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Humility and Compassion

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WalkinOnEggshelz posted 6/30/2018 16:05 PM

This may not be a popular post, however itís something that I have been mulling over for a little while now.

I want to talk about humility. Humility and compassion are vital components when working with our BS towards R. It is my personal feeling that these pieces are often forgotten about on these boards.

There has been anger, outrage, defensiveness, dismissiveness, and even some self righteousness lately. I have to wonder to myself, is this a trend? Is it possible that at the moment we donít have enough veteran waywards to guide our newer members? Is it simply a lack of empathy?

I see perfectly sound advice being taken as an attack. I see others making vents personal, stating they are being told to do whatever the BS says, that we WS are simply a BS punching bag. There just seems to be an awful lot of push back when the BS on this site express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

What I also see lately is the word ďbutĒ. For example, it is understandable but... Or I know I deserve it but....This little word has a big impact on what is being said.

Perhaps Iím too far out and I am missing it. I just feel that there has been a general lacking of humility and compassion. What has happened to having some understanding that a BS may not always be rational, that sometimes they react through the pain vs. being logical. Do you ever feel that you hold the BS to a much higher standard than you ever held yourself? Do you ever feel that it is somewhat unrealistic to tell them that now that you have stopped stabbing them, they should hold you because you feel terrible about it?

Itís often stated that a WS understands because they live it everyday. Iím not so sure. I believe it takes years (2-3) to really get it, to really understand what your BS feels from the betrayal. The understanding is like a ripple effect. It grows and expands the further out it gets.

I suppose what I am hoping for is that one can pause before reacting and take into consideration the audience. This goes for all members, BS and WS. Our BS do need to keep their advice constructive, however our WS need to be able to listen to what they are saying and respond in kind, as well.

I donít say any of this as a moderator. I say it because itís something I had to learn myself, as a WS.

ZenMumWalking posted 6/30/2018 16:39 PM

Thanks for this WOEz.

It does seem that there are a lot of newer WS posting recently, and thus a lot of defensiveness when receiving advice.

I try not to launch 2x4s in here (I guess I've been successful since I haven't been kicked out yet!), only to give the WS some perspective from the BS side.

I agree that there are very few WS that really 'get it' under the 2-3 year time frame that you mentioned. All we can do is try to open their eyes a little and provide (hopefully) constructive criticism when needed and a few high fives for steps on a better path.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 6/30/2018 17:10 PM

As an aside, I do understand that just recently we had a run of some hefty 2x4ís by several BSís. Sometimes this forum is still too much and we handle it as it comes.

I worry my post is somewhat disjointed, but hope that as a discussion evolves I can work out what I am trying to get at.

gmc94 posted 6/30/2018 19:14 PM

Funny to see this, as just this afternoon I was thinking the same thing when I looked up an ďold timerísĒ posts on SI (whose handle now escapes me) to find their A /R story.

Looking thru some threads from probly 3-5 yrs ago, I noticed there seemed to be a -not sure how to find the words- calmer tone may put it best.

Thanks for throwing this out there.

Chili posted 6/30/2018 19:46 PM

I never post in the Wayward forum, but do read here from time to time. I never came over here when I first arrived - no way was I in any place to handle that.

I know we had the thread recently about how the "voices" on SI have trended in the past few years.

Maybe what you're saying is some of that. But I hear you on the humility and compassion all the way around.

There really is something to be said for the concept of being a Veteran - especially as a Wayward. I have met a few of those seasoned WS voices in person and was so impressed by the perspective and self-awareness they had after several years of doing such huge work on themselves/relationships. They can talk to the new folks around here like no one else.

Us BS folks can never make that same journey. We can only give our perspective as Betrayeds. We can attempt to empathize. Even have compassion. But we can never really "get it." And I think it takes a special BS to truly advise a WS in this forum in any constructive way.

Personally, I think any 2 x 4 swinging in this forum should be left to other Waywards. Not my place as a BS to do that. Just not helpful. Suppose all of that works the other direction as well.

Followtheriver posted 6/30/2018 20:26 PM

I do agree that as a FWW part of my own healing is showing compassion and understanding of what a BS is going through and what they are trying to express in a post. I try not to take anything personally because it would prevent me from being able to offer helpful advice.

I believe and hope that I have helped some BS's with their frustrations and anger by showing empathy for what they are going through and and an understanding of why they feel the way they do. I usually try to think about any advice that I give before I reply. Sometimes their pain comes through so strong in a post that it overwhelms me and all I do is to apologize to them on behalf of their WS. I have even offered to have them direct their anger at me if it would help them in anyway.

We do not have enough veteran WS here that post regularly, myself included. I read everyday but I don't always post. I need to change that. I do have a tendency to not participate in a thread that has derailed or gone in multiple directions. Pissing contests are not my thing.

I do think that like a BS, some Waywards comes here and projects their situation in a post. If they feel that a BS is attacking a WS, they fight back because maybe they can not do it IRL.

I personally try to always post with respect or I don't post. I do like when it is reciprocated. In the past I have gently reminded a BH that I am not their WW and I am here to help and learn. But again I do this respectfully.

I guess in the end, we all hopefully are here for the same reason. To learn, grow and heal. We just need to remember this.

Sayuwontletgo posted 6/30/2018 22:34 PM

Humility. That is such a strong and complicated word for myself and I would assume a lot of waywards. Iíve read a lot of threads lately that have gone so hateful so quickly that I could see why some of the new waywards (including myself) are fearful of posting. However there are also things that are set up in the site to protect and set a safe environment like the stop signs. why arenít we using them if we feel attacked? There really is a sense of damned if you do, damned if you donít. If the poster is focusing on their side itís pointed out that their making it about them, if they focus on how to help their BS theyíre not focusing on their pain or trying to control the outcome. I know these are sweeping generalizations but bare with me here. The point is that this isnít high school or an arena where you have to be RIGHT. There are people here who are angry and project but the beauty of it all is that you donít have to react to them and for every angry burn waywards on a stick there are many many more genuine helpful posters. I think as waywards itís easy yet again to want to think that we are the victims. We are being told to waive our rights and be doormats but do you think maybe some of those things are written in disgust? Letís be honest and humble for a minute. Having an A at its core is a disgusting and devastating thing. Whatís the worst that could happen as waywards if we instead of reacting with anger back just listen? Not agree even but just listen to what these hurt and struggling people have to say? Maybe a little more understanding and a lot less whining can turn it aroud for the waywards? Iím not perfect and Iíve still got a lot to learn but i think in general if we could show an ounce of the humility that we are asking from our BS things might change.

BearlyBreathing posted 6/30/2018 23:08 PM

Thanks, WOES. I am wondering why the stop sign is not used more. The BS offer a valuable perspective but I know I donít post in Wayward because I will not be able to present that in a measured way. And I think many other well-meaning BS have the same issue. The Waywards that do post and advise are frequently AMAZING ó you can see the change they have gone through. Perhaps they can advise to put the stop sign up to keep more WS here a little longer, until they can start to ďget itĒ.

Humility is a good trait in us all.

BlueSprinkles posted 6/30/2018 23:42 PM

I live by the belief that hard advice is often good advice but devaluing and disrespecting someone is not harsh advice. Even if someone is a WS they donít deserve abuse. And being a BS doesnít give someone a free pass to say anything to anyone.
A lot of us WWs are lacking in respect and are on the defensive because we have our heads up our own asses many times. But a 2x4 can still be given in a respectful way. And as a WW, we we need to take them as knowledge from someone outside of our own sphere. If I donít want to hear the POV of a BS Iíll use the stop sign. Otherwise I welcome their input and can scroll past anyone who isnít particularly helpful but just having a bad day and looking for a whipping boy. And I try to not get defensive but take into account what theyíre saying.

Root posted 7/1/2018 07:46 AM

When it comes to SI the word that I think of is humanity. The perfectly sound advice is in my opinion is kind of an attack until the wayward has earned the right for compassion which of course takes 2-3 years. Many waywards had horrific childhoods, some are mentally ill, and yes some are just selfish assholes. Itís impossible to tell the difference online. I donít see how stripping someone of their humanity is helpful. If anything it runs many new waywards off who need help. If you want to help anyone a BS or a WS it helps to see their humanity. Tell your message in love, in kindness and it has a better chance of being heard. Advice is best given when itís in their best interest to hear it. We donít do that here. We hit people with 2x4ís as if hitting anyone is a good thing. Brene brown says we do it because itís effective in the short term. Giving advice without slashing someoneís self esteem is harder.

[This message edited by Root at 7:47 AM, July 1st (Sunday)]

ohforanewme posted 7/1/2018 08:14 AM


Thank you so much for this insightful and caring post. It speaks to me on a deep level, and had helped me to understand something that I have been battling to grasp.

Anyone who knows my infidelity and SI journey, knows that for a long time I had raw rage for all WSís. Early on, I did post a few times in wayward. None of them were directly insulting, but as much as I tried to blunt the edge, I am sure that the utter disdain could be felt. I then stopped posting entirely in Wayward. My view being that this should be a place of healing, not hurting. But I continued to read and rage to myself. And then, as most will know, my heart started to soften. Chaps like DD, and yes, for me, even ff4152, came along, and I began to see a humanity, deep remorse, and how they hurt because of what they had done. But I still had raging hate for WWs, because my pain was still so real, and I projected so strongly. There were several threads that I just could not read. The physical symptoms that they brought on were as if I was reliving DDay.

But then came Asocalledlife, and more recently, hikingout, and I found myself, not only feeling compassion for them, I actually began cheering for them and hoping beyond hope that their Hís would give them a 2nd chance. I think that I got to the point where I would have been angry at their husbands if they had not given their WWís the gift. I know that statement reeks of double standard, because I was not able, or maybe willing to give it to my WW.

While I felt this strong compassion, and connection to these ladies, I could never understand what it was about them, that made me feel such deep compassion for them, while I still rage at other WWs. In you post, you have captured what it was about these woman (and the men before them), that allowed them to change me, and what made R possible for them and their Hs.

It was their pure, naked humility. That was the secret.

I now understand. I hope that those WS who so desperately want to R, learn this from your post.

Thank you.

onlytime posted 7/1/2018 11:07 AM

It's my belief that humility, compassion and empathy are important in general (in society), not just when it comes to these boards and dealing with infidelity. In my 40+ years on this earth I have noticed a decline in these qualities - more of a focus on self and less on others; more of a need to be "right" or defend your point of view, than to really listen to and take in what other's have to say; more polarization.

As a person diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses, including Borderline Personality Disorder, these qualities certainly have not come easy for me. It's taken a lot of hard work and mindfulness, and there are still times where I fail in those areas and have to reflect on where I could have handled things differently, so I can do better the next time. It's an ongoing process, that's for sure.

When I respond on SI, I tend to either ask a lot of questions to encourage the OP to reflect on their situations, or, for lack of a better term, "call out" unhealthy attitudes and behaviours. I don't do well with coddling or sugar-coating and can be pretty blunt at times, and I realize that can come across as an attack to some, which is certainly not the intent. In all my years of IC I have found most of my growth and healing came from working with therapists who were willing to hold my feet to the fire and call me out on my shit, along with asking probing and reflective questions, so that is the approach I try to take here.

I actually think it's good that there is a variety of approaches, from gentle to firm, on these boards because we don't know which approach will be most effective to the OP. That said, the truly vicious attacks and projections from some BS are definitely not helpful and I cringe when I read them.

I do see a lot of defensiveness, dismissiveness, and self-righteousness from quite a few WS recently, and I think you are right that it speaks to a lack of compassion and humility. I've pondered the whys of this and I think there are many reasons - they are too new, they are too focused on saving their relationship rather than truly working on themselves, they are trying to project an image of remorsefulness to their BS who may be reading or to others on SI (i.e. seeking external validation), etc. I think the list of reasons could be quite long. Maybe it's as simple as they just don't know what the word humility means.

I know that in my situation, I'd heard the word humility before, and had a basic understanding of it, but really didn't fully understand what it really meant or how to put it into practice. So, being the curious person that I am, I read a bunch of books and articles to get a real sense of it, so I could develop it in myself. I still have my notes and was actually thinking of sharing them before you posted this, which I might still do, but I'll start a new thread instead of making this response any longer than it already is.

I really do think it's important to have more conversations on here about things like humility, compassion, empathy, vulnerability, authenticity, etc. Things that can help people psychologically transform themselves. I see far too many posts on "what can I do to save my relationship?" and very few in comparison on "how can I become psychologically healthier and grow as a person?".

Well I've rambled on enough. Thanks for posting this WOES, I think it's a good conversation to have.

ISurvivedSoFar posted 7/1/2018 11:31 AM

Good post WOES - BS here. I think there are several issues at hand but humility is certainly the one thing that will get me, as a BS, to turn towards a WS with total compassion and a reason to post to hopefully help. As a BS, I don't claim to be an angel and in fact have grappled with looking at myself during times I am most judgmental with my WS. I try to think about the other point of view rather than just dismiss it.

Having said that, what gets me in a less compassionate mode ties into triggers related to individuals who seem so entitled and uncaring about the pain they have inflicted. It hits hard, to the core, and prevents me from posting here or even on other parts of this forum. It shows me how far I still have to go on this journey.

So perhaps with others, the pain is still so raw that it is difficult to restrain. I know I have participated in some posts where my pain clearly shows and perhaps I am less than compassionate, a lot less sometimes, because I feel so badly for those that hurt and want it to stop.

Perhaps there is a way we can gently but clearly express the reality of the situation to those who are still foggy - WS and BS alike because after d-day, reality is so altered that we all question our truths.

That said, SI is a life saver as I've heard many say and know that for me, I would not have survived without all of the BS's and WS's out there.

Let's practice humility - even on the BS side - because it likely gets us all to a better place.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 7/1/2018 13:30 PM

I appreciate everyone participating in this discussion with me.

Let me just point out, as some have mentioned, 2x4ís swing by BSís is not permitted in this forum whether a stop sign is on the thread or not. As a moderator, I will tell you that we all have families and full time jobs outside of SI. We do our best to make sure this is a safe place, however we do miss things from time to time. If ever you feel someone is attacking you, please be sure to contact one of us and we will look into it.

We are being told to waive our rights and be doormats but do you think maybe some of those things are written in disgust?

I understand there are some exceptions, however I believe that most of our members don not believe that it is your duty to wave your rights and become a doormat. I would have to say that most of the BS just want to be heard. They want their pain to matter. They want us (general term) to understand how our actions have made them feel. It might sometimes feel like wanting us to be doormats, but the reality is when you feel that much pain, you begin grasping at straws trying to figure out what will make it go away. Itís not always healthy, but donít you think that as an unhealthy person we can maybe ya I ourselves, ďIím sorry this burden was put on your shoulders. It is overwhelming and painful. I can understand why you feel the way you do.Ē We can then offer advice regarding what we have learned in our own process.

I have been feeling like some are so busy lately setting up their camps that they are losing sight of the big picture.

I live by the belief that hard advice is often good advice but devaluing and disrespecting someone is not harsh advice. Even if someone is a WS they donít deserve abuse. And being a BS doesnít give someone a free pass to say anything to anyone.

Depending on where you are at in your journey, directness and truth will feel like an attack. We want to be able to believe the best in ourselves. Sometimes having someone point out the truths about ourselves hurts and feels like an attack when at times it really isnít. No one deserves abuse, however sometimes our perspectives are skewed. Once again, if you feel like someone has crossed a line, please contact a moderator.

ohforanewme, Iím so glad that I could offer some insight.

I've pondered the whys of this and I think there are many reasons - they are too new, they are too focused on saving their relationship rather than truly working on themselves, they are trying to project an image of remorsefulness to their BS who may be reading or to others on SI (i.e. seeking external validation), etc.

I think there is a lot to be said for this. I also think that there is often confusion regarding remorse and self deprication.

SI is a life saver as I've heard many say and know that for me, I would not have survived without all of the BS's and WS's out there.


Ripped62 posted 7/2/2018 00:31 AM

I enjoyed reading your post.

Humility and compassion are vital components...

I think more is needed in these forums and in the world at large.

I will seek to eliminate the 3 letter "b" word as well. Here on SI it seems like the whistling before a bomb hits.

If you do not mind, I think I will shorten it and use it as a daily reminder.

Humility and compassion are vital

This feels appropriate. I hope you do not mind if I attempt to share your message.

Thank You.

FoenixRising posted 7/2/2018 07:33 AM


New wayward here. And Iím going to be honest here. The only reason the veteran waywards fit the criteria to assist the new waywards that come in here is bc theyíve recovered using the SI script. While this online community is for every BS and accommodates their need for humility and compassion, it is not found for every wayward. Maybe it is bc the SI implied theory is that waywards need to EARN back their right to humility and compassion. In some ways that seems fair bc of their previous choices. In other ways itís not fair though bc their choices did not effect the other members here. Their choices effected those outside of this online community. Their direct BSís are the people that humility and compassion cannot be given from fbc those are the exact people who are directly effected by our misguided moral compass. Waywards come here lost, scared, broken, foggy, blind, shocked. We are not all the same. Some of us need 2x4ís. Some of us need sounding boards. Some of us just need to survive the day. We are all different though are crimes are the same.

It is my feeling that we are lumped into the same category and our handle names donít matter. It should just say wayward at the top bc unless we have been here for years, followed the exact script laid out and are the straight A kids at the top of the class, we have lost our right to humility and compassion here. And that sucks bc IRL, weíve lost that too. It is my feeling that there are not as many waywards here bc 1- they cannot commit to recovery the SI way or 2- bc they grew tired of the lack of compassion and humility here for their plight and fled.

I get that waywards are what we are. I get it. I live it. I breathe it. I struggle every day. Coming here for support is not easy and often we have no where else to turn. It would not hurt to show a bit more empathy for the waywards, especially in the wayward forum. BSís and WSís are the same in that we are all hurting. We all feel broken. We all want to survive infidelity. My BH has every right to deny me humility and compassion bc my choices effected him but I am not responsible for the pain that has been inflicted upon the BSís here. I have great sympathy for them and very much would like to help them however I can. I am so sorry for their pain and hurt bc no one deserves that anguish. I think root is really on to something with the idea of just trying to be a bit more human in general here. Otherwise, there may only be BSís and honor leveled waywards left.

Just my thoughts.

sisoon posted 7/2/2018 14:46 PM

...unless we have been here for years, followed the exact script laid out and are the straight A kids at the top of the class, we have lost our right to humility and compassion here.
When my W first posted here, she said she thought the responses were 'sort of harsh'. IDK if she was referring to posts by BSes or WSes.

In a sense, there's an SI script - NC, Honesty, Transparency, IC form WS, MC - but there's a lot of variation in how you read the script and how you follow the instructions.

Stick around, FoenixRising. I think it will make sense to you soon.

I think WOEz's points are that

1) we all need to be humble, since none of us knows everything we need to know about healing or about each other, and

2) we'll all heal better if we show compassion for each other and for ourselves.

At least, that's how I read WOEz's posts here. If I interpreted her right, I agree with her.

I'd add that lack of compassion for others is a sign of lack of compassion for oneself.

I know it's tough to be a WS. I'd prefer to have had a totally monogamous relationship, but since that didn't happen, I'm glad I'm a BS.

Keep working on yourselves, WSes. You'll be glad you did.

[This message edited by sisoon at 2:47 PM, July 2nd (Monday)]

hikingout posted 7/2/2018 15:34 PM

When my W first posted here, she said she thought the responses were 'sort of harsh'. IDK if she was referring to posts by BSes or WSes.
In a sense, there's an SI script - NC, Honesty, Transparency, IC form WS, MC - but there's a lot of variation in how you read the script and how you follow the instructions.
Stick around, FoenixRising. I think it will make sense to you soon.

I agree with this. This site is to get out of infidelity. There is no script that I am aware of - but I understand that everyone's experience is different and some advice fits and some doesn't. I just know that the longer I have been here (and in recovery) the more it made sense to me, and the more I am able take in and learn. This still grows week to week.

The 2X4's can be tough - when those have been directed at me it bothered me and I felt misunderstood. BUT, every single time they ended up being stepping stones for examining my thoughts which is instrumental to growth. If everything was met with understanding, I would have thought there was nothing wrong with the way I was thinking. And, at times I found that there actually wasn't anything wrong with my thinking, but maybe the way I was communicating. This has helped me with communication at home with my BH. At other times it would hit me like a ton of bricks that there was everything wrong with what I am saying/thinking.

A good example: I used really wonder about GoldenR - I thought he was a hardass and that nothing I would say would be good enough for him. And, I still don't agree with everything he says, but he definitely made me go back and think, and often it connected me most clearly to my wounded husband. I use it as an example because early on I would try and debate that man until the cows came home. But he was wounded at one point too, and his insight into that once understood helped me to really get to a deeper empathy on things my husband hadn't yet been able to communicate.

And, the BH's that ask questions in the ICR forum. It made me so much more fluent and aware on how I felt about so many things. Literally journal prompts I would never have come up with myself.

Yes, there is projection on this site - but that's engaged upon by both BS and WS folks. Sometimes when you read those things you have to dissect your thoughts about it. What makes you agree or disagree? Every one has their own path to try and sort out their patterns of thinking but until you are ready to examine them the defenses can be high.

The first time I came to this forum I was devastated over the AP breaking it off with me. I literally had cried all day. Zugwang basically said I needed to suck it up and realize that I was used and why I was okay with that. And that I had a long ways to go to empathy. Ready to receive that? No, not even remotely. But, was he right? Yes, and when the time was right that started to sink in and gave me one of the first areas I needed to try and dig on. So the understanding grows as we grow.

Sorry, I didn't know that was all going to come out that way - but I feel like the majority of people on this site are accepting. They don't accept things that don't smell right, and that's the crux as to why this works for me and many others.

I don't know if the "script" is more strongly for WS who know they want to reconcile and if I was thinking more the D train that I would see it differently. Maybe that's why you feel this way FoenixRising - you aren't sure you want R, and for good reasons that you have shared here. But, you feel a little out of place because you don't see the D script as much for waywards? I guess that could be true. What is being recommended for waywards doesn't always take into account if you are a mad hatter, or if your BS has their own addictions that place you secondary in the marriage. That would be a tough connect I think. But, you can always use some of the logic given as sound advice for marriages/long term relationships in general and help yourself heal from infidelity so you can do better in that regard in the future?

MissesJai posted 7/2/2018 16:09 PM

We do not have enough veteran WS here that post regularly
I can speak for at least 3 other vets that have left because our voices are not valued like they once were. I no longer post here because I am drowned out by those voices that are louder, harsher, and not at all helpful. That's JMHO from a vet...

ZenMumWalking posted 7/2/2018 16:31 PM

I'm sorry to hear that MJ, you are one of the WS vets that knows what it takes to own your shit as well as help guide other WS out of the muck.


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