The scale of marital breakdown in the West since 1960 has no historical precedent,” says historian Lawrence Stone. In 40 short years, the marriage rate is down by one-third, the divorce rate has doubled, the birth rate is one half, and single-parent families per capita have tripled. Forty percent of all children born in the US in 2007 were out-of-wedlock compared to 4% in 1957. (Bennett, The Broken Hearth, p.10)
Working on the front line in family conflict I guess it was inevitable that eventually, I would get some form of PTSD.
Thanks for those of you who have travelled with me on some of the darker roads my mind has led me in the past year or two.
Reading and writing has always been my medicine and with a little help from my friends I feel I might just get on top of this now.
This war the world faces is everywhere. There is no public space I can think of where to me it isn’t obvious.
And as soon as people know what I do for a living I am doomed.
I am good at setting boundaries yes, but the need out there is so great that I need to build myself my own great wall of China just to get some space to think.
Just a snap shot of my life:
Today I got up and for the 9th day straight started painting and renovating the new homestay business we are setting up (my sanctuary plan).
I am here on my own, while Steve is still bringing in income (until we get tenants in here) running the motel on his own.
We invited a woman I will call Tonya to stay with me here and keep me company. She was staying at the motel.
She sold her house in Michigan and came to Australia to marry a man she had been in an online relationship with for a year.
After a week living with him in Australia he held a sword to her neck and threw a knife at her when he was drunk.
Good girl, she called the police and they sent her to stay with us at the motel, with her Aussie boyfriend still in tow.
After 3 weeks it was obvious moving back in with him was not the right move. So Tonya has been here reading Back From the Looking Glass and Steve has held a very firm line with her guy.
But here is the catch:
If I am too available, people don’t take the advice in my books and do the hard work.
I believe it goes something like this…
If you get attention for complaining about your partner (as Tonya obviously has for many of the awful men she has been with over the years) it can become a habit that sticks.
“Kim’s in the business”, they tell themselves and, “So of course she will be interested in every sordid detail I care to tell.”
Either that or they want me to read the latest text message they received and me to give advice on how to respond.
Even though I have worked like a dog painting (Tonya has a number of chronic illnesses and so is ‘helping’ at a slower speed to me) and my day started at 8.30am, the complaining and “what should I do?” and “what should I say?” questions started.
This after she has ignored just about every step offered in the book.
And I stand there wondering how to have empathy for her when she obviously has zero empathy for me.
I am dirty and exhausted and still painting despite having injured my lower back 5 days ago.
I don’t blame Tonya—this is just what the global love war looks like when you are on the front line.
They would follow me to the restroom if I let them, asking me to read ‘his’ last text.
I finally saw it this morning that this is why I have avoided the group.
I can’t answer personal questions anymore unless people are really following the steps and exercises. Otherwise I am genuinely scared that I might go out of my mind.
The group will be better moderated soon and I do still genuinely care, but I must find a means of sequestering myself now for at least a good share of each day to write.
Not anything that exciting or new. Just simplifying our existing message and coming up with better examples and teaching methods.
This is the role I need support for in fighting this war.
If you can help in any way please check out our current fundraiser.
I seriously don’t know how we are going to pay for what Steve and I have embarked on here—but every fibre in my body knows that this as the right thing to do.
I can’t work in casualty (emergency) any longer, I need space to get my work organised and published in a place where I can lock the door.
If my writing has helped you at all and you are in a place to support this venture, right at this very moment Steve and I seriously do need your help and support.