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User Topic: The concept of broken people
Tripletrouble
Member
Member # 39169
Default  Posted: 5:56 PM, July 28th (Sunday)

This idea that cheaters are "broken" isn't sitting well with me. Aren't we all somewhere on the broken scale? I grew up in a dysfunctional home with substance abuse and constant anger and fear and no security, so certainly some FOO issues here. Finally my parents split when I was in my 30's and my dad married the LTA partner (a nut job). WH grew up like a Cleaver and has led a charmed life - attractive, intelligent, career success. So why does he cheat? Selfishness? Opportunity? He's bored with me? Does it matter? In his case I don't see what IC is going to resolve that will make me feel like he's "fixed". So how do I feel safe with him? He has been working hard to do the right things, and R is a real option but I can't work through this puzzle.


40 somethings - me BW after 20 years
D Day April 2013
Divorced November 2013

Be happy with what you have while you work for what you want - Hellen Keller


Posts: 638 | Registered: May 2013
BostonGirl
Member
Member # 33930
Default  Posted: 6:17 PM, July 28th (Sunday)

You know, people who grow up in blatantly dysfunctional families KNOW it. It totally sucks of course, but the weird silver lining is that the fucked up shit is right up front and you KNOW you have work to do.

I've been close to a few people with picture perfect families of origin... Where sometime you have to dig a little deeper to realize that things are way effed up. Like my best friend's mom, the world's strongest and most competent and loving mother.... Who didn't tell her family of her breast cancer diagnosis until the night before she was admitted for surgery for a double mastectomy. Yeah, some stuff out of balance there.

My husband's FOO was total Cleaver too. Dad a successful engineer, mom the total homemaker, lived in a beautiful suburb, married 50+ years. What could be wrong? He had no idea that anything could remotely be amiss. Wasn't til we had kids ourselves that he realized (through his experience parenting our girls, and also major marriage conflict, and finally confronting his parents' dusfunction while trying to take care of them as they declined and died) that his home was completely devoid of healthy emotion and was downright neglectful. He was never hugged by his mother--til he hugged her first, when he was 23. His eldest sibling terrorized the next youngest without any interference from parents--despite a 7 year age advantage. (A 12 year old versus a 5 yo? A 17 yo versus a 10 yo?) On and on. He had no way of realizing how profoundly fucked up that was... Because, of course, his family was intact and from Nice Suburb!

All this by way of saying... Things are not always as they seem, and odds are really good your husband has work to do, even if at first blush his FOO seems far less chaotic than yours. That in fact may make it harder to come to grips with his issues.

Good luck.


It'll all be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end.

Posts: 133 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: Boston
noescape
Member
Member # 34888
Default  Posted: 7:28 PM, July 28th (Sunday)

agree with BG ^^^^ rugsweeping and gaslighting aren't something we discovered with infidelity, it applies to a lot of other familial dynamics which can make the surface look very calm - even to the players in that dynamic.

Posts: 739 | Registered: Feb 2012
inconnu
Member
Member # 24518
Default  Posted: 7:55 PM, July 28th (Sunday)

You know, people who grow up in blatantly dysfunctional families KNOW it.

I agree. This was me, child of alcoholics, and so on. But, because all I knew was severe dysfunction, now-ex's FOO seemed to me what normal should be. Oh dear god, I couldn't have been more wrong. Their dysfunction just wasn't as messy as my family's, plus part of theirs was to not discuss anything of importance, and to sweep things under the rug if it got emotionally uncomfortable.


Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out...honestly
I wanna see you be brave

Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than, less than perfect


Posts: 12166 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: DeepInTheHeartOf, TX
Random thoughts
Member
Member # 2959
Default  Posted: 7:57 PM, July 28th (Sunday)

BostonGirl nailed it

As much as I loved and respected my mom, she like your husband's mom let my older sister treat me like shit, I was her target to the point that I withdrew and was afraid of everyone, hey if your own sister hates you why should your schoolmates feel any different.

Every fight my mom would take her side. We had limited space in our house and I slept on a pull out couch, one day I came home and she had for some reason taken a saw too it.


Those three words are said too much and not enough.
Chasing Cars-Snow Patrol.
FWW

Posts: 1608 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Some where in New Jersey
sailorgirl
Member
Member # 38162
Default  Posted: 9:35 PM, July 28th (Sunday)

I'm thinking "out loud" here. I find the concept of broken people really helpful in understanding infidelity.

Some people are emotionally broken because they are mentally ill, such as people with uncontrolled bipolar in a manic state (I had a boyfriend with this who cheated on me) or people with severe depression. With treatment, these people could reach outside themselves again, think of other people's feelings, and be compassionate and loyal.

Then there are the more intractable mental illnesses such as Narcissistic PD or Borderline PD. People with personality disorders simply do not experience emotions in the way most humans do. They lack true empathy, and can be incapable of acting in a loving, faithful way. So, maybe broken isn't the right word to describe them since they were never right in the first place. They aren't whole or emotionally healthy. Maybe "incomplete" rather than broken?

As for FOO issues, yes, everyone has some. Maybe there is a spectrum . . . What I do know is that no abused, neglected, or abandoned child comes out of that unscathed.

Broken was a good description of my WH. His FOO broke him. It broke his brothers, too, although to different degrees.

One of the big reasons they were affected severely was that their mother sanctioned and participated in the abuse. Plus, she is an absolute master of denial. She insists that her ex-husband was not an alcoholic, and that her boys were loved and cherished. She claims not to remember WH attempting suicide twice because he could not live with the beatings and cruelty.

No one in the family tells the truth about their damage. Everyone acts like it's a total mystery how WH's one brother, with such a lovely upbringing, could end up a homeless junkie with hallucinations.

WH's story was that his childhood wasn't that bad, that he had overcome it and it didn't affect him. He twisted his memories to create happy ones, and walled off all the hurt and anger. But he was broken. He just hid it well because he grew up with the master secret-keepers. They taught him to lie to himself.

There's a lot of damage there to heal and brokenness to fix. But what about a seemingly charmed life? If there's no mental illness or personality disorder, and the person still lied, cheated and betrayed their spouse, I'd say "seemingly" is the key word. Somehow, this type of WS learned that integrity is optional. Somehow, they grew up without proper boundaries or coping skills.

Sometimes, they have a parent who is enmeshed with their child and does not let them experience the consequences of their actions. Sometimes, the parent is incredibly controlling or critical or emotionally manipulative. Or, the parent is too hands off and doesn't guide or discipline.

If even my WH's horrific childhood could be denied, hidden and glossed over, I imagine all kinds of damage from stealth bad-parenting goes undetected.


Married 14 years, three amazing kids
H had 17 month EA/PA
D-day 1/5/13
Reconcilling

Posts: 787 | Registered: Jan 2013
StruckNumb
Member
Member # 38973
Default  Posted: 11:24 PM, July 28th (Sunday)

I'm also having issues with this in therapy. My husband is from a Cleaver family. He is one of the few people i've ever met from a pretty stable background. His parent have been happily married over 55 years. He is successul and is looked up to in the family. He has 10 times the friends I do, though most of them are women.

The only thing I have noticed is he requires constant admiration from others. Our MC even asked him how he wants me to see him and he said that he wants me to see him as "a superhero.". Right then, I knew there was something horribly, terribly wrong. This isn't normal. Or accessible in reality. So yeah, I think he's broken but I don't know how or what it's even called.


me-BW-51
f?WH - 49
m27 yrs, T 28, no kids
OW-WH's former CW, friends + 20yr
DDay-11/16/12, LT EA, 4y? PA, manymany
EA with FFriends over the years
Attempting R
Is there an end to blindness in sight?

Posts: 77 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: N.California
Kajem
Member
Member # 36134
Default  Posted: 4:24 AM, July 29th (Monday)

I'm also having issues with this in therapy. My husband is from a Cleaver family. He is one of the few people i've ever met from a pretty stable background. His parent have been happily married over 55 years. He is successul and is looked up to in the family. He has 10 times the friends I do, though most of them are women.
The only thing I have noticed is he requires constant admiration from others. Our MC even asked him how he wants me to see him and he said that he wants me to see him as "a superhero.". Right then, I knew there was something horribly, terribly wrong. This isn't normal. Or accessible in reality. So yeah, I think he's broken but I don't know how or what it's even called.

You're describing my XH and family. He seems to be the only one lacking integrity. He is also NPD. He wants to be on a pedestal and looked up to. His sister is not this way,nor his parents. But they did feed the NPD monster/dynamic while he was growing up,he helped to cultivate the dynamic with his manipulative behaviors.

I can see it in hindsight and with a lot of therapy.

I don't think any family is without some sort of disfunction. It really depends on how you cope with the disfunction.

Hugs,

K


I trust you is a better compliment than I love you, because you may not trust the person you love, but you can always love the person you trust. - Unknown
Relationships are like sharing a book, it doesn't work if you're not on the same page.

Posts: 5279 | Registered: Jul 2012 | From: Florida
Bobbi_sue
Member
Member # 10347
Default  Posted: 7:39 AM, July 29th (Monday)

Maybe it is because it has been seven years ago for me, but I find myself often with the same thoughts here when we see so much about how "broken" all cheaters are.

I realize we came here for the same initial devastation, but I am very aware that most people could be described as "broken" in one way or the other. Many people, whether they are a BS or WS or neither, do things that could be considered equally destructive to cheating. And really, it can happen whether they have obvious "FOO" issues or not.


Posts: 5760 | Registered: Apr 2006
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 7:56 AM, July 29th (Monday)

First of all I do not think all people are broken.

Secondly, I don't believe because one comes from a dysfunctional family, they have to end up broken and coming from a perfect type family doesn't save you from being broken.

It seems to me broken people are that way because they don't learn how to handle situations in a mentally healthy manner. My husband, the cheater, could be the poster boy for FOO issues. However, he had many years away from his family, and should have learned what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

I did grow up in one of those really good families. Lots of love and communication. My husband basically became a part of that family when he was 15. He should have learned. But he is very broken. Way more than I ever realized. He had every opportunity to be a better man than his mother raised and he failed--over and over and over, even with lots of therapy. He is a humpty dumpty. Realizing that hasn't made it easier for the marriage to R but did take away lots of questions for the future regarding him.


Posts: 5629 | Registered: Jul 2002
reclaimingmyself
Member
Member # 27011
Default  Posted: 8:00 AM, July 29th (Monday)

I think all of us have baggage of some sort to deal with as we move through life. Broken people, though, don't know how to jettison the useless bits or how to deal with the harmful parts and far too many do as described in this thread - sweep it under the rug and hope it stays there.

At some point though, there is just too much under the rug and everything explodes, resulting in chaos and collateral damage to anyone near them.


Posts: 730 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Immersed in my happily ever after : )
myperfectlife
Member
Member # 39801
Default  Posted: 8:40 AM, July 29th (Monday)

It seems to me broken people are that way because they don't learn how to handle situations in a mentally healthy manner.

This^^^
It reminds me of the nature/nurture argument. I believe people are born with personality traits waiting to come out, their FOO enforces or negates these, depending on the circumstances. As they grow up into the "real world" they either deal with all the mutations or they let them continue to mutate, creating even more unhealthy functions.
I've noticed my 14 year old shares many of the same coping mechanisms (or lack) as my WS. He has always been that way, and neither of my other 2 boys are. I believe part of it is genetically his personality, but I try my best to counter those negatives with positive environment.
There's no clear answer of course, although my WS and I were in the same marriage-he cheated and I didn't. Something stopped me, nothing stopped him.


I cannot be responsible for another's personal growth.
DDay#1 of a "cheatillion" 4/1/13
Divorce final 11/04/13

Posts: 452 | Registered: Jul 2013
solus sto
Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 9:10 AM, July 29th (Monday)

I can see where the "broken" thing might chafe. But I now clearly see the cracks and vulnerabilities that made me "fit" so well with what turned out to be ---yes-- a VERY broken man.

We all are broken. Some people are a little damaged, and some are very, very broken. And some, like Mr. Trac-Fone, are broken beyond recognition, but don convincing masks.

If exploring the brokenness in your relationship (your WS you, and the relationship itself) doesn't sit well, you have a couple of choices: dig deeper, because discomfort often signals that there's something useful to be unearthed. Or, take what comfortably fits from this site, and discard the rest.

I did not start to heal---which meant I had another D-day--until I was willing to be uncomfortable. YMMV

[This message edited by solus sto at 7:00 PM, July 29th (Monday)]


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 53, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8850 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 10:05 AM, July 29th (Monday)

I hope this isn't a threadjack, but have to wonder why solo believes all people are broken.

Is is semantics? Is it a way to deal with flawed people? I'm just curious. I don't believe I'm broken in any way, shape or form. Am I perfect? Of course not, but I believe I have a sense of appropriate, inappropriate, empathy, sympathy, etc., which are healthy emotions.


Posts: 5629 | Registered: Jul 2002
sunflowergirl30
Member
Member # 28979
Default  Posted: 10:38 AM, July 29th (Monday)

Broken...i dont believe all people are broken. Hell what i do believe is that my wh is f*cked up.

He knows right from wrong and yet continues to choose wrong because it gets him what he wants in that moment, damned the damage or consequences later. Imo cheaters are in general f*cked up and selfish. People are flawed yes but to say we are all broken imo is a big error. The difference between a cheater and a faithful person? Both people can have horrible things happen in their lives but that doesnt mean ethics or integrity have no place in their lives. Its a choice as with anything else. To me a lot of cheaters use being broken as a scape goat or excuse. Well, imo they are just f*cked up...


Together 21yrs married 18yrs
2 kids, now 19 & 16
Bw: now 38
Wh: now 37
Mow: now 50
1st D-day EA w/mow our realtor 4-?-2007, 2nd D-day PA w/ same mow 5-29-2010

Posts: 1079 | Registered: Jul 2010 | From: Pacific Northwest
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 10:49 AM, July 29th (Monday)

To me, 'broken' is very useful shorthand to describe where the WS is during and for some variable time after the A.

It's not an excuse or justification in any way. Rather, it's an easy way of saying that the WS has a lot of work to do to make herself a good partner for the future.

FOO issues are probably the source of the broken-ness, but the broken person is entirely responsible for what she's done, entirely responsible for changing herself, and entirely responsible for making amends.

The evidence of broken-ness is the WS's loss of touch with reality - forgetting vows, seeing this new person as worthy of love in an A (IMO, aps are worthy of love in an honest relationship, but no A is an honest relationship), etc., etc., etc.

Again, 'broken' is a description, not an excuse, at least when I use it.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10383 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Tripletrouble
Member
Member # 39169
Default  Posted: 3:58 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Interesting variety of opinions on this. I guess my point in the post was that there was nothing in Mr Triple's past to explain a sudden decision to nuke our family. Nice upbringing, and a charmed life into his mid 40's. Poor coping skills? Maybe. So what. I feel like labeling HIM "broken" is bullshit. I straight up think he just made a stupid selfish choice. Can IC get him in touch with better coping skills? I'm sure it can. Can it cure being an ass? I doubt it. He's very remorseful but since I was blindsided, I don't know what progress I'm supposed to see to assure it won't happen again in a year, 5 year, 15 years.


40 somethings - me BW after 20 years
D Day April 2013
Divorced November 2013

Be happy with what you have while you work for what you want - Hellen Keller


Posts: 638 | Registered: May 2013
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 4:09 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Eh, as a kid I had no idea it was my family was fucked up, I thought it was me all the way. Even the happy families of friends, I assumed their parents hated me. Recognizing dysfunction is a matter of perspective whichever direction you're coming at it from.

I think everybody is broken, but I don't think anybody is permanently broken. Well, okay, there are some people but they're either dangerous to be so broken as irredeemably so, or secretly lizard aliens and don't count anyway. I think everybody is broken because the standard is assumed to be fully functional otherwise, and everybody breaks down sooner or later. Heading out to the highway is now looping through my head. Fuck.

eta:

Can IC get him in touch with better coping skills? I'm sure it can. Can it cure being an ass?

Well, how do you distinguish the two? Poor coping skills generally lead the charge in the I'm Making A Fucked Up Decision Today pack of personal faults, and poor coping skills is part of being broken. Adopting healthy coping skills alongside a perspective of empathy should be part of that.

What would not being an ass look like to you?

[This message edited by StillGoing at 4:12 PM, July 29th (Monday)]


"You have insulted my footwear."

Posts: 7488 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
StruckNumb
Member
Member # 38973
Default  Posted: 4:26 PM, July 29th (Monday)

I know my husband is broke. Recently he cleaned our his wine cellar. i helped him. In the midst of cleaning were some shopping bags. One was from a place he usually bought me jewelry for special occasions. I looked in the bag and there was a receipt and it was for two necklaces. I recognized only one, the one he gave me for Christmas the prior year. The onther was twice the price and I confroned him. It went to the ho.

The issues that freaked me out is the place this necklace came from was a special place I thought shared by just he and I. it had "special" meaning.

The other was the receipt reflected he spent part of it in cash and part on credit card...lhe took extreme measures to hide his affair. Later I found he would take the checks from his business trip expenses and spend them on her.

When I saw the receipt for the necklaces and how took extra measures to spend some in cash but a little in credit, it really hit me how f*cked up a human being could get and the twists and turns you have to do to maintain a dual life.


me-BW-51
f?WH - 49
m27 yrs, T 28, no kids
OW-WH's former CW, friends + 20yr
DDay-11/16/12, LT EA, 4y? PA, manymany
EA with FFriends over the years
Attempting R
Is there an end to blindness in sight?

Posts: 77 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: N.California
Tripletrouble
Member
Member # 39169
Default  Posted: 4:29 PM, July 29th (Monday)

I simply have yet to hear what he was coping with, dealing with, stressed by, or otherwise traumatized by that was solved by joining a f*ck buddy website. Not being an ass would look like acting like a father and a husband instead of a 20 year old frat boy maximizing the body count (no offense to former frat boys- its just not how you act at this stage in life).


40 somethings - me BW after 20 years
D Day April 2013
Divorced November 2013

Be happy with what you have while you work for what you want - Hellen Keller


Posts: 638 | Registered: May 2013
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 5:53 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Being broken doesn't need to mean traumatized. He could just be an entitled asshole.

Appropriate coping skills would include the understanding that grownups have responsibilities that don't include sticking your dick in random passerby because it looks like fun.

Poor coping skills don't actually solve things. Well they might but in the way eating a box of razor blades eventually solves a stomach ache. Disguising the razor blades as candy corn and trying to insert them up your ass instead, that's the kind of thing that people do when they fixate on a certain avenue and try to find a way to make it work in the real world when the actual solution is, don't fucking eat razor blades and maybe get some tums instead and then see the doctor.


"You have insulted my footwear."

Posts: 7488 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 6:45 PM, July 29th (Monday)

I realized when I wrote my last post, I left out something very important.

I do not believe all cheaters are broken. Some are just assholes. Their coping skills aren't at issue. They may just be selfish. They may feel entitled. Just because one cheats doesn't mean they aren't mentally healty, imho.

And I believe many broken people don't choose to cheat.
They have other issues they deal with inappropriately.


Posts: 5629 | Registered: Jul 2002
solus sto
Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 6:55 PM, July 29th (Monday)

I hope this isn't a threadjack, but have to wonder why solo believes all people are broken.
Are you referring to me? I guess by "broken," I mean "flawed," or, even "just plain HUMAN."

We're all imperfect. We have vulnerabilities.

I don't use "broken" to imply that we are irreparable or damaged goods. I don't use it pejoratively. I use it to describe the human condition.

I would be glad to discuss, in another context, how brokenness has affected my life---but really, when I say that we all are broken, I just mean we all have vulnerabilities and blind spots and areas that have, at some point, been shattered and have not quite mended fully. It's part of being human. How we deal with it is what matters.


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 53, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8850 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
solus sto
Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 6:59 PM, July 29th (Monday)

You know, people who grow up in blatantly dysfunctional families KNOW it.
Nope, gotta disagree with this. When dysfunction is all you know, you do NOT necessarily know your family is fucked up.

I didn't.


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 53, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8850 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
Topic Posts: 24