“Don’t ever feel bad for making a decision about your own life that upsets other people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You’re responsible for your own happiness. Anyone who wants you to live in misery for their happiness should not be in your life to begin with.” ~ Isaiah Hankel
How sad that I just wrote happiness four times, and yet as I typed it, it seemed like it was spelled wrong, for I barely remember what true happiness is supposed to look like. I know I have been happy, because I have had great pain and you can’t have pain without having some happiness, but it has been quite a while. I couldn’t even write for a month I was so unhappy.
And then a few days ago, I began to find some clarity as I went through the motions of co-existing with my disbelieving husband and going to work and dealing with the needs of my children and other overwhelming stuff of life.
Since I last wrote, I went away for a night to think since my husband was suffocating me and weeping at the smallest thing I did or said and I needed space. I cried a lot, and wrote a lot, and tried to get my shit together. I wrote a list of reasons why I should stay and a list of reasons why I should leave, and while the reasons to leave slightly outnumbered and came easier than the list of reasons to stay, the list itself just made me sadder.
I came home and was barely in the door when he wanted my decision, and we were about to go to an activity for our son. I ended up giving him three reasons, each one more difficult to say than the last, and he explained away each one, because really how could what I feel be true when it didn’t make sense to him?
- I’m just that unhappy. (I can’t just give up on our long marriage. He is trying to do better.)
- I’m not in love with him anymore. (People can fall back in love, I need to give him another chance to be a better man.)
- I think I’m gay. (No, I must be bi-sexual if anything. I have never had any tendencies or thoughts about women before, we have children! This can be fixed with therapy.)
So then we had a difficult period where he would act like nothing was wrong in the world and then he would be offended by my lack of excitement when I spoke to him or I answered with a tone or something and then he would weep and tell me he was a failure and he was overwhelmed. Then he would read articles and get his hopes up that people work through things like this and I need to give him a chance, and then the next day he would tell me that God would forgive me for my sins and I couldn’t leave because the kids would be devastated and we would both have to move to the bad areas of town because we couldn’t afford to keep the house if I didn’t stay. Whatever mood he was in during the day would disappear at night and he would toss and turn and sigh and mope so that neither of us was able to sleep.
He asked if I would go to therapy and I agreed because I felt that it would be better that way, that I would have less guilt about wanting to leave and that he would be able to better comprehend my decision. While I did consider my guilt, I was still putting his feelings first.
We went to therapy and several times the therapist said if you don’t feel I am a good match or you don’t feel comfortable, please tell me. She even asked me several times where I was at and what I wanted, as if she could feel that my heart wasn’t in it. I tried to say what I felt, but he wouldn’t listen. Yet I didn’t walk out, I listened to her suggestion for the next step, and answered her questions, and tried not to get angry at the things he said so that he would see how kind I was being, how hard I was trying to not hurt him though I was still hurting myself.
And so the acting normal/weeping cycle continued, and yet I put up with it. Until he threatened suicide. We both unfortunately have family that have committed suicide, and while I was worried, I was also a bit angry that he would actually go there, to tell me I can’t leave him because it would devastate our children, yet he could kill himself as if that would devastate them less.
Then I was reminded of my mother’s viewing, and how so many people came that I didn’t know, and how that helped me cope. Then I remembered how most of them said, “Your mother was so proud of you. She always talked about you, she always did this for you, she always did that for you….” At the time I thought those were nice things to say, but now I realize only a very few said, “Your mother was so funny! Your mother had such great ideas to improve the fundraisers, your mother was such a great person to have as a friend…”
I realized that she lived her life for me. She did the best she could as a single mother in the 80s, and I had everything I needed, and she did love me fiercely. But by putting me first, because she had to as my mother maybe, she didn’t take such good care of herself, and she became a little less happy as time went on. Maybe she thought that’s what mothers did. Maybe she didn’t know how to make herself happy. But I realized that I didn’t want my children to have the same experience. I didn’t want them to remember me as always being a little sad, and have my friends talk about how much I had done for my children and be unable to say how I was as a friend, as a person who happened to be a mother.
And then my son asked me twice if I didn’t feel well because I had been so quiet.
And then I began to find pins on Pinterest that talked about it’s ok to make decisions that other people don’t like, it’s ok to follow my heart, it’s ok to do what I want to do in my very short life even if it is not what others think or expect I should do.
It is very scary to think about leaving this life I have known for so long. But it is scarier to think about what I am teaching my children about love and relationships, of never really feeling true happiness because I gave in to what my husband wanted me to do even though it was causing me so much pain. I don’t want to be so unhappy anymore.
There’s a saying about when you resign from a job and they offer you more money to stay, you shouldn’t take it. If you are good enough to get a raise when they know you want to leave, you should have been good enough to receive it before they knew you wanted to. Although harsh, I feel my marriage should have the same expectation. If he is willing to change and try harder to keep me, he should have never stopped trying when he didn’t know I wanted to leave. It’s not all his fault of course, I stopped trying too. But it’s been too long and I can’t find happiness here anymore. I’m tired of living in misery so he can be happy.
I’m responsible for my own happiness, no one else’s. Everyone has their own idea of what happiness means, and that’s ok. It really is. I will be ok, and hopefully I will be truly happy again one day. I take responsibility now.