Does “happily ever after” really exist? The fairytales all left us there immediately after the prince wedded the princess, and we all grew up thinking that marriage=happily ever after. But how do we do that when almost 50% of marriages end in divorce and it’s a privilege to grow up with both parents in the house?
I think this promise from Disney and others is one of the reasons why the divorce rate picked up in the 70s. They put the focus on getting the guy/girl and conditioned us to believe that you wouldn’t be happy until you snagged them.
Happiness Comes From Within
If the fairytales really wanted to be a delightful teaching tool for children, they would have shown princesses and princes who were quite happy all on their own. But that wasn’t the way it was back then. We went from being barely raised but not connected to our parents to hoping that our spouse would pick up where our parents left off. Since we didn’t have a healthy attachment with our mom or dad and were certainly not connected to them, we decided that relationships with a husband or wife should mirror that of the parent-child relationship and give us the love and connection we never got.
We went into marriage as needy children in adult bodies, not as mature, healthy adults.
When we get into a relationship hoping the other person will fill us up and make us feel better, we are essentially saying, “Be my mommy!” or “Be my daddy!”
Self-regulated and emotionally mature individuals, also known as individuated or differentiated people, go into a relationship saying, “Hey, I’m happy, you’re happy, want to go be happy together?”
Happiness is internally supplied and internally maintained. It is not something that other people can give us. It’s a state we get to within when our thoughts, beliefs, and actions are aligned with our most authentic selves.
Others Can’t Fill You Up or Save You
When we go through life thinking that it’s someone else’s job to fill us up and make us happy, we end up living in victim mode. This is where we continuously cycle through roles like villain, victim, and hero. Sound familiar? It should, because that’s how all of those fairytales were written. These relationship dynamics make for interesting drama, which is why Karpman used “The Drama Triangle” to illustrate this idea.
When we have an actual villain, victim, and hero, we end up with a good story. Real parents can easily be villains and real children can easily be victims, but if the prince wants to be the hero and save them, he needs to get the child away from their parents and make sure everyone gets therapy.
The prince in the fairytale worked because the princess still felt like a victim from her villain parents (or whatever form of evil witch they used to represent the mother… it’s always the mothers) and needed a hero to “save” her.
But unless you’re a child bride (and I hope you’re not), you can’t be saved now from your parents… you can only heal from what they put you through.
You Must Save Yourself
To leave victim mode behind for good, you have to heal from the times you were actually a victim as a child, and then stop trying to either save others or hurt others to feel better. You have to hop off the drama triangle and just live a very boring life of being a healthy, differentiated, self-regulated person. That means that there’s no saving, no being saved, and no more hurting others.
And if you think, “That’s not me, I never do that!” then notice how the hero shows up: they fix, manage, and control everything!
That was me, and I bet it’s you, too…
So how do you save yourself? You go through a conscious coaching program like my Happily Ever After or go to therapy and explore your triggers, heal from your past, and then mature into an individuated adult.
This means that you will no longer be at the mercy of others to feel happiness, because you will realize that those emotions have been your own internal guidance system all along.
When you felt angry, it was asking you to hold a boundary. Sadness was asking you to let go. Fear was demanding that you take action.
They were all royal guards there with you all along, not enemies to be avoided. It wasn’t the other person that was creating that emotion in you, it was your higher self or soul, ready to give you precise guidance on what you need to do to get back into alignment with your authentic self.
Your Husband Is Not The Problem
It’s really not him that’s making you unhappy, it’s you not knowing how to follow your own guidance. The greatest thing is that your husband will help you repeat patterns from your childhood or even your parents’ and because of that, he’ll help you feel the emotions from your past that you do need to heal.
What this means is that if you had a dad who was never around, then you have now picked a husband who’s maybe physically there but not REALLY there and so the little girl inside of you needs to heal from being without her dad before this pattern with your husband will change.
If your mom always criticized you for not being perfect, then your messy husband will trigger you so you can heal the little girl inside who never felt good enough.
If you’re exhausted from taking care of everyone, then the little girl inside who was parentified at an early age is going to learn how to heal and take care of yourself since no one else ever did, and give other people back the responsibility for doing that themselves too.
It’s Kind of Like Magic…
Maybe this sounds weird or impossible to you, but I walk my clients through this work every day. The way patterns repeat is truly amazing and our ability to heal from our past is profound. Just releasing your husband, energetically, from the lesson he’s here to help you learn, can dramatically shift a relationship overnight.
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