There’s a book I’m reading for work as part of my personal growth requirements. It’s Nathaniel Branden’s The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. I find it well-written and it’s the foremost work on self-esteem.

As one might imagine, my self-esteem wasn’t stellar after my divorce. Actually, it was pretty much non-existent. I spent a long time hearing how terrible I was at everything in life and how I shouldn’t bother becoming a writer because I couldn’t ever be as good as J.K. Rowling. Eventually I realized that was horseshit. I was skilled at managing projects. I could write well enough to convey information to different audiences. I had friends who cared about me despite not seeing them much over a period that lasted about a decade.

It didn’t help that my natural inclination is to want to help people. I have had to learn that I’m not responsible for the happiness of others. They are.

And there’s nothing wrong with helping others, so long as you aren’t sacrificing your own happiness to do so. But I used to do that. I used to give what I had to my loved ones and I had nothing left for me.

I wasn’t accomplishing my goals. I was barely writing. I was exhausted all of the time. I wasn’t spending time with my friends. I didn’t even know who I was anymore.

I wasn’t happy.

I used to be a feisty, energetic type and I had become an empty shell who smiled when she was expected to and said all the right things or nothing at all. I was a zombie, but the friendly kind that didn’t eat faces and brains.

One day I woke up and realized that was fucked up. I wasn’t on this earth to simply placate everyone around me. I was on it to do something with my life.

So I stopped placating. There was friction and emotional abuse and ultimately it lead to me ending my marriage. If I couldn’t be myself with my partner, he wasn’t the right partner for me. Both of us were miserable and now we aren’t. I have zero doubt it was the right decision.

Of course I lost some friends along the way. But I regained old ones and made a lot of new ones.

Things haven’t been easy since. I’ve had times where my debit card was declined while trying to buy groceries. But there’s been far more good things than bad.

I know I’ve come a long way with my self-esteem or I would’ve just accepted an expensive car repair without bartering for a lower price. I wouldn’t have called another garage to get prices. I wouldn’t have called VISA to dispute charges I didn’t authorize either.

My life is vastly different and at times surreal. And while I haven’t accomplished all I’m aiming to yet, I’m working on my goals and I’m much happier.

Speaking of goals, Tuesday night I finished editing the second half of chapter 20, edited all of chapter 21, and got about half way through chapter 22. Chapters 23, 24, and 25 are a mess and more like outlines of chapters than actual chapters, so I’m hoping they won’t be too horrible to get through. I read endings are the hardest and many authors don’t spend enough time on doing them properly, so it’s okay if it takes a little bit of time to do it right. With 3.5 chapters left, I’m getting pretty excited to move on to the next stage of the process.

Only a couple of chapters left. I can do this!


6 thoughts on “Endings

  1. I think part of the healing process is being able to see where you’ve been and be able to share that with other. Your self-esteem can only improve when you realize it needs to improve. You have made great strides. Keep it up!


  2. I find endings tricky, too, but you’re making great progress – and not just in your writing and revising.

    In my case, the ridicule and abusive behaviors came not from my spouse, but from my parents. It’s amazing how simple a matter it can be to manipulate someone, when they’re somehow dependent.

    I’m glad you got free of that marriage, and that I got free of that dysfunctional family dynamics. It’s done wonders for my self-esteem, too.

    Brava to us both, and all others who find their way to their dreams despite adversity.


    • The worst part was that after years of trying to get him to stop treating me that way by using healthy methods, I ran out of them and began treating him the way he was treating me. My first relationship after him didn’t go great. I’ve spent a lot of time ridding myself of all such behaviors because I refuse to be like that. I was bullied as a child, so waking up one day to discover I had married one was awful. There were signs early on that I ignored because I was in love.

      But I don’t hate him. I don’t think he learned how to properly treat a partner. I’ve found a lot of men since who seem to think that a woman should be controlled by them. I think it’s all part of a larger issue in society and I’m hoping to make a difference in this area. I intend to donate part of my profits to charity assuming I ever make any money.

      I’m glad you got away too. No one deserves to be treated in such ways by anyone else whether it be a loved one, a colleague, or someone in a position of authority.

      At the time, I couldn’t talk about it with any of our friends. I’ve always been the type to handle my own problems. I’ve learned to let others in rather than struggle alone.

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      • I carried some of the same patterns into my own marriage, and into parenthood. Changing from that to a peaceful way of being is the hardest thing I’ve ever done on purpose (I don’t think I could have done it accidentally).

        Honestly, until I was a mother inflicting some of the same abuses on my own children, I didn’t know I was abused. I would actually say, “There were abusive incidents in my childhood, but I wasn’t abused.” I said it as though it actually made sense, too….

        Abuse can twist minds in very strange ways.

        I like to think that, in being open, I’m maybe offering someone else a way out…and that makes it worth talking and writing about, for me.

        Sending you much love…


      • It’s hard to believe a loved one can inflict so much pain. I’m sorry we both had to go through it, but if others can be helped by what I’ve been through, it doesn’t make it worth my own pain, but it makes it less bad. I’d prefer no one go through it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is eloquently expressed. The bad happened, and can’t be undone, but, if we choose not to be owned by it, but instead to create some good from it, then we free ourselves, too, in a sense….

        And amen on no one going through it. We would love in a far more peaceful world if no one did.

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