This article arrived in my inbox today and I found it very helpful. It clearly describes the various ways in which people can respond to difficult situations or emotions. I have often heard these phrases (''denial'', ''projection'' etc) bandied about but have not understood them, and so have been struggling when faced with seemingly inexplicable behaviour on the part of my stbx. Needless to say, it also helps to illuminate some of my own feelings.
I hope it might help some of you as it has helped me.
And this is what effective therapy can do. Breaking through all the unhelpful denial, projections and everything else that is contributing to negative feelings, intrusive thoughts, unhelpful behaviour and so on so that a different way of thinking and a different way of life can emerge.
Counselling helped to see myself clearly. I found it very hard facing a lot of the stuff listed in the article, it is very uncomfortable. One thing I would add is that in my experience my counsellor helped me to put the focus on me in our sessions, not the ex. Once I understood me and my own limitations, I found I could understand what he did and why through that process. It all became very obvious once I understood why I was interested in someone like him in the first place.
Fact was I had little to lose by going to counselling because before it, I was in a bit of a mess really. I felt sincerely I had little hope for a positive future. Nothing was further from the truth as it turned out. I''m glad I invested that time now because it changed my life. Best thing I ever did. Without doubt.
Less about overthinking in my case and much more action to work through the stuff that was affecting me and my own perceptions in life. That work and it is really hard and uncomfortable at times, changed my life. But the lightbulb moments where I realised stuff wasn''t all down to me were soooo reassuring.
I''ve gone away and thought about this and if you will forgive me I am going to have a go at answering my own questions with reference to the above links and the forum thread ''gone girl''.
Perhaps we do not marry ''the wrong people''(with notable exceptions) as suggested in the links but the people who meet our needs at the time.
Perhaps a successful marriage and family is one where the adults have a maturity to recognise they are supporting one another by compensating for one another''s weaknesses and failings and encouraging their strengths. Thus two parents (ideally) provide a balanced and varied home for their offspring to grow in. (In a darwinian sort of scenario - best and safest for the off spring, and indeed, the family unit)
My suggestion is that in a partnership of mature people these strengths and weaknesses are acknowledged. Further that there is an understanding that we grow and change and at different times one partner or another will recognize that there is a time for ''catch up'' and allow for that.
If one of the people in a marriage just thinks it is their god given right to have a perfect relationship based on their own needs and that only their changes should be adapted to it is then perhaps the marriage fails.
Or, conversely, if one partner is unwilling to adapt or grow within the marriage/family the relationship ceases to be the symbiotic relationship it should have been at best.
Increasingly I find myself having moments of seeing the inevitability of the car crash that my marriage became, even feeling amused by it. Still weeping and wailing part of the time, but less so.
Getting to know myself better, and finding out some truths about x that were previously hidden. Maybe not even that well hidden, but love is blind etc and that is where denial etc as well as one''s own limitations come in. Funny how some total strangers saw things I did not, but pennies are dropping.
A number of things have been helping me, chiefly (though inexplicably, since she never says much) my therapy. My year on the NHS is up very soon and I am very sorry because I feel as though it is just starting to get interesting (in a self absorbed navel gazing way that I have denied myself for years!). On the other hand I feel healthier and happier now in spite of all the stresses and health issues than I did in my marriage and possibly before!
Anyway, I found the clear list of those ten types of defensiveness very illuminating as regards both of our behaviours.
And for those who don''t want to read it - at the end there is a link to a video which says the same thing and is very easy to listen to.