I just finished reading your book. Your words about using caution when finding the right therapist were life changing for me. I found out after 24 years of marriage that my husband had been having an affair for over a year. In the many counseling sessions I have attended since D-Day, I found myself getting worse instead of better. I would wonder why I felt enraged after every session. Was something wrong with me? Was I crazy?
Then I read your book and it as if the clouds parted and I could see. As your book mentioned, if my husband had pushed me down the stairs, people would not be asking me what I may have done to cause myself to be pushed. And yet for over a year I had been seeing therapists who asked me to spend a lot of time thinking about what I may have done that pushed him towards cheating. One therapist even suggested that my husband may have been struggling with depression at the time and being mad at him over depression would be like being mad at him for having diabetes. What? Some of this therapy hurt me worse and made the recovery more difficult.
You’re not alone. One sad motif on this blog are the vast numbers of chumps who got the victim-shaming shrinks.
I’d like to take this moment to ask chumps about their D-Days. Folks, when you discovered you’d been betrayed, and the bottom fell out of your world, your marriage was at an all-time low, and you were nearly paralyzed with depression — was your first response to go fuck another person?
No? But you had EVERY EXCUSE! Clearly your spouse didn’t love you! You were depressed! Your marriage SUCKED!
But you didn’t blow your boss, did you? No, you danced furiously to save your marriage, didn’t you? You booked those shrink appointments and bought 50 infidelity books on Amazon. You asked yourself what you did to be so unlovable and how you could change.
Now then, cheaters — let’s say for the sake of argument — were confronted with the same stressors: depression, lack of love, sucky marriage — so why didn’t THEY dance furiously, book shrink appointments, and ask themselves how they could change?
This is fucking common sense, therapists! I’ll say it again — we don’t MAKE people hurt us. You no more made someone cheat on you than you made them shove your head through a plate-glass window. I’m sorry, you were irritating me with your Donald Trump memes… I had to hit you. Look, you might seriously be irritating. You did NOT make that person HIT you. They CHOSE to hit you. That was their crappy response to perceived irritation. Should you stop sending Donald Trump memes? Perhaps you should. BUT THAT WON’T PROTECT YOU FROM BEING HIT. Next it will be the way you cook oatmeal, or part your hair, or parent your children. Until the abuser’s ENTITLEMENT to hit (cheat) is addressed, the “provocations” are moving goal posts.
Here’s an example of this horse shit someone sent me this morning, from “AH Resources.”
Perhaps one of your greatest challenges in the recovery process will be accepting your own responsibility for the past condition of your marriage. I am in no way suggesting that the affair was your fault. It wasn’t. However, if you hope to enjoy a restored (and, perhaps, improved) intimate connection with your spouse, you will need to recognize your own missteps in the dance of your marriage.
The affair isn’t your fault, except that it is. We only ask people to “accept responsibility” for things that ARE THEIR FAULT. Otherwise, why mention it?
I’m not saying that meteor hit was your fault. I’m by no means suggesting that 700 burnt acres and that crater had anything to do with you. But one of your greatest challenges in the recovery process will be accepting your own responsibility for the condition of your planet.
Yes, if you’d only practiced better forest management, that meteor would never have obliterated Caldwell County.
Jones, you didn’t really ask me a question, but you did give me an opportunity for this public service announcement. We Don’t Make People Cheat On Us. It’s on THEM.
This column ran before. I’m away for the holidays. Fresh snark deliveries next week.