Maybe because they made a destructive choice. Maybe because someone did something to them. Maybe because life has handed them a painful unexpected tragedy, and is now a fact that they are going to have to endure.
Take the the recent murders of the young news anchor and her teammate. We shake our heads in disbelief about how someone could justify such perceived revenge. We simultaneously fear and respect how fragile life itself is.
But what about the Ashley Madison scandal?
Many people are laughing.
I have known about Ashley Madison for quite a while. You couldn’t go to a marital therapy conference within the last few years without hearing about it.
Folks are obtaining “the list.” Seeing who is on it, peeping in someone else’s windows. Peering lasciviously into their lives with giggles or disdain.
I am not advocating affairs. I am not “sticking up” for people who are purposefully deceitful.
But I know people make mistakes. And hurt others when they do, all the time.
I realize there can be a back story. Reasons. Maybe there are motivations that the uninvolved don’t understand.
I would imagine many of the people who used the website didn’t care who they might hurt. They justified their choice in some way. They used the site over and over. Or maybe their partner knew, and was doing it as well. What’s termed an open marriage or even a polyamorous lifestyle.
Today, they still might not be concerned. They may not care that their behavior has tremendous impact on others. If so, those people may have emotional problems far greater than they imagine, maybe even a sexual addiction.
I imagine there are many others who are ashamed.
You can believe if you want to – that something like this would never happen to you. That you and your family are above all that. Your faith or your integrity could never waver.
Never is a strong word.
Someone comes in, broken up with grief that their partner, who they “never thought” would have an affair, has done so. They are lost in what to do, how to handle the pain.
Maybe it’s someone who has immense guilt, that she or he has betrayed their own moral code. They have desperately hurt someone they love, and betrayed a way of living for their children to see. They have involved others in what may be her or his own unhappiness.
Now they are willing to take responsibility.
I also choose compassion.
Maybe my patient is someone who has gone outside their partnership, sharing there was abuse at home. They searched for solace. Understanding.
I choose compassion.
It is far simpler to think of the families of the Virginia shooting victims. Send them prayers and thoughts to somehow recover from a loss all of us dread.
These families also have a tragedy. Someone chooses deceit. And Ashley Madison is there, ready and waiting. With a willing partner.
Pieces of lives have to be picked up, and put together in a whole new way. Whether the marriage is over. Or not. Individuals have to look at themselves, very hard. They have to find, in themselves, what they were perhaps searching for in someone else.
Look at “the list” if you want to.
Please realize one thing.
You may need compassion from others one day. Perhaps now is the time to give it.
You can hear more about mental health and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!
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