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Family of Origin/Alcoholism

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Thumos posted 12/9/2019 00:28 AM

Just putting this out there.

I personally score a ď5Ē on the ACE quiz.

I had a screwed up childhood. Iíve been a stable, hardworking loyal spouse and father because I donít want to pass instability on to my own children. I remember when my son was almost born, I was growing panicky. How could I be a good father to him when Iíd never had one?

I know ďreligionĒ is off limits here, but I got an answer straight from God. The words were very direct: ďbe the father you never had.Ē

By the way, this goes a long way to explaining my reluctance to D my WW and why Iím in limbo. I am pretty stubborn about not repeating the mistakes of the past.

I have alcoholism in my family. My stepfather from age 10 is a raging alcoholic and abusive.

Iíve been faithful to ONE woman my entire adult life. Iíve never strayed. I think things through. I never ó until my wife decided to invite another man to our home for unprotected sex ó gave any thought to having another relationship with a different woman.

I consider ramifications. I have executive functions in my frontal lobes.

I find FOO and alcoholism and other crutches for infidelity to be just that.... excuses.

My wife has some FOO issues as well. Sheís tried to point to those as excuses. I think itís bullshit.

People are capable of rational moral decision-making. Just my opinion.

Can we take this horseshit off the table as excuses for infidelity?

[This message edited by Thumos at 12:42 AM, December 9th (Monday)]

nightmare01 posted 12/9/2019 01:28 AM

I had a screwed up childhood.

I'm also from a dysfunctional FOO - my parents were criminals, into hard drugs - dealers in fact.


I consider ramifications. I have executive functions in my frontal lobes.

This I find interesting. Although I've been with more women (5 total - I'm such a casanova ), I have NEVER cheated on them. Not once. I wonder if the lack of stability in our childhood makes us LESS prone to cheat or hurt others - because we know what if feels like to be hurt and betrayed?

[This message edited by nightmare01 at 1:46 AM, December 9th (Monday)]

UneedToSmile posted 12/9/2019 06:01 AM

I have seen examples of children doing the exact opposite of what their parents have done because theyíre so traumatized by it. But my WH is a non-example. His dad did the exact same thing to his mother that he is doing to me right now. Early in our marriage he used to talk about how hurtful it was to watch his mother go through this. And now heís doing the same thing to me. I just donít get it. So maybe it does all come back to your brain and its wiring?

cocoplus5nuts posted 12/9/2019 08:18 AM

I find FOO and alcoholism and other crutches for infidelity to be just that.... excuses.

That's exactly what they are, excuses. My childhood and FOO were much more messed up than my fch's. The worst my fch had to deal with was his dad getting angry and yelling, maybe being disappointed. His dad was strict and sometimes harsh, but not abusive or cruel. His family was very Leave it to Beaver or Ozzy and Harriet.

OTOH, my mom was a narcissist and a cheater. My parents divorced when I was 4. I was traumatized as a child by my mother's mental and emotional abuse. Alcoholism and mental disorders run in my family.i was assaulted more than once on my teens and early adulthood.

I never cheated. My fch did. He can't even claim he didn't know what else to do about his problems (although he ttied). I took him to counseling with me many times. He chose to not open up and be honest.

So, yeah, even when they get down to their nitty gritty whys, it's all bullshit excuses. Hopefully, though, they will finally start to address them in healthy ways.

Buck posted 12/9/2019 13:06 PM

Thumos, you and I have a few things in common...

My parents divorced when I was 10yo. There was a couple of years of bullshit R between my parents that involved moving, short term separations, and loud arguments at all times of the day and night. My dad was a heavy drinker, but not a full blown alcoholic. His family (he's from a family with 8 children) is chock full of alcoholics. 4 are full blown, don't function in society drunks. My dad's father drank himself to death and died from liver issues. I almost never have more than 2 drinks in a sitting. I can go weeks and weeks without a drink and it never enters my mind. I treat booze with a great deal of respect.

D had a big impact on me as a kid. It sucked. I had a fairly wicked stepmom and her 2 kids were horrible. My father and his new AP wife lasted a little over 2 years. I saw him less and less during the D, he lost his job, and he moved to another state. I did not see or hear from him until I was 20. He didn't pay child support either and money was super tight. I have a strained relationship with him today. I swore to myself I would never be a drunken, cheating asshole that abandons my children. My WW and I had 3 serious, hours long, heart to heart conversations where you pour your soul out about cheating and drinking before we got married. I never even flirted with another woman prior to my WW cheating.

I had some sexual stuff happen with a much older woman when I was 13.

That shit definitely shaped me and influenced how I view the world and my reactions to certain situations. I had abandonment and attachment issues I had to sort through in IC.

You've stated your childhood impacted decisions you're making now. Why do you think your WW doesn't have the same thing going on?

secondtime posted 12/9/2019 13:41 PM


I give a fair amount of lee-way when it comes to FOO issues.

I'll raise my hand too...with the FOO issues. Mom is likely borderline, dad enabled.

I'm an only child. My mom was an only child. My dad has a brother, but once their mom died (when I was 6), that relationship was pretty much severed too.

My parents did a good job of promoting enmeshment through isolation. My parents didn't have friends. We didn't really have extended family. I was not encouraged to maintain friendships outside of school hours. My parents were supposed to be my best friends.

Sure, I'll give you that I was exposed to the Cosby show and Full House growing up. But I also was raised to believe that life that media portrayed wasn't the norm. So it didn't dawn on me growing up that my normal actually was not normal.

I didn't figure things out until my late 20s and early 30s. It wasn't because I was dumb. Actually I'm fairly smart. It's because I didn't realize mental abuse was a thing. I mean. I was familiar with the silent treatment, being the recipient of that for much of my first 30 years of existence..but I didn't know it was inherently bad. But I wasn't aware the the silent treatment was abusive.

Perhaps if there had been after school specials on parents being mentally and emotionally abusive, I would have caught on quicker.

Even though I'm the BS, I really was a bad marriage partner up until 34ish. No, I didn't stray. But I was fairly abusive at times. But, it wasn't until I started seeing things very clearly that I could recognize it.

Now, of course I watch my mouth so I don't cut people down and make them feel worse than shit in 3 seconds flat. In my 20s, this would have been a skill I was proud of. Because I didn't know any better.

[This message edited by secondtime at 1:45 PM, December 9th (Monday)]

emergent8 posted 12/9/2019 14:05 PM

In my mind there is nothing in anyone's past that is a good EXCUSE for infidelity.... ultimately, all cheaters DECIDED to cheat. But if you're trying to figure out your WHYS and sort out how a person can do something that is otherwise entirely outside of their value system, FOO issues and background are a good place to start looking. These aren't meant to "excuse" poor behavior but are meant to figure out what went wrong where, and why that person was susceptible at that point in time.

There are tons of people out there with awful backgrounds that never cheated and there are plenty of people with perfectly nice childhoods that do. One obviously doesn't necessarily predict the other. But our relationships, values, and experiences as children undoubtedly have some influence on shaping who we become as people and how we react to the world.

If my husband was looking to BLAME his cheating on his childhood, I probably wouldn't react well to it either. But that wasn't the case. Figuring out how his prior experiences and family dynamics effected his coping mechanisms and reactions helped us both understand how his to understand how his affair came to be, how to fix what was wrong with him and with our relationship and enable me to feel comfortable choosing to R and continue building my life with someone who had hurt me so spectacularly.

Loukas posted 12/9/2019 14:35 PM

I have more then enough FOO issues in my family. Because of them, I became hyper vigilant to their consequences, having had to live through those consequences at no fault of my own.

My ex on the other hand, appeared to come from an ideal picture of a functional family.

Iím of the opinion, that when life got hard, like really hard for my ex and I, it was our FOO that brought us down different paths. Since I had lived through and seen the consequences once in my life already, I was trying to get ahead of them. In her life, she had never faced these challenges and fell right into them.

I dunno, I donít think anyone has a right to use FOO as an excuse. Whether that FOO is good or bad, they are simply building tools to look at and learn from. Unfortunately, some folks donít realize the impact their FOO has had on their behaviour until it is too late. Thatís why it may appear as itís being used as an excuse. Really though, itís what they do with the knowledge that matters.

crazyblindsided posted 12/9/2019 16:28 PM

There is no excuse for infidelity except that the CS decided to do it. There could have been a myriad of different ways to look into M issues and FOO.

I also scored a 5 on the ACE quiz and FOO is filled with abusers, cheaters and alcoholics. I did have a RA but I can only blame myself for the lack of insight on my part and let impulsivity, revenge, and destruction of my M on my mind.

My STBX most likely has a high score as he was abused by his mother. I believe his A's filled his void and gave him the validation he was seeking. I think he also enjoyed triangulating and punishing me by having the A's because my sex drive was dwindling.

tushnurse posted 12/9/2019 17:52 PM

Can our FOO shit make us do anything? No.
Can our FOO shit contribute to making shitty choices? Yes absolutely.
Can our FOO shit keep us emotionally stunted to the point where we should never be in a committed relationship? Absolutely.

But to use is as the soul reason for cheating. nope not ok.

cancuncrushed posted 12/9/2019 21:59 PM

I think we learn more when we are exposed to it. Really live in it

Both my parents were alcoholics. Abusive. Neglectful. Extreme poverty. Every relative on my dads side experienced alcoholism. For life. Chronic.

I am very straight forward. Iím a strong Christian. I live my faith. I donít drink. Maybe one in a couple years. I did turn to alcohol on DDay 1. I was insane. It didnít help.
Iíve always been a nice girl. Looking forward to family children. Life is good. I have never cheated. Never tempted. Itís disgusting to consider. I know the destruction. Itís rampant in my alcoholic family I was determined to be opposite.

My Xwh had the perfect Mayberry family. Raised in faith. Active in church. Small country town Deep South. Farmers.
Heís a chronic alcoholic. Npd. Has experimented with drugs and a sex addict. Women are very disrespected.

I donít get it. I donít understand him. Where did this come from? Heís a liar. Iím down to the bone honest. Heís spoiled. Very spoiled. I work very hard. Physical work. He slept. ?????

[This message edited by cancuncrushed at 10:06 PM, December 9th (Monday)]

maise posted 12/10/2019 06:18 AM

What Emergent8 said, all the way.

To add, on the other end as a BS Iíve had to work through my own whyís and patterns learned, coping skills used, and messages received throughout my FOO that led me to be with someone like my WS, and to making the choices I was making in my own life. Doing all of this is how Iíve gotten as far as I have in my healing. Itís yielded amazing results for not only me, but my children too.

[This message edited by maise at 6:28 AM, December 10th (Tuesday)]

cocoplus5nuts posted 12/10/2019 06:51 AM

she had never faced these challenges and fell right into them.

I think this was my fch. He had never faced adversity. He never saw disagreements or struggles in his parents' relationship. When it happened to him, he didn't know how to handle it. He took it as a personal failure rather than understanding that all LTRs go through challenging times.

Again, not an acceptable excuse for cheating. He needed someone to talk to. Of all the people we knew, why did he choose the MOW? Because he liked the attention she was giving him, the ego kibbles. He couldn't get that feeling from his friend Tom or a therapist.

He chose to deal with his lack of understanding because of FOO issues by getting a girlfriend. He chose wrong.

The1stWife posted 12/10/2019 10:46 AM

I think that some cheaters are not functioning with a clear head or brain. If you spend your life with your body filled with substances - it takes a toll on your brain.

Iím not excusing the behavior. Iím explaining the propensity of some cheaters to not make good decisions and choose to cheat. Part of their problem is they are not operating in all cylinders and choose to make the same mistakes over and over.

I find it interesting for those that lived with parents who were cheating on their spouses - end up doing the same thing. They saw the destruction and problems. But yet make the same mistakes.

Thumos posted 12/10/2019 10:48 AM

Thanks everyone for your contribution to this thread. No need to stop talking here, I just wanted everyone to know I'm stepping away for a bit as I approach the disclosure session with my WW, polygraph after that, holiday season, decisions.

I want to calm my mind and carve out some space as much as possible. I'll be back later for an update.

Justgetitoverwith posted 12/10/2019 14:42 PM

In my mind there is nothing in anyone's past that is a good EXCUSE for infidelity.... ultimately, all cheaters DECIDED to cheat. But if you're trying to figure out your WHYS and sort out how a person can do something that is otherwise entirely outside of their value system, FOO issues and background are a good place to start looking

I get that there are many ways in which someone can have a seriously difficult time as a child, both mentally and physically, and this will affect your relationships down the line. It does seem to be a blanket excuse for a lot though.

I had a loving family, though dad worked away a lot, we moved countries a couple of times, had a stretch of being quite financially restricted, and one parent suffered depression. They emigrated when I was 19 and I was left with no home base or family support.

WH had a well off family, lived in the same place most of his childhood, had the same friends and family around. Dad home every night. Yet his excuse for his years of shitty behaviour is that he has never felt loved. Because his parents never told him that. And I didn't tell him enough. I know they would have written it in birthday cards, and I've seen they give hugs on meeting and leaving, they always tell him how well hes doing, so he certainly won't have been emotionally neglected.

And I certainly have shown him I loved him, in many actions since getting together, and many many written declarations of love, not least staying with him when my family emigrated.

And yet his base excuse is that he never felt loved. That's not a FOO issue, it's an issue in his own head. Ppls words and actions have always demonstrated love yet he refused to see it. And now he wants to R, he says that he does see he is loved (by me). I dont know how that can be true, as I've been telling him for years that each lie wears away a bit of my love for him, and he didnt stop. I certainly dont behave towards him the way I used to. Yet he feels loved now? It's all excuses.

Justgetitoverwith posted 12/10/2019 14:42 PM

Duplicate post

[This message edited by Justgetitoverwith at 2:42 PM, December 10th (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 12/10/2019 15:06 PM

I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions that there is when it comes to the whys.

People who cheat, did so because they wanted to. There is no why in the world that would excuse it. Nothing excuses it.

BUT, what a WW is setting out to do is change who they are so that isn't something they would want in their life.

FOO is something ANYONE will explore in therapy as a first step in self exploration of who you are and why you think the way you do. And, our thinking lends itself to ones behaviors. If you, as a BS had some unhealthy tendency that was destructive to you (and some do) then you would go to therapy and the therapist is going to start off with looking at FOO. And, if there is past trauma there, then they will work with you on understanding and healing it. That is a stepping stone for analyzing your thoughts and behaviors a different way. Looking at yourself a different way.

In many ways we should stop even calling it whys. More, what are the character flaws that you have and where do they come from? How can you change them.

It would be totally awesome if you could say to someone "You have been very selfish, stop that" and they can just say "okay". The reason FOO is important is because this is about ingrained behavior.

To rebuild who you are is from the ground up. To do that, you have to discover what things are wrong. A lot of people have bad FOO and their coping is to do things the right way. Others find other coping mechanisms - they have unhealthy attachments in relationships, they drink, do drugs, lie all the time, cheat, etc. You don't cheat because of your FOO. Your foo does give you clues as to where some of the thoughts and beliefs formed so you can challenge them.

When a WS comes here and talks about their whys, it's because it's what we are doing in therapy. To get a big picture at how I was failing at life I had to trace my FOO, and then all the stages of my adulthood. When thoughts creep in, I can say, "You only think this because of this" it helps me dispel thoughts that are not true, not helpful.

Everyone also has thought distortion. If you read about it, you will find something in there that you know you do.

You need to look at the whys more as why is a person who they are. Not, why did they cheat. It is a stepping stone for growth. How they came to cheat? Those reasons have little to do with foo and more to do with entitlement and selfishness, but to reverse those factors you have to look at where they come from.

[This message edited by hikingout at 3:09 PM, December 10th (Tuesday)]

Dorothy123 posted 12/11/2019 07:49 AM

I agree with everyone else.

There is no excuse for cheating.

Pippin posted 12/11/2019 18:25 PM

Thumos, ACEs are not an excuse for cheating. They are predictive of an increased chance of mental and physical disease in adulthood. Like being born genetically predisposed.

I've brought ACEs up on the wayward forum and in messages. When someone dismisses FOO in general as unimportant it can be eye opening to know that experiences that happen in early childhood - even if those experiences stopped or you got out of the situation - can affect your well being decades later. So I bring it up to try to prompt another look at how early experiences can be unknowingly brought forward, especially when people have the "I left all that behind and did fine on my own" attitude (which I had in spades).

And sometimes I see people who won't or can't get a start on self-care because they don't think they deserve to be cared for in any way. Pointing out that self-care is not just a nice thing you do when you feel a low, but necessary for survival, can help get them started (I hope). Their BS and families also benefit when waywards take care of themselves (though I unapologetically spend the time I have oriented toward the waywards who are seeking help.)

And I mention it as an FYI sometimes, because it's not widely known. When life insurance questionnaires start asking about ACEs it will have permeated popular culture, I guess, but until then I assume many people aren't aware they are in danger.

I don't often venture off the wayward board and am mindful of the appearance of a WW lecturing a BH (which is not my intention and I hope not the impact). I'll say to you what I say to people on wayward, and IRL. An ACE score of 4 or higher means, among many other things, that you are at risk for living 20 fewer years than you otherwise would. You rightly are proud of how well you have lived your life despite your early experiences. It's horribly unfair that you may be burdened with lasting effects from those experiences. You deserved much better care than you were given when you were little. The people who cared for you should have protected you from trauma when you couldn't protect yourself. I very much hope you have or can find the support that you need to mitigate the effects and the motivation to do it.

An article by Donna Jackson Nakazawa called 8 Ways People Recover From Post Childhood Adversity Syndrome has a good summary of evidence-based strategies. All or most of the suggestions may also help with betrayal trauma.

[This message edited by Pippin at 6:28 PM, December 11th (Wednesday)]

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