Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Price: Consequences and Reality

Dear Followers -

I normally don't do what I am going to do today. But I feel that there is a great deal of information here that may allow us all to learn. Communication is so vital in relationships that it cannot be overstated. Denial can be so complete that we don't see our actions clearly until after the damage has been done.

I participate on other forums and blogs. One of those is a place where people suffering the pain of divorce can go and receive help from a variety of professionals, as well as support from other members.

A divorced participant posted a blog regarding her relationship with a man whom she knew was married. Over time, she convinced herself that his marriage was an emotionally empty affair. She decided to go to visit the wife to see for herself if it was as she believed. She expected to find a cold uncaring woman who no longer loved or valued her husband or family. Instead she found a woman who had been unable to participated in sexual activity due to illness who still loved her husband deeply, but was aware that he had been having multiple affairs since her incapacitation. She had accepted his activities but clearly had been wounded by them. The following day the participant posted her surprised and shocked reaction to the deep sadness she saw in the wife's eyes. She felt badly and didn't understand her own response to the wife's pain. Most of the participants on the forum were shocked and outraged by her posts. Many were hurt, being reminded of how callus their own spouses had been through their divorces. They posted their feelings in great detail. After reading through her posts and the responses I posted the following (name removed for anonymity).

"Dear "X" - I feel very sad for you. I counsel people who have suffered relationship trauma every day. I believe that you have not internalized the pain you suffered through your own divorce and made it a part of your inner self. This might explain why you would cause another person such deep pain. You might be aware that the person who was incested as a child may become the child molester as an adult. People who are hurt, hurt others as a way to try to relieve their pain. The answer for you may be to incorporate your own past into your inner self. Your posts talk of religion, but not spirituality. There is a great difference. You are adept at rationalization, but when faced with the consequences of your own actions you feel frightened and guilty. I believe there is a deep unmet need within you to feel that you are special and unique. I would guess that you felt a great wound to your psyche following the events that lead to your divorce. Divorce causes people to lose a great deal of their self esteem. Once it is lost it takes time and effort to regain. If we don't do the work to repair our self esteem, we can become persecutors who are trying to escape our pain through inflicting pain onto others. I would guess that you wrote on this forum for exactly those reasons. You must have realized that these folks would be devastated by your remarks. Now that you are faced with the truth of your situation, maybe you will find the inner strength to seek counseling and heal your inner self. You need to regain your self esteem so that you don't repeat this pattern in your life, sentencing yourself to a lonely life of never being truly intimate or important to anyone. Read over some of my blogs. Maybe you will find some help. I hope that you find yourself again."

We all have been in painful relationships at some point in our lives. The process of grieving and healing is imperative. We never want to be the one passing our pain onto others, whether intentionally or otherwise. Unlike "X", who passed her pain onto another wife, many of us take our pain along with us, like a suitcase, and dump it on our next partner. Using our tools, learning to communicate effectively, balanced compromise and self care are all keys to keeping our relationship healthy and well fed.

Let us all remember the lessons of "X" so that we do not repeat them in our lives.

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