Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Father, Thanks for this Talent..."

A very long time ago, a friend posted a thought-provoking question on her Facebook wall-
"How do you find your "hidden" talents?"

Sure, there's always the singing and dancing we see on that one show. But there are other talents, things that aren't always noticed, not put on display. But they're still things that you're just really good at.

It was an interesting conversation. Some said they had found hidden talents through the "necessity is the mother of invention" route- stuff just needs done, so they do it, and thereby discover that through doing, they kind of created a talent for the task.

Some find they have a talent for money- budgeting, couponing, sale-shopping (comparing in-store cycles, seasonal sales, and various coupons)

Others found talents for dealing with specific types of situations- difficult inlaws, awkward discussions with kids, or stress at work.

Of course some talents were discovered through what people have said, when compliments come because of something you find simple... "You're so good at that! I could never do what you do..."

What "hidden talents" have you heard of? What "hidden talents" do you have?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Rockstar and the Billionaire

I've been looking at the differences between our current/exiting president, Barak Obama, and our president-elect, Donald Trump. I don't know that any two men could be more different.

The exiting president took numerous vacations, nearly monthly, it seems. He and his family entertained numerous celebrities and other famous personalities. He was a rock star or maybe a rock star wanna-be.

The president-elect has declared that he will rarely vacation, that he won't be taking a salary (although he acquiesced and said he would be willing to accept the minimum required pay of $1/year). He has said that he has a lot of work to do, and won't have time to be away from his duties.

The exiting president has been using his lame-duck days to incite as much havoc and mayhem as he can, as well as rejecting and abandoning Israel (stupid, stupid, stupid!!)

The president-elect has already been at work making connections with the leaders of other nations, preparing for his place on that stage.

With the dramatic difference between these two men, I watch with fascination as power is transferred. We'll see how the new guy does.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Good Grief!

Handsome fellow!
Good grief!

Yes, more grief-talk.

Yesterday, I went to a funeral. It was a farewell and celebration of my grandfather's life. He was a man of great character.. and he was a character!

He was a farmer, a scouter, a husband and father. As the oldest grandchild, my birth made him a grandfather, and eventually others made him a great-grandfather.

A lot of people have said, "I'm sorry for your loss." And I don't really know how to respond. I get that they feel badly for me, that I've lost my last grandparent. But.. I don't know. I don't feel the loss. Maybe I've been grieving for years already, so I've processed a lot of the "loss" people are sorry for.

See, Grandpa has has been "gone" for so much longer than the last week and a half since his death. He's been gone since way before we placed him in the nursing home at the beginning of last month. He's been gone for so long, there's not much left to mourn.

I know there are those who feel differently, but this is where I am.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Grief is an interesting thing. It's only somewhat-observable, highly subjective, and uniquely personal. Each person grieves differently, and about a variety of things. What may be a mild disappointment to one, might be a heartbreak to another.

Here's what many psychologists feel about grief. My experience is that these stages aren't really steps on a ladder so much as points in a circle that are visited. They're not always experienced in this order, and sometimes a station is re-visited.

My experience in grieving the end of my marriage was a longer process. Some of these stages- I didn't even realize that's where I was until I looked back. Hindsight is  20/20! 

1) Denial- I was deeply in denial even during the whopping 6 weeks of our courtship. My excuse: love makes you stupid. He pushed for things to progress much faster than I was comfortable with. Friends warned me that this pushing was a display of flagrant disrespect for me and my natural (and completely healthy) sensibilities. I should have listened to my inner voice that screamed, "TOO FAST!!! SLOW DOWN!!"

2) Anger- For me, this came after the bargaining, when I found that bargaining didn't get my needs met. I was frustrated and angry that I didn't matter to him, that my needs and my unhappiness didn't matter.

3) Bargaining- I started this somewhere in our first year of marriage. I remember asking a month and a half before our first anniversary (the week of his birthday), how I needed to present my needs, how did I need to word things so that my needs were important enough to him. He said he didn't know. In other words, he acknowledged that I wasn't important to him. And that it was my job to beg for his attention. And that he wasn't going to do a darn thing about my unhappiness or his neglect.

4) Depression- I don't remember specifically feeling down and hopeless. I tend to be a person of action, so resignation, sitting and doing nothing is not really in my nature. At one point, I went on vacation, was away from home for a couple weeks.. and I didn't particularly want to go home. I certainly didn't miss him.

5) Acceptance came two and a half years in, when I realized that he wasn't going to change. When I realized that I didn't matter to him, and that he wasn't going to change, my first thought was that I couldn't stay.. and therefore I had to leave.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Me

Going into a new year, I'm working on healing and becoming whole. But that seems to require... a definition of boundaries, where my accountability ends and his begins. I'm willing to accept my own accountability, but not his. I'm not responsible for his behavior and his choices, no matter the reasons.


Cluster-B personality disorders:

At 8:18-- Ex would bobble-head. That's what I called it. I would bring up something he'd done that was hurtful or not productive, what have you, and he'd agree- "Nod and smile, boys".. "Yeah, I should do XYZ to change and be better..." But the change wouldn't happen.

Or "Yeah, but you did ____ , so this is the pot calling the kettle black." The reality is that it doesn't matter who calls the kettle black, because the kettle is still black and needs cleaning! I'd tell him to bring up my stuff at another time, make it a different conversation, but justifying his behavior b/c of mine wasn't ok.

A lot of this has made me second-guess my own head- was I the abusive person?

Did I do enough to be the best wife for him that I could be and meet his (reasonable) needs?
Did I fight for "us" hard enough?
Did I expect too much of him?
Did I make my happiness his job?
Did I justify my behavior b/c of his behavior and how he treated me?
Was I manipulative toward him?
Did I shift blame?

Did I give up on our marriage too soon?

But videos like this help so much!!!

I tried to be enough. I fought for him against  his horrible exwife (as he painted her.. I know better now) who seemed to be doing everything she could to keep the kids from him. I put out when I didn't feel like it (more times than I'd like to admit). I tried to redecorate so that the house was more him/me than him/her. I cooked, cleaned, sorted, organized, loved, tried to be what I thought he needed in a wife.

I don't think I expected too much of him. He would say he was going to do something... but then he wouldn't. Was I not enough to inspire action?

Generally, I'm a happy person. It wasn't his job to "make me happy".. rather it was his job to do what he said he would.. and he never did. I wasn't unhappy. I was disappointed, and learned that I didn't matter to him.

To a degree, I justified. I was hurting. I had been made to feel inferior, worth less (not the same as worthless), not-enough, and eventually, I felt vilified. And I was angry about it.
I think I became manipulative once I realized that being honest and transparent, being clear and direct wasn't going to get my needs met.
I didn't/don't shift blame. I know where I messed up. I know what I should have done instead. I don't paint myself as a martyr. But I also refuse to allow him to get away with claiming to be a martyr.

I still, and maybe always will wonder about the timing of giving up on "us." I don't think I did it too soon.. but did I wait too long? Or rather, did I really give it my best effort? Did I fight hard enough while I was invested? (quality vs quantity)

Listening to this woman speak, I realize that yes, my husband is indeed bipolar (despite his rejecting the diagnosis). It may not be particularly severe, but it is there. I didn't see the movie-version of bipolar (crazy shopping sprees and risk taking vs crying and laying in bed all day). So without realizing it, I enabled his refusal, his rejection of treatment. I allowed him to become the abuser he was.

I'm moving on now. My only concern is about his next victim. Will she see it soon enough? Will she push him to get help? Will she get out before she breaks?