31: Drive by Shaming


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People make mistakes. When you judge them, you measure their weakness against your own strength. That’s not a fair measure. They have their strength, too. Their strength might be the weakest point in your life.

Nesta Jojoe Erskine
Unforgettable: Living a Life That Matters


Every time I hear one person tell another some variation of, “Staying in your partnership and trying to transform the conflict means you’re weak, a chump, abused, suffering from Stockholm syndrome, and your past history was just one big lie,” I think, “Wow! Who’s gaslighting who here?!”

Seriously?! How do you know?

I have a friend who knows her relationship had problems but after counseling and self-reflection, she recognizes her Partner a good man, making unskillful decisions. She has great memories and experiences in her relationship. Why the fuck do you get to decide what is and isn’t real? How do you know the man that betrayed his Love, life, and self is faking remorse or guilt? That he will cheat again? That he is faking his pain? Why would you claim he was abusive or didn’t love her?

Your decision to tell her what she experienced, thinks, and feels, isn’t real is textbook gaslighting! You are shaming her, insulting her intelligence, and reinforcing the self-doubt she already has? That is abuse!

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Who the hell are you to decide staying is wrong? What great wisdom and omnipotent power do you have that allows you to see into someone’s future or heart? Because you read a couple of books that fed your confirmation bias?

Why do you and your mob get to call these men and women weak or chumps or stupid or victims of abuse?!

Perhaps you feel that about yourself and your life but you aren’t living their life. There is no wrong answer. Deal with your shit and let them deal theirs. Stop dumping your unaddressed and shitty issues in their garden.

Why don’t you be happy for them and encourage them instead of tearing them down? Planting fears? Seeding doubts?

You say the “cheater” lacks empathy, compassion, understanding, then call those repairing to re-pair chumps? You shame them?! And when they end up doing the natural and human thing and defend there lives you gaslight their experiences and suggest they are in denial, suffering trauma, a victim of abuse, or some other diagnosis you aren’t qualified to make?

FFS. Deal with your shit and stop projecting it onto other people.

I read all your nonsense in the comments on the journals written by betrayed men/women. When someone is having a bad few days, weeks or months with a partner you just “know” it must MEAN something treacherous: abuse, acting out, cheating again, blame shifting, blah, blah, blah. It’s all a vast conspiracy.

You know, it could also be life? It doesn’t have to be a conspiracy.

You spend seven or fourteen or twenty-one years with someone and there will be bad days and good days that have NOTHING to do with infidelity. NOTHING! Just as people are more than the sum of their betrayal, so are relationships: the kids are being entitled, moody teens, the boss is an ass, a parent is sick, your exhausted, finances are difficult, yada yada yada…

There will always be something and that something is rarely about infidelity.

Disappointment happens. Hurt happens. Loss happens. Good people do dumb things. Life isn’t an exact science.

We aren’t entitled to happiness. We experience happiness. And then sadness. And then happiness. Then sadness. And a thousand moods in between. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

FFS. Stop waging shame war on woman and men that decide to keep trying. Stop with the petty jealousy and attacking those that stay and deal with your shit. Go to counseling. Talk to a professional. Do some work on yourself instead of dragging others into your mental sewer of negativity and paranoia.

Stay or leave. There isn’t a wrong or right answer. They are all equally difficult choices. All with consequences. You aren’t stronger if you leave or stronger if you stay. Your situation is just different. There isn’t a merit badge. It isn’t a competition. No one wins.
It is none of your business why they stay – or leave.

You aren’t owed an explanation to their choices. Your opinion of them, their partners, or their lives is none of your fucking business. People have enough issues without having to defend their decisions because you have an opinion about a situation you know nothing about. Stop gaslighting these people and making them doubt their own experience.

Here’s a novel idea: your opinion is none of their business.

And they certainly don’t need to hear from the peanut gallery that staying makes them a chump. How about recognizing their courage as they heal and trudge the road towards forgiveness and compassion, self-discovery and understanding? How about offering encouragement instead of gaslighting their positive experiences?

Develop some empathy and compassion and then shut up and listen.

Better yet, use that energy and get some help with your own issues and stop lashing out at men and women that have made a different choice.

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