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Originally Published in Standing for Your Sweetheart
Issue: 2010-10
Article 1

Inactive Gestures

Some MLCers want to show their feelings but are stuck behind their wall of guilt which impedes vital communication. Some want attention and are obvious with grandiose actions that from some are taunting and deliberately torturous provocations that seem motivated to frighten or annoy you and keep them in power. But there are other gestures meant for a kinder message of reassurance or reminding. Some gestures are subtly discovered in scavenger hunt fashion or by chance and others announce their small actions with notes if they are not already obvious. Sweetheart would come into the house while I was working and leave dinner or gifts and a note; he did chores: I came home one night to find the chore-fairy had painted my deck. There are other MLCers who instead sneak into the house and rearrange items as a message of their possible presence, but if the rearranged items seem irrelevant the motivation may be Gaslighting--to gradually lead you to think you are going crazy.

MLCers lack the coping skills to resolve their personal crisis which causes an additional marital crisis for which their coping skills are even worse since they focus their energy internally. Sometimes these quiet and perhaps creepy house-sneak gestures have the purpose of simply saying I'm still here. One MLCer and his wife had a collection of heart shaped stones they found on beaches; he would come into the house and leave her heart rocks he had found; he left no notes.

It is about thought word and deed, but the word need not be verbal but is rather about communication in general. For those who are inefficient at or incapable of expressing themselves verbally these gestures serve as their words. But they are inactive because they have not yet progressed to active deeds which require more advanced coping skills.

I understand some of the purpose behind the kind and reassuring but inactive gestures. When the spouse clings to the smallest signs, the MLCer may feel he needs to destroy her hope and be intentionally and falsely mean, but since this meanness is false the MLCer may also want to leave hidden messages. I understand this because in my situation our roles were reversed and Sweetheart was the clinger. If I smiled he thought I was changing my mind and he could move home. During the leave when I had kicked Sweetheart out, I planned intentional appearances of anger, but I also left a small heart sticker on the steering wheel or dashboard of his truck--usually the same week but not the same day as my false anger. He would not allow verbal or face communication that seemed pleasant without linking it to an expectation, so instead I showed anger, but felt an urge to reassure at the same time.

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