Relationship Training

Somewhere inside of himself he is a good person but my husband is very emotionally abusive. He never hits me but still I want to leave him so badly. But I cannot because I have a daughter who is only seven and she loves him so much. It would break my husband’s heart to lose her as well. I am so lost and so sad and I don’t know what to do. Can you help me?

Sad Wife

Dear Sad Wife,

I am relieved to hear that you are physically 289 Relax and Succeed - No matter how hard the pastsafe. Still, this is obviously not a good situation. While I cannot make decisions for you, I do believe I can clarify the issue enough for you to possibly see your own way out of your predicament. Only you know your values and what sacrifices would be associated with what action, but what I impart to others has value because it allows you to access your own personal wisdom. Wisdom that is always available to you if you strip away all of the busy thought-ideas currently trapping you, so let’s do that.

Firstly, it is good your daughter has such a compassionate and respectful parent. Considering your husband’s behaviour toward you it is very big of you to not undermine your daughter’s love for him. People can be flawed—even heavily flawed—and still they are worthy of love. We might choose not to be around people like that, but that doesn’t mean we have to hate them. One of the most important things a child can have is parents who respect each other. And if they can’t have that, then one that respects the other is better than none. I have every confidence that your daughter will pick up on which one of you to emulate.

So let us accept that there would obviously be a set of consequences that would go with your daughter being estranged from her father or even just from your breakup. And I can appreciate why you would want to protect your daughter from that. At the same time, let’s remember that non-action is in fact a form of action. So to not leave is to stay.

So let me put it this way: let’s play magic and say that your husband has passed away and now you’re a single Mom. You meet your current husband, but let us say that because you are friends with his friends, you quickly get a clear understanding of how he truly acts. Knowing how disrespectful, demanding and selfish he is, would you want your daughter exposed to that? Would you want her to live with someone who speaks disrespectfully to others? As a woman, would you want your daughter to see “romance” portrayed as an 289 Relax and Succeed - Wear your tragediesobsequious woman enduring the tirades of her mate? Is that the behaviour you want to model to her? Because if it is, that will become her “normal” and she won’t think there’s anything wrong with that when she’s older and dating. She’ll think that’s what a relationship looks like. That’s obviously not a good thing.

As long as you are not putting yourself in danger (and you should quietly contact your local women’s shelter for advice about a plan of action and info on area resources etc.) leaving should not feel overwhelming. Like a frog in boiling water, because this situation developed over time you’ve become accustomed to painful things. Leaving that behind will have an enormous impact.

If you feel you should leave then the odds are that leaving will feel much better than you’re anticipating. It will also model healthy behaviour for your daughter. She should know that you and she deserve better. That there is better. That people will happily and voluntarily treat you both much better, and that rather than staying and resenting and hating, people are better to leave, forgive and then build something better. That’s the only kind of experience that will teach the guy too. Unless there’s a price to his heart there is no motivation to change the behaviour. That’s why they say the second wife gets what the first one paid for. The second one gets treated better because the man is now fully aware that he can be left at any time.

289 Relax and Succeed - The rest of your lifeIf you stay your daughter might learn to resent you or hate men. If you leave your husband still has the chance to earn his way back into your lives, but at least your daughter isn’t being subjected—or isn’t seeing you subjected—to actual abuse.

Maybe this judgment and the idea is being carried by recent anger. Maybe you’re at the stage of quiet acceptance—only you know. But if it really is an abusive situation then leaving is never a bad idea simply because there are many ways to be happy in life. We don’t have to get married to one source of happiness and then hope it stays that way. We can change routes right up until the day we die.

I wish you well with the decision. But you must make any decisions from a place of loving yourself just as you love your daughter. For you are just like her—a child of the universe. You have many routes to happiness. If one path has changed, then you have every ability to shift to another that’s better overall. Your daughter is lucky to have you—your husband too. Make sure you see all of that value too. Because when you do, you’ll automatically choose the direction that’s the healthiest of your choices.

Big hugs and all the best,

peace. s

Living in the Moment

That photo’s of my friend Gizmo. I’m the lucky guy who gets to babysit him when his dad’s away. He seemed like a good background for the Zen joke about the husband and wife. Let’s look at that for what it can teach us.
13 Relax and Succeed - Living in the Moment

The dog gets locked in the trunk for an hour and and he’s happy to get out. The wife gets locked in the trunk for an hour and she’s angry she was ever locked in. The reason the dog can achieve the clarity of unconditional love is because he lives in the Moment. And in the moment in question he’s thrilled and grateful to be out of the trunk! But the wife will do the same thing the husband would—she’ll time travel with her consciousness back to when he locked her in there, and she’ll say, “What the hell did you put me in there for stupid!?” Meanwhile the dog will be licking his face. And that is how the world actually works., We can say “but,” but that won’t change whose relationship was strengthened and whose was weakened.

The reason the wife is suffering is because the wife believes in what the Buddhists call The Illusion. She thinks that she deserves things because she’s a good person, even though she’ll know there are children’s hospitals filled with the innocent. She believes she has certain rights, even though she sees and reads about people’s rights being violated in horrible ways every day. And she’ll believe other people will treat her the way she would treat them even though her own life will have lots of examples where that wasn’t true.

13 Relax and Succeed - The act of forgivenessThose promises are all just words. Either her husband loves her and generally treats her well or he doesn’t. The fact is, the dog accepts. The dog accepts that crappy things happen, and sometimes they are caused by people we love. But as long as no one’s being physically or psychologically hurt, there’s no problem. That’s what forgiveness is—it’s not thinking about mistakes others have made.

So the dog looks back into the husband’s eyes with open anticipation, ready for something good to happen. Meanwhile the wife will be ruining her own evening by reliving something she could easily put behind her. Obviously this is exaggerated for the sake of the joke and we don’t want spouses locking each other in trunks, but the point is the lesson. You have to leave the past behind so that you can live your future, because the present moment is the only place where you have the chance to engage with and enjoy what’s happening around you. Even if that is just gratitude for being let out of a trunk.

Enjoy your day. You just have to do it Moment by Moment.

peace. s