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The Space Beneath the Tightrope

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

To wear an MLCer's projections is to lose one's balance on the tightrope and become either the woman scorned--the Bitch--or the doormat. Refusal of a projection requires surrender and acceptance--a response rather than a reaction. Escalation is fish-bait; a fish accepts projection. A person must be in balance and have control of her shadow if she is to refuse projection. There are various things you will juggle while balancing blindfolded on the Stander's tightrope.

  • Acceptance
  • Agapé
  • Conciliatory
  • Confidence
  • Detach
  • Empathy
  • Faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Reassurance
  • Strength
  • Tough Love
  • Validate & Affirm

But what happens when you fall off or drop something; when you have or do too much or not enough? Over-Detach and you lose emotions, becoming cold and uncaring, not enough and you become an empathic sponge fermenting in his emotions. Some MLCers need to fear they will lose you, others need reassurance you will be there. These are opposite sides of the same tightrope. Dropping Forgiveness allows anger and resentment to infect you and leads to the Cycle of Victim Development & Revenge in which you seek to become even either by becoming the desperate and pathetic victim on the doormat or the vengeful woman scorned--the Bitch. Provide reassurance well and he may take advantage and Cake-Eat with certainty in your Stand; too much fear he has lost you forever and he may need reassurance. The challenge is knowing which your MLCer needs and then knowing later when you have fulfilled those needs so that you stay balanced.

It is a delicate balancing act. Below is the Bitch on one side and the doormat on the other; those places may seem set apart, yet they blur together. Anger and frustration are close kin with The Bitch, while sadness, desperation and depression want to curl up and cry on the Doormat; both are paths toward the Cycle of Victim Development & Revenge. The tightrope is a place of balance, yet not always a place of equilibrium. For everything there is a time and proper place. The trick is to lean towards one side without falling off the tightrope--and if you fall off, get back on; it isn't the end. To stifle one's emotions is to give them control; emotions are natural and require acceptance and healthy release for mental, physical and spiritual health. Trust as you step out onto the tightrope with your blindfold securely fastened that there is a net below; falling off is not uncommon, but you can get back on again.

A perfectly balanced tightrope is a place of constant momentum. The application of change, an external force, is often necessary. Sometimes these changes are a complete opposite of previous behaviour, but opposite is not always necessary.

Standing Actions advise releasing and venting away from your MLCer. This is excellent advice, but like everything, there is time to vent directly at him. Venting offers a dose of reality. Acting perky and happy is acting not being and is thus not real. Fake it 'til you make it, but when you are strong and resilient, the self-absorbed MLCer may forget your vulnerability--your humanity. It will not usually be necessary to offer your vulnerabilities. He will ask. You seem, and often are, strong. You laugh and enjoy life. But maybe you cry behind the door after he leaves. He asks the same questions about you that you asking about him.

She seems so happy. She's moved on. I must not have meant as much to her as I thought. Shouldn't she be more upset--we were together for umpteen years? Why does she seem so happy? Doesn't she miss me?
And one day, he will ask directly? Do you miss me? Be honest. Of course I miss you. If he knows you are Standing, he may fear you are having second thoughts. Yes, I am. Every second, hour minute... He's seeking reassurance; give it to him freely--that is without expectations that he wants to come home--yet. Let him see a glimmer of your sadness while showing that it does not control you.

Each of you will change on this journey--you choose whether to view these changes as positive or negative. Your MLCer has been gone. He may visit constantly or occasionally and thus see some changes, or he's has completely disappeared and sees nothing. The grapevine may deliver messages, but experience is real. Give him a taste of cake. Go hiking when he asks. Go to that concert, play, bike ride etc. MLCers complain. Review his initial complaints to determine validity. Often, the changes he truly wants will make you happy also. Though you may initially change for him, you will make true changes because you like the new you. Was the complaint about a lack of activities? Show you will do things with him by accepting his invitations if asked--and by going out with others. Was the complaint regarding physical affection? Why? How did you feel about yourself? Your body? What were your personal inhibitions? Showing your changes through sexual activity may be inappropriate. So show that you are comfortable with your body, that you love your body. There are many things that will be impossible to demonstrate effectively without a return to the relationship, but offer clues.

But what should you do if he begins to take advantage by eating too much cake? Boundaries are both firm and flexible; learn what is needed at each phase. No-Contact is not meant as a permanent condition; reinstate it as you feel it is needed. This was not a tease. If you began to feel used, taken advantage of, abused, tell him this. Explain the reason for the return of No-Contact. You are sorry, but what has been going on is or has become inappropriate

I'm Kenda-Ruth and I believe in marriage.
Are you tired of hearing...
  • Once a cheater always a cheater?
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