Stop Fearing Monster!
Are you afraid of Monster? Do you avoid your MLCer because of your fear? Or maybe you avoid certain topics?
There are two main fears here.
I don’t want to face what he will do or say.
I don’t want to hear it.
I don’t think I can handle it.
It seems that if I stay out of the eye of the storm it may save me from a lot of hurtful things that may be harder to forgive in the long run.
This is the initial common motivation for avoiding Monster. You don’t want to deal with what you will might feel. This can be a form of denial. If I don’t have to hear or see it, it’s not real. It’s how many avoid facing the affair and thus avoid healing from the betrayal.
I get it. I’ve been there. You don’t want to have to hear your MLCer tell you that the alienator is his soul mate. It’s not always about not wanting to hear valid blame that you don’t want to face, sometimes it’s just about not wanting to hear about his new feelings.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
Whether your ears are open or not, he’s still feeling those feelings. That does not mean he’s interpreting his feelings correctly; in-fatuation is about hormones; but he doesn’t understand that.
No Contact is a form of self-protection, but are you using it as an avoidance that masks as self-protection. Monster can be volatile and distance is protective. Distance does protect you from hearing those hurtful things and it may even prevent those hurtful things from being verbalized.
But No Contact is not meant to keep you from hearing things that are unpleasant.
You don’t like what Monster has to say? Well, Monster doesn’t like what you have to say either. Are you avoiding listening to something that might include valid complaints? Or are you just staying away from spew? I know Monster can say hurtful things. But choosing to be hurt is within your control. Choosing to understand and acknowledge that those words are coming from Monster is within your control.
I am afraid of what he will do or say.
I’m afraid he will say he is going to file for divorce.
I’m afraid he will leave.
I’m afraid he won’t come back.
The elephant has been sitting in that room for months. You both tip toe around it. You don’t want it mad, it might start stomping. And worse, you don’t want it anxious because it might get an upset tummy and get gassy or (you know)…and you don’t want an elephant accident as you are walking behind it! No, be careful of elephants and don’t rock boats.
And so if you have an at-home MLCer you live with the constant tension. If your MLCer lives somewhere else, you feel like you are in a state of limbo, not knowing what your life is now or will be in the future.
Is this working for you?
Maybe your MLCer will say he’s filing. Many say it without doing it. Maybe your MLCer will leave. Most leave and for most MLC situations that is probably what is needed for progress. If something doesn’t change—DUH—nothing will change.
So as it is now, you would rather have today’s misery than risk improvement because between now and that future improvement there may be a lot more hardship—and today’s misery is nothing compared to how much worse things may get.
I’m sorry. But that’s life. That’s how it is. I want to add that it’s not how I’d make life work if I could dictate it, but when I think further, that’s not true. Not anymore. It is through the challenges we face that we blossom into our fullest potential.
Throw some darts and maybe even some larger Truth Arrows. Initiate change.
I try to be positive, validating, and kind. If I get angry that activates him.
Niceness is wonderful; it is important in Paving the Way. But are you avoiding Truth Darts to such a degree that it often appears as though you are not merely accepting of the situation but that you are approving of it as well?
I understand the desire to avoid Monster, but you have been placating.
Paving the Way is about being cordial, but it is not about placating; it also includes Truth Darts. So where are the Truth Darts? Are your actions so kind, comforting and soothing that you are enabling the adultery and abandonment because there are no obstacles?
Practice Makes Growth
I don’t really want to talk to him. I am afraid he will slam me with Monster.
Good chance. So? What does that mean? What will happen if he slams you with Monster?
Will you die? Doubtful
Will you cry (in front of him)? Maybe
Will you react and escalate the argument? Maybe
Will it hurt? Probably
Will you feel agitated during and afterwards? Probably
Dealing with Monster teaches us how to interact in a difficult situation. You will get to practice responding rather than reacting. And yes, you will mess up; deal with it, learn from it and let it help you grow.
As you learn to be responsive rather than reactive you will be influencing by example. An MLCer may initially resist, but your responsiveness is a seed.
I knew he would be looking for a fight before too long; it’s my fault for taking the bait.
Just because he was looking for a fight does not mean you should always walk away or back down. Truth Darts aren’t bait and neither is telling him to go ahead and follow through on his threats. Do you keep thinking that you are biting worms and that you should back off when threatened by Monster or that you should avoid an encounter or topic if you think Monster will make an appearance.
MLCers make threats. They bait you. Are you a fish? Do you want to eat worms?
Like it or not the MLCer will test. So learning to respond without biting the bait is to your benefit.
Monster will test your boundaries, giving you the opportunity to practice maintaining them and remaining consistent. If your MLCer makes threats and your reaction is to concede, you are teaching him how to control you and get what he wants—which is not the same as what a person needs.
Keep practicing. You are going to bend and sometimes you will concede. So get back on that tightrope and the next time you will be better prepared able to maintain. Boundary maintenance improves with your growth.
I’m not done here, I will conclude this topic in my next post.