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A Message from Michele
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"Going Dark" - 101 #50956
06/06/02 09:44 PM
06/06/02 09:44 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,334
The GREAT Pacific Northwest
Jamesjohn Offline OP
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Jamesjohn  Offline OP
Moderator
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,334
The GREAT Pacific Northwest
Although I haven't seen where Michele specifically addressed "going dark" as one of her techniques, it IS a very popular and effective tool to produce results (both good AND bad), and I felt that it needed to be addressed in a thread for easier reference to all. I'm hoping that many much wiser then me will add their wisdom here.

For me, going dark was both a blessing and a curse.

In my pre-DB'ing days, during our separation, going dark was kind of a natural thing for me. It helped to take me out of the chaos, and was pretty effective for causing both my wife and I to miss each other. Every 4 to 6 weeks, we'd get together, and I'd spend a couple of nights at the house with her. However, after a couple of days, I had enough. The same old crap was going on, nothing had changed, and I'd end up leaving again.

During my last period of darkness that lasted a couple of months was when she found the om. I left her alone for just a bit too long it seems.

My last period of darkness was the most effective for me and our relationship. I had been on the board for a couple of months, and knew a lot of the basics. Then, the bomb dropped. Although I thought I handled the initial reaction fairly well, I had to take myself out of the picture to regroup, and to prevent from doing any further damage. I was a mess, but the kind and loving people here on this board helped to pick me up, and to start getting myself back together.

During the next 6 weeks, I participated in, and dedicated myself to, the KLA discussion group Michele had going at the time. By doing this, I was better able to focus on what changes had to be made to be more effective the next time I went "light", and learned some of the skills it was going to take to get there.

Although things by NO means went smoothly, that period of dark time was used effectively, and I had much better results. I saw what things I could change, and how I really didn't need the cooperation of my wife to do it.

Going dark can be a great way to make your partner miss you, and to draw their attention back to you. In and by itself, though, it can't KEEP them there with you.

If you are constantly persuing and bothering them, it's a great way to take the pressure off of them, and it's a "doing something different".

If you were guilty of being withdrawn and emotionally neglectful during the R, it can be a "more of the same" behavior, and could do more harm then good.

I'll stop for now, and let others add their thoughts, comments, and questions.

Mick, are you out there?! [Smile]


JJ

Read about Divorce Busting® Telephone Coaching here!
Re: "Going Dark" - 101 #50957
06/06/02 10:31 PM
06/06/02 10:31 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,334
The GREAT Pacific Northwest
Jamesjohn Offline OP
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Jamesjohn  Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,334
The GREAT Pacific Northwest
Originally posted by Jamesjohn:


First of all, going dark is often seen as a "black or white" thing, which it really shouldn't be. There are various shades of gray in life, and I believe we should look at this "technique" in this way.

In one sense, going dark is an "LRT", if you've been prone to persue, plead, beg, cry - anything - to try to win back the departing spouse. Also, in effect, the LRT is a form of a 180 if we've been doing these things out of our desperation.

If you have been someone who has been "dark" throughout most of your relationship, this could be defined as "more of the same" behavior, and possibly "more of what doesn't work".

Going dark could also fall into the "do nothing" category. If you were the type of person that always had to be involved in everything, either fixing, directing, or controlling the situation, then staying out of direct contact with your partner can help you to do a "180" on this situation. You are essentially "dropping the rope" to let others handle the situation without your interference.

Going dark can take you out of the chaos long enough to "take stock" of where you are versus where you were, and compared to where you want to go.

Going dark can be a form of "stop going down cheeseless tunnels". If you persist on running through the maze blindly, you may need to take yourself out of the picture until you can "sniff out" the tunnel you need to head down. (Humm, do I want the cheddar or the swiss?!)

Going dark can help you to "start with a beginner's mind". If you can take a step back back, far away from being in the middle of the situation, you can often begin to see things with a fresh eye, a "beginner's mind", and get a clearer view of where you need to head. We've seen this by the way others on this board can often view our situations with a clearer mind then we can.

Going dark is a way you can "make yourself happy for a change" if you've been sooooo wrapped up in saving your relationship that you've forgotten how to really live.

As you can see, I'm VERY opinionated about the whole going dark subject. I firmly believe that it is NOT a technique in itself, but a way to discover,implement, and utilize other techniques.

If a person were to use "going dark" in the spirit of solely "no contact", they would be wasting their time, and setting themselves up for great disappointment.

Remember, learn, live, and love the basics. If you DO go dark, and it IS working for you, take a closer look at the reasons why it works. Then, adjust your future plans from there.


JJ

Read about Divorce Busting® Telephone Coaching here!
Re: "Going Dark" - 101 #50958
06/06/02 10:40 PM
06/06/02 10:40 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,334
The GREAT Pacific Northwest
Jamesjohn Offline OP
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Jamesjohn  Offline OP
Moderator
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,334
The GREAT Pacific Northwest
quote:
Originally posted by Jamesjohn:
quote:
Originally posted by Phoenix:

*****
As for going dark - do you think you can maintain a dusky dark where you aren't pursuing him or engaging in old behavior? That gives you time to do all that you need to for yourself and your life but also doesn't add to what doesn't work in your R. If things get too intense or hard you can always darken the shade a bit.
*****

I think that it's a misconception that "going dark" is an "on-off" type switch, where there are either 100 10,000 watt bulbs blaring away and blinding us, or the power is totally shut-off.

I like to think of more of a dimmer switch, where we can constantly and easily adjust how light/dark/dim it is at any given moment.

Please, please, PLEASE remember that DB/DR'ing is all about change. Keep your hands close to the dimmer switch, and adjust as often as necessary!! [Smile]



JJ

Read about Divorce Busting® Telephone Coaching here!
Re: "Going Dark" - 101 #50959
06/06/02 11:59 PM
06/06/02 11:59 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,158
Sparky Offline
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Sparky  Offline
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Posts: 1,158
Going dark is the chance to work on you and to allow the spouse that left you to go through the journey they need to go through. If you start butting into that when they have made it clear that they don't want to be with you, then you come off as someone who is not honoring their request. You are short-circuiting the journey they have to go through to work out what is going on inside themselves.

There was obviously something very wrong that made them decide they wanted out in the first place. Oftentimes, it is probably the case that they are depressed and they have lost faith that anything can ever change. That patterns are set and are not reversible. It's a sign of depression to feel this kind of hopelessness.

One thing they knew for sure was that they did not want you in the picture. When people are depressed and confused about their identity like many people who request separations are, they become cognitively disorganized and impulsive in their choices. And when you are coming at them trying to make them stay with you, it just feels bad and like there's a pressure there to stay where they were.

And they don't want to stay where they were. They are wanting big changes. And if you stay the same as you always have been, and are unwilling to allow them to go on the journey that they need, or you are setting agendas about how they need to be, you just look like a controlling wench or asshole. You become a representation of what they were trying to get away from.

As long as you keep pressuring them, you don't stand a chance. You will remain the embodiment of those bad feelings they are having. You will be something to avoid. You will make it very easy for them to continue to project or blame you for the bad feelings that reside inside of them.

If they are alone with those bad feelings still lingering inside, and you are nowhere in the vicinity, then perhaps they will begin to see that the pain they were feeling was really about something unhealed inside of them rather than something about you. You need to cut that link between bad feelings and you.

If you want there to ever be a future between you and your spouse, I believe you have to let your spouse take the journey that is rightfully theirs, even if they way they are communicating that to you sucks. Even if it hurts like nothing else you've ever felt. If you love them, you have to let them go through that.

And you can't keep looking over to see if they are done yet. It's suffocating. Instead, this is your chance to learn new things. Walk around in your feelings and see what is unhealed in you that makes it so easy for you to feel crazy about this crappy situation in which you find yourself.

You have the gift of time now, and the focusing energy of pain. Don't feel all of this pain without getting your money's worth. Surrender to what is really happening. Face it head on. Summer in the MLC area says that you should stay dark UNLESS your spouse initiates a contact.

For me, there have been two main contacts. First, he called me several weeks ago, and we ended up talking for over an hour. Then, he told me that he wanted to meet with me to tell me some "news." At first, I did not meet with him, because I was not ready to feel more pain. I knew the news wasn't going to be good. But last week, I finally decided to recontact him and tell him that I was ready to meet to hear his news.

His news was that he was seeing the woman I had at first feared he was seeing. But I met when I was good and ready, and it was actually a really productive and authentic contact. I was ready to be calm and not plead and hear his news. And I think that even though he is with another woman, this contact was a good one, even though it was about painful stuff.

When I allow my husband to be the initiator, then he has to know that he wanted to see me. And from being dark, I, Sparky, have actually become a bit mysterious to my husband - which is hilarious, becase I'm the least mysterious person you will ever meet. And he was intrigued. And I liked it. And I'm going to keep doing this because I thing that not only is it "working," but I'm using all this time to grow as I never thought I would.

The worst thing that ever happened to me has been the best thing that ever happened to me. And even though I still feel a lot of pain, I mean that sincerely.

Re: "Going Dark" - 101 #50960
06/07/02 12:21 AM
06/07/02 12:21 AM
Joined: Jan 1999
Posts: 3,315
Boulder, Colorado USA
Michele Offline
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Michele  Offline
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Posts: 3,315
Boulder, Colorado USA
I really like this thread. It's very helpful and informative, especially to newcomers who are trying make sense out of all the expressions folks use around here.

I have stressed this many times on the board and I'm glad to see it stressed here again. Keeping a low profile works well when you've been pursuing and chasing, begging and crying. Going dark- pulling back and being scarce- represents novel behavior. Novelty shakes up the dice and increases the chances your spouse will react in new ways. However, as has been suggested, if you've been the sort of person who has taken a back seat throughout much of your marriage, going dark may seem like old hat.

The key to DBing, whether it's the last resort, going dark, acting as if, or just focusing on the exceptions, is to try something, notice the results and allow those results to guide your future actions. Modify your approach if your spouse responds in undesirable ways. Keep doing what seems to be working. This sort of mind set will get you a lot further than trying to think of what's right or wrong. If your marriage becomes more loving, it's right. IF you push your spouse away and what you want is a close relationship, it's wrong. THis makes life somewhat simpler.

Thanks, JJ, for starting this thread.
Michele


The Divorce Buster
Re: "Going Dark" - 101 #50961
06/07/02 10:35 AM
06/07/02 10:35 AM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 141
Beth Woods Offline
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Beth Woods  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 141
Thanks for the information! I'm pretty unclear as to this whole dark thing and this helped me to see it better (I can see in the dark?).

One question, how should I procede with this dark business? I've decided to go dark when I found out, again, that my H was still seeing the OW. I know that he is running away from his problems by doing this. He also has a very important decision to make about his career right now. But I don't want him to think that I'm avoiding him because I hate him and don't ever want to see him again. I don't want him to pursue this relationship with her because he thinks it's completely over with us. Should I talk to him and tell him that we both need to concentrate on what it is that we want? Or just leave it as is? See my thread if you want further information - Three Strikes - Why can't I call him out?

Thanks again.

Re: "Going Dark" - 101 #50962
06/07/02 01:39 PM
06/07/02 01:39 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 937
england
rearly Offline
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rearly  Offline
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Posts: 937
england
quote:
If you are constantly pursuing and bothering them, it's a great way to take the pressure off of them, and it's a "doing something different".
i have been staying in the family home and trying 2 b as dark as possible and act as if however my W announced her intention 2 proceed mainly bcos she claimed i was not giving her space [Eek!]
quote:
If you were guilty of being withdrawn and emotionally neglectful during the R, it can be a "more of the same" behavior, and could do more harm then good.

this is probably an accurate description of the old me however, based on the point above, what should i do/ have done?? [Frown]


rearly - still smiling
Re: "Going Dark" - 101 #50963
06/07/02 02:10 PM
06/07/02 02:10 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 5,689
Melbourne,Australia
Mick Offline
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Mick  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 5,689
Melbourne,Australia
If you were guilty of being withdrawn and emotionally neglectful during the R, it can be a "more of the same" behavior, and could do more harm then good.

Well I think if you are going to start being all "emotionally available and not neglectful" when they are not wanting that from you anymore just because somehow it seems like some sort of (logical) 180 then you will likely come unstuck.

This is like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted...


The key is that prior to walking away, the walkaway spouse did want you to be emotionally there for them and so on but having been let down so many times before has most likley decided that not only are they never going to get those things,they no longer want them....a likely emotional divorce will have taken place..most walkaways pretty much could care less at this stage.If you insist on trying to force feed your partner "love and affection" when they are running then dont be surprised if they bring it all back up over you.(and get really antagonistic). You have to let them proceed with their self imposed fast.If they should however get hungry and decide to break thier fast then you can slowly feed them small amounts of "love and affections" again.

Royce(MICK) [Smile]

Re: "Going Dark" - 101 #50964
06/07/02 02:39 PM
06/07/02 02:39 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,334
The GREAT Pacific Northwest
Jamesjohn Offline OP
Moderator
Jamesjohn  Offline OP
Moderator
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,334
The GREAT Pacific Northwest
"If you insist on trying to force feed your partner "love and affection" when they are running then dont be surprised if they bring it all back up over you.(and get really antagonistic)."

The force-feeding of the love and affection usually will act as a repellent.

Start with cracking the door open a bit for rekindling a friendship first.

I think that this is where most great relationships both begin and end.


JJ

Read about Divorce Busting® Telephone Coaching here!
Re: "Going Dark" - 101 #50965
06/07/02 02:51 PM
06/07/02 02:51 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 141
Beth Woods Offline
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Beth Woods  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 141
Hey, JJ - could you check out my question as well? You may have missed it just above Rearly's.
My 180 will be to not pursue my H and hope that he works things out on his own.

Thanks.

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