My startup is imploding. I mean pivoting.
Last week my older son took the SAT subject test for biology. He was supposed to take the AP test for biology but I didn’t realize that you have to start registering a homeschooler for AP tests around the time a NYC parent would start registering their child for preschool: in the womb.
So after he studied for two hours a day for a whole year, he didn’t get to take the test. The SAT subject test was my meager offering to him. An intellectual consolation prize. A party favor accidentally saved for the kid whose mom forgot to bring him to the party.
I tell him, “Look, you’ll be in the special section for kids who are 8th grade and younger.”
He ignores me. I am trying to train him to be responsive. I tell him over and over again that it’s a rule that you have to say, oh, or hm, or that’s nice. I look at him.
He looks at me. He glares and says, “Ok!!” In the tone of voice a small child would use to respond to an offer to go to Disneyland.
I tell him, “I bet the room will be full of kids with Aspergers. Who else takes these tests before high school? You can make friends.”
“Mom. People with Aspergers don’t like being friends with people with Aspergers.”
This is pretty true but I didn’t know he knew this. So I ask him, “Why do you think that?”
“Because people with Aspergers are assholes.”
“Hm.” I say. We gather up his No. 2 pencils. I say, “Wait. Am I an asshole?”
“Well. You have three lawyers. Didn’t you tell me most lawyers spend their lives defending assholes?”
It’s hard to be your true self when you have teenage kids. All the BS you got away with when they were little, that’s over. I remember when I used to switch the kids’ birthdays if they did not fall on convenient days for my work schedule. Then on my younger son’s 3rd birthday my six-year-old son said, “But it’s not his birthday today.”
And I remember thinking. Ugh. My life is over. He sees everything.
Now he overhears me talking about lawyers and he does his own research to make his own recommendations.
“I am the parent,” I tell him. In a tone of a voice that I hope sounds authoritative.
The first lawyer is to negotiate with my landlord. The lawyer has pretty much served to piss off the landlord even more. The issue is that I tore apart the kitchen because I was so upset about mice, and in turn, the landlord tore up the lease because he was so upset about the kitchen. The result will be that I pay up and hope they end up liking me in the future. I think they read my blog, so let me say right now that I am going to try really hard to follow the rules and be nice.
The next lawyer is to negotiate with Matthew, who is the Farmer, but the Farmer seems like a term of endearment, so I can’t really use that anymore, but I can’t say Ex because my Ex is my Ex and I get along so well with my Ex that by now it probably is a term of endearment. So I am just going to have to call him Matthew now.
He texted to say that he is putting all my stuff in one-half of the garage and if I come to the farm he will call the police. There are a lot of problems with that text. But a big one is that I paid for everything that’s in the house, so my stuff would not fit in just one-half of the garage.
For the record, Matthew said that what sent him over the edge is that I said he was abusive.
I did not say that he is abusive. The criminal lawyer I had to hire because of him called him abusive. But that’s water under the bridge, because I’ve moved on to a contracts lawyer, which is what you use when you lived with someone but were not married to them. And anyway, I am calling him abusive now, because I’m in therapy with a domestic abuse counselor.
The third lawyer is a securities lawyer. Those are pretty much the most expensive lawyers I’ve ever heard of, and if you have to date a lawyer, which I do not recommend because most of them hate their jobs, you should date a securities lawyer because they charge $1000/hr.
So I did a transaction with a woman who has a dad who has oil money and he is funding a lawsuit that the securities lawyer says is absurd. But since I don’t have enough money to get this lawyer to go to court and say that, I’m thinking maybe I can ask for a jury trial and hire a courtroom sketch artist and then blog traffic would blow up so fast that mid-trial I could hire the securities lawyer for a last-minute sprint to the finish.
So what do three lawyers add up to? A pivot, of course. Because the only way to cope with this much legal drama is to think really hard about something else. And in my case, thinking about new ways for making money is my favorite thing to do.
And I realized that I need to change what I’m doing with Quistic.
I have actually known this for a while. So I’m going to start reading through sites that have been on my get-ideas-here list for a while, like Detailed and McMansion Hell. And I’ll be testing new ideas, which means a bunch of the courses I offer at Quistic will disappear. This is your fair warning. I’m doing a 50% off sale for the next week so you can get the courses you want before they are gone.
Use this code: lastchance
When you purchase a course, you’ll have access forever. But you do have to buy them now. If you have questions, like, which course you should take, email me. And if you want to buy access to all the courses, pay $575 via this link.
I am an ISFP and I am going to buy your ISFJ course (unless you recommend something else?), so thank you for that.
Shame Matthew isn’t nearly concerned with actually being a good person than people thinking he is a good person.
You will get through this.
‘It’s hard to be your true self when you have teenage kids. All the BS you got away with when they were little, that’s over…’ so true, they become logical, sometimes, exactly when you wouldn’t want them to be…
That’s the phrase that stood out to me on this one too. Isn’t that the truth. It’s very humbling being a mom of teens and young adults. They see the truth.
Things are really tough right now, but they have been tough before and you came through in fine form.
Angela Duckworth says that Grit occurs at the confluence of passion and perseverance. The only thing that you have really sustained an interest in and expended sustained effort in are your boys.
Every decision that you have made over the last few years, has been with them in mind.
If your start up implodes roll with it – what else can you do? Why not do a start up project that involves them? Where they are concerned, your Grit scale must be off the charts.
Quite pretending that you can handle everything yourself. Hire a business manager who has the skills to keep you out of legal trouble. You need someone to act on your own behalf.
Many problems are self-created. See above.
Can only confirm this from own experience. There is no reason to do everything and it’s not even good. Hire someone who does the things in which you are weak and focus on your strengths.
Penelope, you need to pitch your life as a sitcom. A comedy about a high-achieving aspie family would be a massive success.
Figure out how to get Chuck Lorre to read this post. He’s at Warner Bros.
Yeah! I would totally watch this. Captain Fantastic meets The Big Bang Theory?
Also, love for you, Penelope.
For some reason, I thought you and Matthew were married. But married or not, it’s not fair for him to keep your stuff and not let you pick it up. I hope one of your lawyers can resolve that.
I adore you, darling. Don’t change a thing. Hang in there. Keep telling the truth.
Glad to hear you’re getting help and seeing a domestic abuse counsellor. Hopefully things will get better for you and your sons.
I want to say that its very hard to admit that I need to be seeing this person. And one thjng that has givem me thenbravery to do it is that commenters on this blog have been telling me for years that I have a problem and I need to get help.
I guess I needed to hear it over and over again to believe it. Also, while I’m thanking people, a few times people have said in the comments that I should read the book Why Does He Do That?
Finally I bought it. And I read it and re-read it all the time. Every chapter blows my mind.
I hide that book from the kids like I used to hide Judy Blume books from my grandma. I don’t want the kids to know how vigilant I have to be in order to be safe. Felling safe does not come naturally to me. But I want it to come naturally to the boys.
Thank you, everyone, for telling me I am being delusional when I am being delusional. And for being kind all the same.
Thanks for replying – I’m not sure if you remember, but when you created your post last month about the abuse (Get outside input to identify your patterns) I commented on your post thanking you for your honesty about the abuse, as a week beforehand I had been assaulted by my partner. Although I’m now safe and living with my family I’m still hurt by the situation (as I’m sure you are as well) However unlike you I haven’t been brave enough to book an appointment with a counsellor, despite making enquiries with several. So for you to be seeing a counsellor and talking about it on here is a very courageous thing to do.
However when I called the UK domestic abuse helpline about my situation they reccomended I visit this forum: https://survivorsforum.womensaid.org.uk/forums/forum/general-discussion/ I suggest you perhaps take a browse on some of the posts on there. I personally found it very comforting to read about other women’s experience of abuse, as it made me feel less alone.
Lastly I’m glad to hear you’re reading ‘Why does he do that?’ Its a book the ladies on the aforementioned forum frequently reccomend to women who are struggling to accept they are in an abusive relationship.
Thanks for replying – I’m not sure if you remember, but when you created your post last month about the abuse (Get outside input to identify your patterns) I commented on your post thanking you for your honesty about the abuse, as a week beforehand I had been assaulted by my partner. Although I’m now safe and living with my family I’m still hurt by the situation (as I’m sure you are as well) However unlike you I haven’t been brave enough to book an appointment with a counsellor, despite making enquiries with several. So for you to be seeing a counsellor and talking about it on here is an very courageous thing to do.
Also glad to hear you’re reading Lundy Bancroft’s book. When I was researching about abuse (INTJ = lots of research) his book appeared to be highly reccomended by women who have experienced abuse.
JM, I hope you will consider a counselor. Your primary care physician might have a good recommendation. I like to think of my counselor as a “compassionate witness”. I hope you will look around, find a good fit, and give yourself that gift. You deserve the chance to have that in your life.
Hi Penelope, glad you got the Bancroft book. I’ve been reading the follow-up too – “Daily Wisdom” for Why Does He Do That?
It’s like having a friend to talk to for a bit. It’s also just as amazingly helpful.
I hope you consider getting that too.
Hugs to you!
You’re doing great. Think of this phase of your life as a time when you’re developing new skills (like “survive abuse,” and “retrain brain,” and “forgive self”) and learning to kick ass with them. Nobody gets graded on this stuff (because that’s not how being abused works), but I’m giving you an A+ because I know you like grades. Good job!
A PDF of the book: http://unityandstruggle.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Lundy_Why-does-he-do-that.pdf
Thanks for posting the link- it’s very interesting read… well-written and well-thought through.
Therapy! This is a huge breakthrough. I really couldn’t be prouder of you these days.
Penelope – you have inspired me to read my copy of “Why Does He Do that.” I’m trying to get away from a man who is deeply, deeply, DEEPLY emotionally and psychologically abusive. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I was recommended the book by a ladies’ forum and its been sitting on the shelf. Enough! I’m busting it out tonight! I think I’ll find peace in the book giving me the answers he won’t.
When you do new courses, can I be in the audience? I’m an INFJ, I have insightful commnets and great questions.
I love your writing!!! I literally can say only that.
Penelope, I think so well of you and follow your life stories with love and attention. Hang in there. The right thing will happen. I’m really interested in seeing where you pivot to as you seem to be ahead of the curve on most things.
Best of luck in your new life course … hope you kill it!
Oh my goodness! Girl, you have so much going on, but just so you know, I am routing for you.
Truth’s clear now. Asperger’s is little more than a self indulgent vehicle to be “different” and garner the admiration, and, the obedient accolades of the “normals.” Between loads of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and episodes of “Modern Family.” You’re special.
What a compliment to imply that reading Penelope’s writing is so insightful as to qualify you to be a psychologist or neuroscientist!
Hey Steve? Go fuck yourself.
Dear P: Stay strong.
People with Asperger’s usually end up befriending/marrying other people with Asperger’s because since they ARE assholes, most neurotypical people don’t want to put up with them. Plus, people with Asperger’s usually don’t notice that someone is being an asshole unless it’s truly egregious. Thus they’re able to tolerate each other. And, your son loves Melissa, doesn’t he?
Tell your son if he wants to get or keep a girlfriend (i.e. one who will have to deal with him in real life as opposed to just the Internet), he needs to start making those acknowledgment sounds you’ve been nagging him to make. Because not extending basic conversational courtesy is a huge turn-off for girls. And a huge turn-off for neurotypical people in general.
So unless he wants to only have asshole Asperger friends and an asshole Asperger girlfriend, he better start learning neurotypical social codes.
This is such an interesting point. I am in the middle of a divorce. I’m not sure if my husband is on the spectrum or not -I tend to think not, but his dad did have an amazing reputation for knowing everyone’s phone numbers by heart (and he’s also a weird guy).
My husband is one of those who does not respond to conversation. No “uh huh”, no “Really?”, nothing. Just zero response.
I asked him about it, annoyed, several times. At most, he said, “I have nothing to say.”
Ultimately I have concluded my husband is an angry, controlling man. I don’t think anyone who knows him over a period of time would disagree with me.
But I wanted to chime in with the point that this is necessary training for Penelope’s son. Think of it only as training. He’ll eventually get it. I had to train my 11yo son (still working on it, but he’s a lot better) that remembering people’s names and using them when you talk to them is important. He was clueless for years.
Mm. Angry and controlling would make sense, if your husband isn’t on the spectrum. The thing is that when non-autistic people don’t signal acknowledgment in conversation, usually they either didn’t hear you, or they are being rude intentionally. So, when a person with Asperger’s doesn’t signal acknowledgments via “Hm”s or “Oh”s, non-Asperger’s people automatically think the person is being rude on purpose.
I also want to clarify that obviously neurotypical people can be assholes, it’s just that people with Asperger’s tend to be assholes in ways that people without Asperger’s find particularly unpleasant/off-putting.
What makes it worse is that we as Aspergs tend to have a really hard time seeing how we are acting like assholes. Because we rarely ever mean to do so.
Thanks Penelope! I just bought the INFJ course, I have always wanted to do it but couldn’t justify the money at the time. I’ve just read through the PDF, so I hope that comment makes you laugh. I love it! So much of it makes sense! My husband is an INFP and you were so right about the blind spots… unfortunately neither of us cares very much about money! I care about it as a useful tool, he would live on sunshine and rainbows if possible. I foresee a future where we trade off being stay at home parents at different times.
Heh, I read “Why Does He Do That?” too, about my ex. Most chapters really resonated. I’m breezing through it here again right now and, well, yup. It’s about angry and controlling partners.
One of the things that strike me about this post is how well it is written. It flows well from start to finish. I think that’s a sign of a very good writer who not only courageously posts about her life in what is almost real time but is also able to convey the experiences of both triumphs and defeats. I ask myself if it’s something I would be able to do. Maybe but not likely. I’m more prone to allow more time to pass, reflect back, and try to sort out everything. But that’s me. Everyone gets to do their life as they see fit and reap the rewards and consequences as they may come their way. I think the underlying theme of this blog is ‘know thyself’ so it should be no wonder I still read this blog and the comments. Comments that are positive, negative, and everything in between. Assholes are not limited to lawyers and people with Aspergers but I do get the humor in the context of this post. I’ve been called an asshole by friend and foe alike. I was also called a BS artist by a friend a long time ago. He was giving me his BS in a joking fashion so I jokingly gave it back to him. It’s all good to a certain extent. I’m glad to see you’re now able to devote more time to Quistic and do your pivot. The business has suffered due to relationship problems and your priority to homeschool your sons. I’m looking forward to reading about your successful Quistic pivot.
I would really love to buy your course!
I need guidance as I transition to working for myself.
But I am an ENFJ and to me, balancing work and family is crucial. As such I had to make huge career sacrifices, and I’m now paid less than half of what I was being paid just 2 years ago, before I got pregnant.
So I can’t afford your course this week, or even this month!
I’m so disappointed!
Hi Penelope, I have been your fan for a while and I wish you all the best… With the 50% discount, I may be able to afford one of your courses, but I’m hesitating… The two I am interested in are the INTP one, and the one on relationships… BUT, the INTP one includes making choices of a mate and a career… I am married and not going anywhere, though we may not be a perfect match personality-wise. I also have a career that I do not plan to leave any time soon, though I make changes and adaptations to make it more INFP-friendly. Would the course be helpful to me at all? I find that due to who I am I need advice in terms of my marriage and career, but I am fully committed to both… Or should I take the relationship course and focus on improving my marriage and seek harmony despite our personality/lifestyle clashes?
Also, both courses include a day of talking to you… Now, while I would buy them soon to take advantage of the sale, this is a hectic time for me, so I would probably go through them in 2-3 weeks. Would you be available to talk then, seeing that you are looking at letting go of these courses?
Am I the only one who feels sorry for Matthew. What did he do in this whole equation. Did the label “abusive” get applied to him in order to soak him in divorce court?
Yes, you are probably the only person who feels sorry for Matthew aka the Farmer. Instead of acting like a child, he should just give her the stuff that belongs to her.
I don’t get this whole drama between them on top of the move and double house thing.
Did Penelope not move for the cello instructor and isn’t Zehavi now almost into the Juilliard program?
Wasn’t that the main purpose, which is being fulfilled?
If so, why the complete breakdown? Distance? It really hasn’t been that long, at all. Maybe I’ll never understand it.
The kids and I moved to PA and we were planning to stay together. Then he reported that I stole his credit cards. But we were still together. He didn’t think it was a big deal to report that I stole his credit card, and he kept scheduling visits to PA. When I called the behavior abusive in a blog post, he told me he never wants to see me again because I called him abusive.
That sounds like something that can be patched up. You two always had a rocky relationship.
Glad you are getting help.
I hope you also get your stuff back.
No, I do too. I think I’ve been through basically the same as him: the pretty ‘bird with a broken wing’ woman who is miserable and vulnerable and leads a chaotic life filled with drama and disasters. Hey, that’s easy enough to fix! Heh.
On the other side of the table, I think it’s a bad sign when you’ve also managed to seriously piss off your landlord and an investor since we last had an update. Is this a manic phase or something? Danger, danger. Take care and best of luck.
Right. What he did wrong was massive failure of due diligence. He found her on her blog, and it’s not like she was ever lacking in “drama or disasters.”
Hi…no you are not the only one feeling bad for Matthew. I think Penelope is unstable. I’m sure he has reached his limit. All you have to do is read her blog to see how chaotic and insane her life choices are. She admits a lot on here. He should use it as evidence. I do believe she is making it up that he is abusive.
I would never want to disbelieve a victim of domestic abuse simply because their behaviour doesn’t align with what I would expect, but I would also never want to assume that a person is guilty based on hearsay. We’re only getting Penelope’s side of the story, and even with that, there are so many pieces that just don’t add up for me, making it very difficult to believe.
For one, Penelope has written many posts that paint the farmer in a negative light — this isn’t just one recent post. I find it hard to believe that an abusive, controlling person would be ok with their partner sharing intimate details of their life to a broad audience, particularly details that make them look bad.
Similarly, based on her own descriptions, it sounds like Penelope is the one who failed to live up to the financial agreements that she made with the farmer. I don’t see how it makes him an abuser for wanting to protect himself from being put further into debt.
Honestly, my impression is that living on the farm worked well for Penelope when she was making a name for herself as an unschooler. Now that her boys are older, it no longer suits her needs. I think she knew that the move would end the relationship and is now creating a narrative that makes her readers believe that what she’s doing is ok and justified.
Of course, none of us know the real truth. We base our judgments on what Penelope chooses to share. I might be completely wrong, but I don’t think I am.
Well said TLH.
He is abusive. He hit her. Penelope posted a picture of her bruises.
As I recall, he *pushed* her . . . one time . . . and she hit the frame of the bed. He didn’t make that bruise (not bruises, plural) with his fist or anything.
She is in fact a drama queen. And chaotic. And let’s see, can’t drive, spends money like water. Lives her life through her kids; helicopter doesn’t begin to describe it.
Matthew got the short end of the stick.
Of those three sentences, only the last one is a fact.
No you are not the only person who feels sorry for Matthew. He’s lost a relationship too and it isn’t clear to me that it’s all his fault. He’s also lost contact with the boys and that’s sad for Matthew and awful for the boys too, No wonder Matthew is upset and angry – and as a result being petty about Pebelope getting her things back, He sounds really hurt.
With regard to the boys, so what that Matthew isn’t their dad – they’d shared a home for a good few years and there are several posts on here demonstrating a warm and affectionate relationship between Matthew and them (sorry I’ve forgotten their names). If Penelope never wants to see Matthew again (which is sad enough anyway) at least she ought to allow and arrange for the boys to see Matthew from time to time, and let them keep in contact with him in other ways as well.
I do not feel sorry for him, he knew Penelope is a complicated person who has experienced a lot of trauma. I know it from reading her blog!
I do think framing this as Penelope the victim of abuse is a stretch, but how would I know?
I feel sorry for all of them, especially the boys.
Also must say it is crazy to me she interacts with her childhood abusers –aka parents.
Your son rocks.
I agree, he’s a true gem. She raised him well.
Hi Penelope, I’m thinking of getting access to all the courses because me and my homeschooled kids would learn so much from them, but we use different computers and one of my twelve-year-olds is overseas at the moment. 1. Is it ok for for me and my kids to use one access code (ethically)? 2. If it is, will there be problems with us accessing it from different computers? (I promise I won’t share with anyone but my kids.) Sorry if these are totally stupid questions, but technology is not one of my strengths. Ok, one more stupid question – how do you get access to the courses after paying the $575? Is a link/ password/ something sent to you? Or do I have to email you after paying?
Perfect price point for me! Thanks!
I just want to say that I bought the INTJ course because a few of the significant people in my life are INTJs, and despite being an INFJ I enjoyed it even more than the INFJ course. Which was hugely useful, but the INTJ course is downright hilarious.
I am looking forward to seeing the next phase of Quistic. I can’t help but selfishly hope that since INFJs are your biggest audience, you’ll have more stuff for INFJs in the future. :)
There are a million good things about leaving. It’s so much better for you and your boys on an emotional and physical level.
There will be other benefits too. When things settle down you’ll be more productive and focused. All the energy spent worrying about him can be used for whatever you want. Kids, work, those hobby-things that some people have.
Your self-worth will go up. Because everyone is telling its right to leave, and it is right, and you’ll feel really proud that you used your strength to do that.
I think you’ve done a true service to people by writing about your life. People see themselves in you and now they are seeing their own possibility for courage because of your willingness to document your own.
I don’t think her family enjoys the privacy violation. I think she should keep it more superficial.
Any news from Juilliard?
You are a strong women and this course is going to help many others.
So the missing link is Matthew’s side of the story as to why he reported the cards stolen. Why didn’t he just cancel them? Maybe there was a massive amount of recent charges he was trying to get out of? Or it was an abusive power play? P’s lawyers seem to think the latter. I guess we don’t know for sure.
“Well. You have three lawyers. Didn’t you tell me most lawyers spend their lives defending assholes?”
this kid is so on it :D
Guess I missed the whole abuse thing. Penelope seems up and down and not from her husband. He took in two kids not his and lived with someone who’s kind of nutty. Sounds now like the typical sadly contentious divorce.
You need to hire at least an independent contractor to help you out, schedules and relationships with contractors are usually more flexible than those with full-time employees because you can start and stop projects and adjust hourly schedules as needed.
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Excellent post. Thank you very much!!
This was really an insightful read!
What a brilliant article. I genuinely appreciate your thinking “It’s hard to be your true self when you have teenage kids.”
I was just wondering the great quality of your article. Then let me tell you that your blog is absolutely awesome.
really amazing content keep it up..!!
Life sounds tough! And I don’t want to add to it, but if it were me and my business, I would want to know this.
I took a course on quistic.
It was awful.
The sounds was crappy. It was a cut up version of a live session you did. The structure was very patchy and it didn’t really give clarity on each of the personality types.
I was so disappointed because I love your blog.
But really? Are you actually qualified in Myers Briggs? It didn’t seem that way. And why would you offer such poorly recorded and structured content?
Plus I couldn’t get into the course for at least 3 days after I bought it.
It was such a shame.
So I hope the pivot gives a it of a quality refresh for your stuff. You are a bright woman but I would not buy your course again.
Hello Penelope, I must say you are strong and a powerful person. You are handling many of the things independently. Thanks for the awesome content in your blog. May God give you more strength, my best wishes for you for your future endeavors.
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