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These things can get complicated as we are seeing and I'm in the camp that we "project" more than we realize. Saying "I'm not your mummy..." was likely more due to his own discomfort vis-a-vis *his* mummy regarding behavior that "steps over the line".
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There was a time when I would have thought a topic like this had nothing whatsoever to do with my own experience of limerence, but I'm not so sure anymore, limerence being the mother of all triggers as well as, pointed out by David, the mother of all distractions. Somewhere in the core of this, either in our present lives, our own early lives, and quite possibly the lives of those in our lineage before we were born, the factors of humiliation, betrayal, and retribution seem to be swimming about, at least for mine...probably not all LEs. I guess I do feel the personal stage can eventually get writ large and in such a context may be where even more than "confronting why one is running" may sometimes be in order, although confronting one's own issues is necessary in it's own right. I'm thinking here of some world dictators whose homicidal/suicidal actions were rooted in childhood humiliation/betrayal/retribution: We can use interaction with such people to examine our own triggers, but at what point is action needed before larger problems emerge? In my peripheral work with child abuse prevention, it also was a thorny issue: To what extent do you ferret out the motivation of the perpetrators of sexual abuse when the general public just feels you are trying to give clemency to the perpetrator. The truth here was otherwise.....if we don't understand what motivationally makes them tic (hint: humiliation, betrayal, retribution, acting out) then there is no hope of getting a handle in the future on the problem. -AND- this did not alter the fact that such a person needed removal from society at large, in one form or another, so that they could be prevented from re-offending.
All in all, the interaction with human toxicity will be a tough arena....and will require a great deal of maturity. Good musings.
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No I did not have perfect parenting, no one does, to complicate matters my father died when I was very young which presented a number of other issues that I had to deal with.L-F wrote: ↑Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:48 am[
Interesting you see it this way. Can I ask if you had perfect parenting, attachment, etc?
I'm of the mind like attracts like, whether it be an LO or SO. On some unconscious level we pick the perfect partner to teach / heal our inner wounds.
Scrap that. Everyone we come into contact with, we can learn from.
Another thought is, could your wife have chosen an enabler to wed, and if so, do you think she would have learnt anything?
I was an only child, I have dyslexia, ADHD and a predisposition to depression. I was a skinny gangly awkward child who was a virgin until I was 17 and didn't have a romantic relationship until after I joined the Marines.
I made mistakes and I learned from them. I cheated on a girlfriend once and felt so awful about it that I never wanted to put someone else in that position again, and I was on the receiving end more than once as well so I had strong feelings on the matter long before I married my wife and was very clear in communicating my feelings with my wife before we were married and reiterated those feelings on multiple occasions when we decided to explore options other than monogamy.
After my wife cheated I also told her that I was not her parent. For two reasons, one was that she was projecting her issues with them onto me and assuming that behavior that she saw as similar was the same.
The second was because it's not my job to teach her how to be a decent fucking human being. She is an adult and she has to take responsibility for her own choices.
There was also the fact that her behavior when she was cheating was more like a teenager who was trying to get around the "rules" and she was treating me like a parent she was trying to get one over on rather than a partner and equal she was in a marriage with.
Yes it is entirely possible, even probable that she was attracted to me because she was reminded of her father with whom she had unresolved issues. But I didn't get into this marriage to be a surrogate parent. We have two children of our own one of whom is special needs so I have neither the time, energy or inclination to have to a parent to a grown woman. It's not my job to police her behavior nor should it be.
Something a friend of mine always said is that once you figure out that all of your problems in life are because of your parents, it becomes your job to fix them (your problems not your parents)
This is why the whole "they pushed me to it" narrative is asinine. You are a fucking adult, take responsibility and ownership of your choices including the choice to stay in a relationship that you aren't satisfied with.
No one is happy all of the time, we're pretty much wired in a way that it is impossible to be so. It's what keeps us going what keeps us striving for more. Which means that there are always going to be tradeoffs and compromises and part of being a grown up is learning how to accept that reality and figuring out your red lines, what you can live with and you can't. And then taking action based on them.
I get that there are financial and other considerations that often contribute to people staying in dysfunctional relationships, and that there are structural and sociological issues that may make it difficult to leave a relationship.
Most advanced societies get this and have put systems in place to help, no fault divorce, child support, alimony and other forms of spousal support exist precisely to make it easier for people, women in particular to get out of relationships that don't work for them.
On your comment regarding running away from toxic people. I think that just using the word running is pretty loaded, I prefer the term severing. Meaning that you cut them out of your life completely.
Toxic people are toxic because of how their asshattery and manipulations interact with you and your issues and insecurities. As in they are very adept at finding and pushing your buttons. The best way to deal with that is to deny them access to you. At least until you can get to the point where you are immune to their manipulations. At which point you will likely have no desire to interact with them anyway.
On the subject of triggers, I used to scoff at the idea of them, then after dday I got to actually experience them and I don't scoff anymore, then again I guess that it comes down to what you are describing when you say trigger, a trigger isn't just something that you react to or reminds you of something that happened to you, a trigger is something that evokes the emotional response to the original trauma. It's a PTSD thing, like how a loud bang will take a soldier right back to the emotional trauma of a battle. It's visceral and raw and real and no fucking joke.
That said there is something to be said for facing the source of trauma in order to desensitize yourself to the effect. There was a concept at a school I attended when I was a child called "touch back" the idea was that if you interact with an object or experience that caused you pain in a controlled manner you could lessen that pain, like if you were hurt by a ball hitting you, you take that ball and touch it gently to the same spot and the pain will lessen, the core concept here being that controlled manner bit. There is also the important limitation that some sources of pain are inherently dangerous and cannot be interacted with in a safe manner. You cannot do a touch back with a gunshot or an open flame.
Pain serves an important biological purpose in shaping behavior, it's what teaches you to not touch a hot burner on the stove.
Going back to what I said about "Shutting down" the victim blaming that I saw during couples counseling (which wasn't unique to my experience and my counselor wasn't anywhere near as bad about as many others I've heard accounts of).
The reason I expressed it that way was because initially the counselor was focused on things that she felt that I needed to do, her homework assignments were all directed at me and my behavior post disclosure such as to stop my investigation efforts in trying to determine the full extent of my wife's cheating.
Something that I am glad that I did not do because my wife was as the vast majority of cheaters do minimizing and still hiding the full extent of her betrayal. When we first started therapy she admitted to a handful of encounters and she was still lying when answering very specific questions. It was only through that investigation that I was eventually able to suss out the full story and that she had to face the full consequences for her choices.
I do not doubt that our therapist was sincere in her desire to help or that she thought that she was doing her best based on her professional training, but I had done my own research prior and was prepared for those attempts and methods and refused to be redirected down a path that I believed ignored the central problem.
I was more than happy to address my own behavior in the relationship I just wasn't going to be scapegoated or encouraged to accept the idea that my wife's cheating was an acceptable response to my behavior.
Something that I have definitely noticed in most "wayward" partners is a propensity towards a persecution complex. This idea that they are only reacting to others manifesting in blame shifting towards either their LO/AP or SO, history rewriting, projection and general denial of control over their choices and actions.
It's somewhat maddening as an outside observer because it is so blatantly obvious that they are not the oppressed victims that they would like to be. It's like all of the Christians in western society who like to pretend that not giving them preferential treatment or white men who view any attempt to create a more level playing field as oppressing them even though they still mostly dominate society.
I've yet to see a single cheater who just straight up said "I cheated because I'm an asshole who doesn't give a shit if I hurt you or not". They all have some sob story about how they were pushed into doing it and that story has never been "they held a gun to my head" no it always comes down to an unwillingness to take responsibility for their choices.
To provide a context, I decided to give my wife the opportunity to redeem herself, earn back my trust and save our family. There were factors such as wanting my children to have a stable family with two parents, my love for my wife and my desire to not blow up our lives and take a hit to my life style. That is my choice and I own it. And if she cheats again I'm going to divorce her no if ands or buts. I am staying because I want to, because for me at this point the good outweighs the bad. It's my choice and I do not blame her or my children for that choice.
If she cheats again I'm not going to yell, beg, cry, negotiate or even question her, I'm just going to leave because I have communicated with crystal clarity that I will interpret such actions as her requesting a divorce. I will not blame her for my decision to stay now because it's my decision and I will accept the consequences for that decision for good or ill.
Staying in a relationship is always your choice and your responsibility. Your own actions are always your responsibility. If someone is abusing you it's not your fault, but if you choose to live with it that's your responsibility. Because you always have a choice, you may not have any good ones but you have choices. Blaming your choices on your situation is a cop out, it's the abdication of your own power and agency over your self.
As far as I am concerned the first step to taking control of your life is accepting responsibility for your choices and thus acknowledging your own power and agency over them.
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Moral relativism does not however mean that everything is permissible. What it means is that morality is not a fixed concept in time, it shifts based on technical and cultural factors. Not individual factors.
For instance a lot of people want to discount the views of the American founders because they were slave holders, however you really need to judge them based on the circumstances and culture in which they lived. And by those standards they were quite progressive on most things (slavery not being one of them, then again neither was gay rights).
I actually would see infidelity as less of an ethical failing in more patriarchal societies where women did not have the choice to divorce. Under that system where they were being coerced into a relationship with no recognition of their right to consent a fair case could be made that they needed and deserved the option to find companionship and emotional connection outside of their marriage.
With the advent of no fault divorce that ethical quandary has been resolved. They now have an ethical solution to the issue that does not require deception.
All of that said, human beings are natural pattern seekers. We're so good at it that we often see patterns where there are none present (if you see shapes in the clouds such as animals or objects that is an example of it at work)
We are also very good at rationalizing ourselves to a conclusion that we desire. Confirmation bias is a very obvious example.
People who want to do something that they know is wrong are very adept at dreaming up arguments and justifications for why they are different, why they are the special snowflake for whom the rules don't apply.
They deserve it because X, their victim deserves it because of Y. They couldn't help it because of Z.
I use variable because ultimately the reasons are bullshit dreampt up to sooth their cognitive dissonance.
Then once they have their excuse and they act on it the guilt will push them to find more justifications other cognitive failings and fallacies will kick in, sunk costs, black and white thinking (I've already screwed up so might as well go for broke.
I can see it in every explanation I've ever seen a cheater give, just like every criminal has their sob story and every abuser their own accounts of horrors visited onto them.
However if you strip all the bullshit away, dismiss all of the justifications, rationalizations and sob stories you have people choosing do things that they know are wrong.
We're not talking about people who don't know right from wrong, we're talking about people who know and decided to do the wrong thing anyway.
While we're talking about this in the context of limerence and infidelity, it really applies to all unethical behavior. Bernie Maddof knew what he was doing was wrong, he just rationalized himself into thinking that he could get away with it.
The same goes for murderers, theives, rapists, con artists and everyone else who profits from unethical behavior.
I can understand that is a thorny issue, however this is a pretty clear case of where consequences have to be applied in order to protect society and innocents despite the personal tragedy of those abusers. There is always go to be a conflict between mercy and understanding of bad behavior and protecting society as a whole from those who will not or cannot behave in a way that is compatible with the prevailing mores.
Personally I'm not without sympathy for those who are so damaged that they cannot function effectively in society. However that sympathy does not extend to believing that steps should not be taken to prevent them from causing harm to others.
That said I definitely support learning from them so that effective measures of therapy can be applied to new victims to stop the cycle.
All of that said to get back to the original point. I think people tend to over think things and that's coming from Mr Over Analyze everything. When most people seem get themselves into trouble is when they override their gut inclination and rationalize themselves to yes on a question they know should be no, whether we're talking about infidelity, embezzlement or whether or not to have that second slice of cake. Sociopaths not withstanding.
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I have only known about limerence itself for a week or so, and can say with certainty that I am a serial limerent and have been for most of my adult life. I point to 5 major LO experiences, but there are many more of lesser degree.
As hard as it is to accept, I am so glad to "put a name" on what this is. And link it to the narcissism that is ever-present with my all of my ex-LOs and even with my SO. No doubt stemming from my mom's traits in that direction, as well as her distractions from me + my brother when we were growing up, including temporary abandonment that pretty much wrecked me.
Today though, I feel that it's all going to be okay, and I can't rewrite the past. Some of my LO relationships turned into actual ones, and there were sweet moments and learning experiences from each of those.
Had I known who I was and what this was earlier, I probably would have just pulled a Liz Taylor and married repeatedly. Wouldn't trade my kids for the world though.
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I soon started to realize that this is how I've operated since grade school. The good thing is now that I'm awakened to limerence ,I am more comfortable analyzing it. Whereas the day prior to my discovery of the term limerence , I really thought I was losing my mind! I know that I'm "crazy" but in a normal way. I hope that makes sense to some of you.
I have mentioned that I suffer from other psychiatric issues. Limerence is probably the most perplexing of them since LO is a person whom we have absolutely no control over. So when seeking a "high" from chemicals, they don't have a mind of their own. They are to be procured and have a predictable effect. LO is more random , hack most of aren't sure that even like us!
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