My husband is pretty even keeled.
He is not usually emotional, and is fairly upbeat,...
...except when he isn’t….
....and then I’m a mess.
I make it all about me.
If he is unusually grumpy, I take the blame and responsibility upon myself.
If I was just a better wife, he wouldn’t be grumpy.
If I just kept the house cleaner, he wouldn’t have so much to do when he got home.
If I would just teach the kids manners a little better, they wouldn’t fight so much and get on his nerves.
If I just finished homeschooling during the day, he wouldn’t need to help when he gets home.
I make his mood be all about me.
He must be grumpy because of all the ways I am failing.
My brain thinks his mood is my fault.
Often I have ended up spiraling into a tailspin of self-loathing, self-pity, despair, stress, and worry, all because my husband is less than cheerful, and I think it means something about myself.
This reminds me of codepencency.
I think of codependency as being a relationship where one person gets their sense of identity from the other person’s behavior. Codependency involves “an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity.” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependency)
“In a codependent relationship, the codependent person's sense of purpose is based on making extreme sacrifices to satisfy their partner's needs.” (also Wikipedia)
What is going on in my brain when my husband is less than happy, is not true codependency, but as I’ve watched my brain play this out multiple times, I see many similarities. I am so uncomfortable with his discomfort, that I make it mean something terrible about myself.
I desperately want his approval, love, and happiness, in order to feel good about myself.
As I’ve become more aware, I’ve watched this play out with curiosity. It is so interesting that my brain makes his mood mean something about myself.
If he is happy, I make it mean that I am amazing and doing great!
If he is grumpy, I make it mean that I am failing and unloveable.
His mood is not what causes me to do this. My thoughts are the culprit.
I want to get to a point that it doesn’t matter what my husband’s mood is, or what other people think about me, I am just confident and love myself no matter what.
I am closer to it today than ever before. I have been working towards it for 3 years now.
I used to be an emotional train wreck if anyone I loved was moody, but especially if my husband was. Now I notice where my brain wants to go, and coach myself to stay out of that potential disaster.
I do this by taking a look at my thoughts.
Anything I think that promotes self shame and self loathing is optional.
I do not have to believe my brain.
It is possible to be so madly in love with yourself and confident in your own self worth that other people’s opinions don’t phase you.
If someone said to you “I hate your blue hair”, and your hair is actually brown, you wouldn’t be offended, you would be confused for them.
You would not think something is wrong with your hair.
Your hair is not to blame.
They are just misunderstanding the situation.
Similarly if my husband is not as happy as usual, if I am confident in myself, what I accomplished, and my life, it will not mean anything sad for me, even if he potentially thought it was my fault.
I may be sad for him, because I love him and want him to be happy, but it will not send me into a negative spiral of punishing thoughts because I believe I am enough.
My hair is not blue.
And even if he thought his mood was my fault, he would be mistaken.
It all starts with self love.
If I love myself, my husband's mood will not mean anything terrible about myself.
Loving myself is not my husband’s job.
It is my job.
His love for me says something about him.
My love for me says something about me.
If I don’t love myself or if I think something is wrong with my life, that’s on me, not my husband.
His mood has nothing to do with how I feel.
My feelings do not have to be dependent on how my husband feels, or even what he thinks about me.
The way I feel is independent of the people and things outside of me.
My brain creates my feelings by thinking thoughts.
People don't make me feel anything. Situations don't make me feel anything. It's all my own thoughts about people and situations and what I make them mean about me that creates codependency.
Recognizing that I am independent of anything else in this world brings me peace. No one else has the power to make me feel anything. I get to choose what I want to feel.
So what do I need to do to feel love when people around me are unhappy?
Create thoughts that fuel love. Such as:
I love the people in my life.
They are right where they need to be.
I am enough.
I did exactly what I should have done today.
Everything that needed to be done is done.
I am right on track.
I create my amazing life.
I choose to be happy.
And a few like these:
It’s ok to be disappointed.
Nothing has gone wrong.
Everything will work out for my benefit.
I learn from all of it.
I choose to be here.
These thoughts keep the ownership of what I am creating in my life. They fuel feelings of love and acceptance of my life. They create positive emotions.
I have more power than I ever thought possible. I no longer need to be a victim. No one makes me miserable but me. And I’m done being miserable… at least when my husband is.
Once I master this, there will be another area I need to coach myself on though.
This work is never finished.
There is always another way that my brain chooses to be a victim and codependent in a situation that I can work on.
I just keep coaching myself and getting coached by good coaches!
What areas do you struggle to feel happy in?
Where does it seem impossible to feel joy?
I’d love to hear.
Have a great week!
P.S. Read my post about teaching kids to be uncomfortable on purpose here.