Image by Έλενα Λαγαρία via Flickr
After the shock, after the month of bargaining and denial, shame took over. Shame is not one of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief. How could it be? Kubler-Ross was writing about death and dying when she described the stages. Nor is shame in the Extended Grief Cycle.
Shame is where grief from betrayal branches off from other kinds of grief.
Once I could no longer deny what had happened, once I could no longer pretend that the magic fairies were going to swoop in and fix it, or he was going to have some sort of life changing epiphany, enter a residential drug and alcohol treatment program, and turn the screwed up mess he’d made of my life into the ending of a Hallmark made for tv movie, I was deeply, totally ashamed.
I was ashamed to tell others what had happened. I was ashamed to face my two good friends who had told me never to trust this man again when he’d appeared back in our lives.
I was ashamed to face my seventy five year old father, whom I’d convinced that my lover had his act together and was treating me good this time around. I was ashamed to ask my Dad to come and be with me while my world fell apart in those first days of shock.
I was ashamed that I’d ever trusted him again, that I’d let him hurt me again. I was ashamed that I’d become so intimately involved with him and that he’d hurt me like this. I was ashamed that he’d thought so little of me that he’d just started sleeping with another woman, started dating her, and not even had the kindness, the decency, to let me know in advance, so that I could have saved my pride, at least.
I was ashamed that I’d believed any of his lies.
I was ashamed to tell my teenage sons what had happened. I still haven’t told them. As far as they know, this man I had been dating for two and a half years, their sister’s long lost father, and about whom I had told them so much about why he was so important to me, just dropped off the face of the earth.
I was ashamed, I was mortified, that I’d had a sexual relationship with this liar, with this cheater! I was ashamed that I’d given my entire emotional and sexual self to him, in complete trust.
I was ashamed that I’d been tricked, not only by him, but by this other woman, who apparently knew all about me. They’d both tricked me, they’d both lied to me.
I was ashamed to have my life fall apart, to be that person with her life falling apart, once again.
I was ashamed to find myself ,forty three years old, sleeping on a mattress on the floor of my dining room, because being in my own bedroom triggered too many memories.
I was ashamed to weep myself to sleep every night on this mattress on the floor.
I was ashamed that my sadness would not go away.
I was just so very ashamed, at all the things that must be wrong with me, to be treated like this, with such callous disregard, with such disrespect.
When I was alone at the house last December, I could visualize digging a hole in the back yard and crawling into it and dying. Yes, just like that Marshall Tucker Band song.
I have never been so ashamed in my whole life, and the shame colored me darkly with a purple black hue that I cannot wash off. It filled up my entire being, inside.
I am stained with shame.