I’ve noticed something while spending time in the personal development field. If the participants haven’t found happiness already, this is what they are searching for more than anything else.
How do I know this? Because of my own quest for happiness. I have a bookshelf full of books with titles that reflect my own search.
Each time I went to the bookstore, I would advance confidently among the rows in the self-help section to find the missing piece tucked in the pages of one of the books before me. Checking out was another story. I would appear nonchalant, hoping the salesperson wasn’t judging me to be a total nut case.
I have literally hundreds of books all chosen to give me some piece of the puzzle to put peace and happiness together for me.
Happiness…is it more than a song?
The song, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams broke triple platinum- meaning it has sold three million copies since release. It raced across the globe as people did their own takes of the dance on YouTube. We all want to feel, “like a room without a roof.” This feeling is so what so many of my clients are searching for by getting a divorce.
They say things like this, “I deserve to be happy.” Or, “I’m just not happy anymore.” They seem to think by losing their spouse the walls crowding them will open up and they will be better off.
I’m not so sure.
9/11, a Billboard and People Who Deserve to Be Happy
I know, I make my living from divorce.
Years ago, when I had a therapist of my own, I was asking her if I should give up on my relationship. She would never give me a direct answer. It was infuriating. I told her as much. “Can’t you just tell me what to do,” I’d say. “When I am a lawyer and someone asks me what to do, I am going to tell them to leave the bastard.”
And, I did. If someone asks me what to do about their spouse, nine times out of ten I will tell them to go for the divorce. I remember after 9/11 thinking I should advertise with a massive billboard, saying “Life’s short, get a divorce!” I knew I would be thrown out of town so I gave up that marketing strategy. Yet this is what I was buying into as well. I believed you could find happiness by leaving your spouse.
Heck, in both of my divorces I had ended up happier. I was sure it would work as well for the hundreds of clients coming my way. Had I been doing them a disservice? Most of the times the clients in my office have already made the decision, hence the appointment with the divorce attorney. Many times it is clearly the right thing to do.
If your spouse is abusive, addicted or alcoholic, mentally cruel, cheating on you, lying to you – making your life unbearable hell then yes, getting away from the toxic situation will definitely get you closer to the room without a roof.
Ready for Some Images You Wish You Could Forget?
Strangely, these are the clients who have the hardest time leaving their spouse. I’ve seen people abused in so many ways, yet they can’t decide whether to leave or stay. One woman I met with had been living with her husband defecating on her.
Yes, you didn’t misread. He was using her as a human toilet. He also had numerous male lovers. She was so unsure about leaving. I was practically begging her to file for divorce. I said, “Can’t you see what this is doing to you? You don’t have to live like this”.
She would agree with me then waffle with fear. Fear of not being able to make it without his salary to support her. Fear that she was too old to get a job and make it on her own.
I tried to tell her that being strapped for money was not the worst thing in the world. Honestly, being pooped on by your husband may be one of the worst things! She couldn’t go through with the divorce. Instead she said she would keep praying for him to change.
I Should’ve Seen the Signs….But It Was Too Late
And now, for my own divorce … my first one. I was 21 years old when I met my husband. Not being familiar with addiction and alcoholism (and coupled with being at a university where drinking was a sport) I didn’t see his drinking as a problem. There was no denying his cocaine use was an issue, but his drinking … who was I to tell him how much was too much?
Before we married his parents had taken him out of college where he had been barely making it for eight years and checked him into rebab. He had been writing bad checks to cover his drug habit and it had finally caught up with him. My mother said, “Pray for him to change.” I had a bad feeling about this plan but by the time he was checked in, I had already planned my wedding and didn’t have the guts to back out.
He had a special dispensation from the facility for our wedding and honeymoon and he wasn’t going to misuse it. Our first stop after the wedding was the package store. He was plastered throughout the first five days of our marriage. By then, it was clear he had a problem. I was praying, bargaining, pleading, crying, and giving ultimatums. He was still drinking.
This story isn’t over. The next post will be up soon and, trust me, it gets better!
In the meantime, if you’re wondering how you can find happiness in your own life, I encourage you get involved with PPC. We’re a group of people who’ve made the same mistakes you have, have searched for happiness, dealt with addictions and have come out on the other side ready to love and not to judge.
Love, Light, and Positive Change!