Your happiness

23 Jun 2011

You may find what Im about to say upsetting, but I believe it’s something you really need to hear, if you want to put your life back together.

It’s something that hit me, as much as the delegates  at the 7 Wounds Workshop last week.

And it’s all about happiness.

See, I’m guessing nobody ever taught you how to be happy.

They assumed it “should” come naturally.

They probably taught you a whole lot more about how not to be bad, and unlovable etc. And, not surprisingly, what you took from that was the message that you were bad and unlovable.

Happiness is, I believe, our “default condition”; it’s been hard-wired into us – and it’s how we would feel, if Life didn’t get in the way.  It’s how we do feel when Life doesn’t get in the way.

But, too often, Life does get in the way.  (On the workshop, we looked at how best to revert to that default condition, as well as how to get back on track, in a heartbeat, when Life does get in the way.)

Still, there’s way more to it than that.  And this is the really important thing:

You may be “hard-wired” for happiness.

but you’ve been programmed for unhappiness…

Long before you ever met your abusive partner.

Did you grow up hearing phrases like: “It will all end in tears”, or “…there’ll be tears before bed-time”, or “…don’t get your hopes up”, or “…it can’t last”?

Have you ever had that vague sense of foreboding when you felt happy – because you knew it couldn’t last?

And it didn’t.

Someone came along and burst your bubble.  Just like they always did.

Or else, something bad happened, and you told yourself that you could never be happy for long.

Because that’s what They’d taught you.

If you think that your happiness is like a bubble then you can expect it to burst.

But what would happen if you turned your beliefs about happiness upside down?

Why do you think an abusive man makes a point of bursting your bubble?  Why do you think he does NOT want you to be happy?

(And, when you stop to think about it, you KNOW he wants you to be unhappy.)

Why do you think that is​?

What’s different when you’re happy?

It’s simple, really: when you’re happy you feel good.  And when you feel good, he doesn’t have the same stranglehold over you.

Your happiness means you’re less frightened of what he’ll say and do next.  And when you’re not suitably frightened of what he might say or do next, his power over you fades away.

So, he’s really keen for you to think that your happiness is just a blip.

Besides, he doesn’t understand the first thing about happiness, does he?  Nobody in their right mind would accuse him of being a happy, sunny person.

Have you ever asked yourself what’s so attractive about someone who always looks on the dark side of life – at least, when you’re in earshot?

So, a key part of your recovery depends on reclaiming your happiness NOW.

Trust me, I know that may sound like a tall order.  I was in training for my Most Miiserable Woman On The Planet Badge, during the dark years of my abusive marriage.

Two thoughts kept me there:

  • I wasn’t allowed to be happy.  Nobody (read parents, and abusive husband) had ever given me permission.
  • When my situation changed, then I could be happy.  But without the strength and vision that happiness brings, I was never going to find the energy to change my situation.  (And, in case you’re wondering, I hung around until I realized I’d reached the Last Chance Saloon; I really was dying a slow death from misery, so it really was either ‘do’ or ‘die’.)

So, I left and I spent a while waiting for happiness to find me – and it didn’t. Fear, and self-blame were great watchdogs, they were always there to bare their gnashers and chase happiness away.

Since that didn’t work, I tried something different: I started ‘doing’ happiness, using happiness to dispel the fear and self-blame.

I had to start ‘doing’ happiness in a conscious, oil-painting-by-numbers sort of way, because I still didn’t know how to return to my default setting of happiness.

But it still worked.

If you’re tired of the ugly watchdogs of fear and self-blame chasing the good stuff from your life, you might want to discover how to pension off those nasty watchdogs that have no place in your life.

It’s very doable.

My 7 Wounds workshop was all about helping women to go back to the roots of those damaging feelings and get rid of them.

One woman who couldn’t make the live workshop has since written:

“I listened to the first part of the London workshop recording.  Most of my life I didn’t realize I was abused but you described me to a tee.  The isolation, hanging up the phone no matter who I was talking to, I was always an idiot and never did anything right.  Wow!

I realize I have been stuck like a deer in headlights for too many years.  Thank you.”

If you don’t want to be stuck like a deer in headlights anymore, the workshop recording might be just what you need, too. CLICK HERE to find out whether this recording can help you.

One final note: I do know that not everyone loves dogs, and I’m sorry if the image of the watchdog upset anyone, but watch-cat, or watch-animal just didn’t sound right.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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