Self-imposed Blindness

Lately, I’ve talked with several people who seem to be overwhelmed with raw bitterness and resentment. Now, there are a million slogans, quotes and catch phrases on what bitterness does and what anger does and I get that. Today I’d like to keep it simple and highlight one consequence of bitterness and resentment that’s not only dangerous but imprisoning.

Plain and simply put, bitterness and resentment blind us.  

If we’ve been unfaithful, our bitterness at our spouse (or life), blinds us to our betrayed spouse’s emotions, triggers, consequences and struggles. We make it all about us and our resentment towards our spouse or others, for unmet needs or unmet expectations which then enable our own blindness. I learned long ago that if the person I think about most is myself, I’m in danger both in life and in marriage. As an unfaithful spouse, all of our attempts to find objectivity will crumble if we are filled with resentment and bitterness. Those two mindsets warp reality and prevent us from being able to recognize where we need to take responsibility and where we need to own up to our selfishness. Resentment enables us and fuels our justification of our affairs and our lack of empathy. We’ll never truly be able to find hope if we allow bitterness and deep seated resentment to be our guides.

If you’ve been betrayed, while you have every right to be angry, you can’t hold on to bitterness or resentment as it will blind you to what choices you need to make. It will also blind your ability to be strategic with your spouse and with your situation as needed. Resentment can be extremely enabling for the betrayed as in many cases, a betrayed spouse’s strength and energy is not only depleted, but ripped away.  When the rug is pulled out from under you, and sometimes more times than once, it becomes harder and harder to find strength for the journey of recovery, let alone life. Bitterness, in a seductive way, entices the betrayed to a false sense of strength and power, when in reality it’s resentment and it eventually clouds your ability to possibly make choices which will create space for reconciliation. Bitterness will also usually prevent a betrayed spouse from seeing any sense of positive movement or direction on behalf of the unfaithful.

In the battle of recovery and restoration, any progress in the right direction needs to be celebrated, especially because those small victories can feel so few and far between early on.

There are two ways to infiltrate the battalion of bitterness and resentment: perspective (or simply the right information) and forgiveness. We’ll talk about both of them tomorrow in more detail, but I’d encourage you to ask yourself today, both betrayed and unfaithful, what bitterness and resentment are you holding on to? In what areas do you need to get help to begin to let go of that bitterness? What is it that you may be blind to right now in your own recovery? 

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