Friday, July 1, 2011

Shame

It brings with it shame, pornography does. It's a strange sense of shame though, because in some ways, it doesn't seem rational. But, then again, is anything involving pornography rational? This shame I speak of was really more of my shame, not necessarily the Other Nut's. Sure, he had his own shame from his secret being exposed; but, at the same time, there was also a level of relief-he no longer had to hide something that was destroying him, trying on his own to beat something that is quite powerful in it's grip.

But I was so proud of him; facing his shame head on. He didn't shrink from it, hide at home, away from church, the church that knew of our secret. He went, head up, accepting the embrace from the people around him. And we had vowed to do that, to face it, to talk about it, not hide behind it.

I was so thankful for the outpouring of support; the hugs, the "I'm here for you" looks, the nonjudgmental acceptance. In the middle of my pain and frankly, disgust, in what the Other Nut had done, part of me was still so proud of him.

And yet, the other part of me was drowning, drowning in my own immense shame. Part of me was angry at the support he was getting. It seemed like everyone immediately thought he was so wonderful, because he was open, honest, and had a repentant heart. And there I was, crushed under the weight of his sin of pornography. Where he felt relief for the exposure of the darkness, I felt a heavy weight as I tried to claw my way back from the darkness that had engulfed me.

The battle between being proud of him and disgusted with him raged in my head.

The reality of my shame was staring me in the face, laughing at me. But, it wasn't a shame for what he had done. It was a shame for who I was. Because, surely I was the cause of this.

If only I had been a better wife. This is what I thought was going through everyone's head as they found out the truth. I mean, it's what was going through my own head so it only made sense that everyone else was thinking the same thing.

"She must be a real nag of a wife to have driven him to this."

"Their sex life must be awful. She must not satisfy him enough."

"She must be such a difficult wife. I wonder how she really treats him."

"She must be so demanding."

The list could go on. The shame of who I was as a person, a wife, a woman was overwhelming. If only. If only I was better at everything that the Other Nut needed, this wouldn't have happened. He wouldn't have needed pornography. I had failed him.

I found myself not wanting to look at certain people. The embarrassment was too great. I didn't want them to see what I already knew to be true; for to see me would only bring about further confirmation in their mind.

And so I didn't. I didn't raise my eyes to look. I pulled back, way back in some circles. There were some that were safe, but not all.  I shared my story with women, and I saw God do great things with that; but still there were some from which I pulled away.

 My counselor was safe, beyond safe as a matter of fact. I could look at him without shame turning my eyes away. That room; it became a shelter in my fiercest storm with my counselor and God waiting for me when I showed up.

I pulled back, because some knew too many of my faults. And to me, these were faults that could only confirm my worst fear; that I was the cause, that I drove the Other Nut to this.

Because the truth is, I do have faults. I have many. And our marriage wasn't and isn't perfect. There have been difficult moments along our journey, moments that have been witnessed by others.

And in my shame, under the weight of the darkness that surrounded me, I believed that this was enough to convict me. It would be just as I suspected. I was, in fact, guilty.

It took a long time to claw my way out of the shame, to be able to really look at some people. Jesus worked really hard cracking this part of my nutcase open. It formed quickly and clung to me really tight. Sometimes, quite frankly, in certain situations, it slowly begins to wrap itself around me, trying to form another layer. I often wonder if it will always be this way, trying to form another layer, leaving Jesus with more work.

This was my shame. A shame that to many might seem irrational, senseless; but to me, it made perfect sense. It was my reality; a reality that was born out of the pain of pornography which leaves nothing in it's path untouched. A pain that even today, we see glimpses of it's effects.


10 comments:

My daily walk in His grace! said...

Hi Tami. Maybe a way to look at it is like this:This is a foothold the devil had in your husband's life, and he dealt with it, had much support from you and your Christian community. But, had he been married to anyone else - its a foothold that was in his life - so it still would have gripped him, no matter who he was married to. That does not take the pain of it away, but maybe the shame (or the feeling of being personally responsible). Maybe the shame is the devil's way of manipulating you to not be all God created you to be -
But you know what, Tami, God loves you and you are getting through this and you are using it to glorify Him and help many other women going through the same thing.
God bless
Tracy

Stacie said...

Wow! SUCH honesty. My husband too, has been honest with his mentor, his brothers, and the men in our small group. But sometimes I am left saying, Where do I find MY support in this? I am so thankful that you are both honest about this all-too-common struggle.
PS - THanks for stopping by my blog. I'm so glad you did!

Debbie said...

This makes me want to cry. I just kept thinking of the verse.

Thou, oh LORD, are a shield about me. Your my glory. Your the lifter of my head.

All praise to God who never, ever tires of battling through our layers. I understand them. I have them too. So often, I wish that I were not set on perpetual chisel.

And SHAME on Satan for using his tired old trick to "layer on" you. Never forget who it is that is trying to condemn you and who is it who loves you and died so that there is now no condemnation in Him, the lifter of our heads.

I love your honest spirit.

"Ima" said...

So true Tracy. It is a foothold that got him, no matter who was married to him and shame is not from God. I have worked through much of this, but every once in a while, depending on the situation and the people, it tries to wrap around me again. But, like you said, God loves me and we are getting through it. And some amazing things have been brought from this pile of ashes. Thank you for your encouraging sweet words. They make me smile.

"Ima" said...

Stacie-thanks for stopping by here too. Looking forward to sharing our journies with each other. And yes, it is a common struggle-one that I hope and wish would be talked about more, especially in the Church as a whole.

Thank you for your sweet words Debbie. And the verse? Thank you for that wonderful reminder-that He is a shield and the lifter of my head. As we walked the darkest parts of this story, my best friend and I would always say that we hated stupid satan. He uses the same old tricks, clothed to look new with each struggle.

Lisa Maria said...

Tami, I got into the same trap you did. Blaming myself. You see, I came to realise that this was the weak spot in my own make up. I had low self-esteem.. that's what the devil went after for me and continues to try to use on me.

The truth is we don't 'drive' our husbands to do things.. they have weaknesses and the devil preys on those too. It IS an addiction that grips and holds on hard. He knows just what buttons to press on each spouse simultaneously to get the desired result.

Those old 'layers' are really hard to peel off and even though I know the truth.. sometimes I still believe the lies. I tell myself its because I was too fat, too absorbed with the children etc.

Thank God that He is constant in His love and grace and He was and is my counselor.. I keep running back into His arms where He comforts me and whispers truth, dispelling all lies.

Love & Hugs

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I am glad that you are fighting hard to find truth . . . the truth about yourself and the truth about God.

I wish that the Body of Christ surrounded the "other partner", too. This beautiful post will surely remind each of us that read it to surround and love both the husband and the wife.

Your honesty is hard to read, but oh so sweet.

Fondly,
Glenda

Anna said...

Ima, there is much I appreciate about your post. First, that neither he nor you are hiding in sharing your story-- even online. Second, that you found safe people to share with. Third, that you've shared a lie that the enemy will still try to use to shame you and try to tell you the lie that "it will always be this way". How often I've heard that lie spoken to me in difficult circumstances. Yet- I have to remind myself-- it is a lie. God changes us, transforms us to His image, so we cannot be the same, ... just as He is transforming your marriage, your husband, you...into something better and beautiful. How much I also need to be reminded of this, that if He's in the midst-- it will not always be this way. I don't always know the final outcome, and it may not be what I imagine-- but if He's holding my life, I can trust Him and all that He says He will do.
I so appreciate your honesty, Ima. Thank you for sharing and I pray your sharing will continue to bless others as it is blessing me.

Jen said...

I know that shame, too, as you know. I think, though, what kept me above water was the fact that my husband told me over and over that the addiction was separate from me -- it started before I even entered into the picture and was part of this desire to escape into this fantasy world where he could be everything he didn't feel he was in the real world.

I haven't told many people this, but at She Speaks, I'm talking about this very subject. I'll send you my talk if you want me too -- just email me.

Anonymous said...

Bless you, dear heart.

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