Last week, I wrote to you about how others might be overtly or covertly blaming you for finding yourself married to a sex addict or for being betrayed. If you recall, my primary theory for why even those people who care about us blame us is because it helps them feel safe.
One of the fundamental mysteries that we all grapple with is, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
My thought is that victim-blaming stems from trying to put some distance between us and them because the real truth is just too terrifying…that what happened to them could happen to anyone – even us.
What I want to talk about this week though is how you might be doing the same thing to yourself. You see, I recently heard this great interview with Elaine Pagels who wrote a book called, “Why God?” In it, she shares the story of how she lost both her husband and her son in one year.
I can’t even imagine.
There was so much wisdom that she shared in the interview but the piece that resonated so deeply with me was her realization that she was choosing to feel guilty rather than feel powerless. After sitting with her guilt over the death of her son, she came to realize that feeling guilty inherently meant that she could have had some influence in the outcome, if only she had done something differently.
She admitted that it was easier to feel the guilt than to feel the truth, which is that she was actually powerless and could not have prevented his death – no matter what.
That is terrifying, isn’t it?
We like to believe in self-determination and self-empowerment and personal responsibility – especially here in the United States. We believe in the power of the individual and yet there some things which we just have no control over.
Your husband’s sex addiction is one of those for you. Have you been feeling guilty? Have you been blaming yourself for him cheating on you? Have you told yourself that you are somehow responsible because you haven’t lost that baby weight? Or haven’t been having enough sex with him?
A dear friend of mine reminded me of an oldie but a goodie saying called the “Three Cs” –
You didn’t Create it.
You didn’t Cause it.
You can’t Cure it.
All three of those are most certainly true for you when it comes to your husband’s betrayal or sex addiction. But that also means that you have to admit that you are powerless over it. Unfortunately, that is also true.
I know all too well how TERRIFYING it feels to let go of trying to manage your husband’s behaviors but the moment that I finally did, I wept with relief. It was an exhausting and impossible effort. I have no doubt you know what I mean.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have no power because you do. In fact, you still have the same power over the same person that you always have – YOU.
You can regain control over your life again by focusing on you and your healing. Right now, that’s all you can control. What would it feel like to pour all that attention and care onto yourself? Don’t you deserve it, too?
Of course, you do. You know you do – deep down.
So, this week let’s make it all about you. Set a boundary for yourself that anytime you find yourself obsessing about him or what he’s doing or not doing, you will turn the attention back on yourself. In that moment, choose to shower yourself with compassion. Take five, deep breaths and with each one, remind yourself that you are safe, you are healed, and you are whole.
Let’s try that as an experiment this week and see how it goes. Be sure to hit reply to this email and let me know, okay?
Until next time…