Are some people incapable of introspection? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Are some people incapable of introspection?

Are some people incapable of introspection? When you ask someone the question"Why?"
and their answer is always "I don't know" how can you tell when the answer is a cop out versus genuine?

I am getting frustrated with my H because he has been attending therapy, not sharing about it, and I haven't seen any real change in behavior. He says he is working and I know he isn't doing the reading he is asked to do. I asked him for a concrete example of something he he's done as a result of therapy and he can't give me an example. I haven't gotten the impression he is going to address the things that make him so defensive, given to lying, being selfish and emotionally distant. There is more but those are some of the highlights.

In particular I am concerned with his poor relationship with honesty and his ability to justify things to himself. He was a cheater and IMO worse in his previous marriage and I still see the characteristics that allowed him to lie and justify that behavior and it really makes me nervous.

I ask him to share what is going on with him and all I ever hear about is work. I find out more by reading his email. Nothing bad. Just not sharing. He doesn't seem to be able to be supportive of me when I need it. Somehow he takes on the emotion and I end up supporting him.

Etc.

I asked him why nothing seems to be changing and he first gets defensive and then angry and does things to deflect (like hitting himself on the head) and it is such a stupid and predictable pattern is am simply tired of it. I have pointed out that his response is the same whether he is being honest or lying so I have no idea what is real unless there are "tells" or other evidence to key me know one way or another. I am observant but that frustrates me because I shouldn't have to use my keen intelligence and amazing sense of perception to figure things out. ;-)

He does lie a lot less but that happened before he started therapy. The behavior that accompanied lying is still strong. I don't feel real improvement because of of it. It is like he is still a mm away from being dishonest.

He thinks that behavior is not an indication of anything. Maybe I just have a form of PTSD so it triggers me too much. But I don't think so.

I feel he is more married to himself than he is to me. That makes me feel like a f-buddy instead of a wife. And even there we have had a ton of issues that I had to drag him kicking and screaming to address. Much better in that area. It was a deal breaker for me so it was non-negotiable if he wanted to stay married.

I am starting to think he just doesn't want to do be an open man and that all of his "trying" is just a waste of time because of it.

Or, he is really incapable of hearing me and understanding why I feel so unhappy with his distance and the cycle he uses when I try to express my needs. When I finally get angry he gets angrier and we can't go any further.

Does he really not process or is he avoiding and passively showing me he has no intention of changing these things? He said he doesn't know how. He can never seem to remember the needs I have expressed to him. He wants me to tell him again. Yet he can function pretty darn well at work. He remembers things and pays attention to details. He does tend to get angry first but we have been talking about how to deal with things differently and he has really improved there. So why aren't I reaping that benefit in our marriage?

Sorry this is so long.

I love him a lot and I do appreciate that he has improved but the uphill battle has given me fatigue and I am having a really hard time being in a marriage that has no real depth. I feel like I am married to an emotionally stunted man or a guy who is basically selfish and who has no intention of being honest with me or himself.

I don't even know what I am looking for with this.

Maybe just a discussion about people who lack depth and everything while they can perceive emotions can't allow themselves to face them or share them. What causes this? Is it purely learned of might there be a cognitive deficiency? What kind of treatment might he benefit from -- might I benefit from!

I feel selfish but I want to see that ridiculous response disappear and for him to share all of his life with me. I am starting not to want to meet his needs so we are in a bit of a situation.


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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:01 PM
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

Yes,me!
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

Do you really feel that way about yourself? How can you be sure it isn't a choice rather than a brain thing?
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:07 PM
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

A lot of people are incapable of introspection.

You are trying to change your husband. You cannot. So what you see is what you get.

Now you have to decide if you can live with him just the way he is.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

Also, do you struggle with honesty and sharing?

Do you even wish you we're different or do you just wish everyone would leave you alone?

Are you better suited to being single than married?
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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A lot of people are incapable of introspection.

You are trying to change your husband. You cannot. So what you see is what you get.

Now you have to decide if you can live with him just the way he is.
Are they really incapable? How do you know? What evidence is there to support incapability versus lack of desire?

If he can address things for work it doesn't jive with being incapable. He might not be the best equipped to work through these things but he also trained himself up by not addressing problems and blaming everyone else. He now sees that and that too makes me think he isn't willing rather than incapable.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:16 PM
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

The way I see it is introspection generally means pain. Pain as in owning your bad behavior and bad decisions possibly pain from a neglectful childhood.

I believe we are capable of introspection but many choose not to go there because they can't. It's too painful. I believe something dark drives people to act like this and it's not a happy memory.

It appears as if some cheaters are just selfish but if you dig a bit deeper you find a sense of entitlement and dysfunction that goes back to childhood. It had nothing to do with you and you can't save someone that doesn't wish to be saved.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:19 PM
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

Unless you are speaking about pure philosophy, which I doubt most people using the term are, I believe it to mean this below. The source explains more so you have a better understanding.


Quote:
Very few contemporary philosophers of mind would call a process “introspective” if it does not meet some version of the three conditions above, though in ordinary language the temporal proximity condition may sometimes be violated. (For example, in ordinary speech we might describe as “introspective” a process of thinking about why you abandoned a relationship last month or whether you're really as kind to your children as you think you are.) However, many philosophers of mind will resist calling a process that meets these three conditions “introspective” unless it also meets some or all of the following three conditions:
Source: Introspection (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:22 PM
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

Quote:
Originally Posted by clipclop2 View Post
Are they really incapable? How do you know? What evidence is there to support incapability versus lack of desire?

If he can address things for work it doesn't jive with being incapable. He might not be the best equipped to work through these things but he also trained himself up by not addressing problems and blaming everyone else. He now sees that and that too makes me think he isn't willing rather than incapable.
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Narcissists are incapable of introspection


"Let’s take a look at why malignant narcissists not only don't change but become worse. Keep in mind, they have mastered a lifetime of this twisted way of being in the world, and are always pushing their warped behavior to the limits.


Narcissists are incapable of introspection. The narcissist maintains their delusions of superiority by constantly dodging reality. They refuse to take a good look at themselves because the feedback would not flatter them, and the narcissist must always appear good, even to themselves. They are incapable of looking inward and learning from experience, and instead opt to live in a state of denial. If you think your silence will send a malignant narcissist into deep thought about the relationship and their part in it, think again. The only thing the narcissist will be doing is stewing in hatred for you and pity for themselves.

Introspection can be defined as self-examination or the detailed mental examination of your own feelings, thoughts, and motives. Implicit in the word is that one will do this with self-honesty such that one’s flaws can be discovered, examined, and perhaps even corrected."

read more here....

The Narcissist's Child: Narcissists are incapable of introspection

While your husband and others might not be narcissists, many people cannot self-examine because they are too tied to the emotional and behavioral patterns that they learned early in life to cope.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

But that shows that it is a choice. They choose to stay married to their fantasy world.

My H was able to admit things about his previous marriage that he at first attributed to his ex. He vowed not to make those same kinds of mistakes and I think he has been faithful to me. When he vowed to give up pen he did it with only one slip that I am aware of and while he only told me because he thought I had scheduled a lie detector test, he could have just taken his chances.

I doubted him on the porn thing because of all the guys who swear that any guy who says he doesn't watch porn is a liar but an actual low detector test backed up his claim.

He finally admitted how p had harmed him and how it helped him reach the lows he had reached and how it screwed him up sexually, contributed to his shame, etc. and things have gotten pretty good over the last several years. It took a long time. Things aren't perfect but I am happy with or sex life and if nothing further improved it would not feel ripped off.
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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 02:51 PM
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

"I doubted him on the porn thing because of all the guys who swear that any guy who says he doesn't watch porn is a liar but an actual low detector test backed up his claim. "

If my dad watched or looked at it, he never mentioned it. He was very religious though, and had some poor qualities along with that. It is possible not to look at it. However, if any man knows another does not look, he will try to make him by sending texts or doing something sly, just to prove the man is not better than them.

I'm not on anyone's side here. I'm just stating what I know to be true. I can stay away from it if I am having satisfying sex and outside interests that are wholesome. That'a ans old word.

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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

I know it is true but I doubted my husband's ability or desire to truly make the change. I am glad he has proven me wrong. I am very impressed with him for doing what he finally understood was a big problem. It took him a while to accept it but he is so happy with himself for dumping porn and for making our sex life fun and functional.

He had also been off the opinion that porn use could not be a problem since do many guys watch it. Neither masturbation. Lessons learned. I wish more men would take off the blinders on that one. But it would require honesty and introspection that seems to be situationally absent.
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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 08:15 PM
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

Yuuup. I'm not entirely sure my sort-of wife thinks that other people are real, that they exist. Their inner lives certainly don't register or matter and for the most part the whole world exists for her to interrogate or complain at.

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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 09:12 PM
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Are some people incapable of introspection?

If you had a crystal ball and you saw that he never becomes introspective, would it matter if it was a choice or not?
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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Are some people incapable of introspection?

Yes. Wilfully choosing to ithhold is different than being unable. It is the difference between getting sick and being unable to have sex and being unwilling because Of God knows why.
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