“We Were Brainwashed!”

playground“Hey!  Nice to see you!  Isn’t this new play structure wonderful?”

“Do you live around here?”  She helped one of her two navigate the climbing wall.

“Yes, that house on the corner.  How about you?”

She pointed in the opposite direction and said they lived that way.  “Geez, I guess the last time I saw you was at the grocery store?  How’ve you been?  Is Jen playing hooky today?”

“We’ve been homeschooling for about four years now.”  I turned to watch Jen navigate the monkey bars.

“Awesome!  I’d love to do that, but my kids don’t listen to me.”

I laughed and nodded, “Well, my kids pretty much begged me to consider homeschooling, so I guess that makes ’em want to listen.”


I noticed her smile had gotten warmer.  She smiled with her whole face now.  Back in her first marriage, her smile was more like a defense mechanism – “If I keep smiling, maybe I’ll finally be happy.”

“You look so good, so happy.  How are things for you?”

“I’m so lucky.  My husband works so hard to make sure we are taken care of and loved.  He’s kind and thoughtful.  The youngest two (with her second husband) are always happy.  I didn’t know kids could be so happy.  My older two, well…  my second is dealing with anger issues.  His father denies that there’s a problem.  No surprise there.  My oldest is doing real well in school.  I was worried she’d be the one with problems.”

“Do they see their dad very often?”

As she caught her youngest coming off the slide she said, “When it’s convenient for him.”



“Sounds familiar.”

“Where’s Will?  What’s he up to?”

“Well, he’s driving now.  He drove to the golf course this morning.  You wouldn’t believe how tall he is.”

“OMG.  I can’t believe how the time goes.”


We followed our kids around the structure, getting caught up, talking about how it felt like spring would never get here.

“So how’s it going with…  you-know-who?”

I laughed and said, “Well, it’s better than it used to be.  He’s not real involved in the kids’ lives, but we are good with that.”

She looked at me and said, “Really?”

“Does that surprise you?”

“No!  I was kidding.  I remember what he was like with his first two.  I’m not at all surprised.”

I kicked the new bark that padded the landing under the swings.  “I know.  I should have known.  I should have seen that coming.”

Her daughter yelled, “More,  mommy!  Push me again!”  She pushed her red-headed cutie and said, “There’s no point in beating ourselves up, we were brainwashed.”




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  1. Jesse,

    Thanks for the reminder. : )

    Onward . . . I am thankful for the peace we now have.

    Blessings to you/yours.

  2. Lynn,

    Funny how even after all this time, the Universe sends little messages that say something like, “Hey, you were duped. It happens. You’re okay.”

    Happy summerness to you and yours. ;)

  3. This made me laugh a little because sometimes when I share things he did, I see the look of horror on people’s faces. They get angry for me all over again. Yes, he did those things. I was numb through most of it (still am a bit?) and I suppose I share it now to get it out or maybe I am scarred. It’s hard to know the difference some days. I could move on and think it was just a bad dream if the repeated injury would stop!

    My cousin (also a N thriver) posted a meme the other day that said, “Dear whatever doesn’t kill me, I think I am strong enough now. Thanks.” Yep.

    Some days it is like that. And most others it is, “Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” :D

  4. Z,

    I guess I still talk about it all – mostly just on the blog now – as a way to share a cautionary tale. I’d like to yell from the mountaintops, “Wait! Stop! Don’t believe!” And above all, “Please be aware of what your kids will have to deal with, if you decide to have children with a narcissist!!!”

    I can completely relate to your cousin. My meme is, “Just how much character must I build here?” Although, mostly I wonder that when I’m shoveling 9 inches of new snow on a frigid January morning. But still…. when dealing with the Ns, I wonder how much I must continue to put up with. (“No contact” is my current fantasy.)

    And as far as big girl panties go… one must always sip wine while wearing them. :D

  5. Another favorite…”Wine is to women as duct tape is to men, it fixes everything”

    Well, almost. ;)

  6. Jesse,

    Happy summer days to you too especially after this winter!! It is amazing how I learned to adapt and sad too. I notice now when I do communicate with my ex the amount of energy/thought one email takes. I lived that forever. No wonder I was utterly depleted.

    I am happy to focus my energy on my kids and the positive people in my life.

    Thanks for your comforting words . . . It really will be okay one way or another.

    Enjoy losing your shovel for awhile. : )

  7. Lynn,

    I like that… “It really will be okay one way or another.”

    What shovel? ;)

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