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Beth Broderick

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The Betrayed

Posted: 06/26/2009 9:34 pm

The headlines are abuzz with the gleeful news that yet another man has betrayed yet another woman. Governor Sanford let loose with a 20-minute statement that was as selfish and self-pitying as any I have heard, well on the nightly news that is. I have unfortunately heard it before and I can tell you from experience that the pain is excruciating, the shame enveloping, and the damage immeasurable. Those thoughts and prayers that we are urged to hold for the wife and family? Well, you'd best plan to keep them coming for the next several years, because that is how long it will take them to recover if indeed they ever do. He will be of no use in that process as was made clear by his actions as well as his apology. Clearly, the only person the Governor is sorry for is himself. He seemed to revel in the fact the he alone had the capacity to hurt so many. His Mistress, his Wife, his Sons, his Staff, his State, his Party...they were all given equal value with perhaps a smidgen of empathy for the mistress, she of the" beautiful handheld body parts". Oh the importance of the man! Let us all behold the glorious power of him and his own now infamous body part.

Many people seem baffled by the fact that he concocted such an elaborate lie in order to cover his tracks. This does not surprise me at all. It is the hallmark of narcissism, this belief that if he says it then it must be so. Hiking for six days in the Appalachians? Hilarious, really, and doubly hurtful, insinuating as it most certainly did, that we are all fools and that the great legend of his complexity should suffice to explain any action he chooses to take. The larger point it makes is that we really do not matter. The story will keep changing to fit his impression of himself. That loyal wife and those four perfect boys are no match, for the ego of this man...the next JFK no less. What was good enough for Jackie and her kids is good enough for them. They will not get the truth, not ever. They are expected to be consoled by their proximity to the great one.

He made a fool of himself to be sure, but she of the" tender lips and gentle touches", that gal made an ass of him. Any woman willing to be an accomplice in the affliction of so much pain upon so many is in it for one thing and it's not a body part. Two words...meal ticket. He reeked of cashola with his two houses and his expensive suits and his penchant for bad poetry. He was an easy mark and she definitely made hers. This woman may or may not be heard from, but you can bet someone is being asked to buy her off and shut her up. It remains to be seen if they will dig down deep enough and soon enough to silence her. The folks around Edwards seem to have made the nincompoop who trapped him and bore his child disappear. I hope for everyone's sake that the team around Sanford will draw the wagons and pony up.

When will men ever figure out that this big swinging dick action only makes them into midgets? That the capacity to give and receive love is the only legacy we leave. Ryan O'Neal has proved himself a giant of a man in this same week. He has writ his legacy large with tenderness and courage. He did what a man is supposed to do, what each of us hopes we will do in the face of death. He looked it in the eye and said "no dice pal". You can claim her, but you cannot take her from me. She is the woman I love and she will forever be mine. We grieve with him, but we are happy for them both. We will all die and we all hope that it will be in the embrace of love. That is the one abiding and amazing grace of life on this Earth.

Sanford and his ilk will leave a legacy, but they have lost their grace. "I made a mistake" he will say as they all do, and then hang their heads while we are asked to respect their honesty and admire their humility. A word of warning gentlemen, when we say that you are forgiven, we are lying. You have shown yourselves to be true cowards...no amount of prostrating and praying will convince us that you are anything, but weak and careless. There is an old saying in business: "Never trust a man who cheats on his wife". Now this is not meant to apply to the moron who goes to a strip club in Vegas and finds himself carried into the night by a pasty-clad specter of his fading youth. No, they are talking about betrayal and if you will do it to her, then you will do it to them, clearly you will do it to anyone.

By now it should go without saying that I have a dog in this hunt. Or rather I married a dog. He has been out of my life for some time now, but I am still struggling with the shame and the sorrow of being lied to for years. I am left to wonder if every instinct I possess is flawed. We are told repeatedly that we make choices in life and that we must take responsibility for them, and so I try to hold myself up to the light to see what darkness lies within that could have drawn this man to me. How stupid must I be to have bought into the lies, worrying for his well-being while sacrificing my own? Pretty damned stupid is the conclusion I usually draw and then I try to forgive myself, try being the operative word here. Mostly I just get on with it, with the business of the every day and I do that pretty well. I continue to care for the people I love and dedicate myself to the work that inspires me and I try to laugh as often as possible at myself and at this crazy mixed up world. Life goes on and I am grateful for the love and support of so many in mine. I am lucky and I know it, but I am not over it and I wonder will I ever be?

Watching that press conference was a trip down a highway of hurt. I have stumbled through the last two days with my gaze averted, trying to swallow the lump in my throat, trying to breathe through the re-awakened agony of it all. This much I know. He will say that he loves his wife, but she will never believe him. He can say that he never meant to hurt his sons, but he left them fatherless on Father's Day and so they know that is not true. I actually feel sorry for my ex-husband as I do for this Governor and for all of the men who have shamed themselves and their families, because they will be haunted by this fact for the rest of their days. We do not know you and deep down we now believe that we never did. How sad that in the pursuit of your ego and the vision of yourself as a man of power, you have lost both. All eyes are on this poor wretch from South Carolina, but he will soon find that he has become invisible.

It is he who has been betrayed.

 
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