This is the second part of the story begun in Thoughts on Mark Nepo’s Being Sad.
In March of 2018, one of C’s Patsies wrote to me on C’s behalf. It was almost identical to a letter I wrote for C to her high school sweetheart four years earlier.
I decided to write a letter of amends directly to him because I will no longer carry C’s shame as my own.
When I confronted C with Patsy’s letter, and compared it to the letter I wrote to Indy, she denied having anything to do with my decision to write the original letter.
I was dumbfounded by her response and was overwhelmed with a sick and sinking feeling I had been used.
Her statement was the first time I was able to glimpse into the darkness behind her carefully curated smile. It was the first time I was acutely aware of the extent C lied to me for her own benefit.
Up to that moment I didn’t believe she was capable of lying or deception.
I pulled our emails discussing how we should address Indy and sent them to her. She ignored them of course, no one wants to be confronted by their actions. She wrote back and told me the only reason she stopped talking to Indy was because Indy’s girlfriend called and told her to leave Indy alone.
Let that sink in for a moment.
This is a far cry from the story of his obsession, harassment and stalking she sold me. It isn’t even close to the story she told me of how Indy started texting and calling her while she was married but she never responded.
Or how her Husband had discovered their interactions and demanded she cut Indy off.
I’ll give you a moment to think on that timeline too.
I bet that Indy and C have reconnected on social media and the lie is it is my fault that they stopped speaking. That the problem was me.
What strikes me in all of this is how, as a grown man, I was willing to believe her and pick up the challenge to defend her honor.
What is wrong with me?
Why did I ignore this line in an email from C to Indy, “I can’t let you in my life anymore. You later proved to me that you really haven’t changed and I realized you can’t go back and change things; really we were just playing out a fantasy.“
Was I so desperate to have meaning and relevance that I would trade my integrity for a smile? Was I so intent on being better than others I condemned him and used what is probably a lifelong humiliation, regret, and shame against him to make myself look better? To show my horse bigger than his? To demonstrate my superiority so C would think better of me?
Why didn’t I listen to my own intuition and quickly gloss over her inconsistencies?
These are the questions Shame asks. In this way Shame is my friend and I listen and learn. I have discovered the benefit of taking Shame to breakfast and talking to Her over homemade blueberry pancakes. She raised questions worth of consideration.
Just be wary of Her conclusions. Shame is insightful but She is not discerning.
As I thought about my letter to Indy, I remember a letter C wrote to me on January 1, 2018, on Day 36. She wrote, “You need to take responsibility.”
Here is the truth, I have taken responsibility everyday for what is mine, but only for what is mine. I need to let others be responsible for what is theirs.
In this situation, I carried C’s water to Indy for too long.
I was wrong. Indy didn’t deserve to be treated with contempt simply based on the stories of the victim tropes C spun. I lacked the skill to see the self-serving disinformation C poured out for the benefit of her Shames into my Pride, and out of a Prideful quest for tinfoil armor I acted upon.
I sincerely hope, if C has a type, Indy will be able to discern his role in C’s life.
If his shame is selling mythology and his remorse is selling him romanticism, perhaps he will do the work of embracing his shame so that he can be free of the lies it tells him about his past with C. He is more than the sum of his betrayals too.
No one deserves to have their shame leveraged so someone else can live, as © called it, their “fantasy.”
As I said in my earlier post, “it saddens me deeply I so eagerly sold my integrity so cheaply. It saddens me deeply that I would sell so much of my soul just to see C smile.”
It won’t happen again. I am no one’s Hero other than my own.
Below is the email I sent Indy.
As you may know C and I split up and are no longer together.
As I’ve sorted through the lessons from my relationship with C I’ve come to recognize that I took at face value what she said about you and your shared past. At the time I didn’t know the whole story but only selective bits of how when you were in high school you [deleted because I see no purpose in being specific about something C has hidden and Indy is shame-filled over].
It was only last year, as things fell apart, was I able to see the patterns with her former Husband, you, and me, when another man wrote me almost the same exact email I wrote to you. Only when I confronted Patsy and C, just as you did me, did I learn the rest of your story from her and see how unfairly I judged you.
It is obvious you deserved more respect than I showed you. I cannot undo the contempt that I met you with but wanted to know I am sorry I treated you so disrespectful. I should have allowed C to take care of her emotional business and not get involved in trying to fix things by carrying her emotional damage she claimed existed with you.
I tried to be her Hero for a while and she encouraged my emails. At the time I didn’t know better.
I cannot make amends directly to you but wanted to apologize nonetheless. This has been a source of deep humiliation for me when I realized what was happening and how unskillfully and sanctimoniously I treated you.
Moving forward I will work on being less judgemental with others based on only knowing part of the story.
I hope you are well and living your best life.