I was amazed and saddened by the comments to my last post. Saddened because so many of us struggle with the notion of shame. As if we're somehow stupid for not knowing our husbands were cheating on us. As if we have something to feel ashamed about. As if we had any part in our own betrayal.
Most of us can accept that we played some role in our marriages – whether for better for worse. I know I had fallen into a bad habit of playing the martyr – then resenting my husband ferociously for not being around much to help out. What did I expect? When he was around, I simply tsked tsked the way he did everything from putting the kids to bed to chew his food. (Passive-aggressive?? Uh, yeah. That was me.)
And there was certainly far too long a period following D-Day when I all too eagerly offered up my shortcomings as evidence that I could control his cheating. In my desperate mind I figured that if my actions caused his cheating, then different actions could prevent it.
For one thing, his sex addiction pre-dated me in his life. It was simply his medication of choice. Life not exactly living up to expectations? Take one blow-job with a stranger and don't call back in the morning.
So recognizing that I really didn't control his actions then...and I certainly didn't control them now was lesson #1.
Lessons number 2 through...uh, lost count, have related to letting go of shame. Shame that I trusted something untrustworthy. Shame that this didn't happen to other women. Shame that I spent far too many mornings weeping in bed while my kids ate stale Cheerios. Shame for...well...I could pretty much muster up shame for just about anything, whether the fact that I hadn't yet cured cancer to shame that I could barely keep my house clean.
And so, it would seem from your comments, could you.
So let's give it up, shall we?
We got screwed. Not literally, of course. That was our husbands. Nope, we got screwed by life and circumstance. Just like every person on the planet does as some point or another.
But rather than sit back and wring our hands and point the finger squarely at ourselves, let's take a big step back and remove ourselves from what happened to us. It happened to us. Just like earthquakes happen to people. And cancer happens to people. And other bad things happen to good people.
And let's show shame the door.