I took the entire month of July to celebrate turning 40, but it wasn’t just because I was having a milestone birthday. The date just happened to coincide with a number of other significant milestones that shaped me as a person.
Almost a year prior, on July 29, 2015 at 10:38 AM, I felt an unimaginable weight lift from my shoulders. I felt like a human being for the first time in nearly a decade. A soul-draining cancer had been cut from my life. I was officially divorced.
Don’t get me wrong. There was a time when I loved my now ex-wife. I tried like hell to see the good in her. But in the end, I realized I had made the mistake of marrying the most toxic personality I had ever encountered.
Nothing was ever going to make her happy because she was incapable of being happy. The only thing that ever seemed to please her was taking joy away from those closest to her.
She was the only person I had ever met who could turn any silver lining into a dark cloud. She could find the negative in anything, and when there wasn’t a negative to be found, she would create one.
Beyond the negativity and my being blamed for anything that didn’t go exactly the way she expected them to in her life, I found myself having to silently endure a barrage of emotional and psychological manipulation that, looking back, was the hallmark of our failed marriage.
After having had the benefit of a year of reflection, I now realize that she is not an anomaly, and that toxic personalities – black holes of negativity and vitriol that bring everyone around them down – are all around us.
This is an excerpt from 40@40: Beware the Toxic Personality.
In celebration of my 40th birthday, I decided to write 40 blog posts to reflect on 40 of the most important lessons I have learned throughout my life. You can follow the full series here: