This breaks my heart and drives me crazy, a pattern I can’t seem to break

Hi Brooke,
Everything you’ve ever coached me on (way back to “you need to believe in yourself more than anyone else”) or written-coached me on here in recent weeks has been at the least incredibly helpful all the way to profoundly life-changing.

I know you are right when you say I need to believe in myself more than anyone, that my husband cannot stop me, no matter what he does, that I need to decide first that how I want to be is authentic and then go from there. A few experiences lately though have my thoughts spiraling back to something I feel like no matter how well things seem to go for awhile or how (even incrementally) much progress I make, I cannot figure this out. And I am scared by how much rage I feel. And I am in disbelief that I can be someone who can really, truly believe that I can do these things and I keep going and keep going and that hasn’t worked yet and on the flip side I can feel this much hurt and the same deep disappointment over and over again and not even that seems to be enough to help me breakthrough and finally, really change.

The story is that I have had the R line result of $250K from my art then coaching for 13 and 7 years. My husband was never supportive of the idea that I leave my legal job to be an artist, he also thought I was being delusional then when I wanted to be a coach. “Only the top 1% in either of those categories ever make a living,” was his argument. I don’t think that’s exactly accurate, but I said – and thought I believed: “then I will be in the top 1%.” I’ve done many things I’m incredibly proud of in both categories – especially who I’ve become. But my R line for income has yet to break $50K. And while on one hand I feel like this is a ridiculous problem to be causing so much strain in our marriage (bc we have saved up a lot of money over the years, starting way back with having part time jobs in grad school in our early twenties, we have invested in ways that have had good returns AND because he makes about $350K/year – we are not about to move into a box under the bridge), it does. It does because I still want to figure this out for myself, show myself, that I can do this. And it does because when he is critical of me for not making more money and tells me I need to and pushes me to get a “regular world job” – I still really let it get to me and I cannot figure out how to stop. I let it rip me apart from the inside out, I let it enrage me to the point that I want to hate him when one of these episodes comes up – and I don’t want to hate him in my lucid moments, in my sane moments I do want to love him but in the heat of the moment I go out of my mind when my brain is telling me he is a blind, self-righteous jackass who doesn’t appreciate what I do contribute and who doesn’t believe in me and that no matter what I do or how well I do or how well I think we are doing – I will always be vulnerable to these surprise attacks that feel devastating to me. I have not been able to hold steady to my belief in me in those moments that I am a good person, I am a good mom, I am good coach, I am a good artist, I am capable of being a good entrepreneur and financial contributor, too.

In those moments I feel like I am my past – and not the good things – just the culmination of all the disappointments and failures. For a while I had this grace period where I felt like I was just going to show him and prove him wrong. But I didn’t do that in five years and so now, with every client I have that I think is going to sign up and then doesn’t, with every attempt to make more money from my art that doesn’t pan out, he now has a story of, “at what point are you going to realize that you just need to get a real job. You have an education, you have skills. Part of being an adult just comes down to the facts – you are either making enough money and contributing to the family and sharing the financial burden – or you’re not. You haven’t been able to do this yet and you have been working hard at it for years and have invested so much money in it.” I can’t argue with any of this – except the “real job” part. What I do feels very real to me, it feels more real than when I had his version of a “real job” – which by the way actually pays less than what I am making now and has a much lower ceiling than what I could potentially make now. But I feel a double whammy every time I do have a failure or disappointment in my business. I am disappointed and then I dread that either he is going to ask me about it or I just won’t have any good news/improvement to report. And then recently I received an email from his boss telling me that he heard from my husband that I would be interested in a position as a business writing teacher in the college and so he set me up with an interview with the director of the writing center for the business school. Not only had I never expressed interest in this position, but I had expressly told my husband, every time he told me I should get a job at the college, that I don’t want to apply for this jobs. Not only do I not want to do them, but they pay about $20K-$40K/year and require anywhere from a 20-40 hour/week commitment – so then I’d also have to find a nanny and would have even less time to work in coaching and art – which, if you’re going dollar/hour, pays much much more than these positions. I was furious and humiliated. My husband said he genuinely thought I’d like to do something like that and it would be a guaranteed source of income and an “in” into the college. I told him he was wrong and I didn’t want an in, I want to make my own work financially lucrative, but long story short – I ended up going to the interview anyway. And I don’t want to do it.

So, now I am not even thinking straight. I feel pressured, I feel scared that I feel so angry, crazy, I feeling despair because I am thinking I am a loser for not figuring this out. I know survival mode is not the ideal mode for creating anything – but that’s what I feel like I drop back into when these eruptions occur. I can think I’m getting traction, making momentum, things are changing. I can look at the positive things of having more sales calls with potential clients that say they are going to sign – and don’t. But then when his criticism comes in or a bill comes due for something of the kids’ that I am responsible for paying and I’m able to pay it – but it takes me right back down to zero again…the wheels come off.

Underneath it all, I think the most painful part is that I that I think the thought is still “me being successful as me is going to have negative consequences for my family,” and that definitely seems to be my husband’s model as well, which is why I feel like I’m going to explode from the inside when this pattern emerges in our life (it used to be more often – now it’s like clockwork at least once a quarter). I don’t understand how I can know this model, know it produces the result it produces, know that I can find ways in which it is not true, know that there is plenty of evidence that the opposite is true…but this still happens over and over.

And, of course, this came up on a sales call yesterday with a potential client. She is an amazing musican/songwriter with a lot of potential but didn’t understand her creative resistance. Until in 20 minutes we uncovered the thought, “but if I achieve my dream, I will destroy my family and my health.”

I really, really want to figure this out. And right now I am very afraid that I never will and these painful episodes will keep happening over and over again.