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I've found that there will be positive forward movement and then they will retreat for a period of time. I think this is normal because they think if things get too comfortable the R will fall back into the old, negative patterns. Expect this dance and just enjoy the positive interactions and don't dwell on the withdrawal or negative aspects.
Things I did to DB my H while he was living at home and having a MLC:
· I found more ways to focus on my children and myself.
· I forced myself to stop thinking about what my H was doing and how unfair it was.
· I realized there is really nothing I could do about my H’s behavior anyway.
· I learned to state boundaries in a friendly none threatening tone. And to pick and choose those boundaries very carefully. I stated those boundaries quickly and succinctly.
· I tried to process all my emotions in a healthy way that allowed me to stay calm just about 24/7. If I became angry I broke plates against a wall to get out the anger.
· I worked on my self-esteem.
· I started going out once a week and having H watch the kids.
· I tried to stay in touch with my emotions as best as I could and release them as close to the incident as possible even if I thought I felt fine.
· I "acted as if", I was going on with my life, I gave my H some breathing room.
· I tried different 180’s.
· I became more unpredictable. One fourth of July H said he was going out. (Not spending it as a family) So I had a barbeque and invited lots of people over and celebrated without him.
· I became mysterious.
· I stopped initiating any conversation.
· I went to my room as soon as he came home.
· I laughed a lot and enjoyed my kids in my room with the door shut.
· I never made plans that included him.
· I stopped interfering and/or helping along his relationships with the kids.
· I stopped keeping him informed on the kids.
· I avoided OR talks.
· I stopped confronting him.
· I left the room first and ended conversations first.
· I was always friendly but distracted.
· I stopped defending myself.
· I listened to him ad- nauseum.
· I sat in therapy sessions and let him express his anger at me until I couldn’t do it anymore.
· I took antidepressants
· Went to counseling by myself.
· Made a list of all of my good points and talents(To remind myself of my worth)
· I took stock of what about myself could be improved and took action.
. I realized that I didn't "blow it" every time I forgot to do one of the things I listed above or lost my temper or a myriad of other little "mistakes" that I made.
. I remembered that I am human and that we humans are imperfect.
· I prayed
· I became more focused on what I had to be grateful for.
· I gave the whole situation over to God.
Notes on detachment: Detachment is a process. We detach a little at a time. You may notice that you have a drop in PMA just before you gain a new level of detachment. When dealing with a spouse in MLC, you are detaching for yourself. It is not a technique that will bring your H back into the family (though in some cases it can have that affect). Those in MLC have to complete the process in their own time frame. What we do will not usually shift that course. But, it will minimize damage. Detachment is necessary for the LBS survival. We are normally so wrapped up in our spouses that we cannot function when they leave and they cannot separate from us enough to figure out their own issues and quit focusing on us.
I constantly try to imagine that my W is not my spouse with an obligation to me, but rather a person that is out there on her own.
At first I imagined her as a babysitter or a nanny (our only contact was to pick up and drop off D).
Then I imagined her as a confused neighbour who had a lot of things to figure out on her own
She became a friend who trusted me to listen and cared for her wellbeing. I had no other expectations other than offer a friendly shoulder to that woman and to hear her out
We have moved on to being friends who started being somewhat romantically involved. I still needed to think of her as a nanny and a confused neighbour and a casual friend, while catching glimpses of something more
We are currently dear friends, perhaps more, building a new relationship on the ashes of the old one that is no more. We are talking about reconciling - and that's why it is important to still treat her as a girlfriend, who hasn't fully committed to spending the rest of her life with me.
This visualization process has greatly helped me in coping with the situation and in putting things into perspective that allows more loving detachment and less expectations. It's the unreasonable expectations that hurt us the most as they are unfulfilled by our WAS's, perhaps unintentionally.