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Would you take their place?

Pages: 1 · 2 · 3

hikingout posted 9/20/2019 12:12 PM

There is a thread over in general that a concept of remorse is you would take your bsís place.

As I was reading that there was a lot that went though my mind that I want to explore as healthy versus not healthy.

My answer is in a heartbeat. Yes I would. I would take his place if he were sick, or in physical pain, or in our situation of infidelity. And of my children for that matter. I would put down my life for any of them. And I do mean it.

But here is what I am not sure is healthy - If I were the bs I would probably feel morally superior. I would be the one who did nothing wrong and took the high road. I would have lived out my life guilty of nothing, with no need to convince him of anything. My head would be held high, so I think some of it is not liking the status that I gave myself. Not being happy that is the position I put myself in.

Is this normal? Is it healthy?

SaddestDad posted 9/20/2019 12:18 PM

If I were the bs I would probably feel morally superior

Could you elaborate a bit more on this, please?

Are you saying that you'd feel that way if you'd never been wayward (and therefore not done self-work), or do you believe that if you NOW became a BS, you would be that way (even after the work you've done post DDay(s)?

Also, slight side-note, I realize that I don't think I have ever read your entire story... just bits and pieces scattered amongst responses you provide in threads. Is there a URL to your original story's thread?

hikingout posted 9/20/2019 12:20 PM

If I had never been a wayward. I should put my story - there are a few places I have said a lot of it lately. I think I just told another wayward about what led up to my affair in the last page if we are the abusers thread. I am traveling right now but I will string some of it together in my profile sometime in the near future.

ChamomileTea posted 9/20/2019 12:23 PM

If I were the bs I would probably feel morally superior. I would be the one who did nothing wrong and took the high road. I would have lived out my life guilty of nothing, with no need to convince him of anything. My head would be held high...

It's kind of hard to feel "morally superior" when you've allowed yourself to get punked. Just sayin'.

hikingout posted 9/20/2019 12:28 PM

Interesting. But that isnít your morals that allowed you to get punked right? I mean in all reality, being fooled isnít a bsís fault - they had upheld themselves in such a way they couldnít guess the same wasnít being done for them? I really think when I said morally superior that sounded like an insult, it wasnít. I would seriously not feel equally yoked.

[This message edited by hikingout at 12:28 PM, September 20th (Friday)]

DesertLily posted 9/20/2019 12:40 PM

BW here...

IMO, this is a normal stage that the B.S. goes through as they process their trauma. I know I went through it, and had multiple sessions in IC to deal with it. Because although it is normal, it is not healthy.

You see, taken to the extreme, which is what I was doing, one uses their moral superiority as a defense mechanism. My self-esteem had been demolished, and to build myself up, I became extremely judgmental of others. Especially my WH.

It's actually a very common reaction to trauma. All part of trauma brain.

However, if I had stayed in that mindset, I would be blocking myself from healing. All the bitterness, all the anger and rage, all the pain would stay trapped inside of me because I would remain closed off, unable to feel empathy for others, unable to forgive.

The prospect of that being my emotional future was unacceptable. Regardless of how I ended up in this position, it was up to me to get myself out. Lots of mindfulness exercises.

So, is it normal? Considering how many BSes go through it, I would say that it is. And for a time, it may even be healthy for self-esteem. But to remain in the moral superiority mindset long-term is unhealthy. At least in my opinion.

[This message edited by DesertLily at 4:35 PM, September 20th (Friday)]

landclark posted 9/20/2019 13:05 PM

Iím a BS and wouldnít say overall that I feel morally superior to my WH. In this particular way, yeah, I wouldnít betray him or my marriage vows, but Iím hardly a saint. Now me not being a saint in no way gives him a pass, but I think part of trying to understand why people do the things they do involves seeing our own mperfections as well.

maise posted 9/20/2019 14:55 PM

Interesting topic, I havenít felt morally superior at all. If anything, being betrayed makes you feel pretty low. Think; disposable, used, and like giving it what you had wasnít enough. I have often felt like she Ďwoní in this at my expense. She did like/was excited by what she was doing after all, while I was miserable. That was something that took a long time to come to grips with.

As to whether you would have grown as a bs the way you have as a WS, the question would go down to coping skills. Would you stand in your pain (and there is a lot of it as we all know) and face your WS to hold them accountable/or walk away if they arenít? Or would you cope by way of shutting down/stuffing them in and ultimately rug-sweeping? I feel like the pain we go through and the many FOO pains triggered with infidelity is enough to not allow the feelings of superiority - but whether you would grow or change the way you have now as the WS if roles were reversed Iíd say is all about the methods you would have used to cope.

[This message edited by maise at 3:22 PM, September 20th (Friday)]

KingRat posted 9/20/2019 15:08 PM

But here is what I am not sure is healthy - If I were the bs I would probably feel morally superior. I would be the one who did nothing wrong and took the high road. I would have lived out my life guilty of nothing, with no need to convince him of anything. My head would be held high, so I think some of it is not liking the status that I gave myself. Not being happy that is the position I put myself in.

Is this normal? Is it healthy?

Would you? You never struck me as a "score keeper." But no, that behavior is not healthy. That's poison in any relationship and a huge obstacle in experiencing intimacy. And at that point, IMO, there is nothing left. Just two people cohabiting.

Gettingoveritall posted 9/20/2019 15:29 PM

But here is what I am not sure is healthy - If I were the bs I would probably feel morally superior. I would be the one who did nothing wrong and took the high road.

I may be wrong, but I read this as if you had been a BS with the same issues and thought patterns you had before your affair, but had not, for whatever reason, actually had an affair, you would have felt aloof and morally superior. Is that a correct understanding of what you are saying?

If so, I understand why you are asking if that would have been a healthy reaction to being cheated on.

I would say that it would not be productive to feel that way long-term if you decided to reconcile, but if the affair was a deal-breaker and you chose divorce, there would be nothing wrong with knowing you were morally superior to your cheating spouse.

Owl6118 posted 9/20/2019 15:40 PM

Yes, I imagine any remorseful betrayer would like to take their BS's pain. In that sense trading places could be an appealing fantasy.

But I agree with what I think you said in your OP, which I would restate as follows:

Even in wish fulfillment, taking their place would give us their pain to carry but also return to us that sense of unsullied honor and integrity we crave, but which we surrendered forever by our own choices.

There is no way, even in fantasy, to take the pain without also arrogating to ourselves the innocence we squandered, and, conversely, thrusting the loss of innocence and an innocent relationship with ourselves onto our BS, now in fantasy our trading-places WS.

That being the case, I find the dilemma insoluble and the whole thought painful, bordering on, well, obscene.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 9/20/2019 16:43 PM

Hikingout, Iím curious what morally superior means to you. Is it an arrogance? Do you relate it to contempt?

I know that for HT, he was so low that staying on the high road was all he had to hang onto.

Skadu posted 9/20/2019 17:01 PM

I would be the one who did nothing wrong and took the high road. I would have lived out my life guilty of nothing, with no need to convince him of anything. My head would be held high, so I think some of it is not liking the status that I gave myself. Not being happy that is the position I put myself in.

It's the world's worst consolation prize.

[This message edited by Skadu at 5:02 PM, September 20th (Friday)]

hikingout posted 9/20/2019 22:00 PM

Skadu - I am sure it is. I didnít mean this as insulting more from a view of being of wayward status.

I donít think this would be scorekeeping or being arrogant. Itís just the idea of losing a purity that you will never have back?

hikingout posted 9/20/2019 22:08 PM

And to be honest sometimes I read bs posts so much I start to consider whether or not a bs loses contempt or ever feels equally yoked again. Or on the same level as morality as their spouse. If I had not done it I would continue to see it from an angle of it being something I would never do. I would see the sneakiness of it and would have a hard time seeing my husband in the same light.

And I am not saying that if h did something I wouldnít reconcile, especially now that we have been where we have. But had I not done it first I do think I would have tried regardless, I am just not sure that I would ever understood it. A lot of these thoughts come from really trying to get at all I have done. I am not sure itís making sense or not. But certainly not meaning this in any other way than an exploration?

EllieKMAS posted 9/20/2019 22:33 PM

I havenít felt morally superior at all. If anything, being betrayed makes you feel pretty low. Think; disposable, used, and like giving it what you had wasnít enough.

All of this YES. In my case add to this that I was the gainfully employed spouse for our whole M, I took care of pretty much all of the 'grown up' stuff while my Xwh "fell in love" with an 18 yo slut and completely expected me to green light him tapping that (because they were so in love, you see) and acted like a 38 yo toddler when I said no fucking way.

Do I feel morally superior? Meh? I feel like I was the best spouse I knew how to be, and that I took pretty damn good care of him for the 8.5 years we were together. I feel like he benefitted a lot from being married to me. I feel like I gave our M (and our relationship) more than he ever did. I feel like things were so one sided for so long that him doing what he did was the most fucking insulting and disrespectful thing that I have ever had someone do to me. I feel like I wasn't perfect at all but I deserved a damn sight better than what I got. I am really not sure if that makes me 'morally superior', but it sure does make me the hell of a better person than him. That is just fact IMHO.

I love to hear stories from WS that think about things like this and put the questions out there. It brings my BS self a little peace to know that some waywards are really committed to changing themselves and helping heal their BS.

BraveSirRobin posted 9/21/2019 06:31 AM

Coming from a madhatter perspective, it's an interesting question. All the more so in my case, because I didn't know I had been cheated on until after I cheated. What does it mean that I was a blameless BGF for over a year but wasn't told that I was? Someone who could have posted on JFO about my pain if my WBF had told me the truth about his ONS (and SI had existed back then)? I was a faithful girlfriend when he did that, and for over a year of the time that he lied and gaslighted me.

Would I trade places with him? Is the Pope Catholic? I fervently wish that he had come clean to me, and I had been in his place rather than going on to make the terrible choices I made. Both for his sake, to spare him this terrible pain, and to not carry this crushing guilt for mine.

"Moral superiority" is a quagmire for both of us, but I've long since forgiven him for what he did, and I will never, ever stop feeling tainted by what I did. So I think you have a point in wondering if taking his place would actually be a sign of remorse if it could benefit you in some way. Especially since your BH appears to be far more ready than you are to accept what happened and move on.

I guess that's the other meat of your question. Can a WS ever fully understand the BS's pain at a level that makes them capable of understanding what trading places would feel like? And would it feel the same to you as it does to them? Even as a madhatter, I don't think I fully understand the pain my BH suffers, so is it possible to make a truly informed choice to switch?

Zugzwang posted 9/21/2019 07:43 AM

If I were the bs I would probably feel morally superior.

That is to say if a BS would even need that. Seems more like a wayward thing to me to get a high off of that validation and to view it that way. Could it allow them to feel better about their self esteem when it has been crushed beneath our feet till they begin to heal right after Dday? Yes. I would think it was a healthy thing. In the end though when they begin to heal I don't think a healthy BS would feel that way anymore. That is how my wife comes across. Why wouldn't it be healthy to be proud of your character. Only us wayward see it in a selfish validation way. Only the unhealthy would focus on just that and think they hold onto that because as wayward we can identify with that need for validation. IMO, you are viewing it from a selfish POV instead of a selfless one. Kinda like I was when I first came here. When I swore up and down every kind act was selfish. Doing something nice for someone feeds your validation and worth when thanked. In truth it is all about the motivation. You focus on them holding it above someone elses head to feel good and proud. I think healthy people use it to measure themselves against themselves and not others. If they do it at first, seems healthy as part of the healing process. I mean afterall it is true. We are guilty of being less for being a cheater.

hikingout posted 9/21/2019 08:41 AM

Great answers. And zug - I donít think I am seeing it from a place of getting high. Rather I think I had a momentary lapse of wanting to feel relief from my end of things as the perpetrator . But thatís why itís grating to some - a bs has no relief either. BSR nailed it - my h is so willing to move on I look at him and wish I was where he was, and I think that was the crux of it. I talked to him about this last night and he said the same thing as BSR did. I didnít realize it when lI wrote the post.

Itís surprising to me that this is the point in the journey where I find myself struggling again , and I keep reasching for why. I suppose remorse can grow and grow and grow but at some point you wonder if letting it is even healthy. I wish there were more info out in this sort of thing. I have looked. So many of the resources for ws is changing and making amends. H feels I am using this site to get other bs to punish me instead which I donít agree with because that is not happening. But there are aspects to trust he is saying that could be smaller. I have to think about it more. Have a great Saturday I am going to get out for some air today.

hikingout posted 9/21/2019 08:52 AM

One last thing - logically I can look at this and understand itís distorted. Emotionally, I think I canít adjust to the idea that I am probably going to be able to keep my marriage but may never feel like I deserved to. New shame to process I suppose. I have been back in IC the last couple of months and I am hoping I can get to a different place, but this is where I am now I guess.

So much up to this point has been change- wanting that for myself but also wanting to keep the marriage. Now that I have achieved a lot of that I find I donít feel I deserve it. Again emotion versus logic. I logically know that isnít the way I should feel, but my emotions havenít caught up.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:53 AM, September 21st (Saturday)]

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