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Divorce

Secrets of My Childhood

I think that you are thinking that I will talk about my abuse as a child again. Gossip was for adults and we children were supposed to leave the room unless there was no place else to go and then we children learned something. There were many words that described concepts that we weren’t supposed to know about or understand like war, rape, divorce. Divorce was never discussed because when I was a child, because it was never supposed to happen.

Sex was to remain a secret until you were married unless there was something your parents had to prepare you for like menstruation, erections, or ejaculations or buy you special clothing for like jock straps and bras, and then they usually took you by surprise anyway because parents were often slow on the draw. Then came secrets like prostitution, homosexuality and being gay. Finally, the secrets most parents talked about were usually (married) affairs.

Sexual abuse wasn’t known then and therefore not detected just accepted especially in families where this was a way of life including brothers and sisters, uncles and nieces, next door neighbors, and young boys and older men. Secrecy promoted this type of behavior because it was kept in the dark where it often happened. Thus some children became afraid of the dark.

Another thing parents might have kept from us children was sickness and death even though as a child I often heard my grandmother talking with her sisters about their illnesses, pregnancies, and childbirths.

Money often remained a secret until you grew up. You might earn money babysitting or delivering newspapers or have an allowance. These were something you couldn’t negotiate, just accept. Bills were often secretly argued over by parents. Loans and mortgages were scary things. Nobody knew what your dad’s salary was usually except him, maybe your mom, and his boss. If there was a budget at all, you wouldn’t know about it unless it was something like this. When your parents said something like, “This won’t fit in our budget”.

When college came, it was either we (the parents) can afford it or can’t afford it. Once you got there, you might notice that some students had more money to spend on snacks, clothes, and/or maybe a car. Also, those with more money were often in sororities and frats and lived in sorority and frat houses. I learned my randomly chosen roommate my freshman year had money because she had matched sets of bras and panties in different colors.

War and political conflict was another type of secret. I would read these familiar words in the newspapers when I was nine or ten but I didn’t understand them I knew they were bad like the Korean War was but all I knew was that they were bad for us and I wanted them to be over. Things like wars cast a dark shadow over my life. I could read the words in papers and hear about them in old movies. I didn’t really understand them and I was glad when they over. I was lucky almost no one in my family participated in either of these wars when I was a child. I didn’t understand, who, what for, when (in the case of World War II), why, or how.

Obviously, there were a lot of best-kept secrets during the war (WWII and possibly the Koran War). “Loose lips sink ships.” Turning off lights at night so the enemy couldn’t see our towns and highways from the air. Not getting war news until after the fact. Doesn’t seem to happen now, but it does make sense. I remember the news breaks at the movie theater. There was no TV just radio. Before that it was postcards. Telephones and electricity weren’t installed everywhere although there were batteries for radio.

Finally, all I knew at that time was that I wasn’t to keep secrets although others were keeping them from me. The first thing that I learned to do about this was to listen at the cold air radiators in the floor of our house or I just perked up my ears in my room as my parents often talked things over in their bedroom next to me or sat down at the kitchen table which was just down the hall. I knew more than they thought I knew. I learned the scary details about our finances like when my Dad co-signed a loan so his younger brother could run a gas station. Then it failed and his brother sold off the stock and spent the money leaving my dad and his older brother holding the bag.

I learned to keep secrets when I consistently got into trouble in grade school and did not give my parents the notes my teachers wrote and sent home from school. I learned my parents were not very sympathetic and kept my worries and troubles to myself. When I got older my girlfriend and I giggled when we kept secrets from my grandfather when we were in the backseat of his car and he was taking us someplace. We thought our silly secrets were fun. We didn’t know that much then.

Do we keep so many secrets from our children now? Maybe they know too much and begin to worry a lot more at a younger age than in the past. Sometimes us adults get so much news, that we can’t think of anything else. Just like surprise parties some things are best when they are kept secret until the proper moment.

Men & Women? Or Women & Men?

amygdalaEver wonder about the differences (if any) between the sexes in childhood and in adulthood?  Sometimes I wonder if my husband is blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.  What strikes me constantly when I pull in the drive or come in the back door is what needs to be done.  There is trash in the yard and trash in the house that needs to be picked up and/or disposed of!  There are things that are completely worn out and that need to be replaced.  Things that need to be finished that were started several years ago before they completely deteriorate and fall down and have to be torn down and probably never replaced.  A lot of wasted money and energy have gone into those things.  I never miss seeing these things and it frustrates me every time I see them.  It is like I have a huge “to do” list that I can never even start let alone finish.

Don’t think that men don’t notice things.  They are always noticing things that you have done to cope with these problems that they don’t like and complain about and threaten to tear down or throw out.  Some men (oh, my) even cuss about these things as though you really deserve a cussing out rather than some appreciation for trying to do something about the problems.  Doesn’t it seem here that there is some attempt to not take responsibility for all the problems you have to live with and cope with everyday and to shift the blame onto you.

rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPGThere is an idea going around that men are more able to focus on things and ignore what is not relevant.  The idea is also that women are more able to multitask and get more done because they can’t as easily let things go.

Men also can also divert themselves by horsing around and talking about what other people, not them, are doing or not doing.  Men also can pull pranks on each other and then forget about how awful they were to each other and even laugh about it.  Women take things more personally and like an elephant they can never  not forget.

For example, I remembered being pranked by my room mate’s future sorority sisters who tried to throw me in the shower clothes and all I fought them like a wildcat.   I still am mad at them for tearing up the room including dumping out my things and attempting to haze me as well as my roommate.  I was not a pledge of theirs and didn’t deserve that. Now if it had been guys they might have forgotten it and /or even thought it was funny after the fact.

Guys can get angry at each other, even fight each other physically, and apparently forgive and forget the next day.  When in training for something that they must complete and reach a certain standard of excellence, they expect to be treated badly and brag about surviving and even plan ahead as a group how to outwit their trainers attempts to subdue them.  To them, it is part of the game.   Is the mistreatment of women trainees partially because they don’t understand this or can’t or don’t want to participate in this?  It’s a guy thing?  Do men think “Why doesn’t a woman think like a man?” like in the musical, “My Fair Lady.”

rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpgThe next part of the problem is whether or not men think of it as a problem that they should have to do something about?  Or do only women do?  Do they find it is more impossible to live with than women do?  Or do men think they have already done something about it when women can’t get them to notice the problems let alone do anything about them?  Do they feel that hurt feelings don’t count and should be forgotten as easily as they forget them and/or don’t acknowledge them and/or pass them up as not counting for anything.  I guess if you can forget about a guy socking you in the face the next day and go on about your business with him as if nothing has happened, you can do it.  As a woman, I may still have a bruise or injury that reminds me of what that person who hurt me owes me and which can not be forgiven easily if at all?

 

 

Date Rape Can Happen to Seniors or the Middle-Aged

rp_272680378_bd063659bc_m.jpgCaution:  you may not believe this warning but hear me out.  Just because you are newly single and female whether it is due to divorce or to the death of your spouse, you do not have to go out or spend time with any man in your life who asks you.  First of all that person is not being very sensitive about your situation and they may be assigning motives to you that you do not have.  They maybe projecting their needs and wants onto you and an acceptance by you of an invitation is seen as consent in their eyes to something more than a mere friendly outing.

Date rape is another name for a kind of rape; but the woman who gets raped has  consented to go somewhere with someone where she will be alone with him and he sees it as an invitation or opportunity  to satisfy his needs and does not accept her refusal of his advances towards her as “No”. because he sees her agreeing to go out with him as a tacit agreement to take the relationship a step further one that she finds out once  they are alone together that she is not willing to take; but feels forced to comply with to get out of the situation safely.  But of course, it is not true.  It never was safe to have to cooperate with a “date rapist.” .

This may lead to women in this situation to requiring a chaperon or only going out with other women or in groups and never getting off by themselves with a man.  Some perceive a newly divorced woman or newly widowed woman as “open season” to try to get them into bed and any response no matter how timid by the woman is seen as an acceptance of the inevitable outcome anticipated  by the man.   I am not considering that women in this situation should remain celebrate for the rest of their lives; but they have to be cautious and may not be as perceptive of  any ulterior motives in wanting to cheer them up and to get them out of the house.

rp_Carlrogers.jpgMen, not to leave you out of the equation.  I have heard of newly single men getting gifts of food delivered to their door by many different women and possibly the offer to satisfy some of their needs now they don’t have a woman in the house.  Don’t believe that these gifts and offers don’t come with the assumption that the acceptance of such gifts and offers don’t come with the implication that you want more than that from these women.

Leopards, male and female, can change their spots when they learn that somebody is free game.  With young people in some families courtships are very thoroughly investigated and chaparoned.  If you are older, this still might not be bad advice for you.  With a such an upheaval in the one’s life,  one can be very vulnerable and can often make poor decisions while he or she is already under stress.  I know of people who have done this and it seems to be best to wait a year or two before making any commitments.   When it comes to divorce, people often get into the same type of relationship they had with their previous marital partner and don’t find this out until after they have made the mistake of getting attached to someone prematurely.

No, it is not true that all men are only looking for sex in a relationship and that all women who are single want to latch on to the next free man as a meal ticket.

PS:  people often grieve after losing a relationship and grief comes in many “flavors.”  What is appropriate for one might not be appropriate for someone else.  If this happens to you or has happened to you, take your time, allow your grief to have an outlet (grief kept in can cause tremendous damage not only to the person who does this but also to the  other remaining family members that they have contact with).  Watch out for “shoulds” and quick fixes for your problems offered by somebody who really  doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

rp_3560209936_056df083c8_n.jpgAlways  watch out for people who immediately say that they know what your problem is and that they can solve it for you.  Everybody’s problems are different.  Some people get a “charge” out of telling other people what to do and criticizing them if they don’t do it and/or decide to do something else.  A good resource is Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s material on death and dying where you will find her five stages of grief explained.  Grief occurs after divorce too.  Another resource is a group of widows and/or widowers who are all going  through the same things.  For divorced persons and widows and widowers with children, there is another  possible resource, Parents Without Partners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fight With A Friend Or A Loved One?

 

Have a fight with a friend or a loved one?  Do you know that you can be attracted to someone who has as many problems as you do?  Often there is no such thing as a perfect couple or a marriage made in heaven and best friends can have fights.  The glue that keeps a relationship together is often forgiveness and acceptance of each others faults and lacks.

 

Divorce

Divorce (Photo credit: jcoterhals)

Do you know that in divorce and custody determinations that sometimes who’s at fault can’t easily be decided.  That is why sometimes both people are granted divorces from each other in the former and in the later joint custody is granted.

 

As I have said before in this blog, “People with equal problems attract.”  Thus the pot can call the kettle, “black,” and the kettle can also call the pot, “black.”  If you are a friend or a relative or even a mere acquaintance, be careful and don’t spontaneously take one’s or another’s side in this kind of dispute.

Some people repeatedly take on people with problems and that is what their real problem is!  “Can I help you?”  is what they say when they see someone with a problem and the answer that the other person gives is “Yes,” initially but it is soon followed by a, “But.”  Worse yet if these people make up and they often do, then you may become the one who gets blamed for interfering.

 

 

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People With Equal Problems Attract

Getting Back Together With Your Ex

Getting Back Together With Your Ex

I have always said that people with equal problems attract and I admit that was true in my case in a past marriage.  I know you have (like I have) heard recently separated or divorced friends talk about all the problems their soon-to-be ex or ex spouse had.  To hear the story told, your friend is or was a blameless or a helpless victim  in the situation.  Actually a person with fewer problems than the ex- had would not have gotten into a permanent, or ,should I say, semi- permanent, relationship with such a person as he or she described often using not-so nice names like “lazy,” “useless,” “slut,” womanizer, “boozer,” or worse.

Not Her Taste

Not Her Taste

I am sure most people have had a narrow escape where they met a person and got involved with them and escaped before any damage was done.  I once went out with a person whose sex seeking line was, “You wanna?”   He said this at the end of the first date.  He drug me from one college party to another where he would consume “doubles” and “triples”.  I was glad to get out of that relationship as he was the one doing the driving that day and also he had ignored me all day and even stopped on the way home to wait while his buddy had a quickie with the girl he was with.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a cat person like some people are dog persons.  I went out with this guy also for the first time and he told me he liked to go out into the woods and shoot feral cats for fun.  Needless to say, I never went out with him again.  I surely got the wrong number in both cases.

Some people think that they got lucky and escaped into the arms of someone else before their partner could dump them.  No matter what if you left them or they left you, you both could be making the same mistake if you do this.   That is going from one person to another with the same problems.  I did, but I got lucky.    When the first guy I was dating seriously after my divorce dumped me, he revealed his passive-aggressive side which had hurt me before.

It takes at least two years and/or some exploration on your part of what the problems were in your past relationship, both the other person’s and your own, before you can enter into another relationship without making the same mistake as you did before.  Haven’t you heard of women who kept getting involved with alcoholics time after time?

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It’s All About You

Thinking

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

I was raised to think that my first thought should be, “What will other people think?” when I did something.  I grew up thinking that “other people” were more important than me.  Yes, my parents were included in that important group of people that I should always defer to; but even my parents were not as important as “other people” were.

This continued on into my adult life as long as my parents were alive.  This was the main consideration my mother had when I told her that I was going to get a divorce.  She was more concerned with the stigma that being divorced would give me among her friends and family than she was with my well being.

Back when I was first married, I remember coming home to visit my parents by myself and I was wearing a brand new bright red maxi coat which I dearly loved and when it became time to go to church the next day, my mother said, “You are not going to wear that,” and she actually expected me to wear instead one of my old coats that I had left at her house.  I stood up for myself and I told her that I was not going to church if I couldn’t wear my new coat.

When I remarried and had children and we were visiting my mother and the other grandchildren were coming to visit too, my mother would become critical of my children and not the others.  We were glad when we could leave and escape being found wanting when compared to the rest of the family.  Oh, believe it or not, later after she died, my cousins told me that she secretly bragged on my children when we weren’t there.  I know she was raised to think that way and her growing up experience was not easy as my grandmother (her mother) was often sick and withdrawn from the family leaving her and her sister with the help of their father who had to work to  fend for themselves.  I am sure she didn’t know what to tell other people when they asked what was wrong.

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The Marriage May Not End With The Divorce

Many people continue to have a quasi

Grounds for Divorce (song)

Grounds for Divorce (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

marital relationship with their ex-mate after the divorce has been filed or even after the divorce has been finalized.  It is difficult to break out of any familiar relationship especially one where you are used to depending upon another person to meet most of your needs whether for sex, companionship, financial support, emotional supp0ort, or socialization.  It is difficult to stop depending upon your ex-mate for one, some, or all of these needs.  Once a problem comes up, the first person that you might think of to help you would be your ex-mate or you might be the first person your ex-mate thinks of when he or she needs something.

The legal system does not take into account the fact that most relationships end gradually.  Most people involved in divorce actions do not follow the legal formalities exactly in ending their relationship.  Some people stop wearing their wedding rings and using their married names before the divorce is final and others do so long after it is final.  Some people separate and no longer live in the same house or apartment long before the divorce is final and others live together long after the divorce is final.

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Keep the Children Out of It

Children of Divorce

Children of Divorce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you fight parents keep the children out of it.  I don’t mean you shouldn’t settle your differences.  The worse thing that could happen is divorce and then the children have to become involved and asking them to take sides then is the worst thing that could happen to them.

It is called triangulating.  Taking a problem that two people are having between themselves and dragging in a third and asking him or her to take sides.  There usually are two sides to every argument or disagreement.  Without knowing both sides, how can you take a side and/or should you even take a side?  Is it worse losing a friend over?

This frequently happens in divorce and it is especially bad when children are asked to do this.  It can lead to lying to the child about what actually is going wrong with the marriage and who, if anybody, is at fault.  The child is always the one who has to deal with both sides in such a conflict.  The spouses may no longer be related to each other; but the children still are.

Have you ever said to a child that he or she is just like her or his mother or father and you don’t mean it kindly?  Is it the child’s fault that he or she has so and so for a father or mother?  No!

 

 

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After the Party’s Over, Part One

Get Over You

Get Over You (Photo credit: Rovxz)

People often go through more than one relationship with a significant other in their life time.  Here are a couple of tips about traps people often fall into after a break up of a relationship.

You may fall for exactly the same kind of person you broke up with.  For example, you may have heard of people who consistently get involved with alcoholics.  One factor that is part of this is that having a new relationship to escape into is one reason why people break up when they do.  Actually you seriously need to take a break between relationships to get your head together before starting another one.  A year after I got divorced, I met a guy that I really fell for almost instantaneously.  It wasn’t until two months later when we broke up that I realized he was passive aggressive exactly like my ex-husband.  I had just escaped making the same mistake again.

Actually we are talking about making two separate mistakes here.  One is that the person has found their next relationship before they get out of the one that they are in and are likely not only to connect up with someone just like the one they are leaving because they have had no time in between relationships to figure out what went wrong with the first one and get into another relationship, any relationship, so they do not have to be alone and have to meet all their needs themselves.

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