Thoughts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2008
Thoughts?
32
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 10:37am

So I went to my therapist this morning and one of the prevailing themes (for me) has been that even after 7 years, I still feel like I'm carrying around guilt for the way my marriage ended (husband lying, cheating, and then leaving me for the OW all the while telling me we were "working" on the marriage)...My therapist hit on the idea that if I could "atone" for what I feel like my failures were, how would I do it?

She then said like do I feel like I should go back to school and get a counseling degree to help other people work on their marriages? While we both kind of chuckled, and then I thought that what she originally suggested about the atonement, may not be that far off from what I think I might need to finally move past this...

Okay, so here's where I need help...what types of things (crazy or not) might I consider doing to help me atone for "my part" in the demise of the marriage. Keep in mind this is something that I think I may want to do for myself to finally move forward...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
In reply to: bellab2008
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 10:59am
If your marriage ended because your DH was lying & cheating, then I don't know what you have to atone for. I do recognize that no one is perfect. I think that to get past it, you have to forgive yourself and realize that everyone has faults and we can all just try to do better in the future. I think I would be a good therapist--I did think about getting a MSW but I went to law school instead. But now I'm kind of old and I couldn't take 2 yrs off to go to school. But I do in a way give a lot of therapy to my divorce clients. I didn't realize how much hand holding a lawyer does.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2008
In reply to: bellab2008
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 11:32am

My atonement is more about the idea that I feel that in some convoluted way I played a part in what happened...Reason? Well, since the age of 18 or so, I kind of didn't think I would want children...as time went on, that thought stayed in the back of my mind...when I met my ex, somehow (in the beginning) all of the doubt or thoughts about not wanting kids left my mind (but not permanently)...

My ex was very good at "presenting" himself to look like something he truly isn't...I bought into who he "presented" in the beginning and began to think that children could happen...As time went on, he showed who he really was and needless to say the no children thoughts returned (although in truth I don't think they ever left)...I guess I just would like to believe that if I could've been more "in touch" with what was probably always there, the marriage wouldn't have ended in such the disgusting way that it did...Yes, I do accept that he was the one who made those choices, however, I have long accepted that I wasn't blameless in the marriage either...hence, atonement...

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2008
In reply to: bellab2008
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 1:07pm

Bella,

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
In reply to: bellab2008
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 1:34pm

I had to look it up.

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-04-2006
In reply to: bellab2008
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 7:42pm

IMHO, this is what I did to help move on from my past (failures). Learning to forgive yourself (and the other person) and loving yourself IMHO, is but one part. I remember butting heads with Pam about this years ago. I think it was because I didn't know how to do that. And in all honesty, I think you need, NOT to atone but to learn how to love/forgive yourself.

Take what you want from my post. It's a different POV and I always think it helps to hear it out.

For myself, I needed something more. I, like you, was blaming myself for "not seeing it" in the beginning and/or "being fooled". So, what I did was really go over the r'ship. I started out with what I liked about him at first, did I recall seeing any red flags. If not, why not? Was it because he truly was a good person at first? If so, what reasons did I give myself to be okay with him and the r'ship? Could I justify something that to myself now?

That was the first step. To go over what happened at first, what did I miss, what did I rationalize to myself, etc.

Second step was to take responsibility for not seeing things AND for why he MAY have cheated. I know in my first marriage, I was bitchy, nagging, immature. To a point, he was too, but I was so much more. Critical was another one. He didn't do things well enough. I also complained a lot. Those are my faults that I brought to the marriage. He should have divorced me before starting an affair, but then again, I recall the fact that he used to turn down the volume on his answering machine and had to return his xgf's stuff to her. Basically, I'm pretty sure he cheated on his xgf with me, and liked me better, so dumped her (or she dumped him). He did the same thing to me.

So, for yourself, you need to ask yourself what things about you could have harmed the marriage, and maybe even pushed him away. IMHO, people cheat for a reason, and usually it's because their current r'ship is no longer working for whatever reason. And I believe it takes two to make the marriage work and fall apart.

Now, once you've identified what you part is, the third step I took was to fix those things about myself. Understand why I'm so critical, bitchy, nagging, etc. What do I need to do to become a better person and partner. And I worked on those for a few years.

NOW, as I look back, I realize those steps was me learning to forgive myself and love myself. The only problem was, although Pam does know what she's talking about, at the time, I needed specific steps to understand HOW to forgive myself and HOW to love myself.

If you're that type of person, hope my steps helped.

Oh yeah. If you truly do want to help people? I suggest using the boards. Seriously, I have been "helping" for about 8 years now. It really has made me want to become an MFT and help others save their marriage, prepare for marriage, and/or survive divorce. I feel like I'm giving back to the world, what so many wonderful women (and a few men) have given me here on the boards.

If none of this was helpful, no problem. Like I said, sometimes, another opinion helps and sometiems it doesn't.

 





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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2008
In reply to: bellab2008
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 8:33pm

Wow Cheryl,


This was just the right kind of post for me right now in so many different ways...I, too, feel that Pam's advice is always right on target, but yes, I am definitely the type of person who needs the steps for the forgiveness as well...that is what I've been struggling so very hard with...I think I've said before that I have a very hard time separating forgiveness/condoning...Often, I can't distinguish between the two...



OMG! yes, this is exactly the kind of internal dialogue I've had at varying times in the last few years...I guess for the most part I've made peace with that, I've often said that if I had just "dated" him for a longer period of time, I would've seen certain things play out...the irony there is that I met my ex and basically within 6 months we were engaged and then within the next year married...it was soooo out of character for me b/c I normally have dated for much longer periods of time (i.e. years), so naturally there was that to beat myself up over too...



This also hit me like a ton of bricks b/c I see myself very clearly in what you've described, in addition, I had the whole ("tape" running through my head about the having children issue-so that complicated things)...The kicker to what you've described above about the cheating on someone else to be with you...I only found that out much later on (from a casual friend that I had known in the past), who was friends with the girl he basically was cheating on to be with me...Hindsight....



Yes, I agree wholeheartedly about this point...it is a point that SO and I discuss often b/c of his affair and b/c of what I've been through...I know that it took both of us to have it fall apart, but I guess what was the worst for me was doing absolutely nothing to "try" to save it, I felt worthless...I guess some of that is lingering...



Great, great, great!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2008
In reply to: bellab2008
Wed, 09-01-2010 - 8:37am

LOL!

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
In reply to: bellab2008
Wed, 09-01-2010 - 9:25am

Earlier in this thread, there was a discusion re: making amends vs. forgiving yourself..........


......my thought was that perhaps by making amends is HOW Bella can more easily forgive herself........


.....eg, depending on someone's upbringing/religious or whatever background, they might have a deep seated belief that the "only" way to be forgiven is to "atone" (in the way she was describing) for it.........


..........so, ...the/her ultimate goal IS forgiving herself..........but somehow she feels she MUST go through the "making amends" step in order to get there.........

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2008
In reply to: bellab2008
Wed, 09-01-2010 - 10:54am

Asking forgiveness, would be an admission that 1) she realizes she added to the situation and /or didn't help and 2) is ready to take that responsibility.

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
In reply to: bellab2008
Wed, 09-01-2010 - 11:09am

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