Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Power of NOT Holding it All (together)

Photo by: Roel Wijnants

Guest Post by: Lisa Nastasi, Ph.D.
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Life post divorce is a steep learning curve on a rocky path. Like the Irish saying, “If God is going to give you a rough path, lets hope he provides strong shoes.” If you’re like most divorced (or nearly divorced) women, your rocky path started long before the actual divorce. Maybe you discovered your ex was cheating or had moved and hidden money. Maybe you realized he no longer loved you and was just sticking around because it was the easy thing for him to do while he led a totally separate life. Maybe he had been threatening you or putting you down for years and you felt trapped. Maybe vindictive in-laws or other relatives were part of the mix that led to the rupture.

Whatever the scenario, when a marriage breaks down, it’s rarely a pretty picture. Bottom line, if you have anger and rage and sadness, you have earned it, and then some! Often times, in our “new-age world” we are told these emotions aren’t good for us, aren’t part of “The Secret,”  aren’t going to help us get what we want, aren’t going to attract a new man (who needs a sad bitchy chick who would rather cry then give a BJ?). So lets all be positive and grateful and hey, there is always someone who has it worse then you, blah, blah, blah.
Do these thoughts about rising above, focusing on your joys, and being forgiving really help you?
Answer. . . .doubtful.
Why? It’s not because they aren’t useful and relevant and hey. . . .good thoughts. They are not helpful and the thoughts and emotions will return because trying to use them exclusively after surviving a malignant divorce is like trying to pour honey over a pile of shit and claim it doesn’t stink.
A malignant divorce is one that involves a purposely vindictive ex who:
1) doesn’t care about the children and/or who uses them to manipulate,
2) who lies and cheats and has stolen from you and continues to do so because the system lets him,
3) has left you holding the ball and the playing field.
(Not all divorces are like this. If your ex was fair and honest financially, is kind and respectful to you and your children and respects the time you shared even though one or both of you knew it was right to move on, then you are in a different group. If you find yourself still struggling with sadness and loss—totally normal with any ending—then keep reading too. Your experience is different from those of us who have suffered through a  malignant divorce but you may still find it helpful).
Anyway, attempting to be Suzy Sunshine when life has shit on your head, never works.  First, we need to heal and then we can be happy again. It’s that simple, but it’s not always easy.
Part of any healing is being honest with yourself about what you are feeling. As Rumi, the 13th century mystic and poet advised about thoughts and feelings: “welcome and invite them in—the dark thoughts the shame the malice—each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
And what is your guide trying to show you? You guessed it! Where you need healing.
When I was in India at the end of January, I told my meditation leader, when she asked how I was doing during one particular session, “I’m angry.”  I’ll spare you all the gory details, but know that it was related to my ex-husband’s behavior. I felt guilty about being angry, especially since I was in India—a spiritual country—and with a mediation teacher who was the living embodiment of peace and inner beauty. I waited for her to tell me not to be angry, to think happy thoughts and to lecture me on all the damage that being angry was doing to me, my children and my mitochondria so that now I could label myself as not only angry but guilty and self-destructive.
Instead she smiled a beautiful and peaceful smile and said, “If you’re angry. . . be angry!”
 Did I want to leap from my zafu cushion and hug her or what?
Instead, she taught me the meditation below and when we were done, I cried really warm and salty tears. They weren’t filled with self pity or despair or hopelessness. They were honest and they felt really good. In their sadness was a hint of joy, I swear it and not because I had tried to think myself happy. The happiness that resides in each of us, no matter what we have been through in life, was just able to peek through, because I wasn’t so busy trying feel something I wasn’t.
Here is the meditation which helped me find it, and I’d like to share it with you and may all beings everywhere, be happy and free!  Lisa xx

Lisa Nastasi, Ph.D., taking a break during her month journey in India for meditation and healing. She attended Shreyas, an ashram outside of Bangalore.

The Power of NOT Holding it All (together)
Find a comfortable place to sit, with your back straight.  You can be on the floor or in a chair.  The important bit here is that you are self supporting.
Take a few long, slow and deep breaths. Really pay attention to your breath.  Where can you feel it most easily?  As it enters/exits your nostrils?  As it fills your stomach?
Allow your stomach to expand with each inhale. Can you feel tension release with each exhale?
Gently close your eyes or keep them softly focused a few inches in front of you. Gazing at nothing, hold everything.
With each breath, allow yourself to settle.  Allow your mind to fully inhabit your breath and your body and this present moment.
What does this mean?  It means when you catch your mind wandering off to a thought, pull it back gently. Like you are tugging on a kite. Gently return it to your breath.  Let your mind rest on the waves of your breath. Inhale. Exhale.
Stay with this for a few rounds of breathing.
Inhale. Exhale.  Simple, uncomplicated. Breathe.
Stop putting any energy in resisting whatever you may be feeling. I don’t care if its not pretty and neither should you!
Make space for your feelings. They are yours and thus they are precious. Say hello. Make friends. They are there anyway.  Invite them in. Hold them and breathe. Relax your stomach area. Release.
Now lets have some fun.
Let whatever feelings you have ebb and flow with your breath. See the feeling (s) now and give them a color.  See the entire spectrum of your life. These feelings as just one color in the many colors that make up your life. Breathe.
As you quiet your mind and quell resistance to whatever you are feeling, see if the silent witness of your heart, your inner observer has something to say about all of this. Be aware that the painful emotion isn’t you at your deepest self or essence.
Do your best to hold your painful emotion(s) lightly so you can make space for your inner witness, the observer part of you that is happy, calm and wise.
Don’t allow the painful or angry voice to define you or your actions or your outlook. Observe it, greet it, welcome it, but don’t live from that space or allow it to run the show.
Shift the way you hold it.  Hold it lightly. By that, I mean, hold the pain or anger lightly, like in a bubble—with gentleness and compassion for yourself. When you are ready, open your eyes.  Throughout your day, when upsetting events, thoughts, emotions come into your consciousness, put them in your bubble of lightness, breathe deeply and pause.  What do you notice?  Lather, rinse, and repeat until this method of working with what ails becomes a part of you.
ARTICLES OF INTEREST:

25 Reasons to LOVE Being a Single Mom

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Yes, you read that title correctly! There are reasons to LOVE being a single mom. The consensus is in. Single mothers across the country have been polled about what they like about parenting solo. Sure, we all know that it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. But, lets focus on the positive, shall we? And, while we’re at it, lets have a laugh. Life’s too short and getting too serious these days. Sure, most of us didn’t choose this path, but while we’re on it, let’s acknowledge the perks. (And did I say have a laugh too??) Enjoy ladies (and brave men) and just note these thoughts represent the contributions of MANY women out there, but I’d love to hear from you, too! … Especially if you can make me chuckle.

TOP REASONS:

  1. It’s now My house, my rules. Rough day? Waffles for dinner is just fine. Exhausted? The dishes, laundry and toys can pile up for one night.
  2. No more scary stubble in the sink.
  3. No more sticky, smelly, sweaty gym clothes to be picked up off the bathroom floor. (Unless, of course, they’re yours!)
  4. No more manic 5 p.m. de-motherfying. Don’t know what that is? A rush to shower, shave, change out of sweats and “de-motherfy” yourself every evening before a discerning man comes home—who ironically only notices when you don’t do all of the said above.
  5. No need to hold in that belly 24/7!
  6. There is no one in the house to make you feel like an incompetent person.
    (It’s funny how many women commented that their husbands criticized them for not being capable or put them down for being a SAHM—yet parenting alone, they have never felt more accomplished.)
  7. It sinks in you ARE a super woman. After a year or so parenting solo, it sinks in that we are capable. We take out the trash, fix heaters and toilets, paint, move furniture, weld power tools, get the car washed: ALL ON OUR OWN. We manage budgets (even small ones), kids’ schedules, education and our own career and health needs. Phew!)
  8. You get to watch what you want on TV. No more wrestling or mafia movies! (Well, unless you turn on that mafia movie starring your favorite sexy Italian actor.)
  9. There’s no one to scold you for letting the kids come into the family bed. (And it’s oh, so yummy when you all fall asleep together after watching a silly movie!)
  10. You can sing and dance and be goofy with an audience that joins in!
  11. You are more present with your kids and more focussed on their needs without the stress of constant criticism and arguments. (For some, this happened after the divorce became final and the fighting finally ceased.)
  12. You can get a cat, fish, a parakeet, a chinchilla—or any other creature you can manage to take care of, as your kids need more unconditional love in the house. (And who is going to stop you?)
  13. You can take a bubble bath, wear a mask and do your nails at 8:30 p.m. on a weekday after the kids are in bed. Why? Because you are no longer a short-order cook for the late arrival, or a career coach and therapist, or evening maid required to do laundry and clean the kitchen while said late arrival watches sports or a crime drama on TV.
  14. You no longer have to pretend to be asleep when you hear the door open at midnight. (This is usually from hubby coming home after an unscheduled, but “critical” business drinks meet-up. Of course, you learned about this event at 6 p.m. with spit-up on your shoulder, an older child screaming in the corner and dinner on the stove.)
  15. No more ‘couples with kids’ dinners to endure.
    (Come on, you know exactly what this is. Some friends with kids your age invite you to a family-friendly restaurant for Saturday early dinner or Sunday brunch. You dress up and go through the effort to get the kids looking marvelous—only to find yourself, yet again, having a frustrating, work-filled evening. You and the other mom try to catch up, but keep getting interrupted since you two are managing all the kids’ tantrums and antics and diaper changes during dinner. Where are the fathers? The two hubbies are at the other end of the table drinking brews and having a civilized adult conversation with no interruptions. Your late husband had NO idea why you weren’t interested in sex AT ALL later in the evening.)
  16. No more waiting for a blue moon to go out on a date.
  17. You no longer live with the fear of being cheated on.
  18. You no longer live with someone who churns an internal daily struggle for you to preserve your identity. (The constant pressure to change or view the world differently has lifted.)
  19. You no longer live with a man who treats his mother (who never liked you) and his buddies better than he treats you.
  20. You are allowed to buy chocolate at will.
  21. Alcohol is no longer an every day facet of your family life. (In fact, some moms reported throwing out the liquor cabinets and beer coolers after their exes left.)
  22. There is no one home to poke fun at you when you want to meditate, do a yoga dvd, write in a journal or read self-help or philosophy books.
  23. No more staying awake listening to snoring.
  24. No more smelling alcohol on the breath of the person sleeping next to you.
  25. You no longer have to justify what you buy. If you can afford to splurge on a toy for the kids, or a new pair of shoes for yourself: you can do so without having to render a tail-between-the-legs explanation later.

Top 5 Mistakes Divorcing Parents Make

Experts say most couples—across all socio-economic, educational and racial backgrounds—tend to make the same mistakes when going through a divorce. These blunders wreak emotional havoc on your children, leaving psychological scars that can take years to heal. This week I interviewed Rebecca E. Eberlin, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, family coach and staff member at the UCLA Family Commons in Los Angeles. Eberlin, who also runs “Navigating Divorce For Children” and other parenting workshops, has identified the top mistakes divorcing parents make and ways to avoid them:

1. Reacting emotionally—instead of rationally—in front of the kids.
Parents often react emotionally because they are in so much pain or when they are in situations that are highly charged,” says Eberlin. (Examples include: slamming doors, yelling, throwing things, slamming down phones, etc.)

What to do?: Take 10 seconds to think before you speak or react—especially when you are responding to a spouse’s verbal attack or offending comment.

2. Holding serious discussions in front of the children. This can even be calm conversations about moving, finances, schooling, dating, etc. Think about the impact of insecurity and fear these conversations may have on your child listening to this.

What to do?: Stop the conversation. Figure out a way to discuss these issues away from the kids. If this means you and your Ex meet at a coffee shop, with a mediator or therapist, or on the phone after the kids are sleep: make a plan to talk away from little ears. (And if one parent refuses to play by the rules and consistently brings up upsetting topics in front of the children, Eberlin says walk away calmly or hang up the phone or skype and send a note later explaining that you need to find a better time to talk.)

3. Focusing 100% of your energy on yourself.

What to do?: Simply shift the focus on the children. Even if only one parent does this, it will help the kids tremendously, says Eberlin. “People become consumed by themselves during a divorce. They lose sight of the fact that children need to be the focus at all times. Kids need to be considered in all decisions such as where they move, how they move, when to bring in another partner, serial dating, even marrying another partner.”

4. Forgetting to help your kids better transition back and forth between homes.

What to do?: Prep your children ahead of time. Every time your child has to transition to or from dad’s or mom’s house, the parent with the child needs to prep him ahead of time. For example, if the child is going to daddy’s house after school on Friday, (after a week or two with mommy) mom needs to remind the child, at the very latest, on Thursday afternoon that daddy is picking her up at school. She should also ask what she would like to pack or bring? “The more dialogue you have about the transition, the more secure the child will be,” advises Eberlin.

5. Bad-mouthing the other parent in front of the children.

What to do?: Hold your tongue. Even if one parent refuses to behave, you can be the example by not engaging in the negativity. “I remind them (divorcing parents) your child is 50% that other person,” Eberlin says. Remember: even young children start internalizing and begin to think they will be just like the father or mother you are saying nasty things about.

Resources: 

Books to Read With your Children:

Books for Parents:

Guest Post: A Single Mom’s Letter to Rick Santorum

“Although I am certain that by now Mr. Santorum realizes (which is not the same as giving a hoot) that he has incensed an incredible amount of people regarding his comments and rants about single moms, I’m wondering if he is willing to come forward and share where he obtained his information.
As a mom who was married for 13 years and is blessed with an incredible daughter who is now 11 years old, I chose to leave the marriage because my daughter deserved a better environment to serve as a model for a healthy relationship between her parents as opposed to thinking emotional abuse is absolutely acceptable treatment. (I was fortunate enough not to be physically abused like so many single moms who have mustered the strength to leave for the sake of their child/ren.)

In August of 2008, I founded and have since run a group called “Alone Together: Single Moms’ Online Support Group.” Although the group started on Meetup.com, we recently shifted to using Facebook in order to help as many single moms as possible and have members spanning the globe. Alone Together is based on the principle of “teach a man to fish.” We believe in a hand up NOT a hand out. We in no way give people money, nor in the the past three years have we received a request for the same; rather we all support each other by offering advice, sharing experiences, and providing links to resources so members may attain their greatest wish—learning skills to become the best parent possible. (Sorry to burst your bubble, Mr. Santorum, but, no, their wish is NOT to drain the system—it is actually to make sure that the most important commodity this country has is nurtured. In case you do not know what that commodity is, it is our children, a/k/a the future of this country.)

Oh goodness, pass the smelling salts! I think Mr. Santorum may have just fainted in disbelief. What a shock to learn that I am just one of countless single moms who went to college and maintains a good-paying full-time job as a legal secretary while also volunteering for many charities. I apologize for shocking you without warning: “You’re kidding? A single mom who actually contributes to the betterment of society? Eeegads! IMPOSSIBLE!!!”)

As someone who has been an avid writer since age 7, brevity is not my strong point but I will do my best to get to the point of this post. I would very much appreciate the chance to speak with you and allow you an opportunity to back up your opinion. (I’ll even reimburse any phone charges you may incur.) A great start would be letting people know where you obtained your information and statistics regarding single moms. I feel strongly that the public deserves to hear from an actual single mother—the proverbial two sides to every story, so to speak—in order to allow them to make an informed decision based on more than just the spoutings of a political hopeful. I feel compelled to do whatever damage control I can and I have worked hard at reducing the stigma attached to single moms.

Brace yourself, Mr. Santorum, but our members consist of women with MULTIPLE Master’s Degrees, published authors, family law attorneys, and many others who work in high profile careers. They put themselves through college without any governmental aid or hand-outs. The single moms I have been fortunate to meet are very proud and humble and many have been raising their child/ren WITHOUT ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE WHATSOEVER. In fact, the laws are so ridiculous that, at least in Minnesota, even if the Court awards child support, if a mom is not receiving it, she has to use HER OWN MONEY to go back to Court to plead her case that the Court ENFORCE AN ORDER IT ISSUED! And even then, her child/ren never see a dime in support. Oh sure, you can revoke his license and/or have him serve jail time, but what is the sense in ASSURING any chance of a stream of income allowing him to fulfill his obligation to his CHILDREN (this is NOT spousal support – it is used to feed and clothe those he helped bring into this world). Man, that is so hard to wrap my head around.

We did not get married or enter into relationships with the goal of having children just so we could quit work and hop on the welfare bus. While I absolutely agree there are women (not in our group or any of the other many single mom groups, simply because no one like that has asked to be a member) who do indeed have child after child as a means to continue to collect government support (which I am sure you know launches them into the lap of luxury—pardon the dripping sarcasm) that is NOT the portrait of a single mother and, I for one, am incredibly insulted by what I can only assume is your naivete.

Would you be willing to engage in an interview with me so that the public can hear another perspective? By the way, that’s another wonderful trait single moms have: sticktuitiveness and resourcefulness. We truly are a force to be reckoned with because we will do whatever is necessary to take care of our child/ren. If you aren’t willing to come forward, I apologize in advance for chalking that up to deciding to hide behind your supporters and let them do your dirty work for you. Afterall, if you really are convinced that single moms are the cause of the countries’ problems, then I would think you would jump at a chance to stand up for your extremly vocalized beliefs and opinions. Surely you aren’t scared by a simpleton like me who has no idea how to care for herself without draining the system. (Sorry, I can’t seem to control my sarcasm as I find what you state to be absolutely ABSURD—but everyone deserves a chance to “prove” their point.) As I stated above, when it comes to our children we will fight to the end, so rest assured that if you choose to ignore me, I will use my media connections and all other resources to make sure the country knows that you are nothing more than the little man behind the big green curtain.”

Sincerely,

Monique Swanson
(A founder of Alone Together Single Moms Online Support Group)

(Editor’s note: Ms. Swanson’s letter was posted March 12 on Rick Santorum‘s Facebook and campaign sites. It is reprinted with permission and with the hope that it resonates with you, too. For more Santorum news on this matter, see: Mother Jones article Santorum: “Single Moms Are Breeding More Criminals”.)

Striking a Balance

It’s a delicate balancing act, especially as a single mom, to simultaneously take care of yourself and also be present and focused on your children. The two goals constantly come in conflict with one another—and yet experts often advise us to do one, or the other, or both, with little instructions on how to do so. For instance, earlier in the week, when working on a Lifechangers article for Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers show, I interviewed Rebecca E. Eberlin, Ph.D., a family psychologist who runs “Navigating Divorce For Your Children” workshops at the UCLA Commons in Santa Monica, Calif. She insisted, and I tend to agree, that when parents are in the process of getting a divorce, they need to focus 100% of their choices on how they will affect their kids. In fact, she listed focusing on yourself and not on your children as one of the top 5 mistakes that most divorcing parents make. After speaking with her for an hour, I could see her point completely.

Taking Care of Yourself

Photo by Jennifer Suarez

On the flip side, are you (like me) sometimes frustrated when someone says: “you need to take care of yourself”?

If you’re a single mom—especially those of us with small children, full-time care of those children, and little family support—the idea of taking a spa day seems nearly impossible. But taking care of yourself means very different things to different people. One of my favorite bloggers, Tracie Louise, eloquently explained some of the ways she takes care of herself in her latest post “Being Selfish”.

I know that I can’t always afford to get manicures, facials, massages, or go on shopping sprees, for instance. I do know, however, that it’s possible to squeeze in time during the week to go on a run (even if it requires a three-year-old in the stroller); take a bath (hopefully without a baby, but trust me, he’s snuck in before!); meditate; write; or take a community yoga class. Another selfish thing for me is to ignore the dinner mess and mounds of laundry and snuggle with my boys while watching a favorite show.

I think the biggest goal for me, and perhaps for some of you too, is to strike that delicate balance—when the pendulum finally rests at the center—between focussing on my children and their needs and exploring my own and having a bit of fun. During the first year of my separation I may have used the excuse of focussing on my kids to hibernate. Granted, my youngest was still a baby, but the only time I spent out was either pushing the stroller while he slept; cheering on the oldest on the soccer field; volunteering in the classroom; or writing an article at a coffee shop. It was quite hard for me to reach out to others, take exercise classes, or even sleep well—as I slept with the baby each night. I put on a good face, but I was literally getting by, moment by moment. Almost two years later, I try to ensure that I continue to cheer my oldest on at concerts or at soccer games; volunteer once a week at school; work; exercise; meditate; and find time for fun with the special person in my life. The effort is well worth it.

If you are where I was in my first year of separation—where you can barely muster up energy to do anything for yourself—I dare you to write down five things you’d like to incorporate into your life with a roadmap to make them happen. Even if it’s just sleeping in once a month. If this is too easy, I dare you to go even further: write down one thing you can do every day just for you. You’d be surprised how you can sneak some “me-time” in—even when you don’t have sitters or you have too much work piling on. Yesterday, with the baby sick at home, I thought it would be impossible to exercise or meditate. Well, a snuffly nose makes sleeping sitting up easier, so I put the little guy in the stroller and took off for an hour run while he slept soundly. In the evening, as the boys were watching a show after dinner, I snuck to my room and meditated for five minutes. I let myself focus on gratitude and putting a negative person’s actions and judgmental words out of my life. When the boys came down to find me, I was able to be present with them and even laughed when the youngest spilled juice on the floor. So, what I’m trying to say—in my characteristically verbose way—taking time out for yourself helps you spend more quality time with your kiddos. It’s hard to snap at the little ones after you mediate isn’t it?

(And, since I know how very different clinical depression is from mere exhaustion or sadness, please know that it’s not always possible to take care of yourself or pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Some of your friends and family members may not understand and can be creating more pressure for you. Read this information from the Mayo Clinic for information. If you think you are slipping into a clinical depression, please call your doctor. Here’s another article with online resources to help. )

For the rest of us…there are no more excuses. I’m adding one more item to my weekly for-me wish list. How about you?

Domestic Violence During Divorce: Not a Rarity

I was saddened beyond words to read about the death of a neighbor. She was a single mom of two children—one a 10-year-old boy who attends a school just walking distance from my three-year-old’s preschool. According to reports, this woman and her ex-husband were in a heated custody battle that began years ago in a bitter, dragged-out divorce. The husband shot her in front of his son. He later shot himself. My heart aches for the little boy. My heart aches for the whole family. The entire story can be read here:

Sadly, domestic abuse/crimes of passion aren’t new. Divorce is bitter. It can turn even a somewhat passive person into a snarling animal if you let it. Why is it that men, especially, become violent? I wonder if it all boils down to money being spent for a woman no longer “owned”? What do you think? Do you think your ex, or soon-to-be ex, feels ownership rights over you? Is it because they have to provide child support and no longer get any “benefits”? Are we really chattel for our husbands? Even in 2012? One woman who is in the process of a divorce said her husband actually told her that she was his “property” and he was pissed to have to pay support to her when he couldn’t touch her. Ok, she’s raising their children.

Another woman in a support group said a husband pulled a gun on his wife who wanted to leave. I know all men are not like this. But when I volunteered at a domestic violence shelter in Los Angeles years ago I was surprised, time and time again, by situations where friends and family all reacted in horror to domestic abuse against their loved one saying: “we didn’t think he’d ever do something like this.”

Sadly, domestic violence and homicide is not rare. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. And an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

There is no face or profile for someone who will snap. Divorce is scary—especially for women who have been controlled and who are now fighting to have the financial support necessary to be able to continue caring for their children. Why do so many men not understand that the money withheld from their ex-wives who are caring for children, is money withheld from their children? (The same should be said about those women who support men caring for children, but we all know that those situations are rare.)

I was chatting with Will Courtenay, Ph.D., author of Dying to be Men, about the high school shootings in Ohio. Sadly, I experienced a high school shooting that resulted in a dear friend being killed. (As the Parenting Editor for DivineCaroline.com I wrote “When Will the Senseless Shootings Stop?” about this experience.) Instead of gun control to stop these shootings, Courtenay said we needed “gender control,” as all high school shootings have been at the hands of boys. As a therapist who specializes in men’s health, Courtenay has often said that boys and men become conditioned towards violence in American society. Perhaps this topic deserves to be explored more in depth for another article?

Right now, I am thankful not to live in fear that I could be hurt while I navigate my divorce. I am so thankful my ex and I are moving forward in a positive way now. Even so, I recall violent boyfriends in the past and know how frightening it is when someone suddenly snaps and the intensity of the heated anger explodes. It’s hard to describe in words, but it’s like a flash storm and you can see it start by a look in their eyes. And trust me, those eyes look like anyone’s.

My heart aches for those of you who are living in fear as you navigate your divorce proceedings. If your ex is threatening you, please take it seriously. Check out the Domestic Violence Hotline for assistance. And just note that computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your Internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer, and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) orTTY 1−800−787−3224.

Godspeed.