98: Pride

It’s nice to see you reclaiming your Pride and harnessing your Fears.

Dr. Christine P.
Clinical Psychologist

As I look back on the experience and choices I keep bumping up against the same wall: Pride. It has been a recurring theme throughout much of my relationship with C and the primary motivator behind my secret-keeping and escalating series of lies.

As I reflect, I realize Pride is the Way of the Thing and not the Thing. Pride gave Fear a voice.

Here are the three primary stories Pride told me as I struggle emotionally and intellectually with my betrayal and subsequent behaviors and the why of it all.

You have to fix this alone

There is no fixing “it”. I cannot unring the bell.

Fearful Pride told me it is my responsibility to fix the situation I created, protect the feelings of the people I care about, and the life I loved with the woman I loved. I relied on lying, secret-keeping, and manipulation to try and worm my way through the problem and still keep my Pride. I sold my Integrity to maintain my Pride. The more I wormed, the more my Fear leveraged my Pride against me.

At the end of the day, I denied C or K the freedom to choose. I turned them both into unwitting mistresses because my Pride denied me the humility to ask for help. By the time the truth rose to the surface, there was too much damage. It was non-recoverable without C’s willingness and courage.

Again, kudos to K for her courage to help break the cycle of shame. Sometimes I think she is the only one with any class or maturity in this situation. Making the call must have been humiliating for her. Just as humiliating for C to receive the call. Just as humiliating to me to know I created the entire situation.

Out of misguided Pride, I did everything I could think of to avoid the situation for all three of us. Everything but ask for help and be truthful and honest.

What I have discovered is only when I was forced to come clean, and own my behavior, did I have any real Pride.

Somethings cannot be fixed. Relationships are not cars.

You cannot let anyone know

Pride told me that if people I care about find out about my betrayal and subsequent behaviors they would judge me as a failure and bad person, punish and try to humiliate me for my failure, weaponize my behavior and use it against me, and abandoned the relationship. Anything positive and beautiful in my relationship with C would be wiped out.

This is the old family of origin damage.

However, just because it’s fear-filled Pride doesn’t mean it’s wrong. For any other failings I may have, I do understand people. I couldn’t have predicted who would have behaved this way, but I knew people would.

In this case, fearful Pride was prophetic.

You will defend your Pride

The depth and intensity of the arrogance, pettiness, and vindictiveness of the Heros surrounding C still surprise me. Their Ugly reared their asses again this past week on Facebook.

Six months later C and I are moving on but the 65-year-old Troll Patrol is the only group still stirring the pot through rumormongering, contempt, and revisionist history. They prove over and over they are predictably ill-informed.

K and several others are right: ignore the trolls. They aren’t even rumormongering about things I’ve done but instead focused on the fears of what they imagine I have done or will do. They borrow trouble that exists only in their imagination.

Which is hard because it is human nature to fight or flee. My Pride wants to strike back. I don’t flee well. However, nothing is gained by fighting. I cannot flee. I will not fight. As such, I’m forced to sit and let them tilt at the windmills.

Sitting is not a skill I am particularly apt at. My Pride rebels. I do this well when it is just C and I. Interlopers created new and unnecessary drama. My pride tells me defending myself is also defending many of the truths of my relationship with C. My loving behaviors were never a con or a game to me.

As C and I recently emailed back and forth finishing up a loose end over the Twins’ cell phones I asked if she knew about the trolling and rumormongering. She simply responded, “I don’t have any idea what you are talking about. I have been just living my life.”

I want to give her the benefit of the doubt…but considering how public they have been I don’t believe her. If she doesn’t know what they are doing she is naive.

But she’s never been naive. The only other option is she is lying about her ignorance as they continue to carry her water. That makes the most sense to me based on what I know.

However, I understand C’s revenging. After all, she is the one I actually betrayed. She is hurt, angry, and scared. I think. Hard to know as long as she lets others fuel the Drama Triangle, forever defining and treating her as a victim.

Although, as previously discussed, this may be what she really wanted anyway or who she is when she doesn’t get her own way. Regardless, it has been painfully fascinating to experience another piece of C’s full self. It is tragic how far humans go to avoid feelings and hurt…but still, I’d sit and have any conversation with her.

I doubt that will happen. I guess she has their Pride too.

As such, I’m left to keep focusing on acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness – of the Troll Patrol, myself, K, and of C. However, inconsistently I may do these things, I’m still doing it.

For that willingness, I’m proud of how far I’ve come in regaining my self-respect, power, and hope.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished as I trudge this path of happy destiny.