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September 06, 2017 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

KIKIG: All: I guess prayer and time is really the only hope? I am in a prayer group and bible study groups. I often wonder if I am the one who changed b/c I began refusing to put up with his mean, insensitive, hurtful behaviors. He was just plain cruel to me. Is it wise for me to just stay away from him, at all costs? He wanted to meet me to sign income tax pages and I just made excuses and asked him to fax them to me. It is just too hurtful to see him!

Bill: KIKIG: To your question about having contact with your H, here is my opinion. You are attached for life to your H because you had kids together and will be grandparents to the same grandkids. At minimum, you have a friendship so you should treat your H the way you would treat any other friend in your life. It could be more if he chooses but your lives are connected enough you should pursue whatever level of friendship he will allow. The other benefit of this is that you live out the person you want to be rather than living in reaction to him.

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September 06, 2017 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

KIKIG: Hello Magpie

Little Magpie: Hello Swan and Bill

Swan: KIKIG - great, I sent you a message, disregard it, it was just giving details on how to get in. Glad you made it.

Bill: Hello Swan, KIKIG and Little Magpie. Welcome. How are you tonight?

KIKIG: I have never been in a chat room before! First for everything, I guess.

Little Magpie: Bill and Swan - Thought I was going to be really late as I had to run down some things for H and YD

Little Magpie: KIKIG - Welcome.

KIKIG: Thank you!

KIKIG: So, what do we do from here?

Bill: KIKIG: Congrats on your first time. This is a forum where we are all free to ask questions, share our experiences, encourage one another and seek new paths of growth. Some days it is very insightful and rewarding. Some days it is just visiting. The key is everything stays confidential. That is one reason we have you use an alias as a log in - to keep things private so we are free to explore.

KIKIG: got it

Swan: KIKIG - Chat is actually very simple, just please put the name of the person you want to address or All before typing your comments. Please do not use real names.

KIKIG: all: do my best

Bill: KIKIG: To give you a feel for what types of things go on here, let me pose a question to everyone to respond to. I talked with a recovering addict this week who said, "I have a defective remeberer and an active forgetter so I have to stay in process or I fall behind very quickly. I can talk myself into doing dumb things easily if I don't keep reminding myself of what is best." Any reactions?

Bill: KIKIG: Remember, there are no grades in the chat room! People come here because they find themselves in situations they never wanted to be in and are looking for people who "get it" and can talk about it in a safe environment.

Bill: KIKIG: You will notice that I am not anonymous. I guess that is because I already have a public life and I want you to know who you are putting your trust in.

KIKIG: Stay connected to truth and places where you can be reminded of the "truth" over and over b/c, it is easy to get confused and mentally off track.

Swan: Bill - When my son was 17 he became an addict, his defective rememberer and active forgetter were some of the first outward signs that something was going on with him. This was a kid with a high IQ and almost photo memory and he suddenly couldn't remember most things. After he had gone through rehab and was clean, he confessed that it took too much effort to remember anything, so unless it was related to his desired (drugs) he didn't care or try.

Bill: Swan: fascinating. I am perpetually intrigued by the tendency of people to do things that everyone else clearly knows is not good for anyone involved. It has to be a strong pull because so many people walk this path and have a terrible time getting out of it. I think of how many times the question, "Why?" is asked in this chat room by people who are genuinely trying to find answers.

Swan: KIKIG - My husband is the one going through crisis, I found this site a few years back and it has helped me so much in having a place to come and get support and sometimes just vent. In today's society I find that most people either just accept an honorable person suddenly behaving without ethics or Hollywood has made a joke of midlife crisis, it is nice to have a place where others truly understand the pain and confusion you are going through.

Little Magpie: Bill - I think we all need to keep reminding ourselves what is best. Sometimes we go for what is easiest but might not be best. I read slowly so forgive me.

Bill: All: I find in my own life that it is good for me to keep at the basics of Bible reading, praying, interacting with fellow believers, exercise, spend time with Pam, etc. IF I lose my grip on these, I marvel at how quickly bad attitudes and bad choices try to find a place.

Swan: Bill - My children grew up in the era of DARE being all over the school system, my son was a Boy Scout until this time, he always acted responsible and it seemed like overnight, he changed and everything he had every been taught about addiction went out the window!!

KIKIG: I can relate to that, because my H (who has alcohol issues) would often forget things and not make wise decisions as time progressed. We are legally separated b/c he attacked me one eve. And I had to call the police b/c he was in a crazy rage! He tells everyone it never happened. He left our house and refuses to communicate with me.

Bill: Little Magpie: Slow reading is not a problem. No reading is not a good idea but slow reading counts as progress.

Swan: Little Magpie - sometimes when we read too quickly we miss things and often slow reading allows us to savor what is there for us.

Little Magpie: Bill - Thank you

Bill: KIKIG: Thank you for sharing. We try to remind ourselves that midlife can be a crazy time of life. In most cases it comes on quickly - One day he/she is responsible and seems to be doing okay; the next day the circus music begins and behaviors turn chaotic.

Bill: KIKIG: I am sorry to hear your H is not communicating with you and I pray he comes to his senses. It sounds like you have been able to stay on a path of growth during all this.

Little Magpie: KIKIG - I am so sorry to hear this. How have you been doing?

KIKIG: I am surviving! Living in a nice condo. My 3 grown daughters are really struggling. That is very sad to watch.

Swan: KIKIG - My husband was a Marine and behaved in honor as was expected, suddenly he began drinking heavy and also became violent. One night he raised his fist to me and as I attempted to get away from him, he pushed me down our second floor steps, yes he was drunk. I left our home to avoid whatever violence he would move towards, after driving around for a while my son called my cell and asked me to come to his house, he said he had called our home and spoke with his dad, he isn't sure what happened but he didn't want me to go home that night, he didn't feel I would be safe. I stayed with my son's family for several days before my husband answered his phone even and even then he was unkind, so I didn't go home for awhile more. In my instance there was another woman involved with my husband and she began pushing him to get a divorce and the more she pushed him the angrier and violent he became with me. I truly felt I needed to live away from him for my own safety. In more than 28 years I never feared my husband, but when he began the adultery and drinking, things changed in so many ways.

KIKIG: I am just not convinced it is a midlife crisis. How do I know for sure?

Little Magpie: All - One of my YD reasons for going AWAY to school is so she could get away from our dysfunction at home, so she could be healthy. I pray she is able to make it work out.

Swan: KIKIG - If you look on the front page of the website, at the top of the page there are pull down menus, look under the Free Resources, it has several articles that will start giving you information. Also look under resources and it offers book information by both Bill and/or Jim Conway.

KIKIG: sounds very familiar! I feel so in the dark about what is going on. He won't talk to anyone about anything. He simple feels sorry for himself: business struggles, Father died and was rejecting toward him although my H tried to do everything for his father, unlike his brothers did. H father was just mean to my H! It was so sad to see, but no one in the family would admit or address it.

Bill: KIKIG: You are wise to ask the question, "Is this truly a midlife crisis?" since there are many reasons that people become self-absorbed and self-destructive. Let us ramble a little about midlife to help you evaluate if this is what you are seeing. First and foremost, midlife is a developmental stage in life that is relatively "new." People are living longer today than they used to which has added a phase in life that is very significant (midlife). Studies show that in today's world, the 50 and 60s are the most influential decades of life. For people who are ready for this, it is exciting and fulfilling. For those who have not prepared it can be overwhelming. (continued)

KIKIG: I have read many of the Conway books, and many many others. I think I cannot decide what comes first for his issues: alcohol, or midlife? Our daughter lived with him for a year and is so frustrated that he refuses to look at his issues, so she says!

Swan: KIKIG - It will help if you put the name of the person before you comments, especially when Bill is in the room on Wednesday's.

Bill: KIKIG: Men often struggle with the transition into this new phase of life for a number of reasons: They are not used to physical changes which are inevitable during our 40s and early 50s. Men panic and start to feel weak. They then bury the pain in alcohol, drugs, younger relationships, anger, etc. These are all masks of the underlying fear. Then men wrestle with their identity. Most men will build their identity around their work. Their value gets based on being highly productive and proficient. Later in life they can't work as hard, aren't as strong and aren't content to just work. They want more fulfillment and more money with less work. When these don't happen, they feel like failures and again try to bury the pain.

KIKIG: Bill: My H has had a lot of disappointing things to happen to him: not able to retire at 50 (after working 60 hrs a week for years), His twin Brother and he wanted to build a business together and that did not work out, We lost our dream home (among other things) due to the downturn of our family (actually it was MY family's business that we bought), etc...

Swan: KIKIG - Sadly alcohol and midlife crisis often go hand and hand, I too questioned if my husband was dealing with crisis or just addiction, at some point I decided to lean towards crisis and it seemed that longer we dealt with his behaviors they rang more and more true of crisis, but the alcohol is still and hand in hand for him, in fact the longer he is behaving this way the more he is drinking. He drank throughout his adult life, sometimes to excess, but that never created the crisis behaviors, those came later and for a time (when he was dating the other woman, she didn't like the drinking) he stopped drinking completely, it didn't change the crisis behaviors and eventually he picked up the drinking again.

Bill: KIKIG: Third, their emotions get intense. As they evaluate their lives, they get in touch with feelings they have squished down for years. When they were hard at work, raising kids and building their careers, they could ignore feelings and push on. When the responsibilities lessen, they begin to feel more and can easily get overwhelmed by them.

Bill: KIKIG: Another significant issue is spiritual at the core. The enemy of our souls does not want men to harness their influence that will naturally happen in their 50s and beyond. As a result, there is an intense spiritual assault that happens to good men with lots of messages of inadequacy, disappointment and failure. Most men think they are wrestling with their own thoughts when in reality many of their thoughts are echoes of spiritual lies.

Bill: KIKIG: Your descriptions of your husband’s disappointments are common in MLC. Men assume prior to 50 they will be successful and can power through any obstacles they encounter. When plans get interrupted, it can get very intense in the soul of a man.

KIKIG: All: Everyone's comments ring true! So, the $1000000 what can I do, or what typically happens to these men? We were high school sweethearts and married for 31 years. We are legally separated. He could have filed for divorce but says he won't due to covering my health insurance, and car insurance. In many ways he is very good to me financially!

Swan: KIKIG - For over 30 years there would be a party or a military dress function and he would have a couple drinks (depending on the party more), but for the most part those were the only times he drank, so when he started drinking more often and to excess that I realized he was addicted.

KIKIG: Swan: Yes, sadly my H began not remembering things he said, or did no matter who told him. He simply refused! He told me he felt trapped one night in drunken stupor. Now, when he wasn't drunk one day he said: "I feel like an injured animal in a cage and people are poking sticks at me!" I begged him to go and talk to our doctor, but he just refused.

Bill: KIKIG: Welcome to the club of people who have asked the $1,000,000 question. If you asking, "What can I do to turn my H around and bring an end to this craziness?" the answer is nothing directly. What I mean by that is you can't say the magic words or do the magic deeds that will change your H's heart. Indirectly, however, there are number of things you can do to keep yourself in a place where you are cooperating with God's efforts to reach your H. (cont)

Swan: KIKIG - Yeah, unfortunately the MLC person is the last one to recognize or admit the signs of crisis and our telling them, showing them articles, etc. often only cause them to rebel more. The doctor is the last place they want to go because that would mean there is something wrong with their outlook, feelings and desires, so they deflect onto others typically us to justify their choices and behaviors. I know it might sound without merit, but I found that talking with God, praying and learning what I could, plus coming here for support helped to keep me sane.

Bill: KIKIG: First, keep growing!!! God loves you enough that he will turn his focus on you (instead of H) if you are not doing well. If you are growing in your faith, friendships and personal influence, God's focus intensifies on your H. Second, stay grateful. It is awesome your H is treating you well financially. Most MLCers think the world is mad at them and they especially think their spouses are mad at them. When you are not upset, not complaining, not pushing, not pointing out faults, you become a safe place for him to process his pain. This doesn't directly solve the problem but it has a powerful impact even if he doesn't admit it.

KIKIG: All: I guess prayer and time is really the only hope? I am in a prayer group and bible study groups. I often wonder if I am the one who changed b/c I began refusing to put up with his mean, insensitive, hurtful behaviors. He was just plain cruel to me. Is it wise for me to just stay away from him, at all costs? He wanted to meet me to sign income tax pages and I just made excuses and asked him to fax them to me. It is just too hurtful to see him!

Bill: KIKIG: Make a decision about your side of the relationship. Most people who join these chat rooms have decided that the vows they made at their wedding were real and decide to keep them for the long run (in hopes that the beloved MLCer will turn his/her heart back to the spouse of their youth). If you make a decision you will minimize the emotional turmoil in your life because our emotions always follow our decisions. IF you consistently evaluate your stand you will find that emotions are hard to reign in.

KIKIG: All: So many of my friends and family are encouraging me to date others. My heart is kind of interested, but I don't want to send him the wrong message or maybe it would be a good message? My daughters kind of encourage me to. My H came to them and shared he was going to ask a women who I knew he had been flirting with out!

Bill: KIKIG: Finally, pray like crazy. ML is a matter of the heart. The human heart is both stubborn and can change quickly. AS a result, we never know when it might turn and we have no power to make the heart of another turn. God, however, has many ways so we appeal to him to do what we can't do on our own.

Swan: KIKIG - Something that I say is that they no longer feel comfortable in their own skin and when that happens to people the first reaction is to try and get out of themselves. A book I would like to recommend is Boundaries by John Townsend and Henry Cloud, it helped me so much with how to react to my husband's sudden cruelty. Boundaries are not intended to control or punish the other person but more to safe guard ourselves. I often told my husband in the beginning that if he continued to scream and name call at me that I would remove myself from the situation and once he had calmed down and could show me the respect I deserved then I would come back, it took a few times before he started to respect my boundaries, in fact as we were getting our home ready to sell, a few times I noticed him getting worked up and he would actually stop himself, say he was going to go for a short walk, but for me to please not leave.

KIKIG: Bill: My heart is in it FOREVER, b/c I made a vow to God and my H! I took it very seriously! I think my H feels the same way, but he is trying to "forget me" per my daughters.

Swan: KIKIG - If he wants to meet to sign papers or any other reason, if you feel safe, do it, I would just recommend for a time making it more in public or safe places.

Bill: KIKIG: To your question about having contact with your H, here is my opinion. You are attached for life to your H because you had kids together and will be grandparents to the same grandkids. At minimum, you have a friendship so you should treat your H the way you would treat any other friend in your life. It could be more if he chooses but your lives are connected enough you should pursue whatever level of friendship he will allow. The other benefit of this is that you live out the person you want to be rather than living in reaction to him.

KIKIG: SWAN: Thank you! I love the boundaries books! I just question whether it is best to stay away from him and protect my heart? Also, his mother and his siblings have all become very quiet too. No contact from them much either! It is as if they are all scared to talk to me!

Little Magpie: Swan - I was going to suggest that to KIKIG too. Going to a coffee shop or something public to meet sounds good

Swan: KIKIG - Sounds like he is testing the waters for the approval of your daughters, please don't get wrapped up in his actions, questions, behaviors, etc. there are things that are going to cause hurt and confusion the more we focus on them sometimes the deeper they cut, it is hard and takes effort, but these things are best left at the feet of Christ. I am not saying to pretend it isn't happening or turn a blind eye, just try not to allow it to consume your thoughts.

Bill: All: Well, my dinner bell just rang so I am going to say goodbye until next week. KIKIG, thanks for asking your questions. Swan and Little Magpie, thanks for your insight and wise compassion. May God lead us all and do through us what we could never do on our own. And Jesus, please chase down KIKIG"s husband and bring him back to his senses. Talk to you next week.

KIKIG: Bill: You made some good points! We will be expecting our 2nd grandchild in a month! Do you have any suggestions as far as our daughters are concerned? Our youngest moved away and is too heartbroken to move home. All 3 have begged him to do something, but he just says this is who I am now!

KIKIG: Thank you All! This has been very helpful!

Bill: All: BTW, I am speaking at a men's retreat this weekend. Pray that progress is made that will help these men harness midlife rather than crash their way through it.

Little Magpie: All - Have a good night.

Little Magpie: Bill - Will be praying

KIKIG: Bill: I certainly will pray for that!!!!!! Thank you for your time.

Swan: KIKIG - You can protect your heart without cutting communication, this is where the boundaries help. What I said to my husband was I love you very much and want to be around you, however, when you throw your raging fits and I am here, it causes me an overwhelming fear, therefore, I will not allow myself to be in those situations, once you calm down we can talk, I will continue to help you with the house, etc. but I cannot deal with the raging. At first he scoffed, but he did come around and we were able to get the house done and sold.

Bill: KIKIG: I would give your Ds the same advice I gave you - keep growing, don't let bitterness be the defining emotion in life, be "who you want to be" rather than react to dad and interact with dad at the level he is capable of. It will be disappointing but plants seeds for the future and sets a good example for their kids.

Swan: All - the room will close soon, please join us again on Saturday morning chat the next chat session.

KIKIG: All: I guess prayer and time is really the only hope? I am in a prayer group and bible study groups. I often wonder if I am the one who changed b/c I began refusing to put up with his mean, insensitive, hurtful behaviors. He was just plain cruel to me. Is it wise for me to just stay away from him, at all costs? He wanted to meet me to sign income tax pages and I just made excuses and asked him to fax them to me. It is just too hurtful to see him!

Bill: KIKIG: To your question about having contact with your H, here is my opinion. You are attached for life to your H because you had kids together and will be grandparents to the same grandkids. At minimum, you have a friendship so you should treat your H the way you would treat any other friend in your life. It could be more if he chooses but your lives are connected enough you should pursue whatever level of friendship he will allow. The other benefit of this is that you live out the person you want to be rather than living in reaction to him.

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