Tag Archives: life after divorce

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.”

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Facing Mother’s Day with a Broken Heart

Facing Mother’s Day with a Broken Heart

Welcome Back!

Back ? Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

There I was, minding my own business in the Pasta aisle at Walmart, deciding between Vermicelli and Capellini, when I experienced the creepiest encounter ever… like a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past.

 

I heard her behind me. And before I even saw her, I was transported 17 years back in time.

She was desperately trying to soothe her fussy infant in the grocery cart as her 10 and 4 year old were peppering her with non-stop questions, requests, demands and poking each-other.

 

She looked exhausted… Physically, Mentally and Emotionally.

There was a spit-up stain on her shoulder and yesterday’s mascara was faintly noticeable… adding a deeper shade to her already dark circles.

 

Our eyes met and communicated the words we didn’t need to speak.

I so badly wanted to validate her pain, so I smiled gently and softly said:

“It’s hard”.

And that’s when this poor young mother lost it.

 

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she choked out the words…

“It’s SO HARD.  

I wish my husband realized just how hard it is.  

But he’s never home!  

He works late hours, so I can stay home with the kids… and I never get a break!  

I’m totally drained……..

It’s just SO HARD!”

 

And then she looked at her kids who were obviously her pride and joy and as she wiped away her tears she smiled and said…

“But, it’s worth it… It won’t ALWAYS be this hard… when they grow up it’ll be much easier”.

 

And that’s when I lost it, and as tears streamed down my cheeks, I choked back the words I wanted to say and turned away so she couldn’t see my reaction.  As I stared at boxes of pasta through blurry tears, I felt an empty pain deep in my heart .

 

I wanted to tell her… “Oh my dear, you have no idea just how much harder it can get. Years after you’ve given Everything there is to give, your husband just may happen to come home after “that business trip” or “working late” one night and ask you for a divorce.  

 

He will walk away with his high paying job, executive level earning power and retirement fund, while you walk away with the job description of ‘Housewife and Mom’ added to your resume.

 

And then he just may drag you through the family court system for years, constantly trying to negotiate paying less and less in child support until he manipulates the legal system to eventually pay you nothing at all… and along the way he’ll cause you to pay thousands and thousands in lawyer fees.

 

Then just when you thought your heart couldn’t break anymore… Your kids will see you as the Crabby Complainer and their dad (who, by the way, was busy “working late” their whole childhood) as the go-to parent. He’ll hold all the cards, and bribe them with promises of buying them a car when they turn 16….and…

 

And when your teenage daughter strikes the final blow, by telling you she’d rather live with her dad because you’re barely scraping by and he can easily afford to buy her whatever she wants… including a generous makeup and clothing allowance, you’ll wonder if it was really all worth it.

 

And then after living under his negative influence for a while, she’ll be blinded by the illusion of his spin on reality and there will only be a glimmer of your sweet little girl left behind. She will gladly align with him and forget who you are.

 

But, instead I chose to wipe away my tears and simply wished her a Happy Mother’s Day and she wished me the same.

 

Little did she know, this Sunday, my Mother’s Day will be far from anything I’d dreamed of or hoped for.

 

There are many moms who may not receive that Hallmark moment of recognition and gratitude from their children they long for.

 

There are many different reasons why this Mother’s Day may be filled with disappointment, heartache and sadness for many moms.

 

Remember, sometimes simply knowing you’re not alone makes it all much easier… along with a dish of delicious pasta and a nice bottle of red.

 

For a Friend

For a Friend

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

It all started a few days ago.  

I was writing on my laptop, enjoying my first cup of coffee, when I heard something in the other room.  It sounded like something was hitting the window.  

 

I walked into the family room to check it out, and sure enough, a robin was repeatedly flying into the window.  The minute it saw my reflection it flew away.  

 

I was relieved it hadn’t hurt itself and went back to my writing.

 

No sooner had I returned to my laptop, when I heard the same persistent sound again.

 

Bang……..………..…(wait for it)………………..Bang…………..(and again)……………… Bang!  

 

I walked back into the room and the robin flew away again.  

I thought:   “Geez, poor bird.  It’s gonna hurt itself.”

 

I figured by now this bird must’ve realized it keeps hitting something hard and obviously impermeable and finally flew away somewhere else.   

 

I went back to my writing.  And, I kid you not, within minutes, it started again.

 

Seriously?!?!  

I was shocked.  How could a bird be that stupid…or that stubborn???  Then I recalled hearing stories about how an animal’s instincts can cause it to repeat behavior over and over, even if it results in physical injury or worse.

 

And we’ve all heard the quote:

“Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is the definition of Insanity!!”

 

WTHeck!?!? I didn’t have the time, energy or desire to deal with an insane robin!

Every time I walked into the room, it would fly away… but, it would come right back and keep doing the same stupid Banging!!

 

I couldn’t keep walking in and out of the family room all day.  

 

So, I observed its behavior from a vantage point where it couldn’t see me.  

There’s a tree next to the window, and this robin sits on its branch and then takes a header into the window… knocks itself silly and then does it again!!!

 

I wasn’t sure how to help this poor bird, so I tried a few ideas:

 

  • I taped some foil to the window— this didn’t help, it just moved to a different section of the window!

  • Then I designed a replica of myself (like a scarecrow) using chairs, pillows, blankets, etc— this didn’t help.  I added a fan to give the materials some movement— no help!!

  • Then I cut-off the branch it was sitting on— it just moved to another branch! (I thought about cutting down the whole tree, but deep down I knew that wouldn’t help either.)

  • I screamed at it: “What is WRONG with you… are you TRYING to kill yourself!?!?”— no help.

  • Then I opened the window (which has a screen)— Voila, this seemed to help, but we’ve been having a lovely winter this spring and the house was getting a bit chilly (considering the 19* temps outside) so I ultimately closed the window.

By this time it was dusk and Thank Goodness the silly bird retired for the evening!!

 

The next morning I’d forgotten all about the bird until… it started AGAIN!!!

Bang………………………………..Bang………………………………….Bang!

 

WoW!!! It certainly was a consistent little bugger.

 

This time I tied up the window-blind strings and positioned the fan to blow them around. And the Good News is, it seemed to solve the problem.

 

There is just one issue.  This contraption has to be turned on constantly until dusk.  If I forget to turn it on… I am reminded by a persistent:

 

Bang……………… ……………..Bang………………………………….Bang!

And I know there may come a day when this latest fan/string contraption won’t help anymore and I fear finding that bird lying dead under the tree.

 

This whole ordeal has really ruffled my feathers.

No, I am serious!  

 

It is unnerving to try and help another when their behavior is going to hurt them (or worse), and most of your intervention does absolutely nothing .

 

The moments when I waited to see if a new preventative method worked, were absolutely grueling.  My heart would sink (& I’d inevitably feel like a failure) every time I’d hear the Banging start-up again.

 

The very worst letdown was when I thought I’d finally helped, because things quieted down… but then inevitably it would start again.

 

I’m always looking for the silver lining, or lesson learned from facing challenges in life.

And this situation unfortunately mirrored the greatest challenge we all face as human beings:

   The pain and frustration we feel

by watching those we Love

repeat behaviors

that hurt them or can eventually kill them.

 

The hardest thing to endure it to stand-by helplessly.  

And yet that is all you can do.  

Because if they want to Bang into that window… They will… And there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

 

Lesson 101 in loving someone, who is actively engaging in harmful behaviors… is to know there is very little you can do.  It is up to them if they want to change or stop.

We. All. Have. Free. Will.

 

These past few days I learned some important reminders.  

 

Here are some things you can do:

  • You do what you can to help.

  • You realize there is no magic wand to make it all better (no matter how much you beg, scream, cry, plead, wish, hope or pray).

  • You learn to live with your feeling of helplessness.

  • You accept you have no control over another’s Free Will.  You surrender trying to impose yours.

  • You eventually Let Go (and let God).

  • You remember to take care of yourself.

… a little birdie told me so!  

 

 

Keep It Simple, Keep It Real

Keep It Simple, Keep It Real

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

 

Keep it Simple…. Keep it Real.  

Sounds easy, huh??  Well, turns out (sometimes) it’s not so easy.  

Sometimes we become trapped by the Illusions of Life, and it’s hard to break free.

 

I recently had a birthday.

And like many people, my birthday’s not just a time to indulge in  

the-once-a-year-guilt-free-dark-chocolate-cake-n-mint-chocolate-chip-ice cream

it’s also a time for self-reflection.

 

This year I reflected upon the importance of “Keeping it Simple and Real”.  

Reminding myself to slow down and strive for clarity, balance and harmony.  

And remembering, sometimes the challenges in our lives, often teach us the best lessons.

 

I was a newlywed during the Reagan Era and was swooped-up into the,

More Is Better Mentality.  

Reaganomics resulted in the greatest Wall Street Bull Market since the 1920s.  

It was an Era of Great Prosperity… generating more wealth, for American families, than any other time in US History!!

 

And in keeping with Madonna’s (1985) mega-hit “Material Girl”… my lifestyle mirrored the relevant lyrics of the time:

Cause we are living in a material world

And I am a material girl

 

I checked ALL the boxes:

  • Town & Country McMansion 
  • Luxury Cars
  • Country Club Memberships
  • Black-tie Galas
  • Exclusive Resort Vacations
  • More & More & More!!

So, what insight did I gain from acquiring so much stuff during the 80s???

#1.  It was exhausting.

#2.  It made life chaotic, complicated and confusing!

#3.  Sometimes material things become a replacement for the

        more meaningful things in life.  

 

About a decade ago…there was one day that clearly put it all into perspective for me:

 

I was at a stop light and looked at the woman in the car next to me.  

She was lovely and had a look of luxury.  

Her hair perfectly coiffed, awesome sunglasses, expensive jewelry

and she had that confident smile and overall look of contentment.  

I noticed she was driving a Mercedes-Benz

and made a mental note to myself:

 

“Of course she’s HAPPY…

she’s living the dream in her fancy Mercedes,

with all of her  fancy “things”…”

 

In contrast, I felt worn-out, stressed, empty….

genuinely wanting.

It was easy for me to believe she had what I needed.

And as the light turned green, and I glanced back to the road ahead of me…

I noticed the Mercedes-Benz symbol on my own steering wheel

of my brand-new car.

 

Turns out for me, More wasn’t Better and Fancy things weren’t the answer!

 

Shortly after that day of reckoning…

I was faced with a choice between the two (material things or meaningful things), and I handed them all over in exchange for ___________.  

   (You Name It… Just Fill-in-the-Blank)

 Freedom

  Harmony

Reality

Clarity

Peace

                                                                          Truth

                                                                            Etc…

 

I handed it all back to the hollow person I shared that life with… (on a Silver Platter in fact, LoL) and I had No Regrets.

 

All of those Things were just providing smoke n’ mirrors to create an illusion and confuse me into believing, it was a Good Life…

when the truth was, I was in an empty relationship and I wasn’t living my life authentically.

I longed for something simple and real.

 

Don’t get me wrong… some people can live that exclusive “Town & Country Lifestyle”,

authentically and happily  (or at least I think they do??)…

it just wasn’t a good fit for me.  

It all became a band-aid and distraction to cover-up what was really missing…

what was truly important.

 

Of course, I still love pretty things and adventurous travel… But, I feel (at this ripe old age) the Bridges I’ve crossed have helped me to finally arrive Back  Home

Full Circle, where I belong, where I want to be.

 

Ironically, my sister sent me this Birthday Card which pretty much sums it up!!

.  

 

Keep It Simple, Keep It Real & Smile Along The Way!!!

 

Hellllloooooo……

Hellllloooooo……

Welcome to Bridges Back Home!!!!

My name is Lorilyn Bridges and I started this blog,  FB page and website to help people.

 

Life is forever changing. 

Changes = Challenges

 

These changes can be big or small, made by us or for us…

Controlled by us, others, or nature/climate and they can happen randomly.

 

Life is one amazing and wild ride.  Our journey is filled with many hills and valleys.  

 And the good news is we’re all in it together.

 

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

Identify your Back Home and the Bridges you use to get there!!

 

At BBH we are a community where you can celebrate your successes and failures, to help others along the way.  

And hopefully be enlightened as well!!

 

Welcome aboard!!

 Lorilyn