As a simple math question the answer is yes 2 + 2 = 4 but in terms of life nothing could be further from the truth. When two people join together and create a new life, they become 3. And most families add to that number and become 4, 5, 6 or more.
If your family is close then there is a good chance you will have experienced a family reunion. It is a large party where the progeny of two people all come together. In my family it was the children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren of George and Rose. Over 100 people would gather in the heat of the summer, in a park in Oklahoma City with containers of fried chicken, potato salad, watermelon, homegrown tomatoes, lots and lots of pie, and if we were really lucky someone would make homemade ice cream.
My mother was an only child and I have only one sister, so in my daily life we had a very small family. So on those yearly summer days, to learn I was part of something bigger, a family with many branches helped me feel grounded and reminded me I belonged. Maybe my lineage wasn’t to fabulous wealth or royalty, but it was clear my lineage was one of love, caring and a deep and abiding faith in God.
We no longer go to those reunions. My grandmother and all of her siblings have passed on. The group has now splintered off as those other great aunts and uncles have become great, great grandparents in their own right. So they began having their own reunions. Life goes on. Modern life has taken everyone in their own directions. I think about trying to revive the family reunion even though my own family is small. It would consist of 9 people. But I pray and hope that it will grow as my children and my sister’s children marry and have children of their own. So no, I don’t think 2 + 2 = 4.
I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 30 years. My life was built there. It is where we bought our first home, had our second child, made friends and enjoyed the fruits of our labor. I stayed home and took care of our daughters, our life and my husband when he was home. I was so proud and grateful for all his hard work. But time and time again, a terrible secret would be revealed about my now ex-husband. I convinced myself over and over that all men used porn. He told me all the pilots went to strip clubs and I needed to understand. I learned he had cheated on me with flight attendants but he convinced me that it was my fault. Then the phone call came from the police detective. Turns out all those trips to the hardware store, were actually trips to spy on girls at an apartment swimming pool and masturbate at the same time. He was a peeping tom! Of course you say, she definitely left now. Sad to say, I didn’t. He convinced me he would get help and he also said it was my fault. If I hadn’t married him when he was so young, (24) he wouldn’t feel like he had missed out on all the available sex.
Time and time again, I’d find porn and it escalated. I found rape porn. I threatened to leave but here is a piece of advice, do not make a threat if you don’t intend to follow through with it. Again he agreed to go to counseling but it didn’t last long. His drinking increased, more strip clubs and our relationship slowly deteriorated. After one full year of counseling with a pastor/counselor, he confessed to using prostitutes at erotic massage parlors. Now hold onto your hat for this one ladies and gentlemen; it wasn’t real sex because he only paid for hand jobs. Did I leave? No. By now I was fully buried and not able to make a sound decision. He had eroded away any sense of value I had. We spent $7,000 going to The Meadows Clinic in Wickenburg, AZ. He never did any of the things they told him to do to get better.We ended up living separate lives but in the same house for two years. I know I should have left him countless times, but I loved him and hoped to work it out.
Now for those of you who have never lived with a narcissist, you will never be able to understand. But imagine standing on a sandy beach and slowly over time the sand begins to sink. It happens so slowly, you don’t even realize it is happening. You are busy enjoying the sunset. You are busy watching the waves. You are busy thinking about the life you have. And then one day you realize that you’ve been buried alive underneath the sand that has slowly been eroding away. That is life with a narcissist. If you go to Living with a Narcissist or Life with a Narcissistic Psychopath you can find more information. It will help explain why I didn’t leave. Why I waited for him to leave me.
After the divorce I spiraled out of control. I had written my life story and the chapters I saw in my future included my ex-husband, our daughters and their future families, travel, our friends and a secure life. When he left, he didn’t look back. It was as though our daughters and I never existed. At the age of 54, he walked away from 30 years of marriage and a life we had built. And I am not exaggerating. He lied to me and took $3000 of the $9000 cash I got in the divorce settlement. Our daughter had to try to explain to him that he had lied about needing the money. He never got it. Our daughters and son-in-law met with him and told him they would be there and stand by his side as he got help. But he never, even to this day has admitted he has any problems. Classic narcissistic behavior, he has no empathy for others, nor can he ever see or accept that he might have a problem. Sadly our daughters have fully cut him out of their lives.
I did lose it for a while. I spiraled downward as he went right into a new relationship with a much younger woman. I stalked him. I harassed him. It is not something I am proud of but after you have lived with someone whose goal is to slowly drive you crazy, it can’t be surprising to end up crazy. I got myself together and left the country for 3 months. When I came back, I was still sad but no longer a crazy lady.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because if you are unhappy and feel bad about yourself, if you feel like you walk on eggshells in your relationship then start reading the articles on those links. Don’t let a someone steal years of your life from you and then discard you like a piece of trash without batting an eye. You don’t want to end up where I am. I am almost 56, unemployed, living in a new city with no friends and worry things won’t change. That is why I am blogging. I am hoping it helps me begin to rewrite this new chapter of my life in a positive and good way.
This is an interesting assignment because on my other blog Living Like Demelza I wrote a post about the lost art of letter writing. I hand write letters almost daily and mail them to friends and family. I am choosing to write a letter to my younger self.
I know you will doubt the authenticity of this letter. You’ll wonder how you could actually receive a letter from your future self. It doesn’t really matter how it happened, just be thankful that it happened. As a parent, I realize you may take none, some or all of my advice. All I ask is that you seriously ponder what I have to say because if you choose to listen and embrace what I say, I can guarantee your future life will be better than what I made of it.
- You are loved. I know you doubt that statement. When your mother yells, “you just wait, one of these days you’re going to do something and I’ll be out of here”, she isn’t saying you are the cause of her problems. She is just frustrated, unhappy and fights depression. She loves you and she needs your compassion.
- You are smart. Your family might tease you and say, “well you just think you’re so smart” but they don’t do it to make you feel bad. They just don’t know how to say you’re smart and it makes them proud. Sometimes they don’t understand how to talk to you. That’s okay. Be proud of yourself.
- Dream and dream big. Don’t bury your dreams because no one at home encourages you. Dig deep and find your own drive and go study in France. Find a way. If you don’t, you’ll spend the rest of your life regretting it.
- Stop comparing yourself to everyone. God created each of us to be unique. What a boring world it would be if we all looked the same and thought the same, the world would be a boring place. Ready the book, People by Peter Spier. It is a simple book but you will understand being different is a good thing.
5. Take care of your body. Exercise. You aren’t always going to be able to eat ice cream without consequences. You can’t start slow. Love your body. It is healthy. Keep it healthy and understand that there is no perfect body. There is no need to change what you have, but take care of it.
6. It is great to be in love but not all men are worthy of your love. They will use you and do their best to undermine all the confidence you have built. They will try to convince you that you are less than other women and should feel grateful they love you. They won’t beat you with their fists, but they will use words, mind games, your own insecurities to their benefit. Learn about narcissistic personality disorder. Learn to spot their traits because if you don’t, you are destined to make a huge life mistake.
7. Beautiful things are wonderful. Living in a big house is great. A luxury car is nice but things are not what makes life wonderful. Fill your life with memories, not with things. You will be able to keep the memories for a lifetime but things wear out, get lost, go out of style or you just tire of them. And if your happiness is based on things, you’ll never have enough. The empty hole you are trying to fill will never be full.
8. Trust God’s plan. I know sometimes you like to get ahead of yourself. You want to help God out and take care of things for Him. It is not necessary. That doesn’t mean to sit around and do nothing. What it does mean is to surround yourself with Godly men and women, find a church home, get involved, spend time in God’s word. Take time to be quiet and listen. It is the only way to hear Him.
9. Be creative. Learn to play an instrument. You don’t have to be perfect at it, but learn it anyway. Try painting, writing, sewing etc. Keep your creative juices flowing. Your creativity is one of your greatest gifts. Don’t let fear stop you from going down that path.
10. Know that you are loving, kind, compassionate, empathetic, fun, beautiful, smart, a life long learner, a truly wonderful person. Never question your value.
You are probably shaking your head and thinking who is this person. Why is she telling me all of this stuff? What does she know that I don’t know? I am you. I allowed insecurities, fear and a narcissistic man to destroy my very core being. I am now having to rebuild it ground up at age 55. I can say he gave me the two greatest gifts in my life, my two daughters. If you make different choices he won’t be in your life, but I am confident God will still send you the same two wonderful girls so don’t feel any pressure to marry quickly. Save this letter. Read it daily if you must. Memorize it. Hold on to it. It will change your life.
Your future self, Dede
Excuse me but I need to vent. I have been seeking a job for the past 3 years. It is necessary that I support myself since my ex-husband left me after 30 years of marriage for a younger woman. There is no spousal support or alimony in Texas. I am almost out of money. And if you think I am trying for jobs out of my reach, I am not. I can’t even get Target to interview me.
There is definitely age discrimination. I realize I haven’t been in the active workforce for years but I have lots of skills. I went back to school to update my computer skills. I have a college degree. I am personable and friendly. I don’t know what to do. I just read a really bad eBook, so maybe I should give that a go. No one can discriminate against my age or experience then. Sorry for venting. I am just afraid.
The blogging assignment today was to add a widget, change your header etc. In some way we were to personalize our blog. I changed my header. It doesn’t show as much as I’d like but I could not get it sized right, so I posted it above. It is a photo I took several years ago in Paris. It is still one of my favorite pictures. I still find it difficult to believe that I had to beg my ex-husband to meet his French aunt and American uncle in the south of France. It took me several years to convince him to go. Now he flies the 777 internationally and goes to Paris all the time. I will admit it is a thorn in my side. He always wanted to go only to beaches or lakes. I was the one that wanted to explore the world. Now he is the world explorer and I am left to struggle to make ends meet.
I have promised myself I will not make this blog just a b*tich fest. I did suffer from narcissistic abuse (30 years) and it has very long-lasting effects. Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome If you are depressed, unhappy, have low self-esteem etc and can’t really figure out why, I suggest you follow the link and read. I’ve been through countless counselors seeking help. Now that I know what the problem is, I am hoping this new counselor will actually help me get better.
From this point forward I will share happier thoughts and ideas on how I try to actively explore the world around me even if it’s just a few miles away.
Maps. Directions. Roads. Lost. GPS, yes, GPS. Living in a new city my GPS has become my new best friend. I have never had a good sense of direction. When I was 14 years old, my family was driving from our home in Las Vegas to Disneyland. With my map reading skills, we ended up outside of San Diego. That is NOT close to Disneyland.
One of the first things I did when I moved to Austin was to buy a map. It is large and I stand and look at it, trying to get an idea of where I am located in reference to where I am going. Studying the map, I determine there are endless ways to reach my destination. When I plug-in the address to my GPS, it even gives me options. It is up to me to decide which route to take.
Of course our route can be interrupted by road work, an accident, one way streets etc. So we are forced to find another way to our final destination. GPS of course makes it simple. But when there were only maps ,no GPS, and I would get lost, I had to pull over to the side of the road and study the map to find a new route.
That is my life right now. I am pulled over to the side of the road studying it and trying to find a new path, a new direction to reach my destination. What is my destination? A life with purpose and lived with passion. Prior to my divorce, I was on a one way road and believed the life I was living was the only way to experience happiness. Since my divorce, I have slowly discovered that there are endless paths to living a new purposeful life. Just like when the GPS gives me a choice of routes, it is up to me to select which road I will take now because joy, purpose and passion lie just around the bend.
Blogging 101 assignment: Identify my audience. Hmm, even though I’ve had blogs before, I have never considered the possibility I would actually have an audience. So this is an intriguing assignment. We were told to add media, try new styles etc to keep the reader interested. So I thought maybe learning a little more about me and where I am going with my life might help me connect with similar bloggers and people.
There are several things I typically tell people about myself when asked for the most unique or unusual thing about my life. I was on a national pageant representing Nevada. I was on a national TV game show. I was interviewed for the CBS evening news with Dan Rather. Those facts typically create quite a few questions. If you are interested in any of it, leave a question in the comment section of my blog.
At the age of 40, I spent a week trying to improve my French in Roanne, France. It was beautiful and fun, but my language skills were still poor. Then at age 54, nine months after my divorce, I went to Tours, France. I spent 3 months doing my best to improve my French. Again it was a lovely time, but I have come to the conclusion my French speaking skills aren’t going to progress past advance beginner. Below are photos from my time in Tours. Yes that is a photo of a snake. I found it in my bathroom. Again if you want more information, leave a question in the comments.
I have lived in several states, but have spent the past 30.5 years living in Texas with 30 of those being in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I moved to Austin in June to try to find a new life path. Austin is completely 180 degrees different than Dallas. It is down to earth, eco-friendly, creative and hilly with lots of trees. Dallas is flat, superficial, (who has the biggest house, diamond, boobs etc), not eco-friendly and has just recently become friendlier to the creative arts.
I have no idea what the future holds. I have been unemployed for over 2 years now and just learned I didn’t get the job I wanted. So I am still seeking a new purpose. I am no longer someone’s wife. And while I am still the mother of 2 incredible young women, they have successfully gone on to live their own lives. Purpose. I think that is what most of us want. We just want to have a purpose and be loved. It doesn’t matter whether it’s here or halfway around the world in some remote village, we all seek those things.
I have no idea who my audience might be. I am hoping people who are want to explore life either on a new path or an old path will be my blog followers.
Writing Assignment #2: Write a list: Things I’ve learned in 55 years
- Life always brings the unexpected
- Sometimes those unexpected things are great
- Sometimes those unexpected things come close to destroying your life
- If you eat too much and move too little, you will get fat
- Every place has something offer, no city, state or country has a corner on the best place
- Not every person has something to offer.
- Psychopaths do exist and they will comfortably and happily without remorse destroy you if you don’t recognize them. http://www.psychopathfree.com
- It’s never too late to learn new things but if it’s a language, begin as young as possible
- Daughters will continually surprise and amaze you
- Just because someone has been your friend for over 25 years doesn’t mean she will be there when you need her
- Books are the greatest invention because they allow you to go anywhere with anyone
- People today want the same things that people throughout history have wanted: love, happy and healthy children, financial security, friendship, community, happiness, good health, peace
- Driving through west Texas is a long and boring trip
- You only get out of life what you put in
- Nothing changes if you don’t change anything
- Words change meaning when spoken according to tone and intonation of the speaker.
- It’s always good to have an alternative life plan
- Pets always love you and never judge you
- Day go by slowly but the years fly by
- The only constant in life is change