We have all heard the story of the dog or cat that is callously dumped on the side of road by a heartless person who no longer wants them. We often use terms such as dumped like a sack of garbage, which clearly illustrates the lack of value and consideration given to those animals by their caretakers. Those animals are scared and confused, not understanding what has happened to them. Many will wait by the side of the road for long periods of time for their human to return. In their heads, it is not conceivable that their human has just left them there. They must be coming back!
These stories are heartbreaking to hear, and for the vast majority of people, their sympathy and compassion is directed toward the animal that has been abandoned. I have never thought or heard anyone say, “that must have been a terrible dog for that person to dump him off like that!” It is obvious to us that the human is the one that is heartlessly abandoning the animal that loved and trusted them so deeply. We are angry at the human and their cruel heartless act of cowardice! Our focus is on helping the animal, not blaming the animal for being dumped.
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When my husband of 29 years suddenly walked out of our marriage, I felt like I had been dumped on the side of the road like that unwanted dog. At first, I waited for his return, sure that he would change his mind and come back. When that didn’t happen, I believed that I MUST have done something to deserve that terrible treatment. I MUST have been a bad wife. I MUST not be pretty or thin enough. I MUST have been an unsatisfactory mate and partner. I MUST have been the cause of my own abandonment and, if only I could figure out what I did wrong, I could fix it! I struggled deeply with that thought for almost a year.
I kept searching the depths of my memory to find the ways I might have failed in my marriage. Night after night, I thought about it and beat myself up thinking that somehow I could have prevented his infidelity and abandonment of our marriage. Somehow, I should have been a better wife and partner. Somehow, I could have done better. Even though somewhere deep inside me, I knew that nothing justified his behavior, I just couldn’t seem to let go of that nagging attachment to self-blame.
Then one day, I thought about that scared and confused dog on the side of the road. We were really the same, that dog and I. We both thought we were in a loving relationship. We both trusted our human to love and care for us in a respectful and gentle way. We both loved our human unconditionally. And, we were both tossed out on the side of the road with little compassion or concern about what would become of us.
Suddenly, I realized that like that dog, I had done nothing that justified my husband’s cruel treatment. I wasn’t to blame for my abandonment, my husband was! He had made the bad choices. He had affairs outside of marriage. He chose to turn his back on our marriage. He chose to dump me on the side of the road! Like that dog, my husband never returned, and I was left to put my life back together. Like many lucky dogs, wonderful people came forward to help me heal and build a new life. Like that dog, I am a beautiful soul that deserves to be treated with love and respect. My husband was the thoughtless and cruel human that dumped me on the side of the road and drove off without a second thought. I won’t spend another minute blaming myself for his selfish actions!
This blog was submitted by RADiCAL Woman Piper Murphy.
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