Ask a Question
This was not asked through the Ask a Question page, but rather in the Ask the Mentor thread at the forum and I realized that I don’t think I have given a specific explanation of Paving the Way online.
I am revisiting Paving the Way, after receiving input from LBSs at the forum. This will be an introductory article with a few continuing articles in the series with the idea of further clarifying the concept of Paving the Way.
Originally, I associated Paving the Way with Section II of the website which is about Mirror-Work. After reading and considering all the comments, I am now seeing that Paving the Way can be divided into two general branches.
- Best Self & Mirror Work (Section II of the website)
- Direct Interactions (Section III, originally Standing Actions, of the website)
Best Self & Mirror Work
Paving the Way includes becoming your Best Self which includes both how you treat others and your Self as well as your own Mirror-Work which is about you; who you are, how you respond and react and what you can do to change what needs changing, embrace what needs loving and heal without bitterness.
Whether you are Standing and Paving the Way for your MLCer to come home, you are uncertain what you want, or you know that you do not want to restore your marriage, Paving the Way is about loving your Self and making your Self a priority. As you change and heal, you can become an attractive force of strength and acceptance for your MLCer and others around you. Understanding the theory as I explain it will get you nowhere if you fail to apply it; without actions it’s dead and I can’t do the work for you. Growth is a personal experience.
Direct Interactions include the things you can do in direct communication and action with your MLCer to reconcile to whatever level of relationship you choose—be it marital reconciliation, co-parenting, friendship, or simply the ability to remain cordial for future interactions—birthdays, graduations, weddings, funerals…
The Paving the Way Toolbox
Paving the Way helps you to become your Best Self and can create a safe path home for your MLCer, just as with all paving jobs, you will need some tools.
- The Unconditionals: Grace, Agapé and Forgiveness
The Unconditionals are the stones with which you Pave the Way. They are guidelines for how treat each other—MLCers, alienators and all others. The Unconditionals are the primary direct tool for Paving the Way.
- Rediscover You: Get a Life
- Choose Joy—embrace the journey
- Redirecting and Reprogramming Thoughts and Beliefs
I guess there is no opportunity to Pave the Way when you are dealing with Monster? Am I right in thinking I should just be polite, as nice as is possible in difficult circumstances and just leave him to do whatever?
The main question is basically a version of how can I Pave the Way when/if…
- My MLCer is a Vanisher and we have no contact?
- I set a No Contact Boundary?
- My MLCer refuses to pay attention/listen to me?
- My MLCer hates me?
- My MLCer doesn’t live at home?
- We don’t communicate?
The questioner is right, but the implication that being polite, nice and leaving him to do whatever are not part of Paving the Way is incorrect, those are what the first branch (Best Self) of Paving the Way is about.
- Truth Darts
Yes, MLCers are often upset upon delivery, but Truth Darts enable self-reflection which enables progress.
Validating sends the message that you accept a person’s feelings as being real even if you don’t like them or the resultant actions.
This is especially important for Close Contacters like Clinging Boomerangs who think they want out and then change their mind—over and over. Part of their cycling may be rooted in a fear of abandonment.
- Planting Seeds
Be consistent and flexible. I know, these seem to conflict one another. Be consistent in the Unconditionals, but how you apply the tools may change because what works today may have an opposite result next week. MLCers progress and so you need to adjust your interactions as they progress.
MLCers disconnect gradually. Use this time to begin laying a foundation for a future return, because midlife crisis gets worse and contact and communication may decrease, along with your opportunities for direct contact and communication to Pave the Way. That does not mean Paving the Way will cease when your MLCer moves out or reduces contact; it means the type of tools you use will change. In the beginning I knew that Chuck would leave within a few weeks—he had an apartment lined up—and I knew that his affair would become physical soon after he moved out. That meant I only had a few weeks to strengthen our foundation by starting to add new paving stones. I continued throughout his midlife crisis, but he gave me more opportunities to Pave the Way directly (in person) because of the initial work I did to Pave the Way in the beginning. Paving the Way is often more about how you treat the situation and your MLCer rather than about what you do specifically. In addition, it is also about how you treat yourself which is why boundaries are part of the toolbox; we teach people how to treat us.