This cannot be denied: Honesty is always the best policy, and lying never leads to anything good.
The Dudes have heard me say this sentence a thousand times: Two wrongs don’t make a right. They roll their eyes and then get back to pointing out how the other one is wronger.
He hit me!
Well, you threw the ball at my head!
It was an accident!
No it wasn’t! You aimed!
As the round and round of that never ending cycle of It’s Your Fault More plays out in front of me I see my Mom. She has a slight smile on her face and is hunched over the sink cutting up chickens, her eight children running in and out of the back door with various requests and complaints.
She cut so many chickens in her lifetime she could butcher a bird blindfolded while bobby-pinning curlers in her hair. Never, ever, did she buy a precut chicken while trying to feed ten people on the salary of one man.
I still shiver when I see the images of her hand wrapped in a bloody towel, her index finger sliced open to the bone for the umpteenth time, as she would say. Perhaps the cut came when she took her eyes off the bird to shoot a “Nana look” at a cluster of fighting youngsters running toward her from the backyard, their sights set on turning her into the referee.
He pushed me!
That’s because you threw a rock at my eye!
You were calling me an idiot!
Because you set the woods on fire! How does that make you NOT an idiot?
She refused to put on the striped jersey, instead forcing us to settle our own issues. But she did have a sly way of distracting us with her bloody hand or a glass of lemonade. If that didn’t work she’d say, Well, if you’d rather do your homework…
And off we’d run, getting back to the game of kick-the-can and forgetting our urge to be the righter one.
Working around and through issues of right and wrong are essential experiences for developing morals, building boundaries, nurturing integrity. These important aspects of self get shredded when we don’t speak up, when we aren’t clear about what is wrong and right. When we let others mistreat us.
And, most destructive to the self, when we mistreat others.
It can be excruciating to turn the other cheek, to not react with retribution but to walk away when wronged by another person. But revenge is a dish best left off the menu.
After the initial high of taking “a Louisville slugger to both headlights” comes embarrassment. A short burst of satisfaction followed by lingering feelings of regret for not having stayed firmly planted on the high road.
But to cause physical (and therefor emotional) damage to a human being is appalling. As appalling as the adultery itself.
(Some may want me to say it’s more appalling, but I know people who have been emotionally damaged by adultery to such a degree that they themselves wish they had been beaten instead. Please don’t judge.)
It’s criminal and wrong and beyond comprehension to act as four women did in China this past week when they attacked a woman who was having an affair with a husband of one of the attackers.
Infidelity has become commonplace in our global society. We accept it as a byproduct of being married.
And – shocker – now public apathy has bled from adultery itself to revenge for adultery.
As one man, Jung Feng, who witnessed the attack in China stated (http://m.digitaljournal.com/internet/video-chinese-woman-stripped-beaten-in-concubine-culture-war/article/408447), “This type of thing (women attacking and humiliating mistresses in an effort to even the score) is becoming quite normal.” The author of the article commented, “Passers-by did nothing to help because in China a woman settling scores with her husband’s mistress is considered engaged in a private affair. People believe that a woman has the right to take brutal revenge against another woman for sleeping with her husband…”
This may be the moment the pendulum swings in the other direction; the moment when adultery and violence against those who commit adultery results in a return to sanity, leaving the pendulum swinging a circle of harmony in the center of humanity.
Don’t laugh at me. I believe there is a shift on its way. And I aim to help steer it, fuel it. Even if I get spanked for my efforts as I did last night when I posted an article on Facebook about the violence in China which contained graphic images of the woman being attacked. One commenter asked what ‘kind of magic I am spinning’ by posting something so offensive.
My choice to post the article was driven by my feeling that it’s shameful to NOT show the ugly side of infidelity. Ignoring an epidemic contributes to its spread. When no one has to look at how brutally damaging it can be, they can ignore it. Diminish its affects. Accept it as normal.
You can bet your last dark chocolate peanut butter cup that I will have the same type of conversation with The Dudes about cheating as I will about heroin. I will show them pictures of what happens when one gets hooked on meth, and I will show them the stories of what can happen when one betrays a spouse or a girlfriend or boyfriend. I won’t make it about their Dad and his choices, because there’s nothing for me to say. But I will let them know how it felt for me. And that my choice to not retaliate is not always the choice made by a woman or man who is betrayed. (I bet my former spouse thinks this blog is a version of retaliation. If it was I would have stopped writing it two years ago.)
These conversations will happen at age-appropriate times in their lives. Cheating in high school can have equally as damaging and dangerous consequences as cheating in a marriage. I’m not willing to take a chance. I’ve had enough firsthand experience with what happens when silence takes up the space where open and honest conversations should resonate.
What happened on the street in Puyang, China is disgusting, wrong, horrific and pathetic. Quite frankly, it’s one thing to need a ‘side piece’ to make one feel loved, or desirable, or to satisfy any other narcissistic, immature or self-absorbed need. It’s another to act out violently, driven by anger and a need for revenge.
Honestly, I’d rather see infidelity rise in numbers than to see this “concubine war” spread.
What’s also disturbing in this case is the focus on the women involved, whether it be the mistress or the revenge-seeking spouse and her friends, and little accountability required of the man. Barely even a mention of him.
It’s convenient, and utterly fascinating to me, that in the case of adultery the man is relieved to be emasculated, being represented as having no control over his own behavior and therefor shouldn’t be held accountable.
I continue to be intrigued by the idea of human evolution, our dance with free will and the evolution of our psychic and emotional bodies as we experience the gyrations of life. Many say infidelity is a symptom of dis-ease. I agree. But it’s not a symptom of the dis-ease caused by a fractured marriage. It’s the rotten choice made easy by the decay in morals and integrity, a present day disease of epidemic proportions.
It didn’t surprise me to read this statistic in the same article referenced above: “Although it has been illegal since 1949 for top government officials to keep second wives (you may pause to laugh at the idea that lower ranking officials can feel free to run amok), a 2013 study by the Crisis Management Center in Renmin University, Beijing, found that 95% of Chinese officials arrested on charges of corruption in 2012 kept mistresses.
Two wrongs insure no one is right.
One right choice can change the course of history.
Choose to have a conversation, not an affair.
CleoEverest.com has details on the Spinning Magic Workshop on November 8th in San Francisco – a day of inspiration and strategies for making magic out of infidelity and divorce. Soon the full site will be live. Please join us on the 8th!