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Author Topic: Mirror-Work Paving the way and being a lighthouse. What does it mean for you?

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The lighthouse concept also made sense to me. It is a metaphor..here is one description that fits my own:

"When we are lost at sea and losing hope, it is the lighthouse in our life that brings us home. And when we see another in need of our support, care or guidance, we can shine a light to help guide them back home too."
...
Thank you for this interpretation, xyz.  This is why this metaphor is so hard for me, and maybe for other people. Lighthouses were created to serve as a navigational aid and to warn boats of dangerous area. That is hardly guiding anyone "home", it is guiding them away from the dangerous areas and of that we have absolutely no control with our MLCers. It's more like "See my light? Don't come this way."  The closest I can come is that we would really be the Lighthouse Keeper, the keeper of the beacon. When ships would run aground or wreck, the lighthouse keeper would be there to provide them with assistance and much-needed shelter. That makes far more sense to me.

Words and terminology matter.
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« Last Edit: February 04, 2021, 04:39:18 PM by OffRoad »
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This is really interesting Offroad for I never thought about what you stated...the lightouse is sometimes built to warn sailors to avoid a dangerous area but they are also build to help navigate to safe shores.


" Many years ago, people decided to explore the waters by boat. During the day they could find their way back to the landing place by looking for a pile of rocks that had been left there. Thesewere the first daymarks. But how could they find their way home at night? Since much of the shoreline looked very similar, friends had to light a bonfire on a high point to guide them to the right
landing area. Still later they used a pole or a tripod to hang a metal basket containing a fire as a method of signaling.
Our first lighthouses were actually given to us by Nature herself. Sailors sometimes used landmarks such as glowing volcanoes to guide them. In the Ancient World, trading ships were eventually built enabling navigators to sail long distances to buy and sell goods. In the days of wooden ships with sails, the wind and waves could easily push them against the rocks and wreck
them. And so, the need for lighthouses as warning signals arose.

Where are lighthouses located? They can be found in a variety of places, on rocky cliffs or
sandy shoals on land, on a wave swept reef in the sea, and at entrances to harbors and bays. They
serve to warn the sailor of dangerous reefs beneath the sea or perilous rocky coasts on land, and to
guide ships into a safe harbor or back out to sea. So the message of the lighthouse might be - STAY
AWAY, DANGER, BEWARE, or COME THIS WAY."

https://www.nps.gov/apis/learn/kidsyouth/upload/lightcurra.pdf

I have always though of a lighthouse as something that was safe. Interesting how the same image can mean such a different thing to people.

I even use a picture of a lighthouse as my avatar!

Thanks for pointing out the other side of this.
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« Last Edit: February 04, 2021, 05:11:56 PM by xyzcf »
"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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Such a good discussion.  Thank you all for the really great responses. 
I guess in the end we all come up with different ways we view this advice.  I know as a newbie I read and reread everything on here and on HB looking for how to get myself out of the nightmare.  This topic was always confusing to me.  I’m glad it’s here to help anyone new to interpret what these two things mean in their own situations.  When it comes right down to it the common theme of taking care of your emotional self first and foremost seems to be agreed by all. 

Off Road you make some very good points about being a lighthouse.  I too always envisioned a lighthouse beaconing people forward, when in fact it is a warning they are coming too close.   In this sense of the word I guess I have been a lighthouse at various times.  Lots of warnings to my H to stay away or he will find himself shipwrecked on a shore he doesn’t want to be on. 🙂

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To my newbie mind, ‘paving the way’ and ‘being the lighthouse’ implied that there was a beneficiary, the MLCer, and a goal, MLCer’s return.  That’s how I am going to get my MLCer back.  Goody!  Now, where is the manual for paving and lighthouse?   No wonder my fixing tendencies got a huge boost in the arm.  ::)

Xyzcf said:

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Don't make too much of those words "paving the way" or "being a lighthouse.”

To get to that it took time and a good dollop of detachment.  Perhaps newbies are naturally inclined to make a huge deal out of paving and lighthouse?  Vets here do say paving and lighthouse-ing can be effective early in MLC. However, isn’t that exactly when LBS is likely to be in a state fo deep trauma and she should be focussing on healing herself?  That’s why I wish I never read about paving and lighthouse at the beginning... 

It was vitally important for me to take my focus away from doing something — that’s the definition me doing Don Quixote’s sword routine — for H in order to make him turn back to me.  Redirecting all that mental energy toward living my each day meaningfully and reverting back to my authentic self was the only way forward for me.  I searched for my own personal meaning of Detachment and that’s where it was — to live each day well and to be my authentic self.  And leave my H to his crisis. 

Stepping away from proactive paving/lighthouse was when I could fully call upon my unconditional love for him and truly feel deep empathy for his anguish.  And try my best to practice the golden rule, to be an active listener, to rise above tit-for-tat, and to be kind.  That, in hindsight, was paving/lighthouse. 

Just one sample! 
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« Last Edit: February 05, 2021, 06:29:34 AM by Acorn »
Feb 2015: BD. 
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H never left home.

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Off Road you make some very good points about being a lighthouse.  I too always envisioned a lighthouse beaconing people forward, when in fact it is a warning they are coming too close.   In this sense of the word I guess I have been a lighthouse at various times.  Lots of warnings to my H to stay away or he will find himself shipwrecked on a shore he doesn’t want to be on. 🙂

This is an excellent point, OffRoad and Roo.

We often talk about clinging MLCers.  How about LBSs?  We can be annoying clingers or, worse, clinging fixers in MLCer’s view.  There are 1001 ways to cling onto MLCer.  Ahem, speaking from experience. 

I remember my H once declaring ‘Just. Leave. Me. Alone’ when I was asking too many questions and offering unsolicited advices on his mental health.  That was a lighthouse moment, as defined by OffRoad and Roo.   

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How about LBSs?  We can be annoying clingers or, worse, clinging fixers in MLCer’s view.  There are 1001 ways to cling onto MLCer.  Ahem, speaking from experience. 

🙋‍♀️  Guilty as charged for me as well.....
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I do think that information given to newbies has changed over the years with the focus on the LBSer, detachment, protecting yourself financially, setting boundaries and our own growth. I actually don't see the terms "paving the way" or being the "lighthouse" used at all anymore....am I wrong? Are people still advising newbies that there is anything they can do to change the trajectory of the crisis?

I also think we have learned that this is a very traumatic event and may require a different type of therapy than most have access to.

I remember years ago being told that the length of time I would grieve was equal to the number of months we were married or something like that. That did not turn out to be true for me or some other people I know.

What I don't see much of any more is discussion about MLC. That's ok, since we cannot do anything about their crisis the focus should be on how we can become healthy.

As I have said, our situations are very very different. Some have spouses who never leave the home, some have OW's that they move in with or marry, some have spouses who have been abusive......

My own situation was that he lived thousands of miles away from me with minimal interaction right from the beginning.

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To my newbie mind, ‘paving the way’ and ‘being the lighthouse’ implied that there was a beneficiary, the MLCer, and a goal, MLCer’s return.  That’s how I am going to get my MLCer back.

Newbies unfortunately will have to come to the realization that there is no "getting him back" but I do think that it is normal to be in this state of "what do I have to do so he/she will come home". To try and tell a newbie, to get them to understand that there is nothing you can do, well you can tell them but I don't think they would believe you. They are convinced that their situation is different, their love was "real" and there must be something to change things. That's what the "saving marriage" industry is all about. Here are the "techniques" to use to get your spouse to love you again.

I remember reading, that perhaps I wasn't taking enough care of my physical self, makeup, nails, hair, weight....that's why he left. GRRRRRRRRRRRR


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to be kind.  That, in hindsight, was paving/lighthouse.

As I said early, it's not complicated and it's not to get him/her to come back, although initially that often is what people are trying to do.

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I too always envisioned a lighthouse beaconing people forward, when in fact it is a warning they are coming too close. 


Roo I just want to reiterate that depending on where a lighthouse is placed, they can be there to navigate into a safe harbor or warn of a hazard. Perhaps it is like the discussion of whether the glass is half empty or half full. It all depends upon your perspective.

I do want to say that I am sorry and sad that these words caused so much pain for some of you. I just completed a course called "Trauma Informed yoga teacher training" and there was a great deal of emphasis on the meaning of words...for example asking students to go into a "pose" for a sexual abuse victim could be extremely triggering. So words, especially when we don't have the body language to go along with them will have different meanings for different people.

I often direct people to read RCR's articles because they helped me to understand what MLC was but I realize that in those articles there are many places that "suggest" there are things we can do to get them to come back home.

I think too, that happens when people post of their reconnections/reconciliations....people have tons of questions about what did you do, hoping perhaps that if they do the same things they will have the same result.
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« Last Edit: February 05, 2021, 06:53:54 AM by xyzcf »
"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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Hello,

This is an excellent topic and I completely agree that the terms used are vague and suggest solutions that will salvage the marriage and the MLCer. 

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That’s how I am going to get my MLCer back.  Goody!  Now, where is the manual for paving and lighthouse?   No wonder my fixing tendencies got a huge boost in the arm.  ::)

Are we related? That's was my very first inclination. I would be her lighthouse and I was prepared to pave a four lane freeway for her return. It wasn't that the articles warned against my very actions, but at that point, I desperately wanted to know that there was a chance to save the marriage and return my world back to normal. It gave me a false sense of control. It wasn't the forum or the advice, it was my selective reading and interpretations of what I read.

I would also say that "being" and "paving" are action words that go against detachment and leads to further confusion. If anything, we need to prioritize detachment and self-healing first. Both are actions, but both are in the area of control of the LBSer and put them in a better place and position to deal with the MLCer. I know we preach the gift of time, but wasting time trying to be your MLCer's lighthouse when they are destroying all of your finances and leaving the LBSer is poor advice and to the detriment of the LBSer.

Instead, the first steps should be protect your finances, and heal yourself. Lighthouses and paving and validation are all way down the road. If bomb drop is the proverbial "being run over by the bus" than the first thing the LBser should focus on is to get off the road so they are not run over again. All of our advice and support to newbies should be empathy to their situation, and steps to self-recovery from bomb drop. Once the LBSer has made some recovery from their trauma, assessed the new world they are in, then they can make sound decisions regarding standing and standing actions.

The final part is something that has taken years to understand and was actually written by RCR. Being the "Lighthouse" and "Paving the way" are not direct actions by the LBSer to control the situation, but to influence the MLCer. Yes, the lighthouse warns boats of danger and can be seen as a beacon to safety. But ultimately the sailors must do the work to sail the ship. Even with the lighthouse, the ship can still end up on the rocks. Paving the way means the LBSer moves ahead and breaks new ground. In the end, the LBSer will be at a new place, but the MLCer still needs to do the work and  it is up to them to choose to follow. In both cases, the LBSer influences but does not fix or control the MLCer. It is hard to differentiate between the two, but it is important to note.

Have an amazing weekend and be good to yourself,

(((((Ready)))))



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Awesome ready!!!!

You explain it so well.
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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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Such an interesting discussion and one that I hope saves a few newbies reading along and currently reeling in shock from opening themselves up to more damage.

Funnily enough, the lighthouse was actually a powerful metaphor for me.
But FOR me. Not for my then h.
In fact it was so important that I literally ran away to my first rental house with a lighthouse at the end of the garden lol.

It was about finding safer ground, I think. And, as a person of faith, it felt like a reminder to turn my head towards the light at a time when I felt surrounded and swamped by darkness. I was really very lost at the time, very afraid, and I think it helped me to try not to let the darkness swallow me, not to behave in ways that would diminish me as a person even if it was understandable that I might feel that way. I didn't always succeed lol...but I tried hard and now, all these years later, while I may have done things that were unwise or that extended my suffering perhaps, I never did anything that would leave me feeling ashamed. I did my best to behave like a decent kind of human. Which may not have been enough for my xh, but it is good enough for me.  :)

The lighthouse became a metaphor for direction, I think, a kind of hope that there was a place of light even if it felt impossible to get there from where I was at the time  :) Nothing to do with my h or my marriage at all.
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« Last Edit: February 05, 2021, 07:34:46 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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