Mr. Perfect, I am not, nor ever will be.
When my emotions are triggered, sometimes I yell at the people I love, and it takes me several minutes before I give them the apology I immediately know they deserve. My sense of humor is occasionally offensive & immature.
I’ve been known to fart in the car after hitting the window lock to punish my sons for not doing the dishes the night before. I constantly forget the birthdays of friends I have known since I was five.
My omelets still fall apart in the pan one-third of the time (okay, two-fifths).
But I am Mr. Sincere Effort. My grandfather always said, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right, and I applied this mantra to my marriage. I didn’t excuse myself from the domestic responsibilities. I did the grocery shopping & the cooking. I made the arrangements for holidays, birthdays, camping trips, vacations, & special occasions. I bought the picture frames and hung the family portraits in ascending chronological order along the staircase in our home. I did my best to make decisions together, to view marriage as a partnership of two equals, and always create an environment where my wife felt comfortable speaking her mind. I valued my wife & my family and did my best to express that in every way I could.
I took breaks when I had to, made mistakes because humans do, and sometimes pouted more than a grown man should, […]
I once pushed my wife out of the car. This might trigger an emotional reaction, especially from someone who has been a victim of abuse. You might be tempted to conclude I am an abuser, a monster, deserving of punishment, in need of psychiatric evaluation & counseling, and my opinion is not worth hearing.
That I had made several respectful requests for the hitting & hurtful words to stop, warned her repeatedly that I was losing my patience to tolerate her behavior, and informed her that if it continued, I would pull over & ask her to get out.
Does it matter that when she chose to continue, and I pulled the car over, I gave her time to exit, only resorted to physical force when she refused to exit & continued attacking me and made every reasonable effort to avoid causing any injury to her person & belongings in the process?
Perhaps you would still be disinclined to excuse my actions; after all, I was not in any real physical danger. Would your judgment be as harsh were the genders reversed? Would a woman in my situation be considered to be in real danger simply on the basis of the man’s superior size & strength, or would she be judged the same? When does defending oneself from abuse cross the line of reasonable self-defense to become criminal behavior, and is this line drawn differently for men than it is for women?
I ask these questions because they […]
A young child is born. Nature has seen fit to equip this child with an incredibly adaptive & effective system for recalling every experience they have ever had, summarizing all of this information, and delivering it to their consciousness in microseconds: this system is called emotion. However, like every system in the human body, it is prone to dysfunction & failure when subjected to more negative input than it can withstand.
From an early age, the child endures neglect, abuse, & random, unpredictable behavior from its caregivers: moments of tenderness & kind words interspersed with violence, vicious insults, & withdrawal of affection, with no apparent correlation between the child’s actions and the resultant treatment.
The child’s emotional system cannot integrate with the rational conscious mind; the developing intellect cannot make sense of the conflicting input. At times, the child feels affection, comfort, & love from one caregiver or the other; but other times, the child feels hatred, abandonment, & pain from that same caregiver. Yet evolution has programmed one thing into the child: being abandoned by their caregivers means death. Regardless of how poorly one or both caregivers treat the child, the child feels an imperative need to maintain a positive relationship with them; this need will diminish as the child matures, but so profoundly is it written into the core that it will never truly fade completely.
If one or more of the caregivers are primarily physically available, but emotionally distant or neglectful, with only occasional episodes […]
My childhood was one of abuse so frightening that I shut down emotionally to survive. When I was 17 years old, my mother agreed that I could be married to a man, four years older than me, who had been my boyfriend for a year. I wasn’t asked if the marriage was what I wanted, and I had never learned that I could actually have, or state, feelings about any situation relating to me.
Two days after the marriage my husband and I were sitting at home when he suddenly began screaming at me incoherently. Grabbing me by my hair he dragged me out of the room, still screaming at me, and threw me outside, shutting the door behind me. We were living with his father, which we did for the first nine years of our marriage, and it wasn’t until his father came home from work four hours later that anyone came to look for me. I had crawled into the back seat of the car in the carport and was completely numb emotionally, unable to formulate any decision as to what I could do. This set the pattern for our marriage.
As is often the case in such situations, my husband controlled who I could see, how much money I was given for the household needs and what was acceptable behaviour. Anytime I transgressed, the screaming and throwing out of the house, whatever the time of day or night, was repeated. I learned to walk on eggshells, saying little and […]
4 AM phone calls…
This is what I’m living now …
I’m guessing is okay to feel so much pain much. But is not.
I am drowning in my own tears.
I don’t know how to escape the spiral of madness l but I have hope there is a cure somewhere out there.
Where? In Paris? In Prague? In Buchurest? In me?
I don’t know. I will find my way.
I heard someone say to me, we are crossing the bridge of troubled waters. I feel can’t swim.
How does that feel???
Hard. Nah, that’s not the right word. It feels like I am burning from the inside.
I don’t care anymore.
I genuinely believe life starts with yourself.
I need help, and I asked for it. I didn’t see this coming. There is still authenticity in this world. Love doesn’t have to hurt. But it’s killing me now.
I am not judged for the first time in my life by my new family of choice.
But I still judge myself.
Today, I want to jump from the bridge, because I am caught in a storm that I cannot control.
I never realized I was in an abusive relationship until several months after it ended. Our first ten years together were the happiest years of my life; the changes happened so gradually, I never understood. How long does a cucumber soak in the brine before it becomes a pickle? Does it matter? You can tell which is which by the taste.
Trying to understand the transformation from bliss to abuse intellectually is, in some ways, impossible – because there isn’t any logic behind certain choices & events; just emotion. And behind those emotions, there is pain, and there is fear. Fear of loss. Fear of rejection. Fear of change. Memories float to the surface unbidden, like bubbles of methane gas from long-dead, decomposing bodies of pre-historic creatures entombed in the black, noxious mud of a lonesome bog, flares of hope like will o’ the wisps luring me away from solid ground.
“But, she loved me, once…” No. She loved what I did for her. She loved my vision of her. And I allowed what she did to me, because I was in love with vision I had created. The good memories come on their own (why are those still the most painful?). I have to struggle to resurrect the corpses of the traumatic engrams. When she broke down the door, missing the head of our newborn baby by inches as I tried to shield him from her rage, I insisted upon counseling; we spent several weeks in the counselor’s office […]
I am an alienated mother who was alienated from my children in South America. I grew up in Ireland and emigrated to South America in my early twenties. I met my husband there, got married and we had a son and daughter. I can, like many people who are separated or divorced, say that we were happy at one time, enjoyed life and had children together. But as one knows, life can change and rearrange. Over time my relationship with my husband began to deteriorate. It is one thing to split up but to be deliberately and vengefully alienated from our beloved children is an entirely different matter. I had a woman helper in our home. One day she came to me in the kitchen and said, “Your husband is saying bad things about you to the children in the living room”.
I have witnessed separating parents who do not alienate the other parent. They are able to part and still be good co-operating parents. These children play, go to school knowing that both parents love them. The benefits to the child are huge. They remain being loved by their extended families. This benefits the extended families who are not torn from their nieces, nephews or grandchildren. This leads to more peaceful communities which in turn leads to more peace in society. Our reactions to being an alienated parent are not always what they should be. One is thrown into new territory that one couldn’t imagine or plan for. There is […]
In my early 20’s, I dreamed about disappearing off into the sunset with the man of my dreams. I imagined how I would marry that man at the top of the mountain. And from then on, it would be just him and me.
I met the man of my dreams. But he came into my life with an addition; he had a 6-year-old daughter. At that time, we lived in different countries, and I did not think of myself as becoming a stepmom.
I wished only to be with him. I was in love with him. Soon, I decided to move abroad to be with him.
I will never forget that day when my father gave me a lift to the airport. He gave me a warning.
“My dear daughter, you know that being a parent is very hard. But being a stepparent is even tougher. Are you aware that you will never be a priority to this man? And that is quite normal…His child will always come first. I am not sure if that is what you want. Think about it…”
My father spoke from the experience.
He was married to another woman before my mother, and he has a daughter with her. My father’s ex was a source of many of my parent’s arguments.
I ignored my father’s warning and followed my heart and in no time, I became a stepmom.
It’s been over 4 years now since I’ve cared for another (bdp/npd) woman’s child. I have learned a lot. I had no idea what I […]
Nobody wants to be a stepmother. It is not a fairytale. I remember dreaming about the day I disappear off into the sunset with a man of my dreams. Marry that man on the top of the mountain….…I would raise another woman’s child. I will hear things like “you’re not my Mom” and will be called by my first name. My partner has a nine-year-old daughter. I moved countries and followed my heart. In no time, I became a stepmom.
Stepparents are very discredited for all the effort and love they put into their stepchildren. Being a stepmom is one of the most difficult parenting roles to take on in a blended family. Stepmoms experience significantly greater anxiety and depression than biological mothers. They have an awful rep. The words “evil” and “stepmother” go together, thanks, in large part, to Disney movies. When in need of a villain, it seems the heroine’s stepmom is the first choice. In the name of all stepparents, I will step up to Disney and show how incredible we are. We endure a lot and we give a lot. It’s time to be acknowledged.
You Are Not The Parent
I will never be her biological mother. Even if her mother rarely sees and spends quality time with her. Even is my partner’s daughter calls me “Mum, I will never have the same rights and privileges as her biological mother. One thing is handling the truth of you not being the parent of your partner’s child, the thought ugly […]
When the breaking began, I painted over the cracks with crimson & gold. I did not think to ask myself what was the source of these brilliant hues, why I felt weaker & paler with each stroke of the brush, why the radiance no longer lit my steps, or why the dark shadows inside me were lengthening. I ignored the heavy stickiness, too thick to be paint, and the magical sparkling flecks, too precious to be merely real gold. It was my own life force & potential I was sacrificing to maintain the illusion, and the more I surrendered my reality, the more essential it became to me that I maintained my delusion. I was pale, cold, and dim by the time life pried the brush from my numb, desperate, unyielding hands.
“There’s a danger in loving somebody too much…”
I had spent a lifetime wishing on shooting stars and believing all I had to do was believe. For twenty years, I had given away my most valuable possessions to the least-worthy person imaginable. To the point when, once they were returned to me, I no longer saw them as being worth anything at all. My heart was held together by a network of scar tissue; the pain was all I had to hold myself together. As much as I hated this new self-image of weakness & victimhood, I depended upon it as the only source of any cohesive identity I had left. Without the pain & the scars, I was nothing […]