This is it. Again. It’s hit the fan, come to a head, exploded. You’re done. It’s over. “I want out.” Heard it before? Said it before? If you’re at this point, then yes, probably you have, and more than once. But it’s the heat of the moment, and when tensions area high, we sometimes say things we don’t mean. Except this time. this time you mean it. For good.
Relationships aren’t easy. They take work, patience, understanding, and the biggest mother of all of them, communication. That’s actually the hardest thing of all, because expressing how we feel, and talking about it, is about as difficult as acknowledging that you’re not happy and there are problems. As the human condition has it, we’re a mass of Ego, and the Ego doesn’t like to deal with anything emotionally uncomfortable, painful, or unpleasurable, so it doesn’t, and we end up here, ignoring that problems and issues exist, sweeping things under the rug, and getting used to living in unhappiness and emotional upset and discomfort.
We’re creatures of comfort, and now we’ve become comfortable living in the uncomfortable. It’s become what we know, and what we know, is comfortable, even when it’s not. As rational as we are, when we’re not being irrational, we know what we know, and living in unhappiness becomes easier, because there’s no work to be done. We simply adjust our lifestyles and our lives to match our situations, and we live with it. Until we can’t.
Divorce is like quitting smoking cold-turkey; much good can come from it, but it can also be a very bumpy and unpleasant ride along the way. I always urge my clients to thing seriously about Separation and Divorce. Being in practice as long as I have, I’ve seen it all. Remember this movie, the War of the Roses? Well, this one has nothing over what you may be in for, The War of the Thorns, and if it’s an acrimonious break-up, those thorns can become more like daggers with serrated edges. I’m all for what my clients want. I don’t judge anyone, and respect all the reasons my clients may have for moving in whichever direction they’ve decided will make them happier. However, if there’s a way to figure out how to make the best of what you’ve got, and live more happily, that is a worthy, less emotionally and financially costly consideration?
It’s probably not all you. In fact, in all likelihood, your spouse is equally responsible for what’s happened, for the lack or communication, the avoidance, and the lack of wanting to put in any effort to mend or repair. It’s is a two-way street, and both sides may have different pot holes, paving, patterning, repair methods, and traction. In considering to stay in a relationship where you think you can no longer stand the other person, there’s often an opening, a clearing, if you will, where in judging the other person’s behaviour, we tend to look inwards, at our own.
Yes, people change. Life happens to us all, and along the way, we find ways to roll with the punches, cope with the tidal waves, and manage the storms. And sometimes, it’s not so much that they’ve changed, but we’ve changed, more. Those things that bother us about our spouses that we now see with vehemence and disgust, may have always been there, but we never really noticed them as bothersome, irksome or incredibly irritating, because we weren’t as affected by life and the things happening around us in our lives. These are the things we say happen to us, and sometimes, they are a gift.
When we have the perception and attitude that things are happening to us, we take on the victim mentally. Why me?Because we’re bound and directioned by our Egos, as human nature would have it, we are wired to place value judgements on the things that happen to us that make our lives difficult. Why? Because we need to place the blame and responsibility of unpleasant, harmful, or hurtful actions, affronts, behaviours, and incidences, somewhere. But, what if, we didn’t? This is one the greatest propositions I pose to my clients. It’s the big carrot, their big ‘aha moment’, and the moment they see that they can begin to respond to life, and that there are different ways to interpret what people do, say, how they behave, and how we, let it affect us.
Or not. Sometimes, life happens for us, as a means by which for us to take a second look, a sort of hindsight is 20-20 given to us on a silver platter, begging for us to look at the now, and the future. The new perspective being, that things happen to us, so that something better can happen for us, and it’s up to us to have that open mind and do the looking, the searching, and the forward-thinking. If some of the events that happened to me between 2001 and 2003 didn’t happened as they did, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.
Case in point…I love what I do, and, it came at a price, and with plenty of suffering and enduring, and every day I am thankful, genuinely, for being able to get to do what I do, even though the journey was incredibly and inexplicably emotionally painful, trying, and near impossible to get through each day. But I made it that way, because I fought it, angrily, personally, resentfully. Enough was enough. I had to do something, and that something, was take a different look at how I was looking at everything that was happening. I decided to take control, and not let it control me, my life, my happiness. I decided, I wasn’t going to let life happen to me, take it personally, and become angry, sad, unhappy, or jaded. I stood, tall, looked at in the face, and my Type-A Alpha Female self said, bring it on, I’m ready for you. I saw an opportunity to turn it on it’s head, turn it all around, and see where I could make it better. It started with me. My perceptions, my mindset, my choices.
Lets go back a paragraph or two for a second, to where I spoke about life happens. You see now, it’s a perception. A mindset. A choice. Like emotional control and how we let or allow life to affect us. This is big. You have the power to choose to allow life to happen to you, and to let it affect and discolour you, or, to simply just let life, happen, without putting judgements on it, and ego into it. This is very important, and perhaps the crux of this article; When life happens to us, is clouds everything, and mostly, our happiness and how we interpret everything, including what people say, why people say what they do, their intentions, how they do things, and so on. You get he picture. And here, is where the unhappiness sets in, and all that other dark, ugly, and messy stuff that comes between you, your happiness, and how you perceive the world around you.
When we become unhappy, we begin to feel many things; angry, resentful, suspicious, jaded, bothered, irritable, unkind, stressed, nervous, emotional, uptight, defensive, offensive, caustic, alone, and this list goes on. This is where and when we begin to become bothered and irritated by all those little things, and some big things too, our spouses do , say, believe, and behave. This is where is suggest to all my clients to take a good look at what really might be the problem. Often, it may take a few, or a handful, of tweaks and adjustments, and a new understanding of our own behaviours, that can make the difference between staying or leaving, loving and hating, and making the best of what we’ve got with what we have, right now.
The actions, behaviours, intentions, and communications of your spouse also need to be addressed, because as I stated above, it is, still, a two-way street. Both sides are complicit in the breakdown of the marriage and the relationship. Both sides need to listen t each other , acknowledge and validate each other’s feelings, understand each other, and set aside anger and resentment so they can actually hear what the other is saying and get how their feeling, and work towards a better relationship. In Couples Counselling, we work together. Even with Individual Counselling, the client I’m working with is always given tips, techniques and new skill sets they can implement at home that not only helps to elicit certain behaviours from their spouse, but allows for both parties to work together. our goal, is always win-win, so that you get what you want, and they get what they want. Win-win.
This is where my clients and I work very diligently together, sifting and sorting through all the ‘stuff ‘ that they’ve come to feel disdain for, and we work on seeing a clearer and bigger picture, and we they begin to understand themselves and their behaviour better, and that of their spouses. We work on perception, understanding, communication, how to have effective and beneficial communication skills and techniques that work and help couples communicate, listen, and understand each other, and how to get back to seeing that your spouse is a good person, that there is a way, and that he, or she, isn’t so bad after all, and that staying together, working on things, and mending and repairing are more attractive than the acrimony and pain that separating or divorcing may bring. At least, for now.
The Ego is very good at avoidance behaviour, and so dealing with what’s emotionally painful, is painful. But avoidance behaviour digs a deeper pit that sucks the life out us, and then some. Mending and repairing is emotionally painful too, but in the end, it may be worth a try. You’ll always be able to say you did everything you could, and that you did your very best with what you had at that moment in time because, after all, you may actually have it ok where you already are. All you may be missing is a better understanding of yourself, how you’re feeling, and a good conversation with your spouse.
And when you’re ready, I’m here to help you along the way, offer you enlightenment and understanding, support and assistance, and help get you on your road to happy, whatever your choice in the long run may be. All you have to do, is want better and happier. This is where you start.