A Special Type of Shame

I know I have been mostly MIA for the past couple of months. Partly, because my pain has slowed down and I don’t need release in the same way I just don’t have as much to say, and partly because the one post I’ve really wanted to share is hard to draft.

M. left me.

I didn’t chose this. Despite the fact that M. emotionally abused me, and he cheated, and he was entitled, and he mistreated me the last few months, HE left ME.

M. met someone else.

I thought I was irreplaceable, a special snowflake. I thought our love was unique and special, and almost sacred. But he met someone else and left me. I was precisely replaceable.

M. was always an asshole.

Today, I can see the abuse mingled with the kind gestures. I can see the entitlement and the condescension and the talking down to. It’s harsh to realize that I spent nine years with an asshole. This was not a sudden change in personality, M. didn’t act and become untrue to himself, this was just a reflection of who he really is.

M. didn’t know how to be happy.

There was always something missing for him, one thing that he always had to change to be happy. “Let’s move to Europe” and so we moved; “let’s start a PhD program” and so I did [he didn’t get in]; “Let’s go to Texas” ans so we went; “let’s go on a cruise, we need a vacation” could we afford it? did it mattered to him?; “let’s get divorced” okay.

M. chose this.

I forgave him, I struggled, I set boundaries, I did my best to respect myself. I wasn’t pretending or playing games. I told him what I wanted, I communicated. But when push came to shove, he chose her, and he broke my heart.

This is a special type of shame. I hear from the women that walked out, that did not tolerate abuse. The ones that saw infidelity and drew a line, and I’m not one of them. I set a boundary and I enforced it eventually, that day at the marriage counselor. I requested fidelity, and I was denied and I didn’t beg. I simply let him walk out.

I’m being an adult, I’m being civil, I try my best. I’m dealing with the consequences of M. leaving and actively rebuilding my life. I don’t talk to him if I can help it. I’ve accepted my new fate, this new stage.

But I’m very aware that this was not my choice. That I let someone else make those decisions and all I’ve done is just face the very human fact that I can’t control other people’s actions.

How can I stand next to people who are much braver than me?

Even now, after all he has done, I just want my old life back. No, I wouldn’t take him back, but if I could, I would rewind time and make this not have happened.

I would stay with the asshole who was mistreating me, because back then I was ignorant and blissful. And I would trade my dignity, and the whole “being an active participant” if I could just have my old carefree life back.

I hear people say “divorce was the best thing that happened to me” and I think they must be lying or on drugs. I would do almost anything to have been spared this pain. Even though I know that the problem was not what M. did but just the general calibre of M. values and morals, I still wish I could wind back time.

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20 thoughts on “A Special Type of Shame

      1. I wanted to write more but I just put in my first thoughts because I love reading comments on my blog and on others, I think that’s where the fun really happens. I will post more thoughts on this and how you are absolutely just as mighty. Yours was a very very quick turn, and you were being So mighty. You voiced your strong “no, a break so you can stick it in others isn’t ok” and that WAS your stand. You were strong! So strong he knew there was no beating around the bush. He was just a weak wimp who couldn’t be real enough to stay with you because he’s such a whiny putz you would never stand for all his garbage, never allow him to be mediocre and sleazy- he cut his losses. He backed down and left the marriage because he saw what you are: awesome. And he knew he wouldn’t break it, he wouldn’t be able to fool you, he couldn’t get you to bend and allow his fucking around. Don’t think for an instant you have less of a right to stand tall. The others who kicked their man to the curb after 20 years of lying and cheating are looking at you in absolute awe. Look at her. She scared him off by being so strong he didn’t lie and cheat and scuz up her life. He didn’t give her STDs while she was desperate to have his kid so she MIGHT get him to realize she was more important than the slunts she kept finding out about. She didn’t find condom wrappers in her good china, or see him at dinner holding some woman’s hand at a restaraunt to nice for her to ever go to with him, when he was supposed to be helping a friend move. Fuck! He done twisted your head if you think you’re not AMAZING for what happened. It’s not that he didn’t make you do the pick me dance- I read the beginning. He did. But you also made your stance known. And you did it with enough character that you saved yourself the rattlesnake bite.

        You’re amazing. Amazing.

        I want you to see that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Does WordPress not support replies to replies?

        Anyways, thank you. I like seeing myself through your eyes, they seem to be much kinder than mine. But yeah, we can pretty much start enumerating the ways in which my brain is not working quite like it used to.

        It’s funny that you see it as him just being intimidated by my boundaries and he gave up and decided to quit while he was ahead, while I see it as him just not caring about me or our years together enough to hesitate leaving, it was just so easy to walk out.

        It is so much easier to focus on all of the moments when I wasn’t mighty. The times I kept talking and swallowed my pride when I should have stood straight and be proud. All the times I did move the boundary, because I forgave him, I welcomed him to my home and I tried to reconcile.

        I guess, I shouldn’t feel shame for my mercy, my kindness, my commitment. But sometimes I do, because they didn’t change the outcome. They didn’t get me what I wanted, so I feel used.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I am guilty of saying “divorce was the best thing that ever happened to me.” But,you’re right. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I guess, I was trying to say….getting away from an abusive, lying, cheating, disease-giving narcissistic sociopath was the best thing I ever did.
    I didn’t stay with him so he went to a bar and found a tramp. Now, he has his tramp and is happier than a dog with two dicks.
    Which Hell is worse? Living with a man like that or being alone? I’m not sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, I understand why people often say that, like it doesn’t feel good but it ultimately turns out to be good. I’m just too close to it right now. I don’t think my current life is Hell, I certainly have been in control a lot more, and I have learned to do a lot of things just for me. I felt happier before all of this happened, although I’m not sure if that happiness was a long lasting as the one I have now. Like I’m finally facing my own demons, I do not have the shield of married life to hide behind. I actually have to work through my problems.

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  2. After my marriage broke down, I did what I could to try and make sense out of what had happened to my life. As I was embarrassed to talk to people about it, I read a lot of things and there’s one think I remember (though I can’t remember where I read it).

    When we start a relationship, we don’t see the other person as they are – we see them as we want to see them. We build up an idealized view of them, and eventually over time that idealized view breaks down.

    That all kind of makes sense to me, but the part I thought was interesting was the notion that all relationships go through this, and when it happens relationships hit kind of a disillusionment state. Depending on how large the gap was between who we are with and who we thought we were with, there are varying degrees of disappointment. And when this happens all relationships find themselves with a choice to make. They either choose to accept the actual view or the person, or they don’t and the relationship fails.

    Your relationship failed for valid reasons, and you say that it wasn’t your choice. But in some ways it still was. Once you saw him for who he was, you were still willing to accept that – as long as he respected your boundaries. He wouldn’t. He wanted your relationship only under his own conditions. That wasn’t acceptable to you, so you allowed things to end. You didn’t necessarily want it to end, but you accepted that.

    Personally, I think that’s very admirable and it shows that you have a strong sense of self, and respect for who you are. Those are traits that will serve you well wherever the future takes you.

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    1. As usual your comments come with a high density of knowledge. One caveat to the idea of starting a relationship with an idealized self is that, specially for long lasting relationships, people also change. I started dating M. when I was 16, and neither of us are the same people that we were. That is not to say that we grew apart, because I think that we adapted towards each other most of the time, but maybe we needed distance which we got this summer to actually reevaluate who the other person was.

      I know that I wasn’t just a passive participant in our divorce, I chose to set boundaries and to enforce them, I didn’t just let things happen to me. Although, I guess that’s a different type of choice. I didn’t choose M,.’s behavior, I couldn’t control him or whether he fell in love for somebody else. All I could do was to respect myself, and so I did. I responded to the facts in front of me, just played with the hand I was dealt, and I did that in the best way I could, and trying to be as kind as I could to both myself and to M. I know that there is worth in that, but let’s just say that even if I wanted to make a fool of myself and beg and plead and forget all the boundaries, I don’t think I would have gotten M. to stay, and definitely I wouldn’t have gotten the marriage I wanted out of him.

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  3. I often struggle with WordPress- your response to my comment didn’t show up in my feed even though your ‘like’ did- it’s crazy.

    Do you know why my view is different? Perspective. I am looking at the whole of you. I am looking at what you have been through and your in love parts and out of love parts and the way you told your story; and I can honestly tell you, sure- you gave in plenty and were a push over sometimes. Everyone out there talks about compromise and sacrifice and taking turns to make relationships work. And you bought in. And then your man… Never gave back. He bought out. And especially for women, with our predetermined ‘second’ spot, we do our best to try to fight for fair, but also always offer more- because we are conditioned to. (Not always, and yes, feminists can wail up and down that we have to take steps to change it, I agree so much-and yet… We take second fiddle, a lot. We just do. And not always because we are women. Sometimes because we want to. Or we are being nice. Or because our patriarchal society gives bigger breaks earlier to men a lot, so even if we are rabid feminists, the best choice is to concede to the mans plan) for whatever reason- we bend. You offered so much of yourself. Not because you were weak! Hella no, you’re a phd gal who is whip smart and you’re loving and supportive enough to take on all these adventures! You’re awesome. That’s not weak. I’m sorry you’re so close to it all you see is the bends and chipped paint around your edges. What I see, from a few steps away- is a masterpiece in the making, and fuck he is a dummy to have left it behind.

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  4. The pain absolutely sucks, but it will get better and you will be stronger from it. I went three months in a state of absolute funk and haze and then one day I woke up and realized I wasn’t the one at fault, she was. Karma catches up to the cheater and it may take a while but it will happen.

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  5. I know how you feel. You did a good job putting this into words. I still wouldn’t have chosen a failed marriage or a broken family for my kids. There’s something very soothing about stability and long term companionship. But I think the further you are from it and eventually start a new life with someone that truly appreciates you, you’ll look back and think it was better it happened this way and gave you an opportunity to find where you were really meant to be. I know you know this from a rational standpoint, but it’ll be nice when the emotional side catches up. xo

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