How to stop talking to your father. With a smile.

Laugh or you'll cryThere’s no need to stop smiling! Father’s Day should be a time for happiness and sunshine, barbecues and laughs. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, we have to deal with abusive fathers and what they did – or still do – to us. While I would love to ignore creepy, negative people, I still have to deal with them, and I believe there are a few of you who must as well, and so I’m here for you! Keep a smile on your face, keep your dignity and good spirit, but remove the Crazies.

A brief background on why I like to help
My father was physically present, but emotionally absent. He allowed my mother to be a mediator between himself and his daughters, and because of that our family was torn apart. My mother – a sociopathic narcissist – lied to him about our thoughts and actions. In return, he beat us. This placed her as the head of the family – exactly where she wanted to be.

“…if you showed a sign of independence as a child they took it as losing control, they must have absolute control.”

The family friend who wrote that in an email to me was absolutely correct. And even now I’m shocked how accurate his words were. I had a choice: live a suppressed life according to abusive, unstable people, or be happy and be what numerous teachers and coaches knew I was: intelligent and very capable.

So after years of therapy, I’m finally at peace and live a very happy life. With the exception of Father’s Day. It’s a constant reminder of how my father was absent during the times we needed him the most. Fathers should be authoritative and help steer the direction of the family. Instead, he handed-over authority to an unstable, manipulative mother. And even to this day, he allows my mother to fabricate untruths about anyone who attempts to dethrone her.

Because of this, I’ve had to completely disconnect myself from my own family. I found it extremely difficult to do, and every Father’s Day that passes is a reminder that I’ve both done the right thing as well as exactly how alone I am in regard to having a family.

Weak people gather like vultures at a carcass.

If you’re struggling with an abusive father and desperately want to disconnect, these things helped me. I’ve done the following:

1.) Completely cut ties
After years of limiting communication, I finally completely cut ties. I block phone numbers, I block email addresses and I do not give out my mailing address. The psychos in my family needle people until they give in (unfortunately, it has worked on aunts and uncles who have heard entire stories of our abuse).

I refuse to bend. Abuse is still abuse. Even after trying to “work it out” with my parents, they still continue to create fresh ways to destroy their children. As one sister pointed-out, “If it was just that event years ago, I would have forgiven. But they continue to try to hurt me, and for that I’ve had to get them go.”

IMG_3981

2.) Donate all items from the abuser
I’ve had to donate all memories including clothing, sneakers, shoes, gifts, furniture, jewelry. Basically, I’ve had to create an entirely new life for myself.

Ask yourself, “Who do I want to be? Who have I always wanted to be, but couldn’t because of abusive dipshits?” Think of it like this: there are a lot of people out there who will be thankful that you’re giving away dressers, beds, armoires, earrings, necklaces, photo albums.

This is a war, my friend, and you are going to win. You will be happy.

3.) Put away photos
Old photos are in a box in my closet. I don’t take them out unless my son asks about our heritage. That’s it. Other than that, the box stays where it is. I don’t marinate in old memories because it causes negative energy. I don’t need that. As a collective experience, you want to stay as positive as possible – seeing images of a destructive time in your life will not help. Put them away and keep them there. The only reason I would not completely destroy the images is if you need to send one to a lawyer for an Order for Protection. Hey – you didn’t choose this life, they chose it for you. All you can do is work your way out of it the smartest way possible.

4.) Do not respond to shenanigans
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to email, reply, or post about how insane my abusers are. There’s gobs of articles and proof on the internet alone about how their actions are insane and possibly illegal.

But responding will only continue the flow of negative energy.

So while it’s clear that these people thrive on negative reinforcement, negative attention, you will not. In order to end the bullying you’ve got to ignore the bully. I find this infuriating because – to others – it looks like the bully is correct if no one corrects them. But ultimately, you can’t reason with a crazy person, and that’s what they are – crazy. So don’t waste your time on them. You’ve already given enough of yourself to their insanity.

5.) Embrace the fact that your father is a putz, and that you’ll have to do it on your own
This is difficult for me because I don’t think it’s that hard to be a good dad. And so the shock is constantly there.

“Why couldn’t he…”
“Why didn’t he…”
“Why won’t he…”

But I try not to marinate in the disappointment of it. I’ve found other people whom I love to show me what good fathering is. I watch them, embrace them and accept the fact that the universe put me in this position to learn something. And so I shall. And so will you.

IMG_3524
-1Yos

Unhealthy Men Like Unavailable Women

1Yos
I literally wore this outfit today

Match.com leaves your profile online even after you’ve gone through the deletion process. I know this because years ago I deleted my profile and received the “your profile is deleted, but will be on display until…” reply. I wasn’t happy about it. I wanted the profile down immediately. If it’s still on display, it’s not really deleted, is it?

Match not only didn’t remove my profile when I wanted it to, but it continued to slam me with notifications and emails. I was then forced to change my profile to reflect that I’m no longer willing to be in the dating game, especially on Match.com. “This profile has been deleted,” I wrote. “Please don’t contact me.” Yet I was still slammed with countless emails from guys who either didn’t read my profile, or thought I’d be a fun challenge. Either way, it only proved they were mentally unhealthy.

Therapy_CanWeTalkI had a brief discussion with my then-therapist about this.

“If they’re trying to contact me,” I began, “despite me explaining the situation and vividly expressing that I’m no longer interested in dating—isn’t it really just revealing their unwillingness to get involved with someone who is available?” I asked. Yes, the therapist agreed.

“So even if their profile seems solid,” I continued, “I should probably still not bother because they’re trying to get involved with an emotionally unavailable girl, yes?” Yes, the therapist agreed again.

Hot damn, I thought, Men are just like us. They want to get involved with unavailable women. They may not even realize it themselves, we concluded. It may all be on a subconscious level.

Good God, I thought. I sat back in shock for a minute, proud of myself for the revelation, humored that I could finally see the Matrix, but dismayed over the reality of it all. Logically speaking, the theory actually proves that men who fight for their women are actually mentally unhealthy.

Soak that in. How many of us have wanted our guy to fight for us in some manner or another? So in essence, do we want them to be mentally unhealthy?

My mind was spinning. I left the therapist’s office feeling defeated. I thought about the MarriedGuy who went back to his unstable wife, “fighting” to make his marriage work. Sad, I thought, but good riddance. I realized that if he was willing to take-back someone who was that unhealthy, he couldn’t possibly be healthy enough for me. And I realized as my own self-awareness and self-assurance grew, the dating pool shrank. Significantly.

I crossed New York City’s midtown streets on my way back to work,  still thinking about how the dating pool was becoming nothing more than a dried-up puddle. The thought repeated in my mind. Unhealthy men like unavailable women.

In all honesty, women do the same thing. My friends and I clocked plenty of hours chasing unavailable men. So we can’t sit-back and say it’s just the men. It’s everyone. But that doesn’t mean I have to tolerate it.

Unstable men like unavailable women. The thought persisted. I started wondering if the level of unavailability in women mattered. What if a women just didn’t want to get involved because she wanted to live her life for a while? There should be a difference between busy women and women who blatantly say “hell no,” right?

My solution is to find out. I’ve been researching all the things that I’ve wanted to do over the years, but never had time for. While my original “1 Year of Single” has been over for a few years now, I still want to use my 1-year, yet this time it’ll be 1 Year of Rediscovery. 1 year of rediscovering myself and things I love to do. Have you ever spent a specific amount of time purposely rediscovering yourself? That’s what I’ll be doing. And I guarantee, it won’t include spending time on Match.com.

xoxo
-1Yos

 

Where I’m Going

20140808-051835-19115871.jpg
The last few months I’ve been contemplating my little journey of one year of single. It started when the last guy decided to go back to his abusive wife and I was again left feeling like being a self-assured, good person wasn’t getting me anywhere. Guys seem to want a-holes so they don’t have to live up to any expectations.

Men say they don’t want drama, but they return to suicidal cheaters. They say they want loyal girls, but they cheat and return to cheaters. They say they want good girls, but they’re jerks and date only jerks who have a multitude of problems.

And yet they say I have drama because I stopped talking to abusive parents? How is that any worse than continuously being involved with abusive parents? I made the move. I did the work. As far as I’m concerned, these guys are drama because they haven’t made the move or done the work.

So while I haven’t written many posts in weeks, it’s been on my mind constantly. I’m vastly different than I was last year. I’ve learned a lot, and yet I still feel like I’m only part-way through this journey.

In the last few weeks alone I’ve overcome and handled a few obstacles regarding men that I would have dove head-first into last year. For example, when he bends the lie enough to seem truthful, I would have accepted the relationship again. Today, I see it for what it is: an immature attempt to manipulate the truth.

I don’t have time for that and I’m not looking for that as the foundation of a relationship. And after this past year I can honestly add that I’m finally not even wanting a relationship. I’ll gladly start a friendship with any guy that may eventually lead to something more, but jumping into something heavy? I’m not there yet.

12 Lessons I Learned From My Ex-Men

Lately I’ve been wondering exactly how many life lessons I have to learn before I’m rewarded. If you compare life to school, we should get payouts every few weeks or so. But unfortunately life isn’t the same as school. Can you imagine paying tuition, attending classes and studying for a final exam without ever receiving a final grade, or worse — a diploma? And yet that’s what life offers us: Endless exams without the benefit of a final review.

For some, a lack of final review offers a comforting sigh of relief. But for Capricorns such as myself, it’s like fully stretching a rubber band without ever allowing the Snap!

Considering the lack of Snap!, I started reviewing previous relationships and constructed a list that I could consider Lessons Learned, hoping it’ll soon produce a positive payout. They are:

1.) Innocent Faces Don’t Represent the Innocent 
I dated one guy who I would consider an “All American Pie Boy.” His visual presentation stirred mental images of warm apple pies sitting on window sills while young boys play baseball in woolen trousers all across midwestern Americana. Safe, comforting and honest.

Unfortunately his outer presentation of honesty and integrity belied his deep-seeded affection for a toxic relationship. Thankfully I wasn’t the toxic relationship – but that in itself was a problem. I spent close to a year watching him implode, addicted to an unstable ex with whom he continually played childish mind and manipulation games like they never left high school. It was exhausting and I thankfully realized after connecting too many dots that he was already spinning a web of lies for me. I cut him loose.

2.) Couples Breakup For A Reason
I was like the fly that repeatedly smacked against the same spot on the window pane, hoping for better results with each head whack. Giving men multiple chances has been one of the stupidest repeated mistakes in my dating career. Cheaters, liars, alcoholics. The one lesson I’ve learned: What they had no problem doing once, they did again. There’s a reason why phrases like “Zebras don’t change their stripes,” “Leopards don’t change their spots” and “History repeats itself,” exist.

3.) They Don’t Automatically Know Better
If you’ve read “How My Mother Made Me Desperate,” you’ll understand the devaluing of my intelligence by my parents and how it caused me to question all my decisions. This, in turn, caused me to rely heavily on the opinions of the men I dated — alcoholics and all. Thankfully, because of praise from countless teachers and coaches, I was able to grab hold of the glimmer of hope in myself, get therapy, and eventually see that most of the putzes that I dated were even less informed than I was. I realized I replaced my parents with men — or even friends — allowing them to approve of my choices or tell me how to live my life based on the little facts that I was willing to relay.

4.) Dating Exists so We Can Get to Know Someone
My mother had a way of making me feel like I always had to take any offer that was given. From colleges to jobs to men. And not only did I have to consider the “generous” offer to date, but I also had to consider it may be my only option to wed, as well. I wasn’t taught to go on dates as a casual way of getting to know someone. It was subtly and continuously drilled into me that if I accepted one date, I was locked-in. So if I said yes to the first date, there was already talk by my mother of life integration.

Half the time this sent me running from the good guys — primarily because I wasn’t ready to marry. So I spent years distracting myself with sub-par men out of fear. And since I was brainwashed to believe I wasn’t worth a good man and that he’d eventually cheat, I grew to believe I also couldn’t handle one and was drawn more toward the not-so-good man. Unfortunately in doing so I learned:

5.) Ugly Slobs Screw Up Too
There’s a misnomer that ugly men treat women better because they’re so appreciative of having a good woman. Not so.

In a futile effort to impress my dysfunctional, negative parents, I gained countless scholastic and athletic awards and accolades. But after years of unsuccessful attempts to impress them — due to the changing tides of their expectations — I was still unable to extract the proper parental love based on my own merits. It was at this point that I gave up and accepted being offered-up like a sacrificial lamb to the (alcoholic) son of my parents’ friends. I was exhausted waiting for the right guy to come along.

“At least if he’s not really put-together — no one else will want him and he won’t cheat,” I found myself thinking, not even realizing that he was a serious alcoholic. My thought process focused on my mother’s insistence that all men eventually cheat. Pathetic, I’ll admit. But when you’re riding someone else’s train to Crazy Town you don’t really take full inventory of the passengers. And so I wed.

Four years later I left him, ala Sleeping With the Enemy style. And to this day I feel like I was never a bride, never married and never lived through a honeymoon phase. What I did live through was toxic and terrifying, but without it I would never have awoken to a few much-needed, life altering revelations.

6.) Good Guys Can’t Handle My History & Bad Guys Try to Compete
This is by far the most difficult thing I’ve discovered in the last few years, and I’m hoping that it was only because of how I introduced my history into relationships that sent the good guys running.

I’ve known many good guys in my life. I’ve been in love with them and they loved me. But at those times, because of the mental torment from my parents, I couldn’t handle dating. I’d either retreat completely or reveal too much too soon, thereby overloading them with grisly facts about my home life. They couldn’t handle it because they had never been exposed to that type of dysfunction. Total overload.

In contrast, psychopaths had no problem hearing the dysfunctional details of my life and sometimes even attempted to extend an honest hand of help. Unfortunately their own demons eventually surfaced and we’d always be left in a proverbial “Who’s Life Is Worse” match.

To this day I’m not sure where that leaves me — other than that I need to be friends with someone before dating. But at least I’m now aware.

7.) I Need to Acknowledge My Good Decisions and Stick to Them
Alcoholics. Thieves. Druggies. Cheaters. Thankfully after years of praying and practice I’ve gotten better at accepting the things I can not change, changing the things I can, and recognizing the difference. Ironically most of my bad decisions were second-guesses brought on by parental pre-conditioning. The good decisions? I’m finally starting to roll around in those — beginning with the choice to leave my alcoholic husband without telling my mother of the plan.

8.) Only I Know the Whole Story
After years of being taught that I couldn’t make a correct decision on my own, I started to believe that I couldn’t date on my own as well. And it opened the floodgates for both solicited and unsolicited advice in relationships. Only I knew all the details of situations, but I continually asked for advice from friends. This changed drastically the moment I decided to cut my mother from The Evacuation plans. It was the best decision I ever made.

9.) Compatibility is Always Important
I’ve dated everything from suits to surfers. It took a few years to realize I leaned more toward the “suit who wouldn’t mind surfing,” type of guy, but before that ever happened I was testing the waters in all things coastal.

It’s funny what can happen after graduating college. I went from being well-known in a school of 16 thousand students to a small group of my friends. And because of their new careers and availabilities — and my unwillingness to venture out alone — the pool of potential boyfriends dried up like a maple leaf on a sunny fall day.

Enter one dorky surf guy looking for direction and you’ve entered my alternate dating universe. It was only after we broke up and he kept giving me pitiful looks that I realized I never really wanted to marry the guy anyway. We were ridiculously incompatible. He had no direction, no backbone nor the mental capacity to earn himself either one. I didn’t realize I needed more of a suit — not someone who folds under pressure like a wet Baja Hoodie.

You’d think the major incompatibilities I found in this one fried fellow would deter me from a few more years of aimlessly dating in the wrong genre, but it didn’t. With my mother constantly introducing me as “The last one left [to get married],” and subtly devaluing my personal accomplishments, it’s no wonder I was ready to form a lifelong partnership with just about anyone remotely tolerable.

But dating someone who’s incompatible is like trying to blend oil and water. Only after disowning my mother and starting a year free from dating did I finally accept that dating is just a way to get to know someone, and if you find yourself incompatible, you can go your separate  ways. And most importantly — it’s not an absolutely mandatory part of life.

10.) If He’s More Interested in His Toxic Ex, She Can Have Him
“You can’t save everyone,” I’ve been told multiple times. I’ve witnessed countless men (and women) try to please dysfunctional partners and in the end they always — always — breakup. Whether it takes a few weeks or the couple is able to drag it out to 20 years.

Because no one tried to save me from the toxic relationship with my mother, I feel compelled to help men who had toxic relationships with their ex. I literally thought if they had a good love, it would turn on a light and they’d not only realize, but be strong enough to save themselves. Ridiculous.

They don’t want to be saved. I’m floored by the countless excuses men make in order to stay with someone who’s destroying both their physical and mental health. And what makes it more difficult for me is knowing that their future guarantees one of two things: the end of their relationship anyway, or the end of their life. Instead of seeking happiness, love, peace and partnership, they’re willing to go to the grave in misery. These men  literally do not want to be happy because they choose suffering over love. You can’t save a masochist.

11.) Love Only Works If Both Parties Want a Partnership
I’ve lived at both ends of this spectrum and can attest to how good a relationship can be if both people continually work to keep the relationship a partnership. And yes, this does incorporate respect. Someone who “allows” you to do something isn’t respecting you just as you’re not garnering respect by constantly seeking someone’s authoritative approval.

12.) The First 3-12 Months of Dating is The Honeymoon Phase 
If he can’t pull it out for you during the honeymoon phase (no pun intended!) then the relationship is not worth keeping. Men will work for women they love and if they love them enough it won’t be work. So if you feel like you’re sucking a relationship out of a man (no pun intended!) it’s time to call it quits.

How awesome would it be if life was like the Nickleback song, “Saving Me,” but instead of a death ticker floating over your head, it’s a When You’re Lessons Will Start Paying Off ticker?

Or maybe they are already and we just don’t know it…

-1YOS

20140514-213603.jpg

My DoucheLord Sociology Teacher

I had a sociology teacher in high school who was supposed to be teaching Economics. But since Economics was a boring joke to him, he’d constantly slip the entire class into verbal sociology debates. One day he went around the classroom asking each student what their prejudice was. As each student proclaimed what they thought would be well-debated by Mr. DoucheLord (let’s just call him that), he would actually rip them apart. For example:

Mr. DoucheLord: “What is your prejudice, Johnny?”
Johnny: “I really don’t like fat people.”
Mr. DoucheLord: “Oh really? What if the aunt who was raising you alone – after both of your parents died in a fiery car crash, who was working three jobs just to support you and your tacky denim fetish – had a thyroid problem and weighed 350 pounds? Would you still hate fat people?”
Johnny: ” !? ”

And so it went as Mr. DoucheLord went around the classroom crushing the opinions of each student.

Now, I was well-informed about DoucheLord because my sister already had her ridiculously fragile ego crushed by his antagonistic ways. But I wasn’t the same kind of girl. As feminine as I was, I was also the type to play catcher in softball and was willing to take a few hits for the team. So in typical me fashion, I dug deep into the recesses of my blonde brain and came up with a brilliant answer that I hoped would minimize the impact of his DoucheLord severity.

Mr. DoucheLord: “So, what’s your prejudice?” he smirked at me, knowing full-well I was the younger sibling of a previously-tortured student.

Me: “I have a prejudice against people who ask other people their prejudice just so they can crap on their answers,” I replied, with my own all-knowing smirk.

DoucheLord snorted, laughed, and replied, “Smart Ass.”

I won.

Ex-Husband

Sometimes (all the time) I look at my ex-husband and I think,
“The thousands that I spend on therapy were well worth it.”

How My Mother Made Me Desperate

We often wonder why some girls are desperate and needy. You would think it’s an inherent need, but sometimes it comes from the folks who are supposed to protect them the most. Case in point:

“We’re going to marry you off to the old widower down the road,” my parents would joke, adding, “Except, we’ll have to throw in some chickens as well” – a clear sign that they didn’t think I was worth anything; they had to “sweeten the pot” with a farm animal. So essentially I was worth less than a farm animal.

This was just one of the many not-so-subtle ways that my parents expressed their view of my value. I had to be married to be worth something, and that no one would want me as I was. I wasn’t good enough.

Eventually all my sisters “found someone,” and I was “left.” I dated here and there, but as nothing panned out, my mother would ask in horrified voice if I was a lesbian, and would introduce me as “the last one left.” Imagine how I felt when – in social circles – she would say, “Oh, and here’s my daughter, Kate. She’s the last one left.”

The last one left? It indicated that I was – in her eyes – the last one of her daughters to do the right thing: obtain the golden ticket and get married. So to my mother, all my other achievements – Deans List, MVP, Captain, Who’s Who of Junior Colleges – twice, Editor In Chief of the college newspaper and Student of the Year – all paled in comparison to being someone’s wife. It was another statement that pissed me off – but being a dutiful daughter, I let it slide. Why? Because my other sisters had issues with my mother! My mother also very artfully manipulated me by saying, “It doesn’t matter what we do to you, Kate, you’ll always come back to us. You’re the good one.” She was a master manipulator.

So those statements, along with dozens of other similar messages, created a need for me to find a husband – even before carrying out my own dreams. But ironically I didn’t radiate desperateness. I wasn’t a slut. I wasn’t “with” every guy I met, and I didn’t want every guy to marry me. I actually had some discrimination. Some.

Sadly, when my dysfunctional mother introduced me to her friend’s equally dysfunctional son, I went for it – hook line and sinker – because of a few things: 1.) I was tired of waiting for a quality guy that I actually wanted to spend the rest of my life with 2.) I was completely intimidated by quality guys 3.) It was a preordained match made by my dysfunctional mother 4.) I was taught my entire life to think that my parents had all the correct answers, and wasn’t ever allowed to question them. So if this guy was my perfect match, I wasn’t about to question it.

Thankfully, the story gets better.

A foundation of years of therapy enabled me to eventually leave my alcoholic husband in a somewhat “Sleeping With the Enemy” style. I call it “The Evacuation.” After my husband left for a long weekend with the boys, I gathered friends at my home to pack my things. Did I tell my mother? No way in hell – I was a clam in the months leading to the evacuation. Twice prior she had convinced me to stay with the alcoholic, so I knew that it was a turning point in my life – she wouldn’t be making any more decisions for me, and I didn’t tell her anything about the evacuation. Needless to say, when I did inform her of the move, she was shocked and tried to convince me to return to him.

I feel like 1 Year of Single is my final phase of the evacuation. Since leaving my ex-husband, I’ve had to completely sever ties with my mother – and I want to rip the control completely out of her hands by not dating for one year. I want to do it on my own terms. And I want to take everything back from the Mother who made me desperate.