Trdd- oh I do think we are in the same page. It was more I was trying to expand the thought.
For me, I ended up in the same place as you say because the people pleasing was selfish. I was doing it to get something… love, appreciation, a right to be in the marriage, to be seen a certain way, etc. My over-giving was transactional because it came with expectations of my husband.
People who cheat are being selfish when they do so but the selfish behavior is not an aberration even in a ws who appeared selfless. I also think you would find a large percentage of the time that people pleasers are very much trying to get something and it’s manipulative. Often you will find a PP to also be passive aggressive.
The selfishness all comes from that lack of self love that creates a void. The cheating comes when it’s combined with a lack of integrity and presence of opportunity. That lack of integrity is where The cognitive dissonance comes in. "‘I know this to be wrong, BUT…." There is a lot of convincing yourself you are not the villain of the story.
As for what Dobletraicion is saying - that it’s often compared to other bad coping - things like gambling, drugs, or even shoplifting - I think most affairs that have emotional components tend to be obsessive if not an addiction.
I don’t blame my affair on the addiction. When it started it was a series of bad decisions that should not have been made. The addiction could not have formed had that not happened. I am just saying that at some point there was an addiction to the happy chemicals flooding my brain.
In the context of cognitive dissonance you just keep rationalizing increasingly erratic behavior because that high becomes the focus of about every waking second of your life. I literally could not think about anything else.
It had nothing to do with the AP being so great (he wasn’t). It had to do with the narrative in my head that was created to deal with knowing what I was doing was very wrong. At some point it becomes like self-brainwashing. Ap good. Spouse bad. After all I couldn’t be the villain of my own story, yet the addiction kept the affair going. So the list of lies I told myself grew and grew because I couldn’t stop nor did I want to.
I see proof of what I am saying all over the posts on this site:
-the person the was was having an affair with made no sense. Inappropriate choice for whatever reason. Mine was decades older than me and misogynistic, something I would never have tolerated in a regular relationship
-we convince ourselves of bad narratives about our spouse
-we often have trouble going NC as if our self control has completely left the building
-we have these strange things that when they are said aloud after dday we know we have been lying to ourselves. Things like "you would like him" or "they are a good person" " ap is my soul mate" It’s all false justification.
I became utterly unrecognizable to even myself.
Looking back on it today it was the most moronic, idiotic, humiliating, desperate, disgusting, destructive experience of my life. I can’t fathom that I was so callous or so reverted back to an immature time of my life.
I can see how it started, I understand why I did it, and clearly made those decisions willingly. I just didn’t go in knowing where it would take me or who I would become in the process. How long it would take to heal and grow from it and the lasting impact it would have on our lives.
Duplicity was always there, but the mental gymnastics surrounding the cognitive dissonance created a lot of lying to myself that I found difficult to unwind in the aftermath because I believed all of it. This disconnect from reality was also devastating to my husband and derailed our R efforts for a very long time.
So in the end if it was just duplicity on it’s own I could have started immediately making sense, being empathetic, working to rebuild trust from day 1. The CD made that impossible for months because you have to be honest with yourself to be so for others. For a while he heard my illogical, broken way of thinking that would not have existed if it was duplicity only.