Swan: Bill - The ironic thing is my home growing up was always total chaos, disorganized, messy actually, all except my bedroom and I would get angry if anyone went into my room and touched, moved anything. Having been in the Marine Corps and then married to a Marine for 28 years, that allowed me to have the everything in its place setting I was most comfortable in and my husband was also pretty much the same - UNTIL MLC hit, then he became so scattered, he couldn't seem to get his laundry in the basket, he had little piles of clothes all over our bedroom floor and it drove me crazy, but don't dare touch his stuff, if I even picked up a pile of clothes and put them in the washer, he would get angry and accuse me of snooping and spying on him. It wasn't until I found out about the first other woman that I started to understand why he had become so secretive even with things as simple as dirty clothes.
Bill: Swan: AS you shared, I was amazed once again at how "poorly" people hide their sins. You would think that your H would keep his routine, keep his habits and hide any signs that think that were drastically different. Instead, it is like people light off fireworks announcing the behaviors that will never be sustainable in the current situation. Fascinating!
Little Magpie: Swan - you and Bill help me to figure out my way. I am trying to get out of chaos and trying to stay out of the chaos it's difficult
Bill: Little Magpie: Welcome to the journey! When chaos gets ingrained in our souls because of family dynamics it takes smart focus and effort to unwind it.
Little Magpie: Swan- it is nice that we have some "free" ways to "see" each other. She also used FB message as a tool as well. My dad had a Face Time call with her the other day.
Bill: Little Magpie: Is it my misconception or is your family staying more connected with your D since she has moved? It sounds like everyone is reaching out to her.
Little Magpie: Bill - Thanks! Adjustment is difficult. Having a hard time with sleep and staying focused. I end up crying at the weirdest things. H is doing his hobby in your area and due to the financials is unable to bring anyone with him. We got a puppy so have those to adjust around too.
Bill: Little Magpie: Adjustment is difficult - that may be the understatement of the day. I know change is good for us but most of us would prefer not to change very much. We like knowing what to expect and how to handle the situations that come our way. Life does not seem content to do that, however. Even good things (like puppies) require maturity, decision-making, patience and humility!
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.
Bill: dumbfounded2 and Little Magpie: Okay, now I am curious. One of the most common struggles of couples is verbal interaction. Men, on average, get overwhelmed by too big a volume of words. Women, on average, are unsatisfied by too small a volume of words. Finding a plan that works is very elusive for couples in love and it gets intense. Men get angry and women feel neglected. So . . . any thoughts you are willing to share on how you have grown in this area or how you think others can grow is very welcomed.
dumbfounded2: Bill - Oh Boy Yes, for so long, I just thought my H "didn't care" because he wouldn't respond in what I thought was a timely manner. What I learned is that he simply does not process information as quickly as I do. (I assume this is the same for most men and women). The woman truly has the key to solving this communication problem stuff, but she has to slow down and give him TIME. Sometimes, my H will come back a day or two later and bring up a subject after he has analyzed it and feels confident in his position. It is hard, but patience from the women is imperative. He wants to please, but is not going to shoot back an answer quickly.
Little Magpie: Swan - it seems that as time goes on I get more guarded and withdrawn
Bill: Little Magpie: I appreciate your honest response. I believe that becoming guarded and withdrawn is the "expected" result of life on this earth. Apart from the love and power of God at work in our lives, this place can be a scary, overwhelming place. The Bible is quite upfront about the condition of this world and the battle we all have raging in our souls. It is no surprise that many elderly people end up disillusioned, discouraged, angry and sullen. In the midst of all this, Jesus offers hope and strength through the Holy Spirit which reaches to the depth of our hearts and gives us the courage to keep "putting ourselves out there" to see what God can do with the little we have to offer.
Little Magpie: Bill - I am not quite sure I get it but I do get - realizing disappointments and things beyond our control happen and that we have personal tendencies like being a planner that we adapt into our daily lives
Bill: Little Magpie: God orchestrates the moments. We don't have to go looking for them or create them. God leads us through them at the right time, in the right circumstances. Our job is to respond to them and let them have their impact on us.
tos: Bill, I think part of what I see her struggle with is unforgiveness/bitterness and a great amount of fear. I've admitted I was wrong so often, worked to improve (and have, though I'm not perfect), but the pain she is experiencing is overwhelming I think.
Bill: tos: I am sure there is bitterness involved and a strong sense of disappointment in herself she doesn't want to admit to. These lead to irrational conclusions that become self-fulfilling. This is why you can do "all the right things" and still not see the changes you thought were sure to happen. I am glad you have taken your own inventory and made changes that made sense but you now see the situation is bigger than your mistakes and shortcomings. Families are collections of very imperfect people who need grace, acceptance and courage to figure out life together. They are strongly connected but can be fragile at the same time.
Swan: Bill - That sounds awesome. Everyone seems to think that families suddenly become aware of everything they need to know and that is so far from the truth. My husband and I didn't really have good examples of a family, so when we entered into marriage, sadly we were very unequipped. Sadly we didn't provide a very good example either for our children, at least as adults they have been willing to listen to things I have learned from my own failings.
Bill: Swan: I also don't know anywhere else, except churches and camps, where you can get the truth about families. The world definitely has a lot to say but so much of it is unattainable and inconsistent with the way God made life. I feel very fortunate to have learned from very faithful people since neither Pam nor I had great role models to follow. Our experience gives us confidence that anyone who wants to figure it out can if they are willing to learn and humbly accept God's direction.
tos: Well, last time you warned against getting bitter and I have to say, that was helpful. There are days when I am really angry at my spouse for putting "us" (meaning me and our children) through this. But, after talking to God about my feelings, I go back to forgiving. I also just had a friend from church write me and ask for prayer because his 47 year old wife is doing the same things.
Bill: tos: Well done tos. The primary battle for those who are affected by the actions of an MLCer is at the level of the heart. It is unfair, disappointing and painful. If it turns to bitterness, it can be worse on us than the one causing the pain. I also think you are going to find this is a big club. Statistically, ML is the most prevalent time of life when divorce takes place. The hurt, pain and poor decisions cause so much turmoil that people just give up or react. In a strange way, I am glad to hear others reaching out to you because it means you are growing forward in the midst of your disappointment.