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39 Lessons I’ve Learned Along the Way

Today I am 38 {but let’s keep that a secret.} Throughout the years, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. Even though some of the lessons were easier than others, they’ve been lessons worth learning. Honestly, some I’m still learning. Others I have acknowledged but haven’t quite put them into action in my own life. Unfortunately, several lessons I had to learn the hard way. Whatever the case, I felt I should share 39 lessons I’ve learned along the way. {38 plus one to grow on!}

We’ll see if anyone else can relate. Hopefully, if I can save another person from the taking the hard route to learn these lessons or at the least give someone a laugh! You know or just acknowledge to the universe the message is received. Even if not all implemented, I did however, learn the lesson!

39 Lessons I’ve Learned

  1. Waiting on things to go as planned or for you to have your ducks in a row is never going to happen. Just do it. The rest will fall into place.
  2. You can be pissed off or you can be happy. 9 times out of 10 your attitude will determine the result and response.
  3. Positivity is a hell of a lot more attractive than negativity even if the negativity is more relatable.
  4. No one cares. No one. Honestly, if your waiting for anyone to give a shit about your problems, they won’t. After all they have their own problems to deal with.
  5. You can’t make everyone happy. You aren’t pizza. Not everyone wants a slice of what you’re serving!
  6. In addition, no one can make you happy, that’s your responsibility alone.
  7. Asking for help is a hell of a lot easier than stressing out about how you are going to do it solo. What’s the worst that happens? They say no, and you do it alone? Well that’s your plan now, so it won’t hurt to ask.
  8. What happened to you isn’t your fault. Healing it, however, that’s up to you.
  9. You are more critical of yourself than anyone else is. Period.
  10. Pretending to be ok isn’t for everyone around you, but because you don’t want anyone to think you’re weak.
  11. Don’t doubt karma. What goes around comes around. One day you’ll learn that lesson, hopefully NOT the hard way!
  12. At a certain age, make up becomes a requirement instead of an option. A touch of mascara, blush and lip gloss can do wonders.
  13. Sleep is a girl’s best friend, not diamonds.
  14. You can’t take care of everyone and forget to take care of yourself. You are important.
  15. ‘Easier said than done’ applies to nearly every situation. However, no one promised it would ever be easy.
  16. Faking anything takes more effort than being authentic. Real talk.
  17. You aren’t born strong. Life forces you to become strong.
  18. Your worth isn’t dependent on someone else’s actions, words or feelings.
  19. Never put dish soap in the dishwasher.
  20. Sure you could DIY the same thing and maybe for less, but let’s be honest you won’t. Buy it and save yourself the trouble.
  21. Being offensive is sometimes a good thing. It means you go against the crowd and have free thought.
  22. You are replaceable in nearly every aspect of your life, but your kids, they will never have another you. Be present.
  23. Keep your head high and your middle finger higher. Haters are everywhere. Do you boo.
  24. True love isn’t two people who get it right. True love is two people who decide to keep working to make it right when everything goes wrong.
  25. You don’t need anyone to rescue you. You’ve got this.
  26. Don’t wait for your dreams to come to you. It’s up to you to chase them!
  27. You will never be the best if you find someone else to compete against constantly. On the other hand, you will always be the best version of you if you compete against yesterday’s version of you everyday.
  28. Life isn’t waiting for you to live it. It’s passing you by. Regret is worse than not trying.
  29. You can do whatever you think you can. Also, You won’t do whatever you think you can’t. Your mind can be your biggest obstacle or your biggest tool.
  30. Your feelings aren’t wrong, ever, you feel what you feel. Don’t allow anyone to tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel.
  31. Forgiveness is for you. You have to let go of the past to move forward.
  32. It’s hard. All of it. Every day. There is no get it right guide. It’s fail and fail better. The point is that you get up and keep trying.
  33. Beauty will fade with age. Kindness, on the other hand never loses it’s appeal.
  34. It can be clean or it can be fun, very rarely is it both. This is true in all things.
  35. Work at work. Don’t allow it to define your life or be your identifying characteristic.
  36. Don’t judge. You never know what chapter you are walking into.
  37. Make time for you. Your peace. Your passions. Your soul. Your growth. You’re allowed autonomy and to be your own person.
  38. Don’t test out your gas gage if you aren’t prepared to run out.
  39. You are amazing. You are enough. You are perfectly imperfect. Treat yourself and others how you want them to treat you. You are loved.

This Year

This year, I hope I can give myself the gift of peace. Peace of mind and peace that it is all going to fall into place in good time. I hope that I will find a way forward from the past two years and begin to sail into calmer waters. Although, it’s been a rough year {or decade} I know that it has made me better in many ways. In addition, I know my time is coming. Soon, I will reap the benefits of my efforts and I will find my next chapter is one that I won’t want to stop writing.

Not Just Another Day

I’m not going to pretend that my birthday is ‘just another day.’ It’s not! It’s special. It’s celebrating that I made it through another year. It’s celebrating that I am here. Furthermore, it’s a day that others can show their love to you and appreciation. I deserve that! You deserve that! Birthdays are beautiful expressions of gratitude for your own life, both from you and those you love. So here’s to 38! Stay positive! You’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Celebrate Today because Your Story Isn’t Over

Today, people of the world, is my daughter’s 14th birthday. The second born of my threefold. Once upon a time this daughter of mine was an emmanese speaking, toddling, blonde haired, blue eyed beauty. She is my little love, my mini me, in nearly every way. Momma’s little M&M. There are so many things I hope my threefold learns on their journey. Today, I hope she celebrates, because it means her story isn’t over yet.

This child that I love with my whole heart, made me wonder for the longest time if she embodied the entire curse of threefold that my mother bestowed on me before she died. After all, Ms. Thing, was the one I was pregnant with when the curse was issued and 53 days after my mother’s death I had this beautiful baby girl, the deuce of my trio. I have realized, that she though challenging and a fierce force is only a piece of my threefold. Yet, very much a key piece, a piece that makes me, me.

The Deuce

My M&M as I’ve called her since before she was born has changed from that little toddling, pint sized, sassy, and bright eyed baby into this amazingly inspiring young woman. Not only has she transformed her style {at least 5 times} but she has transformed in ways that I was once scared I might not see. Today we celebrate that growth, both in maturity and soul .

Just from a year ago, I’ve seen this young child begin to become a young woman. I’ve seen a fighter, a person with fierce determination, and with a heart that loves without limit. In addition, I’ve witnessed her overcome obstacles, stomp stigma surrounding her mental illness and gain a new perspective on the world around us. This has been beautiful to watch.

The Struggle is Real

If you have followed my threefold for a while, then you are familiar with our struggles and battles over the past year. We are stronger than yesterday, but we still have so much to learn. All of us. It hasn’t been an easy road, but nevertheless we are moving forward. Together.

I am truly proud of my threefold for how they have grown over this year. After six hospitalizations for #2 over nearly 30 weeks, year to date, I’d say celebration is called for. I fought for her, but the key in us overcoming these battles is her continual fight for herself.

Celebrate!

Celebrate each day! Every day you have with your family, friends, tribe or network of supporters is another day to celebrate. Be kind. You never know the struggles someone else is facing behind closed doors. Speak up against abuse, it’s not ok in any form. Finally, choose to keep moving forward, because this is just a bump. Somewhere you’ll find the message in the mess! You’ve got this! Stay positive! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Kids Aren’t ‘Mini Gods’ to be Worshipped. They are Human and Deserve Respect.

This post has been floating around the social media scene. I’ve seen it shared many times already. I have posted it in its entirety for you to form your own opinion on the piece and it’s message to the parents of the world. However, it’s my belief that this type of post leans towards conditional love in parenting and how we as adults set unreasonable expectations on kids. No, Mr. Merrell, kids aren’t ‘mini gods’ to be worshipped. However, they are human, and deserve to see their value, be respected and loved.

You are your own worst critic

The Original Post

O/P by Walt Merrell, District Attorney: If you raise your child to believe that they always deserve a trophy; or that they always do a great job; or that they never fall short or do a mediocre or less than job; or that they lost the game because the ump stole the game; or that the failed because someone wronged them; or that they don’t have to go to practice; or that the teacher is always out to get them; or that the coach is always wrong….

Then one day when they have a boss who doesn’t accept their less than eager efforts, then your adult child will be frustrated by the constructive criticism… and then they will steep in their own pride of believing they couldn’t possibly do any better because they are always right or they are always the victim, and that their boss is wrong and just out to get them.

And then they will get fired and never understand that you lied to them far too many times, and to their own detriment.

Children are minds and souls to be taught and molded. They are not mini-gods meant to be worshiped.

Don’t build their future in false beliefs, for it will only result in resentment based on yesterday’s lies. Instead… teach them well. End of O/P

I don’t agree with people who are wrong

A Different Perspective

If parents are overly critical, whom only show affection to the child when the parent feels the child has ‘earned’ it or ‘deserves’ such positive attention, where does this leave the child? What happens when a child doesn’t feel the unconditional love and acceptance from their parent(s). When a child always feels not quite good enough? If a parent doesn’t express pride for the child doing their best even if it is second best or twenty first? How does it affect the child when a parent can’t make a child feel they have value in this world? Isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to help their children find their strengths versus always notating their weaknesses?

The Other End of the Spectrum

As a result, the likelihood of children who grow into adults who have self confidence, are independent and secure, and able to go after their true passions is hindered substantially.
Instead, you have children who become adults who aim to please others. They can grow up to believe they deserve mistreatment, abuse and aren’t worthy of praise, respect, acceptance or love. Furthermore, they have that same negative self talk inside their heads that they heard growing up.

They don’t feel accepted by their peers, colleagues, or partners. These children have grown to believe their family doesn’t even value them. In turn, they don’t feel comfortable being themselves nor do they gain a sense of autonomy in the world.
In conclusion, there is a higher chance that these adults will give up all hope of success because they feel they will fail before they start. Therefore, what’s the point of trying? Another path this could take is they will become perfectionists who pursue external validation from others and are discontent with the trajectory of their life.
As you can see, it’s not all option ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’. It’s child-specific. It’s a balance of reward and consequence.
It’s an ever changing process this parenting game and NO ONE hasthe guidelines or rule book. You can mess your kids up by being hard and strict. Guess what? You can mess them up when you’re parenting style is soft and lenient.

Kids are human and deserve love

Unreasonable Expectations

I feel as parents we are often holding our children to unreasonably high standards. In most cases, I would say these standards aren’t even attainable by the adults who are setting them. How many times have have you held the bar above your own capabilities and expected your child to jump?

I have done it. I’ve fussed over my child not keeping their room tidy. Yet, my room may be in disarray. In addition, I’ve told my kids a million times to lose the attitude or even to suck it up. In all honesty, I would catch an attitude or get upset over that same situation if I was the one in their shoes. Furthermore, I’ve given my kids hell over a bad grade or performance. Guess what, if I was the one graded on my work each day, ha! I doubt if I would have ‘A’s’ marked on every single assignment.

Failure is part of life. It doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and say ‘to hell with it’ or don’t figure out how to fix it. We do have to teach our kids to be responsible for their actions, but they will fail. It’s inevitable. My goal is to show my kids that failure is only the beginning of the journey, not the end. This is when they need us to help them to embrace the challenge of getting back up.

Kids are Humans Too

To pretend there is some science behind predicting a child will be hyper sensitive to criticism if never criticized is just as plausible as its counterpart. That being said, is it not as plausible that a child is just as likely of becoming hyper sensitive to criticism after being constantly criticized?

Do they always deserve a trophy? NO. Do they always need to have an excuse or a bad guy to blame? NO. We can teach accountability and responsibility. Meanwhile, we need to also teach finding the strengths within oneself with the ability to identify weaknesses. This is how they learn to improve upon both of those aspects of themselves. We teach accountability and acceptance of their shortcomings. It’s equal parts of both praise and constructive criticism.

There isn’t a one size fits all parenting strategy it’s like folding a fitted sheet.

It Ain’t Easy

Mommin’ ain’t easy! Being a parent is hard! Regardless if you are a mom, dad, step parent, foster parent, adoptive parent etc…it’s a struggle and a lot of hard work. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with glitter glue embellishments. It’s the hardest job you’ll ever love. In addition, being a parent is probably also the most underpaid and under appreciated blessings you’ll ever curse at times. There isn’t a one size fits all way to get it right when parenting. The emotional and mental needs of a child are just as unique as we are. While physical needs are mostly standardized, the other facets of parenting are much more complex.

They aren’t ‘mini gods’ to be worshipped but they are people who are deserving of love and respect.
Teach them to be humble and to hustle, while also teaching confidence and character. No worship required, just respect and positive reinforcement that outweighs the negatives the rest of the world will be shoving in their face.

Teach them right, not well.
Teach them they’ve got this, because they’ve got someone who believes in them.

☮️❤️😊~M

Mommin’ ain’t easy we are the glue that holds it all together.
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To the Narcissistic Father of My Children:

To the Narcissist who fathered my three girls:

It’s been a while since we have spoken. However, today we did and I listened as you complained about how I have withheld visitation from you. I heard you as you spoke about my inability to communicate in a healthy way. I was forced to hear you blaming me for everything that our children are going through. I saw you roll your eyes when you saw the diagnosis of ‘trauma disorder’ listed on the paperwork. I saw the look of disgust on your face as I talked about recommendations for medication given by the doctors. I saw your eyes as they lit up as you listened to the way our daughter terrorized the household and felt the need to defend your every move.

#1 is the conformer of the group. She is the one that doesn’t rock the boat. She abides by the rules. I hear the constant apologies and the overwhelming guilt. She feels like if she makes herself small that she will stay safe.

#2 is the rebellious one. She spoke up so all of this is her fault. She is the scapegoat, the black sheep who started this all. You blame her for everything. You tried to shun her for being honest about your abuse. The abuse is ongoing. The fact is, she never stopped loving you only herself. She cut her body to shreds and tore her skin open, yet you still don’t see the pain you’ve caused. How are you so blind?

#3 is the golden child who does nothing wrong. She hasn’t seen the abuse the way her sisters have. The psychological torment you have inflicted is what she struggles with most. She is too young to understand, but she will. She is your last ally. You ply her with treats and gifts. Nonetheless, she still sees you as the super hero that does no wrong. You are the good guy. Your lies and manipulation are always forced onto her as truth. As a result, you have turned her against her sisters and I. She is your last hope, but you’ll hurt her too.

Then there is me. The ex wife who is crazy and tries to keep you from your kids. I am the only one that knows you and the monster inside. The marks on my face you once called love. The scars that are still left behind from the past remind me of that monster everyday.

Yet, I’m still standing. I’m still cleaning up the messes you leave behind. I work twice as hard now to protect these girls. I work even harder to provide for them. While you try to buy their love and affection, I earn it with my presence and consistency. I’m not the perfect person, and definitely not the perfect mom. However, I try my best every day, for them.

I will keep going and I will keep getting better. They are worth it. I hope one day you will appreciate their love for you and all the chances they give you to change. Maybe one day you’ll take the opportunity. However many times they choose to forgive you is a choice they make. Even if you hurt them every time, somehow, they are the ones that always take the first step to fix it.

I just hope that you don’t take the last pieces of them and destroy them completely. Although, I’m terrified that you will. I’m never going to keep them from you. In all honesty, I wish you would go away. Maybe then, they would have a chance to love themselves as I love them. I pray one day they will see themselves through a different lens than the one you created. Until then, I’ll be the mom they need me to be and work twice as hard to help them heal.

In case you didn’t know. I’ve got this.

~M

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Counter-Parenting the Narcissist

counter-parenting vs, co-parenting

Narcissistic parents don’t understand co-parenting. Dealing with this situation means you are counter-parenting the narcissist constantly. I’m here to tell you being the counter parent is extremely draing. As a result, the children are left stuck in the middle of a nasty game of tug of war. Divorce is difficult for any family to experience. However, when one of the parties involved is a narcissist the complications of figuring out co-parenting can feel very one sided. Especially, when your efforts seem to be always deterred and the narcissist actively is pushing against every move you make. A narcissist aims to control, even their children, and they go to great lengths to exert that control. 

Co-parenting vs. Counter-Parenting

Most people think when you get divorced that both parents will take on responsibility for the care of their children. That’s what I also thought would happen. I was SO wrong! When you divorce a narcissist you don’t typically see two parents seeking the best interests of their children. Instead, you have one parent who is trying to hold it all together for everyone and another that is only looking out for their own interest. It’s exhausting!

Co-parenting

Co-parenting is defined, by Wikipedia, as is an enterprise undertaken by parents who together take on the socialization, care, and upbringing of children for whom they share equal responsibility. The co-parent relationship differs from an intimate relationship between adults in that it focuses solely on the child. This a concept that a narcissist does not grasp. Consequently, this makes coparenting only a game for a narcissist to gain access to you or as a way to hide their true colors from others. Furthermore, if you have been in a relationship for as long as I was, you tend to lean towards trying to reason and understand their behavior. In all honesty, the narcissist wants to be the decision maker and the person in control. When that doesn’t go according to plan, they don’t handle the loss of that power well. 

Coparenting means working as a team, towards a common goal, with the interests of your children as the top priority. This means discussing details, compromise, and making decisions together. In addition, co-parenting requires the parties to have respect for one another’s opinion. When one parent is a narcissist the chances of coparenting in a healthy way is nearly impossible. Afterall, coparenting would mean that the narcisisst actually need to agree you are right sometimes. The chances of that are next to nonexistent. 

Counter-Parenting

Counter-parenting is a term used to describe a parenting style that parents are forced to envoke when trying to co-parent with a narcissist. The word itself defines this parenting style. Counter-parenting is what the “healthy” parent does in order to fix the damage the narcissist has done to a child. Having a narcisistic parent often leads to increased anxiety, issues with self perception, and in more severe cases trauma disorders.  Furthermore, a narcissist will aim to go against nearly anything you try to establish. As you try to undo the confusion, they attempt to suck in the child with manipulation. 

Examples in which Counter-Parenting is Necessary

  1. The narcissist rewards bad behavior with toys, gifts, and special outings. This especially manipulative if the bad behavior is only happening at the parents house not rewarding the bad behavior. The child will begin to see they are getting rewarded when they tell the narcissist they yelled at their parent and refused to do what they say.
  2. Another way the narcissist works against you is that they pry for information. They seek out information about what the other parent is doing and typically does it in a way that involves the child getting a reward. They are seeking inforamtion to use against you the next time you have a comment to say about their parenting style.
  3. In addition, the narcissist is a master manipulator. They will very easily convince a child they are doing things right and the other parent is wrong. For example “I don’t think you need to take medicine, you’re not the problem.” 
  4. In my case, I have had the narcissist sugar up my kid, give her redbull (at 10), after allowing her to stay up all night and not give her the medicine she is prescribed for severe, combined type ADHD. Unfortunately, this was a way to “give me a hard time”. The intentions were to hurt me, not the child, but the child was the weapon used. A narcissist sees this type of behavior as funny, where as most healthy adults would say that is at the minimum unhealthy. 
  5. Lastly, I have often heard “I want to live with my dad” when my child does not want to do chores, homework, go to bed, or clean up her room. Unfortunately this is a response to neglectful parenting where there are no rules at dads. As a result, the child begins to believe the narcissist is the “fun parent” where the other parent is the “mean parent”. This only causes friction in the realtionship. 

Tips for Counter-Parenting with a Narcissist

Having boundaries in place and rules of engagement are key to dealing with a narcissist. Usually if you end a relationship you can simply stop all communication and cut all toxic ties. However, when children are involved this isn’t an option that will hold much weight in court. Unfortunately, manipulation and mental health factors aren’t taken as seriously in family courts. As a result, both parent and child are forced to maintain a relationship with the narcissist. Here are a few tips to help you deal with a narcissistic coparent.

  1. Parallel Parenting is a term many parents don’t have to familiarize themselves with. This term simply means having as little interaction as you possibly can with the narcissist. Do not speak unless it pertains to the children. If topics get off the children simply don’t respond, hang up, or walk away. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EXPLAIN YOURSELF TO THIS PERSON ANYMORE!
  2. Use text and email for as much communication as possible. This gives a paper trail and also gives you the proof you need when they do get sideways with you about personal matters or switching time. Furthermore, act like the judge is looking at your message. Keep it short and to the point. Do not disclose any details, just the facts that are necessary. 
  3. Stick to the parenting plan. Don’t bend your life around their needs. They use it or lose it. Don’t trade weekends or accomodate their personal life. It may sound harsh, but I guarantee they won’t do it for you. 
  4. Set your boundaries. Do not allow what you feel uncomfortable with. If you don’t like the idea of your ex coming to pick up the kids at 3:00pm Friday because you don’t get off until 5:00pm, don’t agree! Again, you don’t have to accomodate them! 
  5. Don’t trash talk! Your children are already confused, sad and feel in the middle of the biggest fight of their lives thus far. Don’t make it worse for them by talking smack about the other parent. They will get all they need to hear from one side. Finally, rest easy knowing that you are doing modeling the behavior that the child will eventually realize was the appropriate way to handle things. 
  6. You are the safe parent. Most likely your child knows and has seen the narcissist act in ways that have made them scared. If your child is throwing the fit with you and saying words that the narcissist has said, then know that is not them speaking. As a result, you have to be both parents. 
  7. Remember that its ok to not do this right, but I promise you are doing it better than the narcissist is. Cut yourself some slack. One day, your kids will thank you for being the parent they needed even if you did always do what they wanted you to. 

issues

Seek Support for Yourself and Your Child

If you know that this behavior is damaging your child, then please seek support. I made sure my threefold and I were all in therapy directly after my separation. Getting ahead of the damage that will be inflicted and helping them to heal any damage that has already been done will be so beneficial. In addition, therapy allows for your child to have a safe place that isn’t mom or dad to vent their frustrations. As a result, your child will feel more validated in their feelings about the situation. 

I hope this is beneficial for my tribe of people who have or are survivors of narcissistic abuse. You aren’t alone. I also know how difficult it is to find your voice and your confidence to stand up to the narcissist. However, learning about how to counter parent in a way that shut the narcissist down helped me.  In addition, when I set my boundaries and held my ground I grew stronger in my ability to protect my threefold and I. Honestl;y, I have been sucked back into his toxic manipulation multiple times since I left. As a result, I allowed each of us to be hurt by those lies time and again. Actually, it was when I set my boundaries and made them clear that we started to heal more. Finally, I found my senses and realized that the lies were only empty promises of change that never came to light. 

Stay Positive! We’ve got this! ♥ ~ M psssss,,,follow on facebook!

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