You have no control or influence over the final outcome of your MLCer’s crisis. Whatever you do, it won’t change the crisis.
Well then what is the point of anything? I know, it’s about working on Self, but really, what’s the point beyond that? Why Stand if it makes no difference? When someone says that there is nothing you can do it either sends a person spiraling into further despair as they feel helpless and hopeless or it is a trigger point for them to change, readjusting from an external to an internal focus. I could tell you that I hope you are in the latter group and leave it at that. But that’s not helpful, each person handles things differently and the idea is to do things that work for you. Since many people will spiral downward upon hearing there is nothing they can do, that isn’t beneficial advice—for those people. I don’t even think that it is true.
Though I understand and will agree with a revised statement.
Whatever you do, it won’t stop the crisis.
Accepting that your MLCer is in crisis may not serve to shorten it, but the reverse—denying the crisis can cause the crisis to take longer—that’s making a difference, though not the difference desired.
What is all this learning to communicate with a spewing MLCer about if it has no influence? MLCers are in reactive mode, they re-act to what happens and actions are always equal and opposite. In this sense, opposite does not mean nice yields mean and vice versa, rather it is about opposing. If you act in a harmful way to your MLCer, he will return the action by evening or bettering the score through harmful action toward you. Though both actions were negative, his action is opposite to yours because it opposes yours; it is against you and your action was against him. Take yourself out of reactive mode and respond to his actions instead. He will continue reacting, but his reactions will be opposite your responses which hopefully are not vindictive. Niceness matters.
Your MLCer gets to choose his behaviors and therefore it is true that you are not in control of the crisis. But you can offer him positive behaviors and interactions to which he can choose to react or respond. An outcome where a left behind spouse only offers negative interactions will usually differ from a spouse who offers positive interactions—even if both situations end without marital reconciliation.
I’m making no guarantees here. But I want you to know that what you do or do not do matters—for bad or good. Setting firm boundaries will likely yield different reactions than if you roll onto the doormat and enable cake-eating. Biting argument fish-bait is only going to increase his escalations and may cause greater spewing. Listening and validating can help him to feel safer confiding in you—though that does not mean it will make him feel safer.
Not all MLCers want to or will try to return, but many will and for many of those it will be too late because there will be no spouse left Standing. But how you treat your MLCer matters and he will notice. It is common for an MLCer to regret his MLC actions, though sometimes this regret takes years before it is either felt or acknowledged. You may or may not be available or willing to reconcile, but some of you will be given the choice and how you treat your MLCer can increase or decrease the odds of whether your MLCer will give that choice back to you.


Influence: Making a DifferenceNo Comments

  1. It has been nearly 4 years since bombdrop. I was married for 20 years and he left me for a mutual friend. I have watched him turn into someone that is cruel and heartless. I feel like this midlife crisis will never end. I was standing but I do not want to anymore. What is the best way to let go with grace? We are separated but not yet divorced.

    • Letting-Go with Grace is about forgiveness and empathy.
      Is there a divorce in process? If not, are you considering filing?
      Do the two of you have any interactions?
      Grace is about responding rather than reacting. So if he is cruel to you, recognize that he is acting and reacting from within his fears and treat him with love–agape love which is how we should treat everyone.
      It doesn't matter if he respects your kind treatment, whether he notices it or even if he thinks it is a ploy, that is fearful paranoia. Love Anyway.
      My recent post The Middle Passage: Embracing Versus Avoiding Part 2

  2. It has been almost 3 years since bombdrop. We have been married almost 29 years and he left me 1 and 1/2 years ago for a younger woman he worked with. I had been holding onto hope beause he still pays the bills and calls me just to talk, but he doesnt want to see me or face me. I just found out they are planning a big summer vacation away at the beach. I feel so hurt , it seems eveything is just hopeless. OW has already told me she is always going to be there. We are seperated but not divorced. I am scared .Do I just give up and let her have him, They already live together,

    • Have you been to the forums? I recommend you go over to the forum, register and post a story thread. We have a mentor program where every new poster who starts a story thread will be assigned a mentor to help them.

      Basically what you are describing is typical for MLC–which means it's not hopeless. Your MLCer is a Boomerang contact type. I can't tell if he is Clinging or not, but his frequent contacts defnitely qualify him as a Boomerang–even if they are not face-to-face.

      It is also common for the MLCer to live with the alienator–Sweetheart alwasy moved into the alienator's house when leaving home. It's also common for many to continue to pay the bills, though doing the opposite is also common.
      My recent post The Middle Passage: Embracing Versus Avoiding Part 2

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