What I wish I had done after DDay#1. So often we read about WSs’s not getting it, pushing boundaries, ignoring boundaries and at times they appear to *get it* but then it turns out they were simply following rules. With that in mind I wish I had given my WS a list and explained it was not a checklist, and if he saw it as a checklist; a list of rules, then his rule following would mean little to nothing to our R efforts.
You see, giving a WS a list of boundaries and things you need to R is a double edge sword. The action to follow the rules is nice and all, but if there is no care and understanding from them for why we need these things; they are simply rules. It is like telling a child to return a toy they took from another child and instructing them to say they are sorry. It is good to teach them to say the words, but often with young children the *I’m sorry* is just a phrase and the heart does not agree with the words. What they really want is that damn toy back.
We need to look at the attitude and body language behind the action of the rule following. Are the WS jumping at the chance to help heal, are they doing so begrudgingly because we made a list, do they do the bare minimum to be able to check the *rule* off as followed, are they following the rules up front or do you have to remind and hand hold and spoon feed. Remember, WS are not stupid. They have been able to deceive and live double lives, therefore they are clever and manipulative. They know when you say no contact they should not return the text or email, they should not answer the phone, and they should not smile and say “hi” in the hallway. Each time they push or blow up a boundary it is a choice to put the AP above the BS.
Too often BS are spoon feeding and hand-holding their WS through R, and far too often they end up in false R; ask me how I know. WS need to be the ones doing the work. Then when we stop to look deeper, we can see if they are doing it to *rule follow* or because they honestly want to do and be better.