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OP: December 07, 2023, 09:25:00 PM
Previous thread: https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11938.0

An 11-minute video on emotional detachment that may provide some additional perspective for people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VMDiAMd_bU

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« Last Edit: January 30, 2024, 04:48:54 PM by Thunder »
Everything has a beginning and an end. Life is just a cycle of stops and starts. They're ends we don't desire, but they're inevitable and we have to face them. That's what being human is all about.  -Jet Black, Cowboy Bebop

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#1: December 08, 2023, 10:35:22 AM
Good video, JB. It is very connected to what I've shared on observing your emotions and attachment as an expression of the ego.
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#2: December 10, 2023, 12:40:46 PM
Just thought I would share this since it came up on another thread.

https://psychcentral.com/health/ambiguous-grief#looking-ahead
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#3: December 16, 2023, 10:28:35 AM
I don't want to oversell this guy (same as previous video I linked), but I thought this was an interesting presentation on assessing emotions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSNBgLz3IJA

(The presenter is generally male-oriented, but much of his content is applicable to anyone.) I found this one especially interesting because he used "the guilt of saying no" as an example. The woman I was dating over the summer asked me on a trip. It was kind of interesting but not a way I wanted to spend that amount of time. I felt guilty saying "no," even though I knew there was no reason to feel that way. It was a boundary, not a broken commitment. She later asked if I said "no" because I didn't want to go, or if it was her. I'm sure some of the latter played into it, as I think I felt this question coming, and felt this was moving faster than I was comfortable with. (We had taken overnight trips prior, so the specific venue was relevant.) This wasn't always the case, as I could say no to my wife when we were married, although I didn't often have to, presumably because we knew each other long enough to know what each other would like, or understood the give-and-take of a relationship.
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Everything has a beginning and an end. Life is just a cycle of stops and starts. They're ends we don't desire, but they're inevitable and we have to face them. That's what being human is all about.  -Jet Black, Cowboy Bebop

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#4: December 20, 2023, 05:17:41 AM
As we often speak about 'masks' and 'core person' and trauma for both us and the MLC, I found this really instructive.

https://eggshelltherapy.com/a-split-in-our-personality/
Trauma Splitting, Structural Dissociation and The Highly Sensitive Empaths

This is in the context of 'highly sensitive empaths' (HSP in childhood specifically), but it still holds generally. The section on Schemas is also excellent.
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#5: December 30, 2023, 03:48:53 AM
Why the New Year Can Trigger Anxiety for Many People
https://www.theswaddle.com/why-the-new-year-can-trigger-anxiety-for-many-people

“A New Year is a reminder that the future is coming and change is imminent.”

I could add a long post here about change and why it’s often great except in certain circumstances and under certain conditions…But I’ll just leave the article. I think it’s interesting and probably relevant for others….

🎶 https://youtu.be/4KeII31qyck
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#6: December 30, 2023, 04:34:45 PM
The title is not quite accurate, but interesting read:
https://psyche.co/ideas/trees-dont-rush-to-heal-from-trauma-and-neither-should-we

“To remain alive, some paths have to be closed and new possibilities pursued…”

🎶 https://youtu.be/PDVzELTbHPg?si=Owz19eqzlWenlINJ
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« Last Edit: December 30, 2023, 04:45:49 PM by Nas »
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#7: December 31, 2023, 07:21:45 AM
Some wise words from my yoga teacher as she set an intention at the beginning of class yesterday.

She said that she was telling her therapist that life isn't fair. He suggested that she change her mind to thinking "it is what it is". She responded "so if my house is burning down, I just sit there and think it is what it is". He responded, of course not. You get your family and pets out, find a safe place away from the fire. You have done your best and the rest "is what it is".

Reflecting on this brought me to what I call "acceptance" as I don't particularly like the phrase "it is what it is".....she emphasized..."you have done your best"......letting go of everything else that is out of our control.

Happy New Year all!
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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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#8: December 31, 2023, 09:57:44 AM
I watched the movie  May December on Netflix yesterday. It’s based on the true story of the teacher who “fell in love“ with her seventh grade student and ultimately married him after serving time in jail. I love Todd Haynes and had high hopes. It wasn’t great, but two things about it made it worth watching for me:
 1) Julianne Moore is fabulous at portraying the little subtle tells that identify a true narcissist. She spends most of the movie with a slightly perturbed look on her face. You can tell everything is viewed through a lens of how it makes her feel. Smallish inconveniences become magnified for her and little life disappointments reduce her to tears. The everyday uncontrollable annoyances of life, what most of us would ignore or brush off as an almost imperceptible level of like truly subsecond discomfort, are unacceptable - offensive even - to her.
I can look back and see this in my husband so clearly now but when I was living it, it all just seemed “normal“ - or rather, it went unnoticed, it was just such a part of him and a part of life. It just was. I always think it’s interesting to watch movies like this, especially for LBS who question whether their spouse was always a narcissist. Narcissists don’t arrive wrapped in a red flag. They aren’t flagrantly cruel or openly controlling. In fact, you often believe you are equal partners, or even that you have control, and that you have complete freedom. It’s part of the insidious nature, there are things like the outsized reactions to tiny inconveniences that you accept as part of them, not realizing the layers that behavior contains in terms of control, self-absorption, intolerance, etc, and all along the way, it’s the cumulative nature of little things and a slow, very subtle conditioning, a highly skillful coercive control disguised as “caring” and “connection,” until you find yourself one day years down the road in an abusive dynamic you never saw coming. The analogy of the frog slowly being boiled to death in hot water is totally apt. You. Don’t. See. It. Coming. But the shame and humiliation of realizing that you were so fooled is not a feeling I would wish on anyone. That’s why the discard puts you so off balance.

And 2) the unresolved (and long buried and unrecognized) trauma of the husband, who was 13 when the relationship began, is really  interesting and heartbreaking to watch unfold. I can’t really say much without giving away plot points. But it struck me that as he began to recognize the trauma he had endured, he sought understanding and help from the very person who had caused it, and of course she could not provide him with what he would need to heal. Many LBS can identify with this to some extent, with spouses or FOO or both.

Anyway just thought I would share. I could barely watch TV as a newbie, but as time went on, I sort of found comfort in fictional representations of the dysfunction. It was another level of feeling less alone, in the same way posting here and hearing stories of others is comforting.

Another show that really comforted me once I was out of the super painful part of my LBS journey was a show called The Affair (starring Dominic West and Maura Tierney) which IMO starts out strong and then falters in later seasons, but is a really interesting depiction of a man in midlife crisis.

I definitely found that I saw everything differently after this experience, even in various forms of entertainment.

🎶 https://youtu.be/sBW8Vnp8BzU
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#9: December 31, 2023, 11:53:16 AM
I agree that it changes watching movies and things in real life. I've watched/heard about at least three instances where the spouse had the OW over to the house, ate at the table with what W so that the W wouldn't suspect an affair since why would someone do that? That was an interesting twist I hadn't seen before. Two of those instances, the spouse had sex with the OW in the marital home, and in one occasion, in the living room while the W was asleep in the bedroom. Unbelievable.

Before I would have thought, well there must be terrible problems at home, how would the W not know, etc etc. All that stuff we used to believe. And all 3 Ws, when they told me this, were blaming themselves--at least at first until they had some time to heal, get on their feet and see things more clearly.
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#10: December 31, 2023, 01:46:21 PM
Question for the vets:

If you could send ONE of Hearts Blessing’s articles to family, that would explain MLC in a nutshell, which piece of writing would you recommend?

A lot of them get religious and complicated and I suspect it will go right over a newbies head. 

Any ideas?  TY. 
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#11: December 31, 2023, 02:13:56 PM
I think I would first advise you to take a step back and be truly radically honest with yourself about why you feel the need to send an article to family in the first place. If you are trying to rally support, that support should simply come from the fact that you need support. They don’t need to know what you think is possibly going on with your wife, unless you are secretly hoping they will read it, completely buy into the idea of MLC as a diagnosable mental health disorder and try to intervene. If that’s the case, I see nothing good coming of that but the potential to go sideways is pretty high. More than likely, you will be disappointed that they don’t see the same things in your wife that you see. And even if they do, any intervention from them would likely push your wife away even further.

This is a really painful and really unfair thing that is happening, WHY, and I’m sorry it’s happening, but it is happening and it cannot be stopped. If your wife is in crisis, she needs to go through it on her own. The only thing you can do is accept the reality of what is happening now, live as if she’s not coming back, and if you choose to, keep hope for her healing and the possibility of reconnecting with her in the future.
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#12: December 31, 2023, 03:51:00 PM
WHY........I agree with NAS, but I will add on a separate note that nothing Heart's Blessing writes is in a nutshell. great writing, please do not misunderstand, but nothing close to being concise imo.

I like the following links myself, on top of content here and HB. They were helpful to me in early goings but only for ME and no one else associated with my marriage.Helped me whenever I felt a huge amount of guilt or responsibility for my circumstances. There is a lot of people on here that say it wouldn't matter what I have done, this would have happened anyway. I don't know I can ever think that, as I prefer to learn from my mistakes even if it means taking a little too much blame, as long as it makes me better.

Hoping these help.....big caution: I do not know what research or the credentials held by the authors..... big consideration should be paid to that in taking their words as truth.....


https://www.goodpsychology.net/blog/is-a-midlife-crisis-destroying-your-marriage
https://www.guystuffcounseling.com/counseling-men-blog/unraveling-the-confusing-stages-of-midlife-crisis
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#13: January 02, 2024, 06:08:22 AM
https://psyche.co/ideas/theres-a-reason-some-of-us-find-it-easier-to-change-than-others

“In the rare cases where an individual’s personality consistency changes, this likely reflects the influence of the environment (which usually increases stability) or stochastic factors (which reduce it). Thus, how stable you are is a byproduct of your own disposition (a quality you carry within yourself), your environment and the life experiences you’ve accumulated thus far. It is likely that all three processes co-exist within each individual’s life – but it is the certain combination of them and their influence on an individual that results in their own unique level of personality stability and the changes in it across time.”

🎶 https://youtu.be/sHPl35Sty10
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#14: January 08, 2024, 06:09:33 PM
https://psyche.co/guides/how-to-face-uncertain-situations-and-embrace-opportunity

“Uncertainty is a universal human predicament: ‘the future’s not ours to see’, as a song once put it. While people often feel pretty certain about many things – including the sense that the rhythms of daily life will continue on as usual – each of us inevitably confronts situations in which the lack of certainty is obvious, and faces the displeasure of not knowing what will happen next.”

When I read this, I immediately thought this is kind of what happens at bomb drop. Most of us are just kind of chugging along in life, fairly certain about what our lives are and that they will continue as usual and then, boom, everything changes all at once.

BD shatters the illusion of certainty that we have fallen into during long marriages. We are certain that marriage is an unalterable state. We are certain that routines will stay in place, daily life will be somewhat predictable, joys will be shared, arguments will be resolved, decisions will be made jointly.

***

“It seems that people who have had bad past experiences – such as being abused in childhood, or feeling abandoned or not cared for – tend to be more pessimistic and respond more negatively to uncertain situations. By contrast, people who remember having a positive childhood tend to be more optimistic, and respond more positively to uncertain situations. The research suggests that a person’s long-term history can be temporarily counterbalanced by more recent events (eg, positive events might lead to a boost in optimism), but that one usually returns to the baseline level of optimism or pessimism.”

I think this is true because when something positive happens, it does open up the possibility for me to look more optimistically at a potential future of some sort. I would think that a sustained uptick in positive events would keep that optimism going, but as soon as life goes back to its baseline difficulty, optimism starts to fall away also.

But it’s interesting because in really looking honestly at the totality of my life, despite the trauma, I was not averse to uncertainty - it was all I really knew. I couldn’t even conceptualize anything else. But as long as I had a base level of stability, I’ve generally embraced some degree of uncertainty. My former H was rigid, unbending. I’m far from set in my ways; in fact, I’m very open to possibilities. I don’t need to know exactly what’s coming next. I like change, actually. I like to be surprised. I like being open to risks even if they don’t work out. But I also need to feel like whatever changes, I’ll have a safe place from which to either revel in the change or regroup from it. Call it controlled spontaneity, the ability to embrace change with the knowledge that if it doesn’t work out, total destruction isn’t imminent, you have what you need to recover. That doesn’t mean that when change occurs, you are unaffected. It means that the damage, the heartbreak, the loss, the grieving, they all still exist and they still have to be felt and processed, but they’re processed from a stable platform and, imo, have a real possibility of taking you to whole new places you never imagined, and that can eventually turn change from unwanted and scary to exciting and revelatory.

🎶 https://youtu.be/nXsZfu24MDs
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« Last Edit: January 08, 2024, 06:14:35 PM by Nas »
“The desire to be loved is the last illusion. Give it up and you will be free.” ~Margaret Atwood

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#15: January 10, 2024, 06:06:34 AM
This article on grief and loss specifically addresses the fight/flight/freeze response.....it is reassuring to me that the physiologial symptoms that follow trauma are recognized and is part of our body's coping mechanism...albeit not always helpful when they get turned on too long. She addresses triggers and how the brain processes things and gives practical suggestions as well as reinforcing what we know about exercising, yoga and other practices that bring the body to a more peaceful place. She also mentions how you cannot avoid the feelings that you have.

Although this was written from "the holidays" that we just went through, we have seen many here write about how difficult that is. The information pertains to  anytime as our loss and grief are very real all year round.

https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/29/health/grief-how-to-cope-wellness/index.html


End of the hour. A therapist's memoir by Megan Riordan Jarvis

"What happens when a trauma therapist is traumatized by loss? Esteemed trauma therapist Meghan Riordan Jarvis knew how to help her patients process grief. For nearly twenty years, Meghan expected that this clinical training would inoculate her against the effects of personal trauma. But when her father died after a year-long battle with cancer, followed by her mother’s unexpected passing while on their family vacation, she came undone. Thrown into a maelstrom of grief, with long-buried childhood tragedy rising to the surface, Meghan knew what she had to do―check herself into the same trauma facility to which she often sent her clients. In treatment, trading the therapist’s chair for the patient’s couch, Meghan took her first steps toward healing. A brave story of confronting life’s hardest moments with emotional honesty, End of the Hour is for anyone who has experienced the unpredictable, lasting power of grief―and wondered how they’d ever get through it."
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« Last Edit: January 10, 2024, 06:10:14 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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#16: January 18, 2024, 05:27:42 PM
https://psyche.co/ideas/why-is-there-such-a-thing-as-true-love-but-not-true-grump

Maybe this is just my decidedly opposite of rose colored view of the world, but I think people’s capacity to lie to themselves is staggering. And so deep rooted they don’t even know they are doing it. So if a person can’t even admit to themselves that the emotion they feel is a projection or justification for something they really want to do, how can they actually process their emotions in an honest way?

This article has layers for me, and spurred some deep thoughts, but I’ll leave it here for you to read and get your own takeaways. IMO it’s very interesting to muse on…

🎶 https://youtu.be/aMnaa__JZbU
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#17: January 20, 2024, 09:48:04 AM
On another posters thread, a relatively new person to MLC, it was mentioned to try and recognize the moments that occur when you feel at peace. In recognizing them, they start to add up, indeed, you may be able to create such moments and as you become more aware of this feeling, start to right yourself through this storm.

A turning point for me was recognizing that I did not feel joy. I knew what joy was supposed to feel like, but I couldn't feel it..and I very much wanted to.

In today's yoga class, the teacher read the following poem which I think expresses how we can open ourselves to joy even when life in the midst of pain.

JOY CHOSE YOU

Joy does not arrive with a fanfare,
on a red carpet strewn with the flowers of a perfect life.

Joy sneaks in, as you pour a cup of coffee,
watching the sun hit your favourite tree, just right.

And you usher joy away,
because you are not ready for it.
Your house is not as it must be,
for such a distinguished guest.

But joy cares nothing for your messy home,
or your bank-balance,
or your waistline, you see.

Joy is supposed to slither through the cracks of your imperfect life,
that’s how joy works.

You cannot invite her, you can only be ready when she appears.

And hug her with meaning,

because in this very moment,

joy chose you.

By: Donna Ashworth
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« Last Edit: January 20, 2024, 09:49:43 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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#18: January 20, 2024, 09:54:35 PM
Lovely poem XY.  It was wonderful when I discovered joy again, despite the pain and the hardships.  That's the thing about joy, as opposed to happiness.  Joy comes in spite of pain and sorrow.
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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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#19: January 22, 2024, 03:00:07 PM
I find this woman extremely in touch with components of MLC.  She covers limerance too.  It's mind blowing.

I feel that toxic shame is exactly what my W feels right now.  Maybe it was there in the past, but not all of it lines up and Im not certain.  But in replay, oh hell yes, it's clearly there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y47iJrbO2ug
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#20: January 22, 2024, 04:01:49 PM
That explains the mask, the anxiety, the addictions, the lack of true intimacy and the good guy persona vs the guy. Thank you.
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#21: January 24, 2024, 02:11:58 PM
I watched RCR's latest vid and she mentioned 10% of adults go through midlife crisis.  I've seen this 10-12% figure cited in multiple places.

But it got me thinking.  If 10% of people go through MLC, that means 20% of all marriages go through MLC.  And we know that most MLC situations end up in divorce (I dont know the exact statistic but I've heard RCR mention 50%+).

So taking into account that 50% of marriages end up in divorce in the US.  That leads me to believe that probably 15%+ of that 50% divorce rate is due to MLC. 

That's a pretty big cause of peoples lives being destroyed, children being damaged etc.  Why isnt MLC recognized as a public health issue???

EDIT: Holy smokes I just found this, "Just 4% of couples divorce after 10 years of marriage." https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/divorce/common-causes-divorce/

What does this mean Re: MLC???  I bet 99% of that 4% is due to MLC if 20% of marriages are affected by MLC.  But does that mean reconciliation rates are much higher than we think?
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#22: January 24, 2024, 02:20:29 PM
But it got me thinking.  If 10% of people go through MLC, that means 20% of all marriages go through MLC. 

Not everyone is married or in a partnership though WHY
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#23: January 24, 2024, 02:36:22 PM
But it got me thinking.  If 10% of people go through MLC, that means 20% of all marriages go through MLC. 

Not everyone is married or in a partnership though WHY

Good point. 

It's clear to me though that a larger % of divorces in later years are due to MLC.  Probably much higher than we think.

https://www.reddit.com/media?url=https%3A%2F%2Fi.redd.it%2Ftmht2gj51ua51.jpg
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#24: January 27, 2024, 04:37:18 AM
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BD 1/15/ 10 then BD 8/21/10
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#25: January 27, 2024, 12:18:46 PM
Limerence article from nytimes today

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/27/style/limerence-addiction-love-crush.html?unlocked_article_code=1.Q00.4Kit.aAuskKEwOydB&smid=url-share

This is a good one. I really believe that BD throws us into our own limerence (I'm sure there's a clinical reason for this), with a tendency to idealize our spouses and overly ruminate on them in a way that we never did before. Acknowledging that this is just our brains trying to prepare and protect us from more BDs and trauma, and using some of the techniques these sorts of articles suggest really does help, over time, in returning to our healthier selves.
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#26: January 28, 2024, 11:07:23 PM
RTT, that was really interesting to read. I know it is describing the MLCer and OW/OM, but I also think it can describe the LBS and MLCer. It definitely sounds like an addiction.

During the worst of the emotional part for me, I read about addiction and healing from addiction because I recognized that I had patterns that felt like an addict--my mind was always going back to him, I couldn't focus, restlessness since I wasn't getting my fix, the rollercoaster of emotions, etc. I'm not saying that there wasn't good reason for my response since we had been married almost 30 years. I'm saying that my response, the yearnings, the complete focus of my mind, felt like I what I've read about addiction.

That is why the MLCer rollercoaster was so very hard for me be attached to and I needed to detach from that and find my own footing.

Quote
Dr. Brewer added, “Dopamine is jet fuel. It’s what gets us motivated to do something” — even if doing something only means anticipating. The uncertainty, or intermittent reinforcement, of the occasional message from the LO keeps our brains hooked. “It’s gasoline poured on the fire,” said Dr. Brewer. We begin to mistake anxiety for excitement and excitement for joy.
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#27: January 29, 2024, 07:06:50 AM
Very good article. I think this is why I have found yoga and golf helpful...for when doing those things, my mind is quieted and my focus is on the "practice".

I remember being consumed by thoughts of him all the time. It was exhausting.

The memories do come back, how can they not and I dream of him which is pretty well out of my control.

Being aware of my response and flipping it helps. So rather than recoiling from a memory, I embrace it as the good time it once was.

My understanding of EMDR (which I have not done) is that it separates the emotion/feeling of the memory or thought from the event. So the memory is still there but not the intense feelings that are experienced when a "trigger" hits.

I wonder if some of the psychedelics that are being used therapeutically do something similar in the brain?

Thanks for sharing.
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#28: January 29, 2024, 08:14:37 AM
While I like the article, I did notice these gems:

“There’s a fair amount of mental time travel,” said Dr. Poerio, who asked survey respondents to write descriptions of these fantasies. “It’s often not romantic or sexual in nature. It is very much about wanting to feel loved and cared for.”

If the trigger is loneliness or boredom, for example, the resulting behavior is anticipating reciprocity from the LO, added Dr. Brewer.

So if I had to share this article with my MLCer, she’d say “exactly!”  You never loved or cared for me.  You made me feel lonely because you weren’t there for me etc etc. 

So while this is not true.  This article states these are the triggers. No mention of childhood attachment wounds which make some people experience limerance in the first place…..

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#29: January 29, 2024, 03:01:55 PM
It's complicated, since that won't be the catalyst for everyone, but I hear you. But in the MLC/limerent mind, they'll paint their content marriage as "boring" once they have all of these neurotransmitters and hormones activated by the limerence. And it could be that low testosterone or low estrogen may be numbing them to everything around them (not just us), and therefore we "feel" boring. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. ;) They want excitement for whatever reason, and their brains find it in the easiest way possible, i.e. the obsession with the rando that's infiltrating our lives.
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#30: February 01, 2024, 01:27:47 PM
This is a really interesting article about healthy versus unhealthy coping styles. With a great set of illustrations.

It may be reaffirming to many of us here that our responses and ways of coping are pretty good, despite it all - something to be grateful for.

https://positivepsychology.com/unhealthy-coping-mechanisms/
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#31: February 03, 2024, 02:00:37 PM
Why are there so few reconciliation stories. Or stories where the MLCer wanted to come back but LBS had moved on?

Our belief is that vast the majority of MLCers don’t find happiness and hit some sort of rock bottom and want their old life back. But some don’t do the work and never return, but at least wanted their old life back.  Some keep running for the rest of their lives and never hit rock bottom.  Some hit rock bottom but never find the courage to rebuild. 

And then of course there’s the LBS.  who may have moved on.  Or not willing to reconcile. 

That said, how come there aren’t more ”attempted return” stories.  Or LBS stories where the MLCer wanted to come back but LBS said no. 

Is the truth that most of the MLCers never try to find their way back home?
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#32: February 04, 2024, 01:54:50 PM
That's a toughie to get data on. A quick Google has separations in general (probably including some MLC) with a 15% reconciliation rate, and remarriage after divorce in general (also probably including some MLC) with a 6% rate. Not high numbers, but not non-existent.

If you look at the cumulative, very non-scientific sample here on HS, the odds aren't good. When I came here in 2012, there were far fewer posters, and many more reconciliations. But...the site had not been around for long, and most MLCs looked to last under 5 years (3 was really the average, from what I gathered, at that time). Some of those reconciliation stories from that time ended up breaking up again, so to me, it's all far more complicated than the tunnel story would initially have us believe.

Most reconciliations do seem to happen earlier on. The people who have long-term relationships with their former spouses (ie they weren't vanishers) seem to have formed new friendship-type relationships. Those are transformations of sorts, even if they're not the ones people were standing for. Those have never really been tracked here (maybe they should be? It's not discouraging to think that someday you could have a friendship again).

But, and this is not to be Debbie Downer, it really doesn't seem like it's a matter of people reconciling and then just never coming back to the forum (something else we've thrown around through the years). There could be those random cases, but in general, most old timers who were regular posters usually check back in at some point, and most of the news is usually more of the same, with their MLCers still lost out there in the mist.

It's so sad that this happened to any of us. But I want to be encouraging in a different regard. I used to spend every spare minute looking for returns, data, or any info that would keep me in there for my former spouse. And now, it never crosses my mind. Full acceptance, and it feels good. I have my life back. So even if they never get out of MLC, it's possible for *us* to get out of MLC.

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#33: February 05, 2024, 02:50:26 PM
That's a toughie to get data on. A quick Google has separations in general (probably including some MLC) with a 15% reconciliation rate, and remarriage after divorce in general (also probably including some MLC) with a 6% rate. Not high numbers, but not non-existent.

I actually found the same on Google.  Which makes me think that standing is basically pointless.  1 in 20 Ds remarry?  It's probably best to accept the reality of the situation and move on & rebuild as best you can. 

The recovered MLCers stories all say that LBS moving on was the best thing they could have done.  Perhaps its best to think about standing as LBS healing until we're strong enough to move on VS hanging on for your MLCer to return.     
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#34: February 05, 2024, 03:25:37 PM
The recovered MLCers stories all say that LBS moving on was the best thing they could have done.  Perhaps its best to think about standing as LBS healing until we're strong enough to move on VS hanging on for your MLCer to return.     

I don't remember reading differently. No one said I should "move on" but all of the advice I received was about strengthening myself. I remember explicitly seeing that the best thing for my relationship was to become strong.

I personally don't think I would have listened to any advice that required me to drop my (now) ex-wife. I was too surprised, confused, scared, and hurting to think that this could be more than a misunderstanding to be weathered and smoothed out. Those first steps towards detachment almost felt like a betrayal, and I am glad that those offering the advice were as gentle and understanding of my state of mind.

I agree that accepting reality as clearly as we're able is the path towards caring effectively for ourselves. I also remember that when the bomb blasted off my skin that I was not in the most rational frame of mind. Once my skin grew back (S L O W L Y), I was more able to navigate the situation as it developed. I am grateful for the wisdom given to me by those further up ahead. My own philosophy is to meet people where they're at and help them through this to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. It is their life, their choice. Strengthening themselves FOR their partner also happens to be the best way that I know of for them to strengthen themselves for themselves.
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#35: February 08, 2024, 01:35:03 PM
For people who think that their MLC spouse had a narcissistic parent, I found this article really interesting - the processes of mourning involved in having a NPD parent seems to map somewhat to what is seen in MLC. The whole article is really good

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/lifetime-connections/202302/grieving-twice-adult-children-of-narcissistic-parents

but I am cutting and pasting two sections in the main body, because I think the 'Yearning and Searching' is probably when our spouses were attracted to us, if we came from a secure family unit. And the Despair and Disorganisation sounds quite a bit like MLC.  If we consider that the trigger is often the death or illness of the parent, it makes sense. It's one of the first articles I have read that frames it so well.

Yearning and Searching
As the child matures, they may learn how different their own family dynamics were from others and experience a sense of belonging within these other spaces. Yearning and searching are the activities of the second phase of grief and children of narcissists may be hungry for a “normal” family, where each person is seen for who they are and where family members function interdependently, not codependently. Other adolescent or adult children of narcissists may not have access to these same safe spaces to find a sense of normality and may just experience an aching yearning for things to be different. Narcissists work to fill the void inside themselves, and their children may experience their parent’s presence as a void, in itself.

Despair and Disorganization
As adult children of narcissists separate from the narcissist and their influence on their lives, they may enter the third stage of despair and disorganization. During this stage, the full weight of the loss of a relationship they never had can hit. There may be an overwhelming sense of despair that can present differently depending on the person. Some of us may isolate ourselves and withdraw from our social circles to ruminate on the past and heal from the pain. Others may turn their despair into action and seek out relationships to fill the void left by the acknowledged loss. Some may experience the loss through physical symptoms – fatigue, irritability, oversleeping, headaches, stomachaches, or heaviness in the chest. Anger and acting out may be expressions of despair for some, too. When we feel helpless and unable to find our way to safety, especially when accompanied by the loss of a relationship that never existed, we may regress to primal-level survival tactics.
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#36: February 08, 2024, 01:51:30 PM
In the same spirit, a podcast about a son’s experience of a narcissistic father….rather chilling in parts tbh, but some of his questions as he tries to make sense of what makes no sense at all reminded me of the process that most of us LBS go though post BD  https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/how-to-destroy-everything/id1689464000?i=1000620965928
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#37: February 10, 2024, 04:02:46 PM
https://3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2024/02/how-changing-the-metaphors-we-use-can-change-the-way-we-think.html

I love language. In fact (if I actually bought into the concept of love languages), you could say that my love language is language. And two huge pieces of the work I’ve been doing on and for myself are brutal self honesty and shifting mindset. Which is what brought me to this article. Thinking about the role of metaphor in shaping our reality interests and excites the poet in me.

I have talked in the past about my apprehension about the metaphor of the tunnel in MLC. It doesn’t matter what else is written about the journey of the person in crisis, our minds view a tunnel as something where you go in one end and you come out the other. That’s just how our brain makes sense of the word tunnel. No matter what else we say, we just don’t conceptualize a tunnel where something enters and doesn’t exit.

The vision of the MLCer emerging from the darkness into the bright sunlight of the other side, almost happening at a level below thought, can and most likely does influence at least some of the choices the LBS makes. Similar with the idea of “the fog” because as we conceive of fog, it always lifts. The metaphor matters. As this article says much more eloquently, the metaphorical conceptualizations we use affect how we act.

“Metaphors are (metaphorically) woven into the fabric of our language and thought, shaping how we grasp and articulate abstract concepts. We should therefore feel free to prudently explore alternative metaphors and judge whether they perform better.”

I don’t know what would be an appropriate alternative. Something less linear though, something without a clear start and finish/beginning and end might be useful.

(One of my own imperfect metaphors: very early on, I wrote once about my former husband as being alone in something of a mental escape room, where he could choose to do the work, look for the clues, solve the puzzles, find the key and open the door. He might put in the effort and get out. He might just truly not possess the ability to solve one or a few or all the puzzles. Or he might just sit there and never even try. )

🎶 https://youtu.be/5Rp2Jg7iUx0
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#39: February 20, 2024, 09:18:35 PM
This is a really interesting article about healthy versus unhealthy coping styles. With a great set of illustrations.

It may be reaffirming to many of us here that our responses and ways of coping are pretty good, despite it all - something to be grateful for.

https://positivepsychology.com/unhealthy-coping-mechanisms/
Ooof... the escape and isolation sections resonated.
Shouldn't accommodation be in the negative (for us)? I know that's a big reason I am here.  :-X
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#40: February 20, 2024, 09:28:51 PM
Why are there so few reconciliation stories. Or stories where the MLCer wanted to come back but LBS had moved on?

Our belief is that vast the majority of MLCers don’t find happiness and hit some sort of rock bottom and want their old life back. But some don’t do the work and never return, but at least wanted their old life back.  Some keep running for the rest of their lives and never hit rock bottom.  Some hit rock bottom but never find the courage to rebuild. 

And then of course there’s the LBS.  who may have moved on.  Or not willing to reconcile. 

That said, how come there aren’t more ”attempted return” stories.  Or LBS stories where the MLCer wanted to come back but LBS said no. 

Is the truth that most of the MLCers never try to find their way back home?
I'm trying to image myself reconciling with my spouse after all I've shared thus far.
My guess is that for some, if they do reconcile they are so focused on making it work, they don't think about posting anything for fear ruining it. Or maybe they don't post because they want to try AND want to forget all of the garbage they've put up with? (no judgements from me - that is where I am 70% of the time)  ::)

Fact of the matter is, if data doesn't exist, there's nothing to glean from it. We don't really have sample or population statistics to get an accurate feel for what actually happens. It's all very anecdotal.
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#41: March 13, 2024, 05:17:17 AM
In conjunction with the current discussion thread on detachment:

https://richwoman.co/the-power-of-non-attachment-unlocking-the-neuroscience-of-detachment/
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#42: March 19, 2024, 04:55:41 AM
https://psyche.co/ideas/i-rebuilt-my-self-esteem-by-changing-the-story-of-who-i-am

This article made me think about how what I say to myself about the end of my marriage has changed. How at first it was all about how I was unworthy and unlovable and abandoned and rejected, and then it was about how I ended up in the marriage in the first place, and how I lost myself in it. And now it’s about who I am. The first story was all about him, and as I took my story back, faced all the hard truth and made the story about me, I actually felt better about it. Not because I prevailed, but because I realized that the “MLC” story, or even the entirety of my marriage to a narcissist doesn’t get to be the defining story of my life. It’s one vignette, albeit the longest and most significant one so far, in my life story that includes a whole bunch of other stories that make up who I am - and some of those stories are pretty damn cool.

(I think deeply facing the ugly reality of my story for me is the function that time plays/has played. “Time heals all” imo is the most complacent of all platitudes. Time has never healed anything for me. It creates a distance from the pain so that the emotional response to the memory is dulled. It can create an illusion of being healed, or even “forgetting”… Until something related or unrelated triggers that old pain and it comes back even stronger. Simply getting on with life and pretending to be fine is not healing. It is pretending.)

As traumatic as this is, it is one part that makes up each of our stories. It doesn’t have to be the entire story.

🎶 https://youtu.be/xgFHo-Fhi28
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#43: March 20, 2024, 06:07:02 AM
Some really interesting stuff in here in terms of GAL and dealing with the unexpected pivot of life after BD:

https://psyche.co/guides/how-to-stop-living-on-auto-pilot-by-picking-goals-that-matter

Unlike MLCers, we know that we probably can’t have the exact life we want but we can make changes for ourselves. It’s not about living the absolute dream life. I will never travel the world living in various hotels, I’ll never get to Iceland or New Zealand. Hell, I’ll be lucky to ever get to a where I can spring for the good coffee, lol. But good coffee is SO important, so that’s a goal.
I like the idea of picking things you can do right now, not years from now, so it’s about finding small things, things that will make today good, or at least more tolerable. A lot of things seem impossible, but small things can help…

🎶 https://youtu.be/JzZ-Mgi1My4
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#44: March 20, 2024, 10:54:51 AM
Just had an example of that - went with a friend to see a film called ‘the Taste of Things’ with Juliette Binoche. Remarkable film, really extraordinary and lovely in ways I can’t quite describe. And feel blessed to have seen it. A real joy. (Perfect if you like food, traditional French sensibilities, or a little later in life romantic feeling. Would recommend eating before you go though or you’ll feel very hungry after about 10 minutes lol)
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Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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#45: March 20, 2024, 11:17:47 AM
That sounds wonderful, I love Juliet Binoche. I’m a big fan of the boldness of French cinema. As an undergraduate, I was working on a creative project about artists and their cars and became very immersed in the films of Jacques Demy, who is amazing.
Interestingly, a French film from the ‘80s that left a deep impression on me is one about a woman in midlife crisis. It’s called “Kung Fu Master!” (don’t be put off by the title, it is not a movie about martial arts lol) It stars Jane Birkin, for whom the original Hermes Birkin bag was named, and it really is an interesting portrayal of a woman in crisis.
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#46: March 26, 2024, 09:11:24 AM
“Because we can reconstitute memories and this affects neural pathways by reinforcing or abandoning them, we can change our identity by changing our stories of ourselves.”

For anyone interested in the subject of identity, this is an interesting read and provides multiple great jumping off points for some exploration and discussion:

https://3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2024/03/on-identity-erikson-freud-and-sartre.html

🎸https://youtu.be/scif2vfg1ug?si=VduVKXzrUqokwtLD
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#47: March 26, 2024, 10:59:20 AM
“Because we can reconstitute memories and this affects neural pathways by reinforcing or abandoning them, we can change our identity by changing our stories of ourselves.”

Thanks Nas, one of my favorite directors created this incredible movie that captures exactly this idea amazingly. It is not about MLC, but it is about the reinforcing narrative of identity and storytelling, specially within a family or a person. Who better than a story teller to tell this story? I do not recommend it if you are in a delicate place mainly because it is very emotional in a lot of ways. But if you want to watch this read nothing about it beforehand, trust me.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stories_We_Tell

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« Last Edit: March 26, 2024, 11:01:05 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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#48: March 27, 2024, 09:46:50 AM
I really admire Sarah Polley also. It's a funny thing to think about "truth" in storytelling. It's impossible to arrive at an exact truth for everyone. Even when we tell our own stories, it's our truth. Universal truth really doesn't exist.
I try to think about interactions that really impact me in a way where I wonder what it would look like if someone presented this back to me broken up into narrative sections shown from the perspective of each person involved. So after a hard conversation or an interaction where I feel hurt or angry or disappointed, I imagine being presented the story where one section is told through my perspective, then the entire story is retold from the other person's (or persons' if there's multiple people involved) perspective(s). This is of course flawed for multiple reasons, the most obvious being that I don't know the other person's truth, but at least for me, it helps me to see over my own walls, as it were. It's been an interesting exercise at times, asking how would seeing/hearing/knowing their story change my story, if it does? Sometimes considering what I don't know about another helps me learn more about myself, if that makes sense...

🎹  https://youtu.be/SsKyxkfj8ak?si=x3ivHc0Q6W5P-MC4
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#49: March 28, 2024, 07:32:02 AM
I meant to mention this yesterday in regards to “truth”, but The Affair is a show that really was cathartic for me to watch after BD. It’s a show about a man going through a midlife crisis that covers more than a decade of his journey. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it’s super interesting to see so, so much of what we have all encountered in our own experiences with MLC. It employees the narrative style I mentioned of telling the same story from each person’s point of view (it’s called Rashomon). I think I’ve probably talked about it here before but I also just mentioned it to someone IRL and it made me want to come back and post.
Rashomon effect is so interesting because you see each person’s perspective that differs because of their individual biases, background, psychological states, etc. So sometimes when we ask “why can’t they see x, y, or z, it seems so obvious” it can be hard to remove ourselves from our version of the story. Watching The Affair at the time I did was actually comforting because I employed the same technique to my real life - by stepping out of the confines of my own perspective and considering how the same story played out for my former H, the OW, it became less about me, less personal. It didn’t make it any less destructive. And in fact, trying to consider the situation from the point of view of the two people who did what they did without any consideration of me was at times deeply painful, but also healing. And I’ve continued to find that helpful in other difficult situations.
Anyway, just wanted to pop back here and mention that show. As I said, it’s not a masterpiece by any means and the last season falls apart because one of the main actresses quit unexpectedly and they had to alter the storyline. But especially the early seasons, a lot of things will ring so true for those of us who have lived through this experience, and I found it particularly interesting to watch it through the lens of the man having the crisis.
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#50: March 31, 2024, 07:21:33 AM
https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20220311-the-complicated-truth-of-post-traumatic-growth

Post traumatic growth is “the idea that many people not only recover from life-shattering events, but also experience a positive transformation in their values, actions and relationships. “

Trauma shatters your worldview and disrupts your core beliefs. And post-traumatic growth, at least theoretically, is the result of you trying to put your worldview back together in a way that incorporates that traumatic event. You come out the other side looking different in some way.”

But “in some cases, this narrative around the potential to grow could be oppressive. It creates the expectation that not only do I have to recover from what happened to me, but apparently, I'm supposed to become better than ever before.” And this pressure, he thinks, could lead to worse mental health outcomes for some individuals.”


I feel like I was more myself outwardly several years ago when I was told I didn’t have long to live.  Maybe that gave me the courage to really be me.  Then as the fear of having to reconstruct an entire life from scratch completely alone took over, the scared me became the me that took over. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually fearless in a lot of ways that I don’t think many people recognize as fearless.)

I am different under my current circumstances, but the core parts of me are still there. How we show up in the world does change with circumstances. When you know that the You that people see isn’t the You that really is, you feel very unseen.  But I’ve had a pretty interesting life, I have some pretty interesting thoughts and even have some wisdom gleaned from my interesting life to share, I’m interested in what people think and feel - if anyone ever decides to get to know me, they’ll see that.

Someone was recently telling me about an 80-year-old woman they admire, a widow who has faced a lot of adversity and doesn’t have a lot, but who embraces the simple moments of her life. They said, “She has no wisdom to share but her way of life is wisdom.“ I was really very taken with that statement and it stayed with me long after they said it. I have nothing to offer to anyone, I’m no one’s inspiration, I just hope that at least one person will see past the surface and see what I am rather than what I’m not or what I don’t have, maybe even see the fearlessness in me that most people don’t recognize.

Bottom line: IMO I think when we feel alone and so low after BD there’s a lot of pressure to be the Phoenix rising from the ashes, to prove to others that we are in fact worthy, that our lives are impressive, that someone, or many someones, will love us and want us and choose us, etc. (and under that pressure, we sometimes might even make choices or take actions to prove ourselves to the world - or let’s be honest, to our MLCers - rather than doing them because it’s what we truly want or need.) And it might be freeing to realize that you don’t have to emerge from this, or any other traumatic life experience(s), as a completely triumphant, ass kicking superhero. You just have to emerge and go on. Growth means different things to different people. Knowing what it means for you and living in a way that’s true to that is growth in itself.

🎶 https://youtu.be/0xrZ61cuKLk
Further we go
And older we grow
The more we know
The less we show 🎶
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“The desire to be loved is the last illusion. Give it up and you will be free.” ~Margaret Atwood

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#51: March 31, 2024, 07:32:21 AM
So well expressed and all so very true. I think for me, showing myself in leas than “put together” form was also a release of the control of the situatiin and need to be somewhere I wasn’t. Maybe if we all in life in a world of filters and illusion allowed ourselves to show our true lives of imperfections than there would not be the need for so many to live behind a mask.  Maybe depression wouldn’t be escalating. Maybe MLC wouldn’t be so extreme..

People thought I had the perfect life and were let down by its demise. Yet, I am sure many liked seeing it. Then they didn’t have to be so ashamed of the life they were hiding or living. That’s so sad. To want to see people you are envious of to falter.

Anyways, I loved what you wrote and your thoughts. Thank you got sharing.
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There is almost something harder about someone being alive and having to lose what you believed to be true of them than someone actually dying.

Indefatigability - determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose
perspicacity- a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight

Married July 1991
Jan 2018 BD1 moved out I filed for Div/ H stopped it
Oct 2018 moved back
Oct 2020 BD2
Feb 2021 Div-29 1/2 years
July 2021 Married OW
Feb 2022  XH fired
May 2023 went NC after telling XH we could not be friends
Aug 2023 XH moves w/o OWife

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WHY

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#52: April 01, 2024, 02:58:29 PM
A blueprint of our MLCers....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECnpu85EkcY
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Nas

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#53: April 04, 2024, 11:06:15 AM
A lot of times a big unexpected life change necessitates a whole series of successive changes, big and small, ranging from inconvenient to terrifying. The big changes are often ones that are nonnegotiable, where doing nothing is not an option.  Sometimes we're afraid to commit to a change for fear of locking ourselves into a choice that's not great and is going to be hard or impossible to change again.  Sometimes we feel like we can't afford even one tiny mistake. There's lots of things that make making changes feel impossible, most notably when it feels like there are no possibilities, or the possibilities are all suboptimal. I don't think this exercise will help in every instance, but is still a good exercise to try:

https://psyche.co/guides/how-to-use-possibility-thinking-to-solve-problems-creatively

And of course, my musical selection:
https://youtu.be/vyrpRzdvp5U?si=ToaGfQix9qvlTfwb
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“The desire to be loved is the last illusion. Give it up and you will be free.” ~Margaret Atwood

 

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