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
« Older CommentsNewer Comments »
  1. Adrienne
    Adrienne says:

    While it’s a good idea to get away from your situation, you also need to see a therapist/ psychiatrist. This is not the first time you’ve been in a “situation” and you will continue to repeat your past mistakes if you don’t change your course in life. Do it for the boys. Do it for yourself.

  2. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I’m so sorry. It’s a terrible thing to have a place to go from but not a place to go to. That’s homelessness.

    Sometimes the brain can get stuck in a shrill wave pattern, kind of life spinning tires. It goes over and over the same thoughts, not letting them go, except these aren’t really thoughts, they’re just waves.

    Breathe deeply and slowly. It’s possible to will your heart rate down. This will help slow these brainwaves.

    When you can think, search online for a furnished apartment rented out by the week. Take your boys there.

    The next step will become apparent after you’re there.

    • csts
      csts says:

      Best comment so far. Thanks, Nancy. Penelope: get yourself somewhere you can afford to stay more than a night or two (just as Nancy suggested), calm yourself down, and start thinking sensibly. You managed to move yourself and your family from New York to Wisconsin. Now you need to move from the farm to wherever. You’ll be able to figure out where the “wherever” is when you calm down. Emotions are hard for you. Let them go for now and fix them later. Deal. You’ve succeeded at it before — you’ve honed your skills, just need to wield them now. Wishing you the best, and knowing you can achieve that for yourself if you stop looking OUTSIDE yourself (i.e. your blog readers) and just exert your highly capable self from WITHIN to make it happen. :)

  3. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    It’s often odd how others can see our weaknesses, what holds us from prosperity, the small change of perception we need, in order to be the happy normal they want for us. Meanwhile we can’t look for what we don’t know exists. We don’t see it. The answer. The problem. The strength.

  4. Danes
    Danes says:

    Penelope,I just checked my email and read your post above in my inbox only seconds after contemplating suicide for the umpteenth time this month.
    But I have two beautiful children (5 month old boy, 19 month old girl. They are what keeps me from getting rid of myself.(At least for now)I constantly struggle with the realization that my existence here makes no difference and probably does more harm than good.
    But the biggest difference between the two of us is YOUR EXISTENCE DOES MATTER AND YOU’VE PUT FORTH SO MUCH GOOD IN THIS WORLD. You’re one of the few people who are telling everyone (my generation y, especially) the truth unlike so many delusional, shit-talking, bullshitters in the world today. Sometimes, I get more from your posts than from reading my bible (smh).
    Anyway, i just wanted to say I’m wishing the best for you and your boys. You’re a true remarkable talent and gift to this world. Please don’t give up or give in. With Love, D.

    • Megan
      Megan says:

      Danes, you have a mood disorder that is treatable. I think it’s safe to bet that you also have postpartum depression.

      Please get help. See your doctor and tell her about your low moods. She can prescribe medication to help and refer you to a therapist who specializes in your particular life stressors.

      Check out more info. here:

      and keep the number for the National Suicide Prevention hotline close: 1-800-SUICIDE

      You’ve stopped yourself from hurting yourself so far, which means you aren’t worthless — you’re strong, and you make good choices for yourself and for your chilcren. Get some help so you can stay strong until things get better. They will, and every day won’t feel like a suffocating, uphill battle. I am speaking from experience.

    • concerned for Danes
      concerned for Danes says:

      Danes, I concur on the possible postpartum depression speculation. Please, please, find help.
      Also, do not underestimate the damage that sleep deprivation can do. I can only imagine how hard having two that young can be. I only have one, but didn’t sleep more than 3 hours in a row for the first 6 months and thought I was going to snap. I actually got a prescription for an anti-psychotic. Then I got 5 hours of sleep and couldn’t believe how much better I felt and never needed the medicine.
      Do you realize that someone who was not an intrinsically good person would not worry in the least about taking up space in the world? The fact that you care about other people, including your beloved children, leads me to believe that the world does need more people like you. I truly hope that you can find a way to take the long view of things and realize that there are really crappy, really painful times, but that they don’t tend to last. Things can get so much better. Not perfect, but better with the wonderful highs that Penelope refers to in the studies about children and parental happiness. Overall, there is more day to day hardship, but to see your child(ren) grow and develop charming personalities, well, there is nothing like. Please, please figure out a way to experience that. Take care of yourself Danes.

    • Sarah
      Sarah says:

      Danes–take care of yourself! My little ones are also close in age, and it was so hard. Now my baby is a year and I am slowly starting to feel better. It’s different for all of us moms, but one thing is the same…it’s so, so hard to have babies close together. And it’s so hard during the post partum phase until our hormones even out. Add on top of that depression or other issues and it makes it worse. You are absolutely not alone. It will get better. So many women out there have felt exactly what you feel, and many women out there would like a friend in you.

  5. Skeeter
    Skeeter says:


  6. Kim
    Kim says:

    Okay. Good. You’re in a hotel. Take the month and minimize your contact with him (and vice versa) and take a breath. I think the answer to all of this, at least for now, is your kids.

    Let’s be honest. “The kids” is not an answer that will sustain you forever. It’s okay — it wouldn’t sustain me forever either. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good answer, and it doesn’t mean that it’s not the answer for now. You can stop worrying about yourself and what this all means for you and your terrible childhood history and how that all fits with where (and who) you are now. Just worry about your kids. You don’t want them to go through the same cycles and you don’t want them to learn that the violence cycle and whose “fault” it is (or isn’t) is the critical question to be answered. You want them to learn that when you’re in danger (physically or emotionally) you leave, and you don’t return to people who have a history of hurting you, no matter how talkative and needy the other person says you are. Stop thinking about the Farmer and stop thinking about yourself and see this as the Mother of All Homeschool Lessons.

    I’m tempted to say, “This can’t continue,” but the thing is, it *can* continue, for years and years and years. You can take down the whole ship to prove a point that only you understand, or you can get in a lifeboat with your kids and row.

    Email me if you want/need. I’m really glad you’re in a hotel and I wish you and your boys (and even the Farmer) peace.

  7. Someone in WI
    Someone in WI says:

    I agree: time to leave. I used to hope you could work it out, and I was encouraged by what seemed to be progress. But now, I think it’s time. If I read some previous comments correctly, and from what you posted about the wedding here, there isn’t really a legal marriage anyway, so walking away will be easy in that respect — though very hard in every other way.

    Do the right thing. Do the courageous thing. You’ve given it a good effort. But now it’s time to go.

    Please. You don’t deserve to be hit. You don’t deserve pain. Your boys don’t deserve seeing their mother hurt; it will hurt them in ways you can’t imagine. They will feel it’s their fault; they will feel helpless that they can’t stop The Farmer. Tell them it’s not their fault – and then leave.

      • Nessa Speirs
        Nessa Speirs says:

        No, it’s really not. She said: “The Farmer and I can’t get married or the IRS will put a lien on his farm.” And as far as I know that is still the same situation, I’ve been reading at least since then.

  8. Mabel
    Mabel says:

    I thought it was a joke, because today in many countries today is the equivalent to April Fools Day (known as Los Santos Inocentes=day of the holy innocents)

    If it is not a joke, report it, divorce and live.

  9. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    He beats you because he beats you. He beats you because he’s okay with beating someone to get what he wants, and that someone is you because you allow him to beat you. But fundamentally, he beats you because he prefers to beat you. This guy is really okay with beating you.

    If he wasn’t okay with beating you, he would have walked out, had you evicted, had the locks changed – anything rather than raise a hand to you. He prefers to beat you.

    If he wanted a relationship with someone he could intimidate into obedience, he would have thrown you out (see above) and reverted to his original plan – getting a mail order bride. But instead, he beats you – because he prefers to beat you, and because you stick around for it.

    Your parents created your need to act out, and then blamed you for acting out. Your father raped you repeatedly, and your mother made it possible for your father to rape you. You acted out, which is appropriate, and then your parents blamed you for acting out. It was easier for your parents to blame you than to take responsibility for being the monsters that they were. And it’s easier for you to internalize that blame, because it’s your only hope of having some control over the outcome – which is a survival instinct that gives us a modicum of sanity by giving us a sense of control, but has its own tragic impact because the flip side of that coin is self blame.

    So now you’re an adult. And you choose to be beaten. You think a beating is a conversation in which you have a fighting chance.

    Anyone who beats you *cannot* give you what’s worth fighting for – trust and intimacy.

    You can choose something else. Whatever it is will feel foreign and terrifying to you. You should do this with the frequent support of a therapist, because you might not be able to trust your own instincts, at first. And when you backslide and feel hopeless, it will be helpful to have a professional be able to help you generate your self respect by recounting your progress and putting your present failure into the context of hard earned progress.

    At some point in the future, you will feel immeasurably better when you can look back and see that you’ve modeled for your sons how to have a healthy, loving relationship – first and foremost with yourself.

    As for your parents, the Beater, and yourself, remember that desperate people take desperate measures.

    You can have love for people, compassion for their desperation, and forgiveness for their failings, and still walk away to save yourself. Even more so when you know that whether you sink or swim, your kids go with you.

    • Evy MacPhee
      Evy MacPhee says:

      What she said!

      You cannot MAKE anyone feel, undiluted, what you want them to feel.

      You really need to do serious therapy. Your instincts when you are in a relationship are not to be trusted.

      When you say that you are bad at relationships, perhaps you are saying, TO YOURSELF, that you don’t know how to think when you are in a relationship.

      You deserve love and peace.

      Listen to the loving, caring things that your readers are saying to you. Listen.

  10. lou
    lou says:

    You will leave when you have a new goal to move towards. Don’t you always tell us to navigate by creating goals and matching resources?

  11. Kate
    Kate says:

    I think that, since you’re in a hotel, writing about how you’re feeling, and reaching out to people, you’re already dealing better than many who live silently, and for decades, in fucked-up, dangerous relationships.

    I suspect a lot more readers than you might think will join me in empathizing with you. And in being proud of you for leaving with your kids and braving your next steps, whatever they turn out to be.

    It may feel like no one would miss you, but I would miss you. I like reading your take on things. I bet most of your readers feel the same. And just because you communicate your feelings best in writing doesn’t mean you can’t connect. Some things are so much more easily said than done. One of these is changing the way you learned to deal with pain when you were young.

    Keep us posted. You’ll be in my thoughts.


    ps: aj, you’re a dick. She may have a decent ass, but commenting like you did implied that the pain in her post was meaningless. Not that that wasn’t your point, I’m sure.

  12. figleaf
    figleaf says:

    What Skeeter said! It’s the only possible conceivable way “it’s your fault” — that you’re recreating your childhood environment. And yeah, the answer really is therapy for you and not couples therapy. Not because it’s “your fault” — it isn’t — but because that’s how relationships look to you.

    That, not aspergers or talking too much or being otherwise “whacky” or edgy, is why: you’re patterned for it and so that’s what you end up in.

    I mean check it out. If this was a career thing instead of a relationship you’d be all over this. I know because I’m sort of channeling what I’ve learned from your blog!

    Also, boy are you mistaken to think nobody cares when you’re gone. My drove-me-crazy Aspergers brother died 30 years ago and I *still* miss him. Just saying.

    Anyway, yeah, move out. Take your kids. Get help for everybody. Get counseling till you stop trying to make it your fault you get beaten up.

    One last thing that’s really important: Christmas Eve, two blocks away, a “boyfriend” murdered a woman, a nice middle-class single mom. a neighbor. The kind who’s so normal you never noticed her in line at the coffee shop or Halloween walk. So I’m feeling really sensitive about this. But if the farmer has a history of violence and you have a history of getting battered then you could be putting *both* yourselves atrisk: you for the hospital or morgue, him for prison! *Neither* of you “deserve” that. Even though it could happen.

    Believe me, I’d never have pecked this out on my stupid iOS keyboard if I didn’t think this was really important. I promise!

    Good luck, Penelope.


    • figleaf
      figleaf says:

      Ugg. Never post long, heartfelt comments with a touch-screen keyboard.

      When I said that bit about history and hospitals for you and prison for him I want to be really clear I didn’t mean “and so it would be your fault.” What I meant to say was that even if I was willing to accept your claim that it really was your fault then you still shouldn’t go back.

      The other typos everyone can learn live with, and anyone with friends who use smart phones probably already has.


  13. Dasi
    Dasi says:

    It’s never your fault when someone else beats you up no matter what yoy may or may not have done. You’re trying to have a fairy tale life on the farm, with the farmer, and it’s not working. I don’t know you but I know that you should get away. NOW. It’s none of my business but you want responses if you posted this, so I told you it was time to leave last time he hit you and I’m telling you again. People don’t change unless they want to and even then it’s difficult. Do you want this to be your life for years? Do you want your kids to see their mother being beaten? Because kids capture everything even if you try to hide it.Get away now before something worse happens.

  14. Steve C
    Steve C says:

    Not sure if poignant is the right word, but your last sentence is a memorable one.
    That’s the trouble with cycles of violence through generations: people can actually get a sense of well-being by being victimized. My mother-in-law was like that. One son would call her up just to trash her, and she would listen, and listen. And she would pick up the phone every time. It was difficult to know she was going through that, until I realized she got something out of it. He eventually put himself away, no sense going through the grizzly details.
    But someone who continues to practice violence knowing that it is going out into the blogosphere, that’s dangerous, self-destructive, on both of your parts.
    You must know that you kids will miss you. They probably already do, because the mother they had before the farmer is missing.
    And we’ll all miss you too.

  15. A
    A says:

    Grow up and get out if only for your kids’ sakes. You are an adult and can make your own life, but your kids depend on you to provide stability and boundaries. The farmer may not be evil, but your relationship is clearly unhealthy and not benefiting either of you.
    Focus on rebuilding your career and find meaning in your life outside of the farm and the farmer. You can do it and we all will respect you more for making smarter choices for you and your kids.

  16. Ken
    Ken says:

    Get out of there. Leave that sick bastard with his animals. You are not an animal. You are a human being. NOBODY has any excuse to abuse another human being, anymore than anyone has an excuse to abuse an animal. What if he abused your kids? Would you sit still for that or would you have him arrested. Do it NOW. Save your kids and save yourself.

  17. Steve Walker
    Steve Walker says:

    I feel bad for you, but I feel worse for your kids. I was raised with a physically abusive father. My Dad has been dead for 33 years and the violence I experienced still haunts me. I both loved and hated him. When I was old enough I got away and met someone I am truly happy with. Like you, I also am an Aspie, and I know living with me is not easy for my NT wife, but we don’t have violence. We have arguments to be sure, but we don’t have violence. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
    Wishing you all the best,
    Steve Walker

  18. Garrett
    Garrett says:

    There were a thousand ways you could have shown your hip bruise. But you chose the most provocative. The most pageview getting. These comments you’re receiving- Penelope you know these are unforgivably biased and thus inauthentic. You know these comments aren’t real or rational, and that they will only make you feel good in this heated moment. None of your readers know what really happens in your life. They only know the tiniest, most flavored slice. You’ve made it clear you are a child of trauma. You seem to relish it. That’s your prerogative. Maybe the farmer relishes it too. Maybe that’s why neither of you leaves the other. But maybe this isn’t the identity you want to brand your kids with for their lives?

  19. Laurel in FL
    Laurel in FL says:

    Penelope- My offer for a place FL is still open. I hope you are feeling all the love your readers are sending in these posts.

  20. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    Penelope, I read your blog faithfully, but these posts where you describe your abusive relationship make me so sad. You know that you need to leave the Farmer for good. If not for yourself, then for your kids. By staying, you are teaching them that violence is okay.

    Don’t do this to your boys, please. Do you want them to end up in abusive relationships, either as abuser or abused? You should leave because your kids need to see you being treated well so that when they grow up they can be in healthy relationships and know how to treat others. You may be difficult, but you are a good mother. As a mother myself, I can read how your love for your children shines through every post where you talk about them.

    Please take your kids out of this poisonous environment. It is better to be alone, really.

  21. kristine
    kristine says:

    You are abusing your children by staying. You. You are responsible for you and them. Get out and stay out.

    Violence is ALWAYS wrong. It is NOT your fault.

    Please for your children get out. You know you must. Now find the strength and the support and do it.

  22. Karen
    Karen says:

    Penelope, this is a momentous occasion for you. You have choices, everyone does. This is the moment to make yours.

    Abuse is inherited, you got it from your parents. You can choose to stay and raise your sons to believe violence is ok, that fear is normal, that hitting is loving. Raise them to believe that it’s ok for their mom to get knocked around.

    Or you can choose to make sure the cycle of abuse stops with you. That you don’t carry this on, that you don’t allow your children to think this is ok, and you can make sure they never hit their wives or girlfriends. That they never feel like you feel now, or make someone else feel that way.

    I got out, it was awful, I literally made myself sick. I have never healed financially ( I could use career advice!), I am very much in debt. But I don’t ever again have to share a bed with my abuser. Or a meal, or a car ride, or…yeah, it’s the best feeling! Save yourself and your kids. Move on. LIVE

    • btdt
      btdt says:

      Please read and re-read Karen’s response.

      I was married to an abusive man for over 10 years. I was the breadwinner and had a master’s degree and it took me that long to figure out it was abuse not love & that I was so well trained NOT to see it.

      I felt so ashamed that I didn’t recognize it, afraid to call the cops (he was in the ‘helping’ professions)until he threatened to rape me and threatened to kill himself in front of my 5 year old. I started calling the cops and finally got an order of protection — still scared – no, terrified – but I did it, step by step.

      I ended up paying *him* in the divorce settlement but it is a small price to pay for freedom and my life.

      Some days are very hard but every day I am happy & free from constant fear. And, I’ve realized I don’t have to have to miss that kind of love.

      Once you start asking for help, people will start helping you — in real life.

  23. Robin
    Robin says:

    I want to add this in reference to the post’s title: This is not about quitting. This is about growing. Quitting implies that you are giving up on your relationship with the farmer. But that’s not what this is about. This is about improving your relationship with yourself and your kids. If it helps to have something to research right now, try googling “growth mindset.”

    Sometimes you face a choice between being stunted or leaving. Leaving is hard and sad and it sucks great big monkey balls, but it doesn’t look anything like quitting.

    If it would help to email me, feel free.

  24. Steve C
    Steve C says:

    By the way, that’s not a bruise, that’s a wound. Anywhere near a vital organ, or above the shoulders, you’re probably a statistic. I played hockey for many years, took a lot of licks, and never had a bruise that looks that bad. I wouldn’t go back with out a couple of bodyguards, or a lot of big male friends. I’m mixed about bringing the sheriffs on board, but I’m sure they would recommend it.
    Do the right thing. You know you have to. You’re too bright not to.

  25. Mary Beth Williams
    Mary Beth Williams says:

    I misquoted the saying that helped me some years ago….it just helped me to cling to this thought….that we live in a benevolent universe that supports and sustains creation….if you can take a moment and just affirm that. Affirming what you want to see in your life will help a LOT….it helped me a LOT in many situations. I’m a single mother who’s had a very abusive family and ex-husband……you are here for a reason, you have the ability to help thousands of women… CAN navigate through this and you will be in a position to bless many many people. I believe in you. We believe in you Penelope. You are a beautiful, kind, and caring human being. You are genuine. You are authentic. You are the real deal. The world needs you….The world needs people who are willing to speak the truth. You have a talent for that. One of the answers I am sure is that you do not deserve to be hurt….physically or emotionally. Whatever comfort zone you have for this kind of treatment has to be given up….you are up to this. I know you are. We love you Penelope.

  26. Dave The Volleyball Mgr
    Dave The Volleyball Mgr says:

    Penelope – come out to L.A., get your hair done by your girlfriend and you can stay in my mom’s place in Park LaBrea for a month (she passed away today in the hospital). Email me A.S.A.P. if you have interest, then if you need to transition elsewhere, you may. Please allow me to help. I’ve followed you for at least 5 yrs. However, just because Domestic Violence is familiar, doesn’t mean it’s good for you, or YOUR kids. They do not need to see this as normal. Get help from somewhere. Recognizing that you need it was your 1st step. Congratulations Penelope, take the 2nd step and get out.

    • Gib Wallis
      Gib Wallis says:

      Yes, Penelope, please take take up Dave on his offer. Or fly to LA. It’s beautiful here at this time of year. If you can fly out here for free haircuts, you can fly out here for free rent.

      I’ll get you free tickets to plays.

      There’s no reason to stay in Wisconsin and a lot of reasons to leave.

      If your ex is local, let him have the kids for a month. It’s quite normal for one parent to have the kids for a few weeks during this time of year.

  27. doodles
    doodles says:

    I agree you could have shown a less provacative picture of your bruise/injury; but if your intent was to attract interest to this particular blog, it worked. Local law enforcement officials seeing this will be calling so you and the Farmer can explain the extent of domestic violence ongoing in your household. If you’re as educated as you say you are, you have options and should leave immediately with your children — unless you want them to grow up with hang-ups similar to yours. If I was your child, I’d wonder why you subjected yourself to pain — and subjected your kids to watching ugliness unfold. Do yourself and your children the biggest favor possible: leave and don’t look back. No regrets. Life is too short as it is.

  28. Victoria Mashkova
    Victoria Mashkova says:

    Here is some tough love for you, Penelope. You desperately want to be missed, but guess what, when you're desperate, you won’t get what you want. You will get plenty of the opposite. Sorry, to break it to you, sistah. However, I have a feeling you already know it yourself. And why in the name of the Lord of the Rings would you want to be missed my someone who, as you clearly put it, can’t stand you? (Well, we all had that issue at some point in our life, didn’t we?) Stop focusing so much on yourself and take a good look at your kids. The abandoned will abandon, and it goes for all other aspects of human behavior. Don’t allow your kids to be in the middle of violence, if you can put an end to it. THESE ARE YOUR KIDS! Who gives a shit about le Farmer. Men come and go, people come and go, kids are yours forever. Focus on them, they need a healthy environment, positive role models and mentally stable mother.

  29. steve
    steve says:

    There is NO EXCUSE for violence. It is NOT your fault. You DON’T deserve it. Period. You are a wonderful person. You owe it to yourself and your children to keep away from this “farmer” and you need no report this to the police. You are intelligent and creative and write fascinating blogs. Starting to live your life with a new beginning is always a challenge, but well worth it. Teach your children that violence will NOT be tolerated so that they don’t grow up to be victims themselves. People do care about you. Now is the time to muster up the courage and the strength to stand up for yourself. It won’t get better unless you break free and move on. Do it for yourself, do it for your children, and do it for all victims of violence. We are all pulling for you Penelope, but you must do this yourself. Good luck.

  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I’m sure other people have said this already–but I want to reiterate that the feeling that things will change if only you are better/different somehow is a classic scenario in domestic violence. It’s not insane to want someone to miss you. The insane part is expecting this person to miss you. Someone who hits people isn’t capable of giving you the kind of love you need, the kind of love that makes a relationship possible. I tried to be “good/better/different” for 18 years in a relationship and it never got better. I got better at speaking up, and finally I left. This situation you’re in is what they call “going to the hardware store for bread” in Al-Anon. THERE IS NO BREAD AT THE HARDWARE STORE.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      The comment here, from Anonymous really hits home to me.

      Now that I’m in this position, I am certain that other people who are in similar position to mine will use this comment string as a support system.

      I feel like the comments here are something so big and special. Too big for just me. These comments are a gift to the universe of people who will benefit from reading them.

      Thank you so much.


      • mgl
        mgl says:

        Penelope, please listen to all the people who say you have touched them in a positve way. Not only have I learned so much from you, careerwise, but my 19 year old bi-polar daughter reads your blog as she as many of the same communication challenges that you have. You do not realize how many people would miss you and why. Please. Please be safe.

    • Mary Beth Williams
      Mary Beth Williams says:

      Anne, thank you for sharing this link with Penelope. I looked it up and it is WONDERFUL. I have been the victim of gaslighting….it’s hard for victims to realize what is happening…it’s the ultimate betrayal to take a woman’s good intentions and twist them….I was married to an emotionally abusive gaslighter, he grew up in a home in which he was sexually, physically and emotionally abused. He does no want any therapy and gets angry if I ever bring it up. Shame is a trick they use constantly. Shame has to be uncovered for what it is….a lie. No one deserves to be shamed or to be made to feel as if they are shameful. Thank you.

    • Mel
      Mel says:

      Thanks, Anne, I posted this to my facebook. Glad to find a term for something I caught on to a couple years ago.

  31. Alicia
    Alicia says:

    I too have been wondering why I wasn’t getting my regular dosage of Blog posts from you. I actually thought that perhaps you and the boys were out sharing a wonderful Christmas vacation somewhere. WTF!!???

    What surprises me more than anything else is your willingness to share such personal details of your life with the public. I’m not saying its wrong to express yourself. But if you’re writing about this kind of pain, you have to know that its not right, right?

    I have always admired your honesty but what you posted today makes me feel sorry for you.

    I don’t want to pity you. I want you to get it together. I don’t know how you could even consider keeping your children in that relationship….

    Stop looking to other people to make up for past hurt, and stop allowing people to continue to hurt you. Perhaps you need to reevaluate the value of a fresh perspective: You CAN leave and he WILL miss you.

  32. Molly Michaels
    Molly Michaels says:

    I wonder if you posted that pic because you perceive you perceive your self worth to be tied to your body/sexuality. It’s not.

    I faithfully follow your blog because you help me be a better person. You inpsire me. You’re witty, funny and brilliant.

    That’s why I began following your blog. Now, I follow it because I genuinely care about you and I would miss you if you left. You matter to me, and I haven’t even met you.

  33. V
    V says:

    I think I might unsubscribe after this post. It’s not a career blog anymore, it’s just a diary of a troubled person with many problems.

  34. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    First of all, it took a lot of courage to post that story. I know that was the easy part. Leaving an abusive relationship is the hard part because your spirit and self confidence are in ruins. They make you feel like it’s your fault so they can appease their own guilt.

    If you are not sure if you should leave, ask yourself what advice you would give to your best friend or better yet, your daughter if she were in the same situation. If you are not feeling strong enough to leave then think about the message you are sending to your kids by staying. You are telling them it is ok for them to stay in an abusive relationship or it is ok to treat others like that. Then expect your kids to follow the pattern of being abused or an abuser.

    I am only saying this because I know… And trust me, I know how hard it is… This is the bottom line… It is never ok under any circumstance for anyone to hit you. Never.

  35. Sally
    Sally says:

    Jesus, get the fuck out. Seriously. Now. I married that man. Thought he was great. Turned out he wasn’t. I’m college-educated, have a good family, thought it could never happen to me. But it did. Took me 15 years to recover. Take care of yourself. Nobody deserves to treat you like that.

  36. TR
    TR says:

    I apologize ahead of time for being rude. If you are not in the mood to read it feel free to skip this comment (or delete it’s your blog) . I enjoy reading your blog. It gives me things to think about and I enjoy that. However after reading it I get the impression that you are not an easy person to live with or be married too. Fine we all have things in life we suck at. There will be plenty of time to reflect on that from the comfort of a nice divorce attorney’s office. The farmer’s excuses of why he is beating you are junk. Your excuses for staying are also junk. It’s time to go. One of your main themes has been having the courage to do things that will, in the long run, make you happy. It’s time to take your own advice.

  37. Megan
    Megan says:

    If you’re not going to choose safety for yourself, at least choose it for your children.

    Witnessing this gives them little hope of growing up to not perpetuate your family’s cycle on their eventual partners. Are you able to hear that and understand what it means?

    The best case scenario here is that they are screwed up from watching their mom get her ass kicked by her husband, and that they need therapy.

    The worst case scenario is that he kills you in front of them.

    I have worked with thousands of abused women and children, and you are on a path with no winning outcome.

    Choose your children, Penelope: Choose their physical and emotional safety.

  38. Micaela
    Micaela says:

    big hugs

    I hate seeing that you are hurt. You are such a wonderful and beautiful woman.

    You do not ever deserve to be hit. The farmer is a violent man and he is making excuses saying that you cause him to be violent. There is no justification for violence.

    Ever. Period. Leave now with your kids.

    • Deanna
      Deanna says:

      That is a very judgmental thing to say. Because she loves writing doesn’t mean she doesn’t love her children. Not to mention, everyone is commenting on how much they have missed her posts, wondering where she’s been. Someone with a writing addiction would have actually been posting.

      • Gavin
        Gavin says:

        If she loves her kids, then she shouldn’t be exposing them to such an environment. It’s only time until her kids start hitting her.

    • Colleen
      Colleen says:

      That’s a really odd thing to say, since it’s pretty obvious throughout her blog how much P loves her kids. One of the things she hasn’t reiterated in this post, but has said before, is that she also stayed with the Farmer because she didn’t want them to have to change fathers yet again, living on a farm appears to be good for them, and the Farmer is a good dad. Although he’s not the biological dad, putting kids through divorce is hell for everyone. (although in this case it seems necessary)

      As for writing addiction…self-expression heals and helps people figure out things. Loving kids and expressing oneself is a complementary thing.

  39. Breanne
    Breanne says:

    I don’t exactly know what to say, but after staring at this screen for nearly an hour I know I have to say something. I’m disturbed in so many ways. I’ve been reading your blog for years (ever since my blog was syndicated at the old Brazen Careerist). I’ve read the downward spiral, and fear for the day that we see another lull like this between posts and then I read that something tragic has happened to you. I genuinely worry about that. And then I saw this picture and immediately knew the cry for help you were shouting before I even read the blog. You know what you have to do, and dammit, you’re strong enough to do it. Leave. Leave and never look back. You are worth so much more than this…than this experience…than this pain…than this post.

  40. DC reader
    DC reader says:

    Carolyn Hax, the Washington Post’s excellent advice columnist, recommends “The Gift of Fear” to anyone who may be in an abusive situation and could use an outside perspective. Good luck. I’ve also struggled with leaving harmful relationships, and even the right path is a difficult one. Keep posting so we can support you.

  41. Kimberly Rotter
    Kimberly Rotter says:

    I’m totally confused as to why you found it necessary to post a photo of your bare rear end that’s nowhere near the bruise you’re showing….

    Anyway, staying in this relationship is not ok. In about a hundred ways, it’s not ok.

  42. awiz8
    awiz8 says:

    Predicted this coming a year and a half ago. Surprised the Farmer didn’t get rid of her sooner.

    “That's why I can't leave. I want someone to miss me.”

    I think he’ll finally miss you when he “accidently” kills you and he’s contemplating his life sentence in a prison cell.

  43. Jo-Jo
    Jo-Jo says:

    Well, since no one else seemed willing to take action, I did. I’m not one to stand idly by while someone beats up a woman, so I called the local police. They said they would be by to investigate tomorrow. Normally they would come out immediately they said, but I told them you were no longer at home. Don’t worry, Penelope, we’re on your side, and your husband, with any luck, will be in jail by tomorrow afternoon.

      • Elise
        Elise says:

        and you do know that’s why the police do what’s called an … hmmm… what’s that word again??? Oh right! “investigation.”

        That’s what happens in a civilization instead of a bunch of random people heading south out of Mineral Point for a nighttime lynching.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Jo-Jo: The police came to the house.

      Adding the police to the mix is not something I ever would have done. And it will surprise no one to hear that I won’t press charges. But Jo-Jo, you involving the police somehow makes all of this seem more real to me. Thank you for caring so much.


      • hornblower
        hornblower says:

        in my jurisdiction it’s not the victim’s call whether charges will be pressed – because as you’ve demonstrated, victims suck at making this decision.

        Press charges.

    • le@third
      le@third says:

      well done jo jo – I was just checking back in to see if things had progressed … you did a great public service here for P and her babes – I am glad it has made it more real for you P – reality bites eh … I felt so helpless here in the other hemisphere of the world … love to you – many of us have left these situations and have prospered on and upwards – you will to – le xox

    • Meg
      Meg says:

      Jo-Jo: fantastic. well done.

      Penelope: I love you. I think it’s incredible for you, in the position you’re in, to be thinking still of how others will benefit from your writing all of this down. It’s true: with this community, you’ve created a fantastic resource for people everywhere who are lost and scared for all sorts of reasons. This comment thread is a gift to the universe, and it started with you. Keep it going – we want you to be around for a long time.

    • Robert
      Robert says:

      Jo Jo: you did the right thing. Since you have an address for Penelope and her husband, perhaps you’d consider taking one more step: contact the Child Protective Services program of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. (Their phone #262-605-6528.) They’ll send a social worker over to walk through the house and talk to everyone — including the kids — and confirm that Penelope’s children are safe. From what I’ve read here, it doesn’t sound like either Penelope or her husband are behaving in ways that make her children’s safety and well-being their top priority. It’s a farm, so there are likely guns in the house, and that alone mixed with angry parents having violent arguments raises real questions about the safety of the home for the kids. Also, Penelope has taken the kids out of school, so they’re deprived of that regular contact with people who are paying attention to what’s going on with them and would normally be among the first to notice if something’s wrong. You can make this call anonymously if you feel you need to. I’m probably not the only person reading this blog who feels enormous relief knowing that you involved the authorities. Thanks.

      • Aspie parent
        Aspie parent says:

        Robert’s comment is very important.

        Penelope: You are smart, write amazingly, good at your job, and have the love of your many readers. However, given your personal situation, not to mention being an aspie, you are totally unable to home-school your children. Please, please put them back to a regular school in a good schooling district.

      • brooklynchick
        brooklynchick says:

        Jo-Jo – thank you so much for taking that action – I feel in a sense you took it on all of our behalf.

        Robert makes an *excellent* point, please (anyone who knows PT in real life) take one additional step and call Child Protective Services. Because the kids are not in a traditional school there is no visibility into their safety (not to mention what they might be driven to do to defend their mom). Thanks to anyone local who will act.

  44. Gabbrielle Breda
    Gabbrielle Breda says:

    Penelope, I will miss you so very much if anything happens to you. Many people are moved into action by you. I know I have been inspired to think out of the box more regarding life and building a buisness. I remember the last time you and the Farmer had this type of issue. I had litterly prayed that you had posted something on your blog that day. I was so looking forward to what I might learn that day. It was one of those Pandoras box type of readings. You made me feel a million emotions. Mainly a wish to protect you from how out of hand things have gotten. I am so proud of you for writting about this. I know it is hard, and I think you are spot on when you write that it is what you know. The one differance is you are not a child now. You can and should go to a hotel, friends house or heck my place outside of Autin TX. Get some space from one another. Take the kids. It is time to change old patterns. This is not healthy for any of you. If you need someone to talk to, I can be there for you. Sometimes it is helpful just to lean on a perfect stranger. I want to say so much more to encourage you, that it will not always be this way. The one good thing about you staying local at least for a little while at a hotel is that. You and the Farmer could continue therapy. Hang in there.You are such a brave and strong women. Know that you are ment to have all good things in life.

« Older CommentsNewer Comments »

Comments are closed.