Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The End of this Path

This is my last post.  I won't be updating here again.  It's possible that I will start a new blog and leave a link here, but I haven't any plans to do so at the present.

I believe the posts here will continue to have life. The subjects I've posted about, Verbal Abuse, Physical Abuse, Addiction, Pornography and Personality Disorders,will continue to be damaging to our culture and particularly to marriages.

The process of making this blog was healing in a way that surprised me.  This was the place I left my sorrows, veiled in research, at the end of the day.  Here is where I struggled to make sense out of what only felt like chaos for too many years.  On these pages I got my feelings back and I uncovered some truth.

If you find yourself here for the first time, please run around and see if you find a post or a picture that holds your interest. It would be a great joy for me to think that someone found value here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

How my friends saved my life, more than once

                     Seriously, I just want to cry when I think about even writing this post.

 I feel a groundswell of gratitude when I recount the times my life was saved by a friend and I don't believe that any one of them knew how important they were to me. Certainly they didn't think they were saving a life, just being a friend.

Every gesture however small, given with an open heart, has eternal life between friends.  In fact the small gestures are the haiku poetry of my life.  If I could string them together in a painting, I would.

All I can do is stand in a state of grace in the presence of all that is greater than myself, and that's enough.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Value of the Oldest Friendships

The early days which seem forever ago, and not too important at the time, later hold keys that are unexpectedly life affirming.

 This is my sixtieth year and although it is a year of new beginnings it is also the year that my oldest friendships have claimed their truest place of honor.   There is nothing so sweet as being in the embrace of  someone who knew you then.  When your lives were full of irreverence and health. Better still is having a friend with a good memory, even if it takes a few old friends to piece the story into a coherent tale.

The melancholy of aging falls aside to the sheer joy at recall.  Life makes more sense, is less disjointed.  I feel whole again with old friends in my new life. Part of the sweetness is the ease with which we express our loving kindness, eighteen or twenty one or forty years later.

I have been blessed with time and a full pantry of friends who waited patiently for this celebration while at the front line of their own lives. Thank you to everyone who has reappeared with insight and loving hearts.  This surely is our purpose here on earth.

Friday, March 8, 2013

My Heart's Desire

 We can agree on Maslov's hierarchy of needs to be sure. This diagram represents a kind of  Cliff Notes for the wealth of complexity in each of these needs.  My heart's desire lies in the need for Love/ Belonging I think. More specifically the need to be fully known and fully vulnerable (loved and unconditionally accepted) by another human being.  Not to be confused with the idea of having someone "complete me" (which I think is poppycock) or the idea of being made safe or worthy through a relationship with another (which I think is next to impossible).

I'm wondering if my heart's desire is an illusion and like so much else it is through Self Actualization that  I will create love and unconditional acceptance for myself.  At least before I expect to receive it from some one else. Is a Mother's Love the exception, or is that also an illusion? Perhaps a Mother's Love is the metaphor for my heart's desire.  Ok, I know it is.

In the meanwhile, again, I am blessed with the love of those around me and I'll be working on internalizing my Mother's Love along the way.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Question at all Crossroads

I have asked myself this question, you have likely asked yourself this question too.  I quote from Embracing Ourselves, by Hal and Sidra Stone: "How is this person, or this situation, my teacher?"

Indeed, how?  Many years ago in a therapeutic session, after describing my interactions with a difficult person, the therapist said, "So he was your guru."  I was taken back and found a lot of clarity in that remark at the time.  Then there are other days, like now, when the thought of trying to discern what the lesson is just gives me a headache.

A few nights ago I had a lively conversation with a Dad of two boys, age 10 and 11.  He actually gave me the perfect  opening for my "pornified culture" launch when he made a remark about the current target age for Barbie marketing, which he claimed to be age 6.  This Dad told me that he and his wife worked quite diligently at helping their boys identify and express feelings to the point where one of the boys (and he mimicked him covering his face) responded to what must have felt like an interrogation by blurting out ,"I don't know what I'm feeling!".  Some days are like that for 11 year old boys, and 59 year old girls.

Tonight I don't know what I'm feeling and I have no idea how this person, or this situation, is my teacher.  We don't always have to know.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thank You Judy Collins

After Shocks and Saving Grace

There are after shocks.  Small tremors that disrupt the everyday calm and are sad reminders of loss.  For myself it's mainly the loss of an intact family and the dream of a loving partner.  Women who have left abusive partnerships are left..with lots to sort through going forward. Not so much everyday but every now and then a tremor of realization.  It feels like throwing another shovel full on the grave.

This blog is my attempt at processing with the hope of helping.  Women like me are heavily invested in 'family'.  The abuser counts on that.  Most of us stick it out far too long and give many "second chances".  In my conversations with women who have left or are trying to leave I see so many repeated themes.  I'm certain that we are statistically alike. So our recovery takes a similar path. It's a mine field of after shocks as the result of trauma.  Falling down, getting up and doing better. We rely on and seek out the soft shoulders of friends and family and we examine our hearts in the solitude of our days and nights

Likewise, abusers are statistically predictable.  Most have ego issues (narcissism) that demand they  re-create relationships very quickly as their identities virtually hang on the narcissistic feed of a partner. This quick re-insertion into a relationship insures that there will be not one moment to risk falling into consciousness and their hell self hatred and shame for past behaviors.  Self reflection in their case is akin to suicide.  In complete opposition, self reflection by partners of abusers is our light of saving grace.

An honest video with insight

I have seen a few of this woman's videos and I'm struck by her honest look at the verbal abuse in her marriage.  If you are wondering about your own marriage this video might strike a chord.  She's unrehearsed and truly looking to understand. There is nothing like an honest testimony.

At the end of my long marriage of 33 years, I found and read books by the same author that this woman discovered, Patricia Evans.  One day I googled "husband gives cold shoulder", as it was the only way I could think to describe my experience, and Patricia's books appeared at the top of the page.   I was on the receiving end of Withholding for many years.  Withholding sex and withholding acknowledgement as a means to attempt to control me.  Many times my partner left the house or arrived back home without so much as a simple "hello".  Naturally in public settings he would charm others with his praise of me.  He made a calculated choice to bully (abuse) me in private or sometimes in public in front of strangers, like in an airport.  I'm certain that if you asked him he would accuse me of this behavior.  That's called Projection.

I was, of course, criticized and ridiculed for reading these books and for searching out therapies and workshops to help me (and us).  Abusers (bullies) rely heavily on control techniques with names like Deflection, Projection, Blame, and Withholding.  They count on their partners to stay in Denial and to be Confused.

There is nothing like an honest testimony to open the floodgates of understanding.   There is  language to describe verbal and emotional abuse.  Patricia Evans' books do a good job of giving partners of abusers the language necessarily to understand that their marriages are NOT normal.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How to read this blog, and a few other thoughts.

This blog was written sequentially over the last two years but it posts with the most recent entry first.  It occurred to me that although I'm grateful for you to dive in at any point, it's a good reminder to say that the earlier posts here will show the progress of my thinking (discovery) and of the research I've done.

Since my divorce was final six months or so ago I have posted less often.  I've been floating about and trying out life on my own. One thing that I have noticed is my awareness of my "critical voice".  You know the expression "if you lie down with dogs you come up with fleas"?  That's what I think of when I hear my critical voice.  Living with an abusive and critical partner of many years I now struggle to understand that voice that judges others and judges mySELF as well.

For now I'm glad to have the awareness even though I'm working on the details of whose voice it is, mine or his.  My hope is that I reduce that voice to a very low rumble that is barely heard above the empathetic vibration of my life.  I am triggered every so often also by events that remind me of my earlier self, the one who spent so much time enmeshed and preoccupied with the mind of her abuser. (which by the way leads to the perpetuation of abuse!)  I hope to identify them  earlier and cause less chaos in my interactions with others.

 I have started reading Embracing Our Selves, by Hal Stone and Sidra Stone.  Perhaps I will gain some insight there that I can share with you.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One Billion Rising

Happy Valentines Day

Better than Flowers or chocolate or Gems is the reality that the oppression of women through violence and abuse is getting the attention it deserves in our time.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I found myself having conversations about honesty, about sharing the truth and just whom you can safely share it with.  In some moments I distrust my own heart.  My thoughts are conflicted.  It seems I will forever be self judging.  I may never get it right.

 I want to reduce the amount of judgement I bring into my life.  I judge others by claiming that they judge (me)?  It's all too weird.  Maybe that's why we all love little children so much.  They are not yet conflicted.  Their needs are pretty straight forward and they haven't succumb to double think, double talk.  They are learning to manipulate, but mostly out of the need to survive.

My fear is that I manipulate to survive as well.  But it is the survival of Ego, far from the realm of basic need.  The survival of my self view ( that I am good ) is critical to me.  What I say is designed in part to keep me on this "good " side.  I want to just listen, be present, and stop using conversations to validate my "goodness".

There were a few conversations about "pausing", I tried to listen, but I'm pretty large.  I want more humility and less judgement in my life.  How am I ever going to learn this?  Do you ever want to rewind?  Tomorrow is a chance to try it over again and do better.

The Pain Stops

The Pain Stops: when you stop looking at the person you love as the person that you love, and you begin to see them, not as a partner, a lover, or a best friend, but as a human being with the strengths and weaknesses and even the core of a child.
The Pain Stops: when you begin to accept that what you would do in a circumstance is not what they would do, and that no matter how much you try, they have to learn their own lessons, and they have to touch the stove when it's hot, just as you did, to learn that it is much better when it is cool.
The Pain Stops: when your longing for them gets slowly replaced by a desire to get away, when making love to them no longer makes you feel cherished, when you find yourself tired of waiting for the moments where the good will truly outweigh the bad, and when at the end of the day you can't count on their arms for comfort.
The Pain Stops: when you start to look inward and decide whether their presence is a gift or a curse, and whether when you need them, they cause more heartache than bliss.
The Pain Stops: when you realize that you deserve more than they offer and stop blaming them for being less than you wish. When the smile of a stranger seems more inviting and kind, and you remember what it is like to feel beautiful, and you remember how long it has been since your lover whispered something in your ear that only the two of you would know.
The Pain Stops: when you forgive them for their faults and forgive yourself for staying so long. When you know that you tried harder than you ever tried before, and you know in your heart that love should not be so much work.
The Pain Stops: when you start to look in the mirror and like who you see, and know that leaving them or losing them is no reflection of your beauty or your worth.
The Pain Stops: when the promise of a new tomorrow is just enough to start replacing the emptiness in your heart, and you start dreaming again of who you used to be and who you will become.
The Pain Stops: when you say goodbye to what never really was, and accept that somewhere in the fog you may or may not have been loved back. And you promise yourself never again to lay in arms that don't know how to cherish the kindness in your heart.
The Pain Stops: when you are ready.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Leave it to Bob Dylan

Erich Fromm, The Objects of Love

"Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation  of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one "object" of love. If a person only loves one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism."

I have begun reading, or re-reading, Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving. I know I studied his writing in college but to read it again forty years later is another task altogether.  With some luck we all will have a life long enough to find some understanding about subjects When picturing love most of us see a corny image of entwined lovers, that's what appeared when I googled it and that's what we are sold in our culture.
"In contrast to the symbiotic union, mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality.  Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men , which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity.  In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Art of Loving

"Love is primarily giving, not receiving. Giving is the highest expression of potency. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness."

Erich Fromm

I am reflecting after a day of Thanksgiving, that life is complex and all the more reason to acknowledge the simplicity of giving thanks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Forward, Without Fear

It's been nearly three months since I stepped out of my long marriage and into my own skin.  I've done a few nice things for myself, moved some furniture, re-vamped my closets, cut my hair differently and did some work on my house.  It all feels so easy. It's remarkable how these simple things can make me feel more like myself.  Today I arranged flowers in preparation for Thanksgiving.

My depression has lifted and I'm able to confidently stop taking anti-depressant medication.  This is something I was using as a support and it's wonderful to let go, to move forward.  I feel like I'm repairing a favorite car which had been neglected. Funny analogy, but what the heck.

I'm still active on several support forums.  I see my "old" self in many of the women who are struggling to understand and find a path in difficult partnerships.  Sometimes I am triggered by harmless images of women, mostly nudes.  Sometimes I am still triggered by just seeing young girls.  They live in a dangerous world where they are objectified before they even have a clue.  That bothers me and sometimes those thoughts and images follow me into my sleep.  I got irritated watching a rehab TV program the other night. It's too hard to feel that kind of empathy just yet.

All in all I am looking forward to a day of Thanksgiving.  So much has fallen back into the place where it belongs.  I'm settling in and letting this softer current take me along.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How It Feels To Move Forward

It's been two weeks since I re-claimed my life, legally.  It's been more than a few years since I started to move forward without capitulating to the false comfort of my life.  It feels pretty darn good to get to this first step out of the past.  So many things that I feared were not true.  You could say I was afraid of the "boogie man" and that I had a partner who like to remind me of it!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


maya angelou

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.  In fact, it may be necessary to ensounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it."

Maya Angelou

I watched my father in the face of defeat.  I watched my father in the face of success.  He was a man with an unusually driving force in response to whatever he faced. He lived a large and complicated life here on earth which sadly ended in tragedy. My father believed as Scott Peck does, that life is struggle. So he treated his defeats and successes with equal fortitude, neither resting to celebrate or fall apart.  He was heroic.  He was a philosopher and a lover of poetry, and a captain of industry.

When I have felt defeated I think of him and wish for his dogged acceptance of life's trials.  He was different from most of us and not like you would have expected given his accomplishments. My father modeled for me persistence in his tasks and a genuine empathy for his fellow man.  I miss him and mourn him tonight.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Moving forward
on this New Street
starting Over
with everything I Need,

for the First Time.