54: A Fool’s Tale: Betrayal

Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent. The base Injustice thou hast done my Love: Yes, thou shalt know, spite of thy past Distress, And all those Ills which thou so long hast mourn’d; Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn‘d.

William Congreve 1670-1729

I betrayed C.

It’s time I admit, C betrayed me too.

Anyone that has made the time to read my blog knows I selfishly slept with K breaking my vows to C.

They’ve also seen repeatedly I’ve focused on owning it, are aware of the shame and remorse I carried every moment over my infidelity, secret-keeping, and escalating series of lies.

They also know for over 13 months I didn’t see K in an attempt to break it off. I did all of this knowing I was trying to get myself out of a cycle of shame, anxiety, and fears.

I didn’t do any of that well but I was doing it. I was doing the hard things alone believing I couldn’t count on C to stand with me or forgive me. Any solution was completely on my shoulders with zero room for failure.

As such, I had made arrangements to go to counseling, had told my closest friend about my infidelity and plans to tell C in counseling. I talked openly about increasing my commitment and focus on the relationship but only after C knew the story so she could choose the path forward.

However, for her own reasons even she doesn’t understand, K called C. Her decision to tell C about My Ugly, sharing my secrets, and humiliating details had been both devastating and liberating.

The end of my relationship with C and K is a consequence of my betrayal.

I was talking to a friend about a story I’m writing for the AffairClinic about the consequences of my betrayal and she said, “You know C betrayed you too right? The difference is you care.”

I was a bit taken aback and stammered some of my usual qualifier statements explaining away C’s choices as my responsibility. As I’ve mentioned before I felt betrayed but I’ve always excused C’s actions as a consequence of my infidelity and subsequent behavior. I’ve felt repeatedly that C was a better person than me because of my shame.

However, my friend is the first person, on the ground, close to both sides of the story, that used the word “betrayal” to describe what she sees C doing.

As I shook off her statement, my friend started going through the list:

  • Sending you away without talking
  • Treating you with 124 days of silent treatment
  • Texting, calling and emailing your circle of friends specifically and revealing, in detail, your shame, not to help, but to humiliate and isolate you further
  • Encouraging a self-serving narrative where she is the victim of a dangerous malignant narcissist
  • Cutting you off from your circle of friends, community, and home by fueling rumormongering
  • Encouraging bullying, trolling, and rumormongering by multiple third-party interlopers to attack you instead of carrying her own anger
  • Printing off and sharing your emails to K to influential people in your circle of friends in order to garner sympathy for her and suspicion about your mental and emotional stability
  • Facilitated misleading and self-serving rumors that you scared her and her kids, were a control freak, tried stealing her identity, hacked her phone and social media accounts, tried stealing her money, are a serial philanderer, and hate children
  • Telling you she couldn’t see you because she was broken, a codependent, and a mess while at the same time actively undermining your ability to return home
  • Taking money from you while she had shelter, food, and warmth and you were living out of your van
  • Using your shame, guilt, and pain against you to manipulate you into doing things that were detrimental to your own emotional, mental, and physical well-being
  • Talking about you as a couple when it was convenient (art loft, finances) but telling other people you were harassing her
  • Continuing to take emotionally and financially from you while she was dating other men
  • Taking emails you thought were between the two of you and sharing them with outsiders not familiar with the workings of your relationship
  • Actively working to erase you from her life, art, and home as if you contributed nothing of value
  • Actively working to taint all of your community and economic development work you tried to do for your community
  • Not once standing up for you when she knew these things were happening publically and privately
  • She has personally and publically benefited from your shame
  • She started doing some of these prior to discovering your betrayal

These are all betrayals too.

My friend added, “The difference is your desire to own your betrayal even when it was happening. You should be angry.”

I asked, “How can I love her and be angry with her?”

“It’s okay to love someone and be angry with them,” she responded. “That is adulting. Her betrayal is no more justified – or mature – than yours.”

When C found out about my betrayal she said, “If I do something that causes me shame or guilt I stop! I don’t double down! There is something seriously wrong with you!”

Since discovery day I’ve called her out two times in emails on her betrayal and she doubled down on the attacks, telling me to prove it, and cuts me off. And like clockwork, within a few days, I’m struck from the flank by a self-serving interloper accusing me of manipulating the truth and being a “con-man charlatan” and not any kind of “socially responsible individua

I don’t want to prove it. She knows. I know. This isn’t a game of Gotcha. Outside observers know. She’s just too angry and proud to admit it. Like me, we both carry old damage and shames.

My betrayal, and pre and post-discovery responses, says a great deal about my maturity but I continue to do the work and take responsibility.

However, at this point I have to stop making excuses for her behavior and agree with my friend: C has betrayed me too. Just as my betrayal was never about C or K, her betrayal isn’t about me. I’m done excusing her choices as being my fault.

I’ve talked and listened to many people on all sides of this dynamic. Mostly the betrayed. Many of them admit they did revengeful things out of anger but they often admit they wished they hadn’t. They have remorse, and perhaps shame, they hurt someone they love. In truth, hurt people hurt people.

I have compassion for that. I’ve done it too. As such, I have waited almost five months for her revenging to run its course just to have a conversation because when you are committed to the relationship and amends that is what you do.

If she has any awareness she also has shame, guilt, and remorse. We think other people “deserve it” and we tell ourselves we are simply the hand of Karma when in truth we are simply projecting our pain onto others.

I hate C is carrying the burden of her betrayal. I know the pain.

However, if she simply believes my betrayal justifies hers, doesn’t see how she uses people too, and is unable to see her patterns in this dynamic, that’s a different kind of problem.

A problem that, like her, will make me reevaluate everything I thought was happening the last seven years too.

EDIT: …In a WTF moment, thirty minutes ago I discovered she has also hiding important 1099 tax documents since the end of January. She only returned them after she admitted she has a new boyfriend. Even by my standards, which are admittedly pretty suspect, that is fucked up.

1 thought on “54: A Fool’s Tale: Betrayal

  1. Wanders – #Infidelity is an outcome of an unskillful coping mechanism, everything else is a story someone imagines. Sharing thoughts and letters with those the men and women that #betrayed their Loves, lives, and selves too. What you do today matters most. All anyone can do is own the experience and practice doing better.
    A Reformed Cad says:

    Reblogged this on Confessions of a Reformed Cad and commented:

    I awoke from a dream last night and with crystal clearness.

    C betrayed me. That is true. but not the truth.

    More significantly, C betrayed herself.

    By deleting every picture of us together over the last seven years, by folding the narrative to make herself a victim, by allowing others to define her life with me, by denying herself the right to talk to me angrily and honestly and by pretending everything around our life together is a con, she denied her heart’s experience.

    One of my vows to her was to never make her live with limits. To not put her in a box and trap her. To stand with her.

    By betraying herself she has built a prison far more damaging than anything I could have done. More vulnerability, not less, is the only way to heal a broken heart. A vulnerability with intent.

    I know, because my betrayal locked up my heart too. Betrayal is a prison. The only way through is through.