My husband denies my hard work

Apr 29, 2024

QUESTION

Dear Venerable,

How are you? It’s been a while since we were in touch. 

I have a particular question. My husband is a lovely fellow but there is something that is troubling me. 

As you know we’ve got three kids and we started a company together. He maintains the view that I did not really work very hard over the years. He’s not well these days and according to him I’ve only worked hard the last couple of years, which is utter rubbish in my opinion. I worked the best I could: helping running a company and rearing three kids at the same time. His own family also thinks that he is unwell because of all his hard work and not being supported by me. This really upsets me.

I certainly cannot change him. And I know that according to the lojong teachings I should not really be affected by this but I am and somehow I am not able to find peace with this since I don’t think this is true at all. How should I work on my mind to resolve this?

To just ignore this and step over it and feel compassion for him – I can’t! I feel a lot of anger – and I don’t want to be angry.

Regards,

A

ANSWER

Dearest A,

Well, I do not agree with your husband’s assessment, that’s for sure! I know what you’ve done!

Very simply, you have two options. It’s hard to hear it this way, but it’s so practical. 

1. Try to give up your need for him to acknowledge all your hard work. Because this is the most primordial attachment: the need to be seen and heard and approved of. Not getting it is the deepest pain. This is really the source of it. We all have it! It’s so deep.

How that looks is you learning to approve of yourself, accept yourself: to know what you’ve contributed and to be content with it.

Hugely difficult, but this is the practice. 

Focus on that, not so much on having compassion for him. That’ll come later. Compassion’s not enough, His Holiness says; we need wisdom. And the work of getting wisdom is the work we do on our own mind, letting go of attachment and expectations and anger and the hurt and the low self-esteem and the rest. Becoming content, fulfilled.

2. If you really feel it’s impossible to change your mind, then you need to leave him – which also seems impossible too! Because you can’t live with resentment and hurt. This is what the world does — no wonder people go crazy or kill each other!

Of course, you could always try to reason with him. But we know that sometimes we just can’t change things. That’s when the practice is hugely needed.

Love and courage!

Robina

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