Beyond the Political Stage

Oddly, I found myself in tears as I read an article about how the Trump campaign had a plan to have 3 women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual improprieties towards them confront him on national television.

This is not the first time I have experienced this sadness throughout this campaign as I watch the negativity increase. I am very uncomfortable with the cruel remarks thrown at Hilary Clinton. I don’t know if it is because I have read her book and followed her personal life or if it is just discomfort at all she is and is not. I see her downfalls but I am able to set those aside and see her as a strong woman. I cannot dismiss all the positive she has done. There was a time that I saw her as a selfish manipulative woman when she and her husband left the White House taking the furniture with them.

Looking past her sense of entitlement I see the woman who I have found truly loves her husband with all his faults. She has been publicly humiliated so many times and has held her head up and gone forward. She has sacrificed her right to be seen as a mother, wife and friend in order to do what she has the talent to do to help her country and everyone in it.

Hilary is being criticized for the way she has confronted her husband’s infidelity and the women involved but I ask myself what it would be like to be in her shoes. Many women would behave as she did but they wouldn’t be in the public arena.

What do I feel about Bill Clinton? He has also done a lot for our country but he has a sickness that I find repulsive. There was a time that I thought Hilary only stayed with Bill because they had a deal, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” I don’t know if that is the case but I think that she loves him in a way that he is not capable of returning.” Having had the opportunity to show his love for her, he only lifts her up as a humanitarian and politician. He doesn’t show or express his love for her in a way that would show the soft side of her. Has she just been a means to an end? He is like a child who has to be controlled and when he is let out to play, his lack of finesse shows. To me, he’s like the husband of a friend that you just put up with for her sake.

Hilary is in a “no win” situation with regard to her personality. If she shows her soft side, she is too soft to be President and when she shows her business side, she isn’t soft enough. When she missteps, the world is there to see. Am I voting for her? I don’t know but I know that as tempted as I have been with all Trump’s promises, I cannot see past him as a person. I can’t see myself voting for him for anything. I have never admired him throughout my life so why would I support him?

Why the tears? I think perhaps all this brings up the sadness of my childhood involving infidelity and chaos. Additionally, it is because when we dismiss political correctness, we are left with such ugliness and lack of compassion, anything goes. I am starting to see the days of chaos and no credible laws of the Roman Empire returning.

It is my belief that the reason the USA is desirable is that we were at least organized and had a sense of decorum. The Unites States was seen as a strong country and I see it weakening on all levels as every day goes by. When anything goes, will we survive as a united country?

Advertisements

Crisis Text Line (CTL)

14296015-3d-render-of-a-person-helping-another-man-3d-illustration-of-human-character-people

If you are interested in doing volunteer work that you can do from home, here is an idea for you:

While working as a Crisis Telephone Counselor for Crisis Hotline (CHL), we assisted CTL when we could so I am familiar with this organization. Now that I am no longer employed or volunteer with CHL due to having relocated, I have entered the volunteer program at CTL. Though I have been through a version of their training as a continuing education requirement and having been through CHL’s training, I am finding the CTL volunteer training to be very beneficial. This is a rewarding endeavor and for those who like doing things for others anonymously, this is your ticket. All training and working on the texting platform is done from your computer at home. You set your own schedule and the text line is open 24/7 so working it into your personal schedule isn’t difficult.

If you are nervous about crisis support, let me reassure you that you will be well-trained and their training includes live observations. Also, you will have all the tools you need right in front of you. All texts are monitored by a supervisor who is always available if you get stuck or need assistance. Though it is a mandatory reporting agency for imminent risk of suicide or homicide as well as child abuse, the reporting is actually done by the supervisor, however, these instances do not occur often. The way I look at it is “It’s just a conversation.” There is no script but you will learn active listening and productive conversation.

Rather than quote all the information regarding CTL, I am posting their FAQ sheet. You can also go to crisistextline.org

Text START to 741-741

FAQ

Jump to

Texting in
Data
Donate
Financials
Partnerships
Tech Issues
Media
Volunteers
Our Approach

TEXTING IN

Q: HOW DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK?

A:

  1. You text 741741 when in crisis. Available 24/7 in the USA.
  2. A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
  3. The crisis counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform.

Q: WHO SHOULD TEXT IN?

A: We exist to help anyone in crisis at any time.

Q: WHO ANSWERS THE TEXT MESSAGES?

A: Crisis Text Line crisis counselors are both rigorously trained volunteers and employees of our crisis center partners.

Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I TEXT IN?

A: You’ll receive an automated text asking you what your crisis is. Within minutes, a live trained crisis counselor will answer your text. They will help you out of your moment of crisis and work with you to create a plan to continue to feel better.

Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE ACTUALLY ANONYMOUS?

A: Yes. Crisis counselors only know what texters share with them, and that information stays confidential. We take your anonymity seriously. Check out our terms of service here.

Q: HOW MUCH DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE COST?

A: We do not charge texters. If your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon, texts to our short code, 741741 are free of charge. If you have a plan with a different carrier, standard text message rates apply.

Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE SHOW UP ON MY CELL PHONE BILL?

A: Nothing will appear on your bill if your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. If your plan is with another carrier our short code, 741741 will appear on your billing statement. Read about how this happened here.

Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK WITH MY PHONE?

A: Crisis Text Line works on all major US carriers, and most minor regional carriers. However, shortcodes (like 741741) are not allowed on many prepaid plans like T-Mobile’s.

Q: I HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE WHEN I TEXTED IN, CAN I TEXT IN AGAIN?

A: You can text in again, if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.

Q: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO TEXT WITH A CRISIS COUNSELOR?

A: Our goal is to respond to every texter in under 5 minutes. During high volume times, such as at night or when people are talking about us on social media, wait times may be longer.

Q: IS THERE A CHARACTER LIMIT WHEN TEXTING CRISIS TEXT LINE?

A: Yes, our system is only able to process 140 characters in one message.

Q: WHY AM I RECEIVING AN ERROR MESSAGE OR NO RESPONSE AT ALL?

Sadly, there are some carriers who have not adopted the use of shortcodes–and the small percentage of people with these phones, can’t use Crisis Text Line. (We hear that sometimes you get an auto-error response. Sometimes nothing at all. We know this is shitty and we wish those carriers would enable us). If your phone carrier doesn’t enable shortcodes, here is a list of hotlines you can call.

Q: IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO REACH CRISIS TEXT LINE BESIDES TEXT?

A: Yes, you can reach us through Facebook Messenger. Access to message Crisis Text Line is located through Facebook’s Safety checkpoint. This is accessible by flagging a user’s post.

Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, DOES ANONYMITY APPLY?

A: Yes. We do not have access to your Facebook profile. The only know information about you that we’ll know is what you share with us.

Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE DATA?

A: Three parties: you (in your Messenger thread), Crisis Text Line, and Facebook.

Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER AND I WANT MY DATA DELETED, WHAT DO I DO?

A: Message us back with the word ‘LOOFAH’. We’ll scrub your data from our system, and make a request to Facebook to do the same.

Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHICH TERMS OF SERVICE APPLY TO ME?

A: By contacting Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, users agree to Facebook Messenger’s Terms of Service, as well as Crisis Text Line’s Terms of Service.

Q: WHAT ARE ALL OF THE CRISIS ISSUES YOU TRACK? CAN YOU ADD MORE?

A: See the issues we track at www.crisistrends.org. If you’re a researcher or practitioner with interest in another issue, submit your suggestion in the form at the bottom of www.crisistrends.org.

Q: WHO CAN APPLY FOR ACCESS TO CRISIS TEXT LINE’S DATA?

A: Data access is available to approved academic researchers. The application will be available here in late January 2016. Otherwise, please visit www.crisistrends.org to see the latest trends in how texters are experiencing crisis.

DONATE

Q: HOW CAN I DONATE TO CRISIS TEXT LINE?

A: You can donate via Paypal (link here) or by sending a check to:
Crisis Text Line
Attn: Finance Dept.
24 West 25th Street, 6th Fl
New York, NY 10010

Q: IS MY DONATION TO CRISIS TEXT LINE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?

A: Yes! Upon receiving your donation, we’ll send you a thank you letter that clarifies your donation is tax deductible.

FINANCIALS

Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE REALLY A NOT FOR PROFIT?

A: Yes, we are! Here are our latest financials as proof.

Q: HOW IS CRISIS TEXT LINE FUNDED?

A: We’re privately funded. This means we receive funding from foundations, individuals, and corporations.

Q: WHERE CAN I FIND CRISIS TEXT LINE’S FORM 990?

A: 2014 here and 2015 here.

Q: I SAW YOU RAISED A BUNCH OF MONEY (WOOHOO!) FOR THE ORG. WHERE IS IT ALL GOING?

A: We are focused on three main initiatives: (1) supporting our Crisis Counselor community with better products and more emotional support, (2) integrating with tech companies to provide support to users inside things like After School, Kik, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger, (3) white labeling our service for other orgs and locations– providing a free text service for the National Eating Disorder Association and cities like Newark and Atlanta.

PARTNERSHIPS

Q: WHO CAN PARTNER WITH CRISIS TEXT LINE?

A: We partner with not-for-profits, colleges and universities, and corporations. Want to partner? Fill out this form!

TECH ISSUES

Having technical issues with the site or text line? Check out our Help Center.

MEDIA

Q: CAN I GET MARKETING MATERIALS WITH THE CRISIS TEXT LINE SHORT CODE TO SHARE WITH MY COMMUNITY?

A: Absolutely. Download our Volunteer Flyer or Text Flyer.

Q: WHOM I CONTACT FOR A PRESS INQUIRY?

A: Email support@crisistextline.org

VOLUNTEERS

Q: HOW CAN I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?

A: We are always accepting applications! Apply Here.

Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?

A: To become a Crisis Counselor, you must:

  1. Pass a background check – that means no felonies and no violent or sex-offense misdemeanors
  2. Have a US Social Security number (in order to complete the background check)
  3. Be at least 18 years old
  4. Have access to a computer with a secure, reliable internet connection
  5. Commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year

Q: WHAT’S THE TIME COMMITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS?

A: We ask our volunteers to commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year. Volunteers are able to break up their commitment into two 2-hour shifts each week if they would like.

Q: HOW ARE VOLUNTEERS TRAINED?

A: After a rigorous application process, our volunteers complete a 34 hour training course over 6 weeks. This includes ongoing simulated conversations and personalized feedback from our experienced trainers as well as 8 hours of on-platform observation. Training content is based on best practices in crisis counseling and Crisis Text Line data.

Q: WHEN IS YOUR NEXT CRISIS COUNSELOR TRAINING?

A: We accept applications on a rolling basis. A new training cohort starts every two weeks, so apply whenever you want! We’re excited to meet you!

Q: WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A CRISIS COUNSELOR VOLUNTEER?

A: Check out our blog to read stories from our volunteers.

Q: ARE VOLUNTEERS SUPERVISED?

A: Yes. Our experienced supervisors oversee and assist our volunteers, when necessary, while on the platform.

OUR APPROACH

Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE COUNSELING?

A: No, our specialists do not counsel, but rather practice active listening to help texters move from a hot moment to a cool calm.

Q: WHAT IS ACTIVE LISTENING?

A: Active listening is when someone communicates in a way that is empathetic, understanding, and respectful. It includes focus on the texter and thoughtful answers.

Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRISIS TEXT LINE AND THERAPY?

A: Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for therapy. Therapy includes a diagnosis made by a doctor, a treatment plan of action, and a patient/therapist relationship. Crisis Text Line helps people in moments of crisis. Our crisis counselors practice active listening to help our texters find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better. Crisis Text Line’s crisis counselors are not therapists.

Q: WHO STARTED CRISIS TEXT LINE?

A: We were founded by our CEO, Nancy Lublin. After seeing a need for the service we provide, Nancy hired a team to build what is our current platform. The original team included a data scientist and an engineer. Hear our story here.

 

Didn’t find your answer? Check out our Help Center or email support@crisistextline.org.

Privacy Policies

Terms of Service

Privacy Policy

Website Privacy Policy

FAQs

Check out our FAQs

Help Make it Happen

Want to start a crisis text line in your country? international@crisistextline.org

We’re hiring:
Apply now

Press inquiry?

Email press@crisistextline.org
If you are in crisis, text START to 741-741.

Keep me posted

 

 

Infidelity Part Three

While I would like to make excuses for them, their actions affected my life. When I look at my early adulthood, I know that I also grabbed excitement over good judgment. I can blame my parents lack of boundaries and disregard for their moral upbringing as setting a poor example for me to follow. I could say that their parents were too strict so that the taste of freedom was overpowering. But what of me, I knew right from wrong no matter how I try to spin it. My parents were not strict and they always allowed us to voice our beliefs and position in any given situation. Infidelity on my part has not been one of my transgressions but what of my other transgressions? As long as I know right from wrong, I have to take responsibility for my mistakes. However, I strive to remember that though I make mistakes, I am not a mistake.

The thing is, these people were not down in the dirt, classless people. Too many people believe that to cheat you have to be low class, to be an alcoholic you have to be non-productive and passing out in the gutter, to be an domestic violence abuser you have to be a blue collar worker. Bullshit. Regardless, this was a most embarrassing and painful time in my life and when I learned to emotionally detach in order not to feel. I have been cheated on and I was so detached that I am not sure I even cared. Perhaps I didn’t care enough about the person but I think it was more “love or a relationship at all cost”. When I had enough I just walked away and looked forward to a new start, not letting myself feel anything. You see, anyone who cheated on me believed that I would always be there when they were through “sport fucking”. I could tell  you that they didn’t care about me but that would not be true, they always wanted me to be there when they wanted more than just a “lay”.  I would make myself stay until I was sure I wouldn’t go back. I tortured myself in order to see the ugly truth. If it happened to me today after learning a lot about how I got to be the way I am, I would be destroyed emotionally but I would walk away because I deserve better.

 

 

Infidelity Part Two

When I was in my late twenties, my father went through what I would have to call “the middle-age crazies”. There was a young girl who was living with an older man in the neighborhood. My dad hired her to do some work for him in his remodeling business. She claimed her significant other was abusing her so my dad talked my mother into letting her stay with them. My dad started to stay up talking with this girl late into the night. The thing about my dad was, like me, he was very friendly and never met a stranger. We all thought he was so innocent that he didn’t realize how things looked to the rest of the world. I cannot tell you now how innocent he was or wasn’t, not after this incident. But let me give you an example: My mom came home from an out-of-town convention. She rode with some members and co-workers so when they brought her home, they came in to say hello to my dad. There was this early twenties girl having a drink and my dad was in the shower. As the story goes, my dad picked up this girl hitch-hiking and agreed to take her to the next town that was about 20 minutes away. He told her that his wife was on her way home so he needed to wait until she got there and they would both take her. He brought her to the house and fixed her a drink and went to take a shower. My mother believed this story because Dad always appeared to be so naïve and goodhearted.

My dad continued to commiserate with this young woman night after night regardless of my mother’s anger, she told him that the girl had to go. She went and my dad went with her saying that they were in love and eventually even saying they were going to have more children. OMG! My brother and I tried to talk sense into him but he was insulted that we didn’t think a young girl could be in love with him. He was offended that we were siding with my mother and wanted nothing to do with this girl, after what my mother had done to him. I was very emotional over their impending divorce. My mother was actually distraught and her drinking escalated. I received many drunken crying calls until I started ending the call as soon as I discovered she was drunk. You can’t reason with a drunk. During this time, my mother showed more emotion than I had ever known her to have.

Mom found out that the girl had a hysterectomy and couldn’t even have children. Mom tried to talk to my dad about it but he wouldn’t believe her. She talked to the girl and she told my mom that “they” didn’t want my parents’ home that “they” only wanted his business. My mom told her that she had better not hurt my dad. That was when I discovered that my mother was all about unconditional love. She insisted that my aunt, my mom and I go visit my dad at his apartment one night. The girl had split by then after finding out that my dad didn’t have any money. Somehow my dad ended up coming back to my parent’s  house for the night. Now I know that this part is crazy but as I told you, I was emotionally stunted. I actually cried because my mother wouldn’t let my dad sleep in their bed. I felt really sorry for him. My mom had to talk me down, it was ridiculous but I can still remember how it felt.

My dad and mom reconciled and were very close. They finally realized that neither of them wanted anyone else to be parent to their children or grandparent to their grandchildren. Dad had a major heart attack and mom spent every moment she could with him, even staying with him at the hospital and driving to work an hour and a half away. She took care of him and they were happy until he died.

Continued Part Three

Infidelity

My parents were avid members of the Church of Christ when I was very young. They did not drink but I have almost no memory of those days most likely due to the molestations. I blocked out much of my early childhood due to having been molested by my grandfather and a babysitting church member as well as having been prompted in sexual acts by a neighborhood teenage boy. I only mention the molestation as it relates to the lack of memory

As I have written before, my parents started hanging around with people a group of young couples that like them had stable family lives. That is, until they were romanced by the feeling of freedom that alcohol gave them. I could see my parents becoming wilder with every get-together. They were functional but spent a lot of time with these friends, two of which died tragically. While I grew to hate (strong word that I normally don’t use) the two men, I loved and love the two women. I am not going to get into the details of that scene but if you are interested, read my post “Dramatic Exits”. Suffice it to say that I was confused at the change in my parents’ behavior.

My father was an industrial painter/sandblaster and he traveled. If the company paid for his lodging, we went too and sometimes my mother would leave us behind and go be with my father over a weekend. I had separation anxiety so I hated it when my mother was away. I was known to cry when she was leaving and she would end up taking me with her. I still have separation anxiety but that is a whole other subject.

When I was around 9, we lived briefly out of state where my dad was working. My mom, siblings and I went to Texas for a holiday and were staying with this neighbor and his wife. They put all of us kids to bed and went to a New Year’s Eve party in the neighborhood. Being my vigilant self, I stayed awake in self-protective mode. I became aware that mom and this neighbor had come into the house and were arguing. According to him, my mother was flirting with one of the neighbors who was married and he was lecturing her. Mom had come back to the house because she was determined to leave and go spend the night at her mother’s house. She was going to leave us at the neighbor’s house. I started to cry so mom took me with her. When we got to my grandmother’s house, she and my grandmother argued about my mother screwing up and running home to mama. When we got to another couple’s house where my siblings ended up, mom stayed in the house leaving me in the car for a long time. Eventually she came out and it was obvious that all was forgiven and we headed back to my dad. When we got back to my Dad, my mom left the house and my Dad went looking for her. When they got back, I heard them arguing and the name of a man my father worked with was mentioned. At the time, I thought my mother cheated on my dad with this co-worker of my dad’s. When I left  my ex-husband after he gave me a black eye, my mother told me that she had found a woman’s panties somewhere behind the house. She says that my Dad and his co-worker had two women to our house. She said he was the first to cheat. Because it was my mother’s way not to say anything negative about my dad to us or to allow us to speak negatively about him, she allowed him to expose her infidelity to us but never told us that he was the first to cheat. We moved back to Texas when Dad’s contract was up.

As relationships developed, I became aware of some pretty ugly stuff. One of the men, our next-door neighbor, beat my mother at a hotel where she was supposedly attending a business meeting. I don’t know the truth of the situation but her story is that he followed her there because he thought she was having an affair and beat her up. The story doesn’t make sense and I think it is probable that my mother was indeed having an affair. My memory of that night is spotty as is typical of my early memories  When my dad came home we three kids were in bed. My mother was crying and I heard her telling him what happened. My dad went over to their house, through the garage and into their back door. Our three bedroom house was fairly small and the houses in the neighborhood were close that I could hear the scuffle. I can’t tell you how that ended but I can tell you my dad had a quick temper. My parents and that couple did not speak for a long time until their young son who was close to my mother, came over and told mom that his mother wanted her to come over and have coffee. It was a ruse on his part but that started the forgiveness process. I still can’t believe that my parents would forgive what happened.

Later, we ended up moving because my parents felt that the man was too intrusive. Once, he called our house and told my father that my mom was having an affair; he had been spying on her. I was on the other end of the line eavesdropping. As I have said before, I was and am hyper-vigilant, you can see why. I wish I could tell you that eventually the relationship between these people and my parents ended but though it has waned and they rarely see each other, my mother still visits with them periodically. My mother says I should forgive this man because it was all blamed on alcohol but he is one person that I cannot be around, he has always made me feel uncomfortable.

As a preteen, I spent the night with my aunt and her niece once and we were talking girl talk. I told them that this man raped my mother because that is what I believed. Needless to say, she told my uncle who was my mother’s brother and he told my parents. I had a “talking to” about telling family business or some such thing but I am not sure that anything was explained to me at that time. That may be when I was told that he was the reason we moved.

My parents graduated to joining the Elk’s Club and hanging with other partying couples so things started to get worse. By then, my mother had worked at several jobs and was working in retail. She got her jobs by knowing people since we lived in a small town. She worked late hours in a nearby town so I became surrogate parent and wife (not sexually). My dad took me to the store where I bought groceries. I cooked his breakfast, made his lunches, ironed his clothes, my sister and I cleaned house, and I cooked family meals, if you could call them meals. I was not in an abusive situation but I was resentful. As my mother’s emotional distance with my dad and her drinking escalated, he would talk to me about his suspicions that she was being unfaithful. I hated it! I didn’t want adult responsibilities and confidences, I wanted the innocence I could never remember having. I wanted the parents I never remembered having. I wanted them to want to know that I wasn’t o.k., to ask how school was, what was happening in my life, why did I miss so much school but they were so caught up in their own growing up that my siblings and I were being left behind. Thank God, the parents of my best friend who lived in the same neighborhood treated me as one of their own and my parents treated her as one of their own so I had some guidance. Eventually, my dad caught my mother with another man and came home and told my siblings and me all the details. I can’t believe that when my mother came home, she was unhappy with him but as I remember, we still went to our lake house for the weekend, so confusing. As the arguments progressed, my father left and went to stay with his mother. Mom was out a lot and when she came home was usually drunk. My dad tried to talk us into going to live with him at my grandmother’s house and we felt guilty because we were very attached to our mother and didn’t want to leave our home. I repeated that same loyalty with my abusive ex-husband.

My dad ended up in a hospital with tuberculosis he contracted from a co-worker. He was in the hospital for several months and supposedly he and my mother reconciled. However, her children knew that she was still cheating on him. My mother has admitted to me that she prostituted herself. I was told later by my sister-in-law that Mom had sex in return for alcohol. She actually introduced us to a man she was having an affair with and we were very uncomfortable. My dad says the man eventually “dumped her”. While he was in the hospital, my dad called me at the teen club to ask where my mother was. I was embarrassed and resentful. Before he went into the hospital, he told me that my mother couldn’t love me or she wouldn’t be neglecting me as she was because Mom hadn’t picked us up from the swimming pool. Dad later denied to my mother ever having said this; my own father called me a liar. I know that my mother loved me but she was not present in the lives of my siblings and I. She came into my room while I was in bed one night and kissed me on the forehead and said, “Goodbye”. According to my brother, she had been out with the guy she was having an affair with and apparently decided to leave us . She didn’t and I’m assuming she realized that emotionally she could not leave her children. I am unsure as to what her thought process was but she didn’t leave. That she didn’t leave does not remove the feeling of abandonment but I suppose in a way, she had left a long time before that.

I felt suffocated, so suffocated by my father! So much so that when he came home from the hospital and I was at home sick (again), I cried when he walked through the door. He thought I was crying because I was happy to see him but it was just the opposite. I resented his coming home because I felt burdened. He even laid down in my sister’s twin bed in order to spend time with me. I know how this sounds but I wanted to scream. I know that I should have felt sympathy and been glad he was out of the hospital but I was emotionally smothered. Perhaps as I look at it now, his presence forced me to acknowledge my own feelings that I was stuffing or ignoring about what was going on with my mother.

My emotional growth and maturity was stunted at that time, age 15. I couldn’t cry for a year. The next time I cried was when my parents talked divorce one night while the three of us were on our way out to dinner. It was the first time I spoke out. I told them how stupid they were being and that there had to be something that brought and held them together. I was 16 at that time. I wish I could tell you that the cheating stopped but it continued well into my adulthood.

Mom was quite a flirt especially when she was drinking and it was an embarrassment. My dad would just laugh and say, “That girl!” She would act my age when my friends were around so they thought she was cool but I wanted a real mother.

My dad’s friends, who I suspect were his friends to have an excuse the be around her, would come by our house unexpectedly when my dad was not at home. We lived off the beaten path so were they “just in the neighborhood”? as they proclaimed?  I think not! My sister and I would sit in the room with them as baby-sitters so that my mom could not have sex with them. No, she wouldn’t do that with us in the house but we were still vigilant. Oddly, my sister and I never knew that we were both doing the babysitting thing until we were adults.

Continued Part Two