Villain vs Victim

When I have a lot on my mind, the best way for me to deal with things is to write about it. I share it with others in the hope that it might help someone as it helps me to put my thoughts in order.

My parents got a divorce when I was in my early 20s. It has been one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to go through. I did not realize back then how much it affected the next 5 years of my life. For me, family was the most important thing in the world and in one short week I went from having a family (dysfunctional, but it was my family) to being on the street and looking for a place to live.

Even as a quasi-adult, being a “kid” of divorced parents was hard. The first thing that happened was that you had to “pick” sides. I did not feel like I picked sides at all, but then I started to understand that there is a whole villain vs victim mentality that would become a theme every time that a divorce happens.


It still pisses me off to this day that every conversation about the subject has to have a quick discussion about who is the one that “fucked up.” Sure, everyone draws lines in the sand and some people have the talk about 50/50 but in reality there is never a villain and most of the time there are only victims.

This post does not dismiss the fact that there are relationships where one of the people is mentally or physically abusive to their partner. Those are valid reasons to leave. It is not that simple though, and I have a huge issue with the whole “you decided to leave” mentality.

The one that is “left behind” is the one that suffers. It is a short-sighted view that assumes that the other person does not feel. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people in divorces that really had no clue the other person had already moved on emotionally and are surprised. Getting into a routine in a marriage is quite easy and, eventually, monotony can set in. Divorce can be a surprise to one of the parties, but that does not automatically makes that person the “victim.”

I know in the divorces I have been closely involved with both parties knew that something was wrong for a long time. Sometimes steps were taken to correct those things, sometimes steps were taken to ignore those things. In the end it is seldom, at least in my experience, that divorce comes as a total surprise.

I have my own rejection issues. I don’t let those cloud my judgement though. The person that does the dumping is no braver or more victim in the situation. Being the woman in the relationship does not automatically make you the victim either, yet a lot of people think that way.

Trust me when I tell you that the feeling that someone chose something else, alcohol, another person, a job, a lifestyle over you does not make it easier to dump that person. In my experience at least it took a lot of thinking and trying to make things work before the decision was made. I know with my parents they tried for years to make things work, made many changes… heck even a move to a different country made things hopeful, but what is not meant to be cannot be changed. Specially not when both people are not committed to the change or making things work.

Without getting too personal about my parents divorce and from knowing both of them my whole life, their relationship was doomed from the start. It was not a relationship based on mutual trust and it created tons of issues that continued to escalate during the 20+ years that it lasted. While you can say that lack of communication skills might have contributed, they were just really not meant for each other.

Marriage is work, but it should not feel like work. The work that you do should be done gladly. You should be able to do the things you need to do to make the relationship successful, not just because you’re expected to, but because you want to.

I see what my Mom has now, with the love of her life – they have been together for 8 years now, they have never had a fight, they are still in love like they used to be the first day. That gives me tons of hope. It makes me think that some day I can have the same thing in a relationship. It makes me long for what they have. It really makes me realize that I am not stupid for wanting to be happy every day, that it is possible, and that the person who deserves to be by my side for the rest of my life, is someone who finds that desire endearing and not foolish.

I wish everyone involved on that situation could have had the same happy ending. The more I live, the more I see that it is truly a personal choice to reach that level. You cannot make others happy… I keep saying… it has to come from within… and life keeps on lashing me with that thought over and over.

With what I am going through myself now, I am not interested in being the villain or the victim. I am not interested in rehashing the past 2 years or even the past 6. I am only interested on moving forward and learning from this experience. I know I did a lot of growing the last couple of years and I know I am better person because of it. I know what I want and don’t want out of my life. I know that to be happy I have to be around other happy people. I have taken steps towards that in many ways and it has improved my life a lot.

*This is my blog and I reserve the right to delete any comment that I find to be not of my liking. Just letting you know before you state your “opinion.”

TGIF Atheist Style

– I like saying thank God as a figure of speech.
– I used to say THANKS God before someone corrected me… it might still slip out.
– I admire guys like Hitchens and Harris.
– “Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” – Hitchens.
– I still find comfort in religion and my imaginary friend.
– I am comfortable in a biker bar talking about boobs and beer and also in a highrise with a bunch of PhDs and their dissertations.
– I might do both of those in the same week.
– Smart people fascinate me, not sure why they intimidate people.
– Stupidity is way more intimidating.
– I met this dude last night and he was not intimidating.
– I also promised to troll him, but that would require some reading and I don’t feel like it.
– Political science is intimidating but I like Aristotle.
– If my website were to screw Meesha‘s site and get it pregnant you would have Ed’s website design.
– I will use intimidating again and it is because I am scared.
– It has been a long time since I have been this scared.
– Most of the time fear goes away with the use of simple logic.
– This time it is not working at all.
– It amuses me when people think that being controlled with your emotions means that you are controlling.
– I don’t manipulate people, I use all my powers for awesome.
– Just because I can think clearly in stressful situations it does not mean I don’t feel.
– During this whole ordeal with my uncle’s terminal illness I have not felt the need to talk to God about it.
– I think God and I have a marriage of convenience, I try to love him but his actions make me think he does not love me.
– I love the fact that most people that read what I write only get about 2% of what I am trying to say and 72% will find what is serious funny and 28% what is funny serious.
– I personally belong to the percentage that finds what is funny serious.
– I might not be telling the truth about those percentages.
– Does a disclaimer have to come before you lie or after?
– I am not sure if lies hurt the liar more or the one that was lied to.
– In Spanish the word innocence is used a lot to convey unaware, we also use “he had not broken his fast.”
– I need to stop reading books that revolve around hunger when I am trying to lose weight.
– Nope it is not the Hunger Games, it is the Game of Thrones.
– I should have asked the political scientists that I was hanging out with last night to play chess with me.
– I did not want to stereotype though.
– Oh! btw, Fuck you Travis! I love you too.
– Life continues to remind me that in the end it is all about love.
– I think I am going to spend the rest of my life learning about patience.
– Waiting for something for years to happen should show patience.
– The more patient I am asked to be, the better the result I expect.
– This weekend will be rainy but I will be indoors most of it.
– I still hate meetings.
– I hate the fact that I get happy when there is communication happening in a meeting.
– Meetings where communication does not happen should be refunded… time wise.
– The academic world sounds a lot more fun, their meetings always involve food.
– Is it time to become a full time teacher?

When do I go home?

I thought that looking at an adult and hearing them ask you a question like you should have an answer was difficult. You know what sucks even more… when that adult is now almost completely paralyzed, cannot talk because he just had a tracheotomy and all he can do is mouth “When do I go home?”

ALS sucks. No way around it. You can curse the disease all you want, it simply does not go away. It ravages the body leaving most of the mind intact. As a bystander to the process it really changes you. It makes you see who really is equipped to deal with life and who simply waits for others to take charge. I never thought it would be this hard to make people make decisions… decisions that should have been made long ago. Nobody plans for stuff like this, but they should.

Do you know what DNR means? would you rather be cremated or 6 feet under?

It sucked last November to decide details on the fly for my family. Not only were we mourning the loss of a loved one, there were decisions to be made, phone calls that needed to happen and also money needed to take care of stuff. Death is not cheap.

You would think going through this would make us as a family more aware of being prepared, having frank conversations. Not really. We are still divided on decisions about level of care. We are now basically doing a lot of guessing between what is best for the sick one… what would he have really wanted? is he all there? How long do we hang on.

I cannot answer that question for him. I try to soften the blow by letting him know they still have to try to get him a little better before he can leave. I also tell him that home might not be an option anymore and a specialized clinic is the next step… codeword nursing home/hospice… is it a white lie at that point if the place does specialize on ALS?

I would love to take him back to his home and have him die of “natural” causes. Is that what he means when he asks “when can I go home?”

I wish I knew, I wish I had more answers, better answers… better yet, I wish I knew what his true feelings were. Not sure if the deprived of oxygen still drugged up version of him would think the same as the healthy, vibrant person I remember.

I hold his hand, make every stupid dirty joke I can think of to make him smile. But dam, I never knew a simple question from one of the adults in my life asking me “when do I go home?” would hurt this much. I do hope you are comfortable the remainder of your days, I will do my best to make sure you have the proper care. I am sorry I cannot do more. I do hope you get to go home soon.

Post April Fools Ramble

– Words like ventilator and tracheotomy change in meaning when you have to use them in a sentence involving a loved one.
– I need to write a living will soon.
– How a person looks should not be part of a hiring process if they will not be facing the client.
– I know it does, I would not show up to an interview in shorts and flip-flops.
– The more I seem to get better at communication, the more I lean towards saying less and listening more.
– Silence at times says more than words.
– I love it when an idea that I present is slightly changed and passed as original.
– I think that is kind of what Steve Jobs used to do to his people and that is why so many of them loved him.
– From his own mouth, “Good artists copy, great artists steal!”
– I have come to hate most meetings now.
– Sometimes it feels like a real accomplishment to get a point across and achieve communication.
– Its funny when communication happens very seldom in meetings.
– I need a vacation.
– I have a vacation coming up but it is not coming soon enough.
– I also have a wedding I really would like to attend.
– I also want to go to Vegas… and California… and KC… and Tampa… maybe I should become a consultant again and get paid to travel that much.
– I don’t miss the consulting world at all.
– I am just really sad about people close to me having health issues.
– Even winning the powerball would not have helped the health issues.
– Really puts things into perspective.
– I hate this heavy heart feeling.
– I am trying to crack myself up and having a hard time with it.
– I am thankful for the people around me that can make me laugh.
– Laughter is the best therapy.

CPR on Chivalry

One of the topics that I don’t discuss enough is feminism. One because of the militant nature that most people associate with the word. Recently I have thought about the subject a lot more. Specifically about how women seem to be more cyber-bullied than man, also stalked and harassed because of what they post.

That certainly does not scare me, but it does bring up a point. I can still remember the day when I stopped holding doors.

A lady I worked with took offense to me offering to help her carry some heavy stuff she was carrying. I mean she was truly offended and was very vocal about it. I never meant to offend her, it was just the way I was raised. For a long time I stopped doing chivalrous things because of it.

Equality is a very nice abstract concept, but it is very hard to apply in actuality.

I believe everyone deserves the same opportunities regardless of sex. I also believe that I should be able to be chivalrous without it being perceived as sexist of a put down. I work with a lot more woman now than I have done in the past, and I see plenty of them in the elevator. Recently I actually carried some heavy stuff for someone all the way to their car. I said who gives a crap if someone will take offense at the offer. It made me feel good that she took the offer and was thankful.

I also got a kiss from my wife this weekend when I helped an older man in the hospital parking garage find their car. That made me feel good as well. I will continue to look for things to bring chivalry back into my life more and more. I think it should be part of being a man.