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Session 5: Listening is a Skill

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hikingout posted 4/22/2021 13:26 PM

Oh let me be clear, I definitely see the abandonment issues from foo.

All I was adding to the conversation was that she can't seem to pin point why she feels abandoned by CR. She keeps bringing up things like that pharmacy story. I think it's that the detachment she's experienced from him (that he understandably had no choice but to resort to) has brought up a lot of those feelings but they are nebulous to her. So, she looks for actions she can point at. But, they are such bad examples that it just puts CR in a place of head scratching. "You didn't tell me X but now you are saying that I abandoned you" makes zero sense.

She senses/feels it, doesn't understand it. Doesn't see how she caused it. It's definitely amplifying the foo. AND that's why the tie together with she is willing to do anything to not stay where she is. The detachment has gotten to where it's untenable for her. It was do this or ask for a divorce.

So it's really just the nuance of she is taking the natural consequences of her action (Cap's disengagement) and it's creating such big feelings for her that she sees herself the victim of it.

CaptainRogers posted 4/22/2021 13:38 PM

So FOO abandonment issues resurfacing or more likely never really left.

Never really left is the answer to that one. And added to that is her propensity to self-isolate and then wonder why no one is around.

In a discussion we had about a week or ten days ago, Mrs Cap had said that she was thinking about friendships and has come to realize that there are no post child #5 relationships in her life. #5 is the child that was hospitalized for 10 days when she was 3 months old, then again for another 7 days at 15 months (where she coded at one point). That was the point where she isolated from everyone (family included) out of fear for #5's health. She withdrew from church, from all kid activities, our relationship, everything. Felt it was "her against the world" to get/keep #5 healthy.

So, I have been on the receiving end of the self-isolation/independence part before. Never had it thrust on me as abandonment until a couple weeks ago, though I could speculate it was that feeling of abandonment from her own self-isolation that started her spiral into her A. That certainly wouldn't be a leap. I'm not a psychologist, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

hikingout posted 4/22/2021 13:47 PM

The only issue I have with the self-isolation theory is she is in control of that. It's been a pattern her whole life. I can't imagine that's leading her to the change. That's really her comfort zone. The change is because she is uncomfortable, and I don't think she is suddenly uncomfortable with it. She is uncomfortable with the external changes that have happened.

It's because for the first time since you were teenagers you withdrew from her. She knows it, but she can't put her finger on it. That's why she grasps for straws.

I am not at all blaming you, cap. I think detachment was the only way you could survive. AND I also believe that detachment was the only thing that could bring her to this point. She wasn't in control. She needs to feel that control. So, again, the only thing she could do to correct it is to make a bigger effort for counseling or ask for a divorce. I don't see her asking for the second one, ever.

I do think the counselor will push her to see she created this issue as well. I am driving this point because I think you may need at some point to say "Yes, I detached from you" because at this point, I can see how not having that recognition may feel like gaslighting. (I want to be clear, it's NOT gaslighting) To her, it's "I feel abandoned" and she is hearing "no you haven't"...but she has! By her OWN constucts!" She is pointing at these little stories because she wants to be able to prove it. I personally think of some of that can be conceded she may not feel like she needs to prove it. It's just early for that - first she needs to understand WHY you detached. I see the MC going in that direction full throttle...and BRAVO to her.

[This message edited by hikingout at 1:48 PM, April 22nd (Thursday)]

CaptainRogers posted 4/22/2021 14:23 PM

I do think the counselor will push her to see she created this issue as well

This is actually something that the counselor has worked with her on to see that she is creating the abandonment herself.

One of the earlier things we worked through went like this:

Mrs Cap's reactions (from her own words) to conflict/stress: anger, independence, pessimism

Mrs Cap's feelings when in conflict: disconnected, ignored, unloved, abandoned

What Mrs Cap wants: affection, companionship

So, the counselor pointed out that when Mrs Cap is stressed or in conflict, her typical response of independence & self-isolating creates the environment of her feeling disconnected, abandoned & ignored, which is th exact opposite of what she actually wants with companionship & affection.

And yes, once the environment feels more safe, I will address my own detachment. It hasn't been safe enough to do that for a long, long time. I do think that the counselor can get us there, though. Have I mentioned that she is awesome?

hikingout posted 4/22/2021 15:51 PM

Agree, it's not safe now, she needs to sit first and understand the damage. Later, she needs to know she didn't imagine it, and it wasn't all her independence/isolation issues. Again, that was the status quo, where she was comfortable.

I do not disregard that her affair was probably created due to her own independence/self-isolation. I can see that pretty clearly, I think in many ways that was true for me too.

She is uncomfortable with your detachment, and that's what led her down this path to begin with. You have been her one constant since her world fell apart in her youth. She felt you were there for you even if she disregarded it for years and has all these non-logical stories about her perceived abandonment.

I know you know your wife. I just know as a WS my need to change was about my own pain first. I actually think I should revise this to say "As a human my need to change was about my pain first". It's human nature - we do not change without selfish motivations. Doesn't negate all the wonderful results that can come with that change. But, it's also why I know something different precipitated this because it wasn't the status quo. The status quo brought the affair.

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