Just Collecting… :)

As hard as this may be, I have to admit something to you all.  I am in a binge-purge cycle.  And, it’s not an eating disorder I’m writing about (and please don’t think I’m minimizing eating disorders…I had anorexia and know how SERIOUS eating disorders are, but this metaphor fits), but a cycle of ‘collecting’ and then ‘donating’ on a regular basis!

Yes, I know on shows like “Hoarders”, people call themselves collectors when they are really living in squalor without being able to truly see their surroundings.  My house is clean.   And it’s not too cluttered.  REALLY!  I swear!  However, I get on ‘kicks’, then when (and it will happen) I begin to clean, it’s like a tornado going through.  I start getting rid of everything.  I look at something and will tell myself I don’t need it, so into the donation box it goes.  And I know I’m right to do this, because I haven’t looked at or used the damn thing for months.

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And then it happens.  I need it.  You haven’t used the kitchen gadget or junk drawer contents forever, and the minute that donation box is dropped off and processed, you need this ‘thing’ more than you ever did.

A couple of years ago, I was furiously cleaning out my kitchen cabinets.  My kitchen is quite small, and my cabinet space is very limited.  So, every so often I have to ‘sort through’ (i.e. toss out) things in order to ensure my cabinet doors and drawers will close again.  In the silverware drawer was a bottle opener.  A rusty, icky, old bottle opener that we NEVER used.  Hello!  Pop and beer caps that you have to use an opener for are a thing of the past, so I had no qualms at all about tossing the darn thing away.  Then, hubby got home.  And got in the silverware drawer to eat his favorite after work snack, cottage cheese (not sure why I included that info…not really pertinent, but I just think it’s a weird snack).

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Not THE opener…but similar!

Anyhoo, after immediately opening the drawer, hubby said, “Where is my bottle opener?”  And I said, “You mean that dirty, rusty, nasty bottle opener that we never use and probably won’t use in the next 30 years?  I tossed it!”  Hubby’s face turned an interesting shade of purplish/red and he said, “You THREW AWAY the bottle opener my dead FATHER gave me when I was just a teenager?  The ONLY thing my FATHER gave me when I was growing up that actually had sentimental value to him, and you THREW IT AWAY?”  I said, “Well…yeah…”  And the night went downhill from there.

So, being the sweet, remorseful wife I was, I got to the thrift shop as soon as I could the next day to get it back.  And it wasn’t there.  The box had been processed and someone had already bought the darn thing.  Apparently, it was a collector’s item.  I was on a quest.  I scoured EVERY thrift shop in town…every antique dealer…every flea market…e-bay…etsy…and anywhere else I could think of.  The opener had had a bars name on it, so I got online and of course the bar had closed years ago.  FINALLY, after weeks of searching, an antique dealer called me and said he found a bottle opener like the one I was looking for!  Twenty seven dollars later, I brought it home and stuck it in the drawer.  And when hubby got home. I lied.  Yes, I lied.  I said, “Oh my gosh, hubby…I found your bottle opener!  I must not have thrown it out after all!”  He took a look at it, and then said this (word for word), “You know, it IS pretty gross…it needs to be tossed anyway!  Sorry I got mad!”  Heh??  After all of that…and he throws it away??!!  I’m pretty sure hubby had no idea why I was so grouchy around him for the next few days.

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This has happened with my mother as well.  “Prof K, do you have my baking pan I lent you a few weeks ago?”  Oooops.  That was hers?  I thought it was just another baking pan I’d accumulated that I didn’t have the space for.  “No, ma…I have no idea what you’re talking about!”  And then the search begins again!

Once, my mom and her ex took my hubby, son, and me out for Sunday lunch and she was wearing the ugliest outfit I ever saw.  Seriously.  (And yes, she admits it was hideous today, although her defense at the time was quite impressive).  I’ve tried to find a pic of it online, and no one is brave enough to post anything about this hot mess…and thankfully so.  Anyhoo…I, teasingly, told mom how awesome I thought her outfit was.  And, later that week, she had bought me my own!  A patchwork, culottes, blouse outfit I was now obligated to wear.  So I did.  The next week, I put it on for church.  Hubby 2 comes in the bedroom where I’m looking at myself in the mirror and says, “You’re wearing THAT?  You look 80!”  AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!  But I wore it (for my mom) and she thought I looked beautiful…go figure.  Luckily, the ‘style’ quickly went out, and those 2 outfits have since found their way to the local thrift shop.  Thank goodness!

Now…what have I ‘collected’ over the years?  I started with Precious Moments, and then went on to Boyd’s bear figurines.  Once I got tired of these, for some unknown, God forsaken reason, I started collecting bells.  I bought a ‘lot’ of them on e-bay so my collection grew in days.  Now, they’re in a HUGE Rubbermaid container, and I have no idea what to do with them.  Sell them?  Keep them?  Hmmmmm.

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For a long while, sis and I collected antique bottles we dug up…we literally had hundreds!!  Weeding those out was hard on me, and a friend had to help.  But, I was surrounded by glass…and it was way too much!!  I moved on to vintage, snarky ashtrays and leather postcards.  I have absolutely no idea why.  Just saw a couple of these things in an antique shop and thought, ‘I need to collect these’!  When I show people my ‘collections’, they look at me like I’m one step away from needing an intervention.  And they are probably right!

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So, I’ll continue my binge and purge cycle of ‘collecting’ and in the meantime, who knows?  I might just come across the 1 thing that makes it all worthwhile…the Picasso found at a rummage sale or an original Abe Lincoln letter at a flea market.  I’ll keep plodding along…looking for that ‘find’!

OK…here’s the moral to this blog post, and it’s one we can all learn from:  NEVER TELL YOUR MOTHER YOU LIKE HER OUTFIT IN A SARCASTIC WAY.  SHE WILL NOT UNDERSTAND THE UNDERLYING SNARKINESS AND THE RESULT WILL BE YOU WEARING A QUILT IN PUBLIC.  ‘Nough said.

Prof K ❤

“People let me tell you ’bout my best friends…”

I didn’t have dogs growing up and my dad and I are horribly allergic to cats, so when I left home and had my apartment with hubby 1, I got my first little dog, Scooter.  He was a Shih-Tzu/Toy Poodle mix and completely untrained because I had no idea what I was doing!!  Pottie training him was a nightmare and he loved getting into things when he was a puppy.

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One day, I left my spaghetti dinner on the table while I went into the other room to answer the phone.  When I got back, he was covered in noodles and red sauce and looked adorable!  It was hard not to laugh!  When I was pregnant with my son, Scooter always sat by me, and in the late stages, my son would kick, (hard!) and Scooter would look at me as if I were the one doing it to him!

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After my baby was born, Scooter got up with me EVERY single time I had to feed my boy.  He would sit by the rocking chair and supervise me.  He wanted to make sure I was doing things right!  My son grew up with Scooter and they were pals.  He even won over my mom…the proverbial ‘dog hater’ and she cuddled him and kissed him whenever she could!  Scooter was my best friend for 13 years and I’ve never been without a dog since.

After Scooter, I had Squirty (a Toy Poodle) and 2 white German Shepherds (Tessie and Lizzie).  All of them were awesome dogs and each had such a distinct personality!  When hubby 2 and I divorced, I left Squirty (‘my’ dog) with hubby so he could be with Lizzie (‘his’ dog) who was like a mother to him.  It was really hard walking away from my 2 dogs but since hubby lived on acreage and Lizzie needed that, I understood it was the right thing to do.

So…my son and I picked out Dottie when we moved to our new home and she was a snarly, crabby dog that apparently no one else wanted from this breeder.  The breeder even charged me $50 less for her (that should have been a big sign…), and when I picked her up after her 8th week, she snapped and snarled at me all the way home!

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Little Dottie is a Toy Poodle and is quite the diva.  I’m more knowledgeable about dogs now and she’s pretty well trained, but she has a way of getting much of what she wants!   She follows me around outside without a leash and I love having my little buddy with me while I mow and do yard work.

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Little Dottie is the cutest most challenging dog I’ve ever had, and her personality is hilarious.  She literally ‘flirts’ with men, and if one is holding her, I’m suddenly invisible!  She’s 11 now and is slowing down, but her personality is still that of a playful yet sometimes crabby puppy, and I love her to death!

Last April, I decided I wanted another dog…so when Little Dottie goes to heaven someday (and yes, I truly believe with all my heart that pets go to heaven), I’ll have another furry friend I’m attached too.  It’s so hard to open your heart to another dog and I wanted that to be already done.  Soooo, I adopted Edward (he prefers to be called Eddie…unless he’s in trouble) who was supposed to be a Chihuahua/Small Dachshund mix.

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His litter had been dumped and found by the rescue org and the rescue vet is who determined his breed.  I wanted another little dog since my house is a bit smallish and my yard isn’t huge.  The vet believed that Eddie would be about 10 pounds full grown and I bought all kinds of cute LITTLE stuff for him…a carrier, a small crate, a sling to wear him in, etc.

But, a funny thing happened.  Eddie started to grow.  And grow.  And grow.  And before I knew it, my little Chi-Weenie was actually a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Hound mix and he currently weighs 40 pounds!!  And I don’t care a bit!!  He is the most loving dog I’ve ever had…always by my side and will cuddle anytime I want!  Both of my dogs sleep with me and Dottie will be on top of the covers, while Eddie is under them next to my feet and legs.  How he breathes under there, I don’t know.  But that’s where he goes and it’s like I have my own little space heater now in bed!

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Eddie is slowly getting trained…and Dottie is a big help.  At first, she HATED Eddie.  Truly.  (Remember, she’s a snarly little Diva) but things have gotten so much better.  They will lay by each other now, and sometimes, if he’s in her way, she’ll just walk right under him. It’s so cute to see!  Eddie was pottie trained within a month and it’s because of Dottie showing him what to do (she wants paid for that help…we’re still in negotiations).  He’s also learning to sit and stay on command, and is walking really well on a leash.  However, being a puppy…a LARGE puppy, he likes to chew and I’ve lost a few rugs and will have some repairs to do on my woodwork when he’s a bit more grown up.  But you know what?  I don’t care!  The love and affection he gives me, and the way he looks out for Dottie, is worth teeth marks and frayed rugs.  🙂

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Before I had dogs, I never really understood the love people had for their furry friends.  And now I can’t believe how I ever lived without a dog.  They give so much to you…their hearts, loyalty, friendship, kindness, love, and do it in a completely unconditional way.   No matter what, they are thrilled to see you when you walk in the door and that greeting can make your day.  This summer, when I felt so lost and lonely, my dogs were there.  Both are intuitive and would just ‘know’ when I needed extra affection.  Eddie, being so big, will get on my lap, put his head on my shoulder, and will give me a hug.  Squeezing him back comforts me in a way nothing else can.  Little Dottie will cuddle me at night…snuggling as close as she can.  Then, if she thinks I’m upset, she’ll roll over on her back to show me what I need to do…rub and love on her.  And I do.  Because she’s in charge and she knows what’s best for me.

I believe pets are gifts from God.  I think he knew people would hurt us and be cruel at times, so he gave us pets to counter that.  I can tell my dogs anything, and they’ll keep my secrets.  I can lose my temper with them, and they’ll still want to be with me.  I can cry by them and they’ll comfort me with their presence.  I can be me.  And they accept that.  Unconditionally.  What other relationship can claim the same?

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So, thank you Little Dot and Ed…you both have been what I needed these past months and I hope you both feel the love I have for you.  It’s unconditional too.  Dottie, your snarls are understandable…life can be tough.  But you can snarl around me anytime, and I’ll love you all the more for being so freaking spunky.  And Eddie, I don’t give a hoot if my woodwork isn’t perfect or my carpet has holes.  You are worth so much more than wood and fibers.  Truly.  But, the next time you decide to eat one of my earrings, could you please choose one that doesn’t have diamond chips in it?  That would be appreciated.

Prof K ❤

“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” ~ Bertrand Russell

I was thinking about fear while reading a memoir about Domestic Violence today, and after really thinking about it, I realized there have been very few times in my life I’ve been truly afraid.  That makes me lucky…considering millions throughout the world live in fear of their lives everyday.

The first time I was horribly afraid was when my son was 15.  At the time, he was having intestinal issues and after ruling out things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Celiac Disease, our family doctor referred my son to a surgeon to see if exploratory measures might be used.  After various tests of his own, the surgeon determined that my son have his abdominal lymph nodes tested for possible lymphoma.  The night my son had to be hospitalized was hell…he wanted his dad and I to go home and get some sleep, and because he was 15, we did.  The next day, my son was released from the hospital and the surgeon told us he would have the results back in 36-48 hours.  I asked him what his thoughts were and he said he couldn’t make any call from what he had done, so I re-worded my question and asked this:  “Would you worry if this were your son?”  He said “yes”.

I brought my son home, and he knew we had to wait for the results while also understanding what was being tested for.  The first night home, when he let me tuck him in, he asked me to read some of his old favorite books to him.  I laid on his futon and did…and tried so hard not to cry.  I laid in bed that night, and even though hubby 3 loved my son very much and was worried, only his dad and I could really tolerate this together.  We talked on the phone throughout the night and we were terrified.  Is there any other word stronger??  Because even that one wouldn’t be strong enough for what I felt.  I knew I couldn’t bear to live in a world where was my son wasn’t in it.  He’s simply a part of my soul.  The results came in late the next afternoon and lymphoma was ruled out.  My baby was OK.  And no matter what, the world was as it should be.  (Later we found he had some kind of odd virus and after a few rounds of medication, he was fine).

The second time I was fearful was a few years ago when my mom was admitted to the ER because she was coughing up blood.  She called me to tell me what was happening and since she had battled cancer once and I knew she was drinking too much, I feared something related to either one of these.  I rushed to the ER and found my mom in the examining room.  I went in, while her now ex-husband/batterer waited in the hall, and I saw her back was covered with bruises.  All over.  In the shape of fists. Worse, I saw a look of sheer terror in my moms eyes.  She had obviously been horribly beaten and throwing up blood was due to internal injury.  I went out to the hall while my (sorry mom, but I know you understand) FUCKING step-father was standing out there, talking to passerby about religion.  Yes.  I’m not kidding.

I grabbed the ER doc (a total bastard) and practically screamed at him that her injuries were due to a BEATING…not falling down the stairs…and he needed to get on the  phone and call the police!  He said he questioned her repeatedly, and she vehemently denied it.  With that much resistance and no witnesses, the police wouldn’t do anything.  I was incredulous and went back in to see mom.  She fell down the stairs.  Period.  She knew I didn’t believe her and I knew she was so terrified of her batterer she wouldn’t admit to anything else.

I knew my mom was going to be leaving that hospital with a monster.  I knew the chances of my mom being there again was very great, and I also knew there was a chance she night not make it the next time.  Those were the fears me and my sister carried until the day my mom said she had had enough.

The final time I’ve truly been fearful was this summer.  Yes.  That’s how much I was hurt by the narc abuse Sarge was putting me through, the infidelity, and the ugly discards that came at his whim.  Alas, as victims of narc abuse know, it’s not ‘just’ the abuse.

I lost a couple of people in my life I hoped were friends.  True friends.  Friends I confided in and friends I love.  Very much.  But, I made some terrible decisions.  I’m still making decisions that may not be healthy or are self-sabatoging.  I know that.  But that’s when you need your friends the most…to understand your shortcomings and catch you when you fall.  However, I do know how hard this is.  Sometimes you just want to shake people and ‘make’ them see, but you can’t.  We all have to see through our own eyes.

I lost the respect of my family.  Having your mom tell you how disappointed she is in you hurts.  Even at the age of 50.  But I was disappointed in me too…and I couldn’t blame her for saying this.  Worse, was having my son say the same thing.  I know as a daughter, I did some really shitty things.   But, as a mom, I’ve tried everyday to do my best by my son.  I know I didn’t around the time of my separation with his dad, and I know I didn’t this summer either.  What I saw in my son’s eyes when he visited me this summer, and what I heard in his voice was shameful.  I saw his respect in me diminish greatly as well as so much disappointment and even contempt toward me.  I understand.  I was feeling those too.  Letting down my son was horrible and I’ll never forget how fearful I was of losing his trust and respect forever.  I still am.

I lost time.  Because I was crying, sleeping, and stumbling through my days, I lost really seeing my puppy grow up.  I lost bike rides and hikes and playing with my dogs on a summer day.  I lost running and entering some local races.  I lost going out to restaurants and being able to sleep without prescription drugs.  I lost the ability to see anything clearly except the pain and depression and anxiety I was feeling.  I lost all love of myself.

And the worse thing?  The thing that scares me most?  I lost trust in the world.  I used to think the world was a happy place.  I might be going through something awful, but there was still true good in the world.  Some might call is naivete, but I knew there was a pretty house with a picket fence where happy people lived and dreamed, and life was a wonderful thing after all.

I don’t believe that anymore though.  I really don’t.  One of my favorite Stephen King books is “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon“, and my favorite quote is this:  “The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.”  I think that’s what happened this summer.  So many bad things came together in my life at once, and I saw a smiley world turn to a dark, mean, nasty, ugly world.  A world where people hurt you for no reason.  A world where selfishness is the norm.  A world that can pull you down and keep you down if you even try to pull yourself back up again.  A world where people who don’t even know you will simply hate you, because their heart has nothing else in it.  A world where there is war, terror, famine, racism, homophobia, and people who are killing one another because each worship a different god.  It’s a world that holds so much anger, hurt, entitlement, and self-centeredness,  that it scares me now.  It’s a world I’ve lost trust and faith in.  A world I fear.

And this fear simply breaks my heart.

Prof K ❤

In a nutshell…

You know, when I re-made this blog, I wanted SO very much to go from victim to survivor and I felt I could simply make myself do that if I forced myself and tried hard enough.  I know now that was a wish…not what actually happens in reality.  (Where are you, Fairy Godmother?).

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Truthfully, I’m still struggling and I’m doing a disservice by pretending I’m not.  Oh, I’m BETTER!!  SO much better!!  I can get out of bed without spending minutes struggling to force myself out of it.  I can shop, run, eat out by myself and feel good about it.  I can get through a day without crying…not many, but some.  I can see the blessings I have and am thankful for my family, pets, home, career, etc.  But there are still hard days.

There are still days where I wonder if I want to continue in this life.  Days where I want to hide from the world.  Where I ‘nest’ and make excuses to family and friends as to why I can’t see them.  Days where I cry and I don’t know when I’ll be able to stop.  Days I struggle with my depression, and then beat myself up for not being stronger.  Days I hear people saying ‘Enough…you have to think positively’ and I do.  I really do.  But the pain of this past year is still with me, and I can’t pretend otherwise.  I just can’t.

Getting better and healing, I’ve learned, is a process.  Not an act.  Sometimes when I find myself sad and weepy, I wonder just what it is I’m crying for.

Hubby 3 and I separated right around Christmas last year, and things had started getting bad during Thanksgiving, when I chose to go be with my son, instead of staying home with hubby.  I’ve always gone to spend Thanksgiving with my son and hubby was always fine with it.  I’m not sure what triggered his animosity last year, but it was the last straw in many ways.  This past week, I found out something about my marriage which I had suspected, but wasn’t sure of.  And it’s that my hubby has been with someone else for a period of time.  I truly blamed myself for our lack of intimacy (e.g. closeness and sex) these past couple of years, and when he moved out, he insisted he was living in the detached garage of a friend that didn’t even have electricity.  I asked his address numerous times, and he would always say he was ashamed to tell me since he was living so poorly.  I wondered about this since he makes what I do…has 7 Harleys (I had a scooter)…and got a houseful of furniture that I had previously purchased.  But I believed him because I loved him…and still do.  When I received our divorce papers in the mail the other day, I saw his address and looked it up.  Then drove by.  He’s living in a house much nicer than mine, and there’s no detached garage.  His work truck was in the drive and his van by the curb.  I called him about it and finally, after a long while, he admitted he had been living with someone and had been doing so since he left.  Have you ever heard the expression ‘I felt like I’d been sucker punched?’  That’s what I felt.  I literally lost my breath and felt like throwing up.  No matter what ever happened between hubby and me, I always believed we were genuine with each other.  We revealed things to each other I’ve NEVER ever shared with anyone else, and he did the same.  To find out he’d moved in with someone, while LYING about it, hurt like bloody hell.  It makes me question our last 2 years together, and I’m so furious at him for making me feel the separation was all about me.  Yes, like I said, I still love him.  But, my respect and trust in him is gone.  And that breaks my heart.

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My mentor died on Dec. 28th.  He was a prof of Political Science and from the day I started teaching as an adjunct, he was my friend, ally, and mentor.  He took me under his wing, and not 1 day went by where he didn’t joke with me, hug me, talk to me, or make me smile and feel good.  He did the same for my son.  My son was 3 when I started teaching part-time, and I’d often bring him to school with me while I graded or picked things up.  Larry always treated my son like gold…was really like a Godfather to him.  Once, when my son was around 10, he was at school with me while Larry had a class.  Larry saw him, and let my son ‘lecture’ to his students.  My son did incredibly well, and Larry was duly impressed!  When my son was a student at the college, Larry always gave him and his friends lunch money and hung out with them at times.  I know my son loved him as much as I did.

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Here’s something I’ve never really talked about before, but I’m ready now.  Do you remember the story about the U.S.S. John McCain that was hit by a commercial liner and 10 navy men died this August?  One of those was my nephew, Logan.  My son and Logan were born only 5 months apart, and us 2 families lived only a mile apart. Further, our house was built on my hubby’s parent’s property so Logan and his siblings were often at Grandma’s and next door to us.  My son was always over to be with them.  The kids often played at our house too, and my son and Logan were always on the same ball teams, soccer teams, boy scout troops, etc.  I also did a lot with my son during the summers and Logan and his siblings were included.  Trips to the zoo…swimming almost everyday…going to playgrounds…and I loved it.  After my son’s dad and I got divorced, I never stopped being in contact with my in-laws and these wonderful kids.  Like my sister always says, “Blood is thicker than water, but love is stronger than both!”  And it’s true.  My nephews and niece weren’t ‘in-law’…they were MINE.

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As Logan and his brother got older, they went to my college and took some of my classes!  It was a hoot and they always loved it when I would tell my students that I changed their diapers when they were babies!  If they weren’t in my classroom (even when they didn’t have class with me but just wanted to sit in), they were in my office or we were making a McDonald’s run over my lunch hour.  Those years at school with them were so awesome.  Before Logan left for what was to be a years long deployment, he came to see me.  We couldn’t stop hugging and I cried the entire time.  Before he said goodbye, the last thing Logan said to me was that he loved me so much and I was another mom to him.  Wow.  I told him he was another son as well.  Period.  When the ships collided, Logan was on the top deck.  Safe.  But, despite his superior’s order not too, my nephew ran down to the bottom deck because his friends were down there.  He saved 3 of his friends, before he was caught in a compartment and drowned.  My 24 year old nephew knowingly risked, and gave, his life for these other men.  All 3 were pallbearers at his funeral, and one of them became a father a couple of weeks after the accident.  I miss Logan like hell.  He was the cutest, funniest, orneriest, silliest kid and I loved his spunk.  A memorial was put up at Pearl Harbor honoring the fallen, and there were boots lined up with the badges of the sailors.  On Logan’s badge was my last picture taken with him.  He carried me around.  Me.  And I’ll carry him in my heart forever.

The student who is stalking me and harassing me is still out there too (please excuse the language in these texts…but I wanted you to see what I’m dealing with…it turns into gibberish and apparently, he was drunk.  I’ve also taken off any identifying information.).

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He has not been formally expelled from my college yet, despite the blatant, written threats against my life.  My yard was full of pistachios the other day which can be fatal to dogs in large quantities, and I have a feeling it was him who scattered them.  I also have seen a car, like his, parked where I walk my dog and have the sense of being watched.  This man, who started by writing me love poems, and ended by telling me I was a Jewish whore who he damned to hell…a kike…a ‘Lydia Lampshade’ is still living blocks from me, and not yet banned from campus.  I feel like a sitting duck.  It’s stressful to think I have to be on the lookout every minute.

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Security on campus walks me to and from my classes and my door is locked after my classes begin.  I feel as if my campus is now a prison and I hate it. My safe, fun, personal space is now a scary one.

Over these past months I’ve written so much about Sarge, and yes, I’m still struggling with the effects of his abuse too.  Things he has said to me resonate in my mind, and everything I’ve ever been proud of like crafting, my degrees, my position at the college he has put down, made fun of, and has forced me to hear these negative words over and over in my mind.  When this happens, I fight it.  But let’s be honest, those words are still in there.  We can push them down…but we can’t force ourselves to forget them.  And on bad days, those words take on much more emphasis.  I’m also very much coping with the infidelity.  Now that I know my hubby did the same, it magnifies its’ significance and makes me question what I’M doing wrong that these 2 men chose to cheat on me.  My sexual self-esteem is pretty low right now.

This has been the worst year of my 50 year life, and as I read back to this, I simply can’t believe everything that’s happened.  It’s almost to the point of it sounding made-up!  I wish it were.

So, I’m going to allow myself to have good days, but bad days too.  I’m not going to feel guilty for crying.  For mourning.  For being depressed.  It’s not that I’m not moving forward.  It’s because I need to grieve my losses and come to terms with all the things I have experienced this year.  Making a sun-shiney blog isn’t my big fix.  I thought it would be.  I hoped it would reflect something new in me that was healed and ready to go full steam ahead.  Life is harder than that though, isn’t it?  I have sunshine, but I still have clouds and rain too.  And, I’ve learned it’s OK.  Life isn’t all great.  And life isn’t all bad.  It’s taking each day as it comes.  Doing the best you can.  And allowing yourself to feel genuinely about what’s happening.  And that, my friends, is what I’m going to do.

I love you all.

Prof K ❤

 

 

Toughen Up, Guys!

Yesterday, I showed a documentary in my class called “Tough Guise 2” with Jackson Katz.  It is all about the way the media has ‘hypermasculinized’ men, just like they have ‘hypersexualized’ women.  Boys are socialized into this role where they can’t show emotion or sensitivity without the threat of bullying or being labeled a ‘fag’ or ‘sissy’.  They are forced to put on a mask (a guise) and always act tough.  In fact, they are made to believe that toughness and aggressiveness are the only acceptable ways to show you’re a man.  And it’s not just the media showing this…it’s also peers, family, etc.  How many times have you heard someone say to their son: “Big boys don’t cry!”  or “Toughen up, son!”  or “Quit being so sensitive!”.  And as they get older, how about “Grow a set!”  “Be a man!”  And the list of commands go on.

Take a look at the statistics presented in the film: (http://www.mediaed.org/transcripts/Tough-Guise-2-Transcript.pdf):

• 86% of armed robberies are committed by men.
• 77% of aggravated assaults are committed by men.
• 87% of stalkers are men.
• 86% of domestic violence incidents resulting in physical injury are perpetrated by men.
• 99% of rapes are committed by men.
• Men commit approximately 90% of murders.
• Over the past 30 years, 61 of the last 62 mass shootings have been committed by men.

The reason we watched this particular film is because we’ve been studying gender issues in my Intro to Sociology classes.  When people think of ‘gender’ studies, they assume we talk about women.  After all, we’re the one’s who are oppressed…we make less money, have less political power, and are more likely to be raped, assaulted, and harassed than men.  But, men have a gender too!!  And I believe it’s so important to make sure their issues are heard as well.  In fact, I believe that men suffer from oppression too.  If you are only allowed to behave in 1 strict, conforming manner, you are living in a tiny little box.  Women have bigger boxes…we can act ‘masculine’ (to a degree) without being hassled. When I was little, I loved playing with trucks and Lincoln Logs, and climbing the tree in my grandparents yard after I played a game of basketball on their driveway.  And it was OK!  But, had a boy played with dolls, preferred tea sets over footballs, or wanted to spend time crafting instead of wrestling around on the floor, he would have been stopped.  And no matter how gender neutral we might be, I truly believe parents help their boys climb into their box.  I remember saying things to my son at times like “It’s ok…just toughen up…”.  I’m sorry I did…I’m sorry I fed into the idea that boys have to learn to be this tough man so early in life, but I did it because I knew the repercussions of NOT doing so.  I wanted my son to be respected.  To fit in.  To not be the one who is victimized in the class.  So I justify making my son into a man.  And I question whether this was right or not.

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When I mention the word ‘feminism’ in my class, I ALWAYS get groans and rolled eyes.  I think many believe this means a woman who hates men and wants to take over the world!  No.  (Although at times, I see how taking over might be a good thing…heaven knows the men aren’t running things well right now!).  Anyhoo…when I explain that feminism means “Biology is not Destiny”, their attitude starts to change.  I ask the young men in my classes if they want their daughters to have the same opportunities as their sons.  They all nod and say yes.  So, there you go.  They are feminists too!!

But shouldn’t men also have the same opportunities in being able to show EVERY emotion the good Lord gave us?  Instead of having to stifle the majority of them, and only show the ‘tough’ ones?  Isn’t that oppression too?  Isn’t that a lack of opportunity in being a fully formed human?  Hmmmm.  In fact, it’s interesting how the division between the genders is getting WORSE instead of better.  EVERYTHING is genderized!!  Laxatives, ear plugs, pens, razors, pop, crackers, crayons, earbuds, and the list goes on!  It wasn’t like this when I was a kid/young adult.  A pen was a pen.  Crayons were crayons.  Crackers were crackers.  Why in the world does everything have to be either pink or blue?  Even for adults?  Sheesh!

Now, during this particular unit, I also teach about Domestic Violence.  When I was a grad student, I took a 40 hour DV class so that I could do an 150 hour internship at the local Domestic Violence shelter.  At that time, statistics stated that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds by her boyfriend or husband.  Now?  It’s every 9 seconds.  The problem is getting worse…not better.  Yet we have so many more facilities, knowledge, and public service announcements than ever before.  But it’s not working.  If it was, these stats would be getting better…not worse.

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My point with this?  Tie these 2 things together:  the hypermasculinization of men and the increase in violence against women, and there you go.  I believe we have, and are, raising men to only know how to emote through anger or aggression.  Men who believe they must demand respect.  Men who were taught that crying, having sensitivity, and being empathic are ‘sissy’ things.  Men who have learned that to be tough is to be a man.  Is it no wonder the violence against women in our country is the way it is?

Yes, of course I know this issue is much more complicated and there are multiple reasons Domestic Violence happens.  But I simply can’t believe there’s not a correlation between these 2 things.

So, the question is this?  How can we get away from forcing our boys to be only ‘tough’ men?  Only aggressive men?  Only stoic men?  Only men who believe any emotion one might label feminine is bad…like nurturance, empathy, and sensitivity?  Until we figure this out, the violence against women is not going to get better.  It’s going to get worse.  Like it already has.

Professor K ❤

 

Finding my Voice…

OK…I haven’t posted for a few days because I’m having difficulty with something.  I just can’t find my voice.

First, I renamed my blog MePointToo.  Do you get it?  It’s like a new upgrade of me!  But instead of using “2”, I decided to use “TOO” because it adds that I’m important ‘too’!  OK…now that I’ve typed it out, it sounds a little hokey, but I thought it was clever! :/

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Anyhoo…when I was writing about Sarge and our time together, I felt like I had my voice.  My purpose of starting my blog in the first place was to have a forum, whether people followed it or not, to work through issues I was experiencing that was tied to the narc abuse I was involved in.  I also wanted, if others started following me, to be a support to them as well.  To validate what they were going through and to show a ‘journal’ of my own healing (which I think will be ongoing for a very long time) which was a bit different from the more informative websites already out there.  And with the response I got, I think that worked.  But I also know that people felt I was dwelling too much.  Ruminating too much.  Feeling too sorry for myself.  And as I thought about it, I agreed that I needed to be more positive.  More forward thinking. More PROactive than REactive.

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I adore Dr. Phil.  My sister has always watched him, and after downloading the OWN app, I’ve been watching him myself every chance I get!  I hear him speak a lot about ‘self-talk’ and really take that idea seriously.  I too believe we have ‘tapes’ in our heads, and if we have a negative tape playing all of the time, it’s going to cause the negativity to gain even more power.  And if we have a positive one going, it’s going to have much better consequences.  I’m trying, as I get through my days, to turn off the negative when I recognize it, and put in the positive.  And I’m liking the changes happening!

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But it doesn’t mean I still don’t hurt and I’m still not struggling with issues.  Sometimes, I feel as if there are time limits put on our feelings.  OK, you’ve grieved for 6 months, you’re done.  That type of thing.  And although I’m working VERY hard to move forward, it doesn’t mean I’m still not dealing with things.  I don’t want people to think that.  I don’t want my fellow narc sufferers to think I waved a magic wand and I’m all better now.  Not at all.  We’re all still in this together.

However, I want to help myself move forward and have better self-talk through this upgraded blog!  And, I’m having a hell of a time finding my voice in it!!  Actually, I’m having a hell of a time finding my voice IN MYSELF too!

OK…positive talk.  Here’s what I’m saying to myself…in fact, when I run, I actually use some of these as mantras!  “You are strong!  You are deserving!  You can beat anything!  You are special!  You don’t need someone to complete you!  You are enough!  You can be proud of yourself!”

But see, when I do this, I feel like it’s ‘braggy’!  I’m so used to cutting myself down or minimizing compliments, that it’s actually difficult to say these things to MYSELF!! I feel like by doing it, I’m being the narcissist!

Hmmmmmm…we all know that Narc Personality Disorder is a real and dangerous thing…in the same cluster as psychopathy and sociopathy.  BUT…is there a ‘healthy’ dose of narcissism?  Is it all bad?  Are we focusing on the EXTREME, dangerous aspects of the PERSONALITY DISORDER, while there’s also ‘adaptive’ or mild narcissism?  For example, we all know that narcissism is a grandiose sense of self and self-love.  Now, take out the grandiose.  Sense of self and self-love?  That’s a good thing!!  Narcs have exaggerated ideas about their capabilities…they are overly confident to the degree of being hypersensitive to criticism and believing they are never wrong.  But, wouldn’t a moderate degree of self-confidence be a good thing?  What about self-esteem?  Self-sufficiency?  A feeling that you can take care of yourself, stand up for yourself, while also understanding you can learn from others and take their perspective as well?

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I liken this to alcohol.  A couple of drinks can loosen you up and make you feel good.  And that’s OK!!  It’s called moderation!  However, drinking until you pass out is horrible!  That’s when the drinking has gone too far…you’ve over imbibed…you’ve taken something that can be good (glass of red wine every day for the heart?), and used it to the extreme.

So, maybe I’m working on being a bit more ‘narcissist’…a bit more accepting of myself, a bit more self-confident, a bit more feeling like it’s OK to believe in myself and have love for myself.  Is this a healthy dose?  I’m thinking it is!  For all of us!

I once had someone tell me this:  “In the end, it’s only going to be you.”  And they were right.  You know, I’ve lost friends over Sarge…dignity among my family members, some of whom I’m even ashamed to face…and very much my own self-respect.  All because of this disorder and how it was used against me.

But I’m also gaining a sense of who I am…who I NEED to be…who I CAN be…who I WANT to be.  I’m seeing that I need to grow…look ahead…believe in myself more.

So…was the narc abuse worth it?  NO.  Period.  But the lessons I’m learning from it will help me…are helping me.  However, this education came at a high price…one none of us should have to pay.  But, if something…anything good comes out of it, it just might be a bit beneficial…maybe.

Professor K ❤

In a world where you can be anything…be kind.

Let me ask you all a question.  When did it become such a bad thing in our society to be ‘nice’?  Really.  It seems like being mean gets all the attention.  “Bad Girls Club”, “The Real Housewives” series, “The Bachelor and Bachelorette”…magazines that showcase horrible behavior in order to sell more copies…fights being filmed in order for the uploader to get more views…bullies who push their victims to hurt themselves and even commit suicide…and the list goes on.

I’m a nice person.  My family says I’m nice.  My students say I’m nice.  My friends say I’m nice.  But, as I learned last week, being nice is sometimes a bad thing.  Let me explain.

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I had a student who was my age and for the first couple of weeks of class, we clashed.  I thought some of his comments were stated in a way to provoke me, so I met with him one on one and found that he was an intelligent man who was more inquisitive than others in the class.  He assured me his comments and questions were genuine, and we started to get along much better.   I told him I was a blogger (love that word!) and he asked for the URL.  I don’t share my blog with everyone in my life…since there are very personal things on here.  But, I thought he could appreciate the content.  He started e-mailing me various questions, and I gave him my cell number because it’s much easier for me to get to my texts than to my e-mail so often.  Remember, this is college and we are the same age.  Many faculty include their personal numbers on their syllabi, and getting together with students outside of class isn’t unheard of.  I remember going to a professors’ house for a party once and it was awesome to see him as a ‘person’ instead of just my ‘prof’.

Anyhoo…after a few days, the content of his texts became sexually inappropriate, and I sent him a message telling him that needed to stop.  He agreed we started texting again about everyday things, and I felt as if we could be friends once class was over and he was no longer my student.

Last week, he started texting me in the middle of the night.  It started with a couple of love poems, and then, when I didn’t answer (I was sleeping), the texts became more and more vulgar, irate, and threatening.  He sent around 30 texts during a 5 hour period.  One of them ‘damned me to hell’, while another called me ‘a Jew whore’.  More included things like making lampshades out of me and calling me names I will not type.  All of them included disgusting language…things he wanted to do to me…and cursing at me because I wouldn’t answer him.  I think you get my drift.

Now, let me clarify something.  I’ve always been fascinated with Jewish culture and read anything and everything I can on it.  For my 30th birthday, my mom had a cake made that said “Happy Bar Mitzvah, Marvin!” because I always teased her about why I didn’t have a Bat Mitzvah!  I love Cynthia Freeman books in which she writes so poignantly about generations of Jewish families and their culture and issues, as well as reading Elie Wiesel and Zoe Heller.  I’ve also studied the Holocaust for years, and lecture on it in my classes.  Anyway…I did the 23 and ME genetic testing kit, and when it came back, it showed that on my mother’s side, my 4th great-grandparents back, were 100% Ashkenazi Jew.  As these ancestors married non-Jewish folk, the amount of Jewish heritage became less and less until it’s hardly there.  But I have some.  And I think that’s really cool.

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We talk about ethnicity in my Intro to Sociology classes, and I share my report with my students to encourage them to have their own DNA analyzed and to also see an example of genetic ancestry.  That’s how this particular student knew I had some drops of Jewish blood, and sent the texts referring to that.

Are you kidding me?  Because I have a SMALL percentage of Jewishness, that’s going to be used against me in such a vulgar, despicable, hateful way?

I’m a white woman.  And I’ve experienced very little discrimination in my life.  All of my profs and later, my male colleagues and deans have been nothing but supportive of me as I’ve gone through college and then built my career as a professor.

But now, seeing that people can take something about you…something you can’t control like ethnicity (and of course race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, developmental disabilities, etc.) and make it so spiteful and ugly was shocking to me.  It gave me a teeny insight into how minorities are treated in our society everyday and it makes me…well…to be honest, I have no idea what word to use.  It’s simply horrible.

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I talk about prejudice and discrimination in my classes…and I’ve had black students, gay students, and transgender students talk to me about terrible things they have experienced.  Simply because of who they are.  Simply because of a color.  A preference.  A knowledge of their true self.  That’s it.  And that’s the basis for hatred?  What kind of world are we living in?

I tried to get an Order of Protection against this student, and the judge, at AN EMERGENCY HEARING WHERE THE LAW STATES THE RESPONDENT CAN’T BE THERE SINCE THEY ARE THE THREAT, allowed this man to BE IN THE COURTROOM WITH A LAWYER and allowed him to ‘testify’, submit ‘evidence’, and question me.  I had to act as my own lawyer (per the judge’s order) and actually question this man at an EMERGENCY HEARING AGAINST HIM (and yes, there was a police report filed because the texts were considered to be so threatening)!  It was completely wrong…I was ambushed by these men…and I left during a recess because I’m not a lawyer and had absolutely no idea why the Judge would allow this man to be there.  They are supposed to be served papers AFTER the EMERGENCY HEARING and then a trial date set where BOTH can attend with representation.  It was hellish at best.  (And yes, I’m pursuing this so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.  What if this had been a battered woman, and she had to go against the man still living in her home?  She would have walked away and gone back to even more abuse…it’s terrible to even think about).

So…this man, who turned our ‘friendship’ into something so ugly and outrageous is basically the ‘winner’.   Simply because I wasn’t awake in the middle of the night to answer his first texts.  Wow.

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At any rate, here’s what my friends and family told me: “Professor K, you just can’t be so nice to people anymore.  People will use it against you and hurt you.  Stop being so kind!  It’s simply a different world now.”  And these people, who I love, are right!  Look where kindness and niceness can get us.  Look how people will use anything they can against you.  Look at how something ‘good’ can turn ‘bad’ so quickly.

I don’t want to live in a world where kindness and niceness are bad.  I don’t want a future grandbaby to grow up in such a world.  I want the nice and kind to be the rule…not the exception.  How can we make this happen?  And for all of you out there, who have been harassed, hurt, discriminated against, and judged because of who you are, I’m truly sorry.  For anything and everything you have suffered.  I got a teeny taste of it, and for people to face that every day is unimaginable to me.  I pray for the day this all stops.  Where we accept each other for our character…and nothing else.  And for those of you who live this everyday, God bless you.  You are special.  You are loved.  And you are respected.  Especially by me.

Professor K ❤

A New Beginning!

Did you notice anything new about my blog?  It’s brighter and I’ve changed the direction I want to go!  And I’m so glad I have you all along for the ride!!

I’ve been talking about narc abuse for quite a while now and feel like I’ve said what I’ve needed and wanted to say, and was getting to the point of being stressed and upset by writing all I have.  I think that’s good though…because I was able to get a lot of things OUT and reconcile a lot of things in my life.  It’s been very cathartic.

So many times, I portrayed myself as a victim.  And, since I try hard to be honest, I have to accept responsibility for much of what’s happened to me.  I wasn’t perfect in my marriages…I made a lot mistakes…some small and some big.  Some very shameful and many I wish I could ‘undo’.  I wasn’t a perfect wife or mom…in fact, at times, I was pretty shitty.

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Isn’t that hard to admit?  This is going to sound very 1950’s, but I  LOVE being a wife and I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a mom.  My happiest days in my life were when my son was a little guy and hadn’t started school yet.  Everyday, we’d do something fun and spend all of our time together.  He was the most adorable, smart, sweet, funny kid ever, and if I could go back and do it again, I would in a heartbeat.  I love the comic below…and I always tell my son that I just want to ‘unzip’ him for a day!  His response?  A perfect eye roll!

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But, I did a lot of wrong things with my son too.  I yelled, I said rotten stuff…and the worst?  I feel like I destroyed his family when I left his father.  There were so many factors in that decision, and I’m not all to blame.  But I take a lot of it.  And I need too.  And I regret with all my heart that my son became a product of divorce.  For that, I’ll never forgive myself.

And my husbands?  I was a good wife.  Good.  Not perfect…just good.  I tried and they tried, but it just wasn’t enough.  I made horrible mistakes and understand my role in my marriages’ demise.  I’ve apologized to all my husbands for this.  In fact, I called hubby 1 a few days ago, and we talked.  He was so gracious and we had a great conversation after having been divorced for 23 years.  I said I was sorry and he did the same…and that felt really good.  Hubby 3 and I talk everyday, and we both fight over who is to blame the most for our impending divorce.  But we also laugh about it.  We get along even better now, and despite everything that occurred in our marriage, we are family forever.  Every Father’s Day, I send my son’s dad a text thanking him for the best gift in the world.  He doesn’t respond, but it makes me feel good to do that anyway.  Because it’s true.  Without him, I wouldn’t have my precious son.  And he’s a winner.

I know I wasn’t the easiest kid and teen to parent. I’m hypersensitive and I know I made my parents walk on eggs so much.  I get upset easily (shocker, huh?) and did some pretty crappy things as a kid.  As I’ve gone back to read previous posts, it sounds like I blame my parents for the things in my life that have gone wrong.  I apologize to them for that.  They did the very best they could…which is what all of us do.  I am the one who makes the choices for my own behavior…and the consequences are mine as well.  Mine alone.

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The situation with Sarge is a bit different.  As in all relationships, I made mistakes with him as well.  But, I also know I didn’t deserve ANY of his abuse or infidelity.  NO one does.  Period.  And he has apologized for it all.  I think it’s sincere.  I hope that it is.  But even though we are trying to figure out what we might be to one another, I know he has deep seated problems and needs help.  He has realized that as well and is getting it.  And for that, I’m glad.

So…there it is.

And now, here I go!  I’m so much more (as all of you are) than a victim of abuse.  I’m a great crafter thanks to my mom and sister.  Mom taught my sis and I how to sew and we all make awesome quilts.  You are going to be bombarded with pics!!  My sister spent, literally, hours teaching me to crochet.  Her patience was more than I would have had.  But, as she does in all things she starts, she succeeded and you’ll see the results of that as well!  I also LOVE to loom bead (just gave a bracelet to a friend today), and do zentangle drawings too.  So relaxing!!

I’m also “Professor K” and there is nothing I would rather do on this earth than be the teacher I am!  I thank God everyday for my position and know how lucky I am to be able to go to work, have a great time, and get paid for it.  Wow!!  Over the years, I’ve had thousands of students.  And each of them were special to me.  Truly.  I’ve learned from them as much as they’ve learned from me, and some of them will be my family forever!  How lucky is that?

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I love to run, hike, walk my dogs, ride motorcycles and bikes, read anything and everything I can get my hands on (Wally Lamb…John Irving…Anne Tyler…Jodi Piccoult…) and every book is a treasure!  My parents encouraged reading and my sis and I would go to the bookmobile every Saturday to get new selections!  At times, we could barely carry them home!

I’m 50 years old…and I want to make this new start in my life a great one.  I’m ready to move forward and embrace living alone and learning about me!  My sis and I were talking the other day, and she said how we both have the tendency to give, give, give.  And she said we should allow ourselves to take as well!  Not selfishly…but in a healthy way.  Sometimes it needs to be about others…but sometimes, it needs to be all about you!!  That’s an OK thing to do!!  And you know what??  I’m ready for that!!

Come on my journey with me…grow with me…strengthen with me…laugh with me…cry with me…learn with me.  You all have been AWESOME in my on-going recovery, and now I want you along for some good times too!  Will you come along for the ride?

Hey Ho!!  Let’s Go!!

Professor K 🙂

“And the Beat Goes On…”

Over the last few days, I’ve been receiving many anonymous comments on this blog.  I approved and replied to one of them, but haven’t on the others.  I don’t know if these comments are being authored by the same person or not, but I wanted to address this issue as a whole.

First, most of the comments are telling me how foolish and ‘idiotic’ I’m being by letting Sarge back into my life.  And, had I been reading this blog myself, I would have readily agreed.  But, two things have made me understand my actions:

  1. My knowledge of the complexity of Narcissistic Abuse and the psychological manipulation present which changes your entire ability to see things rationally.
  2. The new understanding that being inside a situation is much different than being on the outside.  Being objective and emotionally detached is always easier than being subjective and emotionally enmeshed.  How often have you been able to see issues in other people easier than recognizing similar issues in yourself?

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I think we live in a very judgmental society.  We are bombarded with the media berating others in order to sell their magazines, promote their reality shows, and sell themselves as the best commodity.  It’s almost as if by making people smaller, we can appear bigger.  Or, by pointing out the poor choices of others, we can feel better about the choices we make ourselves.

It’s a bullying world right now, and a very different one from when I grew up.  Back then, bullies were the people in your classes or your neighborhood that you could escape from by walking into your own home.  Nowadays?  Bullies are everywhere.  Literally.  They hide behind their tablets, phones, and computers and incite, preach, taunt, and inflame with the anonymity our technology now provides.  It’s constant.  And safe places?  I don’t really believe they exist anymore.

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Anonymity is a curious thing to me.  Why, if we are expressing a belief or opinion we obviously find valid, do we hide ourselves from it?  Why do we not identify ourselves and why is it that the more hateful the voice, the more layers the person wraps around themselves to protect their own selves from retribution.  If you believe in an idea and have worded it appropriately, why would you have to hide at all?  Shouldn’t we, if we are expressing ourselves, be proud of our stand?  Shouldn’t we at least take ownership of it?

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When I started this blog, I was just learning about Narcissistic Abuse.  And I’m still learning.  I was just recovering  And I’m still recovering.  I think things like this are a process.  Some people are very strong and emotionally resilient, and can extricate themselves from situations quickly and permanently.  Others are less so, and the process may take more time.  And more mistakes.

I know I have family and friends who disapprove of the choices I have made, and continue to make.  And although their opinions might be hurtful at times, I respect very much them being straightforward and honest with me.  I really do.  And in this blog, I’m trying my very best to be straightforward and honest too.  Sometimes it’s difficult to paint an entire picture in a paragraph or two.  I’m being open and honest to the point where it’s painful at times, but I’m determined to do it.  Not so others can necessarily learn from my mistakes, but so they know there is someone else on this ride with them who will support them when they fall.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

This is what I know:  people do the best they can…and truthful, forthright comments can be very helpful and welcome.  But sometimes we have to make our own choices…our own mistakes…our own consequences.  And it’s always nice to know there are people around to soften the hurt that might entail.  If it happens to you, I’m here.

Professor K

Pandora’s Box

My best friend and I went shopping today and he was just thrilled to look at beads for an hour with me.  As we walked around our local mall, we started talking about the upcoming holidays, and I told him how I was dreading them so much.  Last Christmas was when hubby 3 moved out, and it was a horrible time.  I have always loved Christmas, but am wondering if there will now be a dark cloud around it as well.

I was also telling my friend how much I hate summers.  I actually love the hot weather and doing outdoor things, but summers have always seemed to be the time when bad things tend to happen.  My grandpa died during the summer after a long illness and both hubby 1 and hubby 2 left me during summer months.  I thought my bad summers were over, until this past summer happened.

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As I think back to it, I can’t remember most of July and August.  I truly can’t.  I remember bits and pieces, but there are such huge gaps, those months barely register at all.  My friend told me how worried he was about me.  How he and my mom took care of me.  About how I cried uncontrollably for hours at a time, and mentioned suicide a lot.  About how I could barely dress myself, get out of the house, or eat.  Teaching my summer class was all I accomplished, and I remember little of that too.  I’ve taught this particular class so many times I’ve always said I can do it in my sleep, and apparently I did.  I do know I broke down in front of my class on a few occasions, because some of those students have recently told me.  I’m ashamed of that.  I never want to put that burden on my sweet students and I’ve always taken so much pride in my teaching and the reputation I have earned on my campus.

I do remember this though:  I took a handful of pills one evening when I was alone, but threw them up in fear a few minutes later.  What I had wanted to do was too scary for me to carry out.  And I thank God for that.  I know how my family would have suffered if I had been successful, and in hindsight, I can’t believe I even contemplated doing that to my son.

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I talk about suicide a lot in my psychology classes and never thought I would be facing these thoughts myself.  One of the first things I teach my students is that suicide is not about death.  It’s all about ending the pain you’re in.  And sometimes, death seems like the only way to make that happen.  People who are suicidal live in a tunnel.  A long, dark, scary tunnel where no light can enter, and the tunnel is filled only with misery.  There’s no way to get out of a tunnel…especially one with no doors, and the helplessness of facing another day in that dark, dark space is horrifying.  When you’re in the tunnel, you see nothing else.  Feel only the ache of your pain and depression and nothing around you matters at all.  Nothing. If hell was a place on earth, this would be it.

I absolutely hate the idea of having been in that tunnel.  I remember times I could barely breathe in it..barely talk.  I remember wanting to go to sleep and never wake up.  I remember telling my doctor that there was something very wrong with me.

But I don’t remember it all.  And I think that’s a good thing.  Our minds are wonderful contraptions and just as our bodies protect ourselves with our immune system, our minds do the same.  It understands when we need to repress experiences instead of facing them.  It instinctively knows what we can handle, and what we can’t.  As my friend was telling me about how I acted this summer, I couldn’t believe the person he was describing was me.  He was talking about this woman who was so out of it, she couldn’t be trusted to drive at times.  Why can’t I remember?  Why can’t I see all of that now?  Because, sometimes when you open a door that’s been closed, you have to face things you may not be ready to encounter yet.

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Remember Pandora’s Box that was full of all the worlds evil?  Zeus told Pandora not to open it, but being curious, she did anyway and all of the ills of the world were released.  She hastily worked to close the box back up, and after she succeeded, only hope was left inside.  My box is this summer.  I want to open it and see who I was when I was recovering from the brunt of the narcissistic abuse I suffered.  Why?  Because I need to be reminded of the harm that can come to me?  Because I need to remember how far down I was pushed so I can be more vigilant in protecting myself from further abuse?

I think I already know how horrible it was, and I’m building myself up day by day and feeling so much stronger and confident.  But, as I admitted in my previous post, Sarge is back in my life and I’m not remembering the bad as much as I’m remembering the good.  I’m seeing him differently.  He’s been sharing more with me.  About his childhood.  About the abuse he endured during that time.  He’s shown me a vulnerability I’ve never seen before and has listened to me more than he ever has.  And I like it.  Actually, I love it.  We are more on the same ‘page’ than we have ever been.  Bliss.

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No.  It’s not bliss.  It’s still complicated and I’m still struggling SO much with things he did to me.  Especially the infidelity.  I believe it was him doing this to me numerous times during 2 different weeks that finally brought me down.  I handled, the best I could, the manipulation, verbal assaults, etc. but for some reason, the infidelity was the kicker.  I think it’s because I felt so ‘less than’.  So foolish.  So used.  So nothing.  It was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back.

But, I’m not broken anymore.  And although I have forgiven Sarge the infidelity (regardless of the fact he’s never asked for it), I haven’t forgotten.  I never will.  Ever.  I can’t.  I can’t go back to that tunnel.  And I am going to do my damn best not too.  I will never be as vulnerable.  I won’t allow it.  I can’t.  I deserve more than living in darkness…I deserve the light.  And although I’m not ready to open the entire box of what happened this summer, maybe I don’t need too.  Not yet.  Because just seeing a peek of it is enough of a lesson for now.

Professor K

P.S.  Please call for help if you, or anyone you love have signs of being suicidal.

Love you all. ❤