MLCers do not return whole and healthy. They return broken, scared and uncertain if this will work. Just like two-year-olds and teenagers, they test to find your breaking point. In the absence of Trust, control fills the void. In my article on Emotional Blackmail, I talked about how an MLCer may test and provoke. This may be due to the MLCer’s insecurities along with new training from an emotionally-blackmailing alienator, or it may be part of Monster and be separate from the dynamics with the alienator.
When the broken and bruised MLCer considers rebuilding a relationship with his wife, he fears exhibiting positive emotions for fear of feeding her hopes. The alienator trained him that to comply with her demands was to relinquish power, allowing her to control him. He transfers this training to his wife and fears she will become like the alienator. Even without a prior history of emotional blackmail in his marriage this is a valid concern; an adulterous MLCer loses his spouse’s privilege of trust, such a crisis often invites emotional blackmail into relationships. This fear can contribute to the cycling affair, sending him back to the alienator multiple times.
An MLCer who returns home multiple times may have done so to test and provoke his wife—deliberately making her his jailer while he continued his affair. This is a form of emotional blackmail. If his wife is vigilant, she will discover his continuing infidelity and must then apply the consequences she promised for broken boundaries and inappropriate spousal behavior. If she misses his indiscretions—though she may suspect—and thus fails to apply consequences, her blackmailing MLCer feels empowered and taunts her with an escalation in his behavior. His wife feels used and resents being forced into the position of being her MLCer’s keeper.
Returns home need conditions and rules and that sets you up for being the keeper of those rules. Transparency is important. Your MLCer needs to give you access to his cell phone and the account, access to his email, and if possible you should change phone numbers. They need to call if they are working late or otherwise delayed coming home and calls in the middle of the day—if logistical—can help not only with rebuilding trust and intimacy, but also with reassurance. But that is a lot of power and it can cause a betrayed spouse to cycle and spiral with stress and fear from snooping. The MLCer will resent the strict rules and the betrayed spouse will resent feeling forced into having to have and be the guardian of such rules.
When an MLCer has progressed and is ready to keep the rules, they will challenge them less because the rules will feel like intimacy rebuilding tools rather than laws meant to restrict freedom. But until that time, MLCers will try to break the rules and you will feel forced to snoop which will only serve to increase the stress and tension of the situation. Often an MLCer will break rules without making attempts to hide their breech, testing and provoking action from you. This flaunt-n-taunt behavior is especially common in Clinging Boomerangs.