I totally do. I believe if you shift blame off of a WS and onto any number of things: unresolved trauma from childhood abuse, FOO issues, predatory OPs, substance abuse, mental illness...you're essentially saying "the WS sorta couldn't help it." Which means we could just as easily cheat again, couldn't we? I mean, we can't help it! That, to me, is the definition of enabling.
I'm such a rookie, only about 2 months from DDay, so I could be wrong, and often have been lately. Seeing a BS blame him/herself for pre-A M problems, or beat him/herself up for not "getting over it" more quickly, though, just makes me sad and a little angry.
This has been on my mind lately, because we changed our plans to see my family this summer, due to their response to my As. And I'm really struggling with how to deal with them, because my parents are very involved in our kids' lives, and right now my parents are not IMO friends of our M. Would appreciate any of your thoughts on the matter.
As I've mentioned often here, I'm a CSA survivor and the As revealed that I'm quite a bit more "broken" from it than I ever thought. Well, I told my parents about the CSA (happened around age 7, under their noses) and shortly after told them about my As. Their response was astonishing. My mom is the most devout Christian, and her response was: "These things happen. Every M has problems." I'm like: what?!? Who are you, and what have you done with my mother? The M had zero to do with it, Mom, I am a lying, cheating slut who probably just bought an express ticket to hell. And Dad is encouraging BH to put it behind him. They both are "so proud" of BH for "keeping the family together." WTH. So I guess I shouldn't have told them, but I wanted them to be disappointed in me, to berate me. Not excuse me. IMO my parents' response is enabling, and I don't know how to respond to it or deal with it.
Even though we are definitely responsible for making the choices that lead to our affairs, they didn't happen in a vacuum. I think both people in a M are responsible for the state of the marriage. That in itself has to be addressed in addition to us figuring out the why's that made it possible for us to make that choice to have an A.
Regarding how your parents have responded to this --
So I guess I shouldn't have told them, but I wanted them to be disappointed in me, to berate me. Not excuse me. IMO my parents' response is enabling, and I don't know how to respond to it or deal with it.
I think you may just be dealing with the shame part that a WS goes through. I found it debilitating and felt as though I deserved the worst treatment/punishment for my actions. You come from a Christian family, so do I. We sinned with our A's. But if we ask God for forgiveness, we will be forgiven. Sometimes forgiving ourselves is more difficult that earning our BS's forgiveness. I think your parents are actually being pretty cool about this. Maybe you wanted them to punish you, I get that. But, once you do deal with the why's and have begun to forgive yourself, don't you want parents who still support you, your M and aren't continuing to judge or punish you?
Maybe its difficult right now, but show yourself a little love if you can.
Mine DD - 6/2012
His DD - 5/2013
Enabling only happens when you allow yourself to be enabled. KWIM?
Your parents response is because they see their child confessing. To Trauma and to sin. They are trying to support both you and your BH.
They should be proud of him for being willing to stay with you. That is a huge shit sandwich your BH is eating and it sounds as if your parents were praising him for not tossing it on the table and walking away. Not everyone can. That makes your BH extraordinary.
I'm a CSA survivor and nothing excuses my A's. As you grow, as you heal, you will be more able to see that support is a two edged sword. It cuts just as sharply between the guilt and the relief.
You were looking for a whipping and found an understanding hug. At one point, that made me run screaming in the opposite direction as well. Don't run from your family. Tell them what you expected. Ask them why they responded the way that they did... I bet their answers will surprise you.
Blameshifting is one of those words thrown around whenever anything that is seen as an excuse discussed.
Of course childhood issues and the lack of dealing with them in a healthy manner contribute to horrible decision making processes and tools.
Acknowledging that "you" have work to do in that area is not blameshifting. If a partner has compassion for the trauma their WS has endured that's not enabling.
Letting someone off the hook or using that as THE reason, is one thing. Empathy, while still insisting on accountabity coupled with identifying, while still owning and addressing is a quite healthy combination, to me.
'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth
Seeing a BS blame him/herself for pre-A M problems
Umm if theyr were to blame for pre-A problems then how is them taking responsibility for them bad? The A does not wipe away pre-A issues or who had responsibility in them. You are responsible for your A but if other issues exist or existed your A does not make you to blame for them all. Now if the BS is blaming those issues as reason for the A then assuring them that they hold no responsibility is important.
"You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren't happy in one place, chances are you won't be happy anyplace." Ernie Banks
I believe if you shift blame off of a WS and onto any number of things: unresolved trauma from childhood abuse, FOO issues, predatory OPs, substance abuse, mental illness...you're essentially saying "the WS sorta couldn't help it."
i think there is a difference between using issues as an excuse for your behavior, and looking at yourself and owning what you did, but still understanding the things that formed you and your decision processes. By looking at those things; FOO, mental illness, etc, you can then 'fix' the flaws within and not repeat the same shit choices.
I also agree with the others that pre-A problems in the M belong to both spouses to deal with, but usually, the WS as a lot to deal with on their own, before a really healthy working on Pre-A issues can happen.
Separated transitioning to D
unresolved trauma from childhood abuse, FOO issues, predatory OPs, substance abuse, mental illness...
I edit often to fix stuff ☺️
Profoundly grateful Every. Single. Day. that I am blessed with an H with strength, integrity, and compassion, and that he decided to try.
Sounds to me like you have a great deal of clarity.
You should be outraged that your parents don't kick you in the ass for what you chose to do.
I was outraged with my own family for having the audacity to actually blame my wife for "my" affair. They asked her, "what did you do to cause this" and "you do realize it takes two to make a marriage fall apart".
She gently explained to them that she never got to vote as to whether or not I screwed another woman.
They stopped in their tracks after that.
There is nothing wrong with asking myself healthy questions about my past as long as I don't linger there or use my past as an excuse for hurtful behavior toward others. I am not 7 years old anymore. I'm not 13 years old anymore. I'm not 17 years old anymore. I'm an adult and I knew my adultery was wrong. I tried to hide it all because IT WAS WRONG and I knew it!
I don't think you're being hard on yourself at all. I appreciate when someone takes the blinders off and see's clearly.....
It's liberating and refreshing.
Taking responsibility is what helped set me free. It sounds like you're on the way to that peaceful freedom as well.... don't get tripped up along the way by digging up unnecessary bones.
D-Days April - Oct. 2007 Recovery started Nov. 2007
"Found Myself", I was right there in my shoes all along!
Search for self called off!
Why Repentance Is Necessary? Because Undeserved Mercy Empowers Entitlement/Sin
If so, then your parents' primary concern has shifted from you - an adult capable of taking care of herself - to their grandchildren.
It would be nice to think we're still their little girls. But once a daughter is grown up and has kids, she and her husband are the primary caretakers of the more vulnerable members of the family - the grandkids. We lose our spot as No. 1 in their hearts.
Also, when adult children make choices they disapprove of, some parents self-blame and feel like failures in how they raised son or daughter. Yours were seemingly neglectful in not seeing what they should have seen, which is I assume is an adult abusing you when you were a child. They failed at protecting you. Now they wish to protect grandchildren, and this is why they are relieved your husband did not leave. Your confession to them may have put them in shock for a bit, as they play over and over again what they can remember of the past, what they did wrong and how it can't be fixed now.
Or, they are finding ways to shove the information out of their minds and lock it in a closet.
[This message edited by Heavy Sigh at 10:49 PM, June 28th (Friday)]
Yours were seemingly neglectful in not seeing what they should have seen, which is I assume is an adult abusing you when you were a child. They failed at protecting you.
My parents weren't so much neglectful as naive and trusting: two characteristics I stringently prohibit in myself! Along with almost every other emotion. Working on reconnecting those wires, and it's scary.
Yes, two kids, both now the age I was, when I was molested. BH and my C (and I) believe my daughter contributed to triggering me, and brought up all that old resentment, which because of my shitty coping mechanisms I projected onto BH. Convinced myself he didn't love or want me, and sought comfort elsewhere. BH was blindsided on DDay, b/c I'd compartmentalized so effectively. Common skill in CSA survivors.
It's still hard to say things like that, without feeling like I'm making excuses. That's what's got me so mixed up right now.
My parents definitely blame themselves. I get that their feelings of guilt and responsibility colored their reaction. And yeah, I rank a distant third in my parents' lives, compared to my children! I'm good with that. And although I say I don't technically blame them for letting a POS pedophile have access to me...of course on some level I must.
Rugsweeping and closet-stuffing is how we deal with stuff in my FOO. It hasn't helped my M, but I'm working every day to overcome my past and look toward the future. So far, BH is by my side and I'm grateful.