When Kindred Spirits Have Coffee

“I can’t believe we haven’t really talked since before we were both married.”

“… and divorced.”

“Yeah.  That, too.  So how are you doing with it all…  the being divorced?”

“Well, I’m sleeping.  I’m eating.  My stomach doesn’t hurt all the time.  I’m not afraid to get out of bed in the morning.  How are you feeling?”

“Same for me.  I’m not waking in the middle of the night with panic attacks.  For the first time since…  oh….  probably when I was newly married, I look forward to things.”


“How are the kids?”

“The oldest hasn’t had a nervous tic since we moved out.  The youngest is sleeping and eating better. and she’s crying less.  It’s too soon to tell, but they seem content and at ease.  We’ll go to the counselor a few more months, just to be sure.  How are your kids?”

“Mine are better.  The oldest is still angry.  He writes in his journal about how pissed he is – about how his dad picks on him relentlessly.  I’m thankful that he lets me read his journal.  God, I’m glad I got us out when I did.  The two younger ones think not living with dad is just our version of normal.  I’m thankful for that, too.”

“Why does your ex pick on your son?  What’s that about?  My ex pretty much ignores our two.  He’s content to go on without having much contact with them.”

“I think he feels threatened by his own son.  As the boy has gotten older and developed his own preferences and interests, he has veered away from what his dad wanted him to be interested in.  There’s no end to the picking when our son tries to tell his dad that he loves skateboarding or golf – two things my ex can’t stand.”


“Did you try counseling before leaving?”

“Oh, sure.  I begged him to go.  I told him we had to get some help.  I’d been sick and couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  He thought I was depressed.  Finally he agreed to go.  He said he figured he could support me in my efforts to figure out what was wrong with me.  I had to try.  I needed to know what I was doing wrong – why I couldn’t make my marriage work.”

“I know that feeling.  I couldn’t get my ex to see a counselor with me, but he did a fine job of telling me all the things I was doing wrong.  He had a whole laundry list of my failings – everything from my cooking, to the way I wore my hair, to the way I swept the floor.  Oh, and my complete lack of interest in sex…  that was a big one.  Imagine thinking I’d wanna have sex with him when all he did was tell me what a failure I was as a wife and mother.  ‘Yeah, honey.  Let’s just drop everything and jump in the sack.’  Right.”

“Did you end up going to a counselor by yourself then?”

“I had to.  I couldn’t think straight.  Between trying to correct everything that he told me I was doing wrong and reading everything I could get my hands on about how to “fix” my marriage, I was a mess.  I’d dress the way he wanted me to, and then he’d tell me to wear something else.  I’d cut my hair the way he suggested, and then he told me he liked it better longer.  I couldn’t get anything right.  And then I couldn’t sleep.  I’d lost touch with friends and was prevented from seeing family, so I didn’t have a sounding board.  I didn’t know which end was up.  One counselor told me to put a positive spin on things.  How the hell do you put a positive spin on the fact that your husband thinks you’re a complete failure?”


“So, do you ever wonder if you are just bad at picking a partner, or bad at making a relationship work?”

“Oh, yeah.  I thought those things.  Sometimes I still do.  But when counseling didn’t help and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, I had to get out of the marriage while I was still healthy enough to take care of my kids.  I didn’t have a plan, but I just knew I had to leave….  before I couldn’t.  How did you know when to leave?”

“Same thing.  I had asked him to leave, so the kids and I could stay in the house.  He told me that I couldn’t tell him what to do.  I didn’t have a choice.  I moved in with my mom.  And, yeah…   I still wonder if I can make a relationship work.”


“In the middle of the night – when you are honest with yourself – what do you think was the problem with your marriage?”

“Honestly?  I know what the problem was.  I didn’t know at the time, but I know now.  Are you familiar with NPD?  Have you heard of it?”

“You mean Narcissistic Personality Disorder?”

“Oh God!!  You, too?!”


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  1. I’ve been drinking coffee lately. Must have been thinking about you! :)

  2. I have complete empathy and so get this post. Thank you Jesse for writing. It is so affirming that I am not crazy and that the steps I have taken have been for the best for all of us.

    You are a beautiful soul!!!

    Blessings to you and yours!

  3. Donna,

    One of the best things about coffee – it brings folks together.

  4. Lynn,

    I’ve said this before… your kids are blessed to have you for their mom.

  5. Thank you Jesse. Will and Jen are so fortunate to have you as their mom too, and I know you feel the same about having them. Your humor, love, and balance are a saving grace to them especially and also to all of us who read your blog. : )

    Have a great day/week with lessons and life there.

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