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.
Part II (This Post)
- Standing is weak—Standers are doormats.
- Standers go against the Stockdale Paradox.
- Standing is about Acting As If your spouse will return.
- 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.
Standing is weak—Standers are doormats.
This is one of those things often said by people who disagree with and disrespect the individual choices of a Stander. It’s an if A is true then B must also be true idea. So for example: if you are a Republican then you must be against abortion. Certainly many and perhaps most Republicans are against abortion, but that is not true as a general statement applying to all Republicans.
Standing is active and includes both Respect-Boundaries and Rule-Boundaries.
Standers get defensive when accused of being doormats or not accepting reality and that their actions make no sense because it feels a bit like who are you to tell me what I feel, know, accept, understand…when you are not me. When you don’t know what I’ve been doing that is active regarding Standing, when you do not know or accept that I have set boundaries…when instead you assume a bunch of stuff?
We get those comments/accusations as though they are fact: what you are doing makes no sense or what you are doing is stupid, or you are being a doormat… They usually don’t come with asides like it seems to me you are being… or I don’t understand the sense in that. I completely understand that some people simply don’t understand, but it feels insulting when the statements are made without concession to them being opinions, feelings, lack of understanding… And even worse, when people do make such statements they sometimes follow them with an interpretation as to why the person is making stupid or nonsensical actions: you must be angry or codependent or whatever… It seems to me that they may not want to accept the explanation that maybe the person is a strong leader who sets boundaries because in their mind that doesn’t fit the stereotype of what they think it is to be a Stander.
You’re on the doormat when you allow your MLCer to create the boundaries which you follow rather than creating boundaries yourself. One reason this misconception exists is because some Standers let their MLCers walk all over them. The same is true of those who are not Standing, so it is not specific to Standing does not advocate it, but it takes time to regain strength and take back personal power after the trauma of Bomb Drop.
Standers go against the Stockdale Paradox.
Optimists are the first to fall. That is the basic idea of the Stockdale Paradox, but it’s really about optimists with specific expectations—such as time-oriented expectations—are the first to fall. The Stockdale paradox is great for Standers. Admiral Stockdale was a realistic optimist. He was a Prisoner of War held captive for 7 years during which he was regularly tortured and beaten. During that time he never lost faith in the end of the story, never doubted he would get out, and consistently believed that he would prevail and turn the experience into the defining event of his life.
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
-Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale
I had faith that Sweetheart and I would reconcile, I just didn’t know when. There are people who want to put a narrow timeline on Standing like 6 months or a year. In some situations that is fine, and for all people it is a personal choice. But if there is a pattern of something taking a certain range of years and you choose to Stand in a situation that fits that pattern, what is the point of a limit that is significantly shorter than the range? Are med students disappointed when after two years of medical school they do not yet qualify to become board certified doctors? The people who think they are going to be the exceptions often fall fast. Successful Standers (and by successful I don’t only mean those whose marriage eventually reconcile) are like Admiral Stockdale.
Standing is about Acting As If your spouse will return.
I do not encourage expectations and it is not about Acting As If your spouse will return—it’s the opposite actually. I discourage that sort of expectation.
It is not about fighting either. Fighting yields fighting. So I prefer to refer to it as Peacing.
Standing can include contesting divorce actions, accepting them or even initiating them if that is what is necessary for the protection of finances, Self and the family.
The idea of Acting As If is about expectations for individual moments or situations. So when your spouse comes home from work. It’s about not Acting As If they are going to be mean and start a fight and instead Acting As If they are not mean—whether you instead approach the situation neutrally or as though they will be bursting with joy may depend on your intimate knowledge of your spouse. But the gist is that you do not approach a situation treating it as though it is negative before it has started.