Tag Archives: Thought

Vulnerability

One of my “blogosphere” new friends, persuaded2go, has a great new post called “The Vulnerability Scale.”   It’s so good that I thought about reposting it here exactly word-for-word, but then I thought that it wouldn’t have the same context and whatnot that it does over at her site.  So you’ll want to take a moment to read her post right there on her blog!

However, one part I do want to share was that her counselor gave her a Vulnerability Assessment and it’s in the form of a questionnaire.  It’s basically a true or false, and if it’s true, you highlight it.   Based on how many you highlight, you can see how vulnerable your marriage is to an affair.

Did you know you are at increased risk of having an affair simply if:

  • you have a Facebook account?
  • you have been dealing with stress (family, illness, work, marriage, new job)?
  • you have moved?
  • you have had to deal with the loss of a parent, child, sibling, pet, close friend, family member?
  • you have dealt with or are dealing with a physical/emotional illness (stress, depression, low self-esteem)?
  • you feel taken for granted or taken advantage of at work, at home, in life?
  • you have had to deal with children that are teenagers, rebellious, or unruly?
  • you have felt self-conscious of aging, a bulging mid-section, receding hairline, sagging breasts, erectile dysfunction, major weight loss/gain?
  • you have felt sexually inadequate or second-rate in bed?
  • you confide easily in others?
  • you lack clear goals or dreams or sense of purpose for your life?
  • you have thought or spoke negatively about yourself?
  • you have a lack of self-awareness concerning infidelity, such as:
  1. “This couldn’t happen to me.”
  2. “I’m committed to working on my marriage.”
  3. “No one would be interested in me.”
  4. “I would recognize the signs.”
  5. “I can be his/her friend only.”
  6. “He/She is only a friend.”
  7. “He/She is not attractive to me, so this is OK.”
  8. “We are both married.”
  9. “This will not get out of hand.”
  • you have a high need for affirmation from others in your life?
  • you feel sorry for yourself?
  • you often see things as ALL or NOTHING?
  • you are unable to communicate your thoughts and emotions to your spouse?
  • perhaps you have been dishonest with them about difficult issues because you fear them rejecting you or punishing you, or because you think it will protect them…”What they don’t know won’t hurt.”
  • compared to others, you view yourself as: morally superior, smarter than, or more self-aware?
  • your spouse embarrasses you in public?
  • your marriage is “keeping up the image” to others?
  • you have felt your sex life lacked quality, passion or adventure, and/or it has not been frequent enough?
  • you are disconnected sexually because of emotional starvation?
  • you have married friends who complain about their marriages?
  • you spend time alone?

This isn’t the entire list but doesn’t it make you stop and think?  How vulnerable is your marriage?  Based on this list, are you vulnerable and you didn’t even know?  I knew all about affairs, love kindlers and extinguishers, all of it, and even *I* was vulnerable!!!

Okay now head over the persuaded2go and take a peek at her post: “The Vulnerability Scale“–it just may open your eyes to how open to an affair your marriage may be!

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Have the courage to do something NEW in your marriage

The first month of the year is drawing to a close.  This is  a great time to turn over a new leaf and start afresh, but if you’re here reading on this blog, chances are good that you’ve been affected by infidelity in one way or another.  When your life has been turned upside down, it’s hard to even pull yourself together, much less do something “new,” isn’t it?  Yet, today I want to lay down a challenge to have the courage to do something NEW in your marriage.

The definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result”…and yet isn’t that often what we do in our marriages?  We have that “same old fight.”  We use the same old reasons.  We don’t budge and sometimes don’t even tell each other things because “we know what he/she will say” or “he/she will freak out.”  We give our spouse the cold shoulder or punish them for something they said or did.  On and on.  And you tell me:  How’s that working for you?  If your spouse is having an affair and your marriage is falling apart and your kids are being hurt, THIS is the year, and now is the time to do something NEW.

Doing something NEW can be really scary, though.  I realize that doing things the “same old” way may be hurtful and damaging, but at least you know what to expect.  Yes, you hurt your spouse and they hurt you when you two argue, but you know that if you say “THIS” they will counter with “THAT” and then you have justification to unleash “THE OTHER.”  It’s dependable, in a weird way, because we can depend on what will happen.  But doing something NEW means you may have to look at yourself.   Doing something NEW means that you don’t know WHAT is going to happen or HOW your spouse will react!  That uncertainty…that feeling of being unable to predict what your spouse is likely to do… can be virtually traumatic for some; nonetheless, I challenge you today to take that leap of faith and do something NEW!!

It starts in your mind…thoughts like: “I wish he/she would think of ME for a change and help me!”  or “I’m tired of doing everything while he/she sits around and does nothing!  I want to do nothing!”  To do something new with your mind, you can’t just hope that someday your thought patterns will change.  You have to do something NEW…think something NEW!!  Your thoughts will change when you make the decision to change them!  So when you find yourself thinking that old recording of negative thoughts about your spouse or thoughts that are centered on you…make the conscientious DECISION today to stop yourself and change that thought to something positive.  Now I do realize that when two people have gotten far down the negative spiral that it can be fairly hard to even think of something positive, but even if you have trouble thinking of one thing, remember this.  They could have picked anyone in the whole wide world, and they chose you.  Think in a NEW way regarding your spouse.  List their good qualities and memorize the list!

And speaking of changing your thoughts, I have a really BIG challenge for you to help you and your spouse become “unstuck.”  You know that argument you two have had over and over and over?  The one where you know your spouse is going to bring it up, and you know that “next time I’m gonna say THIS” and while they are talking you think about how you’re going to respond rather than listening?  The fight you’ve had a hundred times already and each time it goes the same way–down the drain?  Yeah THAT argument.  I’m not saying they are right and you are wrong, but the next time you two have “that argument” no matter what they say, I want you to say: “So it sounds like what you’re saying is…” and then paraphrase what they said.  Don’t agree.  Don’t say they are wrong.  Don’t say you are right.  Just summarize what they said (their “reason”) and see if you understand what they said.  THEN… just say “I’m going to consider what you’ve said.”  The end.  DO NOT say anything else.  Just let them know you will consider it and stop talking.  The mere fact that it did not go “the same old way (aka down the tubes)” may well be enough shock to bring life back into the discussion.    After all, think about.  Isn’t one of the big issues in THAT argument, the fact that you don’t feel “heard”?  Well you just “heard” your spouse and said you would consider them and their viewpoint…and that is the kind of thing that gets a marriage unstuck.

What starts in your mind continues in your mouth.  If your mind is thinking of yourself and is thinking unkind things about your spouse, chances are about 99 times out of 100 that your mouth will follow suit.  That means that things will come out of your mouth declaring that you’re “entitled” to a partner who helps you out and you “deserve” a spouse who makes you happy.  Your mouth will then follow with mean, hurtful, caustic words meant to cut your spouse to the bone and make them do what YOU want them to do.  Speaking to your spouse with those kinds of words is balancing on the verge of verbal abuse, and if you wouldn’t tolerate verbal abuse, why would they?  To change your words, you have to do something NEW.  Just like your mind, you have to make a choice and train your mouth to say things that are loving.  Hmmm…let’s see.  I Cor. 13 says: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  Are these the kinds of words coming out of your mouth?  As your thinking changes, your words will begin to change too, but you can start right now, saying NEW words.  Words like “I love this about you” or “I feel happy when you…”  and when they do something–anything–say thank you!  Speaking to your spouse with at least the same level of courtesy as you would to a stranger is another thing that gets a marriage unstuck.

Finally, what starts in the mind and continues in your words will reflect in your ACTIONS–how you ACT toward your spouse.  This means that as your thoughts change to thinking of the things you appreciate about your spouse, and as your words say “thank you” and speak encouragement or support to your spouse…your actions will start to follow suit.  Love is not feeling butterflies in your stomach when you kiss…or feeling all jittery and excited when you know you’re going to see him/her.  LOVE (mature, intimate love) is treating a fellow human being in a way that is loving, because you made the commitment to act that way throughout all that life throws at you!  LOVE (mature, intimate love) is being transparently honest so your spouse can see the True You…and you seeing the True Them…and making the choice to behave in a loving way in spite of the fact that both of you are imperfect!  LOVE (godly love) is choosing to lay down our desires and natural inclinations and instead obey God.   And what does God say that LOVE acts like?  I Corinthians 13:4-8 “ Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.”

So break the mold.  Having that “same old fight” the “same old way” and saying the “same old things” and getting the “same old reactions” may be destroying your marriage, but too many people are afraid to try something NEW because with the “same old, same old” they know what to expect–even if it is bad!  I challenge you to HAVE THE COURAGE to do something NEW in your marriage…tonight.

Have the courage to do something NEW in your marriage

The first month of the year is drawing to a close.  This is  a great time to turn over a new leaf and start afresh, but if you’re here reading on this blog, chances are good that you’ve been affected by infidelity in one way or another.  When your life has been turned upside down, it’s hard to even pull yourself together, much less do something “new,” isn’t it?  Yet, today I want to lay down a challenge to have the courage to do something NEW in your marriage.

The definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result”…and yet isn’t that often what we do in our marriages?  We have that “same old fight.”  We use the same old reasons.  We don’t budge and sometimes don’t even tell each other things because “we know what he/she will say” or “he/she will freak out.”  We give our spouse the cold shoulder or punish them for something they said or did.  On and on.  And you tell me:  How’s that working for you?  If your spouse is having an affair and your marriage is falling apart and your kids are being hurt, THIS is the year, and now is the time to do something NEW.

Doing something NEW can be really scary, though.  I realize that doing things the “same old” way may be hurtful and damaging, but at least you know what to expect.  Yes, you hurt your spouse and they hurt you when you two argue, but you know that if you say “THIS” they will counter with “THAT” and then you have justification to unleash “THE OTHER.”  It’s dependable, in a weird way, because we can depend on what will happen.  But doing something NEW means you may have to look at yourself.   Doing something NEW means that you don’t know WHAT is going to happen or HOW your spouse will react!  That uncertainty…that feeling of being unable to predict what your spouse is likely to do… can be virtually traumatic for some; nonetheless, I challenge you today to take that leap of faith and do something NEW!!

It starts in your mind…thoughts like: “I wish he/she would think of ME for a change and help me!”  or “I’m tired of doing everything while he/she sits around and does nothing!  I want to do nothing!”  To do something new with your mind, you can’t just hope that someday your thought patterns will change.  You have to do something NEW…think something NEW!!  Your thoughts will change when you make the decision to change them!  So when you find yourself thinking that old recording of negative thoughts about your spouse or thoughts that are centered on you…make the conscientious DECISION today to stop yourself and change that thought to something positive.  Now I do realize that when two people have gotten far down the negative spiral that it can be fairly hard to even think of something positive, but even if you have trouble thinking of one thing, remember this.  They could have picked anyone in the whole wide world, and they chose you.  Think in a NEW way regarding your spouse.  List their good qualities and memorize the list!

And speaking of changing your thoughts, I have a really BIG challenge for you to help you and your spouse become “unstuck.”  You know that argument you two have had over and over and over?  The one where you know your spouse is going to bring it up, and you know that “next time I’m gonna say THIS” and while they are talking you think about how you’re going to respond rather than listening?  The fight you’ve had a hundred times already and each time it goes the same way–down the drain?  Yeah THAT argument.  I’m not saying they are right and you are wrong, but the next time you two have “that argument” no matter what they say, I want you to say: “So it sounds like what you’re saying is…” and then paraphrase what they said.  Don’t agree.  Don’t say they are wrong.  Don’t say you are right.  Just summarize what they said (their “reason”) and see if you understand what they said.  THEN… just say “I’m going to consider what you’ve said.”  The end.  DO NOT say anything else.  Just let them know you will consider it and stop talking.  The mere fact that it did not go “the same old way (aka down the tubes)” may well be enough shock to bring life back into the discussion.    After all, think about.  Isn’t one of the big issues in THAT argument, the fact that you don’t feel “heard”?  Well you just “heard” your spouse and said you would consider them and their viewpoint…and that is the kind of thing that gets a marriage unstuck.

What starts in your mind continues in your mouth.  If your mind is thinking of yourself and is thinking unkind things about your spouse, chances are about 99 times out of 100 that your mouth will follow suit.  That means that things will come out of your mouth declaring that you’re “entitled” to a partner who helps you out and you “deserve” a spouse who makes you happy.  Your mouth will then follow with mean, hurtful, caustic words meant to cut your spouse to the bone and make them do what YOU want them to do.  Speaking to your spouse with those kinds of words is balancing on the verge of verbal abuse, and if you wouldn’t tolerate verbal abuse, why would they?  To change your words, you have to do something NEW.  Just like your mind, you have to make a choice and train your mouth to say things that are loving.  Hmmm…let’s see.  I Cor. 13 says: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  Are these the kinds of words coming out of your mouth?  As your thinking changes, your words will begin to change too, but you can start right now, saying NEW words.  Words like “I love this about you” or “I feel happy when you…”  and when they do something–anything–say thank you!  Speaking to your spouse with at least the same level of courtesy as you would to a stranger is another thing that gets a marriage unstuck.

Finally, what starts in the mind and continues in your words will reflect in your ACTIONS–how you ACT toward your spouse.  This means that as your thoughts change to thinking of the things you appreciate about your spouse, and as your words say “thank you” and speak encouragement or support to your spouse…your actions will start to follow suit.  Love is not feeling butterflies in your stomach when you kiss…or feeling all jittery and excited when you know you’re going to see him/her.  LOVE (mature, intimate love) is treating a fellow human being in a way that is loving, because you made the commitment to act that way throughout all that life throws at you!  LOVE (mature, intimate love) is being transparently honest so your spouse can see the True You…and you seeing the True Them…and making the choice to behave in a loving way in spite of the fact that both of you are imperfect!  LOVE (godly love) is choosing to lay down our desires and natural inclinations and instead obey God.   And what does God say that LOVE acts like?  I Corinthians 13:4-8 “ Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.”

So break the mold.  Having that “same old fight” the “same old way” and saying the “same old things” and getting the “same old reactions” may be destroying your marriage, but too many people are afraid to try something NEW because with the “same old, same old” they know what to expect–even if it is bad!  I challenge you to HAVE THE COURAGE to do something NEW in your marriage…tonight.

Disloyal Crazy Babble–how to decode it and how to respond

Your spouse is involved in at least an emotional affair at work–and it may even have gone physical. You look at them and they still LOOK like the person you fell in love with and married–but in no way, shape, or form does the alien in front of you, screaming about how miserable they have always been and blaming it all on you, have anything in common with the person whom you know as your spouse. It’s as if some other person has invaded their body, like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and inserted a different personality into the body of the person who would have previously been described as “kind, thoughtful and loving.” They went from being on PTA and being “a good Christian” to living at the bar and committing adultery, all while blaming you! Now words come out of their mouth that literally make NO SENSE and you have to wonder to yourself, “Are you even aware of what you just said, because it is literally unbelievable!”

Does anyone recognize what I’m talking about? Has anyone else had a disloyal spouse that would speak and the things that come out of their mouth just are not true, are definitely not logical, and you can’t help but think, “Oh you could not possibly have thought about what you’re saying because it is not even close to reality!”? This phenomena is actually to-be-expected, or at least it is very common, in a disloyal spouse, and just to identify it, I call this “Disloyal Crazy Babble” (or “Babble” for short).

In psychological terms, Disloyal Babble has it’s roots in denial (that is the Disloyal does not want to face the truth) but as Christians we know the full truth: that Disloyals know that being unfaithful is sinful, but they want to keep doing it! Thus, they create a whole world and life that justifies why doing what they know is sin…is okay for them–as if the moral law has an exception or can be changed for their specific circumstances. Psychology might also say that Disloyal Babble has to do with projection (that is the Disloyal projects their own actions, thoughts and feelings onto others not recognizing they are the ones doing exactly what they accuse others of doing) but again as Christians we know that this too is tied to sin and wanting to justify doing what they know is wrong. Nonetheless, sometimes the things that a Disloyal spouse says when they “babble” are just MYSTIFYING! They can’t possibly really believe what they just said…or maybe they just didn’t listen to themselves and think before they spoke? When a Disloyal is saying things like that–things that just make NO sense and are so completely unrealistic it makes your head spin–what do you do? How does a Loyal Spouse ‘combat’ the nonsense? Here are a few tips!

1. The first tip is actually an easy one: agree with them. Often the Disloyal will say outrageous things with the intent of pushing your buttons so you’ll react…and then they can project blame on you. For example a very common Disloyal Babble would be something like: “Who could love a person like you? You’re controlling and verbally abusive.” (See how the Disloyal is poke the Loyal hoping for an angry response?) So rather than disagreeing and giving them what they want… agree. It takes the wind right out of their sails! And I’m not suggesting you take all the blame they’re dishing out. No–rather I suggest you just agree. “It would be hard to love someone who is controlling or verbally abusive, you’re right” or “Hmmm…maybe you have a point there. Could be that you’re right.” This technique disarms them and does not say you actually ARE controlling or abusive, just that it’s true–it would be hard to love that kind of person!

2. The second tip is similar to the first: agree with them and twist it back on them. This one takes a little practice but like the first tip, it disarms the Disloyal and completely shines a light of clarity through the affair fog! In this example, if the Disloyal were to babble: “Who could love a person like you? You’re controlling and verbally abusive” rather than just agreeing, you turn it back on them! “You’re right. Who could love a person like you who is controlling and abusive” or “You’re right. You are controlling and abusive.” This technique is PARTICULARLY useful for those moments when the Disloyal Babble is clearly projection! This may not necessarily disarm their attempt to poke and start a fight (after all, you are holding up a mirror and showing them their own reflection) but it does sometimes at least show them that their choices and their actions are exactly what they claim is so horrible about you!

3. The final tip is also easy and a little funny: say “Huh?” and then ask when or what? So again let’s use our example: “Who could love a person like you? You’re controlling and verbally abusive.” Rather than fighting or disagreeing, just look at the Disloyal, all confused and innocent and say “Huh? What did you mean?” You are not agreeing with what they said, but you are throwing them off balance and asking that they REPEAT the silly thing they just said. Often just the action of *thinking* about the words that just came out of their mouth is enough to stop the babble in it’s tracks!

NOTES TO SELF:
Don’t assume it’s a permanent, long-term truth. We all know that Disloyal emotions and plans change day-by-day (if not moment by moment) and if they say they would “never be married to you” one minute, they’ll be saying they want to move back home the next. Just recognize it for what it is–verbal vomiting.

Don’t take it personally. Even though their words say that “you” are this or that (insert hurtful adjective here), a Disloyal spouse rarely actually is thinking of the Real You and address You. Usually they are thinking of themselves and you are sort of an illusion in their head of what they have created to justify their affair. Just recognize that that hurtful adjective is not you.

Don’t always assume it is babble. Disloyal babble can be exceedingly hurtful but it’s been my experience that what they state usually has about a 1% truth factor–so before you just dismiss it as babble and worthless hot air, take a moment and look at yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. If there is an issue…work on it.

Soooo…how about a few “real world” examples of Disloyal Babble and how to respond:

I need my own space.  — “I agree, I need my own space too.”

I love you but I am not in love with you. — “Huh?  What does that mean?”

You need to move on. — “You’re right I do need to move on.  In order to do so I would need a place to live, a place to care for the kids, and an enforceable financial commitment from their other parent.”

Go get the Divorce. I don’t want to be married to you anymore. — “You’re right.  It would be hard to be married to someone like you.”

Why won’t you talk to me? Don’t you love me? (when the loyal spouse is in ‘No Contact’) — “Huh?  When did you give me 100% of your affection and loyalty?”

I’m not giving you more money!  Where is all the $$ I gave you? — “Huh?  Oh are you willing to show me where you spent your money now?”

You are so fat, if you lose weight I would come home.  —  “You’re right.  I have gained some weight over 25 years and I was meaning to address that.  Thanks for reminding me!”

You can’t come over to my house without permission. — “You’re right.  You can’t come over to my home without my permission.”

I can’t trust you.  — “You’re right.   You haven’t acted in a trustworthy way.”

You ruined my life.  — “I can see how living with a faithful person would ruin your life.”

She is just a friend.  —  “Huh?  When did she tell you to give 100% of your affection and loyalty to me?”

I was planning on leaving way before the affair.  — “You’re right.  I thought about leaving long before you had your affair.”

This is for the good of the kids. — “Huh?  When do kids’ grades increase and psychological issue decrease when their parents divorce?”

You are crazy. —  “You’re right.  You are not acting very sane.”

It was never the same with OP (other person) as you.  –  “You’re right.  The OP has never been blamed by you or had to pay bills with you.  It’s not the same.”

It isn’t you, it’s me.  — “You’re right.  It’s not me…it’s you.”

She’s a great woman and mother (talking of the OW). — “Huh?  When does knowingly committing adultery with a married man make someone a great woman?”

You are terrible in bed. —  “You’re right.  That’s something I had hoped to work on.  Do you have any specific suggestions?”

I didn’t come back for you, I came back for the kids and house. — “You’re right.  I’m mostly staying for the kids and the house too so I know how you feel.”

I have strong feelings for him/her.  —  “Huh?  What you mean you developed feelings because you spend so much time with him/her?”

I am moving out to clear my head. — “You’re right.   You need to move out so I can think clearly.”

OP made me feel alive. S/He made me feel like me. — “Huh?  When did being with someone who will lie and cheat make you feel like yourself?”

I’ve worn a mask for 15 years. — “HUH?  What you mean is that the 15 years of being a moral person were fake, and the 6 months of committing adultery is the real you?”

If I see him/her one more time, it will be the last.  — “You’re right.  If you see him/her one more time, it will be the very last time you see me.”

I didn’t tell you because of the way you act. — “You’re right.  I also didn’t tell you things because of the way you react.”