Feeling Sorry for Ourselves

Just the title alone evokes a reaction inside all of us. “How dare anyone accuse me of feeling sorry for myself.”

Early on, I did feel sorry for myself. I felt sorry for my affair partner, my spouse, my kids, the church, you name it. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I wallowed in it for a while, but honestly I didn’t have much time to wallow for too long as I had to move our family out of state, find help for us, find a new career and get moving to provide. Believe me, if we had a stockpile of money lying around, I’d have felt sorry for myself and not done anything for a long time. 

I really did want to curl up in the fetal position and cry.

It’s normal that early on when our affair or indiscretion is exposed, we feel sorry for ourselves and even hate ourselves. We genuinely feel guilty for our choices or actions. We see the pain and anger in our spouse and realize (to a certain extent) we’ve hurt them and delivered a blow to their heart and soul that is our fault.

If you’re like me, you almost immediately retreat to thoughts like, “what an idiot I am” and “how stupid could I have been.” I fall back towards thoughts of “here we go again…..I just can’t do anything right.” I also find myself full of grief for what I’ve done, yet that grief doesn’t really find it’s purity till I own it to Samantha, my spouse. When I just wallow in how stupid I was, or how selfish I was yet don’t show any empathy towards her, the true victim, I am still self-absorbed.

Then I’m tempted to rise up in anger and stand upon some platform that says “Yah I blew it….I’m a jerk. How are you surprised, get over it. You blow it too, you just don’t admit it out loud.” Yes. I’ve said that and felt that time and time again in the past. It’s incredibly hurtful and damaging to Samantha. It communicates no grief or empathy for what I’ve done.

What I have found to be the best move for me is to own what I’ve done both to God and to my spouse.  I apologize and ask and hope she can forgive me and realize I’ve injured her. But I can’t feel sorry for myself. I have learned a mantra from over 9 years ago: “I have put myself here. I have put myself here. I did this. It’s my choice. But God, you’re here with me and promise to never forsake me. Help me Lord.”

As long as we are feeling sorry for ourselves, or giving way to shame, we are still self-absorbed. We make it about us, rather than our spouse. We make it about how we feel, rather than how they, the injured victim, feels. Our spouse sees it and is put off. Here is a quote from Rick I found to be very helpful instead:

Commit to address the problem. It’s not enough to just take responsibility for wounding your mate. They also need to see that you loath your behavior in the same way they do, and they need to witness action on your part to eliminate the problem. The ability to see the betrayal in the same light allows the two of you to become partners fighting against a common enemy. Efforts you make to this end serve as proof that you’re both on the same page when it comes to trying to protect the relationship. More importantly, if you are the one setting up the plan and following through, then you begin to provide the necessary ingredients for trust to grow. ----The Truth About Trust

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