No Excuses

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.

Dave

An unexpected trigger…

We’re 18 months out from a lifetime of deceit. Our marriage and relationship is very different now. We’ve both done a lot of work to get to this place, that doesn’t mean life is perfect.

Last weekend was a perfect example of how imperfect we are. We caught up with my extended family for a Christmas celebration, renting a gorgeous airBnB in a stunning hinterland location. All was good.

After dinner on night one I sat and played “go fish” with my mother, daughter and niece. Innocent harmless fun. Dave wandered over, stood behind me for a while observing the game and had a clear view of mine and my nieces cards. Not a problem until he walked away leaning down whispering something into my nieces ear. (Niece is only 12, so there’s absolutely no suggestion of anything remotely affair related)

My gorgeous niece looked up at me giggling and the next two hands asked me confidently for the cards I held. I’m not competitive by nature and I chuckled as I handed her my cards.

My blood began to boil though as I thought about what Dave whispered to her.

This is what went through my mind; cheater! He took something he knew about me and used it against me; whispering in someone’s ear when in a room full of company is rude and immature; the only reason anyone whispers is because they don’t want others to hear what they’re saying, secrets; if he could do this in the small things he could do it in big things; yadda yadda yadda… Dearly betrayed, you know how our brains kick in.

I made sure to address his actions and let him know how I felt once we went back to our room, unfortunately he defended the prank strenuously, after all it was just a game and he was having fun…

Not sure what my heart rate got up to but it probably hit peak flooding level.

It took us 4 days before we could sort this out properly. 2 days were spent in the company of others where we just skirted around pleasantries, then we had a day of stewing silently before wasting a couple of hours going around in circles with he said she said kind of stuff. I wanted him to see what his actions signified to me, he wanted me to view his actions as just a joke. I dug my heels in and stubbornly stood my ground. 

He finally said; ok this isn’t about one of us being right or wrong, this is about how my actions made you feel and I’m so sorry, I hate feeling any disconnection between us. 

Yes, that’s better, thank-you. Let’s do things differently.

My oh my how infidelity changes us, how a molehill can become a mountain in a simple moment.

Keep moving foreword,

Noni x

Nail that shame to the cross!

Guilt and shame are two very different feelings. Guilt says “I’ve done something bad” shame says, “I AM BAD!”

Guilt propels you to rectify your wrongdoing, shame keeps you trapped in a negative cycle of self loathing, self soothing, self focus, self, self, self. Shame is all about YOU but not in a healthy way…

Many years ago at Bible college our class discussed what the cross represented to us on a personal level. We explored “propitiation”, a word I’d never heard of until then. I began wondering if I was holding on to anything that Jesus had already paid the price for? It soon dawned on me that I carried a heavy lingering feeling of shame. Shame, stemming from my own sin and wrong-doing plus acquired shame from taking responsibility for the actions of others towards me. On my way to class the following week an intense overwhelming emotion forced me to steer my car off the road and I began to sob. It was then, that this thought occurred to me;

Whilst ever I clung tightly to “my” shame, in essence I was saying that Jesus’ crucifixion was somehow not enough for me… that his torturous beating and death on the cross at Calvary was not complete…  how I was brought to my knees in that moment. I eventually pulled myself together, and continued to class where our lecturer had a large wooden cross. We each wrote our burdens on paper folded them and nailed them to this cross. The visual symbolic act signified and loosened shame’s grip, it released me from a pride I wasn’t even aware of. From that day forward I’ve lived shame free with a heart full of thanks for His death and resurrection. Gods forgiveness, grace and mercy; is more than I deserve and more than enough to cover every one of life’s limitations, heartache and trouble.

I shared this with Dave about 10 months into recovery. Once he identified the things he’d held so tightly; defense mechanisms he mistakenly believed served him, behaviours and attitudes he seemed to wear as a badge of honour i.e shame, pride, unforgiveness, etc, we built a fire, lit it, then one by one he burnt each piece of paper as we prayed and released the load to the Lord. This is just one of many exercises we’ve incorporated through our recovery journey.

Our God has big shoulders and our past is not too dark for His light to shine. 

Even if you’re not a believer this might be a ritual you could find liberating. What ever is keeping you stuck, disappointment, fear, anxiety, anger, grief, name it write it down and BURN that sh*^! “It is finished”

Find the way that works for you to move forward 🙏❤️

#letitgo #shameisnotagoodservant

John 19:30

30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Isaiah 53 4-6

4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Cast all of your burdens upon Him and hang on to the alter of God with all your might, at times I was literally hanging on by the tips of my fingernails, feeling like I was on one of the spinning round about swings from my childhood playground.

“It was a mistake…”

No it wasn’t! 

A mistake is filling your car with petrol instead of diesel. That’s a mistake…

The unfaithful partner made a choice or series of choices which led them to the point of betrayal.

Don’t confuse the two and PLEASE don’t believe anyone who tries to tells you otherwise.

So, when you hear the apologies accompanied by “I made a mistake” “I didn’t mean to” “it wasn’t my fault” “it just happened”. Call BS. 

Pure and simple, they made their choices and unless they can own this truth, recovery will likely be limited or prolonged.

Failure to take full responsibility for ones choices = failure to adult. 

How about we all grow up and own our sh%*.

D Day

Wow, which one? 

There’s been plenty of discovery over the years but only one full disclosure.

That came twenty eight years after the first discovery.

I’ve not met many people who get the whole truth in one go. 

More commonly the truth is trickled out over time which is repeatedly devastating and only prolongs the agony and delays healing.

Each time a snippet of unknown information is exposed it sets recovery right back to the start.

How can we recover from things we don’t know about? 

Whatever stays hidden will always remain a barrier to intimacy.

Healing can not begin until the last piece of the puzzle is revealed and the longer this takes the more doubt there is that the unfaithful is really telling the truth, even if they are.

Talk talk talk and then talk some more. 

Oh yes it’s painful, excruciatingly painful but completely necessary. 

Be safe for each other.

Have rules for time out when needed.

Hold space for one another. 

Take breaks. 

You can do it. 

Rip the bandaid off, tell the truth,all of it and let love grow.

Recovery timeline starts then!

World Mental Health Day 2020

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”

You’re Stronger Than You Think!

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!

“When we recover loudly, we keep others from dying quietly” — Unknown

August 2020; Mid Pandemic Getaway

“There’s a book in everyone” they say.

Why did this have to be ‘our’ book?

Seriously, why did this have to happen to me?

Why did it have to happen to us?

“Why not?” the wise person answered.

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