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Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust #54396
01/19/11 08:29 PM
01/19/11 08:29 PM
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Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
I have found that I'm very bad at identifying when other people's lizard, particularly my partner's, is triggered. I really need to work on that.


I thought I would start a series on how to recognize the Lizard in action. I actually spend more time with each couple when I teach this than you will find in my paper on Safety and The Lizard. So here goes.

The Lizard is such a simple but elegant part of each of us. If it gets the idea that death is nearby, it responds immediately with Fleeing, Freezing, Submitting or Fighting behaviors.

Sometimes if you look into people's words, yours or others, you can hear this. "I'll die if you say that one more time." "I think I am gonna die if he doesn't tell me he is coming back." "Say that and you are dead." "When she gets mad I think I am dying." etc. I think the words of the Lizard can show up in dreams, but in dreams images of death often are more related to big changes - which can be a kind of death to the Lizard.

The most common way to recognize a person whose Lizard has taken over is to observe their Fleeing, Freezing, Submitting, or Fighting and to work backward. If these behaviors are present, their Lizard has probably taken over.

Fleeing

I this posting I will focus on Fleeing. I define Fleeing as the visible action of getting away.

In actual reptiles this appears as scurrying across the rocks. In mammals it appears as running through the forest or across the prairie. In humans.... well, these are learned skills.

Now in each person the number of Fleeing behaviors seem pretty limited. The way I think it works is that my Lizard says, "Looks like death, so let's get out of here," and then it looks into my cortex, my memories of my life, for a list of applicable Fleeing tactics to choose from.

Let's pretend that I have 20 Fleeing tactics in my memories. And let's pretend my wife has 20 Fleeing tactics in hers. Some will probably be pretty darn similar. Some will be unique to me and some unique to her. Generally, I think we learned these tactics during childhood by a) watching others doing them and b) practicing ourselves.

Over time I will get to recognize my partner's tactics and she will get to note mine. At the same time I will begin recognize mine and she her's. The task becomes simpler as most people seem to use only a few of their tactics most of the time - their list of favorites.

When I see one of her tactics, I just shift my thinking to say, "Her Lizard thinks she is dying. How do I go about helping her Lizard to feel safe now."

This is how I teach this in my office. "In humans Fleeing is pretty tricky to recognize sometimes, but it still always involves visibly getting away. Here some ideas."

  • Walking away
  • Hiding behind the newspaper
  • Playing Video Games
  • Lots of time in the bathroom with the door locked
  • Jumping in the car and driving off
  • "I won't talk about that"
  • Driving home from work, slowly
  • Changing the topic
  • I gotta watch the game
  • Here, you deal with him
  • One gal told me that she would sometimes go to sleep in the middle of her husband's sentence (only a Lizard can do that)
  • Etc, etc


I turn to partner #1 and say, "So who does most of the fleeing in this relationship?" They will likely say, "I do" or "He/she does."

I say, "Good, great! Give me an example of what they/you do that is Fleeing." I mirror what they say. Then "Do you/they flee too?" If they say, "No" I probably say that not everyone uses Fleeing. If they say, "Yes," then I ask for an example that is different from the one their partner gave. I want two examples of their fleeing tactics if I can get it, both from an observer point of view and the Fleeing partner's point of view.

Then I turn to partner #2 with the same question and invite them to share something different from what their partner has shared. At this point, if I am lucky, I have heard 4 examples of Fleeing tactics from this relationship. (Remember this may be 4 out of the maybe 40 tactics they have between them.)

If some Fleeing tactic seems pretty dramatic, I may invite the partner who does it to share who they think during their childhood taught them to do that. I believe this is all about demostrating validation and normalizing panic behaviors.

Then I shift to the one where both seem to agree that the other Flees. I say, "When your partner flees in that way, do you ever, have you ever gone after them - followed them around." I hope for a "Yes" answer.

Then I say, "Let me share why that following never, ever works. You see, when they are moving away it is cuz their Lizard has decided that you are killing them. That's enough by itself. And then you start following them! Before Godzilla was near, and now Godzilla is running straight at them. Won't ever work! but you've probably noted that." I want to introduce Clinger Follower dynamics, into the reality of their relationship.

"Whenever your partner suddenly starts to leave, the only rational thing to do is open the door and help them out. I had to learn you will never get love by chasing a Lizard. I put that sign up in my house for five years to remind me."

If the couple seems to be digesting this, I move on to Freezing .


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #54480
01/19/11 10:24 PM
01/19/11 10:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: AlTurtle
If the couple seems to be digesting this, I move on to Freezing.


Freezing

I define Freezing as invisibly moving away, imploding rather than exploding - the act of becoming invisible.

In reptiles this seems to be what they do most of the time - they don't move. That's why they can be so boring in a zoo. In mammals you see the same thing - they hold still. This is the deer in the headlights. There's a rule in nature that "if you are not moving, you are not there." To get away from T-Rex in the original Jurassic Park, the actors held still and he couldn't see them. The behavior is so Lizardy that a human who is freezing often stops breathing - for a moment.

In humans I think Freezing is often a miricle of art. During childhood we can learn so many different techniques of "laying low."

When I teach this in a class I often ask for a volunteer to come forward, stand in a chair to demonstrate. Rarely does anyone move. I then wait 5 seconds and say, "Well, I think I have 26 people freezing right now."

A common example for guys (gals too) can be found in Practical Jokes. Now I believe that a practical joke is a normal little bit of sadism. We do a) something to someone, they b) feel hurt, and we c)laugh. Steps a and b are simple cruel. What makes it sadistic is the laughter. When my wife and I discovered this awareness that Practical Jokes are cruel sadism, we gave this behavior in all its forms up. The most common form is teasing. Guys seem to often do it. Tis just cruel - and sadistic. Not very nice and the Lizard hates it.

But even though teasing is pretty mean stuff, that's not what makes it Freezing. That occurs when the victim, who is lying on the floor hurting after you pulled their chair out from under them, speaks up and says, "Ow! That hurt!" That's when you say, "It was just a joke!" or "I was just funnin'" That I think is beautiful [Bleep!]. You were being sadistic and now you are trying to pretend that your cruelty doesn't exist. Now you are trying to be invisible, I think.

My parents teased their kids all the time. Told us it would strengthen our character. Years later I realized they were often pretty angry people and were expressing their inner rage at their kids. Not too nice.

Anyway I hope you can see how "invisibility" or Freezing works here.

Women (sometimes men) use another typical technique of Freezing. Instead of saying what they want, they ask a question. I come home. My wife has been thinking of going out to dinner for six hours. She really wants it. What comes out of her mouth is, "What do you want to do tonight?" All that eagerness for dinner out is invisible. She still wants it, but she's layin low. Why? She's been taught to be polite and to hide herself - to avoid being selfish (or honest). Freezing.

And when she asks that question, my Lizard notices the Freezing and glances around quickly to see the danger. So we both go on the alert. I think a whole pile of "guestions" are really just examples of "freezing."

These are just examples.

I turn to partner #1 and say, "Who does most of the Freezing in this relationship?" I try to get two examples from each partner.

I may say, "Remember, if your partner is Freezing, a little part of them, their Lizard, thinks they are about to die."

And now I might have 8 practical examples of Lizard behavior from this relationship.

At this point, you who are reading might be able to start putting together a list of stuff and marking which is Fleeing and which is Freezing. The most common form of Freezing that I run into is the phrase, "I don't know."

If they seem to be digesting this, I move on to Submitting.





Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #54575
01/20/11 12:27 AM
01/20/11 12:27 AM
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Posts: 12,611
The Dark Side of the Moon
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How I flee:

- Walking away (sometimes running)
- Going outside to smoke
- Taking a long bath
- Jumping in the car and driving off.
- Going to another room and reading.
- Internet
- Playing video games.

How he flees:

- Walking away
- Jumping in the car and driving off.
- Going to another room and working.
- Going to work and staying there for hours.
- Extended trips to the bathroom.
- Television/movies.
- Changing the subject.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #55242
01/21/11 02:21 AM
01/21/11 02:21 AM
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I am starting to notice how active my lizard while reading in this forum! I find that certain posters really get me "worked up", and I'm realizing that the trigger is MasterTalk. My first reaction? Wanting to respond with MasterTalk...ie Fighting.

Can you suggest how to soothe my lizard in this kind of situation?


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom] #55326
01/21/11 03:58 AM
01/21/11 03:58 AM
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Ontario, Canada
Edmond Dantes Offline
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I share these sentiments. I'm very interested in any thoughts about how to self soothe without permanently avoiding all triggering situations like some mountain hermit.

Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom] #55386
01/21/11 06:22 AM
01/21/11 06:22 AM
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Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: flowmom
I am starting to notice how active my lizard while reading in this forum! I find that certain posters really get me "worked up", and I'm realizing that the trigger is MasterTalk. My first reaction? Wanting to respond with MasterTalk...ie Fighting. Can you suggest how to soothe my lizard in this kind of situation?


I feel for you all. My experience was that once I began to notice MasterTalk, it would piss me off, and I would see it everywhere. Mountain top cabins are good. Or relationships where MasterTalk is both not used often but also where both people agree to reframe it whenever it occurs.

This is a case of developing better boundary skills. First line of defense is to rephrase the MasterTalk sentence(s) into its dialogical form. ("So you believe that so and so is true.") You may have to do this in your head. I find it tiring and can do it longer or shorter before I get truly grumpy.

If you do it outloud it gives the MasterTalker a chance to rephrase what they are saying and join you in Friend/Friend or to show their colors as a Master wanting you to be a Slaave along with their ready Punishment System. On a forum this is more tricky (see my interaction with Hersforever).

In real life you may have to withdraw from their presence (TimeOut, or just choosing different friends) just to protect your poor Lizard.

I turn off news channels where MasterTalk is too high for me.

Firing back at them usually seems to involve MasterTalk of your own. Then you are probably off the the "wasting time" races.

Lizards are very prone to food and drink smile

These are some thoughts.

By the way I may be off line for a couple of days in Canada. No internet where I am going.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #55947
01/22/11 12:44 AM
01/22/11 12:44 AM
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The Dark Side of the Moon
AntigoneRisen Offline
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Quote:
In real life you may have to withdraw from their presence (TimeOut, or just choosing different friends) just to protect your poor Lizard.


I'm trying to do this in my life. I'm trying to learn and master removing myself from the triggering situation and calming. I figure that once I'm proficient at this, I can move on to attempting to soothe while still in the presence of it. However, I think this is going to be a gradual process. First learn to get away and safe...then soothe there. Next, learn to deal with, say, once instance of a relatively minor (not a hot button issue) Master Talk; then, leave if another instance happens.

What do you think about this approach, Al?


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AntigoneRisen] #56232
01/22/11 02:28 PM
01/22/11 02:28 PM
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OurHouse Offline
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I'm interested in his response as well.

In order to execute a time out in my situation, I withdraw physically or mentally. Physically would be to remove myself as soon as it is possible and NOT escalate the argument simply by my leaving. More often it's mentally. I concede the point...I don't necessarily agree, but I concede, because in my household, with my husband it's a case of "you're either with me or you're against me". So if I concede ("ok, good point" or "ok, point taken") and then quickly de-escalate (change subject, physically move around the room, etc.), then I can quickly physically remove myself thereafter..which is my main goal.

What I won't do, and what every relationship expert tells me to do... but sorry, I won't do it because I'm not emotionally safe...

...is to de-escalate by physical touch. Offering a hug, etc. He does this sometimes, but I refuse to accept it.

Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: OurHouse] #56730
01/23/11 07:10 AM
01/23/11 07:10 AM
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Quote:
I concede the point...I don't necessarily agree, but I concede, because in my household, with my husband it's a case of "you're either with me or you're against me".


I'd characterize this as submitting behavior in the lizard.

OH, may I suggest that you remove yourself physically via a TimeOut lasting no less than an hour? I have a reason for this. The reason is that if you stay engaged, he's expecting the submission behavior from your lizard...and your lizard will provide it. The bottom line is that he knows if he holds out, he will get his way.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AntigoneRisen] #56734
01/23/11 07:18 AM
01/23/11 07:18 AM
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OH, I also saw your reaction as submitting behaviour. Could you try to notice your lizard next time you concede?


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: flowmom] #56891
01/23/11 06:10 PM
01/23/11 06:10 PM
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LadyGrey Offline
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Freezing:

1. Not responding until I can rationally defend the feeling.
2. Talking myself out of the validity of the feeling.
3. Not communicating my expectations.
4. Not responding until I am sure there is no subtext.
5. Not saying what I want.
6. Lying about what I am feeling.
7. Refusing to speak.
8. Agreeing without agreeing "You have made your point" leaving the rest of the sentence "with which I do not agree" unspoken.

Fleeing:

1. Anticipating where the conversation is headed and either redirecting or withdrawing.
2. Getting in the car and driving off.
3. Conforming my activities to his expectations.
4. Involving myself in a project or activity that in which I know he has no interest.
5. Refusing to answer the phone.
6. Hiding what I'm doing (jump up from reading a book when he walks in to appear to be doing something productive)
7. Deciding whatever I want/think simply isn't worth the fight and I don't care. (this is the deadliest one for me because I do care).

I'm not sure I have the concepts right or catagorized correctly, but I am reminding myself this is a forum not an exam......


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: LadyGrey] #57074
01/24/11 01:03 AM
01/24/11 01:03 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
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Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
Freezing:
Fleeing:

Actually I thought your lists were pretty good. Sounded very familiar, too. #1 in your list of Fleeing was one of my favorites - change the subject. You may want to add Submitting to your list, as I think some of your tactics look a bit more like that. But then I haven't written about that here.

I love your comment about this not being a final exam. I think we all just come here and share and see what happens. Perhaps all the action (what goes on in each of your lives) will happen elsewhere - and that is fine too.

I though I would take your note on exams and add a couple of thoughts.

I have been using the term "Lizard" since about 1996. I've probably introduced the concepts and terms to 3000 people - face-to-face. In that time I have come to like the term "Lizard" both for how people easily grasp it and use it and for the "diagnostic" quality it provides.

I have been collecting the negative reactions to the label "Lizard," and in many ways these are most fascinating. They often tell me a lot about the person who is "reacting negatively." Remember, I believe all of them are valid.

One group of people seem to detest the Lizard because the term is "too frivolous" or "not professinal" enough. I was fascinated to see how active the "Lizard" was in their lives. From the paper on Safety you may recall that one clear characteristic of a Safe Lizard is Playfulness, being silly, being childlike. Many professionals have a terribly difficult time setting down the awesome imagined burden they care and just simply laughing at the silly.

Another large group of "Lizard" haters seem to be those who consciously or unconsciously are active users of fear toward others. A person who yells at their partner often doesn't want to know that their partner is Fleeing, Freezing, etc. A person whose partner won't talk often doesn't want to know that their partner is valid and is frozen and overwhelmed.

Of course, finding, exposing and guiding people into developing and maintaining safety is my goal.

If you have any who read this are reacting to the term "Lizard" I'd love to hear about it.

I should get around to adding a bit on Submitting, this week.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #57190
01/24/11 03:00 AM
01/24/11 03:00 AM
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flowmom Offline
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Interesting pattern in how people's Lizards react to the metaphor "Lizard" wink .


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AntigoneRisen] #57255
01/24/11 04:37 AM
01/24/11 04:37 AM
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Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
I'm trying to do this in my life. I'm trying to learn and master removing myself from the triggering situation and calming. I figure that once I'm proficient at this, I can move on to attempting to soothe while still in the presence of it. However, I think this is going to be a gradual process. First learn to get away and safe...then soothe there. Next, learn to deal with, say, once instance of a relatively minor (not a hot button issue) Master Talk; then, leave if another instance happens.What do you think about this approach, Al?


Much I like here. The Lizard seems to be a relatively short time player - 20 minutes or so. (Of course he can be panicked just by your own thoughts so the panic can go on for some time, but I think that is a different situation.)

In the first, instance your Lizard (looking through the lens of your cortex' memories) may be panicked about your partner. When you get away, your partner is not there. And the Lizard can start to calm. When you can get away with confidence --- aaaahhhh, that is what the Lizard is looking for!

But a second whammy seems to happen when your Lizard becomes scared of your Cortex' incompetence. When your trained responses are flacid, when you are passive, I think you scare your own Lizard. That's no good.

That is what classes in Empowerment are about. That is what courses in Judo, Self-defence, etc. etc. are about. Train your cortex to take firm steps in taking your Lizard away from threat. Poor old Lizard can't do much by itself - just kicks off "panic" and suggests Flee, Freeze, Submit, or Fight. The actual form of those skills is part of our training in childhood. So we all need some training in adequate, competent skills of gettting our Lizard away from threat. I think this means eventually keeping your Lizard calm in almost all situations.

(By the way, the training goals are learning to beat the heck out of our partners. Tis all about getting away.)

As you learn better competent skills (Boundary Skills), you can always, in an emergency, drop back on the old get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge skills.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #58211
01/25/11 05:21 PM
01/25/11 05:21 PM
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LadyGrey Offline
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I love the term Lizard because it helps me visualize, and visualization helps me process. I really do think of Lizzy as a creature about two feet long, graceful, nimble and colorful, wrapped around my neck, her weight and heat a comfort.

I actually overcame chronic clinical depression and got off medication by naming the self denigrating voice in my head "Paul" -- it took me years to work out what he was telling me. His constant negative color commentary on my life was exhausting -- if he didn't have anything current to work with, he was not above going back to revisiting moments of humiliation in 3rd grade. I started telling him to "shut up -- can't you see she's doing the best she can?" except I wasn't actually that polite. I'd even say it out loud -- sometimes scream at him and call him horrible names, hit a pillow as hard as I could visualizing a bloody face.

Hey, he was hurting my friend. He deserved it.

It took many years, but I've been off medication for almost a year (although there are those who might say I am not exactly stable, I am at least me and part of being me is my rough edges which the medication dulled.)

So now when Paul shows up, Lizzy has a go at him. It works for me!


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: LadyGrey] #58223
01/25/11 05:44 PM
01/25/11 05:44 PM
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LadyGrey Offline
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I'm going to share how I used the concept to get us through a rough moment yesterday. I have to tell this story somewhere on this site, and it may as well be here.

Someday I am going to think this is funny.

Friday night I was texting with my girlfriend "what are you doing?" etc. and with my H who was hunting along the same lines. I have to wear reading glasses and was driving (yea, yea, I know....) and was texting my H flirty things about what he was going to have to do with me next week to make up for being gone, not graphic at all, and, it turns out, subject to interpretation.

It turned out I was sending those texts to my friend -- so she texts back "what are you talking about? -- what I said was really vague and included some code words I have with my H -- "don't act all innocent -- you know EXACTLY what I am talking about."

H comes home, everything is fine and then it isn't fine.

Out of the blue, he walked in and said "do you want a divorce?"

Huh?

He tap dances around and I am wracking my brain trying to figure out what he is keying off of.

"Have you had lesbian sex?"

Huh?

"NO! What is wrong? Please tell me!"

More brain wracking.

"I just don't do it for you in any area do I?"

"I seriously don't know what you are talking about. Please help me to understand what is going on."

"What are your plans with friend this week?"

"I don't have any."

"Stop lying. I am so sick of you lying."

I cannot recall ever being so completely perplexed.

As you may have guessed he read the texts to my friend that I THOUGHT I sent to him and went directly to worst case scenario.

Holy cow -- I didn't know what to say. I kept saying this is SO wrong, SO wrong, and he kept saying "you are such a good liar I don't know why I should believe you."

"H, I know i brought this on myself by lying in the past. But if you never believe another word that comes out of my mouth, please believe this."

After a few minutes of reviewing the order of the texts and the context he agreed I had logic on my side.

At which point, I thought to look at his lizard -- his lizard was tres unhappy. His lizard didn't like this one bit and his lizard couldn't decide whether to attack me or run away from me. So I went and sat by him and calmed his lizard -- I didn't think so much about what I was saying as what I was doing -- calming, flirty voice, slow movements, scratching his lizard's head, giving his lizard predictive information about my plans and thoughts.

Within 5 minutes, his lizard had settled.

That part was pretty cool.

As I said, I'll probably think that was funny someday, but he was in so much pain and fear I see no humor in it now. I don't see anything that I did wrong (except, possibly, driving and texting at night without glasses) but I feel absolutely horrible that he went through that.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: LadyGrey] #58442
01/25/11 09:12 PM
01/25/11 09:12 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
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AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Northwest Washington State, US...
Fascinating and good use of Lizard image. I noticed all the "questions" in your story. To me that is often a clue to a wild Lizard. "Questions in bunches with no time to breathe in between, someone is scared out of their wits."

Also perhaps I should call this the "bright brains with much much too little accurate data" problem.

I salute you Ladygrey. Thanks.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #58617
01/26/11 03:30 AM
01/26/11 03:30 AM
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LadyGrey Offline
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LadyGrey  Offline
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The conversation turned out well if you know what I mean and our Lizards even got playful for a bit last night which was HIGHLY unusual.

But I'm finding myself a bit .... resentful??? I guess that's allowed here.

I grew up the youngest of four bright children who, in the age of 4 channels, I think got a fair amount of entertainment out of screwing with me -- they taught me the alphabet wrong by moving around the World Book Encyclopedias and then sitting me down and acting like they really wanted me to learn.

My mother I think hid behind "you know what you did wrong" when we hadn't done one darn thing wrong and she just wanted to not feel bad about being hateful.

So the whole "I know something you don't know and I'm going to question you into a corner" thing is ugly, ugly, ugly for me.

I've asked him over and over to please, please, please, just ASK me if he has a question about something. This is not the first time I've confronted this by any means, but trying to stay ahead of it is wearing on me.

I understand that every time he asks it is another hit to his ego, but I'm just at a loss.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: LadyGrey] #58641
01/26/11 04:03 AM
01/26/11 04:03 AM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,381
TX
CajunRose Offline
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CajunRose  Offline
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LG, I think my brain may work a bit like your H's. If so, then he will have a very hard time asking the direct question. When my lizard gets nervous my brain starts trying to think myself out of the nerves. I start (over)analyzing what this nervousness means...and before I know it my lizard is totally, totally freaked out and I'm convinced that the problem is not "A" at all....it's "K" (which I got to by going from A-D-B-J-R-K...I think your siblings taught me the alphabet too). So when I start trying to address the issue, I start with "K", because that is what my lizard is now convinced is the problem.

When I respond the way your H does, it's not that I'm trying to hide information or "question into a corner" it's "OMG I'm terrified of THIS which is the only logical conclusion from THAT" (and remember, lizards aren't so logical).

To you, your H is jumping all around an issue without ever addressing it, and that scares you. What I see is that your H went DIRECTLY to the thing that is most scaring him - that you don't love him. That you don't want him anymore. That you don't desire him anymore. That you want ANYONE other than him. It says a lot that he feels safe enough with you to express those very scary feelings - and that you wanted to soothe him - and that he let you.

Some of the books I've read advocate very strongly getting to this point - the emotion of the issue - so that you can resolve it. Yes, he could have just asked you about the perplexing texts. But those aren't the problem - that's just a pointer to the problem. The problem is that he's scared of losing you.

I think you reacted the right way. Maybe over time as his lizard stops being so scared that you don't want him, some of this will stop.


Current spouse: Night. D10, D9, S7

About me

You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

http://www.divorcedmomfinances.com
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: CajunRose] #58659
01/26/11 04:21 AM
01/26/11 04:21 AM
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LadyGrey Offline
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LadyGrey  Offline
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Originally Posted By: cajun_rose
What I see is that your H went DIRECTLY to the thing that is most scaring him - that you don't love him. That you don't want him anymore. That you don't desire him anymore. That you want ANYONE other than him.


Thank you for this. You are exactly correct. I failed to see this truth.

I need to keep my eye on this ball.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: LadyGrey] #58875
01/26/11 04:30 PM
01/26/11 04:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 8,657
NewEveryDay Online
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NewEveryDay  Online
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I understand the scared lizard thing, but I think the behavior itself is very destructive - something is bothering me but I'm not telling you what it is, let me see what you say first. Like, I'm going to hold you accountable for sharing all of what you know, while sharing only part of what I know. And if you fail, then it will prove I am "right," that you are untrustworthy. One thing I liked about the MB concepts is that it acknowledged that we are not 100% infallibly trustworthy, that's why we use tools like boundaries and RH to make up the gap there.

Like that iceberg analogy, I know that my loved ones are not always going to share everything with me, even things that I need to know to do my part to keep myself and them safe. The best I can do, I think, is to go to my kid, for example, and say, "this came up on the screen and startled the heck out of me. Can you help me make sense of this?"


"I have everything I need." and "I am exactly where I am supposed to be." ~Louise Hays
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: NewEveryDay] #59096
01/26/11 10:05 PM
01/26/11 10:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
Retired Therapist
AlTurtle  Offline OP
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Northwest Washington State, US...
My reading is that one cannot solve more complex problems while the Lizard is freaking. I suggest you don't even try. Go away, calm your Lizard and then plan to plan to come back and keep the Lizard calm.


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AlTurtle] #60197
01/28/11 07:54 AM
01/28/11 07:54 AM
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Posts: 12,611
The Dark Side of the Moon
AntigoneRisen Offline
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I admit I have problems identifying freezing behavior in either me or my partner. A bit is that some of it seems like avoiding. The larger part is that I've not really tracked this behavior before. I've focused mostly on fight or flight. The other part is that I do not think that I'm much of a freezer. I am fight or flight...when those fail sometimes I submit...briefly.

My partner freezes quite a bit, but I'm having a hard time identifying the ways and articulating them. I think a few more examples might help.

How I freeze:

- Shut up and stop talking or responding. (This is, admittedly, rare. It's rather difficult for me to shut up, even under control of the lizard. smile )
- Backtrack, "That's not what I meant." (I would put this under fighting, for both of us.)

How he freezes:

- "Goes deaf."
- Stops responding.
- Backtrack, "That's not what I meant." (I would put this under fighting, for both of us.)


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AntigoneRisen] #60198
01/28/11 07:55 AM
01/28/11 07:55 AM
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Posts: 12,611
The Dark Side of the Moon
AntigoneRisen Offline
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Quote:
Go away, calm your Lizard and then plan to plan to come back and keep the Lizard calm.


A little bird told me that when a lizard is triggered, stupidity is sure to be uttered. smile

The blood and electrical impulses in your brain shift from the more evolved reasoning centers to the less evolved "lizard brain". When the lizard is triggered, the stupidity often "makes sense" to the person uttering it. That's because the behavior makes perfect sense to your lizard.

Mensa level analysis is not within your capacity at that time, to put it lightly.

This is why so many political ads - no please don't start on party politics - often are bizarrely simple and negative. They do this on purpose, as advertisers and political analysts study this, and want to bypass your reasoning centers and speak directly to your lizard. They want your lizard scared crapless of their opponent, or of the opposing viewpoint. They want that visceral reaction.

In fact, a lot of marketing works this way.

That's why my reaction to the vast majority of it is, "Blah blah...blah blah blah blah..." I really am almost hearing Charlie Brown's teacher. smile


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: Topic 1b: Noticing "The Lizard" - Building Trust [Re: AntigoneRisen] #60388
01/28/11 04:49 PM
01/28/11 04:49 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
AlTurtle Offline OP
Retired Therapist
AlTurtle  Offline OP
Retired Therapist
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 908
Northwest Washington State, US...
Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
A little bird told me that when a lizard is triggered, stupidity is sure to be uttered. smile


Good description. I see it as a significant altered state of consciousness with even different memories available than when you are not into Lizard fight.

A friend of mine who specializes in this area (John Lee: Facing the Fire ) reminded me that for the first 10-15 minutes after you hit the anger button, all that will come out of your mouth is bulls$%t. No one should listen to it. Later, ask the person what that was all about, once their altered state has ended.

This probably makes reading stuff on forum's tricky cuz people often write when they are mad and then their mad-bulls$%t gets carved in stone online forever. Better to let out the mad off line I think, then share the wisdom inside/under the anger.

Another factor is that our Cortexes cannot forget what we hear. I think its a bit like stuff said is written in stone in your partner's memory. Better to "yell and rant" where they can't hear you. Or better to reframe your memories of what your partner said when angry as "angry ranting" which needs all be reinterpreted in the light of day.

I think it wise to never quote someones rant as any more than a curiosity. "Say, what were you meaning when you said.....?"


Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle
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