About Donations

Yesterday I had yet another conversation with an older woman, living alone, abandoned by her family and struggling to make ends meet.  She told me that she never tells anyone how bad her financial situation is, because it’s embarrassing and because people don’t care anyway.  I get that.  I live it.  I have known this woman for decades, and knew her when she wasn’t poor and had family around her…when she had ‘something to give’.  A lot of something, in fact.  That’s the magic variable: Something to give.

I told you a long time ago, love is parasitic.  That sounds bitter and pathetic, doesn’t it?  hahaha.  But it’s not.  It’s the cold, harsh reality.  Love is all about what you can GET from somebody else.  That’s not Biblical, but it’s our new reality.  Sad.  I have studied this phenomenon from the inside and sometimes I chuckle.  I am amused at the unadulterated truth about life and how fooled we are.  We try to make things seem pretty and fair and safe and morally superior.  But the unadulterated truth is this:  It’s about what I can get from YOU.  No really.  Before you shake your head in disbelief, THINK about it.  Really think about your loved one and how you would react if you couldn’t get what you want from him/her.  I warn you; the truth hurts until you get used to it.  When you see that the ’emperor’ is really naked, it makes you laugh sometimes, at the games we play.

It is pathetic and socially heartbreaking that we claim to be such a great, wealthy nation and yet we treat a huge part of our citizenry as worthless.  We are NOT worthless and we are NOT invisible.  But we are also not one of the “defined” minorities who demand to be taken care of, about whom the bleeding hearts talk a lot but do little.  We can’t garner votes…nor have babies to guarantee a monthly check.  We’re not sexual anymore and we can’t hand over our paycheck.  So…society at large  wishes us to be invisible, because this way, people do not have to understand that love and care are both verbs as well as nouns.  Verbs, by the way, imply ACTION. Too complicated for you?  Well there you go.

As fate would have it, I also got a comment  on my blog yesterday about not having a ‘donate’ button on my blog site.  This reader would have donated to the cause of thrown away wives.  I never meet this person, but I know her.  I know her character and it is rare and precious.  This reader has “the care gene”, that rare and precious character trait that is fading from society and which, by the way, makes you a target for parasites who will use you and throw you away.  Anyway, the truth is, I don’t know how to manage online donations.  Her idea is a good one, and I have contemplated starting a non-profit organization just to help older abandoned women…the ones society deems worthless.  Maybe one day I can figure that out.

But here’s the thing.  And this is something I and the thrown away woman spoke about yesterday.  It should be NO surprise to people that older women are alone, often abandoned and struggling financially, if people only paid attention.  We are not “of childbearing years”.  That’s society’s veiled way of saying we are not sexually attractive anymore and therefore we are useless.  I know.  For God’s sake that’s harsh.  Well, if you have a brain that works, do your own research and face reality if you dare.  But that, folks, is THE one big reason we are invisible. If you are of child bearing years, you won’t believe it, and if you are past child bearing years, you are now invisible.  Welcome.

We are EVERYWHERE, the  unseen thrown away.  Most people do not care, But once in a while a person passes us who DOES see us, who does get it.  And here’s something you guys can do…all three of you.  Go to the bank and take out three one hundred dollar bills. Or two.  Or one.  Buy a card and put the money in it.  Mail that card with money to one of the thrown away women YOU KNOW.  Because I know you know many of us.  I PROMISE you she needs it and I promise you the result of that action will be disproportionately huge from YOUR perspective.  To you, three one hundred dollars bills is nothing; to her, it means she can buy groceries this month.  And to her, it means for a brief moment somebody ACTUALLY SAW her.  That might even be more important than grocery money.  Here’s an idea:  Do it anonymously.  That’s how its supposed to be.

Want to hear something you won’t believe?  We throw-aways ROUTINELY give to one another; we sacrifice, say, eating meat for a week, in order to give that value to a throw away who might not have grocery money at ALL.  We sacrifice even when it hurts.  And, do you remember me saying that it is precisely because of that element of our character that we were targeted by the users who bled us dry and thew us away?  We are compassionate and generous.  Isn’t that interesting? she said, being facetious.

Listen, I can’t afford to give anybody anything, yet I do.  And yet there are those less fortunate than I.  I live in a home.  I have a friend who, until just last week, lived in a bedroom.  I’ve done that.  It’s amazing that a bedroom is enough, but when you are worthless and invisible, it is.  In fact it is a gracious PLENTY.  This woman just moved into her own apartment, with no furniture.  She was as thrilled as if she had bought a palace.  All I had to do was mention in my church group that she would appreciate used furniture donations and before you know it, she had living room and dining room furniture.  Just like that.  Imagine.  Others’ old furniture became her “home”.  That’s how it works.  Oh.  And she has a son.  Who could have bought her furniture.  Just thought I’d throw that in.

Before I get off of my soapbox, let me add this.  We WORK.  We don’t lounge around waiting for a check to show up.  We don’t do drugs, we don’t stand on the corner begging.  We have JOBS.  And I said jobs, plural.  Like I said in my book, I worked THREE jobs at once in order to survive.  Many throw-aways work multiple jobs.  MOST work multiple jobs.  So we’re not sitting around on the pity pot.  But we are still human beings who deserve to at least be seen.  And I will add this again.  Love is a verb.  You don’t have to be an anonymous donor to make a difference.  You know people who need help.  Help them.  And let me add, finally.  God bless the ones who DO see us, and who do reach out.  We could NOT have made it without them.

I just had an idea.  Adopt a throw away.  Our families don’t want us.  But I, for example, am a grandmother. I have grandkids I never get to see because I’m invisible, you see.  But  I’d like to actually practice being a grandparent.  Any spare families out there?  Something to think about…for another blog.

Homework:  Find a throw away.  Donate.

When Does it End?

Well, never as far as I can tell.  IF your ex stripped you financially, then finding gainful employment will NEVER be easy again.  So get used to being poor.  Get used to being humbled by a society that doesn’t value you anymore.  I mentioned that to a friend of mine, about women over 50 being invisible, and she pooh-poohed the whole idea. So I challenged her.  I told her the next time she went to the mall, to notice how many people even LOOKED at her.  She called and said, “Oh my God!  You are right! People didn’t even LOOK at me!”

Yeah.  I know.

So, using that whole idea as a springboard, think about how you will find a handyman, someone to repair your washing machine, someone to take care of your car maintenance…without gouging you…let alone show up!

It’s going to be important to find trustworthy service providers.  Chances are, if you remember from reading my book, you can’t rely on your family either.  They don’t want your problems and they don’t really care.  Sorry.  True.  Eventually you will find people on whom you can call…and PAY…and you need that contact list.  Listen, I could recommend people but you guys are ALL OVER the United States and beyond.  It wouldn’t mean anything for you to look at my list.

You’ll get frustrated and angry every time you can’t move a piece of furniture, let’s say, and you have to beg someone and pay them, to help you.

In my book I tell you that every single relationship in my life was damaged or outright broken when I was thrown away.  That hasn’t changed.  It’s been six years.  I’m still garbage in the minds of people who claimed to ‘LOVE’ me.  Some of them will text me that they love me, but I NEVER SEE THEIR FACES.  I’m in the anger phase now and I’m PISSED.

Yeah, it’s terrible.  And…our society condones it.  Older white women are THE most discriminated against of ANYBODY I know of.  Why?  We don’t have the giant organizations with acronyms to bring out the big dogs for us.  We are alone.

Did you know there are laws agains age discrimination in the workplace and in hiring?  Yep.  Federal laws.  Still happens.  All day.  Every day.

Hidden Anger…Or Not

There is another obstacle thrown away women face and which I haven’t really talked about: Anger.  For some of us it remains just below the surface and for others it rages right out in the open for everyone to see.  I think most of us are overtly angry once we come out of the shock stage and that’s to be expected.  It makes sense, and it’s one of the stages of grief, which is also experienced when the marriage ends.  But the kind of anger I’m talking about here is the kind that rears up and sticks to you and changes you.

I went through what I called my “primal scream” phase, where I felt as though I was pulling back on the reigns of anger all the time, just to keep it from running away with me.  At times it was hard to control, but I thought if I let the scream out it would never stop.  That passed, of course, but I still feel buried anger. It rises up every time I can’t afford a doctor when I’m sick, or I need clothes and can’t buy them.  I didn’t sign up for this, and would never have been in this situation had I not met my ex.  I get angry when I think about how much better off I’d be now, had I never let him into my life. I know.  Water under the bridge and all that.

But the thing is, there are some women who let this anger rule their life.  They come apart at the seams and it is apparent to everyone observing them that the wheels are OFF.  But these angry women don’t care.  They choose to scream and stomp and swing the anger around like a weapon.  Thing is, this weapon hurts nobody but them because everybody else can leave.

I was thinking about one of those women today as I drove home.  This person is attractive and smart, has a good sense of humor, used to be a pleasure to be around.  But when the wheels came off, all anybody could do was run.  I have rarely seen such venomous behavior, and thought I was witnessing someone actually going crazy.

It came to mind again, that a person can either choose to roll around in the pain and misery and become accustomed to the smell and taste of it…even come to like it… or they can choose to get past it.  I chose to move forward, even though it felt like I wasn’t moving at  all sometimes.  I kept at least some forward momentum…still do.  What’s the difference?  Why do some move forward and others sit down and waste precious time?  I don’t know.  Maybe I have more patience than some.  Maybe I have what it takes to stick with a goal until I reach it.  Maybe I’m just stubborn or stupid! or maybe I know if I don’t do it, nobody will.  Not sure.  But clearly, it’s good idea to put as much distance between us and catastrophe as we can.  And whether you call it pain or anger or disaster or WHATEVER, it must be shaken off.  Otherwise you allow a person with no character to ruin yours.  If it is such a horrible thing to have someone throw us away, why in God’s name would we want to languish on the trash heap?

People are adaptable.  And we can adapt to garbage too (think hoarder).  Be aware of that and shake that s*$t off.  Keep walking through that valley and WIN!  We’re all grown up now.  Nobody’s going to come and lift us out.  We have to do it ourselves.

For The Caregivers

I cover this subject quite a bit in my book, but don’t believe I’ve blogged about it.  It’s important, and I hope some of my readers have NOT experienced the horror of thrown away wives in their lives, or been one.  If they haven’t, they likely will, either directly or tangentially.  So if you know someone who has a loved one going through this, please tell them about this site.  Otherwise this will be another relationship fatality, based solely on one man’s inability to commit, or to control his animal urges.  And yeah, women do this to men as well, only not as much…yet.  The truths here apply to both genders, so no worries.

First it is supremely important to know that this is NOT like any other divorce a person may have experienced: It is DIFFERENT late in life.  Folks it really does NOT take a genius to understand this.  Peoples’ values CHANGE by the decade, roughly, and later in life, it is family  and home which become “sacred”.  When a spouse is discarded, their very VALUE SYSTEM is dismantled.  That alone is traumatic in a way you can’t know unless you have experienced it.  So if you become a support person, get that in your head, on your radar, and know that the person to whom you offer help is CHANGED, and broken in a way you can’t comprehend.  So forget about preaching or trying to FIX that person.  They are unfixable in the beginning.  No, you are not qualified to fix anybody, least of all a throw away. The best thing to do, then, is just be quietly available and let the person know that they are safe and that they CAN rebuild that value system, because the number one thought among us is that we are RUINED forever.  Yes, time is short, but in our minds, we are as good as dead and we are terrified beyond words.

I remember how I felt when people talked about what happened to me, and preached their fixes to me.  First of all they were not QUALIFIED to analyze my situation, and second of all, their preaching voices merely blended out of sync with the primal scream constantly in the back of my mind.  I wasn’t READY to be preached at and I wasn’t ABLE to be fixed.  I went from a whole, life long work of art to micro dust.  Reassembly takes a long time and what results looks NOTHING like what existed before, except on the outside.  Some of us are fighters; it’s in our genetic makeup and we eventually stand up and move, dragging parts behind us usually, but we move.  Others just need more help…and more compassion.

Remember we are past career ladder climbing as a CENTRAL value; we are past child rearing and daycare stories as a CENTRAL value system.  It’s about home and family.  And by family I mean that we HAD become a support location, an oracle if you will, a place for gatherings and extra strength and wisdom for our children and grandchildren.  Imaging being EJECTED from that position to poverty and nothingness in the blink of an eye ONLY because we got older.  And I mean really imagine it.  Give it some thought.  And know that we are now thrown back twenty or thirty years, in terms of values, back to making career central in a time when nobody wants to hire us because of our age.  Are you getting this?  It’s a monumental problem for the ones thrown away.

Supporting a throw away, either emotionally of financially, is hard.  Because this grown person who appears to be okay is really a vibrating mass of trauma, stress and fear.  We LOOK okay, but WE    ARE   BROKEN.  So please lower your expectations and be KIND.  All throw aways need in the beginning is to feel safe again, to feel like we belong SOMEWHERE, and to feel like one living human being cares.  We need to know it’s okay if we need to get up during the night to make decaf coffee, because we can’t SLEEP while you DO.  We need to know it’s okay if we don’t laugh at jokes or participate in book club, because we don’t FEEL like it.  And for God’s sake don’t try to take us to a party.  What makes YOU feel good WILL NOT WORK for this person.  Understand that.  Baby steps, folks.  Baby steps.  This is post trauma stress.

Don’t step into the aid arena if you can’t hack it.  And you will set your ‘LOVED ONE’ back to ground zero if you get frustrated and eject them from your life.  You will do irreparable harm to your relationship, probably permanently.  If you do that you demonstrate your inability to practice empathy, and you demonstrate your ignorance of the influence of age cohort (decade) in life.  You didn’t pay attention in psychology class in college in other words.

Compassion is the key.  And compassion is more rare than anyone realizes.  You can’t KNOW that unless your survival depends on compassion and you realize there is none, even from your “loved ones”.  So I appeal to you from the bottom of my scarred heart: Practice true compassion.  Nothing is more precious to a throw away than safety, and you can offer that.  Now I’m not saying you adopt this person forever, but picking up the pieces with them, one by one and making an attempt to HELP them reassemble, is the kindest thing you will ever do. It’s harder than watching a loved one die; that’s easy compared to this.  Don’t start the process if you can’t hang in there because it takes a long time.

Until later…

After Six Years

Hi Friends.  I have gotten into the simplification mode lately, getting rid of a lot of things I thought I’d never part with.  I think this is normal once you reach a certain age; but if it’s not, too bad. It’s where I am.

I never know anymore, whether my feelings are a result of the trauma I still walk through, or whether it’s age related and thus “normal”.   I guess I think that my life is much simpler now and I don’t need so many clothes and pairs of shoes, which makes sense.  But I also want to clear out all of the pictures and chochkies and vases and candles…not sure what’s going on there. Decorating is one of my joys/pleasures.  But lately I just want nothing, plain, clean.   As I lugged a load into the car to take to Goodwill, I got to thinking about the differences in me now, and of all of the “different” relationships in my life and I’m not sure I’ve really written about those aspects of being thrown away in sort of “instructional” detail.  It’s pretty bad, almost as bad as being thrown into poverty and chronic financial stress.  Almost.

When it first becomes clear that we are about to become refuse to be discarded, I think the first thing we do is reach out to our family or friends (or both), so that someone can help us construct a rational thought.  I’m not talking about RESCUE; I’m talking about THINKING STRAIGHT.  The shock is so great that the primary reaction isn’t even tears; it’s pacing and hearing the roaring in your ears and feeling your heart race within your chest…and this goes on for weeks.  The only respite is sleep, which comes rarely and from which you HATE awakening, because the anxiety races back into the void like a freight train, nearly pinning you down.  I reached out and can’t remember a thing I said.  I know I just wanted someone to help me THINK things through.  I’ve rarely asked for help in my life, and am usually the problem solver. But this time, I couldn’t think linearly and I was TERRIFIED beyond belief.  I couldn’t solve a problem as simple as punching my way out of a wet paper bag.  I was lost and traumatized.  But somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I would be okay, that there was someone out there who loved me enough to be in my corner, just BE there.  Wrong.

The first year was a blur; I hardly remember it.  But what I do remember is how quickly I went from having a three level, 4000 square foot, beautifully decorated home, to riding out of my  driveway with my brother heading away forever.  My ex had paid bills out of the equity line to the tune of over 98,000 dollars, leaving the mortgage severely under water.   Instead of him sticking me with that, I stuck him with it.  But regardless, I was now homeless.  Now, I would think that anyone who professed to love me or even like me a lot, would understand the kind of trauma just THAT ONE event brought to bear.  Forget about lawyers, humiliation, embarrassment, financial ruin…forget all of THAT.  Just think your loved ones would want to rush to you and keep you upright and thinking straight, would feel your pain at least a little bit and want to HELP you.  No.  Doesn’t happen that way.  People don’t really care.

Thrown away wives are INCONVENIENT, in the way, a burden…and like bringing a zombie into your home.  I turned away very slowly from the ruination of my life and the ruination of my FUTURE, to face the rest of my life struggling and alone, only to come face to face with the reality of “love”.  I faced daily calls and emails from lawyers, and the ones from HIS were designed to drive me to suicide, I’m convinced.  And I had to work through bank accounts and records and appointments everywhere, try to SURVIVE..while still trying to work AND not “BOTHER” anybody with my life.

The person who LOVED me embezzled money out of our joint account by writing normal bill amounts in the checkbook…remember HE insisted on taking complete control of all finances…while ACTUALLY paying bills against the equity line…98,000 dollars worth… and withdrawing that money to send it who knows where.  Then he told me I needed to pull money out of my retirement investments to “make ends meet”, at which time he would make it a point to show me the checkbook where he had written in all of the monthly bill entries.  I’m an idiot.  He protested too much and I should have caught that.  He took my child’s inheritance. I literally handed him my retirement nest egg too.  His plan worked to a tee.

Do you think anybody who SHOULD have come alongside me to help me, actually DID come alongside?  Well, one did for a little while, but I was inconvenient and ruined the look of their mansion.  So I got thrown away again.  5000 square feet and no children in it, and my one bedroom being occupied was too much.  I’m shaking my head.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m a nice person!  Too nice for my own good a lot of the time, but I’m an introvert.  I don’t make a lot of racket!  I keep things clean.  But I do sleep in the bed and take showers and go downstairs to make coffee.  I eat and wash dishes and vacuum, buy food, try to help.  Apparently I have a big aura.  That must be it.  I had the nerve to be broken.  That was the problem.  People do NOT want to be around imperfection, folks.  Look around you.

And love.  Love is parasitic.  That’s the way our world has become.  People run around looking to OWN someone and take what they want from them.  They want to jump on and ride for a while or take their assets, they want to be taken care of, to have a trophy, to control or to rescue themselves from loneliness.  They want a cook, a housekeeper, a sex object. And LUST is not love, but most people think it is, particularly men.   Nobody seems to look at love as two way at all.  So when people talk about love, I IMMEDIATELY start assessing who the parasite is.  And I almost always find it very quickly.  So love is a four letter word for me.  It never used to be.  Maybe that’s the worst part of being thrown away.  I don’t know.  But I imagine love like this: Everybody has at least one arrow, but HOPEFULLY two.  If your love is mature and true, you have two arrows, one pointing out, one pointing in.  But MOST people have ONE arrow, and it points right to them.  Check it out!  You will be amazed.

Trust.  Don’t make me laugh. I was played like a cheap banjo and stripped of my very life by my ex.  And I am SMART.  But he as the ultimate predator and he killed my life.  Killed it and never blinked.  He took everything I worked my ass of for, my whole life an never looked back.  So…I WONDER whether I will ever be able to trust again.  I really hope I can. I miss that part of my character.  I used to be very trusting and loving.

Bottom line is this:  This crap messes up the emotional equilibrium for…well about six years so FAR.  And as I have said, some women cry when they talk about it after TEN years.  So the jury is out on the healing timeline.  But all of my relationships are broken.  Parent (my father passed away before the blowup), brothers, sisters, daughter.  All.  I have asked myself a thousand times whether it’s really possible for people to be so compassionless and cold hearted, whether they can really NOT get it to the extent that they DON’T.  And yeah, I think they don’t get it, but is that because they don’t WANT to or because they’re not that smart.  Well….both.  And they make it very clear that they can get along fine without us.  That is until they are thrown away.  But it hurts that they don’t care about us, really, don’t “love” us.  And they CAN get along just fine without us.  Just like our exes.  So does it really matter that we were thrown away?  I’m trying to answer that one.

Not everyone has my IQ, but let me tell you, if someone I love is isolated and desolate, I NOTICE.     And that’s mostly because of my heart, not my smarts.  I go to them and FIND OUT why they are absent from life.  AND I find out if I can HELP.  There’s a good word.  As long as I see them doing something to try to help themselves, I am right there, right alongside.  I know when someone is down, trying to get back up.  It’s therefore my job to try to help. Period.  But that, folks, is apparently UNUSUAL.

But there’s another layer of the emotional bog.  I don’t feel the same around my friends either.  I feel like I’m somehow out of focus in the context of our friendship, so I’m awkward in a way I never was before.  I don’t feel important anymore, and if you think about your friendships, you know you do feel important.  That’s part of being friends.  That part of me is wounded, maybe permanently.  And yes, one would think I could benefit from counseling.  Well, the thing is, most counselors don’t understand this kind of trauma either, because most are men and they haven’t been women thrown away, and most of the women counselors haven’t been thrown away because they knew the sh(&heads when they approached and drop kicked them.  So…no help.  Nobody gets it.  I LIKE counselors; they have great ideas, but in THIS case, they are clueless.  (Sorry counselors).  And when I make new friends, which I have…quite a few of them…it’s not the same.   There’s a wall behind which I hide my insecurities. It’s HARD for me to reach out; in fact, it’s easier to just stay to myself, which I do.   And of course that feeds the loneliness.  So…another important aspect of being thrown away.

It’s lonely, the weight of which is nearly as bad as that initial anxiety; but it’s better than being around people whom you know don’t care about you enough to notice that you’re turned around backward, that your life has been thrown on the trash heap.  And yes, I have changed.  I, for example, can see the sh*^head syndrome from a MILE away and have learned, happily, how to decapitate (figuratively of course) these so called men.  I feel sorry for them, skipping happily near to me, thinking they can play that stupid game.  I have a lot of cat energy so I study them and pat them around a bit just to watch the manipulations and lies…then I tell them to get lost.  Which they hate because they’re narcisists.  And which I find immensely amusing and funny now.  The bad part is that there are so MANY of them.  They are EVERYWHERE.

A fellow throw-away asked me why she attracts guys like this and my answer is this:  We provide stability, financial well being (good credit), goodness and light, honesty, integrity and strength…and we look good.  These are all things these predators look for.  So yes we are always going to be targets for them.  The trick is to recognize the beast and cattle prod it away.  Several times until you laugh.

But recovery and realizations aside, emotional healing is SLOWWWW.  I wonder whether I will ever really feel joy again.  I wonder how it feels to laugh and be carefree…like I used to be.  I wonder whether I will ever feel good about myself again…after six years, this is how I’m feeling.

So there you have it.  Remember this and let’s see how it is next year.  And I cried when I wrote this, for your notes you know.  So if you cry too, that’s okay.  We’re still here.  We’re moving forward.

Until next time…

Managing the Feelings

I hear from so many throw-aways about, and felt myself, the crushing depression and humiliation in the aftermath of discovering my ex’s affair and subsequently being thrown away.  There’s a documentable progression through this horror, and it’s not like any timeline you’ve been used to.  It’s longer.  A LOT longer.  People who have come through the valley cite ten years.  TEN. And the first one will be a year of shock and terror.

Women like us have had upsets in our lives, of course, and we’ve worked through and past them, sometimes without missing a beat.  But this one, this experience of being thrown away in mid-life, is not like anything we have EVER experienced.  The hurt is worse because it’s dissolved in humiliation, and without a doubt the largest component is horror.  Yes, I said horror, and trauma.  We experience trauma of the sort that has physical ramifications and which effects our emotions and psyches in what is called post-traumatic stress.  There are MIRIAD signs and symptoms of PTS and EVERYBODY misses them.  Instead they blame you for not “moving on” and “getting over it” and I mean they do this while you are still in shock.  Amazing.

We are facing the end our our productive years in terms of earning ability and we planned for that eventuality with our partner, our husband, as the other half of the earning team.  That was the deal: Until death do us part.  But in this case, without fail, husbands do everything in their power to NOT contribute to the financial well being of the wife, even though adultery is involved almost always, and even when the law sets out rules for equitable distribution of assets.  In my case my ex worked very hard to funnel money out of the accounts, to deplete my assets, I think in an effort to make me unable to afford legal representation.  It didn’t work completely, but it did to some extent.

But these excuses for husbands are experiencing their own mid life crisis.  Trouble is, these guys take it out on the one person who has been in their corner for YEARS.  Unfortunately this type of guy always blames his angst on the one closest to him…because he can’t take responsibility for his own actions or feelings…on his wife.  He justifies throwing her away because he doesn’t FEEL good anymore (this is a cycle by the way) and he blames it on her; oh, and this is the reason for his affair:  It’s all HER fault.  Please. I call this the S**thead syndrome: Dishonest, stunning lack of integrity, narcissistic, chronically unfaithful, fiscally irresponsible, charming, master manipulators, passive aggressive, unable to take responsibility for their own lives, controlling, completely comfortable slandering their wife. I’m sure psychiatrists have a better “syndrome” word for it in their world but in my world and in the world of other throw-aways, my word works just fine.

What happens, then, is that a once-productive member of society (the WIFE) is now facing poverty, and these women, folks, have not been in that situation before.  We were productive and industrious, usually financially well off and disciplined…which was why we were targeted in the first place. In other words, we are the opposite of the syndrome I so colorfully coined and the absolute perfect match for a loser: we provided stability and money.

Our feelings… go completely awry.  We live in a  cocktail of depression, sadness, fear, anxiety, humiliation, embarrassment and a feeling of being chronically lost.  We feel unloved, we ARE misunderstood and we feel that, we feel as though we are falling with no bottom in sight, we feel scared out of our mind, and we feel as though we do not fit in ANYWHERE…primarily because we don’t.   And people tell us to smile.  I shake my head at the insensitiveness and disconnectedness.

But what we women MUST understand is this:  We CANNOT sit down and slump into the darkness.  It is IMPERATIVE that we take steps every single day no matter HOW bad we feel.  We must work, we must exercise, we must connect with people…yes even the insensitive ones, and we must keep moving forward.  Listen, people will think you are okay when they see you doing normal things.  They won’t know you’re a zombie, because they don’t pay attention and they don’t care.  But the important one is YOU, DOING something, anything.  Every step, every single one, is a success you need.

Listen, I would say 99 percent of the thrown away women I have met have done this: They have moved forward.  But there are those who sit down and wail and moan and spin around in circles with temper tantrums and never take one step forward.  These women sink into their circumstance and wiggle into it, making it fit better.  And they stay there, learning the nuances of their behavior so it becomes natural.  It becomes their ‘normal’.  And they start accumulating worker bees to carry their slime, because incessant whining is slime, and to listen to their constant complaints instead of having them watch their inch-wise progress.  Yep, inch-wise; that’s how it is.  But that’s okay.  It is still progress.  Whiners don’t want progress.  But the worker bees end up getting stuck right there, enabling people who do not want to get well.

Girls, you can’t do this.  Get up and just take ONE STEP.  Because if you do not, the people who DO care about you, the precious few, will get it that you do NOT want to get well.  Yes, I said that.  If you don’t WANT to get well, that message will come through loudly and clearly.  I KNOW what it looks like when someone wants to get back on track:  I look in the mirror.  We who are in this valley ahead of you or beside you cannot stop our forward progress while you become addicted to victimization.  If we do, we will never see the end of the valley, feel the sunshine again.  And you have no right to expect that either.  Our sunshine was stolen from us, just as yours was, but we INTEND to get it back.   Yeah, it will be fractured and dimmer and cooler, but by God we will get it back.

Yes, you will be lost and afraid.  But you can still stand up and take one step forward.  Even if it seems like you can’t, YOU CAN.  Don’t even think about telling me you can’t; I know better.  I know.  Probably, every relationship you valued will be lost or severely damaged because of this ordeal, even though YOU DID NOT SIGN UP FOR IT.  But that’s the reality.  Ours did too!  But we are moving forward.  So make new friends.  Build another “family”.  Do something ELSE, something different, yes, than what you had before, but do SOMETHING.  I have said this before:  Almost all of my friends now are people I did not know before I was thrown away.  That’s the reality, ladies.  Get that straight, get used to the idea.  It takes a while…years.    But it is what it is.  And it is progress…and some of these people are better friends than I EVER had before, by the way.

As long as your sisters in this valley see you doing something to help yourself, they will cheer you on and help to the extent they can.  Others, the ones who have never experienced this?  Don’t expect a thing from them.  But your sisters will be there for you.  If you sit down and start liking the stench, you will sit there alone. You will be left behind by those of us who do not intend to let a heartless liar with no integrity and a streak of cowardice steal our lives.  We will not.  CLEARLY these men are not worth that.  So get up.  GET.  UP.

You have been victimized, but DON’T be a victim.  STAND UP.  I know it’s hard; you don’t have to tell me.  I’ve been walking this path for years ahead of you.  The key is that I have been WALKING it, not sitting down and wailing about it.



Light at the End of the Tunnel

When you have been thrown away, chances are you work more than one job, as I do.  I’m down to two jobs, but it seems I spend a lot of mental energy running numbers through my head, calculating debt versus income.  That FEELS just like working three jobs, which I did for several years.  But the good thing is that after 5-plus years, I’m beginning to feel more normal.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel; it remains to be seen whether I will get there or not.  Most women say it takes a good ten years.  Horrible to think, but I can believe it.  But I’ve walked this path long enough to see that it DOES get better.  Listen, I’m a skeptic and I’m telling you:  It does get better…if you let it.

In our youth, we were used to things happening faster for us.  Those days are gone; it doesn’t work that way for women our age.  Things go more slowly because it’s harder for us.  It just is, not because we are less able, but because people stereotype us that way.  Makes smoke come out of my ears, because I’m the smartest person I know.  Hands down.  But people see me and think I’m just not able…whatever they need ABLE to mean.  We are discriminated against every single day.

I had a friend whose husband, after 5 years, still has not given her a dime, still has not returned her half of the equity in their assets, which are substantial.  He’s obviously playing the courts well, and it’s terrible to think about, but it happens.  This guy is an attorney, so none of the judges will do what’s needed to get this case resolved.  Lesson to be learned is this:  Don’t marry an attorney.  But heads up.  Don’t let this kind of thing drag on.  Find a way to get this kind of behavior publicized.  Make sure you have documentation and then let it fly.  This is becoming a typical behavior for cheating husbands, to not only throw us away, but to then get away with not giving us our rightful share of assets we helped to build, or even built before they brought their sorry behinds into our lives.

Anyway, since we talked last time, I’ve lived a bit, survived a bit longer, and learned more about this journey.  For me, the biggest challenge aside from finances, is that all of my relationships were damaged, not just the marriage.  Everyone within reasonable proximity to “the killing” was injured to some extent and yep, we do get thrown out with the bathwater.  So I hear your posts, the part about being so alone.  I’m working on that now, planning to make 2016 a year of getting back out there and rediscovering MY pleasures, the things that bring me joy.   I challenge you to do the same.  Reach out and be our own person again.  It’s hard at first, but slowly, we remember how to do it.

You know they talk about the “donut hole” with regard to healthcare benefits, or used to anyway, but I think women in their 60’s have one too.  Men our age want women from 30’s to 50’s, and NO WAY any woman in their 60’s, even if the 60’s men look like a train wreck.  Speaks to the whole reason we were thrown away in the first place.  But seems like women in their SEVENTIES suddenly become sought after.  Are you kidding me?

I get a kick out of reading the profiles of these men looking for younger women.  They can’t spell, they have big bellies and no hair, but they are so sure they can demand a youngster.  Makes me laugh.  What’s really fun is when they are being so stern about their requirements and at least one word per sentence is misspelled, particularly if they want to be intellectually challenged by the woman they seek.  And intellectually us often misspelled too.  Too funny.  But they don’t hesitate to throw the bait out there.  Gotta give them that.  And then there are the 70-ish year olds who claim to be 60-something.  Don’t get me started.

So the important thing about us, the throw-aways, is that we have to learn to live for ourselves, notwithstanding the guys out there still trying to be kids.  We have to find OUR joy again, do the things that make us happy and give us peace.  It’s hard because we’ve been the care givers, the nest tenders, the supporters.  But take heart.  Time makes this new way of thinking slowly come into focus.  And listen, don’t worry about not having a man in your life…other than for the heavy lifting and stuff…because until you are healed, you really are doing NO favors to either yourself or your date.  Get selfish, get used to being by yourself, and allow your self to heal.  It takes a LONG time and you have to work very hard at it.  Whining is not working, by the way.

Listen.  You can’t sit down and cry and you can’t sit down and kick you feet and scream and spin around in a circle either.  You have to MOVE.  Nobody’s going to come and rescue you.  Let me say that again:  NOBODY’S going to come and rescue you.  There are no knights in shining armor and if there were, they’d be looking for a thirty year old in a bikini.  Trust me, even now, there are guys who are only interested in an orifice.  It never ends.  You do NOT need that right now.  If you heal and  you want that, good for you.  I have a very high IQ, am something of a Renaissance woman, and I have a wonderful heart and spirit (until you cross me).  I expect my good qualities to be important to anyone who wants to occupy my time.  I’m more than an orifice.  That is part of me, but I matter.  My heart matters, my intellect matters, I’m a good person, a great catch.  I am worth far more than physical tender.  It took a long time for me to realize that again, after what I went through.  But I’m there.  I’m hoping my “militant” side will soften a bit as I continue on this journey, but the GOOD thing is that I have some self confidence back and I know what to expect from men now.  Exactly what to expect.

So stand up.  Get used to being by yourself, because we are all alone anyway.  Do all you can to survive and reach out to other women, friends who bring light and hope into your spirit.  Stay away from the whiners.  They don’t want to move forward, away from the tragedy.  They want to sit and wait to be rescued…which will never happen.  If you wait with them, you’re burning precious daylight.  We don’t have that much longer; we have to make the most of the time we have.  And I mean time to be happy and do things that bring us joy.

I get lonely too, but then I remember how great it is to eat ice cream right out of the carton if I want to, and how nice it is to not be cheated on and lied to. The universe balances.  It’s going to be fine.  It just takes time, and I’m still here, still making progress.  It can be done.

If you need a hand…

Hi.  I’m trying to learn how to do this, just because I know how painful it is to be thrown away.  I have met so many of us, middle aged women who thought we were married until ‘death do us part’, and never saw the end bearing down on us.

Our society has crafted a name for the men who heartlessly throw us away, or even KILL us, because they see the back side of the hill and they can’t handle it.  It’s called “midlife crisis” or male menopause.  But it’s not either of them.  It’s ruthless and it destroys the women whom they throw away like so much garbage.

I thought I would die, didn’t think I would survive the heartache, the embarrassment, the humiliation, and the loss of everything I worked for my whole life.  But I have…so far.  Along the way, I have met so many of us.  We sound so similar, our stories so much alike that it’s as though we married the same guy.  I call it the butthead syndrome, only I use a stronger word sometimes.

Some of the thrown away wives I talked to, interviewed for my book ultimately, had been ten years past the event…and they still cried, still felt the pain that nearly destroyed them.  Some turned to alcohol, some withdrew from the world, some just cried their way through in a trance.  Others died.  Others did themselves in because they couldn’t handle it and some were killed; you see that on the news ALL the time.

Women have become a commodity again.  We have lost the ground we gained during the women’s movement and I think it’s time we unite and figure out how to make this nice little ‘crisis’ men have created something they have to pay for.  They want to be with younger women.  If that’s who they are, then fine.  But lets figure out how to NOT be the ones whose lives are ended because of a lack of integrity on the part of our husband.

So my goal will be to give you some pointers about what you will face and some idea about what to do to protect yourself.  I’m no expert; I muddled my way through and only learned the consequences too late.  Maybe you can plan ahead and protect your assets, even your life, better than I did.  So bear with me as I learn this process.  Meanwhile, please feel free to comment and add your experiences so others can see that we are NOT alone.  I think together we can be strong and help one another.