Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Confession is good for what?

Confession is good for the soul. 

How many times have you heard that over the course of your life? I heard it in church growing up, from my Catholic friends when I teased them about attending confession, and from an older friend who convinced me that unburdening myself would improve my marriage. What a complete load of crap. In the case of infidelity this is the biggest load of self-serving bullshit I’ve ever heard.

Tonight as I watched TV I was reminded of this little bit of guidance. Maybe this is a topic best left to a Wag Vs. Angie forum, but it's weighing on my mind. A man confesses to his wife that he gave his secretary a ride home one evening after an office celebration. Upon delivering the young secretary to her door, the waif kissed him. Confession occurs. Cue fireworks. The episode (plus those that follow) is wrought with hurt feelings, distrust, internal and external struggles, and the questioning of vows, self-worth, self-esteem, and respect.

I think most of us know someone in our lives whether it be a friend, neighbor, sibling, parent, or even ourselves who has been in a situation where the above, or worse, has occurred. Skeletons in people's closets exist for a reason... because they aren't taken out for display. Still, there are a lot of people who step out on their spouses, but the weight of the guilt is too much for them to bear. Often those people come clean. What strikes me most about those situations is that far more people will applaud the person who confesses than they will the person who keeps the infidelity to themselves.  

Holy man at your service... 
Do you know whose soul confession is good for? The guilty. Don't kid yourself. The idea behind the wisdom of confession is to confess your sin to God. The purpose was to encourage man to admit to himself and to God that he was not perfect and to ask for forgiveness. The goal was not to take the burden of your shame and lay it on another person. 

It most certainly is not meant to be confessed to someone you love and will hurt in doing so. What purpose does it serve to confess your sin to your partner? Yes, you will feel better for telling them. True, you won't have to hide it anymore. You can even ask THEM for forgiveness. Congratulations. 

If your infidelity has put such a heavy burden on your soul then you are the person who should bear that cross. If you are a believer and feel that confession is necessary, find a holy man. Do not lay that package at your wife’s or husband’s feet without considering the impact that little relief for you will have on your partner. 

Alright, the sermon is done. Please put some money in the plate when it comes around. It pays for the candles and the robes. No, not the ones for the acolytes.... the ones for spa time. 

Mother Angie... out! 


RCB said...

'If your infidelity has put such a heavy burden on your soul then you are the person who should bear that cross.' Amen to that. I once confessed (when I was naughty and immature...) and all it did was make me feel good and the poor girl bad. I totally agree that it's pointless to put your 'burden' on somebody else's shoulders.

wagthedad said...

I agree 100% on that one, Angie. There is no reason to confess infidelity, unless it's to confess that you're leaving, and even then, why hurt the person even more if you're leaving anyway?

Otherwise, all that anyone who's confessing is doing is taking their pain and transferring it onto the one who's been cheated on.

Confess to a priest, a friend, a therapist, or just keep it inside. Partners are not there to absolve us of our "sins," if you play that way, or to make our guilt go away.

Andrea said...

This is very interesting! For some reason it also brings to mind when "friends" tell you something negative that someone else has said about you...why? Just keep it to yourself! Honesty isn't always's just honest.

Angie said...

RCB and Wag,
This is why I like you guys. :)

I would also like to add, the only thing you're not allowed to do if you keep these sins to yourself and that is run for office.

I know! I do not understand the point behind that at all. When someone says something negative about my friends I will defend them and ask the person not to talk about my friend to me again. I will NOT run to my friend and hurt their feelings by repeating it.

socialassassin said...

You make a great point about confession being a process of admitting guilt and weakness to yourself, not simply transferring it by burdening another with the knowledge. People who confess infidelity to their partners often rationalise it by thinking that it will be better to hear the news from them rather than someone else. That's like hearing your partner just got killed in a traffic accident from the drunk driver rather than the police - it's hardly likely to soften the blow, is it?
Of course, now I feel guilty and will have to go and confess to Wag the Dad that I've crossed into enemy territory and commented on your blog too. I hope he won't leave me and we can work through this.......

Angie said...

It's too late. It's here for everyone to see. No need to tell him... It's like he just walked in on us with one of us bent over the counter. Cat's out of the bag. LOL

notactuallygod said...

I see your point about not confessing an infidelity, that it needlessly brings pain. But there are instances when that opens a door, underlying issues can be resolved and the couple become closer afterwards. That being said, it's probably rare.

On the other point I disagree. I think a good friend says what nobody else will. Whether it's about food in your teeth, or somebody talking behind your back. In the latter case you know not to trust that other person with any confidences anymore. If the story is false you now know it and have the option to do damage control and confront the person.

Angie said...

You're absolutely correct. That situation is probably rare. That being said, it could be approached without actual confession.

With the friend situation I was thinking more along the lines of senseless hurtful things. For instance, "So Julie told Sandy that you are a fat cow and a slut. I told her to shut up." Those are opinions and in the grand scheme of things no good will come of it. Confronting a bitter gossipy person about them running their mouths gives them nothing but power. If it's a damaging slander, then yes of course you share that information.

Leauxra said...

In the case of infidelity: If you cheat on me and don't tell me I don't know to go get tested for STDs. Girls can get CANCER from HPV. CANCER.

I look at it this way: I will find out. If you tell me, I will be hurt, and we will never be friends. If you don't tell me, I will fucking kill you when I find out.

Am I being overly possessive here?

Angie said...

Not at all! I personally get a full set of tests every time I go in. My exes were not all that faithful and you never know when things will turn up in the mix. Am I being overly paranoid? Probably, but I'm from the age where people were dying left and right. I don't need my business all messed up down there!

RCB said...

Good to hear you like us. We like you, too. We were hoping you loved us, but I guess we need to whistle a bit louder so you can hear us
P.S. It was about time I checked out Wag's blog, and it's great.

Azra said...

I can't agree more Angie. More often than not, I think people who have this *need* to confess something do it purely out of selfish reasons - mainly so that THEY can feel better about it and themselves. They don't really care much about the repercussions of the confession, as long as THEY don't have to carry around the guilt.

Britt said...

I agree with you.
Without making too many blasphemous remarks, I think it's important for people to think about *why* it's so cleansing to burden another person with their guilt.
Personally, when someone tries to include me in their dirty little secret, I'm more likely to plug my ears and go LA LA LA, then listen. I'm not a very good friend.

Jen said...

I was actually GLAD my ex got busted for cheating. It made it so much easier to turn my anguish into blinding hatred during the divorce.

Linda Medrano said...

Never, EVER, confess to cheating on your partner. It may make you feel great, but there is no reason to make them feel bad. Go to a priest or a bartender and tell your sordid tale if it makes you feel better, but dont' ever think you are doing the right thing because you are NOT.

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

I totally agree, and I believe in karma and all that as well. The person should have to deal with it and hope bearing that cross negates some of the shit that is bound to come back on them for doing it in the first place. If I cheated I would probably be letting kids with cancer kick me in the nuts for sport, or something penitent like that, just to get it out of the way.

Anonymous said...

excellent point. confession does nothing but disrupt the person who was cheated on. I would hate to think my Boy would ever do that to me...coz if he did there would be no future reason for infidelity. Eunuch is such a nice word!!

Left Coast Guy said...

I'm with Linda. Never ever tell your sigot. Massive mega pain and hurt will be the only thing that issues from your need to expiate your sin. If you feel you can't handle the guilt, how about this, dont do the deed!


Angie said...

Exactly! Sort of like not caring about the ramifications of the deed itself while it's being done. Sad.

Oh girl, I've been privy to more dirty deed confessions than I'd like. I hate the fact that when two people work things out I'm the one who from that point forward has to look at them like it's all a big lie.

I never said there was anything wrong with them getting caught! Blind hatred sometimes helps us past the heart break. Or is it just us?

Amen! Love you all the much more right now!

You have such a way with words! Now I am picturing little kids kicking you in the nuts, but in fairness you started it!

I would like to believe that the offender feels so much guilt that they turn over a new leaf and treat their partner 10x better than they used to.

I could not agree more. If you can't handle the guilt keep your pants on.

Fred said...

Confessing to your lover is really pretty selfish. That's what priests are for. And the first thing a priest will tell you is fuhgetaboutit. I would never punish my lover because I was stupid. If she really loves you, she'll know anyway. Then it's up to her to forgive you or air-mail your cowboy boots through the picture window.

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