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Karmarose - I agree with you on Plan A. Thanks for the clarification.

I think you've misunderstood my reference to 'scorched earth.' Then you argued with your misunderstood version of my position. I feel like you are trying to define me more than understand me. This seems to be a recurring experience for me on this thread. It is partly my fault. I realize my lead post was distracting. I'd approach it differently if I were to do it over again. I explained earlier what my intent was.

Getting dressed this morning I thought about one reason why this topic of empathy matters so much to me. While deployed to Iraq I worked in a detention facility with Iraqi detainees. A full-bird colonel came down to visit our unit one day. During his briefing he told us all how the Iraqi people are crude, uncivilized, and only understand violence. This was not long after Abu Ghraib. I took great exception to that characterization. I was especially concerned about the effect this view could have on the 19-22 year old interrogators, security gaurds, and intel guys I worked with. I can see how this culture of villainization of the enemy allowed for and even promoted the horrific retaliatory humiliation and torture that our service men and women perpetrated on Iraqi prisoners just a short time before. Their behavior came from the complete lack of empathy for the enemy.

Some people may say the enemy deserves no empathy. They are't like us. They aren't human. I disagree. I even have (had) emapthy for Bin Laden. Not sympathy. Not acceptance or agreement with his world view or actions. But I can see the world from his point of view which helps explain his behavior. From his point of view his actions make total sense. If I felt and believed the way he did I'd probably act the same way. Important caveat - I could also put a bullet in his head - because from my point of view that is what needs to happen with hardened terrorists bent on killing Americans. But this doesn't preclude me from being able to understand his worldview and perspective. Some people here may really disagree with me. That is fine. I'm just trying to explain my view, not persuade you to adopt it.

I have the same concerns about characterizing WSs as enemies who we should not try to empathize with. When I say empathize i mean with how they felt in their unsatisfying marriages and yes, even empathize with what it must feel like to finally have your ENs met in an amazing way - but not with their selfish behaviors.

When we cast the WS as the villain/enemy and the BS as the victim, we do both of them a disservice. We encourage retaliatory violence against the 'enemy' - because enemies should be destroyed. We encourage passivity and impotence in the BS who is just a victim and has no power to change the world around them.

These are my thoughts. I do feel like I'm running out of ways to re-state them. If you don't like them that is fine. What I would like is for someone to point me to a primary Harley source that plainly states how my thoughts are contrary to MB. I'm very open to that. BrainHurts has pasted some links to specific radio clips. Does anyone else have links to material from Harley that will help me gain a more accurate understanding of his position on this topic?


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BWS, I am pretty sure we understand your views just fine, but just don't agree with you for the numerous stated reasons in this thread. All of which you ignored and couldn't answer, other than to repeat back to us what we said.["mirroring"] Sugarcane asked you early on for some real life examples of this alleged mistreatment of WS and we have yet to see it. Assertions that are made without substantiation can be dismissed on the same basis.

I suspect the difference in perspectives is because we have real life experience helping BS's and you don't. I think you imagine that we tell BS's to mistreat WS's but that is where your premise is wrong.

You don't know this because you have not been in the trenches all these long years helping others so you are just assuming. And you are assuming wrong.

But that is ok. You don't have to understand how it really works since you are not in the trenches with us. And we don't have to point you to any source of Dr Harley's saying you are wrong, because there is not a source that says you are right. You were not able to support your case.

You gave it your best shot and were not able to persuade anyone here but I appreciate the effort.

Personally, I do not come here to educate someone who has been here for 5 years, but come here to help folks in need. I view this thread as a distraction from that mission.

All the best... smile


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BWS71, you wrote:

Quote:
Here is a piece of an email I wrote to my W recently.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Once I finally woke up to reality, once I got on the forums and started to get a picture of what was really going on, I was devastated. It was especially in reading TTM's posts that I came to the realization of what our situation really was. For the last 12 years I had been an abusive husband and you were a battered wife. I was the perpetrator of a terrible crime and you were the victim. That I was oblivious didn't matter, not as far as the effect on you anyway. Having been oblivious the whole time did make my transformation easier since it was always just a lack of understanding on my part, not conscious selfishness or malice. Still I was rocked. Finally it all made sense, the LSA, the short-lived EA, our whole life together opened up in my mind. Ah HA! but not a happy Ah-ha, an anguished one. After that point my feelings and actions truly reflected my understanding of the situation, my fault in it and my role in its resolution. I finally realized I had no right to expect anything from you. I had no right to hold on to our past marriage, it was dead. I definitely had no right to any intimacy with you at all, no more than with any other woman, much less actually. Importantly, these feelings were sincere, not an act. I know you could tell the difference. I was truly on my knees. I knew all I really deserved from you was a slap in the face and a kick in the crotch. Anything less was pure mercy.


It sounds like you think your WW's affair is justified...and even deserved. I don't really know how anyone can convince you that a WS doesn't deserve empathy when you seem to have adopted a mindset of thinking your WW was driven to have an affair because of YOU vs her making a choice to do so. Or perhaps, your views are your coping mechanisms to 'accept' your wife's betrayal and your own guilt. Whatever it is, many (most?) BSs aren't going to agree IMO. Every BS should exam their role in the marital breakdown and clean up his side of the street but your acceptance of blame for your WW's affair seems over the top to me.



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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.
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Originally Posted By: BWS71
Karmarose - I agree with you on Plan A. Thanks for the clarification.

I think you've misunderstood my reference to 'scorched earth.' Then you argued with your misunderstood version of my position. I feel like you are trying to define me more than understand me. This seems to be a recurring experience for me on this thread. It is partly my fault. I realize my lead post was distracting. I'd approach it differently if I were to do it over again. I explained earlier what my intent was.

Getting dressed this morning I thought about one reason why this topic of empathy matters so much to me. While deployed to Iraq I worked in a detention facility with Iraqi detainees. A full-bird colonel came down to visit our unit one day. During his briefing he told us all how the Iraqi people are crude, uncivilized, and only understand violence. This was not long after Abu Ghraib. I took great exception to that characterization. I was especially concerned about the effect this view could have on the 19-22 year old interrogators, security gaurds, and intel guys I worked with. I can see how this culture of villainization of the enemy allowed for and even promoted the horrific retaliatory humiliation and torture that our service men and women perpetrated on Iraqi prisoners just a short time before. Their behavior came from the complete lack of empathy for the enemy.

Some people may say the enemy deserves no empathy. They are't like us. They aren't human. I disagree. I even have (had) emapthy for Bin Laden. Not sympathy. Not acceptance or agreement with his world view or actions. But I can see the world from his point of view which helps explain his behavior. From his point of view his actions make total sense. If I felt and believed the way he did I'd probably act the same way. Important caveat - I could also put a bullet in his head - because from my point of view that is what needs to happen with hardened terrorists bent on killing Americans. But this doesn't preclude me from being able to understand his worldview and perspective. Some people here may really disagree with me. That is fine. I'm just trying to explain my view, not persuade you to adopt it.

I have the same concerns about characterizing WSs as enemies who we should not try to empathize with. When I say empathize i mean with how they felt in their unsatisfying marriages and yes, even empathize with what it must feel like to finally have your ENs met in an amazing way - but not with their selfish behaviors.

When we cast the WS as the villain/enemy and the BS as the victim, we do both of them a disservice. We encourage retaliatory violence against the 'enemy' - because enemies should be destroyed. We encourage passivity and impotence in the BS who is just a victim and has no power to change the world around them.

These are my thoughts. I do feel like I'm running out of ways to re-state them. If you don't like them that is fine. What I would like is for someone to point me to a primary Harley source that plainly states how my thoughts are contrary to MB. I'm very open to that. BrainHurts has pasted some links to specific radio clips. Does anyone else have links to material from Harley that will help me gain a more accurate understanding of his position on this topic?




BWS,

When you start a thread it's generally accepted that the original poster will attempt to respond to questions as they arise.
I took the time to respond respectfully, but have not received the same courtesy.

When you have time, look back over my posts and maybe even respond to my questions. wink

Thanks





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Meeting my wife's EN's is my "thank you" that refuses to be silenced.
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Originally Posted By: BWS71
First off there has been another comment about the path of my own marriage that is documented in my personal threads three years ago. Yes, it took my wife and I some time to get the whole program in place.


This is a complete glossing over of the point I was trying to make.

Having a WS three years after the A engaging in such marriage wrecking behavior as I already outlined before goes much deeper than "we needed some time to get the whole program in place." (the fact that you would even describe it that way says something, I think)

The BS has to consider that they are an enabler/experiencing their own fog at that point and I think your mindset and what you are trying to convey in this thread ties right into that..


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Originally Posted By: BWS71

I have the same concerns about characterizing WSs as enemies....
When we cast the WS as the villain/enemy and the BS as the victim, we do both of them a disservice. We encourage retaliatory violence against the 'enemy' - because enemies should be destroyed.


This simply does not happen in MB.

Violence?

Cast as enemies?

Destroyed?

How - by insisting on faithfulness?

Even verbal anger is taboo, words of disrespect are banned. Where is this violence and mistreatment of WSs?

The WS cast THEMSELF as an enemy to the BS by lying, cheating and generally attacking the marriage.

Do you think any BS WANTS to cast them in that role?

Far from casting them as such ourselves, we use Plan A to SHOW them there is another, less abusive way. We are cheerleaders for the 'This is not really YOU' approach. An approach that welcomes the repentant.

Even Plan B, which does indeed treat the WS as an enemy (one in which they have cast themselves in that role) is merely protective of the BS, not violent or disrespectful in any way.

Throughout this protective act, the white flag of peace waves in the form of a Plan B letter.

MB overall is a most gracious approach which DOES accept that while they behave in evil ways, they can choose not to at any point.

If they do not, it is their choice to characterise their own selves as wrong doers who are not to be trusted.

When they do this the BS may feel pity, but cannot emphathise with such a destructive choice. Unless in Plan Doormat.

Enabling is strongly discouraged in Plan B.

I suggest you take MLs advice and look up Dr H's words on the circumstances in which a BS should offer forgiveness and which they should not.


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: BWS71

I still believe
1) Dr Harley teaches that affairs most often happen in the setting of both poor boundaries and unmet ENs. Both are crucial parts of the atmosphere that leads to affairs. They are both important. The relative importance of unmet ENs vs poor boundaries varies on the couple and the situation. It is crucial that advice seekers understand the Carrot is just as important as the Stick.

2) While BSs are working to end the affair, they should also begin to get their heads around the idea that recovering their marriage is going to mean learning to meet their WSs needs better. BSs dont actually attempt to meet needs until the affair is over and the WS is committed to recovery, but BS needs to start building a plan at the same time they are undermining the affair. If they fail to make this paradigm shift early in the game they are losing valuable time. They may help destroy the affair yes, but that will do little to attract the WS back to the scorched earth that was their marriage. For me this paradigm shift arises from empathy towards the WS. A lot of people don't like this word. It fits perfectly for me.


Huh?

Plan A DOES include demonstrating a willingness to meet needs. What are you talking about there is no meeting the WS's needs until R and a shift is necessary?

I also don't understand why you feel the need to enlighten us on what happens in Plan A/Recovery?? Or tell us it is "crucial" that Plan A is both the carrot and the stick?

This is basic stuff that is clearly covered in the basic concepts and even threads like the Carrot and the stick that posters in SAA are encouraged to read routinely. I don't understand your point in posting this at all.

So you are basically saying posters don't understand this when they are helping folks out on the SAA or In Recovery board? You have already been told that if this is what you believe, you should point out a specific instance so that we can follow what you are talking about.


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Quote:
I have the same concerns about characterizing WSs as enemies who we should not try to empathize with.
But we don't characterize WSs as 'the enemy' - the AFFAIR is the enemy.
Quote:
When I say empathize i mean with how they felt in their unsatisfying marriages and yes, even empathize with what it must feel like to finally have your ENs met in an amazing way - but not with their selfish behaviors.

It's all well and good to empathize with someone who is in an unsatisfying situation. You are empathizing with them because of their situation. What changes the dynamic is when they become wayward. They have chosen an unsatisfactory way to deal with their unsatisfying situation - a true friend would condemn their choice, not empathize with it. A true friend would condemn their actions while helping them to make a better choice, which is what we do here daily.
Quote:
When we cast the WS as the villain/enemy and the BS as the victim, we do both of them a disservice.
Again, the wayward is not the enemy. The affair is. Second, oh hell YES, the betrayed spouse is a victim. Of infidelity. It's not a disservice, it's calling a spade a spade. The problem with identifying a BS as a victim would only be if their victimhood caused them to dwell on their pain and not act to change their reality - that's called enabling, and we don't do that here, either.
Quote:
Does anyone else have links to material from Harley that will help me gain a more accurate understanding of his position on this topic?

Can you give us quotes that support your position? I'm assuming you've read the articles here and have citations to support your posts. You are indulging in a circular argument, which is time-consuming. In other words, you appear to already have a clear idea of what you are seeking to debate. Bring it to the thread to support your premise.


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An enabler generally has an underlying need for control. If he/she can take the blame for the misbehavior of others, then perhaps he/she can change enough to get back control of their environment (ex. If I am nicer, keep a clean house etc. he'll stop abusing me). It's just too scary to think that bad things can happen willy nilly.

The draw of this type of thinking is the belief in the ability to control others' hurtful behavior so it won't happen again. This poster's stance on why the affair occurred rings of this type of outlook. I think that's where the empathy question is coming from. I understand it. I used to think that if I was just nice enough to people they would be nice back. Or at least they would learn to over time. Big mistake. I don't have to understand why someone did something wrong, I just have to learn to teach others how I will or will not be treated. That's it. Period.

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Originally Posted By: Fireproof
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.


THANK YOU !!!!!!

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So... an interesting change happened to me yesterday. After a week of universal opposition, I think I actually get it... and also why I wasn't getting it. I feel really stupid.


I absolutely agree - wayward spouses do not 'deserve' emapathy - or maybe even better said "Extending empathy to a wayward spouse can be harmful to both the wayward (enabling) and the BS and should not be encouraged.

I totally get it. And everything everyone has been saying now makes total sense to me.



Why was I not getting it? There are some interesting reasons I think I can see. I'll talk about them later but here is my attempt at a simple explanation:



I think what I was trying to say is "wayward SPOUSES deserve empathy."

You guys said "WAYWARD spouses do NOT deserve empathy."



I definitely meant to say "SPOUSES deserve empathy" - even better said

"Extending empathy to our spouses can improve the chance of a succesful recovery."


Would it be fair to simplify the opinion of this group (and the MB program) as "WAYWARDS should not be shown empathy while they're wayward." ?

There is a big difference between those two statements.

I know this explanationis simplistic. If that doesn't make sense, I can probably explain better.

I know I'm just repeating what everyone has already said. Look past the 'mirroring' if it annoys you - this is how my brain works best. I am repeating the arguments of those I disagreed with, but now I actually get what they were trying to say.

I have some other comments on "over empathising" and enabling which I totally agree I did with my W and something I would warn others against. I have some other thoughts too but I'm just coming off of a 24 hour shift and I'm a little punchy.

I didn't want to let any more time go by (or any more posts come in) before I responded and at least said "I get it."

Back in a day or so.

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Thanks for keeping an open mind, BWS. I agree that empathy is an important element of any good marriage. It is most especially important to show empathy and compassion to the BETRAYED SPOUSE after they have been assaulted by an affair.

Like Steve Harley tells the WS, you are the doctor and BS is your patient; it is up to you to tend to her wounds. Dr Harley takes this a step further when he explains that the path to recovery is for the WS to make "just compensation" to his victim:

Can't We Just Forgive and Forget?

In other words, after an affair, the compassion and empathy needs to be focused on the BETRAYED SPOUSE.


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Quote:
So... an interesting change happened to me yesterday. After a week of universal opposition, I think I actually get it... and also why I wasn't getting it. I feel really stupid.

Welcome to the land of reality smile And don't feel stupid. Feel enlightened.
Quote:
Look past the 'mirroring' if it annoys you - this is how my brain works best. I am repeating the arguments of those I disagreed with, but now I actually get what they were trying to say.

It's not that mirroring annoys us (or at least, me) it's that mirroring is not productive. We are very action-oriented on this site.
Quote:
Would it be fair to simplify the opinion of this group (and the MB program) as "WAYWARDS should not be shown empathy while they're wayward." ?

Correct. They should NOT be shown empathy, and I would question the person showing them empathy. Their actions are reprehensible and are not deserving of empathy.


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BWS, I think this could all be summed up thusly:

If you want to recover your marriage, don't be disrespectful to your spouse or dwell on their past mistakes.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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Thanks to everyone who posted on this thread. Sorry I was being so thick. I was experiencing total target fixation I think. What I meant and still strongly believe is that our SPOUSES DESERVE EMPATHY. What I really meant to say is a marriage where one spouse is severely withdrawn, developing, communicating and demonstrating empathy can help bring them out of withdrawal. I went back and read the post on NAFs thread that sparked this thread and I realize this is not at all what I actually said. I dont blame ML and markos for jumping all over it. I totally misspoke.

If you go back through all my posts and replace wayward with withdrawn I think this will much better represent my feelings. I also suspect youll see this as nothing new or revelatory to people even slightly familiar with MB. I wanted to help NAF see that his W likely had some valid reasons for withdrawing and instead of condemning her as unchristian or some of the other criticisms he had used to dismiss her withdrawal he should try to understand and address those reasons.

We all agreed his W was very likely having some sort of affair and that he should do all he could to find and eliminate it. I said an affair if It exists is not the root problem in his marriage but a symptom of unmet needs. I can see now how that is not a well thought out statement and I wont be making it again.

The rest of this post may or may not be interesting to anyone. I dont expect responses necessarily.

I did overempathize with my wifes withdrawal. When I woke up to Harley and my destructive contributions to my marital breakdown it was a profound, life changing revelation. Instead of seeing myself as a helpless victim of my wifes desire to get out of our marriage I realized I was an accomplice. I had lovedbusted my account in her love bank in to oblivion. My assumption of responsibility may have been over the top, but it is what she needed I think, and it was sincere. It did draw her out of withdrawal. She was not wayard at that time. I wasnt even aware there had been an affair. She had already cut it off completely. As part of radical honesty she later told me everything about it but it was totally over including a letter of NC and they have never communicated since.

I do admit I should have done more to investigate an affair from the beginning though. Our failure to understand the significance of it (and my wifes boundary issues that allowed it to happen) left us vulnerable to it happening again since we didnt agree on and implement Extra Ordinary Precautions.

So not surprisingly she had another EA. It had nothing to do with unmet ENs or my LBs. It was all about her boundaries. I did *enable* it by not demanding it stop but I certainly did not *empathize* with it AT ALL. Her refusal to protect me and us from this EA caused me to feel hatred towards her. I did feel like a victim this time and she was a cruel torturer. I even hired a counselor to try to help us solve the conflict. The counselor was worthless. Though I bordered on mental illness from it my wife continued to not see it as an issue. In fact she saw my response as a way of trying to control her - which admittedly I had done a lot of before Harley. But her resistance on this topic was wrong. Just like ML told me way back then - EAs are not negotiable. I didn't get it.

I considered yanking the internet cable out of the wall and refusing to pay for her cell phone - but I didn't. I thought about divorce but I decided I could live with this EA in order to keep my family intact. I did believe that it would eventually dry up, like it did. The likelihood of it going to a PA was extremely low and I watched everything like a hawk.

No empathy deserved. No empathy felt. The only empathy I extend her is I know she didnt believe she was doing anything wrong. She was acting consistently with her perspective a perspective that many other good people ascribe to. But it is totally un Harley.

My wife probably sounds terrible but she just had this blind spot. Yes, a very dangerous blind spot that almost caused a massive and potentially fatal car crash in our marriage. But her flaws and my negativity are overrepresented here. She is an awesome mother, wife and friend. We are way past all that crap now. NO boundary issues in YEARS. We are masters of the POJA now. We still practice EPs. We finally have a great marriage one that Id open up for scrutiny to any MB master.

But mine is a cautionary tale. I absolutely reject the idea of empathy for wayward behavior and thinking. Id never purposely tell anyone to try to empathize with it. It was reckless of me to post this thread on the SAA forum. I didnt realize what I was mistakenly implying. Again, sorry.

I tell posters I dont know much about the right way to deal with As. I didnt do a very good job with it myself. You should listen to other people on that topic. I can maybe help you with a withdrawn spouse.

Im going back to MB101 now where (if anywhere) I belong. =)

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It sounds like you learned the hard way, as did we all.

And I do believe that FORMER waywards deserve empathy. They can't change their past and that must be awful. The active wayward however is just a drunk who needs tough love.


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Originally Posted By: BWS71
Our failure to understand the significance of it (and my wifes boundary issues that allowed it to happen) left us vulnerable to it happening again since we didnt agree on and implement Extra Ordinary Precautions.


EPs are not "agreed on" or subject to POJA. They are non-negotiable.


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BWS, I'm going to do something with you that I often do for posters in need. I'm not sure you're in any dire need or anything, but I often point out to people that I've asked them questions that I don't think they answered. So here it is:

Originally Posted By: markos
Originally Posted By: BWS71
My ultimate goal as a member of this community is to help other marriages in trouble by communicating Harley's material in a way that is meaningful, *accurate* and effective - like people helped me. It sounds like I'm off base and/or out of date. I'm going to read up on any new updates I can find. I'm interested in more input.

BWS


Hey, BWS -- do you listen to the radio show? I find it's really helpful to get that level of repetition in learning to apply Dr. Harley's advice. I'm to the point now where I can even recognize when Dr. Harley gives advice that contradicts advice he gave elsewhere, and can usually recognize why, based on the differing situations. There is a lot in there about motivation that I think I'm picking up from listening that I don't think he talks about explicitly in many places.

Have you read Effective Marriage Counseling? Defending Traditional Marriage?


I'm thinking all of these resources (the radio show and the two books) would be useful for you in pursuing the goal you stated: "My ultimate goal as a member of this community is to help other marriages in trouble by communicating Harley's material in a way that is meaningful, *accurate* and effective." I'm recommending them to you. smile I know this thread went pretty fast and furious, and maybe you missed this post before, or maybe you thought I was attacking you in some way. But I'm meaning to offer the serious suggestion: listen to the show (daily) and get these books.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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Markos - I appreciated your posts. I found what you had to say and how you said it really helpful. I realize there were a number of posts I didn't address. As you can see from my signature I've got a busy household so I had to pick and choose which posts to respond to due to time constraints.

I did hear your advice and will take it. I have a work conference coming up which would be a good time to get and read the counseling book. The radio show will be a little tougher timing-wise but it looks like I can listen to the re-broadcast any time.

Thanks for your input. Anything else you think I missed let me know

BWS

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Originally Posted By: BWS71
The radio show will be a little tougher timing-wise but it looks like I can listen to the re-broadcast any time.


I usually listen to the re-broadcast. On the MB radio app on my phone - while doing the dishes!!

A hated DS task made bearable by IC. If that tip helps you smile


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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