random thoughts

Sometimes – too often – I feel like my life is some agonizing, never-ending endurance course, with each minute a struggle just to make it through every second.

And I wonder when the struggle ends.  Will I always be like this?  Will I always struggle so much?  Will there ever be a wide, smooth place?

I know everyone has stuff.  Many, many, many have it a whole lot worse than I do.  But sometimes I see people who look like basically their life is pretty good with occasional dips.  I know others who have gone through really rough stuff, but now things are nice for them.  It makes me wonder about my life.

I have a tendency to think that just because something is this way now that it will always be this way.  So I am stuck here in my life with a number of different things that are not what I want them to be.  And I think it will always be this way.

I saw a saying one time that said, nothing lasts forever, not even your troubles.  I used to repeat that to myself to encourage myself that something had to change sometime.

Something did change.

I lost my job.

After three months, I got another job and I’ve been on that job for a couple of weeks now.

I’d like to tell you about it, but I am also all too painfully aware that my blog is no longer a private sanctuary.

That’s another thing I struggle with.  It really helped to be able to pour out my thoughts and feelings on this blog and feel safe here.  Yes, sometimes there was some random critic, but on the whole, it felt good to be able to write what I needed to write, to release what I needed to release.

But I’m not really safe here anymore.

Tonight I needed to write, though.

Something else I struggle with is wanting to be loved.

For so, so, so long I denied that I needed to be loved, that my wants and needs were valid.

I think I’m starting to see that I really do need to be loved, that I do have valid wants and needs.  (I have a really, really good therapist.)

And I struggle with believing that I am lovable, that someone could, would actually love me.

It’s really hard.  It makes me crazy.

Sometimes I can see the good in me, the kindness, the caring, the humor, the empathy, the “cuteness.”  But mostly I just see a blob.  Yep.  Just a blob that no one would care about or be interested in.

I try to tell myself that maybe there is hope, but mostly I really don’t feel hopeful at all. Ever.

I think that is the hardest thing.  Living without hope.

I don’t think living without hope is really living.

I feel like a zombie.  Still walking around, but pretty much dead.

I used to have hope.  I used to hope that I would figure out what was wrong with me so I could make it better so the marriage would be better.

Yes, that is very much codependent thinking.

But I did have hope.

Now I don’t.

No hope.

No love.

Well, my daughters love me and my sisters and brother and sister-in-law and brothers-in-law love me.  That’s true.

But there is not someone to sleep with at night who actually, truly wants to share life.  And wants to care for me.  And will let me love him.

Anyhow…

I guess that’s enough of my random, hopeless thoughts for tonight.

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crazy, stupid fantasies

I have these crazy, stupid fantasies.

Like, one day, I will be free from this … this whatever it is.

Like, one day, someone will actually love me.

I feel so crazy.

But I really don’t want to be crazy.

I want to be loved.

Please don’t tell me that I have to love myself first.

My therapist is helping me with that.

Please don’t tell me that God and Jesus love me.  I know They do. Christ died for me.

I want someone, a real, live, warm, human man, to sleep with at the end of the day and to actually share the ups and downs of life.

Is that too much to ask?

A few days ago, my brother-in-law (my sister’s husband) was being really encouraging.  He told me that I was a wonderful, wonderful woman.  He told me that I was worth loving.

Me.

Worth loving.

Imagine that.

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Helpful Words for the Severe Narcissist

(I did not write this.  It is an excerpt from an article titled, “If You Are the Target of Narcissistic Abuse.” Read the complete article here.)

~by Carrie Barron M.D.

Narcissism can be protective in the sense that you do not feel that badly if you offend another. Narcissism can be pleasantly deceptive. When criticized, you can tell yourself and others, “It is them—not me.” Deflect, project, externalize and feel relieved of the problem. If you manage to convince relevant parties (plus your self) that your offense was justified, non-existent or that you were the victim rather than the perpetrator, you escape responsibility. If you turn your envy into arrogance, you no longer have to feel inferior. In the short run, that works pretty well. In the long run, a trail of deception can lead to trouble. If you are caught and confronted, painful consequences can ensue. Being revealed or to having to deal with the truth is very upsetting for you.

An unpleasant moment might arise if you rage against someone who criticizes or exposes you, but you will probably bounce back quickly. Since your conscience isn’t too troubled, moving on and into social situations with upright shoulders and a smile is no problem. Narcissism feeds self-esteem in that denial covers up (suppresses) limitations so they are not in your face. You do not have to feel weakened by them or make the tiresome effort to change. Inflated self-esteem keeps you psychologically intact, organized and safe. If others are attracted to your strut and charisma, you can breeze through life with a facile ease.

But there is a problem. True narcissism is a defective solution. It is a flawed defense, an unsound shield. Believing that you are better than you are leads to hard falls if you are put to the test. If you are cocksure about your skills you may not take the time to actually develop them. The requisite healthy worry that leads to persistence, attention to detail, stubborn grit and solid ability eludes you. When you claim credit for something you did not do, people pick up on it and it disturbs them. This can compromise your success, as you are not seen as trustworthy.

Charming others in superficial or infrequent encounters is a piece of cake but close or intimate relationships are a problem. If your self-concerns are paramount, there may not be room for anyone else’s. You may destroy important relationships because your lack of empathy, compassion and concern wears people out. Your unwillingness to own up and apologize alienates others and you are seen as someone without integrity. You become tainted, rather than respected, which is troubling for a person who cares deeply about image.

As you do not see dangers as dangerous, you take risks that set you up for payback. Consequences you never expected—loss, abandonment, debt, legal trouble and ultimate loneliness might become your lot and a situation that your high-honed tactics cannot undo. At a certain point you cannot brush it off or continue the ruse.

Therapeutic, spiritual, community, or educational interventions can help you. Start with a self-inventory, achieve insight, break out of the script, say “I’m sorry.” Humility can actually feel good. Enjoy the hope that when you change, some meaningful connections may come your way.

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silence encourages the tormentor

“Whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

~Elie Wiesel

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letter to the Stanford rapist’s father

(I did NOT write this.)

To Brock Turner’s Father, From Another Father

by John Pavlovitz

Dear Mr. Turner,

I’ve read your letter to the judge on behalf of your son Brock, asking for leniency in his rape conviction.

I need you to understand something, and I say this as a father who dearly loves my son as much as you must love yours:

Brock is not the victim here.
His victim is the victim.
She is the wounded one.
He is the damager.

If his life has been “deeply altered” it is because he has horribly altered another human being; because he made a reprehensible choice to take advantage of someone for his own pleasure. This young woman will be dealing with this for far longer than the embarrassingly short six months your son is being penalized. She will endure the unthinkable trauma of his “20 minutes of action” for the duration of her lifetime, and the fact that you seem unaware of this fact is exactly why we have a problem.

This is why young men continue to rape women.
This is why so many men believe that they can do whatever they please to a woman’s body without accountability.
This is the reason so many victims of sexual assault never step forward.
This is why white privilege is real and insidious and usually those with it are oblivious to it.

I understand you trying to humanize your son in your letter; talking to the judge about his favorite snacks and swim practice and about the memories that are sweet for you as his father—but to be honest I don’t give a damn and if his victim was your daughter I’m quite sure you wouldn’t either.

I imagine this young woman had favorite snacks and sports too, and parents who had wonderful plans for her that didn’t include this nightmare.

There is no scenario where your son should be the sympathetic figure here. He is the assailant. He is the rapist. I can’t imagine as a father how gut wrenching such a reality is for you, but it is still true.

Brock has to register as a sex offender because he sexually assaulted an incapacitated young woman. This is why we have such requirements; because one vile act against another human being is one too many, because we don’t get a do-over when we do unspeakable things, because people need to be protected with knowledge of others in their midst who have failed so egregiously at respecting another person’s basic dignity.

The idea that your son has never violated another woman next to a dumpster before isn’t a credit to his character. We don’t get kudos for only raping one person in our lifetime. I don’t believe your son is a monster but he acted like one and that needs to be accounted for. To be sure, this decision is not the sum total of Brock’s life, but it is an important part of the equation and it matters deeply.

And to be clear, Mr. Turner,”alcohol and sexual promiscuity” are not the story here. The story here, is that young men have choices to make and these choices define them, even if those choices are made when temptation is great and opportunity is abundant. In fact, our humanity is most expressed when faced with such things, we choose integrity and decency; when we abstain from doing what is easy but wrong.

We as parents don’t control our children. Most parents understand this. Despite our best efforts to the contrary, they fail and fall and do things we’d never consent to. I certainly hope this is such an occasion, though it is not coming across that way in your letter. It feels like you want more sympathy and goodwill toward your son than you want for the survivor of his crime, and that’s simply not good enough for her or for those young men and women watching.

Here is her story.

You love your son and you should. But love him enough to teach him to own the terrible decisions he’s made, to pay the debt to society as prescribed, and then to find a redemptive path to walk, doing the great work in the world that you say he will.

For now though, as one father to another: help us teach our children to do better—by letting them see us do better.

Note from John: This post went viral, which I am extremely grateful for, but THIS is where we go from here. This is more important than one blog post.

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You took away my worth…

“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice…” 

source: A rape victim delivers powerful message

 

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looking out for myself

This past Friday was my birthday, my fiftieth (wow!) birthday.

I made plans for myself, to do something for me that I wanted to do.

And I didn’t tell my husband.

Naturally, this upset my husband and, of course, there was a backlash.

I was going to write about all of this on my birthday and about how it made me feel.

But then I had a couple of thoughts.

The first one was this: there are many kind, caring, empathetic people in the world who can be concerned and respectful and have adult conversations and close relationships.  I would rather think about those people than about the toxic people.

That being said, I still had to process my thoughts and emotions and my reactions to his responses to having my own plans.  I just didn’t write about them on Friday.

My second thought on Friday was this.

I chose to marry this man.  I was not coerced.  I have stayed here.  I have not left.

I have made choices, so maybe I shouldn’t whine so much.

It’s like if I stood on a train track and did not get out of the way when the train was coming and then blamed the train when I got hit.

I’m not excusing his behavior.  He needs help even if he won’t face it.

But I, too, need help.  Which I am getting.

Because of a childhood trauma (or “incident,” as my therapist calls them), I grew up believing that I don’t matter, that my wants don’t matter, that my needs don’t matter.

I have been co-dependent all my life, making sure that other people were okay, that I didn’t upset other people, that I didn’t do anything that might upset the apple cart.

And I didn’t look out for what I needed.

So when I married, I married someone who could continue that childhood belief for me: that my wants and needs don’t matter.

I found the cartoon below on a website called “A Covert Narcissist’s Wife.”

I was going to publish it in a post titled, “It matters to me…”

But then I thought, no, it hasn’t mattered to me.  Or at least not enough.  I haven’t looked out enough for my wants and needs.  I have let others trample my heart.

At least I am in the process of healing so I can be better at looking out for myself.

And, yes, thank you, I enjoyed my birthday plans very much.

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forgive yourself…

You don't want to see the bad in a relationship with someone you had genuine feelings for ~ even when you know now that their feelings were anything but real. Sociopaths and Narcissists can't love. Count yourself Blessed and Fortunate that you can

(I found this image thanks to “A Covert Narcissist’s Wife.”)

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quote for the day … or the year

“When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you.  The misinformation will seem unfair, but stay above it.  Trust that others will eventually see the truth, just as you did.”

~ as seen on Facebook

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I miss my bedroom

I miss my bedroom.

I miss sleeping in my bed.  My bed.  The bed frame, the headboard and the foot board, belonged to my great aunt.

I miss my vanity.  My bed, that belonged to my great aunt, has a matching vanity.  I love the curves of the mirror.  My pretty things still sit on the vanity.  There is my milk glass lamp that I bought on a flea market trip with my daughter years ago.  And there are some blue and white transferware dishes, like a candle holder and a butter pat and sugar without a lid. The lamp and those things sit on a delicate handkerchief edged with variegated crocheted cotton lace.   There is also a blue and white saucer that holds a white dish that holds a tealight candle.

I miss the window that faces east.  I miss lying in my bed and seeing the morning sun shine in through the white cotton curtain.  There is a blue glass bottle sitting on top of the lower window and it glows blue when the sun shines through it.

I miss my quilt that I made and my white dust ruffle that I made with the wide fake-Battenburg lace edging.  I miss my trunk with the blue and white cotton quilt fabric covering it.  And the the little square of fabric with the hummingbird embroidered in blue on it that my daughter made for me.

I miss the dresser that matches the bed and the vanity, that still holds my clothes, with the blue and white runner my sister gave me years and years ago.  There are more blue and white dishes there.  Another candle holder.  Another sugar.   A crocheted doily my grandmother or my aunt made.  Pretty things.

I miss my bedroom.

I am extremely thankful for the bed and the bedroom that I have now.  And I know that I can never go back to the other bedroom.  (See post.)

My bedroom now has pretty blue and white in it, too.  It has my flow blue dishes that I never did display in the other bedroom.  And I have a blue and white quilted coverlet on my bed that I bought for myself to make sleeping on the sofa cushion a little prettier for me.  I like the coverlet very much.

I do like my little room that is now my sanctuary.

I am so very thankful to have it.

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