Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Less is Best: Communication with the Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath Co-Parent

Co-Parenting in a perfect opportunity for the NSP (Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath) to use and abuse.  After all these years of dealing with my kids' NSP  father, I have learned what not to do.  I have to remind myself constantly to not engage.

In my mind, the idea of co-parenting is to make life easier for children by creating consistency between households.  Co-parenting done well promotes order and routine - because shared custody in itself is a disordered (DIS-ORDERED) lifestyle.  Think about it: do you want to live 1 week at one home, with one family -- then the next week in another home with another family?  Back and forth for your entire childhood?   I certainly don't.  I want to live in ONE home, with ONE wardrobe, ONE kitchen, ONE consistent life.  Then, when I feel like it, I want to visit friends and extended family.

I think shared custody is stupid and insane.  It is in my situation.  Most parents I know who start with shared custody, over time, reduce it to more of a (generally) kids-live-with-mom most of the time, and visit dad every other weekend and some holidays.  That is what I know to be normal and good for kids.

What I have observed (and what has been reported to me from long-time psychologist-type professionals) is that the parents that insist on shared custody, when it doesn't work for the kids, and even though the kids object to it,  these parents are NSP types.

What I Do NOT Do...

I resist the temptation to communicate with the NSP in a way that I communicate with normal, non-psychopathic people.  The NSP considers me a target.  He wants to create havoc, miscommunication, difficulty, etc.  In a our shared custody situation, the concept of co-parenting is a perfect playground for the NSP.

Here is a great example.  A very simple example.  It seems harmless.

During Winter Break (and summer break), like most mothers, I take time to clear out the kids' rooms.  My kids and I go through their clothes and discard/donate what no longer fits.  Old toys are sent away to make room for the new.

My kids' NSP father does none of this WORK.  He does not HELP his kids.  Because this work needs to be done, in order to have a functional life, I end up helping them even though I don't live at his house.  I coach. I instruct.  "When you are at your father's house over break, you can/should do this same Cleaning Out and Cleaning Up work."  I tell them all the reasons why...coaching, discussing, instructing.  Sometimes we make "How To" list that they can keep in their school bag.  Sometimes the kids come home and tell me all about it, how good a job they did, etc.

It is my impulse to remind their father that this is a good activity, a helpful activity, that the kids could use his help sorting and discarding.

It is my impulse to share that we have done this work at my house, and that it would be helpful to the kids if they could do this at his house.

Likewise, it is my impulse  to remind him that the kids need certain items (like shoes that fit, or hygiene products, or this or that).

I have learned to NOT do this.  It is hard.  I care about my kids and they frankly need some help with these kinds of Life Skills.  I have learned that when I communicate with their disordered NSP father, it is an opportunity for abuse to occur.  The less I say, the better.   Every extra communication becomes fodder for more abuse, more nonsense.  To be clear, the NSP's abuse doesn't just come at me, it also comes at the kids.

It is so sad.

So, I do my best to Not Engage with the Psychopath.

I do what I can to help my kids and buffer them from pointless suffering.   I have learned the hard way, that any attempt I make to smooth the way for them, by communicating with their father, always blows up in my face, and my kids' faces too. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Be careful what you say...to a psychopath.

This video, http://www.inc.com/mark-cuban/playbook-biggest-mistake-social-media.html
I describe the message as: What you do and say WILL be used against you
I interpret what he explains as a psychopathic culture, where what we do and say CAN and WILL be used against us. This is the world we live in, if we have a psychopath in our family (or even our past).
My personal struggle: how do I go forward in my life, powerfully and with freedom, when the NSP is still watching my every move?

This is the question I ask many times, daily.

The watchful glare of the NSP (Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath), unfortunately, still controls me. Even though I no longer live with him, I know that my steps are watched, and I do what I can to avoid his wrath.  

This is not a happy way to live, but it is a reality for so many of us.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Psycho-Crazy Holiday Nonsense - Starve the Beast

It's that magical time of year, again.  The holidays.  The time of year when the NSP (Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath) swings into full form.  Oh, what a party.  +sarcasm+

Just writing this gets my anxiety flowing.

Deep breaths.


It's been woe-too-many years since I have known the NSP.  He didn't act psycho before we were married.  The psycho-holiday act began after we had children.  Joy.  +sarcasm+

Psycho-Crazy Behavior During The Marriage

It took me a lot of years to identify the pattern.   I mean, the crazy behavior wasn't only during the holiday season.  It was a year-round festival of nonsense.  It was just extra-super-crazy during the holidays.  Pre-Thanksgiving/All-Of-December/Post-New-Year

The psycho-crazy husband insisted that it was My Fault.  For a while I believed him.  Believed him enough not to leave him.   I thought maybe it was our circumstances.  Maybe because our children were young.  Maybe we'd learn how not to have such a drama-filled life.  He told me it was My Fault.  

I rose above it.  I prevailed.  Presents got purchased and wrapped.  Trees got decorated.  Parties were thrown.  The children looked lovely.

It was the last Christmas that was THE LAST CHRISTMAS.  It occurred to me one magical psycho-filled Christmas holiday morning that, hey, "My life had been good before the marriage, maybe, just maybe, my life could be good AFTER the marriage!"  And thus, I began to plan my escape.

Psycho-Crazy Behavior During The Divorce

Well, yeah.  Everyone assumes that a crazy man will act crazy during the divorce.

And, everyone assumes that the crazy man will calm down after the divorce.

His craziness persists.  Like a chronic illness, it will not go away.

I've just gotten better at avoiding it.

THE HOW-TO: His Crazy Behavior and What To Do About It

See how it is All About Him?  All About Managing HIM????


I am assuming that if you are reading this, you are already OUT of the relationship.  If you are NOT, then Grant Yourself a Christmas Wish and Get Out ASAP.

He is crazy.  He is an NSP.  He is unmanageable.  You have to deal with him on some level because you share custody of your precious children.

I have the most simple plan:  IGNORE HIM.  Ignore him like an Olympic Event.  You are competing the Olympic Ignoring and You Will Win The GOLD.

The NSP is baiting me.  Oh, he is working hard.  I am doing NOTHING in response.  He breaks our legal agreement in this way and that way.   I am giving him ZERO response.

At first I was like, "What Is Happening?  Why is he acting cray-cray?"   OH YEAH, we are warming up to the Thanksgiving Holiday!  Fabulous!  +sarcasm+

Now we are firmly planted into December.  It's cold outside and the fires inside are burning hot.

1. Wrap yo'self up in a blanket of un-responsiveness.  

2. Toss a big bowl of ice water on his flames by saying and doing NOTHING. 

I've actually never done this before.  I like to think that I have evolved. I'm experienced and knowledgeable.  This subject is an area of my expertise.   Even so, I still have room to grow.  Ignoring him entirely may starve the beast.


...because ...DOING SOMETHING feeds him and costs me.  I want to starve him.  I want him to focus his psycho-efforts elsewhere.  He has a WIFE.  He can bug her!  I want to spend my energy on My LIFE.  I have spent too much of my energy on HIM.

I have written about this before: The Psychopath's Holiday Parade of Woe and Nonsense


No doubt I will write about it again.

- be well -

feel free to share your experiences
your how-to's
you can vent here - it's better than feeding the beast

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reader Response: I Have Stopped Fighting

This post is a reader comment, in response to Yes, You Are Trapped By The Psychopath 
It is a perfect example of what we have to deal with.  
Her experience and strategy is so similar to mine.  
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.  
- AKA Rose Lee Mitchell
I have not commented in a while but I have been reading! I agree with you 100%. The court does NOT care, nor do the lawyers, mediators, etc. I stopped writing down every time he violated the judgement because I realized that no one cares! I tracked his violations during the court proceeding. We put all his errors into a nice little easy to read spreadsheet. The judge didn't care. His attorney would rant and rave, he would look like a scared sheep and the judge would give him MORE.

The only women, and I don't mean to be gender specific but I haven't seen a man do this, the only women that are even slightly successful are the ones that represent themselves. Maybe it's because they are willing to fight harder. But the toll that I've seen it take on them is immeasurable. The years continue to roll by. Their former spouses go on with their material goods and new girlfriends, insist on the custody schedule and cause problems whenever and wherever they can, and don't give a dime more than is taken from their paychecks. While the women are going to court to try and get a hospital bill paid, and they are battling his lawyer because he'd rather pay a lawyer than hand over another penny.

I have personally reached the conclusion that the best we can do is to monitor our children, give guidance and support when we can, and live a parallel parenting lifestyle as much as possible. Of course it isn't completely possible as the judgement makes sure of that.

So what can we do? Your posts about ignoring, isolating, letting go have been tremendously helpful to me. For the most part, I have stopped fighting. I do enforce my boundaries with him. I isolate his intrusion into my life and my children's as much as possible, but I still get triggered. There is still the tiniest part of me that wants to believe the fantasy could have been real, but the realist knows that even the minuscule good times were manipulations for the evil side of his nature. So I limit the chances he has to set me up for the "aha! I got you!!" moments that they thrive on. I still slip, but not often anymore.

I have been dealing with family court and lawyers for 6 years. I've been out of court for a couple, but never completely out because you never know when you'll have to return at their bidding, or possibly your own. I have friends who think I should return now. I say no. I say no because I can't go there. I haven't recovered from the first rounds, and I am slowly, oh so slowly, taking back my life.

If you have children, there are only two documents needed to divorce. One about custody and one about finances. The court and the lawyers drag this process out a long, long time when they realize one of the spouses is high conflict. Why? Because they can, and because it's more money for them.

I feel trapped by the schedule, and by my job that I'd like to leave but can't. I feel trapped by his endless games with the schedule, and by the way that every date I've had since them has to be run through my red flag radar. I think having a good relationship would help, but I haven't been able to go there. I am trapped. However, I am slowly, and I see this happening at a snail's pace, crawling my way out of his abyss. I am slowly rebuilding my life, my social network, and forging a strong relationship as a parent. In the end, I want to be trapped by nothing more than the schedule, because really, as we all know, that's hard enough.

Thanks for writing. It helps to know I'm not alone.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Our Country Just Married the Abuser

After dating him for months, learning who he really is, witnessing his abuses past and present, Our Country Married The ABUSER.

He didn't even wear a mask most of the time.  He showed us his true self.  And he was exposed.

But enough of America wanted him anyway.

Plenty of people said he is clearly a narcissist.  Some said he is obviously a sociopath.  And some (very quietly) called him an outright Psychopath.

In my real life, my friends, who did not vote for him, feel sickened and outraged.   They are mostly in absolute shock.  Some are rising up into activism.  Many are falling into hopefulness and prayers that 'everything will be alright'.

In my real life, my now ex-friends who voted for him (I can no longer call them friends), are busy spreading their special forms of magical thinking.  That he has some good in him, and that it will be alright.  These women who voted for him: are engaged in abusive relationships with men.  Totally dominated by her man because of her religion.  Controlled in every aspect of her life.  Dreaming of a someday when it is all going to turn out.

No.  It won't.  It will never 'turn out' with the abuser.  You will either escape the abuser and go no contact, or you will endure and hopefully survive the relationship.  

Those of us who have lived it, in our real life marriages, we see it.  We see the dreamy hopefulness and the way the blinders are on.  We shake our heads.  We are, like, WTF?

The men who voted for him?  Well, clearly, they LIKE the misogyny, the domination and the abuse.

He showed everyone exactly who he is.  America married him anyway.

If I was married to a Trump supporter, I would get a divorce immediately.  No joke.

AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Yes, You Are Trapped by the Psychopath

(I wrote this in response to a reader's comment on a recent post.    I am sorry it is a huge downer.  But, it is my truth, as I have lived it.  Those of you who are in a relationship or marriage with a psychopath AND WHO DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN with the psychopath --- you are lucky!  YOU ARE NOT TRAPPED.  Leave.  Leave now.  Go no contact.  If you are PREGNANT, and early in the pregnancy, it is my opinion that you should ABORT the pregnancy immediately and get away from the psychopath immediately.)

Unfortunately, dealing with a NSP requires a lot of STRATEGY.

When we are in the midst of interacting with judges (actual judges in a court setting - or any type of judge, in the form of mediators, custody evaluators, social workers, pediatricians, etc), we have to participate in a way that we might not otherwise bother - since it's a waste of our time.  There is too much 'secret code' conversation coming from the abuser, and only we can see it.  There is too much nonsense to filter through.  Too many lies to defend ourselves from.  Too much to explain, correct, etc.  You know.

And, when the NSP is highly intelligent, highly 'respected/respectable', the NSP will always win.  Always.  Somehow the lies (told by the NSP) are more compelling than the truth (told by the target).

I personally keep one eye on some future where 'someone' might review my communication with the NSP, but mostly, I have learned that NOBODY GIVES A SH-T about me, the NSP, or our children.  As mothers, we like to think that there will be some Savior who Gets It and Helps Us and Our Children, who Delivers Us From This Tragic Union With The Psychopath.  I have never ever found this to be the case (with the exception of some friends - who hold zero power to effect change in the situation).  Most people are just trying to get through the day, get their paycheck and get home to their jammies/pets/wine/netflix.   This goes for Lawyers, Judges, Social Workers, Therapists, Teachers, Pediatricians.

I have slowly learned that nobody gives a crap.  They may have some compassion for us, a listening ear, but no change will come of it.  Kindness and Prayer will keep us afloat.  Reading websites (like this one) will help us navigate the strange path we wander -- I read websites like this VORACIOUSLY before and during and after leaving the NSP, desperate for some sort of sense-making.  No meaningful outward change, like a custody evaluation that rights the wrong, has ever come.  No therapist has ever made any concrete improvement in my life or my childrens' lives.  We soldier on, victim to the psychopath's whim and treachery.  Too dramatic, you say?  No.  Not too dramatic.  Accurate.  If you have lived it, you know.


I wasted so many years of my life SPINNING from the psychopath influence in my life.  I wish I could say that I have stopped SPINNING.  But I have not.  I do my best, but my life is still dominated by him, and in many ways - destroyed - by my inability to escape him BECAUSE HE IS THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN.

I don't waste much time or energy on documentation, or tending to the nonsense waste of communication word salad cognitive dissonant bs that the NSP serves up.  Mostly I blatantly ignore.

Also, my 'fight for what is right for the kids' never ever panned out.  The NSP is living the dream life as the Great White Male who does no wrong.  A lot like Donald Trump.  He can be the most repulsive offensive asshat in the universe, but he prevails because of privilege.  Who am I?  I am only The Mother, The Woman.

I am sorry that this is a downer.  But IT IS THE TRUTH that I have experienced thus far, in my long and wasted fight...

Keep up your fight if you have it in you, if you are compelled, if your gut tells you to fight.  Do that.  Your circumstance may require it.  I felt required and compelled when my kids were much younger than they are now, when they were more vulnerable, when I was less experienced in the ways of the legal system and the ways of the world.

Yes, you feel trapped.  I feel trapped.  I believe we absolutely are trapped.  And we have to do the best we can in our circumstance.

When You Shine

When You Shine you give off a beacon of light.

You dazzle.

Joy radiates from you as share your gift, skill, grace, passion, expertise.

Whatever it is that you do, when you do it well, with full authenticity, with unabashed dignity, You Shine.


Your shining moment, your dazzling light, is a beacon for the NSP.

The NSP simultaneously loves and hates your light, your fortune, your ability, your success.

The NSP wants to consume it, devour you, destroy you.  Be ready.


If you do not know the concept of "Grey Rock", google it.  It is a strategy to avoid the abuse of the NSP.  It works.

Grey Rock works, but it costs you your life.

It gives you a certain freedom, but it is not a long-term strategy, as "Grey Rock" is its own prison.

"Grey Rock" is not a place to LIVE, it is only a place to VISIT.


Look to Hillary Clinton for her how-to-live as a Shining Star in a world of NSP haters, who constantly try to destroy her.  Watch how she has lived to prevail.  Watch how she focuses on What Matters.

She is my Hero.


The NSP comes after me whenever I shine.

The NSP inserts himself into my world, however he is able.  Now that we are divorced, and my boundary walls are so fortified, he usually can only stand on the sidelines, and attempt to distract me by his presence.  (Imagine me a coach for a college sports team.  The NSP sitting right there, in my sightline.  Like that.  Good times.)  It's actually laughable.

The NSP does this the first time, and it rattles me a bit.  But I persist.  I prevail.

The NSP does this the second time, and I have experience handling his nonsense.  So, his attempt is thwarted simply because it isn't a novel approach.

The NSP does this the third time, and I'm annoyed, but LAUGHING at the nonsense.  I talk to God.  "Really, God???? Really???? Is this what it's going to take for me to be AWESOME????"    God Answers, "Yes.  Toughen up.  The world is hard place.  You must be strong to do all that you want to do."  I think, "Okay God.  I'll do what it takes."


The NSP comes after me whenever I shine.  So be it.


First Comes the Flattery.  Next Comes the Threat.


Be Well,


AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Monday, October 24, 2016

Resist The Urge To Engage

You share custody with your ex.  You've done this for years.

You are a normal human being.

He is not.  He is a NSP (narcissist, sociopath, psychopath).

Even though you know he is abnormal, you still want to relate to the NSP in a normal way. But, you don't.

You know better.  You learned the hard way.

Your instinct is to fill him in on how things are going with your kids.  You don't.

Any bit of information he gets will be used against you.  It will be twisted. Your good deed, your impulse to share, to fill him in on what's been happening, for your kids' sake, for everyone's benefit ---- no no no no no no.  It doesn't go right.  It doesn't go right, because he is not right.  He is disordered, abnormal, and unfixable.

He is disordered, abnormal, and unfixable.

You learned this in the marriage.  This is why you left.

You tried to communicate with him for years.  You endured word salad, lies, rages.

After you left him, you endured the custody battle.

You endured the seemingly endless email rants, so similar to the endless rants you experienced face to face while you were married.

You have endured all the nonsense.

You would like to share the news about your children with their father, but their father is a psychopath.  He wants to cause you harm.

The less you engage, the better for you - and the better for your children too.


Be Well,

AKA Rose Lee Mitchell


Monday, March 21, 2016

Recovering Lost Emotions - Tapping into Tears


When in a relationship with an NSP, anything you do or say CAN and WILL be used against you.

Actually, it is worse than that.

What you don't do, and what you don't say, will also be used against you.  The way you look, the way you dress, the expressions on your face, your history, etc. etc. etc.

In fact, it is so bad, that the NSP will actually fabricate histories, words, expressions, etc. to use against you.

In my case, the NSP made up a huge lie about my past, based on absolutely not one single shred of truth or evidence.  He has repeated this lie so many times and to so many people that HIS LIE ABOUT ME sort of lives in my mind like a memory.

Creepy.  Scary.  Typical.

This is why having ZERO contact with an NSP is so essential.

Okay, that is painful....

Here's worse.


Living with an NSP is deadening.

Ouch.  Here's how:

The NSP (Narcissist, Sociopath, Psychopath) uses everything and anything against the target, so, the target learns to not express.  I became smaller and smaller, less and less of myself.

The NSP I married was (and is) so subtle in his control and criticism that it did not send off the kind of warning bells that would have alerted me to danger.  (He also didn't start doing this diminishing of me until I was fully invested in the relationship -- married and with children.)  When he criticized my clothing, it was subtle. And seemed to be well-meaning.   When he criticized my business, it was subtle and also, seemed to be well-meaning.  But over time, this wears a person down.  I became filled with self doubt, and didn't trust myself to choose.   And over time, the emotional/verbal abuses became less and less subtle, and obviously not well-meaning.

One of his last verbally violent episodes (and also he put me in danger since he was driving wildly at high speeds) was a result of him being offended at my tone of voice and attitude.  My tone of voice was playful, flirty and fun.  My attitude was smart, challenging, intellectually stimulating.  How DARE I be a human being who was happy and charming!!!!  We were at dinner together.  Just the NSP and me.  He had a massive Rage-a-thon because....?  Oh yeah, because he's a psychopath.  Because he must knock his target off center.  Because because because because.  I was having fun.  With him.


Being an expressive and emotionally alive person was an aspect of myself that I really loved.  It was the Essence of me.  Being open hearted, responsive, alive.  That was me.  And I want her back.  I am trying to get her back.

I used to cry.  I don't cry so much any more.  Life got too scary and too hard and too much.  Too much disappointment and fear.  I had to hold it together.  Sure, I cried plenty during my marriage.  But I didn't cry as much as was warranted.  I held in a lot, just as I held in my true thoughts and feelings.  Because if I let that stuff out..... What is the point of letting it out?  Living with an abuser?  No.  Don't let it out with him!!!!

I cried during my divorce.  Sure. It would spill over.  The fear would take over and I'd be shaking for days.  I'd try to hold it together for my kids, and I succeeded in doing so.  But then they would go away - shared custody - and I would let myself feel again.  It was scary because the pain was so deep. But it had to come out sometime.

Over time, I learned to hold it all in.  I don't think that is healthy.  I don't think that is good.  It is certainly not good FOR ME.  It is not how I personally want to live.  I want to FEEL.  I want to feel joy and I want to feel pain.  I want to live in a world where I can safely express myself.  If I am relationships with people who use my emotions and words against me, to harm me and control me, I want NO relationship.

This all sounds good.  But how to get it back?  Well, that is what I am working on.  I am finding ways to cry again.  I feel like if I can tap those tears, and tell them "it's okay to come out", my body will remember.

Here is one way I am tapping the tears:

Instead of watching a movie and holding back tears, I am watching movies and allowing myself to boo-hoo-ing as hard as I can.  I watched "Inside Out" recently.  I cried almost the entire time.  It was a perfect film for tapping those emotions.

More to come.

Be well,
AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Monday, January 4, 2016

Moving On

One of my new year resolutions for 2016 is to move on.  Move on from the NSP.  Exorcise the thoughts of the NSP that take up space in my brain.  Exorcise the negative opinions of myself that he planted in me.

So, I will share that journey.

In that vein, I will share some of the work I have already done to recover from the years of toxic exposure to the NSP.   Up to this point, I have mostly shared about custody and the related communication issues, but this blog is about recovery too.

**I deserve to live on planet earth**

I notice that one challenge of recovering from psychopathic abuse is that it is buried deep.  The abuse began with subtlety, and then it grew to monstrous proportions.

The monstrosities can be easy to see.  Loud anger.  Racing heart.  Anxiety.  Fear.  All that big scary stuff in the early stages of leaving the abuser.  It is easy to spot.

I have heard that recovery time is EQUAL to the amount of time one was in the relationship.  Maybe that is true, maybe not.  But I can say that in my personal experience, that time table looks accurate.  The ratio is 1:1.  If one was involved in the relationship for 3 years, then expect 3 years to recover.

I am a little more than half way through my recovery.

When I first heard this recovery estimate, I felt defeated.  I was involved with the NSP for about a decade!  Time was going to march on without me, or all over me!  I was going to be left behind.  A life wasted!

Now I feel like It Is What It Is, and I am grateful to "know" that someday I will be recovered.

That cliche about being made stronger in the broken places - I like that one.

About a year ago, about half way through my recovery, I noticed that I didn't feel like I deserved to be on the planet.  What the....?


My involvement with a NSP, and the subsequent destruction of so much that I held most dear, left me with a feeling that I didn't deserve to BE here on the ever-loving planet.

That's just not right.

But it is the truth.  I felt that way, and it was buried deep.   I hadn't noticed that the feeling was in me.

Telling myself "You deserve to live on planet earth" and "You deserve to be here" made a huge difference in my life.    I would walk around breathing deeply, telling myself in my head "You deserve to be on the planet."  I found it very calming.  It was a practice that I invented for myself.  I don't think I read it anywhere.  I don't think I told anyone about it.

Psychopathic abuse comes with shame.  Many people cannot relate to what the abused person has gone through.  The psychopath does not behave normally.  Most people cannot understand. Trying to explain it to people who could not relate....a very shame-filled experience.

If I were to tell someone that I didn't feel like I deserved to live on planet earth, I expect that person would think I had some sort of mental illness.  I am not mentally ill.  I lived with a psychopath in the most intimate of relationships: Marriage and Children.  I was psychologically pummeled by a psychopath whose main goal was to destroy me and control me.  I was open and vulnerable AND THOSE TRAITS ARE GOOD in an intimate relationship with a beloved.

Openness and vulnerability ARE HORRIBLE WAYS TO BE when dealing with a personality disordered partner.

I don't know why I didn't feel like I deserved to be on planet earth, but I am pretty certain that it was the result of the abuse. It was buried so far down that I couldn't even see that it was operating on me.

I am grateful to report that I can move around in public venues where I am visible, and I feel confident.  I can enter a situation that is justifiably intimidating and do very well.  I can feel like I belong in a new environment, simply because I am a member of humanity.  Why shouldn't I belong?

**Next Steps**

I have some distance to go.  I have lost too much of the courage that I used to have.  I miss the girl I used to be.  I miss her.  I'd like to collect the parts of me that I lost along the way.

The part of me that:
shared openly, had an open heart
had lots of hope for the future
was willing to try
was more carefree
smiled and laughed more
believed it was going to work out for the best

Thanks for reading.

I love hearing from you.

- AKA Rose Lee Mitchell