21: Drinking from the firehose

I had three conversations yesterday along my path of forgiveness that left me restless and sleepless.

The first was A asking me, “At what point in time are you going to hold C accountable for the abusiveness C is treating you with. Where do your consequences end and the consequences of her behavior begin? It’s been two months, when is she responsible for her cruelty? When are you going to allow her to take responsibility? When are you going to stop making yourself vulnerable and slam the door closed on that bitch because the loss is hers!”

There is no simple answer. I’ve always felt that every failed relationship is completely my fault and that a man always takes responsibility.

I need to learn how to stop taking responsibility for other people’s actions. Cruelty is cruelty. Vengence is vengeance. How she reacts to my infidelity is her choice but I need to learn not to internalize other peoples’ ghost stories. I live with enough of my own.

The other conversation was with M. M has been a rock through all of this and brings real experience and a thoughtful compassion.

In the few email or text conversations with C she says she isn’t angry and isn’t vengeful. However, in my conversations with M, I am reminded I need to recognize that C’s silent treatment, willingness to gossip about me and continued retelling of ghost stories say otherwise. M asked me if I thought I “deserved this.”

The ugly answer is, “Yes. Yes, I do.”

I’ve always struggled with self-forgiveness and while I try to be compassionate to others, I’m relentlessly critical of myself. It’s my own damage.

The last conversation was with my oldest friend. Earlier in the week, she sent me this note and a letter with I’ve published on my other blog. I’ve tried to make it an anchor point in my thinking since I received it.

This is the gift of infidelity: it makes you stare into the mirror and see all the truths about yourself. Some are ugly. Some are bad. Some are good. Many are the result of someone else grafting their truth to you. All of them are important.

Unfortunately, early in the process of addressing an infidelity, getting perspective is like drinking from a firehose.

You are, however, not perfect. But neither is anyone else.

via Zero Sum Love.

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