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I don't want him to forgive himself. Is that wrong?

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Esseboria posted 11/30/2013 12:10 PM

It has been 1 year since D-Day and my wayward has mentioned that while he understands that I may never be able to forgive him, he needs to forgive himself and let go of the shame and the low self esteem he has developed as a result of his cheating.

While I get it that he hurts too, part of me wants him to carry his shame forever, as a reminder of the scummy things he did with prostitutes that infected him with an STI and later myself. I want him to feel bad about the way he exploited me and 3 other women to fulfill his sexual desires. I think he should remember the shame of being a bold faced liar for 2 years.

I know this is not helpful thinking for Reconciliation but gosh, I think he should hate himself forever. It seems like if he "forgives himself" he will gt to a point where he can live as if all of those terrible things never happened. But they did, and they will forever be a part of any relationship we choose to have. Am I being selfish?

jjsr posted 11/30/2013 12:26 PM

I understand what you mean. When my FWH said at MC that he was letting go of his guilt, I was furious. I was like are you kidding me? But now at 2+ years out I understand it more. Does he still feel badly that he hurt me and our marriage yes but we both have to let go of things if we are going to truly move on and R. Its easier said and done. I have learned and am still learning, that now in R I have to judge him on his actions and behaviors now.

rachelc posted 11/30/2013 13:11 PM

Yes . Because shame and self loathing are selfish behaviors. They're all about the self. He needs to get beyond the shame so some real work can be done.
I have a feeling my husband cannot face what he did, or at least not blame me for it, thus paralyzingly himself and from moving forward.
The WS needs to get to the place where they can discuss what they did without emotion. Those not wanting to discuss still have shame. If they only realized how selfish this is. And how absolutely wayward they still are.

[This message edited by rachelc at 1:12 PM, November 30th (Saturday)]

doesitgetbetter posted 11/30/2013 13:13 PM

That's not what forgiving yourself means. Forgiving yourself does NOT mean forgetting, just like it doesn't mean forgetting for the BS when they forgive the WS.

I was a horrible mother to my oldest child. I was borderline abusive a few times with him. It was all I knew, I was severely abused as a child myself. I knew it was wrong, but I didn't have the tools to change. So when I couldn't do better with the limited knowledge about how to deal with him that I had, I would take it out on him. I felt so bad for such a long time, I really hated myself for the way I treated him. I got help eventually, and I have worked very hard on myself. I have also forgiven myself for the way I treated my son.

That does not mean I don't still feel terrible about it when I think of it, or that I don't still feel shame or hurt over my own actions. It means I am able to view that as a part of my past that I have learned from and very much remember so that I don't make those same mistakes again. I am human, I made mistakes and still do today, but I have forgiven myself of those mistakes and no longer punish myself for them. That is vastly different than what you described.

In order for your WH to heal, he does need to work on forgiving himself and moving past his mistakes just as much as we BS's do. Many people argue that forgiveness isn't necessary to R, so be it. However living in a cycle of pain, punishment, anger, and grief isn't necessary either. Coming to terms with the past and learning from it is what matters. So if you don't want to be stuck in that cycle of pain, anger, punishment, etc., then you might want your WH to forgive himself also. My H cheated on me in part because he was living with the guilt and shame of cheating on an ex of his that he never resolved. You better bet your bottom dollar I wanted him to resolve that guilt and shame so he didn't do that to me again.

refuz2bavictim posted 12/1/2013 04:11 AM

I think he should hate himself forever

He can learn to hate his actions and all the pain it caused, but he can forgive himself, so that he no longer defines himself externally. This will drive him to make better decisions.

Reread everything Rachelc wrote. He will remain broken if he does stay in the cycle of shame and guilt.

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