A friend of mine is in the final stages of his divorce and as we were talking about it, he brought up everything she said to him. According to her, he was a lousy husband and father, their marriage sucked and he never made her happy because he was selfish and uncaring. She used to say his beliefs in karma were stupid and that because he had said he was happy, that actually meant he wasn’t. He went on to tell me that he didn’t cheat and he was home every night. He spent all his free time with the family and did whatever she wanted on top of being a great provider. He didn't lie, steal or gamble so he turned to me and asked what was so wrong with him.


For a moment, I was brought back to a horrible place: my marriage. Every day I had to listen to my ex-telling me these same things; those horrible, cruel, mean comments were meant to hurt me. I remembered the time where I actually believed all the things he said about me and I constantly felt worthless. Putting someone down by saying such painful things and going out of your way to actually want to hurt someone is a sickness; it’s not normal. It wasn't until that one day when I started to love myself again and I looked around and saw how many people loved me and believed I was a good person that I understood there was nothing wrong with me. It wasn’t until then that I realized that there was something wrong with him. This was, in fact, his issue, not mine.


Sometime after that life-changing day, I came across this article from Harvard University about a disorder called Narcissistic behavior. The article states and I quote:


"If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don't receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having "the best" of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.


At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection"


I was shocked to see how this described my ex to a tee…So there wasn't anything wrong with me? After all these years of him calling me so many things and me thinking and believing it was true, here it was in black and white from the top two schools in the world: Harvard University and Yale University. They had both put out these studies and it explained why he treated me the way he did. It wasn't me... No, this was definitely his problem. 


I explained all of this to my friend: Sometimes you can give it your all and you can try with all your might to make the other person happy but if they are not happy with themselves or they have unresolved issues that they are not willing to admit, they will never be happy. They won't be happy with you or the next one or the next one after because it's about them. It's not your job to make someone happy, to be their everything or to "complete them". They must do it themselves. They must put in the work to try to change and only then can you have a healthy relationship with them. I also told him that all he can do now is own up to his part of the failed marriage and forgive her for hers, then let it go and be happy. Those are her issues and either she deals with them or she'll bring them to the next relationship. Either way: not your circus, not your monkey anymore.


So today my friends, remember you cannot heal everyone. You cannot make everyone happy. You only need to be happy within yourself. Don't let their words affect you because it's not about you... You just have to say "Your words no longer have any effect on me" and then walk away and have a good life.


"Be the change you want to see"
"And just when the caterpillar thought his life was over...he turned into a beautiful butterfly"


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Published by Francesca Villardi (Treadmill Treats)