The psychology of quitting

I am at a hotel. I think I’m dying. I have a bruise from where the Farmer slammed me into our bed post.

The psychology of quitting

I took the kids and went to a hotel so I could have time to think. I think I need to move into a hotel for a month.

The Farmer told me that he will not beat me up any more if I do not make him stay up late talking to me.

If you asked him why he is still being violent to me, he would tell you that I’m impossible to live with. That I never stop talking. That I never leave him alone. How he can’t get any peace and quiet in his own house. That’s what he’d tell you.

And he’d tell you that I should be medicated.

I’m trying to make sure this is a career blog, because, if nothing else, if I don’t have a career then it’s pretty hard to have the discussion of why I am not leaving.

I am having trouble writing, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m not great at faking things. I am trying to do business as usual because we all know that I should have left the last time there was violence.

Look. I can’t even write “the last time he beat me up.” I tried to, but then I thought: “No. It’s my fault. I deserve it. He’s right. I’m impossible to live with.”

Our couples therapist told us we will never make any progress. The reason that we will never make any progress is because neither of us can be vulnerable in a relationship.

This might be true.

The Farmer responded by saying he thinks we are making good progress. That was when he had made it to two months without hurting me. He said that was progress.

I feel like I am never going to get past this if I don’t write about it.

Some days I wish I had a real job at Brazen Careerist where I had to go into an office every day. I think it might be good for me. Structure is good for me.

I thought it would be such a big deal when I stopped working there. But it’s not. No one really cares. The company moves on. I show up to board meetings and there are people working there who I’ve never even met.

When I was growing up I always heard women say that you should have a career so you can take care of yourself without a husband. What if there’s a divorce? You need to be able to support yourself! Don’t let yourself get stuck.

But now we know more about work. It’s fun to have a career. It’s fun to get the accolades that work provides.

And we know more about domestic violence. You don’t need a career to leave. You need something else.

I am not sure what. I think I might need a hotel. But really I need to know what is keeping me there. I’m pretty sure that blaming myself is keeping me there. I think, “Why would I leave him when it’s all my fault?”

This is what I felt like when I was a kid. I was taken out of my parents house when I was fourteen. But I kept wanting to go back. I kept thinking that I’d be better and they’d like me better.

My parents were banned from family therapy because of poor behavior. The final blow to their time in family therapy was when they said the family is much better with me in the mental ward.

So I did therapy alone, and after a while I got that feeling again: That maybe now I would be the type of person my parents liked and we could all get along.

I lasted one day at my parents house before there was violence.

I tell you this to tell you where my comfort zone is. Right there.

And I tell you this to tell you that I blame myself for getting myself into this. I think I have poor relationship skills. I think I am probably only interested in sharing my feelings if I’m writing them.

I think my closest relationships in my life are with my kids and with you, the person reading my blog.

The hardest thing about leaving is that no one cares. My parents were so relieved when the police finally took me out of the house. The police said, “We’re going to have to take her now,” and my mom said, “Thank you so much! Please do that.” She wasn’t mean when she said it. She was genuinely relieved.

That’s how the Farmer will be, too. He broke up with me 50 times while we were dating. He loves the feeling of getting rid of me.

That’s why I can’t leave. I want someone to miss me.

722 replies
Newer Comments »
      • Lindsey
        Lindsey says:

        If you can’t leave for yourself, leave for your children.
        Show them that violence is *not* okay by leaving.

      • Jackie
        Jackie says:

        My question is why you felt the need to take a naked picture of yourself (you can see the bruise in the corner there of the photo, the rest is your ass and legs) and then Instagram the shit out of it so it looks glamorous.

      • Taylor
        Taylor says:

        Extremely flat would be more exact.

        However, I’m not sure why she felt the need to expose so much of herself to show a bruise. I’m also not sure why she would tell people that her husband is beating her, but she chooses not to leave. Most abused women keep it secret. I’m not sure which option is more dysfunctional.

        Penelope clearly needs help, but prefers attention.

    • KWB
      KWB says:

      Completely unnecessary comment, AJ. It was unwise of her to provide that much exposure in the shot but completely friggin’ unnecessary for you, AJ, to make that comment.

    • smokytrees
      smokytrees says:

      someone said violence is never your fault…I disagree…Is it ok to poke, not hit, not kick but poke someone 50 times?? I think not…I think domest viol is wrong but Ive been in the middle and it seems that both parties are at some fault…not always….just seems like “poking” the other is brushed off as ok or “its just poking” b.s. poking once, twice, I can see that but over and over and over and not expecting to get something back is absurd…try it with a cat…see what happens.
      On top of it Penel, you obviously need to be medicated…what do you expect?? People who are not medicated act in a way they shouldn’t…simple as that.
      Also, this behavior for both parties is not healthy and pretty much shows that you to need at the very least a separation.
      In ending, you’ve been permanently scarred from the sexual abuse from your childhood…there’s no answers for that, you can only do what you can do.

      • Miss Milk
        Miss Milk says:

        What the fuck, smoky trees? She reveals a photo like that and you tell her it’s her fault?! Penelope I hope you don’t listen to these horrible people who would rather talk about your arse or blame you. It’s not your fault. Nothing makes any violence ok. You’re so honest and I’ve read so many posts of yours, I know you didn’t deserve it on any level even if it were possible to deserve physical abuse. Please don’t go back to the Farmer, if only for the sake of the children. None of you deserve to be in this environment, but you need to protect them. Hope you’re safe somewhere now.

      • J
        J says:

        It sounds harsh, but smokytrees has a point. The farmer has never, at least by what you’ve described on your blog, ‘beat you up’. Describing it that way, when in reality it was a shove, is sensationalizing. And it’s unnecessary.

        This doesn’t make him right. If you can’t keep your hands off someone, you shouldn’t be with them. On the same token, if you can’t stop antagonizing someone, you shouldn’t be with them either.

        You probably would be much better off medicated, but I understand why you don’t want to do that. I also understand that your childhood experiences are keeping you in this relationship, and I’m glad to see you recognize it too. You can be fixed though (you Penelope, not necessarily the relationship with the Farmer); you aren’t beyond help. I hope that’s the message others take away from your sharing this.

    • penelope
      penelope says:

      average ass* its a pretty small bruise. you should stop whining, give the farmer a good go in the bedroom and cook him a great breakfast in the morning. I dont think hell be pushing you after that? If you think you got beat up look up Rihannas face after she pissed off Chris Brown

      • Danica Gale
        Danica Gale says:

        That’s a pretty ignorant comment to make! There is NO abuse that is acceptable and you’re a dumbass if you think that even a little bruise is okay and that it’s her fault for not fixing him breakfast! You’ll understand if it ever happens to you.

  1. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    I miss you when you don’t post blog entries. I have no advice to give. Just take care of yourself – and your kids.

    • MM
      MM says:

      Agreed. Go. Now.

      That said, you are showing a lot of valuable realizations about your f-ed up family and how they have impacted you – so you can break the cycle of that influence.

      • Jen M.
        Jen M. says:

        This! And the one before it!

        I’m behind in reading your updates, but I always save them. You are very brave to open up the way you do, Penelope.

        I don’t know where you and the kids are now, but I hope you have not gone back and that you are seeking a divorce.

        DV is NEVER the victim’s fault. I don’t care how annoying other people (or THE other person) may find that person: It is never your fault!


  2. Kate
    Kate says:

    Is that your ass? Put some pants on, dust yourself down and go be whatever you want to be. Only you can make this happen. Shortly, a bunch of losers will show up to this post and say dumb shit. Don’t make your life the main event and definitely don’t hand out popcorn. Up and at ’em girl.

    However, if this is for publicity.. well done. Include a goat and a small clown next time though.

    • Erica
      Erica says:

      Dear Penelope,
      I have never posted before but feel very compelled now. I do not know who these women are attempting to apply more guilt to your situation than you already feel, but I hope they are not your friends and I hope they never serve on a rape jury.
      You clearly are crying out for help and that is a great first step. Give your children more than you had by showing them you can love yourself. Now move to Dallas. There are nice women here that will care and protect you and they are all wearing fab shoes. Plus you have a hot body so you will fit in perfect.

  3. satchmo
    satchmo says:

    Take your beautiful children and get out of there. Move back to NY, move anywhere, but get out. Get out. Get out. Fix yourself. Get out. Leave. Get out. This is bad. For you. For your kids. Get OUT.
    And get the help that you need. Not couples help- there is no couple. Fix YOUR issues. You have gorgeous kids. Save yourself, save them. Please.

    • KS
      KS says:

      I agree. You have a fabulous talent and have inspired me countless times, but this was almost too hard for me to read as you need help and your children only have you so please, please…help yourself and forget about the damn blog, for now.

  4. Anne
    Anne says:

    Umm – get the hell OUT!!!!! VIOLENCE IS NEVER YOUR FAULT. Get the hell out. You, your kids, life is worth it. Do not reward violence. Get the hell out.
    Go to the police, now. Please. Do other women in your position a REAL FAVOR. Beyond supporting them in being great at work, show them how to get the hell out.

    • menarenotabusers
      menarenotabusers says:


      What nonsense is this? Every violent woman on earth can find someone who will swear under oath that a man made her do it, even when the evidence is irrefutable that he didn’t. There goes your bullshit theory.

      I’m guessing what you meant was “violence is never a WOMAN’S fault”, which is the evil feminist world we live in – despite the growing body of scientific evidence that shows women are more violent than men.

      Do you really think this sort of mindless hypocrisy helps our host, or women in general?

      • CL
        CL says:

        “Violence is never your fault.” That’s a truth that goes for both genders. Don’t interpret that comment as an attack on men, because it wasn’t. She was saying precisely what she said. Don’t put words in her mouth.

        Some households with domestic violence have male abusers. Others have female abusers. Sometimes, households have both, like Penelope’s childhood home. If you’ve read her post about her childhood, then you know that she was physically and sexually abused as a child by both parents.

        If you think that we live in an “evil feminist world,” res ipsa loquitur.

      • Elise
        Elise says:

        What on earth are you talking about? Who could disagree with “violence is never your fault?” A violent act is never the fault of the receiver. Why would the sex of the perpetrator matter?

      • Charles
        Charles says:

        Hey idiot, I see what you did there. You completely changed what was said, substituting her words for your own, and then criticised the results. Very clever. If she meant violence is never the woman’s fault, she probably would have said that. Also, how does the fact that you could find someone to swear to something that is blatantly untrue stop it from being untrue? There are many, many people willing to swear that the earth is only 6000 years old. Doesn’t stop it being moronic bullshit now does it?

        Violence is only EVER your fault if you cause it by doing violence of your own (ie if it is self defense or defense of others. Perhaps I should resort to your trick and say that what you actually mean is that violence if often your fault, if you happen to be female. But then, if I have to put words into your mouth to make my point then my arguments must be pretty weak, right?

    • Mikey J
      Mikey J says:

      What if the violence actually is your fault? Is it still “never your fault” if it actually is your fault? Seriously, the language is English people. Think about what you write before you write it (especially when its in CAPS and you haven’t earned the right to write in CAPS). Stop doing violence to the language even though it is never your fault!

      • AJ
        AJ says:

        What are you talking about? “What if violence actually is your fault? Then is it still not your fault?” English is a beautiful language, and I agree with your objection to the absolute language used here. However, I think you should probably specify what you mean by “is actually your fault?” Otherwise, you are just talking in circles. Reading your post was like reading a drunk Lewis Carroll.

    • drew
      drew says:

      The farmer is, most likely, absolutely mortified that your continuing to share painful and very private issues with the world.
      And of course domestic “violence” is wrong, but for most couples, it’s a two-way street. Often enough, a female initiates some crazy, hysterical conflict, escalates it until it’s out if control, lashes out physically, and then calls the police.
      But assuming there are no bruises on the farmer, either, and that you’re a completely innocent party, it’s safe to say you should leave.
      Not that the farmer would (nor should) take you back.
      It sounds to me like you would be much better off with someone with far more patience and far less anger.
      Or, perhaps, you’d be happier, healthier, and safer if you were alone. No boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or liver to fight with, hurt, be hurt by, or be disappointed by.
      And your children, who are all innocent in this, might be better off also.

  5. wildflowers
    wildflowers says:

    Penelope, sometimes I read your stuff and think – maybe she’s doing it (insert crazy stunt here) just so she has something to write about. There are times I think that maybe you do drive the Farmer nuts (because the stuff you say about your behavior makes me nuts and I don’t even live with you) and other times, like now, when I think what the heck are you doing?? With your life and with the example you are showing your children?? Your relationship is seriously flawed. This is not normal, it is unsafe. And no matter how much you irritate someone, IT IS NEVER OK FOR SOMEONE TO BE VIOLENT WITH SOMEONE – especially someone they claim they love. That is psycho. You deserve better. AND stop crying out to us for help and just GET SOME HELP. Get away from the Farmer, start your life anew. It is incredibly frustrating to read a blog post like this and not be able to help you. I wish I could offer you a place to stay and a cup of hot tea and an ear. BUT I CAN’T and it’s killing me that you are telling me this stuff and I can’t even call the cops and tell them there is domestic violence in your home. DUMP HIM. This is not love.

    • East Coast Reader
      East Coast Reader says:

      Agree. 100%. Dear Penelope, please contact the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Now. You’re in danger, which means your children are at risk, too. The longer you remain, like a hapless gambler at the casino, the more you statistically increase your likelihood of ending the situation with your death, or permanent disablement. And then what would become of your boys? Who would then raise them then, your parents (?!)

      • kim
        kim says:

        Not only that but if children in a home witness domestic violence not only are you giving them an education on how to become perpetrators but you are also in danger of child protection services taking your children away because you are continuing to stay in a violent and unsafe situation.

  6. satchmo
    satchmo says:

    And by the way, posting that picture of yourself ( if that’s you) is as much an indication of someone desperately in need of help as any story you tell.

  7. Theresa G
    Theresa G says:

    You do not deserve injury. Nothing you do could possibly call for that. Please take care of yourself. See a doctor if you haven’t already. Document the injury.

    Ask your self, if your child was the one in a relationship like yours, what would you say? Would you say, “it’s your fault”? If it was your best friend? Would you say, “it’s your fault?”

  8. Micaela
    Micaela says:

    I’m sorry.

    Bill and aj, listed above, could not be more stupid. Stupid is not even the right word, it’s more like crass + insensitive + lack of good judgment.

    Anyway, call Melissa asap. You need a friend, stat.

    • Bill
      Bill says:

      Everyone else is going to give her advise on how to live her life. Is it wrong to help her feel appriciated?

      Penelope needs to be loved, no?

      • XtremeWave
        XtremeWave says:

        Nessa –

        AJ and Bill may be crude and yes, crass, but their observation has its place. Anybody who reads Penelope’s blog regularly and has come to understand her in any way knows that she will not respond negatively to AJ and Bill’s comments.

        Think about it for just a few minutes and I believe that you’ll understand that Penelope chose that picture in part because it is sexually alluring. That wasn’t the only reason, but it was a reason.

        I personally find Penelope very attractive, and also think that she needs alot of help.

        The dynamic between Penelope and Farmer is a very common one. The worst thing about its violent aspects is that it perpetuates the problems with intimacy. When he cant stand her behaviour, he hits her, thinking that she’ll leave him alone. That allows her to be a victim and get attention that she needs without telling him why she needs it. Then he feels bad and wants to make her feel better – she likes that. This plays out in a way that will always obscure all of the things that they cant admit to eachother. If they want to get better, they have to forswear violence completely, instead learn to ask for exactly what they want from eachother (very difficult), and then try their very best to give it to eachother (extremely difficult). Truth is, violence keeps them from doing the things they are afraid to do. Its the easiest way out.

        I’ve known couples who hit each other and screw eachother every day. Its the way that they maintain a relationship without having to actually know eachother.

    • Sabine
      Sabine says:

      She did put her ass there for all to see. Who didn’t check it out. Male/female, straight/gay…it is our nature as humans to check out others’ naked parts when they are presented to us. Not that this is the appropriate time to be crass, I’m sure regardless (as I am a woman with a decent derriere) that the compliment “nice ass” almost always makes the woman with the said “nice ass” smile, even if it is in secret.

  9. Skeeter
    Skeeter says:

    Penelope, let you ex take your kids for awhile. You need to get off the farm. You’re with the farmer as a replacement for your parents; recreating your sense of ‘normalcy’ that you had as a child. MATURE ADULTS DO NOT RESORT TO VIOLENCE FOR ANY REASON. He needs to be reported and hauled off to jail. Get a restraining order, divorce him and keep the farm for you and the kids.

    • Dammit
      Dammit says:

      Ah jeeze, so when a guy tries to hit my girlfriend I shouldn’t get physical? Just let him do it until he feels like stopping? When you drive a person crazy, whether in a relationship or in a bar, you’re asking for it buddy. Weak people fear violence because they can’t respond to it. Yeah that Farmer guy deserves to go to jail because he pushed her away after hours of nagging and ball-busting, and she got a small bruise. You are a moron and a weakling. I shit on people like you for fun.

  10. Kerrymn
    Kerrymn says:

    I haven’t clicked on your blog in awhile… I dont know what made me do so tonight but I have to say some weird force of the universe is at work. I am in a somewhat similar situation. I actually started writing a blog soon after this came to a head for me… (last month) If you are writing about it and putting a pic out there, you know what you need to do. I know you are looking for validation from us to tell you but you already know in your heart. Good luck….. to both of us. I am sorry.

  11. Robin
    Robin says:

    I met you about a year ago at a Brazen Careerist event in DC. I said I would comment on your blog sometime. It has taken me over a year, but I’m finally doing it, even if it’s quite unlikely you remember our 5 minute conversation anymore. (We were both wearing great boots, if that rings any bells.) We talked about entitlement. You said you would like to feel entitled. I said that you wouldn’t really, because feeling entitled mostly means you get pissed off if someone takes something away from you. It’s about not feeling grateful for what you have.

    I think what you really meant was that you would like to feel worthy.

    Reading now about the abuse from the farmer, I remember that conversation and I want to offer you something, but everything I have feels inadequate. The advice I could give you means nothing if you aren’t ready to hear it, and if you are ready to hear it, you probably don’t need it. But maybe it will be of some use to say that I see you. In 5 minutes in a bar I saw that you are someone who wants to someday feel worthy, and I want that for you, too.

    • Snark
      Snark says:

      Lovely words of wisdom that may not make sense to Penelope. I was a child in the home of an alcoholic and sexually and physically abused as a little girl. For years, I didn’t know what the words boundaries and self-worth meant. I didn’t know that other people didn’t suffer violations and degradations and nightmare in the privacy of their homes at night. I was checked out and often lost in my head, and dealt with stress by compulsive work or overeating. It has taken years of inner work, introspection, journaling, gestalt, psychosynthesis, and inner child work, among other things, to understand myself to the degree that I do and also to see how I allowed drama because it felt normal, that I chose an inappropriate life-partner (a sex addict and compulsive liar) whom I loved and didn’t perceive him as that bad because he didn’t drink and didn’t hit me, and to notice other unhealthy mental or life patterns that were residual from or related to my childhood abuse experiences. The mind will minimize, deny and distort reality as a way to maintain the status quo… the deepest healing for Penelope and her family will follow a pattern of inner work and action. Action to maintain or create growth and normalcy – inner work to understand what is or was happening, why it is or was being allowed to happen and what to do about it. I have no expertise in whether or not people who hit others can be rehabilitated (their must be stats on that). There are social service agencies who can help with the legal requirements for such situations. People need to be protected from abuse. I do have expertise in realizing I am with someone because some part of me wishes to perpetuate a childhood pattern and/or wants to harm/abuse me because I obviously unconsciously feel unworthy, unlovable as well as dirty, different, and damaged (three traits often felt by victims of childhood sexual abuse). It is important to seek solutions for problems. Penelope clearly has several and as other readers have mentioned she also has opportunities to educate her children (they can love and see/visit their father according to the law of their state and still be afforded protection from his violent tendencies), to create a new life for herself, and to, finally, seek to heal the past that is harming my present. Zig Ziglar said, “To know and not do, is not to know.” When a woman doesn’t leave an abusive husband she is co-dependent and doesn’t really get it. She is minimizing, denying and distorting her experience of reality, in denial of how harmful it is to her and her children, if she has any, and really doesn’t get it. A person who could allow such things to happen to her and her kids would also blog about it because she really doesn’t see/know how bad it is. A woman as smart as Penelope has a shot at change because she can, presumably, learn and grow and take new actions and create a new reality (and disallow or say no to other realities).

    • AJP
      AJP says:

      Robin –

      Thanks for your clarity and compassion.

      Reading your comment was like a cleansing restorative after some of the earlier disgusting bullshit comments. I needed it, and I think Penelope needs it. Here’s hoping she lets it in.

    • Taylor
      Taylor says:

      What is truly disturbing to me (besides trying to sexualize the photo of her injuries–which makes me feel there’s a LOT going on in her head) is that she talks about her childhood history with violence–but doesn’t seem to consider how this will affect her own children.

      Penelope needs a therapist, a safe haven and probably some of those meds her husband mentioned.

  12. Sasha
    Sasha says:

    The first key to change is to recognize a pattern you should break. If it were just you, I’d encourage you to leave, while knowing that it would be your own decision. None of us are there to witness the fights, so we can’t take sides – but the evidence does point to the relationship being unhealthy. But if your sons continue to grow up in this house thinking that this is normal for relationships, then they may find themselves perpetuating the pattern in some way.

    It doesn’t sound like you and the Farmer will be able to relate to one another in a healthy manner. Please think of how this will effect your sons now and down the road. They need structure, just like you. But they also need stability and a home without violent fights.

    You and your family are in my thoughts. I wish I could help.

  13. HS
    HS says:

    It is easy to get stuck in a rut – you stay miserable and put up with crap because it is easier to go with what you know and are comfortable with. There is no excuse for one partner to abuse the other whether it’s mentally or physically. You have options; women’s shelter, church, are immediates because hotels at $100 a night are only a short term option. When something clicks inside of you and you truly believe and tell him “I don’t need you anymore”, when you are at this point, you will realize that your only fault was putting up with his crap. It takes two ppl to make a failed relationship. Get your stuff from his place, get your life back, take yourself and your kids to a safe haven and you will find someone to share your life with who makes you feel good about yourself.

  14. Roberta
    Roberta says:

    I have said it before. You need to leave. Now more than ever.

    The farm is killing you.
    The farmer is killing you.
    Get back to a city.
    Get to work.
    Put the kids in school. No more home schooling.
    This is not the life for you.

    • Judy
      Judy says:

      Get back to the city, get back to work, get your kids back in school where they belong, and get the therapy you need.

      And DO NOT get in another relationship until you’ve done the work so that you can distinguish abuse from love.

      Your kids deserve a stable home life. Only you have the power to give it to them.

  15. Micaela
    Micaela says:

    To Satchmo,
    If I see any human being with an obvious injury or wound, my first response is, I’m sorry. Not: nice ass. I don’t care if it’s Brad Pitt’s ass. I expect people to be humane.

    • Virginia
      Virginia says:

      This photo is not appropriate. If a police department or domestic violence advocate were to document with a photo, this would not be the pose and it would not be the opening spread of a career blog. This is a narccistic exhibitionistic histrionic self damaging sick person who’s children are going to suffer her poor decision making. Penelope may think she has you fooled that that photo is to elicit sympathy but I read loud and clear, she really likes the comments about her ass, thats why she has it provocatively posed and posted as an opener. This is a sick situationn both adults are feeding off of each other and her autistic kids are going to benefit from her parenting?

      • Liobov
        Liobov says:

        When I first saw the post the first thing I noticed on the photograph was the bruise. Then I started reading. I didn’t noticed that she didn’t wear any underwear until you pointed that out and even then I had to look closely. Some people see a bruised woman. Some see a naked woman. Your reaction to the picture says more about your self than Penelopes character.

      • Rachel
        Rachel says:

        Regardless of what is going on, Penelope is suffering. She needs and deserves help, either way. No one ever deserves abandonment or abuse.

      • Sabine
        Sabine says:

        Virginia–I believe she only has one autistic child. Anyone…am I right? In any case, I see your anger really creates lots of typos in all of your comments. And despite the fact that you hate this blog, you read and comment too much. Hard to imagine living in your perfect little world. Are you really this perfect? Have you never made mistakes (outside of your terrible typos and your lousy attempt to use big words just to seem more intelligent)? I have. I have made plenty of mistakes. I stayed with an emotionally abusisve addict for four years, mostly because I wanted a two parent household for my kids. When it ran its course, I decided a single parent household was better for my kids than the alternative. I stayed for so long because I wanted that perfect world that you seem to reside in (or shall I say preside over Madame Judge and Jury). In any case, if your life is so perfect that you can judge all others, then by all means go and work in the child welfare system. There are plenty of children that are seriously being abused and neglected that could use your judgemental attitude. From what I can tell, Penelope has put tons of thought into how to give her kids the best environment possible. In spite any mistakes she may have made, I’m confident that her intelligent analysis of the life she provides for her children will ultimately lead her down the best path. Self awareness is so important, especially when you have kids to care for.

      • Don
        Don says:

        Virginia, I think you misunderstand Penelope and the essence of her blogs. Penelope doesn’t think she has anyone “fooled” with this photo. We all see the bruise, just as we all see the naked legs on the bare floor. Importantly, we see them together in the same photo. I think it’s a very relevant pictorial headline for this post. I would guess, judging from your remarks, that you have never been courageous enough to bare your soul, you failings, your feeling, your fears, publicly, as Penelope has done here, (and so often does). You’re quick to decide that she doesn’t measure up to your standards of a good parent. So what if she is histrionic?! I’m sure if you opened up and revealed your inner thoughts and feelings, as she has, to someone as scathingly critical as you are, you’d be branded with some disparaging DSM mumbo-jumbo. Penelope is consistent and brilliant in the way she delivers, via this blog, solid career advice, blended with an enormous amount of personal content in which she brings us into her life and boldly shares her life’s adventures and challenges. I think it puts the whole notion of “career” in context. We all have to balance career and family in our own lives; it’s refreshing for me to see how cleverly, thoughtfully, sometimes messily, but always courageously Penelope strives to achieve this balance in her own life. For me, and thousands of other readers, it endears us to the author. As for the kind of parent she is, I’m surprised you would give her anything but high marks, unless you really think you’re exquisitely perfect as a human being, and you expect that everyone must be just as impeccable, or fail the course.

  16. Marianne
    Marianne says:

    You are not a kid anymore, and pining for the feelings of childhood is not going anywhere good. (wo)Man up and envision what a responsible adult, unburdened without your personal baggage, would do.

    Then do it.

    Not write about it. And not take edgy pictures for consumption on your escapist blog.

  17. satchmo
    satchmo says:

    We’ve all seen pictures of the farmer. You were a professional volleyball player. Are you kidding me? You can’t take that guy out??
    Stop rewinding your victim tape. Fix it.

    • Kevin
      Kevin says:

      Unless you are a girl who is a ranked MMA fighter or boxer going toe toe with a guy who does physical labor for a living (like farming) is going to get the girl beaten like a drum.

      Leave now.

    • mish
      mish says:

      its not about who is stronger. violence is never about that. its a matter of rage and self control. a very strong person can be beaten by a flimsy crazed one.

      Dear Penelope i care about you. I can’t do anything to help since i’m in the other side of the globe. I hope you will get help and find the strength within to help yourself.
      you are the one who helped so many others to find a career and their way in life,I believe u can help yourself to find your way of getting out of this bad relationship and save your kids and yourself.

  18. Lynda
    Lynda says:

    It’s a myth that love is supposed to hurt. It’s not. I hope you have family and friends who can support you (i.e. put you and your kids up, offer emotional support). I’m sorry that you are going through this.

  19. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    Penelope, I love you. Please get out now. All those who said it above are right: this is not love. You deserve someone who loves and adores you — and lifts you up no matter what you see as your quirks and faults.

  20. Christine
    Christine says:

    You could have posted a photo of the bruise by just tugging your pants down. I don’t understand why, and I’m surprised you did this, you would take a photo that would show a bruise on your hip by completely removing pants and underwear and then taking the photo so you are almost flashing the camera.

    You need to get back in therapy for this reason alone.

    As for the relationship, he obviously cannot live with you. Therefore you need to remove yourself from the relationship. Perhaps you cannot ever have a committed relationship where you share a house with another adult. But trying to force this one to work when it’s obviously not, is insane.

  21. Allison Majure
    Allison Majure says:

    Dear, dear Penelope. Brains don’t fix this, the heart does. And even though you seem to think your heart is flawed; know that it is not. It is struggling, and growing. Just as you advise strugglers to reach for help, please do so yourself. You hurt; the hotel is good. It gives you time. And space. Breeathe, wait, feel and think if you must. You have no lack of courage; any move can be yours. Your responsibility is not to other battered women, it is to yourself, and your children. So please wait, breathe, and feel. Leave the thinking in the margins. The right move will emerge. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  22. Ann
    Ann says:

    You have financial resources to leave the farmer; many women don’t. You are getting in your own way. People, like the farmer or yourself, don’t change unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Neuroscience tells us that we love what we know. Google Bruce Ecker in Oakland.

  23. John Hollandsworth
    John Hollandsworth says:

    You deserve better. You really do. Look in a mirror and keep saying “I deserve better” until you believe it enough to leave him. You have a lot of people who care for you that are believing it for you.

  24. le@third
    le@third says:

    time to move on – Australia is nice this time of year. You are a smart cookie – self preservation should kick in around now .. do it for the boys … imagine them following the farmers lead and being abusive to their significant other all because they learnt it at your elbow with yet another bruise … it’s just not cricket – time for a new game P, please go le xox

    • Heidi
      Heidi says:

      Australia is nice this time of year, but the guy bruising you might not wait until your local Australian consulate gives you a visa before he hits you again.

      GET OUT NOW.

      Australia will still be there after you land on your feet somewhere off the farm and on U.S. soil and are ready to take more steps after the next step you gotta take.

  25. MM
    MM says:


    I’ve never posted a comment and I’ve read your blog for years. Like others, I miss you when you don’t post blog entires. I’m sad you’re in this situation and I hope you are strong enough to end this. Thank you for helping guide me through the early stages of my career. I want you to know that you are strong enough to show women how to get out of this horrible situation.

    Just do it–for you and your kids. Get out. Grow up.

  26. Tara
    Tara says:

    I wish I had the five minutes so that I could say to you what Robin said, and I feel even without those five minutes the truth of what Robin said.

    I feel closest to people I write. My mother (mothers, actually) tell me they miss me. They have gone too long without seeing me. I do not miss them, but that is because we write, and that is where I am most real.

    I would miss you if you could not write. If you were so hurt that you could not write here. And so while I hope you will find your own worthiness and cling to safety for you and your children, I cannot help you. If in some weak way you can feel responsible for being abused, then by gawd, turn it around and be responsible for not being abused. That is my hope for you.

    I would rather be alone (I am) than with a man who would hit me (he would). And I miss him above all other people–he may be the only person I ever miss. But I would rather miss him and be okay on my own than miss me when I’m with him. I hope you find that.

  27. Jen
    Jen says:

    I know this is extremely hard for you and reading all the commentary probably just makes you feel worse. You are going to do what you want to do. Still, it is brave of you to post such personal things.
    I do think if things escalate, the “someone” who will miss you, will be your children.

  28. satchmo
    satchmo says:

    No sale. I’m sorry too, but there are a lot of ways of displaying the damage. “Edgy pictures” ( thanks Marianne) are not employed for that purpose. Most people ( maybe even Brad Pitt ) would not feel the need to get the full monty on display.

  29. Geanine
    Geanine says:

    Penelope, it breaks my heart to read this. So what you’re difficult to live with. EVERYONE is a pain in neck at times. But you need to know and hear this right now there is NEVER EVER A REASON FOR VIOLENCE. It is never, ever your fault. Protect yourself and your children. (You don’t want your boys learning this stuff and stats show that boys learn this from their dads/male role models.)

    There is a major problem here if The Farmer feels he is justified in hurting you for any reason. What do you mean he says he will not beat you up anymore if… WTF?!?! Are you kidding me. He can freakin’ leave the room or go for a walk, hit a wall or something. Hitting you is NOT an option!!! I don’t know how to be more clear about this. And yes, you do need therapy because as you already know, you are somewhat comfortable with the violence because of your childhood because that’s what you know. I’ll stop here because I’m not a therapist. Get out and get help NOW Penelope.

    • Alanna
      Alanna says:

      You can win this by getting out, looking after your beautiful kids, and leaving the farmer alone in his maladaptive misery. That’s how you win. Turning yourself into another person so you don’t trigger his tendency toward violence would not be a win. It would be a loss for you and your kids. Take up one of these reader offers, and find a new place to live.

  30. Lindsay | The Daily Awe
    Lindsay | The Daily Awe says:

    Penelope – the picture says it all. You’re crying out for help or to hear cries of “get out” or some some of backing to do what you know in your heart you must do. Get out and get your boys out. You need more than a hotel – you need a new home to live in.

  31. Lucretia
    Lucretia says:

    Why are people so stuck on the picture? The point is she needs to leave. She doesn’t need to be shamed. She’s clearly dealing with enough issues already.

    I like your blog. You seem like a strong person who just doesn’t always see how strong she is. You can leave. You need to leave. And in the end things will be ok once you start taking control again.

  32. Jay
    Jay says:

    I thought this was joke. Someone as full of good advice and as well educated / seasoned as you wouldn’t tolerate this.

    But it appears this isn’t a joke. If not for yourself, for your kids – you only have yourself to blame should they suffer long term from seeing this happen. Get out, now.

    • Sarahnova
      Sarahnova says:

      “Someone as full of good advice and as well educated / seasoned as you wouldn’t tolerate this.”

      Jay, have you ever done any reading on domestic abuse? Finding yourself in an abusive situation has nothing to do with how “well educated” you are. The Farmer is “well educated”. Surely someone as “seasoned” as him wouldn’t be violent, so it’s clearly not happening!

      • Jay
        Jay says:

        I don’t think education or seasoning or experience puts you in or out of a situation.
        What I am saying is that, I would hope that someone as exposed to many things and having many interactions / life experiences would know it is time to get out.

  33. Pluma
    Pluma says:

    Please leave him. You know you must, if not for yourself then for your children – and I hope you know that you yourself are certainly worthy of being enough reason to leave. Please.

  34. Alina Rădulescu
    Alina Rădulescu says:

    You need to leave, because your kids will start thinking this is a normal situation and will replicate it in their adult lives. I am sure you don’t want that.

    And you know what? It’s not true that nobody cares. I have learn from previous relationships that to “succeed” in a break up, you have to act like you don’t care about it. Everybody cares thought, because it’s hard to re-accommodate your life without a person, even if the person was driving you nuts. Besides, why do you want him to care? You have to do this for yourself and not for him. Say you are really driving him nuts, that still doesn’t put aside the fact that he has a violence problem. A person who loves you would never find you impossible to live with, because loving somebody is finding something charming in their crazy behaviour. Women do tend to talk a lot, that is what they do. A man who doesn’t have the wisdom to understand and be able to temperate that is not fitted for relationships, I’m afraid.

  35. Candice
    Candice says:

    When he shoves you the wrong way and you are dead, or you are in a persistent vegetative state, your children will miss you.
    We all have childhood baggage. Move on. Better to be alone, unwanted, forgotten, than to submit to such abuse. No excuses.

  36. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    My dear, dear Penelope,
    You are who YOU decide you want to be. You are not a slave to your past. You have this whole, wide beautiful world to thrive in and enjoy. Forgive yourself, love yourself, take tender care of the one and only you. Your son chose to come to you for the love you alone can give him. Share that love and heal.
    Hugs to you from one who knows what a beautiful heart you are.

  37. Aurora
    Aurora says:

    Okay…so here’s the deal: maybe you’re right and the Farmer’s right, and your parents were right–maybe you ARE bad at relationships. (I say “maybe”, because I don’t know you, and I only have what you say to go on…if nothing else, I think it seems fair to say that you’ve made some less than ideal choices, when it comes to the relationships you’ve chosen. That’s hardly an exlusive club!)


    Seriously. It DOESN’T EXCUSE VIOLENCE. If you are annoying as all get out, and pester the Farmer night and day, then it’s HIS responsibility to find a way to manage his anger OTHER than by taking it out on you physically.

    I am not saying you don’t have things you need to address–but it is NOT YOUR FAULT when someone you love is violent to you. It really isn’t!

    Abuse–whether physical or verbal should have no part in a healthy relationship. It’s not uncommon to FEEL like you want to smack your partner, or shake some sense into them–but you get up and walk out, slam a door, count to ten–ANYTHING, except actually attack the person you love.

    When you’re being abused by someone you love, you need to leave. Maybe the relationship can be salvaged, with professional help–but you still need to leave until it’s fixed, rather than staying in an unstable and threatening situation.

    And yes, it is a horrible, terrible thing, to think that you won’t be missed…but the truth is, you can’t possibly know whether you are or aren’t missed in any given situation–because no one’s going to tell you one way or another. The truth is–you probably would be and ARE missed, in many situations you leave–regardless of whether or not people are experiencing other emotions as well. I know that doesn’t help–but the dread of not being missed is just another way for your psyche to continue to abuse yourself–and you are way, way too smart a lady to fall for that for long.

    I cannot tell you what to do with your life…but I can tell you what I would tell any woman (never mind one with kids!!) in an abusive situation: leave at once…and spend time picking up the pieces of your life afterwards. If the relationship can be patched up AFTER you’ve left, then I’m very much in favor of that–but you need PROOF that the abuser has changed, and will not continue to abuse you.

    And if you’re guilty of abuse as well–then you need to know that you’ve learned to manage that as well, before you jump back into the relationship full time.

    It’s pretty generic advice…and you already know it…so I can only pray that you find the strength and courage in your personal life to be kind to yourself and to take care of yourself, and your children. They need you as a positive role model–and they (like all kids) need to know that it’s not okay to use violence to resolve problems.

    • Dammit
      Dammit says:

      lol aurora, so the entire world should take your shit and deal with it you want it? That’s narcissistic beyond belief.

  38. A.
    A. says:

    I’m a fairly successful blogger and I know that feeling that you’re close to your readers. But that feeling is false. We don’t know you and you don’t know us. That feeling of intimacy is fake. Stop exposing yourself here (literally and figuratively) and put your children first.

    You don’t need commenters here telling you what you already know they’ll all write — that violence is never okay, that you need to leave, etc. It’s almost trite to write that at this point. You know all that.

    What you may not have thought of is that your primary responsibility at this point is to your kids, and you are failing them by teaching them that this type of interaction is healthy. Put your kids’ emotional health ahead of whatever it is you’re working out yourself. That’s a commitment you made when you had those kids. Stop reneging on it.

    • Chris M.
      Chris M. says:

      “Put your kids’ emotional health ahead of whatever it is you’re working out yourself. ”

      I love this comment. And I feel I need to disagree with some other comments using as a justification to leave that P’s kids may grow to beat women if she doesn’t.

      This is FAR FROM the most damaging aspect to her kids. I know men who witnessed their mother being beaten by their fathers or stepfathers. None became violent or beat their girlfriends, but they have serious issues ranging from insecurity to inability to hold a stable relationship that years of therapy have not resolved. They have been traumatized by what they witnessed, and this is something any mother needs to be very clear about: the choice of staying is very damaging to her kids, period.

      • terri
        terri says:

        That may be true Chris M, but virtually all psychotically violent individuals come from violent upbringings. Read “The Gift of Fear” and you will find that keeping the boys exposed to violent behavior will make them more likely to express violence later in their lives.

    • DDR
      DDR says:

      Okay, so it’s hard to leave the known. There is always comfort in it, right, even if it hurts? Especially for people who like to know what to expect as you have said. Patterns are powerful. But they can be changed. For yourself you are returning to a pattern, but for your kids you are CREATING a pattern. Sorry to say that so bluntly, but it’s true.

      You obviously love your kids (if your posts are true to life)…so you need to make a new plan. It won’t feel right. It will feel like something is missing. But that will be the point.

  39. erica
    erica says:

    It’s been a long time since you’ve written about your relationship with hope or happiness, which makes me think it’s time for you to leave it. And that’s aside from the violence, which – regardless of how difficult the farmer may find you to live with – is never justified.

    It’s tough to quit a relationship. You think there’s something he has to offer that you need. But you have everything you need. And whatever you lose by leaving your life with the farmer, you’ll gain so much more by being free and unafraid.

  40. susan
    susan says:

    Oh honey, that blog post made me so sad for you. I wish I was there so I could give you a hug and hand you a bag of frozen peas and then hug your kids.

    You deserve to be loved. Love means not hurting someone. Love means caring. You love your kids deeply. If you aren’t strong enough for yourself then look at them and leave the Farmer for their sake. So they learn that violence is not right. So they break this cycle that you are in.

    Do it for them now and then, once you are healed, realize that you are doing it for you.

    You can do this.
    You are brave for posting this and braver still for posting a photo. Now be brave enough to love yourself for once.

    Hugs for you and your boys.

  41. Mary Beth Williams
    Mary Beth Williams says:

    You are in this relationship because it seems familiar and comfortable to you…..but it should not feel that way to you. You are worthy of being loved. You are not worthless, you are valuable, and you deserve to be with someone who treasures you. But you need to treasure yourself enough to realize that…..I have faith in your ability to treasure who you are…..You know Einstein believed we were made of stardust. I believe you are made of stardust ….. all of us are, bits if infinite light…..and we have a purpose here, that purpose includes an ability to bless others and to be blessed by others….in ways that we can understand and that others can understand. It’s clear you know that much… this statement has helped pull me out of mental muck before…..this truth: There is an invisible but infinite source of Love that supports and sustains creation…and you are included in that Love….just be still…..and listen……it is there with you now, it is enveloping you and loving you, and loving your boys. The way will become clear to you. Much love to you dear Penelope

  42. travis york
    travis york says:

    When i started reading this entry, i honestly thought i was being set up for a punchline. Bad pun. Someone who has to resort to hitting has some very serious problems in his
    personal history, and an underdeveloped neofrontal cortex, and it is not your responsibility to help him work through them, nor are you the answer to his solitude. excise abusive people from your sphere permanently.

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