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Just curious.

EllieKMAS posted 7/12/2020 21:16 PM

We often talk about the WS 'script' here. And by and large, a lot of WS's do seem to fall into a pretty typical pattern or exhibit a series of very similar behaviors.

But what I'm curious about is what patterns (if any) exist for BS's. I come from a divorced family. Addict mom. Narcissistic asshole for a dad. I saw a lot of patterns from both parental relationships emerge in my own situation with xdouche.

I've seen quite a few other BS's allude to narc parent(s), a family history of addiction, etc that seem similar to my history. So what do you think? Are there BS traits or patterns?

OwningItNow posted 7/12/2020 23:31 PM

These are generalizations (a big no, no), and I in no way mean to judge anyone. Honesty can feel like judgement to many, but that is interpretive and subjective. I have a very detached view of honesty since I figure no one is perfect, so I don't see having faults as some sort of condemnation. They're more like targets and goals for doing better tomorrow, and I always include myself in that. There's lots to improve.

All that being said . . .

BS seem to be highly empathic people, often allergic to their loved one's pain or discomfort. I suppose we're the perfect yin to our partner's selfish yang.

It is possible to be too empathic, too easily guilted, too nice, too self-sacrificing. There's a lot of that going on here.

humantrampoline posted 7/12/2020 23:36 PM

I'm not sure if this is what you're asking, but I can see that I brought unhealthy ideas of what marriage should be from my family background.

My mother would tell me that even a good marriage will always seem hard. Her father, my grandfather, told her that you will always feel that you are doing 90% of the work in your marriage. That's ok because your spouse will also feel they are doing 90% of the work.

My mother was the youngest of 6 children. Her mother left the family when she was 6 and didn't return until she was about 16. My mother was raised by older siblings. I once heard my older aunts and uncles talking, and I think my grandmother had some type of mental breakdown after the youngest sibling died at home in a tragic accident. A neighbor told them they saw my grandmother in a nearby town, and they went with my grandfather to pick her up and bring her home. I didn't know any of this family history until I was in my 20s.

My mother would also tell me to be good to my siblings. She would say that at one point in my life they will be the only people I can truly count on.


Loukas posted 7/12/2020 23:48 PM

I’ve always seen the script as a similar set of behaviours a wayward exhibits post discovery. But your question about BS sounds more like FOO. Which I personally wouldn’t call a script.

Having said that, there are definitely patterned behaviours among BS.

They share a willingness to save marriages, even if they never thought they would before being put into the situation. They’ll accept blame shifting and gaslighting in order to rugsweep, or take control of the situation.

With time, they’ll burst out uncontrollably as the rug sweeping accomplishes nothing and leaves them filled with angst.

They will show character traits they may have never seen from themselves before. Controlling behaviour, insecurity, extreme mood swings, lack of trust, depression and neediness.

They’re also willing to rewrite history. Vilify their spouse, trap themselves in victimhood and give away their agency.

I don’t say any of that to put a BS down. I believe it’s all a part of the journey of betrayal and that many folks grow into much more empathetic people because of the journey. But far too often, because BS are in fact victims, they often allow themselves to remain trapped in their victimhood and that can be extremely damaging to everyone around them and themselves. I’ve encountered many folks like this in real life when working with various support groups.

I find far too many BS fall into the ‘giver’ narrative and their WS was a ‘taker’ . Often leading to rewriting history to fit that narrative and feeding the woe is me mentality.

When I first came to SI, I found it really interesting how much BS and WS had in common. How similar the journeys really are and how similar they behaved in the aftermath of discovery.

Anyway, probably not the the reply you were looking for. Just my thoughts on the matter though.

OwningItNow posted 7/13/2020 00:11 AM

Ouch. ^^^^ But yes, big yes.

coldheart99 posted 7/13/2020 00:21 AM

I find far too many BS fall into the ‘giver’ narrative and their WS was a ‘taker’

As a BS infidelity of ANY kind is a RED line in the sand when crossed the relationship/marriage is over.

So I "gave" my XWW a divorce and she can "take" it and shove it where the sun don't shine.

ChamomileTea posted 7/13/2020 00:37 AM

I don't think we have a "script" per se. It would seem that many of our reactions are typical with others who are experiencing trauma, and of course, trauma is physiological, so it stands to reason. The degree of abandonment wounding in our personal histories would vary from person to person. From that you could infer that the trauma reaction could be amplified in those of us with florid FOO issues. I have noted that people who felt unsafe for most of their childhood sometimes have the most trouble letting their "safe" person go, even when no one else around them can understand why they're holding on. But even then, we couldn't call it a rule because there are some with really effed up childhoods who bolt immediately for the door.

No one deserves to be cheated on. None of us have engaged in any kind of defined behavior which would make it acceptable. So, we have BS's from every walk of life, in every state of emotional health, with nothing really pointing us out as different except the "Kick me. I'm a Chump" sign our WS's have taped to our backs.

I do get what you're saying though, despite all that, our reactions are largely predictable.

humantrampoline posted 7/13/2020 01:56 AM

Sure, there are responses, trauma related and others, that are common to BS after the infidelity is discovered. I thought the question was broader.

It's interesting that it's common on SI to generalize and talk about patterns with WS, but it's taboo to do that with BS. I'll speak only for myself.

I do think there were experiences in my FOO that led to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors in relationships. I'm not saying that they led me to a marriage pre-disposed to infidelity, but one where I tolerated behaviors I shouldn't have. Eventually that did include infidelity. If I hadn't tolerated the other things and stayed in my marriage, well who knows? Looking back and evaluating that, I should be careful not to rewrite my marriage and take full responsibility for my actions. Still, it seems healthy to look back and evaluate it. It's painful to acknowledge it all, but I don't feel a victim or fated to unhappy relationships.

The1stWife posted 7/13/2020 05:12 AM

My grandmother was a serial cheater. Alcoholic too. Apprentice the family troublemaker.

My Dad is the complete opposite. Married to my mom for 60+ years. Happy.

You can see patterns in some families or people but not others. It’s all a crapshoot IMO

sisoon posted 7/13/2020 11:46 AM

My sense is that BSes start out in shock. I sure did, so maybe I'm projecting.

People in shock aren't noted for making good decisions. That's why I think that a quick decision to D is not likely to be a good idea - and neither is a quick decision to R. It's clearly 'normal,'though - since lots of people decide quickly to D and to R and to do the pick-me dance and to rug-sweep, etc. while in shock.

Peggy Vaughan collected a lot of data on infidelity, not random studies from which we might be able to extrapolate, but interesting data nonetheless. She published Help For Therapists (and Their Clients), which is available for free download on her website. I recommend taking a look at it.

DevastatedDee posted 7/13/2020 11:58 AM

My parents modeled a pretty healthy happy marriage. They're still together. The man that I was drawn to was a different person from the XWH I wound up with. I'm not saying I couldn't have chosen better because that seems pretty obvious. I just don't think that I have FOO that led me to be with a serial cheater/addict. He's definitely the first one of those I've dealt with in a relationship.

The last one too. Whew.

I was fooled, I think that's the bottom line in my case. I could tear my life apart looking for what it is that caused me to be attracted subliminally to the person I wasn't even aware that he was and I'm sure I could write that narrative to support any choice I made. I just don't think it would be true and my energies are best spent in bettering myself in ways that I understand I could use bettering.

landclark posted 7/13/2020 12:16 PM

This is an interesting question. I think first, people need to keep in mind that most of the BSs that come here seem to be looking for reconciliation of some sort. I don't think this site is reflective of all BSs. So making any sort of generalizations based on just what is seen here is making it based on only a sample of the BS population. Same with the W side of things.

Also, how we act right after DDAY isn't necessarily how we act 6 months, 12 months, etc., down the road, once the initial shock has worn off. People seem to be forget that as Sisoon points out

People in shock aren't noted for making good decisions.
However, people seem to not want to forgive BSs for that, and instead want to label them as COD or some major FOO issues, and make all kinds of fun generalizations.

My parents were extremely judgemental people, often racist even. My mother had all kinds of issues, and was just a mean and miserable person a lot of the time. Talk about FOO issues? She had them in spades. I can honestly say any FOO for me meant not being like my parents.

I do think I am an empathetic person in general, but I am not a doormat. I have also made a lot of stupid mistakes in my life, so short of rape, child molestation, etc., I don't judge people for their mistakes, so when I found out my WH had cheated in a past life, I didn't cast him out based on that alone. He had me convinced he had learned and grown, and I took him at face value. He was so far above my ex husband in so many ways it's not even funny. My standards were actually higher than ever. Now people can try and tear that apart and say it was some big FOO or COD and I should have known and blah blah, and honestly if they want to do that, cool, I however know it's not.

Anyway, long story short, this is what it boils down to for me -

I was fooled, I think that's the bottom line in my case. I could tear my life apart looking for what it is that caused me to be attracted subliminally to the person I wasn't even aware that he was and I'm sure I could write that narrative to support any choice I made. I just don't think it would be true and my energies are best spent in bettering myself in ways that I understand I could use bettering.

Generalizations really serve no purpose in my opinion, because we are all unique beings, with unique backgrounds, etc., and all we see on SI is a snapshot of the big picture. A snapshot of the conversations, the life, the aftermath, etc.

[This message edited by landclark at 12:19 PM, July 13th (Monday)]

landclark posted 7/13/2020 12:16 PM

Ok, not sure why that posted twice! Sorry!

[This message edited by landclark at 12:16 PM, July 13th (Monday)]

crazyblindsided posted 7/13/2020 12:56 PM

Major FOO on my side and STBX's side we made a great combo

I grew up in blended type family my parents were both AP's who left their spouses for each other. My dad is a narcissist and mom went on to have 3 more A's on my dad so not a great M. I have abandonment issues from childhood sexual abuse by my half-brother and my dad was not a very warm person and very critical growing up and scary he had a really bad temper but not physically abusive.

STBX has a terrible mother who emotionally and physically abused him and his sister. He has been diagnosed with strong NPD tendencies.

My therapist says I am drawn to men who keep repeating my trauma from childhood. I haven't been in any healthy relationship including M. All my relationships have been either highly critical, emotionally, sexually, and/or physically abusive.

So yes I have followed a script in a sense following patterns that keep repeating themselves.

My worst traits are withstanding and tolerating abuse, poor boundaries, impulsive reactions, learned helplessness, and CoD.

[This message edited by crazyblindsided at 12:59 PM, July 13th (Monday)]

EllieKMAS posted 7/13/2020 12:56 PM

I do think there were experiences in my FOO that led to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors in relationships. I'm not saying that they led me to a marriage pre-disposed to infidelity, but one where I tolerated behaviors I shouldn't have.
This is more what I was driving at with this question, because this is me to a T as well.

IME a lot of WS's seem to share a lot of similar traits (mind you I am talking about pre-A personality traits, NOT how they act after A comes to light) and I was just curious if BS's do too. It's an interesting line of thought to me.

I am in no way throwing any shade on BS's for their actions after dday, sorry if anyone inferred that from my questions.

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