Estrangement is a final boundary that many adult children choose to enforce with their parents after a lifetime of not being heard, valued, or respected. It's not a decision that people make lightly or easily — indeed, there are countless barriers to estrangement that come from a societal belief that family is an immutable, infallible bond that can't be broken or ignored. There is no morality in estrangement. Those who can cut off their parents aren't better people with better boundaries. Those who continue a relationship with parents who abused them aren't broken or codependent or foolish for wanting to keep their parents in their life.
Boundaries can feel scary when you've never had them before. In the past, maybe standing up for yourself felt dangerous.
I recently did something that I thought would be silly, or selfish, or outlandish. I wrote a manual on how to love me. It gives the basics about me and my background, includes a list of my favorite things, discusses how to best communicate with me, describes how I interact within each of the … Continue reading How to ask for the love you need
In March 2018 I left an abusive marriage and entered into a new phase of life: the casually slutty phase. My dating app profile included the line, “I am dedicating 2018 to non-monogamous exploration.” I had my first one time hookups, met my first friend with benefits, and soon met my first long-term partner after … Continue reading The healing power of non-monogamy
When I saw the trailer for Rocketman, I instantly knew I’d see the movie when it hit theaters. In the mid nineties, my mother and I would trek from our small village of Seville, Ohio into the “big city” of Medina to do grocery shopping. Our soundtrack, more often than not, was Elton John’s Greatest … Continue reading A Surprising Number of Things Elton John and I Have in Common
I got divorced last May, and in the midst of Justin Timberlake memes and shorts weather and anticipating my upcoming book launch, the anniversary of my divorce date looms near. And I am still mad at my abuser, which is frustrating because I thought I would have overcome all my trauma in a neat, tidy … Continue reading Can emotional abuse be sexual abuse?
This week is full of anniversaries for me. In 2012, my first divorce was finalized on March 19. In 2018, I began the process of leaving my second marriage on March 17. In 2018, my stepdad died just after 1:00am on March 22 and it was the first time I had seen or spoken to … Continue reading Emotional exhaustion is as real as physical exhaustion
We're at a point in society in 2018 where I feel confident people can acknowledge that abuse isn't just physical. Mental and emotional abuse (through control, negligence, gaslighting, and other manipulations and mind games), sexual abuse, and financial abuse may not leave visible bruises but leave a lasting impression on their victims and survivors. Survivors … Continue reading The realities of financial abuse
If you're familiar with Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you know that her method of simplifying requires you to get all of one type of item together (clothing, books, toiletries, papers, whatever), touch each and every one, and decide if it gives you joy before deciding whether or not to keep … Continue reading The life changing magic of trauma
Hello. I am not sure if you care to hear from me, or indeed if you even know who I am. I'm the woman your husband left you for. And I am deeply sorry, on so many levels. When I met him, he was in an open relationship with permission to play and "get his … Continue reading An open letter to my abuser’s ex wife