I told Honey no to any revisions to child support when he ‘reached out’ to me last year. You can read about it here. I included HomeWrecker in the email discussion because I wanted it clear to her (without his image management spin) that I had legitimate reasons not to extend any consideration when he’d left his kids high and dry with no support for a year and a half with no explanation.
I had to use the courts to go after him, a process which he made exponentially more lengthy and painful because Honey never showed up to court (by speakerphone) with what they told him to. I included that fact in my email. With regard to coming to court without what was required three times and how that negatively affected me, he responded ‘I can see how it might look that way to you, but that’s not what happened.’ Then later, when HomeWrecker had her tantrum on FB (the one in which she called me a money-grubbing whore), she wrote ‘Her true colors have been shown. All she cares about is money. She’s using her kids like a weapon. It’s ok though. The kids will understand what happened…in time.’
Yes, they will eventually understand. But sadly, it will be the actual version of reality where their thoughtless father opted to move a continent away from them without a thought for how this might make THEM feel. The day this occurs to them, without any help from me, is a day I’m not looking forward to.
And how, may I ask, did you get to the point in your thinking where this is actually reality to you? How did you stuff down the role you and Honey played in getting behind the monetary and visitation 8-ball to this degree? And how did we go from personal responsibility for all of that to blame-shifting 100% of the responsibility 8 states away to my lap? And lastly, to presume all of that is not only true, but that it must be true due to only one reason: my character is garbage despite no demonstration of that theory.
Well, the answer to that is logical fallacies. I’ve learned about how to avoid them as I’ve had to write papers in my college courses these last 3 years. This means I’m getting much better at spotting them. I still make my share of mistakes, but every paper that comes back corrected by one of my professors helps sharpen my skill at spotting these slimy toadstools in what is otherwise a concise paper about criminal behavior, or the criminal justice system in general.
So let’s talk about what a logical fallacy is, what some of the most common logical fallacies are, and see if we can apply them to my situation and cheating in general. For those of you facing something similar with the illogical crazy-making this brings, perhaps it will better equip you when you face this in your own life.
A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning that renders an argument invalid. They are often used by politicians, criminals…and cheaters. If you can spot them as they’re happening, it can do two things for you. First, it can stop you from being fooled or from second-guessing yourself. Second, it can help you use the reverse of the flawed argument to present your position using sound logic instead.
Let’s just start with a couple of the most common fallacies human beings use in their arguments. More will follow on future posts…
Ad Hominem: This occurs when an author attacks his opponent’s character instead of his opponent’s argument.
Example: You expect the amount of money you were granted by the courts in divorce with no pretense other than to support the family you were left with. You say no to a reduction. Since you will not grant your ex the reduction they have asked you for, you must not want him to be able to afford to see his children and therefore don’t care about the emotional harm that comes to them because they don’t get visited by their father. Ergo, because you won’t accept less money for the care of the children, you must not care about the children.
I therefore am a child/weapon yielding tyrant. And he is entitled, y’all. Because he asked.
Bandwagon: An appeal to the popularity of a behavior (or the fact that numerous people do something you endorse) in an attempt to validate the behavior.
Example: Just read the news or magazines these days. All the authors are saying 1/3 of people cheat, so monogamy isn’t immoral…it just must be a flawed institution!
It couldn’t possibly be because we have a morality problem with one third of our population…
Appeal to Authority: The person making the argument claims their argument must be right because someone famous or important supports it or has done it.
Example: Cheating is normal. Just look at Hugh Grant! If he can cheat on someone like Elizabeth Hurley, it must be because cheating is normal.
Failing to identify that Hugh Grant’s crappy character was the problem is like saying ‘Hey, ladies. See her? See how she is practically perfect by every measurement standard available in the known universe? Yah, even she’s not good enough for these enigmatic men who can’t be satisfied even by the embodiment of our culture’s notion of sexuality. Have fun with those saddlebags.’ #youwillneverbegoodenoughsojustsettleforthecreeps
Negativity Bias – the tendency to pay more attention and give more weight to negative than positive experiences or other kinds of information.
Example: Honey: paying a lot of money in child support makes my life hard. Wife wants to make my life hard. My life is hard because of wife. Wife must be bad, that is the key thing here. Note: on a less ego-maniacal note, paying child support makes your children’s lives BETTER. Oh yah. That.
Composition/Division: The person making the argument depicts one part of something having to be applied to all or other parts of it.
Example: When yet another famous person cheats on their spouse, those in favor of the ‘cheating is biology’ argument selectively ignore the subsequent tear-filled public apologies or acknowledge the harm done to the spouses and children. They carefully pick the part of the behavior that they want to endorse (cheating is normal/biology) and ignore the part that they don’t want to acknowledge (the intense pain, the financial damage, the public humiliation, harm done to the spouses and children, etc.) Sorry, you walking collateral damage victims…didn’t you get the memo? Cheating is biology. Sucks to be you. Shouldn’t have expected otherwise.
In other words, it’s like trying to fit an edge piece into the middle of a puzzle…because it’s a puzzle, BY GOD, and this is a piece of the puzzle so I’m going to jam in in there and make it FIT whether it jives with everything around it or not. Anyone got a hammer?
False Equivalence: This is my favorite logical fallacy. Once you spot these, you will notice them everywhere. In this fallacy, two opposing arguments are made to appear logically equivalent when in fact they are not.
Example: a cheater’s locked phone makes you examine their phone bill. The phone bill reveals that he texted his mistress 120 times a day for 5 months. After you confront him, he seems to suddenly know all about private conversations you’ve had and where you’ve gone each day. You believe he might be tracking your phone, so you put a lock on it. In therapy, when confronted with his lies and adultery, the cheater says that neither of us are perfect because ‘you have a lock on your phone, too!’ Not. The. Same.
Tune in next time for ‘Cognitive Biases and You!’ There will be cake and punch. But not for me, because life is horrible and I have no friends. (negativity bias at work). See that? See how I did that? Anyway…
See you next week.
Warning: This post may have been unintentionally fraught with the following fallacies:
Confirmation Bias – the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.
Projection Bias – the tendency to unconsciously assume that others share one’s current emotional states, thoughts and values.
Empathy Gap – the tendency to underestimate the influence or strength of feelings, in either oneself or others.