August 21, 2015

My Ego Had to Die so I Could Live.

Flickr/Simon Turkas

Women are always coming to me, leaning in closely as if what they are about to tell me is against the law, whispering in my ear with a taboo confession, “I wish I was getting divorced too.”

They have so much shame in their desire. They have so much sadness in their envy of me.

They see all the possibilities I am gaining by going through this process. They see my happiness rising. They see me smiling, genuinely. They see me loving my life.

They feel their stuckness. They feel their inability to make change. They feel tremendous guilt.

I was there. I felt all of those things too.

I felt envious of other women who were free—the ones who seemingly made drastic changes easily and chose to love themselves. I thought they were stronger than I. I thought they were braver than I. I thought they were more successful and more beautiful.

For eight years, my fear held me back.

My fear of being alone. My fear that no one would want me, especially because I have children. My fear that I could not support myself. My fear of following in my mother’s footsteps and becoming a cliche.

My guilt that I was going to destroy my children and hurt my husband beyond repair. My shame of being a failure.

I was so attached to my identity, my ego. I saw myself and defined myself as “wife” and “mother” even before I married.

We went to couples’ therapy. We went to individual therapy. We read books. We talked.

The day of our wedding, I had a thought: “This is not right. I am sure we will divorce.” And yet, I still went through with the wedding. There was self inflicted guilt, shame and fear that kept me from speaking up and changing the trajectory of my life. We were married for eight years and gave birth to two souls who are loving, angelic and, at times, challenging daughters.

I remember crying in the closet daily beginning on the second day after our wedding. I cried because I knew that I lost something. I lost myself. I lost hope. I felt as though I lost my family, too.

I felt alone. I mourned everyday. I mourned any hope I had for my life. This became my daily hideout where I would cry and hate myself for making this mistake. I believed that I deserved this life sentence because of my decision to not speak up.

At some point I became resigned to this being my life for the remainder of my existence and I stopped crying. I numbed. I functioned. I moved through the day as if everything was fine. I hosted playdates and dinner parties. I fulfilled my wifely duties. I furnished our new home. I prepared dinner every night.

I had sex because I was the wife, and that is what a wife is supposed to do, even more so when their husband is providing the financial support. Sex was part of my job description.

“Wife” and “mother,” those were my identities.

I tried to focus on the positive. I tried to negate the negative.

I put myself in a cage when I decided to move forward with the wedding despite my intuition that it was not right for me. It was a self-hating decision that I made. I possessed no self-love acumen.

For the entire term of our marriage, I tried to find someone who would unlock the cage I put myself into. I yearned with all of my being that my mother, sister, grandmother, therapist—someone—would tell me definitively, “You are going to get divorced.”

No one could nor would do this for me. Only I held the key to the cage I created. Only I could let myself out.

Where I formerly created thoughts of hope and endless possibilities, following our wedding my thoughts were relegated to, “How can I make it through one more day? Just get through today.”

The summer my grandmother passed away, I made the decision. I knew that even if all my fears came true, it would still be better to have tried.

I kept looking back over the years saying to myself, “I should have done it then,” and I knew that if I did not choose my happiness now, then I would continue to look back with even more regret for the rest of my life.

When I felt selfish or doubted whether I was worthy of making such drastic changes simply for my own happiness, I looked to my daughters. I would never question their worthiness of being happy. I had to be an example to my girls so that they would learn to love themselves enough to put themselves first.

In hindsight, I now understand that I never learned to love myself. I grew up in a house with women who were self-deprecating and could not take a compliment even though they were loving and giving to others—oftentimes to their own detriment.

I decided that I could not live the rest of my life like this. No matter if I was alone for the rest of my life or not, it was still a better option for me than staying. I was scared. I had worked only intermittently throughout our marriage. I had never lived alone. I was fearful of rocking my girls’ world and creating pain and sadness for them.

At the same time, I had to be selfish.

I asked myself, “If your daughter was in this position what would you want her to do?” We can tell our children to be self-caring when it is often so difficult for us to do for ourselves. I answered my own question with, “Life is here to enjoy. We are not here to suffer. You need to take care of yourself so that your daughters learn to do the same for themselves.”

Fear, doubt and insecurity kept me from making decisions that would have been in alignment with my highest happiness. I no longer make decisions that are fear-based. Now I ask, “What am I so afraid will happen?” And, “So what if that does happen, then what?” Most of the time when I go down the line I find myself at the place of fear of being alone or fear of abandonment.

However, I can see that I will never be alone. In truth, as long as I love myself, the Universe will show up loving me too. And it has! I have an incredible boyfriend, whom I love more than I knew was possible, and my life gets better and better everyday.

I died in my marriage. Now, I see life with new eyes.

Maybe I was on my way to death before my marriage. My own self-hate led me to a life that created more self-hate. My choosing the circumstances that came with my marriage was just the nail in the coffin.

My second chance at life came through divorce. I was born again. My ego needed to die so that I could learn how to live and love myself.



3 Things to Consider Before Beginning or Ending a Marriage.


Author: Morgan Mellas

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: Flickr/Simon Turkas


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