A Massive Pile Up On I 270
I recently read an article discussing the deleterious effect that sudden trauma and changes in major life events can have on one’s well-being. The psychology types say that encountering too many major stressors in too short of a period of time can adversely affect even the most well-adjusted and optimistic individuals.
I thought I’d run down the list and make a mental note of the major life changes I encountered around the time my husband left me. Here’s what I found:
- The death of a loved one … check
- Divorce … check
- Loss of a job … check
- Increase in financial obligations … check
- Moving to a new residence … check
- Illness, injury … check
- Surgery … check
- Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem) … check
- Elderly or sick family member … check
- Traumatic event … check
- Fear and uncertainty … check
- Insolvency or bankruptcy … check
- Inability to maintain a roof over one’s head … check
- Homelessness … check
- Ostracism … check
- Being the target of a smear campaign … check
- Narcissistic abuse and gaslighting … check
- Abandonment … check
The Grab Bag Of Life
Nice list, huh? Just my luck. I somehow managed to attract all of these into my life within an 18 month period of time. Most of them occurred as lightning strike events. The others occurred like sustained rolling thunder pre and post storm.
Timing Is Everything
I am not exaggerating when I say that everything that once defined my life was suddenly and unexpectedly obliterated soon after my husband left—gone forever. That’s a stone cold trip, no matter how you slice it, or who you are.
My life collapsed like a house of cards. Almost overnight, my identity … my sense of self-worth … my sense of love and belonging … and my very reason for living … all became non-existent. I grappled to make sense of it all. Day and night, I agonized over the ‘why?’ of it all. It wasn’t long before I became unrecognizable to everyone who ever knew me—including myself.
Emotionally paralyzed and locked into intractable grief, I reclused from everyone, drawing my knees up into fetal position. The therapists I saw for a short few weeks (before losing my health coverage) termed my state as ‘complicated grief reaction’/CPTSD’ for insurance billing purposes.
Current Day 2020
It’s nine years later and a lot of water (and other things) have flowed downstream and under the bridge. A painful reality remains. I am acutely aware that in the minds of most onlookers at the time, I will forever be frozen in their minds as ‘pathetic’.
Pathetic in that a (otherwise competent) professional woman took it so hard. Pathetic in that I wasn’t able to muster the strength to rise up or fight back when everything was happening in real time. Pathetic in that I never was able to find another job, despite Herculean efforts—something I’m sure mu ex and his new wife gloat over.
Frankly Scarlet, it’s hard to find a job with zero professional references left. Word within the medical management space where I made a living was/still is: ‘She had an emotional break when her husband left her and she never was able to recover’.
Well, yes, that’s correct. I did fall apart—and I did so big time. But browse up to the above list again. What I was dealing with was more than just your garden variety breakup.
HIPAA, Yet No Health Information Privacy For Me
I was so beat down and exhausted that all I could muster as any kind of response was to shrug ‘whatever’. I was so stunned that I gave my doctor permission to speak directly to my employers (also doctors) about my mental state. I figured that I might as well. They all went to the same church.
I pretty much had to do this in order to keep my job. I had been given an edict: “See someone immediately. Get put on antidepressants—or else!” With my insurance, this required that I see a psychiatrist (must be a MD who could prescribe meds), and not just continue seeing a therapist/counselor.
One very nice female physician within our practice later told me that the psychiatrist told her at church: “This is a delightful woman. With all the stress she’s been through all at once, it’s remarkable that she’s still able to speak in complete sentences.”
Still Not A Compliment
At first reading, that might appear to be a nice gesture on his part. However, the harsh reality is that once whisperings waft through your career space that you were even so much as perceived to have your rocker a little wobbly, you can kiss your career goodbye.
Who are we kidding? Doctors talk among themselves, and they do it outside the traceable and actionable avenues of the formal reference request and hiring process. They talk over golf. They talk in the operating room. They talk at social functions. Face it, after the words ’emotional breakdown’ leave someone’s lips about you, no one is ever going to hand you another $16M practice to manage. Never, ever again.
Furthermore, things get even dicier when your runaway ex is allowed to remain your employers’ trusted (sole) IT resource, even after leaving the country! I kid you not, this happened.
Turn The TV On & Grab The Popcorn
My drama burgeoned into a full blown Lifetime Movie when my ex husband skillfully conducted a remote disinformation campaign against me in my absence, when I was immobilized, crying in pain, losing all will to live. My extreme grief played right into his hands. It was just what he wanted. He won—I lost.
Hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it? I was in too much pain to realize it then, but now I know. Whenever something like this happens, you cannot sit by and let others define the narrative unchallenged.
Especially [!] when the one smearing you happens to be the trusted system administrator. The person who configured your technology. The person still remotely maintaining all of your employers‘ technology. The person still having root access to the practice’s email server/phone system/corporate cell phones. The person opening and reading all your emails and texts before you do. The person who cloned your phone and access to your ICloud backups. Can there be a more perfect storm?
My goodness, I know that I say this often, but there’s no other way to state it. I was such an idiot. And the things that I’ve mentioned here don’t scratch the surface of the all the twisted things that happened and inter-connectedness of the players in this extremely surreal ordeal.
Forgive & Forget, Or Learn?
Today, I can finally talk about everything without strong emotion. That’s not to say that my talking about it doesn’t still summon some visceral sarcasm on occasion. In short, I may have forgiven, but I definitely haven’t forgotten.
Emotionally, I was hurting so badly that I literally didn’t want to live anymore. Mentally, however, I was still astute enough to take note of which of my so-called friends/associates cozied up to my ex. In other words, I am well aware of who participated in (and/or capitalized on!) my take down.
It still pains me deeply, but some family members have chosen to keep my abandoning ex in their inner circle, knowing full well that he has yet to provide me with any reason for why he left the way he did, and still no apology for taking our money.
They jumped in and wholeheartedly embraced the new pair as soon as their illicit affair became legitimized by their rapid divorces and subsequent marriage to each other. I guess I understand. New Woman brought with her a much higher rung on the social and corporate ladder, not to mention significant financial clout.
Fool Me Once
Mea culpa. My hands are up. I admit that I was unable to corral my self respect and dignity when I was freshly blindsided. I admit that I cried and vomited rather than fight when my life was being systematically deconstructed. However, I have learned. Today, I now know a great deal about what defines safe/unsafe people and safe/unsafe relationships.
I now stand up, adult-up, and do something uncomfortable to my former Pollyanna-People-Pleaser (co-dependent) self: I maintain proper boundaries. Appropriate self-care sometimes includes a whopping dose of social distancing—i.e., not knowingly opening one’s self back up to further manipulation, exploitation, and ridicule.
Sadly, that distancing sometimes requires that formerly ‘close’ relationships—even with family members—remain boundaried.
Sadly, my interactions with those in my family who have chosen to welcome my husband and The New Woman into their lives must stay limited to only Level One communication. Our relationships now consist of little more than … “Hey, how’s everyone doing? … Is that dog of yours behaving himself? … Hey, how ’bout those Buckeyes?!”
So in that respect, I guess you could say that I am ahead of the curve for once. I got my Masters In Social Distancing well before any mention of the Coronavirus.
How This Relates To My Blogging & Sense Of ‘Community’ (In Other Word, Why I’m Here)
The whole reason I blog is to (hopefully) regain some sense of community after having been exiled and banished into isolation for almost nine years.
Every day, much is written about how to increase your readership and followers to your blog. This presents quite a challenge for me due to where I find myself. Since I have no social presence or remaining peeps of my own to use as a springboard, gaining traction is tough, if not impossible.
Facebook Tells Me To Take A Hike
For a short nanosecond, I thought Facebook might be an option for me. I thought I could engage with all kinds of folks by creating a Facebook Page or Group. I also figured that it would make the sharing my crazy memes and videos easy. (Oh, I didn’t tell you about all those yet did I?)
Facebook turned out to be a thumbs down ‘No Go’ option for me. They require a real identity and I’m not willing to do that at this time.
In trying to start a FB Page/Group, I made the mistake of changing my name to Blog Lady. I promptly got digitally handcuffed and taken straight to FB jail—never to be released again. Never able to have my petition for leniency considered.
They Say You Must Get Naked To Play
Facebook is now asking me for a federal ID, bank statement, cheek swab, DNA sample, stool culture, and more to return my confiscated account. Hey, Facebook—keep it. I’m not that interested that I’ll agree to a pat down (and possibly full cavity search) just to have a venue where I can say, “Hi Y’all” and hope someone will friend me so I can start a Group.
Doing anything under my real name defeats the reasons I wanted to start a Blog Lady Facebook Page in the first place:
- To be able to have dialogue with new and interesting others.
- To swap stories and quips on something other than my story.
- And hopefully meet other bloggers with a sense of humor and/other who post entertaining things NOT about politics and the apocalypse. (Sorry, but to me they’re the self-same thing.)
Ironic Isn’t It?
So here I sit, trying to not besmirch the identity of my employers/doctors, trying not call out the soul convicts that I write about. Trying not to call my ex husband Casper by his real name, trying to restrain myself from broadcasting who Satan’s Mistress (the big time PhD psychologist in a very windy city) is.
So I guess that leaves me here on WordPress with you guys. My deepest apologies. LOL
I think I should warn you that I’ve been cooped up a while, so I’m likely to commit the following Blogging Blunders:
- publishing too often
- publishing not enough
- saying the wrong things
- boring you
- getting too rowdy
- acting like a crazy fool
- making typos
- and whatever else may be covered in the fine print.
See, I would have been able to let off some of the steam (and made my major blunders over on Facebook) but Marky Mark Z says no. Pouting …
Meanwhile … everybody … back to social distancing!
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