For my WW she went to IC for about 2 months and came out determined that depression, loneliness and low self esteem along with some communication issues in our relationship all contributed to the affair. And she is committed to working on us and addressing these issues.
But as Karmahappens pointed out in an earlier post, you shouldn't ignore those posts that hit a nerve so to speak. So I was reading a much earlier post where a BS stated that so many of their conversations about the A came back to being about the WS. The conversation begins with an issue that the BS is having and ends up being about the WS. This really struck a chord with me. Many of my converstations start about my needs (the BS) but somewhere seem to transistion to her needs (the WS).
Thus, my a ha moment, that probably isn't that clever; is this really all about selfishness and self-absorption? The A, the infidelity, the cheating behavior, the setting aside the needs of the marriage and the family all for the self-indulgence of the WS and the A. In my mind this strengthens the thought that the A wasn't about me, it was about my WW's need and her self-absorption in the A.
So then we strive for R, but I can't recognize if I'm dealing with a WW that accidentally slipped into selfish behavior because of the issues above. Because she was depressed and lonely and feeling bad about herself she inappropriately found something she needed in the affair. Or am I simply dealing with a WW that is a selfish person by nature, is this an inherent trait in a person that will always put her needs above mine. As I struggle with R, I just can't seem to confidently answer this question.
I realize that I am the one that should should truly know my spouse, but of course, I thought my spouse was committed to our marriage and uncapable of an affair. So the question I struggle with, is this a bad behavior from my WW, or is this the actions of a selfish person? In my mind, one is capable of change and changing behavior patterns, and one is a learned way of meeting your personal needs over a lifetime. Or said another way, good people occasionally do bad things, but there are also bad people too, and there is a difference.
Just thinking out loud, appreciate your thoughts and input
In my situation, my wh is extremely selfish. Always has been. Ultimately, that extreme selfishness allowed him to think he was entitled to that "little extra" and at my and my childrens expense. His selfishness contributed to bad behavior or at least behavior that was based on always making sure his needs were met and ignoring mine.
During this period we have been trying to rebuild, i wont even call it r, our conversations will mostly all the time transition to his needs as well. I find this very uncomfortable and selfish still.
I dont believe he can change that. He can change it some, but ultimately, I believe his needs will still continue to come first. He is unable to put aside his "needs" in order to meet what i ask of him at this time.
I'm feeling very stuck, frustrated and unable to move forward. We can go no farther, this is as good as it gets. And i find it is not enough.
I know and my wh will state that he had an affair because he was selfish and wanted something more. More, more more. Nothing, myself included, was enough.
i dont know if i responded to what you asked, but the why in my situation, is nothing more than selfishness.
HowToLiveWithIt - I think you are right, it is the elephant in the room, I was just surprised I hadn't noticed it sitting there sooner.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
I noticed your WW's age. The Big 4-0 screws with a lot of people's minds. It's the stereotypical MLC age. I don't really understand it, but saw my wife start acting nutty when she was 39, and then it really ramped up right after she turned 40 and started her affair. There were times it seemed like I was dealing with a girl half her age. Put a drink or two in her, and she started acting like an idiot sorority chick. Girls Gone Wild kind of thing.
Now she's 42, we're in R, and for the most part she acts her age.
I wish you the best, and certainly understand your need to make sense of this. After about a year (we're at 15 months) I started accepting that I'll never really know why she did what she did and how she could justify it to herself. So now I'm just focusing on what she's doing today.
I guess the A must be her shiny red sports car...
But as IC has explained to him and MC to us both he is a highly needy man with a lot of sadness in him. Trying to fill his 'inner void' with attention and validation from the wrong places was going to make him a selfish person, because he was so low self esteem and needing constant reassurance so he did always make life about me me me... I get what you're saying about the acts themselves being selfish vs the person, but I do believe that if someone is needy and low self esteem then the whole person becomes selfish until they learn to heal. I think if she is low self esteem she will have a long road ahead of her to learn to fill that emptiness inside her in positive ways, but I do believe it can be done...I have to, I'm sticking it out with someone in similar shoes and I've seen big changes already.
I think the difference between someone whos acts are selfish and someone who has a severe personality issue that cannot be overcome (or without a huge workload) is empathy and compassion. If she is remorseful, empathetic and compassionate towards you then I would say she stands a chance of repairing her inner confidence and neediness, which will reduce her selfishness. If she lacks empathy for you, then I would be more concerned about how deep these damages have taken their toll....I believe selfish people get blinded in a sense to the true damage they're doing because they are truly just focused on themselves, but once those blinders are off if they still don't want to change then it means they aren't really grasping the compassion and empathy they need. Like during the As my H could rationalize to himself why he was doing what he was, but as soon as he saw my pain on DDay he realized OMG look what I've done to HER and actually thought about what all this had done to me...I think they become very good at blocking that empathy while doing the damages, but if they can get it back after DDay then there is hope.
I'm not sure how far out you are at this point from DDay but at 10m I have seem big improvements in my H this way.
" I will not define myself by what went wrong yesterday when I can draw upon Life and Love right now." R.R
Over the last 4 years, since his A, I have come to realize that "the nice guy" image he projects to others is really a ploy to get the ego boost HE needs. His self-centeredness is more and more obvious to me everyday...in his actions, body language and words. It is like after the A, you see traits you never noticed before in everyday things they do.
Hopeful 77 glad to hear your "selfish" H wasn't around much.
Crossroads2010, yes, the selfishness and self-aborption are very much a part of my wife that I didn't recognize before. I think my WW projects the happy homemaker do it all soccer mom image, when that isn't the reality. And because of her A, I am now more aware of her selfish behavior. But for R I'm going to need continued empathy and compassion from her just as Sunvalley pointed out, these actions are the oposite of self-absorption.
absolutely agree an A is all about that wayward's selfish desires/needs above all else
as far as behavior vs personality? Unless and until my WH gets a NPD diagnosis (not likely) than I lump it into he can change catagory
My WH's story was at first classic transitional anxiety - new job, new baby, turning 40 and an end of contact with his other kids / very nasty, contentious custody case from 2002-2008... so yah = he crumbled instead of turning to me sadly. When the CLfuck said she was pregnant by him, he went downhill from there due to FOO and underlying trauma-bond so that now I am dealing with the nuclear fallout of only finding out about his 2008 in 2014
What I would say to look for is if you WW displays "generosity" but it really masks her constant need for external validation. Feeling internally insecure, inadequate etc.coupled with needing external validation, I feel definitely contributed to my husband's self-destructive selfish behavior.
My "great guy" always so "generous" is also incredibly insecure with a massive inferiority complex (major FOO crap) so that no amount of my atta-boys was defeating his negative self-talk and as he didn't properly process his anger at his ex = shoved it down and compartmentalized = to the point where he than justified it was "better to feel bad than feel nothing at all"
so yah, all the best as you try to understand your WW's broken-ness and figure out if you want to reconcile
"The darkest night is dispelled by the humblest of flames."
But I'm not optimistic that she will change drastically in this regard as these are behavior patterns learned over a lifetime.
I agree...awareness of/new perception of my H requires that I accept that person as he is I am to stay M.
The anger/resentment evolves...I was experiencing a lot of that at the 2 year point...still do but it has lessened greatly.
On the one hand no one wants to feel this process is like training a dog ... on the other, how can a person know if they are doing what is needed to repair and R?
I found it really helpful for me to put into words
please do X... to clearly ask for what I want and need.
I have a hard time asking for help, hard time accepting compliments etc. so unfortunately pairing with my H sometimes feeds into his "I didn't think about it" / what I find to be selfish behavior
And BTW - they can be real simple requests
like for me - help me make the bed in the AM, make me a cup of tea at night, be willing to answer my questions, make the kids lunches in the morning, etc
Ive been able to focus more on what he is doing NOW to get over the what he's done... not a magic bullet, but helps me avoid the "he never..." fears where I am more prone to label him as a selfish person vs just slipped up like we all do occasionally
I've found most of what I have perceived as "selfish" is his insecurity and based on his fear of rejection. Kind of like the person who is shy who comes across as aloof and a snob as their coping mechanism. So it's helped me address my fear of feeling "I don't matter" to be able to speak up and ask more directly "hey go get me..." "honey I need you to..." kinds of requests
good luck - you can only work on you and hopefully it will make you feel better about how you can then see your WW's behavior
Appreciate the support and solid advice.