I am not ashamed because of what he did, because of course I didn't do it myself. I know that the blame for his actions is not mine to carry.
But I am ashamed for three reasons.
One: I'm ashamed to be associated with such a sordid story. Most people would be shocked if they found out that this was far worse than your garden-variety "affair" that broke up a marriage. It's humiliating. It's Jerry Springer-esque.
Two: I'm ashamed that I was taken in for so long. His infidelity started at least by 2008; yet, it was not until he confessed to me himself that it became real, and even then it took time for me to fully accept it. I was still trying to find ways to tell myself it was 'not so bad' in the beginning. I remember thought thoughts now, to my horror and shame.
Three: This is the worst one. I'm ashamed that I was married (ok, for a few more weeks still am married) to a statutory rapist. I'm ashamed that I made sacrifices for him. I'm ashamed that I believed his lies, and that I thought that the girls whom he victimized were liars. That's probably the deepest source of my shame. I do not believe that I enabled him...or if I did, it was unconsciously done...but I am ashamed that in the face of accusations and even expulsion from our church, I STILL believed him until he confessed.
The truth is, I felt that it was simply not possible that I could lie beside him night after night and not know that the man next to me whom I loved with my whole heart was a monster. Just. Not. Possible. When he told me the truth (which I now realize was about 1/10th of the full story), it was suddenly like being plunged into a nightmarish Twilight Zone.
I know most of you on SI were NOT married to sexual predators (except maybe some in the SA forum in "I Can Relate), but what about you? Do you ever feel ashamed for any of those reasons?
Three: This is the worst one. I'm ashamed that I was married (ok, for a few more weeks still am married) to a statutory rapist. I'm ashamed that I made sacrifices for him. I'm ashamed that I believed his lies, and that I thought that the girls whom he victimized were liars. That's probably the deepest source of my shame.
I was very tough on you for this. I'm glad that you have identified these things, and now you can work on them.
You married a predator, but you didn't know that when you got married. You loved him (or you loved the person you thought he was.) You wanted to believe the best in him. And thus you made excuses for him. Your mind probably needed more time to absorb the magnitude of what he did. You were probably in denial. This is normal.
It's not your shame. You believed someone who was lying to you. That is HIS SHAME ONLY.
I too felt shame. It was like the shame NPDx should have had jumped over and slimed me. It was some kind of weird projection I did to myself. I bet it even has a name when victims feel ashamed for what the other person did to them. I do know it is really common for women that have experienced life with personality disordered people, partners with addictions or criminals.
So I get it.
But, my counselor told me to KNOCK IT OFF!! She was funny when she did that. I had nothing to be ashamed about. I was a loving caring person that was fooled. Now I am smarter, wiser, grayer, but I lived. I am happy. I am not shameful of myself. I went to lots of therapy, read books and attended support groups too.
What matters is what you did when you finally saw the truth. Did you ignore it and sweep it under the rug? NO! You divorced his ass. You were rightfully horrified at the creature underneath the mask.
A lot of people will say, "you should have known something." These are the same people who say that "the spouse always knows when the other is cheating." Until they have walked in your shoes, they really don't get it. You have enough to deal with without listening to this bullsh.
Two steps forward and one step backwards, is still progress.
I think that's where part of the shame comes from. Choosing, you were one of the ones who said things like that to me, and they hurt me deeply. I never looked the other way...that's done when you know what's going on but you choose to ignore it. I really didn't know what was going on. I felt (and I feel like a complete idiot saying it now) that the accusations were lies, so that is not looking the other way or just rugsweeping. It's completely different.
All the same, although I truly did not believe he was guilty, I am still ashamed of defending him, of consoling him and trying to do special things to lift his spirits when all the time he was continuing to victimize more and more girls.
It took me months to come to the conclusion that it wasn't just one or two, that he was lying when he said "most" of his adultery was with adult women, and that he does in fact specialize in teenage girls from about 14-18 years old. That was particularly difficult to accept. Typing the words "sexual predator" was a very hard thing to do at first.
WS behaves now that I've filed for D as if I've done a cruel thing to him. He still thinks I'm pining after him and wishing he would change so we could get back together. He has no idea how that thought repulses me and fills me with revulsion. I can't wait to sign off on the final decree and reclaim my maiden name.
I, too, am probably one of the ones who pushed you on this forum. While my intention was never to cover you with shame, I will say that it sometimes does take a sledgehammer to chisel through years of petrified denial & dysfunctional coping mechanisms. The good folks here at SI have swung some major 2x4's my way from time to time, sometimes quite deserved, sometimes from a place of just not fully grasping the limitations of my circumstances. It has hurt. Deeply. But it has also helped me grow. I have sorted through the words & sentiments to see what is/was applicable, what is/was true, what is/was something I had to stop denying.
I know you are hurting and feeling ashamed right now. But you know what? This is a good place to be. You have named your pain. You have identified it. Now you can begin understanding it. I bet there are countless lessons to be learned here. There have been for me. I have cycled back though the same pain scenarios repeatedly, each time from a slightly different angle, each time coming away with a better sense of self & self-worth.
Shame is a powerful teacher. Don't hold on to it longer than is necessary. (((HUGS)))
You have a central issue you are dealing with. That issue will always be there. It is a fact, and it will never not be true. But as you grow and heal you will be growing up and around it. Just like if you were on a spiral staircase. As you grow and change you will be looking at the central issue from a different angle and you will see it differently and learn new lessons from your new perspective.
And here, at SI, I have learned if a reply bothers me I need to examine that more carefully because there is healing hiding under my upset. That has been true every time.
In medicine they have a saying, "When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras." In other words, go with the most likely cause, not the rarest. Our spouses are experts at gaslighting. They have perfected their masks of normalacy. Where hindsight shows us red-flags of Zebras, we only saw Horses at the time.
You did NOT enable.
You did NOT rug sweep.
You are as much a VICTIM as his underage OW. (Yes, I know some will disagree on that.)
You are here now, seeking help and healing from the trauma of STBX's actions.
While SI is a wonderful place, it is not perfect. After a while, you'll see people contradict themselves. Sometimes they're cranky, or projecting their own situation onto others. (That's why I stay out of JFO. I'd tell everyone to Divorce.) Take the things that help you and leave the rest.
I'm sorry you feel this shame. I think it is very, very normal given the enormity of what was revealed. With time, you will learn to forgive yourself, and feel compassion for yourself as you bought into his lies. You didn't know; you did the best you could; you had understandable trouble reconciling with the awful reality revealed. But it's not your shame to bear.
Most here made sacrifices that ended up as pearls before swine.
That is people in love do. That is what committed spouses do. You were and are these things not the one who strayed, violated vows, lied and acted the ass.
Her: WW/57 Me: BS/63 24yrs M
3 great kids, now 22, 20, 17 b,b,g
D-Day 8/14/08, D 1/13/11
Of one thing I can be certain, and of that I am not ashamed: I was the best gol-durned wife I could have been. I put 1000% into my marriage because I believed in living up to my vows: richer, poorer, sickness, health, better, worse. There was a whole lot of worse these past years, but I didn't know why until D-Day. I just knew I was unhappy and trying to convince myself that I was not, or that things would turn around.
I think I need to hear "It's not your shame to bear" at least 10,000 more times though before it sinks in. Whenever I think of someone I have just met learning about the real circumstances of my marital breakup, I feel like crawling beneath a floor plank and staying there.
Ah, but there have been some in these forums who have said that I enabled him, or have insinuated/hinted that I in some way contributed to his deviant behavior by 'looking the other way.'
I think that's where part of the shame comes from. Choosing, you were one of the ones who said things like that to me, and they hurt me deeply. I never looked the other way...that's done when you know what's going on but you choose to ignore it.
Well, just to clarify, I told you nothing except that your husband was sexually assaulting underage girls. Then you claimed that THEY were pursuing him - even the teen rape victim who went to the police. You called these young girls/victims terrible names.
I'm glad you're dealing with these issues.
So this is what I keep telling myself (thanks to all the wonderful peeps here) - nearly 20 years, but NOT ONE MORE DAY. NOT ONE MORE DAY.
And I will work through this and find a way to leave the shame behind, where it belongs, where I will leave him, behind. The shame is on him.
But I get it ((((marlie))))
Be happy with what you have while you work for what you want - Hellen Keller
Not Your Shame To Bear. It is all his, all of it.
I understand the feeling of shame. I fight it off also.
Coming to term with the reality that you were married to a stranger is terrifying. Realizing that the man you loved never existed is mind boggling. Of course you believed the best of him, you loved him. You loved who he said he was, pretended to be.
Just wrapping your head around the fact that there really are monsters in the world, that they can hide, that some people are truly evil, that those that proclaim to love us can be so twisted and deceive us is overwhelming.
You will get through this, you will be wiser and stronger. Be gentle with yourself, you believed in him because you don't think like him, behave like him, had trouble comprehending that anyone could be him and not have horns and a tail. You have a heart and a conscience, it is so devastating to see that someone we trusted could be so different in the basics of humanity, can have no soul.
(((marlie))) again, not your shame to bear
I would now like to be known as Can!
dday October 21,2012
dday December 20, 2013
attempted R, it was all a lie
That is not to say the the majority of the responsibility does not rest on my STBX's shoulders. It does. But that particular girl isn't getting off scot-free in my mind. She pretended to want to be my friend and pretended to want to date my stepson. She admired my wedding photos and coveted my life. Then she asked to be hired by my STBX (and was, it happened at work). Was this before or after he became interested in her? I will never know. But even now, after he has had 10,000 other girlfriends and even has one pregnant, she is still pursuing him. I have proof of this, sadly.
For the others I can feel mostly pity. But for this one I cannot. Being under 18 does not automatically absolve you from all moral responsibility, sorry. You won't convince me that it does. Not when you behave like that.
But back on the subject, thank you all for your support. It means a lot to me, especially since there will always be those people who simply don't understand. There is a part of me that feels that something must be wrong with me to have been attracted to him in the first place, but one of you put it very well...these men are genius at fooling everyone, and I was fooled.
I'm ashamed that I married her. I know when we were dating there was possibly something wrong with her deep inside. I saw a few red flags but I dismissed them. Well there were and it was her self esteem issues she developed during her teen years. Way before I even knew her. And I'm ashamed that she clearly laid all the blame on me and wouldn't work on herself but decided to run instead. I don't even know what to tell our son about why his parents split and I was forced to leave. And one day I know our child will have to experience his own Dday when he finally learns the truth about his mother.
Yes i know it isn't mine to carry, but you just can't help it because she was so unremorseful. I think many WS's can also shift not only the blame well, but the shame too.
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." ~ Bob Marley