What Can Be Forgiven?

forgiveness-2This post is just me struggling and trying to come to terms with previous mania. I don’t have any answers. I’ve been having a meaningful dialog with a fellow bipolar hypersexual blogger.  They have come to a place of acceptance and even contentment with their condition.  Maybe if I were single I would feel the same way.  I expressed that I cannot be open about this symptom of my bipolar and that that is why I keep this blog anonymous.  I write about bipolar on my non-anonymous blog once and awhile, but it’s very PG-rated.

So why do I feel so compelled to keep it a secret or if not a secret, to never talk about it?  I can’t talk about it ever to my wife because it has hurt her the most.  I can talk about it to a therapist, and I have but she takes the point of view that I need to take full responsibility which is one step away of saying that I’m 100% to blame for my actions and that I was in control enough to know better.  If that were the case, I wouldn’t really have bipolar.  I would just be a cheating asshole.

And that’s the crux of this whole post.  If I could have chosen my behavior, why on earth would I have chosen infidelity?  I’ve been totally and madly in love with my wife since we were 15.  Even when we were with other people, I was insanely jealous of any guy she was with.  I hated all of those guys, and when I got my shot, I took it. We didn’t have a perfect marriage.  In fact we had some pretty big issues, but there was never any doubt before I got sick that I wanted to spend the rest of my life loving her

But bipolar is a liar.  Bipolar constantly whispers lies in your ear.  She’s controlling.  You can do better.  She’d rather be with someone else.  She’s manipulative.  You are a victim here.  You deserve better.  She’s holding you back.  She doesn’t want you to be happy.  You’re life would be so much better without her.  You could finally fulfill your dreams without her.

When I’m level, I can assure you that not one of these things is true.  This is delusional thinking.  This is delusional thinking that when combined with hypersexuality leads almost inevitably to infidelity.  If all the stuff above were actually true, then why not cheat?  Why not divorce?  Many people would, and many wouldn’t judge.

I don’t know what to do but accept full responsibility and never let it happen again. The moment I start getting a little forward with women, I get in to see my doctor immediately.  You’d think I had full control over flirting and whatnot, and if I have a plan walking into a situation with temptation, I can often avoid a problem, or I just don’t go.  I had to quit an AA meeting recently because of a woman.  I just can’t be around her.  That’s my strategy.  When it doubt, DON’T GO OUT.

So, in my post Making Amends, Not Excuses, I towed the line that although it might not be fair for me to take full blame for my actions with women while I was extraordinarily ill, it’s the reality.  I did it, it hurt my wife, and I need to take responsibility for it.  End. Of. Story.  Right?  In my book, taking responsibility means never letting it happen again.  That is different than taking the blame.  In a murder trial, a murder gets off when they can prove insanity.  Grrrrrrr.  I’ll confess that I’m struggling with this.  I cheated under very delusional circumstances.  I will never know if I could have chosen to behave differently.  But what I have to believe is that I can now that I know what I’m up against.

So what can be forgiven?  Which bipolar symptom-related behaviors are forgivable and which are not?  That’s really what it comes down to.  Grandiose? Bipolar, so forgivable.  Crazy fast speech.  Bipolar, so forgivable.  Can’t get out of bed and want to die?  Bipolar, so forgivable.  Hypersexuality?  You’re an asshole cheater, so not forgivable.

But here’s the rub.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s illness or hurtful intent, it hurts.  Infidelity hurts.  And when there is pain, forgiveness is not easy.  A partner may understand in their head that this is mental illness, but in their heart it is very personal and very intentional.  And so I never say a word.  I will live out my amends with her until the day I die if that’s what it will take to stay with her.  She’s just that special.  She deserves a husband who will remain faithful.

If you have answers or a story, please share.


2 thoughts on “What Can Be Forgiven?

    • I get so confused about this. I’ve been told that mental illness is not a moral failing, but a medical problem. So I’m not sure how to be forgiven for something that is a medical problem.

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