Someone whose life is better because they knew you? Why?
I’ve only had one person in all of my 50 years tell me that their life is better because they knew me. And as ironic as it may be, that one person is my estranged husband. Yes, the narcissist who left my life in a shambles after 13 years of marriage and for whom I’ve had to work hard, mentally and emotionally, to re-build any sense of a relationship with him.
He’s told me this many times over the years and most of the time, I didn’t believe he was sincere. How could I have made his life better when he made mine so miserable? After long Ho’oponopono meditations, I was able to forgive myself and him for our failed marriage and something wonderful happened. The estranged one actually admitted fault too. I was flabbergasted because Narcissists don’t usually admit fault. Had I mislabeled him? I don’t really think so, at least not entirely. He has a lot of Narc traits, but maybe he still has a soul too.
Anyway, to get back on point. I believe him now when he says I bettered his life. When we met, he wasn’t very spiritual. He’d grown up in an ultra-religious christian family and rebelled in his mid-twenties. He’d become so critical of anything spiritual, even outside of Christianity. He was bitter, cynical, and angry. Over the course of the 15 years I have known him, his attitude has changed. I knew he would never accept any religion or spiritual path that was dogmatic. So I introduced him to Taoism. He took it right away and now considers himself a Taoist. He is, though, still working through his anger issues.
Another way he says I helped to better him was through nutrition. He used to consume tons of Mountain Dew and complained about his kidneys all the time, not making the connection between the two on his own. I weened him off of sodas and got him to drink green tea, cranberry juice, and flavored waters. He still drinks these even though we have separated. As for food, he consumed way too much junk food and complained about his increasing waist line. He now eats more vegetables and has gone almost completely vegetarian from my advice.
And the final way he says I have helped to better himself? By allowing him to be his authentic self. With the exception of trying to get him to stop drinking so much, I never tried to change his ways. He is highly artistic and enjoys creating music. I encouraged him to do those things after other partners had discouraged him. After our separation, the estranged one came to a realization about himself – he is actually a woman. He was afraid to tell me because he knew how he had always treated me about sex and said derogatory things to me about being a woman. He says that it was due to self-hate, knowing he was female but being stuck in a male body and so he lashed out at me. When he told me, I wasn’t at all surprised. I’d seen hints of it in him. I accepted this of him and have encouraged him to pursue a course toward becoming who he is meant to be. We still use the male gender identifier (his decision) because he still has to live as a male until he can afford the hormone treatments and surgery. I do now call him Madison instead of Matt though.
I know I’ve only had a handful of friends over my lifetime, but I still find it strange that none of them, besides the estranged one, has ever told me that I had bettered their lives. I’ve always tried to be open and compassionate with people, not tried to change them, and allowed them to come and go in my life unhindered. I wonder if I’ve made any impact on them and they just don’t know how to tell me (or feel they don’t need to do so). I think from time to time, people need to hear the words – My life is better because you are/were in it.