My Best Friend Betrayed Me, And I Regret How I Handled It

Sometimes we don’t handle things the way we should. Sometimes the hurt’s so bad, the betrayal so awful, we slide back into old habits. And by “old habits,” I mean “acting like a goddamn teenager.” Because betrayal hurts like nothing else, especially when it comes from someone important in your life, someone you depended on for emotional support. A spouse, maybe. A parent. A best friend.

I lost my best friend.

Our oldest sons were born within four months of each other. I nursed her son; she nursed mine. I stood as godmother to her oldest; she stood as godmother to my middle child. When my oldest son had an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting, she drove her newborn to the hospital to retrieve our other kid and watching him. When she became deathly ill with both severe hyperemesis (uncontrollable vomiting) and diabetes during her second pregnancy, and her husband left town, I drove to her house to inject her with the shots she needed. I cleaned her bathroom on multiple occasions. She took my children when I had a mental breakdown. When she and her husband moved to another state, I was devastated.

Then she betrayed me.

I had no idea it was coming. None.

I opened Facebook one day to see a post about her making it through her first trimester. About how her hypermesis was progressing this time around. About how excited they were to have a third baby. I felt completely, totally, and utterly betrayed. I found out about my supposed best friend’s pregnancy from FacebookThe worst part: she had clearly told mutual friends, who must have been instructed not to tell my husband and me. We had seen them recently and they hadn’t discussed the topic with us.

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Post after post came from friends — friends I thought were less close than we were. Friends who had clearly known. Friends who lived in my town. Talk about feeling betrayed. I didn’t know what to do. She had always said she couldn’t, wouldn’t have more children because of how sick she got, and that shared inability to expand our families had always bonded us (not to mention that I also suffer from hyperemesis and diabetes while pregnant, though not as severely as she does, and that plays no small role in our inability to have more kids).

Double gut punch.

My best friend had chosen not to share one of the biggest events in her life with me. I felt enraged. I felt disappointed. I felt sad and hurt and lonely and a whole bundle of emotions all at once. But mostly, I felt betrayed.

And she was active on Facebook.

I did the not-smart thing. The immature thing.

Instead of walking away from the computer, instead of having a cup of tea, or calling my husband, or taking deep breaths, I made the super-mature decision to tell her how betrayed I felt. And rather than ask her why she hadn’t told me, why she’d cut me out of the loop, or what had happened, I took the middle school route and typed, “I’m only going to say it once and I prefer not to discuss it at all. I am deeply hurt I found out about your pregnancy on Facebook … And like I said, I don’t really want to talk about it.”

She replied that she didn’t think I wanted to talk to her “after August.” Then refused to explain what happened “in August.” I’d seen her since August. She had come up to town to visit, kids and foster kids in tow. I felt even more betrayed. She didn’t think our relationship was worth addressing important concerns. How do you answer something like that

Even more hurt, even more angry, and feeling even more betrayed — our friendship didn’t matter enough to discuss basic disagreements — I dove deeper into my sixth grade self. “I don’t know what gave you that impression,” I typed. “But I am incredibly stunned and deeply hurt and NOW I don’t really want to talk to you anymore.”

She didn’t answer, neither did I, and I snoozed her ass on social media. I’ve been snoozing her every thirty days since. This happened three and a half months ago.

Every thirty days, she pops up on my feed talking about her pregnancy. I’m angry: why did she ditch me? Distance? Because I suck at sending cards? Because we couldn’t make it to our godson’s First Communion? Then I remember she’s pregnant, who used to be my buddy in “we can’t have any more babies,” and I feel even more betrayed. I’m happy they can expand their family. But finding out about her pregnancy over Facebook, when we spent so many hours lamenting that we wanted more children, just seemed cruel.

To her credit, she tried recently. She sent me videos via Facebook for Mother’s Day, of both her daughter and son —I am her son’s godmother, after all, and I love him dearly. He was my son’s best friend.

Eutah Mizushima/Unsplash

I should have watched them. I should have sent a nice message back. I should have been the bigger person.

I was still too angry. I was still too hurt, too betrayed, too sad and too mad. I haven’t looked at them. When I opened Messenger to make sure I got the wording right for this essay, I briefly saw her daughter, whom I love so much, dancing on video. I nearly cried. I’m nearly crying now.

I don’t have a best friend anymore. The girl who I’d probably name as my best girlfriend lives 600 miles away. It hurts. It’s lonely. I’m lonely. No one to go to for a walk with on those days you want to get out of the house. No one take a trip to the mall. No one to give you a hug, or help clean your house when your mom’s coming over.

I wish I could say what I wanted out of this relationship, in the end. I wish I could offer a tidy resolution: I want to be friends again, to go back to before. Part of me, of course, longs for it. Another part of me says, fuck it, if she’s shown she’s capable of something this big, she could do something just like it two, three years from now. I may set myself up for heartbreak.

I know this: I miss our long, lazy afternoons scarfing Jamaican food at her dining room table while the kids ran wild. I miss knowing I could pick up the phone and know she’d be there for me. I miss the easy days, the way she hated the microwave, her aversion to mess and the days she forced me to get out of bed when no one else could. I miss calling to ask if she wanted Starbucks on the way over to her house. It hurts, this missing. It hollows me out.

I want it back.

But I don’t know if I can risk the price.

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What Not To Do When Blending Families

In my 30-something years of life, you could say that I’ve successfully fucked things up a time or two. Thanks to my masochistic penchant for consistently having to learn things the hard way, I’ve been accused of being slightly impulsive and making mistakes so major, I’d never forget the lessons they taught me. And then I got divorced.

Divorce, in my opinion, was the most royal fuck-up of all, or maybe it was marrying someone I only knew for less than year and hoping for the best. Having left my now ex-husband with a two-year-old in tow, I learned a cold, hard lesson about thinking things through.

So, when it came time to for my fiancé and I to blend our two daughters and create a new family dynamic, you can imagine why I was determined to get it right.

Perfection has never been my goal – that went out the window a long time ago, around the same time I tossed all the skinny jeans I saved from my pre-baby life. But happiness, harmony, and contentment were the new goals, even if it seemed impossible in a home built after two divorces, with two daughters in two very different age brackets.

Hearing horror stories from friends, articles we googled, and even the child psychologist who helped us with the transition, put my fiancé and I on edge. Our anxiety was through the roof as we prepared the girls for the move, made arrangements for movers, and started the official blend just four months ago.

Liuda Lebedz/Reshot

But as it turned out, our visions of miserable, angry children and our fairytale love story turning to resentment and anger never came to fruition. All of our fears dissipated when we saw the happiness in our girl’s faces each time they entered our home.

Maybe it was our level of care and attention, or the self-awareness that comes about when you realize you have little room for error, but whatever it was, we’ve learned a ton in the last few months. I’m not saying our way of doing things in this new blended life is on-point 100% of the time, but we’ve definitely learned what NOT to do to keep the recipe as close to perfect as possible.

1. Hanging on to expectations and assumptions

Get rid of these – asap. Your expectations and assumptions of what your blended family should look like, feel like, and sound like need to not exist. Why? You cannot expect anything from a situation you’ve never been in before. You cannot assume your child, new partner and/or his children are going to do things the way you’re used to them being done. You’re blazing a whole new path here, one that requires a lot of bravery, and also a whole lot of patience.

Your partner’s bedtime routine with their child is going to be different than yours. Their discipline habits, ideas on how much dinner needs to be consumed before dessert, rules about TV and technology will to. Your child may leave her wet towels in places your new partner will balk at, and vice versa.

Expecting anyone to do anything the way you did before you lived with them is like expecting to know tonight’s winning lottery numbers – six thousand percent impossible. 

2. Brushing issues under the rug to avoid confrontation

There will be things that piss you off about your new blended situation. There will be things that piss your partner off about your new blended situation. There will be days that suck so hard even though the days before seemed like heaven. You need to be able to confront these issues to move on from them – building resentment has no place in your new blended home.

Communication is your lifeline. If you and your partner have not learned how to successfully communicate before moving your families in together, I suggest you learn quickly. You may be scared to have any moments of discord with your new partner in front of their child, knowing full-well that you now live in a fish bowl and everything that happens will go back to that child’s parent, but so what? Who cares? This is your new life, and you have to do what it takes to make it right.

3. Fearing the fish bowl

Yes, it sucks, I know. You now live in a world where everything you say or do will be repeated to a person who likely doesn’t support your new living situation all that much. From the way you look when you wake up, how you parent your own child, how you messed up your new stepchild’s favorite dinner recipe, to how cranky you get at the end of the day – this will all be discussed behind your back at one point or another.

GET OVER IT.

The worst thing you can do is live in a way that is unnatural just to avoid being talked about. This is your home now, your world and comfort zone, and if you can’t live in it peacefully because you’re scared the gossip might fly, there is no way you’re going to enjoy this new adventure.

4. Not being mindful of the other parent

My child has a father. My stepdaughter has a mother. Both of these people still play crucially important roles even though they are not under our roof. Moving in with someone else’s child and thinking that you, for one second, can replace the parent who is missing them on the other side of town is a huge mistake.

So is trying to be the “fun” stepmom or stepdad.

For example, my fiancé and I make a conscious effort, every single day and in every situation, to remind our children that their parents matter too. When my stepdaughter asks me for something or wants my advice, I always check with her mom first before giving my opinion or purchasing anything. When my daughter wants to do something that my fiancé knows her father would not approve of, he reminds her of that. This is not only crucial for your relationship with your partner’s ex, but for your stepchild to understand that even when they are not with their biological parent, that there is a level of respect that must be maintained.

5. Trying to spend every minute together

Newsflash: before you blended your family, your partner and his child(ren) got endless alone time together. Having divorced parents often means that children get their parents all to themselves for a while, so having to share them again is tough.

Being a blended family is exciting – it is so damn nice to have a family unit again. But it’s important to remember to allow for some space too, and that overkill is deadly here. I am a staunch supporter of my stepdaughter’s alone time with my fiancé. I encourage daddy/daughter dates, days, trips, and anything that reminds her that she is still the number one lady in his life – and he does the same for me and my child, which makes for a lot more love and respect in our new blended life than we ever anticipated.

Look, blending a family is a constant work in progress. Just like in a typical family dynamic, issues will always arise – but it’s in how you handle them that determines your success, and of course, remembering what NOT to do.

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Why I Stopped Giving My Teen Advice

It is a common statement from my 13-year-old son, and one I find frustrating: “You’re not listening to me!”

Because, I want to screech at him, I am listening! I hear him perfectly fine, he’s just wrong. I’m right. I’m the mom, and I’m older and have more life experience so dammit, I am right.

Until I realize my teen is actually making a fair point. And that maybe I should do a little less talking and a lot more listening. Because, though I may have more life experience and may have great ideas for how to resolve conflicts, this kid has been under my care for 13 years now, and he’s been listening to and absorbing all the life lessons I’ve been teaching him. And, even cooler, he’s been absorbing his own life lessons as he moves through the world — life lessons that have nothing to do with me or anything I’ve taught him.

This was never more apparent than when, several months ago, my son got into a disagreement with a friend of his. Without going into detail, because I need to protect both my son’s and his friend’s privacy, let’s just say the fight was bad enough that it put the friendship on shaky footing. They were talking about deleting each other from their group chats. If you know anything about teens, you know this is a big deal. Today’s version of being ousted from the lunch table.

Pixabay/Pexel

As my son told me what was going on, I interjected with advice where I felt I could help. But he only became more and more frustrated with me and kept telling me I didn’t understand. I experienced a weird sense of deja vu from my own childhood, telling my mom she didn’t understand. Now I really get what she meant when she told me over and over again, “I’ve been there. I get it.”

 

So, using every bit of willpower I had, I bit my tongue and stopped offering advice. I mainly did it because I didn’t think my son would listen anyway. I figured he was stuck in that teen mentality of “parents just don’t understand.”

Turns out, I should have stopped giving advice for a different reason, though.

Because as I listened, I started to realize my son was actually handling his problem pretty well. Yes, he’d said some hurtful things he wished he could take back, but he’d talked with his friend group, empathized with the friend he’d had the conflict with, and together they’d made a plan for how not to get into the same argument in the future.

The plan was not actually what I would have suggested. The disagreement and plan for resolving it involved other kids who I don’t know as well as my own, and my son had taken those personalities into account when solving his own problem. He has a good heart and wants to do the right thing, and so do his friends. He really didn’t need me.

This keeps happening more and more — I find myself butting heads with my teenage son because I want to offer advice and either he doesn’t want it or doesn’t need it (or both). And I am slowly learning to keep my mouth shut and my ears open. This most recent incident was pretty clear evidence that sometimes, shutting up is the best help I can offer.

Because sometimes my son just wants me to listen. He’s not looking for a solution from me. And really, what a gift that he wants to talk to me and share his thoughts and experiences with me since, in the past and often still now, I have practically had to pry the details from him with a crowbar. And what an incredible thing to witness as he comes up with a solution to a problem or makes a point more creative or smart than the one I could have come up with myself.

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It’s not that my son isn’t listening to me. It’s that he’s reaching the age where he is independently applying the lessons I’ve taught him over the years. He has been listening. Yes, there is still lots of wisdom I can still impart to him, but we have reached the point where he gets to apply what he has learned. And, again, he’s also learned plenty of new things that I can’t take credit for. He astounds me every day with the insightful things he says.

It’s so easy to imagine parenting as a montage of lectures rather than a give-and-take. And I guess a lot of the early years of parenting are like that. We have our kids’ rapt attention (even if they’re acting stubborn, they’re listening) and their lack of experience and know-how is clear and undeniable. We as the parents must be in full control.

But big kids want and need to make decisions about their lives, from big things like whether to take on a more challenging course load at school or quit a sport they’ve been playing for years, to how to handle missed homework assignments or disputes with friends.

And the reason we must step back is bigger than our kids simply needing to develop autonomy and confidence in working out their problems on their own. It’s also because they are capable. This is the part I was missing. My kid is 13 now. Yes, I still have much to teach him, and yes I am still the parent, still the one with the final say. But I’m not actually smarter than he is. In fact, in many ways he is smarter than I am. And as long as he continues to show a willingness to self-advocate and the ability to do so effectively, as much as possible I need to step aside and let him take the reins.

Otherwise, what were all those years of teaching for?

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I’m Terrified Of Turning Into My Mother

“Oh no! I am turning into my mother!” All of us women joke about this. Some are excited to see that they are, indeed, becoming their mothers. Perhaps they are excited to look more like their mothers, or act more like their mothers, or even to parent like their mothers. Perhaps their mothers are their role models and they have suddenly realized that they, too, have taken on the character traits that they admire in their mothers.

But then there are the rest of us.

Those of us who have had years of therapy to undo the damage of our mothers. Those of us who grew up listening to a deluge of criticism every day, without realizing how much it hurt us. Until we became mothers ourselves.

I have three daughters. Ever since I can remember, I have had one dream: to become a mother. I am a nurturer by nature. I began babysitting at age 11. I teach elementary school. I have always been told that I have endless patience, as a mother and a teacher. I used to take pride in this…and then suddenly, when my kids hit pre-adolescence, that all changed.

Suddenly with two teenagers and a pre-teen, I cannot go a day without some sort of altercation with my children. The patience that was part of my identity has suddenly disappeared. I am short-fused and I find myself yelling at my children and–even worse–throwing criticisms faster than my daughters can recover from them. Sometimes, I make a comment–maybe it flies out of my mouth without my knowing–and I hear my mother’s voice.


Rae Russel/Getty

Sometimes it is a relatively benign comment as I try to get my alone time at 9:45 at night: “Please go to bed. I do not want  to see you now.” But other times it is more serious, more damaging, and very out of character for me–or who I thought I was. “I thought you were better than that. I guess I was wrong about who you are.”  Or, “Would it kill you to help around the house at all? Everything I do for you and you can’t offer to help me?”

Sometimes as soon as these comments slip out of my mouth, I cry. I realize that sometime, somewhere, someone said this to me. My own mother. And though I may not have been hurt then, now–30 years later–I am hurt.

You see, I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother. The thing is, I did not realize this until I had three kids, moved far away and gained perspective. Sure, there were red flags all throughout my life, but when you only know the family you have, there is no reason to think it isn’t how family is meant to be. The relationship I had with my mother seemed normal. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I started to realize that my childhood was not as healthy as I had once thought.

When I was growing up, I knew my mom would not yell at us; that was my dad’s job. But, I also knew my mom would not be warm and nurturing. I suppose, thinking back, that was my dad’s job too when he was home. Everything with my mother was devoid of emotion; it was transactional and judgmental. There was no effusive pride, love, or even snuggles. Never did we hear apologies from her. There was a lot of anger if we “betrayed her trust” or “did not tell her everything.” What teenage girl tells her mother everything? I knew my mother would always tell me what I had done wrong whether it was setting the table, choosing something to wear, or even choosing the wrong friends.

Deep down, I always knew I was a good kid–maybe too good. I was afraid to go against what my mother would want me to do; I wanted her approval. I knew that when we left a friend’s house my mom would feel the need to evaluate us: “The Smiths’ kids were so much better behaved than you all were. How come their siblings are so close and you kids fight all the time? Would it have killed you to answer Mr. Smith when he asked you about school?” At the time, I yearned for my mother’s praise; on the rare occasion my mother complimented me or called me “sweetie” or “honey,” I preened.  None of these comments hurt me when I was 12; in fact, I was immune to all of them.

But then I had kids.

 

Suddenly, these comments have emerged from the archives of my memory. I find myself spewing phrases, such as “would it kill you to…” or “can’t you set the table right? What is wrong with you?” They explode out of my mouth in a manner akin to a series of involuntary sneezes. As I say these words, I hear my mother’s voice–not my own.

And I cannot believe it. I have turned into my mother. I must do everything in my power to freeze and reverse this metamorphosis.

Being a daughter of a narcissistic mother means you must be on high alert at all times. You must be sure that you don’t become your mother. You must be ready to apologize when the criticism flies out of your mouth involuntarily and ricochets off of your children and right back at you. You must be ready to own your mistakes and apologize to your kids. Explain to them what you have experienced; let them work with you to become kind–to yourself and to them.

I wish that turning into my mother were something that makes me happy. Maybe I will be able to break this cycle. Perhaps one day, when one of my daughters says something kind and loving she will think with a smile, “I am turning into my mother. Lucky me.”

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Why It’s Important For Me To Be Friends With My Ex

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, relationships just don’t work out and the end of a relationship is always a challenge. But when you have children together, things are infinitely more complicated. It can be hard to have a positive relationship, much less a friendship, but sometimes it can be possible.

Being friends with my ex was always a priority to me; I knew that it was going to be the best way for us to successfully co-parent our child.

Our split was a long-time in the making. We’d been together for about six and a half years, the last two of which were long distance. I knew I was unhappy, and he was emotionally checked out, so we both knew it was coming and necessary. There wasn’t an explosive incident; we simply grew apart.

Our break-up was amicable, which makes friendship a whole lot easier.

Our son is still young so being friendly with my ex is important to me. We still have a lot of life left to live, and I always want him to be there for our son. So if I want him to be involved, we have to make the effort.

Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

There are parts of our son’s life we will have to do together. First days of school. Christmases. Birthdays. High school graduation. Taking him to college if he chooses to go. Maybe one day he gets married. Or what about if/when he has kids? I couldn’t force my son to divide his life because his dad and I can’t be in the same room.

Being friendly with my ex isn’t always easy though. Most of the time, it’s really fucking hard. There are a many things I do to keep the peace between us because I don’t want my son to suffer. At the end of the day, everything I do is for my son. I know he loves his dad, and I would never want my feelings to stand in the way of their relationship. So I bite my tongue a lot. And I remind myself that he’s a decent guy and a pretty good dad, so I have no reason to not be friends with him. Sure, he drives me bonkers sometimes, but that isn’t unique to him — any friend can get on your nerves from time to time.

Because I want to have a positive relationship with my ex, I’m upfront and honest. I call him on his bullshit. When he could do better, I say so. We can be friends, but at the end of the day, his first priority is being a good dad.

But I also have to pick my battles. When he’s not pulling his weight, I feel like I’m the one making all the effort. I don’t like fighting, but just like with any other friendship, sometimes you have to let them know when they’re not being a good friend. It’s just in this case, he’s usually being a bad friend and a shitty dad. I can handle him treating me poorly, it’s when his behavior affects our son that I have a problem.

I’m discovering that being friendly with my ex is a learning curve. There is no handbook on how to get along. Some days we can joke around like pals, and I remember that he’s a good guy. We try and look out for each other when we can. He’ll come over and help me put together furniture. Or I’ll let him have an important package sent to my house when he’s working long hours. Last Christmas he got me a nice gift. He didn’t have to, but I really appreciated the gesture.

Of course, we want each other to be happy and successful in life. For us, our careers are a huge part of our lives. We’re both in creative fields, so we understand each other’s struggles. Sharing career wins is an important way for us to show we care. When he books an acting gig, I make sure to congratulate him. And he will tell me he’s proud of me if I get a huge byline. Because our successes don’t just affect us; they affect our son too.

It takes a while, but eventually you do can get to the point of being cool with each other. You have to work at it though; it doesn’t just happen. Some days I have to remind myself to be nice. To treat him with respect on those days when I think he’s an idiot. Making sure that if we’re annoyed with each other, our son doesn’t have to see it. For the most part, we just take it one day at a time.

Even though our relationship didn’t work out, I know he’s not a bad person. The love we had for each other has evolved into something new now. Being friends makes raising our son so much easier. It allows us to hang out with him together. We can sit across from each other at dinner and it doesn’t (always) feel awkward. If the three of us go out together, it doesn’t feel weird. In those moments, I am reminded that he’s just doing the best he can too.

Being able to successfully co-parent hinges on being friendly with my ex. I realize that I’m super lucky in how everything ended. Not everyone gets the luxury of staying friends with their ex, which is why it’s so important to me. Putting in the effort makes a world of difference for us and for our son. When our children can see two people who can get along, they feel more secure. And at the end of the day, isn’t that all we want for our kids?

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Kate Beckinsale Shares Poignant Post About Grieving Your Dad On Father’s Day

Father’s Day comes with a mixed bag of emotions for those who have lost their fathers

Today is Father’s Day, and while many people everywhere will be celebrating and honoring their dads, for many more it’s a day of mixed emotions. Especially if you’ve lost your father, like Kate Beckinsale did, when she was just a child. Beckinsale took to her Instagram account to share a heartbreaking message about what it was like for her — and many children — on days like today.

The actress shared a photo of herself as a little girl, standing next to her mother at her father’s memorial service. Her father, actor Richard Beckinsale, died of a massive heart attack in 1979 when Kate was just five years old.

“Don’t be fooled by ‘children are resilient,'” she begins the post. “This is my mother and me attending the “celebration of life “ memorial service for my dad. I look fine. I was shattered, heartbroken and shocked.”

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Don’t be fooled by “children are resilient”. This is my mother and me attending the “celebration of life “ memorial service for my dad. I look fine. I was shattered, heartbroken and shocked.Every time Father’s Day comes around I remember my father with such love and longing ,and I remember the deep shame, loneliness and self loathing when I was excused from aged 5 onwards from making Father’s Day cards at school. I didn’t know anyone else who had lost a parent and there was no number to call to find advice on how to support grieving children . @kelliauerbach sent me her @the_newyork_times article about losing both her parents before the age of 20. It’s moving and beautifully written and I really advise reading it,if Father’s Day (or Mother’s Day ) is a painful issue for you or your children. The amount of shame children carry for having a dead parent is astonishing . Resources such as the National Alliance for Grieving Children (@childrengrieve )at childrengrieve.org in the US and Winston’s wish at winstonswish.org ( @winstonswish )in the UK give invaluable support to kids in this position, at a time when the rest of the family are grieving themselves. Big hugs to everyone who feels like shit as this lovely holiday comes around . You may not be able to buy a card . You’re in the Dead Fathers Club that none of us wanted to join and yet here we all are. I’m glad we have each other . Love to all xx

A post shared by Kate Beckinsale (@katebeckinsale) on

“Every time Father’s Day comes around I remember my father with such love and longing, and I remember the deep shame, loneliness and self-loathing when I was excused from aged 5 onwards from making Father’s Day cards at school,” she writes. “I didn’t know anyone else who had lost a parent and there was no number to call to find advice on how to support grieving children.”

Losing a parent is a special kind of hell for anyone, but it’s especially tragic when you experience such a profound loss as a young child. Kids don’t know how to make sense of their grief — hell, many adults don’t. When you don’t have the vocabulary, emotional intelligence, and support that comes with age and time, losing your parent like Beckinsale did becomes a defining obstacle you spend the rest of your life trying to process.

“The amount of shame children carry for having a dead parent is astonishing,” she continues. “Resources such as the National Alliance for Grieving Children (@childrengrieve) at childrengrieve.org in the US and Winston’s wish at winstonswish.org (@winstonswish ) in the UK give invaluable support to kids in this position, at a time when the rest of the family are grieving themselves.”

According to ChildrenGrieve.org, childhood grief remains one of society’s most overlooked and least understood issues. The lack of awareness only adds to the grief children endure among their bereaved family as well. Children Grieve aims to “redefine the way our world addresses grief.” They hope to educate and empower people to play a supportive role in the life of each child or teen dealing with a death loss.

Beckinsale’s mother eventually remarried and it appears that she, her mom, and her stepdad are close-knit, which is wonderful.

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What a fam what a fam ❤

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But it’s so important that on holidays like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, we keep in mind that people we know who have experienced parent loss (and estrangement as well) are likely struggling. Support is key during times like this.

“Big hugs to everyone who feels like shit as this lovely holiday comes around,” Beckinsale concludes. “You may not be able to buy a card. You’re in the Dead Fathers Club that none of us wanted to join and yet here we all are. I’m glad we have each other. Love to you all.”

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How A Smartphone App Is Improving My Marriage

Like many couples who marry young, there was no shortage of obstacles for my husband and me at the beginning of our marriage. Having just graduated from college, I was in a period of personal and professional transitions. I’d never imagined that making my adjustments, in addition to witnessing my husband’s own transitions, would be so challenging.

It felt like the entire world was against us. Finding meaningful work was impossible, and living with relatives was not conducive to tending to our relationship. Needless to say, we were both under a shit ton of pressure and would take it out on each other at a moment’s notice.

Our love was suddenly filled with life obstacles and an assortment of curveballs. And both of us made a few choices that made this harder, not easier.

In hopes of getting better, we started seeing couple’s counselors. Each person came with their own perspectives, quirks, and supplemental materials. They also provided faith-based feedback, which didn’t work well with my evolving agnosticism.

The advice we were getting always seemed to be: “Don’t get a divorce; love each other as Christ loved the church.” But we were looking for something more along the lines of an objective yet critical assessment of whether we seemed functional enough to make it.

In all honesty, I was in a period of rebellion. It was a time that no Bible-based content would have worked for me. So when our relationship with our third counselor dissolved for whatever reason (likely terrified of our baggage), we vowed to refrain from seeing any more counselors who were faith-based.

Love Nudge

Unfortunately, we had just as much trouble finding a secular counselor that worked for us. It took us nearly three years to finally find someone we both loved.

Then life happened. We were busy, my husband takes several work trips a year, and before we knew it we had two children to tend to. Counseling fell by the wayside.

In our time with the therapist, we made a lot of progress. But I needed a supplement we could access when life got too too busy, so we decided to try a few “relationship apps.”

Love Nudge

The first three options we tried were either duds or required too much participation from my husband. He often has limited access to his phone and internet so I needed to be prepared to do this independently.

I was absolutely shocked at what app turned out to be “it” for me.

It sounds cheesy, but “The Love Nudge” did it for me, and it’s pretty damn helpful. This Five Love Languages official app is a faith-based relationship resource, albeit discretely faith-based. While I was apprehensive to use faith-based relationship advice, the way I saw it, I had two options. One, I could ditch an app that had many of the features and functions I was looking for because it was tangentially faith-based. Or two, I could get try to get over the decades of religious trauma that pushed me away from the church and use it for what it is.

Love Nudge

I picked the latter option.

The stars must have aligned because I only had to pester my husband a few times before he downloaded it. And I was really blown away when I realized that, despite its simple interface, it allowed us to update each other on what we felt and communicate the best ways to express love in a way that we would actually connect with — THROUGH EXAMPLES.

My hubs’ top two love languages are “Acts of Service” and “Words of Affirmation” and mine are “Words of Affirmation” and “Quality Time.” So we have a lot in common. But it’s also pretty easy for us to miss each other, and when that happens, we have to work even harder to help meet each other’s emotional needs.

The app provides color-coded breakdowns for each of the love languages, along with a useful section that keeps your partner’s love language on display.

Love Nudge

It’s taught me that I can make him feel better with small gestures like taking out the trash or cleaning the dishes, and it’s showed him that when telling me he appreciates what I’m doing for the family, a little goes a long way.

It’s only been three weeks, and I’ve already seen a huge benefit in being able to update a “how am I feeling” meter through the app and suggest actions that can help it reach optimal levels.

Love Nudge

Just when I thought the app couldn’t get any better, we found out a few days ago that we can send action requests as well as personalized messages. This allows me to set reminders for what I want to do for him so I don’t forget when life gets too busy.

Lately, we’ve been so much more mindful of each other’s needs and even started to make little jokes about interacting in a personalized way. Plus, the reminders have been incredibly helpful.

Love Nudge

I know these apps won’t give us all the answers. And everything I read isn’t applicable to our circumstances. But I love that I have finally got into a place where I am mature enough to realize some information is useful regardless of who says it.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been learning to love my husband in a way that connects me with him, and it’s pretty powerful. It just happened to come from a faith-based app.

There are so many things to learn in the world. And we’d all be surprised the kinds of things we could get from revisiting some of our old beliefs.

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To The Friends Who Stick Around When Anxiety Messes With My Mind

Anxiety has a way of ruining good things that happen to me. Even when I’m happy, it comes creeping on me like dark clouds over my sunny day. I convince myself that too much happiness is suspicious, and if I’m happy right now, it’s because something terrible is soon to happen.

Anxiety is not rational. Anxiety is knowing all about the logic of the impossibility of something happening and still convincing yourself that there is a crack somewhere in that logic and that the 1-in-a-million chance of something bad happening will definitely happen to you.

Anxiety also comes with an overthinking mind. It’s an intense mind that never stops thinking, so much it becomes a form of torture. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night sweating, thinking of the things I could have done better, like that one text a few months ago that maybe I should have worded slightly differently.

My anxiety doesn’t only affect me, it affects the people around me too. Anxiety makes my relationships harder. I’m thankful for the friends in my life who stay. I want them to know that it means the world to me because I know I can be hard to love sometimes. I can be paranoid and too sensitive — too much, too me. If I see changes in a friend’s behavior, I come up with tons of hypothetical scenarios that would explain why they hate me right now, because if they didn’t answer my text yet, clearly they must hate me. I skip right past the logical explanation that they’re just busy or feeling down about something wholly unrelated to me.

I convince myself that they’re mad, that I screwed up, that they’ve finally had enough of my overthinking mind. I live in constant fear of losing the people I love. I care so much that just knowing that there’s a possibility that good things could end is unbearable to me.

My anxiety is trying to protect me. It’s preparing me for the worst so I have a chance to grab a parachute to soften the fall. One of my downfalls, though, is that to prevent potential heartbreak, I distance myself from the people I love. It ends up affecting the relationships, even though in reality there was nothing to protect myself against with to begin with. My anxiety and I, we’ve gone through a lot together, and sometimes it’s difficult for us to believe that people can stay even when we’re not our best self. It’s difficult for us to believe that there are people who actually stay through the storms life throws at us. It feels like utopia to believe that forever friends do exist and that they can happen to us too. But forever friends exist, and for them I am thankful.

I know my need for reassurance can come across as needy, and I feel the need to apologize for it. But I want my friends to know that this isn’t something I can control yet, and I hate this about myself too. I, better than anyone, know how incredibly annoying an overactive mind is. I live with it and, believe me, I wish I’d found the “off” button already. Above all, I want my friends to know that having them by my side is the most beautiful gift a girl like me, a girl with anxiety, could ask for. To the friends who stay when I don’t even love myself, thank you.

 

We are Scary Mommies, millions of unique women, united by motherhood. We are scary, and we are proud. But Scary Mommies are more than “just” mothers; we are partners (and ex-partners,) daughters, sisters, friends… and we need a space to talk about things other than the kids. So check out our Scary Mommy It’s Personal Facebook page. And if your kids are out of diapers and daycare, our Scary Mommy Tweens & Teens Facebook pageis here to help parents survive the tween and teen years (aka, the scariest of them all.)

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Video Shows Police Holding Family At Gunpoint After 4-Year-Old ‘Shoplifts’ Doll

The officers can be heard threatening to kill the parents in front of their children — over a Family Dollar doll

A horrifying video has surfaced showing Phoenix police officers drawing a gun on a family after a four-year-old little girl allegedly stole a doll from a Family Dollar store. The way the police are shown handling the situation is difficult to watch — to say their reaction is extreme is an understatement.

Dravon Ames and his fiance, Iesha Harper, say they didn’t notice their oldest daughter walked out of the store with a Barbie doll when the incident occurred last month. Soon after, they pulled into an apartment complex and police officers stormed the family, banging on the windows of their car and screaming at them with guns drawn and threatening to kill them.

KILL THEM. OVER A DOLLAR STORE DOLL.

“Our hands are up, we’re just trying not to get shot, trying to stay calm,” Ames tells CNN. “He had a gun drawn.”

The police were responding to an anonymous caller about a “possible shoplifting incident of a dollar store Barbie doll.” Court documents show that the call did not come from the Family Dollar in question. Which means that likely, someone shopping at the store saw the girl hang onto the doll as she left and this is how that person felt was the best way to handle it.

“Get out of the f*cking car,” an officer can be heard saying in the video above, which was recorded by a witness. One officer can be seen handcuffing Ames, first on the ground and then against a police car. The officer kicks Ames and can be heard yelling multiple times, “When I tell you to do something, you f*cking do it.”

Another overzealous officer is seen pointing a gun at the car, with the children still inside, while another cop yells, “You’re gonna f*cking get shot!” They also accost Harper, who is five months pregnant, as she eventually exits the vehicle and holds her youngest daughter, who is only a year old, in her arms. He can be seen trying to snatch the child from her, while screaming at her to put the baby down on the pavement.

Harper says the officer told her he could have “shot you in front of your fuc*ing kids” as she was arrested, handcuffed and placed inside the police car. Every single moment of the entire scene is mind-boggling in its injustice. “I really thought he was gonna shoot me in front of the kids,” Harper tells CNN. Utterly horrifying.

Ames and Harper have since filed a notice of claim against the city of Phoenix for $10 million, which serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. The city of Phoenix has 60 days to respond to the notice and the next step is filing a lawsuit, said Thomas Horne, the family’s attorney. Horne says officers committed battery and unlawful imprisonment, among others, and both the police department and city are liable because of “inadequate policies, training, supervision.”

There is no body camera footage available from the officers, and they never filed a report about it. The department is currently investigating the incident. “The Phoenix Police Department takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and for this reason, this incident is currently being investigated by the Professional Standards Bureau.”

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams shared a video on the department’s Facebook page, where she says she was “disturbed by the language and the actions of our officers.”

 

She says she began an immediate internal investigation as soon she was made aware of the video. “I assure you that this incident is not representative of the majority of Phoenix police officers who serve this city,” Williams says. “I wish investigations could be handled instantly, but each one takes time and deserves the due diligence before we can discuss specific details.”

As for their family, Harper and Ames say both of their daughters are traumatized — the four-year-old has been wetting the bed and having nightmares since the incident. Their one-year-old suffered from “dead arm” after the officer tried to yank her repeatedly from her mother’s arms. Both Harper and Ames are still suffering post-trauma from the inexcusable and violent reactions of the police officers.

“I’m supposed to protect my family, I’m cuffed up,” Ames says. “I’m hearing my daughter screaming, my fiancée being handled. It broke me down so much.”

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Church Saves Drag Queen Story Time After Politicians Shut It Down

“We want the children of this community to know that they are loved no matter what”

Drag queen story time has been spreading across the country like wildfire, and rightfully so. The idea of drag queens, all done up and looking fab, reading children’s book sounds totally amazeballs. Not only is it entertaining, but a perfect and fun way to teach youngsters about love and inclusivity.

However, not everyone is psyched about the idea — including politicians in Texas — who recently canceled an event at their local library. They claim that they canceled the event not because it involved drag queens, but to protect children from potentially being exposed to “registered sex offenders.”

A statement on the city’s website announced the cancellation in May, citing that “live entertainment with outside guests” not on Central Texas Library System’s “slate of recommended entertainers” were scheduled to be involved. The city claimed that they also had received “input from many citizens and community stakeholders” urging them to cancel it.

Instead of sitting back and depriving children of their chance to learn simultaneously about inclusivity and what happened to Humpty Dumpty when he sat on a wall, a local progressive church stepped in with an act of awesomeness. See, there are churches out there teaching you that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to God!

Open Cathedral, an LGBTQ-affirming church in the burbs of Austin, decided to rent out a room at the Leander Public Library this Saturday for the reading and host the event themselves. And guess what? It sold out almost immediately. “Stories for children, read by a drag queen, about loving yourself and how wonderful it is to be special,” they promised on the landing page for the event.

“We want the children of this community to know that they are loved no matter what,” Ryan Hart, the church’s lead minister, told HuffPost about why they decided to host the event. “That is the mission of our church as a whole, to celebrate diversity and community in God, to empower wonder and compassion for all of creation.”

The church announced the books to be read at the event on their Facebook page, all of which promote individuality.

Michael Neu, a spokesman for the city, elaborated on the subject, telling the Austin American-Statesman that part of their motivation for canceling it was due to a registered sex offender reading to children during a Houston drag queen story time. He pointed out that had there been a background check conducted, the situation could have been avoided. According to the Leander Public Library website they “do not currently conduct or request background checks of its presenters and guests.”

Leander Mayor Troy Hill supports the cancellation, as he believes that social issues and politics don’t have their place in the library. In fact, he pointed out that other, more conservative events, would also be frowned upon. “I would be curious if those favoring ‘inclusiveness’ would feel the same had it been storytelling time about the life of Donald Trump, or how those who want it canceled would feel about canceling a story of guns in America,” he told ABC affiliate KVUE. “We have lost our ability to discuss with respect for opposing views.”

While the story time will go on for those 150 individuals with tickets, the city has decided to close the library on Saturday due to anticipated protests. And, the church promises that whoever is reading will have passed a thorough background check.

We are totally supportive of any events that support inclusivity — including drag queen story time. If you aren’t into the idea, then just don’t go. It’s really that simple.

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