What role did you play?
Updated: Apr 5, 2021
Have you been cheated on? You may be entitled to compensation.
Funny Not Funny.
Though it's taboo to admit you've been a victim of cheating, most of us know someone whose life has been turned upside down by the sin of adultery. Perhaps that is you. One of the unfortunate side effects of being cheated on is that we often feel ashamed or embarrassed about what happened to us. Any one of us, given the right timing and circumstances is capable of having an affair. Anyone who says that isn’t possible is at the highest risk of having one. It is portrayed in the media and pop culture that cheating should only result in the ending of the relationship. Forgiveness is viewed as stupidity.
As unfair and hurtful as infidelity may be, it's not an act that only bad people perform; good people can cheat on their significant others, too.
There is (at least in my mind) a distinction between being victimized and being a victim.
‘Being a victim’
When you’re stuck in a role where you see yourself as continually being beset and hurt by the world. Everything is happening to you and you are powerless to do anything about it. It’s everyone else’s fault. But it’s also your fault because at the core of self is shame and guilt.
Acknowledging where you have been treated badly by someone, whether in childhood or adulthood and allowing yourself to feel the feelings around that, in order to transform it. Call a spade a spade and don’t sugar coat that shit. Recognizing that something happened where you felt powerless. But having the awareness to recognize that, while no one else’s choices are your responsibility, your healing is only your responsibility.
ohhhhhhh......But....... taking responsibility for your part and taking responsibility for someone else’s actions can be confused if people are not mature in their way of thinking.
I remember chatting with my therapist about feeling like a victim when I was cheated on. I went on for the entire session about how I was wronged and betrayed and didn't deserve it and was such a fool. She sat quietly until the very end. As we approached the 60 minute mark, she said, "I have some homework for you. Please write down what role you played in the affair." I looked puzzled, but she didn't not provide further explanation. She simply said, "See you next week."
For a week, I thought I tried to gain a different perspective by using Google and friends to ask the question my therapist posed (in reality, all I was really doing was looking for validation and confirmation of the perception I already held).
I proudly walked into my next therapy session knowing I'd cracked the code. I just knew the therapist was tricking me. I sat down and immediately got to the point. "The homework really threw me for a loop. I reflected and took some time to really think about it. And you know, I am not responsible for other people's actions and what they do. I bare no responsibility. That was his choice, not mine. I had nothing to do with it."
She paused, gathered herself, and then said, "I'm delighted you took the assignment seriously. I agree with some aspects of your position. The assignment was to continue to unlock the power around self awareness by practicing the principles and values you say you live by." She let out a deep breath and continued, " Until you let yourself recognize the FULL EXTENT of your truth, you will perpetuate your historical patterns by continuing to betray yourself. You ignore your vulnerability and hurt places and call it ’empowerment.' But it’s not ’empowerment.' It’s actually hardness. And you’ll probably be triggered by others you see as ‘victims’."
I was speechless for once in my life. My therapist never talked to me like this.
She continued while walking toward the whiteboard.
"Mrs. Reid, have you ever withheld love or alienated affection?" I didn't respond so she continued. "What about showing up healed? Have you done that in your relationship in order to create a firm foundation?" "How's your anger and selfishness? What about affairs-emotional, financial, sexual-have you had any?"
I was quiet as a mouse, mostly because I understood where she was going with this and I was pissed. And because she knew the answer to every question. After all, she'd been my therapist for four years.
Moments, days, weeks, months flashed through my mind---I saw myself emotionally detached, cold, distant. I spent far too much time during my marriage envisioning a perfect marriage based on my ill-conceived ideas of what that should look and feel like. I was resentful. I was distant. I was expecting things that I wasn’t communicating. I was feeling let down by unmet needs. I was focusing on myself and not doing a very good job of meeting any of my partner's needs. I was not available to him in any way. I did not speak his love language at all. He’s a total Words of Affirmation person and you can imagine how well that works for a resentful, disappointed nag.
I saw the answers to my homework, but I didn't want to. I didn't want to acknowledge that I had a possible role because being the victim felt better. Acknowledging my role meant I would have to change too and it was easier to point the finger than to do the work. I simply wanted to deal with my hurt and nothing else. I wasn't ready. After about 20 minutes of self pity, I had an awakening---the kind of awakening Judith Espinosa speaks of in The Awakening. Before I left, I decided I no longer wanted to be a victim. Blaming others was so old. Continually looking in the rear view mirror was equally draining. I saw my role.
Does that mean I approved of the actions? Absolutely not. But there is a difference in not approving of a person’s actions yet still having unconditional love. Yet again…a great example is how God treats us.
I was finally ready to take the spotlight off of them and their transgression for a bit and shine it on myself.
I am the only person I can control anyway. Might as well shine that big ‘ol light on me.
And I did. And it has made all the difference.