Swan: Bill - My husband did this to our grandson a few times when he still lived in the San Diego area, after so many times our son told his dad that when he makes plans to either follow through or don't say anything to the grandson, just show or don't, but he wasn't going to allow his father to continue to break this little boys heart by promising and then not caring enough to do it. We all thought my husband was going to get really upset and do the disown thing, but he actually said he understood and complied with our son's rules, at least for a couple years, then did the no show thing again, but at least called two days later with the excuse that the other woman wouldn't let him visit with them. Before MLC, one thing my husband was, was a man of his word, after MLC his word seems to mean nothing but air coming out of his mouth.
Bill: Swan: It is confusing because our beloved MLCers love their family members. They are just too scared of their influence to build solid connections. Confusion and undependable actions give them the out they are looking for without having to admit they are weak. I find it interesting your H blamed the OW - sounds like the garden all over again.
Swan: Bill - I agree with being tired of the "I deserve to be happy" comments, especially when it hurts so many people. I know my husband told me that as well and in just a matter of months after he married the other woman he was telling friends that he was miserable. I don't know details, but my husband has apparently moved to Texas and the other woman is not with him and from what he is telling people she isn't going to join him at anytime. It is so sad how these MLCer's spiral down in their pursuits to be happy and most of the times become more unhappy.
Bill: Swan: Exactly, the "happy" pursuit is just code for selfish, self-centered choices that make everyone else pay a price for my agenda. Life is not a "happy" experience. It is a comprehensive journey that includes success and failure, joys and pains, growth and maturity, tragedies and grieving and the discovery of eternal hope that makes things right for eternity. To boil it down to simply be happy, we are missing the point. As a result, anyone who settles for the pursuit of happiness at the expense of the other realities, does damage on all fronts.
buttons: bill yes, churches should be the places people can go for growth and healing, where they can find support challenge is that churches are also made up of humans who exhibit human nature and free choice and sometimes exude their own self rather than God's being. I have found love and caring in churches, I have also found those who love God but don't understand things too.
Bill: button: well said about the church as any collection of people are prone to bad behavior. The church is, however, covered by God's promise and His grace so there is more to work with in churches than any other institution.
HopinginHim1: Bill - I completely agree. My study of scripture has spoken very clearly to me. My H has not abandoned me. His financial resources are completely available to me and the children. We see each other quite regularly and he is very involved in my life and in the children's. So I feel that until the Lord directs me otherwise, I am called to remain a faithful wife and to wait upon the Lord for His clear direction and for the heart change in my H that only the Lord can enable. I see our vows as a covenant and marriage as a reflection of the Lord's faithfulness to His church. Despite our rebellion, the Lord sacrificially chose to die for His bride. Although I am not Christ, I feel called to live sacrificially for the potential restoration of my H to the Lord and as an example of marriage commitment before my children.
Bill: HopinginHim1 the other thing I would remind you of is the nature of marriage and restoration. It is the only relationship in the Bible that reflects the gospel and demonstrates the intimacy that exists in the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). As a result, it is a journey of the heart. This can be difficult news because the heart can be stubborn. It can be good news, however, because the heart changes quickly when it changes. You and your H can go months and years without being connected and then it can suddenly change and restoration can be accomplished quickly. This is challenging because as we wait, we can get to a place where we think it will never happen and then it kicks into gear catching us off guard. Waiting is a very mature skill!
Swan: Bill - I have found over the years of dealing with bullies, that they are actual very insecure people. My husband was a great Marine and could be so effective as a military leader, but the other areas of his life he really didn't know how to be secure and attempted to be in control and if anything didn't go exactly as he wanted his reaction was to try to overpower through aggression and intimidation. Coming from a step father that used abuse to control, I accepted my husband's actions as normal. It was went MLC took over our lives and I found this site (Jim) and reading books by Cloud and Townsend that helped me understand that is was not only OK to have boundaries, but to enforce them with love was beneficial for all concerned. I do find it helps me much more to have boundaries, I have far less resentments.
Bill: Swan: What you just described is information everyone ought to know and every parent ought to teach these skills to their kids. I am convinced that pride and insecurity are cousins. Those who feel a need to control are painfully aware that life is bigger than them but they don't want to admit it. As a result, they bully others and manipulate circumstances all the while feeling they are going to fail at any moment. Knowing how to set boundaries and choosing calm strength is a vital skill that everyone needs at some point in their lives. As a result, those of us who have these skills must keep sharing them with others. thanks for being on the journey.
Swan: Bill - I know people that are in second or more marriages and they say they never think of their ex spouse unless someone brings them up, I just don't understand how anyone can just not think of a person they once shared so much with, especially when there are children. My mother was like that, or so she claimed, we would ask her about our father as we got older and she often said, she couldn't remember as an answer. When I did meet my father as an adult, he often said the same thing. How do you just forget?
Bill: Swan: Weird isn't it? I think people "forget" as a defense mechanism. They actually remember and it is traumatic so their soul causes a fog to roll in to protect them feeling all the pain.
Bill: Swan: Pam and I are working on a proposal for a new book on midlife that will include both men and women in our modern context.
Swan: Bill - that will be great, a modern context is really needed. A couple years back we had a few people in chat that would make comments like "Jim's books were great back then, but..." We would try to tell them that MLC doesn't really change, society does, but if they would read the material they would see that foundation is still relevant. So a book that is more modern and includes both men and women could really be what many are looking for. My opinion is that personal experience is the best wisdom anyone could have, I am glad people like Pam, you, Jim and Sally share that, it helps so much. I thought I was going crazy and everything was falling apart (and I am a compartmental person), just knowing that others had gone through it and sharing it gave me some insight that guided me to the path I am now on.
Bill: All: It is good to remind ourselves that everyone lives out their view of themselves. Someone who believes they are valuable, loving, productive and worthwhile will invest in relationships and pursue strong goals. Someone who believes they are a victim, have been ripped off by life, deserves pain, etc. will be underproductive and will pursue chaotic goals. This is why a close walk with Jesus is so helpful. Embracing the fact that we are God's children will profoundly impact our behavior.
Dogwood: Bill. I recognize that I tend to always need to have family around me, and probably need to learn to have God alone, that is so hard to learn
Bill: Dogwood: In this area, I think balance is a key. When Adam was in the garden, he appeared to have everything he needed. The garden was beautiful and needed purposeful work applied to it to keep it in shape. God was available in person to talk with at any time. And yet, God said it was not good for man to be alone. God exists in relationship (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and we are made in His image. Therefore, relationships matter to us and complete the picture. We can, however, easily become dependent on others to meet the needs only God can fill. My youngest son likes to say, "We get our life from God but we learn how to do life from others."
Little Magpie: Swan/Bill - yes, she is thinking about seeing a counselor on campus, she didn't want to hear suggestions about bible reading or praise song singing. She did see my new counselor one session with me before she left as my counselor said she was open to it
Bill: Little Magpie: With your YD, I would also add that your acceptance is probably the strongest gift you can give her. We so often want to share our opinions and advice because we care so much about them and their growth. It can easily sound like criticism when anxiety is driving. Accepting them can feel like we are conceding or endorsing what they are doing but in reality it creates an environment of growth.
Little Magpie: Bill - Thanks. He is helping to drive there. Swan/Bill - How do you recognize the attacks??
Bill: Little Magpie: Great question. John 8:44 says Satan is the father of lies. The attacks always come in the form of lies. They are usually mixed with some truth since the best way to deceive people is to tell them a little truth and then cap it off with a lie. We see the process play out in Matthew 4 where Jesus was tempted by the devil. Recognizing the attacks means being able to discern when we are being confronted with lies. To do that we have to be well versed in the Bible and "up to date" in verbally renouncing what is false and affirming what is true.