Karma: Not Always the Bitch We Want It To Be

broken1 Many of you would like the ex to “get theirs” or at least not seem so irritatingly happy or non-plussed. First, this is a normal and natural emotion but don’t dwell there. Second, they will get theirs only you don’t know when and you don’t know how and they might not even know it when it happens.

And in the end
the love you take
is equal to
the love you make
~ Lennon/McCartney

When we’ve been hurt by someone who couldn’t really care less that they’ve hurt us, even though they once professed to love us, part of our emotional spectrum is hoping that they get theirs. We blister with rage when they seem to just go on and do whatever while we sit in breakup hell writhing in pain. It seems so unfair and we want something, anything, bad to happen to them. We don’t wish terrible things on them, but we’d love for Life to wipe that smile off their face. We’d like SOMETHING to occur that would tell us they are not just moving on without a hiccup…that it’s not so easy for them.

You don’t want to hear that it might not ever happen. You don’t want to hear that life isn’t fair and it’s not supposed to be fair. But we want someone to pay for our pain and we want to believe that good people get good stuff and bad people get bad stuff. And when it doesn’t work out that way, we hate it and we feel, instinctively, that it’s wrong. And we have trouble handling it. We want to shout, “BUT I WAS GOOD!!!” and even if we were not as good as we think we were, we know damn well we were better than people getting better stuff than us, looking happier than us, having an easier time than us.

An incredibly intuitive and wonderful man, Rabbi Kushner, wrote a book called When Bad Things Happen To Good People and it has been a best seller for 20 years because it attempts to reconcile people’s beliefs in a higher being with the seeming randomness of life. When his own child was stricken with a fatal illness, the good Rabbi worked to sort it all out. His book has been a comfort to many over these many years.

When C.S. Lewis wrote A Grief Observed, he was a fairly famous Christian theologian and his wife had died. His grief tested his belief. He called God a lot of names in the book which is essentially his grief process and his reconciliation of his beliefs and his pain. It is a wonderful and difficult book.

Okay so I am neither Rabbi Kushner nor am I CS Lewis. I’m not a theologian or spiritual leader so I’m not going to talk about how to reconcile your spiritual beliefs with your pain because I really don’t know how you do that. But these books are some things that have been written because when people hurt they instinctively try to figure it all out…

What each of these books do talk about is how to come to terms with the feeling that life is just $hitty sometimes and very much unfair a lot of other times. And books can help you with the randomness of that…and how life just happens and how it’s not fair.

Because it’s not.

But that’s not what we’re talking about with karma. Karma is different. Karma is a pointed “you did a bad thing, bananahead, and now you are going to get yours” gun at their head. And yes it does go bang eventually. But (caveat) not the way you WANT it to and not in YOUR time).

So the question remains: Seriously, do they get theirs in the end?

You know, I think they do. But it’s just not wrapped in the package we’d like it in.

I AM going to talk about the idea of karma, revenge and getting what they deserve. And how I see it after all these years.

I wanted revenge on my first husband for the longest time. And someone told me what goes around comes around. That was not good enough for me. I wanted him to hurt as I was hurting and I wanted his world to be turned upside down. Not tomorrow, not next week or next year or in 5 years, but NOW…on the days I was hurting, the days I was bleeding.

In other words, I wanted him ZAPPED from somewhere up above where this big finger comes out of the sky, like in a Monty Python skit, and just smote him (whatever that is). That is what I wanted. I wanted the very thing that Rabbi Kushner and CS Lewis say isn’t going to happen.

To me, him getting his was karma. Going around, coming around. He blew up my world and I wanted his blown up. One good blow up deserves another.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And not much happened. .

Then they got married.

And for years they seemed to have the normal, regular life.

But these are two people who started things badly and who completely disregarded absolutely everyone else’s feelings and what was good for my children. For years I asked him to spend time with just his kids. They asked me to ask him and I did, and he ignored my requests even when I said they came from the boys. .

When we were married his family was always around. Sometimes I got upset that there was always this person and that person and another person. When I complained he told me, “Blood is thicker than water.” His loyalty to his family was paramount, according to him. After he married her suddenly water was thicker. And the boys who heard him say, over and over again, that blood was thicker than water, were perplexed. Weren’t they blood? What happened?

So when you go out into life with that attitude or adopting whatever attitude suits you at the time and act out of selfishness things happen and to them they happened.

And then I stopped caring except for the fact that my kids hurt. I would never forgive that and if people had issues with the fact that I hated someone who hurt my children and his wife who was more than complicit in it, well too bad.

The rest of this post used to be something else, but he passed away recently so I’ve changed most that I said. Not because I am rewriting history or wont’ talk ill of the dead (believe me, I will) but out of respect for his family even though I know they don’t read here. We still have a relationship and they are my kids’ family.

They were still together when he passed and, to my knowledge, she did the caregiver thing as I did with Michael. To my knowledge he never cheated on her with anyone but me in the early days, to my knowledge he never hit her. To my knowledge he never did a lot of things that absolutely destroyed our marriage and almost destroyed me.

When he got sick some in his family (including his wife) tried to pull the boys back in and they didn’t want to. But the ex never ever ever said he was sorry. He said he would make things better with them when he got well. And some in his family (the delusional part of his family) are now saying that is what would have happened. Magical thinking. He was promising the boys things would “get better” since they were in junior high. It never got better.

I didn’t really care when I heard he got sick except to not want to see his family (my children’s grandparents) get hurt. But that is the only reason why I care what happens to him. I don’t ever want to see a mother worry about the health of one of her children as my children’s grandmother worried.

His parents hurt when he died. My kids hurt when he died. For my kids, although they were estranged at the time, there was a glint of a possibility that one day he might come around and apologize, or they would get to the place where they could sit down with him and talk about it. My middle son just wanted to know why and he will never know. He had, in the back of his mind, some idea that some day he would ask and it would be answered. Now that opportunity is gone. And I hurt that my kids hurt once again.

But I didn’t see the illness as anything more than people in their 50s get sick. I stopped wishing bad things on him long ago and when I would have cared about it, it didn’t happen. And I lost Michael who was wonderful and neither one of us ever screwed anyone, so bad things do happen to good people and sometimes nothing happens to people who deserve it. That is life.

Meanwhile, back to the beginning of the story…in 1987/88/89/90 (okay, you get the picture)….I was in pain…the gift of desperation kicked in and I went everywhere and anywhere to change my life…and I changed it…and things turned out fabulous…better than they could ever be…:)

I healed. I became whole.

Through all my work and all the lonely years, I fixed what was wrong with ME.

I found my soul. I found my voice.

Before he got sick I don’t know what he was doing. Puttering in the yard; tending to his fish tank. I have no idea what it’s like to become sick and owe amends to someone and not make them. I don’t know why he couldn’t just say, “I’m sorry.” Scratch it out on a napkin. Something. But he couldn’t. It would have made a difference to my kids. But all he said was, “I’m going to…” and I knew he wasn’t.

As I said, him getting sick had nothing to do with karma because if it did Michael would not have gotten sick and died. When people say that people get sick and die due to their behavior, I don’t know how they explain all the other people in the world who are well-behaved and die anyway. Who die without a big fat reward for being so good for so long.

I found that letting go of “he’ll get his” was a key to my peace of mind.


Not for him, but for me. For my own peace of mind I had learned, long ago, that it was ESSENTIAL to my recover that I stop thinking about him and her and their life and move along with MINE.

It sucks to feel as if someone who hurt us did so and suffered no consequences or escaped relatively unscathed while we suffered and hurt and took a huge hit to our security, our self-esteem, our ability to trust, our capacity for love. It truly sucks, but often there is no comeuppance, there is no “them getting theirs.” And the more we dwell on “WHY NOT?” or “It’s NOT FAIR!” or any other desire for something horrible to go on (nothing major, just some kind of tweak that wrecks their good time), the less we work on ourselves, tend to ourselves and recover from heartache.

Our recovery from heartbreak is undone when we spend time focusing on the ex and questioning WHY and wondering when they will get theirs. As the comment that spurred this repost said, “He always lands on his feet.” And that’s a tough thing to come to grips with. It’s a tough thing to accept.

But acceptance is the key to a happy future and healthy healing. You have to accept that no matter what happens or doesn’t happen to them, it’s got to be about YOU and your life and love and happiness. You can’t focus on them and what is or isn’t happening to them.

Each time you get upset, angry or any other emotions because they have “landed on their feet,” you have wasted valuable time in healing yourself and being able to move forward.

Use your affirmations when you start to feel angry that they are not in pain. Use your affirmations to focus on YOU. Say, “I focus on my own healthy healing.” or “Just for today, I focus on healing my pain and moving forward.” The just for today helps you to stay in the day and out of their heads and lives. Try developing affirmations for whenever the unfairness really gets to you. “Life may be unfair but I am fair to me.” or “I focus on me and no one else.” or “Keeping the focus on me keeps me calm and promotes my healing.”

These are just examples, you can come up with your own but please develop some so that when you feel all wound up over their lack of unfairness, you have some soothing thoughts to bring the focus back to you.

In my case, Karma didn’t happen the way I wanted it to happen and certainly didn’t happen WHEN I wanted it to happen (when I still gave a crap if it happened).

The BEST thing about it not happening the way I wanted is that had it happened, my attention would have been focused over THERE but instead of being treated to his life becoming a shit storm and gleefully enjoying it, I had to put my focus on where it needed to be: on my life.

The simplest explanation of karma is that if you are a positive and loving person, you have positive and loving things come into your life and if you are negative, negative things come into your life.

And I think it’s true.

If you put good and positive energy into your life you get good and positive stuff back.

And if you’re a cheating, lying bastard you get whatever codependent is willing to put up with you.

Seriously, it does go around but it probably goes around much slower and in a different form than you would like. In the meantime, work on YOU, work on building your happily ever after NO MATTER WHAT happens to the EX.

And whatever you THINK is going on in someone else’s life is probably not…

And the best revenge is doing well. But to do well you have to have the focus on YOU and nowhere else. Stop worrying about what is or is not happening to someone else and start worrying about how much harm you are doing to yourself by concentrating on someone else’s lack of consequences.

Put the focus on YOU and not only will you heal and be happy, but you will stop caring about what does or does not happen to your ex.

So leave karma to the universe and concentrate on your own life. It will all work out. Seriously it will.

Trust the process. Trust the karma. Do good and be good to you.


I healed and became whole through what is now the GPYB program that I created after I became a therapist. It’s a program that will absolutely get you past a breakup to heal and become whole. The program is in Getting Past Your Breakup and Getting Back Out There. You can order the books HERE. Exercises from the 2 books as well as some others that didn’t make it to the books are in the workbook which you can get instant download HERE. Be good to you!

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5 Responses to Karma: Not Always the Bitch We Want It To Be

  1. sarahbrooks119 says:

    This is a great article and a good reminder to focus on myself. I keep dreading running into him with someone else and keep focusing on how could he give up and walk away? It is wasted energy! I can’t wait for the Bootcamp to start, I am ready.

    • sophia says:

      Hi sarah, i have the same fear of running into him with his new gf and i keep imagining myself on that moment. This imagination has been so fearful that i have not been to outside (not counting the grossery shoppings and some friend meetings) for nearly 9 months (since break up). Today after 9 months, i went to the place he broke up with me, and some other places which we were going. But again, he is working so i knew i would not run into them. But again, Whenever i saw a couple i was looking at them in order to see whether they are him and her! I told to myself that this is normal, it is normal to have pain, it will go. I cried a bit. Came back home. I cannot move so quickly, but today i at least made a step. I hope this fear replaces itself with peace. And working on it. I share your fear, that is why i wanted to write. As reading yours made me feel that i am not alone. Because sometimes i am pressed under this fear and i feel so alone.

      • topf says:

        I find this very interesting. How it’s painful to revisit shared things because they remind you negatively of them. It can be the person themselves, or the places you used to frequent but also other things. I once had a breakup that made a lot of my favorite music painful because he had shown some of it to me. This time it’s books and philosophers and certain ways of thinking that have become painful to me. I am having trouble continuing my dissertation because he and I do similar things and he used all those ideas to beat me up emotionally.

        I think it takes time. I think you need to find some safe spaces free from this person for a while, and after some healing, you need to decide if you want to reconquer these spaces. It’s painful at first, but if you want to win these things back, you need to go to those places, listen to those songs and read those books and make new memories with them, memories without this person, and rediscover the value these things had FOR YOU all along.

        • sophia says:

          Hi topf, many thanks for your comments. Exactly, i should first make my connection with the outside world first, and then reconquer those places if i still want. I am trying to listen myself, and understand my feelings. Why i am this much scared of seeing them is one thing, losing all my connection with outside is another thing. It is still very painful, and while reading the books, doing journaling etc, i do not have any other thing to let my Creator to handle all these for me. Because i sometimes feel so powerless, and i accept it.

  2. steftacular says:

    THIS IS INCREDIBLY HELPFUL! Thank you Susan. I just finished GPYB and I recently had a nightmare that my ex was driving a brand new car and had finally got his career together after I had been hounding him for years to get out of his dead end job.

    Now I realize none of it matters and that I need to focus on me. Thank you!

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