I was early on...the first 2 months after DD were shameful for me. I did things and said things that were not recognizable by me...totally sacrificing my self in futile acts to save my marriage.
It has been at least 4 months since I have felt shame over my wifes affair...so I believe that is officially behind me.
The following is an excerpt from a book on forgiveness that I just read...it speaks to the identical process in which I processed through this shame. I hope it helps someone quicker then going through this blindly like I did. I will make it specific to my experience...as it really is the path I followed before reading this book. The author did a GREAT job of concisely narrating my journey. Here it is;
Shame came to me because I thought that my wifes behavior was about me...about my unworthiness, my defectiveness, my unlovability. This shame lifted when I realized my wifes behavior was about HER....her innate disposition, her traumatic experiences, her responses to lifes stress. My wife did not readily give me full access to many of these...so I had to come up with some hypotheses. I did that through reading and MC sessions.
Stepping back and seeing her wrestle with her own demons has been a restorative, centering experience for me...one that allows me to regain my equilibrium and self esteem, become the author of my own experience, and let go of my obsessive thinking.
Once I understood my wifes limitiations, I stopped expecting more of her then she could give. No longer fighting the ghosts of the past (the affair), I started to give myself the care and love she couldn't provide. Seeing her personal history spread out before me (a history that she in many ways hid from me, again for reasons not specifically related to me but to her past and her dispositions), I started to free myself from those obsessive questions such as....How could she?, How dare she?...and began to understand that what she did follows seamlessly from who she is. She is NOT a serial cheater...but the affair itself falls in line in many ways on how she copes with life.
When I could look at her clearly and honestly (not in anger) and see how she, too, has suffered, I can start to see her as a fellow victim. This MAY make me eventually realize for the first time how deeply and irreversibly damaged she may be. No longer is she the perpetrator of an unforgivable act. She has become a real person whose internal battles...whose anxieties and insecurities...triggered her hurtful behavior.
Armed with this wisdom, I was able to release myself from the grip of her affair. With this release comes the freedom to stay and work on the marriage...or to leave.
Back to my original thoughts...
I am still early on this journey....but it is nice to have the shame I foolishly and incorrectly took on regarding my wifes affair squarely behind me. I have also forgiven myself for the way I acted immediately following my DD.
God be with us all.
The book is How Can I Forgive; The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not To. by Janis Abrahms Spring PhD. I highly recommend it to those with obsessive thoughts and any ownership of your spouses affair....it will help you process both of these pretty completely.