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Do Waywards deserve empathy?

I believe waywards do deserve empathy. Recently I have been told by other posters on this site that Waywards do not deserve empathy and that me suggesting they do is misguided and contrary to Dr Harleys approach to divorce busting and marriage building. Im certainly not an expert nor do I claim to have it all figured out. Im seeking a better understanding of this idea and correction of my position if needed.

Why does this question matter? IMO if we inappropriately suggest to Betrayeds that their WS do not deserve empathy then the betrayed is more likely to lovebust when dealing with the WS. They will be less effective in winning back the love and commitment of their WS.

My understanding of the word empathy is the ability to put ones self in the place of another, to understand and appreciate and have compassion for another persons motives and their perspective. Ive read 8 of Dr Harleys 15 books including surviving an affair. Ive read every article on the MB website I know of. I personally see empathy for waywards all over in Harleys writings.

The waywards I read about in his books are most often regular, decent people who spend years with their most important emotional needs going unmet in their marriage who succumb to the temptation of having those needs met by someone other than their spouse.

True that waywards can be cruel and selfish and their behavior can be incredibly damaging to everyone around them but they deserve to be treated like human beings human beings who have lost their way, but still human beings. That means we dont judge them, we dont insult them, we dont treat them with any less dignity or respect than we would any other human being.

To me every person deserves empathy. Being a wayward doesnt change that.

To be clear, I dont believe in being soft on infidelity by any means. Affairs are toxic, selfish, poisonous, inexcusable and destructive. They must be exposed and eliminated. But the affair buster should maintain their civility. The affair is the enemy, not the wayward.

Im interested in hearing from the SAA community and getting help understanding if Im way off on this.

BWS =)

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This type of philosophical discussion does not belong on the SAA forum so we are moving the thread to the Other Topics forum.

I would also caution you against telling other posters how to post. That is a surefire way to create unnecessary conflict on the board. Telling posters how to post is the domain of the moderators and not you. If you see a poster who is in violation of our TOS, kindly notify the moderators and allow us to handle it. That is our job, after all.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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For myself, and I only speak for myself, I have no empathy for my WS.

Pity, yes.
Sadness for the path my WS chose, yes.
Sadness that my WS is emotionally AND physically unrecognizable, yes.
Sorrow for my childrens pain that my WS inflicted, yes.
I pray for my children.
I pray for myself.

I am in plan B/D.

Empathy for my WS, NO. I do pray for my WS.


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FP - Thank you for moving this thread appropriately.

I am not trying to tell other posters how to post or generate conflict. I am sincerely trying to ensure my interpretation of Harley's material is consistent with the group's. I find I'm getting some consistently negative feedback and I'm seeking understanding.

The feedback has been polite and cordial (via MelodyLane and Markos) but I'm still not dissuaded from my view so I'm looking for more input.

Logan - thank you for your post. How do you define empathy? What is the difference between pity and empathy for you? What part of empathy are you unable/unwilling to achieve towards your wife? (Sincere questions, sensitive topic and I don't know your story.)

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Originally Posted By: BWS71
Do Waywards deserve empathy?

I believe waywards do deserve empathy. Recently I have been told by other posters on this site that Waywards do not deserve empathy and that me suggesting they do is misguided and contrary to Dr Harleys approach to divorce busting and marriage building. Im certainly not an expert nor do I claim to have it all figured out. Im seeking a better understanding of this idea and correction of my position if needed.

Why does this question matter? IMO if we inappropriately suggest to Betrayeds that their WS do not deserve empathy then the betrayed is more likely to lovebust when dealing with the WS. They will be less effective in winning back the love and commitment of their WS.

My understanding of the word empathy is the ability to put ones self in the place of another, to understand and appreciate and have compassion for another persons motives and their perspective. Ive read 8 of Dr Harleys 15 books including surviving an affair. Ive read every article on the MB website I know of. I personally see empathy for waywards all over in Harleys writings.

The waywards I read about in his books are most often regular, decent people who spend years with their most important emotional needs going unmet in their marriage who succumb to the temptation of having those needs met by someone other than their spouse.

True that waywards can be cruel and selfish and their behavior can be incredibly damaging to everyone around them but they deserve to be treated like human beings human beings who have lost their way, but still human beings. That means we dont judge them, we dont insult them, we dont treat them with any less dignity or respect than we would any other human being.

To me every person deserves empathy. Being a wayward doesnt change that.

To be clear, I dont believe in being soft on infidelity by any means. Affairs are toxic, selfish, poisonous, inexcusable and destructive. They must be exposed and eliminated. But the affair buster should maintain their civility. The affair is the enemy, not the wayward.

Im interested in hearing from the SAA community and getting help understanding if Im way off on this.

BWS =)

First, Dr Harley does not use the term "divorce busting". That is a term associated with a specific approach and it seems to me that you trying trying to merge it with MB as if it is the same thing. It is most certainly NOT.

No wonder you then spend so much time talking about "empathy". This is right in line with the DB approach of doing nothing directly to attack to attack the affair, and instead being "empathetic" towards it in the hope that the WS can be drawn back to the marriage without such an attack.

In fact, what anyone can see on boards that take the "empathy" approach is that the affair continues for a long time, becoming deeper and more entrenched, while the BS's heart is broken. Dr Harley recommends demanding that the affair end, and exposure, as methods to directly attack and shorten an affair. He does not recommend starting from the position of meeting unmet ENs. On the other thread where this post has its root, Dr Harley's position was outlined and quoted to you, and you did not address those points there and I doubt that re-quoting will help you understand the same points here.

I don't know where your points about lovebusting, judging, insulting and treating the WS "with any less dignity or respect" come from. They don't come from any advice that is giving here, and if they do and I am wrong, I would be grateful for your quoting a source.

All the advice given here by experienced posters stresses the importance of NOT lovebusting. We walk spouses through the difficulties of doing this. Have you read our threads on anger management? Have you read any Plan A threads? Have you seen the diligent work that posters put into helping BSs do a stellar plan A? Where in those threads do you see advice to insult WSs, or to treat them with less dignity or respect than they deserve? Please point me to one thread where BSs are advised to insult their WSs.

As for judging them: I don't understand why this is included in your complaints. There is surely nothing wrong with judging people on the basis of their behaviour. If we did not judge behaviours as either right or wrong, then there would be no problem with affairs, or theft, or violence or any other behaviour judged by civilised society to be wrong.

I haven't seen anywhere on these boards where "affair busters" (again not a term that Dr Harley uses) are encouraged to lose their civility.

In order for your accusations against posters to make sense, you need to provide instances of where you have seen advice that encourages ill-treatment of WSs. You can't just turn up and accuse those in the trenches of dishing out bad advice without evidence - so where is it?


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Hi SugarCane thanks for taking the time to post. Here is what I learned from your post.

You dont care for the term affair busting. I thought it was a fairly accurate term for the stick part of plan a but I can see how you dont like it.

You dont agree with mixing methods and you especially dont think the book DivorceBusting is compatible with MB. (I have read it and I agree with you. I didnt care for it much.)

To you my use of the word empathy seems to imply coddling, permissiveness or tolerance for wayward behavior and affairs. This is great info for me because I mean nothing of the sort.

You seem to agree with me that while affairs should be attacked aggressively, waywards should not. BSs should remain civil and not lovebust (AOs, DJs etc) during the process of exposure of an affair. You also imply that posters on this board should not act in ways that would suggest or support lovebusting behavior towards their wayward spouses.

I have seemed to irk you a little with my post which is also useful information. Id like to hear more about that if so.

Youve asked me to provide evidence that other posters have acted inappropriately on this board. Im choosing to keep this post about me and my understanding and communication of Harley principles.

Thanks for posting. I welcome any further input.

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I actually had to specifically look up the exact definitions prior to answering you (the first time).

From wikipedia "empathy is the capacity to recognize the feelings that are being experience by another...". I am not empathetic because I will not recognize the feelings that a wayward has. The feelings that the alien/wayward is experiencing is morally wrong, caused damage to my children and myself. So why should I be empathetic to their feelings?

From wikipedia again "pity means feelings for others, particularly feelings of sadness and sorrow". I have much pity for my WH. He is a lost soul. He has not a clue the amount of devastation he has left in the wake of the choices he has made. I actually do feel pity. I see the train wreck of the life he has chosen. It is his to own. It saddens me that he may never come to own those choices and make the changes necessary for himself and that of his children. For the marriage, it is too late.


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Originally Posted By: BWS71
I have seemed to irk you a little with my post which is also useful information. Id like to hear more about that if so.


I hear you saying that you think Sugarcane is irked by your post(s) and wish she would give you more specifics as to why that is so.

I think, perhaps, you seem to overuse or lean upon the technique of "validation" and "active listening" a bit too much. I think it's annoying to those who don't communicate in the shallow end of bumper sticker pop psychology.

Then again...maybe the conflict or irking originates because Sugarcane is an INTJ and you present more as an ISTP and your "perceiver" is butting heads with her "thinker".

I tease you...but I, too, obviously am annoyed by "validation". Tell us YOUR opinion, DEFEND your stance or NOT...but don't reiterate what you HEAR Sugarcane saying and then ask her to clarify or add more after adding nothing substantive yourself.

Mr. W


FBH(me)-51 FWW-49 (MrsWondering)
DD19 DS 22 Dday-2005-Recovered

"agree to disagree" = Used when one wants to reject the objective reality of the situation and hopefully replace it with their own.
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BWS, I'm wondering if a better descriptor would be sympathy, as opposed to empathy.

From WiseGeek:

Quote:
Sympathy and empathy are separate terms with some very important distinctions. Sympathy and empathy are both acts of feeling, but with sympathy you feel for the person; youre sorry for them or pity them, but you dont specifically understand what theyre feeling. Sometimes were left with little choice but to feel sympathetic because we really cant understand the plight or predicament of someone else. It takes imagination, work, or possibly a similar experience to get to empathy.

Empathy can best be described as feeling with the person. Notice the distinction between for and with. To an extent you are placing yourself in that persons place, have a good sense of what they feel, and understand their feelings to a degree. It may be impossible to be fully empathetic because each individual's reactions, thoughts and feelings to tragedy are going to be unique. Yet the idea of empathy implies a much more active process. Instead of feeling sorry for, youre sorry with and have clothed yourself in the mantle of someone elses emotional reactions.


Let me give you an example. I have a childhood friend who lost her father about 15 years ago. As with any friend who deals with loss, you try to be there for them the best you can, and you feel sorrow for them...but 15 years ago, I could not possibly comprehend the depth of the grief I would feel at losing my own father. Now, I can put myself in her shoes. Instead of simply feeling sorrow for her loss, I feel the pain that she felt.

Feeling with instead of feeling for.

I can empathize with a remorseful wayward. I can feel with the feelings of remorse, shame, guilt, sorrow, the desperate need for forgiveness.

But I can't empathize - feel with the unrepentant wayward any more than a BS could. I can sympathize, yes. Pity, yes. And I can understand the feelings, having been wayward myself. But to me, empathizing would serve to validate the feelings of waywardness.

I don't post much these days. FTR, I did not receive sympathy or empathy from broken, and to be quite honest, deserve neither.


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FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Originally Posted By: BWS71
Hi SugarCane thanks for taking the time to post. Here is what I learned from your post.

You dont care for the term affair busting. I thought it was a fairly accurate term for the stick part of plan a but I can see how you dont like it.

You dont agree with mixing methods and you especially dont think the book DivorceBusting is compatible with MB. (I have read it and I agree with you. I didnt care for it much.)

To you my use of the word empathy seems to imply coddling, permissiveness or tolerance for wayward behavior and affairs. This is great info for me because I mean nothing of the sort.

You seem to agree with me that while affairs should be attacked aggressively, waywards should not. BSs should remain civil and not lovebust (AOs, DJs etc) during the process of exposure of an affair. You also imply that posters on this board should not act in ways that would suggest or support lovebusting behavior towards their wayward spouses.

I have seemed to irk you a little with my post which is also useful information. Id like to hear more about that if so.

Youve asked me to provide evidence that other posters have acted inappropriately on this board. Im choosing to keep this post about me and my understanding and communication of Harley principles.

Thanks for posting. I welcome any further input.

You recognised that your post irked me, and I will tell you more about why, since you actively listened and validated so nicely.

I think your post was passive-aggressive BS, and not even good passive-aggressive BS at that. It was an attempt, under the guise of "help me understand", to get back at those who pointed out your dangerous (to the BS) misconstruing of Dr H's advice, and the wilful selective summaries that you give of his position.

The thing is, Dr Harley has written and said a huge amount to update and sometimes even refute what he wrote in some of his earlier work - like his restriction to 3 weeks of Plan A for women. You won't find that in the current edition of Surviving an Affair, and neither will you find advice on exposure. Yet in Dr Harley's newsletters and advice on the private forum, and especially on the daily radio show, you will hear "demand an end to the affair", "Plan A for 3 weeks only" (for women), "poor boundaries are the cause of an affair" and especially, exposure, EXPOSURE - constantly.

And those are the "affair-busting" things that we advise, routinely and without exception. We never advise that a BS become uncivil or or that s/he lovebusts, so I don't know why you even raised those red herrings in your post. You did not "choose to keep this post about me and my understanding and communication of Harley principles", you passively-aggressively attacked other people's understanding and communicating of Harley principles, and now you refuse to defend what you implied.

And then you very nicely point out that you and I agree that uncivil things should not be done. Of course we do, and nobody here would disagree! Why are those points even raised by you? Who says that they should be done?

I think a discussion of Dr H's concepts is entirely a good thing and I wish there were more of it here, but you are right that I did not appreciate your way of trying to win your argument with MelodyLane and markos. If they have posted to you and you disagree with what they say, then say why and defend your position. It irks me that you created a caricature of "uncivil" BS behaviour and then refused to defend what you said when called out on it.

You're welcome!


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BWS, I think Sugarcane has summarized your position quite nicely and like her, found no useful information in your post. It mostly consisted of your mythological, indefensible impressions of those of us who are doing the heavy lifting here.

You didn't substantiate a thing you said. Assertions that are made without substantiation can be dismissed on the same basis.

Just as you avoided answering mine and Markos's points on the other thread, you avoided answering Sugarcane's points. Just parroting back to her what she said does not defend your position. Nor does it further the discussion; it only irritates the responders. She knows what she said after all. Good grief...

I view these silly IMAGO tactics ["validation" "mirroring"] as a way to avoid defending your position. That is a waste of our time.

If you want to have a serious discussion, then knock off the bullcrap and shoot straight. Otherwise you are wasting valuable board time that could be devoted to helping others. I know I sure don't come here to educate posters who have been here for YEARS but are too lazy to educate themselves.

Most of us here responding to you have been through the MB course, listened to hundreds of hours of MBradio, met Dr Harley and have devoted years of our lives to helping others survive affairs. You have done none of that, so it is not a surprise that you have a very warped view of Marriage Builders and its practical application.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted By: wulffpack_girl
BWS, I'm wondering if a better descriptor would be sympathy, as opposed to empathy.

From WiseGeek:

Quote:
Sympathy and empathy are separate terms with some very important distinctions. Sympathy and empathy are both acts of feeling, but with sympathy you feel for the person; youre sorry for them or pity them, but you dont specifically understand what theyre feeling. Sometimes were left with little choice but to feel sympathetic because we really cant understand the plight or predicament of someone else. It takes imagination, work, or possibly a similar experience to get to empathy.

Empathy can best be described as feeling with the person. Notice the distinction between for and with. To an extent you are placing yourself in that persons place, have a good sense of what they feel, and understand their feelings to a degree. It may be impossible to be fully empathetic because each individual's reactions, thoughts and feelings to tragedy are going to be unique. Yet the idea of empathy implies a much more active process. Instead of feeling sorry for, youre sorry with and have clothed yourself in the mantle of someone elses emotional reactions.


Let me give you an example. I have a childhood friend who lost her father about 15 years ago. As with any friend who deals with loss, you try to be there for them the best you can, and you feel sorrow for them...but 15 years ago, I could not possibly comprehend the depth of the grief I would feel at losing my own father. Now, I can put myself in her shoes. Instead of simply feeling sorrow for her loss, I feel the pain that she felt.

Feeling with instead of feeling for.

I can empathize with a remorseful wayward. I can feel with the feelings of remorse, shame, guilt, sorrow, the desperate need for forgiveness.

But I can't empathize - feel with the unrepentant wayward any more than a BS could. I can sympathize, yes. Pity, yes. And I can understand the feelings, having been wayward myself. But to me, empathizing would serve to validate the feelings of waywardness.

I don't post much these days. FTR, I did not receive sympathy or empathy from broken, and to be quite honest, deserve neither.





I felt with, and felt for my wife... even as a wayward. Maybe I'm weird, but I feel it's my job as a husband to do those things... yes, even at her worst.


Many of those wayward thoughts and feelings are known to all of us... some of them are limited to fewer of us.

Novelty is a strange cocktail of intoxicant and aphrodisiac that doesn't reveal it's true nature until submitted to - a double edged sword. After that, it really begins to spiral to a point which really shows the overlap between infidelity and addiction, which I will illustrate using the "Four C's of Addiction" here;

loss of Control over use

continued use despite of knowledge of harmful Consequences

Compulsion to use

Craving to use



Substitute "use" with "contact" and you have the full conversion. Then, you look at Pep's "anatomy of adultery" post, and the statements collected... and compare to the statements of addicts - which here I will edit to fit adultery - remember that these were originally about drugs or alcohol, but I will be changing them to reflect an AP;

Every time I try to limit our meetings to only once a week, I end up seeing him every day.

I try to limit myself work-related conversations but once I start, I cant seem to stop until we are sleeping together.

"I know my affair caused my HIV but I cant stop using.

I have to stop seeing her because my life is out of control, but she is the only option for me.

All I do is think about how I am going to score.

The last two are so perfect, I will not alter them;

No matter what I do, I cant get drugs out of my mind and I feel I have to use and use a lot. Once I want to use, it is like I am on autopilot and I just have to use. Ill do anything to get drugs.

Its like a physical drive or urge to use. I want it from the pit of my stomach; I get sweaty just thinking about it. At times, these urges come out of nowhere, or I get them when I meet my using buddies, pass the corner where my dealer hangs out or am feeling down.


"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." - Michael Shermer

"Fair speech may hide a foul heart." - Samwise Gamgee LOTR
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Originally Posted By: BWS71
Do Waywards deserve empathy?

"My understanding of the word empathy is the ability to put ones self in the place of another, to understand and appreciate and have compassion for another persons motives and their perspective."


BWS71,

I'm very good at empathizing.

I practiced empathy with my WW. In doing so, I internalized the feelings and thought processes necessary to: carry out long-standing deceit; recklessly pursue selfish goals and gratification; callously disregard the affect those selfish pursuits have on those closest to you; wager everyone's future on the ability to keep your selfishness a secret; aggressively gaslight all involved as the deceit begins to unravel; blame the messenger when the secrets are disclosed; continue to leave no stone unturned in avoiding responsibility, accountability, and consequences.

After thoroughly analyzing her motives and perspective, it is my painfully measured opinion that waywards do not deserve empathy. Any they receive is a gift -- plain and simple.

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ITA with you, OWH.

The wayward brought everything on themselves. Anything good they get is a gift.


One year becomes two, two years becomes five, five becomes ten and before you know it, you've wasted your whole life on a problem you can't solve. That's one way to spend your life. -rwinger

I will not spend my life this way.
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Originally Posted By: OldWarHorse

After thoroughly analyzing her motives and perspective, it is my painfully measured opinion that waywards do not deserve empathy. Any they receive is a gift -- plain and simple.


Oldwarhorse, I think your situation emphasizes an important point about empathy. Is it appropriate to empathize and show compassion to the rapist as he rapes his victim and shows no remorse? Or should it be done when he stops the rape and shows remorse and compassion for his own victim? I think we can all agree that it is inappropriate to show empathy and compassion for the former and appropriate to show it to the latter. Showing compassion for someone who is still committing the crime is a form of enabling that is not good for the perp.

However, when we see someone like Wolfgurl or MrsW who have made just compensation to their victims and EARNED forgiveness, compassion is appropriate. I have no compassion for an remorseless rapist, though, and think it is lunacy to show such a person compassion.

I am not so concerned about how we treat the perp as I am with how we treat the wayward's victims. The betrayed spouse and his children are the ones who really need empathy and compassion. The wayward, not so much.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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In other words, do we show compassion for the rapist as he rapes or should we wait until he is done brutalizing his victim? I am a pretty forgiving person,[much has been forgiven me!] but my vote is that we wait until he gets off his victim and we clean up the blood a little. But thats just mean ole me... laugh


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
In other words, do we show compassion for the rapist as he rapes or should we wait until he is done brutalizing his victim? I am a pretty forgiving person,[much has been forgiven me!] but my vote is that we wait until he gets off his victim and we clean up the blood a little. But thats just mean ole me... laugh


I agree. I would sympathise with a remorseful cheater, who can never change what they did. But not really empathise because I don't know what that guilt feels like.

However when someone is aggressively still hurting their spouse, I cannot sympathise, nor empathise with that urge.

My WH is trying to be the latter. But I have protected myself. This means I have the luxury of pitying how he will end up.


What would you do if you were not afraid?

"Fear is the little death. Fear is the mind-killer" Frank Herbert.

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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
In other words, do we show compassion for the rapist as he rapes or should we wait until he is done brutalizing his victim? I am a pretty forgiving person,[much has been forgiven me!] but my vote is that we wait until he gets off his victim and we clean up the blood a little. But thats just mean ole me... laugh


x 2


BW - me
exWH - serial cheater
2 awesome kids
Divorced 12/2011




Many a good man has failed because he had a wishbone where his backbone should have been.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
--------Eleanor Roosevelt
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Originally Posted By: BWS71
The affair is the enemy, not the wayward.


I disagree with this.


BW - me
exWH - serial cheater
2 awesome kids
Divorced 12/2011




Many a good man has failed because he had a wishbone where his backbone should have been.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
--------Eleanor Roosevelt
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