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Interesting Article in the Paper Today

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Skye posted 10/6/2013 12:08 PM

A very interesting op ed piece in the “New York Times” today about betrayal. Not sure it tells us lots more than we already know, but in a very easy way for the WS and BS to understand.

The author is a psychiatrist and the betrayal isn't necessarily infidelity. Also, interesting, he feels the WS has an easier time recovering. (Which I certainly have seen from my years on SI.)

Discoveries of such secrets typically bring on tumultuous crises. Ironically, however, in my clinical experience, it is often the person who lied or cheated who has the easier time. People who transgressed might feel self-loathing, regret or shame. But they have the possibility of change going forward, and their sense of their own narrative, problematic though it may be, is intact. They knew all along what they were doing and made their own decisions. They may have made bad choices, but at least those were their own and under their control. Now they can make new, better choices.

And to an astonishing extent, the social blowback for such miscreants is often transient and relatively minor. They can change! Our culture, in fact, wholeheartedly supports such “new beginnings” — even celebrates them. It has a soft spot for the prodigal sons and daughters who set about repairing their ways, for tales of people starting over: reformed addicts, unfaithful spouses who rededicate themselves to family, convicted felons who find redemption in religion. Talk shows thrive on these tales. Perhaps it’s part of our powerful national belief in self-help and self-creation. It’s never too late to start anew.
But for the people who have been lied to, something more pervasive and disturbing occurs. They castigate themselves about why they didn’t suspect what was going on. The emotions they feel, while seemingly more benign than those of the perpetrator, may in the long run be more corrosive: humiliation, embarrassment, a sense of having been naïve or blind, alienation from those who knew the truth all along and, worst of all, bitterness.

Insidiously, the new information disrupts their sense of their own past, undermining the veracity of their personal history. Like a computer file corrupted by a virus, their life narrative has been invaded. Memories are now suspect: what was really going on that day? Why did the spouse suddenly buy a second phone “for work” several years ago? Did a friend know the truth even as they vacationed together? Compulsively going over past events in light of their recently acquired (and unwelcome) knowledge, such patients struggle to integrate the new version of reality. For many people, this discrediting of their experience is hard to accept. It’s as if they are constantly reviewing their past lives on a dual screen: the life they experienced on one side and the new “true” version on the other. But putting a story together about this kind of disjunctive past can be arduous.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/opinion/sunday/great-betrayals.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&ref=opinion&adxnnlx=1381078999-MF7DPN+jRdqFoQ21IWNGbw


solus sto posted 10/6/2013 12:16 PM

Really nicely summarized. For me, the worst part has, indeed, been "putting together a dysjunctive past" at a time when my ability to trust my own instincts was at its nadir.

StillStanding1 posted 10/6/2013 12:31 PM

Thanks for providing the article/link... It's always good to find additional sources of information/validation. I think this is "spot on".

ETA: I liked the ending to the article and thought I'd add it here:

...it’s often a painstaking process to reconstruct a coherent personal history piece by piece — one that acknowledges the deception while reaffirming the actual life experience. Yet it’s work that needs to be done. Moving forward in life is hard or even, at times, impossible, without owning a narrative of one’s past. Isak Dinesen has been quoted as saying “all sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them.” Perhaps robbing someone of his or her story is the greatest betrayal of all.

[This message edited by StillStanding1 at 12:39 PM, October 6th (Sunday)]

20Hopeful16 posted 10/6/2013 13:32 PM

Wow, that you for posting that. Despite being NC with WH, I am almost tempted to forward it to him.

SisterMilkshake posted 10/6/2013 13:59 PM

Perhaps robbing someone of his or her story is the greatest betrayal of all.

Thanks, Skye. The last line just about brought me to my knees. For me, being 3 1/2 years past d-day, this is still what I feel is the greatest betrayal. As my FWH had a LTA and I didn't find out until 6 years later, I feel I have been robbed of a decade of my life story. I am having such a hard time integrating this reality into my story. Nothing was real, or at least, one dimensional at best in what I thought was my story.

Sad in AZ posted 10/6/2013 17:52 PM

It is a good article, but being a skeptic, I wonder if the representative sampling of 'cheaters & liars' was enough to draw the conclusion that they have an easier time recovering. My guess would be that fewer cheaters seek help than those who were betrayed. In any event, I would also assume that the cheaters want to put their actions behind them, at least as a public persona.

macakipa posted 10/6/2013 18:04 PM

My guess would be that fewer cheaters seek help than those who were betrayed. In any event, I would also assume that the cheaters want to put their actions behind them, at least as a public persona.

^Absolutely!

Thank you for sharing the link/article.

Blobette posted 10/6/2013 18:47 PM

Sent this to WH, who is on a work trip. He replied:

Yes, this is it all right. I am so sorry. How do I help you rebuild? You need to know how thankful I am that you are still with me.

Nice.

RightTrack posted 10/6/2013 23:46 PM

Learned PHD and whatnot, he used "prodigal" incorrectly.

Bluebird26 posted 10/7/2013 01:17 AM

TFS!

Blobette - glad your WS is willing help you heal :)

woundedby2 posted 10/7/2013 01:31 AM

Thanks for posting this, Skye.

Perhaps robbing someone of his or her story is the greatest betrayal of all.

This line hit me hard too.

Another good line from the article that wasn't in your original posting:

Perhaps this is why many patients conclude in their therapy that it’s not the actions or betrayal that they most resent, it’s the lies.

The lies. yes.

Thessalian posted 10/7/2013 01:33 AM

Perhaps robbing someone of his or her story is the greatest betrayal of all.

This hit me hard as well. I hate that our love story has been turned into a sadsack story about sick people back-stabbing the ones they love.

Itstoohard posted 10/7/2013 07:13 AM

That last line hit me hard also. No timeline makes it even harder.

Tred posted 10/7/2013 07:27 AM

Interesting article - thanks for the post Skye.


It’s as if they are constantly reviewing their past lives on a dual screen: the life they experienced on one side and the new “true” version on the other

Yeah, no shit. And trying to come to grips with the fact that you'll never know the real truth in my case.

LadyYoga posted 10/7/2013 07:28 AM

Ugh I just sent it to OW. I need to learn self control. Wish me luck

Skye posted 10/7/2013 07:38 AM

Sad in AZ, perhaps the WS not seeing a therpist isn't needed if BSes see therapists. As a BS I saw my husband heal and move forward and reported it to my therapist. (Though my husband, the cheater, did see a therapist.)As the author states, the WS is in control all the time and the BS isn't.

I, too, was particularly hit by the last statement and it made me realize why I didn't move forward quicker. I lived a lie for over 35 years, believing in something that wasn't so.

StillGoing posted 10/7/2013 07:39 AM

Good read but I agree with Sad in AZ. If you look at infidelity and put yourself in the position of having been the WS and wanting to sincerely get past that, I dunno if 'easier' is really an appropriate word to use. Different kinds of hell are still hell. I dunno. While it has been hell to live through this I would never want to put myself in the hell of perpetrating it.

Obviously if they don't really delve into that then yeah, it's probably a lot easier. On the other side of it I can say it's easier for me knowing I wasn't responsible for the shit other people did, and I retain control over my life.

Sorry, interesting to think about and I am doing it out loud, I will go find something shiny.

somanyyears posted 10/7/2013 10:32 AM


..@StillGoing..

I will go find something shiny.

you crack me up!

..as for the article, i'd agree in our case that WW is having an easier time of it..

..found religion! claims to have peace and God's grace..

..seems pretty happy 'most' of the time.. and i don't believe she has any idea how much pain i am still in.

I, too, was particularly hit by the last statement and it made me realize why I didn't move forward quicker. I lived a lie for over 35 years, believing in something that wasn't so.

..just change that to 40 years and include double betrayal to boot!

..

this discrediting of their experience is hard to accept.

..some days, still, i just can't believe they did this..

..and for the low reasons..

..if it had been for some undying love, i might get it, but love, infatuation, had zero to do with their motivations..

still turns my stomach!

smy

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