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Just Stop.

Take a moment out of your hectic day.

Take a deep breath and slowly exhale.

Slow it down, take a moment and simply sit with your thoughts for a while.

Early this morning my Uncle Russ called to tell me, my Aunt Jenny passed away. They were eleven years apart and she was like a mother to him. He could barely speak.

She was 92 years old.

My dad was a year younger than Jenny, whose given name was Giovanna. She was named after her father’s brother Giovanni. My Uncle Rossario (Russ) and my dad Salvatore (Sam) were named after each of their grandfathers. When I called my 91 year old dad, he was sobbing. They were heartbreaking sobs. And my heart hurt for my dad’s loss.

This was his beloved sister. There was never a crossword between them. They were raised in a close-knit Sicilian home where God, family, food, love and music we’re abundant and revered above all.

Yes, she was 92.

Yes, they had enjoyed many, many years together.

Yes, we believe she is now reunited with her husband and her parents in what we hope is even a better place than she left today.

But. When I spoke with my dad, I realized the concept of time is a mystery.

The fact he and his sister lived into their 90’s may have been of some comfort to him. Yet, I could tell his memories of his sister weren’t time-stamped, they were timeless.

His heart was full of love for her and time did not lessen the abundance of love or loss overflowing within him today.

Today is St Joseph’s Day– which was a very, very special day for my dad’s family.

When I was a kid, no matter what day of the week March 19th fell on… my dad’s entire family, The Rizzo Clan, gathered together at the extended 25 foot dining room table for the traditional multiple course feast of San Giuseppe, at Nani & Papa’s house on the Westside of Buffalo.  

It was the one time of the year my Papa’s seat at the head of the family table was replaced by the life sized statue of San Giuseppe, draped in Christmas lights with a foil wrapped aerial TV antenna “Halo”.

I’m not sure exactly when we gathered for our last Festa di San Giuseppe, but believe it was probably in the mid-80s, shortly before my grandparents passed away and we sold the family compound.

I have photos from one of those last celebrations. My Nani had hand crocheted and sewn costumes for all her great-grandchildren. They were dressed as St. Joseph, Mary, Jesus and angels.

Losing Aunt Jenny on St. Joseph’s Day is bittersweet. I am sad for her loss, for my dad’s heartbreak and also for the passing of an era my children will never know. I grew-up immersed in european tradition. But so many of those wonderful customs and traditions passed with my grandparents.

Today I am reminded just how quickly time passes by. I am reminded by the importance of family. And most of all, I am reminded how important it is to keep family traditions woven into our busy, hectic lives.

Today, stop.

Just Stop.

Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.

What were some special traditions or customs you remember from your childhood? Make time to celebrate special moments with your family and friends. Find ways to continue to make special memories.

Slow it down, take a moment and simply sit with your thoughts for a while.

Happy Saint Joseph’s Day!!

~1975 (Aunt Jenny is on the far right)

~ 1983 Nani and her great-grandchildren

30 years ago today I

30 years ago today I
30 years ago today I

30 years ago today I gave birth to my first child…

a healthy, beautiful baby boy, I named Teddy.  

A perfect gift from God.


When this precious child was placed into my arms it may have been the first time our eyes met, but I already knew my child’s soul.

Our indelible bond had been formed nine months earlier when my child’s heart began to beat,

In sync with mine.


As I the years passed, I felt my child’s pain, their joy… I helped them carry their burdens and failures and also shared in the celebrations of their success.

Most of all, I tried to shepherd them carefully away from doubt, negativity and harm… gently guiding them toward faith, hope and Love.


As I raised Teddy, my sweet happy little boy slowly grew withdrawn, preoccupied and sullen before my eyes. I watched his eyes, once sparkling and full of joy, become clouded and detached.

Teddy went from a joyful toddler with a bubbly giggle, to an adolescent weighed down with an internal conflict buried deeply in the dark.


Teddy seemed to spend his time sleeping or working on music. There was little in between.

My heart sank as I saw my child slowly slipping away.


As a young adult it appeared, Teddy may be choosing to numb this conflict (and accompanying emotional pain) with weed. The only time I saw a flicker of my child, was in the genius expressed in his gift of music. Hearing the deep emotion in his melodies and the naked truth in his lyrics gave me comfort the bright flame still burned somewhere deep within.  


But as Teddy’s 29th birthday approached, I feared the flicker that remained was finally being smothered by growing anxiety, depression and the ever expanding dark cloud of cannabis.


I knew Teddy was struggling deeply with something extremely overwhelming. And I felt helpless… as if stumbling in the depths of complete darkness trying to help my child confront something I couldn’t see, touch or understand.


I am forever grateful for divine intervention and the help of good people surrounding Teddy who trusted a mama’s instinct.


It was time.

It was time for Teddy to step forward into the sunlight… to finally be brave enough to emerge from the nubing cloud and peel away the layers and layers… exposing a truth many of us may struggle to understand.


There was a deep conflict within Teddy’s soul between the truth of gender and the outward physical expression of gender.


This was a difficult concept for me to understand, for I believed on that day thirty years ago, they had placed a child of pure perfection into my awaiting embrace.

When they announced: “It’s a Boy!” … I had no idea the gender of my child ran much deeper than our superficial visual assessment or even chromosomal expression of being labeled a “Boy” or “Girl”.


This discrepancy between the gender one is assigned at birth and their true authentic gender was a foreign concept to me— one I had not personally experienced and knew very little about.

I had raised Teddy as a boy, completely unaware of the internal conflict growing within my child.


It has been a year since Teddy has embarked on the journey of aligning her soul’s internal identity with her external expression of gender.

It has been a challenging journey for both of us, a journey I never would have predicted, a journey I never would have chosen, and yet a journey I am grateful to share with my child.


Sometimes we don’t get to choose our journeys. I believe Teddy would have prefered to have been born with her internal soul and external gender aligned… however, there was a different path chosen for her from the beginning.


Thirty years ago they placed a perfect gift from God into my arms and thirty years later

I’ve become enlightened by the truth:

           Perfection needs no “Labels”.


The pure authentic perfection of our souls exists freely and is felt deeply within us… unconfined… unencumbered… by the superficial limitations of labels assigned by what we see on the outside.


The sparkle has return to my child’s eye…

Teddy is once again filled with joy, ease and comfort.  Teddy’s glorious eyes are once again a true expression to her magnificent soul.


As I write this in the early morning of her thirtieth birthday… I am overwhelmed with emotion for it is not for me (or any of us) to judge another, to decide what is right and just, or to question the subtle nuances of the creation of life.

I believe we owe our creator the honor of respecting the truth:

We were all perfectly designed as unique creations,

all perfect in our own individual ways.


And we owe each other the respect of honoring our individual need to live our authentic life,

openly and honestly as our authentic self.

We owe each other acceptance and tolerance for the freedom to express our authentic truth.

In other words is doesn’t matter what we see on the outside, because we know what truly matters is on the inside.


Is the Pain of a Black-eye Easier to Understand??

Is the Pain of a Black-eye Easier to Understand??

As I was making my morning coffee my friend Sue called.  I could hear it in her voice, she was teetering on the verge of sobs… so I sat down with my cup of coffee and listened.  She said:


“My heart is absolutely breaking, and there are days when I just can’t bear it!  

How could a decision I made over 32 years ago, still affect me so intensely today??  

I never would have thought the man I chose to marry and have children with, could cause so much pain.  

But it is that one decision, made by an optimistic, naive young girl, which keeps me connected to a man who turned out to be so dangerous.  

There is such irony in a union giving life to three most precious souls… being the same conduit used to hurt those very same lives so deeply.

How can I so deeply regret a decision which gave me the very things in life for which I am the most grateful.

I am so torn with raw emotion, for it was this man who helped create the most important parts of my life… my children… and yet, I will forever feel guilty that I have exposed them to his destruction.  

When they were little, everything was great.  He was usually out-of-town and the physical distance from us, provided a convenient and beneficial separation.  Our exposure to him was limited and the kids and I thrived best under those circumstances.

And when he was physically present, he was never truly “available”.  He’d be obsessed with his latest project….

It was nice when this project was something to enhance our home, like building a nice bookshelf or refinishing the basement.  

It was odd when it was pushing himself in some personally physical way, like hitting golf balls at the driving range well into the night, until his hands bled from deep penetrating blisters. Or never missing a weightlifting session at the gym, no matter who or what might get in the way.

However, It was the worst when his obsession or project appeared to be for the benefit for another, and yet was truly a vehicle to entice another’s involvement to purely “benefit” HIM.  These situations were the most difficult to detect, and by far caused the greatest harm.   

And sadly, each one of my children has experienced this harm in their own individual way.  

Through the years, especially after the divorce, It became almost impossible for me to shield them from this harm.  I am only grateful… that the older they get, it appears overtime the clearer this whole phenomenon becomes to each of them.  With clarity come truth… but this is a truth no mother wishes their child to face.

Yes, divorce can be painful… yet it doesn’t have to cause irreparable harm.  

But, unknowingly, I chose to marry a man who (some 23 years later) would make sure our divorce pretty much decimated everything and everyone in its path.  

A man who got the divorce he wanted and then became obsessed with turning it into a project cause unending suffering and pain… all the while balancing the fine-line of trying to justify reasons for his “actions”.

And after years of living through all of this, and realizing he. will. never. stop… I am forced to face my greatest horror… my greatest guilt:


I.  was. not . strong. enough. to endure the destruction… rise above it all… shake myself off and protect my own kids from the painful, dangerous fall-out!!!

My survival instincts were weak.  

I took financial and emotional hit after hit.  I was dragged into one legal court battle after another… and with what little energy or hope I had left… I was barely able to keep our (mine & my kids) most basic needs met.

I didn’t say or do the right things to make my kids feel safe, like the smart psychologists who write articles on dealing with divorce always suggest. Unfortunately, I was in survival-mode and was functioning out of desperation.

I failed.  I failed at the only thing I ever cared about….

I failed to be the best mom I could be.


And for that, my heart is broken.  And there are days when I just can’t bear it!  

And I hope one day, maybe my kids can forgive me.

And maybe one day, I can forgive myself.”




Only an Excerpt from her Story

Only an Excerpt from her Story

My best friend Sue called me this morning and told me about her latest ordeal with Tim.

She was divorced 8 years ago, but the ripple effect has been causing ocean swells way over her head for years.

She moved on with her life, but her ex, Tim, is constantly rocking the boat.  

Tim can appear as easygoing as a jellyfish just floating by, but his tentacles are far reaching and have a poisonous and painful sting.

He has abused police departments and legal systems to carry out his vengeance, while hiding behind a cloak of poor innocent victim.  

Tim repeatedly petitions Family Court to make Sue pay, (financially and emotionally)… to fill this bottomless pit of debt he believes he is owed.

And worst of all, it is their children who have suffered the most.  It is they, who have the deepest scars and are truly the innocent victims.

 For years, Tim has masterfully created mosaics of his reality, built with jagged pieces of his lies.  And even though this reflection is a compilation of only truth fragments, somehow with a swipe of his gifted skill… he masterfully fills in all the empty spaces with a glittering substance which tricks the mind and the eye to perceive it all as truth.  

But it is not the truth… it is only his truth.

Those who are driven to look deeper, can clearly see the disconnect in the picture of reality he spins.  Apparently, the only reality Tim himself chooses to believe and will tell anyone who cares to listen.  

Sue told me about an unusual phone conversation she recently had with Tim, which better illustrates this mosaic I’m trying to describe.  


Sue said:

“I hadn’t spoken with him in years, you know our conversations never end well.  

But he recently needed my signature on a legal matter or else he’d be facing a foreclosure on some property,

therefore he needed to speak with me.  

So, I took the opportunity to discuss a matter which was very important to me, our 18 year old’s college choices. This is a monumental decision and I hoped Tim and I would be united in helping our child make a good decision… one which would inevitably have long lasting implications on her future.

At first the conversation was cordial, and then he said something that stopped me dead in my tracks.  He was trying to prove a point and said accusatorily…(with 100% confidence in his voice)

Well, you’re the one who asked for the divorce.  

I literally laughed out loud.  What?!?!, I said… Are you kidding me right now?!?!

I found it extremely odd he’d even say such a thing, . And not only was his comment a blatant lie, but he said it to me…(someone who Lived The Truth) which was completely absurd.

My thoughts shot back to a day I’d rather forget… Thursday May 1, 2008.  

The day we sat on our marriage therapist’s couch and Tim said he wanted a divorce… And then went on to describe how the time he spent with a special someone on his latest business trip to Montreal helped him make-up his mind that our marriage was over… and He. Wanted. A. Divorce.  

I remember it felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.  Even though we both knew the appearance of our marriage had been enhanced with smoke and mirrors for years, I believed we shared a mutual understanding we’d stay ‘married’ until our youngest went off to college. I felt betrayed and was shocked at how coldly he stated such a life-changing decision”.


I told Sue, I too remembered that day like it was yesterday.  That evening, after she had put her kids to bed… Sue ended up out in her car, in my driveway and I sat with her as she cried and sobbed.        We both knew Sue wasn’t crying from a broken heart, she wept for the uncertainty and pain her children were now about to face.  She could no longer shielded them from Tim’s pervasive pattern of manipulation…. his greed and desperate need to achieve a desire for importance, and entitlement at all cost.  She knew her children would ultimately end up paying that debt, because Tim’ greatest flaw was his of lack of empathy for anyone else… including their children,

I also reminded her about what Tim had said only a couple days later.  That Saturday, our group of very close friends got together to watch the Kentucky Derby.  Sue was still a wreck, and someone questioned how Tim’s decision to get divorced might negatively affect the kids and Tim smirked and said… ‘The kids will be fine. What doesn’t kill them, will make them stronger’.  

It was at that very moment, our group of friends were completely disillusioned and disturbed by Tim’s cold character.  And from that day on, it was Sue who had our continued friendship and our unconditional support.


“Yes, I totally remember it all” Sue said.

“And that’s why I literally laughed out loud. His comment was absurd. But then I remembered one of my kids telling me their dad had told them, I asked for the divorce… At the time, I thought little of it… but suddenly his comment made me realize he’s been telling these lies to our kids and my protective mamabear instincts kicked in.

So, I pressed him about his— (‘Well, you’re the one who asked for the divorce.’ ) — comment, which we both knew was a boldfaced lie.”

Sue continued:

“Holy cow, you wouldn’t believe how defensive he got….

He said, he was over-it and didn’t want to discuss it… there was no point rehashing it all.  

But suddenly there was this flashing red flag right in front of my face… and it became   crystal clear to me that his comment was just one lie that was covering up a whole toxic pile of lies… and he certainly didn’t want me pulling that cover off.  

So, when I asked him, if he was kidding… he actually shot back with the craziest answer.  He said, Well it’s your name that’s listed at the top of our divorce agreement… you are the one typed in as the “Petitioner”.  So, I have proof in writing that proves… you asked for the divorce!!!

OMG!!!   My jaw hit the floor.  He was right.  

When the divorce agreement was getting finalized he asked if I had any objection to his lawyer typing up the actual agreement.  

And I said, I didn’t care who typed it up… I was worn down and depleted at that point.  When I received my copy of the agreement, I remember noticing his lawyer had typed my name in as “Petitioner” but thought nothing of it.  I figured it didn’t really matter who was listed as “Petitioner”, it was a moot point.

Plus, I had bigger things to worry about.

I was more concerned with reading through and trying to understand the hundreds of pages of legalese and documentation that dissolved our 23 year marriage and illuded to provide a fair distribution of assets and resolution for all.  

Which we know now, was in fact, not fair and only benefited Tim, not me or our kids.”


Then Sue asked me a question:


“Do you think he’s been telling people that lie for the past eight years???

Do you think people believe him?

You know Tim’s a master of manipulation.  

It took me decades to see the way he’s always spinning a web, always plotting what tactic will give him the best results…

He even brags about every move he makes is always two steps ahead, he always has a motive… an angle.

Do you think Tim actually had my name listed as “Petitioner” on purpose?

Why would he do that, go through all that trouble?

Why would he bother to lie about who asked for the divorce anyway?

Why….. ?

The Conversation on the Day of the Women’s March No One’s Gonna Like

The Conversation on the Day of the Women’s March No One’s Gonna Like

Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in.  

There are defined groups of beliefs and ideologies in our society and I often find myself in the gray overlap between two opposing groups of thought.  Especially when discussing the two taboo subjects of politics and religion.  Boom… yes, I said it… politics and religion…

I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith and yet I describe myself as a Cafeteria Catholic.  There are so many things I like and do not like about the R.C. Church… so, I find myself taking what I like and leaving the rest. And that behavior has left many devout Catholics denying I am a Catholic. So be it.

I am not a Democrat or Republican.  

I am not liberal or conservative.

I am not a feminist or misogynist (obviously).

And I also find myself sitting somewhere in between the pro-life and pro-choice groups.  My personal beliefs are not popular with either group and I find myself once again not feeling a member of either.  So be it.

But, on the exact day millions of women were marching in DC for Women’s Rights… the latter example popped up in a conversation with my very strong minded, very independent, very liberal, very sweet 18 year old daughter.  In her opinion I am pro-life … and as she sat across the table from me eating a taco salad… she asked a little inquisitively and with some obvious judgement in her voice: “Mom, how can you be pro-life… how can you NOT be pro-choice?!?!”  All being said with a look of disgust on her face which made me think she may had just bit into her lime garnish.

I smiled and answered… “Actually, I don’t think the pro-lifers would include me in their group.”

“But you’re not pro-choice!… so what are you mom?”

I gave it a seconds thought, and with all the women’s march drama swirling in my mind, I blurted out:    “I’m pro-women”.  To which she fake coughed her reply… “Bullsh*t”.

And then I tried to explain to my daughter why I believe I’m pro-women:

“Honestly, I’m torn on this whole pro-life/pro-choice debate. I can see valid points made in both arguments… but from my perspective it looks like this…  

There are individual situations where an abortion may be necessary.  I’m not going to debate why or why not a situation is necessary, although I would hope common sense could help determine true “necessity”.  (This belief will keep me from belonging to the PL group)

And because I believe abortions are probably very painful psychologically, emotionally and physically for the women having to choose and have one, if we don’t make them such an easily accessible choice… maybe it will actually encourage women to consider other options that cause less suffering?  Or help women make life choices to not put themselves in the position to need one …?”

My daughter didn’t look convinced, so I continued…

“Many people believe women must have control and a choice over their bodies.  I agree with that, however I see it differently.  The one thing (at this point in time) we don’t have any control over is… if sexual intercource results in a pregnancy… it is the woman, who get’s pregnant. Therefore, her control and choice over her body truly begins whether she chooses to have sexual intercourse or not, and whether she trusts birth control or not.  Because once she’s pregnant, it’s not just about her anymore.”  

This is when my sweet daughter got feisty.

“MOM!!!!!”…. “YOU ARE SUCH A SEXIST!!!!!!!” She spat out.

I laughed “Honey, I don’t think they’d let me in their group either”

So be it.


Musket, Scalping & Trump Safe Zone

Musket, Scalping & Trump Safe Zone

Welcome Back!

Back ? Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there



I awoke, Monday, November 21, on a cold, grey, snow-covered Northeast morning with my usual childlike faith:

That a new day… is a new chance… for a better day… than yesterday….

All I wanted to do was open up Facebook and Feel Good!  

Maybe chuckle at some clever Thanksgiving memes or watch a corny, irresistible YouTube video about a bunny and giraffe.  I was determined to rise above the gloomy dark clouds that seemed to be surrounding me.  Not just the ones outside, but those looming over our country and lurking around my upcoming holiday plans.

It was a loooong stretch to happy hour, so I decided to slowly scroll down my FB page for a little pick-me-up.  I hoped to God I’d luckily stumble upon that video of those adorable twin babies laughing uncontrollably at rubber bands or maybe find an easy 3-step recipe for a yummy Thanksgiving dessert shared from Delish.  And I was seriously dreading those polarizing political post that have been going viral lately… like the ones praising the cast of Hamilton… or Tomi Lahren’s Final Thoughts. 

Facebook used to be my Happy Place… my place to connect with friends and family regardless of beliefs and backgrounds.  It brought out the best in all of us and focused on our similarities (like finding it entertaining to learn what your name would be back in the 1800’s), rather than our differences that tear us apart.

And, that’s what the Holidays are supposed to do too….    Bring Us Together….     Right?!?!

But lately everything’s all screwed up… even more than normal.  The 2016 Presidential election tore families and friends apart and probably caused an unprecedented spike in nationwide alcohol sales and Xanax prescriptions.  

Three weeks ago, things were supposed to finally settle down, but they’ve gotten worse.  Social media has become a bloodstained battlefield for our country’s raging conflict and division.  My loving niece actually DEFRIENDED me because I wasn’t with HER, even though I wasn’t with HIM.

And forget fighting over the Electoral College being a stupid idea… who was the genius to put the election so close to Thanksgiving.  Aren’t these wonderful Holidays, when family and friends gather together to give thanks and spread kindness, challenging enough without pouring gasoline on potential sparks.

People are white hot mad at each other.  But for goodness sake people… We. Are. All. Diverse. Complicated. Individuals… AND we all have to find a way to live Together… accepting one another’s right to believe and think differently.  We’re y’all sleeping during History class or what?!?!?!  Intolerance only ends in pain and suffering.

Even on the bloodiest battlefields of World War II…  on Christmas Day, opposing soldiers came together for the sake of Holiday Peace and Joy.  So I am begging US… people of the United States of America to cool down your feverish fight against your opposition (whoever it may be) and come together this holiday season.  

Remember, those you oppose are equally as passionate and determined that their beliefs are right.  Don’t forget what two opposing groups came together for the FIRST Thanksgiving Dinner… if those guys resisted the urge to scalp and musket shoot each other… than I think we can resist the urge to talk smack about politics.

Let’s try to make Facebook and the Thanksgiving dinner table a Safe Place.  

No polarizing political posts.  Put down your swords and pick-up your Pumpkin Pie forks.  I for one need some happy in my Holidays.  I  just bought 3 outrageously expensive airline tickets with my dwindling meager retirement money to spend Thanksgiving with my 80-something parents and other relatives, including my “defriending” niece.  

And the whip cream on my pumpkin pie is my two travel buddies are my bratty, entitled, Teenager of divorce, and my (almost-approaching-normal-&-nice-adult-level-behavior) 22 yr old.

So, come on people now, just like the Youngbloods wisely said:

Smile on your brother

Everybody get together

Try to love one another

Right now………………………. 

I Pledge to break into song… singing the above chorus… any time someone tries to go “Political” at the dinner table or whines about how the divorce ruined their life and they want… want…. want……………….

And my caterwauling will surely put an end to any poor behavior, because everyone will be cleaning up the shattered wine goblets!!

I dare you to take the Pledge…….????





Truth About Divorcing a Narcissist…

Truth About Divorcing a Narcissist…

There’s a common concept that seems to run rampant in the community of divorce professionals. It is coined “high conflict couple” or “high conflict divorce.” The thinking usually involves a belief that these difficult post-divorce custody battles displaying constant conflict are because both parents involved are just a bit crazy…or a lot crazy. Michael Friedman wrote an article for The American Journal of Family Therapy, 32-101-117-2004, to discuss a closer look at this notion. He stated, “The concept has even entered into what might be called family court folk wisdom: we say that Mother Theresa does not marry Attila the Hun or that it takes two to tango.”

While there is some truth that who we marry reflects our own emotional development, there is also a different and more complicated flavor involved when one is drawn into a narcissist’s world.

For instance, Mark and Marcy married. They had two children. Mark continually emotionally abused Marcy throughout the marriage as well as the children. He had no emotional connection to the children and they were not attached to him. Marcy was the psychological parent and always has been. Then Marcy decides enough is enough and files for divorce. Mark cannot believe it. He cannot imagine why she would abandon him and ruin his life. He is not aware or conscious of his bad behavior and feels entitled. He has excuses for everything and blames others for his actions. He is the victim now and his abandonment issues are triggered.

Mark is used to exploiting others to meet his own needs and he is appalled that his manipulation no longer works. He cannot be accountable. So, Mark will never let Marcy live this down. His avenue for re-gaining power now is in creating massive chaos in the divorce process using the children as pawns. Why use the children? This is what is truly important to Marcy. So everything in the divorce becomes about him. “These are my children, this is my money.” The mother and children are saying…what the? He was never involved before…he usually ignores us… Unless there’s a personal gain for him… he doesn’t really even know us!

The common thinking is that those adults with children, who divorce and continue to battle post divorce, must BOTH have major psychological issues. After all, who would do this to the children? These are the cases that exhibit increased tension, post parenting difficulties, and often need child family investigators and parent coordinators to determine parenting time.

But…. enter the condition of narcissism.

What if you married a narcissist who is all about what is good for him or her, rather than what is in the best interest of the children?

The narcissist makes unrealistic demands, is not emotionally connected to the children, may be emotionally abusive or worse, but will fight to the end to gain revenge or fight in the interest of his own needs. The fight may be economically based, or more likely what is known as a narcissistic injury. That person will never get over or forget that you abandoned them, and will continue to make life difficult for you and the children. What do you do?

Most parents I have worked with over the years, who have married a narcissist and are in the process of divorce, find themselves having to take a strong stance to protect their kids. They find they have to be involved in post-divorce assessments and battles and then are at risk of being assessed themselves as just one of those crazy “high-conflict” couples.

The danger here is that the children’s best interest may not be served if narcissism is not understood in the case. It is true that one person who is narcissistic can unilaterally cause serious conflict that causes the other parent to go into defense mode to protect themselves and the children. Given that emotional abuse is difficult to prove and not taken seriously by the courts in most states, the war is on in these cases where one parent is causing havoc and the other is just trying to defend and protect. But does this mean they are both psychologically disturbed in some way? Not always.

To reiterate, if you marry a narcissist and then divorce that person, the narcissist will not forgive and forget. They do not move on easily. They cling to “how could you abandon me or do this to me” and the anger lingers for long periods of time…sometimes years and years. To imagine that one could process through an amicable divorce with a narcissist and stay friends and co-parent in a reasonable manner is not realistic with narcissists. They do things like excessively disparage the other parent, resort to making up unfair and untrue allegations, and do not want to financially support the children because that somehow means to them that they are giving money to their ex-spouse. Their entitlement needs get in the way of fairly dividing property and money and in the end they do not think of what is best for the child or children. They think about what is best for them! “Your mother took all my money.”

Because narcissists do not have the capacity for empathy and emotionally tuning into the needs of others, the children’s emotional needs are not realized. Thriving on constant conflict is the narcissist’s way to stay connected and fight for his or her own rights rather than consider what works for the children. In fact, being oblivious to the needs of the children is usually observed.

My concern is first for the children in these families, then for the spouse who married the narcissist who is also being seen as a conflict designer. The helping professionals in divorce cases need continued education on this issue. Without a deeper understanding, we are losing the opportunity to truly assist families going through the life changing and emotionally wrenching experience of divorce.

Narcissism is a disorder that wreaks havoc in these families. If this is you, make sure your attorney is well informed. There will need to be professionals involved to assist in how to deal with the narcissist parent. It is advised that the children attend therapy with a professional who understands the dynamics of narcissism and how that affects children. Some parenting plans that reflect a good understanding of narcissistic parenting will be needed.

Why one would marry a narcissist is a no-brainer. They can be charming, enticing, engaging and easily put on a show in the beginning of relationships. They are out there for you to fall in love with. You will only know the reality as you get to know them better over a period of time. But…if you decide to divorce, reach out for some specialized assistance! You and your kids are worth it.

Guilt Free, Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Guilt Free, Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

Tired of the same ol’ Pumpkin Pie… Looking to make something delicious and different this year…???



O.  M.  G..    I did it!!!

Just in time for Thanksgiving dinner… I created a recipe for a Guilt Free Pumpkin Cheesecake that tastes AMAZING and it’s sooooo easy to make!!!!

Cheesecake is probably one of my very favorite desserts!  My love affair with cheesecake started back in the late 60’s when I was just a kid.  My mom used to make a gram-cracker crust cheesecake smothered with Comstock canned cherries on top.  But, back then I wasn’t concerned with calories, sugar or fat content, like I am nowadays.

Even though I LOVE cheesecake, there are three reasons I’ve never tried to make one.

1. I’ve never used or owned a spring-form pan.

2. I thought cheesecake was hard to make.

3. They’re full of calories, fat and sugar… And I’d probably eat the whole thing!!

Now, thanks to a little determination to find a healthy option, I’ve created my own recipe.

Just follow the easy directions below and Bon Appetit!!!


Guilt Free, Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Spray 2 pans with Pam.  I used one 8×8 square (and had enough filling left over for a loaf pan too)


Low Fat Honey Maid Honey Graham Crackers

3 (8oz) packages Greek Low-fat cream cheese

1 (15oz) can pureed pumpkin

3 eggs

1/4 cup fat free sour cream

1/2 cup Splenda

scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

dash nutmeg, ground cloves, all spice, pumpkin pie spice  (use amounts and types of spice to your preference)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cap-full extract (I use almond, can also use vanilla)


  • Line bottom of pan with a single layer of graham crackers.  You may need to carefully break them to cover the entire bottom.

(A traditional graham cracker crust adds unnecessary butter, and sugar)


  • In a large bowl, beat Greek cream cheese until smooth.  Add pumpkin puree, eggs, sour cream Splenda, spices, flour and extract.  Beat together until creamy.
  • Pour over crust. Spread out evenly with rubber scraper.

Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours.


  • It is so delicious, dense, rich and creamy you can serve it plain or add a dollop of fat free/ sugar free Cool Whip on top!!  Enjoy…

Your Welcome!!!



Let us know how yours turned out… Leave a comment below.




Stanford University Sexual Assault Case, The Perfect Segue…

Stanford University Sexual Assault Case, The Perfect Segue…

If you weren’t familiar with the Stanford University Sexual Assault Case until this week don’t feel bad.  However, if you haven’t heard of it by now, you’re seriously off-grid and might consider getting out from under that rock.

I have never read anything quite as powerful and moving as the victims 7,244-word statement to the court.  

Nor have I read anything as completely ridiculous and pompous as the court statement from Dan A.Turner, the father of the convicted abuser Brock Allen Turner.

And I’ve never heard a more inappropriate sentencing delivered by a judge.


WOW… this whole ordeal has been quite a study in this mess we call JUSTICE.  


So many have personally experienced the injustice of our judicial system clearly described by this victim’s story.  

I try not to judge those who feel strongly about the injustices they’ve suffered due to their race, religion, lifestyle preferences, economic standing, gender or the color of their skin,…  ESPECIALLY, if I have no personal experience with their particular set of circumstances.

Never criticize someone until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.”  

Such an understatement… So simple and true….Taken from such a valuable poem, titled Judge Softly and written by Mary T Lathrap in 1895. Surprised it wasn’t written by a wise Tribal Chief like we all imagined?   Read it Here in entirety, it’s a life changer.


Thank goodness the victim’s 7,244 words provided a much needed walk in her moccasins, pine needle covered and all.

She eloquently expressed the unspeakable pain she had to endure due to being sexually assaulted by Brock Allen Turner.

And more importantly her words highlighted how her pain was exacerbated by the inequities of our court system.

She clarified that the trial, the sentencing and the legal system were “irrevocably marred” by male and class privilege.

Let me add one more tainting factor… Narcissism.

Brock Allen Turner encompasses all three of these factors.


It is truly sickening just how many examples there are of how narcissists manipulate our court system to be their personal stage.

This is when I go all Norma Rae and want to jump up on the table tops…


We are led to believe our court systems are fair and just.  They are not!!   

That all juries & judges are intelligent and honorable.  They are not!!


Our “Judicial” system is supposed to be where courts and judges deliver judgments of JUSTICE.

It is supposed to punish the bad guys and protect the good guys.    But, our “Judicial” system is badly BROKEN.


And NEVER is that more obvious then when you’re dealing with a Narcissist in the Judicial System:

OJ Simpson (sorry OJ fans)… Jodi Arias… Tom Brady (sorry Brady fans)… Dan A. Turner… My ex-husband…

Aha… segue into the story I’ve started started to write hundreds of times and finally the outrageousness of the Stanford University Sexual Assault Case has sparked me to tell.


I have been exposed to a side of corruption and injustice I wish I’d remained naive to forever.  Because until my divorce from my Covert Narcissist Ex-Husband (CNEH), I had no idea such a lack of integrity could exist in our “Judicial” system.

He sent the police to my home so many times that the awful anxiety me and my two younger children used to feel upon seeing flashing police car lights in our driveway, eventually became replaced with an even sadder resiliency.

In the past 7 years+ since my divorce… he has petitioned the courts (Family, Criminal AND Small Claims) over 16 times… 

A few were thrown out of court, but the rest somehow wormed their way through the whole court system folly.  He had so many court actions against me, in so many different courts… sometimes 3 open cases would overlap at the same time.

(Note: each court petition takes between 6-10 months of courtroom sessions to resolve.)

If you do the math, that’s over 11 years….    140 months….     over 200 court dates crammed into the past 7 years !!!  And we have a court date this Monday…    He.   Will.   Never.   Stop!!  

It is clearly obvious my CNEH is abusing our legal court system and wasting a whole lot of their time & money… using it as a platform for his personal vendetta against me and his inability to move-on and let me go.


There are hundreds of articles written on this phenomenon.  And no matter how much we try to educate the court system and judges on this type of abuse… it just continues…

My story is not unique… it is sadly redundant and almost follows word-for-word with every other victim’s story of narcissist abuse via our “Judicial” system.  We all share the same moccasins, just in slightly different shades, and we will graciously offer you to walk in them if you’d like….

Because we know, unless you personally experience such outrageous atrocities in our court systems, you would never believe what we’ve endured.



Judge Softly

Judge Softly

The Walk a Mile in His Moccasins quote is often contributed to various Indian tribes, but it actually comes from a poem written by Mary T. Lathrap in 1895. The original title was Judge Softly. Here is the complete poem.


Judge Softly


Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps,

Or stumbles along the road.

Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears,

Or stumbled beneath the same load.


There may be tears in his soles that hurt

Though hidden away from view.

The burden he bears placed on your back

May cause you to stumble and fall, too.


Don’t sneer at the man who is down today

Unless you have felt the same blow

That caused his fall or felt the shame

That only the fallen know.


You may be strong, but still the blows

That were his, unknown to you in the same way,

May cause you to stagger and fall, too.


Don’t be too harsh with the man that sins.

Or pelt him with words, or stone, or disdain.

Unless you are sure you have no sins of your own,

And it’s only wisdom and love that your heart contains.


For you know if the tempter’s voice

Should whisper as soft to you,

As it did to him when he went astray,

It might cause you to falter, too.


Just walk a mile in his moccasins

Before you abuse, criticize and accuse.

If just for one hour, you could find a way

To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse.


I believe  you’d be surprised to see

That you’ve been blind and narrow minded, even unkind.

There are people on reservations and in the ghettos

Who have so little hope, and too much worry on their minds.


Brother, there but for the grace of God go you and I.

Just for a moment, slip into his mind and traditions

And see the world through his spirit and eyes

Before you cast a stone or falsely judge his conditions.


Remember to walk a mile in his moccasins


And remember the lessons of humanity taught to you by your elders.

We will be known forever by the tracks we leave

In other people’s lives, our kindnesses and generosity.


Take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins.