Understanding infidelity is crucial to recovery but beware of justifying your actions
As I continue to uncover and understand some of the flawed thinking, falsehoods and habits that enabled my choices to deceive, there is a line between understanding and justification that is easy to cross
- Understanding helps me be completely accountable for past behaviours and to plan a path to avoid relapse. Understanding is a pathway to growing my capacity in our relationship
- Justification avoids or deflects responsibility for my actions. It also provides an excuse for future relapse. Justification keeps me stuck in the place I am.
Two years into recovery, I have accepted responsibility for my infidelities and betrayal and the consequences. However there remains a lifetime of ingrained attitudes that existed long before my infidelities. They surface as destructive emotional assaults clothed in subtle comments, gestures or thoughts during times of conflict
When challenged around some of my actions or words, I still struggle with the overwhelming urge to explain myself. My reflex defensiveness seems completely reasonable and logical at the time, to me anyway. The thoughts I carry in these moments include
“You misunderstood what I meant”
“You are exaggerating or being overly sensitive”
These thoughts allow me to undermine the validity of Noni’s feelings and to escape the discomfort of deeper self-examination. It is another attempt to control her and this prideful selfish habit of justification derails progress and growth. They are excuses which are covertly abusive. They are immature and unhealthy.
My way forward is to put aside my defensive reflex, hear the complaints and concerns for what they are, my wife’s desire for a deeper relationship and better future. Hear the uncomfortable with a heart of humility rather than pride. Take the time to understand rather than seek to “clarify” or be understood
It’s hard work but worth the effort.