Trigger Warning


TRIGGER WARNING: Many of my posts contain triggers as I fearlessly inventory my emotions.
Some of these are brutally honest as I veer from negative to positive.




Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lonely


My boys have been in another state for summer visitation with their Dad since the beginning of the month.  I’ve been trying to stay busy.  I signed up for that dance class I’ve always wanted to take.  I went to the gym with my daughter and she signed me up for a two-week free pass so I’ve headed over there every day.  I went to visit an older sister in the ward.  I helped someone move. I went to brunch with another sister in the ward.   I dragged another sister who is in the same boat as I (kids out of state for visitation) out to the movies.  I’ve worked extra hours.  I’ve looked for opportunities to serve so that I’m not stuck in my mind. 

But still last night as I was getting ready for bed in my empty house,  I was hit by a wave of loneliness.  

Loneliness sucks.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Envious


I confess I succumbed to envy yesterday.  My friends were talking about the wonderful things their husband do and when they get together as couples and other fun married stuff.  I felt left out.  I wanted what they had!

Then I chided myself for being envious and ungrateful--because I could have been born in the dark ages.  You know--when women didn’t have any rights, couldn’t read, labored day and night to survive—and that was if they even survived.  1/3 if children didn’t make it past 5 years old.

I'M ALIVE!!

And not only that:  I’M LIVING!!!

I have experienced so much. I have children.  My children are experiencing life and I get to be part of their experience. 

I’ve TRAVELED and seen some beautiful sights.  I WENT ON A CRUISE.   I stood in a small unpopulated Island in the Caribbean as the sun set. I’ve been to Hawaii, England, Wales, South Padre, Puerto Vallarta, Rocky Point, Southern France, the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Black Forest, the Rhine and its castles, Blenheim Palace, Versailles, the Verdun Gorge, Pompeii, the sea caves on the coast of Portugal, Seville, Barcelona, Cinque Terre, Florence, the Amalfi Coast, Venice, Iceland.  And I’m only 44!!!  The life expectancy for women in the dark ages was 43.6.  I’m just getting started!

I mean come on!!!   I have seen natural beauty and architectural wonders. 

Instead of comparing myself to those around me and thinking I am missing out, I should compare the wonders and blessings I get to experience with the dark ages. I can take a HOT SHOWER.  I have clean water and food and vaccinations and THE INTERNET.  I can go to the dentist. I have access to antibiotics.  I have CONTACTS and can see!  I sing in choirs and play musical instruments and read whatever I want.  I have been to operas and Broadway productions.   I have access to so much knowledge--Including the GOSPEL and all its ordinances and blessings.

I just need the right perspective.   My life is FULL beyond belief. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Concerned

June 2016 I gave up romance novels.

I wrote a post about it sharing how I was inspired to "bury" my habit by the anti-Nephi-Lehies who buried their weapons of war.

Well I haven't read one since.

Oh there have been times I have wanted to.   It was pretty easy to resist though with a simple NO. Lately the urge has been strong.

This means I am feeling the need to medicate something painful.

So I had better figure out what it is, face it, and work through it. Because digging that habit up again would make an awful mess.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Slandered


I just love it when H-er’s lovers feel the need to message me.

Backstory:

He was seeing two women at once and lying to each of them about it.  They found out about each other.  They started talking.  They decided I needed to know about this even though it all happened after our divorce.

Normally I would just ignore it (while shuddering and thinking “I’m just glad it’s not happening to me anymore”).  But they felt the need to tell me all of the things H-er said about me to them.  I don’t know if they are hoping I will join their anger party or if they just want to make me feel bad because it will somehow make them feel better.  Maybe they think I will lash out at H-er and make him miserable so they get to make him miserable vicariously?

But part of their messages included telling me that they knew "all my dirty little secrets".

He went all the way back to 1998 with a little story (and added a twist so that I look horribly evil).

Or about how I was fired from my job at the bank because I stole from them.  Except I didn’t.  It’s a nice spin on the time that I forgot to hit “enter” on a deposit and then at the end of the day when I counted my drawer we spent forever trying to find out where the extra money was supposed to go.

Or the blatant lie:  “you were unwilling to make any accommodations for marriage therapy – just flat out said No, I won’t do it.”  Man, I wish I had all that money back.  Except not really, because I got a lot out of those sessions.

There’s more though.  About my parenting decisions, behavior during the divorce, and that I forced him to do things to assuage my guilt.  I’m not perfect.  There are enough grains of truth in it that it stings a little. The truths are all twisted in just such a way though that I’m feeling quite slandered.

Slander synonyms:

defame (someone's character), blacken someone's name, tell lies about, speak ill/evil of, sully someone's reputation, libelsmearcast aspersions on, spread scandal about, besmirchtarnishtaint

Yeah, that’s how I feel.  And it’s okay.  I don’t have to lash out at anyone in anger to protect myself.  I’ll survive it.  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Objectifed


TRIGGER WARNING

My son started the following conversation in the car this last week:
“Who is the best rapper ever?”
None of us actually really care for rap so it was kind of a benign question.  Or so I thought.

Eminem was discussed. 

Yes.  I personally think he is pretty talented.  He makes words rhyme that shouldn’t rhyme.  And some of his stuff is pretty catchy.  But his lyrics are awful.  And the way he portrays women – particularly his ex wife and his mother are pretty horrible as well.  I mentioned this and of course my son wanted examples because his only exposure is “mom’s spaghetti” which has made the rounds as a meme.  (from Lose Yourself – which is actually a pretty tame song for him all things considered especially if you are listening to the radio edit).  So I needed him to understand that talent doesn’t excuse objectification of women.

There were two songs that I googled the lyrics to and had him review.  One was about his ex-wife and details how he and his daughter are in a car driving to dispose of her body after he killed her.  The other was a collaboration with another artist about their visits to strip clubs where they egg the women on.  (a truly disgusting song).   

I failed.  He made comments like: why is Eminem at fault when the strippers are the one’s doing it for money? It’s not like they are forced to be strippers.  They should just get a different job.  They are just doing their job.

It was a total failure and it ended with me in my room crying because I remembered when my husband used to tell me I had to have sex with him.  “Just do your job you ***** ****” he would say.

 

And my son is still clueless about the objectification of women in music.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Responsible


I STILL HAVE MY SENSE OF HUMOR (because apparently I can actually laugh at this—in a dark way).

Also I am very susceptible to emotional manipulation.

So you know how folktales, fables, and fairy tales were used to pass on moral lessons to children?  Well here is my story to tell your kids at bedtime to “scare” them.

I started dating someone who was very nice and was in many ways different than my first husband in the way he treated me.  It was nice to be desired and admired and treated well.  It was nice having someone fix things at my house, buy me presents, compliment me, help me do dishes, bring me dinner, and treat my kids well.  Basically he made me feel safe.   I went to the temple and felt like I had been put in this man’s path for a reason – specifically to help him. So I accepted his offer of marriage.  Because he didn’t live in the same state he was spending a lot of time traveling to visit me.  He began to push for a quick marriage.  And so the conflict began.

Here’s just a short list of boundaries that I didn’t keep:

He brought a cat with him on one of his visits.   He left it at my house. (He dropped it off on his way out of town while I was at work so it was waiting for me when I got home).  He wasn’t going straight home and couldn’t take the cat with him where he was going without endangering it (leaving it in the heat of the car for long hours at a time).

He had some paperwork that he needed to go through so he could submit a claim to the military for some benefits he felt he’d been denied.  He asked for my help because it was overwhelming for him.  He said he had some boxes that needed to be sorted so he could get the important documents out.  Every time he tried, he would suffer from PTSD and shut down.  So I said of course I’d help sort paperwork.

He showed up with 17 boxes of paper.  He left the boxes in my garage – unsorted because frankly 17 boxes was a little overwhelming for me too.

He had hurt his back prior to meeting me and it required surgery to remove a piece of bone that was pushing against his spinal cord.  After a hospital stay the VA finally saw him but said they couldn’t do anything for six months.  So he came to see a specialist here and suggested we get married because my insurance would cover it and he wouldn’t have to wait.  He was very concerned that he might be paralyzed if the bone severed his spinal cord.  I felt quite a bit of guilt as he cried about how he was afraid of being paralyzed and how I could save him if only I would marry him.    I managed to come up with another solution which meant we didn’t have to get married so abruptly.  He began to say things like “if you don’t want me…” and I would promptly assure him that I did.

He had a fire up at his property.   He lost a lot of things.  His place was not going to be habitable for the upcoming winter.  He planned to store some things at his son’s here where I live but the son didn’t have room.  So guess where it ended up.  My garage.   Except for the 2nd cat.  That one was now in my house too.

His Bishop and another member of his ward told me that he would come back from seeing me a changed man and how much better he was doing since he met me.  And of course there were more resources for his PTSD and health here with a large VA than in his rural town.

After Thanksgiving, he fled his home because of the weather.  He showed up with a third cat and nowhere to live.  So he was on my couch for the time being and I was hoping no one would notice that I had a man living with me that I wasn’t legally married to.

Eventually he began to say things like:  “If I’m not married by my birthday I’ll just go back to my place and stay until I die.  No one wants me and I’m useless anyway.”


ARE YOU HORRIFIED YET?


Well here I was, with most of his possessions in my garage, three cats, and a homeless VET sleeping on my couch.  Ever heard of FOG?  The three parts of emotional blackmail?  

Fear:  Basically I’m living with a man out of wedlock so I was feeling a little fear about what the church would have to say about that.  Plus I hate conflict.  So there was the fear of conflict if I told him to take his stuff and go.  What if he refused to go? 

Obligation: I’d made promises to him.  That I wouldn’t abandon him because he suffered from depression and PTSD (as his first wife had abandoned him).  And I was supposed to help him.  I’d gotten that impression remember?

Guilt:  He was going to die if I broke it off with him.  

So I grudgingly married him – on the last possible day before his birthday, at the courthouse, with the minimum witnesses, and no fanfare.   And ten minutes later when he handed me his phone to look at our wedding pictures I found porn.   And I wasn’t even looking.

When I immediately told him that it was over there was so much snot and tears and wailing and finally a call from his Bishop asking if I could possibly let him stay until the weather changed because his house out in the country had no water or electricity and was exposed to the elements and if he came back HE WOULD DIE.

Long story short:  I let him stay because I wasn’t so heartless that I could send someone away to die.  But I started saying things like “If you feel like you need to take your life please call someone.  I can call a suicide hotline for you if you would like.”  And every time he said “I’m sorry I ruined your life”  I answered “apology accepted”.  And when he would banish himself to the garage to sleep on the couch and text me “I’ll just leave you alone since I can’t do anything right” I would text back “ok” and just go to bed.  And I got him to a doctor.  And his back is fixed.  And he found a job.   Sadly, I didn’t have to marry him to get him to do all that. I could have done that as a friend.  You know…one with boundaries…

Eventually I did send him away – better than when I found him at least.  And it was painful for everyone.  And I accept responsibility because I had no business dating anyone so soon after my first marriage ended.  And good heavens I need figure out how to say no.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Guarded


I want to share what I’ve learned about human touch.  It can be safe or unsafe.  And that has consequences.  It wasn’t until recently that I realized what some of them were.

I remember the first time I was ever hit by someone I loved. 

One moment I was sitting there on a chair and the next thing I was aware of I was looking down at the floor.  You would expect that I’d be thinking about pain or wondering how I’d gotten there or if there was another blow coming.  But no.  The first thought that went through my mind was “Don’t get blood on the carpet.”  And I picked myself up, cupped my nose, and ran to the bathroom sink. 

Over time as the verbal, physical, and sexual abuse increased I began to guard against human touch.  I didn’t realize how guarded I was until I walked into Sunday School one Sabbath Day and chose to sit next to a sister that I visit taught.  At one point I leaned forward and rested my elbows on my knees and cupped my chin.  For whatever reason, this sister began to scratch my back and just like that I began to sob. 

The genuine warm touch of another with no sexual expectations or intent to harm was almost too much to bear for me. 

Still later I realized that the problem with withdrawing from human touch because it is unsafe is that it doesn’t discriminate.  This means withdrawal from even safe touch….as in I didn’t hug my children. 

I didn’t even recognize that I had withdrawn physically from my children.  Not until my divorce which gave me freedom from this shell of withdrawal.  Not only did I not have to fear and guard against touch (especially his), I didn’t have to feel guilt for denying him.  And I realized I craved touch. 

I also realized that my children must be starved for safe touch.  Suddenly I wanted to hug my children. Of course I was afraid that they were too old and would reject it – teenage boys after all.  But it warmed my heart when they accepted my hugs with open arms.