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Newest Member: scorchedearth (60708)

User Topic: Motivation - Internal vs. External
♀ 41131
Member # 41131
Default  Posted: 12:39 AM, December 18th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I took a class recently, and one thing that we talked about was motivation. It triggered me like crazy, but also got me thinking.

Basically, we were talking about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. And that as much as we like to think we should be intrinsically motivated, we are more likely to do something if we also have something external (a reward). That we do our best work when the two types of motivation work together. In learning especially. That we learn best when we both want to learn for the pleasure or knowledge of it, but that we also get a pat on the back, or a good grade, etc.

Anyway, it triggered me mainly because the example was about my instructor watching his wife's favorite show with her. He said that for him it was nice internally because he got to spend time with her and he felt good about doing something she liked. Then he said - "however, I also know that if I watch this show with her, she is more likely to be happy with me and "reward" me with loving behavior and telling me what a great husband I am."

It got me thinking about WH and what motivated him before and during his A (and for a long time after to be frank). I would say it was almost always external - always for a reward. During his A, his horrible choices were rewarded. (Validation from OW, sex, no responsibility). So he was constantly getting positive feedback for his actions. For someone with almost no intrinsic motivation, it only encouraged him to continue. I think when he did decide to end it, it was because the reward was no longer good enough. He didn't have an internal decision to do the right thing. It was just that the reward (having become long distance) wasn't enough for how much effort he was putting out. At the same time, he was getting more "rewards" from me, so I suddenly became the more desirable choice. (I hate being his second choice )

After Dday - well, there wasn't a lot of reward happening around here (other than HB). And he had no internal drive to learn anything or grow in any way. He didn't want to grow for his own sake, to be a better person - he only wanted the "prize" at the end - happy marriage, happy wife who thinks he's wonderful, amazing passionate sex constantly. When he realized that there was no guarantee that the prize would be there, he basically stopped doing "all the right things."

In addition to that, he was also still lying about a ton of stuff. Why? Because he got "rewarded" for it - since I didn't know some of the horrible things, he could pretend they never happened, not accept blame. He had no internal reason to be honest. He didn't feel any intrinsic motivation to live an honest life for his own sake.

I know I'm getting really rambling here. I do have a point.

The one change I have seen in WH since my last Dday is that I feel like he has some intrinsic motivation, finally. That he's not just looking for that reward. Don't get me wrong - he still wants and needs rewards like anyone else, but he finally has that combination of the two working together. I think he wants to become a better person and a more authentic person. I think that he is actually making some progress.

That hasn't really helped me a whole lot in deciding to R or not. Especially because although I think he's changing, I still can't trust that he doesn't have another giant load of TT to dump on me. And I worry that finally realizing how terrible it all was will make him feel so crappy he will go right back where he was. Or, of course, this could all be one huge manipulation, again, like everything else has been my whole damn marriage. Maybe he's just getting that much better at being a d-bag.

I guess it is helping me understand the situation a little better. I like to think things through. I like things to make sense. I want to have answers to all these unanswerable questions.

Me: BW - 38
Him: WH - 39
Kids, yes.

Currently in Limbo, possible R. WH says he wants R. I'm not convinced.

Posts: 71 | Registered: Oct 2013
♀ 31349
Member # 31349
Default  Posted: 12:45 AM, December 18th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I feel you completely on this, bbf. That sounds like an amazing class. I hope that this new outlook helps you get to the bottom of some things.


"Don't give up, the beginning is always the hardest." - Deeply Scared's mom

Posts: 29076 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: California
♀ 40633
Member # 40633
Default  Posted: 2:00 AM, December 18th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Jesus. I can completely relate to that. It took me several months after DDay to realize how big of a problem this is with WH.

When I moved out after DDay #3, he wrote me a letter he probably thought was romantic, saying that "My friends keep telling me to do the work for myself, not for you, but I don't even know what that means, because everything in my life is for you, and the only reason I do anything is for you."

Sounds sweet, but dig a little deeper and what he's saying is that he has no sense of self at all. He thinks there's no point in fixing himself unless he's doing it for my benefit. He'll be a liar if that makes me happy, or he'll work on himself if that makes me happy, or he'll say any damn thing I want to make me happy, just as long as I calm down and go back to rewarding him with kisses.

And yet, you know what would really make me happy? Standing proudly next to a guy who does the right thing because he couldn't live WITH HIMSELF if he didn't.

He's indicated multiple times during this process that his entire behavioral makeup is centered around whether or not other people are upset with him or not at that very moment. I'm still not certain he understands what it means to do the right thing because you know it's the right thing, no matter who's gonna be pissed.

When other people are mad at him, he squirms around trying to hit whatever behavior he can adopt, way of thinking he can espouse, or words he can say that will make the unpleasant anger stop at that exact moment. He's not motivated by an internal desire to tell the truth, but by an external push.

He told me once that during the worst part of his wayward behavior, when things were really bad, he told himself it was no big deal what he was doing, because no one was mad at him. This, of course, is because no one fucking knew what he was doing. But that didn't factor into his thinking.

We've had the same issue with lying and half-truthing. We went through several weeks in which he kept confessing that he had recently told me ANOTHER lie, and I'd get mad and ask him when we were going to get the point in our lives where no more lies from "last week" were being cleared up?

He then blurted out, "What am I supposed to do? You get mad if I don't lie to you and then you get mad when I confess that I did later."

I wanted to SCREAM. The entire basis of his morality is based on this dolphin-doing-a-trick-for-a-fish thing, it's shocking. If he gets instantly rewarded, it is good. If he's not getting instantly rewarded, it is bad. What's the point of humans evolving such big brains if we behave so basely? How about you just not tell lies because lying to your wife makes you feel guilty? And how about, when you realized you did lie, you tell me, not because it will get you a fish, but because you genuinely want no lies between us? Why is that concept so alien to him?

Because, as you said, his entire motivation, until the A, in all parts of his life, has been external. He sees and judges himself entirely based on external feedback. It's a big, big problem, because it means he not only has no integrity, he doesn't even know what it is.

I'm still VERY wary of this. No integrity is one of my dealbreakers, and I can't imagine not being freaked out about this until I see consistent, long-term proof that he's grown some self-worth. I'm starting to see signs of it, I think, but after all the TT, I don't know anymore. I've actually started worrying that since WH is getting rewarded by everyone for being on the right track now - his friends praise him for working on his shit, his parents pat him on the head for going to counselling, I try to reward him when he does something right, his IC is all touchy-lovey-feely - that we're just in a rewards part of the pattern and now that he's not in trouble every second, he'll be loathe to tell a hard truth and ruin the niceness.

I want him so badly to have enough of a sense of self that he'll risk being yelled at because the thought of not doing the right thing by me is a thought he can't live with.

He's working on it. We'll see what happens.

[This message edited by Thessalian at 2:04 AM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

Me: BW, 30
Him: WH, 36

7 years of double-digit ONS, LTA, hookers - the works.

First found out: August 20, 2013
Whole truth: January 1, 2014

Posts: 168 | Registered: Sep 2013
♀ 41131
Member # 41131
Default  Posted: 2:20 AM, December 18th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks, Jrazz. It's funny - the class was totally just a training for my job and had nothing to do with any of this, but it all made sense.

Thessalian- Yes, yes, yes. All of what you said too. Although WH didn't put it into words, I can almost promise you that he justified his A behavior because no one was mad at him (again, because I had no idea). And that whole "you get mad when I lie and mad when I tell you" resulted in YEARS of TT. Years.

And i worry too, that he is getting rewarded by his counselor, parents, best friend. I'm pretty much in the no rewards stage still and his counselor is pretty good, but he is definitely getting that praise for working on it. Fortunately, his C has told him more than once that he can't being doing this "for me." It has to be because he wants to.

And yet, you know what would really make me happy? Standing proudly next to a guy who does the right thing because he couldn't live WITH HIMSELF if he didn't.

And also, this ^^^^^^
I don't know if he can be that guy. I want to hope so... but honestly hope is pretty scary right now.

Me: BW - 38
Him: WH - 39
Kids, yes.

Currently in Limbo, possible R. WH says he wants R. I'm not convinced.

Posts: 71 | Registered: Oct 2013
♀ 24643
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 11:46 AM, December 18th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wonderful post!!!

we like to think we should be intrinsically motivated, we are more likely to do something if we also have something external (a reward).

Now add in the complexity of what is considered a REWARD. Using the 5 Love Languages terminology, my goal/reward may be Quality Time ... and his reward may be Physical Touch (specifically, sex).

Difficult to define "success" when both partners may have different perceptions of success.

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~J. Campbell
"In the final analysis, it is your own attitude that will make or break you, not what has happened to you." ~D. Galloway

Posts: 2144 | Registered: Jun 2009
♀ 40699
Member # 40699
Default  Posted: 12:29 PM, December 18th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I can totally relate to this. Just last night WS made a comment about "I know I have the ability to be a good person and a good husband. But I know you will never believe that." I asked, "Why does it matter what I believe? If you know that's the truth then go for it!"

I've been an enabler. I recognized that recently. I still fed him his "supply" even after he betrayed me. I reassured and comforted HIM when it should have been the other way around.

Me BS 33 Him WS 37
Together 6 years, married almost 4 years
D-day: 07/23/13 EA with COW
D-day: 12/27/13 found out about a past kiss
D-day: 05/30/16 Saw first text message from new COW
D-day: 09-08-16 Dr. Fone confirmed EA

Posts: 1243 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: Oklahoma
♂ 30434
Member # 30434
Default  Posted: 2:56 AM, December 19th (Thursday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I took a class recently, and one thing that we talked about was motivation. It triggered me like crazy, but also got me thinking.

Me too! Two weeks ago my job provided me with training that involved a discussion of intrinsic verses extrinsic motivation. We talked about how employees with intrinsic motivation are often "A" players. I immediately began evaluating how this fits my wife, marriage, and myself.

I believe intrinsic motivation is relative. Intrinsic motivation observed by an employer is extrinsic to a spouse, or if not, extrinsic at some level. A deep question is what makes a person do the right thing when nobody is looking. Does this person do the right thing out of belief (fear) that likely the truth will come out? Or, does the person do the right thing out of belief (fear) of a higher being, God for example? Another question is what is this person protecting and is it valuable (legacy?), and does this person have hope that doing the right thing will maintain or improve it? Doing the right thing is a risk assessment provided the person stops and thinks. If you dig down, our tough decisions are still extrinsic based on beliefs and fears. Its surviving as we know how.

My wife concluded her family was bad, she was bad. My wife was also unhappy due to FOO and unresolved hurt, and she blamed me. She still "loved" me, but wasn't sure what love was, how to love, or if I loved her. Then she allowed herself to became infatuated in someone else. -she had not much to protect, had mixed up beliefs, and then was the under influence and not thinking straight. For me, I'm all about legacy for my kids survival and I believe the truth likely comes out. This is how I believe intrinsic verses extrinsic applies to my wife, marriage and myself.

Good topic fly.

[This message edited by still-living at 3:20 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

WW 47 FOO Issues
DDay 11/09 Coworker
High School Sweethearts
Married 06/91
8 months TT
Sons 19 and 14
Recovery is constructing a pyramid of inference from which to see clearer.
The process involves using the reflexive loop.

Posts: 1490 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Ches
Topic Posts: 7

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