Blame: The Millstone Around Your Neck

Blame: A way to discharge pain and discomfort

Brene Brown … from http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame

Often when someone is first diagnosed with Herpes, the first thing they want to know who gave it to them. Sometimes it’s easy to figure out, other times it’s more complicated because the virus is a slippery little devil and may have been lying dormant for some time (and through multiple partners) before it rears its blistery little head. It’s a normal reaction … we humans always want to know if we can make some meaning about how it happened: Did the person know they had H? If now, why not? Did they give it to them on purpose? How long have they had it? How on earth did they not know they had it… Etc.

On top of that, some people not only want to know who gave it to them, they may also feel that the person has a moral obligation to “support” them while they deal with the gamut of emotions and suffering (emotional and physical).  While reaching out for help is good (and recommended), once the need becomes an obsession where you are holding the “giver” hostage for support because “they owe it to you”, you have hung The Blame Millstone around your neck. And the only way to cut it loose is to take personal responsibility for your situation. This doesn’t mean that if your “giver” knew they had Herpes, that they don’t have some responsibility in the matter. It just means that you are owning your part, and by doing so, you stop being a victim. So, let’s get to some basic truths:

All Non-Monogamous Sex Comes With Risk

The truth of the matter is that all sex comes with some risk unless you are in a committed, monogamous relationship. There is fallacy among a large part of the population that condoms protect you from all STD’s. Truth of the matter is that HSV and HPV can still be transmitted with a condom as it only reduces your risk by 50%. Another misconception is that oral sex is safer than intercourse. Fact is that up to 80% of the population has oral herpes and 80% of them don’t know they have it…and many who do have it don’t know that it can pass to the genitals. Then there’s the  belief that even Doctors support that you can’t pass Herpes on unless you have an outbreak; fact is, Herpes is usually passed on asymptomatically because people will avoid sex during an outbreak.

Unless you ask for, and SEE their STD results, you are taking the person’s word that they really have been tested for “Everything”.

Sadly, thanks to the CDC’s policy of not testing and of not educating the public about Herpes (which is another whole discussion) most people believe that if they ask for “everything” on an STD panel, that Herpes is included. So many will honestly believe they are STD-free when in fact they have only been tested for HIV, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea. Add to that that most people barely even mention STD’s before having sex (especially where hook-ups and casual sex is concerned).

Casual Sex increases your risk of getting a STD dramatically

Now I’m not a puritan by any stretch of the imagination. But let’s get honest here. Many hook-ups are done in a drunken haze. And even without alcohol, that little devil Oxytocin can really drive us to do impulsive things. It’s at those times that the STD talk either doesn’t happen or it comes out as “Hey, are you clean? Yes? Lets go!”. Not only that, but I hear from people on a regular basis that they were told by their partner (usually after the clothes were off) that they had Herpes but “I’m not having an outbreak so we’re ok” or something to that effect. Add to that that many people believe that a “one time thing” isn’t as risky so they don’t need to tell their partner, and you have just played STD Roulette.

For the record, it is entirely possible with Herpes to have casual sex …. I know several people who have had success there, but not before they informed their partner. It’s about giving the person CHOICE in taking that risk, preferably when you are both sober and fully clothed so that the other person can make their decision with a clear head.

If any of the above applies to you, admit it, own it, and let it go … because turning the blame onto yourself won’t help you either. You took a gamble (knowingly or otherwise) and lost. Truth of the matter is you take a gamble every time you get in your car of being hurt or killed, but we do that day in and day out without thinking about it. If you are living life, you are living with risk. And sometimes you get dealt a crappy hand.

Now, if your partner cheated on you (and you can be sure of that, because many partners have been wrongly accused of cheating because they never had an outbreak and were never tested) then of course you will feel that none of this applies to you. However, holding onto blame won’t help you to heal either. True, your partner may have turned out to be a jerk and brought a virus home to you. And while it’s normal and even healthy to be angry for awhile, you still need to let go of the Blame Millstone at some point, because holding onto it is akin to jumping in a lake with a breeze-block tied to you…. It will only drag you down and drown you in the mire of self pity, depression, and anger.

As the song says, Let It Go…. take ownership of your part, learn from it, and move on.

When you blame yourself, you learn from it. If you blame someone else, you don’t learn nothing, cause hey, it’s not your fault, it’s his fault, over there. Joe Strummer

Peace Out ….

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