4/1/10

Dealing With the Humiliation of Being Rejected

The day Bob left our marriage, I could not shake the feeling that I had failed. By moving out of the house, he had made our breakup painfully public. I felt like a loser. It took every ounce of my energy to face the world, and I made pains to put on makeup, curl my hair, and wear a cute outfit before leaving the house. I might have felt like a reject on the inside, but I wanted to go out in public looking like a winner. It was a matter of pride. But I wasn't a celebrity, and no photographers or reporters were hanging outside my door waiting to take a snapshot of me or ask awkward questions.

This is not the case with Sandra Bullock. One moment she was on top of the world both professionally and in her private life, and the next she learned that her marriage was a sham. I was never one of the Jesse James haters. Oh, I wondered what she saw in him at first, and then I watched 'The Apprentice'. I learned to admire the way Jesse held himself back during volatile situations and how he treated the other celebrities with dignity and respect. I began to see what Sandra saw in him. And when she publicly declared how hot he was and how much she loved him during her award speeches, I rejoiced in her happiness. She seemed like a decent person, and she has entertained me in films that I liked, and so I felt kindly towards her. I loved that she kept donating a million here and there after major disasters, most recently the Haiti earthquake, and this told me she had a good heart.

But now she is in hiding and grieving over the loss of her innocence and trust in her husband. We - you and I - can imagine exactly how she felt when she learned the awful truth about her husband: feeling the blood instantly drain from your head, the cold-sinking sensation that you are not dreaming; the tight knot in your chest; the disbelief that your best friend and partner is betraying you; the awful, unbearable pain that seeps through every pore of your body. And then, when you can breathe and think again, the relentless feeling of failure and humiliation.

But in Sandra Bullock's case her heartache is being played out in public. She literally can not hide in a crowd, as I did and as you can. Everywhere she goes, strangers KNOW about Jesse's actions and the news keeps getting worse. We no longer know rumor from fact. The truth is that Jesse put his wife, an intensely private person, in this situation by his willful actions, and the only choice he has given this brave, talented, supremely successful person is that she must go into hiding. Can you imagine how doubly humiliated she must feel - to be forced to hide so she can grieve in private?

During the worst part of my separation from Bob, I could still find some relief by losing myself in crowds, or dinner out, or during long strolls in the park. Sandra has lost everything - the man that she thought she knew, the children that she treated as her own, and the privacy that she fought for so long to keep.

This article by Lisa Firestone from the Huffington Post, The "Poor Sandra" Syndrome - Overcoming the Pain of Breakups, Affairs, and Public Rejection, has good advice for Sandra and for any person going through the humiliation of betrayal or rejection. Here are some excerpts:

"...the climate of any break-up or betrayal becomes a breeding ground for an emotion that, when examined more closely, is a bit surprising: humiliation. When you exacerbate this with the public exposure of a very private matter, one can only imagine the shame and self-criticisms that would ensue.

But why do people who have been hurt or rejected take this on as a reflection on themselves? In my 25 years as a therapist, I have often observed what my father, psychologist and theorist Dr. Robert W. Firestone, refers to as the "critical inner voice" to be the chief culprit in making break ups and affairs a matter of humiliation."
"the betrayed partner is the one who is traumatized and can't imagine how he or she will ever become whole again." This is how most people feel when they are cheated on or walked out on: traumatized. This trauma often throws them back into a defended state that, although painful, also feels familiar. They may experience feelings they felt early in life such as: they are not loveable, they are a failure, they have lost people's respect or they can't survive without being taken care of by the person they once trusted."
The article ends with the words: "No one should be critical of themselves because they took a chance on love."

I will go one step further and state: Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a wounded friend. Write nice notes to yourself, and in a journal list all your good traits and the sweet and special things you have done for others. Treat yourself to something special, like a pedicure, after you have faced another hurdle successfully. Relish the love of your family and friends, and surround yourself only with positive people. Know that you have nothing to be ashamed of for having taken a "chance on love."

15 comments:

少菁 said...

thx u very much, i learn a lot

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. What I felt when my husband of 22 left me for his longtime mistress was humiliation. It has been incredibly difficult to overcome that. I feel for Sandra Bullock and can completely sympathize as it was so similar to my own situation.

cheshire solicitors said...

This post completely makes sense, I agree with anon's 'sandra bullock' comparison too

Mia Carmel West said...

Being a movie star whose partner committed adultery is a difficult thing to experience. It is bad enough to deal with the rigors of being a public figure, let alone the backlash s/he will receive with an unfaithful partner. Sandra is doing th right thing and deserves the privacy she need in her impending life after divorce.

Anonymous said...

Recently i got divorced of my first marriage i really feel awful he was my bff for almost 5 years and is very inspirational for me your case, because know i now every woman has the strenght to deal with it and continue living, so when i feel sad i remember you and all the good stuffs that life has to offer us.

Anonymous said...

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http://www.amazon.com/Divorce-L-Burke-Files/dp/0982372310/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1293469380&sr=1-6

Jazzie Casas said...

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Proud to be a Single Dad

Anonymous said...

well said--just wish I could start to feel better. such humiliation, few friends--they are all married and busy on the wkends. and a 17 year old at home that I am trying to be strong for.---am finally seeking counseling, which may help, but sure wish there were a magic pill.

Anonymous said...

I have spent 7 years feeling terribly humiliated after the girl i loved dearly left me without saying a word. She humiliated me in front of my parents, siblings and friends who all knew her. My own mother and my brother said it was me who had hurt her. There after i panicked and did many things out of desperacy and in the process, more humiliation came. I now feel that am not worthy to be God's son. I think it is true because every step in my life has been full of difficult huddles. I feel awful about my self and am not proud of who i am.

Salt Lake City Divorce Attorney said...

Great post. I think Sandra Bullock will come out as a stronger person from this whole experience.

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Move on after divorce said...

Divorced there can be certain challenges you may face. This is exasperated when the person is still involved in some way or another with an ex. You may feel like this is all extra baggage that can be just thrown aside. You may actually be a little surprised but there can be some advantages to relationships that are like this.

ljp62 said...

I recently divorced my best friend. I realized probably the day we were married, I love him but don't like him but because I believe in commitment, and saving face with family and friends, I stayed in the marriage for the next 9 1/2 years. It's very sad and very difficult. I feel like a failure and that there is something wrong with me because I could not accept his cavalier manner with finances. The hardest thing for me is that he thinks our issues were about me caring about money more than love. I make more money than him and had to buy him out, but I would have gladly continued to support him if he wasn't so cavalier and reckless in is spending. I realized that I had so much pent up resentment because of his actions over the years, I began to hold him in contempt and knew that was poison to a healthy relationship, for both of us. I lost my respect for him and that was hard to swallow. I know that I will move on and find what makes me feel secure and happy in life, but I sure miss my best friend.

Anonymous said...

I do feel incredibly humiliated, i am 50, I came home one night to find a letter on the bed and my husband had gone, hed been with someone else for two years, because I had not coped well with having had cancer, he had got cross rather than tried to help me. I still feel so ashamed, because all people see is that he left so it must be my fault. At 50I just want to hide, I love life, I love God, i have great friends, but I am completely alone, and ashamed. I keep going, but the depth of the pain is very hard.
No one wants a 50 year old woman, I just have to face that,
I am attractive intelligent and funny, but there are millions of us.....

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