I smashed a lamp over my head. There was blood everywhere. And glass. And I took a picture.

I think my life is getting better because it used to be that I wrote everything. In order to cope. Now I can take pictures. So I have two coping mechanisms.

The best way to judge someone is not by setbacks, but by bounce-backs. I am good at judging people this way. I think this is because I’m good at bouncing back. From stuff people think no one can bounce from. I can still bounce. Here’s how:

1. Get perspective about what is big and what is small.
This is not the first time I have put a gash in my head on purpose. I did it when I had postpartum depression. The situation now is remarkably similar.

I told the farmer that he needs to take care of his hands better. That’s where the fight started.

“I hate hand cream,” he said. “It makes my hands greasy all day.”

“It’s dysfunctional to walk around with bleeding hands.”

“This isn’t normal. It’s because I was so nervous around you and your mom fighting in New York.”

“You have it all the time. All winter. You told me you do. It’s your job to fix it. You have to take care of yourself. You have to be a better model for the kids.”

He says, “I’m sorry I don’t take care of my hands how you want me to.”

I say, “Forget it. This is crazy. I don’t care about your hands.”

Then we talk about money. I spent too much money on our trip to New York. He is sick of me not being able to stick to a budget. And, to tell you the truth, I am sick of it, too. My inability to stick to a budget is like him not putting cream on his hands: Total incompetence.

The thing is that the money problems make me nuts, and they make him nuts. The hands, really, are not as big a deal.

2. Tell yourself a story of how you got to where you are, so it makes sense.
So we skip to the discussion of how I feel like I’m alone with the money problems because we agreed before I moved to the farm that he would not be responsible for the kids or the money.

Don’t tell me it was a crazy agreement to make. It’s water over the bridge. Or under. I can’t remember the saying.

So I tell him I feel alone. I tell him that for maybe five minutes straight, because he is saying nothing.

Then we do our normal routine: I say I am lonely and feel like he’s not really with me.

He gets angry because he thinks he’s given up everything for me.

My abandonment issues flare even more when he is angry at me for saying I’m lonely.

I cry.

He hates me when I cry.

I hate myself for being with someone who hates me.

You can see the spiral, right? It’s just a question of how much I hate myself.

Today it was a lot. I hate myself because I could have used the money I spent on the New York trip as a fund so that I could leave the farm. I don’t even know how I’d leave. I mean, I know I’m capable of leaving, but I don’t know what I’d leave to. What I’d go toward.

Those of you with empathy understand how it is such a short step to the lamp crashing into my head.

Then the farmer left.

3. Understand opposing points of view to your own.
People always ask how the farmer puts up with me telling our lives on the blog. What he really hates is that I get to tell the story. The story of us. Here are things he thinks you don’t know. He thinks I leave this stuff out and it’s not fair.

I am crazy. More crazy than you know from the blog.

I am very needy. I have abandonment issues and I never feel loved.

I am bad with money. Crazy bad with money. Great at earning it, terrible at managing it.

But I know you all know those things because I’ve already posted about them:

Craziness: Here’s the post where I go nuts over a tweet some guy directed to me.

Abandonment issues: Here’s the post where I describe the genesis of my neediness issues.

Money issues: Here’s the post where my electricity gets turned off.

He feels sorry for himself that he got into this mess with me. He thinks he gave up everything for me and I’m totally ungrateful.

So I spent the day trying to avoid my ex, who spends Sundays at our house with the kids. Then, when the coast is clear, I traipse over broken glass and crawl into bed and hope I sleep forever. Not forever in a way that would mean my kids have no mother. But forever in a way where it sort of approximates death in an I-need-a-break way but then I’m still a good mom.

4. Compartmentalize. For sanity’s sake.
Can you be a good mom and break a lamp over your head? Maybe that is the crux of this post. Or maybe it is “Can you be a good career advisor and still break a lamp over your head?”

Actually, I think the scary thing is that the answer to both questions is yes. Compartmentalizing in moderation is actually useful life skill. I know because I’m terrible at it.

But look at the CEOs who are never home with their kids. They are terrible parents but great at their career.

And look at the stay-at-home-baking-cookies moms who are addicted to shopping, or valium, or cheating on their husbands. It’s entirely possible that these women could be great moms. Maybe you have until 3pm to be dysfunctional: What you do before school gets out can be separate from what you do after school gets out.

Anyway, here’s some career advice: Try to keep your career on track and your personal life on track. You’ll never have both, but your career is a sort of safety net. If all you have is your personal life then if it’s going bad, everything in your life is bad. Your career isn’t as important as your personal life, but it’s a nice distraction.

See? It’s working for me right now: I’d probably be bashing another lamp against my head if I didn’t have a blog to maintain.

5. Protect the parts of your life that you can.
When the ex left, the farmer and I started fighting again. We had to fight around the kids. They watched CatDog and we argued.

He asked me if I’m cleaning up the glass. If this were a novel that you were assigned to read for school, there would be this essay question:

Compare and contrast the two knock-down-drag-out fights Penelope had with the farmer after he asked her if she is cleaning up glass.

If you were a good student, you’d remember the chapter where I break a window and end up at the police station.

Back to this time: I tell him I’m not cleaning up the glass.

I meant to tell him that I like the visual metaphor of broken glass surrounding our bed. But I didn’t say that. I said, “I don’t care. I’m tired of trying to do nice things for you.”

It’s hard to argue that cleaning up the glass is doing something nice for him. This might be supporting evidence for the farmer’s contention that I am crazy. But in fact, I know from the last argument over broken glass that he cares about it way more than I do.

So I tell him that I’m not cleaning up the glass. And then, I don’t know what happens. Well, first, the kids ask to watch another episode of CatDog and I say okay.

6. Re-use tools that have worked for you in the past. Abandon those that never work.
In the twenty minutes we gain from more CatDog, the farmer and I are able to establish that he is done with the relationship and he is going to sleep at his parents house.

I decide I have to keep him home. I don’t know why. I mean, I guess my instinct is that if he runs to his parents when we have a fight then it’s for sure that he is not really with me. I’m sort of like a fair-weather friend that he keeps around to supplement his relationship with his parents—which, I’m sure he’d say is more rewarding than his relationship with me.

Okay. So I panic that him going to his parents will solidify what I already know anyway. And I tell him I will not let him leave.

This immediately makes him want to leave more. The farmer’s biggest worry in life is that I will control him.

He tells me I can’t stop him.

I want to show him that actually, my specialty is keeping people from abandoning me.

Me: I’ll leave the house first and then if you leave, it’ll be child abandonment.

Him: I’ll take the kids to child services.

Me: What will you tell them? My wife won’t sweep up the floor in our bedroom so I can’t stay in the house and I have to give the kids away? Really? Do that. I’m dying to see that. Should I pack the kids’ clothes for them? Because if you do that, they’ll go to foster care.

I know you think I sound crazy, but the farmer’s way of dealing with me—his way to get me to shut up—is to threaten me. So I have taken to calling his bluff. I have noticed that almost every time it works. Like, just two days ago he told me he wouldn’t talk with me in the middle of a long drive home unless I want to stop and get a hotel room for the night so we have time to talk. And I said fine. Let’s get a hotel room. And he didn’t want to.

Okay. So the kids do not go to child services, but I worry that he’ll go to his parents house.

So I move my car to block in his car so he can’t leave.

He could walk though. Or take the fifty other farm vehicles. And it’s totally pathetic that I’m trying to force him to stay with me.

So the farmer is sleeping at his parents house. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m here. With the kids. I’m in the middle of nowhere with no support system. I mean, if I wanted to sleep somewhere else I don’t even have anywhere.

But I wouldn’t want to sleep somewhere else. I traveled every week for a year. And I missed the kids. And I wanted to be attached to home and family more than my booming career. So I moved here.

But I don’t know what I’m doing here. Scaling back. Scaling back a career so that all that’s left is family time, and family values. It is not working.

I see all these new year’s resolutions people are making:

Eat dinner as a family more often.

Go out to eat less frequently.

Plant a garden.

Turn off the TV.

All these things are easy to do on the farm. I need a new year’s resolution to make sure my career does not go to hell while my personal life has. I need a safety net.

The reason I started writing career advice is not because this is my dream job. I mean, who dreams of growing up and writing career advice? I became passionate about the advice, though, when it became apparent to me that each time I had a personal crisis, my career is what helped me rescue myself.

391 replies
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  1. Jeffrey
    Jeffrey says:

    I don’t believe you broke the lamp on your head.

    The farmer seems a poor, tortured soul (and a sucker for punishment) but he could do better than to run back to his parents. For the benefit and wellbeing of your children…send them off to boarding school. Handcream for all!

  2. Shayl
    Shayl says:

    Penelope – I don’t really know how to give you any advice that will help because, as someone who has struggled with an anxiety disorder, I know that most of the time people trying to “fix” me and offer help just make it worse. Perhaps I can just share my own story.

    My anxiety disorder tends to make it so that I worry about everything constantly, no matter what it is. It’s severe enough at times that I can’t function. I end up in bed all day completely focused on nothing but the anxiety. There are physical symptons as well, including panic attacks, weird tingly extremeties, and headaches. As a coping mechanism, I used to cry to my husband all the time, and he hated it and would try to find ways to get me to stop. I knew he just wanted me to feel better, but it felt like he hated -me- for the crying. He was always giving me advice, help, tips, etc. Always trying to fix it, but for some reason it just made it worse and worse. I so desperately wanted to fix my anxiety and make him happy, but I could never live up to the advice I was given and always thought that I was a failure and a bad person because of it. The whole thing eventually led to a large blow up between myself and him that very nearly led to divorce.

    However, we talked about it for several hours one night, and he decided to stop trying to fix me and let me be myself – no one had ever done that for me before; I’d always been led to believe that I was broken and “wrong” and needed fixing, and I hated myself for it. With him professing that he would no longer try to change me, I got this sort of…..I don’t know what it was exactly, but it was a kind of boost in self-confidence I guess. I still had the anxiety problem, but I wasn’t holding back the rest of my personality anymore in fear of the anxiety coming out – because that’s what I was trying to do when I was trying to “fix” it, was hating my whole self and not being myself in the process. I was a dead shell of my former self out of fear and effort.

    It was the weirdest thing – and the best thing he’s ever done for me, because it was my first step on the road to recovery. I’m not 100% sure that I’m cured or if that’s even possible, but I was able to take the first step in the right direction because he was able to make me believe that there was something to love in myself, and that my problems weren’t wholly and completely me.

    I believe you are a person worth loving as well, and you deserve to be yourself and love yourself. I hope that one day you find the catalyst that I did that gets you going in the right direction towards recovery.

  3. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Penelope, you are gifted. Why would you allow yourself to be in such predicament? I love your blog. I wish you and everyone health and happiness.

  4. Mike
    Mike says:

    Jesus Christ, you are a nut, aren’t you? On the plus side, since your “marriage” to the farmer was a fake “pretend” marriage to keep from having to pay taxes, it will be relatively painless to disengage…no messy divorce.

    • Allen
      Allen says:

      Mike,
      Just what possessed you to post this and slap Penelope around? She’s honest and you backhand her. Can you add something here, or are you just succeeding at being a jerk?

  5. Leo Fabisinski
    Leo Fabisinski says:

    Penelope –
    The problem here is really not very complicated. Simply stated it is:

    You and the Farmer are not best Friends

    I know you love him, want him, need him, etc and I’m sure he feels the same way about you, but you’re not best friends. The difference –

    1) Your best friend is as concerned with your happiness as he is his own. They really aren’t that separable. Which means

    2) Your best friend is not a competitor or adversary in any way. Your best friend understands that you and he are an integral unit with the same interests (much like a small company). Chief among those interests is mutual happiness. If your best friend breaks a lamp over her head, the appropriate reaction is concern and a commitment to fix things so that it never happens again. Which brings up

    3) Commitment and Love are what best friendship is really about. Commitment is not simply about never leaving the person or sharing a home, its about being willing to share life no matter what. Best friends can trust eachother to be there for them because of this commitment. Love is the willingness to participate in another persons spiritual growth regardless of your views on sprituality.

    4) This commitment has inestimable benefits and allows 2 people to share amazing things as well.

    You and Farmer can be best friends, but it will require enormous effort. The effort, however, is insignificant in comparison to the rewards.

    • Emily
      Emily says:

      How preachy can you get? The problem here *is* very complicated, on both sides. Your sermon about the virtues of true friendship and commitment is full of lots of truth, but as far as I can tell not much truth that meets Penelope or the farmer where they are at right now.

      • Leo Fabisinski
        Leo Fabisinski says:

        Not trying to be preachy at ALL, and I’m not denying that they (and all of us) have lots of very complicated problems. Just trying to say that (very much like the dynamic of a small company) when all of the involved parties see themselves on the same side, they can do a much better job of fixing things.

    • Michelle
      Michelle says:

      Very well put Leo. Aiming to be best friends is the quintessential element in a committed relation. Achieving that may be a a formidable task. I do believe that when we talk about lovers’ commitment is … simply about never leaving the person or at least not without a solid reason and not for a long time. I may be completely wrong but why waste any time without your loved one, if indeed is love. Time is of essence and we the mortals one should know that.

  6. Minaminx
    Minaminx says:

    I used to date an ENTJ and he displayed similar fighting behavior as you. Would never let me leave when we got into an argument, had abandonment issues and was always afraid of what it meant if I left. We didn’t work out, obviously, but he is and will always be the roughest relationship in my life. Part of me wants him to be able to see how crazy he was…the things he did was so irrational. I tell you this b/c I hope that you are able to see the stress this type of fighting causes on your significant other and learn to discuss in a healthy way. There really is no need for all of that drama, and maybe before you dive into excuses, figure out why it is you must create these irrational situations? I think it’s wonderful that you are open and honest, but sometimes that isn’t enough. If someone did that to me, broke a lamp over his head, I would have left…for good.

    • Monica O'Brien
      Monica O'Brien says:

      I used to do this to my husband. I *hated* when he tried to leave in the middle of a fight, going so far as to follow him and harass him until he talked to me again.

      Our marriage got at least 10x better when I let him leave. Five minutes later, he would cool off and come back. We continued our argument until it was solved or he left again, but he always came back.

      When I pretended it was just a break, a pause in the conversation, we started to actually solve our problems because our arguments didn’t escalate to the point of no return. We can now avoid the throwing things, banging down doors, chasing after cars stuff (yeah, it used to get intense).

      Also, I’m an ENTP, fiercely, fiercely competitive. I hated him leaving because I couldn’t “win” the argument, whereas if I got to keep talking I could.

      • hlcs
        hlcs says:

        I can really relate to this comment as I am like your husband and my husband is like you. I am the one who leaves in the middle of a fight. It’s partly because if I stay in the house my husband will not stop talking or yelling for hours and he breaks me down so much I just give up and start crying. I need to get away and think in private (probably partly because I’m an introvert) without someone yelling/talking at me. I literally cannot process the fight and figure out how to get past it until I can think in quiet. It is great that you have figured this out about your husband and are able to give him the space he needs. I hope he appreciates what a wonderful wife he has. Of course, I hope in Penelope’s case that her husband just needs a few minutes to think and intends to come back and isn’t just running to his parents.

      • chris Keller
        chris Keller says:

        It makes sense to me to try to get comfortable with time-outs when you are fighting. Leaving is okay. And then, whomever leaves needs to pay close attention to how they feel/what they say to themselves after they have left. For example, if the farmer left and went to sleep at his parents house, would he really sleep? Would he talk it over with his parents? Would he feel bad, relieved, regretful, or ??? Would he miss you?

        And you, Penelope, if YOU left and took a motel room as someone suggested, how would you feel? You created a break for yourself to gain perspective . . . would that really happen? would you be antsy to get back? Get back to the fight (so that you could gainsay)? Or get back to the resolution of the issues? Would you think of compromises while you were in time-out? Would you justify your own behaviors while you were away? Would you miss the Farmer?

        I just think it is instructive to let this happen and then monitor the results. How you feel will tell you a lot about yourself, himself, your sense of direction, your values as individuals and as a couple . . .

  7. Celine
    Celine says:

    Think you’re crazy? You are certifiable! If I was the farmer, I would have called the police for abuse, who would have contacted child services, then had you on a psych hold at a hospital. After 24 hours of assessment you can be committed for being a danger to your family and yourself, which clearly you are. This isn’t about bouncing back: you need time in a psych ward. And you can’t give advice about career or life issues because your life is so screwed up that you can’t see it and hopefully others will stop putting up with you and enabling your behavior. Your blog is the least of your worries. Depending on who reads it, it may be your downfall. Your kids will be the ones who suffer from having a crazy parent who won’t go into hospital. The farmer would be doing you and your family the best thing by having you committed.

  8. amy
    amy says:

    This is going to sound awful, but …

    If this is real, you really need to get over it and get it in check until your youngest is at least 17 years old. You may think your kids were watching Catdog while you were breaking lamps, but that’s not real. Kids know.

    Even though it isn’t fun or interesting or exciting being “OK” for your kids, you’re the mom, you need to be the mom, and it’s what kids need. The hardest part of growing up and being a mom is knowing that your life is boring. Not exciting, not interesting … just day-to-day plain-old boring. Your life is actually supposed to be boring while your children are 5 – 17 years old. Boring is stable and kids need stable. They don’t need interesting. Kids need stable more than anything.

    I just don’t think you should be smashing lamps on your head or anywhere when your kids are in the house. They absolutely know what goes on in their house, and that’s not cool at all. The rest doesn’t matter, but kids shouldn’t have to go through that.

    • Eve
      Eve says:

      I’m glad someone else said it. The answer to your question if someone can be a good mom and smash a lamp over their head is NO. A resounding NO. Your kids know what’s going on and they are worried about you. Writing is fine, sure. Smashing a lamp over your head is not an acceptable coping mechanism.

      These actions are just as bad as using drugs to cope. I hope the farmer does take the kids to Child Services and gets you the help you need.

  9. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    I can’t say I know how you feel, because obviously I don’t. That would be a lie of magnificent proportion, because no one can know how you feel, not the farmer, or your ex, or your editor, or any of your readers. But sometimes, when I’m watching tv with my boyfriend and he says in all seriousness that he never knew Oxford was in England, I feel like I should find someone that appreciates the knowledge you find in books and travel, maybe someone who finally after the millionth time I’ve asked him would learn to put dirty clothes in the hamper, who when he’s mad at me doesn’t threaten to take our dog away from me (who sometimes I feel is the only thing I may ever be able to really truly love forever, well, perhaps with the exception of my mother, despite the flaws in her that I’m sure motherhood accentuates in everyone in their children’s eyes), or punch a hole in a wall the way he did that once, even though when I rationalize it I know he shares everything with me– his home, money, experiences– and tells me I’m beautiful and all the things women say they want, at least in movies. So then I think I can’t leave, so I think about him leaving me. And then I worry that if he did leave me, I’d have to sleep in my car, or go to my parents and confirm my mother’s suspicions that real love doesn’t exist after all, not for long anyway, the way she’s been telling me for years in different ways, some subtler than others. I am sure that I have read in comments before that people like reading your blog because it makes them feel that their lives are more normal, or better, or however they phrase you making them feel in some way at ease with themselves. But that’s not why I like reading your blog. I like reading your blog because it makes me feel less alone.

  10. Kay Lorraine
    Kay Lorraine says:

    My goodness. So much advice here. Some of it quite bad, too. I assume that you will ignore the person who thinks that you should send your children off to boarding school. I don’t even think we need to discuss that.

    I also assume that you will ignore the people who think that Jews don’t “let God in” their lives. Sad.

    If therapy is working for you and making you feel better, that’s swell. My husband and I were in couple’s therapy for years and the only real decent piece of advice we ever got out of it was, that’s it’s not OK to leave. Every once in a while my husband would get angry during a fight and walk out and not return all night. Once, he even left with the words, “You’ll be sorry.”

    I didn’t know if this meant that he was going to kill himself, or go have sex with another woman, or never return. I stayed up all night terrified. It turned out that he checked into a Holiday Inn for the night. Hopefully, alone. I’d like to tell you that was the only time he did that, but it wasn’t. Finally, a marriage counselor declared that it’s inappropriate for either partner to leave without telling the other where he or she is and that they are safe. Obviously, The Farmer told you he was going to sleep at his parents, so it’s not quite the same. But I did think that your retort about leaving first and packing the kids’ clothes for the welfare people was classic. Sounds like something I would say.

    My point is that once my husband agreed to never walk out like that again (and I agreed to the same, although I had never done it), we never had that problem again. It stopped. We still fought like cats and dogs. And I don’t know how you avoid fighting in front of the children unless you lock them in the barn (which I wouldn’t recommend, especially in the winter months). You can go into the bedroom and shout at each other and pretend that you’re in a “cone of silence.” Like the kids wouldn’t hear that. Sure.

    The one thing that I would recommend, however, is that you clean up the glass. It is, after all, your glass and your responsibility. Tell The Farmer that you will agree to take responsibility for your own actions if he will agree to quit playing the “parents card.”

    Shit happens. You’re crazy. I’m crazy. I keep reminding my husband how dull his life would be with someone “normal.”

    Kay in Honolulu

    • dl
      dl says:

      >>>I also assume that you will ignore the people who think that Jews don’t “let God in” their lives. Sad.<<>>But I did think that your retort about leaving first and packing the kids’ clothes for the welfare people was classic. Sounds like something I would say.<<<

      This comment bothers me. I sure hope calling Penelope's retort "classic" isn't a commendation. Because can you imagine how her boys feel hearing this? Children should not be made subjects of their parents' arguing. Nor should they have to fear being sent away.

      And finally, get the Farmer some Bag Balm. It's for cows but lots of people swear by it for themselves.

    • dl
      dl says:

      The first part of my comment got cut off. Let’s see if I can remember it…

      >>>I also assume that you will ignore the people who think that Jews don’t “let God in” their lives. Sad.<<<

      I don't think the "let God" comment was saying Jews don't have God in their lives. Perhaps she was suggesting Penelope let MORE of God in her life.

      If I recall, Penelope has said she's not a fully-practicing Jew. She doesn't regularly attend synagogue. Yet she feels afraid and unloved.

      The spiritual discipline of prayer, Bible reading and attending synagogue can bring great peace. When Penelope feels no one else loves her, she should know God always loves her. She can be reminded of this by letting MORE of him into her life.

      • Kay Lorraine
        Kay Lorraine says:

        I love it when people play the “God card.” It’s the ultimate trump card. Penelope is a Jew but she’s not a “fully-practicing Jew” and admits that she doesn’t go to synagogue on a “regular basis.” Why do I just KNOW that dl is not a Jew?!! dl’s very words, “The spiritual discipline of prayer, Bible reading and attending synagogue can bring great peace. When Penelope feels no one else loves her, she should know God always loves her. She can be reminded of this by letting MORE of him into her life,” are sooooo Christian-speak. And in saying this, I mean no disrespect to Christians. I was raised Christian. Very religious Christian. I’m just telling you that this concept of “not fully practicing Jew” and the parallel with less of God in your heart is just so bogus. One has nothing to do with the other.

        BTW, yes I did think that the remark about packing was “classic.” And I don’t think for one minute that Penelope’s kids are worried about this as a reality. Kids know their parents. Kids know their style. Kids are a lot smarter than people give them credit. Which is why I knew we didn’t even have to talk about that foolishness of sending Penelope’s kids to a boarding school. Kids know when they are loved. It’s the parents who get it all screwed up. Not the kids. Penelope was not loved by her parents when she was growing up. Nobody had to tell her. She knew.

        And please refrain from playing the “God card.” It’s kind of tacky.

  11. Barbara C
    Barbara C says:

    I am new to the blog, but am really bothered by the comments about the farmer “running” to his parents’ house. Sometimes the best solution to an (at the moment) unresolvable argument is to leave the house. Some people might go to a bar, some people might go to a friend’s house and talk. You and the farmer are out in the middle of no-where, it’s probably too cold to sleep in the barn, and it doesn’t sound like the argument would cease if he went into another room, locked the door and went to sleep.

    It is also better to get out of a “hot” situation before something is said that is deeply hurtful, or said in the heat of anger. Words said in anger can be very destructive, and are impossible to take back. They hang in the air forever.

    I have parents who have been verbally abusive to me and eachother all of their lives. In order to get away from my mother, I once swallowed a bottle of pills. Fortunately for me, it just resulted in a really good night’s sleep. My therapist promptly advised me to leave the house any time one of them tried to pick an argument. I realized 30 years later, listening to them argue yet again, that they would rather be right than happy.

    Penelope, are you afraid of happiness? If things are going well, do you worry about that there “something” just waiting to go wrong, and fulfill your prediction? Is the money management issue part of that, or part of the Asperger’s, or just somehting else? Did the farmer think he was going to rescue you (I recall from one of your posts that he said you need someplace quiet), and that just isn’t happening at the moment?

    For whatever it’s worth, Western Psychiatric Institute at the University of Pittsburgh has a great clinic for women. Self-injury is not a coping skill, although I can understand being so confused and in pain that you don’t want to sweep up the glass. It’s a great visual metaphor.

    A career isn’t a substitute for human relationships. But, with Asperger’s, the latter must be easier than the former for you. And compartmentalizing is good, but you may not doing that right now. Please take good care of yourself first.

    Barbara C.

    • Allison
      Allison says:

      I guess I interpreted this a little differently as my husband has the same “flight” response to a fight – no matter the nature or seriousness of the disagreement. I many times also block my husband from leaving in an attempt to find closure in a disagreement for myself. I sometimes need to fight it out – he always needs to flee the situation. I don’t think P was wrong in doing what was needed to keep her husband in the house – and it was very intuitive of her to believe that once he left he would not be back.

  12. Barbara C
    Barbara C says:

    Have you tried light therapy? You may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder due to the low winter light, in addition to the other challenges you have.

  13. Mairzy
    Mairzy says:

    Penelope, NOBODY can understand what you are going through except you – and sometimes even you don’t know. I’ve been where you are, but my ex really did inflict physical harm. I stayed with him because he convinced me I could not survive without him. In our divorce papers, he acknowledged that he beat me because I “deserved it”. It took a lot for me to leave but I did and I am so much better today. I am happy and I look it. He is filled with hate and venom and it shows.

    Take care of yourself. The one big thing I learned is that people, even people you may not think of as close friends, will help you if you ask.

    I am sending positive energy, a hug, and strength in your direction.

  14. Ash
    Ash says:

    Hopefully the farmer has already read this post and knows how you feel/think about the situation. Yes, I,m a long-time reader and think you’re nuts (so are we all, in different ways). And he married you knowing this. And the two of you want to stay married, so you will work it out.
    good luck
    *hug*

  15. Laura K. Cowan
    Laura K. Cowan says:

    Hi Penelope,
    I don’t know you, and you have obviously been reaching out for help for a long time so you probably know much more than I do about the terms for what may be bothering you deep down… but what I hear crying off this page is a deep, deep loneliness and a thirst to be known and loved anyway. Is it possible that one of the reasons you write from such a raw, true place is that you want to connect with others in that place where your need for care and love have not been met? Just a thought. I have noticed myself doing this with one of my blogs, which is probably why I thought of it. I truly wish you peace and love. I walked around with completely insane levels of anxiety for years because I was afraid that if I wasn’t perfect, no person (or God) would love me in that place, where I had been rejected and bullied for many years. My peace came from discovering first-hand that God wasn’t who I feared He was (now I’m sounding like a looney). Maybe ask God to show you how He feels about you, if He’s there.

    xo,
    Laura

  16. Kimberly C.
    Kimberly C. says:

    Wow. You’re just as crazy as I am. It’s kind of refreshing. Now I’m wondering if I have Ashberger’s too.

    I think you have too much free time on your hands. I know when I have too much time to listen to my wheels turning, I end up believing everything I think, then if I spend enough time on that, I end up acting out on it. I think you’re right: working will keep you out of trouble. I think that’s true for everyone. No one is at their best when they are just doing WHATEVER. If you have designated work to which others hold you accountable (outside of this blog where you can SEE and FEEL their reactions to what you do) then what you do will matter more and you’ll take your actions more seriously. I am in a similar rut and didn’t even realize it. Focusing on creating and producing something positive, useful to others, something that serves anything outside ourselves (our own home included) is always the cure for the tireless mind.

    All the best,
    Kim

  17. downfromtheledge
    downfromtheledge says:

    boy, you can sure tell who *hasn’t* been through any of the sh*t of life by reading these replies … does anyone else want to tell all these self-righteous know-it-alls to STFU, already? all of the pity and advice-giving and hopeful-this-will-be-your-come-to-jesus-moment bs……spare me.

    this is life. it’s f**king messy. maybe not yours, but then isn’t that all the more reason to quit acting like you can so easily solve everybody’s problems for them. or assign blame, which is soooo easy to put on the person at hand than the grown man refusing to communicate and avoiding problems like a child running to mommy & daddy. gee, i can’t imagine why you’re at your wits end, frustrated to tears that something as simple as saving a person’s bloody hands turns into a power struggle.

    i particularly wish to advise all the “you need professional help” and “he SHOULD call child services” imbeciles to shove it up your respective a**es, because you don’t have a clue what you’re even talking about or what real child abuse is… “if IIIIIIII haven’t done it/felt it/been through it, it’s not normal/it’s crazy.”

    you can’t tell the truth about anything in this life without every ignoramus out there trying to rush in and save the day because it makes THEM feel better, not because it’s actually helpful.

    there’s a lot worse crap going down tonight in our precious little country, but it’ll never be made public for your judgment – all of you who think you know what goes on behind closed doors are, shall we say … sheltered.

  18. Janeegib
    Janeegib says:

    I hated this post. But then, as if guided by some mysterious force, I spent 10 minutes reading all the comments. And here I am posting a comment to feed your stats machine. You might not be able to manipulate the “farmer,” but you’ve got your readers right where you want them. Genius.

  19. Sadya
    Sadya says:

    What makes this situation unfair to you is that while the farmer has somewhere to bolt to , you on the otherhand have to stay where you are. And that makes you superior- you are & likely to stick it out. Its when people know that they have somewhere to run yet they don’t, that tells you alot about them. The farmer probably does this in alot in other situations , he looks for the exit first or he makes sure there is an exit door before committing to anything.
    But just so you understand, he’s probably not sleeping in peace at his parents place. The minute he gets to his parents home , they give him the ‘we told you so’ look, which he probably hates even more because that tells him that he is not a good decision maker.
    Somehow writing this post seems like an act of hope – you hoping the farmer will read it & understand and just stay.

  20. Sadya
    Sadya says:

    What makes this situation unfair to you is that while the farmer has somewhere to bolt to , you on the otherhand have to stay where you are. And that makes you superior- you are & likely to stick it out. Its when people know that they have somewhere to run yet they don’t, that tells you alot about them. The farmer probably does this in alot in other situations , he looks for the exit first or he makes sure there is an exit door before committing to anything.
    But just so you understand, he’s probably not sleeping in peace at his parents place. The minute he gets to his parents home , they give him the ‘we told you so’ look, which he probably hates even more because that tells him that he is not a good decision maker.
    Somehow writing this post seems like an act of hope – you hoping the farmer will read it & understand and just stay…

  21. David
    David says:

    Thank you Penelope.
    Coming out of three divorces, and having a daughter from the first marriage I can appreciate what you have been writing, and all of the difficulties between family and work. And trying to find your place in the middle of all of it.
    Leaving was the coping strategy I developed early in life; but in the marriages, it was after thirteen years for the first, four for the second, and eight for the third. Children were involved in all three marriages.

    Among the things I've learned is to stop getting married, it has been easier for me to deal with feeling lonely and overwhelmed than the conflict, I've learned, and keep learning, how to bounce back.

    What I have also learned is that people do want to hide how messy their life really is, I grew up in that kind of a family. I started therapy in 1974 because of growing up in that kind of family, and I have now found a therapist who is helping me.

    I am almost scared of people who define what is mature and stable. It cannot be done because people hide too much, and compartmentalize too much. The whole idea of therapy is not more than a couple of hundred years old. People, and families, have made it through tough times. Mature and stable people have done and continue to do a lot of damage. How did we get into Vietnam? How did we get into Afghanistan and Iraq? How did we get in this recession that all the mature and stable people "never saw coming"? Domestic violence and child abuse almost did not exist fifty years ago, or drug addiction, alcoholism, or out of control gambling, or PTSD, or Aspergers, ADHD, etc. There are a lot of corporate executives and politicians who are able to justify their lives and the money they make simply because they have a mature and stable image. Start separating the mature and stable people from the rest of us so we can all be locked up or sent to another Australia.

    Caring about the children? Sorry about that. We all were children once too. The worst people on the planet were all children once. It is fortunate any of us have been able to survive. Caring about the children is difficult, mature and stable people make it down right hellish. Children survive bad marriages and divorces, but I think a child's life expectancy is threatened by people who have arranged their lives so that they are removed from lesser people like me, or like Penelope. For some years, in the seventies and eighties, I pleaded with my mature and stable siblings to help me and my daughter. They have not yet. The last time I saw my brother, I asked him if he still believed that emotional issues and family should be kept out of the workplace. Absolutely, he said.

    It was not hard for him because emotional issues were kept out of our family. I believe Penelope's willingness to write openly is of immense value to herself, the children, and to us.I have been sexually abused, as was my mother, that behavior and the neglect and abandonment gets passed down through the generations,having only one child was my way of stopping that at least. There was much more I had to learn how to deal with because mature and stable people paid no attention. Because Penelope is writing makes it easier to believe, that there is hope, that attention will be paid to how we, not just a few of us, can stop the wars, stop the behavior that leads to violence, we can all have better lives.

  22. Janis Schubert
    Janis Schubert says:

    Penelope:
    This is the first time I have read your blog. Wow! I have a son with AS who is now 19. I have some AS traits myself. But that is immaterial. What I admire is that you are so open about your life and what is going on with you. You show us all that even successful book writers and blog publishers have lives that are messy and complicated.
    Good luck on dealing with your family issues. I think that you will figure it out in time. I look forward to reading more from you!

    Janis

  23. Robbin
    Robbin says:

    I don’t think you’re crazy. I don’t. Dramatic maybe but not crazy. Here is why: Every woman that stays home from her career, takes care of her children, her home, her husband….and has very little interaction with anyone else, in person, looks to her husband to fulfill her. This becomes a problem.
    When you realize that you are focusing on arguing with him, feeling lonely no matter what, experiencing your abandonment issues-don’t abandon yourself.
    Take time for yourself. Just yourself. Can you get away? Is there somewhere you can go, locally, and make contact with other women? A yoga class? A coffee shop? A church? Is there something you can do just for you that you enjoy?
    I take my Alaskan Husky and walk for miles through the woods. It is what brings me joy; makes me feel alive. To be in nature and breathe the air.
    We cannot expect the men in our lives to fulfill all of our needs. It is impossible. They are only men. They cannot read our minds. And if given the opportunity and we are in our mode of abandonment and loneliness, we will make darn certain that everything they do or do not do, supports the state that we are in and magnifies it! Am I not right ladies?
    So my advice to you is to find the wisdom within yourself to recognize when you are moving into the space of these negative feelings. And instead of trying to move closer to your husband, or keep him from trying to get away find relieve for himself, move in the other direction. Not away from him so much but toward yourself. No matter what-no one can love you as much as you can love yourself..along with the love you will find from reaching for your guide: God, Spirit, The Universe—-whatever you interpret as your unseen solace.
    ~Take Care..you are not alone and you are loved!

  24. Naomi
    Naomi says:

    Everybody is crazy. It’s much easier for men to be crazy, though, because it’s easier to find women willing to support and overlook crap. It takes a special guy to overlook a woman’s craziness. Good luck. The farmer is a close one.

  25. EllenSka
    EllenSka says:

    Reading all these comments is like enjoying a longer short story with a lot of characters, in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep anyway. A friend of ours had emergency brain surgery today. We saw him yesterday at the local hospital before he was transferred to the university hospital, and he was rather delusional. When his wife came back to his room after we left, he told her he’d been having Coors Lite with my husband and me, there in the Critical Care Unit. He was convincing enough that she called us to find out, because they’re closely monitoring his fluid intake.

    Coors Lite??! Really? We’re going to visit a friend in the ICU who may have brain cancer, and the best we could do is COORS LITE? Honestly, if your friend may be dying, you could at least get your hands on a six-pack of Stella Artois. Probably the worst part is being grilled by his wife, who thought we might have actually brought Coors Lite into the ICU. But delusional people are so sure, it can make you doubt your own perceptions. My dad was in the same university medical center about a year ago and was completely convinced that one of the orderlies had checked him out of the hospital, and they spent the evening at the guy’s house with his family, watching movies and eating popcorn. “He was a helluva nice guy,” my dad said, “the nicest person I’ve met here.” I was happy for my dad, even if the orderly was not what I would call “a real person.”

    Lucky for me, we have GABA in the house — a kind of amino acid that calms the racing mind — and 2 hours later it’s starting to kick in. But maybe I’ll read some more comments first. (I left off at #176.)

  26. Jackie Walker
    Jackie Walker says:

    The saddest part I’ve read here, other than that there are children involved in this unfolding scenario, is that you’ve been in therapy since you were 5 years old. What kind of therapist do you see which lets this continue for all these years.

    Any therapist worth their salt – ie one interested in you as a person, rather than your payments – should be able to help you. The only thing stopping that happening is your willingness to forego secondary gain.

    IF you aren’t gaining relief from therapists, it begs me to ask the question – are you paying for nice one to one chats or are you taking the actions required for you to move on from your past and into a future you choose?

    I’ve been through many things in my own life including sexual abuse, rape, divorce and financial troubles. These have been experiences which I’ve used to create a life for myself. Yes some of it has been tough, but I’ve thrived emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

    It’s all very possible, but only when you want to take responsibility for yourself and your family. It might take a while, but you could start today. My thoughts are with you as you make new choices and start to create the life you want to live, be the person you want to be – with or without the farmer and definitely without your old story.

  27. Looney
    Looney says:

    This is exactly the reason I don’t blog. I’m afraid someday I’d talk myself into posting inappropriately personal stuff for the whole world to read, and then in the comments I’d get a million idiots thinking they’re experts telling me how to run my life.

    You all need to learn some basic boundaries about what’s appropriate to put on the internet and what isn’t.

    Career?? This whole posts shows such lack of judgement I’d never have a business or professional relationship with you.

  28. Anthea
    Anthea says:

    I haven’t read through the other comments because I need to leave for work soon, and I wanted to say:

    Cleaning up the glass and apologizing for being crazy might be appropriate.

    You can’t change the fact that you act crazy sometimes, but when you come down from it, acknowledging it and apologizing to the person who bears the brunt of it can help to show them that you *do* love them and want to be in a relationship *with them* rather than just a relationship.

    It’s easy to forget when you’re fighting, but you’re partners – relationship partners rather than business partners, but still partners. Still on the same side.

    Are there any career and business lessons that you can apply to your relationship? How would you start to mend things if you broke a lamp over your head in the boardroom instead of the bedroom?

    Good luck to both you and the Farmer!

  29. Chris
    Chris says:

    I think I’m actually understanding where you’re coming from now. My ex exhibited pretty much all the same traits you’re exhibiting, with a couple of extra doozies thrown in.

    I’m not going to offer any advice. Everyone else has given their two bits worth, which may or may not make any difference. Probably not, unless you’ve built a rapport or trust with them in the past.

    I will leave an observation though. Do with it what you will. My ex would regress from being a functional adult to essentially an emotionally stunted child. During this period her young son would revert to being the adult of the two. This has had a significant impact on their relationship now that her son is legally an adult. To a certain extent she has lost the respect of her son, as she wasn’t always consistently an adult/parent/mother to him at times when he really needed her to be.

    I hope you’re able to get to a place within yourself where you can cope well in your personal life, such that all your relationships are vibrant and healthy.

  30. J
    J says:

    The worst fights I’ve had with my partner was when I didn’t let the argument drop for a while, I didn’t let them leave the bar/club/place we were at or go home if they had to.

    If the farmer needs a quiet place and that place is his parents place you should let him go there. Then he knows he can go somewhere and still come back without it being a huge deal.

    Sometimes even a fight needs an ad break.

    • Kay Lorraine
      Kay Lorraine says:

      If the farmer needs a safe place to go for a time out, that’s fine. But it should NEVER be his parents or his sister. For those who have not been following this relationship for the past couple of years, the farmer’s family is NOT a neutral place. Anything they could do to break these two up would only be a victory on their part. If the farmer needs a safe place, choose someplace else. The farmer knew exactly what he was doing when he threatened to sleep at his parents’ house. That’s the emotional equivalent of his breaking a lamp over Penelope’s head.

  31. chris Keller
    chris Keller says:

    Penelope, you covered a number of bases: history of abandonment/abuse, your own history of post-partum depression, strategies to manage your issues with the farmer, such as gaining perspective, using tools that have worked in the past, seeing the other person’s point of view, etc.

    But here is what you didn’t say, that I think needs to be known: How did your sons’ faces look during/after the melee? How did you explain to them what was going on? How have you/can you make them feel secure and safe when loud, physical fights are happening in the next room?

    Also, have you thought about guidelines for fighting fair? When you are in a calmer place, you and the farmer could develop such guidelines for yourself. It is worthwhile to fight–but you have to set down some rules-of-the-game, I believe. (Included in these, each of you needs to be able to “save face”. No winner/loser.) Tell him what you need. He tells you what HE needs. Look at those declarations in writing side-by-side and see if they can be melded . . .

    Have each of you apologized to the other?

    Several readers have said that you cannot insist upon being right. I concur. What if you, right smack in the middle of a fight, said “I love you, and I believe you love me. This is awful for both of us. Can we turn it around some way?”
    Chris

  32. Working
    Working says:

    I’m married to a writer, so picture the farmer’s version of this fight as follows:

    1 – Wife was whining about something, and accidentally hit a lamp with her elbow.
    2 – Wife whines even more, and I decide to visit the folks to chill.
    3 – Wife keeps whining, and threatens to block my car with hers.
    4 – Wife can’t find her car keys. Now is whining AND crying.
    5 – I leave the house for a few hours. Good food at my parents’ house.
    6- Come back home. Wife hasn’t cleaned the broken lamp BUT is not whining (good!); but is writing on her laptop (uh-oh).

    PS – Really, the smashing a lamp in the head sounds cartoonish; like something from the Three Stooges.

  33. Chickybeth
    Chickybeth says:

    Penelope-
    I know this doesn’t really solve the fighting issues (and everyone has them) but I would suggest two things: YNAB http://www.youneedabudget.com Someone mentioned this and it is the best software out there for actually keeping a budget. I’ve used it for over a year and it has really helped. More than a budget though, you need to give yourself some leeway so you won’t need to over-indulge on trips.

    The other thing is Badger Balm http://www.badgerbalm.com It is a hand salve that rubs in and doesn’t feel greasy. I got my husband to use it at night before bed and it had really improved his cracked, bleeding hands.

    As for the lamp, please try to stop hurting yourself. It does show how much you care about the Farmer though because you chose to smash yourself and not him. I hope he appreciates that!

  34. VW
    VW says:

    My heart is racing after reading this post. Partly because I’m familiar with “crazy,” but mostly because as a mother (also with a son who has autism) I’m worried about your kids. You didn’t say anything about what you’re doing to ensure their well-being while you sort yourself out. I think back to your post about when you had PPD and finally forced yourself to hire a nanny. That was a smart thing to do after you hurt yourself back then. I pray that you’re doing the right thing for them again NOW. You are their best and only advocate, it seems.

  35. ASH
    ASH says:

    Didn’t you want the farm, and the farmer because you craved normalcy? It reminds me of wanting to move to Mexico whenever I’m there on vacation, and then after a week I’m so sick of sand in my bed, salsa breath and frizzy hair. My guess is you will always find drama and will just take turns having it with different people. Makes you an interesting read, but not a good wife, employee, mother, etc. We readers think you are great, but that probably won’t pay the bills or keep you warm at night. Time to figure it out.

  36. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Penelope, both you and the Farmer are smart, strong-minded and independent. I would guess those are some of the qualities that attracted each of you to each other. Neither one of you is going to control the other in any way, shape, or manner and any attempt to do so will result in some sort of conflict. Conflict either within yourself or exhibited towards each other. Conflict manifested by stress, emotional roller coasters, and/or verbal or physical outbursts.
    What are you trying to prove or achieve by this conflict? Both you and the Farmer need to assess at a basic level what each is needing and asking for in this relationship.
    My recommendation is two-fold. Focus on self as this approach is totally within your control – self-discipline and self-control by breathing, meditation, and other techniques with which you are already familiar with and have published on this blog. Focus on influence rather than control when it comes to dealing with other people.
    Also, if you are able to see a downward spiral develop (e.g. – Farmer threatens with a given scenario), try to avoid calling his bluff or whatever and tell him what he’s doing and that you’re not going there. Take the high road and try to get back on track to resolve the problem at hand. It is important to be able to bounce back when you have a setback. It’s also important to avoid a setback, if possible, by careful planning which I know you advocate and are good at doing.

  37. Sheila
    Sheila says:

    I hope that things get easier for you, Penelope. I hear you on how bad it gets *and* on bouncing back. Hang in there.

    I know you must know a fair amount about borderline personality disorder, from doing DBT, but I don’t know if you know Judith Herman’s book “Trauma and Recovery.” She argues that borderline personality disorder needs to be understood as a form of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, which it makes total sense to me. From what you’ve said about your family background and from your bent towards bibliotherapy, I think you would find it a useful book to read. I also found Sandra Bloom’s book “Creating Sanctuary” to be really, really useful.

    I also hope the farmer will read them. I found them extremely helpful in understanding what one of my partners was going through as she fell in love with me. Like you, she has a lot of abandonment triggers, and just falling in love opened up huge triggers for her that were really, really intense for both of us to handle and we fucked up a lot out of god intentions for a long time before we figured out what we needed to do.

    It’s so encouraging that thinking about the early parts of your relationship with the farmer still makes you happy. Don’t give up yet.

    Also, I’m back on the East Coast now, but I had the deepest and most persistent depression of my depressive life during the years that spanned moving to Madison-getting married/all my friends finishing grad school and getting jobs and moving away by the time I moved back home pregnant/having that baby/starting a business. Plus some extra traumas thrown in.

    If I’d stayed in Madison for all of it, I don’t think I would have made it. Even though I like Madison, I couldn’t have stayed in Wisconsin, but you seem committed, and you’ve moved to an even more isolated setting. Maybe staying with the farmer isn’t worth it, maybe it will be in the end–but get a lightbox, really. Serotonin is key.

    Wisconsin winters are a killer. All the therapy in the world didn’t do me as much good as a lightbox–and a good lightbox only costs about what a therapy session does. It wasn’t a substitute, I still needed therapy, but using the lightbox meant the desolation receded and the joy could reach me again.

    Good luck. I’m rooting for you.

  38. liz
    liz says:

    I love how you are like the dark shadowy version of the Pioneer Woman. I know you like her site but it bores the shit out of me. I much prefer your version of farm life.

  39. tom
    tom says:

    man everyone feels like smashing something now and then…i think your post was funny and heartfelt and sincere…and real. the craziest part of all was having the courage to post about this, but thats crazy in a good way…

    sounds like you could need a good hug though…

    and you’re right about being good at bouncing back…think about this, every single one of your ancestors survived and bounced back from everything…you come from an unimaginably long line of survivors…and so does everyone alive today =)

    anyhoo, stay true…

  40. Sara
    Sara says:

    Yowzers – first off I’m always amazed at how many people think they know you or the farmer based on some blog posts. Most of these comments have a lot more to do with people’s own issues and projecting, than either Penelope or the farmer. Now for a bit of my projecting ;) Okay I admit it, I read your blog as you remind me so much of my batcrazy sister who can never ever be happy. I recall reading about the farm and how great it will be for your family and huge bells went off. Life is never the idealized version that is running in your head. You can’t fantasize yourself into happiness. And as for the farmer – I just deleted two long drawn out paragraphs on my view of marriage – I deleted them as I realized that really fundamentally the issue is much simpler. You can not be someone’s life partner until you are whole. I don’t think either of you are whole. Okay back to projecting-my sister has run from one disasterous relationship to the next dragging her three kids with her. You’re looking externally for someone to fix the issues inside you. It will never work. Stop. We all make mistakes, we all make poor decisions. The reality is that most of the decisions we obsess over, really amount to little in terms of long term impact. Who you spend your life with, and who you invite into your children’s lives isn’t one of them. I know, I know you’ve convinced yourself that the farm is the perfect environment for your son with AS – well FYI – the scene you described is much more destructive than any city or town life.

  41. Dale
    Dale says:

    Penny,
    What’s important to you? What’s really important to you?
    I’ve seen you like this before, and the one thing that pulls you through is your focus on what’s important to you… business… kids… farmer… whatever it is.
    You know the demons, now fight them, and don’t be scared or stay alone too much. You know yourself well.
    Talk to your good friends and those who will tell you the truth, and start a new project. You’ve been idle for way too long.
    Peace,
    D
    Pulling and praying for you.

  42. Mal
    Mal says:

    Hi again,
    Wow, what a deluge. I read through those early posts about the farmer…the beginnings, they were lovely. It brought back memories, as I too went to live with a farmer, years ago. I remember being confronted at the peeing outside, at what seemed like every opportunity – €“ territory marking perhaps. Also the glide time approach to life, the impact of the weather, the seasons, the poverty and dependency. I remembered the sense of big sky. I wish I had taken more photos, explored different perspectives. The city is my home now and I hanker for the smell, openness, sounds and lifestyle of the country.
    I liked that you thanked God that your blog introduced you to people who could change and challenge you. I liked that he is quick witted, has business savvy, is kind, thoughtful and generous – €“ that you wrote about it.
    In Chicago one time, I attended lectures delivered by a man who had written a couple of books on burnout. He spoke about how there are certain things that feed our soul, so to speak. We each have our individual things that restore us and when we factor these into our lives we can endure the rest. I can get so busy with the rest, it is easy to overlook these things that make a big difference to me.
    Go well.

  43. Jeff N
    Jeff N says:

    I see what you’re doing. You’re building things around you to take your mind off of the problems you have in your life. This is evident from the positive reinforcement you are giving to comments like Nora’s.

    And I see why (bear with me, this is just an opinion, after all). Like you said, you have been in analysis for a while. You have a mind that does something very special. I’m not sure I quite get it, but from what your posts and conclusions reflect, your brain is able to capture so much more information than normal people. And the information’s always running through your head, like a river. When you force yourself to write a post, you are drawing from the river.

    The thing about this kind of thinking is that it is way beyond just logic, it’s groups of logic colliding at the same time. This, I think, is where you get so much insight into everything in life. And this is something that most people, like me, can’t do. We find your conclusions correct though.

    The problem is that you try to apply the same kind of thinking to the simpler problems, like your life. Budgets are not hard, relationships are not hard, normal life is simple. Just do it. At least, that’s how it works for most people. Most people rely on the simple answers to get through the hussle of life, and it works mostly. But like I remember you writing about, you can’t pick up this kind of information because of your Asperger’s. Like body language and stuff.

    No pity here, I’m just sad things are rough for you. It’s empathy from a person different than you.

    And I’m not going to try to solve your issues with your brainpower combined with Asperger’s. I don’t know everything about you, even though you write a lot.

    But please keep in mind that you hold the key to solving your problems. Clear your mind. It might help.

    These are just thoughts. Please let me know where I’m incorrect.
    -JPN

  44. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I love you! I read through these comments then I just had to stop. Obviously very few of them understand this post. I do and I love you for it. Thanks!

  45. Travis
    Travis says:

    Penelope, if photography is going to be your new thing I figured you’d like the occasional pointer. Have you heard of the “rule of thirds”? It’s for stronger composition. For example, the point of focus, which looks like the larger piece of lamp, could be on the lower 1/3 intersection and the lines between yellow/pink and floor/wall could be along 1/3 lines too. You can crop out the lower left portion of the photo and see what I mean. Not all great photos fit this “rule” but the one you posted is begging for it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds

    Good luck with everything! Feel free to contact me if you want to talk photography.

  46. MH Williams
    MH Williams says:

    um, down from the ledge..
    I have been through it and then some. Hate to see it pass down through the generations as many sufferers from abuse invevitably pass it down by repeating the same patterns they learned as children. I don’t think P asked for advice but some folk feel compelled to reach out. Sure they could be less “judgemental” but who would read the comments?

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