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"compartmentalizing"

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DanteJace posted 1/18/2014 22:25 PM

OK, I know what "compartmentalizing" is: keeping things separated, especially where one will interfere with the other.

"Compartmentalizing" is good if you have a job that requires you to be one way (say, stern like a prison guard) and yet you have to come home and be loving and gentle to your wife and young kids.

But "compartmentalizing" is bad if you use it to -- oh, let's say -- block off thinking about your spouse so you can carry on your affair. (Um... I was pretty good at this during my affair.)

But -- now that I'm a former wayward spouse... I guess I'm curious: what is the "opposite" of "compartmentalizing"? (In the sense of something that should be "undone" or "fixed" to prevent further wayward activities.)

Maybe it is not THAT complicated: I guess it is "being a whole person", "being authentic", "being honest".

But I'm interested to hear from both sides about what the "reconciliation" side of "compartmentalization" looks like and/or "should be".


phoenixrise posted 1/18/2014 22:57 PM

Thats a hard one...maybe it would mean allowing everything to be in your circle all together...adding your spouse/ children to the equation instead of one individual in one circle separating oneself from other true aspects of a person's life. Having a conscious acknowledgement of being "as one" so to speak...??? Lol the best I can do

JustDesserts posted 1/18/2014 23:30 PM

Question, DJ. Do you think reconciliation can occur if a Wayward is living a life of secrets and lies (where compartmentalization comes in mighty handy)...and their Betrayed spouse isn't even aware they've been betrayed?

I don't see how. Intellectual gymnastics in the abstract might come up with plausible sounding theories. But those would, IMHO, shatter against the concrete reality of YOUR particulars.

Perhaps some of the grizzled vets here can help. I've got nothing other than if you want to reconcile with your Betrayed wife, then she needs to know she's been betrayed.

JD

SlowUptake posted 1/18/2014 23:54 PM

But -- now that I'm a former wayward spouse... I guess I'm curious: what is the "opposite" of "compartmentalizing"?

That would be, being completely open and honest with your spouse about every aspect of your life.
That is the opposite of compartmentalizing.

now that I'm a former wayward spouse

That title is bestowed by BS's.
Since your spouse doesn't know of your cheating she can hardly make that determination, can she?

kmom2662 posted 1/19/2014 10:31 AM

For me, compartmentalizing means that i can stuff emotions into a little box inside me and close it up, away from my day-to-day functioning. It was a good defense mechanism in my FOO; I had a mother with psychological problems that made it necessary for me to be self-sufficient from a very young age, so that I wouldn't need what she wasn't capable of giving.
But it's a terrible coping skill for adult life. It makes it easy to do things that hurt the ones I love because I cam turn feelings off and on at will. I hate doing it, but I don't know how to stop. I am working on it in IC; I want to be able to feel things in a real way.

[This message edited by kmom2662 at 9:26 PM, January 19th (Sunday)]

Mrs Panda posted 1/19/2014 12:37 PM

The opposite of compartmenatizing is openness and honesty. Facing all parts of ourselves, without fear. Not spending a few minutes here and there hiding in the bathroom or what not, dealing with our shit.

Being able to bring up the A or whatever issue it is that we conpartmentalize.

Regarding former WS status... Hard to convince us when days ago you are still admitting your love for the OP. You don't have to be in an A to exhibit wayward thinking.

sinsof thefather posted 1/20/2014 04:03 AM

You don't have to be in an A to exhibit wayward thinking.
I agree with this ^

The fact that you haven't disclosed the affair to your wife means, in my opinion, that you are still holding onto it privately, keeping it and all of your memories of it all for yourself. Still compartmentalising it away from your wife and marriage. So, imo you aren't a former wayward husband as it seems that you're still hanging onto your affair, still saying you love your AP and still keeping all the good feelings you had about it, and your AP, alive inside of you. Whether it is physically ongoing or not you still seem to want it all for yourself. It seems to me like you don't want it to be spoiled by your wife knowing about it and you having to acknowledge, and deal with, the damage that will have been caused by it. You still want it to be a separate thing, just for you and the AP to share together. You don't want your wife in on it, spoiling the memory of it and I do think that is still wayward thinking.

But I'm interested to hear from both sides about what the "reconciliation" side of "compartmentalization" looks like and/or "should be".
To me (a BS) the reconciliation side of compartmentalisation in a marriage is not only about full honesty going forward but also the opening up about everything in the past too. You can't call yourself honest now or in the future, if you're still actively choosing to keep secrets that you know would change the present. You can't say you will have no compartments going forward if you still actively have your affair in one.

GraceRunner posted 1/20/2014 11:54 AM

In my case I compartmentalized my head and my heart. It was always a case of logic vs. emotions.

I felt very in control of myself emotionally. If it didn't "make sense" to feel sad about something then I just wouldn't allow myself to feel sad about it, I would talk myself out of it or I would ignore it. The same with anger or any other emotion that I believed to be a negative emotion.

The opposite of compartmentalization is vulnerability. For me, that means that I have had to start the very difficult and scary journey of allowing my head and heart to start talking to each other. First I've had to be vulnerable to myself - admitting my flaws, my weaknesses, my needs and desires, my angry feelings, my sad and scared feelings. Then I've had to work on being authentic. That means sharing my thoughts AND my feelings, admitting if I'm confused or conflicted about something and taking a chance that I might look weak, or that it might create an argument or whatever other consequences I was so afraid of.

You might read up on cognitive dissonance: when the behavior and the belief are in conflict with each other. I think we all have a need to have our thoughts and emotions line up which is why we see so much justification and rewriting of marital history from a WS.

toasted22 posted 1/20/2014 17:10 PM

I am read Surviving an Affair by Willard Haley and he states that one of the 'Love Busters' is

'Independent behaviour: Activities of a spouse that conceived and executed as if the other spouse did not exist.'

The opposite of this of course is

'Interdependent behaviour: Activities of a spouse that are conceived and executed with the interests of both spouses in mind'

This is the challenge to move from an Independent self sufficient compartmentalizing of relationships to an Interdependent mutual support of relationships.

Do you involve your spouse in your everyday life and plans?

Actionsoverwords posted 1/20/2014 19:20 PM

I am read Surviving an Affair by Willard Haley and he states that one of the 'Love Busters' is

'Independent behaviour: Activities of a spouse that conceived and executed as if the other spouse did not exist.'
The opposite of this of course is

'Interdependent behaviour: Activities of a spouse that are conceived and executed with the interests of both spouses in mind'

This is the challenge to move from an Independent self sufficient compartmentalizing of relationships to an Interdependent mutual support of relationships.

Do you involve your spouse in your everyday life and plans?

Excellent advice about interdependent behavior. This action resonates with me so much as I have engaged in independent behavior during my entire marriage and it has not boded well for anyone.

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