So does that give my husband the right to humiliate my husband permission to humiliate me? Not at all, but these are the cards being dealt at the moment. How am I going to play them? How are you going to play yours?
I’m sure I speak for most of us who have been left by our spouses and are grasping for reasons. We’re trying desperately to understand, trying hard to catch up with the abject horror of his thinking processes and trying to make the changes we’ve identified as valid. Meanwhile, you’ve been left, he can’t stand to live with you so you must be completely messed up. That’s how it feels, right or wrong. I tried valiantly not to feel humiliated, but it just IS humiliating. Actually, it still is humiliating given the right situation. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this feeling can and will pop up anytime. Find your ways to cope with the situations that may bring it on. For instance, I developed stock answers for people as to why my husband was MIA for the different settings of life. Truthful, short statements that were ‘no fault’. Usually I said, “we’re living apart and working on our marriage”. Now that we’re happily living together again one would think that the ‘IS’ of humiliation might disappear. Lessening for sure, but definitely not gone. Maybe my husband feels it too for different reasons, and maybe that’s part of the reason we’re so grateful for each others love.
Your feelings of humiliation will differ from mine due to our circumstances, but a common thread no doubt is the fact that once it’s ‘out there’ that there are problems in your marriage you know that you are suddenly on display for the most personal of reasons. There will be conjecture by others who have no business to be in your business. Here’s my raw feelings of that. This is insanity! He’s trash talking me, meanwhile I’m trying to understand his pain AND make the valid personal changes. How the heck is a person supposed to do all this while taking care of themselves, and maintaining hope for the both of you and your family? And go out and face people who know, but don’t really know. ??? It feels impossible! If the whole thing of ‘people talking’ is especially upsetting to you please know that talk like that comes from a place of fear. Noone wants this to happen to them, or their loved ones, so their shock (we were one of those couples many others looked up to apparently) then turns to fear. In the absence of information they want to dissect it and understand it. Your ‘not so shiny’ features are on full display and it simply adds to the unfairness and hurt of the whole mess. This sounds simplistic I know, but please ask God to help you with this otherwise it’s a huge roadblock to restoration. HUGE actually. I’m now of the opinion that the feeling of humiliation from being left by my husband will never fully go away. In my best moments I’m mining it for spiritual strength.
There are stages to recovery I’m learning from experience and reading. Right now he’s still saying to me (and others – ugh!) that I have changed, a lot, the inference being that this is what made it possible for him to be back with me. This too is crazy making if I dwell on it. Their pride is a BIG thing in something like this so we have to give the returnee spouse space to find their way home in all the parts of their being. I can definitely see this happening – my eyes and ears are open and my mouth is shut. This is what I say in my mind. 🙂 “The truth is sweetie, you were loved back home by God – He just happened to use me and some others in His mysterious and wondrous ways!”
Most of your trusted confidants are going to be uncomfortable with your saying, “it’s so humiliating”, and that’s because they want you to be encouraged, uplifted, knowing who you are in Christ. Listen to what they say because they know you and you trust them. It might be one of those things you simply don’t mention much because it does make them uncomfortable. One friend dropped a gift in my lap one day by saying, “it’s all just so insulting to you”. A tear leaked out. Yes, thank you, it is. I so appreciated that feeling being acknowledged.
One of the things my husband would say frequently in counseling and to me personally was different variations of this, “lots of marriages have problems”. He has stopped saying that and I can’t tell you what it means to me! For those many months though I tried not to flinch when he’d say it, but you know what it was like to hear that? It resounded in my head as thus, “lots of marriages have problems, but you’re so impossible that I can’t even stand to live with you”.
That’s all friends. Our marriage restoration is going so very very well. It’s like a completely different marriage in some ways and then there’s that wonderful big easy chair to sink into. The comfy easy chair of knowing and being known and ever so much more! The feeling of being humiliated is simply not going to be allowed to interfere with the work of rebuilding our loving and respectful relationship. It’s tempting at times to want to prove his renewed love for me, but I am vigilant to check my motives behind actions and words – you’ll know what I mean if you’ve come through a rejection like this. I’ll leave it to others to post pictures on Facebook of flowers, dinners out, get-aways . . . . it is my joy to encourage their joy in loving and being loved. My husband has found his ‘love groove’ again (I think maybe even better than before) and it’s good, very good. I can be transparent with my closest friends though – they need to know that I’m more than okay and they can share in my joy like true comrades!
I’m processing so much these days – a year ago the waters were rougher than I could have ever imagined. The processing will no doubt be making more appearances here.
Addendum, Dec. 2014: A few days ago I posted a picture to my personal FB page of a simple gift my husband brought back for me from a business trip. This was a huge step. He liked that I’d done that. It feels so nice to do a normal married couples thing like that and not question my motives. We’re good now, and getting better all the time.