Midlife Crisis: Support for Left Behind Spouses

Midlife Crisis => Our Community => Topic started by: AlvinTheMaker on November 15, 2019, 10:29:55 PM

Title: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on November 15, 2019, 10:29:55 PM
Here are previous parts:

Alvin's 1st (New guy - wife having MLC or just resentment?): https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=10874.0;all
Alvin's 2nd (To be or not to be, that is the question):  https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11031.0;all
Alvin's 3rd (Doctor Doctor please): https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11076.0;all
Alvin's 4th (Difficult to Cure): https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11127.0;all

This new topic carries on with theme of great songs, and since this is "the fifth" it has to be something epic....  Ghost love score (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L21dXQMNOQs) is epic song by Nightwish, and the lyrics say a lot:

Quote
We used to swim the same moonlight waters
Oceans away from the wakeful day

My fall will be for you
My fall will be for you
My love will be in you
If you be the one to cut me
I'll bleed forever

Scent of the sea before waking afterwards
Brings me to thee
Into the blue memory

My fall will be for you

Into the blue memory

A siren from the deep came to me
Sang my name my longing
Still I write my songs about that dream of mine
Worth everything I may ever be

The Child will be born again
That siren carried him to me
First of them true lovers
Singing on the shoulders of an angel
Without care for love n' loss

Bring me home or leave me be
My love in the dark heart of the night
I have lost the path before me
the one behind will lead me

Take me
Cure me
Kill me
Bring me home
Every way
Every day
Just another loop in the hangman's noose

Take me, cure me, kill me, bring me home
Every way, every day
I keep on watching us sleep

Relive the old sin of
Adam and Eve
Of you and me
Forgive the adoring beast

Redeem me into childhood
Show me myself without the shell
Like the advent of May
I'll be there when you say
Time to never hold our love

My fall will be for you
My fall will be for you
My love will be in you


Anyway, where things are now with me and W....

I've set course for my personal recovery and growth...
I'm hopefully winning battle over anxiety.
I'm spending a lot of time with mindfulness and other self-development (mind and body). 
I'm spending time with kids/family, building bonds that are stronger than ever. 
I'm reworking the home - regardless of what the future brings, it will benefit me. 
I'm putting time to professional development - I used to be 'a rockstar' with my profession before I got married, but then I gave up all those BIG dreams for the family and love; now I'm dusting off all of it.
I'm on a mission to become a radiant, secure person.
Sometimes I get sidetracked from my route (thanks to nutty head), but I know what I'll be when I'm done and where I'm going. 


Where's she...
IMHO lost. Even more than I.
IMHO in need of professional help (more than ever), but stubbornly refusing it.
IMHO  more open and honest than ever, but still carrying a mask to hide her true thinking and feelings.
IMHO more exhausted than ever, constant talks of the brain fog and feeling difficulty in thinking (close to mental fatique/burnout; if not there already).
IMHO not in love with herself, not in touch with herself. Not in love with her body, not in love with her mind.

Though I feel attracted to work the relationship, I acknowledge this is totally the wrong time for it.  I'm not well mentally. She's not well mentally.  This is time of personal recovery.  What happens then, time will tell.

Alvin, healing & growing & navigating on sea of life

Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on November 20, 2019, 02:19:23 AM
Journaling... It's been couple of interesting days as I've been emotionally all over the chart. In good ways, I think/feel. 

Recently I came across with references to Byron Katie. She's one of these more popular "modern era guru's" along Eckhard Tolle and Brene Brown.  One of these things she's written resonated with me. The below words brought new clarity to my mirror, on how I view and see myself. I think this is half of the mirror in "when you change, you notice how others around you change".

Quote
When you do 'The Work', you see who you are by seeing who you think other people are. Eventually you come to see that everything outside you is a reflection of your own thinking. You are the storyteller, the projector of all stories, and the world is the projected image of your thoughts.


The talks with W have continued.

Few nights back we watched Colossal together (sitting at different corners of room though). If you like eerie movie with gigantic momsters and bat$h!te crazy moments, you'll love this movie... There was this scene were couple (played by Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis) gets into argument which turns into brutal fight. I told W 'the guy is afraid of losing her forever, and is acting out of fear. And the gal is afraid of being controlled and is thus running away. But all they woudl have to do is share their fears to each other, and talk it through'. So I was seeing distancer pursuer gone bad... Then I asked W how see sees it, and she told 'the woman is feeling that her wants are neglected, she is feeling opressed and controlled, and she refuses to give control. And the man is and always been evil bully'....   Proving the point of the quote of above. We were looking at same scene, same surrounding - but it brought two different set of thoughts, both of them equally true/correct, just from different perspective. We are nothing but mirrors, and we only have eyes for the mirrored image of ours... Moments like these make my gears turn, not sure of her. LOL. 

The following morning she told she'd like to move her bed away from couch into living room floor (once again). I said I don't like it and will not approve it, and gave her a number of reasons why it affects negatively to life others. Then I suggested that if she wants to sleep on the floor instead of sofa, she is welcomed to move into MBR floor or to her study. But sleeping at what is supposed to be public premises is and will be just a temporary solution And she said she will work something out... I think she's beginning to feel the heat that is coming when others are not agreeing with her.. Then she finally gave me a reason why she feels she must sleep on sofa: so that S5 does would not feel too afraid to visit toilet (S5 used to use MBR toilet when both of us slept at MBR). I didn't laugh or anything; just listened and said thanks for sharing.  To me it sounds BS, but idk, why would she lie on something like this.  Anyway, her head her worry.


Fast forward few days... I shared an early morning thought (about something I figured of myself and my wants relating to relationship). And W replied by telling she's still doing and struggling with 'basic stuff' - who creates our emotions etc. Then she brought up (and this she has said before), that the world becomes meaningless, $h!tety place if our actions and feelings don't have any guaranteed affect/result on feelings or actions of others, and she does not want to believe in it. That others can feel great or $h!tety regardless of how she feels or treats them... I think she's facing her inner demon here.  Her way of controlling 'insecurity and low self-esteem' is and has been to put a mask on, to bottle up feelings, to please others. Not sure how long it has been since she's shown the 'genuine her' to outside world, but right now I feel like I'm watching something very frightened (and exhausted) peeking out, and then running away back into hide. 

Then she asked time to process, and asked me to help to make her understand. And I agreed... I don't know why she's asking time. Maybe she feels/acknowledgess my distress, maybe she can see that I'm now detaching from her and moving onwards with/without her. But I'm not running away wildly, I have plan that I follow and adjust....  I don't like the idea of becoming her shrink/guide, but since she refuses professional help, all I can do is give her something I think would help her.   Thus I made her a simple single-sheet that contained everything there is to know of how emotions work.  And she's read it few times by now.

She's not talked of it apart of two things:

1) "I can see the words, but I don't understand all of them. This is so hard'. 
Besides two words, 'empathy and sympathy', all of the text/images I did was what I consider "common language'. I wrote it like I would explain these things to 10 year old.

2) She also asked "does it matter if she believes in different thing than I", and I told her no. It does not matter... 
Maybe there are many ways that lead her discovering what she must become. All I know is that the road I have shared to her works for me. I want her to choose her own way, of her own free will. If she must explore, then so be it. I will wait for some time.



As for me... Anxiety. Still going down. There's still some of it, but I can feel it reducing day by day. I've done the YourPersonality test, and my anxiety level has dropped by one whole unit. It's still higher than preferred/average, but I'm not stopping anymore. I know where I'm heading and how to get there.

Interestingly, as my anxiety has been going away, I've also found myself grieving this situation in all new way.  I've started building three different photobooks: "the home we had", "the marriage we had", "the family we had" - which I see as part of grieving process and "farewell package of old relationship. Basically each of these books highlighting the good parts of common life we used to share.  And if things turn up for the better, they can show the strength we had and can become a foundation upon which to build new thingie.  And yes, there's been the feeling of loss in the process. I have cried out aloud and in tears when looking at things we have, eventually accepting the reality that it might not be there for long, and then comforting myself.  I'm healing and moving forward... Very likely I will give her the first book ("the home we had") sometime next spring.  It would also mark the point where I will list our home for sale, and share the kids my perspective of the situation.

I've been thinking love... They say love doesn't expect anything from other. So am I not in love because I feel I want things from her? I spent number of early morning hours digging into myself, and I was able to establish a formula for what I look from marriage. I call it "marriage = 4+2".  The four parts that we can 'make' all alone are  1) love 2) trust 3) parenting 4) family. The two parts where partner is required are +1) relationship +2) intimacy.  For me our marriage was 4+2/4+2, now it is at 3+0/4+2.... It is not love that I want. I love her regardless of what she does or doesn't . What I crave from her are the "making together" parts: relationship and intimacy.

Christmas... I've been doing all sorts of Christmas preparations.  Putting up some lights. Cleaning (all the floors have been waxed, bathroom is all cleaned up).  Crafting greeting cards.  Listening some carrols...  I'm definitely getting into spirit.... Kids are loving it. But they also dislike my announcement that I'm doing some things differently this year. Every time they say "I want it like always", I get a stab in my hear because I acknowledge this might very well be the last christmas all of us will be together.

- Alvin, healing & growing & navigating at sea of life. -


PS. Interestingly I realized W has not said a word of EA in good while, has not seen her for awhile.  So maybe somethign afoot in there as well...



Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on November 23, 2019, 11:45:05 PM
Journaling... 

I think I've done/achieved the 'impossible'. I have shifted my attachment type with W from pre-occupied attachment type to secure attachment type. Woo-hoo!!! Anxiety level has dropped another few units (within a week), and I am now firmly in middle of "secure quadrant" with my relationship with W. Another woo-hoo!!!  Next step is maintaining the current status (maybe even enhancing it), and sticking with my plans.  I feel that my energy levels are increasing daily (as I'm no longer thinking W 24/7, but putting it on me; she only gets some random worry/thinking). And there is new kind of assertiviness in my thinking and decision making :)  I acknowledge I am not fully done yet, but after 9 months of anxiety and 'god knows what' this is great place to be.   

When on gym yesterday morning, something VERY unlikely happened. I landed up with new client/customer (and possible friendship) straight of nowhere... This guy has a lab next to gym I go, and he phoned my work number for services (on saturday morning), introduces himself and his business, and then said 'I'm at location x if you want to come and meet', and I just said 'actually I'm right outside your door already'   Eventually we headed out for two hour talk over business and life... It was REALLY nice,and I'm definitely looking up what this brings along.  It is kind of nice to get back to enjoying 'positive things of life'.

G19 has been having severe issues with her back (again with doctors and therapy), and we've been communicating lot more often than the normal once/twice a day.  Occasionally (once or twice a week) G19 phones to W and tries to unload some to her as well (but with MLCr level of empathy it does not end well) ...  Anyway, W eventually decided to gift G19 a piece of "life advice": do not stress over school or life....  And then W told how she had severe physical symptoms due to stress/anxiety during highschool years, and she sees the same in G19s current situation. That stress is the cause of G19s back pains, same way as it blew up my health (which actually turned out to by $h!tety genes) - as hindsight I can think what we see in others is reflection of our own mirror/fears....  Anyway, then W told that only when she learned to "let go",  her physical symptoms disappeared. I have faint memory this is something she told me when we started living together, but guess I forgot it totally and propably never understood it well before this...  This may well be the fear that is keeping W in limbo, that is sabotaging her life.  That if she goes after things in life, tries to achieve something, tries to change something, her mind/body will fail. I feel bit sad for her.

As my brains have cleared up from anxiety, I've been getting few virtual smacks of 2x4s ....  I have realized that W's (way earlier) mention of this being my second chance with her is BS... No matter which way I look/think of it, all logic runs to dead end. Second chance comes from giving thing a try.  Like so many times with MLCrs words and actions do not match.  It is very much possible she believes so inside her own head, but none or very little of it converts to actions....  I think I've also finally realized one part why she's fallen out of love. Her wow never included the 'till death due us apart' part. I didn't mind it back then, but now I get that it may be part of the "I'm not good enough" story  she's been telling herself most of her life. 

All of this bat$h!te, hers and mine, comes down to beliefs (stories) we have carried most of lives, told to ourselves.  And until we face and challenge our beliefs, we remain broken.

What a tragedy it is that broken attracts broken. But maybe that is how we all must come and learn to accept and appreciate imperfections of life, to feel the empathy, and eventually heal. 

Alvin, healing & growing & navigating at sea of life.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on November 24, 2019, 11:34:51 AM
Very interesting Alvin.....

It sounds like you've gotten to another plateau of climbing out of the pit. Right on man!!! Congrats!!!
We all talk about improving, and you're doing it!!! Bravo!!!

W will see you climbing out, and follow, or not. Good thing showing her the way!!

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on November 27, 2019, 02:12:58 PM
Journaling...

Things are changing rapidly inside me. It is hard to explain other than feeling the change, and being surprised how quickly (even on my scale) emotions shift . Anxiety is still gone, and I've had couple of lengthy dates with grief. I've been finally properly mourning the death of relationship and intimacy in my marriage, letting those parts go. I've have cried and howled, but ive also finally given myself the grace, the forgiveness,  the compassion, the love, and the gratefulness you would give when you get over the loss of the most important thing in your life. I think dr. Seuss nailed it with "don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" ...  None of this hurts no more, there's just peace, and maybe the expectation of whats next in life.. And I know a new verse, stronger and more beautiful than anything I had before, will grow over time within me.

I think my change shows outside too, because over these past days a number of casual acquaintances have greeted and started to chat with me. Very unusual. Maybe humbliness of the heart shows outside. Idk. But it feels good. To talk of casual stuff.

My behaviour with W is changing.... I am getting "I am the prize" thinking, and i an putting it into practice. I am still kind to her,  showing love to her, but I'm no more begging her attention nor clinging. If she wants common future, then she's gotta do the work and show me how she chooses me over phone and other stuff.  As far as I'm concerned, we are back to square#1 with potential dating/relationship.

And I think W is noticing the change, but not yet understanding what has happened...she's given me two hugs straight of nowhere. Yes, glacier is moving (trying to make distancer-pursuer dance all over again). But I'm no more dancing... I asked her why she hugged me, was it for pity or why? She said she doesnt understand, she was doing what I wanted, but then I want it no more ... I then briefed her she needs to want the hugs for herself. To tell herself the story that she wants to feel loved, desired etc, and to dream I could be the person she would want to share it all... She seemed bit confused by it, and said she still does not get all of it.  Then she asked does she have to believe same stuff, and I said 'of course not' (but if we ever get to point of things moving somewherr, I will ask what she believes in - as I am the prize, and I want the real deal).

We've been carrying on with nightly romantic movies. She's now sharing same sofa. Zero touch  Talking and sharing the day at the same.

So yes, something seems to be afoot. But i don't have expectations here, at least not positive ones.

Tomorrow will be my IC. interesting to see how it goes.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on November 27, 2019, 02:50:46 PM
Hi Alvin,

It sounds like possibly you are really starting to let her go.

Which is so important for your healing.
You know you can not fix her.  None of us can fix them.  Only they can do that.

Hope you have a good evening, Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on November 27, 2019, 09:59:41 PM
Thanks Thunder  :) 

And happy thanksgiving to everyone.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on November 30, 2019, 01:36:11 AM
Journaling...

So, I had IC the other day. It turned out as very interesting, very intimate and very open session. I shared that I'm now feeling done & over with anxiety, and am moving towards grief and giving up from 'relationship/intimacy (expectations)'. I also hightlighted that I'm planning to stick with marriage at least for a year or two as I still love her, but that I do have a plan on how to exit the marriage if things don't improve.

Interestingly IC talked and asked more about W than me. Eventually IC said that her personal opinion, without ever meeting W in person, is that W is/was supersensitive person (empath) and she's now emotionally exhausted / burned out (she said it happens to empaths quite often). That if given time and treated with kindness, W could come back. But she warned that recovery from exhaustion and burnout is hard work and usually takes at least  twice as long as it's birth. She used a recovery formula that sounds very MLCish:  6-24 months to get over the worst and become midly co-operative/functional, then 12-48 months to gain moderate co-operation/functionality, and 24-96 months to gain fully operational mode...  So somewhere in between 3½-15 years - sounds a lot like MLC timeline... And IC highlighted it's a path she's gotta walk alone: she went in there all alone, she needs to travel it all alone, she needs to come out alone, I had absolutely nothing do with it. All I can do is be the partner that watches over the life we once shared, and hopefully would share some day.

And IC agreed that it is good for her recovery that I have taken the pill of acceptance, and given up anxiety.  And then she started to talk about what HS is mostly about - how to survive as partner of mentally ill person (if I want to). How to take care of my own wellbeing and energy levels (she loved the fact that I'm taking two of my girls to capital for few days of shopping). How to focus on "don't do anything stupid or hasty".  How to support her.... IC also suggested that we should get back on track with couples counseling either together or individually, but make sure the MCs know that she's down with exhaustion/burnout, even if she argues it.

So basically IC said a lot of the same advice as here with few adjustments.

Anyway, later the night I shared a brief summary of the session with W, and surprisingly it yilded something I consider fruitful. She expressed aloud the thing that keeps 'us' stuck ... She told she does not want to do things (like going out for walk with me) nor spend time with me because I make, ask and bring up questions and things that require thinking (like asking 'where shall we put the christmas calendar this year', LOL).  And I just left her with a question 'and you think it is normal'?... Yes, it was not kind, but I'm not perfect.

As I'm writing this W's taken a couple of painkillers and is sleeping away a headache. Once again.... I don't know whether to smile or cry when looking at her. I feel compassion and love, but I also feel saddness over the tragedy of what was supposed to be our shared life.

 
On the otherside of life....

G19... G19s health issues are beginning to unwind, fortunately. She went through EMG and it revealed she's got some kind of physical damage on her back. The specialist said all the symptoms suggest a disc issue, and she's off to further studies... She's also having troubles breathing at her school. Another set of tests revealed possible asthma and exposure mold, but once again more research and tests coming her way...  She knows that I'm seeing a shrink, and said she might want to have some too as all of these health issues are beginning to take their toll.  She's a smart girl, she knows self-care is vital... The next step is just gently 'nudge her' on the right direction, and make sure she gets that help.... On the downside she flunked her drivers test for the third time. But fortunately it is one of things where practice makes better... Interestingly, G19 said she knows W is not well. That W is unable to focus other than herself right now...  G19 is a smart kid.

G18.... I've been trying to enhance relationship with G18... She's a troubled child with her own mental issues (insomnia, depression etc), distancer lot like W (she can be months without any contact to us or her sisters)...  But I think my tiny attempts to keep regular contact are finally beginning to pay off. We are exchanging tiny messages here and now.... If G18 only knew how much I cared and loved her.

G15, G12 and S5....Nothing new/extraordinary in their lives.  S5 has finally learned to say letter 'r' properly, so need for further speech therapy. G12 is doing all ok at school and is excited about once a week riding sessions. G15 is excited about the upcoming trip to capital.

My brother... I haven't written much of him. We usually phone about once a week, and then I listen 30-60 minutes of him moaning hardships of his life, trying to encourage him that all goes well. The more I think and look at his life, the more I am beginning to understand that he's been depressed/anxious to some level most of his life (sigh).  Another thingie that just makes want to shed few tears. 

All of this however has made me realize how much I listen and support the lives of people around me. And how the only person I can unload all of it is my shrink and here/journalling. All of this is really not sustainable.... I think my goal for 2020 will be rebuilding all those ties that I gave up during marriage and raising kids. Reviving old friendships. Reworking family bonds (with my cousins). Maybe finding some new blood as well. And then to learn how to unload some of my stuff to people I care... MLC/LBS is the gift that just keeps on giving.


Alvin, healing & growing & navigating at sea of life.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on November 30, 2019, 02:15:42 AM
I'm glad to hear you are talking to your IC, Alvin.

You have so much going on but I think you are heading in the right direction.
Concentrating on family and friends is a great idea.

I wish you luck, this is all very hard to deal with.  Take good care of yourself, Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 01, 2019, 09:46:13 AM
Hey Alvin,

A long, tough, and seemingly never ending road....

They move so slow, and are so messed up. Not fair to us, but we love them don't we?

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 01, 2019, 12:54:50 PM
Yep, all messed up and so full of guilt/shame/something. Not so surprisingly it seems to be what most mental conditions are all about.

Before heading out to capital with my girls I gifted W with self made Christmas calender. Nothing fancy, just 48 different types of tea bags (2 flavors per day) put behind daily boxes. W's reaction? Surprised, and then questioning "her own goodness/worth" (because she feels kids deserve Chrismas calendar only if the behave nice, and she should not be exception), and finally some kind of acceptance (self care is vital, and pampering taste buds with good tea is easy and cheap way) ... Some shame/guilt in there I think....if she only could change the perspective, and see that it has got nothing to do with her, but all of me. It is my way to spread christmas spirit and joy to folks in my life. It requires nothing of me but maybe half hour of my time, but it gives me a lot.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on December 01, 2019, 07:39:54 PM
Very thoughtful gift, Alvin.

Hope you guys have tons of fun!
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 02, 2019, 12:54:31 PM
Fun it is :) We've had tons of excellent food (going fancy dining every night, visiting some better bistros few times a day etc) , long and absolutely not serious talks, equally long walks (walking from one landmark to another), shopping around, and above all enjoying magical Christmas spirit.... This is dad and two of his gals creating some unforgettable memories. 8)

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Whyus on December 03, 2019, 02:04:25 AM
Have fun with your Girls Alvin...  new, positive memories being made Right there mate.
Very Interesting what your IC said, its more confirmation of what we already know. Its not About us, its about them. They have to do it alone so back of and let them go through this with as Little stress as possible.
Not everybody can do it, its hard and may end in a D for some as the timelines are exhausting especially if you watch for signs of where they are. Not worth it as each is different and has a different pace.
Sounding good Alvin, try and Keep in touch with your bro (message to myself, im also guilty)
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 04, 2019, 09:45:59 AM
Thanks Whyus :)

Journalling... Just arrived back home... It was surprisingly "grief-full" event.  I cried some last night (there was a false fire-alarm at the hotel last night, and I had trouble falling asleep again), I cried some on the way back, I cried some more when back on the home...   What I am grieving is the "loss of innosence", loss of my best friend, loss of our relationship, loss of "normal" life....  None of it feels "bad" though, despite tears I feel lots of grace and compassion and gratitude towards myself. And I acknowledge this feeling will pass some day.

Not so surprisingly W and S5 had both slept at MBR (=my) bed when I was gone...    It feels (and IMO is) so ridiculous.  She can (and apparently wants to) sleep there when I'm gone....  Despite all what I've gone through so far, and where I am at right now, it still does hurt to acknowledge that W chooses to sleep in different bed, in different room when I am around.... But I do get she's mentally unwell. I can only try to look at her crazy decisions with some compassion.

W came home few hours after my arrival... She looked exhausted. She told she's been working overtime every day we were away, and says it seems it is coming "standard practice" as they are once again one staff member short...  She told she had not eaten anything besides single meat pastry all day... Eventually I cooked both  of us a a quick 5-minute meal (tona-fish, fried vegetables, couscous)....  It feels bad to see her failing at self-care even on this essential level.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 04, 2019, 09:53:41 AM
Sounds like guilt and self-loathing to me Alvin,

She wants to be there, she knows she should be there.... but she can't.
Although you can't know, the really interesting thing would be to know what she feels when she is in there.
Sadness than she can't be in there with you, but wants to?
Relief that she can be part of the way where she needs to be?

I think it's absolutely great that she sleeps in there when you're not home. It says a lot. Shows she is thinking about it, and desires it.
They feel so unworthy.

Baby steps are big steps.

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 05, 2019, 05:59:31 AM
Standing - no doubt there's guilt and shame within my W. I  can only imagine how terrible receiving unconditional love and compassion and forgiveness must feel when/if you believe you are not worthy any of it.

As for today... I'm still somewhere in the land of grief/mourning, grace and forgiveness... Possibly this song here describes it all oh so well: https://youtu.be/igtI_c3KYv4

Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on December 05, 2019, 07:17:27 AM
Beautiful song, Alvin.  None of this is easy, is it?

Here's a another song you may like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-VPzJ76D30
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 05, 2019, 12:51:16 PM
Thanks Thunder. Very nice song, and the text beneath the video hit right on the target. The "reason I wait" proclamation.  That pretty much summed up all my "silly beliefs" about love, and how I feel/felt about her.  Some of those are still within, some I have traded away to new "more flexible beliefs" just to survive. Hence I mourn the loss of innocence.... All in all I feel I am lightyears away from man I was last Christmas.

Journaling....

G19 and I had a lengthy phone conversation today. She pondered aloud Ws inability to make choices other than at last moment (even if then) or forced (even if then). Eventually I shared with her that W possibly suffers from mental fatigue/burnout, and as such struggles with decision making and stress. And that it can/will take years, possibly decade or more of the same as W is refusing professional help of all kinds ... G19 took it well, not at all surprised.

I also had good quick talk with G18 later..about us two, how much of the same we ultimately share... This is the most important blessing of MLC. It has the potential to make family stronger if we just embrace the possibility

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 06, 2019, 01:19:08 AM
Quick bit of journaling  as Im having a day off ....

Did you ever feel like you were dipped into bowl of (self) grace and (self) compassion and (self) forgiveness? I don't know how else to describe this stage I am in. I very much enjoy soaking in this melancholic hottub of mine. I somehow feel/know this is part of my healing... The path of LBS is truly mysterious one, and full of surprises.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 06, 2019, 05:15:15 AM
Alvin,

HaHa!!!! Yes!  ;D

I know exactly what this is like, going thru that too (well, sorta... counting the days still my time off at Christmas).

Have you got the "Stop being so hard on yourself, you're just a man... a human" thoughts too?

The strong have to relax and let out a breath too.

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 06, 2019, 11:04:17 AM
Have you got the "Stop being so hard on yourself, you're just a man... a human" thoughts too?

I'm way past those thoughts. The gates of damn are all open, and all of it is coming through grace right now.  Very raw/unfiltered, very powerful, but also 'purifying'...   Possibly the words "come cover me" say it best.

Possibly the only thing creating confusing thoughts is that  at times  I feel VERY strongly connected with my "inner feminine side"...  It is hard to explain (especially since men VERY rarely talk/share of our inner feminine side). But maybe Jung was right about the Anima & Animus  (or God & Goddess) within us all...  Combine Mother Mary, Gaia, Phoenix etc. and you get the goddess within me. She's always been there, but never this powerful.  The masculine side of me does not feel threatened, just confused how strong and powerful it can be....  anyway, you can now call in the men in white-coat, LOL.
 
Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 06, 2019, 02:16:54 PM
Journaling a bit more ...

I'm sure I'm not the first nor last LBS to have a weak moment. I watched a very touchy movie (Wish I Was Here) with G15, and eventually sent W a very simple message "sweet dreams. I love you. Thanks for all the good things you have brought to my life"... Few minutes later W replied "Sweet dreams. And thanks. You too have brought good, thanks for all of it".

Despite the situation, I think it is still important, possibly even good for my own healing from time to time say aloud the most essential.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 06, 2019, 07:00:59 PM
Very good Alvin  ;D

Sometimes they can break thru and say that. Super good that's in her.

How do you feel after she said that back?

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 06, 2019, 10:24:22 PM
Very good Alvin  ;D

Sometimes they can break thru and say that. Super good that's in her.

How do you feel after she said that back?

-SS

What I felt....

Confused... I expected an informal good night/sweet dreams. Nothing more.This was more (of WTF/something).

And wistful. Responding with 'thank you' to 'I love you'  says it all... She's still running, avoiding of expressing her emotions,  trying to be kind and polite in every way ... "I appreciate how you feel, but I don't feel the same way. Not now, possibly never.". That would have been the adult way of responding... 

Oh well, at least she tried to be nice.But back to oven she must go...

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 07, 2019, 06:47:10 AM
I'm not sure....... mine struggles with "I love you" too...... once I a while I will get one back, never of her own accord.... but I get the "Thank you" to ILU also (sometimes).
Mostly the reaction from her is "Why???" and "How can you love me??" (last night she told me that she is "unlovable"). Other times I watch her face, and she starts thinking deep: trying to search her emotions and realizing how confused they are. I think our love makes them happy, and then they try to reciprocate and .... studder studder studder.... misfire misfire misfire.... then all I get is a smile, happiness, maybe a giggle and then silence.

I just wouldn't be too confused...... she tried, and that sounds like a lot from her.
She shoots, she misses... but she throw he ball in the air..... that's BIG progress.  :D

A good moment Alvin  ;D

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 07, 2019, 10:54:39 AM
Uh,you too get the "I'm unlovable" speeches..  I think it's the best metric for my W's mental health.  As long as as she thinks/talks something like that, she's mentally unwell.

But I think the questions "Why?" and "How can you love me" are very valid ones, and I have tried to explain to her that for me it all comes down to beliefs. Very long time ago, way before I met her, I have made myself an promise, oath, to love my spouse to day I die, no matter what. It is one of those things that remains unbreakable..    That said, what MLC/LBS experience has made me realize is that love does not require marriage or living with that person or limiting it to just one person.   They are just part of "gift" that comes with reprocical love... So if she got killed by falling meteor, I could still love her memory but fall in love with another person.... Or if she decides to ditch the good ole Alvin,  I will not stand and await forever for her to come back, but carry my love towards her in my heart and move on with my life, hopefully falling in love with with somebody else. etc etc. 

Speaking of trying... W and I had a talk of that today... I reminded her that it's been 3 weeks since she's worked the "fear ladders".   And she still hasn't answered some questions I asked previous weekend . And then I told this kind of behaviour offends/hurts me more than the fact  that she would say straight "I'm not interested/I'm busy/or something similar". That I feel shame and guilt over the fact that I have to remind her like a teenager if I want some of these things to move forth.  And then I simply asked her how would she solve the issue in a way that I could start treating her like equal.

Apparently my message did hit a nerve, as she came up with lengthy reply (in her modern standards)..  She said she tries, but I never notice the things she does (which I could interpret that I should possibly encourage and compliment her more often on success)... And that she tries to work with self-care (eat-sleep-excercice), with varying success.  And she's feeling frustration as whenever she feels she has succeeded, I have already moved forth to next thing.  She said she tries, she wants to try, but she's not certain what if anything comes out of it all...   And she acknowledged she MIGHT have "some kind of mental exhaustion" that is making her move slower than normally. 

Oh, and she cooked lunch for the family today. She said she thought I would like it for a change (as I cook almost daily)...

Progress?  Yep... Or like you wrote.... She shoots, she missess. But she throws the ball in the air....

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 08, 2019, 07:56:48 AM
That's great Alvin,

You are helping move her forward. Sounds like she is trying to follow you.
It's maddeningly slow...... but I'm so glad you're seeing her attempts.

It's a little scary isn't it? Like what happens if they give up and quit?
Actually, I think they quit all the time, and after sitting and sulking they get up again. Just like a little kid trying to walk for the first time.
Like a little kid they need someone holding their hand and a lot of praise.... and then they want to do it themselves. They walk to you and then wander off to whatever catches their eye. LOL!!!!
Also like a little kid they keep checking to see if we're there, and want to be able to call on us if they run into trouble.

Not fair, but that's life.

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 09, 2019, 04:28:02 AM
True, the process is painfully slow...

And true. She is behaving to a degree  like small child, but the harsh reality is that she is and should be a grown adult woman. But I can see / understand that she's not mentally well and kind of 'stuck'... Which of course begs the question am I supporting her recovery, or am I enabling her bad behaviour.   There is a very fine line in between... I've been digging through some of the old depression related material and notes I have from her previous depressive periods, and then I've read some websites (as this is clearly a different version of the beast than before).... All in all the advice given is not far from RCR's recommendations: 

Supporting:
* Take care of yourself. That is best you can do - for yourself, for your family, for your partner
* Admit you cannot fix or heal them, you can only love and provide support/care.  The rest is their responsibility
* Try to stay on same team  - you are fighting common enemy even if they don't know/agree
* Don't take anything they say personally (2nd rule of Don Miguel Ruiz) - it is their disease talking and doing all the crazy stuff
* Find right balance and distance.  Being too supportive and loving (or distant) will keep them stagnant. Being too pushy and demanding (or close) can lead to conflict and withdrawal
* Listen, but don't fix.  Just validate their personal pain, mirror their words,  and build trust
* Discuss topics they see as the problem, but don't let them ruminate or bash on you. If they start ruminating or bashing, distract talk to other venues or disengage.
* Show patience and grace and forgiveness like ever before - because of their own pain, they will hurt you time and again in ways you never imagined
* Show empathy and compassion like never before - they are hurting in ways they cannot describe
* Engage them towards healing stuff (take them for a walk or outdoors, excercice with them, eat well together, make sure they get enough rest etc)
* Gently push and encourage them towards professional help and healing stuff every now and then
* Encourage positive future (feelings can and will change over time, this too shall pass etc)
* Encourage uplifting activities - watch comedies together, go dining together, spend time as family, reach out to friends
* Encourage baby steps, notice even tiniest improvements and let them know you see them
* Don't hide (cover, lie etc) situation from family and friends - it just feeds the shame and guilt on the long run
* Identify common ground/goals that you can work together, and then make those goals happen
* Reach out to them - Ask how to make their day better etc. Shame and guilt makes them withdraw, be pro-active in rebuilding
* Help them to stay active and around the people that truly love them
* Lead by example / be the lighthouse (eat well, enjoy and embrace life, keep going with your life)
* BE unconditional love (by doing stuff above)

Basically a lot of this falls down to ARK (Acts of Random Kindness), or "paving the way"....   Besides being supportive, the only thing LBS can really work is our own well being and our own pain.  Maybe the irony of all this  is that most LBS are not able to be well, to support them fully as long as  we have to carry our own pain.  Which easily puts LBS into catch-22 (I admit being slightly 'stuck' witht his - but I acknowledge it is  issue that I have to work through all on my own, without her, and I've got a "plan"). 

Things that enable and potentially worsen the condition: 
* Open confrontations (adding guilt, shame etc)
* Avoidance of talks of difficult topics
* Allowing bad behaviour (momstering, ruminating etc)  and bad thinking (self-bashing, hopelesness, sticking to same old day after day) patterns
* Making excuses, letting them not take responsibility of their actions
* Letting them isolate (being alone, apart of family, bury to work, hook up with new friends)
* use of substances / addictions

And especially with depression related material there is a warning of "tough love".... With mental ilness rock bottom often times means suicide. Abandonment and other tough love methods can lead to addictions and finally into suicide...   Which made me realize, that I have read a lot of stories of MLCrs ruining the life of LBS, often times their own lives too....  But apart of few times I don't really recall suicide stories (fortunately)...   Mayo clinic study states that with depressed people suicide rate is 2-9% (whereas with mentally healthy it is 1%)... Anyway, it is definitely something to ponder.


Journaling...  The other night (after W had acknowledged that I don't notice/acknowledge her trying), I shared part of my private journal with her...   She said she was stunned by the words I had written. She had no idea I did notice her trying, and what it sparked in me  (I had written "I notice less frustration in her, can a man ask more than their loved one does and feels bit better"), because when she looks at me all she sees is mostly "grumpy"....  And no, I did not even start explaining to her that the world we see is mostly about our perception.  If we expect somebody being "grumpy", then we will see "grumpy" no matter what.... That is lesson she needs to learn on her own.   

Last night we watched Zookeeper (starring Kevin James), and there was this piece where animals started helping Zookeeper to chase this woman she was attracted. And the animals then explained how pheromones etc. worked with animals and humans... Anyway, I told W about customer of mine who's selling pheromon candles and suggested W maybe we should try that (instead of peeing all over, LOL). And to my surprise - she agreed....   This morning day I sent her a small note where I told how happy her willingness to try the candles made me (I'm not having expectations).. I don't know if small positive notes like this have any affect on big scale of things, but I think they are part of "I notice you did something positive" communication that she feels is  lacking. They require nothing of me except what it takes to write a short note.

And last night she asked a small service from me...  Her laptop needed a program, and she asked if I could install it...  Theoritically she has all the required knowhow etc. to do it on her own, but maybe she was feeling tired, or maybe she wanted to test the waters... Anyway, it was nothing away from me, and I did it for her. 

One day at a time. No expectations, just huge bunch of love, grace and good will.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 10, 2019, 09:45:14 AM
Journaling...

This piece is  more "eyes on MLCr" update than about me  But I think this might provide some "perspective" what goes on inside the head of live-in MLCr, and what it's like to live with live-in.

Last night I dug deeper and read about enabling and enablers, especially when it comes to mental health conditions. Let me say it is pretty scary stuff. A "love trap" you might say as it is abound to happen only with those who love "too much".  I might even go to lengths of saying enabling is the twisted sister of fixing.... I can see some of it in me and my behaviour, and I think it has to go. I don't know if it means I have to create boundaries, or if I just simply "stop doing" some of the stuff I do for her.   

Anyway, I decided to poke the sleeping beast a bit, listen what she thinks about this topic. I asked W how she feels - am I enabling too much for her, am I too kind for her (my personal prejudice is that I am enabling to some extend).

I used her sleeping cycle as example (I let her sleep as late as she wants on weekend mornings, allowing her not to experience the natural consequences of having early bird husband and kids). Naturally she declined any enabling, saying that no matter what, she would still sleep late (good luck with that if you are all alone with kids, LOL). Then she grumbled along the lines of  "as if waking up early 5 days a week is not hard enough. Life in general is so hard".

Which took the discussion into "why and what is hard" territory, and then came one of big surprises (which as hindsight might explain a lot of her thinking/behaviour)....She said she has never experienced life "too easy" apart of few times. For her life is and has been a challenge or struggle of some degree 24/7/365, year after year...  And for me it has been somewhat  carefree ride apart of the random  rough times. I think this might explain our different reactions and approach for llife and this whole thing.  She's used living like this and cannot see anything unusual with it and has no motive to enhance the situation.  For me this is "code red"  crisis, there's a fire under my behind and I want it gone ASAP.... Okey, I can now begin to understand why she's had number of depressive periods, and possibly this burnout/fatigue. 

And then she revealed her dislike when people at work  (daycare) ask "would you like to do x today...".... She just wishes her collegues would simply tell her "go and do this  now" (otherwise she says she likes it a lot)... .Maybe it's just me, but I just saw there an image of woman who runs away of thinking and decision making.... Idk, maybe this is part of the reason why some MLCrs hook up with "abusive" partners. So that would not have to think. 

It's a nutty world inside their head (even crazier than inside my head)... 

But apart of random talks like this, life has become surprisingly normal  in recent months.  We are two people living under same roof,  sleeping in different beds,  having no romantic relationship but just co-parenting and occasionally sharing some personal stuff ... There are no more arguments (she occasionially tries some kind of mini-momstering, but I don't bite at all and she then quits)...  We have some casual chatter, we watch some movies together, sometimes we have deeper talks like this (usually I kick the ball)...    IDK if this is "normal" with live-in or not.  But possibly it just displays that each case of MLC is very different, that co-living with them is possible at least on some level when/if they are not momstering.

Other stuff... I talked with G19 (again) for few hours.... She flunked her drivers test (again).   She agreed it's getting in between the ears, and she plans to keep a short break before next attempt...    Then she showed me her new nose-piercing, and asked "not to tell W".  She said she wants to see W's reaction live.   Kind of funny. Only a year back she would have likely done the opposite (told the W and watched my reaction live, LOL)....   Then she poured lots of school and health stuff.  I hear she's struggling with it all.  I'll do my best to listen and occasionally guide.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 10, 2019, 12:18:46 PM
Might as well add one more story for the day.

We (read kids + me)  have been crafting seasons greetings for the past week, and today was W's turn to sign and address some of them  to her side of family.... All was well until she realized there were not enough greeting cards.  So what does MLCr do???

She decided to drop two of her uncle's  (brothers of his father) off the greetings list. 

FFS  :o

I simply said "no way, not happening in our family",  and asked her to enjoy a hot shower while I craft some more greetings.

Sometimes it is very small things like this that show how unwell they truly are.  Family has always mattered WAY more to her than me (thanks to her I have actually come to appreciate my family, my roots, and have started to rebuild some connections with cousins I did not know so well etc), and this kind of behaviour is something...  "unthinkable".

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on December 10, 2019, 02:45:41 PM
Alvin, I understand but it sounds like you fixed her problem for her.

What is the worse thing that would have happened if she didn't sent them a card?
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: 3longyrs on December 10, 2019, 03:01:51 PM
Gotta agree with Thunder here Alvin...
Quote
Alvin, I understand but it sounds like you fixed her problem for her.

What is the worse thing that would have happened if she didn't sent them a card?

This is a consequence of her actions...We didn't break them and we cant fix them..
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 10, 2019, 06:02:11 PM
I don't think Alvin solved her problem.... she didn't care to begin with. It was the kids and Alvin who started it, so they finished it. They just tried to include W in it...... I know all about a W throwing her hands up at the 1st sign on trouble.

You did good Alvin :)

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on December 10, 2019, 07:09:23 PM
Standing you know I like you, but I'm sorry you are enabling Alvin to keep being her the fixer.
She needs to fix herself.

"You go enjoy a nice hot shower... and I'll take care of this for you."  ??

How is that helping his wife to take responsibility?  To me that is being a doormat.  Sorry Alvin if that sounds harsh.
I just don't get it.

You can not "nice" them out of their crisis, but I give up.
I hope things work out for you Alvin, but right now I don't see it happening until you let go of trying to control your wife.

I'll leave you alone now.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 10, 2019, 07:29:22 PM
Don't be hurt Thunder... you are awesome, and you have an incredible POV (and experience).

Honest question: What is wrong with giving them some peace so they can process?
I mean.... I suggest to W for her to go take a bath and relax. She's actually better afterward. Normally her mind is a flurry of garbage (and nothing to do with her MLC.... it's work and trash).
They relax and then the road is clear for (maybe if you're lucky) processing. I can only speak from my experience, but getting them calm and collected seems to be a good thing.

W has described to me that her mind is running full steam on nothing, and everything. When she relaxes is when feeling start to show themselves, but she doesn't understand them.
When she doesn't want to deal with them, she occupies her mind and sometimes likes the speeding locomotive since it drowns out everything.
I assumed that getting them into that state is a good thing instead of the runaway train.

You're 100% right, we can't nice them back......... but can we help them to have a clear runway? I think we can (in small ways).

Honest question. I think you're beyond fantastic Thunder. One of the absolute best minds (and hearts) on the board.

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on December 10, 2019, 09:35:27 PM
Thank you Standing, you are too kind.  I'm not sure a have one of the best minds on the board, there may be people who would not agree, but I think there is nothing wrong with giving them peace so they can process.  Nothing at all.
I think that is good with the confused mind they are in.

But why is that your responsibility to calm her mind?  I think that can be achieved by leaving them alone.  Just be peaceful.
I just don't see giving them peace of mind by constantly having conversations with them that are confusing to them. 
I'm not saying you are doing this, I don't think you are.  I think you are doing a good job of not doing that.

I see constantly questioning them as not giving them peace of mind.  Questioning them about the ladder you set up for them, for an example, to respond to is not giving them peace of mind.
Why have you not responded to the ladder I have put in place for you?

They are not ready to respond to that.  That to me is trying to control them.
Just leave them alone to process things.  Go do something for yourself.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 10, 2019, 10:07:57 PM
Thunder, Standing ... Both of you are right.   Like I wrote few posts up, there is VERY fine line between enabling and supporting.  Sometimes which way it rolls is all about perspective, not so much of the actual action.  Which makes it all so hard to balance the line. 

Standing is right that I tried (and managed) to engage her with "positive family activity"... 
We made the greetings, all she had to do was sign and address.  She became part of family (and S5 was shining aside her when putting greetings inside envelopes and stamping them)...  Engaging with something "positive" is standard practice with mental illness.  People with depressed partners, friends etc. are encouraged to engage them with something "healing".  They need to feel "success" - no matter how small.

Thunder is right is that I enabled her to "escape" the consequences. 
What's the worse that could have happened... Shame, guilt, possibly some bad blood - what good does any of it do? If we think how we would feel with shame or guilt, it usually leads into not so nice behaviour (and it COULD have come down to me + kids too).   And it would have wiped away all the success (all those greetings she succeeded) away..... But I also made her come back, and finish the job. Which is engaging her back.

Possibly more important is what I did not do... The greetings were on the desk for several days. Awaiting for her to sign and address them. I didn't push her in any way, did not remind of her about mailing dates. She saw us complete my side of the family during the weekend, she took up the job all on her own.... The old me would have likely nagged after nagging till she completes.  Now it was entirely up to her.   If she would not have taken up the task, I would have allowed her to crash and burn....   

No simple black/white responses and solutions here....  And it's something we all just have gotta live.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 11, 2019, 12:18:37 AM
It's a little scary isn't it? Like what happens if they give up and quit?
Actually, I think they quit all the time, and after sitting and sulking they get up again. Just like a little kid trying to walk for the first time.

You might have career as "MLC whisperer" ;)

Last night W expressed aloud her view on "making progress" ....  She told she does not like steady movement.  It feels unnatural to her... Her way is to "go onwards and stop, go onwards and stop, go onwards and stop"...     I guess it kind of makes sense for person who's in really bad shape.  You don't run/walk  all the way, but you stop in between for a break. Of course it is not sustainable long term solution, it does not build "muscle" that is required for transformation.

Needless to say that was all she had to say for rest of the night.... so I gues she needed to stop, LOL.

Alvin. 
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Treasur on December 11, 2019, 01:17:48 AM
My take fwiw is that both you and Standing are experimenting with the enabler/supporter safe place  tightrope in your current live-in situations. Which is why you are drawn to support each other. But also why perhaps it is helpful to be challenged occasionally by different perspectives and experiences.

I have challenged you in the past, Alvin, about your desire to get in your w's head space when she was telling you in lots of different ways to stop. You saw it differently which is your right, but I also see that your tightrope is evolving now.

On the cards issue? I think the truth is that it mattered to you and your kids more than it mattered to your w. Which is also ok....the life of your family needs to go forward even if your w is semi-detached. But I also think Thunder is right that you may be standing a little too close sometimes, mindreading a little too much and watching the infinitesimal movements of your w a little too closely like a bug in a Petri dish. Perhaps bc you and Standing fundamentally believe - rightly or wrongly - that you can influence what is happening. But that must make it quite difficult sometimes to detach or to know what belongs to you and what belongs to your w. And tbh that kind of attention on the microscopic detail of another human being is not a normal way to live is it? And perhaps bc it is sometimes rather tiring it might make Standing more difficult over the longer term? Jmo.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 11, 2019, 02:03:06 AM
My take fwiw is that both you and Standing are experimenting with the enabler/supporter safe place  tightrope in your current live-in situations. Which is why you are drawn to support each other. But also why perhaps it is helpful to be challenged occasionally by different perspectives and experiences.

I have challenged you in the past, Alvin, about your desire to get in your w's head space when she was telling you in lots of different ways to stop. You saw it differently which is your right, but I also see that your tightrope is evolving now.

On the cards issue? I think the truth is that it mattered to you and your kids more than it mattered to your w. Which is also ok....the life of your family needs to go forward even if your w is semi-detached. But I also think Thunder is right that you may be standing a little too close sometimes, mindreading a little too much and watching the infinitesimal movements of your w a little too closely like a bug in a Petri dish. Perhaps bc you and Standing fundamentally believe - rightly or wrongly - that you can influence what is happening. But that must make it quite difficult sometimes to detach or to know what belongs to you and what belongs to your w. And tbh that kind of attention on the microscopic detail of another human being is not a normal way to live is it? And perhaps bc it is sometimes rather tiring it might make Standing more difficult over the longer term? Jmo.

Treasur,

you are always welcomed to challenge me, to provide out of box views (that is why I read what others post, that is why I love your deep ponderings)...   I may take the advice given, or I may omit it. It is never nothing personal, I just follow what I think is good for my situation.   Or like the saying goes ' you can lead horse to a well, but you cannot make it drink'....  We all strugle upon the same issue with our MLCrs, but it is also part of growing pain/internal schism of this community.   We see other LBS succeed, and we see them fail - and then we take them to well and try to make them drink.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Sometimes it is required, sometimes it can be fatal.  Unfortunately there is no manual or textbook that would cover all situations.  All we have is our internal instinct as guide when to drink and when not to. 

Which maybe takes me to why I and Standing  (and few others) "enjoy" each others company so much...   Neither of us tries to "control" or guide the other, neither of us says the other "do this", we just support each other and share our own experiments/experiences.  If we fail, we support each other. If we succeed, we support each other.  That is my view how a support forum should work.  Just my side of story, Standing might disagree (LOL).

Possibly all of it could boil down to very simple advice from my shrink: "when in doubt, choosing a bit of kindness and love  and support is a never a bad choice."...  Possibly hardest part of it all is to convert it into message that others get right.  So possibly the best way to say right now is {{Hugs}}

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Treasur on December 11, 2019, 03:00:25 AM
I am sorry, Alvin, if my words made you feel as if I was pushing you to a well you do not value. Not my intention at all and you are quite right that each of us learns from our own trial and error.

I suppose my experience of this has led me to conclude that sometimes it is very hard to see the wood for the trees and there is value in the eyes of others who might see patterns that I don't. But that is about my POV, as you say.

I'm not sure why - perhaps it is how i say things - but I feel that you push back against me or hear me saying 'do this' when I am not but react differently to someone like Thunder saying something similar. Which is fine and not important....so i will respect your feelings and step away. I wish you every success on your path.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 11, 2019, 05:11:08 AM
Treasur... No harm done (or like I wrote before, {{Hugs}})

As you well know, what you bring up in me has got nothing to do with you, but all about me. And right now how I feel for you is grace, and admiration. I hoped I would have captured that with my words, but maybe I failed. Idk...   The same way my words make you feel certain way tells more about you than me.  I have no control over that, all I can do is try boldly till I succceed...  Communication is so damn difficult because each of us looks the same words from different (their unique) perspective. 

All in all I see your questions/pondering as continuum of "does the MLCr lens keep you stuck" topic you started while back (though possibly your words came from different place/mindset).  Maybe the lens is the difference between you and Thunder,  and reason why I react differently between you two (or say UM). With you I see a very thick/heavy MLCr lens, with Thunder that lens exist not (but maybe "lens of support")...  I love you all, but all of us carry different lenses, and at times I just gracefully agree to disagree with some of the guys/gals here (as well as in RL)... This of course is not to meant to hurt anyones feelings, by the opposite. Be proud of what you have and what you are, because it makes you YOU. 

The way I look at MLC lens is that it exists only to allow us to heal. No contact and dim contact (and any abnormal type of contact promoted by MLC lens) are surely in place during the momster phase, they are a boundary to protect us.  Keeping our eyeballs on us does the same, it allows us to put resources where needed most... 

But wearing the MLC lens when you area healed enough, when the momstering MLCr is gone (it seems my W as well as Standings's W are past that stage, at least for now), when you might want to start genuinely supporting your partner,   is also something where looking through the MLC lens MIGHT make both LBS and MLCr remain 'stuck' longer than required (my opinion).

Communication is part of normal adult relationship,  allowing MLCrs to "wallow", to isolate and refuse "normal communication" for extended periods becomes enabling of unhealthy behaviour.  Allowing them to be in their isolated universe as if their actions and desire to withdraw did not matter - same thing...   The problem is of course that there are no guidelines when to start poking or supporting, how much poking  or support is good enough etc. But I guess it is very much all about baby-steps, and seeing how they react.  Doing clinical stuff instead of following some universal textbook rules.  I am giving her the rope, encouraging her to move a bit my way, to open the door a bit. And I am not expecting a miracle cure, but more likely years of "two steps forth, one back" dance.  If this is some form of mental illness/condition (as I believe), then it takes as long as it takes.   

And this is where a lot boils down to something beautiful I learned from you. That lesson  was "Fear makes us do the worst decisions, always. So don't act on fear."... I am way over and done with fear. I'm not afraid anything she might do.  And if required I am prepared to let her "face the bottom" if her behaviour so requires (as I get that sometimes it might be required).... And in the meantime I am not afraid to try things that might support her possibly recovery.   No guarantees, just lots of mights and possibilities, and seeing where it all leads into. 

Just my 2 cents (and maybe some more) worth of pondering.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Treasur on December 11, 2019, 06:11:55 AM
Your point about the MLC lens is an interesting one, Alvin, and i think that discussion thread that Acorn started is a very interesting one with lots of different viewpoints. The same with your point about contact and communication, although of course it depends on our individual situations.

I would not have chosen NC in an ideal world - even if with a vanisher it was to some extent respecting his wishes - but I had death threats and almost two years of 'anonymous' abusive letters and my xh has remarried so it made sense in my situation. For reasons I don't know, the divorce process made my h less rational and much angrier.  It was not an easy choice bc it required me to let go of my h and  many of my small hopes completely. I would never have chosen a future in which he is a stranger after 20 years, in which I don't even know if he is dead or alive...but he chose it first I suppose and finally i had to chose it too. For me, it was an issue of safety and sanity that outweighed my wish to support my h or indeed his wish to have my support lol. I loved my h, he is not an evil person, he undoubtedly suffered some kind of breakdown/crisis, chose his own path through it and I hope that he recovers himself in time. Maybe he already has, idk. If he ever needs to find me, I am sure that he can.

Thank you for your kind words.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 11, 2019, 06:45:44 AM
Treasur - No doubt our experiences make us. I'm so happy to read/sense you are reaching a much better place. Healing happens to all of us eventually.

And sorry I mixed up topic starter. Acorn is awesome too (heck, most regular folks here are, LoL).

But I'm now off to see S5 at preschool christmas party. I'm putting my Santa hat on, and will be enjoying kids singing and playing traditional carrols. So what if MLCr loves me not right now, at least she's there to share a very special moment. :)

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 11, 2019, 07:08:55 AM
So well put Alvin.

Captured what I feel too.

We're all here to help one another, share our experiences and root for each other.
Everyone wants the others to succeed in the best possible version for them.

I know we trigger each other and in doing so, are "poking" one another. We talk about poking our MLC'ers and if that is right, but we poke each other every day.... and that is healthy. We are moving each other forward without the intention of doing so.
Each poke makes us more mature, get stronger and develop our mind/emotions.

Without the challenge of our LBS family, without the consideration of new ideas from our LBS brothers and sisters, and without the knowledge that there's people always here to give a virtual hug....... where would we be? Lost.

The great thing too is most of the people here are not victims. I think most people would fall down and refuse to get up, but not the LBS's here. Oh no...... and even better, we are all telling each other to get up and get moving. We all have our own way of doing it, but we all do it. That is so beautiful.

I only wish we all lived in LBS-ville so we could give each other real hugs and get together for coffee and board games.

-SS


Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on December 11, 2019, 07:27:15 AM
What a nice post. Standing.   :)
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 11, 2019, 01:55:55 PM
Journaling .. just to share/record a link that might interest some:

https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/How-To-Love-Someone-With-A-Mental-Illness

I'm not saying this would be better or worse than the standard MLC lens. This just provides a different, maybe bit gentler perspective on how to love/stand for partner who's has got mental illness... All in all it is something worth pondering.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 12, 2019, 11:20:08 AM
Sometimes even the MLCr gets it right ...

I said to W "you rarely ask anything from me,  why so?".

Her reply: I occasionally ask you questions in case you have not noticed, but most of the time I have no need as you talk a lot.

LoL. Touche ...
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Not Your Monkey on December 12, 2019, 07:50:05 PM
You think your and standing's wives are past the monstering phase? What I think both of you fail to realize is they are just getting started in their crises and you are mistaking what seems like (sometimes forced by you) openness as a sign that somehow you have miraculously loved them through the tunnel quickly. Us old-timers can see they simply have not fully entered the tunnel yet but you are doing everything to ensure they will run from you sooner or later. Your egos are blinders to what your wives are clearly trying to communicate to you but you completely read the wrong way.  Some women will try to placate an over bearing man because it is easier than trying to fight it. Don't mistake that for something else
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 12, 2019, 09:01:21 PM

You think your and standing's wives are past the monstering phase? What I think both of you fail to realize is they are just getting started in their crises...
Us old-timers can see they simply have not fully entered the tunnel yet but you are doing everything to ensure they will run from you sooner or later.

NYM...
I do appreciate the words/warning, but all of us have got life to live. Living under fear of something that MIGHT is not living (speaking from experience). Hindsight and experience are valuable educators, but only if you focus on the positive (even darkest clouds have got that silver lining).

What you wrote says more about your past/present experiences than my life. Which is why I feel a lot of compassion for you.

What matters is the present moment...and in it the momster is gone.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 12, 2019, 10:18:58 PM
Umm.... what NYM?

I don't think Alvin or myself have claimed to "love them thru the tunnel" and are passed the "Monster phase". I know mine has years to go..... years. I don't know if Alvin feels the same way.
Can the "true" monster phase return? Absolutely. Can it be the deep breath before entering the tunnel completely? Absolutely.
From what I have read from all the stories going back several years, there is a difference.... not because "our wife is different" or "our love is special" or any of those self-delusional things (maybe ego as you put it).
What have most people done in the past?
Standard: BD --> Then meltdown by the LBS ---> MLC'er runs away or not ---> LBS goes into self protection and lets go of MLC'er ---> MLC'er runs away ---> D
Contrast that with this: BD --> LBS's falls apart --> MLC'er runs away or not ---> LBS engages (lovingly) with MLC'er, removes "problems" (honest/correct issues) from R, supports MLC'er emotionally, improves in the sight of the MLC'er, stirs the pot (gently) ----> MLC'er runs away??? (we don't know this part yet) ---> D???? (We don't know this part)

So realistically, what is happening? We are gathering information. As most have MLC'ers have run away, it stands to reason a new approach should be tried. Not by discarding what was learned wholesale, but taking what is good and trying some new things. Maybe it will succeed and maybe it will end in the same results. Other have paid the price for the information we currently have, and it was the only way for us to know what is known now. How will we know more if different attempts aren't made?
If most of the "classical" attempts end in D and a missing spouse, then something else should be tried. I completely know that what I try can end in failure, and that I don't get to engineer an outcome: I can only clear the runway for my W to do the work she needs. I don't believe she can do that better anywhere else.
What is the saying? "Take what works, discard the rest"? If Alvin's W and my W are still around right now, what does that say? Maybe it's something, maybe it's a coincidence..... but it is better than a ran away MLC'er. Absolutely. 
Take RCR, she says she broke "the rules", and she kept reminding her H that she was around. She engaged as she felt was needed, but she engaged. I think that's critical. What level of engagement is needed? We don't know. How will we learn (assuming this is correct) the right level of engagement without stories about what was tried? Maybe it will be a colossal failure... but we will find out.
I do think we have some new data already though...... mine is self-aware on some level. Not totally. I think Alvin's is also, but he can talk about that. If she is too.... what does that say?
I know mine has some emotion, and has regained the vast majority of her memory. What does that say? We know from stories that this normally takes 2 years or more typically. I'm not saying she's thru, or has warped to the end, or even skipped anything.... all I know is something seems to be different than what I have read, and I have evidence to prove it. Maybe it only means instead of a "Type A" MLC journey, there is also a "Type B". We don't know, and I don't know.
Let's say for argument, there is a "type B" MLC journey, and the MLC'er can stay in the house and be calmer. That's a positive. Let's also say that there is a downside: Maybe it lasts longer, maybe a lot longer. Maybe a "clean" processing takes twice as long instead of a typical crash and burn. I'm going to find out. Or maybe mine will run away like all the others. I will find that out too, and I will have a clear conscious doing it, because I love her and I would do anything for her (including voluntarily sacrificing for her... which I am).
RCR has said most don't make it back. I don't want that for W, and everyone comes here wanting to save their M. I'm no different..... and if the success rate is 5% then heck yeah I'm going to try a variation of what has been learned/collected.

I do think you're right about placating someone however, and if we follow too close that is what can happen..... not following at all is dangerous though..... once they think they don't matter, and you don't care about them, that is another justification for them not to try. If it's true that they are like children or teens..... how do you help children to teens? Leave them alone? If it was you going thru the crisis, would you want your H to scrap you off and completely leave you to wherever the winds took you? Notice that every MLC'er who comes out and has regret holds their LBS in high regard and wishes the had held out a little longer, or was still available...... what does this say? It says they wished the LBS was still there holding their hand out for the MLC'er to grasp, and when they don't see that they assume there is no hope.
I know my W needs the attention and looks for it. She has recorded video to me saying this. She can't verbalize it face to face (like so many things), but when she is relaxed, and there is no eyes looking at her... the truth comes out (a drop at a time).

Now if I remember correctly, your H is in the house and your "red line" was if he left that was it. He didn't leave, but he is still deep in the tunnel. Well, I have to commend you because you're doing the same thing we are (of a sort). He is still there, so he knows you are still available. When he finishes, there won't be a question about "can I go back to NYM?". That question is already answered by proximity, and it's the question that prevents most from getting back together. Very smart.

The main difference (I think) between Alvin, myself and others is that we aren't afraid to "stir the pot". Why you think that is ego is very confusing to me. It's not like it's easy or fun. I do revel in a perceived success, and that's because of love not ego. I love my wife. I would do anything for her, and I miss her. When I think I see her fighting and trying, that does give me joy and makes me very proud of her. The good woman I knew is in there, and more of her returns as time goes on. Is this placating? Maybe..... but I have seen great things come from IC, and what is IC??? A person asking questions. Not everyone has that available, so what's wrong with sharing what we try if that helps someone with an H/W MLC'er who is willing to talk? It could be something which really helps them. Heck, RCR and all the people here are sharing what they have observed to help others. The people at the beginning of recorded LBSdom when there was no information are the ones who paid so much that people like me would know something..... and I'm so grateful for their sacrifice. What they went thru and lost has not been in vain. Today I give my experiences to that years from now someone will be able to look at Standing's situation, see it's endgame and make their own plan for trying. That's what I did based on those who came before, so shall it be again. Where's the Ego in that? Should there be excitement when something good or improved is observed? Absolutely. I think Alvin and myself have been very open in our failures, weaknesses, and trials. It's not like it's all sunshine (far from it).

I'm a realist, and I think if the MLC (replay) journey was cut into three parts: Beginning, Middle and End...... then my sitch is moving from the beginning to the middle (middle being the longest part). I'm very happy with how the beginning went.... warts and all. That was far better than most have had. Now comes the middle, which is a scary and trying period. What will happen? How long will it take? I don't know. But I do know the rules will change. I do know there will be much to learn. I do know there will be much growth to be had. I do know she can fail and fall in the middle, run, and D. On the other hand, she could also surprise. She could fight it the whole way. She can improve further. This is all up to her. My part is to be there, clear that runway and remove myself as a burden/distraction..... but I will never abandon. I will not cut that cord. I will remain a good man in God's eyes, and a wonderful H. I will live "as if" she will succeed, we will be restored and made better.

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Not Your Monkey on December 12, 2019, 10:40:04 PM
I thought my H would be different in the beginning, and I was wrong. Most of us probably do. I'm not beating myself up about it because that was 100% due to things he said to me that things had not and would not change, not just because i wanted to see it a different way. The fact was, he may have even meant those things but he couldn't maintain them. Or maybe they were lies, whatever, I read him wrong.

I really don't think you see yourself. You made a post a while back about interactions between you and your wife and I was reading it, and as I was reading it, I was thinking, why does he keep poking her? Why does he keep getting in her face? Can't he stop smothering her? And then I got to the line that made me just throw up my hands in frustration, you said something like, "I'm doing so well at giving her space now!" (that's a paraphrase). I was seeing repeated intrusive and pestering actions on your part, and you thought that was giving her space!

No one is telling you don't love your wife. But your idea of love is telling her what to do all the time and acting as if you know what is going to make her feel best. And then puffing out your chest and bragging about how she did all these things because you told her to, not because she is a capable adult who can choose for herself and take care of herself. How do you know how she really feels about it? How do you know she really appreciates it and isn't just putting up with it to prevent conflict until she leaves? Why can't you let her be an adult and decide when she wants to take a shower, whether she wants to decorate the Xmas tree now or not? These are all things a parent makes their child do, not the actions of a husband toward their wife. You even found an unethical doctor who spent a lot of time discussing her mental state indirectly, which really is not his business to be sharing with you without her consent. Where does she get space to just be herself, maybe even make mistakes, without meddling and monitoring?

It's clear you are now starting to engage in a stealth war with one another. She books a trip to Ecuador behind your back during your anniversary and the Xmas holidays (not surprising). You retaliate by inviting all her relatives to Xmas behind her back. What do you want to prove with that? What kind of message are you trying to send to her via them? How are you going to explain it when they get to your house and find out she isn't even there?

What I see is a woman who the only way she can say NO is to run away as far as possible from you. Who is running back to her mother and looking at that as freedom. She may be right, she may be wrong, but actions during replay are a lot more indicative than words.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 12, 2019, 11:07:05 PM
NYM.... Have you considered that maybe SS cares for these people. Wants them to be part of his Christmas, and part his support network in this difficult time.... What her W thinks is her problem.  What the people coming think is their problem. The act is all about "this is life of SS, and I'm not enabling unhealthy behaviour nor living under the rock"...that is just my first (and IMHO somewhat healthy) thought/reaction over situation. .. and likely standing's W thinks something totally different than what any of us can imagine .. so why monkeybrain what others MIGHT think? They will tell it over time. In the meantime best is to live our life the way we want (which of course is different from "live as if they are not coming back" - for all of us with live-in they are still part of our lives, anything else would be denial of truth)

And like SS wrote, I too realize that timeline with this (as well as mental health issue) is long (up to 15 years if trusting my shrink), and there's zero guarantees of outcome. But I choose to hope and work my ass off for getting the best outcome by providing different kinds of support (and yes, sometimes it means poking and stirring). To me that sounds a whole lot like life, doesn't it?

We cant control them, but what we can control is our own perspective over this whole thing.Regardless of which way this goes I have already "won" by finding empathy, grace, compassion, forgiveness, love etc  great emotions - my W likely feels none of those. 

Maybe the issue is not just that there are type A/B MLCrs, but also type A/B etc LBS, causing different outcomes. We all walk a very unique path, and only thing we control is us. What we believe in, what we do etc.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Whyus on December 12, 2019, 11:33:34 PM
Just for the record. My XW was home for 6 weeks after BD, sure we had R talks which got us nowhere and I snooped like crazy. She didnt Monster on me in this period, just BD night.

I asked her to leave when I discovered that there was an OM, she had been "visiting" him for 8 months at this time. In these 8 months we had a 3 week family holiday in Sardinien, played multiple gigs together where she always kissed me on stage (mostly during a guitar solo  :o) and we had a dirty weekend in Prague to see Muse, one of her favourite bands. We also had what i thought was a lovely christmas and new year together. She "played" the perfect W role right upuntil BD and I suspected nothing.
OM was my boundry, I told her to leave for my protection. If I didnt discover OM she may still be at home now, ice cold and sneaking out the back door to see OM the whole time.
Where would that have got me now? It would have totally broke me but I may have had a better chance of saving my M one day. If I didnt file for D we would still be married, she wouldnt have filed.

Im just trying to say be careful. Alvin and SS, I respect what your doing and if it works for you then thats great. I just wonder how and if the situation would change if you were to dicover that your Ws had been "visiting" an OM the whole time. Believe me, that is not easy to live with!

Stay strong fellas, NYM means well with her warning, we all do. Dont take her the wrong way.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 13, 2019, 12:55:02 AM
I just wonder how and if the situation would change if you were to dicover that your Ws had been "visiting" an OM the whole time. Believe me, that is not easy to live with!

Stay strong fellas, NYM means well with her warning, we all do. Dont take her the wrong way

Crashdown with expectations is never easy. I feel sorry for you (and all who have gone through it). 

But allow me rephrase this into fictional story that most of us can hopefully look from place of detachment.

Lets say my brother has got mental health issue, and he has been into drugs because of it.  Right now he lives with me, but I have acknowledged him that if he steps into substances while living with me, he's out of the house. And then I find out he's still using drugs.  What should I do?

Enabling behaviour would be to let it go "as is".... We all know it would not be ok, it would just hurt all more eventually.   

Supporting behavior would be letting the consequences happen (and yes, it would hurt like hell), or some variation of it (you can stay but only if you drop it now, sign for rehab ASAP, and allow daily screening)...   But none of it means I still cannot be there to support him, does it?  I could still engage with him, and ask him to seek support (it's his choice to get help or not).  I could still engage and encourage him to family connections (it's his choice to respond or not). I could provide subtle  encouragement with every small succes.  I could do a whole lot of stuff that has the potential to enter his life and bring good things, but I should not take any of the failures personally (as they are my expectations).  It would be is his task to change and set the course.  I could only make it "easier" by removing my own debris away from the runaway (of not being a mental hot potato myself, of giving up expectations), as well as giving possibly "look-outs" (stirring the pot, poking etc)... That's what supporting is all about.

And if you look out for any official guidance/material for living/loving a mentally ill partner/family member, this is the "recommended route", backed up with decades of serious research data and tons of case examples.... What is not recommended is the "wipe them out of the image" route.....  When thinking of all this, I can see BBHelps "Corleone act" written all over it.

I see lot of old timers being worried over me and Standing, but please don't...  I understand that many might be afraid of  us getting hurt again.... I'm not. I understand more than well that this can swing any way.  And I undertand that hurt will come no matter which way this goes (I can only imagine how painful the re-connection few get to experience must be).  But I still choose to respond to it with love, kindness, compassion, grace and forgiveness.  Not because of her, but because of myself.   

Idk... Sometimes I get the feeling that I am speaking alien language that many people here don't understand.  Or that I am reading a totally different set of psychology books than most...  But what possibly matters most is that I feel I am at relatively good spot right now.   And I see the same with Standing.... Thus it saddens me a lot that to see so many fellow LBS are in very different spot.  Maybe it says that something is wrong with the method most follow, maybe it says that I am someway different by choosing a different path/perspective. I wish I had the answers, but no-one has them, sadly.  All we can do is live our own lives to best of ability. No regrets.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 13, 2019, 02:20:11 AM
And now that I have a bit of time, I want to address few bits of Standing's lengthy response.  There is lots and lots of good stuff in it...  I hope many of the veterans take this as "loving challenge" and do some mirror work of their own based upon below words. Maybe you have been on this spot before, maybe not. Just have an open mind (I have it, Standing has it). That is all I ask.

If most of the "classical" attempts end in D and a missing spouse, then something else should be tried. I completely know that what I try can end in failure, and that I don't get to engineer an outcome: I can only clear the runway for my W to do the work she needs. I don't believe she can do that better anywhere else.

My thoughts too..

I know there are few different numbers of of happy endings at HS, but whether it's 0.2%, 2% or 10% of all members, they are all ridiculously small to call the "method" a success when it comes to saving marriage.  Even if following basic law of "it can swing either way", the numbers should/could  be very close to 50/50... So maybe, just maybe, there is something unhealthy with the process that makes it perform so poorly. None of knows what the optimal percentage could be be, but all we can do is try to enhance it.  With such low (almost non-existing) "success rates" trying to improve the odds is not just the best bet, but also a risk very much worth taking. 

Where "MLC lens" succeeds is "saving LBS", letting them get over the worst part that comes after BD without some extremely stupid things.  Thank god for Thunder for repeating "let her do all the work if she wants a divorce",  and Treasur for repeating "if you don't know what to do know, then be still and let the dust settle", and  thanks to many vets for "don't enable the momster" or "protect your assets, don't become a doormat". That is the succesfull core of MLC lense, and that is what should be promoted.

But what when the LBS is over the worst, what then when the MLC is open for communcation and behind the momster (even if temporarily)?  I think, believe the reason above numbers are low because most LBS get stuck with the "MLC process/lens" and steps that are repeated like some holy mantra... Or as Acorn put it so well: what matters most is what you do with the time given.  If you don't do your part, then nothing changes.     

This post is inspired by KIT’s new thread title.  Thanks, KIT!

‘Trust the process’

Does the ‘process’ for MLCer and LBS happen on its own and all one needs to do is ‘trust’ it?  It can’t be that easy.  What’s the catch?   

I have read ‘trust the process’ many times on HS.  I always felt that there should be a condition attached to that expression.  After all, one can’t trust the process if there is no work being done for the process to ignite and progress. 

The following is my opinion only.  :)

LBSCrisis runs parallel to MLCrisis.  Just as MLCer needs to work on himself to progress in his crisis, so does LBS.  No work, no progress.  The longer the ‘no work’ status goes on, the more stuck in the crisis hole MLCer/LBS will be and, therefore, risk making the state of crisis their permanent address.

Excuse my cookie obsession in the following paragraph. I’ve been baking up a storm for Christmas for the last couple of days!

One can not expect homemade cookies to magically pop out the oven without purchasing all the ingredients, turning the oven on, mixing the dough, shaping each cookie, putting them on a tray and placing it in the oven, setting the timer, paying attention to the timer, and taking the cookies out in time.  Phew, it’s all work, and more work!, before you can announce that you trust the baking process.

Simply put; no work, no baking process, no cookies.

The baking analogy applied to MLCrisis and LBSCrisis - no work, no process to trust, no growth.  Trust is earned, be it a person or a process.  Earning it involves consistent work over a long period of time.

We read on HS that some MLCers (perhaps some LBSs too?) appear to be in the same spot months after months, if not year after year.  In other words, no progression in their process.  It begs the question:

What compels MLCer or LBS to get the ball rolling in their respective process?  What is the magic pill? 

Following the MLC process is IMHO just small part of the process if any of us wants our marriage/relationship back on the track.... 



I do think we have some new data already though...... mine is self-aware on some level. Not totally. I think Alvin's is also, but he can talk about that. If she is too.... what does that say?
I know mine has some emotion, and has regained the vast majority of her memory. What does that say? We know from stories that this normally takes 2 years or more typically. I'm not saying she's thru, or has warped to the end, or even skipped anything.... all I know is something seems to be different than what I have read,

Spot on, including the self-awareness...   But our W's are also different creatures. Standings W goes to IC, mine does not.  We have kids, SS does not  etc etc.These all are factors that give them a different ground to grow and heal on their own...

As their partners all we can do is provide support, to make possible recovery as smooth as possible (engage, encourage etc) and hope for best.   


The main difference (I think) between Alvin, myself and others is that we aren't afraid to "stir the pot".

Yes. Since there is nothing more to loose. Only things that can be gained and enhanced....

Which is pretty much one of those things I have pondered when reading stories of long-time LBSrs. When your partner has been gone for years and years,  but you are still attached enough to hang around this place, then why on earth are you not 'stirring the pot'...  If you have done your homework, then you know "not to take anything of it personally" .  Just go out, poke a bit and see what happens.  And do it without expecations (not positive, not negative).... What I see and read instead is lots and lots of expectations and hurt....  Relationships are a two way street.  If we want to engage a relationship, then we can try and fail as many times as we want.   

(Jeez! I am beginning to sound a whole lot like some of those folks who have reached "peace and enlightment", LOL)

Today I give my experiences to that years from now someone will be able to look at Standing's situation, see it's endgame and make their own plan for trying. That's what I did based on those who came before, so shall it be again. Where's the Ego in that? Should there be excitement when something good or improved is observed? Absolutely. I think Alvin and myself have been very open in our failures, weaknesses, and trials. It's not like it's all sunshine (far from it).

Spot on, especially the last sentence... 

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: xyzcf on December 13, 2019, 06:30:27 AM
Quote
Idk... Sometimes I get the feeling that I am speaking alien language that many people here don't understand.  Or that I am reading a totally different set of psychology books than most...  But what possibly matters most is that I feel I am at relatively good spot right now.   And I see the same with Standing.... Thus it saddens me a lot that to see so many fellow LBS are in very different spot.  Maybe it says that something is wrong with the method most follow, maybe it says that I am someway different by choosing a different path/perspective. I wish I had the answers, but no-one has them, sadly.  All we can do is live our own lives to best of ability. No regrets.

Alvin, you are not alone in these thoughts. Myself and others would agree with you.

NYM's comments to you and how you and Standing Strong are dealing with your own situation bothered me. We and we alone, know our own situation and what feels right for us to do. As you said "no regrets".

Nobody gets to tell us that somehow we are wrong to continue to show compassion, empathy and love to our spouses.

I was recently at a lunch where a well meaning friend told me I must stop contact with my husband and "move on". I believe she wants be to be "happy" and doesn't understand how I cannot be hurt by his contacts with me. Her husband had a stroke 6 weeks ago and due to receiving a medication that dissolves the clot, he's doing very well. She never left his side and is actively participating in his rehabilitation. I asked her, if the outcome had not been so positive, if he were left paralyzed, unable to feed himself or talk, would you have left him? Would you be moving on? She answered "well he might have to go live in an assisted living facility, but no I would not leave him".

Years ago, I watched a movie called Fireproof. A Christian movie about marriage in very deep trouble. The wife was having an affair, the husband, a fireman made a statement that has stayed with me ever since "you never leave your partner behind in a fire".

I wish that people would stop with the "warnings" and support what individuals have decided to do that is best for them and their families and their personal situations.  "Advice" about practicalities, finances, healing, finding how to live without a partner are helpful. Insinuating that you are "wrong" in how you have decided to treat your spouse creates more stress for the LBSer. We too have given it a great deal of thought and prayer and are following the only road that makes sense to us.

No regrets Alvin...you will always be able to look inside and say, I did everything I could. I am not saying that others didn't....they have done what they thought was right for them and Standing Strong and Alvin are following their own ideas.
It is a very lonely path.

One last comment which will probably get me into trouble. But when someone says on HS that they are done standing and are in a new relationship other members applaud and give messages of good for you, glad you found somebody, wonderful news.

Alvin and Standing Strongs commitment to their spouses is greeted with caution and trepidation  "oh dear, that's not going to work"..in my eyes only.......I always find this rather strange.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Treasur on December 13, 2019, 07:12:07 AM
This is bugging me a bit so I am going to say how I feel.

I see you journaling, sharing your observations and ideas and rarely inviting others to give you feedback or advice. And responding to challenge by rejecting it as not being your approach. Which is your right of course.

There seems to be an underlying tone here that Alvin sees something that others do not. Or is trying something that others have not. And that feels really unfair.

I speak only for me.

I loved my h very much and I saw him break into a million pieces in front of me. For months and months, I tried my very best to show him love, respect, support and not to judge him. As did others. I gave him the benefit of the doubt over and over when people told me that I should not. Bc I wanted to treat him as I would hope to be treated if I were in his shoes. As I thought my h and best friend would have treated me.

I do not regret doing this but the cost was very high.
And while I was doing this, my h did not care that I was bereaved, ill and dealing with all the mess he had left behind. He was lying and cheating and stealing from me while I was doing this. I am not judging that or going into why he did it, simply saying that this is the reality of what happened.
I did my very best to treat my h and best friend with kindness and respect. I do not think I could have done more than I was able to do. And bc I do not regret that as my first choice after 18 years, I would not criticise anyone here who tried to do the same.
In many ways, I literally risked my life for him.
It made no difference. My h did not care and he did not feel my kindness. He may at some future point see things differently but that was what happened then.

But eventually events moved on, his behaviour became more extreme and I had to change course. In the end, I showed him kindness and respect by letting him go as he wanted and not allowing my feelings to draw me into retaliation or disrespect towards him. Another kind of love perhaps. That was far from an easy thing to do and I grieved the loss of my h hard.

In my experience, Alvin, and my longer time here on HS, most of us tried very hard to treat our spouses with kindness and respect and love and empathy. To try to not give up on them or our marriages or hope for a good outcome. For some of us, that was not how things unfolded. And many of us still have found a way to think of our spouses or exspouses with love and kindness.

I really don't like the implication that we have not or your arrogance in assuming that your 'out of the box' advice, as you put it, is not something that most have tried. Often in circumstances of physical, emotional or financial threats to their family's wellbeing that you have apparently not had to navigate in your situation. Sometimes unimaginably extreme threats. And please don't misunderstand me, I hope that you will never have to do so and I hope with all my heart that your approach does indeed restore the peace and happiness of your family. I smile at every success here and every single bit of grace and kindness given or received. I happen to believe that kindness can be a life saver bc it saved mine.

You are quite right as is xyzcf that there is a thin line between support and advice that sounds more like instruction. I am sure many of us have sometimes fallen on the wrong side of that line. We all have our own filters. So, for instance, I had never received death threats in my previous life or felt that kind of fear....if I read a post now where an LBS has been the victim of violence or threatened with it, I want them to put their safety first above anything else. Including kindness to someone who is the source of that threat. I respect their right to ignore me but my experience now tells them to put safety first and I understand how denial works when we are in shock. Rightly or wrongly.

But it would be nice if you could share your mindset and acknowledge your hopes and successes without the implied judgment that others did not try this, also share your mindset and without some acknowledgement that you have not walked in their shoes. I feel increasingly that you are lecturing me about kindness and it would be nice if you would refrain from doing so. I can only request this and I have said all I have to say about it, but I hope you will at least consider my POV.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Not Your Monkey on December 13, 2019, 07:26:56 AM
I am not giving advice how to save your marriages. I'm more concerned about a wife whose husband feels it is his place to tell his wife to bathe and then brag about it. I'm more concerned about the lbs acting more controlling than your average mlcer. Who is having the mlc actually? And who is the lbs perhaps one that doesn't plan to stand? There are quite a few cases lately here where the roles are not clear.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Couragedearheart on December 13, 2019, 08:22:53 AM
I probably am on of the cases where it seems unclear.

Most of this seems unclear.

Our spouses are emotionally abusive, lying is abusive, so is blaming, gaslighting, stonewalling, yelling, guilting, withholding, and lots of the actions they do. It’s abusive to make someone else responsible for your emotions and actions.

So our spouses are abusive, and very codependent, they are also in transition.

Once you recognize this....what do you do? Do you stay in an abusive situation? Do you leave? Do you allow them time to sort themselves?

The truth of the matter is you decide for you. As long as your decision honors yourself...you have made the correct choice.

I find myself wavering between these 2.

Your self worth is determined by how you allow yourself and others to treat you....are you diminishing your self worth by not getting out as fast as possible.....maybe? I don’t know?

Do you tolerate some of the abusive behaviors like withholding because you understand they are just bad coping mechanisms? What is that teaching your children?

When you see a person like me waffling....this is why....I can argue either side of this.

Is there anyone on this board who’s spouse hasn’t displayed any of these codependent or emotionally abusive behaviors??? Not that I’ve seen yet.

That’s just the delimma I am pondering.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Not Your Monkey on December 13, 2019, 09:38:37 AM
I don't know what you are talking about but it definitely is not the kind of "unclear" that I was talking about!
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Treasur on December 13, 2019, 10:17:39 AM
Agree with every word, Marvin.
I read s phrase somewhere, "the illusion of action"...I think many of my initial actions were much more about my needs and fears than about my h's crisis behaviour (the gift of hindsight of course)

In fact this is a great post worth reading and re-reading by anyone trying to get their head around MLC imho
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 13, 2019, 11:22:06 AM
Alvin, you are not alone in these thoughts. Myself and others would agree with you.

Thanks XY... It's good to know I'm not an alien (or the only alien), LOL.

This is bugging me a bit so I am going to say how I feel.

I see you journaling, sharing your observations and ideas and rarely inviting others to give you feedback or advice. And responding to challenge by rejecting it as not being your approach. Which is your right of course.
Treasur.... True, I rarely ask for feedback or advice as I find myself beyond that point already. Like I wrote at beginning of my 4th,  I have set my course and most of my stuff will be journaling only about my journey from there onwards.

I remain open for new perspectives, even the ones I do not like ... But in my current stage many of the suggestions that I read or come across are something I have already given thorough thought (and oftentimes rejected).

There seems to be an underlying tone here that Alvin sees something that others do not. Or is trying something that others have not. And that feels really unfair.

As you likely know, what you think of other person reflects more about you and your thinking than the other person.  Which begs the question what hot buttons am I pressing at you? That is something for you discover.

Of course it is possible that something is wrong with me too. (I know I am not perfect)  And that is something for me to look and review.

I am not giving advice how to save your marriages. I'm more concerned about a wife whose husband feels it is his place to tell his wife to bathe and then brag about it. I'm more concerned about the lbs acting more controlling than your average mlcer. Who is having the mlc actually? And who is the lbs perhaps one that doesn't plan to stand? There are quite a few cases lately here where the roles are not clear.

And I'm giving you NYM the same response I gave to Treasur above. 

The truth of the matter is you decide for you. As long as your decision honors yourself...you have made the correct choice.

Precisely, and as simple as that IMHO too...

Alvin.


Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Treasur on December 13, 2019, 12:01:40 PM
The fact that each of us owns our feelings does not abdicate our responsibility to treat others with respect. Claiming otherwise is just MLC-flavoured BS frankly. You are not treating me the kindness or respect you vaunt at all. I am entitled to have feelings about that and to act on it.

I shall detach accordingly and leave you to it as you clearly believe you have nothing to learn as you are 'beyond that point already'. I shall respect you by taking you at your word and show kindness by hoping you are right.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 13, 2019, 12:23:14 PM
You are not treating me the kindness or respect you vaunt at all.

Dear treasur... Pardon, but I don't see at what part I am not treating you with respect and kindness.

If something I wrote feels so wrong, maybe it would be good idea to have moderators to take a look of it.  There are good reasons code of conduct exists  So would any of the moderators, please review what I have written to treasur, and if required take necessary action on me.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: marvin4242 on December 13, 2019, 01:38:48 PM
Alvin: you are missing the forest for the trees. I do not believe Treasur was saying your are violating any code of conduct. Rather from how I read it when she shared something heartfelt you simply responded with psychology 101 about “what do I trigger in you?” I also read that as uncaring and kind of callous. I can’t speak for her but I was a little taken aback. May i ask were you perhaps in some way upset by what she said?

And no its not always true that what you think of the other person reflects more about you, that is true of people who are not self aware of their own motivations and internal states. It’s a hallmark of personality disorders which is the extreme case. As we mature and get older we can engage our empathy to truly tune in to others without coloring it with our own feelings.  I only sense empathy from Treasur and no projection from reading her insightful and deep posts.

I think it is great that you are certain and comfortable on your path, I truly am. But that doesn’t mean you should not be open to reevaluations and corrections as you go along. The road is long and winding and the view is not clear all the way to the end.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Couragedearheart on December 13, 2019, 03:17:22 PM
Alvin,

I found this to be particularly relevant today.

Quote
"Staying in Your Own Business



I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s. (For me, the word God means “reality.” Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that’s out of my control, your control, and everyone else’s control—I call that God’s business.)

Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation. I noticed this early in 1986. When I mentally went into my mother’s business, for example, with a thought like “My mother should understand me,” I immediately experienced a feeling of loneliness. And I realized that every time in my life that I had felt hurt or lonely, I had been in someone else’s business.

If you are living your life and I am mentally living your life, who is here living mine? We’re both over there. Being mentally in your business keeps me from being present in my own. I am separate from myself, wondering why my life doesn’t work.

To think that I know what’s best for anyone else is to be out of my business. Even in the name of love, it is pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear. Do I know what’s right for me? That is my only business. Let me work with that before I try to solve your problems for you.

If you understand the three kinds of business enough to stay in your own business, it could free your life in a way that you can’t even imagine. The next time you’re feeling stress or discomfort, ask yourself whose business you’re in mentally, and you may burst out laughing! That question can bring you back to yourself. And you may come to see that you’ve never really been present, that you’ve been mentally living in other people’s business all your life. Just to notice that you’re in someone else’s business can bring you back to your own wonderful self.

And if you practice it for a while, you “you may come to see that you don’t have any business either and that your life runs perfectly well on its own”



Excerpt From: Byron Katie. “Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life.”
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 13, 2019, 09:46:45 PM
Alvin: you are missing the forest for the trees. I do not . May i ask were you perhaps in some way upset by what she said?

Definitely not upset.... But curious what Treasur was seeing that I do not see? Hence my very valid question (of what button did I push).  Till Treasur responds, everything else is assumptions and expectations coming from personal perspectives.



It may show (further) lack of empathy on my part, but If reframing this as situation between MLC/LBS, what would the lessons be if following standard MLC-advice (do not initiate further contact other than when ultimately necessary ) vs. healthy behaviour (engage and initiate contact when safe)... And if you are having hard time with this exercise, detach, don't think its Treasur but your MLCr spouse who just run out

If I don't make a move to re-engage, and she does not make a move to re-engage, what do you think are the odds we reconnect?
Vs
I await for her to re-engage, don't do anything else than possibly cordial greetings, , what do you think are the odds we reconnect?
Vs.
At least one of tries time and again to re-engage,  even if facing rejection.  What do you think are the odds we reconnect?


Or lets put it like this... You go seeking a treasur (pardon the pun) with a shovel. What are the odds if you dig zero holes, just few holes vs many holes (systematically)?  There are risks such as digging forever, or becoming drained out for digging too much... But they are not your concern right now, as you have got all those things covered, and you just want to spend a year or two seeking treasure and having fun with it...What do you do?

This is the story of people in here... Us newbies are willing to dig quite a many holes. Many of the veterans have done so, but are tired and giving up. Some are following the advice  of 'wait for the tidal waves to wash away the sand and show where to dig (because it has happened a few times)"...All of these are a game of luck to a degree, but there are number of things that can and could enhance the odds.


I think it is great that you are certain and comfortable on your path, I truly am. But that doesn’t mean you should not be open to reevaluations and corrections as you go along..

I think only few posts up I posted :
" I remain open for new perspectives, even the ones I do not like ... But in my current stage many of the suggestions that I read or come across are something I have already given thorough thought (and oftentimes rejected)."

I am open for re-evaluation, and will do so when and if I feel something as such is required. Right now I dont feel the need (butbyou are welcome to give me smack of good ole 2x4 if you think otherwise).

I found this to be particularly relevant today.

Spot on  :)

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: marvin4242 on December 14, 2019, 03:44:29 AM
Thanks Alvin for responding, I will generally not comment as I respect your wishes and do take in that you are comfortable on your path. And it is true only you can live your life and your experience. I deeply respect the effort and energy you are putting into yourself and your family.

Only “2x4” I will offer is this: try to be a little less sure about what you know (this applies to all of us not just you and it serves me well), and try to realize that no normal rules of interactional dynamics apply to someone in this crises. So “digging holes” or engaging makes a lot of sense in normal situations, but this is not normal. When things are abnormal actions do not create the reaction we expect, hence the definition. And I do not share you belief that “normal” is always relative, in certain contexts “normal” is a shorthand for rational, predictable, productive and healthy. MLC sufferers are none of those things.

For example I will happily challenge someone healthy to a debate about ideas and beliefs, and will call them on distortions. But I will never engage someone who is deeply confused about what is real and what is not, or is suffering from a deep trauma in any such way. Not only is it counterproductive, in my opinion it is also uncaring and cruel. As with my wife I just listen, try to remain kind and caring while protecting myself.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Not Your Monkey on December 14, 2019, 04:14:07 AM
Alvin-I will tell you the bottom line is that we only get one side of each story here on this forum-the side of the person who chooses to join the forum.

I don't take sides. I am not pro-LBS or pro-MLCer. My compassion goes to whoever I see is suffering. That's subjective I know. But if I see what looks like an MLCer suffering partially at the hands of an LBS, I am not going to keep quiet. I am gong to throw my support behind the MLCer, even if I can't do so directly. The well being of a wronged party is more important in my opinion than whether there is reconciliation 4-7 years down the line. There are actually some cases where I hope for the MLCer's sake that they DON'T reconcile with their spouse because they simply are not being treated well.

I believe MLC is triggered by childhood issues, but that doesn't mean the MLCer hasn't been in a relationship where they didn't suffer physical or emotional abuse. In fact, I think that someone with a lot of childhood issues runs a risk of getting involved in such a relationship and MLC (or simply getting out of that relationship at midlife) might actually be an opportunity for them to escape that for good.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 14, 2019, 06:27:51 AM
If you guys & gals don't mind, I think it's time to turn my story back to "journaling mode"  (I think I've wasted enough of my time/resources looking at you 'tilting the windmills', LOL).

Journaling....  So me and W have had a few fun nights.   We've been watching more late night movies, she has come to same couch, and shared some of her stuff (mostly meme's and instagram stuff) during commercials.  Oh, and last night she asked for a hug.  Don't even remeber when was the last time she engaged physical activity, but it's been a long time.  And yes, it was very comfortable moment.   

Other stuff... The officials have decided to grant 500K funding to enhancement of our local road.  W was very happy, (as this is something we have lobbed for 10+ years),  and said she can see us enjoying the improvements for years to come.  So at least for now she seems to be seeing us together.... We also had plenty of fun at local Christmas event as a family.  She was bit so-and-so with the smaller kids going all over the place (santa, horses,  tons of free candy etc stuff that gets them high), but I just took her along for cup of tea and asked her to relax & enjoy with me.  And we did.

So apart of "bashing of my chosen approach", all things seem to be going very well at Alvin-Land. 

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: marvin4242 on December 14, 2019, 07:00:05 AM
If you guys & gals don't mind, I think it's time to turn my story back to "journaling mode"  (I think I've wasted enough of my time/resources looking at you 'tilting the windmills', LOL).

And this, in a nutshell, is what I believe some may find so incredibly offensive. Imagine if someone replied to your posts by saying "I am now going to move on to important stuff, I have wasted enough of my time reading your thoughts Alvin." I really hope your wife never gets that sense from interacting with you in person, because if I had every gotten that from my wife at any point it may have been the start of the end of my relationship with her. And I know if I had every said anything like that to her I would have been properly reminded of the error of my ways.

Please do journal but maybe do not be surprised if the not many people visit your thread. Which is a shame really, for everyone. As always best wishes and I sincerely hope you find everything you are searching for in life.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 14, 2019, 07:14:41 AM
Well, I'm here and rooting for ya Alvin.

Is it just me, or was he attacked over and over for what he's trying with this W?
I'm kind of shocked.... like people can't see they are attacking him, and then get offended when he pushes back.

This isn't to tick anyone off, we should all be on the same team.

You keep going Alvin, I think you're doing it right and doing a really good job.

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Whyus on December 14, 2019, 07:53:35 AM
Keep going alvin... i Hope your right and Everything Works out for you and your Wife.
Bye then, this Thread (and your Comments on other threads) and just painful.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 14, 2019, 08:16:34 AM
Thanks Standing. WhyUs, Marvin...


Is it just me, or was he attacked over and over for what he's trying with this W?
I'm kind of shocked.... like people can't see they are attacking him, and then get offended when he pushes back.
This isn't to tick anyone off, we should all be on the same team.

Which is why I am using my right to walk out of drama, and focus on things that genuinely matter to me.  And I really don't need to excuse it to anyone.

If anything on these updates and talks over the past few days has been against code-of-conduct, then I rely mod-team or RCR to step up... I did ask mod-team to check whether or not I was out of line with my response to Treasur, so far no response.  Maybe they can weed out everything else I have written, and what's been said to me in these few days. All I am responsible is my own behaviour, and I don't see or feel that I have crossed any lines.  Of course that's just my perspective.

So till there is some kind of "official statement" from the mod team, I recommend people don't take any sides or create further 'soap opera'.  It is not our job/duty to decide whats right or wrong at HS, it is the job of mod-team  (see, I am putting the things I have learned into action. I am responding maturely instead of reacting, LOL). 

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 14, 2019, 12:16:15 PM
Journaling...so W said she wants to talk and share something that has been troubling her for some time. Needless to say I got bit worried what was coming out.

It turned out she has got work related stress.

W started with words "just listen, dont fix" (remembering the advice I gave her months back), LoL.

Then she told she feels awkward that some of the parents openly  dislike the fact that an untrained person (W) is working at daycare with the kids (though being constantly supervised by regular staff). She feels it  is creating unnecessary pressure and hurt for the other workers, and she said it makes her feel uncomfortable. She said she acknowledges there's nothing she can do,  there's nothing other workers can do, and she can live with it as long as kids (the true customers) don't mind and she feels she does her job well...  Then she talked  quite a lot more about her job, how well others have taken her along  (though no training), how silly it is to follow bureacracy (no training = she must never be alone with the kids  etc), how different it is from previous jobs/trainings she has tried etc

I listened, encouraged positive views she had, and eventually gave one bear hug for strength, and another to express how much her opening meant to me.

Later we had another nice night...on separate couches, but she was sharing memes and talking of them.

Maybe this night was about recreating some of the lost trust, maybe it  was something and nothing at the same. Idk. But whatever happened was unusual and unexpected. This time she engaged me.

Alvin

Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 15, 2019, 11:37:32 AM
Journaling.... Just amusing myself with some thoughts that popped to my mind while reading Standing's latest entry (about W's Christmas)...

I'm once again out-of-home (for work) for couple of days, and on my way to capitol had lots of time to discuss with G19 about upcoming Christmas on the phone.  Both of us are beginning to realize how much family Christmas has been about two of us building and organizing things for the past 4-5 years.  I warned G19 that this year will be different no matter what, as my energy levels are still far from normal.  So I will not be preparing the traditional dozen kinds of dishes as every eve before, nor will I be cleaning up every bit of mess others make, nor will I be decorating the house to extend as before etc etc. Instead I might simply just take it easy, take myself for a walk around the icy lake or similar....  It might even be healthy for everyone to see that Christmas is supposed to be a "family business", not upon the few, and it can be different as before (though G15 has protested loudly against my suggestions to change things).... Interestingly W's boss had asked few nights back if W is doing any traditional dishes for the holidays (W's boss is whole lot like Martha Stewart, LOL).  W had told "Alvin does them, always has", to which boss had replied "it's good at least somebody in the family is doing them, regardless of sex"... It will be interesting to see when W realizes that this year the offerings have been reduced.  On the positive side kids know about my health issues - I've been very open that I'm seeing a shrink, and that my passion for doing stuff as usual is still varying.... All in all telling about these things to my family, to people I care and work with, has been one of the best decisions ever.  I know I will have to talk with MIL/FIL some day too (as I get the feeling W is not telling them much). 

So far W hasn't talked for one word about what kind of gifts to get for the kids (apart of LEGOs that she herself enjoys too), so I've been going solo without her input.  Very likely I'll do all the wrapping on my own too, though G19 promised to help.  So sad W is missing out all of this, but it's her choice.

I realized it's been likely three years since W has given me any kind of present (more or less her pre-BD/shadow-MLC timeline).  I thought she was just being enviroment friendly, and never took it in bad way. I'm not expecting anything from her this year neither.

W has mentioned every now and then "believing she's been so naughty and bad that Santa will not bring her any gifts this year".... I know all the kids have either made or bought gifts for her.  And I've got something small for her too (a new bathrobe with big chunk of handmade organic soap she loved years and years back)....  G19 has told W about "bad mom journal" she spotted at local bookstore while shopping gifts (but was afraid to buy), and W has asked one for her birthday.... Idk if she's serious or not with her talks about "being bad", but maybe she feels some guilt & shame.  Part of me feels sad for her, but it's really her issue to sort out her own head.  Maybe having the journal G19 talked would not be such a bad idea.

G19 was planning to make W some "foot salt mixtures" for the holidays as she too has spotted W's heels being in bad shape.  For better or worse, G19 told she's switching the idea (lack of time), and is giving a book (about horta) instead....I know heels are a touchy topic for W, so maybe better this way.  I do notice W picking dead skin few times a week, and occasionally I see her heels bleeding....   Poor soul doesn't see/realize that it's not normal (but possibly some level of dermatillomania)... Once again I'm balancing between enabling/supporting; maybe this is something I need to ask my IC next month how she would approach this. I do feel that if G19 has spotted this, it is likely that other kids have noticed it too and might be wondering what's going on. 

I mentioned G19 that the traditional Christmas Day dinner at MIL&FIL has been cancelled (due to health issues), and we're having just a "tea party where everyone brings something". G19 was bit grumpy that W had not told her anything about it. And then she told how bad it feels that W no longer calls her, but it is always up to her to make the contact and dig out any details....  So sad. But I see this as textbook example of distancing that ships with many mental health issues.  And G19 acknowledges not all is well with W, so she is trying to look things through compassion. 

On the positive side, W has been crafting some gifts for her family (MIL/FIL + her sisters).  Doing the same idea as with years before (but it's good and sustainable, which both matter to her). At least she's trying and doing some... But it feels kind of wacky that her focus is with her parents+sisters instead of her own kids+spouse.  Maybe she relies so much of me taking care of the kids, maybe she's just trying keep up the appearances with her own family. Idk... Maybe something for us to talk some day. 

Just pondering aloud how "complex" simple things such as Christmas have suddenly become. 

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: PJ Will Be OK on December 16, 2019, 02:15:54 PM
Late to the party as usual, but following along Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: readytofixmyselffirst on December 16, 2019, 03:48:27 PM
Hello,

Quote
Journaling.... Just amusing myself with some thoughts that popped to my mind while reading Standing's latest entry (about W's Christmas)...

A while back, you posted the same comment to me about journaling and that you really did not want advice. Out of respect, I stopped unless you specifically asked for advice.

I do read your thread from time to time and your ideas. My view is that it is your life and your choices. If it works, great-if it doesn't, I really sorry for you because in the end, my only desire is what is best for you and your family.

My own personal advice is often wrong. I am not there at the location and I don't read or see the body language at all. I do not know your MLCer and I do realize that I am getting one side of the story through a particular lens. I do the best with what I have and try my best to influence the members here with the best that I have and know.

Quote
So till there is some kind of "official statement" from the mod team, I recommend people don't take any sides or create further 'soap opera'.  It is not our job/duty to decide whats right or wrong at HS, it is the job of mod-team  (see, I am putting the things I have learned into action. I am responding maturely instead of reacting, LOL).

As long as your are not personally attacking a member, bragging that you are committing a crime, or engaging in harassment of some manner, your ideas and thread are part of the collective narrative at HS. As far as I know there are no collective vows or oaths in regards to how we respond to our MLCers nor a specific playbook that works and deviation from said playbook will lead to condemnation for the team.

I've learned a lot from my time on the forum. We all have different stories and different outcomes. I am happily remarried, my stand long over. Does that condemn me to never offer advice? A word of encouragement? From my perspective, if I can help someone make it through a bad day, to see themselves and their world in a better light, I've succeeded. I can't fix people of their world, but I can offer a few words of friendly advice.

Likewise, I use a lot of the support I have been given on the forum in my new marriage. I have found it helps with communication and our ability to work as a team. Been married for over a year and a couple for over five years. We are not perfect, but I do feel a sense of content and joy when we are together.

The one thing that I always ask all of us to remember is that we are all hurting and we need to use our words to build people, not tear them apart. Even if I disagree, there is always a means to be respectful and kind in our discourse.

That is my response and as I stated before, I only wish you and everyone else the very best.

((((Ready))))
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on December 16, 2019, 04:36:36 PM
Ready, your advice or comments are always helpful, in my opinion.

You've been through it all and came out the other side.
Now you are just supporting others who are not that far yet.

I'm happy you are remarried to a great woman and you are both happy.
Happiness is the outcome we want for all us LBS's, whether it be with our MLCer, or some one new.

I'm just glad you are still here.   :)
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 25, 2019, 08:24:12 AM
First, a peaceful Christmas time to all fellow LBS.  I know this is very tough season for most of us (yours truly included), so let me give you all a warm virtual {{HUG}}


Journaling....   As to be expected, some short fuses and additional stress has been on the air during these Christmas days.  On both sides of the fence.

Few days before Christmas W told G12 and G15 that FIL has got some extra paint, and they could repaint their rooms next summer.  So this continues the theme of "living together as one happy family in the future regardless of what has happened" announcements she has done few times. Idk whether to feel relief or not. Right now there's no relationship between us besides co-parenting and some kind of bizarre commitment (I think Steinberg's love theory would call it "empty love").   Possibly the only certain thing is that I am not interested of this kind of co-living/co-existance  thingie on the long run.

W has been plurbing out all kinds of "frogs" from her mouth lately.   They are mostly akind of agreeing or thanking on something,  but then holding back. For example saying "thank you, maybe" when I helped her to carry some stuff.  Eventually I pointed out the topic to W, and she told she acknowledges that from time to time she says things she has no intention of saying or that she acknowledges make no sense at all but they still just come out of her mouth.  She found it mostly funny.

The night before Christmas we had R talk (I started it).... Possibly the best way to call it would be pressuring some steam both ways.... 

W told she needs to proceed slowly.  She used a metaphor of herself proceeding at 10mph whereas I am going 60mph most of the time. Maybe it's somewhat accurate comparison of our processing speeds.W said right now she is beginning to process some stuff that was dicussed way back in June (I had already forgotten all about it)... So she is months and months behind my  curve. 

She did pull out the "depression card". She told she needs to proceed slowly or else her head will break apart. And some sentences later she semi-revoked it by saying "therapists have checked my head  and all is ok with me".... I acknowledge she is trying to live with her condition, to control the risk of new depressive periods, but from where I am standing I can say that she is not well on any scale.  But realistically speaking there's nothing I can do. If she doesn't seek outside/professional help on her own, I can't make her. I can only choose how long I am willing to watch her live like this.

As W has given up on "fear ladders", I have asked her to make her own suggestions of a plan that we could try for 2020.  She told she is afraid how I will react to her suggestions, as she feels they will not match my needs at all.  Instead of focusing on parts that are "not working" (intimacy, passion, communication), she said she wants to focus on parts that work (family, being with kids)....  I told her "my approach did not work with you, now it is time to try out your approach"....  I'm not having any hopes with it.  But it cannot go much worse than my attempt with fear ladders, LOL.... IDK if this is the part where MLCr starts to seek out "family first" or cake eating or something else.  I guess I'll just have to let it unravel all on its own. 

We talked bit about emotions... I was surprised to learn that W cannot "create feelings by thinking"... I told her that I can feel angry by thinking "angry thoughts", or feel love by thinking "loving thoughts" etc.... She tried it out, and received either nothing or just some faint sense of sadness.   I don't know which one of us is the "odd bird", but I would assume all "emotionally healthy persons" are able to create feelings (or echoes of past feelings) by thinking specific kind of thoughts.


As for Christmas....

Christmas was way too much an Alvin-show.  Kids did help me with random parts (baking some stuff, decorating the Christmas tree), and W did some of the stuff that was on her "do-to" list (but most of it remained unfinished).... I don't know if it's resentment or what, but I do feel like I did more than my fair share of the whole this year...   I am really tempted to try out hotel Christmas next year unless things radically change within the next 10 months or so.

The night before Christmas (when I was going to bed, after spending 10 hours in the kitchen with kettles and pots) W asked if we are  going to wrap any gifts for the kids this year.  I just told her "they're all done".  She told she had been expecting me to invite her along.  I replied "I told you about it all roughly week back. If you want to join my family stuff/fun, then you have to be the one doing the move to join. I'm no longer running around after you"...  She was very worried that kids get equal amount of gifts, and that there is something for all... Of course I had taken care of those things. 

No surprise that W didn't get me (or kids) any kind of gifts this year neither... What was new this year was that I expressed aloud my regret for her decision.  I did it as kindly as possibly, but based on the reaction my words still did hurt her...  But I am no longer justifying her behaviour.  Eventually she must face her demons.

To some level I feel me and W are more distant than ever right now (maybe this is the bottom), and I get it is my feeling (not her's)... But at the same time we are (more or less) gently touching some very vulnerable and open wounds and parts of each others, wondering what's all this... Idk where this all leads into, but at least I feel the lessons I am learning right now are something I will have use in later life. 
 
Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Thunder on December 25, 2019, 05:42:28 PM
"I don't know which one of us is the "odd bird", but I would assume all "emotionally healthy persons" are able to create feelings (or echoes of past feelings) by thinking specific kind of thoughts."

Alvin, she is NOT an "emotionally healthy person."  I think that is the problem here.
You keep assuming she is.  She's not.  She has no specific thoughts because she is in her own little La La Land where nothing makes sense.







Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Seahorse on December 25, 2019, 06:12:04 PM
Alvin - Merry ChristmaS!

I am so sorry that you did the brunt of the work for Christmas; and to make it a wonderful day for the kids.  That seems to be the way MLCers deal with holidays, and any responsibility for that matter -- they don't!

Glad that you're setting some boundaries, and glad that she's seeing them.
Hopefully she can participate in the examination of your relationship and learn something from it.

Hoping that your remaining holiday time is terrific.

Sea
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 26, 2019, 02:34:45 AM
Thunder & Sea... Thanks for chiming in. 


"I don't know which one of us is the "odd bird", but I would assume all "emotionally healthy persons" are able to create feelings (or echoes of past feelings) by thinking specific kind of thoughts."

Alvin, she is NOT an "emotionally healthy person."  I think that is the problem here.
You keep assuming she is.  She's not.  She has no specific thoughts because she is in her own little La La Land where nothing makes sense.

I do acknowledge she is not emotionally well. But the reality is also that I'm not fully functional neither (LoL). ...My worst anxiety may be gone/over, but I still lack some 'sense of direction' of what is normal and what is not. And if my IC is to be trusted, so will be for about for the next 5-10 months while my mind/body gets used to "normal" again.

And seriously speaking, I think my pondering was very valid one (at least for person in my stage) ... Most of us likely have read that "thoughts create feelings" or "sensations create thoughts, and these thoughts turn into feelings"... But what does it convert to in real life? How easy / hard it is for  "average joe/jane" to create feelings just by "thinking"? All I know that for me the process is relatively easy (almost never fails, and happens within few minutes), but I'm just a sample of one. Likely there are plenty of individual differences, but where is the fine line between a person with mental illness vs. normal capability....But maybe it's something I need to talk with my IC. Just thinking out aloud. 

Alvin - Merry ChristmaS!
Glad that you're setting some boundaries, and glad that she's seeing them.
Hopefully she can participate in the examination of your relationship and learn something from it.

I don't know if boundaries is the right term (especially since different websites/practinioners use varying definitions of "boundary")...  Personally I see it more of as part of  "enabling vs supporting" dilemma... The more I have read "caregiving a partner with mentall illness" guides, the better I have begun to understand that "hiding the pain and consequences" is really a disservice (and trap) many LBS fall into.

Most of this "new stuff" is me not enabling that behaviour, but being brutally honest how various bits and pieces are making me feel, how they are affecting life of  mine/kids, and then expressing all of it with compassion and kindness (without guilt/blame) to her...  I'm not raising up the consequences, just saying "this kind of behaviour is not ok, and you need to work this out if you want to fix things between us on the long run"....   The rest is really up to her.   


Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 26, 2019, 06:31:14 PM
Sounds very normal to me Alvin...... you off to the races, and she's walking to 1st base.

I've read that we always finish 1st by a HUGE margin and then have to turn and encourage them on.

Oh that thinking/feeling.... I'm with you on that one: I think it, I feel it. That's been a great thing (and a terrible thing on monkey-brain days).
If I think about loving W, oh boy.... I love W. Start thinking bad things, oh yeah I start feeling bad things. I think that's an extension of empathetic.... can be used for good or bad.
For the MLC'er thinking and feeling...... that's a great question.
From that I've observed... yes, but it only applies to things she is enthusiastic about...... nothing else. Hence she has to come to the conclusion with her own thoughts to trust/believe and get excited about anything. Once she's there though... yeah = Thoughts into feelings, but not otherwise. It seems like such a revelation when she does it though.... and then it passes, but sometimes is retained as a "truth" to her.

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 26, 2019, 11:22:25 PM
Thanks for the input Standing. Some good opinions/observations as always...

Journaling... Maybe a milestone of some sorts, but I think I finally got answer to lot of why's.

I've been thinking about my anxiety, and the lifestyle choices I could/should use to prevent relapses. Eventually I boiled it all down to three items that are somewhat familiar from mindfulness world (as well as HS)

1) live on present
Basically it's all about stress management...you cannot change the past, you cannot forecast the future.... And none of this means abandoning dreams/goals or memories; far from it (they are salt if life). It is avoiding wallowing in the past or worrying the future (negativity, fear based). It is all in for discovering strength on what was and what could be (positive, goal oriented approach, being the change).

2) focus on daily life (gal)
This part is all about repetition and routines, distraction of the wandering mind, retraining of amyglada.... Read a book, watch telly, exercise, play with kids..The key is in reducing/replacing mindfully actions  that feed the momster (like worrying, ruminating, overthinking etc)  with actions that don't.

3) let go, believe in miracles
Anxiety is all about keeping control, or fear of loosing that precious control...to get over it one must let go and just let life happen. It's a leap of faith, facing the fears and uncertainty day after day... Maybe this song (from Prince if Egypt) says it better than anything I can say https://youtu.be/v3e1lz0Ghp8 , at least the lyrics have given me enourmos amounts of strength in past few weeks.

Anyway, I shared the three main bullets (short version, not the explanations) with W,  and asked her opinion if she think its a good plan when trying to prevent relapses. In the end she's got 20+ years of experience on depressive periods, and should have some good insights.

And W replied'

"About the same list for me, the order varies at times, but especially it is about living in present, never thinking beyond  tomorrow max"

I feel those last five word answers a lot of why's on her behaviour... I see possibilities (both positive and negative), dreams and goals - and work for them on the long run (and adapt when required). For her time is "not a continuity" the same way... Maybe its a fear based belief, maybe some kind of emergency system while resources are slow. But it's running the show on her now.

Alvin

Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 27, 2019, 01:49:07 PM
Journaling... W  just gave me a copy of the R recovery plan I asked her to build.  So we now have a plan she has agreed to follow and try out. Talk about one giant leap....

The plan goes like this:

"I would suggest that we go for a walk together once a week, once or twice a week watch a movie together, once a week do some woodchopping together, and have at least two hugs a day. And I will try to share my thoughts and musings (Pinterest + instagram stuff) as they come, but more than once or twice a week. And you will not like this, I dont know how long this will go on, longer than tomorrow, and anything that far in the future is too distant for me to think right now... I'm trying to do the right thing, for my heart and my mind".

I thanked her for the plan ...told I am very happy with it and her effort, commitment and honesty,  even with that last part as I now (thanks to her message yesterday) feel I understand how she struggles one day at a time.

Time will tell how this goes... And I know. Dont get your hopes up (words are just words, this comes with no guarantees). Give her space. Etc etc... Regardless,  I still feel I got my Christmas gift and more right now.. :)

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 27, 2019, 06:19:02 PM
Right on!!!! That's pure awesomeness!!!!!

Yeah I know, they talk big and it's the follow-thru were they struggle...... but her willingness to want to do that is incredible.  ;D
That you flipped it so it's her ideas and her plan is brilliant.

Fantastic, that actually made my day.  8)

Happy pot stirring Alvin!!!

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 28, 2019, 12:38:41 AM
That you flipped it so it's her ideas and her plan is brilliant.

Isn't that the bottom line vets try to teach us - let our spouses take responsibility of their lives (see, I am listening)... What I am disagreeing with majority here is the methodology.

What those following my adventures might enjoy is psychology bestseller on communication. It is aimed for those whose partner or family member is unaware of their own psychological state and refuses to co-operate and seek help (all three matching pretty much everyone here ): https://www.amazon.com/Someone-Mental-Illness-Treatment-Anniversary/dp/0967718937/

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 30, 2019, 09:49:08 AM
Journaling... just to share what is likely a couple of MLC stories from the family. 

For some reason (possibly the holidays) I thought of my godfather today, and I realized what had happened with his 1st and 2nd marriage was likely some version of MLC.  Currently he's with 3rd W and enjoying retirement days in happy relationship. 

I don't have much recollection of my godfathers 1st W. He was in late 30s, somewhat older than my godfather, had a kid from previous marriage,  he was pretty hot on the outside but cold within, and they both lived somewhat of a jetset lifestyle...  Needless to say, the marriage didn't last many years, and ended with W1 running off after all the assets were consumed.  But looking  back with what I know, I would not be surprised if his first W was MLCr on the loose.

Godfather met his 2nd W years later. All in all the opposite of 1st W, somewhat quiet and reserved woman with a heart.  They had three kids within 7 years, and all was well until W all of a sudden started partying, drinking, cruises, the usual MLC behaviour when entering 40s.  It ended up in very rapid divorce, and my godfather raised all three kids on his own as W run of to different country.... I met 2nd W few years back on my cousins (godfather's son) wedding.  He didn't remember/recognize me at all (which I though was curious, as we had met dozens of times), and he was still drinking heavily... So AFAIK nothing had changed with her in 15 years. So sad, but also a good warning that not all stories end well. 

And it got me thinking back family history...  I think one of my mother's brothers might fall into MLC category as well... He left his family in late thirties, and became a womenizer of  worst kind for a decade.  Eventually he returned back to normal, tried to return, but W refused.... Me and my cousin have become somewhat close over these past decade, but we've  never discussed the events in detail.  Maybe we should some day...   

And two of my cousins have divorced along the years... Very smilar flow of events. Happy marriage, kids, then spouse starts the bat$h!te crazy behaviour, leading into divorce. 
 
Honestly said, I think I don't know a single "normal" divorce in my family.... Likely I do not even know what a "normal" divorce would look like.  But all I know not any of the above matches my perception of it (though if judging by behaviour, then MLC-ish behaviour is how it oftentimes ends) ... It is somewhat amazing to realize the blinders of ignorance you've been carrying most of your life.

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on December 30, 2019, 03:26:35 PM
Yup, the more I ask about family also.... the more I see MLC in our past as well.

Incredible that people don't talk about it.... like a dirty secret or something.

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 31, 2019, 03:16:00 AM
Journaling...

Last day of the year, so maybe it's time to look back and think bit of the road travelled and road ahead.

I would lie if I didn't admit 2019 felt like "Annus horribilis"; it has shipped with way more hurt and grief and lossess than my past life combined.   But it has taught me a lot of valuable lessons. 

I've learned

...about self-control.  These days I respond instead of reacting. I recognize that feelings and sensations and triggers are just feelings and sensations and triggers; they are not able to hurt me (though I might feel differently during adrenaline rush). It is making my life and all my relationships better.

...about self-love. I'm much more forgiving, empathic, compassionate, gracefull and patient. For myself, for others. But the reason I am doing so is because of myself. I have learned that holding any negative feelings is like drinking poison and hoping the other person to die; it is going to hurt me alone. Instead viewing the world through empathy makes me feel good, and likely makes life of others feel better too.  And it is making my life and all my relationships better.

..about spiritual side of myself. Pre-BD I was a mixture of agnostic and atheist. I was very happy with it, but still somewhat "rootless"... In these months I have found peace and home from Buddhism and other philosophies/religions that focus on self-growth and humanity (instead of supernatural). What I believe in is a true look-what-the-dog-ate kind of mix, but it works for me. It gives me solitude and strength and comfort in times of need.  And it is making my life better. 

...about psychology and mental health.  I thought I knew somewhat lot about depression from my W's past with it. Bah humbug.  Same story with anxiety and my personal past with it....What I knew was mostly very rough generalizations... I have used the gift of time to educate/read myself about us humans tick and tock. All that knowledge has changed my perspective and perception of world around me forever. And it is making my life and relationships better as I can separate persons from their (potentially unhealthy) behaviour.

...about perception and perspective. What I see and think is all about my perception and perspective on life. What others see and think is all about their perception on life.  All views are equally true and equally valid despite differences; I have learned to agree to disagree and honor the opinions of others no matter how crazy they might sound. And it is making my life and all my relationships better.

...about communication. I've learned that I have ears so that I could listen and empatize with what others say,  I have mouth so that I could validate feelings of others, and to express needs and wants of my own with others. LEAP (Listen - Emphatize - Agree - Partner), EAR (Empathy-Attention-Respect) and BIFF (Brief-Informative-Friendly-Firm) have made my life and all my relationships better.

...about relationships. I have learned about the meaning of personal space.  I am still in the process of learning not to make life and crisis of others my crisis and life. It is all about respect and trust. It is all about supporting, not enabling. It is all about acknowledging that the only life I have control is mine; for others I can only be there to support and partner... And it is making my life and all my relationships better.

... about life.  Life happens to all of us, all the time.  It takes just one moment to change everything we had. So has always been, so is, so will always be.  The difference between crisis (like MLC/LBSC) and real life is that most of the time we live under false perception of safety; during crisis we are painfully aware of the self-deceipt we have fallen... I have learned to be grateful of things large and small in this present moment. Life is all about Carpe Diem. And it is making my life and all my relationships better.   


So in nutshell I feel I have been going through the process. I have spent the gift of time to learn about myself (as well as others in my life). I have learned to become more vulnerable, and instead of hiding it from myself and others, I am learning to let it show... Maybe this is what becoming mature is all about.

I think words of Dr. Seuss fit to close this year: don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.

Up up and away towards 2020.

Alvin.


Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on December 31, 2019, 07:39:26 AM
Journaling...

To continue a bit further with above pondering... It never occurred to me that the process would have a scientific name. Of course it has, LOL.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posttraumatic_growth

Quote
Post-traumatic growth (PTG) or benefit finding is positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.[1] These circumstances represent significant challenges to the adaptive resources of the individual, and pose significant challenges to their way of understanding the world and their place in it.[1] Posttraumatic growth involves "life-changing" psychological shifts in thinking and relating to the world, that contribute to a personal process of change, that is deeply meaningful.[1]
...
Several researchers examined posttraumatic growth and its associations with the big five personality model. Posttraumatic growth was found to be associated with greater agreeableness, openness, and extraversion.
...
Individuals who are agreeable are more likely to seek support when needed and to receive it from others.
...
It is hypothesized that following a traumatic event, individuals who score high on openness would more readily reconsider their beliefs and values that may have been altered.
...
Individuals who score high on extraversion use coping strategies that enable posttraumatic growth.
...
individuals who are conscientious are more likely to better adjust to stressors and exhibit posttraumatic growth.

I feel this to large extend describes the general LBS healing process (or at least goal of it), as well as why some people bounce back with their lives and beyond faster than others... And maybe one way of supporting new LBS would be to teach them about traits required for positive growth. Just a thought...

I have mentioned https://yourpersonality.net a few times before. One of the nice features is that it also allows a person to measure  and track "big five" personality traits.... Apart of extroversion I am above average on all the traits (agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness) that can boost post-traumatic growth; and fortunately my neurocity (the only trait that is clearly against growth) is below average... Another thing for me to be grateful.

Oh well, it's time for me to light the new years bonfire and start waiting for the fireworks with kids.

Happy 2020!

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 03, 2020, 10:45:48 PM
Journaling...

Something about the words I wrote on New Years Eve has been brewing....Whenever look at the list I'm like 'wow, is that for real. That's amazing'... But at the same I cannot help wondering why don't I feel as amazing as I should... And yes, I can see the "dreaded should".  That is yet another irrational belief that is making me have expectations that really have no place. I'm still coping with the trauma, it's just normal to feel the way I feel  But I am clearly doing  healing as I see and feel progress on myself, and I don't try to hide the painful parts  (from myself, from others).  This just takes time.

I feel I have once again passed some stage.  As so many times before it was because of single sentence I read from a book, which triggered a single moment of enlightement, followed by sense of new understanding, and then some serenity ... Maybe it is the reason why I read so much. New knowledge opens new perspectives I had no knowledge before, and all of it keeps unravelling the underlying life like a rosebud. 

I was away from the gym for about two weeks because of holidays (just so much to do otherwise), but I'm back to it. It feels so good.

It seems I have found a communication approach that works. And not so suprisingly it's somewhat close to one in most communcation/relationship books
1) I focus on what she says, validating her feelings  (unconditionally)
2) then hours later I may share how W's behaviour made me feel (it can be positive or negative) - basically I am showing my vulnerability, trying to get some of her empathy out
3) and then hours later she comes back, giving me some insights what is happening inside her
So yes, we are learning to communicate the "right way"... Right now it's clumsy and in three separate parts, with hours/days apart of each step. I have tried the same without delay and shorter delays in between, but it simpy does not work - so I guess she needs all that time to process it all in small chunks....  But nonetheless, we are communicating.

W has had some good days, some bad days, and some in between.  Days when she seeks space and distance, and is grumpy to just about everyone in the family. And days when I see some kind of attempt to engage "something".  On the positive side, she does acknowledge on some level when something is off and oftentimes tries to communicate about the reasons she is acting badly (often times because of headache, bloating or just feeling tired ). But it's not always easy; For example few nights back W had a quick and rough argument with G18 and it ended with both of them isolating. No apologies from neither sides.  Eventually I  went to G18 and had a brief talk with her over the situation.   

I managed to get W open up on LEGOs, or more particulary why she's so touchy with them.... She told she hates moving (packing and unpacking) the boxes and piles away so often (=about once or twice a month in RL), she wants time to process them the way she wants. And when S5 (or anyone else) moves them around, it adds to stress....I get it is a very valid issue from her POV...   The trouble of course is that the rest of us would prefer to use the space for something else( the sofa's she used for sleeping has been under LEGO siege since Christmas Eve, and she has moved her bed on another sofa)... Anyway, I asked how would she feel If I organized separate space for the LEGOs, and she agreed to try. Maybe it will take some of the tension away from all sides. She gets her own play corner, we get some more space for general use.   

One night I watched "Love Actually" (starring Hugh Grant, Bill Nighby etc) with G18. W was working her way through LEGOs on another sofa...  Like so many times, romantic movie made me feel, eh, romantic. So I send W a simple message  "Right now I would like to give a bick smack on your cheek". Yes, I was letting out some personal steam (if she wants to play a married couple, then she gets a H that behaves like loving Hs do - it is a choice she has doen)...  And it was followed by deafening radio silence..  The following morning I told W I felt bit hurt by total ignorance to my communication bid; even outright "no thank you" would have felt better... And after few hours W once again opened up...  "I don't know how I should have responded to that message. I have no clue what I am thinking or feeling, if anything. I know silence and no communication is not good, but I still fall for it for reasons I don't understand." 

Few days back I decided it was good time to clean up the house a bit. So I shared each kid with their own task/area, and took myself the living room as well as the kitchen... When W woke up from her daily nap she was at first pleasently suprised to see that house was all neat and tidy, but when she heard I had done the living room and kitchen her mood switched within seconds. She told it was duty of the kids, she had given it to them, blaming me on how will they ever learn if I always do the chores for them.... I assured her that the kids had done their fair share elsewhere, and if I had known of previous orders, I would have done differentally. She calmed down as quickly as she heated up... The following day she told she had realized that her reaction was not because of kids; it was because she is/was expecting me to show resentment because I am/was doing so much (to my shame I think I might have shown some resentment years and years back when I was struggling with my own physical health but still trying to run the house). But she said she acknowledges it is not present day/reality.

The other morning I asked  "how would you feel of invitation to MBR for some quick cuddless this night.  And I would like to hear arguments of yes/no/idk answer"... Yes, I was poking, and doing it intentionally. I was not genuinely expecting anything else than no+idk reply. But about two hours later she replied... "I tried to think of this, it does not feel natural, but I guess it has to be tried so that we can at least say we have tried instead of just thinking"... I validated her feeling etc. And then shared my feelings (what matters most is that she's giving it a try. I have no expectations, but the fact that I see her trying is positive)...  Later the night she came to same bed. Like a frightened deer, feet halfway out, full clothing on, ready to jump out anytime.  Staring at ceiling and taking long deep breaths, body language screaming its a scary place for her (because of me next to her I guess). Likely I look pretty much the same when going to dentists chair...So I started talking, trying to make her feel more comfortable, validating her feelilngs and stuff she said. She tried to escalate few times, but I used everything I knew of "good communication" (agree to disagree etc. on anything that is not moving forward, validing her feelings), and eventually the talk landed upon the holy grail... I asked "can you tell me why is coming to our shared bed making you feel this way. What you feel is okay, but there's just me and you, nothing new or nothing to be afraid of. I get avoidance is the symptom, what is the true cause. You have never explained it to me, or I have never understood it properly".... W fused up first "I have told you. Long time back. You just don't recall it"...  I admitted that I may have forgotten it. I told that I recall number of things she has said over 20 years, but as I can't mindread her I have no idea what particular thing she means, and yes I would like to listen her tell me ... And then it came out: "Not all of this is about you or us. It is about older stuff I have within.".... And that was pretty much end of session.  She said this MBR try did not make things worse, so she would come again some day... No cuddless, but such is life... At least I know have from horse's mouth the current situation at least partially roots to stuff before me... I feel so sorry for her. It must be tough to her.

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on January 04, 2020, 12:10:23 AM
Fantastic Alvin!!!!!

So much progress.

It must be so strange and terrible to go thru what they are going thru. So much of what you wrote is exactly what my W is going thru/"feels".  That deer in the headlights look.... oh yes. What's so weird is: they know you won't hurt them.... but they are so afraid. Of what? They don't even know. I wonder what that's like..... one day you're terrified of your shoes, you don't know why, but they are just so scary. To put them on your feet...... unthinkable. I guess that's what it's like.

That texting her and getting no reply...... yeah that's frustrating isn't it..... but that's our hangup, not theirs. They're just stuck in neutral and can't figure out forward or reverse. LOL

She sure seems to be making some real progress at processing. You must be very proud of her  :D

So close!!! I thought the story was going to end with snuggles.... but her going in the MBR..... awesome! What a great step!!!! Now she knows she can go in there and the dresser drawer won't eat her. I jest, but I wonder......

Great start to the year indeed!

Stir the pot, and the porridge doesn't burn to the bottom. Love it. You are sooooo rocking it.

-SS

 
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 04, 2020, 06:23:51 AM
I don't know about the rocking part. Or progress... I think this more of a "sink or swim" show, maybe with some piranjas and gators included, LoL.

Today W's been a somewhat of pain in the butt, or as she calls it "not user friendly". Not full monster, but definitely not a person you would  want to hang out voluntarily. She clearly does not like the way she acts and behaves (hence all the negative self-talk), but can't get rid of it either. I think this is the "genuine her", how she feels underneath the masks.... Anyway, eventually she ordered herself a time-out (not just once but thrice).  She even found a meme from pinterest where some mom is having a "time out", all dozed out in sunchair.  So she took her LEGOs, computer and isolated on the sofa.  But before the first timeout (and in between the rest)... lots of bat$h!te crazy behaviour.

I got my share by learning that I'm not truly supporting her, especially with S5....S5 was playing with LEGOs and while at it his breakfast-cereals turned into that "soft mush" only few like to eat.  Well, you guess what happened then... W insisted S5 has to eat the mush, S5 refused, and the whole thing escaled into warzone. Eventually W's shouting (and blaming) went to level S5 placed hands on his ears, and I went for "emergency distraction" and pulled S5 for morning toothbrushing session with big smile.  Of course afterwards I ended up having the blame for allowing S5 escape situation ("just like any hard situation S5 should learn to face")... When I admitted my guilt (it is true that I did not back her up at the moment, but it was a choice of priorities due to her behaviour - I placed wellbeing of my kid above backing her up), and apologizing for lack of my support,  W replied "as if your apologozy would fix the situation in any manner. I want S5 to behave the way I want, I want him to learn to behave the right way, not always squirming out situations... Of course I am such a $h!tety person by wanting others to behave precisely the way I want them"...   Well, I guess that is one way to put it. It never occurred to me before this, but she has become somewhat of a control freak.  Laundry must be done in specific way, dishwasher must be filled in specific way, kids should do stuff in specific way etc etcAnd when I "signed out" of reality (putting my focus on reading), and missed the kids doing things W did not like... Yep, good ole Alvin did not behave the way I should have, LOL ...Maybe this is some form of obsessive compulsive behaviour, which she uses in reduction of stress/anxiety during peak moments. Idk. Just a theory.


All of this reminds of the last night.  S5 had trouble's falling asleep (preschool season relaunches after the holidays, and he is feeling bit nervous), and eventually W used somewhat harsh language to order him to stay on bed  Eventually when I peeked to see if S5 had fallen asleep, I found him sitting on his bed, angrily throwing toys. I went there, tucked her to bed, sat on the floor to share a bit of kindness and love, and eventually watched him hug my hand and fall asleep with a smile...  And of course when I came out, the blame was on me...Yep, poor me for not supporting her instead of showing love to our kid.

And this circus has been going for about 20 hours now. Not just for with me, but S5, G12 and G15 have been on the receiving end too... G15 and I actually had a moment when putting stuff into dishwasher, and all a sudden we heard when W raised her voice to G12. And then we noticed how both of us went sigh and rolled eyes .  It was a moment worthy of big smiles and some giggles.

Oh well, if this follows the pattern, I think this will ease in day or two...  Maybe she too is feeling anxious/stress for the start of new work season.

Two steps forth, one step back. That's how the dance goes...

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: readytofixmyselffirst on January 04, 2020, 01:46:02 PM
Hello,

First of all, I do want you to know that I enjoy reading your posts and use them to reflect on my own progress through life.

Quote
I'm much more forgiving, empathic, compassionate, gracefull and patient. For myself, for others. But the reason I am doing so is because of myself. I have learned that holding any negative feelings is like drinking poison and hoping the other person to die; it is going to hurt me alone.


I found myself in the same situation. After bomb drop and the other misfortunes, I found that when others faced their own painful situations, I was much more empathetic to their pain. To think of myself and how I would feel in the same circumstances. It is taking a different view and not being personally attacked.

Quote
I have learned to agree to disagree and honor the opinions of others no matter how crazy they might sound.

I learned this slowly but surely. People have their perceptions and perspectives and I have learned to respect their view, not try to inform them that they are right or wrong. Not always an easy thing to do especially when you feel you are being attacked yourself.

To be successful, you use a combination of empathy as well as utilizing a stance of understanding.

Quote
I've learned that I have ears so that I could listen and empatize with what others say,  I have mouth so that I could validate feelings of others, and to express needs and wants of my own with others. LEAP (Listen - Emphatize - Agree - Partner), EAR (Empathy-Attention-Respect) and BIFF (Brief-Informative-Friendly-Firm) have made my life and all my relationships better.

Communication is so hard. Even when you are in a positive and strong situation, you think everyone is on the same page and bam, you realize how far apart everyone is. And it is not that anyone is wrong or intentionally throws a wrench into the machine, it is just everyone's perspective and interpretation of what was spoken or written is different.

'So, you have come a long ways and I enjoy reading your thoughts. So, let's talk about your W and her parenting skills. I get a lot of her perspective and can empathize with her dealing with depression. Yet, she has to understand and grasp the concept that her son is five. 60 months. He does not think abstractly, has limited understandings of concepts of elapsed time, and is just seeing his role in the family as being part of a team. I could go on and on but I would need to do some assessments. One thing I can tell you, he is not a little adult.

The soggy cereal incident. I had to chuckle on this as my father actually lets his cereal sit for 10 minutes until it is soggy and the milk is room temperature before he digs in. UGH! Unlike my father, your son was not going to eat his cereal. Your wife initiated a battle she could not win. However, when raising children, it is not to win battles, it is to win the war. Both you and your wife should have told him that there would be nothing else to eat until lunch. No snacks, no little sweets. Period. After all, he was provided a meal and he wasted his food. That is a logical and reasonable consequence.

Your wife may feel that you are not supporting her. Maybe so, you may respond that you will always respect her authority and her role as an authoritative parent, but not an authoritarian parent. Children that come from authoritarian households are more likely to adopt conflict avoidance as a means to resolve conflict as they see conflict as yelling, punishment, and rejection. The more I am reading, conflict avoidance is a major detriment to all relationships.

As I have stated previously, always remember that your son is five. Just asking, are any of your children considered "problem children" at work or school? I have two daughters. One got a referral in sixth grade, her cell phone kept going off in her backpack. The other never received a referral. Did I have issues with them at home? Yes, I fought wars over cleaning rooms, putting things away, and the rest. My youngest once told me, "I listen to you at school because you are the principal, but at home you are just Dad."

The reason why I bring this up is it formulates a question that I am pondering. How do you successfully engage someone that is not interested in being engaged?, and how can you back your spouse in parenting when even though her intentions are good, her process is shaky at best?

From my perspective, your wife wants you to support her and her interactions with the children, but that support requires solid communication from both sides which in your situation is very difficult.

Keep posting and I hope you have a great weekend,

((((Ready))))
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 05, 2020, 01:33:58 AM
Thanks for the input Ready.  It is highly valued :D

IMHO you are spot on when highlighting the importance of empathy in all the stuff I have learned...  I think the solution (not just to this bloody mess, but life in general) is not so much to learn a specific response/behaviour pattern that so many of us spend so much time. In the end things such as "rule of 3" or "avoid communication with momster" are nothing more than blind effort not to make things any worse...  IMHO the real solution  is learning how to emphasize.  When you truly understand what is going on with other person, can step in their shoes and feel what they feel (no matter how irrational their behaviour may seem), then right tool/response/behaviour comes automatically.... It makes the process so much more easier (thoug knowledge of tools/methods available does give extra boost)...And it basically boils down to very simple advice: just listen.... But it is a process of its own to get up to the point I am (as you likely know). I feel more than fortunate that I was able to get there in less than year (and I'm still kicking my ass for being such slow learner, LOL). 


Re conflict avoidance, parenting.... I think it was UM who wrote that his shrink had said that during marital issues/crisis parenting roles  usually switch. Well, it was spot on with us. I think to degree it also matches with conflict avoidance (as well as number of other areas). We are(were) a classic tale of opposites attract. I was the original hard-ass parent and W was the softie.  And I had no issues with conflicts (except maybe loving conflicts too much and shooting from the hip like gunslinger), whereas W was avoidant (bottling up stuff, letting issues grow instead of nipping them out when small)...  Well, life happened, roles switched and of course both of us went to extremes when learning the new state of being... I can see there is also the "middle of the road" - which is IMO where things should be for "great parenting" and "great conflicts management" (maybe "positive conflict" would be a better word for having conflicts the right way, LOL).  And I think it comes down to two principles: empathy and assertiveness in proper proportion.  And I am constantly working my ass of to get myself into that sweet spot.  Whether or not W follows time will tell, but right now she's got other issues on her plate.

You ask are any of the kids "problem children" at work/school... Nope.  They're no saints or sinners - but still doing better than average IMO. All have received occasional honors and scholarships for what they do, and despite random hardships all have got the resilience to move forth. So I think the underlying base mixture they got from us two (despite the opposing models) in some crazy way landed with pretty good balance.  And yes, I think a large part of the credit falls to kids themself.  They were able to weed out the "bad parts" on their own and build a model that works for them. 

The reason why I bring this up is it formulates a question that I am pondering. How do you successfully engage someone that is not interested in being engaged?, and how can you back your spouse in parenting when even though her intentions are good, her process is shaky at best?

I think the answers can be found through empathy.... Of course it does not provide off-the-shelf solutions to practical issues, but it will allow both me and her to have the space and time and encouragement to work out sides of the road.  And then I just have to listen and see where the road leads us into.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Couragedearheart on January 05, 2020, 03:44:54 AM
Ready and Alvin,

I have encountered that same problem myself....how do you be a supportive parent, while not allowing inappropriate or unrealistic expectations to be placed on children or self. For me.....this is kinda where I drew my hard line in the sand put a boundary and said....you can avoid all the other parts of the “relationship” talk but this. This is always the place where I speak up. And speak my mind.

What does that look like, maybe it’s a pull aside and a quick conversation. Maybe it’s jumping in and reframing. Maybe it’s having the conversation that I will not support you in unenforceable threats and endeavors. Maybe it’s a conversation about undoing codependency and expectations.

Does H like it....well he apparently doesn’t hate it enough to leave yet. Is H abiding by it.....yes. Has H thrown a fit about it.....sort of.....(hes conflict avoidant after all) more of a tiny frustration temper tantrum. Then I just said okay you have a problem x, you are telling s15 to do y, you can’t force him to do y.....but you can put in place a consequence if he doesn’t. So what can you do if s15 doesn’t do y?

That way H makes his own choices and owns his own power.....but we are doing a healthier approach.

I no longer take hints anymore. I will ignore sighs and comments and moping when H clearly wants something, sometimes I will ask if he wants to ask me something....if there’s an issue.....I will let him own it till he asks.

Totally up to you what you choose to do or what works for you.....you will have to decide....but it has been a good way of taking back my power. And making H own his stuff.

In fact it led to the topic the other night of the marriage not being here to meet H’s needs.....it isn’t, marriage is something that me and H put stuff into, not designed to meet H’s basic needs that he won’t meet for himself.

Anyways...maybe you will find something useful in all this. Just my opinion.
😊
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 05, 2020, 04:49:04 AM
I have encountered that same problem myself.
...
Anyways...maybe you will find something useful in all this. Just my opinion.

Thanks CH - as always you have got some useful ideas I can "borrow" and fuse into my situation....  I think I could try to encourage the "use the consequence"  route.  And of course it starts by showing example (I have not had much use for them as kids have grown to know my original offer is almost always better for them than the consequences or alternative offers) ,  as well as giving positive re-inforcements.
(P.S. I shared that reddit post you shared in your story with W... she liked it too.  Progress is about baby-steps :)




Journalling...   So last night I watched "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them" (very entertaining movie, well worth watching) with W. Along we had a somewhat of a good talk about the R issues.... Yes, the "bad mood" phase she had earlier the day phased out as quickly as it came.

Earlier the night I had been reading some of the Larry Bilotta's free stuff (I know how mixed views there are of him, but some of the articles provide advice that seems very good)... There was this advice of "non-confrontational questions" to ask from your spouse even in times like this, and one of them was really hit a chord:

Quote
“Let’s say there was a scale with 100% being a lot and zero being none, how would you rate my ability to understand your male needs and learn how to support them?”

Precisely the kind of question that is non-agressive and win-win for both...

But before I went any further, I wanted to change "male needs to female needs", and then of course of have some kind of rough undertanding what the female needs might be (according to Billotta).... And I landed with another article that included this:
 
Quote
"If Your Spouse Has Told You That S/he Is Not In Love With You, What Your Spouse Really Means Is, “You Are No Longer Meeting My Needs.”
...
And if you’re a man, your WIFE’S Ultimate Expectations of you are…
–  Patience under all conditions.
–  The ability to listen as if everything she said really mattered.
–  Compliments and encouragement about what she does, has done or is about to do.
–  Complete emotional support for what she values in life.
Chances are, if your spouse is unhappy in your relationship, you are NOT meeting these Expectations.

So I did some thinking, and understood that the "old me" was actually scoring maybe something like 40-50/100 - though "old me" thought he was giving a full 100/100.
And this new, "properly educated me" is doing maybe 60-65/100, but acknowledging there is still room for improvement and is doing the hard work to reach 100/100 again.

So I popped the question to my W.... She said "it's a good but difficult one, as there are so many sides, I don't know what are unisex needs and what are female needs"...

So I helped her a bit and gave the list of four expectations above....     After some time she ultimately landed with figure old me being 30-35/100, and this current me being 55/100, and definite improvement of the old. There is no more that big a difference between our current views of how well I was and meeting (some of) her needs...   I am definitely working some issues where I have performed poorly, and she can confirm the progress I feel I have done. That is good news for now as well as post-crisis life.

Interestingly W also acknowledged that no person can check everything on the list perfectly, so she kind of have feet on the ground.  Of course I cannot be perfect, but it does not prevent me from giving my best shot. And I think it is one of the lessons I have tried to follow throughout my marriage: giving my best shot.  The old me was doing it's best, and so is this current version of me.  What is different between then and now is the yardstick - it's all about understanding and perspective (maybe it's all about getting better with empathy).

Regardles of the outcome doing these changes is important for me. These skills will be there for rest of my life, serving all my relationships with females (and having 4 girls means a lot of female  interaction). 

And doing these changes, unconditionally and even unilatterally matters to me because it fits the values I believe in... If I did not do my best in situation like this but waited for my MLCr to do the first move, then I would feel like I was one foot out of the door.   It is all about the fact that I can keep my head high regardless of what happens in the future.  Maybe it helps to restore marriage, maybe not. But above all I'm doing it for me, because of me.   

I've been also thinking the nature of MLC  - is it a marriage crisis or personal crisis... I think it's both as well as a dual: three crisis for price of one (at least for everyone here).  And depending on the situation and personal resources one can and should deal with each crisis separately or together... I think what adds the complexity is that when newbies arrive here and live in post-BD world, all they see is the marriage crisis (guilty as charged).   But as I matured I started to see personal crisis (mine and hers, and focused on that)...  And now I see how these two crisis overlap and relate to each other, one feeding or healing the other ..And the only side I can control and work is mine... Hopefully the old saying "it takes two to tango" is partially wrong, and the underlying stuff would work bit of the same way as cleaning up a pond. When you enhance and work one area, it affects positively with the whole ecosystem. No guarantees of course, but c'est la vie.

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 08, 2020, 09:39:24 PM
Journaling....

Just to add link to an article about medical study that might have connection or not: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200108-the-medications-that-change-who-we-are

Especially two parts with are of special interest:

Quote
For one thing, she uncovered findings that if you put primates on a low-cholesterol diet, they become more aggressive...There was even a potential mechanism: lowering the animals’ cholesterol seemed to affect their levels of serotonin, an important brain chemical thought to be involved in regulating mood and social behaviour in animals. Even fruit flies start fighting if you mess up their serotonin levels, but it also has some unpleasant effects in people – studies have linked it to violence....Golomb remains convinced that lower cholesterol, and, by extension, statins, can cause behavioural changes in both men and women, though the strength of the effect varies drastically from person to person.

This might explain changes on those MLCrs who lose weight, exercise etc... Basically positive lifestyle changes one way, but potentially negative other .


And...

Quote
Mischkowski wondered whether painkillers might be making it harder to experience empathy. ...The results revealed that paracetamol significantly reduces our ability to feel positive empathy – a result with implications for how the drug is shaping the social relationships of millions of people every day

Makes me think of MLCrs with somewhat frequent headaches....

I acknowledge behavioural changes all of us see in our spouses are not simple "if x then y" scenarios. But maybe things like these add up as well....

Alvin.

PS. It seems this is my 500th post...  Not really sure whether or not to feel positively about it, LOL.  Maybe I'll just accept it as what it is. Just another figure..
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 11, 2020, 01:48:10 PM
Journaling ... Just to record few (odd) tidbits I might want to remember on later date.

W and I talked a bit about mindfulness one night (she brought it up)...She told she's going to take some time alone to do some mindfull stuff: to work her lists.... The lists... They are something she has done occasionally all these 20+ years.  Writing down different words, occasionally cities, or first/lastnames. Just listing them, tens of thousands of them over the years....Before all this I thought it was cute odd habit, and it did create some nice conversations what's behind some words, but now I realize it's likely one way she unloads her anxiety, tries to calm the racing mind. Bit like of OCD behaviour... Maybe  that's why she can spend hours playing WordSnack on her phone (she has completed it at least few times on different languages).

I notice the behaviour of taking/giving timeouts (for herself) has been on the rise ever since New Year.  Sometimes it's lists, oftentimes legos, gaming, music or youtubers... Likely it's another way she tries to deal and go around stressful situations. Maybe they provide much needed mini-escapes in the moment. Maybe they are  her attempt to treat herself with bit of grace. Idk... Her new job schedule forces her to wake up hour earlier (but of course she can't go to bed any earlier than before). And her new (temporary) role is physically more demanding (she talks turning into "slower motion" after 2PM; and she seems more worn out after work).

Idk if it was resentment over my peaceful behaviour, but I thought  I heard her mumbling along the lines  "mindfullness does not make boys into men" one night... When I asked her about it, she said I heard right. And then she added she meant that small boys need something else, mothers with discipline, to grow up properly and they need to do precisely what their mother says when they say it. And that maybe S5 could use some mindfulness for his behaviour.. 

I get she's driven by emotions, and this comment came from moment she felt she was struggling with S5. But it still makes me wonder what else does she (realistically) expect me to do than verbally back her up , and help with implementation of practical things. I'm not about to start pretzeling myself into something I'm not (raising my voice etc). I know I'm a good dad, and have always done and will do my part of parenting my way.

We've now done a few of the things on her "lets try these" list...She has hugged me a few times (but nowhere near the 2x per day). And today we spend hour doing outdoor chores together (hardly any talk)...  But I'm not pushing. This is her list, and she should find the reason to do this stuff within herself (and not because I say so).

As for me... I've been buried with work, pushing long hours (standard January). Sometimes it's refreshing to focus so deeply something else than this crisis, sometimes (cough...paperwork...cough) it just sucks.

I had my first IC session for 2020 few days back. This session was more of catching up on me and W.... IC feels that W should seek IC as some of the things she has done/said in recent month raise a red flag. But both of us agreed I should not force it, just occasionally remind her of that the option exists and it has helped her in the past.

And I slept whooping 9 hours last night. Possibly longest since BD... And my weekend project was to make some ice candles (unfortunately it seems to fail because of sudden weather change. But one step at a time for GAL).

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 17, 2020, 08:57:55 AM
Journaling... Just to write down a thought (or maybe belief would be a better word). About poking and pot stirring. Why I do it, why I consider it as good practice (for me) ...To large extends this fits well into my (current) understanding about the reactive nature of human relationships (maybe it would be proper to label this entry as  10th part of "Alvin's reactive model to relationships" I have journaled before).

I poke and/or stir the pot,  because...It's a tool that allows me to fill a need I have.  That need is the need to feel empathy.

Listening is what allows me (and every human on this planet) to feel and show empathy towards another person. The problem arises if there is downfall or lack of communication. I think stonewalling is what broke me mentally after BD. It was example of "toxic blitzkrieg detachment" that pretty effectively killed my sanity temporarily...On the other end of pole is toxic attachment. It was my natural defense reaction to create the sensations I was unexpectedly cut dry. I became desperate, then clingy, and eventually anxious.  I think lack of empathy is the evil dynamic behind distancer-pursuer dance most LBS-MLC couples go through. 

Empathy is the  attach-detach dance done the natural way.  It leads to healthy attachment. It leads to healthy detachment. And hopefully it will lead to healing of two individuals.
If I get and feel what is going inside the head of W, I can give space and distance when W needs it, and still feel ok with it. 
If I get and feel what is going inside the head of W, I can let her come bit closer, and still feel ok with it.
If I don't get and feel what is going inside the head of W, then things very quickly head towards danger zone with unhealty attachment and unhealthy detachment.
The bad news is that our partners now carry a broken empathy chip.  They are unable to show empathy, they are unable to create empathy, they are unable to fix their chip. That is the symptom of their mental health issue (be it depression, anxiety, whatever).   

Poking and stirring the pot are tools that allow me to get at least something of what I need.  It is all about me taking care of my emotional needs.... I think most here know that feeling of "lack of connection". I don't think it has got anything to do with love (not for me at least).  I think that "lack of connection" is all about our innermost need to feel with them, to create healthy attachment/detachment for current situation. It is our body trying to tell us "hey stupid, do something to get your need met so you can get back to being normal". If I feel with W (empathy), I can reach a place where things are good for me.  And hopefully it will also allow my W to reach a place that is good for her (because empathy is not a "I win, you lose" system, but a "win-win" system).

I've been thinking a lot about the "standard advice" to detach and let go in past six months.. I think the advice in itself is true. Detachment is to large extend what our spouses right now need. But what I heavily disagree is tools/methodology.... There was a point I tried to decrease contact, pay less attention to what W said, create space and distance etc. advice given. Just because it was recommended advice... Well, guess what happens when you don't listen to your body and do stuff that is unnatural?  It starts to fight back. I think the darkest moments of our crisis (so far) were because of things I were doing did not make me feel good. I was building a fortress, I was building a defense system, I was entering unhealthy (fake) detachment. Every history book on this planet will teach that the most efficient way to start a war is defensive act. Because it is based on fear....  Empathy on the other has lead me to very peaceful place.  Mother nature has given us humans ears and mouth for very good reasons. We have ears so we could listen and feel with others, and we have mouth se we could tell about our needs and validate the needs of others. 

(And yes, I acknowledge this route in "as is" format is not possible for every LBS...But eventually the ability to forgive, to let go, to move on... it all comes down to our inner ability to feel empathy. It is one very powerful tool to build strong beliefs that guide us on this path of life).

What has changed in these past six months is me. Especially within these last few montsh I have taken some important steps to finalize my current state of being. I am now very much feeling  like the "old me"  with number of enhancements.  It did take 11 months, several misroutes and experiments, but I am now feeling "healed and whole". 

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on January 17, 2020, 12:42:35 PM
Totally agree on a lot of levels.

This need that you talk about, is it just the need for interaction? Or is there an element of needing to take care of her?

I so agree that stonewalling creates so much unnatural barriers and damage. It is toxic and unhealthy, and the MLC'er (at least mine) referenced it repeatedly when I was in survival mode (at the beginning).

I also wonder.... did you feel something that mirrored this state before in something of a "regular" schedule? Say 3 months ago you looked back and said "wow, I'm different and better"? I know what you mean about feeling so healed and yeah, whole too. It's very weird..... and then I look at it, and think..... what will I think three months.... sic months from now when I look back at myself?

You're an awesome man Alvin  ;D

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 17, 2020, 10:35:17 PM
This need that you talk about, is it just the need for interaction? Or is there an element of needing to take care of her?

Those are separate simpler needs (I think I am somewhat typical ISFJ in that sense)....This one is lot about the inwired need to be vulnerable. It runs a much bigger show (of what it means to be alive/human) as you likely know.

I also wonder.... did you feel something that mirrored this state before in something of a "regular" schedule? Say 3 months ago you looked back and said "wow, I'm different and better"? I know what you mean about feeling so healed and yeah, whole too. It's very weird..... and then I look at it, and think..... what will I think three months.... sic months from now when I look back at myself?
Yes and no... You remember what life felt pre-mlc? This is much like that...no more rainbows to chase. Just feeling all ok with yourself and life.

It's not that life would be all roses (it isn't, lots of practical issues and debris that need to be worked through over time). But MLC is no more the lead star, but more a part of canvas.

Of course like any feeling it is subject for change over time, LOL.

Will journal a bit more later this weekend (about life with live-in).

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Couragedearheart on January 18, 2020, 07:24:30 AM
Alvin,

I want to challenge you on an idea. Just to make you think.

What I understood you to be saying....is that in order for you to respond with empathy and to be able to continually find that empathy for your W, you need her to communicate to you and show you that she is still “broken”.

One of my favorite quotes from Brene Brown is “the story I’m telling myself”
She uses it in the context that when our brain doesn’t have an explaination or the information it needs....it comes up with a story....usually very black and white, good guy, bad guy, all or none sort of thinking.  We like to assign motives to the actions of others.

My understanding of this crisis....whatever it is for each MLCer....is that it has taken a person who’s entire life has been spent focusing on, pleasing, comparing to, and paying attention to other people....and made them unable to focus on anyone or anything outside themselves.

Ie....it isn’t about that character and nature and substance of the affair partner....it’s how the AP makes them FEEL about themselves.

So with all that in mind. Why does someone need to explain themselves to you....in order for you to maintain empathy for them.

My mother is a toxic person, her behaviors are abusive, they are due to some really deep wounds within herself, I do not maintain contact with her....but I have empathy for her, for what’s it’s like to try and force the entire world to work in a way that makes sense to you and gives you what you so desperately want and need.

My empathy isn’t dependent on her day to day activities or words. It just is. It doesn’t change if she says something different or behaves different one time or two.

For me.....when I lose empathy.....it is in the moments where I let my anxiety, my monkey braining, my need to have an outcome and my attachments give me a story I am telling myself about another persons words or behavior.  It is those moments where I assign personal meanings to other people’s words and behaviors. With healthy people you can just ask.

Stonewalling hurts, it is bone deep rejection.  Is the need for communication based on a need to check for rejection and to reassure yourself that she isn’t rejecting you?

(FYI, stonewalling is a very young child’s coping mechanism for dealing with overwhelming things, think of a toddler ignoring a visiting stranger until they feel ignored and safe enough to even look at them)

It isn’t about you, it never was.

Please don’t take any of what I’ve said to mean I have mastered any of this....I haven’t....but I am aware that I haven’t and I’m working on it.

I’m trying to get to a healthier place of being available for conversation instead of filling my needs with it. Of catching the story I tell myself and asking myself why I need this story in order to decide what to do next. And I’m trying to figure out why I need to understand my H to figure out my response to him. Why can’t I just take things at face value and respond with the love and compassion I hold for him or any human being and knowing that the response is true to myself and my feelings.

Like I said, I haven’t mastered myself yet.  But i wanted to offer you this lens to look at the situation through, and maybe see if there is a side of it you hadn’t noticed before.
This maybe unwanted or unwelcome. That’s okay too.
But I want you to know that it comes from a place of compassion from a weary fellow traveler on this journey. 😊
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 18, 2020, 10:01:13 AM
Thanks for chiming in CH...

What I understood you to be saying....is that in order for you to respond with empathy and to be able to continually find that empathy for your W, you need her to communicate to you and show you that she is still “broken”.
...
So with all that in mind. Why does someone need to explain themselves to you....in order for you to maintain empathy for them.


Let me try to rephrase the point I'm after.

Let's say you have a friend that is unwell. Has been for extended periods (say 12 months or longer).  You have become accustomed to your friend being unwell. You have build within your head a story about your friends condition.  You use this story to create and feel "automatic emphasized responses" every time you two get into contact.
 
But here's the rub...

Your friends unwell does not remain the same, but it changes frequently (like all emotions)... If you would actively listen to your friend, and/or poke/stir the pot a bit you would learn this.... Let's say your friend looks tired. You assume it's because of friends health issue.  But the reality is that your friend is having marrital problems and it's taking a toll on her sleep cycle... So basically any kind of response you say/show is coming from the wrong place, and thus is likely to create a negative response (which he/she might try to mask or supress).

Also the story you have in your head does not remain the same.... As you likely know human mind is a treachorous system.  It does a whole lot of irrational things that slowly but surely modify the stories we have.  That is one of the reasons just about every mindfulness (and psychology) resource trumps "only current/present moment matters".

So when/if we feel empathy that is based on "not present/current information", there is fairly good change we are doing more harm than good.  Shortcuts rarely work, and this is one scenario. 

Listening, actively listening, is essential for true empathy.  And part of active listening it is asking open questions (stirring the pot), or questions that probe (poking)


You ask a very essential question: " Why does someone need to explain themselves to you....in order for you to maintain empathy for them."...  That's the cost of having relationship...We (and only we alone) are responsible for taking care of our wellbeing, and our ability to genuinely emphasize with others is essential for our own wellbeing.  Anything else will lead to toxic relationship that is not good for neither party. As long as our partners choose to have any kind of relationship with us, they must learn to do what is the healthy behaviour.   Anything else would  be enabling "bad behaviour".   

Hope this clarifies my perception on this matter  (and if not then please do ask more).

Just my 5 cents worth.

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Treasur on January 18, 2020, 10:44:44 AM
Do you think it is possible to empathise without understanding, Alvin? Or if someone is unable or unwilling to share anything for you to listen to, so all you have is what you see and think is the 'story'?

And how do you show empathy if someone is asking you to stop stirring or poking as you describe it?
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Not Your Monkey on January 18, 2020, 11:14:46 AM
You have a NEED to feel empathy, so much so that you need to stir the pot and poke and pressure your wife to tell you what's on her mind?

That doesn't sound like empathy to me. That sounds more like selfishness. You need to feel empathy so badly that you act in ways that are the opposite of empathetic in order to get it.

Why don't you go adopt a blind dog or a three legged cat at the local animal shelter? Then you will have someone to feel empathy for and maybe it will teach you to have it without expecting the other party to talk.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 19, 2020, 01:17:42 AM
That doesn't sound like empathy to me. That sounds more like selfishness. You need to feel empathy so badly that you act in ways that are the opposite of empathetic in order to get it.

Why don't you go adopt a blind dog or a three legged cat at the local animal shelter? Then you will have someone to feel empathy for and maybe it will teach you to have it without expecting the other party to talk.

NYM... That is your opinion, and you are entitled to it.

But since one of the goals of this place is to coach/mentor/challenge, I'll give you something to work upon.

I feel your writing/communication style is too "toxic" for my personal wellbeing. Especially since I feel you keep repeating a pattern. Therefore I will set a boundary with you. I ask you to stop participating (both reading and writing) my story at least till end of may 2020. If you want to try to reconnect months from now, I hope you have learned below three skills:

1) back to basics: use the "I feel" (unless you feel you want to put words into mouth of another person)
"You need to feel empathy so badly that you act in ways that are the opposite of empathetic in order to get it."
Vs
"I feel You need to feel empathy so badly that you act in ways that are the opposite of empathetic in order to get it."


2) avoid "why don't you.." ( you are simply asking another person to meet your own (unspoken) expectations):
"Why don't you go adopt a blind dog or a three legged cat at the local animal shelter?"
Vs
"Have you ever considered adopting a blind dog or a three legged cat at the local animal shelter?"


3) avoid "then you will have..." (You are not just foreseeing into future, you are invading life of other person and telking how to live)
"Then you will have someone to feel empathy for and maybe it will teach you to have it without expecting the other party to talk."
Vs
"I have few cats of my own, and I feel they have taught me a lot about nonverbal empathy".


And since CH put it so well, I'll end with her words:
"This maybe unwanted or unwelcome. That’s okay too.
But I want you to know that it comes from a place of compassion from a weary fellow traveler on this journey."

All the best to you NYM,

Alvin.

P.S... and this is how a healthy person sets a boundary.... Another milestone reached.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Not Your Monkey on January 19, 2020, 04:41:35 AM
You are neither my boss, my professor nor my husband nor my jailer nor my shrink. In short, you have no moral, legal or social authority to give me instructions on anything. I didn't come here for coaching or mentoring. So how dare you try to impose such a relationship on me without my consent!

Perhaps you could demonstrate the behavior you claim you want to develop in me by example by addressing the substance of what I said rather than engage in a personal attack about how I said it.

PS-I don't own any cats.

Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on January 19, 2020, 06:19:06 AM
You are neither my boss, my professor nor my husband nor my jailer nor my shrink. In short, you have no moral, legal or social authority to give me instructions on anything. I didn't come here for coaching or mentoring. So how dare you try to impose such a relationship on me without my consent!

Perhaps you could demonstrate the behavior you claim you want to develop in me by example by addressing the substance of what I said rather than engage in a personal attack about how I said it.

PS-I don't own any cats.

I have a question about this, and I'm not saying it to be combative....... You acknowledge the style in which you say things, which signals intent....... why choose to be intentionally harsh repeatedly?
What purpose does that serve? It's been expressed in the past that sharing isn't a priority, so what is it? The desire to judge? There has been some sharing in the last couple months, and while I didn't say anything, I was very happy to see it (and I think that was healthy and good to share.... so bravo on that). You also have a very smart brain, and there's been some posts on threads where I thought "Yup, spot on..... I agree with NYM".......... so what's the deal with things which can easily have interpretation as (or are genuinely are) hostile and attacks? Tough love? Harsh truths?  Or just lashing out? There is a theme of being cruel to H's which love their W's and seek to help them. Is this because there is so much damage that has been endured over there?  Do you resent men that deeply love their W? What's with the push-back when someone tells you that you're out of line? Just the need/desire to fight?

There was a time when I took things which I read as attacks personally, but I don't anymore. Now it's more about concern: Here is a person who is in pain, and plenty of it. How can we help?
How do we help you NYM? Hopefully this isn't read negatively, not the intention..... but if you do need to lash back...... you go right ahead. Let me have it. Release that anger. It's the kindest thing I know how to do for you, and am able to offer freely (plus I will listen).

-SS


 
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: lawprofessor on January 19, 2020, 08:02:24 AM
Ss, what makes you think it's a sign of pain in this case? (NYM)

What if this is NYM's personal style?  Her personality? That she is simply blunt, forthright, direct?  What if she sees no point in couching thoughts in syrupy powdery words?  What if she simply has a more stereotypical masculine style of communication vs a stereotypical feminine style of communication based on education, experience, and personality?

And if so, why should she be told or it insinuated that it's a problem she needs to change so others are more accepting or comfortable?  Or that others judge her as hurting?  Or each of the suggested motives listed as negative things? 

Theme of being cruel to H who love their wives and seek to help them?  Cruel or simply disagree and want to discuss points?

Several years ago a man came here discussing how he wanted to help his wife because after all he had always been the one to think for her.  Many women were offended.  Maybe NYM and/or others are irritated with the similarities and see a controlling thread in these attempts to describe how these men are "helping" their wives navigate the crisis?  The smell of paternalism? 

I'm not suggesting any of these are the answers but I am uncomfortable with the assumption that anyone is in pain and needs to change their personal style or personality because others are making assumptions and judgements rather than practicing the acceptance they so easily give to any MLCer. 

Must we all be the same?   

Lp
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Not Your Monkey on January 19, 2020, 08:58:19 AM
If they think my comments have anything to do with my "pain" that says a lot about their knight in shining armor attitude toward their wives. Perhaps their wives are not suffering at all. I mean when a man says he NEEDS to feel empathy, then in order to feel empathy for his wife, he also NEEDS her to be suffering. If she is happy and contented, then he won't be able to get his needs met with empathy for her so she has to suffer to satisfy his needs. It's a solution in search of a problem.

I'll be perfectly blunt, as that is how I have always been. It has nothing to do with my current circumstances. Because you have NO IDEA how others see you. Alvin and SS, you both come across as overbearing, controlling, manipulating and patronizing toward your wives, not that different from how you are treating me. In short, you both act a lot like the MLCers that many of the women on this site have had to deal with and we are quite attuned to this kind of behavior due to our experiences. I don't resent you because you "love your wives"  ::) because I do not see any of it as acts of love in the first place. I actually feel sorry for your wives. The pressure you put on them is enormous and I empathize with them.

You may see this as picking a fight but hey, you guys like to poke around in your wives' minds and know their innermost thoughts so I thought I would give you a taste of what is on my mind instead of letting you speculate endlessly and incorrectly.  :)
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 19, 2020, 09:15:47 AM
NYM...  I think I made a very clear boundary, and gave you very specific reasons why I set the boundary. I also asked you to STOP participating my story at least for 4+ months....  Please, honor my request (even HS "code-of-conduct" has got a very simple "rule": "if someone asks you to stop, then stop."). 




Oh well, talk about more drama than in soap opera, LOL.  Maybe I will get back to journaling "my story" within day or two...

Alvin.

Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on January 19, 2020, 09:33:41 AM
LP,

Very good points.
So are you saying that hostility and being argumentative is a "style"? Personally I know that most people will react to such tone by shutting down, thus it isn't productive. There is a difference with challenging and attacking. An honest challenge should be embraced, but the very nature of issuing a challenge should be from a viewpoint of patience, tolerance and kindness. This isn't exclusive to men or women, or any stereotype (IMO). I think you're talking about "no nonsense" or possibly "abrasive". Personally I like both types of people, this doesn't strike me as either of those (personally).

The thing about paternalism, so would you consider that a form of projection? I'm not familiar what this person you speak of, but why would someone like me, or Alvin, or anyone else have to pay for the rubbing the wrong way from the past? Doesn't seem right to me. Also, if someone has an issue with control, then that should be explored from a point of view of "what is controlling"? Not "your are controlling". One initiates defense instantly while the other examines the behavior. Rock throwing helps no one.

Perhaps I am wrong in assuming there is pain...... I do know that people attack what they don't like, and much of what people don't like is what has hurt them. It produces a visceral reaction, often involuntary. Perhaps I'm wrong in this, perhaps not. To honesty examine this requires personal vulnerability. I think Alvin has been very vulnerable, honest and transparent in his experiences. To share in such depth opens one up much to criticism. Should there not be empathy for such exposure?

If it is a "style", it isn't one I understand. I've known a lot of successful, very straight to the point, strong and assertive, professional women. Even those with the sharpest tongues and most callus attitudes still had decorum and didn't accuse in such a manor as to suggest someone is abusive, or someone else was forcing something upon them. Alvin said the post was toxic, and offered a challenge to reduce/defuse the perceived hostility. This wasn't an issue of consent, it was measured and mature. That request was met with a very negative reaction. Why is that? Is that a "Style", or does it suggest something else?

The subject/accusation itself which was asked
"You have a NEED to feel empathy, so much so that you need to stir the pot and poke and pressure your wife to tell you what's on her mind?
That doesn't sound like empathy to me. That sounds more like selfishness. You need to feel empathy so badly that you act in ways that are the opposite of empathetic in order to get it."

So if we examine this: Empathy requires one person in pain to express what they are feeling, and another person to give emotional support by recognizing that feeling. So you are saying that Alvin has a need to be emotionally supportive of his W? Is that controlling? The opposite of empathy is projection,  or maybe indifference. So are you saying he needs to be indifferent in order to be empathetic?  :o Is needing/wanting to be supportive and empathetic a negative? I'm not sure I understand where this is going. I think most would say a good H listens, and gives emotional support. This is good right? So does something good change because one person is in crisis? Does good become bad?
I think the hostility partially comes from the question of approachment, and is wrongfully twisted into the assumption of encroachment. As if he's stalking her every move, hounding her. It's very obvious that is not happening. It is very obvious that he has practiced love, patience, kindness, understanding and sacrifice. How are any of these things bad? 
 

Now notice that all this applies to Alvin: He has stated what is going on with him. We know his pain. To be empathetic would be to acknowledge this, support him, and then propose ideas which lead to thoughts (if needed). To not be empathetic would be to throw a tomato right out of the gate, which makes me laugh that the conversation is about empathy.
So...... it isn't about pain or some trigger? What is the real issue here?

-SS

P.S. Sorry for the hijack Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: marvin4242 on January 19, 2020, 09:43:20 AM
Please, honor my request (even HS "code-of-conduct" has got a very simple "rule": "if someone asks you to stop, then stop.".

Alvin, please accept this in the spirit it is offered, of caring and kindness and wishing you the best for you and your wife.

Can you see how the above statement is what some of us have been trying to say about your approach, “stirring the pot,” asking, converstaions etc with your wife. Can you see she has been screaming for you to stop, and you are not hearing it? I don’t think you are trying to make things harder for her, I do genuinely believe you are loving and caring. But in this my friend you seem a little deaf. So in a way NYM is offering a gift to you: treat others as you would want to be treated. Specially in regards to those closest to you.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on January 19, 2020, 10:10:13 AM
If they think my comments have anything to do with my "pain" that says a lot about their knight in shining armor attitude toward their wives. Perhaps their wives are not suffering at all. I mean when a man says he NEEDS to feel empathy, then in order to feel empathy for his wife, he also NEEDS her to be suffering. If she is happy and contented, then he won't be able to get his needs met with empathy for her so she has to suffer to satisfy his needs. It's a solution in search of a problem.

This strikes me as very odd...... Why would you think we NEED our wives to be suffering? We know they are suffering due to MLC. When someone is in pain, yeah.... you want to support and empathize. Maybe that does ring of being her Knight or Hero..... and yes, a man should be both of those things when they are needed. When a W is happy and fine, we aren't poking around..... Pretty simple.

I'll be perfectly blunt, as that is how I have always been. It has nothing to do with my current circumstances. Because you have NO IDEA how others see you. Alvin and SS, you both come across as overbearing, controlling, manipulating and patronizing toward your wives, not that different from how you are treating me. In short, you both act a lot like the MLCers that many of the women on this site have had to deal with and we are quite attuned to this kind of behavior due to our experiences. I don't resent you because you "love your wives"  ::) because I do not see any of it as acts of love in the first place. I actually feel sorry for your wives. The pressure you put on them is enormous and I empathize with them.

This right here is a huge line of baloney. I don't know where you get this, but you are honest to say you resent it (and us).... and I applaud you for admitting it. This statement places responsibility for our wives on us, when we all know that MLC is not caused by the M or the spouse. Why is that? Notice that you say "how we treat you" but also say "you've always been this way". That would imply that you know the tone is abrasive, and yet want something very different in return. You say we act like MLC'ers, and yet we know this isn't true. This reeks of projection. You don't see this?

You may see this as picking a fight but hey, you guys like to poke around in your wives' minds and know their innermost thoughts so I thought I would give you a taste of what is on my mind instead of letting you speculate endlessly and incorrectly.  :)

So you are the MLC-W avenger? Do you have a mask and cape?  Hmmmmm, so when W's say they want their H's to talk and know what they're thinking.... this is ok, but if a H wants to know what a W is thinking.... that's wrong? How many women want an H who listens, cares and values what she thinks about? Most would think that would be fantastic. Communication. You're saying this is bad? We know MLC'ers have a lot to say, it comes out in R talks and spewing (and everyday small talk). Less communication equals something better? That's called not giving a crap, and that's what most H's do, but you have judged listening as an abusive behavior? It's not like Alvin and myself are performing lobotomies........ but that's what you make it sound like. So that "taste of your mind, because we speculate endlessly and incorrectly"...... that taste is bitter. You said "letting us us speculate", so you're removing that option from us in your mind..... that isn't controlling?  What satisfaction does it bring you to be ugly? We know pain likes to inflict pain.... the MLC'ers do it nonstop. This is not about your pain? I think it is, but I could be wrong.... you could just like to fight.


-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: lawprofessor on January 19, 2020, 12:32:46 PM
LP,

Very good points.
So are you saying that hostility and being argumentative is a "style"?

No.  I'm saying that the posts present when I wrote didn't strike me as hostile or argumentative.  The posts were direct and posed interesting questions.

 Personally I know that most people will react to such tone by shutting down, thus it isn't productive.

That would assume the posts were intended to produce something, a result, as opposed to stating an opinion.

There is a difference with challenging and attacking.

Quite true.  And the biggest part is the perception of the receiver in this case since it did not involve concrete attacks such as name calling. It's perception based. A receiver can choose to respond or react.  Responding to a perceived attack shows maturity and allows for communication.  Reacting does not.

An honest challenge should be embraced, but the very nature of issuing a challenge should be from a viewpoint of patience, tolerance and kindness.

That is a valid opinion but I don't agree with the viewpoint segment.  That's a judgement on the appropriateness of another's motive .  Not everyone is reached with kindness, tolerance, or patience.  For example, a couple days ago Mego and I had words.  I provoked a response from her and angered her purposely.  Why?  Because she doesn't respond to kindness as it feeds her closed mind and perception of victimhood so I gave her an enemy to blow off steam at, which in turn allowed bits and pieces of her story to seep out, which others picked up on and a tiny dialogue began.  It was a successful approach because others then used that to dialogue with her and maybe even make a baby step in getting to know her and offer her help and empathy.   

This isn't exclusive to men or women, or any stereotype (IMO). I think you're talking about "no nonsense" or possibly "abrasive". Personally I like both types of people, this doesn't strike me as either of those (personally).

Yes, perhaps no nonsense or abrasive are words I could have added.  Both strike me as accurate.  Again perception matters. 

The thing about paternalism, so would you consider that a form of projection?  I'm not familiar what this person you speak of, but why would someone like me, or Alvin, or anyone else have to pay for the rubbing the wrong way from the past? Doesn't seem right to me.

Ok now I see the communication gap, perception wise of what I wrote.  We are looking at opposite sides of the nickel and your describing the heads side and I'm describing the tails and we are wondering what the other is describing.

If people were responding to you or Alvin as a stand in or a reaction to the other man, yes projection.  But its not quite that.  It's more of a mirroring going on.

I used that man as the extreme example of paternalism.  He was certain he had a unique approach.  That he knew what his wife needed.  That the rest of us just didn't love our spouses as "right" as he did. As I said, an extreme example, to make a more generalized point.

That more generalized point, I was suggesting and attempting to discuss with you and Alvin is about perception from the other side.  I've seen several people suggest to you two to step more carefully in asserting beliefs about how others should treat MLCers, how loving them unconditionally is the right way, how one must keep the faith, how you two want to help your wives, actively help your wives, etc.  In my opinion, almost tone deaf because you are only expressing understanding in one side, that of the mlc side, through the mlc lens. 

From the lbs side, the perception, intended or not, to some, is that you two are suggesting you have come up with a new way, a right way, that one can and should "help" the MLCer with their crisis.  Without considering or addressing others aspects including type of MLCer, time, behaviors, etc.  That's where the perception of paternalism seeps in.  Less obvious than the other man but still there.

Now Im not saying your approach is right or wrong.  But do you really think no one has tried anything similar in all the years?  And has it resulted in recon?  Not to any greater result than any other approach. 

I'm saying in the same way perception differs between NYM and you two, perception of what you and Alvin are saying differs from what you intend.  Clarification and communication can't be successful without considering both the sending side and the receiving side without making baseless generalized assumptions of motives.


Also, if someone has an issue with control, then that should be explored from a point of view of "what is controlling"? Not "your are controlling". One initiates defense instantly while the other examines the behavior. Rock throwing helps no one.

Quite true. I think a point that is being made is these ladies are having a crisis.  Is it controlling for a husband to suggest that the wife needs the husbands help to survive the crisis? 

Perhaps I am wrong in assuming there is pain...... I do know that people attack what they don't like, and much of what people don't like is what has hurt them. It produces a visceral reaction, often involuntary. Perhaps I'm wrong in this, perhaps not.

All true, but there again is the assumption that it's based in hurt and that it's an attack.  What if you begin from the step that NYM disagrees with the point in question?  The next questions could be, what does she disagree with?  Why does she disagree?  What are the reasons she states?  Is there anything I can agree with?  Do the points have truth when considered as through the lbs lens?  Would time change that? 

To honesty examine this requires personal vulnerability. I think Alvin has been very vulnerable, honest and transparent in his experiences.

I'd agree Alvin has been vulnerable, as well as explanatory, humorous, charming, and obviously loves his wife. But I think it is skewed with a bit of pride which some translate as arrogance.  Now before he gets mad and reacts, let's look at his response to NYM.  Boundaries are a good thing. His tone though?  Was that arrogant?  Some would say yes.  Was that his intention or was he just a being a man and not communicating smoothly? (Humor intended)  I don't know. 

To share in such depth opens one up much to criticism. Should there not be empathy for such exposure?

I'd say yes. However, while there is much empathy for a MLCer, there is much less perhaps for a fellow lbs.  Did he attempt to understand her point?  I'd say she asked a question to clarify his point. 

If it is a "style", it isn't one I understand. I've known a lot of successful, very straight to the point, strong and assertive, professional women. Even those with the sharpest tongues and most callus attitudes still had decorum and didn't accuse in such a manor as to suggest someone is abusive, or someone else was forcing something upon them. Alvin said the post was toxic, and offered a challenge to reduce/defuse the perceived hostility. This wasn't an issue of consent, it was measured and mature. That request was met with a very negative reaction. Why is that? Is that a "Style", or does it suggest something else?

Yes, I can see you don't understand her style but she hasn't changed since she landed on this forum, and nor does she have to just as neither do you or Alvin.  So the choice is to respond or react. And honestly, Ilit was the pedantic and perhaps arrogant tone of the request I'd say because it was reactive not responsive that was the reason for the response.  That's not style, no.  That's emotion.

The subject/accusation itself which was asked
"You have a NEED to feel empathy, so much so that you need to stir the pot and poke and pressure your wife to tell you what's on her mind?
That doesn't sound like empathy to me. That sounds more like selfishness. You need to feel empathy so badly that you act in ways that are the opposite of empathetic in order to get it."

So if we examine this: Empathy requires one person in pain to express what they are feeling, and another person to give emotional support by recognizing that feeling. So you are saying that Alvin has a need to be emotionally supportive of his W? Is that controlling?

I think she was asking the opposite.  He needed to feel a response from his wife so he manufactured a way to get his need met without considering her feelings or needs.

The opposite of empathy is projection,  or maybe indifference. So are you saying he needs to be indifferent in order to be empathetic?  :o Is needing/wanting to be supportive and empathetic a negative? I'm not sure I understand where this is going. I think most would say a good H listens, and gives emotional support. This is good right? So does something good change because one person is in crisis? Does good become bad?

The opposite of empathy is indifference, I'd agree.  I would say, I don't quite follow you here, but a good spouse does listen to the other.  However, the question perhaps should be, does a good spouse manufacture the emotion or let it arise organically?


I think the hostility partially comes from the question of approachment, and is wrongfully twisted into the assumption of encroachment. As if he's stalking her every move, hounding her. It's very obvious that is not happening. It is very obvious that he has practiced love, patience, kindness, understanding and sacrifice. How are any of these things bad? 

None of those things are bad.  However, one thing I'd suggest is that an lbs may not have a clear picture on what crowds or pressures a MLCer because they are too close. And the perception of many here is that Alvin walks dangerously close to crowding and pressuring.  Is this an accurate perception?  I don't know.  I do know that the best and most fruitful talks I had with my J were ones that occurred organically not manufactured to feed a need I had.  Does that apply to you or Alvin?  Who knows?  It's a valid point that NYM raised and a great response would have been ill think about that.

Now notice that all this applies to Alvin: He has stated what is going on with him. We know his pain. To be empathetic would be to acknowledge this, support him, and then propose ideas which lead to thoughts (if needed). To not be empathetic would be to throw a tomato right out of the gate, which makes me laugh that the conversation is about empathy.
So...... it isn't about pain or some trigger? What is the real issue here?

Well, throwing a tomato line is pretty cute.  Yes, we've been talking about Alvin and he's been a good sport to let us use him as an example for discussion purposes. 

I'd like to think the point is not that he or NYM is bad in some way.  I'd like to think we can extrapolate this into communication skills that would allow fewer fights to explode and a better sharing of information and empathy for not just the MLCer but the lbs as well.

The real issue might be that we realize perception, tone, attacks, all is a two way street.  It's our responsibility if we choose to view comments negatively or neutrally or even as a way to increase understanding among others.  And it's our choice how we respond.


-SS

P.S. Sorry for the hijack Alvin

Ditto for me Alvin

Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Not Your Monkey on January 19, 2020, 01:35:57 PM
Standing-you really simply don't get it. If I don't see you as loving husbands how can I resent you for being loving husbands? You twist everything I say to avoid acknowledging the point I made because it is unflattering to you.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 19, 2020, 01:48:52 PM
Please, honor my request (even HS "code-of-conduct" has got a very simple "rule": "if someone asks you to stop, then stop.".
Can you see how the above statement is what some of us have been trying to say about your approach, “stirring the pot,” asking, converstaions etc with your wife. Can you see she has been screaming for you to stop, and you are not hearing it?

Marvin, I'm sorry to say this, but I feel you are projecting here.

My W is perfectly capable of saying no or stop.

And she has excercised that right (whooping two times in year if I recall properly).

And when she says so, I stop (no ifs, no buts). Very simple.

How you end up my W screaming for me to stop....beats me. Because without my W telling it out aloud to me, and then me writing it down, the only place that screaming exists is...in your head/imagination.

Sadly, I feel this kind of "mindreading" of unsaid/unwritten things between the lines seems to have become approved practice for some members (Marvin in this case being example of one, but IMHO there is a clicque of certain members who do it and support each other). But if taking away sugar coating from this behaviour,  all that remains is IMHO gaslighting of sorts, distortion and twisting of reality...which in itself is somewhat ironic, as MLCrs are warned of being gaslighters.  Apparently LBS can IMHO be as bad as well. Maybe it should not surprise as both MLC and LBS are oftentimes in equally unwell mental state.

Oh well, it's not my monkeys not my circus, and not my job to fix othwrs. I am responsible of myself only, and part if it is and will be me blocking out "toxic relationships" .. And thus Marvin, I will ask you to step into same line as NYM. I will kindly ask you not to read or post anymore on my story for some time.  You are welcomed to join back my story in June, and in the meantime I hope you work the behaviour I highlighted above.

With all due respect, 

Alvin

P.s. I am locking this topic for day or two, so all you gals and guys can cool down.


Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: readytofixmyselffirst on January 19, 2020, 07:12:05 PM
Hello,

Quote
You are neither my boss, my professor nor my husband nor my jailer nor my shrink. In short, you have no moral, legal or social authority to give me instructions on anything. I didn't come here for coaching or mentoring.

Then why are you posting on his thread? I am sorry that you feel attacked to write in such a highly volatile manner, but your advice to adopt a cat were your uninvited instruction to him and I believe he responded to your post without attacking you. Your post was a reactive, verbal vomit that borders on monstering.

Quote
So how dare you try to impose such a relationship on me without my consent!

The moment you posted on his thread, you gave consent for him to respond. He has repeatedly asked you not to post to him, and yet you seem to lack the self control or respect for a reasonable request not to post. If anyone is imposing, I would have to assume it is you, not Alvin.

Sorry, while I find some of your posts bring a different perspective and give many thoughts to ponder, being insensitive and rude does not make for tough love or tough advice, it makes the poster at best indifferent if not nasty.

Have a good evening and lets work to build a better forum that is focused on improving the human condition at its best rather than seeing if we can take it to its worst.

(((((Ready)))))
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 21, 2020, 09:27:07 AM
Ready -  thanks. Your words are appreciated. 


For everyone (else) still following my story...  Below is one of the "core realizations" of my personal growth process in these 11 months in post-BD world.  Hopefully it will provide some background why I decided to request few folks not to participate my story for some time. 

I believe anyone who's been here more than six months should have learned that trying to change "core beliefs" of another person by force/pressure is futile (that is why there is the "no relationship talks" recommendation). It will fail with MLCr . It will fail with me.  It will fail with every person except maybe small children. 

I believe any change in beliefs must happen organically, initated by the needs of person him/herself,  and often times it takes not just willingness to change but also time. A person can form new beliefs in an eyeblip, but changing existing beliefs often times is a process which takes weeks, months, likely years. 

I believe if somebody wants to influence beliefs of another person (be it me, be it MLCr) on any level, then it has to happen through process of supporting and partnering  (there is excellent psychology textbook called "I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help" on this subject).  Or if you just like the sweet proverb-version: honey attracts better than vinegar.  I will salute everyone providing me with cheer, support, word of encouragent or friendly smile.  Over time you guys and gals will have an equal possibility to influence my beliefs as I have in yours.  That's the power of relationship build on trust. 

I believe the path I am walking is best of all the options for me (sample of one), and potentially to larger group who's spouse has/has had EA.  What I believe reflects the values I hold,  what I believe reflects the knowledge I have (both of which of course are subject for change over time). I know not everyone likes my choices or path, but they don't have to.  The only person to whom I am accountable is me  This is all about me choosing and traveling the path that I feel works best for my personal healing, personal recovery, personal wellbeing and personal situation.  I might make mistakes, I might fail. But it still my life and my lessons to learn. 

Maybe reading this will raise the blood pressure of some, but hopefully not.  My story is all about me, I am writing it from my personal perspective, how you take and understand my words (and presence) falls on you (and likely mirrors your own inner world more than mine).  I just carry the responsiblty on being (and becoming) the person I want be and enjoy being with. 

I hope my story can now get back to where it should be.  On me, on my perspective of my relationship, on my perspective of this thing known as MLC. Like everyone here I am a fellow traveller on this very bizarre journey that was launced by our spouses behaviour, and I believe I have got some random useful observations and thoughts for others to ponder and reflect in their own stories.

My best to all. 
Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on January 21, 2020, 12:48:07 PM

Woo-Hoooo!!!! Unlocked thread!!!!
"Rarrgghhhh, Rarrrghhhhh" [Chucks tomato]

 ;)

Just kidding.......  ;D

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 22, 2020, 03:58:01 AM
Standing.... give me tomatoes, and I'll make some tomato soup ;)   ;D


Journaling... I have lots of stuff from the past week to write about, but I'll start going in reverse - and this is from last night.

S5's second BF came for housevisit. His first time out at our place, and first time anywhere without parents.So "grand night" for two of them....  When S5 threw the grand tour of the house, it was very heartbreaking to hear him say "and there's daddy's bedroom"... I fear he is beginning to forget how life was (and in the end this past year has been 15+% of his entire life).  MLC can be death by thousand tiny cuts indeed...  Later the night I mentioned W about the situation and feelings it sparked, and told that I have got concerns that this sleeping arrangement is teaching S5 and other kids some unhealthy models that they might pass into their adult life (same way we all carry stuff from FOO with us).  W told she understands my concern, and then zipped up. I did have hard time falling asleep, monkeybraining different options W might do because I rocked the status quo (in the end we were having a rather nice night - two individuals exchanging random memes with each other).  But then I eventually remembered that safety/security/status quo is nothing but illusion, felt peace and fell asleep.

Not sure why, but W seems to seeking "rescue" (or distraction) of some sorts from Pinterest... She can spend hours going through meme's and quotes about life and everything, and then occasionally sharing them...  For example we did some light talk about the upcoming (hah!) spring last night, and she sent me a meme with "Soak orange peels in vinegar for two weeks in a sealed mason jar. Then pour vinegar into a spray bottle. Use for cleaning or bug spray. This is great for ants!"....  I was having hard time connecting the dots, so she helped me out. The ants. We always have some ants on the spring... Never in million years would my first thought about spring been ants, LOL.   But maybe it just shows how cluttered her head is.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 22, 2020, 06:49:44 AM
Journaling bit more of the past week... 

After holidays S5 developed a habbit of coming out bed a number of times for drink or something else.  It frustrates W, and eventually she gave S5 a ultimatum: either go sit on a naughty bench  or stay on the bed no matter what....  Fortunately I realized S5's behaviour was likely some reactive (mis)behaviour we all fall into occasionally. I can see S5 is still so small and might easily lack words or social skills to put specific needs into words. So I took S5 to bed, sat on the floor and gently pet his back and head, while I watched him fall asleep. Ever since I've been putting S5 to bed like this, he has fallen asleep very quickly, twice he has even asked me to come there and pet him. No need for water or anything else. All he needed was bit of kindness and attention...  It was incredibly happy and peaceful moment to watch S5 (and G12) fall asleep, but I did cry a bit on my own bed. It is very hard to realize how widely small things like this do affect the life of children. I wish I would have been as good a father as now with "reading the non-verbal signs" with my other kids as I am now, but I also acknowledge I have always done my best, and that is all anybody can ever do. 

W has continued to have vivid, very bizarre dreams which she talks off... In one dream she was in Italian prison supervising floor vaxing (we've never been in Italy).    And another she had a a gigantic cat was sleeping on top of her... ..  As for me, I usually don't remember much of dreams. Never have.I have read that vivid dreams have been associated to anxiety, depression etc. situations where mental load is high, so I am no longer surprised by her dreams. Regardless, sometimes when listening to her, I feel like I am missing something as I would likely to experience something like the dreams she has.

One night I asked W if she has got the energy to talk some...  W said she feels tired, but we can talk if I want.  After a while I said let's just pass, both of us could use the 7+ hours of sleep.... W said her tiredness is different. It doesn't fix itself by sleep. She needs to "zero out her brains" at end of day.  She then explained how different days and situations bring different needs: sometimes she needs hours of alone time, sometimes she can do with half an our or less... I just validated what she told, and said if she wants to open up some of those things in her head some day, I will listen. 

Another night I expressed my frustration on the silence and nothingness. On being stuck in limbo with this whole thing... W responded that she's expecting her energylevels to rise when her body and mind get used to her working.  Maybe then she would have energy to focus and work together the issues we have...

On saturday night we did spend  another 'session in MBR'.  This time she was more relaxed, just wearing her bathrobe.  I tried to relax the mood a bit by sayign "welcome to dr. frasiers office. I'm listening"....  Then W started to talk a bit.   She told how her brains/thinkings seems to move in very illogical and irrational style.  Sometimes things go slow, sometimes things move at warp speed, and often times they are just stuck in nothingness.  Now going to work is dragging her energy levels significantly...  But she said she is changing one tiny bit at a time (and I validated her feeling by saying "yes, I have become very good at watching the grass grow, I can see changes in you too over these months).... Then she put big girls pants on opened more.... She has realized that she has got inner issues and she must work through them alone.  She cannot take or have answers from others as this is about her life. She said she is seeking direction for her life and everything in it (I could not help thinking the average teenager or 20-something guys/gals traveling the world with backpacks seeking happiness and that greener grass)....  And big part of the issue is her low self-esteem (hooray!)... Then of course came the blame part. It is my fault that she has no/low self-esteem now. All of this is because of me and how I treated her in the past, and this whole situation is consequence of it all.   And my apologies will not take any of the past away (she's almost there - she sees that none of my actions will not fix her feelings/thinking, she just needs to come with the final realization - that if I cannot fix her, I was not able to break her neither)..... Then she moved on, and told how these pasts few months working with kids and adults at daycare have taught her that she can do quite a many things, survive them no matter what, and do well with different kinds of people (and I validated I had noticed it, and it made me feel proud for her)....  She then asked don't I have any questions for her, as I did invite her there.  I said this was more than enough for one night, and what I had in mind can wait for another day...  In the end of it all she surprised me and gave me a proper hug.

Though W is doing well at work, it is somewhat obvious that hard work is taking a toll on her. She looks really exhausted at end of day, and often times must work 10-20 minutes overtime to finish her tasks.

On sunday W was overviewing the dishwasher and lashed out how poorly it was filled... Can't you do this right even when you have seen me do it time and again? Don't you others have photographic memory? That is how I manage to do things at work so well, that is how I can discover items that you all loose - I recall these things when I see them.  Why can't you?"..... I validated  her feeling and said "No, unfortunately none of us have not been gifted with such"... And then I suggested we do a photographic memory test online to see how badly or well we all remember...   The first test was really hideous- dozens (and more) tetris cubes and you had to remember which one was in different position. I got 2/10 right, W was furious when she received just 3/10 and demanded another kind of test (I recognized this was low self-esteem talking).... Then I discovered another test with numbers.   Both of us scored 6/10... W still wanted something different as she felt this test too was not right, she wanted one with photos and real world objects... So I dug out one more test, and she eventually scored 9/10 whereas for me it was only 7/10 (and two of them were lucky guessess).  She was happy with herself, and I was happy with my self.... What was more surprising, all kids except G18 scored somewhat the same as me.  G18 (who has struggled with mental issues of her own) scored even better than W.  She received full scores of all tests except the first one (and she received way higher score than any of us with it as well)...   IDK... I can't help thinking which is the chicken vs. egg.   Do they have so damn good memory because they both suffer from mental issues (including low self-esteem).  Or are they having mental issues because they cannot "forget"... Just pondering.


Otherwise life's still somewhat the same old same... W spending time on her mobile.  W typing lists (she did explain the fun of it to G16 who's reaction was very similar to eyes popping out of disbelief).  W walking around the house with headphones on.  W taking timeouts for herself...  And me spending time working. Me spending time with kids. Me trying to improve myself... And yes, occasionally we do "connect", talk light stuff, or she gives me a daily hug....    So no significant improvement, but no bad news neither. Which I guess is the most essential thing in this point.

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on January 22, 2020, 08:58:16 AM
Sound like a nice slow bake.

She very fortunate to have such a stable environment to casually deal with herself.
I think that produces the best result, like a turkey slow basting in the oven. Can't microwave it.  :P

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 23, 2020, 01:25:59 AM
Standing - yep, a slow bake it is.... But I am hungry
(though realistically speaking I acknowledge the real endline of all this will be like year 2030, if ever)



Journaling...  

Even after all these months it's so bizarre to have these light talks where all seems superficially well, but at the same the talks are somewhat "hollow". Once more she opened about work related challenges (she talked/I listened). She is supposed to attend a training event (self-development, self-imaging etc) next week, but doesn't know the schedules, and it is making her feel some pressure. And then she moved into pondering what to tell of herself there as she feels she don't really know who she is apart of technical facts. I just did my best to emphasize the situation and support her positive self-image (even when she asked to about her negative characteristics, I showed also their silver linings).

Later the night she was laughing that when taking S5 to kids sporting event one of the younger kids in there had asked if she was S5's granny. She seemed to enjoy it, as given honest recognition of her own thinking of her aging appearance (I still love/adore her silvery hair). I have no doubt part of her inner struggle involves her aging (the desiro get physical, the negative self-talk of physical beauty going away), kids keaving the nest (getting ready for grandkids) as well as what to do when beyond housewife/motherhood step (that was her dream/life for 20 years)...kind of interesting how it contrasts with G16 doing a similar growth process, thinking what to do when growing up... So whomever compared MLT/MLC is like adult teenage process, got it pretty well imho.

Many have talked/warned MLCrs overspending... I think mine's on the opposite end and becoming even more frugal than ever before.  Last night she preached  how kids (and I ) are irresponsible with heating (comfortable 70F indoors) how much it costs us etc. I've been the one paying all the electric bills for the 20+ years  and I know our annual consumption is still somewhat the same as always, and about third less than the average for a family/house size we have... And few weeks back she asked me to buy her new jeans (big holes between the legs with old ones). She gave very specific instructions to get the cheapest kind ($10) of specific model/type. Nothing wrong with that, but then she decided to stick with her old jeans for a while "to spare the new ones".  For crying out loud, I could have bought/brought two pairs without breaking budget...And when going out as family, she usually tries to seek out the cheapest option from the menu. What's the point of fancy dining if you don't cut yourself some slack... Yes, we have gone through some times when money has been very tight. So possibly she is projecting some of that.Maybe she is projecting her self-esteem there in some ways. Idk. It's just so bizarre to follow. 

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 24, 2020, 12:48:46 AM
Journaling...

I think this was to be extected... W told that her working schedule is being re-arranged as she constantly falls into overtime (and they are not allowed overtime)...She seemed to take it pretty well, but I cannot help thinking what the "hidden low self-esteem" version of her is feeling behind the masks. But I'm not poking... 

There is not much I can do besides expressing my verbal support ("yes, it is demanding job, you gave your best effort - hopefully things will work out better with this new schedule; I will cheer and support you with all I can") and making sure she gets enough energy to push through the days  (basically her workday lunch is left-overs of my cooking's from previous day; occasionally with something extra like piece of chocolate or energy bar; and when she gets home I usually have made some supper for her +kids).

Alvin
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: OffRoad on January 25, 2020, 12:40:34 PM
Do you read to S5 when you sit with him in his room? If you do not, it might be an additional togetherness thing you do. I mention it because I think xh or I read to the kids almost every night (they were home) until they were about 8 and they rarely got up for anything and still have fond memories of the books.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 26, 2020, 01:27:35 AM
Do you read to S5 when you sit with him in his room? If you do not, it might be an additional togetherness thing you do. I mention it because I think xh or I read to the kids almost every night (they were home) until they were about 8 and they rarely got up for anything and still have fond memories of the books.

Yes, most of the time (say >80% of the nights)...
Likely this is just some developmental stage: S5 wanting so badly to grow big, but still desiring to be small at the same time.



Journaling...   We were talking about zodiac signs (western and Chinese) yesterday as family, and it turned out W has forgotton my chinese zodiac (zodiac signs was one of those "growing together" things we "learned"of each other some 20 years back)... I had become a dragon whereas in real life I am and have always been a rabbit.  I did correct W's mistake, and she sheemed bit stunned that she recalled it wrong. It was a bizarre moment, maybe for both of us. Like spotting a clear crack in reliability of her memory. 

All in all yesteday was not a fun day for me. I had the l "incoming growth"crankiness all day (so far I have no clue why I feel it before growth events, but it is very reliable indicator that I am going to learn a valuable lesson of myself/life in next day or two.... Not really sure if it is the chicken vs. egg: does me feeling cranky launch the process of exploration and self-growth, or am I truly having something waiting to unwrap)... I did my best to keep my crankiness within, but I think I failed a few times.  So later the night I sent W a Whatsup message "apologizing" my grouchy behaviour/looks for the day, explaining it was all about me going through some growth step I still had no clue, chasing an irrational thought/belief I had no knowledge of having... . Along the message I put a photo from book by Richard Carlson:

Quote
"Try getting angry without first having angry thoughts! Okay, now feeling stressed out without first having sressful thoughts - or sad without sad thoughts - or jealous without thoughts of jealosy. You can't do it - it's impossible. The truth is, in order to experience a feeling , you must first have a thought that produces that feeling.  Unhappiness doesn't and can't exist on its own. Unhappiness is the feeling that accompanies negative thinking about your life. In the absence of that thinking, the unhappiness, or stress or jealousy, can't exist. There is nothing to hold your negative feelings in place other than your own thinking  - Richard Carlson"


Bit later W replied... "I get the thought, ha-ha, but those thoughts come somewhere, somebody causes them. At least my head does not create thoughts that make me feel cranky or sad or other  anything else on it's own".

I did think for it awhile,  sensing I am standing on the edge of something that is likely at the heart of W's "blaming others" behaviour.   I did think for a good while whether or not to share anything I had learned, as well as how to possibly express it.  Eventually I typed a message that was all about me... "I believe that for all of us our own head, our own thinking , creates the thoughts.  Anything external is just the influence..."...  And I attached slide from  (psychology-related) presentation I had read earlier  with note "This is what I believe in":

Quote
Chapter 1 - your thinking creates your mood
* Your thoughts create your feelings
* We are conditioned to believe external events create our feelings
** Medical - blames biochemistry
** sociology - blames your life circumstances
** psychology - blames past trauma or internal conflict
* These influence how we create our feelings, but are not causal

As W continued to respond positively, I asked if she would be interested on seeing something else I believe (and have learned in these 11 months). She agreed, and I send her a single page from book of REBT principles (summarising the importance and reasons of unconditional self-acceptance instead of conditional self-esteem, unconditional other-acceptance instead of criticism, and unconditional life-acceptance  instead of fighting against the windmills)

About half hours later W send me a note with "So I guess it's goes like this": 
Quote
Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded - Buddha


I just sent her very simple response: Precisely (with thumbs up. )

I don't know if she is adopting any of this stuff, but at least she seems "open" to listen what I have learned in my process as well as maybe exploring her own beliefs.  That in itself is progress.... Maybe and hopefully some of it would stick and enhance her life too.  Like seeds that would produce growth when given some nourishment and time.


As for my crankiness... it did resolve in the morning when waking up...I had managed to create a single irrational belief (a "must") relating to W's recent behaviour.  Of course she must not do anything, I can only hope she "would"....  All in all  I think I've reached a pretty good level of "other-acceptance and life-acceptance" in my life's path.   The core of it boils down to very simple realization (which I realize many tried to make me see in the first months): trying to push things other than those I FULLY own and am responsible does not work. It is bit of the same as if somebody would ask me bi-weekly "why have you not done X/feeling Y, you must do so", and then fret on me over my disability/unwillingness to behave at his/her will. Of course it will fail, but when you are too close to BD (and hurt/pain ), you will not see wood from the trees.

Alvin.
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: Standing Strong on January 26, 2020, 09:27:45 AM
Those wheels up top spin and grind don't they?

That look when they have forgotten something they can't imagine forgetting...... that shock....... yup.


She really does sound like there is something going on, that's really good Alvin.
Encouraging her is wonderful: Positive reinforcement, they need it so bad. All that effort to move an inch, someone has to cheer and tell them "good job".

 :D

-SS
Title: Re: Alvin's 5th: Ghost love score
Post by: AlvinTheMaker on January 26, 2020, 02:07:00 PM
That look when they have forgotten something they can't imagine forgetting...... that shock....... yup.
...
She really does sound like there is something going on, that's really good Alvin.

Do tell...

I guess I was more shocked this night. I was putting S5 to bed, and picked a bedtime story that is located to small rural village where my father's side comes from. I did tell S5 about the farm my grandparents lived as well as the fact S5 has never been there (yet). W overheard the talk and reminded that we've visited the local cemetery as family few times (when S5 was still a baby). Then she continued (pointing words to S5)  "but it's not the cemetary at X where you go each summer (where my mother is buried)"... The problem here being W got the X wrong... she forgot/mixed up the name of the place my mother was buried (and she stood by me at the funeral 14 years back and has been there almost every year)... Bit like mixing Queens and Bronx with each other.

It is/was so odd.... Likely it is stress/anxiety/depression related cognitive impairment...But definitely something I want to discuss and ask advice from my IC.

Alvin.