Karmic Law: The “law of cause and effect is not punishment, but is wholly for the sake of education or learning.”
Immediately after my affair was outed by K, I wrote an angry, rage-filled letter to K insulting, condemning and judging her as a human being. I wrote things to her that I cannot take back. “When karma comes for you,” I wrote to K, “you will only have yourself to blame. And hard as I might want to be a better person and have empathy, I will fucking laugh.”
I can be such an eloquent dick sometimes. That was probably the kindest wording in the email. I sent a copy to C.
If I were K, reading that letter it is easy to see that as a threat. It wasn’t. It was hate. Like the affair, you cannot unring the bell and can only learn and move forward, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly.
I wish I hadn’t responded out of bitterness. I wish I had the maturity, at that moment, to sit and let the hurt happen without hurting someone else. I wish I had been able to see K as a person first, and not simply as a co-conspirator in my betrayal of C.
It was an attempt to punish K, to project my hurt elsewhere. Regardless of K’s motives or intentions, K didn’t deserve to be emotionally degraded and trashed. I wish I didn’t act blindly and vengefully. I’m sorry about how I responded to K.
Although K had choices too, K didn’t deserve the verbal abuse I dumped on her.
Emotions versus Logic
Dolly accuses me of being all logical. I’m not. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
With this in mind, I understand much of my behavior with K reflected a lack of adulting skills necessary to process the grieving of my marriage’s end. Much of my behavior was tied to avoiding pain and fixing others.
In hindsight, there was nothing logical about my betrayal of either woman. My behavior was driven by a childish desire to avoid what was uncomfortable.
In reality, following discovery, emotion trumps all logic in the days, weeks, and months following. It is why minimizing the change in the first year is so essential.
If karma’s goal is to educate and teach perhaps one of my karmic lessons was to grow in understanding of radical impermanence and acceptance. Knowledge essential to living in the moment without suffering. Concepts I did not appreciate before this all happened.
This is where self-forgiveness began for me. I had to accept that this experience required me to break how I see the world, as AA’s Chuck C says, and try a new pair of glasses.
As such, as I’ve tried to recondition myself to respond more constructively to pain and loss, I’ve begun to actively begin my day focusing on what I need to accept and the impermanence of the moment. This experience has shown me clearly my emotional and relationship toolbox was missing a few tools including an ammeter and level.
Also, to be clear, the irony of referring to karma’s rebalancing of scales is not lost on me. The chickens always come home to roost. Living out of hotel rooms and in my van down by the river I’m personally familiar with natural consequences.
What is often lost in the discussion of karma is how easy it is to delude myself into believing I should know what karma looks like. As if I have some special insight into karma’s intentions.
A child molester raped in prison? Karma!
A religious fundamentalist outed as gay? Karma!
A Trumplican family losing their health care for a preexisting condition? Karma!
A guy living in a van down by the river because he lacked the fundamental tools to express his feelings in a non-toxic way?
Calling, texting, and emailing friends, family, associates, and friends of friends and giving them both the real and imagined details of my behaviors?
Is that karma or is that vengeance?
One of the things I’ve learned from this experience is I have no idea what is best for others. I am in no position to judge their choices or their consequences. If karma is not punishment but rather “wholly for the sake of education or learning,” than who am I to demand punishment for others?
In truth, we eventually have to all face lessons…we all have to face karma.