We all suffer the uncertainty of being hurt by the life that surrounds us, and we all have a changing ring of safety beyond which we are likely to hurt other living things in the guise of self-defense…How often we murder parts of ourselves by not letting things advance or come close. How often we let fear rule our emotional lives. How often we kill or chase away everything that moves.
The Book of Awakening
Seven months ago, within the first 30 days of the reveal of my betrayal, secret-keeping, and escalating series of lies, C called or text messaged nearly every woman in our circle of friends. At the time, based on what I was told, I felt like she was weaponizing my betrayal and trying to strike back. She texted and shared details that seemed excessive and unnecessary.
Maybe she was trying to hurt me. I don’t know.
However, I’ve been trying to face my past and the loss of my relationship with C with compassion and a spirit of clemency. As such, after synthesizing some things said and written by the likes of Mighty on Twitter, Not Your Average Girl, Spouse of a Sex Addict, Dolly Allen, Alejandra, Betrayed Wife, Ms. Polvora, Spaghetti Sam, A Patient Man, Tigerlily, Reconcile4Life, and Walking the Journey, (you really should read these writers) plus some other writings and stories, I’ve come to reevaluate my perspective.
I wasn’t even thinking on C when it happened.
I was sitting at the table, looking out the window, contemplating the sky reflected in the lake and it dawned on me that perhaps C wasn’t weaponizing my betrayal. Maybe she was trying to touch a reflection. Maybe she was trying to find out if I was sleeping with other women in the community and in our circle of friends (that would have been humiliating if I was…which I wasn’t. Not even close).
Maybe by texting and calling these other women, she was just trying to see what is true about me and what is simply a reflection. Maybe that is why she said to more than one of the women she talked and texted with, “I forgive you.” She just assumed they had slept with me when they told her she needed to talk with me instead of them…then she assumed the worse and blocked them from all social media. If you tried to remain neutral or defend me you were shut out. If you reflected C’s pain back to her you became part of the Tribe.
So it seems.
Looking through that lens of clemency and compassion at both our behaviors post reveal (and pre-discovery) I see clearly how much is tied directly to our changing ring of safety and how much this is self-defense in order to avoid risk, uncertainty, and our feelings; to avoid vulnerability.
I’m just guessing.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes post-reveal but leaving was my largest. Seven months away was too long.
It’s too late.
Silence creates a vacuum filled in by imagination, ghost stories, and a changing ring of safety. In hindsight, I should have stayed. Although C’s silent treatment created a vacuum, me leaving also created a vacuum. I was trying to give C what she said she wanted but I think I made it worse with my mixed messages.
As I’ve stated elsewhere, my leaving created the vacuum that has been filled in with armchair psychology, a drama triangle, and Interlopers. I should have never left. It is easy now to see how C might think I abandoned her and the relationship.
I thought taking responsibility and to relieve her pain required me to leave. I thought I had to leave because she asked me to leave. I thought if I wasn’t there she wouldn’t hurt…or at least hurt less.
Like C, I was hurting too and not sure what to do next. Losing my connection with C felt as if I’d lost my anchor point in the world. I was simply adrift and foundering.
In hindsight, perhaps C lost her anchor point too and we were both foundering separate instead of together. In the old days ships adrift would lash themselves together for safety and support. They would pair to repair. C and I never had that opportunity to re-pair.
By sending me away she couldn’t ask me (and wouldn’t have believed me anyway) or fought through it with me. C was being told by at least two people within hours of them finding out that I am a malignant narcissist, a high functioning liar, and a predator.
Whereas I was being told by friends and my doctor not to make any rash decisions, to give it time, to not make it worse by rushing out and changing things, and by being patient. I was told not to take the actions and words of Interlopers personally, to not internalize C’s silence, to not pursue.
I was told to admit my hurt, face my pain, and lean into the experience. I heard, be more vulnerable not less. I think C was taking different advice and moved away…or so it seems.
What was C hearing? What was she saying? What does she actually feel, believe, and think?
The silence leaves me forever guessing.
To read what Interlopers have written about and to me is to believe that I had pussy stashed all over the country, that I lie about everything, that I am incapable of anything but deception, and there is something pathological about me. They argue I’m less than human. They “other” me and craft a common enemy intimacy.
Do they speak for her? Are they C’s mouthpieces or middle schoolers caught up in schoolyard bravado? Are they simply her vara? Striking my flanks as she steps aside? She tells the Police Chief she doesn’t know anything about their harrasment and slander.
Her conversations with me at the end of January were full of click-bait and armchair psychology indictments of our life together. No questions. Just accusations. Almost nothing having to do with my betrayal et al. I responded defensively trying to defend myself and our life together. I failed.
I know my truth but like so much, I’m just guessing at hers.
On a few occasions, C has told me to take responsibility but when pressed she distances from the conversation. I’ve worked from the beginning to keep the focus off of C and guess what it is she means. Over and over I’ve taken responsibility for my own choices but also thrown myself on C’s sword.
She asked me to leave. I left. As I said, I should have stayed. One more failure. One more guess. One more loss.
And now the rumor is I abandoned C when she hurt and ran away. How I hid and lied about her. How my journal is insincere and simply about gaining pity and sympathy. How I think it is all a joke. How I don’t actually care about C but only about my ego.
More malarkey from the peanut gallery.
All of that is a bullshit narrative created by Interlopers. None of them know – or care – what is the Truth about my behavior or who I am. And in reality, it doesn’t matter what they think or feel about what I did or what I am. As a friend said as we walked in the woods, “Nothing you do will make a difference to them.”
Like leaving C and YoYo Town, I took responsibility for a great many choices throughout our life together – both mine and C’s choices. I thought loving C meant protecting her from my Ugly. To shade her from the hard things so she could paint. In reality, loving her would have meant not hiding my Ugly, trusting her, holding her accountable, and asking for help.
Loving me would have meant having the hard conversations.
I don’t know what she means by taking responsibility if she won’t tell me. I’ve guessed for a long time…both before and after the reveal of my betrayal. Clearly, I suck at guessing.
If she won’t tell me how to take responsibility I will do what needs to be done based on the information I have and who I am. I’m trying not to guess.
New Opportunity. Same Story.
What I’ve come to recognize because of counseling, reading, and rigorously honest friendships is I am no more responsible for C’s choices than she is for mine. My betrayal was about my unaddressed hurts. C’s choices in response are about her unaddressed hurts.
Last week C and I were both given an opportunity to treat each other with acceptance, compassion, and kindness. Once again it went nowhere. Partially because I started pursuing again. Partially for motivations, I only guess about.
She struck out at me again. I don’t think she wants to do that, I just think she doesn’t know any other way but maybe it is a conscious decision. I don’t know. However, it is better for my piece of mind not to borrow trouble. As such, I repeatedly give her the benefit of the doubt and to the great irritation of friend and foe, continue to defend her.
Maybe this is who she has been all along but I doubt it. Maybe she just feels like what was Ours is now Hers by default and without conversation. Her pain is my debt, paid over time.
I don’t know. I’m still guessing.
Ça va…and so it goes seven months later. New opportunities. Same story.