Posted by: Botolff | August 26, 2009

Shame: The Underside of Narcissism- Part 2

I was reading an article the other day.  It was an article about a special Oprah was doing with women who were the secret “lovers” of married men.  It was noted that in research studies on this issue, the primary source of information usually comes from the man who had/is having the affair, or from the woman who was/is left behind.  Rarely do we hear from the woman that the man goes to.  Which is true.  How often have you heard the testimony of the “lover”?  

There was so much that was said that caught my attention, but I think the energy of the whole article from my perspective rested particularly in one sentence that came from a woman named Michelle.

I thought I would do something a little different in this post.  I am going to throw the quoted section out to you and see if we have anyone who wants to comment before I jump back in.  So, here’s the quote…

“Michelle says she has no interest in meeting the wife of her lover. ‘I don’t know her name, what she does. I’ve never asked,’ she says. ‘I’ve never wanted to put a face to the person. I’ve never wanted to give her an identity.'”

Why wouldn’t she want to put a face to the person?  Why wouldn’t she want to give her an identity?  Any thoughts?



  1. Ok, I’ll take the bait. Mostly, I hope the follow-up isn’t about how Michelle didn’t want to see the harm she was doing, adultery isn’t victimless, and look she’s just Herodias on the Oprah show. Sure, she didn’t want to see. And sure, there’s some sad story behind the fact that she accepted the second-class status of mistress rather than wife. And maybe the affair was even about sex, sex, sex. But at the end of the day is she any different than the rest of us thoughtless sinners?

  2. brinksmanship,

    Bait? Hmmm…isn’t bait what one puts on a rat trap, or like a worm on a hook? I don’t believe I was intending to set anyone up. But if you are feeling “lured” into some sort of trap, please don’t come any closer. I wouldn’t want you to hold me responsible for your decision to “take the bait.”

    I do find it interesting though that although I left the questions open for interpretation, and for any commentors to jump in with whatever opinion they had, you made it clear what you don’t want to hear. It almost made me feel like I had better not shed light on the obvious or it might cost me something. Seems somewhat trap-like itself. It also seems as though you painted Michelle out to be the helpless victim with the potentially self-proclaimed status of “second-class mistress”, and a fool as the “thoughtless” sinner.

    Although we are all victims, and Michelle was likely the victim of other people’s adulterous behavior in her life, I don’t believe she thoughtlessly stumbled on being a mistress. Nor do I think whatever her “sad story” truly is, if she decided to accept the “second-class” label, that it is a viable excuse for making the conscious decision to join those men in making more victims out of more adulterous relationships.

    I do agree that we are all sinners. Sometimes we’re thoughtless, which would make us more like fools. And sometimes we’re seductive and calculated, which tends to make us more like tyrants. Either one isn’t good, but if the shame of either is avoided, I believe the second one is likely to prevail over time.

  3. My assumption would be that she didn’t want to assign the other woman an “identity” because if she does, her choice is no longer a faceless crime.

    Often, two people who are married that choose to indulge in adultery do so in a bubble of selfishness that shields them from everything other than their feelings of self-acceptance and need for affirmation from one another. If she knows the other woman and children, then it becomes a crime as compared to a rescue from a “loveless marriage”.

  4. I agree that adultery often occurs in a bubble that shields people from truth about that they are doing. My experience is limited, but I think that people more often stumble blindly into affairs than set out, in a “seductive and calculated” manner, to have an affair. The degree to which that blindness is willful probably varies, but I suspect that it’s often both willful and true blindness by turns.

    The fact of an affair seems, to me anyway, to speak to the depth of human need to be cared for and wanted. For that reason an affair seems like a very sad outcome and another instance of brokenness in need of repair.

    I’ve been thinking lately about the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. This post made me think also about the adulterous woman whom Jesus saves from stoning. He said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”

    So I’m left with two ideas. First, that I shouldn’t condemn Michelle. Second, that the Pharisee is a better person than I will ever be, but perhaps God’s mercy could nevertheless extend to me. There is a lot to consider in those two parables.

  5. I think because if you put a name to a face, or know about the WIFE, you are more likely to start feeling jelous. Its not real if you don’t know details.

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