Acceptance is about many things; that it is an opposite of denial is only a single dimension of Acceptance. It is about accepting the process--your spouse's process as well as your own. It is not the same as agreeing, encouraging, enabling or endorsing; rather it is understanding and an acknowledgement of your power limits and that you cannot control, conduct or change everything and that everything will not always go as you want it or as you feel is best.
Accept the Process
What are you Accepting? Where are you in your journey? This is a different question than where is your spouse in his crisis? But given that I write in the context of marital Standing within MLC, you may be placing yourself within his crisis. You are where you place yourself--thus you may be in his crisis, that is, you are in someone else's journey. This is often part of a Stander's journey in the beginning and thus it is part of your process.
Acceptance in its intellectual form is about recognizing the process. For many this includes self-education about MLC, its root causes and recent triggers and thus recognizing that regardless of your flaws and indiscretions, his MLC is not your fault. If the fault is not yours, neither is the solution.
To get through this, Acceptance of the MLC process is a requirement. That is not Acceptance that he won't come back. It is Acceptance that there will likely be an alienator and he will think he won't return. It is Acceptance that he will cycle, spew venom, treat you like a fish and bait you into arguments and anger. It is Acceptance that neither you nor your MLCer will understand your own or each other's emotions or feelings, an Acceptance that your present and future may be unknown and even unknowable. Accept this journey. The journey is not Standing, though it may include Standing if you choose; the journey is life. You are being met with challenges that can make you stronger if you accept the journey, but they can weaken you if you deny it. You have free will and can choose to turn instead toward denial and avoidance.
If your goal is speed, it will fail. But most of you will need to learn that through experience. Make your goal Acceptance. It is my wish that you accept the Time reality and make goals within that context. But most of you have the fantasy and hope that you will be the exception, you will change his mind or maybe you doubt it is MLC and therefore believe it will be faster for you. Maybe you are right; exceptions to rules are part of the rules and this is your journey.
Accept the MLC. Accept that it sucks, that it will be the hardest thing you've ever had to do--incontinence happens. Accept the process. Things will probably get worse. Expect this not as a certainty--that would be a negative Acting as if--but as a possibility and prepare for everything and anything, having zero expectations is the same as expecting anything. Things may appear to get better for brief periods. Don't buy it; don't use those times to discuss your relationship. Accept his good moods as a break for your emotions and, when appropriate, as practice for interacting with your changes, but not as a new commitment.
You mean I have to let him move in with the alienator and accept that?
The only thing you are letting is letting-go. You do not have the power to let him move or not move in with the alienator; that is his choice. This is not about allowing or not allowing; you are not his mommy or the puppet-master. Yes, you need to accept that he may move in with the alienator; though you can disapprove, you can't stop it, so release it. Tell him you'll miss him--no sarcasm, genuine tone.
Acceptance is Transforming
Attempts to escape suffering intensify the experience of anxiety. You can choose whether to Stand for your marriage or not. Your MLCer's suffering belongs to him. But you cannot escape your personal journey--it is for you to go through, not get over, just as the MLCer's journey is for going through rather than getting over. As a spouse--present or former, Standing or not, your journey's are intertwined. Clinging and wallowing in suffering and anxiety, at the opposite end from escape, are also not the answer to journeying through. It is an ever-delicate balancing act between the two extremes. This is the way to Acceptance; it acknowledges the sufferings and fears along with reactions and emotional energy associated with these. Accept not only the journeys, but your emotional energies, your anger, sorrow, fears... Ride your emotional energies, express them; to express is to push out; this becomes a transformative act in which the negativity you have built within is neutralized and with choice becomes positive and beautiful.
The Four Karmas (Actions) of Transformation
- Pacification (Understanding)
This is an embrace of the shadow, rather than denial or burial. Through embracing you can survey the shadow and come to know it, and thus recognize the actions needed for transformation.
- Enrichment (Acceptance)
Celebrate and affirm the power of the shadow. Accept the circumstances and live with joy in the moment.
- Reconciliation (Investment)
The union of opposites, thereby harnessing the power of the shadow and additional elements (anima/animus, persona) to produce a positive conclusion. (Reconciliation in this context refers to the individual with the Self and is not about marital reconciliation.)
Challenging negativity with annihilation. Ideally the synergistic result of the first three actions transforms the negativity and illusions; additional action is necessary only when the first three actions fail to remove the threatening qualities.