How To Reclaim Your Peace + Heal From An Unhealthy Relationship

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I recently received this message from a reader trying to decide whether or not it’s right for her to leave her husband. Every person’s situation is unique. You will find the best answers to your own issues inside yourself. But, in hopes of shedding some light on this seldom-addressed topic, here is the letter, and my response to the writer.

Dear James,

I recently left my husband of 11 years: it has been a battle from the very beginning. It was an abusive relationship including alcohol and drugs. Am I making the right choice by leaving and divorcing him? I'm struggling with my decision to do this.

I also recently applied to go back to school. I want to do this and I have everything paid for, but I need a job. I'm struggling to make the decision to go to work or school and I need to get a place so I can move back to a different town where my kids will attend school. I'm afraid I'm making all the wrong choices, but since I have left, so many doors have opened up to me. I'm excited but also afraid that I need to stay with my husband: that he will truly change and be a good husband.

You are indeed on the right path: That’s why it feels so right and yet so uncomfortable. Eleven plus years have been spent in torment, anguish, denial and pain. You’ve spent a decade hiding the truth just so you could feel normal.

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Addicts routinely make promises they never keep: it’s in their DNA. Their need for the next fix, score or drink is so strong, it eviscerates all rational thinking, judgment, responsibility, or accountability.

Substance abusers and addicts are in need of treatment. By second-guessing your decision to remove yourself from this toxic environment by separating and ultimately divorcing, you leave the door wide open for yourself to continue as an enabler.

The only thing you want to enable is your forward momentum and recovery.

You and your children would be wise to seek counseling in order to truly work through this trauma. To unburden oneself is to wash away the residue of that which was left behind by lasting impressions.

You never have to stop loving your husband and father of your children. You just have to love your self more and him enough so as to allow him to fall, so he may yet rise—if he so chooses.

Empower yourself by educating yourself.

Demonstrate to your children the depth and determination of your will, the levity and gaiety of your spirit, and the strength of your convictions.

Open yourself to the many doors and windows that will continue to open for you, as you seek to move and align yourself with your highest purpose and ideals.

Be forgiving of yourself and others, as forgiveness speeds the momentum of your recovery.

Be patient, yet confident, in all your dealings and decisions. Life is not a sprint, but a marathon.

Enjoy the journey, as you will come to discern the destination is fluid, not fixed.

Above all else, believe with all your being that you are doing the true and right thing.

Be steadfast, not steely.

Ultimately, peace comes to those who willfully believe they are worthy of it.

Be worthy of peace.

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