My story

I wrote this story not to feel sorry for myself, or as some sort of revenge – that would be the opposite of the work I do – but to share that it’s possible to climb out of the depths of despair.

Don’t let the darkness win.

The Known

Even then I knew I wasn’t a very good husband. My faults were numerous.

Still, I don’t think I deserved what happened. But what we think we deserve, and what we get are two wildly different things.

I was overweight. I didn’t make much money. I didn’t have the respect of my peers.

It wasn’t a very good relationship from the start. I married out of desperation and she married for money. That dynamic never leads anywhere good.

For me, life lacked color. From the moment I woke up, to closing my eyes at night, I was at the mercy of someone else’s beat. I had no agency of my own.

I blamed the world. I was angry at myself. I had no peace.

I sought pleasure in escape; TV, food, sex, drinking, and video games.

One one cold winter night, out for a walk to try to clear my head, I looked at the sky and saw a plane flying overhead. I wished I could be aboard, flying far away from my current life.

“Wherever you go, there you are” is undefeated. Even if I were on that flight going somewhere amazing, it wouldn’t matter. I still would have been miserable.

However, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that there’s balance in the world, the one good thing to come from my relationship was my two sons. They are my joy. 

 

Call To Adventure

Given how bad our relationship was, its end was only a matter of time.

One day my ex made a decision that would change the course of my life — I won’t go into details as I’m not looking to ruin any relationships. Her decision meant the end of our relationship. I remember an overwhelming sense of relief. I could walk away guilt free. I thought I was free.

How wrong I was.

After I moved out and started to rebuild my life. She became angry that I left.

When I started seeing someone new, she became jealous.

The more I pulled away, the more she tried to exert control. 

My ex knew how important my relationship with my kids was, so she tightened control where she could.

She called most of my friends to tell them untrue stories about how I was abusive. One day she gloated on the phone to me about how successful she was. I lost multiple 10-year friendships because of her.

The lowest point came after yet another argument about money. My ex decided that I wasn’t allowed to see my kids until I signed an agreement saying I relinquished access to my kids and that she would receive a healthy portion of my income.

I got little relief in the courts financially, and was spit out of the process dazed and confused.

Unfortunately, she still had a lot of control and she tried to exert control over my time with the kids.

A second round of the courts resulted in relief as I now had a parenting coordinator who could help mediate difficult situations. I could go low contact.

I keep waiting for the world to wake up and realize the insanity. That I was wronged. I wanted someone to sympathize with me.

But the world doesn’t work like that. Nobody was coming to save me.

This uncomfortable truth was freeing. If nobody cared about me, I could invent myself the way I wanted.

I made two vows to myself. The first was that I wasn’t going to let this divorce beat me. And second, I was going to do whatever it took to win.

At first, I used anger as fuel. How DARE the world do this to me?

I channeled anger into my work. I bought a new house, a new car (my first ever new car), I made more money than ever before.

It was satisfying as hell to make more money than I’d ever made before. By the time 5 years after my divorce passed, I was worth way more than before my divorce.

Anger is a hell of a motivator, but success comes with a cost when you run on emotions.

My relationships started to suffer because anger permeated every aspect of my being and trickled down into all areas of life.

During the day I could live with it because I would fill my day with activity.  Night time was a different story. I couldn’t sleep. I felt anxious. I started to slip back into seeking comfort in pleasure.

I would bite on any hook my ex would throw out. I would throw my phone across the room when she texted.

When you use anger as fuel, you give your energy away. No matter how many successes I stacked up, I was giving energy to my ex. I was stuck in the past.

The anxiety could be overwhelming.

Holding that animosity towards my ex, and pushing for her punishment was like the old saying went: “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”

I started to learn that the divorce was accelerating my growth rather than inhibiting it. 

Transformation

I knew my kids would be better off with me in their life, so I decided to do whatever it took to maintain that relationship.

As the divorce wore on, what kept me going, what kept me alive was my kids. When I was at my lowest, I used to sit in my kids’ rooms and watch them sleep. As I watched them breathe, I vowed to them to become a better man.

The divorce forced me to live up to my promise, however my fuel wasn’t helping any longer.

I saw the results of my anger on my kids. I saw the conflict in my relationship. I saw how I could be manipulated into anger by a few simple words. What a waste of time and energy.

I was smart enough to know that if I continued with a life fueled by anger that I was going to lose everything I fought for. My relationship would die, and I would repeat the cycle of divorce again. Once was enough for this lifetime, thank you.

I could have spent the rest of my life in a tit-for-tat battle with my ex, but that didn’t serve the kids, my relationship, or me.

An anger fuelled life would only serve me for so long before it caught up.

The way to let anger go was to become aware of it, and to become grateful for what it was showing you.

I learned to take full responsibility for anything and everything happening in my life.

I hadn’t been in control of my emotions. I was wide open to manipulation.

I learned emotions are a feedback mechanism to tell us where we don’t feel safe. We feel an emotion because of a story we told ourselves that we’re unsafe.

The way out of anger is three steps. First, take action. Second, to listen for feedback. Third, find the gift inside.

By taking action and listening, I was able to become grateful for everything that happened:

  • Her affair got me out of a bad relationship.
  • The friends who cut me off created room for new friends who were in line with my goals. I learned to pay attention and respect myself to realize when people weren’t returning respect.
  • The ‘unfair’ court rulings galvanized me to do the work I needed for a great life.
  • I could even be grateful for the divorce itself because it showed what I had to do in order to never experience something like it again.

I want you to know that you are worthy. No matter what you’ve done, or what has been done to you, you are worthy of love and a great life.

As I learned to listen for the deeper story. I learned to look for the wisdom in the reaction. I don’t bite the books nearly as often (I’m still human) and when I do, I can unhook myself.

I learned to slow down and ask deeper questions; is this true what I’m feeling? What’s going on beneath the surface? What can I be grateful for?

Today, I look back at the person I was before my divorce and I say “thank god”. I would not be the man I am today.

I realize my old self was fighting for survival, but he had to die to become the man he is today.

I’m now happy, strong, healthy, wealthy and wise.

I feel peace.

My vision is clear. I have a great relationship with an amazing woman. I’m working with inspiring people co-creating an amazing life. I live in a beautiful city on the ocean. My old self would have killed for this life.

Wherever I go, there I am.