While I was searching around for my old post about the other woman stalking us on an airplane, I somehow came across this post regarding Blue Eyes’ 8th & 9th steps and making amends. And, because Blue Eyes brought up amends in a comment on my last post (we’re not together right now, I’m at the beach house, he’s back in Portland), well, it seemed like a natural segue to talking a bit about amends.
Whoa, reading this post and the one before it made my blood pressure go through the roof. What a horrible horrible time that was nearly three years ago. In the first sentence of the last paragraph I say… “As far as his 8th & 9th steps, my work here is done.” Um, wow, that certainly ended up not being true at all. I was dead wrong. As Blue Eyes blundered through his 9th step, trying again and again to write a letter of amends to me, pain spilled out of me all over the fucking place. Who knew? Who knew that it would just get so much more difficult before it got better? No doubt all the spouses of sex addicts, and addicts in general, who were further along than me, and who happened to stumble on my blog, knew. They knew that there is no one day when a person has made their amends. Amends are ongoing. Amends are a way of life for an addict.
When Blue Eyes commented on my last post about how he had made amends for his clueless remark about the other woman, it got me thinking about his amends again. What does making amends mean exactly? For me, I wish he would just be kind and thoughtful and not address his angry feelings through me. But I think there are other aspects of making amends and I talk about them in that amends post:
“The thing I was impressed with during this 8th step amends list fiasco, however, is the list of positive behaviors Blue Eyes will participate in in order to make amends to himself. Among other things, he will be writing an article about sex addiction for a bar journal, and volunteering his time to a couple of local charities. He will take time he would have been acting out and put it to good use. That, I would like to see.”
Wait, what? Not sure Blue Eyes, three years later, has done these so-called amends activities for himself. Pretty sure that keeping promises made to himself is right there at the top of his list of recovery goals. Pretty sure that without keeping promises to himself, it is near impossible to keep promises to the rest of us. Just thinking out loud here…
In response to a comment by the lovely Blackacre on yesterday’s blog, I say: “It’s like we represent their addiction sometimes. They see in us all the mistakes they have made.” I think this is true for many betrayers. For someone who already struggles with wounds, with anger, with undesirable behaviors, it has got to be difficult to look at us, and not feel bad about themselves. But isn’t that the goal? To look at us and see someone who stood by them in the worst of times. Someone who tries very hard every day to love them unconditionally. For them to look at us and be grateful and to treat us with the love and respect we deserve. Isn’t that the goal?
And for the betrayers out there. I’m not trying to be mean or judgmental. I am asking for understanding and respect. I spend a great deal of time attempting to understand the behavior of my life partner. He needs to be doing the same.