In this episode of the Helping Couples Heal podcast, Marnie and Duane discuss the topic of shame, the greatest obstacle/barrier to healing relationships after betrayal.
It is crucial that a betraying partner be accountable for their betrayal; shame doesn’t accomplish that. Shame makes healing much harder, perhaps impossible.
What accompanies shame most often is the feeling of hopelessness because it tells you that this (what you have done) is who you have always been and always will be. Rather than conceptualizing your betrayal as behavior that caused trauma to your intimate partner (and perhaps others as well), shame frames the betrayal as an integral part of your identity. Most people who feel that, at their core, they are bad will not believe that they are worthy of forgiveness and healing.
While humility pushes you to change and become a better person, shame paralyzes and prevents you from growing and healing. It disables you, blocking your capacity to take the necessary steps to heal yourself or your relationship.
Relational healing requires the ability to be relational and present. Shame does the opposite; it pushes you away from your spouse at precisely the moment you should be trying to rebuild your connection.
If shame is keeping you or your relationship stuck, please listen to this episode.