I guess what I did was sacrifice myself. I thought it was noble and needed. I thought a person who cared made some sacrifices for those they loved. I thought that a family (or anything worth building) sometimes took some sacrificing to happen. I still believe that. I learned about sacrifice from church, as a woman, as a worker, in literature, from models of happy families around me. I lived by the thought that I gave for the good of the bigger picture. It was all supposed to be worth it in the end. But DH said to me after my 35 years of being a woman and a wife, "What did you ever to for me?" And I am learning how little he thinks of me. I made many choices "for" his benefit because I was brought up in a time when the husband was the financial "bread winner" and he was to be "honored" and I believe I even said the word "obey" in my vows so long ago. I have more education than DH but I believed in supporting his career instead of mine when we were young so I could take care of the home and children. Today, I feel like a Viet Nam vet. I have scars from the time served (I was drafted by pregnancy) and I did not realize no one was appreciating it. My marriage was like a 35 year battle rather than blissful union of working together for common causes. I was blaming myself for not being stronger. I had been knocking myself on the head for being "codependent" in the last few years (how could I be so needy? I had been thinking.) We didn't know any better. I was taught to be loving and caring and supportive (good home makers, sexy wives, loving mothers). We were not taught about ADD or getting our needs met or equality or leadership. Getting MY needs met, with my background, seemed selfish to me. But I know now that to be sane and happy and not confused and resentful, a person must listen to their own feelings and figure out what their own needs are. And feed themselves what they need to be happy and creative and functioning. How do we tell ourselves the story of what happened in our marriages with a positive ending? As humaneye said in his post, "I didn't really have a Dad, so I became my own." I am trying to re-write my "story" in my head in a positive light and I will be the one who can appreciate what I have done and accomplished over the last 35 years. I need to feel partnered and safe. I don't have someone who cares so I am becoming my own.