

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Dragonfly. 

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« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 09:18:16 AM by Acorn »
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#98: April 10, 2021, 11:10:53 AM
I always have a problem with the "we all live in a bubble where nothing that is around us affects us" mentality. To say that what another person does to us does not cause us to feel something is incorrect, imo. 

If someone beats you to within an inch of your life with a lead pipe, and now every time you see someone with a lead pipe in their hand you are terrified, that is cause and effect. Being beaten CAUSES you to have terrified feelings when a trigger appears. Can you work to change whether that trigger affects you in the same way, or at all? Yes, I believe you can. But that doesn't mean that the trigger doesn't cause your feelings, even though your feelings are based on your own past experiences. If the lead pipe were not in someone's hand, you would not be terrified.

Taking responsibility for how I deal with my feelings is my responsibility. The fact that someone is beating on me, physically or emotionally is going to make any normal human who has any emotional capacity feel a certain way. If they were not beating on me, I wouldn't have any reason to feel beaten on.

A hit with a pipe physically hurts. How I deal with that hurt is mine. The cause of the hurt is the other person, I'm not imagining the pain, the bruises, the swelling and I cannot "will" them away. I certainly didn't cause it. The same holds true for emotional hurts.

That is JMO. It may be semantics.
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« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 11:12:37 AM by OffRoad »
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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#99: April 10, 2021, 02:53:31 PM
Well first it’s not a fair nor productive to use a physical metaphor for emotional state. I have many many issues with this, starting with ANY physical interaction is instantly off limits and should be treated instantly as a hard exit. You may not mean it but still I don’t think it’s a good idea to use they.

Emotional existence is different. A healthy person has well defined boundaries. We choose how permeable these bounds are and with whom. This doesn’t mean we are completely isolated. But it means we decide how much we allow others in. And maybe one of the big challenges in life is to find intimacy, closeness and trust without externalizing these to the other person. I know when I was younger I didn’t “get” that.

Yes our MLC spouses/others can and do hurt us. It’s because we have allowed them in and built trust. If we could get our footing quickly we can pull back, harden the lines and minimize damage. When we fully regain this we can then become detached.

This extends to love. In my world it’s not magic, it’s something given and if required can be withdrawn. I am talking about love for peers, not children. It’s the same idea. Unfortunately I was forced to remove my wife from my inner emotional life. And not by my choice but I had to detach. And withdraw my love for her. Not my choice what she did, but my choice how much I allowed her to hurt me amd what I do with that.

Maybe no matter how much we love someone we should never become so enmeshed that we can’t protect ourselves.
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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#100: April 10, 2021, 05:20:57 PM
This violation of trust is so profound for me. I was thinking today that this betrayal now defines my life. It is so vast and overwhelming for me.

I know it sounds so naive and childlike but I trusted him implicitly. I feel like if I can't trust this person, who I have known for over half my life, who can I ever trust again?
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#101: April 10, 2021, 06:38:04 PM
Kimber, that has been a struggle for me too. The betrayal of trust hurt, and the rejection hurt. For me, it was all accentuated by the fact that we were too enmeshed and codependent. Some of that was rooted in the romantic idea of a soulmate and a life partner, the two of us taking on the world together. Some of it was based on genuinely having the same interests and little time to cultivate friendships outside of each other and our coworkers. But some was just a loss of our individual identities and our senses of self outside of the marriage.

I think the balance of those things differs from couple to couple and from person to person. For me, though, taking back my individuality and regaining my sense of self, my own self-worth, really believing in my own value independent of what anyone else might think or say or do - that has gone a long way toward helping me heal. And that helps me in all of my relationships, not just the marriage. But the romantic aspects of a real soulmate, an other half, someone you can trust absolutely... I think most of us will struggle to get back to that level of trust again. Maybe it’s for the better - romantic though it might be, it is perhaps also naive to think we can ever know anyone completely or be able to count on anyone completely. I mourned that loss of innocence for a while, and am coming around to the idea that when there is no enmeshment, there is no need for a partnership, there is a lot of joy to be found in the idea that two people can choose each other, not because something was missing from their life before, but because that other person makes an already full life even better.

What does this mean for reconnection? I don’t know because I’m not there... yet? I know my W is moving closer physically, living at home again. I know she is reconnecting to the space and to the pets and to some extent to the rituals of a shared home - cooking meals, taking care of the pets, planning evenings and weekends. She is going away for a few days with her mom. She spends time with me but there’s no movement toward a deeper emotional connection, nor would I even be ready for one at this early stage. But I’m not really thinking about reconnection to her or what it would look like to trust her again (or to truly trust anyone else, either). I guess for me, the ownership of my own feelings and responses and actions is mostly about healing myself, being the most complete and self sufficient person I can be - being able to navigate future relationships on their own merits (whether with W or anyone else) - not forgetting past history but also not allowing it to restrict future growth.
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#102: April 11, 2021, 02:33:32 AM
I find myself sitting somewhere in the middle on this issue about what I am responsible for and what I am not.

I agree that I am responsible for my own emotions....both in terms of what they are and how I deal with them...just as others here say. Yet I also agree that abuse extends beyond the physical and I hold others responsible when they lie, steal, cheat, abuse my trust or do things that damage my life or wellbeing. Even if they do not. Even if that was not their primary goal, you don't have to be a genius to know when you are hurting another human being.....just find hurting them an acceptable price for you to get what you want.

I did not blame my xh for my PTSD; that was my particular reaction to events and healing from it requires owning that imho. But I do hold him responsible for his own actions and his long-standing indifference to the consequences for others. I have no idea how he feels about any of it, but doing otherwise would feel like gaslighting myself tbh. And, in a simple way, if someone finds acting this way towards you acceptable enough to keep doing it over a long period of time, they are likely to continue to do so until/unless they decide for themselves that it is not an acceptable way to behave.....which means to me they are a risky kind of human to be around. So, I have choices on what I expose myself to or not. Empathy and remorse, for me, are less about apologies or even validation.....they are about risk management. Jmo.
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#103: April 11, 2021, 03:10:18 AM
It is surely reality that someone can indeed ‘make ‘us feel something.  The kind of  ideal description of healthy emotional autonomy and detachment must be vanishingly rare outside of spiritual
Ideals. 

Any normal couple relationship  over time encompasses certain dependencies in the real world.  Many  normal
people have trouble regulating emotions at times of stress, let alone during the  maelstrom of the loss of the life we thought we had.

Learning to become more emotionally autonomous doesn’t really happen because we are told we may not be made to feel something.  It doesn’t make sense to our emotions when we are already destabilised.  And in many (most?) cases of crisis, one partner has been manipulatingsomeone else’s life and  emotions with some skill - probably the lives of several people in fact.

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#104: April 11, 2021, 05:39:43 AM
On further thought, perhaps it is more the case that not all feelings are the same.....

I suspect people CAN make me feel certain feelings....the big hard-wired reactive ones like fear, anger, deep distress, grief....at least for a while. Bc we are hardwired to be social animals and these feelings are part of our survival tool kit, so there is an element of cause and effect as OR says even if it varies between different people. But if you threaten to burn my house down or scream at me right in my face or break down sobbing in front of me or show me great kindness when I feel distressed, you probably can 'make' me feel some feelings. 

I also think that there is a second stage, maybe a less reactive one, where I can exercise more choice over my feelings. And if not my feelings, then certainly my actions in response to how I feel. Which is why the famous Rule of 3 is so very useful....not least bc it moves us out of reactive victimhood. And emotionally detaching means we either place less weight on someone's behaviour, reduce our contact with it or just care less, I suppose.

But there is such a big difference between the normal warp and weft of human interaction vs a situation when someone is behaving in more extreme, abusive or disordered ways and I think it's important to remember that in our reflections. Jmo.
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« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 05:47:35 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
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Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#105: April 11, 2021, 08:48:06 AM
Kimber, that has been a struggle for me too. The betrayal of trust hurt, and the rejection hurt. For me, it was all accentuated by the fact that we were too enmeshed and codependent

Thank you for that well thought out post, Curiousity. It was very helpful for me. I was firmly planted on on my (self) pity pot yesterday.

I read somewhere that many midlife crisis relationships are almost like parent/child. I think this is true of my marriage. I think what drew me to this relationship, besides the early physical attraction, was that my husband took the reigns. He organized and managed my life, not that my life was chaotic or not managed before him, but I was childlike in that aspect and I gladly handed control over it to him.

That, too, was his comfort level. The oldest in a very dysfunctional family where the father left when he was 12. He was basically the father figure probably for the whole crew. Even though, his mother was a nurse, she was definitely mentally ill, borderline abusive and, also, had huge cultural differences as she was from Thailand.

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#106: April 11, 2021, 10:47:19 AM
treasur:
Quote
I did not blame my xh for my PTSD; that was my particular reaction to events and healing from it requires owning that imho.

I maybe misinterpreting what you wrote.

I do blame my husband for my PTSD and for the years that I have dealt with this in therapy and each day when I still get pulled down by things that are a direct impact of his choices.

If you are in a war and you are caught in the cross fire of bullets or bombs and develop PTSD because of it, would you not "blame" the enemy who caused you such harm?

I was perfectly healthy, mentally stable, joyful, full of energy and life, I wasn't fearful, I didn't have panic attacks or extreme anxiety of have to take medication prior to BD. I have engaged in therapy for years and I am still a product of his betrayal, abandonment and rejection. I am economically impacted and I am sure some of my health issues are due to the stress and depression of the last many years.

I will own my work that I continue to do to become whole again..but I will never again be in the comfort zone I was in for 55 years. And that lies in his actions and I do place the blame for how I feel on him.
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" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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#107: April 11, 2021, 11:09:20 AM
Quote
I was perfectly healthy, mentally stable, joyful, full of energy and life, I wasn't fearful, I didn't have panic attacks or extreme anxiety of have to take medication prior to BD. I have engaged in therapy for years and I am still a product of his betrayal, abandonment and rejection. I am economically impacted and I am sure some of my health issues are due to the stress and depression of the last many years.
.

I agree 100% with this..   I have a "before me" and an "after me".
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#108: April 11, 2021, 11:28:12 AM
Thanks barbie.

I also wish to add that our daughter's life has been negatively impacted by his actions and I hold him responsible for her mental health and welfare as well.

She lost her dad, she lost her family and for a time she lost me.
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#109: April 11, 2021, 11:36:05 AM
Quote
I was perfectly healthy, mentally stable, joyful, full of energy and life, I wasn't fearful, I didn't have panic attacks or extreme anxiety of have to take medication prior to BD. I have engaged in therapy for years and I am still a product of his betrayal, abandonment and rejection. I am economically impacted and I am sure some of my health issues are due to the stress and depression of the last many years.
.

I agree 100% with this..   I have a "before me" and an "after me".

I would offer that we all have a "before" and "after" versions of ourselves. I for one am not saying that there is no impact, that we are just isolated walled off individuals and should just be ok with it. Rather its a question of how we exist in life as a whole. My belief is that no matter how good our lives were/are, how privileged or difficult, there is no certainty and no guarantees. I know we all like to hold onto the illusion of control and how things will not change from the "now" (projecting how we are now into future). But I have always found this to be problematic. It gives me a sense of stability and security but maybe sets me up badly for what may happen. Even with MLC entering my life I know that bad things * MAY * happen. I can't control everything so I am safe, so that only leaves how I react to what happens. Can I CONTROL all my reactions? Absolutely not, I am only human.

But I personally believe our psychology (and brain) and more plastic than we think. I believe we "hold" feelings and believes strongly because we are constantly reenforcing these said believes. We create a story of ourselves and in repeating this story we reenforce it. If I feel like a victim of an event staying in that feeling will reenforce and strengthen that feeling. If I actively try to find my own power and sense of control it doesn't mean my feeling of victimhood goes away or my pain and experience simply disappears. But like turning around a giant boat if I spend every day "pushing" myself away from the state I will eventually, over time and with effort, turn away from where I am.

PTSD is a giant exception. Trauma states shut down ability to process and "freeze" us somewhere. I have had to work through PTSD for myself. And it always amazed me how much I didn't realize how it was shaping everything. But putting that aside I believe we all have to make choices after BD and the damage is done.

My bad metaphor is this: I used to live in a beautiful land, full or life and resources, a paradise on earth. But something happened and everything has become barren and unpleasant. I can see an alternative "paradise" many many miles away. I know it will take years, but I have to start. I have to take one step at a time and keep moving. Or I can simply stay where I am hoping for the paradise to reappear somehow.

I look back at where I was emotionally at BD1/2/3. I look at one year mark, two year mark, three years and now four. I can see how much things have changed, but not in huge leaps. But rather like water constantly flowing over rock new paths and grooves have been cut. I had to constantly work on keep the water "flowing" as it were.

Lastly the more I focus on the external events and people who cause me pain and damage the less space I have to keep the focus on myself. This is not about self absorption, rather putting the responsibility firmly back on me to take care of ME. I wasn't at fault for my wife's meltdown and the damage she caused me. But I was the one who "chose" her and shared my life with her. And when she did what she did it was/is still on me to now live with the consequences. Focusing on her externalizes my care, and I have found that outside of parent/child relationships that is not something that ever works for me.

Then again I had the luxury of not having to worry about damage done to kids, so I say all this with a grain of salt.
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#110: April 11, 2021, 11:41:38 AM
Thank you, all, for your thoughtful posts! 

Some of you may find the following items interesting and easy to read or watch.  The TED talk videos are a hoot!

(I would like to add, just in case there is a misunderstanding, taking emotional responsibility does not in any way minimize another person’s responsibility for their wrong doings, such as infidelity, abandonment, financial destructions, etc.)

On nonviolent communication:

https://www.embracepossibility.com/blog/nonviolent-communication-marshall-rosenberg/

On emotional responsibility:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/we-are-responsible-for-our-own-feelings#1

https://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/7742/self_improvement_and_motivation/emotional_dependency_or_emotional_responsibility.html

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0gks6ceq4eQ

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h-rRgpPbR5w&t=3s
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#111: April 11, 2021, 11:50:33 AM
Dear Dragonfly, thank you for reading and commenting on this thread. 

May I share a personal story, please? 

A book by Dr. Rosenberg, ‘Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life,’ had the strongest impact on me, out of all the books and articles I read since BD. 

It was recommended to me by my counsellor after he patiently listened to me rattling off all the questions and accusations I hurled at my husband soon after BD and continued to do so for many months. 

It somehow relieving to see I am not the only one who hurled accusations at my H or bombarding him with questions that I know he will never give a straightforward answers. Despite this I cannot help myself at times to do these things over and over again and I will be just frustrated in the end because my H will never give me the answers that I expected.

Quote
One of the points I learned from the book is that my feelings were generated by ME!  MY needs, MY wants, MY assumptions, MY expectations, MY attitude, etc. laid the foundation for the type of feelings external happenings evoked in me.  No one ‘gives’ me feelings, no one can ‘make’ me feel this way or that. I am the author of my feelings and I own them. 

I totally agree with this but I have to say that my feelings like you mentioned were triggered from my H’s actions. There were times when I am able to contain the anger towards him which actually was a result of the pain I had to go through.  I have ro say the anger I have towards him is not just from what he’s done to me in the last but from feeling like he is not taking me seriously,, the feeling that your emotions are not validated.  Perhaps I need to learn to stop expecting any validations  from him. He tells me all the time I understand how you feel which I think is an advise from his therapist but if that line is  always used without any actions, it just loses its meaning.  Or maybe it’s my sense of feeling entitlement; like I have the right to act like this because you destroy our marriage. Or maybe it’s my pride.


Quote
Doesn’t detachment boil down to being responsible for one’s feelings and not get tangled up with someone else’s? 

I think this is what Eckhart Tolle was trying to say. I’ve read his book and have been applying it to myself  though at times it can be very hard.  I try to focus on the now and not the thoughts of the past or the what could haves or the what ifs.

Thank you for recommending this book. I will try to order it from here .

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Me 45
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Married 13 yrs no kids
BD May 2019 (I moved out Nov 2019)
EA or PA with ex gf (not sure), H spent 3 nights with the hoe during our vacation in July 2019, it was a friendly encounter according to H
H wanted D April 2020 but didn’t file it
Contact never stopped, H now wants to reconcile
Me not sure

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#112: April 11, 2021, 11:53:55 AM
In his Save the Marriage podcasts, Lee Baucom talks about “responsibility” as a very different concept than blame or fault. He talks about it as “response-ability,” the ability to respond. I think it’s fair to say that in a healthy (or even not completely healthy but still normal), committed relationship between two adults, there are certain expectations that it is reasonable to have, certain promises that it is fair to expect will be kept, certain boundaries that are understood to exist even if not explicitly stated. An MLCer destroys all of that - underlying crisis or not, they made choices that went against what was reasonably expected of them. They had issues or concerns or anger or hurt, and they didn’t discuss it with their life partner, they instead changed all the rules unilaterally. They did cause the situation that led to the emotional trauma and upheaval of the LBS. How the LBS behaves in response, though - the response-ability - is on the LBS. Many of us, while still traumatized, lash out in hurt or anger, hold onto the rejection and betrayal, are willing to do anything to try to get back to a time when we didn’t hurt that way. When healed, though (or at least, more healed), we can respond in ways that are healthy for us, and the specific response to the MLCer depends on what our needs and wants and boundaries are, as well as what the MLCer is saying and doing - but our responses aren’t about the MLCer, they are about responding in a way that protects us and maintains or improves our well-being.
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#113: April 11, 2021, 12:31:26 PM
I think there are several differences in our situations and stories. One is the economic impact. I had a career and I have more education than he does but he is vastly more successful and makes more money than I ever could as a nurse. I willingly accompanied him, leaving my job 7 times ..impacting my ability to move up the career ladder and more education that I always wanted....I did this willingly.

I am comfortable but many women (and it often is women who make less money but I apologize for the men who have to pay child support and also have a financial hardship)....I have limited assets and that is reality for many LBSers.

Marvin
Quote
I can see an alternative "paradise" many many miles away. I know it will take years, but I have to start. I have to take one step at a time and keep moving. Or I can simply stay where I am hoping for the paradise to reappear somehow.

I will say that before COVID, I had expanded my life in many ways, all of course have come to a crashing halt as it has for all of us...but the most important thing is I cannot see my family...I do not have family in this place he brought me to, the place when I questioned the distance from our daughter, he reassured me that it was only a 4 hour plane ride away and I could fly home anytime I wanted, as many times as I wanted.....it's an $800 flight so even without the restrictions of COVID, I have to limit how many times I can go home.

OK, it was my choice to stay in the US and much of that was also financially driven as it is less expensive for me to live here.

Right now, I have slipped "backwards".....on Thursday, I watched my only sister's funeral by myself on a computer...no family to mourn with in person, no way to say a final goodbye to her.....I tried to obtain a compassionate entry but the hospital refused to sign the documents saying that my sister had several people who could support her so there was no need for me to cross the border.

His decision to leave Canada so he could move up in his career affected me and continues to affect me. I truly try and I am tired of having to try so hard just to find some peace in my life.

I am not optimistic about when the borders will open, I don't see is as being soon, it has become a political thing and I am caught in a nightmare and that triggers PTSD, and I truly do not know if/when I will ever find what I need ...and time is also a factor. I am now 66..the number of years to find "happiness" is much shorter than others here....


So there are many reactions to all this, none right or wrong, they just are.


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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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#114: April 11, 2021, 01:47:31 PM
I’m not sure we are all singing from the same sheet in our interpretations  but here is a simply written alternative view to the idea that we are somehow failing if we do not regulate our responses adequately.

The trouble with some of this is that in our efforts to feel ‘correctly’ it can lead to avoidance (already probably the most frequent cause of relational problems) and even dissociation from our feelings.


https://psychcentral.com/blog/on-the-destructive-belief-that-no-one-can-make-us-feel-anything#4
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#115: April 11, 2021, 02:23:22 PM
Thanks for posting that article, Nerissa.

“Our way forward is not to strive to be unaffected by people and view that as strength and maturity, but rather to learn how to navigate through the fiery emotions that relationships bring up in us. We find our way toward each other as we stay connected to ourselves and skillfully respond to each other in an authentic, not obnoxious way.

The key to fulfilling relationships is to notice how we’re being affected by each other, hold those feelings gently, soothe ourselves as necessary, and communicate our inner experience in a non-blaming, non-violent way.”


This goes back to what Marvin said about how we create a story of ourselves and, in retelling that story, we reinforce the beliefs we hold. Now, the story we create may be formed by outside factors and events that shape us into who we become. But we are human beings capable of constant learning and growing and we can, with work, change the beliefs we have about ourselves. We can rewrite our narratives.
That’s not the same as changing our circumstances. I had no control over things that happened in my childhood, just like I cannot change the fact that my husband caused such unimaginable financial destruction. I can’t change the fact that I was diagnosed with cancer but also caused unimaginable financial destruction. Those are events that happened outside of my control that can’t be changed. But I can examine those events and see what role they - and other events from my life (the events that helped shape my self narrative) - play in the feelings of shame and unworthiness and unloveable-ness and worthlessness that are brought about in me, sometimes by myself, sometimes by outside forces. And in examining it that way, I can respond instead of react in certain situations. I can understand that the feelings are coming from within me and after a point, no one else is necessarily  “to blame” for them. (I say “after a point” because I do think that especially childhood events have lasting devastating effects on how we shape our view of ourselves, but even then, as an adult we can learn how to rewrite those old narratives.)

It also calls to mind a lively ( for lack of a better term) discussion we had quite some time ago and I wish I could remember the name of the thread. I remember speaking about how when someone says something that triggers us, we almost have a responsibility to ourselves (if we want to grow and evolve) to figure out why we are triggered, why we feel the way we do. The feeling may be brought about by someone else, in the way that they spoke to us or what they said or their tone of voice. But what we do with our reaction is under our control.
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#116: April 14, 2021, 04:45:14 PM
Thank you so much, Dragonfly, Curiosity, Xyz, Nerissa and Nas, for your comments. This is an excellent discussion!

......

MLCers inflict so much harm to many aspects of LBS’s life  The board is full of examples — financial difficulties, loss of home, broken families, etc.  MLCer is responsible for breathtakingly wide variety of destructions in many situations. 

Given those MLC fallouts, LBS is likely to feel a deep sadness, anger, resentment, bewilderment, anxiety, and many more.  They are all perfectly valid emotional responses to the negative situation MLCer created, and they are neither right nor wrong (unless acted out which will bring consequences.)  In fact, if you didn’t feel at least some of those emotions, you are perhaps a chocolate bunny.

I acknowledge all the emotions I felt were valid.  I also acknowledge that they were ‘ignited,’ stimulated,’ ‘activated,’ or whatever terminology you want to use, by my MLCer’s words and actions. (I could even use the word ‘make’ if it is used in the context of ‘activated.’) I felt heartbroken, bewildered, and despondent.  However, he did not inject or force-feed those emotions to me.  I produced them. 

We are often reminded here that we are not responsible for MLCer’s words, behaviours, and feelings or the lack of it — for example, ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you.’  We learn here and from many other sources that we simply cannot change or fix any of that to our liking.

I guess we could apply that similarly to ourselves.  Who wants to imitate MLCer who is intent on blaming the spouse for his own emotional state!   MLCers often claim, like my H did at BD and during replay, LBSs MADE them feel certain way.  I would go as far as saying that that is how ‘victimhood’ creeps in and even thrives when one shoves off some or all of their personal responsibility for their words, actions and feelings to someone else. 

I think it’s about changing your mindset.  From ‘He made me feel ___. Grrrr! 🤬’ to ‘These are MY emotional responses, therefore, the power to change them lies within ME.’  From blaming and victimhood to ownership, empowerment and healing. 

I believe that a true and deep healing can start for MLCer and LBS when they take full personal responsibility for their words, actions and emotions.  That is not only for personal healing but also for relationships.  (In my own experience and observations, anyway.)

A sample of one, as always! 
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#117: April 15, 2021, 02:54:03 AM
I think it’s about changing your mindset.  From ‘He made me feel ___. Grrrr! 🤬’ to ‘These are MY emotional responses, therefore, the power to change them lies within ME.’  From blaming and victimhood to ownership, empowerment and healing. 

Or even "‘These are MY emotional responses to <stimuli/actions/words of MLC'er>, therefore, the power to change the responses lies within ME because I sure as Hades can not change the Mid-Lifer.’

My mom (in Shrink Mode) would always say that the process is really "I feel <xyz> when <abc> happens" which couples feelings with input but NOT "You made me feel <xyz>  when you did <abc>" because that is 1) relinquishing control and 2) denying one's own ability to shape one's own emotional state/reactions to stimuli...
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A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

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#118: April 15, 2021, 01:00:18 PM
And I am back to, once again, that while someone can ignite/stimulate/activate/make you feel a certain way (and your feelings are there for a reason), it is up to the individual to figure out how to deal with said feelings/hurts/gaslighting/confusion over whether what happened happened/ etc.

This isn't about having or not having feelings. It's not really about if someone can cause you to feel something or not. It's about, now that you feel that certain something, what to DO with that feeling.

If someone says I'm ugly, I might feel bad (most people would feel bad because media/society says ugly is not what is desired). Then I have to decide, do I feel bad because that person was mean to me? Do I feel bad because I believe him? Do I feel bad because society says ugly is not desired, so if I am ugly I'm not desirable?

If someone had not said I was ugly, there would be no need for me to even consider any of this. Someone else has caused an emotional bruise that I now need to deal with, just like any physical bruise. For anyone who has never had someone hold a gun to their head and been told that they were going to be shot, yet no physical harm ever came to you, you likely have no idea of how physically harmful mental and verbal abuse really can be because you have physical reactions to mental and verbal abuse. You may or may not end up with PTSD, but the stress reactions are there in the moment and some stay with you. Similar things happen when you are told that your entire life is going to change, like you don't have a job or any way to support yourself and your children and your spouse just quit his job and left town.  There are differing levels of emotional abuse, and some people are more affected by it, depending on their own FOO issues.

So, IMO, do I cause my own feelings? Sometimes. Can other people also cause my feelings? Sometimes. Can I take a feeling that was caused by some random person doing something offensive/ cruel/dangerous and blow it out of proportion or even not treat it with the concern it deserves. Sure.

It's not the feelings that are the problem. Whether some random person jumped out to scare you and you "OMG!!!!" had a feeling of being scared because of that or whether someone said something that hurt you, it's taking those feelings that may or may not have been caused by another person, sifting through why you feel that way, figuring out if it is justified, and what you want to do about it. 

My sister used to love to jump out and scare me because I reacted so much.  Her wanting to scare me was totally on her. You can call that "blame" if you want. I blame her for wanting to scare me. I learned how not to react, by stuffing my feelings of fear. Yay me? I'm still not sure about that. Why is it I have to stuff my feelings because someone else wants to scare me? But the lesson was that once I no longer reacted, she didn't try to scare me anymore. Again, lucky me, I got to stuff my feelings, but I no longer had someone trying to scare me. To this day, there is a part of me that doesn't react to a valid scare when I should be reacting to it. Is this a good thing? Still not sure. But it is mine to own, good, bad, or indifferent and I wouldn't have had to if my sister hadn't been a jerk.

We are affected by people around us unless we are, as Acorn says, a chocolate bunny. Navigation of the world, our thoughts, our feelings is the key. I can "blame"(assign responsibility for a fault or wrong) someone for something, and still not hand the responsibility of my actions over to them.

Again, it might be a semantics thing. If someone chooses to treat me in a way that is hurtful, that's on them. If I choose (assuming there is a real choice to be had) to allow someone to treat me in a way that is hurtful, not say anything about it and keep coming back for more, that's on me.
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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#119: April 16, 2021, 08:33:50 AM
Again, it might be a semantics thing. If someone chooses to treat me in a way that is hurtful, that's on them. If I choose (assuming there is a real choice to be had) to allow someone to treat me in a way that is hurtful, not say anything about it and keep coming back for more, that's on me.

Offroad: a lot of good ideas to ponder in that post. But if I refer to Acorn’s basic premise I think there is a bit of a different idea here. I don’t hear her talk about responsibility, actions, or who owns what in a dynamic. Obviously someone who tried to hurt us it is ON them.

What I hear (and agree with personally) is that I own and am solely responsible for my emotions. Others above have said it in different ways. Its not about stuffing my emotions, becoming numb, pretending something doesn’t hurt. But when I am hurt that hurt is mine and mine alone. No one else can fix it, no one else can undo it. I can choose to sit in the hurt, I would even go as far as wallow in it. Be a victim, gain some strange satisfaction from that feeling. Even maybe wear it like a coat of arms and get some pats on the back from others. OR I can sit with my hurt, understand why I was hurt, did I leave a boundary open to someone who I should not have? Did misplace trust? Do I still harbor an issue where a strangers opinion of me has weight that it should not have? With the latter I use my emotions as a guide to learn and grow and become both more independent and ironically more AVAILABLE to others. Because when I am the owner of my own emotional safety I can take more risks. But if I am still looking outward for that then I will be more cautious and much less happy overall.
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#120: April 20, 2021, 08:16:46 AM
Thank you, UM, OR and Marvin, for your very thoughtful posts!

At the end of the day, what I’m trying to convey is that changing the language we use in expressing and explaining all the emotions within us may have some impact on healing.  UM and Marvin explained that very well.

Rather than:


"You made me feel <xyz>  when you did <abc>"


Change the language to:


"I feel <xyz> when <abc> happens"



Have a great day, everyone!

It’s going to snow here tonight and tomorrow.  I kid you not!

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« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 08:19:55 AM by Acorn »
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#121: May 01, 2021, 11:45:08 AM
Happy Saturday, everyone! 

From time to time, I get to hear what H was feeling and thinking while he was in crisis.  (I would like to add that I do not mine his mind for info — I did a lot of that as a newbie  :-[ — as I happen to think it is his prerogative to share it with whomever, whenever and however.)

This week, H and I had an interesting discussion/debate about the differences between ‘happiness’ and ‘joy.’   A common topic but with a MLC twist.  I just thought I would share it here as it’s another glimpse into the mind of one MLCer, my husband, during his crisis.

........

H was in the mood to describe one particular aspect of his ‘breakdown,’ as he calls it.  (And because we were enjoying a particularly fine bottle of red.that seemed to loosen his tongue and lubricate my ears.)  That ‘one aspect’ was in regards to how he desperately pursued happiness while in crisis.

As he tells it, at the bottom of his immense anger was profound sadness which he found impossible to shake off.  He described it as ‘being stuck in a pit of deep despair.’  He made it a point to describe that state of mind as ‘similar to depression but not quite.’  (He knows what clinical depression is, as his profession requires in-depth knowledge of it.) 

He didn’t understand why he felt such deep despair, and he was desperate to do anything, to go anywhere, in order to climb out of that excruciating state.   He called that endeavour, ‘the pursuit of just a little bit of happiness, regardless of the immense damages inflicted on myself and everyone in my closest orbit.’  Cue Replay.

‘I was chasing a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  You never get to it and the rainbow does not linger for long...’   

While wrestling with his issues he eventually came to understand that joy was what he was really looking for, and realized this illusive joy could not be gifted to him by anyone or anything else outside of himself.  It was solely up to him.  I appreciated hearing this from him.  His work on ‘joy’ was the path I also walked in my LBS crisis...

At the end of our discussion, we agreed on our own definition of ‘happiness’ and ‘joy’:

Happiness is an emotion that is invariably contingent on our outward circumstances.  Because we do not have much control over external factors, the feeling of happiness is fickle and fleeting. 

Joy is a decided attitude of the heart.  It is proactive; it requires focussed work and determination.  It springs from within and, thus, does not depend on circumstances. 

Have a great weekend! 
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« Last Edit: May 01, 2021, 12:02:10 PM by Acorn »
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#122: May 01, 2021, 12:43:02 PM
I love this Acorn.

I can't know or feel what my H is experiencing but his actions certainly seem to mimic this exactly.

Even pre-MLC we (the close family) have often said he despises joy in others and seeks to obliterate it because he can not obtain it. He can only achieve very fleeting situational unhappiness.
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#123: May 02, 2021, 12:47:11 PM
Acorn -
Thank you into your husband's thoughts during his crisis.
Being someone who still love her H dearly, although will likely never reconcile, it helps me to hear these things.
As Kimber said, I can't know what my H is feeling, but I suspect that it is something like your H describes. 
It helps me to be reminded that it is totally irrelevant to me or his family.  Despair that confuses even him.
I am sad for that desperate, lost person that I love so much.  He has neither happiness nor joy.
And knowing that there is nothing I can do to help him.

But in that, I have joy for all that I have.
All my blessings as Treasur said so eloquently in her post...

Following along, and thankful for your input.
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#124: May 25, 2021, 11:11:59 AM
Thank you, Kimber and Sea, for sharing your thoughts and observations on this thread. 

……

Before I forget:

Thankfulness.  That was the theme of our conversation this past weekend. We were working in the garden together and chatting about our shared appreciation for simple things in life and how thankful we were for them.

Our conversation evolved and, eventually, he remarked, ‘it’s unbelievable that we are happily together after everything I have said and done.  That relationship (he means his affair) alone could have destroyed our marriage, never mind all my crazy on top of it.  I’m beyond thankful.’   

I nodded my head in agreement and thought, yeah, affair can, and often does, end marriages.  Now, you add all the hurt and destruction his replay words and behaviours caused on top of it, how was it even possible for us to reconcile, I asked myself silently.  It was as if he read my mind — he whispered, ‘it’s a miracle.’   I wholeheartedly agreed with him. 

A sample of one. 

Have a great week! 

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#125: May 25, 2021, 02:44:39 PM
Thanks what a great post. I had one thought that is very present for me right now. That it takes two people to even start to consider anything like reconnection and MAYBE reconciliation. Each has multiple off ramps.

First is a major recovery on the part of the MLCer. If the end of our relationship is really due to a "MLC" crises then our loved ones has a very long, hard, rocky and most likely low probability road to a recovery. Sounds like your H is on his way. On top of that their more healed self has to be something like who they were (again you have said this about your H).

Once you get past this incredibly narrow path that must be thread THEN comes the big one: are we anywhere that we even want this? First have we healed ourselves? If we feel resentful, if we feel angry, if we are still talking about "truth darts" (or as I'd like to say truth Nerf darts as they will miss and bounce off anyway), if we are analyzing and "talking" about where they are, if we have trauma then the answer is we are not there, and this isn't going to happen.

IF we have really gotten there then comes the non-reactive part: do we even like or want to resume anything with this person? I mean even with no residual pain and anger or reaction, even from a calm and centered place, we just might not want to. I mean why would we? Trust is broken, and we were discarded. This is now the truth of our lives. As I tend to say to my therapist "if I am hit by a car and die the motivations, reasons and intent of the driver doesn't change the fact that I am dead." Some of you may understand what I mean.

And IF we get past THIS then its the last big one: DO I EVEN LIKE THIS PERSON? Not the mirage of what I knew, but the real person in the present.

Now I understand my lens is missing one huge part: having kids in common. There are many here with kids and they are very clear that the hope of having a family or good relationship for their sake has to come into it. And I am so in awe of that care of parents, who will put their kids needs ahead of most things. Where the kids are in no way in the middle of conflict, they are not paying a price, or being treated like pawns. And I was thinking earlier how it leads to having to sacrifice things for themselves that someone like me doesn't face.

But all of this must line up. And thank you again for the clear eyed and reality based information. It is hard to find.
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#126: May 26, 2021, 02:27:53 PM
Thank you, Martin, you made a very tidy summary of what reconnection and reconciliation could potentially entail. 

Quote
Once you get past this incredibly narrow path that must be thread THEN comes the big one: are we anywhere that we even want this? First have we healed ourselves? If we feel resentful, if we feel angry, if we are still talking about "truth darts" (or as I'd like to say truth Nerf darts as they will miss and bounce off anyway), if we are analyzing and "talking" about where they are, if we have trauma then the answer is we are not there, and this isn't going to happen.

If I may, I would like to add that those important points are relevant to all LBSs, regardless of one’s marital relationship status.  A kind of litmus test for healing and growth, and where our focus is.   

Truth darts. I am not a fan…. I fired off a few of them at H in the beginning but I quit the endeavour quite quickly because nothing good came out of them; it only made our relationship deteriorate even further, and I felt unkind, manipulative and arrogant afterwards.  I regret ever having come across the concept.  But that’s just me. 

About the kids:

One of the ‘advantages’ of having kids while dealing with a MLC situation is that they keep you from being self-absorbed.  They are hurting, feeling unmoored and bewildered.  You have no choice but stop feeling sorry for yourself, get off the floor and get busy looking after them — with lots of TLC, talks and hugs.
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#127: June 10, 2021, 10:59:56 AM
Good afternoon,

‘A Portal.’   

Yet another metaphor H employed to describe his crisis years. 

Funny, a bottle of wine between us produces jolly good conversations.  We’ve been doing this throughout our married life, bar those crisis years.

I find his descriptions of the ‘Portal’ thoroughly interesting.  It is also rather satisfying because they confirm my thoughts regarding this phenomenon we commonly call ‘MLC.’  Of course, it is always ‘sample of one’ and anecdotal!

I am going to paraphrase what he shared regarding the so-called ‘Portal.’ 

“When I had a meltdown, I was aware in my centre that I was entering a portal without punching in the destination or TOA.  That’s because there were too many of them to choose from and I had no idea which one I wanted.  So, it was a matter of ‘enter and find out.’ 

By the grace of God, I chose the exit that looped back to the entrance of the portal — to God, to you, and to our kids — and I feel so blessed.

There were so many different kinds of lifestyles, attitudes, people and jobs I could have picked while I was in that portal.  I’m deeply thankful for THIS final destination.”

We were both very emotional….

To hear from H that his crisis was like going through a Portal, which leads to numerous destinations, is quite startling.  That’s because it confirms what I’ve thought for a while — that some of us LBSs define the end of MLC according to our own narrow bandwidth. That ‘bandwidth,’ or ‘destination,’ can perhaps be summarized as ‘the reincarnation of MLCer as their former lovely selves, albeit more mature, zen-peaceful, and deeply committed to us, kids and marriage.’  When MLCers do not oblige and tune into that bandwidth, they are declared to be still in MLC.

Maybe, just maybe, it is beneficial for LBSs to widen that bandwidth (numerous destinations)  so that we learn to accept what is, quit waiting for the MLCer to tune into our frequency, and move right along and LIVE!  The kind of a person MLCer is now and the kind of life he is living, who knows, that just may be the destination they have chosen and arrived at, especially if they have been going at it for a while now.

In fact, better still, turn that ‘radio’ off altogether.  Personally, that was part of detachment and turning off the ‘expectation’ factory in my head. 

This has been difficult to write because of the fact that we are one of those rare reconciled couples — H chose that particular destination and I was willing.  However, I decided to write about H’s ‘portal’ metaphor because I strongly believe that it is beneficial for LBS to throw away the LBS-centric definition of the end of MLC so that she can live in full daylight without delusions, which is unfortunately often dressed up as ‘hope.’  I believe that applies to all of us, no matter the M outcome, because one can choose  to live now, today, well. 

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#128: June 10, 2021, 11:15:34 AM
As always thank you for sharing your experience, whether it fits "the narrative" or not.

This is interesting and it fits the fracture idea. Its not a journey, but a myriad of disassociations. I can imagine different facets would be drawn or could end up in different places. Also without a coherent whole, without a "center of gravity" of the psyche that we take for granted it has to feel like being like a leaf on the wind.

Its not a journey, its a whirlwind and who knows where and if it lands anywhere.
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#129: June 10, 2021, 11:24:37 AM
Thank you so much for this perspective and story, Acorn.

As D and I ready to move from where we were last together with h “as a family”, I’ve been acutely aware (and finally very much less pained) that h has been at his “new” life long enough now that it can’t be considered new or temporary anymore. It’s kind of come clear to me that the portal with many possible destinations or paths is what this is and always was, in our case, and that h has put down serious roots at the place where he landed. Which truthfully was where we always did mean to land; together, I thought. Not too long ago, his parents still held that I would go there too, after D graduates. But after a fairly loathsome pandemic experience, I don’t intend to, and I’m pretty well persuaded that h is never coming back. Partly because if it were me living his life, I wouldn’t. I know he’s worked hard to establish what he has there and that when I strive like that, you couldn’t pay me to walk away from it or “go backwards” or undo it.

Anyways. Just chiming in to say yes, this, I see it too. I’m grateful your h shares these insights with you and that you convey some of the key awareness to us here. Cheers, and (((HUGS))), and thank you.
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#130: June 10, 2021, 03:05:46 PM
Interesting discussion, and as always, food for thought. Some of the important lessons of the LBS journey are really highlighted here. First, the fact that there is no going back to what used to be. Even outside of crisis, that doesn’t happen. Time marches on, life happens to us, and ideally we also actively pursue our authentic paths - we seek joy, meaning, and connection. But even if we try to press the pause button, the months or years of life experience change is - and even if somehow they didn’t, we will seem different to the MLCer because his or her perspective will be different due to their life experience. Same with the marriage - just like the two individuals have evolved, so has the relationship. It’s not as simple as starting a new relationship, because the history - good and bad - can’t be erased. It becomes a part of your individual stories and a part of your marriage story. But - and this is the important part in my mind - MLC doesn’t and cannot be the defining characteristic of the individuals or of the relationship going forward.

A big part of what we learn is not to stage-watch the MLCer. And I think that’s the other important lesson here, and I’m not even sure it’s specific to MLC. We can’t ever really, completely know what is happening in another person’s heart, mind, or soul. We can only know what they choose to share, and that is filtered through the lens of how we perceive their trustworthiness. Knowing what the MLCer’s journey is, then, can only really be achieved when they choose to share something with us and when there is enough of a connection that we are able to receive and accept what they share. Until or unless that happens, whatever stage we tell ourselves they’re in is just a guess, just a story we’re telling ourselves. Better to focus on the things we can know - our own lives, our own hopes and dreams and fears and aspirations.

I’m not sure any of this amounts to anything more than just thinking “aloud,” but I do feel like even these analytical moments are helpful for me at least, to understand what I want today and tomorrow and in 20 years. So thank you for always providing your story. Sample of one, I know, but all samples of one are valuable.
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#131: June 11, 2021, 09:04:06 PM
Great discussion.

...Maybe, just maybe, it is beneficial for LBSs to widen that bandwidth (numerous destinations)  so that we learn to accept what is, quit waiting for the MLCer to tune into our frequency, and move right along and LIVE!  The kind of a person MLCer is now and the kind of life he is living, who knows, that just may be the destination they have chosen and arrived at, especially if they have been going at it for a while now.

In fact, better still, turn that ‘radio’ off altogether.  Personally, that was part of detachment and turning off the ‘expectation’ factory in my head. 

...I strongly believe that it is beneficial for LBS to throw away the LBS-centric definition of the end of MLC so that she can live in full daylight without delusions, which is unfortunately often dressed up as ‘hope.’  I believe that applies to all of us, no matter the M outcome, because one can choose  to live now, today, well. 

...This is interesting and it fits the fracture idea. Its not a journey, but a myriad of disassociations. I can imagine different facets would be drawn or could end up in different places. ...

...It’s kind of come clear to me that the portal with many possible destinations or paths is what this is and always was, in our case, and that h has put down serious roots at the place where he landed. ...

...Some of the important lessons of the LBS journey are really highlighted here. First, the fact that there is no going back to what used to be. Even outside of crisis, that doesn’t happen. Time marches on, life happens to us, and ideally we also actively pursue our authentic paths - we seek joy, meaning, and connection. But even if we try to press the pause button, the months or years of life experience change us - and even if somehow they didn’t, we will seem different to the MLCer because his or her perspective will be different due to their life experience. Same with the marriage - just like the two individuals have evolved, so has the relationship. It’s not as simple as starting a new relationship, because the history - good and bad - can’t be erased. It becomes a part of your individual stories and a part of your marriage story. But - and this is the important part in my mind - MLC doesn’t and cannot be the defining characteristic of the individuals or of the relationship going forward.

A big part of what we learn is not to stage-watch the MLCer. And I think that’s the other important lesson here, and I’m not even sure it’s specific to MLC. We can’t ever really, completely know what is happening in another person’s heart, mind, or soul. We can only know what they choose to share, and that is filtered through the lens of how we perceive their trustworthiness. Knowing what the MLCer’s journey is, then, can only really be achieved when they choose to share something with us and when there is enough of a connection that we are able to receive and accept what they share. Until or unless that happens, whatever stage we tell ourselves they’re in is just a guess, just a story we’re telling ourselves. Better to focus on the things we can know - our own lives, our own hopes and dreams and fears and aspirations. ...

Good stuff all, real good stuff.
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#132: June 11, 2021, 09:47:52 PM
Thank you for sharing that Acorn, a great insight  8)

I appreciate it.

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#133: June 12, 2021, 06:36:34 AM
Acorn -
Yes, as always, thank you so much for sharing the thoughts of your Husband during his crisis.
I am so happy for you two; that you are together and able to talk, be honest and open.
And that he did choose the path through the portal that took him back to you, the kids and God.
If only we had the ability to "dead end" those other paths for our wayward spouses...  but then it wouldn't be THEIR crisis, would it?
It's interesting that your H states that he "chose" the path that took him back, because I've always wondered if their journey was a path that they chose, or just their fractured-ness propelling them down one path of more destruction without a clear conscious choice.  It's difficult to think that someone would continue to choose such a painful path as no return. 
But -- as I said -- it's their journey, not ours.

Thanks again for posting.

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#134: June 21, 2021, 02:28:41 PM
Thank you, Marvin, Terra, Curiosity, FW, Standing and Sea, for reading and leaving your sage observations on this thread.  :)

Father’s Day. Yesterday was the first time H was not embarrassed about it since BD 6.5 years ago.  Though he was that proverbial ‘crazy uncle living upstairs’ with very little emotional connection to me or the kids in his crisis heydays, we nevertheless marked Father’s Day in some fashion.  After all, being in crisis does not cancel out the fact that he IS the father to our kids. 

All the kids came home yesterday (we are fully vaccinated) and we celebrated the occasion in style. Best of all, as each kid arrived at our house, they made a beeline for H, hugged him and said, ‘I love you, Dad.’  H could hardly speak and his eyes were full, moved by those 4 words that were spoken with so much feeling and sincerity, and for the first time since BD!  Healing and deepening of relationship continues….

MLC tornado leaves a long and wide trail of destruction.  If and when it’s gone, none of the destruction will be magically reverse-engineered to pre-tornado condition.  That’s no brainer.  The kids and I have had many a conversation about this obvious fact.  They learned to be quite realistic about the rebuilding process if it ever happened to them.  They had no delusion that it was going to be a walk in the park.

When H made some tentative steps to reconnect with the kids, rebuilding a meaningful father-children relationship seemed onerous, it not impossible.  But a thousand mile journey starts with one step, followed by another, and then another, and so on.  And, here we are. 

Looking back the last few years of father-children relationship rebuilding, the following points stand out:

— It takes time.

— Forgiveness is the central beam that other aspects of rebuilding process rest on.  Without forgiveness, the best anyone can achieve is truce.

— It requires humility in everyone involved — pride, self righteousness, moral superiority complex, and entitled attitude are relationship breakers, not builders. 

— Being greedy for big forward leap puts the rebuilding process in reverse gear. 
 
Our kids and I tried to put into practice (especially when interacting with H) what we have learned through Non Violent Communication, as Dr. Rosenberg has outlined.  The way I understand NVC, it centres on emptying our minds of blame, judgement or a sense of superiority in the areas of morality, character, etc., and shifting toward nurturing deep empathy for other human beings.  It’s a lifelong project and very few achieve perfection, I guess. That is no excuse for not trying, though. 

We are forever thankful to have come across this excellent way to interact with others.  My counsellor recommended the book ‘Nonviolent Communications’ after patiently listening through my long monologue of what I preached to H…  I have mentioned NVC several times.  I cannot emphasize enough how much impact it had on me.  And my kids.

“Nonviolent Communication shows us a way of being very honest, without any criticism, insults, or put-downs, and without any intellectual diagnosis implying wrongness.”
– Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD

For those who would like to have a peek at some quotes from Dr. Rosenberg without having to read the entire book:

https://www.nonviolentcommunication.com/resources/mbr-quotes/



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#135: June 21, 2021, 03:20:55 PM
Nice to hear your update, Acorn. Thank you for yet another excellent reading suggestion.
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#136: June 21, 2021, 03:39:42 PM
Excellent update, Acorn. I am so happy for you and your entire family for the connections you have created through all of this.

I purchased that book back in October, along with a few others. I started to read it then but, much like with codependency, I was skeptical about how much I related to it. “We never argue, how could our communication be violent?” “I’m completely capable of supporting myself financially and in terms of the practical business of running a household; I couldn’t possibly be codependent!” But like codependency, violence in communication can be insidious and doesn’t always show its harmfulness at surface level. Once you really get into the mirror work, through therapy, reading, talking, prayer, or whatever you need to do, though… well, in my case I found areas where I could do better. The nice thing about the website is that by pulling out select quotes that really get to the heart of the matter, it highlights some of those areas. I will definitely be reading the book with heightened awareness.
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#137: June 22, 2021, 08:50:04 AM
Thanks for the suggestion and for continuing to share your story Acorn.   You have been a very valuable resource to so many on here.  I am so happy for you and your H and family.  I know it has been a rough road to get where you are.  Wishing you continued happiness and healing.

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#138: June 22, 2021, 12:03:24 PM
Thank you, Nas, Curiosity and Roo!

But like codependency, violence in communication can be insidious and doesn’t always show its harmfulness at surface level. Once you really get into the mirror work, through therapy, reading, talking, prayer, or whatever you need to do, though… well, in my case I found areas where I could do better.

Excellent observations, Curiosity, and I heartily agree.

Violent communication is not what we quickly assume — shouting, aggressive and threatening way of speaking, silent treatment.  Violent Communication is indeed insidious and it is quite common in what you hear and read every single day — in the media, in conversations with family and friends, with your spouse.  And, yes, you even read about some instances of LBS communicating with MLCers via VC, right here on HS!  I used to be an enthusiastic practitioner of VC, especially in the early days after BD.  I got the gold medal and all that. :P  However, once my eyes were open to it, I could not un-see it.  Switching to Nonviolent Communication is not easy and I do struggle with it, though it’s getting better through being mindful of it and lots of practice.  The following is a summary I made from a college Nonviolent Communications lecture notes, if I remember correctly.

Common ways that violent communication occurs are through:

- Moralistic judgments and evaluations of others: lecturing, putting people down, labeling, insulting, criticizing, or diagnosing

- Denial of responsibility for our own feelings, thoughts, and actions: blaming our feelings, thoughts, and actions on others, our condition/diagnosis/personal or psychological history, or uncontrollable impulses (‘can’t help it’) instead of our own choices and needs.   

- Demands: implied or explicit threat of blame, ultimatums, punishment, or reward.

- Blocking compassion: revolving around intellectual understanding that leads to trying to “fix”a situation by providing feedback that advises, one-ups, shuts down, educates, corrects, explains, or interrogates a person.

If we speak ‘violently’ to others, they may do what we want by our inducing fear, guilt, shame, praise, blame, duty, obligation, punishment, or reward.
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#139: June 22, 2021, 12:59:39 PM
As always thank you for a great post. Reading it carefully I can see I am guilty of some of these. And I can also see how amazing it would be if we all develop the skills to hold our grounds, communicate but not use any of these tactics. Obviously this works best if BOTH sides can practice this….
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#140: June 23, 2021, 01:08:39 AM
Me too. Thanks for sharing your notes Acorn. I can see it came from a place of fear personally so I will try and have compassion for that too…NVC towards me  :)
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#141: June 23, 2021, 01:31:02 AM
What a useful link, Acorn!
Sigh....well, I think we have all done some of that at times, haven’t we? Holds hand up.

Interesting, I think, to muse on the difference in a situation where there is basically reciprocal good intent vs not so much. Different sensitivities or interpretation perhaps. Only bc....as a coach lol....I am often aware of the difference between ‘coaching language’ and IRL language for wont of a better term. For most of us it would be quite tiring to aspire to NVC all the time in all our relationships. And of course rather eggshell-y if we are doing it to create a given outcome with another person in which we are very invested.

But hey, a little more kindness and a little more grace in the world imho is a good thing. And if evolving how we use our words fosters a little more of that, worth a bit of trial and error  :)....as long as we don’t beat ourselves up too much about the error bit lol
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#142: June 23, 2021, 09:32:06 AM
Thank you for sharing your observations, Marvin, Hope and Treasur! 

We are all work in progress, aren’t we, as you all have alluded to.  As long as we continue to be self-reflective and willing to learn, we are doing fine, I’d say.  It only gets worrisome when one thinks he/she has got life all figured out and there is not much more to learn.  I have met people like that.  I kid you not. 

I think the message I tried to convey is that we continue to remind ourselves what it is to communicate compassionately, with empathy at its centre.  (Nonviolent Communication is also called Compassionate Communication.)  I should add that NVC is between people who are willing to communicate, with the hope of improving relationship.

In a situation where you are in distress, due to physical and/or emotional abuse, I’m of the opinion that there is very little communication to be had — except the absolutely necessary and official matters.  The appropriate course of action, I believe, would be distancing yourself from the source of abuse and seek professional help, such as your family physician, a well qualified counsellor, or lawyers (if needed).  It would be a grave mistake to continue the contact with the abuser in the mistaken belief that it’s paving the way, being the light, following the golden rule; or, because you are afraid that the simple act of self protection may drive the abuser away or lessen the chance of reunion in the future.  I believe at the top of LBS’s priority list is ‘practice self compassion by erecting very strong and strict boundaries.’

As far as the topic of NVC is concerned, I’m not sure we can explore the topic deeply in a forum setting.   I’d say it’s enough to introduce the topic and, who knows, one or two people may decide to dig deeper on their own.  That is my hope, anyway, because it helped me and my kids, especially in reconnection and reconciliation.   

To clarify:

There is no equivalency between ‘moralistic’ judgments and ‘value’ judgments.

“All of us make value judgments as to the qualities we value in life; for example, we might value honesty, freedom, or peace.

Moralistic judgments imply wrongness or badness on the part of people who don’t act in harmony with our values.”  - Dr. Rosenberg
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« Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 09:33:53 AM by Acorn »
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Re: Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#143: June 23, 2021, 09:42:12 AM
As always a great insight and distinction. I will share that due to my FOO I had been around a lot of judgement, and had developed their lens of "judging" everything and everyone. It was so strong I didn't know that I was doing it. It was almost an autonomous response.

During my primary therapy I started to realize how much judgement was shaping ALL my views and interactions. It was keeping me from connecting, seeing people, and was part of my "black and white" thinking which is such a common part of being in certain disordered families. So as part of letting go of that black and white thinking I committed to letting go of ALL judgement. Boy that took a while. But I discovered HOW MUCH it changes EVERYTHING. I was freer to see things, to be more flexible, to be more empathetic, and I no longer see success vs failure, winning vs losing, friend vs enemy. It was like blinders were taken off and I have more than 2 choices.

The next part is why I found your post so valuable. I actually talked through the idea that "well if I don't use judgement how do I make decisions? How do I protect myself?" And my therapist helped me differentiate between JUDGEMENT and EVALUATION. Which is what I read in your post (please correct me if I am wrong). She laughed at me and said something to the order of giving up judgement doesn't mean we accept everything and can't say "this is not ok." She helped me realize that I could evaluate without emotional reaction, figure out each person and situation more clearly, then make decisions from the evaluation.

It is such a much freer way to exist. And eventually I may come to the same conclusion about something or someone whether I use judgement or evaluation, but I know my decision will not be reactive, will be in the present, and will most likely serve me better when its from evaluation.
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« Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 09:46:45 AM by marvin4242 »
No Kids, 23 years at BD1 (4 years), married 21
First signs of MLC Jan '15
BD 1 Jan '17, BD 2 Mar, Separated Apr, BD 3 May,BD 4 Jun '18
First Sign of Waking up-Dec '17, First Cycle out of MLC Mar '18-Jun ‘18, Second cycle Jul '18-??
Meets OM Jan '17 and acts "in love," admits "in love" Jun '18, asks for divorce Jul '18

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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#144: June 23, 2021, 09:52:13 AM


As far as the topic of NVC is concerned, I’m not sure we can explore the topic deeply in a forum setting.   I’d say it’s enough to introduce the topic and, who knows, one or two people may decide to dig deeper on their own. 

This is what I took from your post on the subject, that it seems like a worthwhile personal endeavor to learn more about NVC, and it's applicable in all human interaction, be it in an intimate relationship, friendships, the work environment, etcetera.
No one communicates perfectly all the time.  I too saw pieces of myself in your list of NVC traits; likely we all did to some degree.  I tend to have preconceived judgments about certain things, and especially when it comes to myself.
But one thing we all crave is connection - so something that helps improve communication in all my interactions is definitely worth exploring.

I have the book on my wish list (along with others that you and others have recommended) and look forward to eventually grabbing a copy.

The next part is why I found your post so valuable. I actually talked through the idea that "well if I don't use judgement how do I make decisions? How do I protect myself?" And my therapist helped me differentiate between JUDGEMENT and EVALUATION. Which is what I read in your post (please correct me if I am wrong). She laughed at me and said something to the order of giving up judgement doesn't mean we accept everything and can't say "this is not ok." She helped me realize that I could evaluate without emotional reaction, figure out each person and situation more clearly, then make decisions from the evaluation.



Marvin, we were cross posting so I almost missed this, but it's a great point.  As someone who is preconditioned to evaluate my surroundings at all times, I have realized that sometimes it looks like judgment on my part when really it's self-preservation.  But sometimes I was judging and justifying myself by calling it evaluation, which was my own issue I had to learn to (and am still learning) to work through.

Very interesting distinction, thanks for bringing this up, guys.
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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#145: June 23, 2021, 10:43:23 AM
Judgment vs discernment for me, Marvin, same point, just different words.
Aka by my grandmother (insert Manchester accent if able) as ‘not being so open minded that your brains fall out’  :)
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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#146: June 23, 2021, 12:32:09 PM
This is so helpful - I think we often struggle with the swinging pendulum effect. For example, we learn to detach and to be independent… but if we get into a new relationship or reconnect, how do we find a way to form healthy attachment and interdependence? We learn to not blindly trust someone the way some of us did with our spouses… but we also need to be able to trust our own judgment and the people around us who are trustworthy. We learn to observe and to be aware without over analyzing and holding expectations. Similarly, we learn to not be judgmental but we still have to use appropriate “judgment,” and it helps to think of this as discernment or evaluation, as others have said here.

For my part, I have tended to veer back and forth between clinging and angry detachment, placing preconditions on any theoretical reconnection, even when said reconnection seemed miles away. I have had the belief that even if we reconnect, it’s not really a new relationship because we have this history. But putting it in perspective, letting the history be background and letting the current situation guide my words and actions… it’s been a recipe for so much more calm and happiness. Even having gotten out of the habit of structured meditation, it seems like the mindfulness, the ability to be present in the moment, is something that has come with the mirror work of all this. And the compassionate communication bit has really been at the heart of it. It has benefited my relationships with family, friends, and with myself too - the benefit to my relationship with my W is only a part of it.
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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#147: June 23, 2021, 04:24:49 PM
Just a personal note here Acorn, I purchased this is audiobook and listened to it in my 5 hours of driving today.  My sisters and I are dealing with aging parents and the issues that come a long with this.  Our Dad is Bipolar and we have decided to start "Courageous Conversations" with him when he is low and listening.  I led the conversation today and after listening to a lot of this book I tried some of the vocabulary out on my Dad.  What a difference our conversation made.  It was open and honest for the first time in years.  I have been starting to use some of the techniques proposed here on my H as well before I even knew they were techniques.  We are calmly talking now almost every conversation. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has interactions with anyone.  I am one of the ones described in the book who often have felt I didn't get my needs met in our relationship to keep the peace.  I am speaking up more and more with calmness and directness and identifying what my needs really are. 

Just passed this title to all of my sisters.  They were all super impressed on the difference the right language can make. 

Thanks again Acorn! 

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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#148: August 05, 2021, 12:23:25 PM
Thank you, Marvin, Nas, Treasur, Curiosity and Roo, for sharing your valuable insights.  Roo, I’m glad that you benefited from the book! 

…..

In order not to hijack Nas’s thread, I moved the following quote to my thread because the topic is very close to my heart.

Nas:

Quote
I keep saying I don't know how LBS with kids do it, and I think the most incredible strengths I see in other LBS is the way they teach their kids the importance of self-love and that love isn't just a feeling or a chemical reaction or something that just "happens," but in fact a deliberate action that requires one to first know and love and accept themselves and then know and love and accept someone else.

In my view, this is one of the most important goals of LBS parents — to continually and consistently show our children that they are precious, loved and cherished by us so that they learn by example how to love themselves and be able gift it to others. 

Through my ‘sample of one’ LBS experience, I have come to hold the view that if you have children, young and not so young, you really don’t have the luxury of time to turn inward and keep dwelling on our own misery at having been emotionally, physically or financially abandoned by MLCer.

Kids know intuitively when they are not receiving enough love and attention that they need and crave.  Imagine them feeling neglected or abandoned by both parents.  First the MLCer parent, and then the LBS parent!  I fear that might be a recipe for future MLCers.  After all, many MLCers seem to carry deep wounds from their childhoods (e.g. abuse, neglect, abandonment) which did erupt later as MLC.  Wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to protect your children from that?

Time is tickling along while we live with MLCer’s unacceptable behaviour (our children can SEE, HEAR and FEEL), supposing that it is just a ‘stage’ and MLCer will move along the prescribed path and come out sparkling clean. 

Meanwhile, these poor kids are accruing ‘bad’ childhood/teenagehood/young adulthood experiences which may have serious consequences for them now and later.  I have personally experienced this as I shared before.  My kids had to get some serious counselling for a long time because there was a lot of psychological damage… They still touch base with their counsellors twice a year just to make sure their mental health is in good shape. 

If I had to do my LBShood again (God forbid), I would have thrown up my boundaries against H’s disrespectful behaviour, gotten serious counselling to help me gain some mental equilibrium, and left my MLCer H to his crisis much, much earlier.

My take is:
 
Make yourself and the kids your priority.  Lovingly and devotedly look after the kids — they cannot redo their childhood/teenagehood/young adulthood. 

Sample of one! 
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« Last Edit: August 05, 2021, 01:31:26 PM by Acorn »
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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#149: August 05, 2021, 09:24:57 PM
Great advice, Acorn.
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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#150: August 06, 2021, 03:39:24 AM
Quote
If I had to do my LBShood again (God forbid), I would have thrown up my boundaries against H’s disrespectful behaviour, gotten serious counselling to help me gain some mental equilibrium, and left my MLCer H to his crisis much, much earlier.

Wish I could have taken this advise sooner. It can take a while to get there, but it truly is the best advise!!!
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#151: August 06, 2021, 04:00:36 AM
Hi Acorn!

Guess what?



It's time for a new thread!
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A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
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Rebuilding after Hurricane MLC
#152: August 06, 2021, 11:29:29 AM
Quote
If I had to do my LBShood again (God forbid), I would have thrown up my boundaries against H’s disrespectful behaviour, gotten serious counselling to help me gain some mental equilibrium, and left my MLCer H to his crisis much, much earlier.

Wish I could have taken this advise sooner. It can take a while to get there, but it truly is the best advise!!!

You can me both, Torn.  What’s done is done.  ‘Learn from the past and march forward’ is my motto! 

Oops, the Big Bear caught me! 

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