Arnold has an ego as enormous as those muscles of his. He was a competitive body builder. A body builder is a narcissist, someone who is fascinated with himself; someone who spends an inordinate amount of time admiring himself in the mirror, someone with a lot of vanity. Does this describe a person who might be audacious enough to do what Arnold did? Of course it does. With an out of control ego, you think you can do whatever you want without consequence. But this time, the consequences can’t be ignored; they’re smeared all over him and the family he loves.
Not only did he betray Maria with another woman, but he put her at risk by having unprotected sex. I mean, if you’re going to “do it,” at least use a condom for god’s sake. What kind of an example is that for your kids, Arnold? Not a very good one.
It would be very easy to dismiss him as slime and be done with it. But how many of us would like to be judged solely on the basis of the worst thing we’ve ever done? I sure wouldn’t. So let’s not do that to him. I feel quite sure there’s more to him than that. Could Maria have fallen in love with someone who was only slime? Could she have stayed with him for so long, had four kids with him, if that was all there was to him? I don’t think so. The slimy part of Arnold is what’s visible right now. But there is a deeper part of him, as there is in all of us, whether or not it shows. In other words, he’s not all bad and after we finish being outraged at his behavior, he deserves some compassion.
Here’s a belief of mine you might have a hard time digesting: Arnold wanted to tame his arrogance. He wanted to go beyond the muscles and the façade of fame to find a deeper part of himself. And he needed something really enormous to rattle him enough so that he would begin the journey necessary for that. So on some level (not conscious of course) he orchestrated all of this. That is, a higher part of him orchestrated it.
So here’s your chance, Arnold. You’ve been knocked all the way down to the basement and there’s no where to go but up. Now you can begin your climb to self-discovery, one step at a time, learning and growing with each step that you take. An inner journey is a worthy one, but it’s not easy. Step carefully,Arnold. The rest of your life depends on it.
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for some great tips and insights about relationships. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, http://www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.