What to do with a manic depressive cheating husband?


(Half Bell) (Full Bell) (tearfully, she asks)
Dear Thay, dear Sangha I have a friend She is now in deep pain She is married to a man who has a manic-depressive, a kind of mood disorder. This man has betrayed her several times. He not only slept with women but he also had a child which ended up in abortion. She is now in despair. This man refuses to take any medication to treat his problem. He now doesn’t know what to do. I’m sorry, SHE doesn’t know what to do. To end the relationship and contact another person
to help heal this man or to stay in the relationship, hoping that nothing is permanent; this may come to an end. Or to stay with the relationship
and accept this man as he is? And from this,
I do not know what to say to her. Is it:
when there is marriage, there is betrayal; like when there is left, there is right. (Thay responds)
Well, there is betrayal, there is faithfulness. We don’t know, we did not know, and we still don’t know
how to water the seed of faithfulness in that person. Everyone of us has the seed of betrayal and the seed of faithfulness. They are always there as a couple. The problem is watering. If you are mindful, if you are loving, then you can water the seed of faithfulness in him or in her everyday, and that seed could become very strong and the other seed
never has the chance to manifest. So we are, somehow, responsible to some degree about the situation. And we should not blame everything on the other person. That is the first thing
you should see. If you are… if you know the practice and if you stay fresh, and loving and compassionate you have more chance to
persuade him or her to to follow our way because our life is a teaching. The way you speak, the way you look,
the way you act is full of compassion and loving kindness. And you are so pleasant. And when someone is compassionate and pleasant people like to come and sit close to her. That is natural. Like a Linden tree; people like to come and sit at the foot of the Linden tree, because the Linden tree has the kind of energy of peace and relaxation. So if we know the practice and if we can stay fresh, compassionate, loving, patient, we can help transform,
the other person. And the other person represents the suffering of the world. If you help him, you help the whole world. And if you are not solid enough,
fresh enough, compassionate enough, then you should meet a Sangha: a community of practice behind you and backing you in the practice. You have a resource. Maybe in the beginning
you have enough peace, enough patience, enough compassion, but because you don’t know how to preserve and nourish these qualities, and because this situation is so difficult for you, so that is why you run out of these resources. And you cannot continue
to help him or her. So that is why a good practitioner always has a Sangha behind her. And she can draw
a tremendous source of mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness, in order to be able to continue
helping the world, especially helping
the other person. So if you look and see, you see that the other person suffers, and does not know the way
out of suffering. And you who know the way out, you should be able to show him. If he has not followed you (followed your advice) [it is] because your way of telling him is not compassionate enough, skillful enough, fresh enough. you should be a true Bodhisattva, full of compassion,
loving-kindness and freshness. And everyone needs a Bodhisattva like that. And the practice of mindfulness is to become a person like that: a Bodhisattva, as fresh as Mother Earth. And you have that example.
Mother Earth, always forgiving.
Mother Earth is always patient. Every time you come back to her, you get the nourishment, nourishment and healing that you need. And you are a daughter of Mother Earth. You should learn
from Mother Earth how to stay
fresh, forgiving, compassionate. And then you will not lose hope, especially when you have a Sangha, a community of practice, behind you supporting you and you can draw a lot of resources from that community. So continue to practice in order to nourish your compassion, your freshness, and then you will suffer less. Because with compassion in our heart we suffer very little. Because compassion has the power to heal, with compassion we suffer less and we are strong enough
to help him or help her. And helping him means to help yourself first. And the teaching of the Buddha
is very clear: if you cannot love yourself, you cannot love someone else and help him or her suffer less. So the answer is clear. Take care of yourself. Nourish compassion, patience, freshness in you. Take refuge in the Sangha in order to keep being nourished. And then you can help him
and help the world. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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Comments

  1. Poor girl. Prayers and love to you. And, I pray you see a good divorce attorney and move on. Please move on.

  2. It seems to me that Thich Nhat Hanh is putting the responsibility on the wife. Sometimes you cannot help a person who does not want to take responsibility for his own behaviors. No matter how "fresh" and compassionate she is he may not change. She has a choice to leave. I'm so disappointed that Thich Nhat Hanh did not give her that advice also.

  3. Hi Suri, in our daily life we used to the habit of being in the role of
    the victims of almost everything. If things go against us, we tend to
    give that responsibilities to people or circumstances. The funny thing
    is when things go smoothly such us success, we tend to take for granted
    and say "it's because of my effort". Only things go failures, we
    delegate this responsibilities to other. But putting responsibilities on
    outside circumstances and other people does not improve the situation
    because that makes us weak and and because we can not control situations
    and people's behaviors. Thus the role of Buddhism is to remind us to
    train ourselves to be the master of our own fate, by understanding the
    law of karma (causes are coming from us, and effects are also the result
    we get).
    If the Zen master give the advise to be empathetic with
    the lady such as " Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, i felt pity for you",
    then the lady becomes weaker and she got nothing to learn and grow. And
    of course to hear an empathetic agreement, you can get from any regular
    person who do not training the mind. I hope it helps:)

  4. Lol, TNH…I love his energy but his actual message is ridiculous sometimes. I am now at the end of this talk and the PS seems to be: take care of yourself

  5. This is the only thing that stings me a bit with Buddhism. That they seriously believe that being compassionate and mindful etc. works on everyone and if you can't get someone to listen, then you were not compassionate and mindful enough. That's not always true. The brain is part of our body and made out of flesh. It can be sick, just like the rest of the body. Someone who has a sickness in their brain, has a damaged brain and therefor it could be that their brain does not work like it should. Being compasionate and mindful doesn't change that all of the sudden and it could well be that the practice doesn't really reach the sick persons conciousness, because of the damage.

    For instance someone with severe schizophrenia that doesn't see reality as it is. They probably cannot see the behaviour of others correctly, because of the disease. With manic depression something simular happens as well.

  6. Many are being critical of his advice. I take it as: Better yourself and those around you will be better. He's absolutely right. It's not his place to advise her to leave him or stay with him. That's a decision for her to make after working towards becoming a better version of herself and where that transformation takes her.

  7. Letting go – Sometimes the compassionate thing is to leave them – be compassionate to yourself. And maybe they are behaving like that because they do not want to be with you. Be kind – let them go.Don't be attached – just loving

  8. ''You ''should'' be like a bodhisattva…'' This is really damaging advice. The woman is in pain and is told to be a saint towards a mentally unstable person. This would just add to her misery.. To suppress her pain, to risk further abuse from the husband and suffer the indignity of shame for that.. I thought mindfulness was about fully experiencing our emotions without judgment. Consolation for her own emotions would help her get rid of the husband or alter the dynamic of the relationship.

  9. HONEY! …. WE DON'T LIVE IN "NIRVANA" ….
    MANY FOLKS ARE TOO UNSTABLE, AND
    IMMATURE TO COMMIT TO A LASTING ROMANTIC
    RELATIONSHIP! …. YOUR "FRIEND" IS MUCH
    BETTER OFF REMAINING "SINGLE" …. AND
    FINDING COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS , FOLKS ….
    WHO …. PERHAPS …. COULD OFFER YOU SOME
    REAL EMOTIONAL SUPPORT!

  10. Be compassionate to him as you leave him. Let him know you are there for him as a person who cares but he crossed the lines already.

  11. So the one being caused to suffer through no action of her own should show compassion for the perpetrator by taking more abuse in hopes that she can change him and his proven and repeated bad behavior. (And yet, a tiger cannot change his stripes.) But the perpetrator should do nothing.
    Not very thoughtful, compassionate advice. Honestly sounds a little misogynistic. I've never been so disappointed in Thay.
    I do agree that the wife should show compassion for herself–and leave a bad situation. There is no reason to bring more suffering on yourself. I don't think her husband's problems, regardless of what suffering they're borne out of, are her responsibility when they harm her. He needs to take responsibility for his problems, not her.
    Another Buddhist (that I cannot recall) once said (to paraphrase) that only a fool continues to keep company with fools. And that you should exit harmful situations. Now that I agree with.

  12. What about the domestic violence ? You might not enough time to water the right seeds as every year women die from the hands of their partner. On most of the websites that provide support help the battered wifes / women it stays in "bold " that it's not womens fault (as many DO believe and stay hears and yeas in the abusive relationships)..

  13. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Dear Thay. I appreciate your answer, you are mindfulness teacher not a lawyer, for that reason I understand you all the time suggest compassion, and in my own experience your teachings have been a lot of blessings. Evangelina Cortes.

  14. I have written this comment below, but I guess many people may miss it, so I repost it here. Hope it can help to clarify Thay's idea more precisely.
    "May I give a bit clearer explanation here? I were there – in that cheated woman's position, and Thay's advice worked perfectly for me. My ex-husband had bipolar disorder and he made the same mistake as the husband described in this video. At the beginning, I was desperate and in very much pain. However, using compassion and mindfulness, I discovered that my ex-hubby didn't intentionally do that to hurt me, he did that out of the effect of this acute mental illness. From this understanding, I felt much much better and became totally resilient after that. I became more motivated to look for ways to help him to recover. I also took the chance to look back what I didn't do correctly in that relationship to better myself in life, since obviously I was also partly responsible for his illness, being his ex-wife. Now we're not together anymore, but we're still very good friends and still keep in touch and encourage each other to live our lives separately to the best. I feel lots of hopes in life because when we become mindful and look at the root of the problem, we can do great things for others even in our hardest times, and these good deed will ultimately be paid back in some way, like my ex-hubby – now he understands how good I was to him and he truly treasures that – shown in how he cares for me even when we no longer live under the same roof. I hope my long explanation can clear out something. At first I also thought that this was not fair if I had to be the one who have to forgive. Why should I have to suffer and forgive such a bad person while I deserve someone much better? But truly, understanding and then forgiveness did bring out peace and hope to me first – heal me first – before I could start doing anything else for anyone around me – and once I can do good things for others, the gift given back is tremendous. Thank you!"

  15. I don't think many commentators understand Thay's advice here. What does it mean to invoke freshness? It means to see things anew, from a new perspective. It means letting go of the past. Thay is subtle and gentle, yet clear and forthright if you really understand his words, and their underlying energy.

  16. 1: remove all wrong patterns in your mind , restart new better clean trustable road called new road new patterns new choices new way of vieuws & leave the old pain behind ! Called : old lesson made place for new better way ! Goodluck everbody 🙏🏼👍🏼👋🏼

  17. Love this message ! I wouldn't follow it though. I think that cheaters need to be abandoned. There is always someone new who needs our love and compassion.

  18. It's really so painful to find out how you have been cheated from the human point of view but at the same time and most valuable is a blessing in disguise because the person has just opened up your eyes or conciseness to realise that who actually they are, not their true self as you thought so it's up to you know to figure out if you can continue to live with such a person or not but be always assured that they will still always do it and it's to their highest level of concusiness.

  19. When he says to be compassionate, I think that he means not to hate the other person and leave them without thought. If you can try to understand them and open your mind to them perhaps you can find the true source of pain and reason for betrayal. This can open them to change. No person is perfect and we all have flaws, you can't just up and leave whenever they do something you don't like. Of course, if it seems obvious that they're not willing to change no matter what and you don't want to live with them anymore then go ahead and leave them, just don't do it so compulsively without compassion.

  20. I agree in that it is partly her fault, but not for the same reasons. She kept forgiving him, and he continued his unfaithfulness. One should be compassionate towards oneself before others. The moment you are truly enlightened, you can help very damaged people, but most of us aren't. We can be compassionate when people lie, hurt, betray, but we need a rest. We should not keep living in a toxic environment if we can help it. For some people, in certain circumstances, the kindest thing toward themselves is not to leave. In this case, the kindest thing is probably to leave. This not her responsibility.

  21. Thay’s advice here is absolutely consistent with his overall teachings. It’s very hard though to transition from our typical view of romantic love that includes the ego-nourishing force of that emotion, to what Thay has always taught about love: you first have to truly love yourself. Much of our romantic love is notions about the other “completing us” when we have lack of self-love.

    In Thay’s teachings “true love” is not about making those you say you love conform to your ideas about how they should behave. It’s a very hard lesson to absorb and not easy at all. But we often suffer from our partner’s infidelity because we view it as a reflection of our desirability, or lack of. What Thay is saying is that our sense of self worth should not be tied up in another’s behavior.

    And yes I have had to go through the slow process of learning this lesson as I dealt with a similar situation in my own relationship. My partner was psychologically broken from years of sexual abuse as a child, and spiraled into a similar pattern as described in this video.

    After a few years of trying to be skinnier, sexier, more desirable (and seeing these did absolutely nothing to change the situation) I began truly loving myself, nourishing myself, pulling away from the idea that I should try to control my partner’s behavior in any way. It was often very painful. But I can say after several years of practicing compassion first for myself, then my partner, my partner finally decided he wanted to pursue therapy to help heal himself. And he always says how the fact that I always loved him regardless of his behavior was what turned his thinking around through the psychological pain he was experiencing .

  22. How does this guy know. He is a damn monk. He has no experience in male female relationships. He has zero connection to the seriousness of her concerns. Blaming the victim…she loves herself, the problem is that the guy does not love her. This monk is lost. From a man who has been married two times…sister run run run.

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