Vol. 2 No. 1
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to forgive yourself? You have no problem telling a friend that her actions are forgivable; that she really isn’t a bad person; that she is justified. And yet, you are completely incapable of doing the same thing for yourself.
I am the queen of this! I beat myself up for anything and everything. Why did I do this or that? How can I be so stupid? Just because he … doesn’t mean I had to …
It’s seemingly impossible to stop the torrent of self-criticism and doubt that plagues my thoughts every day. Despite nearly 30 years recovering from my former relationship with a sex addict, I find myself struggling with self-grace more than anything.
HE was the addict--and yet, I turned into someone unrecognizable. I made choices without thinking; I reacted to things poorly. One minute I was crying and the next I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I became a PI extraordinaire and KNEW my snooping would lead to discovery of him acting out or yet another affair. His addiction controlled me and made me act differently than I ever had.
It was uncharacteristic and yet, it became my new norm. Even though HE did something wrong or inappropriate, I found myself asking for forgiveness because my actions were equally as bad, if not worse. Not that I was cheating or doing the things he was; but I was mean. I wanted to lash out and hurt him because I was hurting.
And, that ISN’T me! My conscious ate me alive. I was consumed by guilt. I didn’t like who I had become, and yet, I couldn’t figure out how to get back to who I wanted to be.
Unfortunately recovering from a relationship with a sex addict isn’t an event, but rather a process. One in which I’m still taking part. I learned somewhere along the way that beating myself up and carrying guilt like a cross to bear isn’t healthy. I HAD to practice self-grace.
Grace is defined as: “the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful; mercy, pardon.” I had to pardon MYSELF; offer MYSELF mercy; and be kind to MYSELF. Initially all the SELF stuff made me feel SELFISH. But, the more and more I practiced it, the more and more I realized that it was SELFISH NOT TO! If I can tell a friend it’s okay, I can tell myself the same thing. It’s human. It’s understandable, justifiable, forgivable, and every other “...able” I can come up with. If my friend deserves this, don’t I?
Traci is a Betrayal Recovery Specialist and the owner of Healing Betrayed Hearts. She has almost 30 years experience recovering from a relationship with a sex addict.