I've kept pretty silent about my husband's infidelity (well, except for this blog...). Few people in my "real" life know about it. And I prefer it that way.
Though I have days (especially close to D-Day, when I felt so raw) when I wish I could simply be totally honest about who I am, most of the time (especially now that I'm almost four years past D-Day #1) I'm glad I stayed quiet and told only those I could trust.
What kept me silent was my particular distaste for pity. I can't stand people feeling sorry for me. And though I was barely standing, I knew the day would come when I'd be back on my feet – and I didn't want to forever see a "that poor woman..." look in people's eyes.
Pity, I think, is sometimes a faux compassion to disguise a feeling of superiority. We tend to pity people we feel are somewhat hopeless. Who are pathetic. Who definitely are NOT us.
Which is why pitying ourselves and viewing ourselves as "victims" is incredibly unkind. It plays into the sense that we're helpless. And hopeless. And that we lack the power to do anything in our lives to stand tall again.
Which is absolutely and completely UNTRUE.
If your D-Day was in the recent past, you may not believe me. I can certainly recall moments (days, weeks...ack!) when I thought I was hopeless and helpless. When I couldn't imagine a day when this would be behind me. When the knot would disappear. When the pain would recede.
And it was in that stage that I embraced victimhood. "How could you have done this to me?" I would wail, even accusing my husband of "ruining" me.
Oh yes, the drama was high in those days.
Now? Not so much.
At a certain point, I felt as though I was performing a role. I'd be damned if I was going to let my husband forget what he'd done to me. So I put on my victim cloak and reminded him regularly of how pathetic I was, thanks to HIM. But slowly, it started feeling phoney. And I realized that my victimhood was victimizing me a second time. That it was holding me back from taking those tentative steps towards wholeness. Yes, this was done "to" me in the sense that I didn't know my husband's affairs were going on and they certainly weren't my choice. But staying there – believing that I was simply vulnerable to things being done to me – defined me as an object of pity. Hopeless. Helpless.
And I was most definitely NOT that.
Neither are you.
Shrug off the shroud of victimhood. Remind yourself that you do have choices, regardless of what was done "to" you in the past. You define your future. That's not to say you control every circumstance in your life. That little fantasy likely faded at the first hint of your spouse's infidelity, if not long before. But no matter what has happened to you in the past, you can stand again. With the knowledge you have now, the wisdom you have now, and, hopefully, the boundaries you have now, you will be the one who defines your future self.
And it certainly won't be victim.
Because victims are sources of pity. And pity is most definitely not for you.
- Join the Club...and Share Your Story
- Share Your Story: Finding Out (This section is full.)
- Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck? (This section is full.)
- Share Your Story: Multiple Affairs?
- Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck: Part Two (This section is full.)
- Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck? Part Three (THIS SECTION IS FULL. NO MORE COMMENTS PLEASE)
- Share Your Story: Finding Out Part Two