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Family of Origin/Alcoholism

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sisoon posted 12/12/2019 11:57 AM

Possible 2 X 4 coming up ...

From NOT "Just Friends" by Shirley Glass, page 248-249, Free Press paperback, 2003 edition:

'Sometimes betrayed spouses ... don't want to hear about individual motives or vulnerabilities because they're afraid to get sidetracked from their sense of having been wronged. They don't want to make the effort to understand what happened in case understanding becomes confused with condoning or excusing. But understanding is not the same as excusing.' (Glass's italics)

northeasternarea posted 12/12/2019 13:45 PM

An explanation is not an excuse. What we have seen, learned and experienced does impact how we behave and how we see the world.

Justgetitoverwith posted 12/12/2019 14:06 PM

It's difficult to understand some things as FOO issues (my parents didnt say they loved me, so i didnt think you did either,and therefore cheating was ok) without seeing it as an excuse though. Especially when the facts refute what the WS was thinking.

There are so many ppl with shitty FOO issues who CHOSE not to cheat/lie/go down the same path. Doesn't it all come down to their innate mental attitude - either a giver or a taker? Yes, this may be influenced by circumstances and upbringing, but ultimately the final choice is independent of FOO.

HopefulTelephone posted 12/12/2019 14:12 PM

I think it's important to keep in mind what Pippin said. The ACE test isn't comprehensive what so ever and it's scope is limited only in the correlation it draws to specific future issues adult survivors experience.

With that said, it spits out a very easily digestible number free of bullshit rationalization or bullshit excuses, or any context at all for that matter. It's black and white, yes or no, these are the facts. It can be both very eye opening and very validating.

I have an ACE of 9 and I have a suspicion it might actually be 10 but I have very large gaps in my memory from my childhood (years 8-13 were especially difficult. I have a hunch I was sexually abused during that time but I remember almost nothing from that 5 year span).

I've never cheated, nor has the thought ever crossed my mind. So, like you Thumos, I don't have a whole lot of patience for wayward people blaming FOO issues for living their lives like a wrecking ball.

But I've also developed some terrible coping strategies as well. I've probably smoked my weight in weed and still have times where I need (like, an actual physical need) to close myself off from the world entirely. Sometimes for days at a time, sort of just a vacation from reality for a while. Many children aren't taught how to cope, they just kinda have to learn as they go. And those coping strategies they rely on become every bit a part of them as any other personality trait. I get that, and I get how challenging it can be to overcome.

With my xWW, I never actually waited for a smoking gun. Our relationship wasn't great at the time and, whether she was cheating or not, I wasn't willing to accept her lies and deception. I found out after D that my gut was right, and it validated my actions for sure.

She had a few FOO issues with an alcoholic father but her family is otherwise very strong and loving. She's a pretty typical spoiled first child and...best way I can describe it is she is aggressively emotionally stunted. Like she absolutely refused to grow and mature emotionally. Her mom is a wonderful woman and her siblings are all awesome people. I never really fully understood why she is the way she is but it doesn't surprise me at all. I'm absolutely sure, even to this day, she doesn't know either, and she doesn't at all care to find out.

hikingout posted 12/12/2019 14:17 PM

Justgetitoverwith - I agree with you. It can shape and influence, and by looking at those things it can help reshape and rebuild if that person works off the information. The decision is pretty independent, but FOO can contribute to why you might bring that sort of thing to your life. All people have FOO. A lot have bad FOO experience, and not everyone is going to respond in the same way.

There is one point though from what you said in terms of givers/takers.

I think that there are two sides of the spectrum for waywards that I notice. Some are OVER givers, and some are OVER takers.

Some cheaters give too much, and it's part of their coping mechanism. They don't take responsibility for their happiness, and they try and overcompensate in order to be worthy of love. They rob themselves of the joy of the giving by it becoming an obligation.

Some cheaters are takers, and try and fill up their unhappiness by taking, taking, taking. I think they somehow miss that true joy comes from the giving.

I was the first kind of cheater. I wouldn't say I was ever a taker. I was too much of a giver, to the point I didn't have anything else to give. That's not a victim statement - that is something I did to myself. Cheating in itself was selfish, but I have never been a selfish person by nature. I only point it out not because I believe one is better than the other, only to point out that there are different types.

I know there was a post not so long ago about how many people's cheaters were rude, sloppy, obnoxious, overly self indulgent etc. But, I think that is maybe one personality type that might cheat. Anyway, I say all that just for information only.

DevastatedDee posted 12/12/2019 14:25 PM

Possible 2 X 4 coming up ...
From NOT "Just Friends" by Shirley Glass, page 248-249, Free Press paperback, 2003 edition:

'Sometimes betrayed spouses ... don't want to hear about individual motives or vulnerabilities because they're afraid to get sidetracked from their sense of having been wronged. They don't want to make the effort to understand what happened in case understanding becomes confused with condoning or excusing. But understanding is not the same as excusing.' (Glass's italics)

I hear that, but that thought process can be dangerous to a BS. I know you've seen it plenty here and I have too. Sometimes the BS is in such a shitty situation that trying to be empathetic to the WS puts him or her in danger emotionally or physically and that BS needs to cling to the wrong done to them and GTFO. I could be sad about my poor XWH and all the trauma he has been through and feel sorry for him just the way he wants everyone to feel sorry for him, but that would put me in a situation where I'd be taken further advantage of and exposed to the STDs of drug-addicted prostitutes and living with a crackhead. Sometimes a BS needs to cling to the harm that was done to them and absolutely not try to understand the one who harmed them.

Justgetitoverwith posted 12/12/2019 14:43 PM

Thanks hikingout, I appreciate that the giver/taker might not influence all actions and attitudes. Though in the precise moment of choosing to make an A a PA, I would argue that it's more about taking for yourself over anything else. And I know that's a simplification.

It's all so complicated, and I think in the case of my WS at least, comes down to some mental inability to interpret things correctly. Going on what he has said in the past. Although this has also evolved, so whereas after seeing his IC who introduced him to his FOO as an explanation he said he didn't feel loved, now he has amended that to he didn't feel loved all the time (by me). No, there's always going to be some point at which this happens. And at the point, what influences the decision to cheat? Whether you want to stick to what you know is right, or do wrong, I guess. And that also seems independent of FOO. (At least in my WSs case, with no family history of cheating for him to think it's normal, or whatever.)

This is a very interesting thread, but also very mind bending when you start to unravel the issues!

hikingout posted 12/12/2019 14:51 PM

I would argue that it's more about taking for yourself over anything else. And I know that's a simplification.

Oh I don't disagree at all. The decision to cheat is always a selfish one. That whole year (months leading up to it, the A itself, and months into the aftermath) I was a completely selfish asshole. That's not a simplification. It's just I think the prior status of things you can look at it - and usually there is some unhealthy relationship with giving over all.

Mine just was I did it to an unhealthy point until I resented it, not realizing I was the one with that expectation. How I missed that as the headline? No idea. But, joy and happiness are cultivated and I think part of that always can contain what is your relationship with giving? If it's usually from a healthy place with good boundaries in mind, then I think that takes one more predictor off the table towards cheating. It's not a sure fire one, lots of people cope differently, but for waywards you can almost always see that part was off balance...and pretty far in one direction or the other.

[This message edited by hikingout at 2:52 PM, December 12th (Thursday)]

Justgetitoverwith posted 12/12/2019 15:02 PM

Mine just was I did it to an unhealthy point until I resented it, not realizing I was the one with that expectation. How I missed that as the headline? No idea. But, joy and happiness are cultivated and I think part of that always can contain what is your relationship with giving? If it's usually from a healthy place with good boundaries in mind, then I think that takes one more predictor off the table towards cheating

That's really interesting, as I'd definately say that I've been the giver in our relationship, and I *was* becoming resentful, which I think is part of the reason I pursued the one little sentence which WS slipped with and ultimately led to all his behaviour coming out.

Interesting, but a slight t/j, I'll stop taking about me now, haha.

hikingout posted 12/12/2019 15:12 PM

Not at all, this is what we are talking about, I think it goes with the thread. I was past resentment, I had put myself in a place where I was emotionally and physically exhausted. Numb. Crying at the drop of a hat (not a crier)

However, in your situation you had a taker so maybe it was expected. I wouldn't classify my husband as a taker. He has pretty good boundaries in terms of making sure he gets things he wants and his needs are met. But, I wouldn't say he was a taker. In my situation, I was the one who placed all those expectations on myself. I will say that there towards the pinnacle of it leading into the affair, I was helping him with his new business on top of juggling all the domestic stuff, a career, last kid leaving home. He was really not very understanding when I was dropping the ball and certain things were not getting done. While this should not have resulted in him being cheated on by any means, it only served to reinforce the idea to me that to be worthy of love it was by doing things, not for being me. If only I had just stopped and explained that instead of going rogue...

So, yes, I feel like the unhealthy relationship with giving is a common characteristic of a WS. And, probably in a lot of situations like yours the other person also has some imbalance with it in order to put up with it. Not always indicative of cheating, but certainly has to be looked at when cheating occurs.

[This message edited by hikingout at 3:13 PM, December 12th (Thursday)]

KingRat posted 12/12/2019 15:40 PM

so whereas after seeing his IC who introduced him to his FOO as an explanation he said he didn't feel loved, now he has amended that to he didn't feel loved all the time (by me). No, there's always going to be some point at which this happens.

***I'm just using the above as an example and not particularly calling out a poster or part of any post***

Anything he is relating about what his IC said or did not say is hearsay. Unless I heard the declarant, I would question whether or not the IC actually made those statements or it was his biased interpretation.

Let's assume his FOO issue that caused him to not feel loved is true. The only way that would be an excuse for cheating is if feelings could compel his actions. Since it is and always was socially unacceptable to cheat if someone did not feel loved. He acted knowingly and was fully able to understand the consequences--no excuse.

FOO issues explain feelings not actions. Feelings can certainly influence (in)action, but feelings can never cause or not cause one to act. This can serve us by helping us identify strengths and weaknesses. Just because we may have a weakness does not mean we are excused. It just means we must work harder than the person next to us. Suck it up; life is not fair. Do or don't, there is no "try."

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.

So your FOO issues did influence your future actions but in an objectively positive manner?

[This message edited by KingRat at 4:16 PM, December 12th (Thursday)]

WornDown posted 12/12/2019 15:47 PM

I hear that, but that thought process can be dangerous to a BS.

This is true to an extent, but only in the beginning.

Sure, when you're in the JFO stage, the BS doesn't need to hear about FOO or any other issue from the WS, because - yes - it probably is an excuse from them.

But after time (months? year+?), BOTH the WS and BS should be in a place where they can objectively look at the situation and start to understand why a WS would think cheating is a good idea.

But to say that the WS could NEVER talk about FOO to the BS is really about the BS not healing and growing themselves.

DevastatedDee posted 12/12/2019 20:41 PM

But to say that the WS could NEVER talk about FOO to the BS is really about the BS not healing and growing themselves.

I definitely didn't and wouldn't say never. I do say that it's dangerous in some circumstances. If you have a remorseful WS and you are both trying to reconcile, you need to know the whys. You need to evaluate who he or she is in those circumstances to figure out if R is a wise choice.

sisoon posted 12/13/2019 11:38 AM

Sometimes the BS is in such a shitty situation that trying to be empathetic to the WS puts him or her in danger emotionally or physically and that BS needs to cling to the wrong done to them and GTFO.
I agree that it can be dangerous for a BS to use empathy to give a pass to an abusive WS, and I can understand that anything a victim of abuse uses to get away from the abuser is positive.

At the same time, from the POV of long term health, the need isn't to see oneself as a Victim, IMO. Rather, it's for the victim to find the internal strength to say, 'I don't deserve this crap. I deserve to be treated well. I'm outta here.'

My sense, Dee, is that you liberated yourself more by realizing you deserved better than your H gave you than by holding onto the wrongs he did to you. Do I misread you? (No need to answer. In fact, reading that back, it may be impossible to separate the influences.)

Thumos posted 12/13/2019 11:46 AM

So your FOO issues did influence your future actions but in an objectively positive manner?

Possibly. Or perhaps in spite of, because humans have both an intangible mind and a physical brain we are able to surmount any FOO obstacles by using rational and moral decision-making.

DevastatedDee posted 12/13/2019 13:24 PM

My sense, Dee, is that you liberated yourself more by realizing you deserved better than your H gave you than by holding onto the wrongs he did to you. Do I misread you? (No need to answer. In fact, reading that back, it may be impossible to separate the influences.)

Ha ha, I'm going to answer anyway. You're right, it's impossible to separate the influences. It's both. I deserved better than what he gave me and I was well-aware of it. He was the kind of person who could do the things he did, which disqualified him from being married to me. The primary wrong he did me was presenting himself as one person and turning out to be another.

I can look back at his life history and see the things that caused him trauma and if I were feeling really generous, I could take a moment and have empathy for the child and young man he once was. What I can't find empathy for is the person who did the things he did to the person who treated him with the most love and understanding. I have seen people in similar situations live hellish lives by being too empathetic about the FOO issues of their cheating or abusive partners and essentially martyring themselves to the WS in order to not cause this person who hurt them so badly any more pain. That is the situation where trying to understand and empathize with the whys can be extremely detrimental to a BS.


At the same time, from the POV of long term health, the need isn't to see oneself as a Victim, IMO. Rather, it's for the victim to find the internal strength to say, 'I don't deserve this crap. I deserve to be treated well. I'm outta here.'

Agreed. He victimized me, but I am not a perpetual victim.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 1:25 PM, December 13th (Friday)]

LLXC posted 12/13/2019 13:49 PM

The thing about adverse childhood experiences is that for some people it breaks them, for other people it creates their character.

Now, why such different outcomes? I think done of it is resilience, done of it is having positive influences in your life - maybe a teacher or grandparent

You took your ACEs and wanted to be a better person, you learned healthy coping mechanisms. Your wife didn't.

hikingout posted 12/13/2019 14:11 PM

LLXC-

I agree. I have wondered what that thing is. Maybe some people do just have natural resilience. I know my sister isnít really all that functional. She has anxiety that no one seems to be able to treat and she has to rely on Xanax heavily because the different other meds donít do it. She has done everything - therapy, meds, the blood test that helps narrow ow that down. She has severe anger issues, has had a lot of legal problems as a result. She is also now borderline agoraphobic.

I am highly functioning comparatively, but an escapist by nature. My guess is she stayed and fought through a lot of it, and I checked out. I stayed at friends houses as much as possible. I also gravitated towards people who were ďbetter thanĒ me )I cant think of another way of saying that - but better family, better background, etc. I married way up. In many ways I often wonder if the fact I had other people to emulate is what got me at least as far as it did. My sister emulated my mother and actually became more monstrous than her.

There is no way to predict I guess what the reaction to the foo is. I still understand I made the decisions, nothing made me do it. But it sure shaped a lot of the behaviors that surround it. And those traits across the board seem to make up a common profile of people who cheat. Itís very interesting. I donít blame folks who cant embrace that, I think sometimes itís a barrier of protection that as Dee suggests can be important for their given situation.

[This message edited by hikingout at 2:12 PM, December 13th (Friday)]

KingRat posted 12/13/2019 22:56 PM

because humans have both an intangible mind and a physical brain we are able to surmount any FOO obstacles by using rational and moral decision-making

Oh for sure. I only commented on that because you stated that your motivation for your approach to adulthood was influenced by your childhood.

crazyblindsided posted 12/14/2019 08:00 AM

I can look back at his life history and see the things that caused him trauma and if I were feeling really generous, I could take a moment and have empathy for the child and young man he once was. What I can't find empathy for is the person who did the things he did to the person who treated him with the most love and understanding

Exactly! My STBX was severely emotionally abused by his mom. It broke him. While I can feel empathy for the abused boy in him I cannot reconcile how he treated me and would still continue to treat me had I not S.

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