I was a speaker on a Valentine’s Day Cruise last week. What I observed did not support that idea.
What I saw was a lot of . . .” and then they got married, and became disappointed and disillusioned not too long after.”
Of the 31 people in my seminar, 25 of them had experienced marital breakups. Of those, 11 of them cited infidelity by their partner as the cause.
Most of those who experienced that event in their lives were more than deeply wounded by it.
Naturally, our sympathy nearly always goes to the aggrieved party, because we can easily identify with their pain. We can readily imagine how we would feel if our partner betrayed us in that way.
On the other hand, we have precious little sympathy left for the one who strayed and did the cheating, especially if it repeatedly happened.
However, my contention is that there’s very little difference between being a victim or a perpetrator, in energetic terms. Each is the opposite side of the same coin. The big difference is how much support we get.
Of the 31 people in the room, (14 couples, 17 singles), 8 openly admitted to having had affairs. Of those, there wasn’t one who didn’t feel a lot of guilt and shame about having lied, hurt their partner, and destroyed the trust on which their relationship was built. Their pain was equal to those they betrayed.
They were hurting, too, even if they were trying to hide it. They needed help no less than those who saw themselves as the victims.
We see this all the time in our Radical Self-Forgiveness workshops. A very high proportion of people, both men and women, who come to this workshop, come to work through their guilt and shame for having cheated on their partners and having experienced their own version of hell as a consequence.
They recognize how much pain and chaos they have inflicted, not only on their own family, but on the person they had an affair with, and even on that person’s family. The damage done may have cost them their marriage, their children, their reputation, and so on.
Look what happened to Senator John Edwards after having been outed as a cheater on his wife, Elizabeth, while she was supporting his bid for the White House even while she was battling cancer.
Like we all do when we feel ashamed of what we have done, and whom we think we have become as a result of our actions, he did his best to hide it. Just as he did, we try to justify our own crimes, make excuses, and shift the blame onto others.
But, as much as we try to get ourselves off the hook, there’s no escaping the guilt and shame, not to mention the punishment.
I would have loved to have had him in my Radical Self-Forgiveness workshop and his wife, Elizabeth in my Miracles (Radical Forgiveness) workshop.
I might not have been able to save his career, nor could I have healed her cancer, but I most certainly could have saved both of them a great deal of pain.
Who knows what a difference it might have made to the outcome for them and everyone else involved?
The work Dinny Evans is now doing with prisoners doing life for murder in San Quentin State Prison also proves that it’s only when we bring forgiveness to bear on both the victim and the perpetrator that real healing can begin for either.
Conversely, it’s only when the victim realizes he or she was, at some level, responsible for creating the situation for his or her own spiritual growth, and the perpetrator is able to forgive himself or herself on the same grounds, that real peace can occur for both.
[For more information on how you can be involved in the prison project, click here.]