How Looking Back Helped Me Move Forward

I took a chance on getting reacquainted with someone I considered a friend in college. I called him my “Campus Cousin” back in the good old days, and we spent a great deal of time together after classes and on weekends during my Freshman and Sophomore year of college. When he reached out to me on Facebook, I wasn’t sure I was ready to let him back into my life. Things had not ended well between us. Experience has taught me that usually the same issues that ended things once will end things again. But, it was more than 20 years in the past, and I thought there might be a chance he had changed for the better.

It started out well enough. He would text and call me daily, send links to videos via email, and generally engage in a lot of reminiscing about all that was good and fun about the times we shared back in college. I felt like a young girl again, and I enjoyed all the attention being lavished on me. He said that he didn’t remember what had caused the rift between us in the first place. When I explained that he’d abandoned me and broken his promise to me, he asked how he could make it right. I told him I’d forgiven him a long time ago for my own sake, and that he just needed to treat me with kindness and respect moving forward.

I started developing romantic feelings toward him, as he would flirt and flatter me almost incessantly. My inner alarm bells started going off as I realized that he was using our prior relationship to be too familiar with me. I pulled him up short several times, and threatened to end our communication if he didn’t stop the sexual innuendo and flirting when he had no intention of a relationship with me. I felt that he didn’t like me setting limits, which was cause for concern. He also started taking little digs at my self-confidence and my decision-making process. He told me it was time for me to return to my maiden name, for example. I explained that it is time-consuming and does have costs involved. I told him I’d consider it, but he repeatedly brought it up until it was no longer amusing to me.

The last straw came fairly quickly (28 days, exactly). After hours a day each day talking on the phone, and having made plans to meet within a month, I tried to schedule a concrete meeting date. He had already squashed my plans for a quick day trip a couple weeks before, yet I was still surprised when he said that he wasn’t ready for me to come see him, and it didn’t matter to him if we ever met up. I felt gut-punched. I told him that since he lived about 2 hours away, it made no sense to me that we would spend so much time together on the phone, and not spend time together in person. I explained that I had flown out to see a female friend in Seattle, and driven regularly to see a friend in Alabama, so it was no trouble to me. He responded by telling me he’d been friends with someone ONLINE for over 14 years, and they had yet to meet in person. I told him that would not work for me. He ended the phone call amicably, and promised to call the next day.

When the next day came without a phone call from him, I wondered if he was okay. I sent a text message, but received no response. I sent an email the next day, and left a voicemail message, thinking perhaps his medical condition had caused an emergency. Still, no response. I decided that I would not chase him, nor beg for a response. I unfriended and blocked him on any shared social media platforms, changed his contact name in my phone to “Douche,” and began trying to figure out what happened. It took about 2 weeks for me to get used to the idea of not talking with him every day, and accept that he was as unreliable now as he had been in the past.

I eventually found reasons to celebrate myself in the outcome of our re-acquaintanceship. I was glad that I stood up for myself during our interactions, including setting limits on how much of my time I gave to him. I had times where I didn’t do a great job of managing time, but I learned from the experience. I was glad I didn’t allow sexual feelings to grow, and that I stopped him from being too familiar and sexual with me. I realized in hindsight that he was trying to control me, but I didn’t fall into a dependent role as I might have in the past. Huzzah!

About 4 months later, he called me. I rejected the phone call, which sent him to voicemail. His message: I’m not satisfied with the way things ended between us. Give me a call.

Boy, bye!

 Blast from the Past

Advertisements

The Weight of Things Left Unsaid

I relocated, making a move that I thought would make me happy. Instead, I find myself depressed. My scale says I have gained almost thirty pounds in less than a year. Once again, I find myself eating the words I want to say.

Since the move I have been laid off, and recently let go for a third time, after having done work that is so beneath my education and experience it embarrasses me. And yet, like a good little soldier, I picked up my purse and marched out the door as the people who let me go smiled at me. There is a muscle in my back that has remained tight for at least two years now. It tightened more as they looked at me with eyes that held a question – why were you here?

The temp agency representative was apologetic. “They gave you great, glowing reviews! If you’d like, I’ll submit your resume for another position we have open.” Then she sent an email: ‘In case they ask, why did you leave education?’ And the muscle tightened yet again.

I eat, instead of answering the question. Not stereotypical junk food (no Chinese take out, pizza, burgers and fries, or milkshakes), and not in the quantities one sees on shows like My 600 Pound Life, but still more than I need to live. I sit with my laptop, looking at customer service jobs offering terrible pay and horrible hours, and feel even more depressed. I look around the cramped one bedroom I share with my daughter, and the muscle that already is too tight, knots further.

I am in pain constantly, from my protesting feet, ankles, knees, back, and shoulders. My body cannot carry this weight for long. But how can I say what I truly wish to say without hurting my daughter? Without hurting my image of myself?

I don’t want to be alone, but I don’t like living with my daughter. I need my own space, but can’t afford to move. Moving out or moving away are not options on customer service wages. My daughter suggested I go back to education, but I’ve been out of that field for several years. Do I still have what it takes? Can I force this body to push through the pain and be on my feet for 7 hours a day? Can I reach this generation of children, and help them learn? Can I move out, and still be a part of my daughter’s life? Do I have the courage to fight for me, and start over AGAIN?

I don’t know. But this morning, I exercised for 15 minutes, then started typing here. I held an executive meeting with myself, and decided that I’m worth fighting for, even if I’m not as perfect as I have tried to be. I may be down, but I’m not out. Today is as good a day as any to turn the page and start a new chapter.

Time to speak up! And lay aside the weight.

 

Gifts She Never Gave Me

When I was an infant, I spent a lot of time alone. I don’t know exactly how old I was, but at some point before my first birthday, the female parental unit decided she would leave me alone in my crib each day while she went to work. She told me during childhood that her decision was based on a desire to spare me possible abuse at a public daycare. She said that she left bottles for me in the crib, and I was smart enough to feed myself.

As an adult who has raised a lovely daughter to adulthood, I see the abusive foolishness of what the female parental unit did. I remember being alone in my crib, watching PBS.  I know her decision meant I spent hours in my own filth, with no one present to change my diaper. It meant I didn’t receive attention or affection for hours on end. No one talked with me, played with me, read to me, or sang with me. When I cried, no one came to soothe me, tend to me, or show me that I mattered.

I happened to scroll past a post on my Facebook feed about the effects of childhood stress, and I started thinking: Would a lack of connection produce stress? Scientific American’s 2010 article How Important Is Physical Contact with Your Infant? answered my question best.

“Babies get used to the one person that’s most familiar, so if you’re with a depressed mother who has low responsiveness, those babies will be most responsive to those who are least responsive, so they’re perpetuating a risk factor for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with the baby; they’re just responding to what they’re experiencing.”

For years, I would work hard to maintain relationships with people who took me for granted. I would not let go, no matter how much pain they caused me. I would just try harder to please them, to make them love me. Now it all makes sense. The female parental unit taught me that I don’t matter by leaving me alone. So, when someone ignored me and provided inconsistent support and affection, it felt just right.

In relationships with men, I would have a difficult time being close physically without quickly becoming sexually involved. At any opportunity, I remember spending hours just hugging and kissing on my boyfriend in high school, only avoiding sex because I was deathly afraid of the consequences from the female parental unit if I became pregnant. I just wanted to be held, and those times when I was unable to experience his physical touch felt like I would die. Even if I were angry with him, I would push my feelings down, avoiding arguments to keep him close. I remember feeling like I was only alive when I was in his presence. It was dangerous, heady stuff that I had no way of understanding then.  According to The Importance of Touch in Development, “…a kiss may just be a kiss, a sigh may just be a sigh, but a touch can change your life (or at least your nervous system)!”

On this day when people normally exchange gifts, I am struck with the realization that I’m an adult who has experienced serious skin hunger all my life. I didn’t get reassurance of my importance in infancy; didn’t experience closeness with a parent or caregiver. I have struggled in relationships with others because of the gifts the female parental unit didn’t give me. I am no longer a helpless infant, or an abused and isolated child, however. I can work to develop healthy relationships with others, and learn to get my need for physical contact met in beneficial ways, without sacrificing my voice and sense of self. I grieve for my younger self, who was so starved for affection that she allowed herself to be used sexually. I forgive myself for all the times I silenced my voice just to have one more kiss.

The best gift I can give myself is to accept me, flaws and all, and love me for the survivor I am, and the woman I am becoming.

Read more

Blast from the Past

Oh, Facebook! How you bring people together (or help tear them apart)!

screenshot-2017-01-27-at-6-28-48-pm-edited

I have a Facebook page, with privacy settings that make it difficult for anyone who is not already on my Facebook friends’ list to find me. Facebook decided at some point that this would not be good for people who might really want to be found, so the Facebook gurus created the option of a “message request.” I normally ignore message requests, but with the new year rolling in, I decided to see what was there before deleting and moving on with my life. Welp, there was a message request from someone who knew a lot about me.. A LOT. Someone I’d been very close to back when I was a PYT in college.

 

He sent his message on Christmas Day. I wondered if he was really who he’d said he was in the message. He gave quite a few details that only someone very close to me could have known. In hindsight, my doubts seemed a bit silly, but life has made me a less trusting and more suspicious. I really thought about the date of his message, wondering what prompted him to make the attempt to get in touch on a day when most are making merry with friends and family. I didn’t delete the request, but I didn’t immediately reply. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go back down memory lane. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that most good memories I had about college involved him. So, I responded to the message. And two days ago, I called him.

 

I am so thrilled, and a bit worried, that we don’t seem to have missed a beat. He still makes me laugh loud and long. He still gives me food for thought. I have enjoyed every moment of our conversations. I am being mindful of my tendency to idealize, which has helped me put limits on how much we communicate.  Still, I have decided to go with the flow, and hope for the best.

Perspective

When I went No Contact a few years ago, I thought I was done dealing with manipulative, abusive women. I was wrong. I have encountered several women who have sent me down the rabbit hole and made me feel I am a child again, dealing with an irrational, tyrannical female parent. With each encounter, I have had to fight through feeling paralyzed with fear, followed by hurt, anger, then apathy.

In the most recent encounter, I thought I was doing quite well, until the witch tried to turn an entire team against me in an effort to get me fired. I felt fear twisting in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t understand why she would want me to lose my job. Once the anger set in, I was ready to take her on and annihilate her. In the end, I let it go, because she is just a manipulative middle-aged woman looking to make herself feel important.

It dawned on me last night that each time I come across one of these women, I am reliving my relationship with the parental unit. I was terrified of the parental unit for much of my life. There were times I prayed to God that she wouldn’t come home from work, because the yelling and physical abuse were so unbearable. As a young woman, I was hurt when I realized that all she ever did was compare herself to me, finding herself superior by either diminishing my accomplishments or taking credit for them. After divorcing my ex, I became angry when I realized she had no empathy for me in my efforts to rebuild my life. Finally, I decided a healthy relationship with her wasn’t possible, and I cut her out of my life.

I hope the next time I run across a calculating, small-minded woman, I will really see her. Not as the abusive parent screaming and towering over me with a belt, but as a creature of no consequence to be ignored.

It’s all about perspective.

 

Stepping into a New Season

Today has been filled with sunshine and balmy breezes, which is what makes this time of year my favorite. I love that there isn’t a ton of pollen in the air, the bugs are starting to disappear, and I can be out and about without feeling like I’m melting from the sun’s fervent heat. It’s the time when people the world over look forward to harvest – to getting something back for all the hard work put in during the seasons before.

Just as the seasons are changing outside, I feel myself changing inside. This new season of my life is when I get to reap the benefits of all I’ve endured in the past. Figuring out who I am, and how to be the woman God has called me to be has been a huge challenge. In spite (or because) of all I’ve been through, I’m now wiser, kinder, and stronger than before. I’ve learned that the tears my female parent mocked are not a sign of weakness. I know that God has kept me and strengthened me all along my life’s journey. I am able to provide guidance and support to others who are struggling because I’ve been through so much, and have learned from every painful experience.

My pastor said in a recent sermon that today’s wisdom comes from yesterday’s foolishness. I certainly made my share of poor decisions in the past, and suffered the consequences. I know as long as I’m living I’ll have more mistakes to make. Still, I expect the mistakes to happen less often, with less damaging results. My life isn’t perfect now, but it’s so much better than it was 10 years ago. I like the person I’m growing to be, and I’m learning to treat me with love and respect.

In this new season, I look forward to better health, better relationships, and a deeper understanding and acceptance of myself. I have had some counseling, and I plan to pursue further counseling to help me as I continue working through my past so I can enjoy my present, and plan for my future. I am not sure of what the future may bring, but I trust that God will continue to see me through. I believe life will continue to get better from here.

(Minor) Break in No Contact

Don’t freak out! I haven’t had some relapse. Let me ‘splain.. So, before I separated from the wombed one, I co-signed on a car so she could have something reliable to drive. I know, I know… the financial ties that bind. I didn’t think anything of it because her name was on the lien along with mine. My 25-year-old daughter and the parental unit keep in touch with each other, and that is how the one who shall not be named managed to get her hooks in me one last time.

My daughter came to me about 9 months ago and told me that the wombed one was concerned that once she paid off her car note, I was going to take the car because my name is on the title. She told my daughter that I was going to receive the title in the mail, and then I’d have the rights to the car. I told my daughter that is ridiculous, since the bill for payment of the lien is sent to her grandmother’s address each month. Coincidentally, my eleven year old ride or die vehicle gave up the ghost, and I found myself in the market for a “new” used vehicle. My daughter was with me during my dealership tour, and learned that there was about $3000 still owing on the wombed one’s car. My girl became very upset because her grandmother had led her to believe the balance on the car was more like $10,000. She said that she was done with listening to anything her grandmother said about the car/the car note from that point onward.

Fast forward to three weeks ago, when my daughter let me know that her grandmother had been calling and texting almost daily about the title to the car that had magically been delivered to the correct address. The wombed one wanted me to sign the car over to her. Again, I was prepared to dismiss it as foolishness, but my daughter was feeling harassed, and asked me to let her grandmother give her the paperwork, and I could sign it without having to see the parental unit at all. Seemed like a reasonable plan, right? Ha! (that’s me laughing because clearly I still have much to learn).

The wombed one kept missing her drop off appointments with my daughter for this very important paperwork. I figured it was just the usual disordered shenanigans, and started making light of the whole thing aka mistake numero dos. My daughter went out of town, and THAT is when the wombed one had the time and wanted to get everything taken care of. So, my daughter had to coordinate a meet up between her grandmother and mother, all from another state. To her credit, she handled things admirably (yes, I’m a proud mama!). I suggested a pharmacy as a neutral meeting place. The parental unit countered by suggesting a grocery store (right across the street from the pharmacy, might I add). I let the wombed one have it, and agreed to both the place and time she said would work for her, which my daughter then communicated to her grandmother.

On the big day, I arrived early, and saw this older woman standing outside the grocery store looking both concerned and expectant. I recognized her almost immediately, but there was a minute part of a second where I was thinking, “Where do I know that lady from?” I waved, and tried to park, but she came over to my car to explain the situation and hand me paperwork. I took the papers, and told her to stand out of the way of traffic while I parked. I felt like I was dealing with a child. It brought up so many old feelings of being parentified; expected to make things right for her because it’s hard. I started to analyze and problem solve, as I’d done for so long before going No Contact, but stopped myself. I filled out the paperwork from the Department of Motor Vehicles that would allow hers to be the only name on her car’s title, and took it to her. She seemed very grateful. I told her I would let my daughter know she’d said hello. I then walked away, back to my car.

I thought I would feel more, but I didn’t. I thought I’d want to talk with her, spend time with her, but I didn’t. I thought I’d feel sorry for her, getting older and still struggling to manage life, but I didn’t. My daughter and I talked on the phone after the signing of the treaty, but we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about my interaction with the parental unit. It almost felt normal to not make a big deal out of it. And for me, that’s progress.

Golden Child or Scapegoat Part 6

Contact from the husband and contact with the female parental unit began slowly. A phone call every few days from the wombed one, or an email from the husband gradually became almost daily contact with each of them. I decided to use the opened lines of communication with the husband to get divorce proceedings started. I used a website service to generate divorce papers, and agreed to meet with the husband for the sole purpose of having him sign the papers.

We agreed on a neutral location, and I brought my daughter with me as back up (just in case 911 would be needed). When the husband saw me, he told me how glad he was to see me, how good I looked, yada yada yada. I sat with him at a table in the mall food court, and allowed him to speak his peace. When he was done, I slid the divorce paperwork over to him, and told him that all I asked was that he get the papers signed and notarized so I could move on with my life. He replied that he did not want to get a divorce. I found this to be the most ridiculous thing in the world! I reminded him that he had been living with another woman most of the time we had been apart, and to my knowledge was still living with her. I told him it was time he made an honest woman out of her, and that I was getting out of their way. He finally agreed to sign and get the paperwork notarized. Freedom was on the horizon.. or so I thought.

Meanwhile, the female parental unit asked for some money. I didn’t have any money to give her. The husband, however, offered to pay my daughter’s senior class dues. He said he wanted to be a good husband now to make up for all the hell he’d put me through. I took the money, and gave most of it to the wombed one. She began visiting my apartment at that point, at least once a week. I was focusing on my M. Ed. and was no longer working. I lived off school loans and my retirement money that I’d cashed in. Both the husband and the female parental unit were impressed by the fact that I was able to maintain my household without a job. They each came up with ways to separate me from my savings.

The husband began a love-bombing crusade that eventually swept me off my feet. In less than a year, he had moved in to my apartment and had agreed to pay half the bills. I was not happy about the arrangement, but he would not allow for anything else. He told me that it had worked for him and the other woman, and it would work for us. He said we would not have any shared bank accounts, and all the bills would remain in my name. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, but let me not get ahead of myself.

The wombed one had financial crisis after financial crisis, and I was the only one who could help her. She had a harder time getting back into my good graces, so she decided to get married to someone she’d known just a few months. My husband, my daughter and I attended the wedding. It was a small, simple wedding. Soon after the wedding, the female parental unit began coming by more frequently, ravenously hungry and exhausted. She was clearly getting quite thin. When I asked her what was going on, she said she and her husband were having financial troubles. Queue the superhero music! Superdaughter to the rescue! I began cooking extra so she would have food to take home with her. Sometimes I’d take her out to a buffet to eat. I still would not give her money, but I would buy things she wanted or help with groceries. What is that saying about a fool and their money?

On the home-front, life with the husband became a living nightmare. He wouldn’t come home after work. He wouldn’t call or text. He wouldn’t pay bills on time. He didn’t want to have sex with me, but would “remember” us having sex recently. I realized that he was cheating on me, and this time I didn’t launch a full scale investigation to prove it. I just knew. He began threatening to body slam me, or spray me with chemical agent (used on inmates) or put additives in my food to make me gain weight. He refused to be held accountable for his actions, and kept making excuses for why he needed to spend money he didn’t have and why he couldn’t pay bills. It dawned on me that his financial irresponsibility was draining my savings faster than I had planned. At the rate things were going, I was going to be broke in a few months. 

I had gone to court regarding the divorce papers many months before, and the judge had refused to grant the divorce, claiming that the paperwork was incorrect and scolding me for using a website instead of getting a lawyer. I felt stuck with a man who didn’t love me, and who couldn’t be a husband to me or anyone else. The last straw for me came when he told me that he was going to nursing school, and that I would need to support him in his education the same way he’d supported me. Mindeffery, anyone? I let him know that if he meant he was going to save up and pay half the bills (more often all the bills) as I’d been doing, then certainly, I’d support him. I had no intention of supporting him while he went to school and screwed around, however. I prayed earnestly for wisdom.

I confided in the wombed one that things were not going well in the marriage. She confided in me that things were not going well in her marriage, either. Her husband was a crackhead. She knew it when she married him, but claimed to not know what that meant. She said he seemed to be normal, so she didn’t think he used drugs. Whatever. I didn’t have the mental energy for her problem. I was trying to get my own straightened out.

I decided to write a letter to the husband to get my thoughts sorted out. In the letter, I outlined my major reasons for no longer wanting to be with the man. I also outlined the reasons it seemed clear to me that he no longer wanted to be with me. When he read the letter, he seemed surprised. He told me that we both were at fault for the problems in the marriage. I asked him to explain. He said that I did not support him. I pointed out all the times I’d missed sleep to help him with his college papers, agreed to him not paying bills so he could spend money on his children, and agreed to him spending money on things he wanted that had nothing to do with me or my interests. The “conversation” lasted for many hours, and by 4 a.m., I was curled up in the fetal position on the couch, not knowing what I thought anymore. He then took me to bed and proceeded to have sex with me. Later on that day, he left for an out of town trip he’d planned without me, and told me he’d be back on Father’s Day. 

When he left, I was more determined than ever that it was over between us. I went looking for a card on Father’s Day evening. I really didn’t want to buy him a card. He’d told me if we couldn’t agree on how to spend a dime, he didn’t want to have a child with me. He now had nine children with 6 different women. When daughter had been away at college, he refused to chip in to help with her tuition. The cards that were left on the shelves of the shops I went into were either over the top romantic or very generic. I decided not to buy him a card. I wasn’t going to play pretend to spare his feelings. It was the best decision I ever made.

He arrived home, very excited about Father’s Day. He told me about what his children and their mothers had done for him, then asked me what I’d gotten him. I told him I didn’t buy him anything. He immediately became angry. He told me he’d rushed home expecting that his WIFE would have something for him for Father’s Day. He said one of the children’s mothers was planning to buy him an expensive smartphone, and I should be ashamed that she was getting something for him and I wasn’t. I told him that I didn’t want to be married to him anymore. He EXPLODED. He knocked my pretty things off my dresser, and started coming at me. I picked up the phone to dial 911, but he pulled the phone out of the wall. I prayed silently as he stood over me, huffing and puffing. I said quietly, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” He left soon afterward. I called the wombed one and asked her to stay with me so I wouldn’t be alone if he came back. She arrived about an hour after I called. She saw the damage he’d done, and told me that if he wasn’t going to leave, I could come live with her. We made plans that night, but I still had difficulty falling asleep.

Within weeks, I was packed and out of the apartment. I let the husband know that the utilities would be turned off by July 15th, and he needed to be out by then. What I couldn’t put in storage, or fit in the wombed one’s apartment, I gave away. I went away to Seattle for my birthday, and while I was away, I received a strange phone call from the husband. He basically said that my daughter was accusing him of sexually abusing her, but that it wasn’t true. I told him that I was on vacation, and couldn’t talk to him. I hung up on him, my mind reeling. I knew him to be a liar about things important or insignificant. If he said my daughter was lying, I did not believe him.

I began remembering incidents that seemed odd, that felt “off.” And just like I knew he’d been cheating on me, I knew he’d been raping my daughter. I felt so angry, so helpless, so STUPID. How could it have happened? I never left her alone with him when she was younger. How could it have happened and I not know? Suddenly, so many things made sense. I had to acknowledge that there was a part of me that always felt on edge if there was the chance that she would be alone with the husband. I could never put my finger on anything, but the uneasiness was always there. Like Scarlett, I told myself, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

Now We Are 43

I have been away from this blog for some time (almost a year, I think). I had started working on my memoirs, and found that my childhood held some really dark secrets that took a great deal of time to process. I had to stop looking at the past for a while, as it was threatening to overwhelm my present. There are still gaps in my memories, but I have made peace with that. Some things are too painful to remember. I do plan to complete the Golden Child or Scapegoat entries, as those are quite cathartic for me, and may help others who are dealing with a similar situation with a disordered parent.

I recently celebrated my 43rd birthday. It was a pretty good birthday – I spent it doing whatever I pleased. I had my daughter, friends and church family to help me celebrate. I’ve experienced a great deal of growth and recovery in the past year. I finally feel like a grown up, although there are still things that are challenging for me. I bought myself two birthday outfits and decorated my apartment. It’s still quite sparse, as I’m developing my own sense of style when it comes to interior design. I think after growing up in spaces that were overwhelmed with knick knacks, plants and oversized furniture (the wombed one’s style), I appreciate simplicity.

I’ve found that I not only have had to recover emotionally, but physically and financially as well. I didn’t realize how much havoc years of toxic stress wreaks on your system. For a time, I had to get used to having no drama. It felt strange to no longer be rescuing the wombed one from one disaster or another. It was uncomfortable for a time not caretaking her feelings. I eventually embraced the peace and quiet, then my daughter moved in with me. THAT was challenging! She has since moved into her own place, and I am back to being on my own, which is delightful.

For now, I’m working on loving myself. I’ve been changing my lifestyle and have lost over 30 pounds so far. I think I will someday look back at this version of me, and be happy because she is not depressed and hopeless. I don’t like what happened to me over the course of my life, but it has made me someone that I like very much. I am not perfect, and I am okay with that.

Sometimes I think that it would be nice to have someone to share my life, a good man with whom I could grow old. I don’t think I’m ready for that just yet, but it’s nice to think of it sometimes. The thought makes me smile because there was a time when I didn’t think there were any good men around. I know better, now. I no longer see a relationship as a way for me to be saved from myself. I see a relationship as rewarding work, and I think that when the time comes, I will have a lot of good things to bring to the table.

Overall, 43 feels mighty fine.. mighty fine, indeed!

 

Golden Child or Scapegoat Part 5

Prayer truly changes things. As my daughter and I slowly began packing to leave our pretty little house in the suburbs, it became clear that the female parental unit was not keen on helping with the move, in spite her assertions that she would do whatever it took to secure new housing before we were turned out into the streets. We were about two weeks away from moving day when she decided she needed new glasses. It was an ill-timed expense, and I was not about to pitch in any cash for it. She couldn’t wait any longer for new glasses, she said. So, I suggested a website where she could purchase her glasses for $39. I had purchased glasses for my daughter on the same site, and found them to have great quality and reasonable prices. The wombed one scoffed at my suggestion. Her eyes needed special glasses, and no website could supply all her needs. I explained to her that specialty requests did cost more, but it would still be less expensive to buy the glasses online than at a local eyeglass retailer. She exploded in a rage! She let me know that I was talking down to her, and she was tired of it. She felt that she should get her own place. *gasp* I thought to myself, “It can’t be this easy? Is she really going to insist on living on her own over some glasses?” I told her that it was probably for the best that she get her own place. I let my daughter know that evening that we would be moving without her grandmother.

Over the next few days there was an uneasy silence as we packed, and she stewed. She had backed herself into a corner, and couldn’t figure out how to get out of it. The wombed one had no intention of getting her own place and paying all her own bills. She tried to change my mind, saying that she had no where to go. I told her that I was sure that the former friend/scam artist would be glad to give her a place to stay. She replied that she didn’t like being at the former friend’s house. I did my best to refrain from laughing. I reminded her that she spent more time there than she did in my home, so she should be quite comfortable. Then the female parental unit said she didn’t know what to do with all her things. I let her know that I would be selling what I could and putting other things in storage, and suggested she do the same. The look on her face was priceless. She began stealing my property: clothes, work supplies, photo albums, etc. I decided to let it all go. I didn’t ask for anything back. I just focused on getting away from her. I rented a huge U Haul truck and moved out of my house in July of 2007. I tried to do a short sale of the house, but she and the former friend interfered with that process, dirtying the house and leaving feces in the toilets after the water had been shut off. The bank foreclosed on the house in October of 2007. I did not speak to the female parental unit again for almost 2 years. Oddly enough, it was my husband that brought us back together.

I was practicing No Contact quite successfully with both the female parental unit and my estranged husband. One day, I received a message at work to call my husband. The message said it was very important that I call. I hoped that he wanted to finally file for divorce, so I called. He told me that the wombed one was in dire financial straits because the former friend had left her holding the bag for 4 mortgages. The business she had been in with the former friend allowed the friend and her husband to use the wombed one’s identity to establish credit and buy houses. They gave the female parental unit a portion of the money from the equity line of credit on each house, but they never paid the mortgages. Eventually, they amassed about a quarter of a million dollars, but the wombed one only received about $10,000 of it. When the banks started foreclosure proceedings, she learned that her credit was ruined. She was afraid that she would end up in jail. She wanted help, and had enlisted my husband to help her get in touch with me. He gave me her number and asked me to call her. I made the mistake of doing as he’d asked, which led to my further demise…