Friday, February 27, 2015

Wives: Christ & Your Husband Say Stop Shopping So Much

“Portrait Of A Young Woman Holding A Shopping Bags” by photo stock

When I was married I was a shopaholic. This is my confession today. I was also in complete and total denial. Sure, back then I would have admitted I enjoyed shopping. But I also never believed it was an issue. I didn't think I had a problem. But now… hindsight is always crystal clear.

I realize now what I was doing… I was self-medicating with shopping to get through my marriage. Back then I probably (ok, seriously, I wouldn't have) would not have believed you if you'd walked up to me and told me that was exactly what I was doing… I likely would have protested, likely would have become defensive and simply not seen the glaring truth before me. I probably wouldn't have listened and continued on (shopping!) like I had been… merrily racking up more purchases under my belt and living in my state of perpetual denial.

Oh, how things have changed for the better. Amen! 

This is a blessing that divorce has brought... a hidden, unexpected blessing… you know, those silver linings? Yeah, my wake up call came on the heels of my divorce regarding my regular shopping, ahem…. therapy. I'm realizing if I had every one of those dollars back that I had spent during the course of my marriage I likely could have sponsored half the children in an impoverished country. Embarrassing, but true.

We all undeniably want nice things, we want to create a home that exudes beauty, wonderful memories and comfort. But when those nice things begin to become an issue and were doing it merely to fill an unhappiness, a flailing marriage, an emptiness inside, that is a huge red flag we need some help. It seemed it was always something I was buying… Easter brunch meant scoring robin blue plates graced with bunnies at Target…. Thanksgiving meant shopping at Macy's for Spode plates sporting turkeys… Spring meant snapping up a handful of beach themed decor in pretty shades of sea green, cerulean blue and cream… along with oversized glass canisters to hold sea shells gathered on vacations… then there was the shabby chic bedspreads and ruffled bed skirts from Rachel Ashwell… you name it, I bought it… I was in what one would think to be shopping heaven if there is such a thing…  having a natural knack for decorating and staging I thrived in that element… however, it would all one day come to a screeching halt and one would think that would be a bad thing… but actually, it's been one of the best things to happen to me.


The truth was, I needed to open my eyes and see, to realize that the slippery slope I was on was not good. It was subscribing to burden, to owning more and more, to trying to fill something achingly deep and unhappy inside of me that no amount of vases, pillows, lanterns etc could ever fill. Once I went through my divorce I had to downsize my belongings… as I began that process of editing it surprisingly felt wonderful… and most of all, very freeing.

I began realizing that if given choices in life, what I would choose… God first. Secondly, my family. Third, experiences in life like traveling, making memories… and last, some stuff, but not a lot. If those were truly my choices, my priorities then my actions needed to reflect it. I realized I had some changes to make and what was so great about it is I didn't feel the pull to shop after getting a divorce… and instead of fighting change as I would have at one time… now I actually welcomed it with open arms.

What I've learned… is that no amount of stuff will make you happy. But having less might. Now, don't get me wrong, I still own stuff… but it's been whittled down numerous times in stages since my divorce. You may have this big house and think "I have to decorate it!" Yes, we all want our homes to be decorated and to look beautiful… but there are extremes as well. I worked retail back in the nineties and I remember all too well women upon paying for their purchases saying: "I found so many goodies today! I'm not telling my husband I bought any of this, he will have a fit. What he doesn't know won't hurt him!" These types of scenarios were rampant. (Right now any husband's reading this are headed to their wife's car trunk or closet to search for hidden goods). Now, looking back on those statements, I realize during my marriage I was one of them… I did the same thing. As women we need to take a long hard look at our shopping… what are we buying? How often are we shopping? How much are we spending? What need are we trying to fill? Are we deep down miserable in our marriage? Do we not feel heard? Are we not connected to our spouses? How are we with Christ? It's time to take note of the relationship with Him and yes, our husband.

Today, I look back on those shopping therapy excursions and lament I wish I had every dime back… if your marriage stands a chance at flourishing the funds would be much better used toward couples counseling… that may bring you closer together… stuff won't fix the vast void between you.

Ask God today to give you the gift of self control… to receive it from the Holy Spirit… once we go to him and confide our weakness, our inadequacy within, that we desire to have self control, when we have realized that yes, we are not dependent upon ourselves, but in Christ, changes can take place. Are we allowing Christ to have control of our lives? Are we asking him for help in abstaining from seeking the world over him? Do we have hope for change and chiseling? Are we open to receiving it? God is always good. 

DEAR HUSBANDS… when your wife shops too much and hides her purchases, it likely breeds distrust for her. Secretive behavior is a sign of addiction and not any different than gambling, over-eating, drug use, etc… all of these behaviors have the ability to turn our lives upside down, putting our families at financial risk and our marriages headed for divorce court. Your role as husband is to step up when your wife cannot… as she would do for you if you couldn't. Now is the time for you to consult with a marriage counselor and financial advisor. Gently remind her that you are taking these actions out of LOVE for her, not reprimanding or shame and you are completely committed to the relationship and her, that together with Christ you will stand in victory. 

The best part of asking Christ for help in our spending and our marriages is that then were shedding the need to be a slave to the world… to credit cards, to hidden packages and shopping bags, to untruths like "Oh, I've had that while" when in reality you just purchased it last week… so today I give encouragement… to reassess your checkbook, your debit card account, your receipts squirreled away and have a candid talk not just with yourself and your spouse… but with Christ.

©  ~ 2015

For Financial Advice… check out Dave Ramsey's website here

James 1:13 
English Standard Version
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

She Asked Me: Who Killed Your Sister?

“Traveling At Speed Of Light” by digidreamgrafix via 

February 2015

names have been changed and omitted in this post 


It was February, when skies are often gray all twenty eight days and temperatures typically hover in the fifties. I can take the chill of fifty degree weather, but please Dear Mother Nature, send us some sun with it… to take that winter edge off, so we don't feel as though we live in a gray blanket.

A little past three o'clock, I maneuvered thick afternoon traffic after having picked up my daughter from school… we had just departed from the post office and now were en route to the grocery store to pick up a few essentials like milk, bread and eggs. As I glided past stores, a seafood restaurant and a bakery… I heard my daughter speak up from the backseat.

"How come Daddy is taking us to see Braydon?" She asked me, "us" meaning her and her brother seeing their younger cousin Braydon.

My mental daydreaming behind the wheel was interrupted by her unexpected question and I took a few seconds to collect my thoughts.

"Braydon is my nephew, your cousin… so it's really my place to take you to see Braydon. I don't know why he's doing that. But sometimes people don't always know their place… sometimes people just ignore boundaries and do what they want." I murmured with irritation thinking of her father.

"Oh…" She responded "So, Daddy does it even though he knows he shouldn't? I mean, he does it just to be annoying? Because he's your nephew, your sister's kid so I don't think he should be doing that..." She asked me, rationalizing aloud, trying to get clarification on a situation that was beyond anyone's comprehension at this point…

"Yeah, pretty much!" I replied and as soon as I uttered it, realizing my tone was a little snappy. Ugh. I took a deep breath, this was very difficult territory for me, this was hard stuff, this was an area where I had to work comparable to pulling nails to not lose my cool. Rationally I knew it wasn't her fault. Admittedly just the topic alone often sent me into an irritated state by just thinking about it and succumbing to becoming grumpy. Deep breaths, I told myself. It's not her fault, she doesn't know what you're dealing with. She doesn't know that it is all ridiculously insane and some twilight zone we've all entered. Or maybe she did. Just quietly observing over time she had already gathered information about her dad's actions. She obviously saw reality as it was, she was a smart kid and I certainly wasn't going to protest when she saw the truth before her… the truth however grossly odd. It was so bizarre… my deceased sister who had been killed by a drunk driver; her child that was born just before her death, my sweet nephew… was at times in the care of my ex… whom my sister had despised with a passion. It was all so ironically dysfunctional and awful at best. My ex would occasionally have my nephew in his care when our daughter was on his week and along with our son they would go out to eat and hang out.

When I had explained this strange reality to sweet long time friends at breakfast one morning over eggs, biscuits and coffee, one of them leaned forward in astonishment and understandable angered injustice at the whole thing… "You have GOT to be kidding me!" was written all over her face… unbelieving that this was even possible, that anyone could be that inept, that conniving, that manipulative, that anyone could be that big of a "meanie poopie head" as my daughter says. But, yes, as unbelievable as it was, boundaries seemed to be non-existent and instead chaos ran amok happily served up by my ex.

As we drove along, taking the curves on the main thoroughfare, I ruminated over the situation, my daughter having sparked a mental narrative… she spoke…

"Mommy, how come you get stuff in the mail from those MADD people all the time? What are they sending you?"

"I get letters about other families that have been affected by drunk drivers, sometimes I just get updates on what they are doing to fight drunk driving and other times they ask me to donate money. I try to send them what I can." I told her.

"Oh…" She replied. I glanced at her sitting in the backseat via the rearview mirror and detected her furrowed brows… she was deep in thought and as if trying to piece together a puzzle, she seemed troubled by something. In seconds I would find out what it was… the next question was coming, like a tornado, a question I had dreaded one day my being asked and bewilderingly, it was now coming… like a wind that had been kept at bay for years… now it was being released and with it the ability to send me into a near panic at it's presence.

"Mommy… who killed your sister? The drunk driver who killed Aunt Elaine, who was it? Did they die?" She asked me, the question making my stomach drop, my hands gripping the leather steering wheel becoming clammy, wishing she hadn't asked. I truly hadn't expected this question this soon… maybe in a few years… but not yet. And I wished it hadn't shown up at my door… it wasn't something I had wanted to have to delve into… and at that I wasn't sure if I ever would be ready to.

I pressed the button on the radio, silencing the music playing softly and cleared my throat. I didn't answer right away… I sat at the light that had turned red watching the traffic flow, vehicles taking their turns, trying to grasp my thoughts… I hated this. I really hated this.

"Braydon's daddy killed her." I finally said.

I heard an audible gasp from the backseat and finally she spoke "Braydon's daddy?" She affirmed.

"Yes, " I responded through gritted teeth, "He died the next morning." I added.

"Ohhh… " She said sadly, then came the next question… "Is he in heaven? Or hell?"


The light turned green. I paused, looking both ways before hitting the gas to ensure anyone who believed they were invincible wasn't running the light.

Years ago, fresh in my grief I admit I would have said "hell". Quickly, it would have spat out like a nasty bit of phlegm from one's throat… I would have said hell and meant it. I would have gladly served up the answer of hell and felt justified. I would have shoved down any feelings that spoke otherwise and briskly moved on in my fury, hurt and loss. He had been abusive toward her both verbally and physically for years leading up to our losing her.

Now… today, I soberly answered her with more reason and insight… "I don't know where he is." I admitted, "I don't make that decision. God makes that decision. When people do things that are bad and that hurt others we may think they went to hell. And yeah, maybe were right. The bible says no drunkards will inherit the kingdom. But ultimately there is grace and God decides who goes where."

"Poor Braydon…" She whispered softly in the backseat, her small hands clasped in her lap. "Does he know?" She asked.

"No, he doesn't. Listen… if you have any questions about any of this, feel free to ask me, okay? But please don't bring it up to Grandma… "I added, "It only serves to upset her and she's upset enough about it."

"Okay, I won't." She agreed.


Drinking should always be dealt with carefully, with sober judgment and extreme moderation. The bible speaks of how we should not walk around in drunkenness, in lewdness and revelry as described in Romans 13:13. Anything of excess we know can cause major issues for us… but add alcohol consumption to a moving vehicle, well, any machinery really and we have a recipe for disaster.

The problem with drinking too much is not just related to the possible cause of injury or death from adding driving to the mix but also other unwise decisions… the more we drink the more our vision becomes clouded, our good judgment becomes skewed and the more likely we are to dabble in immoral actions like pre-marital sex, engage in brawling, letting our tongues loose in anger, or simply dying from alcohol poisoning.

I don't believe God is against us drinking altogether although some churches and denominations forbid it… According to this verse the bible shows drinking is permissible…

"...take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose.  Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish…" 

But that also doesn't mean to go nuts and throw caution to the wind… to succumb to a drunken state. I believe one of the other issues today with alcohol is the general joking done about it by society… it's everywhere, seemingly infiltrating home decor, gift bags, greeting cards, etc. When I'm out shopping and see decorative signs like "Wine Me Up & Watch Me Go!" it makes me cringe. I'd use that sign for kindling… it would never make it's way into my house. We never know if the person sitting beside us has lost someone to a drunk driver. Right after the loss of my sister I was at a church retreat with other women… sitting at the kitchen table eating a sausage and egg casserole with fruit and juice, I was enjoying the laughs and joy we shared together. But when one of the women laughingly quipped she put alcohol in her pre-schoolers sippy cup to drink at sporting events she attended, I recoiled. I was incredibly upset by that remark. I nearly bit my tongue in half and excused myself from the table. We never know if the person within earshot of us or sitting at the table we are sharing at the company Christmas dinner party is a victim of a drunk driver or yes, even a recovering alcoholic… perhaps they are using every bit of strength to rebuke temptation, {THEY ARE BRAVE} to refrain from having a drink. I do believe we as a society need to be more sensitive in general to others as the often casual remarks made in public, social settings can really wound. If everyone at a table is drinking and one person chooses to order iced tea or water… leave them be… don't ostracize them in front of their peers, don't point out their decision to not drink and above all do not mock them. Some people believe drinking is a sin… respect their decision. Never encourage someone to drink, especially if they've made it clear they have an issue with it. It's not to say you should never drink although that is a choice for some and that is okay… sometimes it's due to medications they are taking, etc. But we do need to make sure we are making wise choices if we do choose to drink.

When we make choices, including those related to alcohol we want to make sure we are honoring God… are we living as He would want us to? Are we following His word? Are the actions were choosing and the words we are uttering related to drinking something we would do and say if Christ was standing beside us? God wants a fruitful life for us… and when we make good choices it brings glory to Him.

©  ~ 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Divorce & Loneliness: 7 Tips

February 2015 

names have been omitted in this post 


What time was it? I stirred and shielded my face from the bright sunlight streaming in the bedroom… squinting, I peered at my iPhone through bleary eyes and saw it was eight o'clock in the morning. It was midweek and I had the day off work…stretching, I was so relieved to have the day to do whatever I wished. The night before I had stayed up late with my mother watching a movie starring Sandra Bullock… Hope Floats… that had to be the most sad, depressing movie regarding divorce yet sadly reality for so many. The movie had entailed lots of tears, Kleenex and discussion afterward.

I heard my mother busy in the kitchen making breakfast… the scent of pancakes with fresh blueberries and maple syrup from Vermont wafted throughout the house. Rising from bed and pulling on a black PINK sweatshirt emblazoned in white with 1986 on it and fixing my hair back into a new and improved messy bun I wandered into the kitchen where she was busy at the stove.

"Hey!" She greeted me cheerily, busy ladling another spoonful of gluten-free pancake batter onto the hot griddle… the batter beginning to pop and sizzle.

"Hey, good morning…" I told her with a smile, reaching for a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, milk and then a bowl and spoon.

"Did you message that guy?" She asked me, referring to some guy who a dating site had alerted me to via email that had reached out… a dating site I had discontinued using months ago but for whatever reason still received occasional alerts from. Late last night I had taken the time to log back in and check out his profile.

"No… I checked out his profile but didn't respond." I told her.

"Why didn't you? I thought you were going to." She said with surprise.


Finally I spoke… "I don't know why, really. I mean, on paper he sounds great. Everything looks good thus far. The first guy I can say that about. I don't know…" I trailed off in thought. Since being divorced, aside from work, life had been primarily breakfast with friends, play dates for my daughter, meeting my sister for taco's, lots of movie nights in, exercise and naps…  life had been a continual loop of the warm, familiar and comforting… and the thought of deviating from that known cycle seemed comparable to being released into the wild, being yanked from a cocoon of sorts and it somewhat terrified me quite frankly.

She looked over at me, then sliding her spatula under the warm and golden pancake on the griddle to flip it… "Is everything okay? I mean, I don't care if you message him or not… I'm not saying to message him, I'm not saying not to… I'm just wondering why you seemed like you were going to and now you seem like you don't want to."

"Yeah…" I exhaled, "Ughhhh… I don't know… he's sending smiles and questions and I'm just...." I trailed off and poked at the cereal swimming in my bowl and shrugged, "I'm torn…. part of me, I just don't want to go to the effort because I'm enjoying doing my own thing right now. Then part of me is like… it would be nice to have someone of quality character with a daughter or two to hang out with..." I told her, thinking of my daughter. "Maybe at the end of the day I'm just apprehensive."

I planned on thinking it over… the truth was, I was incredibly cautious as I should be… my walls were up and careful scrutiny was high regarding anyone these days, as hindsight is 20/20. These days I listened much more carefully, observed actions and listened to my intuition… learning to trust our own gut instincts again is vital in the recovery of narcissistic sociopathic relationships… as the sociopaths weapon of choice is to make you doubt yourself in all interactions with them and others. I knew it was vital for anyone who had been in such a toxic relationship to take the time needed to become healthier, more confident in relying on those internal warnings our instincts gave us regarding others who have hidden agendas.

In Divorce Care classes we had discussed the issues regarding dating out of loneliness post divorce… how that proves to be catastrophic to anyone in the aftermath of the dissolution of a marriage… the truth is… only once we are securely happy with being on our own can we begin being with someone else... otherwise we never know if we're choosing someone to merely fill a deep internal void. I loved being on my own so if I dipped my toes in, friendship would be pursued, not a romantic relationship… as I believed what the experts said… that pursuing friendship first sets the foundation for a successful relationship long term.


It's perfectly fine to make your kids your number one priority post divorce along with your healing process. Many seem to give divorced folks well intentioned advice to "get back out there" pronto,  yet that advice can often deliver quite the disservice. The truth is… we need time to figure out who we are sans husband or wife… it takes time to figure out just what we want, to grow individually, to heal from wounds inflicted by our ex and to recover financially to stand on our own two feet.

The worst thing we can do post divorce
 is cave into dating someone out of loneliness.
 It is the kiss of death for a relationship
 before it's even begun. 

If we are experiencing loneliness it may very well be an indicator we are not spending any time or not enough time with God. Will God allow us to feel lonely when He knows we need to spend time with Him? Yes, quite possibly. Even if we try to fill our loneliness with social activities, with dinners and gabfests on the phone, God will always be there desiring his turn with us. He is a jealous God who loves us. Even if we turn to others to fill that gap, that void in our lives, so we don't feel quite so alone... in the depths and darkness when night falls, it's just us with our own thoughts and the crickets chirping outside our window... and God...  people only provide temporary relief here in this life… like a bandaid they are not a complete and total fix. God is ever-lasting, all en-compassing and an endless resource to us when it comes to companionship, affectionate love and comfort.

A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

When we feel lonely we can turn to God, not out of guilt because there isn't any sin in experiencing loneliness… like many other feelings; disappointment, sadness, etc, we can absolutely feel a full range of human emotions… it's when we begin to make poor choices that stem from loneliness that causes the issue. God wants us to turn to him for comfort and support when we are suffering, as there is zero shame in admitting to him we are struggling whether it be loneliness or depression, etc in the aftermath of a break-up.

Only God can satisfy our aching 
longing heart within, no one 
else no matter how they try. 

When God created Eve he created companionship for Adam… God saw that man should not be alone… but we also aren't to date or marry simply out of loneliness. We must be able to enjoy being on our own and only after having Christ be first in our life can we then even think of joining with someone else in marriage. Instead of trying to find someone here on earth to assuage our loneliness we can turn to God, pour out our hearts to Him and reveal all our feelings however negative allowing Him to fill any gaps, provide comfort and healing.

Trust him, turn to him in faith that he will fill the inner aches within and that his promises for you are for good not harm. Only once we put our trust in Him, when we look to him for companionship, for comfort, strength and to share our heart, our life, our innermost yearnings can we then be complete to love another.

©  ~ 2015

Things To Remember 
Regarding Loneliness: 

1. According to experts it takes roughly 3 years to heal from a divorce. When we put ourselves on a quick timeline to heal we rush the process and possibly stunt it.

2. When we allow others in our life however well meaning to dictate rushing into another relationship, setting us up on blind dates, seeking a romantic connection we risk making poorly suited choices out of loneliness. 

3. Post divorce we may receive calls and messages from well meaning folks of the opposite sex saying if they were single they'd be with us/marry us in a nano-second. These well meaning comments possibly meant to raise our spirits can often can make us feel more alone behind closed doors. Remember that each of us is worthy of love and Christ showed us the ultimate act of love; dying for us. 

4. When we're lonely the worst times may be at night when couples are sharing their days, cuddling, watching tv together and going out. Now isn't the time to dismiss any loneliness. It's better to admit we are lonely and embrace it than push it away, making the healing process longer. 

5. Abstaining from alcohol is wise when we're lonely.

6. Sometimes we're loneliest when we're in social settings when everyone else is coupled off. You are not the odd one out, the rejected one; don't listen to the lies of the devil... you are a valuable person who is fully capable of love, who did love and can do so again. 

7. It may feel like life is just passing us by if we're lonely simply because we don't have someone to share it with. But this time right now is precious. One day you may be married again... take advantage of this possibly fleeting time to do some things you've wanted to do. 

Related Posts:

Divorce: 6 Practical Tips For Healing 

Healing Post Divorce & Beginning Again 

Saying Goodbye To Your Ex & Yes To Love Again 

Monday, February 16, 2015

10 Signs You Are A Narcissistic Sociopath

10 Signs You Are A Narcissistic Sociopath: 

1. Your partner must be what you want… whether it be appearance, personality, wants and desires, etc. (Your partner has voiced that they feel you are always wanting to change them and they cannot please you.)

2. Your partner must be available when you want and or need them and not bother you when you have no need or desire for their presence.

3. Your partner must have no "problems"… no anxieties, no phobias, no weaknesses, no demands, no requests, no health conditions that require resources of yours like time, energy, attention and money. When your partner does have something you feel extremely irritated and put out by their "flaws".

4. Your partner must look good on your arm, like a trophy of sorts he or she must always look polished and "perfect" for you to be attracted to them. (Your partner spends an inordinate amount of time on their appearance to look nice for you yet you then berate them for the time taken.)

5. Your partner must not ever change… not ever age, have wrinkles, have stretch marks, scars, lose and or gain weight, etc. (When your partner changes in any way you find yourself not attracted to he or she and begin to loathe them. They better get their act together or they are out.)

6. Your partner must not do anything that takes time and attention away from you like hobbies, a career, social activities, etc. (Your partner says you're controlling, that they feel isolated and they feel "hooked at the hip" with you. Your partner fails to be your "everything".)

7. Your partner must be willing to accept any and all responsibility for the issues in the relationship… because if they would just "work harder" at pleasing you, being perfect, the relationship would improve. (Your partner has tried over and over again to verbalize the issues in the relationship, your partner suffers from anxiety, stress, depression and or unexplainable illnesses.)

8. Your partner must be happy to give you what you want when you want it… like a bank account if you are making deposits, (gifts; flowers, chocolates, meals, trips, spending allowance, etc) you better be getting a return… and it better be worth what you've paid out. (Your partner has voiced time and again that they feel the relationship is like a business (deals made) instead of based on love, mutual respect and equality.)

9. Your partner must be willing to let you be completely in control, to make all the decisions. You find your partner continually coming "against you" regarding issues like child rearing, home decor, where to live, remodeling decisions, in-law issues/visits, holiday celebrations, educational, psychological and discipline decisions for the children, etc.

10. Your partner must be willing to put up with or turn the other cheek to less than desirable behaviors by you like lying, (what you call harmless little white lies) cheating and criminal-like behaviors such as tax-evasion, fraud, etc. (Your partner continually catches you in lies and or protests your ill behavior.)

©  ~ 2015

To My Readers: Thank you for reading, commenting & sharing! 

Related Posts: 

Common Phrases Spoken By (and signs of) A Narcissistic Sociopath 

"Because You're Old Enough To Be My Dad" Older Men & Younger Women 

An Open Letter To Husbands - Love, Your Wife 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day: Married Or Single ~You Are Loved

image by gps grace power strength 

This week I bought a handful of pale pink and fuchsia tulips for my kitchen (pictured above). I took my daughter along and we spent some time oohing and ahhing over all the pretty flowers to choose from. I wanted her to see that just because Mommy doesn't have a guy to buy her flowers the world doesn't stop spinning when were not coupled. It's so important for girls to see that their moms can create a world of beauty, can buy something sweet for themselves and enjoy said beauty and self-paid-for purchase. As we left the store and strode across the parking lot I told her "See? You don't need a man to buy you flowers for Valentine's. You can buy your own flowers." She smiled, skipping happily along and quipped back "Yep!"

Regardless of whether you are single or married, male or female, you deserve to have a beautiful place, lovely surroundings, to treating yourself with something sweet, to being loved, cherished and cared for. Just because you're single or in a marriage that lacks love, respect and care please know that you are worthy of love, of sweet tender care, of having the sweet scent of flowers on your bed stand, paper hearts adorning your pillow and chocolate kisses in your pocket.

We are blessed to be loved by a loving God, 
by our Savior who died on a cross for each of us. 

I have been enjoying Valentine's the past few years as single… my Valentine's have been better as single than ever married. I can buy myself some chocolates and flowers and guess what? I don't "owe" anyone sex either. Applause and high fives for me. That may sound bizarre but that was the kind of marriage I lived, where everything was a "deal" by him, where he on a few occasions would "jokingly" leave money by the bed… he was the only one laughing. Contempt breeds where love doesn't. Fast forward to now, I can happily purchase my own stuff, enjoy it, cause I paid for it with my own dinero thank you very much. Being such a sucker for Valentine's, the pink, red and white, I love this time of year that leads up to this day… the stores look so festive and girlie with all the displays graced in colors of love. Some may scream an agenda of commercialism, a scheme to get people to hand over hard earned dollars "just because " but I love it.

Not everyone loves Valentine's or loves being single though. Everyone is in a different place in their journey post-divorce…. even in the midst of divorce. There may be struggles in coming to grips with our singleness. There may be a sadness that we don't have someone. And that is okay… we each have to embrace where we are and find our way through. It's perfectly okay to say: "I'd really like to have someone"… just this past week on a particularly trying day I was really wanting a bear hug from a guy. Just. a. hug. That. is. all. Sometimes we have bad days (or really great days) and wish we had someone kind and loyal to share it with, to laugh about it with (including plenty of sarcasm) and that is totally ok… it's okay to want that… it's when we begin to perilously move toward the territory of "I NEED someone" and of a desperate mentality that life can begin going awry pretty quick. We can also remember that holding expectations of others may lead to great disappointment… when we take control and remind ourselves we are fully in control of ourselves and this day (not others behavior) we can take action to make the day wonderful and not rely on others. Reminding ourselves of the love Christ has for us, buying ourselves flowers, viewing a beautiful sunset, enjoying praise music and reaching out to others, baking something sweet… we all have the choice to make today beautiful.

I love Single Dad Laughing on Facebook… his concept is awesome, because it enables us to see the funny, the sweet, the hilarious and sarcastic quotes, pictures and such but still give support to others in the times he asks the question of "Tell me the 100% truth right now"… and soon to follow is the funny but also the heartfelt, the hard, the really difficult honest-to-goodness-truth that makes you just stop in your scrolling tracks and you literally want to reach through the computer screen and hug that person who is hurting horribly.

Valentine's Day is kinda like that… we each have the ability to reach out to others. Just because someone is married doesn't equate to them feeling loved. There are many unhappy, unloving Valentine's Day's behind closed doors in marriage. There is no lonely like being alone with someone where love is supposed to exist.  For singles to reach out to their married friends and tell them "Happy Valentine's Day"----> that may be the biggest bright spot to a married person's day… and vice versa for a single person to hear "Happy Valentine's" from a married friend… love matters to both and we can all reach out to others… we love because He first loved us.

© ~ 2014  

1 John 4:19New International Version (NIV)

19 We love because he first loved us.

Related Posts: 

Desperation: Drop It Like It's Hot

Divorced? For The Single Man Or Woman~ My Hope For You

Bridging The Gap: 30 Questions To Ask Someone 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Narcissistic Sociopath: They Are Only Trying To Help You

September 2012

names have been omitted in this post

this post contains language 


Sitting in shorts and a t-shirt atop the king-sized bed with it's pretty embroidered Cynthia Rowley duvet, I surveyed the large oversized tray... double checking we had extra napkins and we each had a fork. It was a warm September night and the ceiling fan barely made it's circular presence overhead on it's lowest setting. I rose to cross the cream Berber carpet, my coral polished toes a fading summer pop of color… popping my head out the bedroom doorway, I called to him that I had everything we needed for dinner. Across the room the cream drapes were pulled open to reveal the night sky... the moon smiled over the water, the ripples glistening from it's light shining down. We were having a late dinner; he had gone to fetch what was nearby, quick and our usual go-to…. Jason's Deli for two… oversized baked potatoes with all the toppings. He soon joined me and as sat there I poked my potato with my fork, taking a few bites. Then he asked how my day was.

That question asked by him gave me anxiety. 
It was like a test. Would I pass it? 
Usually not. 
It led to ways he felt I could "improve" myself. 
It was also one-sided. 
It nearly always led to a fight. 
I had reached the point I wished he wouldn't even ask. 

He also expected a response that was chipper, beyond upbeat and anything that wasn't like someone flipped out on rapturous ecstatic joy meant being grilled to death about what was wrong and then despite any and all protestations on my part of "Nothing is wrong!" -- because nothing was wrong. 

This conversation of how did my day go always seemed to turn into the equivalent of a game show called "Let's figure out how we can 'fix' Jennifer… because she needs lot's of that. She's not perfect but with some kinks worked out here and there I'm sure I can get her where she needs to be and finally I'll be happy with her."

That was his philosophy.
It hurt. It was exhausting. 

And yet it continued no matter how much I waffled between protesting or yes, most of the time tried and tried some more in classic co-dependent fashion to please him and protect the relationship above all else.

That night it would get worse.

I had been diagnosed that spring (April/May-ish) with ADHD. Finally, we, well, I had some answers, thank goodness. I finally now knew what had plagued me since childhood. I was so grateful, so relieved to now know what the issue was and had been taking Vyvanse, a stimulant medication to help with symptoms. The Vyvanse had brought me such wonderful results, I was much less distracted and accomplished much more but I had also unfortunately lost weight faster than you could scarf a carb-laden meal to make up for it. It had become alarming the amount of weight I had dropped in just a few short months so in August I began slowly weaning off the stimulant and trying to re-gain some weight. I felt pulled in two directions… I was really frustrated; I needed the medication for my ADHD symptoms but I also wasn't willing to put my physical health at risk by losing too much weight just to do that. I felt like I was in a no-win situation at that point. Something had to give. So I opted for stopping the Vyvanse. After I gained some weight back I would look at my other options regarding medication. My doctor agreed, he said we could explore other medications once I was back on track weight-wise… him putting me on a weight gain program.

But that night… as we sat there on the bed with our dinner of baked potatoes sitting between us and two slices of cheesecake for dessert… he started in… like he was scolding a child, he began telling me how he was angry I was not taking care of myself. 


I was so confused. I sat there trying to process just what the hell was going on... it was like our two worlds didn't match up or something. He was twisting reality... I WAS taking care of myself... I was trying to re-gain the weight I'd lost. I tried to explain (again) to him how I had been taking Vyvanse to help my ADHD symptoms but it had led to the weight loss… that these things take time, I couldn't regain the weight overnight. I felt like he expected instantaneous results of perfection… like I couldn't perform quickly enough and when he said "jump" it wasn't when but how high did I need to do it? I was sick and tired of his expectations… it was draining. I could never live up to his expectations. His constantly high expectation(s) of me had caused my anxiety to sky rocket over the past few years… it was like living on eggshells all the time… wondering when would the other shoe drop.

He looked down at his potato saying nothing… fuming. Fuming that I was trying to explain… he might as well have had steam coming from his ears. He was fuming that I wasn't like: "Oh, okay, dear… I will get on that for you right away!" like some programmed robot.

I spoke "What is the matter with you?" I asked then snapped with exasperation, "I'm sick of you fussing at me!"

He turned and looked at me, his dark beady eyes staring at me like they wanted to explode out of his head. "You look like SHIT!" he yelled at me.


I stared at him with stunned shock.

"I look like SHIT?!... I LOOK LIKE SHIT?!" I repeated forcibly with emphasis on each word, anger mounting at what he said, absolutely stunned he was speaking to me that way. "Excuse me?!" I retorted back at him.

"Yeah, you do!" He retorted back, ugly in my face.

I sat there, the cream room swirling, spinning, trying to grasp what was happening. What the hell had happened to him? WHO WAS HE??? AND WHO TALKS TO SOMEONE THIS WAY? I had no idea. This was some psycho in my bed. A million thoughts were running through my mind… frantic, crazy, grasping thoughts… trying to make some sense of something that didn't make any sense at all.

I had no idea he was cheating. I had no idea he was wracking his brain on a daily basis trying to figure out how to get rid of me… so he could move in my new, younger-look-alike and "try things out" with her insteadand his best friend was condoning it all, even encouraging it,who had stood at the altar for our wedding beside us as we took our vows.

"Why are you talking to me this way?!" I demanded.

Silence. He just stared, fumed down at his potato with steam coming off it.

I wanted to cry. He had vowed to love me, to walk beside me yet I felt alone in this... he had just said the most awful, hateful thing and I didn't understand why he was being so cruel, so mean. But my hurt quickly turned to anger right back, I was so upset with him.

"I can't believe the way you're talking to me! I can't believe what you just said!" I exclaimed and as I sat there staring at him like he was from Mars, I spoke "You know… you think you're so perfect… but I don't see six-pack abs." I pointed out, trying to make a point then took a deep breath and added, "You're attacking me for something I am trying to fix, trying to work on, that I am fully aware of… I didn't ask for the weight loss, I am trying the best I can. You need to quit pointing the finger at me… because you have some work to do, clearly on yourself, in how you treat me. I don't know why you feel like it's okay to treat me like this but it's not. And I don't have to take it." I got up, retreated to the master bathroom, slammed the door shut and sat on the thick plush white bathmat that graced the tile floor, sobbing, unbelieving that he could behave that cruelly… little did I know everything was derailing faster than a unstoppable train headed for disaster.


In a narcissistic sociopath's view he or she believes their words of "constructive" (loving in his or her eyes) advice is for your own benefit, it's for your own good… he or she means no harm, he or she is merely trying to nudge you in the right direction, after all. They are just wanting you to be perfect so they can love you… so you can love them like they need you to, so the relationship will thrive and flourish. They are helping you… in their eyes they are nudging you to get your act together speedy quick because they can't have you, their partner being a mess, now can they? Nope, not at all.

Their criticism comes from a place of LOVE not wrath… <smirk>

Then he or she will turn on the charm again… the love they can shower you with that is all-so-wonderful, whether it be adoring praise or gifts they will have you heady with joy at how much they clearly love you. They will continue this cycle of dishing out "loving criticism" and then the over the top acts of love like gushing praise, high fives, words of "great job!" accolades for you, gifts like expensive paintings, electronics, flowers, candy and clothes… leaving you in a disoriented spin cycle of confusion.

Until you become strong. Until you see he or she for what they really are. Until their game is up. Until the mask falls away bit by bit revealing stinking decay underneath. Until you're onto their trickery and deceit… until you sit there and reply:

"I can't believe you're treating me like this! I'm not putting up with it!"

Strength threatens them.

Strength means they are no longer in control.

Strength means you're in control.

Strength means they are about to lose.

And you're about to walk out the door.

© ~ 2014  

To My Readers:

Thank you for reading, commenting & sharing!

Related Posts:

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Projection & Signs Of A Cheating Spouse

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Job Interview: When You Aren't Chosen

names have been omitted in this post

February 2015 


So the past thirty to sixty days… (or has it been more like ninety? It's been such a time suck, I'm not sure when I was pulled into this vacuum, it's a little blurry at this point, so please bear with me) I have spent an inordinate amount of time refining my resume and cover letters to potential jobs and employers, carefully paying attention to all the details that involve making sure everything is specific to said job I'm applying for and double, triple checking for any typo's. It has been for lack of a better word hell, quite frankly. I hate the job searching process, I hate the interview process. (Does anyone really like it?) And yet with that being said… ninety percent of the jobs I've landed in the past I've been blessed to have been hired on the spot. Maybe I became a little over confident due to that stellar past record of connecting with a potential boss and after just chatting a few minutes and hearing the wonderfully sweet words of: "Okay… I like what I'm hearing and what I see. I'd like to offer you the job."

Or maybe the job market has changed since those glorious days… maybe bosses are getting more and more picky because they've been burned too many times by employees who didn't turn out to be who they thought they were either character-wise or qualified for the job-wise… or yikes, even both. I'm not sure… but I see signs of it online everywhere. Companies hiring for what I would consider entry level jobs like receptionists at law firms are demanding the moon and more qualification-wise and interview process wise. Jobs that at one time would entail answering a multi-line phone, making coffee, looking "purty", typing some documents and filing now requires three times the amount of work at the same measly pay of eight dollars an hour. I mean, seriously. I don't mind the extra work, I welcome it because in that extra work is more opportunity for growth and possibly advancement, yay! However, there is this little thing called INFLATION. And for whatever reason employers seem to have forgotten about that tiny detail.

This past month has been a hoop-filled multi-interview process for entry level-like jobs as described above… which just absolutely baffles me… maybe I'm showing my age but you'd think these employers were running Google or something for goodness sakes. And the interview questions often take me by surprise…  the questions alone make me wonder if anyone has any common sense anymore. For example, in an interview I did with an attorney many years ago… he actually asked me: "Now, do you go out and party? Do you drink? Do you go out all the time? Because we can't have that going on. I don't want to hire you and then have you coming in hung over in the morning. What do you typically do when you're not working?"

Stunned silence at first on my part.

I couldn't believe his question.

Call me naive but I was shocked that somebody was actually doing this at their job.

"No, let me assure you I wouldn't be doing that. First of all, I have maybe two drinks a year. I would never dream of coming in hung over. Second of all, I'm here to do a job and do it well. I won't be coming in drunk, painting my nails, or calling in, etc. Third, my life is the most boring life ever. In my free time I watch tv, go to the grocery store and read." I told him.

He smiled appreciatively with kind gray eyes, nodded and said he had a few more folks to interview but he would get back to me. The next day he called and offered me the job. Are there just few candidates out there that take their job seriously or are employers becoming more and more picky? I'm not sure… maybe a bit of both.

The interview I had a couple weeks ago went well… all seemed fine as I answered the paralegals questions. I left believing I had the job… they would be calling potential candidates for second follow-up interviews with the attorney she said as she shook my hand and led me out. I nodded, smiled and graciously thanked her. I thought I had it in the bag for a second interview and was genuinely excited.

Imagine my shock when a few days ago I see a new ad posted by the firm I interviewed with a couple weeks ago. In caps and exclamation points they go on how they will not be hiring a gang member, they will not be hiring anyone who does not know their abc's, they will not hire anyone who is lazy or lies, etc…because they are a law firm and will find out.

I sat there first appalled, absolutely stunned that anyone, especially someone who is to be of a professional nature would post an ad that read like that. I wracked my brain for anything I might have said during the interview that might have been perceived as undesirable. No… I thought to myself. Not at all. Hmmmm, I thought as I loaded dishes in the dishwasher, ran errands and restocked the fridge with groceries bought… I spent the afternoon mulling over it. As if I had a fine tooth comb I poured over each of their points one by one …. I wasn't a gang member. I lived with gang members having runaway from home twenty one years ago at seventeen… a lifetime ago. I can't undo that. Fast forward to now, I am a mom who goes to Target more times a week than I can count because I have a milk guzzler posing as a child, :-) I bake cinnamon muffins in the evening or maybe Pilsbury brownies with chocolate chunks in them and watch the news at nine p.m. I drive my daughter to and from school like all moms and navigate the car pool lane silently urging them to hurry along because for some reason there is always this one car that hangs back comparable to ten vehicles. I buy TREsemme extra conditioning shampoo because my hair tends to get really dry on the ends, I eat Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, I am meticulous about keeping my checkbook up to date, I am a stickler about recycling, I pay my taxes, I don't gamble, I keep current insurance on my car at all times, I don't smoke or do drugs (never have), I sleep with a myriad of stuffed animals like Sulley from Monsters Inc, a hedgehog, a doggie, and sometimes a baby doll that my daughter thinks is hilarious to leave in my bed so I'm not lonely. As you can see, my life is pretty calm and lacks anything that resembles Vegas or a mobster movie at this point. It's a pretty calm life devoid of any and all uproar and or excitement. I'm anything but lazy… both at home and at work. Whether it's a sink full of dirty dishes, a yard full of leaves to rake, or a stack of documents to type ----> hand it over, I'm not above doing it, I can get it done quick and well… I'm driven and determined. Being a writer, I know my ABC's (thank the good Lord)…. as that is kind of a necessity to write and I could rock the ABC song better than anyone as a kid and still could if need be. I'm not a liar, cheat or thief and after closer scrutiny I decided if anything negative was found… the only thing it could possibly be was if perhaps my dates didn't quite match up on employment. If they didn't, I'd truly apologize for that, as it wasn't of a malicious intent whatsoever… but likely because after approximately twenty moves (seriously) since meeting my now ex-husband back in 1997 my records were lost somewhere in the shuffle and I had to rely on my aging, fuzzy memory to reconstruct my dates of employment.

So, after a few perplexing hours of dissecting that ad and wracking my brain trying to figure out why I didn't land the job… I realized something. I hadn't hidden anything. I had been straight with them and said I had a blog and typically wrote about issues that were relevant to divorce. (You'd think I was telling people how to make grenades or something) Since it was a family law firm and I primarily write about divorce I felt that relevant to share. I was upfront. And even if I hadn't disclosed it… I wasn't hiding anything, my life story is on the internet for goodness sakes. I realized I needed to stop beating myself up. I had no reason to cringe or hide. I wasn't going to hide my life nor my faith. I had no reason to nit pick it all apart trying to figure out why I didn't get it. My past bosses (minus two) had been a delightful number of folks to work for, that I had admired and respected and I looked back on with fondness.

This whole mental narrative of "Why didn't they pick me? Like me?" mentality needed to come to a screeching halt right then and there.

At that point after thinking it all over it became downright laughable to me.

I shrugged, realizing… 
we can't make everyone happy
We simply can't please everybody. 
And we shouldn't even try.

Maybe you have done the same thing. Maybe you have ruminated, questioning why you didn't get a job you knew not only you were qualified for but that you KNEW you could do well. A job you knew you would enjoy. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you were left with questions wondering why not you? Why? Why? Why? It can definitely gnaw at us like an irksome habit.

I don't know why they didn't choose you… maybe because that is not where God wants you to be. Maybe because He has something better in mind. Perhaps we should not look at it as something lost or deprived from us and instead something we were protected from. After more thought and insight on the matter I realized I didn't want to work for anyone who behaved like that. An employer practically screaming at potential employees like a banshee in a job ad? Did I really want to sign on for enduring that type of behavior day in and day out? Because, like a toxic relationship that was a sign of what was to come with taking that job. That was the honest to goodness truth. Deep down I knew it too. No, I did not want that.

So, maybe something for us to keep in mind is…. just like relationships, we don't have to subscribe to a "Will they pick me?" mentality. At job interviews we can ask ourselves this question:

"Do we want them?"

© ~ 2015

Please know that as you go through the job search/interview process God is there with you… He intimately knows your frustration, your needs… but are we asking him for an increase in faith? Are we trusting Him? People often tell us God won't give us more than we can handle… but that simply isn't true… God gives us more so we can rely on him and not ourselves. When the storms pass and we walk away with a skip in our step we will know it was him who led us through not ourselves. Trust him. With much love, Jen

To My Readers; Thank you for reading & sharing!


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