This post is hard to write, so you better read it.

What I’ve learned from selling stuff on this blog is that I don’t like to do it. It’s hard to tell you I’m hating myself and then tell you, “Buy my course about happiness!”

So, I’ve decided to change my business model. Except that I don’t actually have a new business model yet. And while I’m looking for one I’m making missing monthly payments on a new cello.

But now I feel more free to write, and there is so much to tell you.

I miss the farmer so much. I would go back to him in a second if I didn’t have kids. But I can’t let the kids see me like this. A friend told me her daughter has no respect for her. I asked why. And she said, “Because she watched me put up with way too much from my husband.”

I want my kids to respect me. I am not sure I love myself enough to take care of myself. But I love my kids way too much to not take care of myself as their mom.

I thought I only missed the farm. But I miss everything. I go on Google Maps to look at the farm. I can’t wait till the picture updates. I think about when the Farmer’s parents will die. Then he will not have to please his mom and he can be with me. I won’t do that. But I still think about it all the time.

We have mice in our apartment. It was cute at first. We knew the mouse. He had his patterns and favorite spots. Now there are a lot more mice. I keep telling myself the more mice we have the more my son’s college application will stand out. But I can see I’ve gone too far in my efforts to keep our fixed expenses low.

I’ve been trying harder to fit in with other moms. For my whole life I’ve told myself no one notices anything and no one reads what I write. But now I see that it’s just me who notices nothing and doesn’t read what I write.

I had to start reading what I write because my editor quit. He didn’t tell me he quit. He just disappeared. I think it’s because I have a blog that says you should never divorce and we don’t need teachers, and he just divorced his wife and got remarried to a teacher.

Melissa started editing. But when Melissa is my editor I feel like she’s not my friend and I had already lost my editor and the farmer and the farm. Melissa is my oldest friend so I have to keep her. I used to have friends who were older. From high school. One never spoke to me again after I wrote about her. And the other two never spoke to me after I said zero tolerance for domestic violence is wrong.

I am starting to think being a person on the receiving end of domestic violence is like being a person who is anorexic. Everyone around the person says to “just fix” the problem. But the person cannot fix the problem. The person thinks maybe it’s OK to die from the problem instead of fixing it.

I have a new friend, Lauren, who is a comforting type. She has a husband, Michael, who may or may not want his name on this blog. Sometimes I want to be married to Michael, but he is almost the same as me, so really I should marry Lauren. But Michael got her. Lauren and Michael have a grown-up kid who I coach sometimes, but only when he’s desperate because he hates everything I tell him.

There is so much more I want to tell you. I went to a domestic violence shelter. I didn’t need shelter, like a place to live. I needed shelter from messed up ideas of how people should treat each other. I learned a lot about boundaries. And I am figuring out how to have good boundaries with everyone – except you.

So, things are going to be different around here.

New Editor
I have a new editor. Molly. Because Melissa has a full-time job being my best friend. Molly is someone I coached. She wrote to me and told me she wanted to edit. I said OK because I thought I remembered her.

I didn’t remember her correctly. She is 38 years old. She has no kids because she doesn’t want them to mess up her life. She has a career she doesn’t care that much about. She’s been reading my blog for a very long time. I feel like it says so much about her that she lives a life I would never condone but she still likes reading my blog.

New Email List
I have been sending out emails about individual personality types for a long time. Most of you don’t receive those emails. If you want to receive emails about your type, send me an email with your type in the subject and I’ll put you on the list. When there’s a new course on how to become a freelance writer, or maybe when I have free trips to Club Med to dole out, I’ll announce it on that list.

And since the lists are organized by type you will not get a trip to Club Med if you are an NT, and you will not get a freelance writing career if you are an SP. Not many SPs read this blog. But you might have a spouse who is an SP, so you could sign up to be on that list as well. But you’ll need to submit two different email addresses, one for each list.

New Bravery
I have been timid here. Young cellists perform with boundless gusto, but then they get older and they start to become self-conscious. For most of my life I have been that bold little kid. But recently I’ve become the self-conscious teenager. I’ve felt so fragile, like any misstep will ruin me.

But now I realize that what’s most ruinous is no missteps at all.

87 replies
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  1. Kyra, the military ENFP
    Kyra, the military ENFP says:

    Our minds are funny. They can romanticize all the wonderful things about an ex, they way they smelled, the way their bodies felt, their voice, the times we went out and had fun. Yet somehow skip over the bad things- the neglect, the arguing, the loneliness, the way we always felt never quite enough.
    I think you should put your blog posts in a book with commentary. I would read it, but I would be even more excited if you read it for Audible because you are the best person to listen to!
    Believe it or not, you being you is magnetic. Even the mice love being around you.

  2. Anne
    Anne says:

    Awww-Penelope!! Your transparency and sharing with us is why we love you!! I think you are tired from managing your kids and all their activities alone-at least with the farmer you had another adult to talk to and share daily chores with. Could their dad take care of them for a weekend-or a week?? To let you have a mental and physical break?

    • anonymous
      anonymous says:

      That’s exactly right, the transparency is so heartwarming, it helps open me up and clear my mind. Thank you Penelope for your blog!

  3. Mark Abbott’s
    Mark Abbott’s says:

    PT- Someone once said (or wrote) something to the effect of: “If you’re not embarrassed by who you were three years ago you’re not growing”. I have a very simple guiding principle: “Make the world better today”. No one is perfect. No one is complete. You have kids you love. I strongly suspect they love you. I know you push more than a few of us to think more deeply. You’re great in your own unique way (courageous, caring, humble, and intelligent to name but a few), and we read you because we value it. Sweet dreams.

  4. Pandora Waters
    Pandora Waters says:

    I’ve been reading you since 2010, and I just love you.

    I’m going to turn 60 next Tuesday, and I’m still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up.

    I am a musician avocationally, and my current profession is Pet-sitter. My sweetheart recently passed on.

    I aspire to converse with you someday.

    For now, I send you my very best regards.

    Pandora Waters
    I think I’m INFJ

  5. Jessi
    Jessi says:

    Here’s what I think is magnificent about you…while you are feeling lost and unkempt, you are still moving. Onward soldier!

  6. Gayle
    Gayle says:

    Loved this. Raw, vulnerable, honest. I stopped reading your blog for awhile because I hated how the farmer abused you (in part because it reminded me of all the torment, anxiety and self-hatred I put up with being in a similar situation for far too long). But I get it. How you can long for someone who was so horrible for and to you. It’s cliche, but these experiences make (or can) you stronger in the end.

  7. Renee
    Renee says:

    I f*cking love your blog. I love how you say you’ve been “timid” when anyone else would think you’re brave by being open. However, only you know the vulnerabilities you’re not sharing so I believe you when you say you’re timid by your own standards. I’m sure you’ll figure out the business model and I look forward to hearing about it.

  8. Sherry
    Sherry says:

    I wouldn’t want to take a course on happiness from someone who’s never struggled or never known what it’s like to be completely miserable. Just sayin’.

  9. Sherry
    Sherry says:

    Everything you go through makes the new version of yourself, that is better than the old version. I do hair and I have a very large clientele and they all think I have my shit together. I have a secret side to me that they don’t know about because I’m too terrified to show them. But I also have a tough side that says fuck them if they don’t like me…. I’m a mess lol. I started following you because I too had a horrible childhood. I like to think that I went through all that so I could help people one day. Writing is not my strong point as you can see. You are helping people! Don’t doubt that for a moment.

  10. Carol
    Carol says:

    Thanks for your honesty. I don’t know if you’re also opening up for support and praise (since Asperger’s folks process that differently from others) (friends of mine are Asperger’s Lite) but know your blog and newsletter are appreciated and pondered. I haven’t found a product to buy yet, but that might change. I’ve been thinking about women friends after a woman friend picked a fight with me last night. I mostly felt betrayed by her lack of self-awareness. So it resonates with me that you’re working to preserve friendships. If you lived near me, I’d try to set you up with someone.

  11. Maria Miccoli
    Maria Miccoli says:

    Emotionally, so close after 9/11, you may still be subconsciously grieving. Survivor’s guilt, holding on to the past, trying to rewrite it. Depression is like that, sometimes it comes in like a fog creeping in from an unseen place… I think the reason you miss the farm because it was an adventurous without the commitment and fear of loss. If you miss the concept of the farm, plan on owning a hobby farm someday. Plan on planting tulips in the spring, even if on your own window sill. You can even force tulips in water now.

    Maybe it’s time for you to date someone who is compatible with your personality type.

    As for money, my budget is zilch. However, there’s a YouTube video of a guy who did a challenge where he gave himself a week to turn $1 into $1k. He flipped items by buying them on Craigslist and reselling them on Ebay, he picked up free stuff and sold them, he was a research subject, filled out surveys, gave early morning fitness classes, sold food. Basically hustled. I found it inspiring. It was inspiring. I’m trying to fund my startup and I’m doing it by taking odd jobs myself. Tutoring, flipping things, house sitting, nanny, etc…

    I rv full time and winter’s coming (I am in Canada). I have survived -45c and it’s getting old. I start to have panic attacks in mid August.

    As for mice, here’s how I got rid of mine (you have to change it up because mice watch the idiot mouse get killed, learn what not to do and then become smarter). Get a box and make a nest, put peanut butter in the box put a couple of holes in the closed box. Wrap the box in black fabric and cut a hole in a different location so that the box and fabric holes are staggered. They will move in (do not open the box but keep it by the door). Then during the day, take the box outside (carefully) and put it in the dumpster. Repeat. The box will be taken to a landfill where the mice will be loving their new life.

    Your memories of the farmer is like the mice, you started romanticizing both and then it became overwhelmingly unhealthy.

    Set them both free.

    • Jami
      Jami says:

      This is good advice except the part about the dumpster. The mice will be crushed by garbage. It’s better to take them to a park and set them free there.

  12. Sarah M
    Sarah M says:

    I thought it was weird that the editor quit, but now this all makes sense. You’ll get through this. You’re already braver than most.
    Vulnerability hangovers only last for a little while, and then they are sort of followed by a torpedo of bravery and ass-kicking.

  13. Leann
    Leann says:

    So confused. Sounded like you didn’t care about leaving him. I’m so confused. Is this a forbidden fruit thing? Do you ever miss your first husband?
    1) do not EVER write about people without asking. If yes at least change their name. It is cruel beyond belief to violate someone’s privacy. That’s not what a friend does. The post on the friends voice was cruel. There ARE things you don’t share. Would you want a great friend doing it sans permission?
    2) make up with the farmer. Don’t go back. But bury the hatchet.
    3) I’m not clear he was abusive. There are TWO SIDES to every story. The metoo is worthless and scary if it means just believe any accusation. Let’s face it. His reactions were reactions. She wasn’t abused outside of fighting. Maybe he lost it once or twice. Honestly I agree with Penelope. I think emotional abuse is as bad or worse and I’ve seen women do this to men as horribly. Physical abuse is however criminal. As in illegal.
    4) I don’t think your kids respect you. For various reasons. But they clearly adore you. I’d take that over respect any day. Seriously.
    5) you sublimate a lot. If you really thought marriage was so key you’d be married. Clearly it’s not THAT key to you. That’s ok. But guilting others seems quite hypocritical. Maybe you can acknowledge how freaking hard it really is.
    6) most smart people struggle with money at some point. I know millionaires who do. I know people who’ve filed for bankruptcy which is not such an easy out. For the love of god pay a grand a year and get regular extermination. Maybe buy a cello a grade below. Enjoy the amazing autumn. It’s free.

    • Kitty Kilian
      Kitty Kilian says:

      I think I agree with Leann. On writing about friends, too.
      I think your email plan is not so great. I want to know about new courses etc but I have no idea what type I should be. Each time I take that test I get different results. So I don’t believe in it. I don’t mind at all if you announce it on the blog either. It’s a practical solution. Anyway – put me on every list, then? ;-)

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        There is only one personality type that says: “I get a different result every time and I don’t believe in the test.” It’s ENFP. Almost no one gets more than two results from the test. And people who don’t believe in the test don’t take the test — except for ENFP.

        The reason for this is ENFPs can literally be anything they want to be. They are the only type that has this ability. And ENFP have a belief that anything is possible. So ENFPs literally believe they can be any type, and they see possibilities in each question. And ENFPs feel hemmed-in by this type of test because being one, single type feels overly limiting to an ENFP. But pretty much everyone else likes being a type and reading about their type; they don’t feel constrained.

        The reason ENFPs keep taking the test even though they don’t like the test is that ENFPs love the idea of the possibilities of the results. Other people who don’t like the test don’t care about self-discovery – it’s not interesting to them.

        So there you go. Now you know your type.


        • Yvette
          Yvette says:

          Thank you for writing this out again for ENFP. I know you’ve said it before, but I still didn’t believe it. I tested most recently as INFJ, and I’ve been going through a quiet period in my life and feeling very opinionated (for me). Well, that explains the I and J test result. Despite this I’m missing people and can’t commit to one idea more than a day. So I know I am an E and P. The NF only switched once, to ST, when my career took me into mathmatical research, for many years. But even then I knew I was different than the other STJs I was working with. Anyway, one more request: can you clarify the email sign-up, and maybe put it on your front page with the blog email sign-up (which took me years to find). My browser set-up doesn’t like going through feedblitz, whatever that it, and I can’t figure out if your email is still with Quistic or on a PT domain. Thanks, again.

        • Ampd
          Ampd says:

          I feel exactly this way, and I have never tested as an ENFP. Perhaps I have multiple personalities. :) I identify most with INTJ and have tested that way many times. However, I’ve also tested as an INFJ and INTP. So while I find typing interesting, I don’t think I can rely on the results.

          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            INTJs never test as anything else. There are some types that are just like that.

            So if you test as INFJ and INTJ then you are INFJ. And if you test as INTJ and INTP then you are INTP. Because INTPs and INFJs often get one letter off because both of them feel pressure to be someone they are not .

            INTPs are pressured externally to finish what they are start. INTPs think this would help them to have big impact and get people to listen to their ideas. But actually, the more likely someone is to finish something the more likely they are to have crappy ideas. Which is to say that highly creative people are more interested in questions and process than in delivery. INTPs are super creative –wildly creative thinkers in a way no other is. So you should leverage that instead of trying to function like a non-creative.

            INFJs are pressured to be less emotional – that pressure comes from themselves because they hate people who are overly emotional (overly as defined by the INFJ) and INFJs admire people who are not emotional. So INFJs test as INTJ as sort of an aspirational thing. But INFJs don’t realize that INTJs have no values and no soul, and values and soul are the essence of an INFJ.

            Now that I’ve told you how to figure out your type, send me an email with your type in it so I can add you to the right list.


        • Marilynn
          Marilynn says:

          Holy crap this is me. And I had no idea. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken that damn test! LOL.
          Hey I had scheduled a coaching session with you back in March and never called. My MIL passed and it was a shitstorm day. Anyway we can do a make up sess?

        • Vee
          Vee says:

          I think you’ve written here somewhere that experiencing trauma changes your testing results or makes it difficult to correctly type-test afterwards? Can you expand on that? I have always been ENTJ, but then I hit a wall of life-altering trauma and I can’t figure out how that affects my type. I don’t know if I’m ENTJ anymore… I feel like the experience has challenged & grown my S and my F, but SF’s still seem like they’re on another planet. I’m hungry for emotional growth in a way I’ve never experienced before. Is this just temporary ENTJ coping mechanism, or am I a different type now?

      • Lindsey
        Lindsey says:

        My best friend just chose her wedding dress and everyone was so excited, except her. she had a hundred ideas of what she could look like. In choosing one idea, she had to let go of all the other options and things she could be. She knew the day to make her final choice would not be that fun. That is a self-aware ENFP. ; )

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Penelope, sometimes you have said ” . . . don’t do what you love” — and I agree with that.

    But right about now, perhaps you might want to consider a related, but different idea — do what you *must* do.

    Painters must paint. Writers must write. (And so on.) I’ve known quite a few, even from early-early in their lives.

    What is that you must do? Not “what is your passion?” And not “what do you love?”

    What is that you feel certain, somewhere far away down inside, certain that you are supposed to do — or be doing?

    Maybe that will be your next “thing.”

  15. Joe F
    Joe F says:

    This blog helps me because it’s so honest. I always feel lesser than others. It seems like everyone has it figured out. But life isn’t like that. Behind the veneer of leased BMWs, big mortgages, and vacation photos there’s always something. I think the key lies in adaptation to the changing reality. Often it changes way before we notice. Thank you for letting us peek behind the veil.

  16. Clinton F
    Clinton F says:

    Go back.

    Your kids will love you whether they respect you or not just like you will love them whether they’re in prison or not.

    The important thing is the love (not respect, success, whatever). So, go be happy.

  17. Minami
    Minami says:

    Penelope, I’ve always thought that a lot of your most controversial posts – especially about divorce and domestic abuse – were your way of trying to rationalize your decisions in those areas. Not to other people but to yourself. (Though, since you’re an extrovert, maybe rationalizing your choices to other people is the same thing.) That’s what always made them so sad.

    And your friends who ditched you after what you said about domestic abuse were not being good friends to you, because when people are justifying the abuse is when they most need someone else. Because if your friends leave you, it makes you think, “Oh, [Abuser] really IS the only person who would put up with me.” And then you think that even if the way they are treating you is bad, it doesn’t matter because normal people won’t even put up with you, and at least the abuser seems to be tolerating you by not kicking you out.

    If you love your kids, it is of course important for them to respect you. But it’s even more important for them to respect themselves and their future partner. If kids grow up in an environment where one parent is constantly abused, they learn that it is acceptable for a partner to be abused. Your parents set that pattern for you, and you followed it in your own marriage. So, had you stayed with the farmer – thus communicating to your children that abuse is acceptable – your children would be likely to either allow themselves to be abused, or would abuse their partner.

    This is why it is important that you do not return to the farmer.

    (I will also add that it doesn’t matter if there are “two sides to every story” in this case. That argument is completely idiotic. Honestly, if you both were abusive to each other, then it was even more important that you leave, because then you’d have been leaving for his sake, too.)

    I honestly think you’ve written all that stuff about divorce being unacceptable and abuse being acceptable as an attempt to rationalize to yourself why your own parents never protected you like they should have. But maybe it’s time to admit your parents simply failed you, and that it’s okay to not justify their failures – even if it means they’re never going to be able to give you what you need from them. Someone said once, “Some chapters just have to close without closure.” (And I’m saying this as someone who had a pretty abusive, autistic mother who failed me in a lot of ways too, and who I still loved a lot.)

    You are doing much better for your kids than your own parents did for you. And because of how hard you’ve tried and how much you’ve loved them, I think your kids will do better than you’ve done.

    I really love you and your blog. I think your writing has been fantastic lately. Which is making me think that the ENTJ stuff that tends to offend INFP sensibilities (i.e. the stuff he’d cut out) is a lot of the stuff that’s actually interesting and compelling. If such core content of your blog was offensive to your editor, then he was never a good editor for you. And I think I’m right because, like I said, your posts have been better lately: they have been more interesting and have had much greater depth and clarity.

  18. May
    May says:

    Was your editor an infp? I think that’s what I heard somewhere. They tend to ghost..

    I look forward to reading more of your posts even if they are sad or terrible or hard, because usually they are fun, inspiring, and interesting. Overall, you will always be a fascinating person who people will want to get to know and connect with.

    And I think being able to model self-respect with your kids is very important for their own emotional health.

    I hope Molly works out as an editor! if not.. you should hire infj commentor Wendy. hahah!

    • Minami
      Minami says:

      By “Wendy” she means me. I comment under both names because I always forget which one I normally use, whoops.

      (May and I are friends and longtime religious readers of your blog, haha.)

  19. Bostonian
    Bostonian says:

    Hi PT. Is the new cello a different cello than the one he played in January of this year (in the video you posted previously)? Is it full-size now?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      It’s full size. Actually the one from the video is full size, too. He needed a cello that could do more. I say that like I know anything about playing a cello…. I only know about paying for a cello.


  20. sarah Mckinney
    sarah Mckinney says:

    I am always recommending you to my friends, but most of them are too self-absorbed or busy to read your blog even though it would help them. You are a good person, Penelope. Be gracious to yourself as you work through this.

  21. J.E.
    J.E. says:

    You’ve already taken a big step in simply admitting that you’re struggling. For a lot of people that’s even hard to do. You’re miles ahead of the parenting you received (or lack thereof). Often when someone has lived in abuse and dysfunction for so long, they normalize it and lose the ability to tell if something is normal or not. You’re now at least able to question things more and go back and use to discernment and see how things were not normal.

  22. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    “All bravery is rewarded. Really. I promise.” That’s what you said to me ten days ago. Now I’d like to say the same to you.

    I’m rooting for you.

  23. Mairzy
    Mairzy says:

    Opening yourself up to missteps is a huge step. It will be challenging and you are more than up to a challenge. Stay strong.

    I am a survivor of severe domestic violence. It used to infuriate me when people would ask, “Why don’t you just leave him?”. They had no clue how dangerous it was to leave him and then to keep him out of my life. I looked over my shoulder for years after I left.

    I’m glad to read that Melissa and you have found your right place in each other’s lives. Things have a way of working out, sometimes in ways that we might have thought of and considered impossible. Good luck!

  24. Paul
    Paul says:

    “But now I realize that what’s most ruinous is no missteps at all.”

    Indeed. Survival 101. Sit still and you’re a perfect target, for aggression with attention, but also an open invitation to the inevitable.

    Keep moving, be harder to pin down. Irrespective of whether you slip and fall, get back up and keep moving, changing, growing. And keep having fun.

  25. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    I liked this post! I think we always appreciate your honesty whether we agree or disagree….or really disagree. :)

    Was this kind of a Molly post or will we get to know her better later?

  26. Maria Killam
    Maria Killam says:

    Okay the mouse story? That was my favourite, haha. And that paragraph about domestic violence. I think that’s true. And it’s sad actually.
    Great post Penelope. Maria

  27. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    I think it was brave to write this too. Holding on to old friends is key. They know all about you and still want to be friends. That’s not easy to replace.

    As far as the Farmer, I suspect you feel life was easier back then. In some ways it probably was but you paid a big emotional cost. I don’t think we find success in life. We make success. If you start a new business or go with an existing business and throw everything into it, I think you’ll be financially successful. Once that happens, you can make decisions on who to be with or not be with with a clearer mind.

    One more thing that struck me recently is the number of people who start a Youtube channel, monetize it in some way, and become self-sufficient. A lot of the more successful people are younger kids who do gaming and whatever. But youtube might be a vehicle for you if you’re not using it already.

  28. eddy.canuck
    eddy.canuck says:

    read it, processed it, valued it – send a non-creepy, non-invasive hug of support and huge thanks for your invaluable comments and insights on aspies.

  29. Someone that cares
    Someone that cares says:

    I am not good at giving advice but I feel personally connected to you via this blog and I care so I’ll say it. Stop over analyzing. Do the things you love and look forward. All is well.

  30. harris497
    harris497 says:

    Just love yourself. If you don’t know how, research how this capacity can be developed and do it (and write about it so we all benefit).

    You’ve helped me alot over the years, I wish your community helps you with this, as you have noted that it helped you with other things in the past.


  31. Kitty
    Kitty says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for years now. And I think what I appreciate most is how it changes, because it’s a small reminder that we change and that’s okay. When I started reading 4 years ago I liked what you wrote, and I keep reading because now 4 years later I’m different, you’re different and I still like reading what you write.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Thank you for saying that. Sometimes I worry that I’m changing and no one signed up for the changing me. They signed up for the me they signed up for. I have to remind myself that everyone is changing with me. Your comment is one I will remember.


  32. Kimmie Morrell
    Kimmie Morrell says:

    Penelope, your writing is so touching. Personal. RELATABLE! Yep, if I wrote a book I’d be on the 4th or 5th volume by now. Life is funny. It’s so nice to know a group of people like this being so real, so supportive, so like me! I just started reading your posts and I am hooked. Where’s this personality test so I can figure out who I am, lol. Seriously, I’d like to take it, then subscribe to my list.
    With admiration and empathy, sincerely,

    • Cheryl INTJ
      Cheryl INTJ says:

      Hi Kimmie,

      The personality test that’s referred to here is the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

      From a search on Bing: “The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an introspective self-report questionnaire designed to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. The MBTI was constructed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers.”

      There are several websites that allow you to take the test for free. Therapists also can administer the test.

      Hope this helps,

  33. Sue Howard
    Sue Howard says:

    Hi Penelope, if you want to automate the process of adding subscribers to your email list, I’m happy to help :). I’m assuming it’s manual if you have people emailing you directly.

  34. Adam
    Adam says:

    I vaguely recall reading about some study, which I did not read, concluding that people get better results if instead of simply admitting their problems, they announce their initial actions against such problems. I wish I had a reference for it.

    You’ve done a great job of describing actions like buying a piano, flying to LA to get you hair cut, hiring a driver, getting fillers, arranging cello lessons. I hope you’ll extend that action orientation to some steps like the following.

    1. Ask Melissa to get Google Adwords or some similar text ad service running on your web site (not necessarily to the exclusion of what you already do with your web site), so you have a little income regardless of what is going on with your seminars at any time.

    2.. Explore the process of enrolling your kids in public school, even if you have to tell yourself that it’s just so you can blog about it.

    3. Apply for a conventional job or two (only accept one), even if your only intent is to blog about that.

    It seems to me that you cannot afford not to take at least a part time job for the time being, and I think that means you will not have the time to maintain the same level of home schooling. Yes, there are other more entrepreneurial paradigms you can and perhaps should pursue later, most likely after your kids turn 18, but, right now, the job market is unusually good and so employers might be a little less picky than usual.

    Other commenters on this post have done a better job than I think I could of expressing empathy that I also share for your situation, but I worry that many are perpetuating a cycle where you write about your problems, commenters comfort you, and that makes it feel like you’ve made more progress than you have. By the way, I commend Sue Howard for her post, an exception to this pattern, offering you specific help with your business.

    Anyhow, I, for one, would be delighted to read a blog post in the future from you about how you dedicated 15 minutes on baby steps exploring options similar to the ones I have described here.

    I hope things get better for you soon.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Adam, you should read my post about David Dellifield and you will realize how lucky you are that I’m only ripping your head off in the comments section.

      This comment is exactly why I hate writing about money here. Because you think you know better how to run my life financially than I do.

      Anyone in the entire world can figure out how to support their family just fine if they put their kids in school all day and then use public assistance to keep their kids in after-school programs. And then they get a 9-5 job. So Adam, is your point that I am too stupid to see that this is a really easy way to afford to raise kids?

      Is that what you’re doing with your kids? Maybe you should write about it.

      My kids are not doing that. My kids have aspirations that cannot be achieved by being in school and after-school programs all day. So this blog is about how I am figuring out how to do that.

      Adam, ad words running on this site would earn about $80 a month. You must have researched that if you went so far to suggest that I should be doing it on my blog. If the $80 would make such a big difference to you, then you have way bigger financial problems than I do. Maybe you should address your own financial problems here as openly as you have addressed mine, and we can all help you.


    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      Adam: Her “situation” includes that her kid is in fucking Julliard. Do you have any idea what that entails? Your patronizing advice is clueless, unimaginative, and pathetic. Some matronly advice to you: don’t offer life advice to people who are smarter and more ambitious than you.

    • Kate
      Kate says:

      Goodness gracious.
      What an unpleasant tone. Unintentionally I think.
      You must be new here to have thought those things and then decided they were worth saying to Penelope.

  35. David Joseph Plank
    David Joseph Plank says:

    Penelope, I’m not a blog reader or your usual demographic – partially disabled Vietnam vet. But sleeping in on this rainy Pocono morning nursing bruises from falling down my damned slippery deck steps twice in two days gave me time to avoid changing disposable kitty litter pans that were soaked in the flooded house two days ago. Or finding my daughter’s snake I accidentally let loose in her room that’s a parody of our cluttered life. My wife can’t help because she’s 84 miles away helping our daughter move to her new job, stranded with a foot broken the same day the cats turned on the kitchen sink faucet to cause the flood. All true – I can’t make this shit up.

    Back to the point – I found your blog compelling and delightful. No doubt mirroring your personality. You have a new fan, at least until trying to type on this damned snart (?) phone frustrates me to the point where it joins its predecessor’s among the garden rocks. With people like Adam and Sue for support, you’ll be fine.

    • Amy
      Amy says:

      David — I’m a longtime fan of PT and loved your story. Thanks for sharing and sowing Penelope the love. Also, Penelope, we’re all in this together. You’ve helped me tremendously over the years. Thank you.

  36. Athena
    Athena says:


    You do not love the farmer. You love who you wish he was. But he’s not that guy and even if his mom dies, he will NEVER BE THAT GUY.

    What he’s doing is triangulation. This means that he’s saying he can’t be what you want him to be because of his mother. That it isn’t his fault. But that’s not true. If he loved you he’d put you first. He doesn’t.

    Why are you married to this guy? Because you were abused as a child. You’re attracted to abusers. We all do that. Going back to what we saw as children feels familiar. But the farmer is a bad guy.

    You have to get back into therapy, you have to see the abuse you experienced as a child, you have to see that you’re repeating the same old bullshit, until you DONT.


  37. Yael
    Yael says:

    I am a long time reader and loyalist. You have a landlord—even if you a behind on rent—and it is that person’s responsibility not to profit while providing a rental property complete with vermin. Also you cannot be expected to entertain pets you can’t afford to feed and don’t really want since they a criminals perpetrating a “home invasion”. Plug up the holes where they enter with a lot of steel wool. Mice do not like the smell of peppermint. Place a few drops on cotton balls where they hang out, hopefully your mice are like mine and they will leave where peppermint abounds. For the record, I pay my rent and peppermint the kitchen nightly, after I remove the garbage from the premises and clean off counter tops of food residue…(this from a girl who could not be described a cleaning machine).
    Second though most important you said it yourself:
    “But I love my kids way too much not to take care of myself as their mom”.
    You can always buy yourself the T-shirt that says:
    “Being an adult is easy. It’s like riding a bike, except the bike is on fire, everything is on fire, and you are in hell”. And wear it underneath your clothes everyday so you know the truth but they don’t have to!

  38. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I’ve been following politics fairly close especially in the last ten years. I didn’t study them in college and didn’t have any use for them in the workplace. However, I have been interested in them for a very long time. A recent movement has developed named WalkAway which I find interesting because it gives a person’s story for why they’re walking away from the politics of the Democrat party. After reading this post and giving it some thought, I realized I’ve been reading your WalkAway from the farmer and some of the reasons why. I also think there are reasons you haven’t stated and reasons you are still discovering for yourself. And since this a career blog, I then thought about my WalkAway from a former job. I walked away but it wasn’t by my own choosing as I was laid off after ten years in the same division in the company. What I should have done in retrospect is walked away after about five years. The job was good with a good company and good people. The problem was I wasn’t a good fit in the division I was working in the very large company. I should have either transferred to another area within the company or left the company on my own terms. Of course, it’s very clear to me now but I didn’t see it then. When you’re right in the thick of a situation and you’re able to push through and somehow manage, you just accept it whether or not it makes much sense. What I try to do now is walk away, reflect, and ask myself and others many questions when things aren’t going well or seem to be out of whack in some way. Especially when I don’t understand. You did that recently in one of your homeschooling posts when you had a disagreement with your son and decided to take the dog for a walk and have thoughts with the dog. I found it hilarious and smart at the same time. With every new day, all of us have the opportunity to learn and do it better than the day before.

  39. Karelys Beltran
    Karelys Beltran says:

    I bet the happiness course still is impactful and valid even when the author isn’t valid.
    If I tell you that changing your oil is an ingredient for a reliable car, it’s still true even if I don’t change my own oil.

  40. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    I’m posting her because I am too gutless to write about this in my home world. I am a domestic violence and family lawyer. I have followed your links,Penelope, back thru the dv story for a second pass. I have to say I agree with you about the personal responsibility of women,not necessarily of the victim but certainly of women. I see so many situations where a violent man is strongly supported by good mother. The mother has often been and may still be in a violent relationship with his father. I am gobsmacked that not only does a victim have to deal with the perpetrator, but partic after arrests and what not,also his mother (abusive, threatening calls and texts etc)! So we have violent modelling from fathers and enabling from the mothers. Is there any wonder that little Johnnie grows up bent? Who has personal responsibility? I say all of them. But we are not allowed to talk about, even whisper about, women’s responsibility in this area.

  41. Erin
    Erin says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for at least 8 years. You made me consider homeschooling my kids, you helped me to be honest about how harassment in my early career got me a seat at the table and to not feel guilty about it, you coached me in 2013 and told me (INTJ) to not get a divorce from my husband (INFJ). I got a divorce anyway. Every day since I left my exhusband his every action has confirmed my choice was right. Surprise, surprise, he abused me. I should have told you that. I’m not saying you were wrong I’m just saying I should have been honest with you.

  42. Mike
    Mike says:

    You write a great blog – very transparent/raw. You also have a great (and often different) perspective of someone who isn’t afraid to challenge conventional/accepted wisdom. That’s going to draw a lot of criticism sometimes (see, e.g., abuse comments), but my sense is that’s why most of us really enjoy (and profit from) your blog.

    And you’re not perfect – so what, who is? You’re trying. Hang in there. Don’t be so hard on yourself (but I realize it’s kind of who you are).

  43. Amanda Cromer
    Amanda Cromer says:

    When I had a coaching call with you 2-3 months ago*, you said I was most likely an ENFP (I thought I was an INTJ)… but you also said I clearly had Aspergers (I was officially clinically diagnosed a couple of weeks ago; as a 42-year-old female!).

    My question: I now know that because of the autism, I spend almost 100% of my time pretending to be someone else. A chameleon. Acting. I’m really, really, REALLY good at it. So how can I clearly identify my type – ENFP or otherwise – when it’s likely I’m not doing the test as the real me?

    PS: If you ever need another editor, let me know.

    *One of the more fascinating hours of my life

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I’m so happy to hear you got a diagnosis. That will help to make sense of so many things! All of us with Aspergers try to act all the time. Nothing comes naturally. But if you were an INTJ you wouldn’t be able to act at all. You are good at it because you’re and ENFP. All people with Aspergers think they have to act all the time, but ENFPs do think they have to act all the time – only ENFPs with Aspergers.

      You are lucky you’re a woman with Aspergers who is an ENFP. You are much more able to pass for normal than a woman with Aspergers who is an INTJ.


      • Amanda Cromer
        Amanda Cromer says:

        Thank you – I truly wish I’d spoken with you 10 years ago, when I’d first thought of doing it. Would’ve saved a lot of going in circles…

        It has felt like life has been one long search for myself in a fog. Or quicksand. Or both. Perhaps this is why I’ve always loved personality tests (the amount of times I’ve done a Myers Briggs!!).

        My job now, according to the psych, is to stop obsessing over my career and “to make friends with my brain”. You told me the very same thing, I believe.

        And I’m still really curious how Aspergers affects personality typing. I’d love a post from you on this one day.

  44. Axxr
    Axxr says:

    Do not give in.

    You have been right, about everything. The people who are disappearing on you are misguided; they’ve believed the prevailing wisdom of the day, which is that eliminating suffering from all of human life is easy in just a few black-and-white steps, and the only reason that we can’t do is because of a few jerks who insist on seeing shades of gray. They’re wrong. There is an entire totalitarian project, unrecognized as such, beginning to simmer in the US, based on the presumption that if we just reach that threshold at which all the shades-of-grayers are forcibly silenced, we will emerge into Eden. Instead, we will emerge into the same hell that life has always been, with a brand new totalitarianism to put on the shelf with the others.

    Suffering happens and it will always happen, to everyone. There is no “safety” to be had. Yes, healthy boundaries are important. No, they will not make for all that much improvement in life. Just like breathing and drinking water are important, *and* they do not make for all that much improvement in life.

    Work on boundaries, but don’t expect the messiness to go away. Yes, domestic violence is terrible AND it will always, always happen, committed by both women and men, because we are animals with feelings and muscles and arms and when feelings get upset, which they always will, muscles and arms flail. It’s not the “right” solution to forgive it, but it’s also not the “right” solution to not forgive it. It just is, like the love that precedes it; the forgiving or not forgiving is completely irrelevant, though nobody believes this right now (boy are they gonna be disappointed as they see the future play out and nothing really changes).

    Some will stay. Some will go. The people who feel like they should stay should stay. When they start feeling like they should go, they’ll go. It’s a tragedy in all cases. Because human life is tragedy.

    Just keep doing you. Change, adapt, learn. But don’t let them convince you to unmoor yourself from common sense, it’s the one thing that you have going for you that has led you to be the appreciated, respected, and yes, also controversial person that you are.

    People hate common sense, because common sense tells them that they will die someday, sooner than they expected, and having done not all the things they wanted to, and that they will be forgotten entirely within a generation after that and their life didn’t ever really matter that much after all, and that at the end of the day, nobody’s does. That’s what common sense tells them, and they can’t cope, so common sense must be murdered in the bathtub.

    But your common sense puts you a step ahead of, and above, most everyone else. Don’t give it up, because if people like you don’t preserve it, it’s not going to come from other places.

  45. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    I read your post about your friend, Ann. Others, including yourself, have already beat you up about outing your friend, so this comment is not about that. Two things:
    1 – I also used to play oboe! I was first string, but there were only two of us oboe players. We used to get to go practice in separate practice rooms, where we would jump out the window to go outside to smoke cigarettes. That couldn’t been good for those expensive double reeds. Such oboe rebels!
    2 – Ann’s deep voice made me think of Elizabeth Holmes. I don’t think you’ve written anything about the silicon valley fraud that her company Theranos managed to pull off for a while. In the recent book about it named Bad Blood, some of the Theranos ex-employees said that the founder, Elizabeth Holmes, faked having a deeper voice by talking a couple of octaves lower than her normal voice. If you listen to Holmes speak during the many interviews that you can find online that she gave when Theranos was valued in the billions, Holmes’ deep voice is unexpected and unnerving. That deep voice did command attention in a way that was not related to her superficial attractiveness, which is why many think Holmes faked it. She wanted to be taken serious as an entrepreneur. Too bad her startup was based on deception.

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