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Are We There Yet?

By OxDrover

I remember when I was a little kid, driving with my parents, sitting in the back seat sans seatbelt (there were no such things in those days) and leaning over the front seat, repeatedly asking my parents, “Are we there yet?” or “How long til we get there?”

Of course there had been no reasonable way for my parents to convey to me “how long” since I didn’t tell time when I was four, so there was no use saying “one hour” because I wouldn’t be able to comprehend what an “hour” was. Time is sort of fluid anyway, relative to what is going on. If you are bored, an hour is forever. If you are interested in something, an hour is very short. To a bored child in the back seat of a car, the trip seems to take forever with no end in sight. The trip is a price to be paid for arriving at the destination.

When I started the journey toward Healing from my prior experiences with the psychopaths in my life and family, I was in pain. I wanted the journey to be over; I wanted to get to being healed quickly. The journey itself didn’t interest me any more than the passing countryside had interested me when I was riding in the back seat of my parents’ car. I was tired of that trip before it even started. I wanted to be there!

Unlike the smooth ride in the backseat of my parents’ car, which required no effort on my part, this journey to Healing required me to steer and power the vehicle. I had to make sure I didn’t run out of fuel, and that the equipment was in order. Some days my tires went flat and I had to get out and fix them. Other days my emotional radiator boiled over and I sat feeling helpless on the side of the road with smoke boiling out from under my hood. Some days I was simply out of gas with no refueling station anywhere in sight as far as the eye could see.

The road to Healing was a terrible road, with huge potholes that seemed to appear out of nowhere, and sometimes my wheels would hit these potholes. My tires would sink to the axle and I would have to get out and dig and dig until I could get enough dirt pushed under them to get the car out. Other times, the road would be slimed with mud and I would skid into the ditches of despair.

From time to time I would see someone else along the road, and occasionally someone would come along when I needed help the most and offer me a very welcome hand.

I became so tired from this journey that I just wondered if I would ever get there. What I really wanted was someone to come along and offer me a magic carpet so I could just fly over all this terrible barren terrain and I could just get there to Healing!

Often times the signposts along the road were unclear and I wasn’t even sure I was even on the right road. Other times, some prankster must have turned the signs around because I would take a turn, certain I was reading the sign correctly, and wind up down a dead end trail with barely enough room to turn my vehicle around. At times like these I felt so utterly alone and stupid for not being more careful and allowing myself to get off the correct road.

One day when I felt that I just couldn’t go on any longer, that it was too much work to keep my old vehicle going with broken springs that seemed to make each rut, each pot hole, and each rock in the road jar my back teeth loose, I discovered I was no longer on the road alone. I looked around me and I saw other people on the road. Where had they come from? Had they been there before and I was too self absorbed, too weighted down with my own woes, to even notice them? I also noticed that some of these people were riding bicycles, some were on scooters, some were walking. Some of the others on the road were on crutches, or in wheel chairs, and some of these people were even crawling.

I looked around at these people and then back at my old vehicle with its rusting fenders, threadbare tires and leaking radiator, but I realized that it was not so “bad” after all. It might not have been a Cadillac, but I wasn’t having to walk or crawl. I realized there were others who were less fortunate than me. I felt shame in myself for being so self absorbed, for not realizing that I didn’t have it “so bad” after all. I recited the old saying about, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet.” I thanked God for my old vehicle.

As I restarted my journey I became acquainted with some of my fellow travelers, and we shared our stories, our pains, and our insights. When we would come to a crossroads that seemed confusing, we would help each other, and if one fell down, the others reached out to him to help him up. Having company on the journey made it seem less lonely. Though there was no magic carpet there to whisk me away to the destination of Healing, it was comforting to have company.

Sometimes I would pause and rest a while with a fellow traveler. As we traveled down the road we would meet new travelers, freshly injured, also seeking Healing. Those of us on the road would call to them to join us in the journey, comforting and supporting each other on the way. Sometimes the newly injured would join us, but other times, those bleeding injured souls would wander off the road or fall in to the abyss and no matter how we would call to them, they would not answer and sorrowfully, we would have to move on down the road toward Healing without them.

No matter how far I traveled it never seemed I was any nearer to Healing than before. As I traveled the road, it became smoother and I was becoming stronger from my struggles to climb the hills, cover the hurdles, get out of the pot holes, but I never saw a sign that said “how long ’til we get there.” I never saw a sign that said, “Healing 50 miles.” I began to wonder if I would ever arrive at Healing. I even asked some of my fellow travelers, “Are we there yet? How long ’til we get there?” No one could answer me. No one could tell me “how long before we get there?”

As I traveled and the road became smoother, and there were even stretches of pavement that I could roll across without the jarring rocks and ruts, and I began to enjoy the journey. I would gaze off into the distance and see mountains and vistas of incredible beauty that filled my heart with joy just to behold. I had passed out of the terrible salt flats of hell and reached a place where there was beauty and joy, and the road was smoother. Even my old vehicle started to run better and give me less trouble, and I found refueling stations on a regular basis and quit forgetting to check the oil and tire pressure, so I didn’t have flats and other problems so often any more.

Along the road I had also seen some changes and growth in my traveling partners. They were becoming stronger and starting to sing as they walked or rode along. Even some of those in wheel chairs were beginning to walk again, and some that had used crutches had thrown them away and were walking straight and strong. It made me happy to see my new friends recovering and getting better and stronger; it made me feel good to feel stronger myself.

At times my new friends and I would talk about our former lives before we started on the Healing road, and sometimes we even missed some of those people we had had to leave behind. Unkind people who had wounded us, yet we loved and missed, but even those memories of our former lives started to change as we sang along the road toward Healing. We started to make new plans and put together new lives.

I would reach milestones from time to time, the milestone of setting boundaries, another one for forgiveness and a milestone for honesty. As I passed each milestone I felt renewed strength and stamina, but I wondered, “When will I get to Healing? When will I be there?”

Then I came to a milestone that said, “Healing is a journey, not a destination.” I realized that there was no end to the Healing Road; it would go on for the rest of my life. It isn’t about getting to some place and being there; it is about enjoying the journey. It is about growth and learning and companionship with others on the same road. It is about comforting others who have fallen, as there were those that comforted you when you fell. It is the shared experiences of seeing the sun shining on the distant mountains, or reassuring each other during a storm. Healing is about life—living life, experiencing life, and sharing life.


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181 Comments on "Are We There Yet?"

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We love you Oxy! : )) ( I KNOW I can speak for others on this)

As fellow travellers down the healing path, we help each other with our shared stories, and like the old underground railway, keep a light on for those who need a way out of their enslavement.

I cannot imagine what state of mind I would be in today without all the healing and freindship, without all the understanding of the twisted reality we have endured and shared here on Lovefraud.

Thank you OXY, Donna, Dr Diane, Dr. Steve, Kathleen and all the fellow travellers. Peace and happy healing to all.

A woman who helped me very much through this process, sent me an email today and said:

“Life’s lessons simply lay out the road. We still have to pick out the right turns and targets.”

Your article is a timely analogy Oxy because the lessons are the road. It’s our future choices that make the difference.

I would just like to add that as I see and feel the healing process, it has become more about learning and helping others through and moving from the self pity (which we also need to go through and that’s ok). I find comfort in comforting others now. This is a positive sign.

So as we travel down that road it IS important to look for positive signs or milestones of our healing. And to help others clear the fog along the road so their milestones are more visible to them as well.

We are ALREADY THERE if we have hope and look for good things along the way. We are still learning and helping and enjoying the trip even in bad weather.

Wow….That is beautiful. You are a great writer. And what you said definitely gave me a lot of inspiration.

Thanks

Goodmorning, Eye and Faith, and thank you for those kind words.

I can actually remember wanting to be THERE at Healing and wondering how long it would take me to get THERE. It dawned on me some year or so back that it was a journey,, not a destination.

As I see other “fellow travelers” come to our lovefraud road and join us for a while, and then quietly slip into the ditch or fall into the abyss and disappear from our road, I wonder about them and why they disappeared….what happened to them? Sometimes they will show back up later and say “I feel into the abyss of his charm and went back” but other times we never know what happened.

In looking back at my own life in the “old life” I realized I had been on the Healing road before, but because the road was hard, up hill, and I couldn’t tell how long before I “got there” to Healing, I would be distracted by something on the side of the road and get off the road to take what I thought was a more interesting and easier path to Healing. Needless to say, I never “got to” Healing, but only fooled myself, distracted myself by taking what I thought were “short cuts.” By getting off the road, I ended up back in the abyss again over and over and over.

The road IS HEALING, and yes, we ARE THERE now! As long as we stay on the road and keep our compasses pointed toward the North Star of GOOD.

Thank you all for being my companions. Love, hugs, and Prayers for you all, Oxy

Oxy,

It is this kind of inspiration that helps those of us “on the road” for a while or at least keeps us directed. And for those new to the site, hopefully it helps them in understanding the healing process (journey) which we all know is brutal and painful and that it will take time. Sometimes the ride is bumpy and stormy but we need to enjoy it or everything in life can appear miserable.

I have very little patience, mostly with myself and as you know this is over a year of healing for me and there are still days when i feel like “AM I THERE YET”. so accepting the fact that it is a process or journey and that we are HERE is probably a good thing to do. These people did a job on us and we are working to maintain(keep on truckin) and regain(refuel) and all we can do is take it one mile at a time……

Sorry I couldn’t help myself. I like the analogy!!

Thank you, Angela!

KF, patience has never been my forte either! I want things NOW! My late husband used to say

“there are some things you can’t rush, no matter what you do. You can’t get a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant!”

He was so right about that!

You guys have a good day and stay on the road. I am going to sign off the computer now and go outside and do some fun things today, plus a few chores that need doing. We’re having warm, if rainy, weather here for a few more days and I want to enjoy it while I can….

Spring is sprung,
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The birdies is!

Oxy,

You have expressed it perfectly. The path to healing really is a journey, I am on one just as everybody else on here is also, and thank you for sharing this with us. The analogy that you have drawn is so real, so true to what the journey really is like. I now look forward more to what each day will bring rather than the day when I will be “healed” because I know I never truly will heal but I will always wake up the next day.
And I can honestly say that I would never have made it this far if weren’t for this site and the people on it like yourself. Thank you again so much for all that you have given.

BD

Great writing. Thank you. I always feel better once I read something on LF. This article is what I needed today. I had yet another meltdown yesterday. It’s been five weeks since I’ve had contact and although it’s painful and there are times I wish it could be different I realize now that it was all a dream of my own making. KF: thanks for saying self pity is ok. I’ve been beating myself up about that one.

And, yes, Oxy, I have been wondering when the trip will be over. Maybe with you pointing out that it is a journey, will help me in a way nothing else has. Thank you!

Oxy:

This article, as well as all of your blog writing, captures the heart and soul of the healing experience beautifully.

You have held out your hand and counseled so many with your experiences and wisdom. You are intrinsic part of Lovefraud and your contributions are so valuable–I think you should have an honorary degree or special designation here! I also love your humor and your analogies which are always right on.

Thanks again,
Peggywhoever

Oxy, this is like a beautiful poem. Thank you so much.

It reminded me of when I would tell worried friends or family, “I’m almost done.” I think I told them that for several years, before they gave up asking and I gave up thinking there was a “done.”

Maybe there’s a signpost on the road that says, “it’s not about anyone else anymore. Now it’s about me.” And when you get past that one, it’s different. Better.

I’m so glad we’re all on the road together.

Thanks again for your wonderful writing —

Kathy

I’ve been wondering when I am going to heal, thinking it was a destination and I would know when I got there, so thank you very much for the insightful article. I have to practice your advice and enjoy the journey… even when it’s bumpy. Thank you!

Swerhli,

I totally relate to your post about feeling better once I’ve spent some time on LF. I too have been 5 weeks NC, and the more time goes by, more I am solid on my own.

Also, I realize the journey, thanks to LF, is something very worthwhile, that I wouldn’y have engaged in had it not been for the experience of the ex-S/P. The dream of us was one of my own making, indeed, but you know what, in a weird kind of way, because of its therapeutic qualities after the fact (not to mention entertaining AT TIMES during), the experience was kind of worth living.

That’s my rationalization tonight, and I’m sticking by it….LOL

Oxy,
Thank you for your wonderful post. You have a way of picking us up on the darkest of our days. You can put into words what all of us are/have going through, & give us the Ah ha, we are looking for. I echo the feeling of the others here-I could not have made it this far on the journey without all the love & friendship here on LF. You are like the glue that holds our band of travelors together. I hope you realize how much we look up to you, & value your advice & wisdom. You rock!!!

Thank you for writing this beautiful piece, Oxy. One of the most important things I have learned on LF (and there have been so many!) is that recovery will not happen rapidly, that there are no quick fixes, and that I can’t just will this experience away by deciding that I simply won’t be bothered by it. As someone on the beginning stages of the journey, it is helpful for me to read about people who are further along, and that they are feeling better, and even feeling good. I can note, in my own experience, that things have changed for the better over the past few months. And I understand and appreciate now that I am on a journey, and that feeling sad/mad/anxious is not necessarily a bad thing, and may just be part of the journey.

And one of the things you write about at the end, which is SO critical for me, is meeting with fellow travelers on the journey. I could not do this on my own. Once I started reading LF, I began to move on the journey. Once I started participating in the community – supporting others and feeling supported, I really started to notice a forward movement.

And I liked the part where you wrote about getting distracted, and off the path on occasion. This is a vulnerability of mine, and I’m grateful that you drew attention to it.

Learning that I am on a journey was such a tremendous relief in some ways. I had so many people telling me to “snap out of it” and “move on” that I started to think that something was wrong with me, because I felt like I simply couldn’t. This is a journey – and I am so grateful for the travelers ahead of me who can guide me. And though at times I really wish I could just “snap out of it,” I do understand that staying on this path, and walking on this journey, will help me heal old wounds and ultimately bring much light into my life.

Your essay is very hopeful. Thank you!

I feel like I have just gotten to the side of the road and sticking my thumb out for a ride. I am soooooo ready to go on this journey and leave the past behind

OxDrover:

This posting today was timely.

I was fired today. Oddly enough, it was right after I came from the post office, taking care of one of the final steps I have to take care of vis-a-vis the S and dealing with the money he owes me. I have to admit, I am still reeling, even though I saw it coming.

In any case, I started to make a “to-do” list, and then I decided screw it. I deserve to feel sorry for myself for at least one night. So, I’m deep into a bottle of scotch and a double pepperoni pizza.

In any case, I view the firing as part of a continum that began when I finally decided I had to get the S out of my life. I’ve known for a long time that a lot of parts of my life haven’t been working.

Actually, if I’m honest, most of them haven’t been for a long, long time. S was the culmination of how much wasn’t working. Since November, most everything bad that has happened I view as fallout from S.

I don’t know where this journey will take me or, at this moment, what the next step of the journey will be. What I do know is that I am on a journey towards a new, healthier me. Long overdue after 50+ years.

If the typing is bad, I apologize. Not at the top of my game tonight.

Matt, so sorry about your loss. Yes you do deserve to feel sorry for yourself tonight. Just remember that you are a wonderful soul and have so much to offer this world. Your journey has not ended; you are just headed on a new adventure! You are in my thoughts and prayers. Take Care!

Oxy, such a wonderful piece to come home to! You give such hope and truth of what the healing process holds for us all!
Thank you for your honest and eloquent words. They hit home…
Take care!

truebeliever:

Thanks. You’re right that the journey hasn’t ended. I’ve been sitting here tonight trying to force thoughts on what the next steps are. Then I realized the futility of that exercise.

I’ve got to accept that once I do the things I know I can do — file for unemployment, etc, then I’ve got to take the pressure off myself. AFter the pressure I was under during my time with S, unemployment should be a piece of cake.

Hey Matt: I’ll join you in a glass of the smoky single malt. Here’s to your grand new future, without the fetters of old-think! Le Chaim!

Matt – There is only one thing worse than getting fired and that is getting hooked by a sociopath. I remember a year ago feeling like humpty dumpty, all cracked and broken and hopeless. You will put your life back together with more thought about what you want and need and what gives you joy and contentment. Hey money is overrated – re-adjust your underwear and breathe – you will be better than ever soon………

Hey id rather identify with losing my job with what i have been through with my “S” I work for a major car manufacturer and it aint American made. ive watched em all tread the water and now its hitting us although they will do all they can not to admit it. the economy will make us all rethink our safe havens, just like we thought our socio’s would be our safe haven’s… Nuttin’s guaranteed junior! As my grandpa would say

Many times we forget that these “malignant” people are exactly like a tumor. Who wants a tumor? the unfortunate thing is, the longer the tumor grows on us (or in us) the more of us we lose when we finally cut it off (or out). And the sad thing is, so many of us wait until we are almost completely consumed.

Painful as it is, and though the healing may be a lifetime mission-the surgery must be performed. The malignancy must be removed from us.

Dear LF Gang,

Thank you for your kind and sweet words (Humble look here, and scraping my toe in apparent embarrassment) you guys mean so very much to me, thank you all for sharing my journey. If we all “hold hands” we won’t get off the road or fall into the abyss. You guys have pulled me back so many times when you probably weren’t even aware of it!

Matt: Sorry, dude, but at least it wasn’t a bolt out of the blue, you did kind of see it coming….but yes, you have every right to throw a pity party tonight. When I lost my job at the college as director of student health at the college, I was DEVESTATED. They cut the job to part time and I needed insurance so I had to quit….I cried for days and days. Got a better job I thought (boss was a P) so that job only lasted 6 months but at that point, I took a 2-day-a-week job that had insurance—–and you know what, I was soooooo happy, cause I had a job, but I had TIME to spend with my husband and the farm, and then when my dad got sick I had time to spend with HIM. Those months with him before he died were some of the GREATEST and BEST times we had had since I was a little kid. The intimacy was wonderful! We laughed together and cried together, and if a death can be a “successful” death, his was…we did our grieving before he died, and he didn’t spend 18 months dying, he spent 18 months LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST! I got to share that with him. If I hadn’t “lost” that job I loved, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity to spend that PRICELESS TIME with him.

This turn of events will give you a WHOLE NEW PALATE on which to paint the portrait of the rest of your life! It can be ANY picture you want it to be….cut loose of the “old” and “in with the NEW” A clean new slate! Decide what you want to be when you “grow up”—actually, I am still deciding what to be when I “grow up”—or even if I will grow up or not! I’m having so much fun now and exploring new venues and new opportunities that I may just decide never to grow up. LOL

(((((Hugs))))) Matt, as Scarlett said “tomorrow is another day!” (or something like that)

Dear Ewe,

We posted on top of each other, so I didn’t see your post until I posted mine,

YOU ARE SO RIGHT! PSYCHOPATHS ARE LIKE CANCER, THEY CONSUME US and the BEST CURE is the earliest surgery to remove them that we can get—-they have to be removed for us to heal.

What a truly beautiful and inspiring article. I also get caught in wanting to be done with healing. And yet sometimes when I’m least expecting it, I catch myself feeling present and peaceful and wonder what else there is. When I was younger, I used to do a lot of Buddhist meditation for weeks and even months at a time. The retreats I went to with no expectation were very powerful and amazing. But whenever I’d have the expectation that I would pick up where I left off at the last retreat, I got myself into trouble. I was attached to a certain outcome and not being present. In Buddhism, all forms of attachment lead to suffering. Thanks for the reminder, OxD, that life is a journey.

Matt,
You strike me as someone who will be successful at whatever you do. You are extremely intelligent, sensitive, and very funny (have you thought about stand-up comedy?). I don’t know why but I picture you working in a non-profit organization where you will help many people. That pepperoni pizza sounds pretty damn good, too. Pretty soon I’ll be in foreclosure, and we can all have pizza and scotch together and celebrate the new chapters of our lives.

FE: Love the line “The malignancy must be removed from us”. That is something I will be telling myself each time I become depressed about being broke now after all the money I spent supporting this whack job. Thanks!

Matt, I’m sorry your bosses ended up being fools … for they can’t see what we see in you. Oh, oh, I forgot, that takes intelligence along with sensitivity … a dash of creativity and we’ll throw in courage!

Remember, when God closes a door, he opens a window!

I am praying for your buddy!

I meant “you”, not “your” … oh, it’s late.

Matt,

I am so sorry about your job. You are a smart guy and I’m sure you will be fine. Take that time to grieve and use your strength to get back in the saddle and I know you will. That;s why we are all here right? We didn’t crawl up in a ball (but we get to do that for a time). Big Hug and my good wishes are with you.

swherli,

You are welcome. I do believe that at some point we have to move forward and think healthy thoughts and stop beating ourselves up and stop feeling sorry for ourselves. I also agree with many people who say that we need to look to ourselves to determine what it is about us that allowed the abuse from the S/P……IN GOOD TIME. We are conscientious people or we wouldn’t care enough to be here and we wouldn’t beat ourselves up, we would just blame everyone. So a little self pity is good and long as we do something good with it along the road and make a difference in our lives. We just need to learn and help others and move on to better things.

The healing process is long brutal and you can’t rush it. Don’t let other people jusde either. You too will be fine.

Thank you, KP. I keep saying it’s only been five weeks of NC and all my friends want me to “move on” already! I think I’m doing pretty good considering what he’s done to me at my job and the bankruptcy. I am considering filing a Small Claims against him for back payments on the motorcycle we had. He had promised to pay and didn’t. I want to keep the bike for myself, but now have to make up all those back payments! It just fries me that he can just walk away from all these bills and leave me holding the bag!

hey swehrli,

If i had a dollar for everytime someone told me to move on already…… five weeks and counting????? Keep it going you are doing great. Some days it will feel like huge progress and some days it will feel like you moved backwards. Don’t distress. But comments like that will help you understand quickly who gets it and who doesn’t. One friend told me to stop talking about what he did because it’s embarrassing to me too. I am embarrassed for him. I didn’t do any of the things he would like people to believe so I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I don’t go shouting it on the rooftops but I won’t stand there either if people think he is a real hero.

I had read somewhere, probably here, that the best thing we can do as victims is to expose them. And I did. And I will. And I can do it in a way that keeps me from looking like an idiot. My integrity and honesty speaks for itself.

Here’s an idea….. sell the bike and make some money off of it and bank it. Then when you are back on your feet, buy your own bike. Free and clear of any reminders of him.

Matt,

Congratulations on your new freedom. I’m glad you’re out that place where you had a target painted on your back. I hope your various bureaucratic tasks go easily. Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration for your next incarnation in those experiences.

There is so much interesting work to do right now. I think the shake-out in the economy is going to change a lot of models, and one of them is the way we house ourselves. One of the dreams I’ll probably never fulfill is to start a roominghouse for aging writers. Creating a community of creative types for the economical living conditions and the social life. I’ve looked at summer camps and farms with cabins for laborers here in the mountains trying to figure out if the cabins could be adapted for the purpose, but I’ve never found one that wasn’t too run down for me to take on.

The zoning laws for group living tend to be very restrictive in most areas, but if the economy doesn’t change, there are going to be a lot of us looking for a different ways to live. I don’t know if you’re interested in the topic, but there is a lot of information on the Internet on new communities.

There are going to be a lot of people fighting various financial situations — from foreclosures to denial of benefits to age discrimination. I think that labor law is going to become an increasing hot area, and that it’s probably some of the most rewarding work in business law.

And then, of course, there’s us. The post-sociopath gang with our complex and confusing legal situations. If you didn’t do anything else but write a book about steps to take before, during and after a relationship to protect ourselves and to increase our possibility of recovering what we lost, you would leave a powerful legacy. (And probably create a rewarding specialty that would leave a lot of grateful clients behind you.)

I’m just brainstorming, and it might be too early to brainstorm. But in my own experience of big life changes, sometimes that first deep breath of freedom is where the big silly dreams pop up. I hope they do for you.

Kathy

Oxy,
Thanks again for all you have given me and others on here.

Matt, I could no longer work in my profession (Environmental Engineering) after I suffered a major heart attack and looking back it has been a blessing. I am glad that I am no longer in that field even though I enjoyed the work tremendously. As was said before, when a door is closed a window surely opens. Look for it. I do feel for you though, it is never easy to deal with job loss and all that goes along with it. Hang tough though, okay?

Kathleen, I love your idea:

“One of the dreams I’ll probably never fulfill is to start a roominghouse for aging writers. Creating a community of creative types for the economical living conditions and the social life.”

If you can do it then count me in. I have read your writing and enjoy it, and I believe that you could do it.

“But in my own experience of big life changes, sometimes that first deep breath of freedom is where the big silly dreams pop up. I hope they do for you.”

I agree with this so strongly that it could have been written by myself. And those big silly dreams? One of mine has started to become reality. I already have two clients for my shirts and the first order is for 100 units. You have to have big dreams.

I have gained so much from this site and from all the people on here. I am doing better and so will you Matt. Just learn to believe in yourself.

BigDude

A few years ago here a gal bought an old run down motel that was built in the days when they were called “tourist cabins” and she rented units to the walking elderly. Sort of an assisted living facility, and the owner cooked for them all in the small restaturant there, and each roomer had a job to do according to their capabilities etc. pick up trash, etc. and they all worked together and because they were renting rooms, there was none of the government paper work that goes with housing the elderly etc. Our state newspaper did a whole sunday supplement on this.

Lots of people are moving back in with relatives, and the 2 and 3 family household is becoming quite common, and 3 and 4 generation household as well.

Not a bad thing really. Stressful for some I am sure, but in some ways, not bad at all.

My two sons live with me, and my son C’s house that he lived in with his x-wife is rented, and I have plenty of room for him here (4 bedrooms, 3 baths) and it doesn’t appreciably cost me any more to house him than without him, as well as I do the cooking, and he does the dishes so works for us. He and my other son work here on the farm as well, so I am very pleased to have him here. AT some point he will have to get a job, but for now, I am glad he is not going after one. He needs some “down time” without stress to work on his healing and I have seen marked improvements since he has been home (first week of November) in the decrease of hypervigilence, startle reflex, etc.

When he first came home he was as “jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs” and any loud noise would startle him. Now the normal noises out here or dogs suddenly barking don’t make him paranoid. He is sleeping better most of the time and the exercise has been good for him too (he got no exercise to speak of in the last year and a half and had gained weight) He is eating well and still has lost 15 or 20 pounds and I can see that he is firming up.

He and his brother D are bonding again and he and I are rebonding as well. It is really good for him to be here and good for his brother and me as well. He’s always “pulled his weight” and never been a mooch, so I don’t mind him being here and not looking for work for a while.

The three of us are getting out and doing things together, and separately,visiting friends, having friends over, working together here on the farm, ridiing horseback, breaking out the jackasses (the 4-footed ones) to ride and work and just living life and enjoying it. Lots of laughter, lots of jokes and bad puns, and lots of hugs! Can’t beat that with a stick!!!

Matt–hope you’re doing okay today. I just read about your job. (for some reason, I believe this is harder on attorneys because we think we’re “immune” to the stuff that happens to “regular people” ha!)

I’ve been through a complete reordering of my life as well, so I know it can leave you numb for awhile.

I believe, like others here, this is a wonderful opportunity for you. I think, deep down, you are ready for change. Now it’s time to live YOUR life–to do exactly what you WANT to do. (not what you think you should do, ought to do, etc.) But what you WANT to do.

Anyway, I’m sending you good vibes. ~~~~~~~~~~~

[tried to find a symbol of good vibes]

Are you going to rest and play for awhile? Will the unemployment keep you afloat for awhile?

Keep us posted.

Maybe all of us survivors of financial decimation can help each other with “living on the cheap” suggestions.

keeping_faith, Kathy, bigdude and pearl:

Thanks for the encouragement. Spent the day doing post-firing triage — getting a cell phone, getting high speed internet (yes, I was the last living American with dial up), applying for unemployment.

Then the fatigue hit like a wave. I suspect I’ve been under sustained stress for so long between S and the work situation, that my body and brain are suddenly buckling. Hope to get a lot of sleep tonight.

Am sitting here tonight trying to decided what the heck I want to do “when I grow up.” Have to admit, I’m coming up dry at the moment. Maybe I just need to take some chill time and just go to the gym and give myself some breathng space.

OxDrover:

Don’t know why your situtation with your sons made me think of a saying of my mother’s but it did. Whenever she wanted my siblings and I to do something around her house and we’d buck, she’d say “I was in labor with you and now you shall labor for me.” No way to argue around that one!

Also, your talking about your friends place for the elderly made me think of the mother of a friend of my father who lives in England. Her mother used to own what the Brits call a “twilight home”. Doesn’t that sound nice compared to “nursing home” or the current au courant phrase “rehab center?”

I remember when I was invited to tea one day with the ladies of the home. The local doctor and his nurse popped in to see if anybody needed anything and joined us for tea.

I was just a kid, but even then I remember thinking that it was such a civilized way to spend your old age compared to what we’ve got here in the States — those hideous warehouses for the elderly.

Pearl:

I think you’re right — we lawyers thought we are immune from the stuff that affects other mortals. Boy, have I learned differently in the last year and a half since I met S.

Figure unemployment will keep me in groceries for at least 36 weeks. Thank God I got rid of S before he drained me of everything, so I can carry the mortgage for awhile. I know I’m in better shape than a lot of people.

While I get out placement, I know that I’ve got to take some time to pull myself together — I’ve been running on empty way too long. If I’ve got one plan that’s definite, it is to get myself on a real stiff gym schedule.

“Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.”

~ Sai Baba

Thanks Oxy!

Dear Matt,

Glad you are realizing that the effects of stress (long term) have gotten you to where you are “running on fumes,” so to speak, and you need to focus on your physical and psychological health.

When I went back to work after my husband’s death, I was definitely “running on fumes” and my work situation had deteriorated and we were running on SHORT staff. ONe night I went to work and there should have been 5 RNs for the number of patients we had, and there was me and one licensed Practical nurse and she was a “float” in that didn’t even know where the bathroom was. I had three patients ACTIVELY dying, no supplies, etc. it was a CHAOTIC CIRCUS with people’s lives at stake. I was not equipped to handle in in good times, much less running on ONE CYLINDER. I did manage to handle it, but I knew I had to retire. I couldn’t live like that any more. I was KILLING MYSELF WITH STRESS. It wasn’t worth it.

Looking back I have realized I have lived my life in CRISIS mode….mostly self allowed, unnecessary stress in trying to “fix” problems created by others, feeling like I was responsible for fixing them. NO MORE.

Retirement meant for me to go from “very comfortable income” to official poverty level income, but at least I don’t owe a single soul a dime so I can “make it.” This economic crisis though has done a “number” on my 401K, and the big chunk of change I had to spend to buy the RV and haul arse to save my life and hiring an attorney to try to get the trojan horse psychopath away from my mother, etc etc. all did a number on my finances, but I DO NOT REGRET ONE MINUTE that now I have to COUNT MY PENNIES.

My grandparents lived through the 1929 depression which lasted here in Arkansas until the early 60s, and I know how to pinch a penny, use it up, make it do, or do without. The first thing I did was look at the ANNUALIZED cost of “pocket change”—-the little dollar here, dollar there, costs of buying Sodas at the store, or a candy bar, etc. and realized that there were hundreds of dollars slipping away for essentially nothing by spending a couple of bucks a day on sodas etc. I CUT THAT OUT. I don’t watch much if any TV so cut off the cable service, saved $75 a month (annually that is $900, cut off my house phone cause all we use really is cell at $30 a month, that’s another $360 a year saved, etc etc.

We no longer eat out except very occasionally. VERY occasionally. I freeze bottles of drinking water (filled from our tap) and take them along with us when we go to town so we have something cold to drink along with us. My son D who smokes, went from Cigarettes to a pipe and saved another $40 a week, so there are plenty of ways most people can save money, cut down on the outgo.

Since son C is living here with us (much cheaper than tossing the renter out of his house and paying utilties on that house) and I am cooking for him and son D as well as myself, that in itself probably saves the three of us another $7 or 8,000 a year right there. I know all the tricks of cooking a nutritious meal low cost and he isn’t as up on that sort of thing. I also have time to shop the bargains. So there are MANY benefits for us to live together, besides the company we give each other and support.

Simplifying our lives, getting rid of the “stuff” we don’t need, and realizing that it is “all stuff” and that “stuff” isn’t what is important in life, has been a big thing for me.

I have a great many “family heirlooms” that were SACRED to me, almost holy, including the farm which has been in the family since 1833 and is watered with the sweat, blood and tears of my family—but I now realize that nothing NOTHING material is holy. It is ALL STUFF, and “stuff” ain’t “holy.”

When I lived in the RV and thought I might have to live in it for years and years if not forever, I realized that there just isn’t that much material that I need. I only took a week’s worth of clothing with me, a few pictures and things like that, a few dishes, toilet articles, my bird and my dog, and a few favorite books. Really, what else do you NEED? I had everything in that RV that I NEEDED TO LIVE COMFORTABLY. I was dry and warm, had a roof over my head, and my utilities were $50 a month to keep warm or cool.

It was really a wake up call to me to realize that there is nothing material in this world that is all that important in the bigger scheme of things.

We trade our TIME at work for money to buy material things, and comforts etc. but I realized I would rather have less money and more TIME to do what I wanted to do.

I had realized somewhat that when I had cut down from a 60-80 hour a week job to a 24 hour (2 day) a week job. Less money but I had more time to enjoy the things I wanted to do and the less money didn’t matter. When I cut down from 24 hours a week working to zero working, I had the time I needed to heal myself, to take care of ME.

Son C has not looked for a job since he came back home, but I don’t care…he needs the TIME and the LOW stress to help him further along the healing road. He has worked 60-80 hours a week most of his life, the little amount it costs me to feed him is NOTHING, and he enjoys working around here on the farm, which benefits us all, so I don’t care how long he needs to take off before he starts looking for a job. He isn’t lazy and he isn’t a bum, and he NEEDS SOME TIME, time to think, time to de-stress and time to heal, and I’m in a position to provide that for him so I gladly do so.

Getting a NEW PERSPECTIVE on life, and what is important in life I think is one of the OPPORTUNITIES we have been granted by FINALLY coming to grips with our lives and ourselves and working on truly HEALING from our own dysfunctions. The Psychopaths may have injured us, hurt us, but in the end, WE ARE THE WINNERS. We will take this horrible pain we have been dealt and we will weave it into a healing coat of many colors! Hang on Matt! THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!!

Good one Oxy!

It is a journey. Not a destination.

Oops… I have to run. Be back later.

OxD, I am so inspired by your post and your attitude about possessions. I find a simpler life more satisfying as well. I have no cell phone and drive a 12 year old car that is paid for. The A/C is broken so in the summer I take a spray bottle and call it my air conditioner. I have accumulated a few pieces of furniture but I could give them up if need be. Giving up my reptile site was the hardest. But I haven’t died yet without it. (Notice I’m around here a lot more these days). I have a 3-day a week job and do a few massages on the other days, which I enjoy. Sadly, I really don’t like my office job. But I will be looking at what I really want to do so I can leave that. I am attached to some of my clothes and of course, to my animals. But you are right, the less we are attached to, the more present we can be. I know people who have all kinds of jewels, expensive nick nacks, and heirlooms, and they live in mortal fear of those things being stolen. They can’t go on vacation, they have expensive security systems. And gadgets like mobile phones, Ipods, etc. need to all be maintained. Just having one conversation with the “tech guy in India” is enough to make you want to pluck your eyeballs out! Imagine doing this for computer, cell phone, pager, etc. Ugh! There is so much peace to letting go. I am almost thanking the sociopath for running me off the reptile site. I feel more peaceful and present without it. I didn’t realize I was always looking over my shoulder while I was there because I knew he’d come back.

Today my two sons and I and our jack asses, Fat and Hairy went on a trail ride with some people who have horses and wagons, and we had a wonderful time. Just rode up and down the old dirt roads in the backwoods, a few houses and a car or two all day but just a fun time. This was only the second time that Fat Ass had been under saddle for a whole day but we had a grand time, though I think I enoyed it more than he did! LOL At least I was the one RIDING!

We came back at the end of the day and ate, played horse shoes (miserably) and laughed and laughed and laughed and played with the six or seven kids under age 8 there, gave the kids horse back rides on the horses and our own backs (depending on ages of kids) and had the most stress free day, beautiful weather, nice country people and good hospitality.

Met a nice young lady there who was looking my sons “up and down” and that made them feel good. I enjoyed the ride and the time outdoors. IN THE NOW, not worrying about anything. Came home TOTALLY tired and ready for bed and happy dreams…no problems a couple of asprin won’t cure!

Star, I’m glad you are doing well, and I think you will find, like you already seem to be doing, that NC with everyone connected with the P is going to give you some stress relief and let your mind clear out of the FOG. Focus on the POSITIVE AND GOOD things IN your life, and not what you have “lost”—I think you will find that there are more things in your life that are GOOD than the losses. IN the end, the “losses” are things we needed to lose–the Ps and everything connected with their evil presence.

The more I am around dysfunctional people, the better I like my Jack Asses! They may be stubborn and hard headed, and they only tolerate me because I am the “food goddess,” but they are not going to intentionally hurt me.

LOL OxD! When you first mentioned the jack asses, I thought you might be referring to some of your exes. Fat Ass and Hairy Ass? ha ha ha ha ha. Poor things! I swear those animals get such a bad rap from the unfortunate name. I’m glad you had such a fun day! You are such an inspiration.

Dear Star,

Nope, Fat Ass and Hairy Ass are two young Mammoth Asses (the correct name for “donkey”) They are about 3 years old and reaching enough physical maturity that they are now ready to hve the riding part of being trained done. They are the size of smallet horses, but much larger than “ponies” and are black, with white noses and white eye rings and some gray on their underbellies.

They will be used for riding, packing and to pull my replica freight wagon for my living histroy group. I used to use oxen (which are just any breed of cattle trained to pull a wagon or work, NOT a special “animal.”) but because if someone got hurt I COULD be sued with the oxen, and with the assess, there is the “equine expemption” law that says if my asses hurt you, you should have sense enough to know they were dangerous and stay away, but with the oxen, there is NO “bovine exemption” law. I got so frustrated with people letting an 18 month old baby go under a two-thousand pound ox (no matter HOW gentle) and got worried someone would get hurt out of their OWN stupidity and sue me, so when the oxen got to the end of their healthy natural life, they went to the big barn in the sky (actually my freezer) and I replaced them with the asses, which are WAY, SO COOL!

During all this chaotic mess with the psychopaths, however, I have not spent much time with the asses or had the energy or mental acuity to finish their training. The first rule of animal training is “You must be smarter than the animal you are trying to train.”

It takes a great deal of calm, patience and peace to be able to train an animal. I didn’t have the calm and the peace mentally to progress with them while I was trying to heal myself. About 99.9% of animal training is the psychology of the process. Getting the desired result from the behavior of another living thing. Asses are much much smarter than a horse, and have a HEALTHY point of view. They WILL NOT do something for you that THEY are not sure is to their benefit, or do something that might get them hurt. THEY must see a “benefit” in everything they do.

A horse, on the other hand, not being really very bright, will do what you want him to, and trust you to take care of his welfare. The asses do not trust you to take care of their welfare, THEY are IN CHARGE OF THEIR OWN WELFARE.

An ass may let you beat him to death but he will NOT do something he thinks might get him hurt. It is impossible to rush training them, because they will “balk”—that is when they will STOP and not go forward until THEY think it is safe. They may stand there and let you beat them to death, but they will not be forced into doing anything they don’t think is safe.

Yesterday as we rounded a turn, we came upon a large estate with white fences all around it. Fat stopped and would not proceed toward that fence. The young lady on her horse next to me asked if I wanted her to cut me a “switch” so I could slap him on the rump (she wasn’t familiar with asses, only horses–this would have worked with a horse) And I told her we just had to sit there until FAT decided it was safe to go toward the fence. He stood there examining it for a minute maybe then proceeded to follow her horse down the road.

I see so many parallels with the asses and horses and with us, previous victims. If we had been more like the asses, instead of like the horses, we would not have allowed ourselves to be “switched” into going near something that may not have been good for us.

I am proud to say, I am becoming MORE LIKE THE ASSES, and I am looking out for MYSELF, and not trusting MY safety to anyone but ME. The horse I have, Fancy, would let me ride her into traffic, over a cliff, or ride her til she dropped dead of fatigue, but not Fat Ass. He would NOT allow me to get him killed, or to get him hurt. Fancy is a lovely, sweet horse, but she is a potential VICTIM, but Fat Ass, for all his sweet gentle disposition, is NOT going to be anyone’s victim. So, Star, BECOME AN ASS and wear the name proudly. Just because peo0ple who don’t know that asses are smarter than some people and they call “bad people” jack asses, doesn’t mean the term should not be one of HONOR INSTEAD! I am PROUD to say I am learning to be an ASS. LOL

Great story, OxD. I have decided to become an ass, too. Just call me Smart Ass. (fitting, eh?) ha ha ha ha

I enjoyed hearing about training them, too, and I hope beating them isn’t part of the regime (I think you were just using it to illustrate a point, but not that it’s something you actually do).

Maybe some day we will all come out to your farm and ride your ass (Wow, that didn’t come out right, did it?) LOL Sorry, can’t help it. I’m on a roll with all these “ass” puns.

Star, No, “beating” an ass is an exercise in futility! They will quit examining the “danger” that they perceive and will focus on resisting you,, so it only makes them MORE STUBBORN to resist you. You have to give them time to make up their minds about any new object.

That’s why I have not been working with them until lately, because I didn’t have the patience to work with them and only a patient person can “be smart enough” to train them.

Fat was only under saddle for a “real ride” once before (the weekend previous) but by the end of the second ride he was doing as good as a horse with 60 days of training instead of two days, like he had gotten. Horses will panic when they are confronted with new things, but asses aren’t don’t panic, they examine things and decide if it is dangerous, where a horse would just “lose it” and hurt himself.

That’s another thing that I think we should emulate the asses about is not “losing it” when we get into a tight situation where something is new and frightening. Horses will just go “off in all directions at once” but not an ass, they KEEP THEIR HEADS in new and scary situations.

Fat didn’t buck a single time, though he did have some problems learning to go where I directed him (left and right) and stopping and going (get up and whoa) on MY signal, rather than his decision, but by the end of the second ride, he was “getting into the swing of it.”

Yep, Star, your new “name” is SMART ASS! LOL ROTFLMAO BTW that was one of several names I considered for Fat and Hairy before we finally settled on their names.

I had a “contest” with my living history group to name them, some of the other selections entered in the contest were “Bush and Cheney” “Smart and Dumb,” etc. just about every word you can consider along with “ass” Their father’s name is LARD ASS. A friend has one named “Kiss,…my ass”

Just some of my “backwoods sense of humor.” LOL

What about Lazy Ass? LOL I hope they’re not smart enough to know what their names mean. That might explain the stubbornness. ha ha ha ha

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