We have posted links to two different topics on shame over the past few months. It is such an important topic that must be addressed for the unfaithful to truly begin healing. I would encourage unfaithful spouses to check out both of these insightful links.
First is the blog post, Being Selfish with your Shame, found on the Affair Recovery website. It discusses how the unfaithful holding onto shame is another form of selfish thinking and how hurtful such continued patterns of thought are to the unfaithful’s recovery and to the healing of the betrayed spouse. Next, is a TED talk, Listening to Shame by Brené Brown. I will repost the comment I left for her a few months ago, as I think it explains why I feel her TED talk takes the shame discussion to the next level for the unfaithful spouse.
Brené, your talk about shame really struck a chord for me. My wife and I are working on reconciliation after my infidelity. When we talk to others in the same situation, we often recommend they see your TED talk on shame.
In my case, I was very ashamed of parts of myself when I transitioned from a parochial, provincial upbringing to a modern, cosmopolitan society. I was ashamed of my lack of worldly experience. However ridiculous that may seem, I let that shame lead me to irrational attempts to measure up to my new peers. This measuring myself against others and against my own shame gave me an excuse to act out in very self-centered, self-absorbed, and amoral ways.
As my wife and I work on reconciliation, we talk a lot about my need to develop self-esteem as opposed to nursing a fragile ego. Self-esteem requires me to face my shame, understand it and understand that though it is part of me, I am greater than it.
I am ashamed. But, in order for me to really love and to really be worthy of love, I must accept all of me and not try to ignore or erase any parts of me.
Thank you, Brené, for helping me understand that I don’t need to be controlled by shame about my provincial upbringing. And, thank you to my wife for helping me understand that I control my own happiness. My shame, sadness, and fear are not from you, God, or the universe. They are from me. I made them, and I can choose not to be a slave to them.