Talking to an amazing friend about this. It ties into the emotional unavailable thread. I have read some posts that have talked about the wayward not feeling loved and cared for. While that can absolutely be blameshifting and justification. It can also be a very real feeling based on a valid interpretation. This isn't a truth for all. It is for me and some I know and love.
I've seen this Nin quote on someone's sig line. "We don't see things how they are. We see them how we are." I see this brilliant statement a little different. Some of us don't see people how they are but how we need them to be.
Here's the standard disclaimer. This has nothing to do with our choices to cheat.
I know, from personal experience, I have been told how loved I am by someone that has no fucking clue who I am. Any honest assessment shared was dismissed as, "you don't see yourself realistically. You're not xyz". Yeah, I am and didn't think that was a negative but because it makes "you" uncomfortable "you" can't or won't accept it. Talk about rejection and selfish entitlement. So now I'm faced with three choices here. Walk away. Try and be the person YOU need me to be or stay and get faced daily with the realization I'm failing you because you can't accept who I am.
That's why the pedestal person is a hot button for me. It's not the Hallmark card statement that some view it to be. To truly love someone you need to first see them.
I think that's one of the most catastrophic consequences of some of our choices to cheat. Those of us dealing with this pain just blew any chance we had to address this as a stand alone. Work through it with our partner. Maybe bring about a real appreciation of us, the real us, and build a strong relationship safe in the knowledge that even the parts of us that don't feel comfortable to another can be accepted and even over time valued. Here's where the link to the EU thread comes into it. Instead of immediately slapping that label, hearing me when I tell you who I am and how I feel shows love and respect. You aren't playing the narrative on loop, "but that makes me uncomfortable so I won't hear this". It distances. It punishes without even trying to as it tells me how I am is not ok. Yeah, it is. Just not ok for you. You may feel threatened by some very real misconception that my lack of needing reassurance or your constant presence means I don't care. I don't love you like you love me.
Well, let me ask "you". Would someone loving you because they love who you are and would love to share their life with you not because they need someone to not feel alone, want to enjoy things with you but understand that life would go on without you not be a gift? There's no selfishness there. There's no, "I need you to validate, stroke, support me".
If someone in this situation loves their partner but doesn't have great coping skills, thought processes, boundaries, established solid self respect that fitting the square peg twisting can cause some pretty fucked shit to start building. Resentment and anger and feeling that "failure". Yep, "you're" responsible for that. No one can make you feel anything. We know this. We also know just how much a goal this is rather than a reality for most of us. After all, if that were a wide practice, this site wouldn't be needed as a betrayal like infidelity would be not the painful blow it is. While we say another is not responsible "our" happiness that is somewhat misleading. Of course others can impact our happiness and cause pain.
Love is seeing regardless of any fear that sight creates in "you".
'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth
My WW has been on a pedestal her whole life, one created by her family and probably as a response to various and/or secret shames, traumas, failures, and hereditary mental illness issues: they wanted something to believe in.
The pedestal has complicated my healing as my WW foregrounded all my faults to her family and hid her problems to keep up the facade. Among other strategies. So I am in a hole; but I have my big boy pants on.
I imagine at first the pedastal is welcoming, especially in a family of conditional love, as it appears as approval, flattery, a source of self-esteem while self-deception is easily employed. Over time keeping up the facade is what corrodes as you say UO.
My WW acknowledged the pedastal issue several months ago. I was sympathetic with the high anxiety suffered by her in feeling an obligation to keep up the appearances and conform to her family (opinion, expectation, etc.) as a way to keep approval.
I never really understood the tragedy and ultimate loneliness of this role, until now, OU, thanks to your comments. I am now 'seeing' that my WW does not readily feel love because she struggles with being known, truly.
ETA: then there is the 'Matrix'. Some, even after knowing the truth, prefer to be reconnected to the mainframe.
[This message edited by MC_Jack at 7:40 PM, September 11th (Wednesday)]
[This message edited by Clarrissa at 8:19 PM, September 11th (Wednesday)]
All affairs are variations on a theme. No one has 'Beethoven's 5th' to everyone else's 'Chopsticks'.
I imagine at first the pedastal is welcoming, especially in a family of conditional love, as it appears as approval, flattery, a source of self-esteem while self-deception is easily employed
Not at all, MC. It's not flattering to have someone wax poetic or ascribe traits to you and you knowing very well that isn't you at all.
It's insulting and demeaning. Especially if they insist on it. I have always had a very realistic sense of who I was. It's not "flattering" to have someone tell you who you are when what they're honestly saying is who they need you to be. ESPECIALLY, coming from a family of conditional love or no love at all. It takes that excitement of finding someone you love and dumps all those familiar feelings on to it like an ice bath.
Oh, there it is. The hope that you could find someone someday and experience what that true partnership feels like. Gone. Now you're back in that familiar role with the same very fucked choices. Only, now, sometimes legally and financially bound. No validation there. More like sentenced. And you already know that condemnation will be coming. Not just once....daily as when you are who you are they're continually disappointed, angry, hurt. How can you be like this? Why are you like this? Why aren't you like xyz? Because THAT'S NOT WHO I AM and I've told you that from the fucking beginning!!!!!
It's funny to hear people talk about looking at someone as a mirror and seeing what you want to see. What if you don't see anyone at all?
MC, it's not just loneliness. It's rage. How dare anyone make someone into something they're not for their comfort and needs. Get a fucking dog. I'm not the solutions to "your" issues.
I was never put on a pedestal, instead I helped others put me in a hole, a hole I was hoping someone else would dig me out of, not realizing I needed a ladder, not a shovel and that I had the ladder...
Wow. That's an awesome realization, Clarissa. I'm so glad you have a partner that sees you. The ONLY thing I liked about Fern Gully part deaux...I mean Avitar. They'd look at each other and said, "I see you". Makes I love you look like a Mc Donald's jingle.
Some of us don't see people how they are but how we need them to be.
slight t/j....Absolutely brilliant! I see this so much in new beginnings and have been guilty of this myself.
In my case I had always felt that WH didn't WANT to know me. He would shut me down with "I don't want to hear about your past, it scares me..." and I felt not just not seen and not known, but judged by these things he didn't even know about me.
I thought I knew him. He certainly felt comfortable talking about himself. He would answer my questions about his past. But the reality was, I didn't really know him. He lied. He omitted. He justified, validated and excused. His fear of knowing me really stemmed from his fear of me knowing him. Or what I really think is it is his fear of knowing himself that keeps him from being able to really have a fully intimate relationship. One where both of you have warts, ugly pasts and bad habits.
He has "pseudo intimacy." I think this has been the reason for his repeated A's during both his marriages. As hard as he tries to avoid really seeing and knowing his wives, when you are married you can't escape some of the less pleasant aspects of your spouse. But an affair partner is perfect. And so is he. And he is sooo good at making that seem real.
And during the course of our relationship he has seen me in ways that I did not see myself. And I let him change how I perceived myself. I let his vision of me become my vision of myself. (And I know better than this dammit.) At first his false perception of me allowed him to believe he loved me. Now it allows him to believe that I am the villian and he, the victim.
I recently heard Maya Angelou talk about how dangerous it is to be put on a pedastal. No where to go but down.
So maybe I should be happy that my WH is putting me down, now I have no where to go but up.
[This message edited by wifeno2 at 10:36 AM, September 12th (Thursday)]
During our relationship, he found past inappropriate pictures on my laptop that I didn't know still existed. He no longer saw me as innocent after that day. And then Dday happened, and I learned about his A and the lies he told about his sexual past. I lost the image I had of him at that point.
I think he enjoys the beginning of a relationship, because it allows him to portray himself as this perfect boyfriend who will rescue the girl from everything bad in her life. That's very much how I saw him. Looking back though, I wish that he had just been honest and let me know the real him, all of his flaws.
Even now, I don't think he knows the real me. I made a comment the other day that I couldn't think of anything in IC that I like about myself right now. He made a comment about how he knows that's not true, and that I know that I'm a wonderful person. But the thing is.. I'm seriously struggling with depression and I don't know that. I think he sees me as this confident girl who has it all together, and that's not the way I see myself. It's how I portray myself to the world, but I wish he could see the real me.
Not at all, MC. It's not flattering to have someone wax poetic or ascribe traits to you and you knowing very well that isn't you at all.
^^^Makes sense UO. I was thinking about it from the perspective of someone of high school/very young adult who receives academic honors or a 'great' career, etc., yet who does NOT know himself/herself at all yet. So absent the self awareness I was speculating that it felt 'good' even if only at the very beginning.
I wonder if 'pedastalizing' prevents some from ever knowing who they are.
I can relate...just a bit. Another form of alienation of the true self is parentification. My mother made sure to make me the replacement spouse from the time my 79 year old father died when I was 11 (yeah, who marries someone 34 years older and expects happily ever after?) The tools are different: guilt, etc. and also postponed me ever really figuring out who I am and what I want. I only knew what I did not want and yes it had nothing to do with what I studied in college or the career I had; my mother has never been interested in 'me'. So yes, a LOT of anger. I get it. But I do wonder if I am impaired from truly seeing my W because of my difficulty seeing myself.
How about that for a t/j... first time I have ever written 't/j'.
I started looking at affairs differently after reading two authors, Holly Hein and Stanly Tatkin, who identified a fear of true intimacy and/or attachment disorders as causes if infidelity. It provided something more meaty that 'needs' and 'coping' discussions.
[This message edited by MC_Jack at 10:56 AM, September 12th (Thursday)]
UO, reading your posts your brains must spill out of your ears. How 'bout sharing? Sheesh!
Now you're back in that familiar role with the same very fucked choices.... Because THAT'S NOT WHO I AM and I've told you that from the fucking beginning!!!!!
^^^ I get that too. Was there something we could have gotten in writing? I don't remember which theory it is that suggests that you choose your partner based on a parent and some subconscious desire to heal that relationship with the new one. It didn't work for me.
My W knew that I wanted to go to Africa, travel the world, be a lover, spend time as a couple for a few years before kids, etc. All that: 'poof' once the vows were made. I was back into needing to stay in my career, steady unexciting job, no interest in 'me', just me role. And my W has a very successful career as a surgeon, doing what she wanted to do from age 14. Understanding uncertainty in terms of life's purpose- nope- at the time. Now, a little.
I liked your rock climbing picture by the way.
[This message edited by MC_Jack at 11:08 AM, September 12th (Thursday)]
What is with the passive aggressive comments?
Please reread my post and feel free to think "obtuse compliment".
You looked at my words...but you didn't SEE them.
If passive aggressive is your interpretation, fine. But that's a you thing.
I've found UO's words on SI to be intelligent, intellectual, thoughtful, caring, unvarnished, sometimes provocative, and always from place that's honest, even if it might not be the easiest thing for someone to hear, or her to say. That takes guts, and earns my thanks and respect.
As I've been delving into knowing myself (and accepting and loving that person - good and bad) and sharing that with BH I am faced with the frustration of not feeling heard and of being dismissed. And I think the same thing "How can you love me if you are not hearing and accepting all of me?". I often feel like BH has two scripts written for me -- and he is waiting to see, through his lens, which person I am and how he will write me in my life story. Once I make the "right" choices I will be Person A and if I make the "wrong" choices then I am Person B. Never acknowledging that I am both of those people and also so much more.
I guess for a while I was trying to put myself on a pedestal but it was always too high. Since I never quite made it, I had a sense of failure and that deepened the hole I was in, leading me to look for someone else to dig me out, etc., etc. It took a while but I finally realized I had the ladder I needed to climb out of the hole.
But that's a you thing.
Not totally, but glad to hear that is how you meant them.
Was there something we could have gotten in writing
MC, in my case it was in writing, verbally, observable patterns, short of tattooing a fucking disclaimer on my forehead don't know what more I could have done. This wasn't hidden. That's my whole point.
There are some things that can attract someone initially yet be something that can threaten or trigger things in their collection of experiences. There can also be a desire to ignore what is very clearly part of the person, I'm not even talking about negative things, but the attraction and affection developed becomes a twisted photo shop. "Oh, she is so sweet"...nope. "Oh she is so adventurous" becomes, "shit, can't trust her, needs too much freedom...danger danger".
I saw (sadly) that Bruce Willis movie Surrogates. People stay in the safety of their home and live life through robot versions of themselves. Damn. Isn't that so much like real life now? How "we" don't see the other person but basically tell that person who they are based on our needs...for some?
I'm not saying that's your situation at all. I am saying that it's a very cruel thing to do to someone and I know it's not intentional (mostly) or even recognized much of the time.
The "you're so strong and can handle everything" can be a very clear message of "I can't tolerate any fear or weakness from you".
I often feel like BH has two scripts written for me -- and he is waiting to see, through his lens, which person I am and how he will write me in my life story. Once I make the "right" choices I will be Person A and if I make the "wrong" choices then I am Person B. Never acknowledging that I am both of those people and also so much more.
Yep, Grace. That's one of the travesties of our choices. The imprint of the affair now is the overlay. Those actions are now the story and the creation is now the monster instead of the saint. Same skewed process. Drastically different pictures and as you say both, or maybe truly neither fully and then some.
I'll never forget when my ex came to a presentation I was giving for a group I was involved with. It was at a civic center in front of a very large group. He was stunned I was able to do this..."but you're so quiet and hate large crowds. I never thought you could do this". What? I'd been in front of crowds so many times before. Horse shows, cheerleading, volunteer work, civic activities. Where had he been? Or the encouragement for him to go hunting when we had kids with his friends while I stayed home. He got no phone coverage and was hurt I wasn't worried about what he was doing. "You don't care". Huh? I never had monitored him and showed, stated, was consistent about that from the beginning. He liked that when we first met.
JD, yeah, actually took it the same way and did a few other times you've posted to me. Thanks for clarifying
Lonely girl, it's one thing to be confident in areas of your life. He may see that as threatening so that part becomes the only part he sees. That which scares us always looks bigger than it is. Why did you feel you had to lie about your past sexual history? You state you both made yourselves out to be "better" than you were. Do you not see what a fucked subliminal message that is to both yourself and each other?
...my whole point.
^^knew that. 'In writing' is my guy-speak for an enforceable contract (as opposed to the clarity of a note) with a disclosures section and breach provisions and damages clauses. In any conflict, to go back to the contract. So, I was being sarcastic.
So you're a monster, a person A, a saint, a person B all at once sometimes alternatively. What's the BH to do? So he sees the real 'you', provides empathy, acceptance, cherishing. But then Mr. alpha male comes around and he's more attractive. What's in it for the BH if other than emasculation in the name of 'sight'. Does being truly accepted for who are equal fidelity?
ETA: if you have accepted a job that you later find out you can not or do not want to perform, is it your obligation to resign or the company's to fire you? Who is responsible for discovering the mismatch between requirements/skills/desire first, the employee or the company?
Is marriage supposed to be about being 'seen' or is it about fulfilling your job? I can't really remember why I got married now that I think about it. Maybe to claim a prize?
[This message edited by MC_Jack at 10:29 PM, September 12th (Thursday)]
What's the BH to do?
Don't know, MC.
So he sees the real 'you', provides empathy, acceptance, cherishing
Again, don't know. Not my experience.
Is marriage about being seen or about doing your job? That is your job. To value your partner for who they are. If you can't there's no marriage, partnership, relationship at all. There's one person using another to fulfill themselves and getting pissed when they don't.
My question was simple. How can you love someone if you don't see them for who they are but who you need them to be for you? That may not be your experience at all.
That was it. Nothing about, well if they don't then of course you cheat on them, I mean duh. That just goes without saying.
As I have said previously, cheating fucks up any shot you have to work with your partner.
Who's responsible for a mismatch? Both? Neither? Don't have answers because to me it really doesn't matter. Point is, if I know it I'm the one to fix, change, or move. Is it "his" fault he won't see or accept? Don't know nor do I care. It's absolutely on "me" to make choices that protect my self respect and integrity.
Funny, I do know why I got married. I loved my husband. I enjoyed being a wife a part of a team. I'd do it again. I will do it again.
I got you were being sarcastic. I wasn't. I was being very honest. I didn't hide any part of who I was. Hell, I didn't even hide the affair. Gave him the same choice. Told him we could stay under the same roof but as single people. This was after he told his friend that grabbed my ass at a party, "sure, I'll share". Yeah, team had a very different meaning for him.
Never thought I'd leave him, though. Guess he didn't get the whole, "she does EXACTLY what she says she'll do" pattern I'd managed for 12 years. Completely stunned. STILL is and thinks I'll come back. Still calls me his wife to friends...because he "loves" me so. Riiiiiggggghhhhhttttt.