Are You Making Excuses for Your MLCer?
A few years ago I spoke with another LBS on the phone. We talked regularly for a few years and on this particular occasion I also spoke with her teenage daughter who said some things that had me concerned.
Before I start let me review the specifics of their situation.
MLCer: early/mid 40s
Alienator: early 20s with a son
The MLCer had his own apartment and did not ever live with the alienator. He kept her from meeting the children, though there were a couple incidents where they ran into her—likely because she contrived such circumstances. I spoke to the teenage daughter following one of those incidents. The alienator manipulated a few situations deliberately to reinstate the affair or make the wife look bad.

I finally asked the LBS the degree of blame she gave the alienator in the situation; she said it was 30% her MLCer and 70% the alienator.
When I spoke to her daughter, I and asked her what she felt regarding the alienator and the affair. She said the alienator manipulated and pursued her father when he was weak and vulnerable due to MLC. Without verbalizing it she victimized her father as a weak person who is unable to control his impulses. MLC is a time of vulnerability, but this does not absolve responsibility. What understanding MLC and vulnerabilities can do is offer a person who is not a Stander by belief a reason for Standing.
Now, I am not going to disagree that there may be one person who bears more responsibility for the affair by pursuing and refusing to end the relationship. But at the same time the LBS was encouraging something dangerous. A person’s choices are not 50/50 or 30/70; as far as choice goes, a person is 100% responsible.
What she was doing by diluting her MLCer’s responsibility was saying that he is not capable of making choices on his own, that he is thus weak, vulnerable and easily manipulated. This is especially dangerous when children understand this belief may be thus encouraged to believe it themselves. The belief has the risk of being transferred beyond the specific situation to all people of the specific MLCer’s gender.
For the young teenage girl in this example there is a very possible danger that she will unconsciously translate her beliefs in her father’s weaknesses to all men. She will thus rationalize that men are incapable of being responsible or of making decisions and that such things are her job in a relationship. She will project this belief into her marriage and seek control to compensate for her fear that her husband is incompetent. She also has a risk of marrying someone who perpetuates her belief system, either because his root experiences match her expectation or because he reacts to her expectation by believing her.
Regardless of MLC, MLCers are not inept. Vulnerability does not dissolve responsibility, it merely explains how or why something may have occurred; it does not excuse or pardon. But excusing someone’s behaviour on the basis of weakness or vulnerability disrespects that person. It perpetuates the idea that he is like a child, unable to help himself and that you, the LBS are like a parent to them, thus you are the better decision-maker and must step in to fix the messes. Give your MLCers more respect and hold them responsible for their actions. They chose to have an affair and are choosing to continue to have an affair. Sure, the alienator may be persuasive, but that is not relevant. Regardless of the alienator’s temptress/temptor abilities, your MLCer has a choice and the ability to say No.
Woman often place higher expectations for fidelity on other woman and absolve men with the that’s the way men are stereotyped belief. But how could a woman do this to another woman? If the alienator herself is married, her betrayal is seen as even more shocking.
Blame creates a good/evil split wherein the alienator gets to play the part of evil and the MLCer plays the role of good, though broken. This blame is an energy directed at the alienator which is a form of giving her your power and keeps the idea of her and the affair mentally and emotionally active in your lives—whether the affair is over or continuing.
Take back your power by recognizing the alienator as a person with flaws as well as positive attributes. She is not a demon—even if she did intentionally pursue and manipulate a married man. She has a life history that has placed her on this path. That is not an excuse for her misbehaviors, but understanding or at least merely acknowledging its existence can explain her behaviours without excusing them. The alienator made a mistake, just as your MLCer made a mistake. Her mistakes do not make her a worse person than his mistakes make him.
Isn’t it ironic that we complain about our MLCer’s lack of responsibility and how they project blame and yet by deflecting blame for the affair from the MLCer to the alienator, we are enabling the MLCers blaming and irresponsibility. We are providing them with reasons why their behaviour is not their fault and thus they are not responsible for their actions.

What are your thoughts on this?
Do you blame the alienator more than your MLCer?
How about your kids?
Are you so focused on hating that you forget to love?


Comments

Is Your MLCer a Victim of the Big Bad Alienator?21 Comments

  1. In the beginning of my h's MLC I did blame the alienator – more as a protection for myself. In other words, if it wasn't for her my h would not have left me – it laid the blame on an outside person rather than on either of us. Friend s and relatives would say to me – You did nothing wrong. Well, I figured if I did nothing wrong, why would h not want me anymore? Also if h's choice was not influenced by the big bad alienator, then he would have surely wanted to work things out with me. It made it easier to digest what was going on. So I laid the blame at her door with a capital B.

    As time has passed, I sometimes feel all 3 of us are victims of circumstance and I think I have come to grips that h made a choice and that midlife crisis took him and shook him up so badly that the choice he made is a hurtful one – not only to me but to himself as well.

  2. I find almost the opposite reaction from friends when I say something negative about the alienator. Most come back saying that it was my H is the one responsible. I say NO, my H is responsible for what he has done and she is responsible for what she has done. No one gets a pass.

    • I am in the middle of this hell. He has dumped me and my children in a different country to move in with his affair. No one can believe how fast I’ve turned all of this around. He is on anti depressants…… It was a relief as I was miserable for years. He was trying to destroy me for months. Now I am at the point where l, I found messages 5 weeks ago. Thank you alienator, she’s young blonde, Easter Euopean….. The jokes write themselves. Me…. I’m happy and have 2 amazing kids. It will be stressful moving country, finding schools but since this kicked of so many opportunities have opened up for me. You reep what you sew. I didn’t deserve any of this…. They are welcome to each other. My poor kids are the real victims but I’m doing my best to protect them while he’s already started a new life. If/when he comes through the fog….. I just hope he can become a good parent. For that doesn’t happen. I am a good parent.

  3. I too laid the blame at the foot of my H. I was not married to OW. She did not owe me anything. The most hurtful betrayl was the decision H made. I spend very little time on OW. However, I would at times be annoyed with the dynamics between OW and H, in these instances I might complain about the role OW was playing in the destruction. Friends and family would remind me H played a part too. I would acknowledge that. We also must acknowledge the predictable roles that play out in an alienator/MLC relationship. In my sitch OW took the wheel and was steering the ship of destruction but H gave her that power. Both of these roles are different and equally disturbing.

  4. I actually blamed my H more than the OW. He was desperate and I feel would have at that point latch on to anyone he could; who happened to be her. Yes; she knew he just left me 3 weeks earlier and chose to continue the relationship so she’s just as bad. They both had an agenda and they both are using each other.

  5. I too blamed everything on the OW in the beginning. Then I blamed myself ( H was blaming me so figured he must be right). Next in line were our daughters, they had caused a great deal of problems within our family. Finally I got to the real culprit…my husband. He was pretty good at blaming everyone but himself. I still strongly believe that the OW manipulated him but, he let her. She put him up on a pedestal and he liked it.. He was weak and vulnerable and she did take advantage of that. My H and I have been separated for over 2 years and he has not made one move towards filing for divorce, in fact, we have been going to counseling to work on our problems. We see each other pretty much every day of the week. I honestly think that we spend more time together now than we did before all this. Recently H went back on anti-depressants and is finally taking positive steps towards getting his health issues resolved. I do have to give her credit for being persistent…or maybe just stupid ( I am not sure).

  6. Like most of you, I did not blame the alienator as a deflection for blaming Sweetheart; both were responsible. But as Buggy31 pointed out, "OW took the wheel and was steering the ship of destruction but H gave her that power." The alienator in my situation was a typical affair down and was likely a Borderline Personality. She pursued him and he felt obligated. He bought into her guilt trips; but that was an issue within him, she merely took advantage of it. She was more flawed than he was. She was manipulative because of her own instability and vulnerabilities and had no more control over her actions than he did–probably less. I'm not saying she was thus excused.
    But by blaming the alienator, the teenager I spoke of was assuming that the alienator was mentally stable. True, she was not legally insane, but all that means is she remained responsible for her actions, it did not mean she had self-awareness which might have enabled her to step aside instead of following a script.
    Blame one more than the other may be valid in some situations: a boss versus younger coworker, person in authority such as teacher/professor and student… Usually the blame in those situations lies with the older male and that may be the MLCer, not the alienator.

  7. I blame my husband for his own stupid decision. For repeatedly placing himself in a position of flirtation. I blame the OW for a CONSCIOUS decision to pursue, manipulate and enter into a relationship with my husband instead of fixing her own marriage.

  8. My H and OW worked together and spent more time together at work than we did at home because of work schedules. Although she is younger than I am she by no means is better but I guess H wanted a damsel to rescue. She is on her second broken marriage, still married, and her first was broken up by another woman so I don't understand how a woman can do that when she knows how it feels. I guess since both H and her are still married to other spouses they have the luxury of not committing to each other. They can have their cake and eat it too. It has been 1 1/2 years since they moved in together so I imagine that newness is probably waering off.

  9. I believe that my H is to be blamed…..for his dumb decisions. But that doesn't mean that OW is the sweet victim…far from it…agree with LIW, no one gets a pass….he is as responsible for his actions, as is OW…..

  10. I blame my H 100% for going to the OW. I also blame the OW 100% for her involvement wiht my H. OW was my best friend and our children were best friends. Supposedly this is still EA – doesn't matter it is still an affair. OW is still in her marriage, but is keeping my H on a string. Both are adults and both are 100% responsible for their choices. I have never felt that I was to blame in any way for my H's choice. My H has been the pursuer from the beginning – his choice.

  11. I hold my H 100% responsible for his choice, I hold the alienator 100% responsible for attempting to steal my husband. She knew he was married for 28 years and that he was depressed. I (like a fool) encouraged my husband to do yoga to help with his depression. Little did I know about the "transference" that goes on between a teacher and a student. Yoga teachers are held to the standards of moral codes not to get romantically/sexually involved with their students and are taught this in their teacher training program. She sensed his vulnerability and took advantage of this situation. She tried to convince him that they had known each other in past lives. She poured out the spiritual woo woo and asked him to drink the kool-aid. When that didn't work she tried to sexually seduce him by telling such things as,"When I am intimate" with my boyfriend I am thinking of you." Did yoga help his depression NO! He is now medicated. They are both 100% responsible for their behaviors!

  12. I have a question…my H has no OW (I got phone records, email access, etc.) He is actually living in my front yard in our self contained camper, and that's another reason I say no other woman…he knows my daddy would shoot him especially with him in my front yard!. All of a sudden, "I'm not in love with you anymore" speech, the "Bomb drop" out of the blue, "I want things simple" "I haven't been happy for years" etc., etc., just like you read on every site for Midlife Crisis. We've been together since high school. He has always been smart, intelligent, providing, and just overall a good man and father. He is now 38 and over the past year has been talking about things in the past, getting older, and his grandfather (who was a significant role model) passed away. Everything is my fault as a typical MLCer would say, but here is what I don't get….to them about what is going on. His family does not have a clue about him living in the camper and he has no intentions of telling them yet….

  13. he has only moved a few changes of clothes out of the house, he still pays all the bills, all our money is still together, he goes and eats at my parents atleast 2-4 times a week…BUT he wants absolutely nothing to do with me…no contact unless needed…He still remains active with the children. I can tell he is "foggy" and depressed (he even told me that). I truely feel he is in Midlife Crisis, but I have no idea what stage, etc. and I actually think this has been going on since the first of the year (2011). He left Easter Sunday…I know I'm only in the infancy stage of this but is it possible for him to already be in Replay? He has been out some and riding his bike more frequently….Help….another thing…he has told two people, his 2 best friends but he will not talk

    • If you've had Bomb Drop–you have–and/or your MLCer is actively escaping and avoiding–he is–he is in Replay. The stages that precede Replay will usually be below your detection, so he was in the other stages last year and perhaps in 2009. He may have still been in Resentment until Bomb Drop as he approached Replay. Each subphase and phase has seeds of the next at its end and of the previous at its beginning.

      He is probably not telling family because he has not left. He either wants to keep things low because maybe he will feel better someday–being unaware how long MLC lasts. Or he has bigger plans to leave but since he's still on the property he doesn't want to build enemies. Or it could be both.

      As for whether there is an alienator or not, that is about whether there is one yet. Not all MLCers have affairs, but most do. But that does not mean those who have affairs leave for the affair or the affair pushes them into Replay. An affair can bring on Replay but many MLCers leave and find someone afterwards. For some that is a conscious intention..
      My recent post Stress Response I

  14. Women who deliberately hurt other women and children are despicable. To break up a marriage is despicable. These women have no morals, values or principles. They have low self esteem. They have no self respect. I am disgusted more with the alienators than with cheating men. For sure the men chose to cheat on their wives and are to blame but if a woman says no to a married man…..he can't cheat.

  15. The alienator (my husband’s h.s. gf from the mid 1970’s) asked my husband if it was OK for her to contact him via email (she mentioned another classmate had declined her contact offer). Of course my husband decided these email contacts were appropriate…my husband now lives somewhere else since I read their texts stating their love for each other. Each are 100% responsible for their actions.

    • The alienator for pursuing married men (she is married many years) and my husband for his inability to say this is inappropriate!

  16. The reason LBS give alienator's more blame for the affair may be because most women know that a woman with low moral standards will go to any lengths to get what she wants. A woman is also more opt to persuading a man into temptation. Men are vulnerable to flattery and idolization and their egos are normally more fragile than in a woman's. Men seem wired that way and this realization is as old as time. To say that there is a 70% blame to alienator and 30% blame to the Mlcer is like throwing dice…there is no certainty of the dynamics in a adulterous relationship. I feel that there is a component that is being missed here though. "Maturity" Since the MLCer regresses to teen years, it's possible that and the alienator's predator's instincts are encouraged. The catch gets a little easier..wouldn't you say? The alienator knows that Mlcer is married but she is searching for a better catch and thinks she found it

    This concept may be far fetched to a lot of LBS but, lets be frank, they both know what they are doing and are both playing house at the expense of the wife's and/or children's suffering. The alienator's is the reason why the MLCer's monsters and why he doesn't come home. She is constantly suggesting and evidencing wife's faults and encouraging Mlcer victim mentality…and manipulating the Mlcer insecurities while distracting him. The Mlcer likes her neediness because it makes him feel wanted and pursued and relieves his own shame and guilt.
    My 2 cent.

    • I'm new to this site and I just got done reading your post from 44 weeks ago. You have amazing insight. I feel like you wrote exactly what I am seeing now with my ex and his affair partner. Thank you for validating my thoughts.

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