I Did The Most Selfless Thing: I Left My Family

Soon, you could no longer navigate through our home without stepping on one and when we did, we’d shake our heads in judgment and mutter the other’s name, recalling the story we had created to explain its existence and his or her responsibility for it.

This became our daily life.

We were both emotionally starved, exhausted and our souls were dying.

Naturally, this is when many begin trying to make sense of “what went wrong.” This is where hundreds of questions surface demanding answers so as to make sense of the “failed” family unit.

But that doesn’t matter, at least not right now.

It’s not about what went wrong. It’s about how to make it right. it’s about acknowledging the detrimental effect the relationship is having on us all and doing something about it.

We need neither understand nor explain how the cracks formed. The only important response comes in acknowledging they have formed and how to begin to heal our own foundations and become whole again, as individuals.

What if we are never able to figure out exactly when or how the cracks began? What if there is no blame attributed to any person or act at all… ever?

What if we simply tell the story as one in which we saved our family unit by breaking it apart?

In an unexplainable moment of clarity, I came to understand the foundation upon which my boys are building their own identities is not our family as a unit at the expense of our individual happiness.

I realized I had to leave in order to save us all.

Instead of staying for my boys, it was clear I had to leave for my boys.

Their health and wellbeing is not being determined by our ability to remain in a relationship that is no longer good for any of us. The foundation upon which my boys should be building their own is on top of each of our foundations as joyful, growing and loving individual humans.

The best way we have of supporting our boys and creating an environment in which they can thrive is by modeling mutual respect for one another and ourselves.

Ourselves being the key.

For it is impossible to give love and compassion to another human being until you have love and compassion for yourself.

My boys are in great hands tonight.

They are being put to bed by a man who recently regained his freedom from a relationship that was killing all that is good about him. Tonight, he is able to be patient and loving because he is beginning to once again love himself.

And when I pick them up on Monday afternoon to begin their time with me, I will also be fully present and kind and loving. I will be able to help build their foundations upon mine by modeling the love and compassion I have found for myself.

And after they go to bed tonight, the love of my life will sit in silence and continue to heal his wounds. How exactly he got them will not be the focus, as they needn’t be. The salve he chooses and the care he is taking is what is.

So, selflessly, I sit here alone. I made a to choice to love us all enough to let go of an idea. I decided to love my husband enough to set him free. I decided to love myself enough to leave.

 Mindy Bartlett wrote this originally on Huffington Post.