Thursday, June 21, 2018

Love Potion #9...

One more birthday is now down the tubes...  We had a wonderful time last night, which you can read about here.  It's experiences like last night's dinner that make me really love living in Europe.  I know all things must change and nothing is forever, but it's really a delight to be here in Germany.  I think long after we've left here, I will still have a very special place in my heart for this country.

Bill continues to communicate with his daughter.  She wrote him another long email, which got to him last night.  I haven't read the email myself and Bill said he needs to read it more carefully.  But the gist of it was a description of what it was like to grow up with Ex as her mother.

I can't say I'm totally surprised at the revelations in that email.  I have always suspected that Ex is abusive to everyone-- and I mean EVERYONE-- in her sphere.  Apparently, it wasn't just Bill and his family that the children were forced to shun.  It was anyone who pissed off Ex in some way.  Ex would stop speaking to someone and expect the kids to share her hatred.  If they didn't comply, there was hell to pay at home.

I don't know for certain, but I have a feeling that this caused problems at church.  Church is clearly very important to younger daughter.  In fact, as much as I dislike Mormonism, I am very grateful that the church was there for younger daughter and good people within it were willing to help her when her father and I couldn't.  I have always recognized that there are some amazing Mormons out there, but I'm still not a fan of the church's teachings.

Younger daughter further explained that her mother told her awful things about her first son's father, and of course horrible things about Bill.  Ex expected the children to rally behind her third and current husband, insisting that they call him "Dad".  Naturally, she did the same thing to her son when Bill was her husband, although her son was still pretty much a toddler when Bill married Ex.

Bill now realizes that it was wrong to allow his ex wife to force her son to bond to him as if Bill was his real dad.  Her son had a real father who wanted to be in his life, even if he did give up on the relationship after a few years.  But Bill believed his ex when she claimed that her first husband had abused her in unspeakable ways.  Bill wanted to protect Ex and he loved the little boy and wanted him to have a good dad.  It didn't occur to him back then, when he was still an inexperienced man in his 20s, that his ex wife was a bald faced liar and an abuser.

Even when my relationship with Bill was new, he had little bad to say about his ex.  I distinctly remember him telling me that he wished her no ill will and simply wanted to work with her so that he could keep seeing his children.  She made it impossible.  I don't know if he would have been quite as alienated if he hadn't married me.  She probably would have been slightly less contentious if he'd stayed single, if only because that would have made it easier to exploit him.  When he found a new wife, all bets were off.  And this would have been the case no matter who married Bill.

I have always had kind of mixed feelings about this situation.  I love Bill with all my heart and I can't believe I managed to marry someone who makes me so happy and with whom I am so compatible.  I was never much of a dater and had very few boyfriends before Bill.  I always figured I wasn't very attractive to men.  As I got older, I realized that wasn't necessarily the case.  Bill was the only man I ever really wanted to marry, though, and our marriage has been effortless, for the most part.  For that reason, I will always have a grateful spot in my heart for his ex wife, because she divorced him when he was willing to try to stay married (although I do think the divorce was inevitable).

Bill could have easily married a less compatible but basically decent woman and he probably would not have willingly divorced.  He would have probably had a perfectly serviceable marriage to another woman.  The fact that he was with his ex wife made it possible for him to be with me.  I think he now has a lot of joy in his life for many reasons.  I am grateful that I can share in the joy with him, even if I struggle with my own demons.

On the other hand, there is a little part of me that wonders why I couldn't have had a more average marriage... one that produced children and allowed me to have a regular job somewhere... be a homeowner and have friends.  How is it that all I wanted was a "normal" lifestyle and I ended up in the situation I'm in?

The older I get, the more I realize that everyone has a story.  This is my story and, right now, the plot has taken a major twist.  I can't say I didn't see this coming, although it's unfolding in a way I didn't really expect.  I will admit that many times in my marriage, I fantasized about Bill and his daughters reuniting.  There were many different scenarios, but the one that sticks in my head reminds me of an old film starring Sandra Bullock and Tate Donovan.  The 1992 movie, Love Potion #9, is about romantic love, which is not like the love shared between normal parents and children.

Sandra Bullock's character is a frumpy scientist who tests a love potion with another nerdy scientist played by Tate Donovan.  He falls in love with her, but she's under the spell of Love Potion #8 and only has eyes for an asshole who mistreats her.  It's like she's brainwashed.  At the end of the movie, Donovan's character takes a swig of Love Potion #9, which is a serum that works with true love.  Just as Bullock's character is about to marry the pig, Love Potion #9 kicks in and there's a happy ending.  Bullock's character comes out of the church and kisses her true love.  The live happily ever after.

Anne Bancroft as a fortune teller who explains love potions.

Thankfully, Bill and his daughters don't have a romantic relationship.  However, there was a time when I fantasized about the spell of parental alienation being broken, much like the spell of Love Potion #8 was broken, and Bill eventually embracing his daughters as they run away from their asshole mother, finally having discovered and accepted the truth of the situation.  

Then, as time passed, I observed the hateful way Bill's daughters behaved, even when they had become adults and were no longer under Ex's roof.  I started to think they were just like her.  There was a part of me that didn't want to believe that... but I guess it was just a form of self-protection, especially after Bill's former stepson treated him so badly.  If you expect the worst, it's less likely you'll be disappointed in the eventual outcome.  I, myself, have been pretty saturated by abusers and I don't have much tolerance for bad treatment anymore.  I'm not inclined to give abusers more than one or two chances before I shitcan them permanently.  

I saw Bill's father having contact with Bill's daughter, yet she didn't want to talk about or to Bill.  And Bill's dad and stepmother were fine with it, even though they knew Bill was being treated very badly.  It seemed unfair to me, so I reacted accordingly.  We now know that she didn't dare call Bill's dad until she was many miles away from her mother and could do it in secret.  Bill's ex wife maintains extreme control of people for as long as she can.  When she loses control, all hell breaks loose.  It's one thing if she's just some person in your life that you don't need and can easily be rid of.  It's quite another when she's your mother and you're still young and trying to launch.  Ex did her best to ruin the kids' relationships with people who could help them.  She made them afraid to ask for help.  It's classic narcissistic abuse.

With these new communications with younger daughter, it's starting to sound like the children were basically being terrorized.  And at the time when getting the girls away from their mother would have been the most successful, there was really no way we could feasibly do it.  It's not likely that any attempt would have worked, anyway, and if Bill had tried to fight for them, it's likely he would have lost his job.  The kind of abuse Ex delivers is not the kind that is easily proven... and unfortunately, a lot of people wouldn't have believed Bill, anyway, simply because he's a man.

So why did I stick around for this?  For so many years, this was an incredibly depressing and stressful situation and it didn't look like it would ever get better.  Well, I stuck around because Bill is worth it.  He's an amazing man with a huge, loving, generous, forgiving heart.  For some reason, he loves me as much as I love him.  So now, I get to see him reconnecting with his younger daughter, who says older daughter will eventually come around.  She just has trouble with change.

Even ex stepson is looking better to me lately.  Younger daughter said he was terrified what their mother would do when she found out he was talking to Bill.  And, when the truth did come to light and she realized she was losing control, she stooped to incredibly low levels to sever the relationship again.  It worked, although it wasn't because Bill wanted it to be that way.  There is a chance, though, that Bill could eventually reconcile with the young man he used to regard as his son.  

All of this started because back in 2016, Bill decided to send his daughter Christmas greetings.  I remember at the time, we thought it would make a bomb go off.  It did, but the aftermath of the explosion was much more positive than we ever could have expected.

I still don't love the way Bill's kids treated him, although I have more understanding about it now.  I have always known that their mother was behind it, but I can't condone hatefulness.  However, I understand now that there were extenuating circumstances.  They had to live with the bitch.  She's a miserable person who needs a lot of help that, sadly, I doubt she will ever get.  I don't know what the future holds for Bill's relations with his daughters, but I do know that he's survived the worst of it.  It's a privilege to be in his life to offer support.  Maybe that's even my purpose in life.  I continue to hope that love will eventually win.

On another note, I did upload a new selfie.  In the interest of full disclosure, here it is.  I'm a bit flushed because I took this picture after drinking a beer.  Those damned Celtic genes make me turn red when I drink.  My mom has the same trait.  All in all, my birthday was excellent.  I am truly blessed, despite everything.  

My former English prof is pleased.


  1. Life with the ex must have been traumatic for everyone. does the daughter still talk to her often?

    The LDS church isn't for me, but it can be a very good thing for other people.

    1. I don't know how often she talks to her mother. Apparently, Ex came out to see the baby, but spent the whole of her visit on her phone. Younger daughter also says that she has to be careful when she texts her sister because Ex reads everything and will even send stuff on other people's phones.


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