This is me battling impostor syndrome

This is the big test. Right here. This is the test to see if you will stick with me even when you know everything. There is lameness about me. Not the lameness commenters point out. Not like, I don't know anything about graduate school. Or I'm not fair to David Dellifield. No. It’s more fundamental than that.

I want you to recall that when I was growing up, the police came to our house pretty frequently. (And, in fact, to our hotel rooms. And you might be interested to know that when rich people trash a hotel room they do not get thrown out of the hotel. But rather, the kids get their own hotel room.) Every time, my dad would tell them that I was fine, that it was only a spanking, that I was exaggerating. He would tell them I have a behavioral problem.

He wasn't covering anything up as much as expressing how my parents were actually convinced that I was a psychopath. I was the one who went to a psychiatrist my whole childhood. They even had me tested at Northwestern's neurology lab. But at the same time, my parents were doing things like getting angry enough to leave me as in Arlington Heights, alone on a street corner, while they drove back to Wilmette. (Google Map that: Not good parenting. Probably illegal today.)

Okay. So fast forward to my marriage now, to the Farmer. The odds are that I would be with a man who treats me like my dad did, right? So it should not surprise you that the Farmer pushed me so hard that I fell on the floor. In front of my six-year-old son.

The Farmer would tell you why it's my fault, and how I deserve it, and that I made him do it. If there were a neurology lab in rural Wisconsin he'd probably send me there because he has told me numerous times, most recently right after he apologized for pushing me, again, that I am emotionally abusive to him.

Two nights ago, I got really scared. He had already pushed me and shoved me and grabbed me and crushed my foot in a door. He would say that I deserved it. That I say crazy things to him. That I never leave him alone. That I am an awful person to live with. For the record.

He had me in a corner, and I was crying and I was scared, and he was telling me how I am a terrible mom, he was saying my youngest son is going to grow up and hit me. So I dialed a number that I thought was a friend, but it was my stepmom, the woman married to my dad

She is totally cool. My dad has very good taste and I really like this stepmom. And she was great to talk to. I can't complain about one thing she said.

She says, of course, that I am a good mom. And of course, I do not believe her. Someone raised by abusive parents never feels secure in their parenting because they don’t understand what makes kids love parents. So that's my weak spot. Even if I were a great parent, I'd never believe it.

And of course, she said I need to leave.

I was silent.

Then she suggests sending my dad to come see me. For support. I say okay. Because I can't say no to support. And, you know what? I can't say no to my dad. I just want to be loved. He tries really hard. I forgive every transgression, even as his transgressions are huge. Just go read that post. I can't even bear to write about them again. I can't because I want to have a dad who loves me in a real way.

I want to have a dad who comes and rescues me when I have a husband who is physically violent.

So my dad drives two hours to see me. He gets here for dinner. I told him not to come any earlier because it's Sunday, the day my Ex comes to hang out at the house with my sons, and it's the only day all week that I don't have kids, so I have to work that day.

Our dinner features my act of childish passive-aggressiveness: I make sure there is no meat in the meal because the Farmer really wants meat in the meal every time.

Maybe that is what he means when he tells me I’m emotionally abusive.

I am alone in the kitchen getting dinner ready. I tell myself not to feel sorry for myself. I tell myself it gets me nowhere. I tell myself that I if I can fix this situation, I will be really good at helping other people to fix their lives.

My dad comes up to me in the kitchen. I am startled.

I tell him I really appreciate that he came, that it makes me feel less alone.

He tells me he wants to help. He tells me he researched women's shelters in my area.

“Dad. Women's shelter? Did you say women's shelter?”

“Yes. I was thinking you could go to one.”

“I can't go to a women's shelter, Dad. It's rural America. A women's shelter, here?”

I am speechless. I am trying to figure out something to say to him about why I cannot show up to one of those, kids in tow.

“Dad. I'm famous. I’ve signed autographs in grocery stores.”

He said, “Oh. You are?”

I decide we are done. I fluff the bean salad and tell myself he is trying to be helpful.

The Farmer says grace. He needs to thank God before every meal. He wanted to say Jesus also, but we compromised with just God. So he says that. And as he thanks God for this meal, I put my head down and wonder if not allowing him to thank Jesus is emotionally abusive.

The kids eat and run.

And there I am, alone. With the three men in my life.

My dad talks about his stamp collection. There was an auction in Iowa. He was thinking of going, but all the stamps he wanted were too expensive.

The Ex says he had a stamp collection, too. His parents just sent it to him. They are cleaning out their closets.

The Farmer says he had a stamp collection too.

We talk about plate blocks, post card values, and pros and cons of hinges. The hinges are difficult. You never know if it's better to attach the stamps for security, or if the attachment is so damaging that you risk losing the stamp.

Posted in Knowing yourself
527 comments on “This is me battling impostor syndrome
  1. jim says:

    I’m sorry things are so bad. Take care of yourself and your sons.

  2. Ann says:

    We all have lameness — huge things we hide about our lives that we’re afraid of others knowing.  It’s not lame to be a victim — it’s the perpetrator’s fault, not yours.  You need to start over somewhere new, somewhere safe.  Go. Take care of yourself and your boys.

  3. A Concerned Reader says:

    Penelope: 

    I have never commented on your blog but this post finally got me to break the silence to say something that many more people will say to you, I’m sure:

    He has already shoved you, pushed you, grabbed you and crushed your foot in the door and he has been throwing verbal/emotional abuse at you. And he will keep doing it – the violence will keep escalating.

    I know it is easier said than done because it is never easy to leave. Deep down inside, we always tell ourselves that things will get better, that it’s just a problem that can be worked through etc. 

    The reality is: the abuse is not going to stop.

    Please please please get out and accept help before it is too late. 

    If not for your sake, then for the sake of your sons.

    • Sam says:

      I’d like to echo the above post. 

      Do what you usually do: read up on things. Read about how abusive people brain wash their victims by taking small steps at a time, convincing the victim that it’s their own fault all the time. Read about how the violence escalates and how the victim adjusts into thinking that it’s normal. Once you’ve come that far in the story, there’s usually two versions: the “happy” ending where the victim takes her (it’s usually a her, but sometimes it’s a he) stuff and leaves. The other ending is where the victim eventually dies. 

      • Nicole says:

        Penelope, I know that the two comments above may sound simplistic, but they do contain an important truth.  I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for three years, and it is only now, after 2 years of no contact that I can see how much I let my ex “inside my head” and how deluded my optimism that things would get better really was.  That really is the problem here: when you are in these situations, you cannot see clearly.  Getting away temporarily (staying with a friend) can only give you clarity if you cut off contact with the Farmer and use the time to really honor YOU, that is, the you before the Farmer.  

        I can’t help but think that you at least subconsciously knew that posting this would yield hundreds of “Leave right now” comments.  It seems as though you know what you need to do, but don’t want to face it, because it involves uprooting your kids again and dealing with another ex-partner.  

        All I can say is that ending things with the Farmer and moving on does not make you a failure.  A failure rationalizes their mistakes and lives out a miserable life, telling herself that it is ok, because the kids like him, or she likes the farm, or she just doesn’t want to be alone.  Sounds a lot like the deluded thinking of graduate students, in my humble opinion.

  4. J says:

    I hope you’re ok now. I hope you’re going to be ok. 

  5. Bill says:

    You are not Alone Penelope. I’ll stick with you.

    Great to see you!

  6. brooklynchick says:

    I won’t tell you what to do.  I will only tell you that no matter how hard you are to live with, no one can “make” someone else hurt them.  He is an adult with control over and responsibility for his actions (same reasoning: you can’t beat your kids no matter how annoying they are). 

    More importantly, no matter how imperfect, you are a “good enough” mom, like every other mom I know.  You love them, you hug them, you read to them.  The rest is ok.  No matter what, we all end up in therapy, so just cover the essentials. Taking good care of *yourself* is one of the essentials.

    Wishing I lived close enough to meet you for tea.

    Sending you good wishes/vibes/prayers.

  7. Sally says:

    Penelope, I’ll stick with you. I wish you hadn’t called your dad–from what you say, he is in no way qualified to be supportive; counterproductive it would seem. Isn’t there anyone else? And I’m not qualified to send advice, but I do send you a big hug and I’m rooting for you.

  8. Alex Dogliotti says:

    So, Penelope, what are you going to do? Talking about stamps, or anything else for that matter, is not ‘doing’. What are you really going to ‘do’?

    • Cathy0 says:

      The stamps are an analogy.

      • Go Pack Go says:

        I couldn’t make it through all of the comments, but these are my thoughts.  Some people like misery in their life and even though they are capable of leaving, avoiding , changing, and all together not having drama and problems in their life, they don’t choose that.  Maybe they like the attention, maybe they find a drama free life boring, maybe they don’t know they have the ability to stop it if they wanted to.  I don’t know why but I see this trend over and over and it is usually women who have this problem.  Secondly, as a Wisconsinite, I am offended that Penolope feels a  Wisconsin women’s shelter wouldn’t be good enough for her and her problems.  WI is not some dark, backwards place that won’t understand an ex-New Yorker or Chicagoian who has signed autographs in a grocery store and if she can drive hours round trip for music lessons for her son, she surely can make it to a larger city and seek some councel or respite.  I used to read this blog for it’s career advise, now I think I might get hooked as a replacement for All My Children.

  9. Burcu says:

    It is better to be on your own than with a person who does not treat you well.
    You need to get out there! 

  10. thirsty robot says:

    Just wanted to say that I’m thinking about you.

  11. A sad mom this morning says:

    This post makes me cry. Because I am the parent of a child with Aspergers. And he is abusive to me. Every. Single. Day. Verbally. Mentally. And sometimes physically. He exhausts me.  I believe he would say the same things about me that you said of your parents. And sometimes I really, really want to leave him on a corner somewhere.
     
    I worry that he will grow up and push someone just enough that they will want to shove him into a corner, too. Because I don’t think you realize just how you guys come across to people…even to people who love you more than anybody else in the whole wide world. And how we keep forgiving you over and over…because we love you more than anybody else in the whole wide world. And how much we wonder why you treat us that way when we love you so much. And how much we put up with on a daily, sometimes hourly basis when we could run away and live in peace and quiet. But of course, it’s because we love you more than anybody else in the whole wide world.

    That doesn’t make what we do any more right or okay. And I also realize that few will understand or offer sympathy to us…because nobody would believe what we live with on a daily basis. It’s beyond most people’s comprehension.

    This post makes me cry. I feel so bad for you. I feel so bad for your husband. And I feel so bad for your children. Your brilliance – your Asperger’s – makes you a very special and unique individual with so much to offer the world in so many ways. Just like my son. But it can also be so debilitating. And now, I have to wipe my eyes.. go wake up Boy Genius.. and start my groundhog day. Maybe we’ll get through the morning with no arguments.

    • Musikpro59 says:

      I think this is the most valuable post so far. Every adult relationship has two persons with responsibility. A person with Asperger’s obviously either doesn’t know where the line is (which should not be crossed) or they deliberately push across it just to test the love of their partner or because they’re unaware of it, or for some other reason. Based on earlier posts, it seems that Penelope and the Farmer need to learn to fight fair, perhaps agree on certain things which can never be said in anger, etc. and live by that agreement. No, the farmer can’t hit, push, shove, etc. But Penelope isn’t allowed to violate his space or say whatever she wants to say – especially if she knows it inflames the situation. Getting in someone’s face, crowding their space in anger – these are as agressive as pushing someone away to get them out of your space. Just because she didn’t throw a punch doesn’t mean she isn’t as responsible. Both grownups have to be adults and responsible for their behaviors and language. 

      The only victims here are the kids because they don’t have the resources/ability to take themselves out of the situation. Both Penelope and the Farmer can disengage. In fact, it seems that’s what the Farmer tries to do to avoid the passion/anger. When you know that your partner is only abusive when pushed too far (as is everyone – it’s called self-defense), then you must acknowledge those limits and either accept and live with them or not. It’s only abuse when the limits are not defined and physical agression occurs at any point of conflict. When agression only occurs after a certain point (certain language, certain physical violations, etc.), then it’s not abuse – it’s a consequence. There’s a difference. The adults have choices (how to behave, whether to stay, etc.) The kids, unfortunately, are along for the ride.

      The adults need to get themselves in line in order to protect the children. Disrupting these boys’ lives (again) may or may not be the answer. Repeating this conflict cycle of anger – agression – abuse is definitely unacceptable. Leaving the relationship doesn’t necessarily end the cycle; it just ends it with this partner. Learning to end it for good would be an optimal achievement for Penelope, her sons and with whomever they share their lives.

      • Evy says:

        This is so smart and wise, it makes me tear up.  Blessings upon you.  Always.

        I was raised by people so crazy…

        As an adult in therapy, in my 30’s, I had to ask my therapist how I could tell when someone was being emotionally abusive.  I got a list.  Posted it to my frig.

        I learned how to hit back physically.  That came a lot faster than learning how to deal with emotional abuse.  Good experiences learning martial arts, too.

        At 64, I STILL don’t know how to choose people who will not abuse me emotionally.  I am a hermit, therefore.  

        I DO know how to hit back.  For a long while, I even had the phone number of the person I punched in the balls, to validate my threat.  I threatened people.  Worked a charm for physical abuse.  We were both so messed up we stayed with each other even after he messed with me physically three times and I hit him once.  I was a LOT younger then.

        Learning to fight fair AND getting someone who will learn with you sounds like a huge order.  Particularly with Penelope’s autism/Aspergers.  

        Penelope, honey, if/since you are reading this, backing someone into a corner when they are furiously angry is a BAD IDEA and sure to get you hit.  One of the martial arts I learned emphasized “get out of the way”,   I learned it really well.

        Since you write so well, have you tried writing to each other instead of talking/yelling when you are angry?  Does it work?

        There are things said that wound you emotionally.  Yes?  Do you know which things wound him emotionally?  Do you know how to back off saying those things?  Men, even large, strong men, get their feelings hurt, too, by the people they are close to. 

        Perhaps all your skill with words, not feelings, will help you figure out how to use those words to get to some kind of resolutions of those issues that hurt you both.  This will improve your life all out of recognition.  Not to mention possibly earn you a lot of money once you copyright it.  

        This is your task.  If you choose to accept it and learn to do this, and your adorable boys observe and learn it, too, all of your lives will be improved now and in the future.  

        Get cracking, Pen!

        Be sure to post your progress as you make it.  We all want to learn, too.

      • Claudia says:

        What the……?  “When aggression only occurs after a certain point, then it’s not abuse — it’s a consequence.”  Holy crap.  Thousands of abused women would vehemently disagree with you here.  I don’t care if the woman is being “difficult” by the man’s definition — a physically violent response is WRONG and is NOT HER FAULT.  What year is this?  My God.

        • Daisy says:

          I agree.  Physical abuse is physical abuse the who what and why doesn’t matter.  When people suffer from abuse they need to leave.  If a person can be so affected by anothers words or actions that they have to resort to a physical response then it’s over.  The abuse began verbally and has escalated to physical.  Run Penelope…..

          • Akw says:

            It has to do with power.  The person in a violent* confrontation who has more power is the one who could be described as an abuser.  Someone who has less power, but does the same things, may actually be fighting back in self defense, rather than abusing.  It’s honestly hard to tell from reading one side of the story where the power is.  We tend to assume that men have more power than the women they are married to, because in general men are larger, heavier, stronger, and more powerful in society as well.  And that may actually be the case in this situation.  It seems more likely than the alternative, but it’s hard to tell. Power is a funny thing. It has many aspects.

            *Violence can come in many forms, too — including passive-aggressive.

        • Brad says:

          We don’t know anything about the context.  Suppose someone is someone screaming in your face for an extended period, blocking your attempts to leave the room.  Wouldn’t almost anyone in that situation eventually be provoked into a shove?  And if so, does that mean most people are abusers?

          • CSreport says:

            You never lay your hands on another human in violence to control them.  You can always walk away or jump out a window or lock yourself in the bathroom or closet, or just sit there quietly ignoring them, because eventuallly, they will stop screaming at you.  You never hit somebody. 

            And Brad, if the irrational person in your face yelling was a guy twice your size, you would find a way to run.  You wouldn’t hit the dude because he would beat your ass.

          • Guest says:

            I agree with this the correct, rational response. Probably the only response with any hope of defusing the confrontation. But in a highly charged emotional situation, it’s  a choice many, many people fail to make correctly. Does that make those people irredeemable and unworthy of staying with, no matter what? 

          • Brad says:

            Way to twist my point. First, I said shove, not hit. Even Penelope didn’t say hit.

            And I said the screamer is blocking me from leaving the room, or following me around the house. My choices are to run from my own house, or just sit and take it because eventually she will get tired? How many hours in an “eventually”?

            But you’ve convinced me. The only worthy partners are those who submit. Penelope just hasn’t yet found that special milquetoast. 

          • CSreport says:

            I don’t consider understanding people and knowing how to appropriately react to diffuse a situation to be submissive behavior.  Having innate wisdom does not make someone boring.  If you’re looking for interesting and exciting, I would hope the only place to find it wouldn’t be in your next argument or fight.

        • Killerwhale681 says:

          Well, if PT is screaming at the Farmer, chasing him around, why doesn’t He just tell her to get out?

    • Musikpro59 says:

      I think this is the most valuable post so far. Every adult relationship has two persons with responsibility. A person with Asperger’s obviously either doesn’t know where the line is (which should not be crossed) or they deliberately push across it just to test the love of their partner or because they’re unaware of it, or for some other reason. Based on earlier posts, it seems that Penelope and the Farmer need to learn to fight fair, perhaps agree on certain things which can never be said in anger, etc. and live by that agreement. No, the farmer can’t hit, push, shove, etc. But Penelope isn’t allowed to violate his space or say whatever she wants to say – especially if she knows it inflames the situation. Getting in someone’s face, crowding their space in anger – these are as agressive as pushing someone away to get them out of your space. Just because she didn’t throw a punch doesn’t mean she isn’t as responsible. Both grownups have to be adults and responsible for their behaviors and language. 

      The only victims here are the kids because they don’t have the resources/ability to take themselves out of the situation. Both Penelope and the Farmer can disengage. In fact, it seems that’s what the Farmer tries to do to avoid the passion/anger. When you know that your partner is only abusive when pushed too far (as is everyone – it’s called self-defense), then you must acknowledge those limits and either accept and live with them or not. It’s only abuse when the limits are not defined and physical agression occurs at any point of conflict. When agression only occurs after a certain point (certain language, certain physical violations, etc.), then it’s not abuse – it’s a consequence. There’s a difference. The adults have choices (how to behave, whether to stay, etc.) The kids, unfortunately, are along for the ride.

      The adults need to get themselves in line in order to protect the children. Disrupting these boys’ lives (again) may or may not be the answer. Repeating this conflict cycle of anger – agression – abuse is definitely unacceptable. Leaving the relationship doesn’t necessarily end the cycle; it just ends it with this partner. Learning to end it for good would be an optimal achievement for Penelope, her sons and with whomever they share their lives.

    • DL says:

      Your post says so much. Take care and God be with you.

    • Inomhe says:

      Although I can empathize with many of the experiences this poster and others are talking about with regards to the difficulty of dealing with someone with Aspergers, I am also a little horrified. 

      First of all, every person is different.  There is a spectrum.  And Penelope is not the same person as anyone’s son.  We don’t really know many details of Penelope’s personality or what it’s like to live with her, or how reasonable or unreasonable she is in context, in reality, at any given time.  It’s dangerous to generalize her with someone else just because they share a diagnosis. 

      And secondly, I can only hope that people are not realizing that the things they are writing sound they way they do.  Are people really condoning domestic violence?  It sounds like they are.  What is the message here?  The farmer loves her, and she’s difficult to live with, so it’s okay if maybe he hits her tomorrow?  Because he loves her so much?  Because he puts up with her? 

      What are we saying?  Penelope, you do not deserve to be physically abused.  I don’t know why so many of your commenters seem to be saying otherwise.  And never ever ever is someone’s being difficult sufficient justification to shove them, corner them, and threaten them with further violence.  Are we even talking about the same thing, here? 

      What he has done is not okay.  How are there even so many women in these comments effectively condoning domestic violence? 

      Penelope, get out!  You deserve better, no matter how imperfect you are.  And your kids desperately need better modeling. 

      • Guest says:

        Would you be willing to be more specific about what in these comments seems to be condoning domestic violence? I have read all the comments. I’ve read several comments in which readers shared their experiences with domestic violence, both as perpetrators and victims, but none that I interpreted as condoning it. I think it would help me to know which specific words and phrases seem that way to you.

        • Claudia says:

          How about this quote from Joseann above: “Can you recall how you are with the farmer before he pushes you? How you
          are before your “Asperger-preteen” throws a fit? You might realize that
          they all go nuts because you are not there, YOU, yes. You are lost in
          your mind reading comments and writing stories. You are abusing all of
          them and their behaviour is a wake up call, for you, not to leave, but
          to finally move in and straighten things out. If it was only the farmer,
          I wouldn’t care, but you have kids.”  I think this is unbelievably harsh and has the implications that Inomhe has alluding to.  There are others above too.

          • Guest says:

            Claudia, I agree that the comment you’re referencing could have the implications that Inomhe alluded to. It’s pretty upsetting to read some of the derision that is being heaped on Penelope here. 

        • Sasha says:

          Oh, there must be at least a hundred examples.  Just to name one… the multiple people who have talked about how the farmer won’t want to stay with her or shouldn’t have to stay with her now that she has done something as unforgivable as going public with the information that he pushed her to the ground. 

          Where are our priorities?  How is the unforgivable part refusing to keep the dirty secret of an abusive husband?  These are not secrets that should be kept!  I wish more women were strong enough to break the silence surrounding domestic violence, but I can see why they don’t, when so many people will respond in such a twisted, damaging, screwed up way. 

          Horrifying.  Horrifying.  I would quote you more examples, provide whole huge lists, but I felt physically sick reading through comments yesterday, and I don’t want to go back there.  I can’t emphasize enough how screwed up it is that so many people react to something like this the way they do.  Stop blaming the victim, people.  Domestic violence is wrong, end stop.  No qualifications, no excuses.  And please, no further battering of battered women.  Penelope’s a person, believe it or not, even though she’s on the internet.  Some of the things people are writing are insanely cruel. 

          • Guest says:

            I agree that is very important that people not be afraid to talk about domestic violence. It’s really important that we not create an environment where we are blaming any victim of abuse; that we’re not implying that he or she asked for it.

            I do think that part of creating that safe space to talk is not automatically demonizing the person who was physically violent, and not automatically excusing the adult who is reporting it from any emotional violence, verbal violence, or even physical violence that he or she might have contributed to the situation. 

            How are we creating an environment for women to speak if we are ignoring the things they feel and know are part of the situation? How are we creating that environment if we are threatening to ostracize their loved one, and them, should they refuse to shun that person? How are we creating that environment if we refuse to see the difference between a person who has been pushed past his or her capacity to handle a stressful home situation and a habitually brutal abuser?

            Acknowledging that both adults could have contributed to the situation, and could have chosen to do something different, is not the same as condoning violence. I’m definitely not saying that victims always have this part in escalating things. I’m not saying that Penelope did. I think we really can’t say after reading a blog post. But those of us who have been there know that there is often nuance to the situation. Discussing that nuance is not the same thing as condoning violence.

          • Guest says:

            I agree that is very important that people not be afraid to talk about domestic violence. It’s really important that we not create an environment where we are blaming any victim of abuse; that we’re not implying that he or she asked for it.

            I do think that part of creating that safe space to talk is not automatically demonizing the person who was physically violent, and not automatically excusing the adult who is reporting it from any emotional violence, verbal violence, or even physical violence that he or she might have contributed to the situation. 

            How are we creating an environment for women to speak if we are ignoring the things they feel and know are part of the situation? How are we creating that environment if we are threatening to ostracize their loved one, and them, should they refuse to shun that person? How are we creating that environment if we refuse to see the difference between a person who has been pushed past his or her capacity to handle a stressful home situation and a habitually brutal abuser?

            Acknowledging that both adults could have contributed to the situation, and could have chosen to do something different, is not the same as condoning violence. I’m definitely not saying that victims always have this part in escalating things. I’m not saying that Penelope did. I think we really can’t say after reading a blog post. But those of us who have been there know that there is often nuance to the situation. Discussing that nuance is not the same thing as condoning violence.

    • RC says:

      Sad Mom, you allude to the movie Groundhog Day. That movie is about listening to what life is trying to teach you. Life will give you the opportunity to learn what you need to learn in order to move forward, and it will keep providing you opportunity after opportunity until you do learn what you need to learn. And either you learn or you stay stuck!

      The question on a day-to-day basis is this: What is life trying to teach me?

      When you keep getting into relationships that go wrong, what is it that life is trying to teach you?

      Some of us just aren’t cut out to meet the demands of husband/wife relationships. Is that wrong? Is that bad? To some extent the answers are all subjective: All real estate is local.

      But if you refuse to accept life’s lessons, if you refuse to listen to life and integrate and accept the knowledge life is trying to pound into your thick skull…you will wake up to the same day, day after day after day.

    • RC says:

      Sad Mom, you allude to the movie Groundhog Day. That movie is about listening to what life is trying to teach you. Life will give you the opportunity to learn what you need to learn in order to move forward, and it will keep providing you opportunity after opportunity until you do learn what you need to learn. And either you learn or you stay stuck!

      The question on a day-to-day basis is this: What is life trying to teach me?

      When you keep getting into relationships that go wrong, what is it that life is trying to teach you?

      Some of us just aren’t cut out to meet the demands of husband/wife relationships. Is that wrong? Is that bad? To some extent the answers are all subjective: All real estate is local.

      But if you refuse to accept life’s lessons, if you refuse to listen to life and integrate and accept the knowledge life is trying to pound into your thick skull…you will wake up to the same day, day after day after day.

    • Victoria says:

      Do you beat your child and sexually abuse him and break bones?  Because that is what Penelope has said about her parents and if your child would say the same things about you…  for god’s sake please for the love of god tell people about it – something has to be done – because as horrible as facilities are for children taken from their parents it is much better than extreme physical and sexual abuse.  Maybe you can visit him very often but if you are abusing him as a coping mechanism someone else needs to be taking care of him on a day to day basis.

  12. Ji Eun (Jamie) Lee says:

    I’m sticking with you too.  I was once with a partner who started to act violently towards me, and I left the first chance I had.  It was one of the BEST decisions I ever made for myself.  Just go.  You will still be a famous talented writer and a wonderful, loved mom. 

  13. Mitch says:

    Dear Penelope

    You’ve got real guts writing so openly. You’ll make it.
    The world can be a shitty place. Shitty things happen. My only daughter has a chromosome disorder which means we’ll be taking care of her for the rest of our lives… and then what?

    The less shitty people (that’s YOU) need to stick together and help each other. If the farmer is in total denial that he has a problem then it odds are WAY against it. Let someone help.
    warm regards
    Mitch

  14. Abi says:

    Penelope I feel for you and I can identify with your troubles.

    Please be so good to yourself as to do the things that make you feel calm and sane and comfortable in your own skin. Please take your shit to people who can handle it and please let your children go to school for a while so you can get some space and please take some time out away from the farmer so that your head can have some space too. Old patterns may influence your thinking but that doesn’t mean they are effective or right in the current situation.

    “There are content days, and there are sad days. Each person is a master of his silence.” – P217 ~ Ines of my Soul by Isabel Allende

  15. Abi says:

    Penelope I feel for you and I can identify with your troubles.

    Please be so good to yourself as to do the things that make you feel calm and sane and comfortable in your own skin. Please take your shit to people who can handle it and please let your children go to school for a while so you can get some space and please take some time out away from the farmer so that your head can have some space too. Old patterns may influence your thinking but that doesn’t mean they are effective or right in the current situation.

    “There are content days, and there are sad days. Each person is a master of his silence.” – P217 ~ Ines of my Soul by Isabel Allende

  16. andrea says:

    Penelope, this is my first comment on your blog but it has helped me a lot, so thanks for writing it. You are not “lame” for being in an abusive relationship. You don’t deserve to be abused by your husband and there is nothing you could do to deserve it. A women’s shelter for a short time on your way to a new apartment or staying with a friend could be ok. I volunteer at one in the rural south and it’s very different than you’d expect, with privacy for each family staying there, a nice playroom for the kids. Regardless, your husband’s treatment of you is going to get worse. You’ve done a really good thing by trying to stick it out, go to counseling, and make it work, but if your husband is being abusive, you’re fighting that battle alone–he is only going to continue to use the relationship to exert power and control over you. You DESERVE to live in an environment where you feel safe, and you are an amazing, capable woman who I know can come up with a brilliant plan to get there. Hang in there. Sending love.

  17. andrea says:

    Penelope, this is my first comment on your blog but it has helped me a lot, so thanks for writing it. You are not “lame” for being in an abusive relationship. You don’t deserve to be abused by your husband and there is nothing you could do to deserve it. A women’s shelter for a short time on your way to a new apartment or staying with a friend could be ok. I volunteer at one in the rural south and it’s very different than you’d expect, with privacy for each family staying there, a nice playroom for the kids. Regardless, your husband’s treatment of you is going to get worse. You’ve done a really good thing by trying to stick it out, go to counseling, and make it work, but if your husband is being abusive, you’re fighting that battle alone–he is only going to continue to use the relationship to exert power and control over you. You DESERVE to live in an environment where you feel safe, and you are an amazing, capable woman who I know can come up with a brilliant plan to get there. Hang in there. Sending love.

  18. Woodsedge says:

    P, I’m reading your post and tears are running down my face.  Just want to send big hugs to you.  And a reminder that one of your many strengths is to find a way out and land on your feet.  And there are a lot of people who care about you and who want to see you succeed.  Now go visualize the future you want – for you and your children.  And visualize what you need to do to get to that place. 

    And remember, no matter what “you may do to deserve it”, it’s never, ever, EVER ok to physically or verbally abuse another person. 

    P, get yourself out of that situation right now.  Find a location with a good public school system that can provide your children with the help they need and resume blogging away.  And then use your experiences as a lesson in resilience to us.

    {{{HUGS}}}

  19. Woodsedge says:

    P, I’m reading your post and tears are running down my face.  Just want to send big hugs to you.  And a reminder that one of your many strengths is to find a way out and land on your feet.  And there are a lot of people who care about you and who want to see you succeed.  Now go visualize the future you want – for you and your children.  And visualize what you need to do to get to that place. 

    And remember, no matter what “you may do to deserve it”, it’s never, ever, EVER ok to physically or verbally abuse another person. 

    P, get yourself out of that situation right now.  Find a location with a good public school system that can provide your children with the help they need and resume blogging away.  And then use your experiences as a lesson in resilience to us.

    {{{HUGS}}}

  20. Anon says:

    I have been reading your blog for quite some time now, but posting a comment for the first time. Couple of thoughts I wanted to share. One statement of fact before that, I am a 33 year old man, from India, married out of love, 11 years in marriage with one 4 year old daughter. I too had an abusive childhood – €“ owing to my father who is schizophrenic whom my mother is married to for 40 years. I started reading your blog because I think I have Asperger's (never diagnosed or did anything, but just thought what you were describing was me).
    –       I had hit my wife day before yesterday, in front of our child. I am terribly ashamed about it. We had a very bad fight – €“ started in the morning, then we made up, went out to a theme park, incidently has Happy in its name, had great fun, just before returning we fought again over something I thought was very silly. We kept up the verbal fight, silly issues kept multiplying and both of us were beyond rational limits. I vowed afterwards of never ever doing it.
    –       Reason why recounted above is – €“ I love my wife, I know she loves me. We both love our daughter to bits. We inevitably make up – €“ we did this time also, through IM. We are very happy together for 99% of the time. We both have our problems and we both know it. We both work on adjusting even after 11 years of marriage. We married early – €“ we change as people as we grow up, our needs change, but both of us have problems with accepting that. We know all this.
    –       In India, especially where I am, divorce rate is probably less than 5%. We marry one person in our lifetime (trends are changing though). We stay for the sake of our kids. Some of above would have easily resulted in a divorce – €“ that is the easy way out. I know it will be disaster for our child. We learn to adjust to each other more since we take out the other option altogether. It doesn't mean someone needs to tolerate abuse or write off their life since they made a mistake in marriage etc. But all the reason for above story is – €“ if you are happy for 90% of the time and you know there is love on both sides, work out your problems between you. Make the effort for your children. Change if you have to.
     
    I just wanted to say – €“ I absolutely love your blog and want to see you happy. Hope everything works out for better.

  21. Anon says:

    I have been reading your blog for quite some time now, but posting a comment for the first time. Couple of thoughts I wanted to share. One statement of fact before that, I am a 33 year old man, from India, married out of love, 11 years in marriage with one 4 year old daughter. I too had an abusive childhood – €“ owing to my father who is schizophrenic whom my mother is married to for 40 years. I started reading your blog because I think I have Asperger's (never diagnosed or did anything, but just thought what you were describing was me).
    –       I had hit my wife day before yesterday, in front of our child. I am terribly ashamed about it. We had a very bad fight – €“ started in the morning, then we made up, went out to a theme park, incidently has Happy in its name, had great fun, just before returning we fought again over something I thought was very silly. We kept up the verbal fight, silly issues kept multiplying and both of us were beyond rational limits. I vowed afterwards of never ever doing it.
    –       Reason why recounted above is – €“ I love my wife, I know she loves me. We both love our daughter to bits. We inevitably make up – €“ we did this time also, through IM. We are very happy together for 99% of the time. We both have our problems and we both know it. We both work on adjusting even after 11 years of marriage. We married early – €“ we change as people as we grow up, our needs change, but both of us have problems with accepting that. We know all this.
    –       In India, especially where I am, divorce rate is probably less than 5%. We marry one person in our lifetime (trends are changing though). We stay for the sake of our kids. Some of above would have easily resulted in a divorce – €“ that is the easy way out. I know it will be disaster for our child. We learn to adjust to each other more since we take out the other option altogether. It doesn't mean someone needs to tolerate abuse or write off their life since they made a mistake in marriage etc. But all the reason for above story is – €“ if you are happy for 90% of the time and you know there is love on both sides, work out your problems between you. Make the effort for your children. Change if you have to.
     
    I just wanted to say – €“ I absolutely love your blog and want to see you happy. Hope everything works out for better.

    • Evebad says:

      I wonder how your wife feels about the hitting.  And what are you going to do when your daughter dates/marries a person that hits her as well..

      But things are ok 90% of the time.. It’s just that 10% that can kill you. Literally.

      Because you’re not stating that you’re going to therapy or getting any help to stop hitting your wife.  You’re ashamed but you’re not stopping.

      BTW – PHYSICAL ABUSE ISN’T OK.  EVER.

      • Jed says:

        Wait a second, he said he did it once. You don’t know what he’s doing to change.
        “You’re ashamed but you’re not stopping.”
        Absolutely presumptive, especially for a comment from someone pouring his heart out.

    • Karelys Beltran says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever read or even HEARD the side of the story when the spouse hits the other. I think we’d get a lot further if we did. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jane BB says:

      So what specific action is Anon willing to take to ACT ON his being ashamed to make sure that he never hits again?  A responsible person will realize he needs to learn new skills to ensure that this never happens again.  What if next time you feel the anger, you forget you are ashamed, and since you never learned new communication skills from a professional, it happens again?  Anon, you seem like you want to do the right thing.  I hope you take action instead of just hoping.

  22. Kirsten says:

    Jesus Christ. He crushed your foot in the door? Leave. This post has disturbed me. As someone who grew up with my mother’s abusive boyfriends, this has really touched a nerve. Kids don’t forget stuff like that. Especially when it happens to them, instead of the mother.

  23. Kirsten says:

    Jesus Christ. He crushed your foot in the door? Leave. This post has disturbed me. As someone who grew up with my mother’s abusive boyfriends, this has really touched a nerve. Kids don’t forget stuff like that. Especially when it happens to them, instead of the mother.

  24. Lee says:

    What Would Penelope Do? She’d advise that your situation is a calculation. You have the power to pay the price for this relationship, try an unconventional arrangement such as full days of avoiding each other or leaving. You’re very smart: analyze & act. Trust your judgment. We do.

  25. Lee says:

    What Would Penelope Do? She’d advise that your situation is a calculation. You have the power to pay the price for this relationship, try an unconventional arrangement such as full days of avoiding each other or leaving. You’re very smart: analyze & act. Trust your judgment. We do.

  26. Zellie says:

    Hanging with you.  What to do is up to you.  You will most likely survive.  The critical thing is that your boys are watching to see how you handle someone’s treating you this way.

  27. Zellie says:

    Hanging with you.  What to do is up to you.  You will most likely survive.  The critical thing is that your boys are watching to see how you handle someone’s treating you this way.

  28. Michele says:

    Only you can decide when enough is enough.  I truly hope you decide before the choice is taken away from you.  If you stay, he will continue to abuse you, in front of your children.  Is this the life you believe you deserve? I don’t believe it is. 

  29. Michele says:

    Only you can decide when enough is enough.  I truly hope you decide before the choice is taken away from you.  If you stay, he will continue to abuse you, in front of your children.  Is this the life you believe you deserve? I don’t believe it is. 

  30. A sad mom this morning says:

    I do want to clarify – in case you read all your comments…no matter what you did…you are not a parent and your husband is not your child. I can’t leave my child, no matter what he does to me. If your husband is scaring you and attacking you…you need to take your children and get out. Period.

  31. A sad mom this morning says:

    I do want to clarify – in case you read all your comments…no matter what you did…you are not a parent and your husband is not your child. I can’t leave my child, no matter what he does to me. If your husband is scaring you and attacking you…you need to take your children and get out. Period.

  32. Me says:

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. I agree with the commenter who said to stop home schooling your kids. They need a break from this and so do you. Whatever your feelings about the benefits of home schooling, the benefits of not being always in this environment will be greater.

    I don’t mean this next thing to sound harsh but you have a big platform here to tell others how to live. Has it occurred to you that some of your advice is so controversial because it’s rooted in a wrong way of looking at the world? And that you can’t see that because of the sorts of issues you describe here? I do think you’re doing your readers a disservice with some of your advice to them. Perhaps just write about your life and stop advising?  You are lacking the most fundamental credentials to do so, which are happiness and good choices in your own life and I fear that you are spreading advice that will not make others happy either and it’s clear why. I say that with love and support.

    • Sarah Nguyen says:

      What way of looking at the world do you mean?

    • Katey Jane says:

      The way that Penelope looks at the world is not wrong, it’s different. I’m going to try to resist crawling on top of a soapbox here with the Asperger’s thing vs. neurotypical thing and just say that Penelope looks at the world with a very different perspective which is uncomfortable to people who do not look at the world with that perspective. It is very difficult to go out into a world with your unique perspective and say it out loud when deep inside of you you have always been told that it is wrong and that somehow becomes that you are wrong.  I’m sorry you are uncomfortable with Penelope’s perspective, but I hope that you don’t contribute to the already jeering cacaphony in her head that tells her to just be a good quiet autistic girl. Penelope, keep at it. Yell as loud as you need to.

    • Katey Jane says:

      The way that Penelope looks at the world is not wrong, it’s different. I’m going to try to resist crawling on top of a soapbox here with the Asperger’s thing vs. neurotypical thing and just say that Penelope looks at the world with a very different perspective which is uncomfortable to people who do not look at the world with that perspective. It is very difficult to go out into a world with your unique perspective and say it out loud when deep inside of you you have always been told that it is wrong and that somehow becomes that you are wrong.  I’m sorry you are uncomfortable with Penelope’s perspective, but I hope that you don’t contribute to the already jeering cacaphony in her head that tells her to just be a good quiet autistic girl. Penelope, keep at it. Yell as loud as you need to.

      • Me says:

        I’m not talking about her Aspergers. I’m talking about the fact that she doesn’t know how to make herself happy, that she’s in a relationship that sounds like it’s emotionally abusive on both sides and physically abusive on one, that she doesn’t know how to get out of situations that are bad for her and her husband and her boys, that she doesn’t know how to handle conflict productively. She is great at many things but she’s not someone who should be advising others on how to make good choices in their lives. Not right now, not while she’s still dealing with the aftermath of an abusive childhood that has left her with a messed up worldview (which it has). Maybe later when she heals, but not now.

    • Jennifer says:

      I don’t think anyone has suffered a disseervice from the advice in this blog.  We all receive advice on how best to live our lives from multiple sources everyday.  Everyone has to sort through that advice to determine how they want to live their life.  Having a different, even controversial, perspective added to that mix is not detrimental–it is thought-provoking.  She isn’t making any decisions for anyone.  Her advice can always be ignored or rejected. 

    • Claudia says:

      I am surprised that of all the things you could say to someone in a horrible situation, THIS is what you thought she needed to hear today.  Really?  This?  You are some friend.  Let’s just dismantle everything poor Penelope feels good about or clings to for stability.  Penelope, stop reading these comments!  Go talk to a professional and a good friend!

    • Claudia says:

      I am surprised that of all the things you could say to someone in a horrible situation, THIS is what you thought she needed to hear today.  Really?  This?  You are some friend.  Let’s just dismantle everything poor Penelope feels good about or clings to for stability.  Penelope, stop reading these comments!  Go talk to a professional and a good friend!

    • Claudia says:

      I am surprised that of all the things you could say to someone in a horrible situation, THIS is what you thought she needed to hear today.  Really?  This?  You are some friend.  Let’s just dismantle everything poor Penelope feels good about or clings to for stability.  Penelope, stop reading these comments!  Go talk to a professional and a good friend!

    • Lori says:

      pen doesn’t tell people how to live. she shares a lot of fascinating research along with her own really distinctive take. she makes people think and re-think. they get to decide what they’ll do with what she’s shared.

  33. CalJ says:

    Please leave now for your sake and for your kids.  You are way too smart and talented to be in a situation like that.  I have been reading your posts for years and this is the saddest one yet.  I hope things get better for you.  Woodsedge is right- it is never okay to physically or verbally abuse someone else.

  34. Mark Wiehenstroer says:

    This is for the record.
    I will stick with you for all the good things that you do and have done. That should come with no surprise to you. No matter how famous or well-known. The number one priority right now is to take care of yourself and your sons. However you decide to do it. That’s my advice.

  35. Amy Lynn Andrews says:

    Penelope, you intrigue me. So I know you know that you cannot write a post like that and not be flooded with comments advising you about the dangers of an abusive relationship. The comments are sure to fill up with “take care of yourself” and “you need to get out” and “this is not healthy.” Those statements, of course, are all well-intentioned and true, but I’m not sure they are what you are looking for. What are you looking for?

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a good question – what am I looking for. 

      I write my life because I’m a writer. It’s just what I do. I’ve been writing my life since before I could write — I would dictate stories of my life to my dad and he’d write them. 

      So I would write this down somewhere, even if I didn’t have a blog. It’s nice to have a blog though. I learn so much from my blog. 

      Some people say, in the comments section, that they’re not sure if I read all the comments. I do. I adore the comments. I feel so lucky that people are willing to talk about what I want to talk about. 

      From yesterday’s post, I learned the concept of visual literacy. Now that I know that term I will think better about how to steer my career. Today I will learn something about domestic violence. I will see it from other peoples’ eyes. And from those comments I’ll will make better decisions about how to steer my own life. 

      I hope that the comments help you guys in a similar way. I like to think we all learn together.

      Penelope

      • Amid Privilege says:

        My thoughts were very similar to Amy Lynn’s. For most people, I’d say get out. But for you, I suspect you are emotionally abusive, and I suspect since you love your father you want to create that relationship again where ever you go. Maybe you should still leave. But most of all you should find some way not to love the men who hit you.

        • Susan Tiner says:

          I agree with Lisa and have a couple thoughts to add. Too me abuse is abuse, be it emotional or physical. You’re both emotionally abusive and physically violent — he pushed and shoved, you busted a lamp over your head. If you escalate negative interactions to the point where no response is acceptable but 100% agreement with your position/complaint, you’ve given the Farmer no options but to a) submit, b) engage with further anger/abuse or c) disengage.You don’t like it when the Farmer walks away and you don’t like it when he engages with more anger and emotional/physical abuse so that leaves submission. It’s not going to work to abuse the Farmer into submission or for the Farmer to abuse you into submission. Neither of you will accept that outcome, and you know option b will destroy your family, so that leaves c. When interactions start to escalate, find a way to disengage. From what I’ve read here, this will work because if you walk away, the Farmer won’t come after you. You’re the one who actively tries to prevent disengagement.

      • Lisarichmon says:

        it’s like a think tank for feelings.

      • Joseann says:

        Under the assumption that you didn’t fake this or have chosen this situation deliberately in order to have something sensational to write about, I suggest you take a different approach. Domestic violence doesn’t exist, there is only violence. All violence comes from the mind, and a writer spends a lot of his/her lifetime in close relationship with the mind  (Virginia Wolff was drowned by her mind…). The mind has to sort anything in to good or bad, or black and white for that matter, in your case it seems the black has fallen onto the poor farmer. We get a partner to make visible for us the bullshit our mind is doing to us, if we haven’t done our homework and cleaned it up beforehand. I recommend, you become a team, the farmer and you. Give your collective mind a name, “Voldemort would do, you might as well tell his name, he will attempt to kill you either way”, find the Horkruxes and get rid of them. The easiest way to do this would be: ask smart questions, right? Unless you want to keep the problem, of course. For example: How does it get any better than this? And then just shut up, will you, for a moment and wait what happens? I am sure you find more good questions, right? After all you are an expert on this (or is it only about sorting out stupid questions from other people?). The shutting up might be a problem, though, but without, it doesn’t work :-) (not saying, don’t write posts any more, just shut up for some time after asking a good question and let something new into your life). And stop blaming the guys, will you? I am so tired of that. Men take their orders from women, always have. It is your attic that is giving the orders, so clean it up, will you? It is your choice what kind of example you give to your kids.

      • Sabby says:

        Penelope, I think you can crowdsource when it comes to concepts like visual literacy, but not something like how to deal with domestic abuse.  This isn’t an intellectual matter; it’s an emotional one.

        Take to heart the words of people who advise you to look after your emotional state, and that of your children.  I liked the suggestion that both you and the Farmer sit the boys down to tell them that what’s been happening isn’t the healthy way to go about things.

        Afterward, no matter what decision you make about the Farmer, I recommend finding a good psychologist, someone who won’t let you intellectualize too much and can reflect everything you say back to you without any kind of agenda.  I think this is especially important if you have Asperger’s, since you likely are highly emotionally sensitive to what happens around you, but are also disconnected from knowing why you are or what causes those reactions — you’ll need someone who can help you clearly figure out what emotional motivations you have, and what those indicators are, and do so in a supportive, non-volatile environment. I know you’ve mentioned you’ve been to therapy before, but I wonder if you had the right kind of match-up with your therapist.

        Try to not get lost in the details: you wouldn’t have written this post if you had merely wanted to know/debate if you were in abusive situation.  I think you want lots of love and support, and unfortunately, you won’t get them if you pick apart the scenario intellectually.  It’ll just buy you time to avoid making any hard decisions about what’s best for you and the boys. And to a degree, the Farmer.

      • Sabby says:

        Penelope, I think you can crowdsource when it comes to concepts like visual literacy, but not something like how to deal with domestic abuse.  This isn’t an intellectual matter; it’s an emotional one.

        Take to heart the words of people who advise you to look after your emotional state, and that of your children.  I liked the suggestion that both you and the Farmer sit the boys down to tell them that what’s been happening isn’t the healthy way to go about things.

        Afterward, no matter what decision you make about the Farmer, I recommend finding a good psychologist, someone who won’t let you intellectualize too much and can reflect everything you say back to you without any kind of agenda.  I think this is especially important if you have Asperger’s, since you likely are highly emotionally sensitive to what happens around you, but are also disconnected from knowing why you are or what causes those reactions — you’ll need someone who can help you clearly figure out what emotional motivations you have, and what those indicators are, and do so in a supportive, non-volatile environment. I know you’ve mentioned you’ve been to therapy before, but I wonder if you had the right kind of match-up with your therapist.

        Try to not get lost in the details: you wouldn’t have written this post if you had merely wanted to know/debate if you were in abusive situation.  I think you want lots of love and support, and unfortunately, you won’t get them if you pick apart the scenario intellectually.  It’ll just buy you time to avoid making any hard decisions about what’s best for you and the boys. And to a degree, the Farmer.

  36. Anonymous says:

    If you are having these emotional problems, why turn to three men who you’ve had issues with?  And who all want to avoid talking about anything emotional, from the sound of it?

    Stay or go, you need a better support group than this.

    If the farmer has a history of being rough with you, then I’d say go.  It’s not going to get better.  If this is new, perhaps you are just driving each other insane.  He can’t see staying with you for the rest of his life, so he’s going into these rages.  He has left you more than once, and demanded that you leave not too long ago.

    You do these passive-aggressive things like cooking a meal you know he won’t like, and write with a certain amount of contempt for his values.  You’ve also badmouthed the whole community off and on, which also reflects some contempt.

    Can you really see yourself living there another 10 years?

  37. Michele says:

    Dear Penelope,

    This makes me so sad. You are wonderful and brilliant. You are a great writer.  I bet you are a great mother too. You will be okay and so will your boys but you need to get out of there. Don’t buy the “it’s your fault” bullshit. I’m so afraid you will start believing it. You could really get hurt. Leave for yourself and leave so your boys don’t see that kind of behavior. You don’t want them to grow up and act like the farmer.
    Penelope, you deserve to be safe, and to have a happy life. And your boys deserve to see you treated with love and respect.

    I know you’ll figure out a way. Just go. And keep us posted.

    Michele

  38. MHF says:

    I’ll stick with you.

  39. Lindsay says:

    There is nothing, nothing, nothing, that justifies his abuse. 

    I am so worried about your kids. You are so clear on the effects of divorce, and the effects of schools. Please think about the effects of witnessing abuse.

    I know you can find the courage to do what you need to do.

    • Valerie says:

      First off- completely agree with you on each point: Nothing justifies this. She is perfectly capable of making the tough choice to leave. There is cause for worry. You’re right on the money with all these statements. 

      “You are so clear on the effects of divorce, and the effects of schools. Please think about the effects of witnessing abuse.” Well said.

      But I’m going to point this out, in case she reads this and actually hears it, and I’m pointing this out as someone who has been there: she is not understanding the effects of witnessing abuse because she has not dealt with the effects of having been abused. 

      That is not her fault- it’s not your fault, Penelope- but it is very important you start to do so before things get worse. 

      Until she deals, she will not understand how bad this is. I bet she has articles bookmarked on the effects of witnessing abuse. I bet she has dozens.  

      She knows it’s bad, but it’s been “justifiably bad” for a while now. She justifies it by calling it out in her head and in front of all of us. “I know why I’m messed up. I know why I do this stuff. Here are some stats. Here are all the gory details. See, I’m confronting it. I’m dealing. I know exactly why I’m this screwed up. I’m sorry.” 

      But here’s the thing: Knowing isn’t change. Change is change. She can’t come at this through stats and articles and in-depth psychology knowledge. I know, I’m a fact person too. I love facts. It’s scary to let them go and see what’s going on inside, without making it sound good in front of an audience. It’s one thing to be bluntly honest to a group of strangers- it’s exciting, it’s an adrenaline rush, it makes you feel big- and it’s another to be bluntly honest with yourself- it’s not exciting, you feel guilty and scared, you feel small. 

      Until she learns the difference, she’s not going to heal her own wounds, and she’s going to continue the violent cycle in front of her kids. 

      I think if she ever does start truly fixing things we won’t hear from her for a long time. Until then the blog is a sad substitute for real-life confrontation. This is still a performance for our benefit, and she needs to be thinking for her, and only for her, and trusting herself, and not a blog forum, and having real friends, and not readers. 

      She actually doesn’t really give a crap what any of us think. Because look: she is afraid of her neighbors knowing what’s going on. But we don’t count. We’re internet-people. If she didn’t care about people knowing- if the “brazen” online persona wasn’t mostly an act, then she wouldn’t give a damn about her rural neighbors, either. But there’s still some level of separation. It’s a way to hide. I hope she disappears (from the blog) and goes to figure things out. 

  40. Charles says:

    “Cut yourself some slack if you’re in a bad situation and not getting out.  But get out.  Research shows that people have a proclivity to stay in a bad situation, but you can be an overachiever.  Force yourself to change before things get ugly.” Penelope Trunk. I think you need to take your own advice.

  41. John L says:

    This is a slightly odd post, I do like the ending, but am not sure you meant it as I see it. I do think you need someone to talk to, as you do seem to be spiraling a bit.

    I will do a bit of advice – get the farmer to comment on this, perhaps just where you can see it, but written when you aren’t present. I could do a whole essay on your posts, but it’s not really one for online. Short version – you might be very annoying in person but if he hit you leave.

  42. Amy Parmenter says:

    Penelope:

    I am so sorry for your heartache.  And the Farmer’s.  I will pray for you both.  Something tells me you are not big on prayer.  No worries.  You don’t need to be big on it for it to work.  

    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm

  43. Nancy says:

    This post is about the scariness of ordinary life. Most of the time, we’re just trying to survive. It’s heartbreaking to read about it, because most of the time, people don’t talk about it.

    I live in a household with an Asperger teen, and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is. I used to go to a shrink when he was a toddler, and she told me I was abusive to him. Asperger Syndrome hadn’t been invented yet, so she assumed all the problems were with me. I used to lock him in his room and leave him in there screaming, just so I wouldn’t kill him. It seemed like the best option at the time. Now, with him as a teen, I go for a lot of long walks. I’ve taken up running and biking. I’m 110 pounds and look pretty darn good. I’ve given up trying to be a good mom and just focus on getting through each day.

    What I’m saying is that the Farmer is a human being too. What he’s calling emotional abuse is probably just the slow shredding of his life caused by dealing with chronic inflexibility, intemperate behaviour, and extremes. I can attest to how much it destroys.

    Sad to say that leaving a husband doesn’t necessarily make life better. Look up the research on that. There is no good life. There’s just life.

    • DL says:

      Rachel, what you say is so poignant and meaningful. You help the rest of us understand life in a better way.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Nancy. This comment kills me. I’m the mom in your story — because I have a pre-teen with Aspergers and parenting him is nearly impossible. But I’m also the one with Aspergers — the one who is chronically inflexible and intemperate. Your comment, more than any other comment here, makes me think we need huge intervention in our household.

      I am surprised. This is not what I expected to learn from writing this post.

      Penelope

       

      • Zellie says:

        I want to make you aware of neurofeedback.  Check out neurofeedback and asperger’s. 

        Blood-flow exercises for the pre-frontal cortex can improve executive function (primarily “putting on the brakes”) which is in charge of things like inhibiting impulses, decision-making and even mood.  EEG training can help areas of the brain to begin performing and also build connections between areas of the brain. 

        When too much slow brain activity is present in an area of the brain, it may not be “turning on” to do it’s job, like attention or inhibition.  When too much fast brain activity is present, it can contribute to anxiety, anger.

        It’s not a replacement for other kinds of help your family may need, but when awareness and control are developed it can be life-altering. 

        • Nancy says:

          Neurofeedback has been a lifesaver in this house. We ended up buying the equipment and learning to do it ourselves at home. We do a tune-up every three months or so. It’s, as you say, life-altering.

      • Shanon says:

        I’m glad you saw that. As the mother of a teenage daughter with Asperger’s and the ex of a man with it, I related to your post and this comment. In a volatile escalation like the one you described, perspective can get hopelessly lost. Everyone needs guidance and skills to navigate all of the obstacles you’re facing. My daughter and I have repeatedly sought out professional help and it has repeatedly done wonders. Take care. xo

      • Shanon says:

        I’m glad you saw that. As the mother of a teenage daughter with Asperger’s and the ex of a man with it, I related to your post and this comment. In a volatile escalation like the one you described, perspective can get hopelessly lost. Everyone needs guidance and skills to navigate all of the obstacles you’re facing. My daughter and I have repeatedly sought out professional help and it has repeatedly done wonders. Take care. xo

      • CaptFuzz says:

        You need help.  This is all one big cry for help and I wish I could.  I’m a working dad with two small kids and no Aspergers or Autisim and it’s still FREAKING HARD.  You know what helped turn some sanity back on in our house?  My wife leaving a teaching job she loved in a tough Oakland neighborhood so she could stay home with the kids who now both go to public school.  She’s a regular room parent with no job.  I know it’s a big hit on her ego and we get questions like, “well, what does she do all day?”

        My answer is “she keeps me and the kids from going insane.”  I feel guilty every day about not being the best dad I can be.  But you can’t give it all to your kids.  You sound pretty isolated.  Talking to professionals is one thing, but you need real, meat-space friends that you can go to.  Ones that truly care about you.  They have flashlights and cliff bars stashed away just for the occasion.  You know the answers are within yourself but they seem to violate all these rules you’ve already set up.  Our big rule was “both parents must work”.  Turns out, that rule would have ended our marriage.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi
        When you write a post you cannot “expect already specifically what to learn”. you learn what comes of it what people write…those are to be taken as objective comments. If someone is hitting you, there is NO reason to stay with them. Are  you dependent on them financially? Move out, find a shelter. big deal if you were “famous”. I have read yahoo finance for years now and dont remember your name or face there, no offense to that.. Safety is more important. That said.. if someone wants meat in their foods and you go to extra lengths to make sure it is not there, it means both of you are playing an ego game now.. You should just not make any food for this ‘farmer’ etc..

    • Joseann says:

      I don’t understand this sentence: “This post is about the scariness of ordinary life. Most of the time, we’re just trying to survive.” In my opinion this post is absolutely not about “ordinary life” or are you saying ordinary life in the States looks like this?? It is not ordinary to be pushed around by your husband and an ordinary life is not about “trying to survive”. An ordinary life is about living. I wish you would understand that this is “traumatized” life with people who don’t realize that they have been traumatized and who try to manage this by themselves? Obviously this condition is so wide spread over there that people think this is “ordinary”? Gruesome. And no, there is good life, but even if you would meet with it, you would probably find it boring. There seems to be a strong addiction in American women with drama, struggle for money, men, space and pretty much everything, stress, panic, you name it. Absolutely scary the degree of insanity in your country, if any of what I read here is representative. I really feel sorry for the kids, I probably would start screaming, too, if I was in their place. How does it get any better than this?

      • Karen says:

        Yeah Joseann, it is ordinary life for most people in the US and they don’t know any different and they think you’re a total freak for refusing to play along.  It’s not just women though, don’t be a jerk.  The women shatter first.

        • Nick says:

          Wow. That might just be one of the most negative things I’ve read in a long time. Don’t you think you and Joseann are generalizing just a tad about life in America? You’re taking a rather bad, yet unique, situation and extrapolating it to be the norm.

          • Joseann says:

            Well, I didn’t call what PT described
            in her post “ordinary”, Nancy did, didn’t she? She
            extrapolated it into something ordinary. It’s not the only blog I
            browse and there is other sources as well that suggest the US does
            have a number of problems. I actually wrote because I think it is
            dangerous when people start to think that something really sick is
            “ordinary”. How will it ever improve? I wanted to point out
            that it is paramount to do exactly the opposite. Get clear about the
            fact that this is NOT ordinary and never should be. If you know that
            this is not ordinary, it should get you going to ask: now, what then
            could I change to make it better=ordinary in a positive way? I am
            100% negative about letting things become accepted as ordinary that
            are not supposed to be ordinary. May be you reread the post? 

          • RL says:

            I wouldn’t try to judge the entire US by reading several blogs written by Americans

          • RL says:

            I wouldn’t try to judge the entire US by reading several blogs written by Americans

          • RL says:

            I wouldn’t try to judge the entire US by reading several blogs written by Americans

      • RL says:

        It’s what ordinary life can be like for those of us with a history of past abuse, learning disorders, or autism. As with other disabilities, life can be more difficult on ourselves and our families than average.

  44. Amy Parmenter says:

    The hinges are difficult. You never know if it's better to attach the stamps for security, or if the attachment is so damaging that you risk losing the stamp.
    Wow.  Serious analogy here.  Did you catch that?

    Amy

  45. Aimee Sterk says:

    You are worth taking care of yourself. You are a good parent and you have the people around you to support you to do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your kids.

    Everyone is annoying. No one ever should be pushed or shoved or hurt in any way in reaction to anything they say or do. That is abuse. No matter what.

    Saying your __________ (fill in the blank) is the farmer’s excuse that he needs for himself so he doesn’t have to deal with the fact that he abused you.

    He needs help.
    You need help.
    Different kinds of help/support.

    You are an amazing person–if you can’t believe that yourself right now, hold on to that others believe that of you, even people who haven’t met you. You are strong. You are resilient and you know what’s best for you and best for your kids. 

    Maybe its an ultimatum for him.
    Maybe its leaving.

    Love yourself and love your kids and get the people that know you personally to hold you tight and tell you your worth it and help you do what you decide to do.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I actually don’t doubt that you’re emotionally abusive to him: writing this and posting it qualifies, in my opinion. It is an incredible and insensitive violation of his privacy that is no doubt going to damage him enormously in ways that are impossible to predict. But he is still responsible for his own actions, just like all of us. You may emotionally abuse him, but it doesn’t give him the right to physically hurt you. 

    If he’s allowing himself to be pushed to the point where he’s making such crappy decisions, it’s his mistake and his problem and he needs to take action to change his situation. He needs to take ownership of his choices, and frankly, he should be asking you to leave before he hurts you. And if you refuse, he should be getting legal advice and calling the police to get you out before he touches you. I’m not going to give you false sympathy: you’re a smart person, capable of making good decisions and taking ownership of your life. I suspect he is, too. I hope so anyway, because while the situation is ugly for you, it sounds as if it’s pretty ugly for him, too.  

    • Virginia says:

      Penelope,

      You are a writer, supposed to be making a living from it. Why do you have to depend on a man to support you and your kids? If you really love the Farmer, why don’t you get a place of your own and have a relationship with him while you are standing on your own ground? That you would juxtapose all of your seemingly innocent remarks and passive agression in a blog doesn’t bode well for a mature and respectful relationship. Maybe you need to pay your own rent and stop using this man and your kids for sympathy and blog fodder. You are supposed to know about career advice. Personally, all I have seen from you is irrelavant BS that appeals to kids who know no work ethic. The world is a hostile employment environment because people tried to live and work in the soap opera world you hype. Wash your dishes, take care of your kids, pay your rent and quit using these people to boslter your make believe psycho drama.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your kidding right? As if a professional blogger wasn’t going to write about something like this? And what would you have had her do, try to convince him to get counseling?
      This what is frightening about a situation like this. Once something hits the web, it’s there forever. And being pegged as an abusive person is just a few notches up from being pegged as a child molester. So if he wasn’t capable of thinking clearly enough to stop himself before, what’s he likely going to do now? I doubt if he and Penelope are laying in bed reading these comments and laughing about the traffic the post generated.
      My take is, this is Penelope’s way of forcing herself to leave a situation she really doesn’t want to leave. It’s not exactly like leaving a failed start-up.

      • Penelope Trunk says:

        There are so many comments here. Thank you. Everyone. I don’t know how to respond. I just keep reading.

        I am responding to this one because it’s about my options. What can I do. I think I can do a  lot. It’s not so easy to leave. Someone here, somewhere in 250 comments, wrote about how when she worked at a womens shelter the women left eight times before they really left. I couldn’t do that to the kids. But I do it in my head. It’s how I know how hard it is for me to leave.

        It’s easier to sort through what I should be doing when there are so many people tossing out ideas.

        I think I wrote this post, maybe, because if the problem isn’t private then it’s harder for me to hide it from myself, and if the solutions are in public then it’s harder to say I don’t see them.

        Penelope

        • Joseann says:

          “I think I wrote this post, maybe, because if the problem isn’t private
          then it’s harder for me to hide it from myself, and if the solutions
          are in public then it’s harder to say I don’t see them.”

          Honestly, I think this is bullshit. You are hiding in the public, from your life. If you couldn’t, you would have to deal with what is happening in your life, but it is just so much nicer to read comments from irrelevant people, instead of sitting down and asking yourself some serious questions. Your problem is that you are getting attention for the wrong stuff. What kind of a consultant are you? Can you be present every minute of your day in your real life and just watch, how you are doing your life? Without judgement, panic or drama? Can you recall how you are with the farmer before he pushes you? How you are before your “Asperger-preteen” throws a fit? You might realize that they all go nuts because you are not there, YOU, yes. You are lost in your mind reading comments and writing stories. You are abusing all of them and their behaviour is a wake up call, for you, not to leave, but to finally move in and straighten things out. If it was only the farmer, I wouldn’t care, but you have kids. It really sucks. “But I do it in my head. It’s how I know how hard it is for me to leave.” It is because you do it in your head that it is hard, because in your head resides the pattern that makes it hard for you. GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD. If you are not willing to do that, stop whining about your kids. You don’t give a damn shit about them, that’s what I get from this post.Nevermind.

          • Claudia says:

            Some of this makes sense, but some of it just seems kind of mean.

          • Jennifer Winegardner says:

            I think the poster is saying that Penelope is hiding behind her intellect, hiding in her headspace, hiding from being truly present in her life.  She is using “thinking” and “writing” as an escape and distraction from the full catastrophe of life, the day to day of living. 

            I know someone who may (or may not) have AS.  He thrives on believing he’s the smartest person in the room and mostly he is.  He demands attention RIGHT NOW whenever he wants to express whatever, anger, rage, hurt, fear, joy.  Telling him “no” or “later” is like a knife through his heart and he will tantrum to get his way.  He can’t wrap his head around empathy.  He lives in the past and the future, but never in the now.  And even when he is pretending to be in in the now, he’s 20 seconds ahead because he’s cuts people off and talks over them.  Yet he can be charming and funny.  When he’s actually interested in something, he can be the most amazing friend.

            I read PT’s blog because it feels really familiar.  But invited folks like this to sit still, detach from their thoughts, and just be, is like offering them a plate of broken glass to swill.

          • Joseann says:

            Hi Jennifer, I appreciate your attempt to explain my post, it gives me an idea where I am unclear. I am using your words to make it even more precise, hopefully: PT is not only hiding behind her intellect, she is held hostage by her headspace if she can’t turn it off at will. Her mind  distracts her from her life which is why her day to day life is a catastrophe.
            The person you describe is pretty much the same, kind of final state of mind hostage. The mind is a crazy machine, you better get that soon, and the mind cannot wrap anything around empathy because empathy resides in the heart. The person you describe is in “old word terms” an “abandoned child” that has never learnt anything about what it means to be human, others call it “spoiled brat” or “egomanic”, but I don’t like that term. About the broken glass to swill: If you want to ever meet them as the person they truly are, you have to find a way how to get them into the body and out of the mind. That is hard to do when the mother herself is lost in her mind. It will feel like swallowing broken glass for the mind if you do, but honestly, is it fun to be treated by their mind the way you describe it?

          • Rachel Stratemeier says:

            I wonder Joseann, have you read the other posts she links to in this one? I think that no matter what, we should respect her for talking about her life and opening it up to comments from others. No one can ever put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Giving advice is good, and I realize that you’re trying to give advice in your own way, but I think that we need to be, above all, respectful and supportive. PT, the majority of us read your blog and comment on it because we’re here for you and we’re paying attention. There’s a lot of advice being given in these comments, probably overwhelmingly so, and none of us can say whose is better or who knows better. But don’t stop talking, and don’t feel like you’re ever alone. We’re here for you.

          • Alicia says:

            SHUT UP!!! You have no idea what you are even trying to say!!!

          • Alicia says:

            And it is obvious by you having to explain yourself that no one else does either!

          • Joseann says:

            Yes, it seems mean to all those who are identified with their mind and that is exactly why things don’t change. The mind, the meanest participant in this whole story, will consider it to be mean when it is dragged out of it’s hiding position and called out for the bullshit it produces in order to do only one thing: continue to abuse all those involved in the situation. All I can see is a woman who allows her mind to do that and she even is looking for applause from her all too willing audience here. As long as it is only you, that’s your choice. But when there is kids involved, things change, at least for me. Take it as an act of generosity, I am very clear about my mind. When it produces bullshit, I tell it to shut up. But you can only tell bullshit from truth when you have disidentified from your mind and found truth (hint: it is not located in the mind). You still  prefer to kiss “Voldemorts” feet, congratulations. I don’t buy her mind’s bullshit.   There is no “Asperger-preteen”, but even if there should be, does this classification help your child to feel better?

          • Alicia says:

             I honestly think you are trying to give yourself a pat on the back. I think YOU are looking for confirmation from these readers. There is not an ounce of constructive criticism in your long winded post. You are just comparing yourself and your life situations and how you deal with them to someone elses that happens to be on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. You have posted so much on this comment board I think you just like what you have to say and writing hurtful comments makes you feel like your doing something right in your own life. You are the type of person who depends on other peoples weaknesses to make yourself feel better. I can tell by the credit you give yourself in your comments. It’s like the old saying “go pick on someone your own size.” If you can’t have respect for different life styles then there is not an ounce of credibility in the advice you dish out. So what if she is a phony. Does it really effect you? You are more focused on calling her out then you are on the subject matter which is abuse (emotional, verbal, and physical) that happens to effect thousands/millions of people everyday. She is not the only one. It is comments like yours that are nonconstructive that allows for things like this to continue. Comments like yours place insecurity in people. People with comments like yours are just trying to rid themselves of their own insecurities by placing them on others. Talk about bullshit. If it smells like bullshit, looks likes bullshit, then it is bullshit. Your comments have two of the two traits of bullshit.
            People, let’s give this women the kind of comments we would want if we where dealing with this kind of situation or a situation of our own. I mean I want people to sympathize with me when I have to many dishes. I can’t imagine what it would feel like in her situation. Would we want people telling us our problems are petty and a desperate cry for help? If you don’t believe in her cause then move on and find one you do believe in and make a difference. You aren’t going to make a difference by chastising or negative comments. 

          • Rita says:

            Like an earlier poster, some of what you say  makes sense. GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD and get out of that relationship are both good advice. Even if she does not meet his expectations, not matter what they are, no one deserves to be abused – physically or emotionally. The thing that keeps her there is fear. Fear of the unknown, Fear of everything. But staying in that relationshp is toxic to her boys but especially to Penelope for the damage it does to her soul. Someone who pushes you down and then blames you for it is twisted. Plain and simple. They are responsible for their behavior. I bet these sentiments have been repeated here many time. Penelope, please get some professional help. Call a battered women’s center in your area and talk to someone. Please. You deserve it.

          • MTK says:

            What do you really know about the situation besides what is here? Even her post rings of a mocking really ugly undertone and she is probably putting on a good front here. Imagine the actual emotional abuse the guy must be under when a man who isn’t abusive is forced to clear his space even when he asked her for room. She needs to look in the mirror and wonder how she got where she is. She is the common denominator in all 3 of her failed relationships with the men mentioned in these posts…

        • Sabby says:

          Well put, Stevedisq.  Speaking as someone who tried to leave about four times before it happened, I can vouch for the fact that if you make it public, even as ill-advised as a blog would seem to be for such a thing, you suddenly cannot avoid the issue any longer.  I didn’t tell my friends and family the full extent of what was happening for a long time because I knew once I did, I’d have to face the facts and make a hard decision.

          Hang in there, Penelope.  You’ll figure it out.  Hopefully sooner rather than later, but your instincts /are/ telling you where you need to go and what to do.

        • drunicus says:

          If you love someone enough to marry them, you have to be able to forgive.

          It also helps to avoid escalating bad situations, avoiding triggers, and compromising.
          If you love the farmer, and he loves you, then you’ll be fine.

        • Katerina says:

          Penelope… thank you for being so real. Your blog has so many times given me (and many others) a sense of, “hey i’m not the only one”.
           I’m an INTJ and my 11 year old son has been suggested to be aspergers and tourettes, with high intelligence (4 years accelerated at school) that often leads to both of us in tears, even though there are so many brilliant moments too. I was also a teen mum having fallen pregnant at 16 and have happily proceeded to defy many of the stereotypes cast since then.

          Having not read every single post, I’m not sure if these have already been suggested, however I would seriously consider them as essential resources for your situation and know that they have been a huge help for having me get a greater understanding of how to deal with these strange things called humans.

          Books by Dr John Gottman, specifically:
          ‘The 7 principles for making a marriage work’ – He can predict with 91% accuracy whether couples will stay together based on a few key things he outlines in the book. And a couple that fights a lot is not one of them. It’s how you fight. There’s a lot of ‘workshopy’ style stuff in there, but when you get to the core pieces it’s essentially a recipe for how to have a relationship that works. (Which for INTJ and aspergers people is a godsend)

          Books by Harville Hendrix, specifically:
          ‘Giving the love that heals’ – This is based on the Imago approach of how our parents impact our relationships, and this book specifically is about how to parent effectively and become more aware of how we can heal those hurts from the way we grew up and stop the cycle of pain. 

          Books by Patricia Evans, specifically:
          ‘The Verbally Abusive Relationship’ and ‘Controlling People’ – these books, and her whole series are extremely helpful for how to become more aware of the specific language and actions used in abusive and controlling relationships. We all do these things some of the time, but it’s about recognising the patterns that indicate when something needs to change. you’d be surprised by how many language patterns we see as normal, are actually indicative of verbally abusive patterns. 

          I’m not sure which one of her books has the step by step actions for how to leave a relationship effectively, but they will support you in making the decisions that you need to make. I credit her books for helping me to ‘finally’ leave an on/off abusive relationship with a successful public speaker who had a whole another side appear when the audience wasn’t watching.

          These 3 authors and their resources I hope will provide you with a way forward. Sometimes it’s best to ‘lay low’ for a little while, play the happy ‘yes wife’ role, whilst regaining your strength to make the decisions from a strong place.

          Oh, and also the Sedona method can be great for easing the mind chatter about what to do :)

        • Katerina says:

          Penelope… thank you for being so real. Your blog has so many times given me (and many others) a sense of, “hey i’m not the only one”.
           I’m an INTJ and my 11 year old son has been suggested to be aspergers and tourettes, with high intelligence (4 years accelerated at school) that often leads to both of us in tears, even though there are so many brilliant moments too. I was also a teen mum having fallen pregnant at 16 and have happily proceeded to defy many of the stereotypes cast since then.

          Having not read every single post, I’m not sure if these have already been suggested, however I would seriously consider them as essential resources for your situation and know that they have been a huge help for having me get a greater understanding of how to deal with these strange things called humans.

          Books by Dr John Gottman, specifically:
          ‘The 7 principles for making a marriage work’ – He can predict with 91% accuracy whether couples will stay together based on a few key things he outlines in the book. And a couple that fights a lot is not one of them. It’s how you fight. There’s a lot of ‘workshopy’ style stuff in there, but when you get to the core pieces it’s essentially a recipe for how to have a relationship that works. (Which for INTJ and aspergers people is a godsend)

          Books by Harville Hendrix, specifically:
          ‘Giving the love that heals’ – This is based on the Imago approach of how our parents impact our relationships, and this book specifically is about how to parent effectively and become more aware of how we can heal those hurts from the way we grew up and stop the cycle of pain. 

          Books by Patricia Evans, specifically:
          ‘The Verbally Abusive Relationship’ and ‘Controlling People’ – these books, and her whole series are extremely helpful for how to become more aware of the specific language and actions used in abusive and controlling relationships. We all do these things some of the time, but it’s about recognising the patterns that indicate when something needs to change. you’d be surprised by how many language patterns we see as normal, are actually indicative of verbally abusive patterns. 

          I’m not sure which one of her books has the step by step actions for how to leave a relationship effectively, but they will support you in making the decisions that you need to make. I credit her books for helping me to ‘finally’ leave an on/off abusive relationship with a successful public speaker who had a whole another side appear when the audience wasn’t watching.

          These 3 authors and their resources I hope will provide you with a way forward. Sometimes it’s best to ‘lay low’ for a little while, play the happy ‘yes wife’ role, whilst regaining your strength to make the decisions from a strong place.

          Oh, and also the Sedona method can be great for easing the mind chatter about what to do :)

        • Scott says:

          He’s the one who should leave you, Penelope.

        • Scott says:

          He’s the one who should leave you, Penelope.

    • Killerwhale681 says:

      My Mother had a similar affliction. This was back in the mid-50’s to the 80’s. When she would get started up on my Father, she simply didn’t have an off switch. The most awful, hurtful things I ever heard, and she would pursue him if he tried to avoid the conflict. BTW, she was and still is a Jehovah’s Witness. I now realize she suffers from AS, or something similar. My brother and I ended up hating her for all the whack things she did. Yes, He would smack her to get her off of him, and that clearly wasn’t right, but it was under extremely difficult circumstances, and frankly, I don’t know what else could have been done. She ruined our family, and everyone knew it. She was an extremely intelligent woman, think electical engineer in the 50’s who was impossible to deal with. Even now, as I think about what happened back then, I realize that my Father was emotionally traumatized, and was ashamed of her, but he wouldn’t divorce her. She eventually left, and he really never recovered. 
          Nowdays, I really feel she would have been institutionalized, and put on something….But the worst part of this was the fact that my brother and I never got over that. I eventually married a woman who had some of the same problems my mother had, and, consequently, I had to divorce her. Yeah, she was a rabid Jehovah’s witness also. The point of all this is that emotional abuse and trauma can break ANYONE. And when the abuser gets the upper hand, and hey, oftentimes it’s the woman, well, sick things happen. I always figured my Father was going to snap and kill her, but he didn’t. 
          So, we are estranged, and I simply CANNOT afford such aberrant behavior in my life. And that’s really sad, but all the tears in the world can’t change that. I’ll say this…Penelopes sons are already ruined…..any hopes of them having a natural relationship with a woman are really doubtful, IMO. Young boys are molded by the “adult” behavior around them, and the smarter they are, the more severe the affects. There really isn’t any free ride, and from what I’ve read, and I’ve spent a good amount of time on this blog….Penelope is a very intelligent woman in the same mold as my mother…..and she’ll probably end up the same way as my mother has….alone, because of her mental condition. Yeah, I know, that’s not PC, but reality isn’t PC either.
           So, what about the Farmer? You see, Penelope apparently doesn’t understand what she has done to this guy. And what about her Father? Just who is telling the truth? The real price to be paid is already at her sons feet. Words won’t cure that.

    • Killerwhale681 says:

      My Mother had a similar affliction. This was back in the mid-50’s to the 80’s. When she would get started up on my Father, she simply didn’t have an off switch. The most awful, hurtful things I ever heard, and she would pursue him if he tried to avoid the conflict. BTW, she was and still is a Jehovah’s Witness. I now realize she suffers from AS, or something similar. My brother and I ended up hating her for all the whack things she did. Yes, He would smack her to get her off of him, and that clearly wasn’t right, but it was under extremely difficult circumstances, and frankly, I don’t know what else could have been done. She ruined our family, and everyone knew it. She was an extremely intelligent woman, think electical engineer in the 50’s who was impossible to deal with. Even now, as I think about what happened back then, I realize that my Father was emotionally traumatized, and was ashamed of her, but he wouldn’t divorce her. She eventually left, and he really never recovered. 
          Nowdays, I really feel she would have been institutionalized, and put on something….But the worst part of this was the fact that my brother and I never got over that. I eventually married a woman who had some of the same problems my mother had, and, consequently, I had to divorce her. Yeah, she was a rabid Jehovah’s witness also. The point of all this is that emotional abuse and trauma can break ANYONE. And when the abuser gets the upper hand, and hey, oftentimes it’s the woman, well, sick things happen. I always figured my Father was going to snap and kill her, but he didn’t. 
          So, we are estranged, and I simply CANNOT afford such aberrant behavior in my life. And that’s really sad, but all the tears in the world can’t change that. I’ll say this…Penelopes sons are already ruined…..any hopes of them having a natural relationship with a woman are really doubtful, IMO. Young boys are molded by the “adult” behavior around them, and the smarter they are, the more severe the affects. There really isn’t any free ride, and from what I’ve read, and I’ve spent a good amount of time on this blog….Penelope is a very intelligent woman in the same mold as my mother…..and she’ll probably end up the same way as my mother has….alone, because of her mental condition. Yeah, I know, that’s not PC, but reality isn’t PC either.
           So, what about the Farmer? You see, Penelope apparently doesn’t understand what she has done to this guy. And what about her Father? Just who is telling the truth? The real price to be paid is already at her sons feet. Words won’t cure that.

  47. Richard Gay says:

    Seriously?

  48. Gautam Ghosh says:

    Dear Penelope… as someone who has exchanged emails with you and feels he knows you “virtually” I hope you find the emotional strength – sending you my good wishes – and hope that things will work out whichever way they are meant to be…  

  49. Gautam Ghosh says:

    Dear Penelope… as someone who has exchanged emails with you and feels he knows you “virtually” I hope you find the emotional strength – sending you my good wishes – and hope that things will work out whichever way they are meant to be…  

  50. Evebad says:

    Dear Penelope,

    Interesting the way you start your post is wanting for us to prove our “love” to
    you.  You want to make sure that no matter what you say we will still
    be there/here.  Because…

    “I can't say no to my dad. I just want to be loved.”

    And you finish with..

    “You never know if it's better to attach the stamps for security, or if
    the attachment is so damaging that you risk losing the stamp.”

    Are you the stamp?  All three men collected you at one point in their lives.  And here you’re not wanting to remove the attachment (get help) because you’re famous?  But you’re being damaged.

    You tell us a story, get us engaged, emotional, sad, irrational.. but you don’t tell us if you’re going to do anything about it.   Leave us hanging for the next installment of physical/emotional abuse.  (first it was the many, many break ups, then the lamp, then the tractor, and now this) or for us to read in the news that you’re another statistic.  I guess you’re ok with the kids growing up with their father if something, God forbid (I didn’t say Jesus), happens to you.  Or is your blog enough evidence for the authorities to do something?  Because they clearly didn’t do much in the past besides sending you to your grandmother’s house.

    What do you want to do? 

    I don’t know who said this quote, but here it is.

    "What you want is revealed by what you do, not by what you say."

    Ohh so many questions.  And I’m not a therapist this is just my opinion.

    Sending you clarity and “cojones” to do what you need to do.

    Evelyn

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