#24 Spouse beating herself up over early transgression / Cheater still practicing deceit
Dear Ann Landers: I am not a famous politician or a member of the British royal family. I'm just one of the millions of women you have written about over the years who cheated on their husbands.
I was luckier than most. I have a wonderful man who was able to forgive me. We have two beautiful children and are a truly happy family.
To the outside world, I have it all, but the path I chose affected those I love most. I live with the knowledge that I broke one of the Ten Commandments as well as my wedding vows. I also live with the pain of having hurt some very decent people. I fear that my children may one day learn of my infidelity and think less of me. I hope from this point on, my behavior will make up for my past indiscretions, even though nothing can wash away the shame.
I want to share what I have learned. Please urge your readers to talk with their spouses at the first sign of trouble and seek counseling from a competent source. Encourage them to keep their children in the forefront of their thoughts at all times. Caution them to appreciate what they have and not risk losing it. What ever the gain, it isn't worth it. There are no book contracts or movie deals for my story. I am nobody special, just an anonymous woman who cheated on her husband, someone ordinary people can identify with. If you publish my letter maybe I can make a difference. ATLANTA, GA.
Dear GA.: I can assure you that your letter WILL make a difference. Mission accomplished. Thank you for writing.—ANN LANDERS
Hi GA.: You say you've "learned" yet you are still committed to deceit and withholding (". . . my children may one day learn . . ."). One either communicates openly, honestly, and spontaneously, or they have their reasons. It will make life so much easier for your children if they know who you are and what you've done—that you, and they, are normal. They need to know that you have had, and still have, as many problems with truth and honesty as do they.
Your concerns are valid. Your philosophy, about withholding thoughts of choice, has already trained each family member to hide his/her thought of choice from you and each other. Your children are driven to emulate you. Your present leadership skills will cause your children to not share with you when they are first thinking about having sex, and, most importantly, each will con their date into deceiving their (date's) parents as well. A person is either in-integrity or they, as do you, have their reasons.
I'm concerned about your burden of guilt. I got that you lied, deceived, and broke many agreements. So what! That was then and this is now. That does not make you a bad person or a "nobody." Dragging your badness into each and every present-day interaction guarantees, as you are demonstrating, that you will keep repeating the behavior until you get caught (acknowledged) for your very first deceit. Notice that up until this letter you've been programmed through your parents; you've had no choice other than to deceive, to withhold things from your children. They can't totally respect you because they don't know you. Whatever respect they have of you now is from their inaccurate picture of you, only that part of you that you've been willing to share; this will continue to cause lots of confusion and breakdowns in communication within your family.
You seem to think that your advice might stop someone, or prevent them, from cheating. I don't think any advice column prevents or stops people from doing anything. It does bring things up for observation. Observation leads to choice. A cheater is not in choice —they are addicted and operate from an unconscious decision to cheat; most are attached to an imitation of love, of communication (love can't take place in the space of deceit). Few, if any, cheaters who read what you, Ann, or I have written can or will choose to stop today.
About your advice: Experience tells me that your advice is your integrity at work. I sense it's you trying to get caught/acknowledged for earlier deceptions and lies (earlier than your cheating incident), most likely during your childhood/school days. Ask who have you deceived? Who are you deceiving still to this day? From whom are you withholding things from for fear of your reputation?
If I were your husband I'd have to be willing to acknowledge my intention (however unconscious it may have been) for you to cheat on me.* If so, he's self-righteously walking around dramatizing his beneficence for "forgiving" you for doing something he, using his equally powerful leadership-communication skills, manipulated you into doing. Had he been in-integrity he would have noticed, in a nano-second, that you were incomplete and dragging around thoughts (of attractions leading to extra-marital activities). Deceivers always attract deceivers; just because one doesn't know how they produced a result doesn't mean they (he) didn't produce it.
I invite you to create, and live from, a ground of being that you are a truly magnificent person, a very important and essential member of humankind. Of course you're welcome to believe that you're not that important, "just one of the millions." Keep in mind that your withheld thoughts are communicated non-verbally, affecting everyone. Your withholds condemn your family to a life with little or no experiences of joy.
To locate the source of and complete your guilt do The Clearing Process, It's free and it works amazingly well. —With aloha, Gabby
* What is it about my leadership-communication skills that don't inspire integrity? What must I have done/not done to drive you into the arms of another—what was going on in my mind that I did not experience your divided attentions. (Answer: He was withholding his thought of choice from you).
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occasionally for minor edits (last edited 10/22/16)
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Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 10/22/16)