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.