Tuesday, 23 June 2009

In reply to: Denial...

Gah, I just wrote a long reply to my friend's blog post here, and then realised I'd written more than the original post... Time to copy paste.

Cam's original post deals with a workmate who had an affair with a married woman, and tries to justify it.

My reply:

Oh dear. Yes, I agree completely on both counts. Denial of the truth occurs on so many levels, ... although it is usually the complexity of the situation which allows denial, justification and moral dilemmas in the first place.

Although I would add a qualifier to your first statement: Denial seems to be a way for the guilty to remain sane without learning anything from the experience. Don't worry, Cam, once we give up the false shield of denial, we "guilty" don't necessarily go insane all the time! (Although hey, some of us already have.) I hold out hope that a person can learn something from each time they do something they know is wrong ... even if they only thing they learn is "I'll never do that again." And admitting and atoning for the wrongdoing? Well, that takes it a couple of steps further, although whether it helps is debatable.

As for marriage ... by goodness, people are so complicated and wrapped in their own little world of desires and attitudes. It should be established fact that trust and mutual support are the basis of a good marriage, but hey, nobody's done the randomised controlled trials. People like that man and woman obviously choose to believe otherwise, or at least act like it. And I guess there are other people who go along with society's norms without really thinking about it, so plenty of marriages hold.

But it takes a certain degree of empathy to think about a situation like this before it is actually upon you. To say to yourself that no, you wouldn't like it if you were in the husband's shoes. And it takes a bigger leap of empathy to decide that the husband deserves to have what you would want - unbroken trust in his wife. I have a feeling that that particular level of mutual 'thinking about each other' is the basis of most happy marriages.

That first step, of making people think about these situations? Hey, that's why we tell each other stories like this. That's why I keep reading this blog.

Hang in there, Cam.

1 comment:

  1. Empathy is certainly a virtue, although not always an easy one to deal with.


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the angel Jean