This is a continuation, responding to common misconceptions of Standing. I give my official definition of a Stander in Part I.
- Standing is a method for saving a marriage.
- Standing is still or waiting.
- Standers are fundamentalist Christians.
- Standing is weak—Standers are doormats.
- Standers go against the Stockdale Paradox.
- Standing is about Acting As If your spouse will return.
Part III (This Post)
- Standers are not accepting the reality of their situation; they are in denial.
- Saving the marriage is the primary objective or focus.
- Standing is a form of control or manipulation.
- Standers are Standing for something that is dead.
- Standing creates pressure and it is counterproductive because it isn’t attractive to the leaving spouse.
- The only acceptable outcome is reconciliation.
- Standers bail out their MLCers (Ex. support them financially while they cheat)
- Standers lie (to outsiders) about the affair or keep it secret.
Standers are not accepting the reality of their situation, they are in denial.
This is often said by people who think that Standing teaches that reconciliation is a guarantee and that if a person is not doing specific actions in regards to their situation, they are not accepting the reality—infidelity or their spouse has moved out or their spouse doesn’t love them… It’s another if A is true then B must be true idea. Of course there are Standers in denial—just as there are those who are not Standing who are also in denial. But denial is not an attribute specific to Standing. I don’t teach Standers to pretend that there is not an alienator or to cross their spouse’s boundaries.
When Sweetheart moved out and started his affair, he removed me from the wifely role. So it was no longer up to me to see that he had the special muffins I made for him—a recipe I created at his request. It was not up to me to take cut his toe nails—he has flexibility problems and needs help. It was not my job to cut his hair. Maybe those seem obvious, but what about social grooming? We don’t think much about it, but we do it. He’s standing next to me and I may pick a hair off of his shirt. As his wife we have less personal space between us than less intimate acquaintances; I get to walk up to him and hook my arm into his. But when he left, that personal space gap grew; he would have freaked out if I’d tried to hook my arm into his. It was not what I wanted, but it was his space and I respected it. Standing is not about refusing to respect that personal space, that is only available with permission—regardless of vows.
When he left I was his wife legally, not mentally and I understood that.
Saving the marriage is the primary objective or focus.
Reconciliation is a possible byproduct of Mirror-Work, but it is not meant to be the primary goal. And yes, in the beginning it is usually a Stander’s primary goal. I see a lot of people criticizing them for that.
Come on people, give them a break! A person’s spouse has an affair, leaves them for their affair partner and goes Monster on them—often all in a day’s time—and the betrayed spouse is supposed to be able to skip the shock, panic and anxiety and immediately pick up the broken pieces of their life and not want reconciliation as a priority? They haven’t had time to process yet. They haven’t experienced a life after Bomb Drop that is not overwhelmed by their shock.
I agree that reconciliation should not be a more important goal than Mirror-Work and personal recovery and choosing joy. Accept the process of a person’s recovery; part of that process includes the stage of panic & anxiety that is filled with self-doubt and poor-me victim tears. It may not be pretty, but it is the reality for many.
I do realize that some of the critics accept this part of the process for a limited time, but after the limited time they think those people need to get a grip and move on! I am also concerned about those who become stuck in the panic & anxiety. The time to recovery is different for each person and some people need more help getting through than others—some need pharmaceutical help. Some have had more trauma and damage in their lives and they have greater sensitivity and are more susceptible to panic & anxiety; they may be chemically conditioned to a greater stress response. Accept their process and guide them to help rather than criticizing their goals. Guide them toward detachment and Getting a Life in a manner to which they are receptive—so for some that is Tough Love and others need a more gentle approach.
Eventually most Standers decide that Standing is for them; it is something they are doing for their healing and they are Standing for themselves rather than for their marriage—even as they may maintain a goal of reconciliation in the background.
Standing is a form of control or manipulation.
Standing is not the adult equivalent of holding your breath until you turn blue and pass out as a means to get your way. But it may feel that way to an MLCer who feels you are blocking them from getting or doing what they want. Most Westernized nations have no fault divorce—all 50 states in the US now have no fault divorce. Technically I could not stop Sweetheart from divorcing me; once he started it, the only way to stop it was by both of signing that we agreed to stop the divorce. My Stand was irrelevant to the legal process. A Stand is not meant to be judgmental and nag someone with shoulds. That doesn’t mean people who are Standers don’t do that—let’s face it, being non-judgmental is challenging. Acceptance is a major aspect of Standing: Acceptance of the process, Acceptance of present reality and Acceptance of how others believe, act and feel.
Of course some Standers are manipulative or controlling, but that is an aspect of the individual, and not an attribute they have because they are a Stander. As a Stander becomes more accepting, they will be able to release control.