Strength, Courage, and Wisdom, it was inside of me all along - India Arie
Some women are Angels, and when someone breaks our wings, we simply continue to fly...on a broomstick if we have to...cuz we're flexible that way.
Great Posts for Newbies to Read
I recently found many of the classic SerJr. posts that I had copied to a word document the first time the Notable Threads was posted. I have just the original post not the reponses made to them. So after getting SerJr's permission to repost them, here they are! I wanted to keep them all in one place so I'll post 2 articles to each post since I don't know how long of a post I can make.
The mods do plan on putting many of these in the Healing Library soon, but in the mean time please feel free to keep this thread bumped up for new people to read.
I hope these words can help someone else as much as they helped me!
Communicating with a foggy WS
Messaging is a basic communication skill that converts what you want to say into short and simple phrases that express the truth and get to the heart of the matter. It’s intended to spark internal reflection in another person. The message speaks truth without being adversarial or condescending and this cannot be ignored. It’s not judgmental, in fact it acknowledges the other person’s feelings and right to them, but it does refer to their actions and behaviors and reflect the truth about the situation and put everything into context – hopefully providing them with a compass to follow. It’s short and to the point letting silence prevail and speak.
How you present the message is just as important as the message itself. You want to speak it straight and simple, conveying confidence, awareness, calmness, and control. Remember that you are making open ended comments and not inviting an argument.
Attacking their means and ability to continue the affair:
Wayward spouses are pretty near oblivious to the consequences of their actions. Deep down they know what they are doing is wrong, but the instant gratification feels so good they will try to ignore and downplay potential consequences of what they are doing. You want to lead them to think of the consequences and how they will threaten the quality of their life. The best time to do this is when they are undergoing some sort of crisis themselves related to the affair (e.g. such as a fight with the other person or a family member, poor job performance review, etc) and during the initial confrontation.
Some sample phrases:
“I want you to know that I know exactly what is going on. I’ve been very patient and given you the benefit of the doubt, but I refuse to live with this situation. If your behavior continues I will re-evaluate my desire to stay in this relationship.”
“Do you ever wonder what other people and our friends and family will think of this situation?”
“You seem to be spreading yourself rather thin. How long do you think you can continue?”
“You certainly seem to have this all planned out.”
Attacking their motives:
Unfortunately, D-day and the initial confrontation does not always end the affair and it may continue. Sometimes it will happen in plain sight. At this point you want the wayward spouse to start questioning their motives and point out contradictions.
Some sample phrases:
“There seems to be quite a battle within you and it seems you’re spinning more and more out of control.”
“Do you really believe that the other person will meet your emotional needs once the infatuation wears off?”
“All this drama must be intoxicating.”
“You appear to be struggling to find something but unsure how to get it or don’t know what it is.”
“You say you want this marriage, but you spend your time elsewhere.”
Upon negotiation for reconciliation:
At some point your wayward spouse may try to play the “I don’t want a divorce” card and offer up promises of reform. Hold firm with your boundaries and continue to point out the consequences and put the responsibility back on them – some are just attempting to continue with sitting on the fence.
Some sample phrases:
“So what are you going to do about this? I want to see changed behavior over the long term.”
How to respond to what they say:
Many wayward spouses will try to go on the offensive and shift the blame for their actions onto you or the marriage. You will want to acknowledge their right to their feelings while being very adamant with your position. You want to leave them with no ammunition to fight back and effectively take their power away by agreeing with them and spinning it around to reflect the truth back to them.
Some sample phrases:
WS – “You never cared about meeting my needs.”
You - “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
WS – “I love you but I’m not in love with you.”
You – “It certainly seems that way.”
WS – “I don’t know what I want.”
You – “Yes, that must be confusing for you.”
WS – “I want to move out.”
You – “Do you have any idea when you’ll do that? It’ll help me plan my activities.”
WS – “This marriage is horrible.”
You – “I agree that this leaves something to be desired and should be re-evaluated.”
WS – “I’m angry about…”
You – “Yes… I wonder what you’re truly angry about.”
WS – “The other person is such a wonderful…”
You – “I can see how it can be comforting to believe that.”
WS – “It will never work between us - our marriage is too damaged.”
You – “Although I’m willing to do a lot to save this marriage this lack of progress erodes my desire and ability to fight for it. One day I will have to think of me and our children ahead of it.” - Credit for this line to Bigger.
WS - "If... maybe.... the problem is... blah, blah, blah... big nebulous statement."
You - "What do you mean by that?" (you can repeat this one a few times to try and dig down to see what they're trying to say... if anything)
WS – “Blah, blah, blah…”
You - “I respect your thoughts but I don’t agree. I don’t care to argue about this. I was just making an observation.”
Remember that you want the truth of the matter to speak to your wayward spouse without directly attacking them. They have to come to terms and figure things out themselves – you’re just showing them the direction and providing a positive example. Dealing with a foggy spouse is not about arguing, pleading, or passively ignoring what is happening – it’s about standing firm regarding your own self respect and putting things into context. Cool, calm, collected, and self-assured.
How to Play the Game and Win
It certainly seems as a betrayed spouse that we’re faced with a big dilemma. We often set out to improve ourselves with the underlying intention of winning back our wayward spouse and find ourselves in a competition with the other person. How the hell can we play that game when we’re stuck in the unflattering reality of everyday life when they're off chasing butterflies and rainbows?
Well, this game is initiated by someone who either has a personality disorder or is developmentally arrested. Often the betrayed spouse will react with an intense emotional response, apply pressure, beg, make promises, seek reassurance, and so forth. It doesn’t work.
The wayward spouse has already found the stimulation and excitement they crave in their new relationship. Additional input will be overwhelming as they lack a stable, solid, centered core. Bombarding them with neediness will not help them with what they really need. On top of it, it gives your wayward spouse the means to continue taking the best from both worlds and to create a polarity by comparing you to the other person… and with that neediness you don’t stand a very good chance of coming out on top.
So how do you play the game and win? Don't play it. You stand back, learn about yourself, and how to respect and honor that person. Doing this is very different from trying to “be better than”. You want to create a richer, healthier, more balanced life for yourself and those you care about.
So how do we move in that direction of self awareness and independence? Well, here are some questions to ask yourself to help you take those first few steps:
-What am I tolerating? What am I willing to tolerate?
What boundaries and consequences do I have to set up for myself to protect myself?
-How can I simplify my life to live from a peaceful centered core? How do I clear my mind of all the thoughts to live in the present instead of regretting the past or fearing the future?
-What are my beliefs, values, and standards? How do I become a person of integrity, doing what is right and healthy for me? How do I orient my life around those values to feel fulfilled?
-What do I need to do right now to manage my life? How do I create the time, space, wisdom, opportunity, money, relationships, and sense of self to get beyond my neediness and to provide a sense of well being? How do I communicate those needs and surround myself with positive and constructive relationships?
-How do I focus my mind on my goals and to nurture my empowerment and self?
-How do I protect what is important to me?
As you move along through this thought process – ACT ON IT! Act on tolerating less, informing your wayward spouse of your boundaries, stating your standards, and living out your values in their presence.
Don’t try to compete – be you. It’s the game plan that puts you well ahead of the “game”.
[This message edited by ThriveNotSurvive at 11:35 AM, June 27th (Sunday)]
649 comments posted: Sunday, June 27th, 2010