The Toolkit of the Confident Man - Page 5 - Talk About Marriage
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post #61 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 06:03 AM
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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RTZ,

We're friends, and you know I highly respect you and have learned much from you. You're a good man. That I know.

When it comes to self-love and assertiveness, I'm in full agreement with you.

When it comes to sustaining dysfunctional relationships, you've lost my vote man. The whole notion of "friction is the root of attraction" only applies to dysfunction. Friction can and does result in sexual curiosity, but it's not the root of attraction. Most rapists absolutely despise/hate their victims the moment they decide to rape them. It's actually this hatred that enables them to perform during an utterly unpleasant and one-sided sexual encounter. So in essence, yes, anger and friction do indeed provoke sexual feelings, but they don't cause attraction.

What you're describing is actually an act of equilibrium your brain takes part in when you feel resentment/anger towards your spouse. Your brain tries to balance things out by upping the level of sympathy/love for the very person you're furious with. It's normal and should not be confused with attraction.

Dysfunction is not a prize. It's pain. Pain that should be eliminated as fast and as permanently as possible. Whether it's caused by personality disorders, childhood abuse or genetics, it's still considered an unnecessary pain. No one (and I mean no one) should tolerate it for long. In some cases there's no choice, but in this day and age, those cases are very rare.

For a man with a good heart like yourself, life should not come with messed up choices like tolerating your wife's nonsense behavior. Life should not be hard. Self-love absolutely dictates that to us and you are my hero when it comes to that.

Dysfunction is a terrible thing. I wish you wouldn't accept it so willingly. I wouldn't. Not after what I learned from fine people like yourself.
I almost agree with this.

Almost.

Two things. Comfort is a libido killer. Friction, among other things, gives a charge of energy between two lovers. Absence is another, as is physical assertion together, mystery, etc. All have the effect of building sensuality.

https://www.ted.com/talks/esther_per...ip?language=en

Now, as for tolerating bad behavior, to what standard is your partner being held? I had a point when I had zero tolerance for my wife's emotional outbursts. At that time, I was possibly the worst partner for her because I was not supporting her when quite frankly she needed it the most.

When she (and others) do that, it is not about the other person. As Mem has said on multiple occasions, they feel bad, and are trying desperately to not feel bad anymore. So it is not being done "to you".

All of that said, you have to decide if the person is worth it. Is this partners other qualities worth understanding and enacting setting these things aside? Either way, either answer will tell you what to do.

We all are flawed. We all have problems. We have all been hurt. Hurt people hurt people. Read my signature.

Boundaries are necessary, but be careful how narrow those boundaries are, lest you find yourself safe, sound, and alone inside your bubble.

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"Our ability to feel joy is directly related to how much pain we are willing to feel." - Mavash.

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." - Bob Marley

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post #62 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 06:20 AM
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

I think it's worth noting that every Cluster B is different, and what works when dealing with one might not work with another. Boundaries, standing up to her, being confident, listening, etc, is a recipe that is working for RTZ at the moment.

He's stated that he likes her personality, the disordered-friction ignites their attraction, and it's working for him.

Sounds to me like he's content. Not a bad place to be.

Friction/attraction is usually rooted in FOO.

"A healthy choice to enforce boundaries by walking away from a dysfunctional relationship has more to do with recognizing the likeliest outcomes than with wanting to punish or retaliate against one's wayward spouse."

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post #63 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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I think it's worth noting that every Cluster B is different, and what works when dealing with one might not work with another. Boundaries, standing up to her, being confident, listening, etc, is a recipe that is working for RTZ at the moment.

He's stated that he likes her personality, the disordered-friction ignites their attraction, and it's working for him.

Sounds to me like he's content. Not a bad place to be.

Friction/attraction is usually rooted in FOO.
Very insightful Mr. Mule.

In her softer moments, she tells me how much I sometimes remind her of her father.

I catch her looking at me across the room while we're at work. I can see what's in her eyes. It's that "newness" and seeing me again as a friend and as a lover.... as a spirit she wants on her side and would like to tame.

If I may, those are the best days.

We're in a fantastic place right now. Do I know how long it lasts? Lol - i'd be a frigging moron to attempt to predict it. But, our respective ages indicate we're likely through the worst. The physical aspect of our relationship is still lights out pounding the headboard great. I desire her as much as I did the day we met.

What I realize now is that she has - literally - forced me to grow up. My passion for her was the only force strong enough in nature to get me to face myself.

And, I basically told her this. When people ask if she can give me what I always wanted, I answer like this:

"If you mean the storybook ending I thought we'd get when she first agreed to have me as a partner? ROFLMFAO!"

But, what was so "mature and realistic" about my vision of how things would go? Part of the humility of waking up is realizing what you clearly do not - and could not - ever know.

What I now realize is that she has forced me to seek and find the precious manhood I may have missed had I not entered this particular crucible of dysfunction.

To emerge from this intact - and even better than I've ever been - is a real treat for a 50 something man. With age can come wisdom, if you're humble enough to accept it.
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post #64 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 06:58 AM
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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When she (and others) do that, it is not about the other person. As Mem has said on multiple occasions, they feel bad, and are trying desperately to not feel bad anymore. So it is not being done "to you".
I've had a different experience, and I'm sure Synth, Uptown, Evinrude, Ceege, and others would probably agree.

My ex did, and still does, things to intentionally hurt me. (resulting in a lot of suffering on my part, which has led to growth)


If she's doing these things because she's feeling bad in her disordered mind? Who cares? They are still hurtful.
The Uber driver who just went on that rampage was feeling bad in his disordered mind, too. I guarantee it.

It might explain the inner turmoil, but it's the real-life consequences that matter.

I'm not saying this from the victim chair, either. What it comes down to is this: Some disordered people are simply crappy people. They score low on the empathy meter. They are self-centered and are incapable of emotionally mature love. You can't love others when you have no self-love.

Boundaries, confidence, decoder rings, or whatever won't work with folks like this.

RTZ's wife may be disordered. But there's disordered, and then there's disordered.

"A healthy choice to enforce boundaries by walking away from a dysfunctional relationship has more to do with recognizing the likeliest outcomes than with wanting to punish or retaliate against one's wayward spouse."

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post #65 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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Can you give an example of how this happens?

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She says she's upset about something.

I invite her to talk.

She begins with "I can't believe you would... When you did this... How in the world could you.... You really screwed up when..."

FSJ - it all begins with the word YOU.

The word "you" is an attempt to transfer her emotional issue of the moment onto me - to place blame. Inside, you feel the defensiveness start to rise, as your elevator ticket to the 42nd floor is being punched.

RESIST

"I'm sorry you feel that way" - and walk away.

It's very effective.

If she comes back at you with an invitation to fight? Look back and say, "I'm not ok with this discussion"

Sounds very simple... but it's not easy. Certainly not easy at first.
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post #66 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 07:03 AM
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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I catch her looking at me across the room while we're at work. I can see what's in her eyes. It's that "newness" and seeing me again as a friend and as a lover.... as a spirit she wants on her side and would like to tame.
I recall that exact same feeling with my ex when we were in the "pull" phase of our cycle.

It's intoxicating and addicting, and one of the reasons I stayed with her for so long.

It hits you in the soul. Bam.

And that was a FOO issue for me.

"A healthy choice to enforce boundaries by walking away from a dysfunctional relationship has more to do with recognizing the likeliest outcomes than with wanting to punish or retaliate against one's wayward spouse."

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post #67 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 07:06 AM
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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Originally Posted by ReturntoZero View Post
She says she's upset about something.

I invite her to talk.

She begins with "I can't believe you would... When you did this... How in the world could you.... You really screwed up when..."

FSJ - it all begins with the word YOU.

The word "you" is an attempt to transfer her emotional issue of the moment onto me - to place blame. Inside, you feel the defensiveness start to rise, as your elevator ticket to the 42nd floor is being punched.

RESIST

"I'm sorry you feel that way" - and walk away.

It's very effective.

If she comes back at you with an invitation to fight? Look back and say, "I'm not ok with this discussion"

Sounds very simple... but it's not easy. Certainly not easy at first.
Can you see a 20-something year old man-child responding this way?

Too bad we didn't learn this stuff in school....

One of the worst things to do to a KNISA is blame him for something he didn't do. Suddenly he becomes the 'take no prisoners' Black Knight, dealing relationship death with every word.

"A healthy choice to enforce boundaries by walking away from a dysfunctional relationship has more to do with recognizing the likeliest outcomes than with wanting to punish or retaliate against one's wayward spouse."

-TAM member Moxy
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post #68 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

A wise safe man once told me that re-parenting is not for the faint of heart, and you never know how it will go.

What my safe man would say was, "It will be interesting to see what she DOES, as no man has ever stood up to her in this way"

Well, now we know. She and I will never - EVER - agree on parenting issues. Far too much FOO baggage for her with my stepdaughters. But, the kids are all moved out. We're now working together on building a business.

She's smart as a whip and beautiful to boot. She simply amuses the **** out of me and she's clever. To see her undress the bull**** excuses of our employees the way she used to take me apart is - literally - an out of body experience. Addictive.

Our 3 year separation was an exercise in data gathering. I benefitted hugely from the 13 years of therapy my safe man went through, as my safe man had many sharp quick answers - as well as many sharp soul-searching questions for me.

I could search the entire earth and never find a therapist that valuable.
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post #69 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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Originally Posted by ThreeStrikes View Post
Can you see a 20-something year old man-child responding this way?

Too bad we didn't learn this stuff in school....

One of the worst things to do to a KNISA is blame him for something he didn't do. Suddenly he becomes the 'take no prisoners' Black Knight, dealing relationship death with every word.
That's a quote worthy of a frame. The literal essence of codependence.
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post #70 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 07:12 AM
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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Originally Posted by ReturntoZero View Post
She says she's upset about something.

I invite her to talk.

She begins with "I can't believe you would... When you did this... How in the world could you.... You really screwed up when..."

FSJ - it all begins with the word YOU.

The word "you" is an attempt to transfer her emotional issue of the moment onto me - to place blame. Inside, you feel the defensiveness start to rise, as your elevator ticket to the 42nd floor is being punched.

RESIST

"I'm sorry you feel that way" - and walk away.

It's very effective.

If she comes back at you with an invitation to fight? Look back and say, "I'm not ok with this discussion"

Sounds very simple... but it's not easy. Certainly not easy at first.
Recognition of internal escalation is the key. I can't say that I get this right every time, but I do 9 out of 10 times.

As for the sayings, I am a fan. But they can't be overused, either. That makes it crucial to recognize, and be humble enough to admit, when she might actually be right.

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"Our ability to feel joy is directly related to how much pain we are willing to feel." - Mavash.

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." - Bob Marley

Last edited by farsidejunky; 02-26-2016 at 07:17 AM.
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post #71 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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Recognition of internal escalation is the key. I can't say that I get this right every time, but I do 9 out of 10 times.

As for the sayings, I am a fan. But they can't be overused, either. That makes it crucial to recognize, and be humble enough to admit, when she might actually be right.

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When she's right, you totally own it and apologize

ONCE

True story from yesterday.

We had an employee in who "Had her last day" with us yesterday.

Employee is disordered. 34 year old party girl who is allergic to work. Has some talent, but largely wasted.

She's mailed it in at work for the last 9 months. Figured it would come easy, like it did while she was younger. Gee whiz... customers don't want to hear about your boyfriend and partying? Who knew?

Of course, she wanted to dump it on me. 80% of it was crap, but there were a few things I did when we first started that employees seized upon and now amount to urban legend. She was reciting those.

I saw my wife tense up out of the corner of my eye. We ended up with the employee walking out in a huff (good ending). Time to move forward.

I turned to my wife and acknowledged this was a bit difficult for her. But, I also said I appreciated her self-restraint and the idea that we aren't going "back there" to re-fight this. She acknowledged that it hurts, but it's a past hurt.

At this point, do the details matter?

Always praise your partner for growth. Not patronizing, but real. Not made up and "talking yourself into it", but when you see real sustained progress, mention it and validate it.

Yes, it's been a long strange trip. But, it's coming together.

Let me say this... I don't believe she's been physically unfaithful. I do realize that changes the calculation.
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post #72 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

My Mule Twins have always been a couple of personal favorites. I have no doubt that we could have a guy's weekend somewhere and it would go down in history as one of the best times of our lives. That doesn't leave any of the rest of you out, but you have to admit the guys with donkey avatars have a special appeal.

I actually left the office and was getting ready for work, but I wanted to come back because I had this thought.

When it comes to this particular dance, there's understanding, and then there's UNDERSTANDING.

What "IS" about us - and what isn't?

I've told the story of my wife's childhood (as I understand it) numerous times. Abuse victim. Foster care. Adopted. Sure that her parents didn't love her... associated parental limits with lack of love, instead of good healthy boundaries.

She hated her mother - literally. So did I. She's now on the other side of the grass and I haven't missed her verbal jabs even one day.

But, think about how this screws you up. My wife recounts a time when she used a wet towel to literally DESTROY the chore chart (towel snapping) in her parents home. A rebellious teenage girl. Lots of boyfriends. All the associated dysfunction. Early pregnancy. Shotgun marriage. All the red flags.

Fast forward to our relationship.

When her kids "need her"... (like when they call) is the "disrespect" she gives me as she lavishes 100+ percent on them really something to even attempt to correct?

At this point, does it matter? Or, is the damage done and the best I can do is to support her as she watches her kids struggle with life?

To ask the question is to answer it.

Don't I actually enjoy myself enough that when she goes down the rabbit hole with one of them, I can set my own agenda and not sweat the details?

I don't have to do college visits. I don't even have to pretend that I care. I don't have to pay tuition, car insurance, none of it. No one expects me to and no way in hell would I.

I even ended up getting a fantastic pit bull out of the deal. Her daughter paid for everything and then moved out after the dog proved too much for her to handle. Of course, there were other factors... all my fault, of course

But, see? I'm on this now.

I've got my daughter here, she's working 2 jobs and I keep an eye on her. My wife is a fantastic stepmother. All the stuff she lets hers get away with is "nada, zip, zilch" when it comes to mine. And, that's great. Just what she needs.

Why should I take issue with the disrespect and slights that may come my way when she's in firefighter mode trying to "save her kids" one last time?

This is called TRUE understanding. It has nothing to do with me.

It never did.
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post #73 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

And, to Threestrikes...

Outside of issues surrounding her kids, she almost never does things (anymore) to intentionally hurt me. And, as I indicated above, I now see many of the "worst" hurts as a function of this firefighter "save the kids" alarm bell mode which consumed her middle adulthood.

Internally, she never wanted her kids to feel the way she did.

So, as most humans do, she wildly overcompensated. She would die if she read this - and vehemently disagree.

That doesn't mean it's not 100% true.

Teaching children that their time is the most valuable thing on earth is a terrible lesson. One they'll spend their lifetimes struggling to overcome.
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post #74 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 08:47 AM
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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Originally Posted by ReturntoZero View Post
When she's right, you totally own it and apologize

ONCE

True story from yesterday.

We had an employee in who "Had her last day" with us yesterday.

Employee is disordered. 34 year old party girl who is allergic to work. Has some talent, but largely wasted.

She's mailed it in at work for the last 9 months. Figured it would come easy, like it did while she was younger. Gee whiz... customers don't want to hear about your boyfriend and partying? Who knew?

Of course, she wanted to dump it on me. 80% of it was crap, but there were a few things I did when we first started that employees seized upon and now amount to urban legend. She was reciting those.

I saw my wife tense up out of the corner of my eye. We ended up with the employee walking out in a huff (good ending). Time to move forward.

I turned to my wife and acknowledged this was a bit difficult for her. But, I also said I appreciated her self-restraint and the idea that we aren't going "back there" to re-fight this. She acknowledged that it hurts, but it's a past hurt.

At this point, do the details matter?

Always praise your partner for growth. Not patronizing, but real. Not made up and "talking yourself into it", but when you see real sustained progress, mention it and validate it.

Yes, it's been a long strange trip. But, it's coming together.

Let me say this... I don't believe she's been physically unfaithful. I do realize that changes the calculation.
Our perspective is different too.

If we were still with our PD's we'd probably be right there with you.

What do you do with someone who takes everything, including praise, as a criticism.

I remember for the last 2-3 years of my marriage I would take all the kids to church by myself. XW would rarely go with us. One such day I'm sitting in the pew and about 15 minutes after church started she walked in and sat down next to me. I was so happy she was there and told her so. She angrily responded, "don't you think I want to be here?"

Didn't talk to me for a couple of days.

Fun times... Don't miss them one bit.
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post #75 of 196 (permalink) Old 02-26-2016, 08:53 AM
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Re: The Toolkit of the Confident Man

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My Mule Twins have always been a couple of personal favorites. I have no doubt that we could have a guy's weekend somewhere and it would go down in history as one of the best times of our lives. That doesn't leave any of the rest of you out, but you have to admit the guys with donkey avatars have a special appeal.
Time and place...
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