Silence is Golden. (If by “Golden,” you mean, “Crap.”)

First and foremost: I am honored, touched and amazed at the outpouring of support I’ve received in the last few days … both personally and through this blog. You all rock, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for you, my “alleged” literary followers. Or are you alleged “literary” followers? Alleged literary “followers”? Oh well — whatever you are, thanks. πŸ˜‰

Second: Yesterday I heard and experienced a whole batch of crazy. But in the end, justice mostly prevailed.Β  This was, of course, after a completely bat-shit crazy melodrama played out before our judge, in which John’s attorney asserted I posted a link from my blog to Marilyn’s blog (‘scuse me? I’ve done absolutely nothing of the sort, despite countless opportunities, begging and pleading by many readers), and that Marilyn even had to shut down her Facebook account because of me (Huh? Wha? I’m so confused…).

My second favorite moment of the day was when the attorney disdainfully said that she has absolutelyΒ  “no idea” how John and Marilyn could even be civil to me based on the venom and evil I spew on this here very blog.


That’s when I decided: She’s reading someone else’s blog. That must be it!

But nope, she’s referring to this one. And so my attorney, who is da bomb, Esq., a personal friend and avid blog reader (imaginary perhaps, but I imagined him to be very powerful and eloquent and rockin’ awesome yesterday), began to tell the true story of my blog — what he called a “wildly successful, to put it mildly” community of support, healing and conversation focused on the common thread of reinvention.

I hope your ears were burning, because we were talking about you.

Anyhow, my voice was not silenced. The drama is not over, but the blog will go on. I’ll of course be recounting more in the coming days/weeks/years about yesterday’s batch of crazy, but for now, I just wanted to give you the quick rundown. Not that I have any delusions of grandeur, but I got the impression that a few of you might be a bit curious…

Again, THANK YOU. I don’t know how to say it any other way. I felt you all right there beside me yesterday, rolling your collective eyes and sighing audibly at appropriate times.

So now, I have a wee bit of catching up to do. There’s laundry, rearranging camis in ROY G BIV order, responding to comments on old posts and normal life to get back to, just for a few days. Then I hope to be back and blogging. Louder than ever.

I hope you’ll join me.


(And btw, you may have noticed my reference above to my second fave moment of the day, which begs the question: What was my favorite-favorite moment of the day?

Hands down: When his “brilliant” attorney kept trying to get “likenesses” of the ex and his wife excluded from future posts. We all took that as tacit, sweet acknowledgment of the striking resemblance between the Ex’s wife and Marilyn Manson.

The judge refused.

Is she hot? You tell me... (Handout photo)

It was a bright spot of sanity and levity among a whopping batch of crazy. Just sayin’…)

XOXO Everyone! (Especially you, Kelly-Kathy-Dee-Happy-Sally-MARILYN! I see you, silly girl!)

174 thoughts on “Silence is Golden. (If by “Golden,” you mean, “Crap.”)

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Loud and proud, Lola — I’m thrilled that my voice was not silenced. I have much to say, so I’m grateful I have the opportunity to say it!

      Thank you so much for the support…


  1. MIssKay says:

    Eff Yeah Baby, the wait, much like Marilyn and John’s marriage is over. I am so very happy that our very own Mikalee has not been silenced and that the wonderful support group you created thrives all the more. Two thumbs way the hell up…a You-Go-Girl, and a whoop whoop to you!

  2. thestripperdidit says:

    What a relief that this “alleged” follower can continue to heal along side you and you can continue to “imagine” us one step forward at a time!!! Sorry the Mayor of Crazy Town (whose copy-cat blog can easily be found on the( very PUBLIC )world wide web by any monkey with an 8th grade education) attempted to re-write the First amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It’s comforting to know that our right to Freedom of Speech and Expression are still protected by our free Democracy.
    And now I must go gargle with Clorox to bleach the image of Kelly-Kathy-Dee-Happy-Sally-Marilyn (shout out and to another imaginary alleged reader ( read: STALKER) from my mind.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Mayor of Crazy Town: I love it! (and I may have to steal that one, if you don’t mind…)

      It wasn’t a slamdunk — not as much as I would have thought considering our First Amendment rights and all. I essentially received a sideward glance from the judge, who almost came down on the side of “You know, you should know better than to speak your mind about your father’s children in a public forum…”

      But if you could have seen the image the Ex’s attorney painted of me and this blog (because the judge of course had not read it), then you could almost understand her concerns.

      The fact remains: I do not disparage them on this blog. And this blog really isn’t even about them — unless they make it about them.

      Thank you for the support — it’s MUCH appreciated! πŸ™‚

  3. Cynthia Byerman-Watson says:

    You go girl! You just never know who, what or why but you are making a difference in this crazy world. The pebble that you toss out into the stagnant pond sends out ripples (not to be confused with those tic-tac style items) that are felt far away. So keep it up.

  4. hrhdaf says:

    Hurrumph! I think I take exception to being an ‘alleged’ follower of your blog, cos I’m sure I really do sit and read it.
    So pleased things went well for you yesterday! And I really sniggered at your fave moment of the proceedings!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      It was a GREAT favorite moment. I literally had to stifle the belly laugh…although a tiny little snortle may have come out unintentionally…

      …and thank you for allegedly not being alleged! πŸ™‚

  5. greenlightgirl says:

    Dear Ms. Imaginary Blogger:

    Court appearances can be very expensive, I know from experience. I hope the wise attorney asked the even wiser Judge to make John and Marilyn pay your attorney’s fees due to the filing of this nuisance suit. I’m still dealing with a whole wacky post divorce and custody craziness six years later. With the money I have spent my home could have been paid off AND four years of my son’s college could have been completely paid for at this point. I’m still praying I’ll be able to refill my retirement account somehow. That reminds me, it’s been a little quiet recently, which usually means “the others” are up to something, and that something is NEVER good! Keep writing and keep laughing. Humor is the only way to successfully make it through to the lovely life of reinvention we now call 2.0.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Oh God … this doesn’t bode well. Here I thought I’d be done with this and then — well, you know — DONE! But maybe not, if you’re still dealing six years later. Ugh.

      I don’t know how people stay mired in the system for long stretches of time. I mean, it’s only been since November for me, and I could quality for a jacket with purty buckles at times. Just ask Boyfriend Brett.

      I wish you peace and resolution…and a way to rebuild that retirement account!

      Thank you for the support, greenlightgirl!

  6. elysianhunter says:

    Congrats on what sounds like at least a preliminary victory. I know how stupid and petty and messed up some people can be. I think these two would be a lot less messed up if they would mind their own business and move forward instead of wasting everyone’s time and energy and money by playing petty games. I detect a bit of karmic justice- and not a little bit of guilt- going on for these two. I have to wonder though, if they are so blissfully happy with themselves, then why are they still bothering with creating misery for you? Is it because of the kids? If anything, one would think that they would want, if not a cordial relationship, at least a civil one, with you for the kids’ sakes. Then again, I am one of those pesky rational types.

    I scratch my head on that one, but then I washed my hands of my ex and his creepy family many years ago, THANK GOD. I don’t wish them ill, in fact, I hope their lives are going great-all that and a bag of chips. Really. I’m just elated that I never have to come in contact with any of them again.

    You have every right to your First Amendment rights- and to tell it like it is. The truth, no matter how sordid, or how bat-shit crazy, is not slander, and is protected speech as far as I’m concerned. You have been wronged in many ways by these two nut jobs. A lesser woman would have let it go at that and would have let them defeat her.

    BUT you have the courage to deal with it with dignity, grace and style. That’s what they can’t stand. They want you to cower down like a puppy with her tail between her legs and they’re PO’d when that doesn’t happen. The intimidation isn’t working. You have found a great deal of support and catharsis writing about your experiences and sharing them with all these crazy people here in fly-over country and beyond. You go girl! And if the crazy couple doesn’t like it, TOO BAD! Sometimes the truth hurts.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      If I were playing armchair psychiatrist — and I emphasize IF — I would guess that for Marilyn, causing me misery somehow makes up for the 14 “lost years” for her. She thinks she and my Ex should have been together since the very beginning, and since he chose me over her all those years ago, I now need to pay. Ugh.

      Funny thing is, if anyone needs to pay — it’s the Ex. He’s the one who chose! He and I dated for 3 years … he proposed to me … heck, he’s the one who asked to start a family! Oh well, I wish them well — all that and a bag of chips, as a wise imaginary friend once said.

      Thank you for the amazing feedback and support — I truly feel blessed to have such an amazing audience!

  7. markp427 says:

    Trust me, I’ve been looking for that link and I know for a fact it does not exist. (But only because I also get off on watching train wrecks…it’s hard to look away, you know?). Congratulations on the victory, and there was never a doubt in my mind that you’d keep on blogging!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Well trust me, there were many moments in that courtroom when I thought to myself, “I’m not going to be able to keep on blogging…”

      Good thing I was wrong!

      And yes, agreed, train wrecks are awesome. But not the literal kind, because they’re just gross. 😦

  8. Phil says:

    I am deeply offended at “allegedly” referring to me as an “alleged follower.” I happen to know I exist because I had my white ass kicked by a stupid ass attorney like this one. So now I am confused and depressed because I doubt my existence. I feel this has caused me emotional pain and suffering. I would like to petition this alleged lawyer to apologize. There is one thing more powerful and dangerous than any law degree–It’s a pissed off blogger with a key board. Bring It law boy. You will be a believer when you feel the bite of a blogger.

    • TaraFly says:


      Heck with the apologies, you should SUE them for the emotional pain and suffering caused by “alleging” you don’t exist… how does $6 million sound? πŸ˜‰

      • Phil says:

        That would help dry up the tears from the torment of my torn tortured soul. But it’s not about money anymore. What is an apparition going to spend money on anyway? You can have my share. I just want the voices to stop telling me to jump from high places and the back flashes from Nam to go away.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Oooh. This could be fun to watch.

      Except one clarification: “law boy” has girl parts. Just thought you might like to know…

      Sorry ’bout the confusion and depression. Might I recommend a Bloody Mary? It soothes what ails ya!;)

  9. Mike Wachsman says:

    Must have been some weight off your shoulders, eh? The fact that this even WENT to court is ree-damn-diculous, for many reasons … but mostly because Marilyn isn’t dealing in reality here. I’ve wanted you to post the address of her alleged “blog” (and even thought about asking you REALLY REALLY nice) but you’ve refrained. You have handled this like a real trouper, and have truly taken to heart the adage “when life gives you lemons, make a rum and coke” … or something like that, right?

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Hahaha…I just responded to Phil’s comment recommending he turn to Bloody Marys without re-reading this one — great minds, Mike!

      Hmmm: Does rum and DIET Coke work? Must consider…

      And you’re right, even if you asked really really nice, I’d probably not post the link. Others have tried a similar approach — and failed.

      Thanks so much for the support!

  10. Sue says:

    The cheering you hear is from all your imaginary followers. I sat down a few months ago when my friend forwarded your link. Since I was going through a “you can’t make this shit up” type divorce, I read your blog into the wee hours starting from the beginning. Of course I then HAD to subscribe to it so I didn’t miss a thing. I feel like I am on my own journey of self re-discovery and even though we all may be living vicariously through your trials and tribulations…I’m glad we aren’t alone.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Oh, Sue — first off, I’m so very sorry for your own bat-shit crazy divorce. I wish you continued healing through self re-discovery. It’s a painful path, but it’s fruitful on the other end…keep persevering!

      And thank you from the bottom of my blogging heart for being part of my cheering section. I’m truly blessed to have like-minded souls on my side. It’s so nice to know we’re not alone, right?

  11. wordsweneversaid says:

    *laughing my ASS off!!!!!*

    (Sorry – the Manson pic did me in)

    Go do life hun – then get BACK here and exercise your right to be yourself!


    P.S. ‘Your ex is a Dink’ – yep…I’m standing by that.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Glad you could appreciate the pic. One day, I imagine an injunction from Mr. (ahem…Ms?) Manson himself, considering I’m insulting him through this storyline. Now that would be an understandable piece of judicial documentation…

      Thanks for the kind words — and appropriate assertion about the Dink of an ex! πŸ˜‰

      • walker says:

        i know this is long after the fact of your courtroom drama… but am glad you were successful and think your blog is… awesome (forgive the adolescent term, but it was around long before they were).

        about mr. manson… i don’t know much about him, but in a few interviews i’ve seen, he presents himself as intelligent – and without the makeup, is quite normal in appearance.

        which leads me to think that the real resemblance is shallow and make-believe. and perhaps that’s even more appropriate.

        well, whatever… i wish you very well mb. thanks for sharing your journey.

        • Mikalee Byerman says:

          “Awesome” just happens to be one of my favorite terms — because it’s adolescent! So thank you for the awesome compliment.

          Yes, I do agree with you about Mr. (Ms?) Manson. We’ll go with the “shallow” nature of the resemblance — definitely apropos!

          Thank you so much for reading and commenting, walker!

  12. Harold says:

    JUSTICE heard you loud and clear! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    We were all there murmuring in all our collective breaths. M U R M U R I N G, fits doesn’t it! The alleged ones were heard too! πŸ™‚ murmuring

    Can’t wait to hear more. Go ahead and relax some, gather your thoughts, we will all be here when you are ready.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Thank you, Harold! And while “the others” in my situation may allege that you were collectively murmuring, I heard you all in a striking joyful chorus of support.

      And you sounded mighty nice, if I do say so myself…

  13. Mary Alice aka Maggie says:

    I sent you positive energy and as much moonbeam-type stuff as I had to spare yesterday. I’m so very happy they weren’t able to silence you. Your voice is needed out here in fly-over land. Too many of us have been beaten down by b.s. of some sort or other from an X. You’re standing up for yourself, your children and for the alleged gang out here. BTW, the b.s. you’ve been getting qualifies as really bizarre-o, however. WTF is the matter with those two? Sheesh.

    Hang in there, kiddo. We, ‘the alleged’ will be waiting for an update.

    P.S. I hope your attorney convinced the judge they have to pay his and the court’s fees for their crapola.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I’m sorry you can relate to the Ex-delivered crap…and I agree that too many have been “beaten down” by similar circumstances. I’ll tell you, that’s one of the very reasons I keep on keeping on: I truly think there is a societal standard to just “keep your head down” when you’re going through a divorce, often “for the sake of the children.” I don’t know about you, but I want my children to know (eventually — not now, unless it happens beyond my control) that their mom was strong and did not just sit back and accept a heaping pile of undeserved crap. I would never ask my own daughter to live her life like that … I’d encourage her to be heard.

      Again, this all must be age appropriate — but I hope my kids will ultimately realize I did the very best with the hand I was dealt.

      And since this case also deals with a smattering of custody/other issues, I have no problem paying my share of the legal fees. In other words, there happens to be some “legitimate” in the crazy filing, as it pertains to my kiddos and where they’ll spend their time.

      Thank you for the support and encouragement — much appreciated!

  14. Connie T. says:

    She is the one who did the article in the paper of her talking about her marriage with her name right there for the whole world to see. If she had to shut down her Facebook, then it was probably because she listed her name. Tell her not to read you blog if it bothers her so much. As far as a link to her blog. I can’t find it so I don’t know what they are talking about. You never listed a link to it.
    You just tell the truth about what happens to you. Like I said, if they don’t like it, then don”t read it.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Indeed — and this was one of my attorney’s very arguments: “If they don’t like what she writes, your honor, then they should discontinue accessing it!”

      At the end of the day, there’s no smoking gun: No link to her blog, no lies, no disparagement. Just the truth that the “others” just don’t happen to like.

      (And I have absolutely ZERO idea what the Facebook reference from other attorney even meant…but you’re right, it probably has more to do with her actions than anything I could have allegedly done. Bizarre, to say the least…)

      Thanks for the comment, Connie!

  15. Phouka says:

    Whew! I’m glad to hear you have not been silenced, glad to hear things went at least reasonably well yesterday, and uber-glad that you didn’t keep us in suspense. Keep on keepin’ on–you rock!

  16. Gail says:

    I let everybody know that you won…..THEY ALL send their love and happiness. I think the funny part is you know John and Marilyn are still reading to see the comments and now realize the entire blogging nation thinks they are ditzs. Maybe they will now finally go away and find somebody else to follow around….Maybe Marilyn Manson has a fan club of look alikes??? I know who to nominate for president!
    Love you, Gail

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I’m totally on a new mission now: Find a fan club of Marilyn Manson lookalikes. I’m on it!

      Thank you for the incredible support, Gail — and please send my love right back to the extended family of support you represent. This still feels surreal: I remember those early days, many years ago, and it’s crazy to think I’m still going through it. Maybe this represents a chapter closed? Fingers crossed…

  17. Lori says:

    Hey Mikalee! Congrats on your win; although I am complete mystified that something like this would be let inside of a court room (along with a lot of other things). Anyway, you are a brilliant writer….hope as you are writing this stuff you are letting it go, too. I know you have the “parallel arrangement” with the kid’s custody and I hope they are doing well. Kids are so freaking resilient that they can weather a lot. I just wear rose colored glasses most of the time, now, it’s probably a little obnoxious…sorry! Anyway, I was a little scared to comment because of the post I read about your sleuthing ability and then I thought….so what, I’m not Marilyn or any of those other aliases and hell I don’t even break the speed limit by much, so…here I am. In my own selfish best interest I must plug my own blog. I sincerely love your writing talent, I always laugh and sometimes I nearly wet my pants and I want to invite you over to read mine… Don’t worry, it is not your typical bliss-y, law of attraction blog; same message but different. Come give me your opinion. Good Luck with your reinvention and most importantly all good things for you & your kids!! I really mean that. Oh, I’ll save you some time….I’m writing this in Georgia…no need to do the sleuthing on this one!! Much Love!! Lori
    PS Also sounds like this has been a boon for business..Good for you!! (I specialize in Silver Linings)

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Lori, I love love LOVE that you say you “specialize in silver linings.” What an amazing thing to specialize in! Perhaps some day I’ll do the same — I’d love that. πŸ™‚

      I look forward to checking out your blog … always interested to read different perspectives. It’s funny you mention the law of attraction, as I’m planning a future post on the very topic. Stay tuned!

      Thank you for the well wishes, especially for my kids. They are wonderful, and they are mostly ignorant of what is going on. Mostly. I know it touches them on some level, and I constantly “mourn” that in a little corner of my soul. But the rest of the time, I’m keeping that stiff upper lip and letting them see a mommy who loves them, thinks the world is theirs for the taking and tries to remove as many obstacles as possible to make way for their ultimate success in life. They are one of the primary reasons I do what I do — other than the fact that I must be true to myself.

      Anyhow, thank you for the wonderful comment! πŸ™‚

      • Lori says:

        I know, we want to protect them from everything; but in the end they WILL be stronger and it is a great example to set….being true to yourself.

        Your ex should be ashamed of himself…I think the end is near for that relationship!!

        About the silver linings…you seem to find them pretty well yourself!!


        • Mikalee Byerman says:

          …so many people (friends, readers, etc.) foresee the end for them, but I do not. I truly believe they are fated, star-crossed lovers, and to be perfectly honest: I hope they are.

          My favorite quote:

          “The best revenge against a woman who steals your husband is to let her keep him.”

          LOVE IT! πŸ™‚

  18. Elizabeth Harper says:

    I found her blog pretty easily without you needing to provide a link. My best friend has said if she ever goes missing she wants me on the case because I have a nose like bloodhound when it comes to sniffing out clues.

    That your ex and his new wife have taken you to court regarding matters of privacy while (C) writes under her new, and your old married name is a bit silly. She doesn’t even try to maintain anonymity and based on what she’s said about you, I would think she might be in trouble for making so much nasty stuff public.

    If she were really happy and satisfied with her new life, the one you ” stole ” all those years ago from her, I would think she would just get on with living it minus the drama.

    Speaking of drama, I remembering seeing a made for TV movie where the old girlfriend (GF1) insists the boyfriend get rid of the new girlfriend (GF2) after old (GF1) gets him back. She wants (GF2) killed because he had sex with (GF2) and in order to pretend as if it never happened,(GF1) wants her to disappear. Scary stuff, huh?

    Perhaps, your ex’s new wife wants to make you disappear in a manner of speaking with her weird behavior like the nail polish thing with your daughter or by trying to force you not to blog. She probably wishes you’d never existed and acting out like she’s doing is the best she can do in a situation she can’t control.

    Something doesn’t feel right in that house and it would drive me insane to have my daughter have spend time with someone so petty in her behavior that she took the polish off your little girl’s fingernails in an effort to break your supportive link.

    That did it for me.

    It’s a shame that all of this post divorce drama will have an even greater impact on the children than the divorce and your husband’s remarriage. Divorce is hard enough on kids without having insecure stepparents who act like playground bullies.

    I wish you luck, Mikalee.

    I’m a real reader by the way with the links and blog to prove it.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Yip, Elizabeth: you’ve just joined the super-sleuthy reader cadre. Welcome! πŸ˜‰

      I agree with all of your assertions on so many levels. There is something uber-hypocritical about the idea that she is blogging, sharing her alarming ideas with her “readers” (in quotes because I’m convinced most of them are my readers, but whatever…). Anyhow, I would have a problem with it — except I have no concerns about the power of her words. I’ve seen good writers and good blogs, and hers isn’t a platform to which I give one ounce of credibility.

      But of course, where I DO have concern is when it comes to my children. Her blog is clearly fueled by insecurity, immaturity and a desire to “one up” me … not the foundational emotions of a happy step mom. Ugh.

      Regardless, I’ve always said there’s a made-for-TV movie about my life. It is the exact storyline you’ve explained above — with a techie/bloggy edge. I think it’ll be huge! πŸ˜‰

      Thank you for the luck and for being “real.” All appreciated!

  19. TaraFly says:

    I’m sure the judge didn’t want to get into hot water by forcing you to close your blog… trying to regulate content on the internet has opened HUGE cans of worms in many courtrooms.

    Unfortunately, given the access to information online, it’s all too easy to find out who your ex-husband is, and through him… his new wife. I had relatively no trouble at all, using a few search tricks. Although I’m not a venomous person who verbally attacks strangers on blogs or social networking sites… I can see where a couple loyal followers showing their “support” on her sites might be causing them some distress.

    Sadly, these kinds of she said/he said/she said wars happen all over the place… offline and online.

    I’ve been a lurker on your blog because I love your humor, as well as my natural “voyeuristic” tendency to live vicariously through someone else’s misery. Sorry!
    My divorce(s) have been relatively painless, so I’m more than willing to feel yours.

    Sadly, and I hate to say this (being a blogger and lover of free speech myself), all this mud-slinging back and forth will only hurt your children in the long run.
    They need to feel respect for their father at least. There needs to be an effort to get along with him for their sakes.

    Perhaps this blog is causing him to see you as the opponent, rather than as a team-mate who is willing to cooperate.
    Of course, we – your alleged followers – do not see the whole picture…
    We don’t see, for example, the lengths you go to “make peace” with your ex… and its possible that a blog directed at showing other wives The Path (hehe, non-spiritually speaking) might be more beneficial in the long run. πŸ˜‰

    Dwelling on the negative aspects of your situation – “OMG, look what they did now!” – rather than the successful way you handled it and reestablished a working partnership … is only fueling a war between the camps.

    As entertaining (and sometimes shocking) as these episodes are to read… your ex and Marilyn have no recourse but to play defense, making your struggle even harder.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is… there are some things that cannot be safely blogged about. I’ve opened my mouth “to share my experience” a few times, and it has almost always made the situation worse…

    I once wrote about my childhood, and my mother, assuming that she would never read my blog. (She is rarely online, and can barely figure out the mechanics of sending e-mail…)
    But lo-and-behold, she found my website, my blog, AND the post I made concerning her. And there was much hell-raising, hurt feelings, and apologies needed afterwards. That was only ONE post, and relatively little was actually said in it… in fact, there was only one line she wanted me to recant, although it was a true fact.

    Sometimes the freedom to speak and blog about your experiences is akin to walking a thin tightrope of ethics. I usually ask myself first, “Will this hurt someone?”
    Although I don’t always acknowledge the answer. πŸ˜‰

    Good luck! This alleged follower is anxious to see you happy and successful. πŸ™‚

    • Salmart says:

      I don’t think MiIkalee mudslings at all. I believe her parents, when they say buckets of mud remain unslung. (I love inventing new words too now.) She gives a few examples of crazys but only to encourage discussion and to make us all feel less alone as we tackle similar scenarios. I don’t think she’s written anything that would need to be hidden from a teenager. If her kids have inherited her sense of humor they will see the funny side & enjoy Mom’s sharp wit.

      The danger of non-exposure of said crazies, is that it gives Mr & Mrs Dingbat license to carry on crazies without any fear of judgment. (Now we’re her alleged minders). And the more crazies, kids are exposed to, causes more damage. So it’s the case of the lesser evil.

      I don’t think her blog at all, is a he said/she said catfight. Nor does it dwell on the negative, as you suggest. It is a damn good read for those who can relate to her journey (and others) and always written in a positive humorous light. I see nothing there that would significantly alter the respect they will have or won’t have for their father, when they are old enough to process this blog. As many ‘alleged’ readers have said, kids are very good judges of dick head & not dickheads. They make that judgment using lots of data and personal experiences, not by reading a few stories.

      I credit Mikalee with excellent judgment in this regard and have read nothing that has winceablility. (There’s another one!) I’ve read enough to know she wouldn’t do or write anything that would compromise her children’s well being.

    • Heidi says:

      Tara, while I agree with you on ultimately needing to protect the kids, my take is that Mikalee’s ex and Marilyn were the original “opponents” in this war and Mikalee spent years trying to avoid confrontation. Listing Mikalee’s kids as “ours” in their public wedding announcement was probably not the best foot to start out on if having a decent co-parenting relationship was ever an intention. As with most people, Mikalee could only take so much…we all have a breaking point at which we will fight rather than endure further injustices. I would say two years is pretty darn tolerant.
      On top of that, some of her complaints against the duo have to do with HOW they protect her kids when the kids are with them. In my opinion, it is Mikalee’s DUTY to question why her young daughter might spend time in the company of a questionable (read: creepy) neighbor. It is her DUTY to ensure instructions from a physician are followed. If bringing these items up in a private manner with the fearsome duo is ineffective, going public is righteous.
      All the other stuff (Marilyn Manson comparisons, ect.) is witty, discreet (some folks still have not found the dueling BLOG), and gives a woman who has had a few rough years a way to get some much needed support and give some to others. In addition, I am pretty sure the duo is hearing Mikalee loud and clear these days…not bad for someone whose voice was completely disregarded in the early days of her divorce.
      I know I don’t really need to say all of this because as all of us alleged, but loyal readers can agree, Mikalee certainly has no problem with finding her own words.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      First of all, TaraFly: Thank you for the comment, and I’m glad you enjoy my humor and writing as an “alleged” follower! And I can certainly appreciate your perspective here.

      But as Salmart and Heidi both suggested (and yes, my parents, God love ’em, affirmed): What I’ve presented here is merely the tip of the iceberg. I have no interest in a mud-slinging, he said/she said war of words. I present the truth, which on occasion pertains to the very real crazy situations in my life. A little more than three years into this craziness, my eyes opened to the idea that others struggle with similar situations, yet there is a societal standard that dictates we just sit back, shut up and take it. Often “for the kids.”

      While I certainly and whole-heartedly protect my children (including from much of what’s presented here), IF they were to find anything out that is presented herein (which, mind you, wouldn’t be from me — in fact, ironically, Marilyn and my Ex were the ones who even sensitized my children to the idea that I was blogging), I would answer their questions in an age-appropriate manner and have a supportive conversation with them about the truth. Because all of this is the truth.

      Please keep in mind: My children are in their home half of the time, and the anger/resentment/hostility toward me in that home has been very real for my kids from the very beginning. Do you think my daughter, at the age of 6, couldn’t recognize why her step mom was removing her nail polish that she and I had just applied the night before? Do you think my son, at the age of 8, didn’t recognize why dad and his new girlfriend cut my daughter’s hair to look exactly like the girlfriend’s hair ONE WEEK after I got my daughter’s hair cut by a professional? They have seen it and felt it from the very beginning.

      There are many reasons I’m doing what I’m doing. Of course, it’s partially selfish — as a writer by education, passion and profession, putting thoughts to paper (or computer) is my therapy. Of course, it’s for my readers — I have seen in the past few years that many,many people go through similar situations, and I need others to recognize they’re not alone in the plight. I think if I had felt the kind of support I’ve felt from you all at the very beginning of my process, my own healing would have been far faster.

      But it’s also for my kids, in a very indirect way. There’s nothing I’ve shared here that they won’t eventually know (or know already, given what is shared with them by the others in my situation). I’m embracing my reinvention through my writing, and I would love for them to eventually see that through my own words and journey. Eventually. And I think through that, they would also know how HARD I worked to protect them from some very real, very ugly crap that was slung my way without cause.

      …and one final word about my “respect” for their father and lack of being a “teammate”: As you seemingly intuitively suggested, you my readers have NO idea what I’ve done to reflect all of that — from the very beginning. In fact, as I entered this process, I always thought to myself we’d be “that divorced couple” that would be able to “do this” in a healthy, supportive manner. But the absolute lack of respect and cooperation I’ve received — and my children have absolutely witnessed on many occasions — soon revealed to me that I was completely ALONE in the efforts of being respectful and a team player. I think anyone who knows me (Heidi included, whom I’ve known off/on since I was in the first grade) would tell you that I’m about as “respectful” and a “team player” as they come. This situation, however, has revealed that it is a one-sided proposition.

      Anyhow, long response, I know…but I think it’s an important one to show a small snapshot of my motivations and my feelings here. You wrote, “…there are some things that cannot be safely blogged about,” and I would argue that there are some things that HAVE to be blogged about. Post-divorce, forced reinvention is painful, sometimes ugly, but ultimately enlightening, and I hope that’s the message most of my readers take away from my posts. I don’t aim subtle, insidious messages at Marilyn and the Ex through my blog (unlike Marilyn) — and in fact, if I have something to say, I’m not afraid to say it. But I did NOT create this situation. The only thing I’m responsible for is how I’ve responded to it, and I’m very proud of how I’ve handled it … if I do say so myself. πŸ˜‰

      Sheesh…it’s a NOVEL! Again, thank you for the feedback, TaraFly!

      P.S. Note to Heidi and Salmart: Thank YOU for your amazing responses! I’m amazed at how much insight you both have into my psyche — and perhaps a little creeped out. Get out of my head, k? πŸ˜‰

  20. sunshine and chaos says:

    While you may describe your lawyer as “very powerful and eloquent and rockin’ awesome”, having read your blog from the beginning I think that also describes you, in spades!

    I am applauding you to the best of my alleged abilities and wish nothing but success and happiness for you and your family.


    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Wow! I’m honored: those words were intended for an amazingly gifted, wonderful man who is representing me — I’m humbled to even be considered to be in his league.

      Truly — I wish you guys could know how incredible my attorney is. And no, that’s not an oxymoron.

      Thank you, Maureen, for a very powerful and eloquent and rockin’ awesome comment. πŸ™‚

  21. caseykayb says:

    It’s good to know you made it through the court case with all of you Constitutional rights intact. It’s also good to know that even her attorney can see the resemblance between the two Marilyns. Haha!

  22. kadja1 says:

    If she had to shut down her FB page, it’s because she allowed people to friend her that told her how the cow ate the cabbage. Not only that, there is such a thing as “privacy settings”! I had to change all of mine up to get a more secure page. I got a few threats because I wouldn’t play referee between the “schoolyard political bullies” so I killed the whole bloody page!

    Congrats on your win! I figured that it would go your way. I agree with the other person though on one issue. You should counterfile for court costs and attorney fees over a frivolous lawsuit since “Marilyn” played both sides of the fence and then tried to say that YOU were the one engaging in wrongdoing–when in fact she probably brought it all upon herself.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      The whole Facebook thing is perplexing…I just don’t understand it. But then, I haven’t understood a lot of their explanations/rationales (probably because they’re irrational…go figure), so I guess I’ll just have to smile and nod.

      Thanks so much for the support and comment — totally appreciated! πŸ™‚

  23. Salmart says:

    Yippee, rah rah, booyeah, whop whop. So glad you’re through that. And it sounds like there were some highlights. I love that the word ‘similarities’ was used. Gotcha. Hilarious. In fact as soon as I found her blog, I KNEW it was her’s by the photo of Marilyn Manson she’s using. I howled with laughter. If she didn’t want to be able to be searched & read by your followers she wouldn’t write in her (your old) married name which is easy to goggle for, with your first name. It’s a very unusual name, so if anyone blogs it & adds ‘blog’ and ‘mom’ , she’s first cab off the rank. If she didn’t want your traffic she wouldn’t use that stolen name! Her doing! Nothing to do with you or your blog.

    What I don’t get, is that she’s making out she’s such a FABULOUS expert mother. She orchestrated 2 broken families by her actions which isn’t what fabulous mothers do! Followed up by years of crazy.

    Fabulous mothers step forward. No, not you Marilyn. Fabulous mothers ensure their children have EVERY advantage possible even if it means personal sacrifice. Her blogs are just one big fraud, and clearly an attempt to somehow paint her as a caring respectable mother. Yucky stuff. I get all creeped out reading them. Can’t karma would work more quickly to end our suffering? The end of her blogs, the end of the fantasy marriage. C’mon karma!!!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      It was an WONDERFUL moment — a highlight of an otherwise icky day.

      Totally agreed about the name — and really, by extension, the idea that she’s even writing is bizarre. She’s clearly not a writer (by education or otherwise), as every post is riddled with typos and misused “your”s and rambling paragraphs. If she didn’t want to be discovered: She didn’t have to be a writer at all! It was her choice to place herself out there, as a fraudulent expert, which is her absolute right to do. But don’t blame me when others figure it all out!

      Creepy indeed…

      Thanks as always for the support, Salmart! Have I told you before how awesome you are? If not: You’re AWESOME. πŸ™‚

  24. Jess Witkins says:

    Been following your adventures for a bit and popped over again from Mark’s Mark My Words blog. I can’t wait to read more about the craziness; I give you mad props, Mik! It sounds like you kept your cool in a most stressful and ludicrous scenario. I’m crossing my fingers everything pans out for you and am thrilled you’ve been able to reinvent yourself and become a successful writer/woman/master of imaginary people! lol.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Mark is awesome. Simply love him and his writing!

      Thanks for popping back over — and your support is much appreciated.

      BTW, it’s fun to be a master of imaginary people! But I do think I need a wand… πŸ˜‰

  25. twentysomethingblogging says:

    I just read your blog from start to finish in one afternoon…and omg. First off, you’re hilarious. Thank you for sharing the shit that DEFINITELY cannot be made up. Second off, yay for you! You’re fabulous and beautiful and witty and intelligent. Your kids are so lucky to have a someone like you as a role model and parent. How you’ve kept your cool is seriously beyond me, as I probably would have done something akin to creating a pseudo-FB account in Marilyn’s name, uploading pictures of her doppleganger, friending all her real-life friends and posting some seriously stupid shit. Instead, you got revenge in the best way, by keeping your cool (because it is a dish best served cold πŸ™‚ ) Well played, Mikalee, well played.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Well then…welcome to the insanity!

      Wow — thank you for the incredible compliments and feedback. It has taken some serious restraint not to completely unhinge on these people, but every time I even consider something close, one thing comes quickly to mind: My children. (Not that my children are a “thing,” but you know what I mean…) I need to stay “above board” and on that lonely high road for them. So that’s where I stay, and I’m grateful to them for the incentive.

      I’m so glad you’re here and hope to see you around these parts again!

  26. Andi says:

    Good Sunday! It’s Andi here, from Double Dose of Special. I hate to put a comment on a post that’s completely unrelated to what I have to say, but I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for taking the time to comment on my guest post on Our Typical Life. I appreciate that you were willing to share your thoughts with me, and that my post touched you in some small way. Although I can’t relate to the divorce part of your life, I am definitely living a 2.0 life! Please come over and visit me on my blog anytime.

  27. Ms. CleverClocks says:

    My parents are going through a crazy horrible divorce… well have been for the last 3 years. A lot of back-and-forth, a lot of lies, a lot of headache in general.
    I hope you stay strong and POSITIVE through this tough time in your life. Remember, you create your own reality through the thoughts you choose to think and the emotions you choose to feel. And most importantly, this is an experience that you will learn from.
    Good luck! πŸ™‚

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I’m so sorry for your situation — it breaks my heart to know how many people out there are touched by similar experiences. And that is one of the very reasons I started this blog. Well, that — and the idea that if I didn’t find humor in my own situation, I might just end up certifiable! πŸ˜‰

      Staying positive is key. But also key is acknowledging that you have a reason to feel sad, allowing yourself to work through that pain. Healing is a long process with many steps…

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

  28. The Hook says:

    Hang in there! It’s quite a world we live in these days, isn’t it? Who would have imagined the ‘net would home to fierce personal battles that play out in front of the world?

  29. jlmx2 says:

    Oh, wooooow. I just read your entire blog. Amazing. What a gift he gave you by leaving. Now, if only he could be a “grown up” and put his kids’ needs ahead of new wifey-poos, things would be great. πŸ™‚
    Then, because I’m weird, I checked out Marilyn’s blog. Night and day. I loooove how the story is spun, and it’s all roses and candied hearts and fate. Um, no… it’s about two selfish cowards who chose the easy way out and hurt their loved ones just so they could fulfill their own needs….and no one else’s. Hey, call a spade a “spade.” You can sugarcoat shit, but it’s still shit. πŸ™‚
    It amazes me how much she looks like Marilyn. Damn, you nailed that one. Even funnier… now she’s pursuing her dream to be a professional writer.
    No contest.
    Amazing story. Like you said, you can’t make this shit up. Truth is ALWAYS more unbelievable than fiction.
    I didn’t see… did the kids stay with you now that the lovebirds are in OR??

    • Joyce says:

      Sugarcoating shit is called “glitter on a turd” in my neck of the woods. No matter how sparkly you try to make it. Nothing you can do…it still smells like poo.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Thank you for the comment and for reading my entire blog — you definitely made me smile with your observations!

      Ultimately, they’ve made the decision not to move to Oregon (despite buying a house there…and telling my kids over and over that they were moving there with them). They’re still here, sharing 50/50 week on/off custody with me.

      I definitely hope to see you around these parts again! πŸ™‚

  30. Kathy Kristy says:

    It’s unbelievable what you have been through and are still standing and can find the humor in it. My ex dumped me for some pig at work, refused to give me his address because he said I would stalk him. You have to care about someone to stalk them. Now they have split up, he still has to work with her and SHE is stalking him. Ironic don’t you think? I am enjoying every monute of it.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Haha! That’s a great story that underscores my belief in the concept of karma. Whether it’s this life or the next — we’re all going to have to deal with the ramifications of our actions some day. Or so I hope!

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment that truly made me smile… πŸ™‚

  31. Magical Bill says:

    Good morning!

    I look forward to your next post.

    The disadvantage of being such a strong writer is that you get comments like this one hoping that your next post comes along soon, sort of like being addicted to a good Charles Dickens serial series that he used to write in the local newspaper.

    All the best – Magical Bill ( I know that I should be using a long dash there instead of a hyphen.)

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Wow — well, now that you’ve made even the slightest connection between my writing and that of Charles Dickens, I find myself completely terrified to post anything at all …

      Nah, just kidding — I know I’ve been quiet for a while, but please know that it’s been a Herculean effort trying to get the planets to align to make way for my next post. Seriously. Or should I say, a Dickensian effort…


  32. belle says:

    You know those ‘Team Edward’, ‘Team Jacob’ t-shirts…? How cool would it be to have a ‘Team Mikalee’!
    Hahaha – I would soooo wear that! πŸ™‚

    Seriously though, so glad you’re keeping your head held high through this; from a really crappy situation, you have come out looking strong and classy, and I, as well as many, admire you. I guess you have at least THAT to thank the evil witchness and her equally pathetic sidekick for (no offence – you were married to said sidekick once. What a lucky escape πŸ˜‰ )

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Indeed: a bullet dodged…a lucky escape to be sure! And I don’t take offense at your observation — not at all. In fact, it makes me smile. πŸ™‚

      Thank you for the support, Belle — and I’ll get to work on the t-shirts. Now there’s a way I can make money through this endeavor. Well, that and my Valentine’s Day cards…

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I know, I know…I’m so busted for being so elusive. Here I fought like hell to not be silent. Then I’m silent. Trust me when I say the irony doesn’t escape me!

      I’m working on the update — honest. Thanks so much for checking in, Michele!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Sorry to open your eyes to such craziness … yip, it exists! It seems nothing is sacred these days…

      But thank you for stopping by and commenting — and for the luck, which I clearly need! πŸ™‚

  33. ournote2self says:

    Once again, great post. I’m looking forward to yet another hilarious post again soon. And don’t worry too much about the whole ‘divorce’ thing. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I see big things in store for you in the very near future. πŸ™‚

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Oooh. I love it … it’s like a prophecy! So much better than my prophetic standby: the Magic 8 Ball, which routinely responds with “Unclear. Check back later.” I can’t tell you how much that one irks me…

      Thank you so much for the support. I definitely agree that everything happens for a reason, and I couldn’t be happier on so many levels for his choice. I am FAR better off!

  34. Bella says:

    New to your blog but I had to comment and say, I’m ever so glad I found you! Once upon a time my home was also wrecked by a Marilyn. In the beginning, I thought my world was coming apart at the seams but fast forward seventeen years and I have to tell you that I’m grateful for the sorry excuse of a woman who decided she couldn’t get her own man. It is now I realize that so many better things awaited me and couldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for her heinous actions. Life has taught me that the best revenge I’ll have is that she keep the loser. I will definitely be back to see how life unfolds for you, and trust me, sometimes the worst of tragedies are blessings in disguise. Your writing is brilliant!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Bella … welcome, and thank you so much for the kind words!

      You and I must be scorned soul sisters: My favorite quotation on my Facebook page is the one you referenced: “The best revenge against the woman who stole your husband is to let her keep him.” LOVE IT!

      I am so much better off personally, and I already know that after only 3 years. The only aspect that still makes this all practically impossible to navigate at times are my innocent children and how it all impacts them. Ugh…

      Congrats on your reinvention, and I look forward to learning more from your insights. Please share, if and when you can…


  35. Tonya says:


    I did a search on “parallel parenting” and found your blog. I agree that it is not in the best interest of the child and seems to allow the irresponsible parent to do whatever they want. My ex-husband also did a 180 in parenting post divorce. It is about 4AM, but I couldn’t stop reading your blog from beginning to end. My ex-husband left me and our son two years ago for his high school sweetheart. I feel your pain! Our marriage wasn’t great, but she presented an opportunity that caused him not to try to make it work. I feel the way they respond to you (and me) is out of guilt. They KNOW they are wrong, but can’t accept that truth. We have a right to be bitter, angry, hurt, etc. AND to express it! Everyone heals in their own time and in their own way. I can’t wait for you to write a series of books (fiction, self-help, doesn’t matter!). I plan to read every one! Just having read your blog has helped. Thank you!

    • Salmart says:

      Hi Tonya

      4.00am. eeek. I bet that hurt in the morning! . I read it from start to finish too, when I came across it. Gripping stuff, you just can’t leave. It was like looking in a mirror but without the wrinkles. Luckily I hopped on board early so I was only a 2.00 am gal.

      Anyway, main thing is you’re here now. Isn’t it comforting to know we are all not alone? Not ugly ducklings, whose ex-husbands traded us in like dirty dishcloths. I felt so alone when it happened to me. I looked around at all the other couples and families and felt such envy that they were still all all doing family things like soccer and school presentations and going on holiday together. I had so much baggage to now process and drag behind me, I couldn’t get across the road.

      Like so many here (bravo) I have also rebuilt and embraced a next best self v.2. But your post touched me in your use of the word WRONG. It’s such a simple and clearly understood word. One of the first words we ever learn. And as you say, cheating on someone you have publicly taken vows with, had children with, and built trust & history with, over a long period of time is just plain WRONG.

      Relationships burn out, go sour, move past their use-by-dates but there are right ways & WRONG ways to end relationships. Especially if it is with someone you care about (or did care about) or the other parent of your own child!

      I use to ponder (yes at 3.00 in the morning) how it could be ‘wrong’ for my ex to be with his Marilyn one day, but a day later, after he had left us, then it’s OK. Didn’t seem OK to me. But all of a sudden we’re ‘separated’ so he can hop into bed with her every night now. What’s up with that?? If it was wrong yesterday & they had to sneak around and lie, how can it not be WRONG today?

      I didn’t find an answer but it sure beat pondering on what he was doing that very moment. Well hours of pondering really, so lots of moments to think on. There were many nights I didn’t sleep at all going over and over the same things in my head.

      I agree they know they acted WRONGLY. So is their subsequent selfish behavior just a smoke screen to ensure their ex acts out whacky things (as they then would) and therefore must be a psycho that must have had to be left? And see all this conflict now, surely, this is evidence that the relationship couldn’t have been any good!! TouchΓ©, no need for guilt!

      If only they could have cared a smidge about their CHOSEN marriage partner & CHOSEN parent of their child/children could they not have tried counseling & exhausted all avenues first before giving up? Didn’t they owe that to their children? Could they have ended the relationship alone, without needing a buddy, to spare the feelings and minimize suffering for their ex-spouses. Could they have taken some TIME before stepping out with their Marilyns? I guess not.

      We can call it immoral, unfair, unwise, hurtful and selfish. But I like your choice of word. It IS just plain WRONG for dumbarses to make those choices and do that to their supposed loved ones the WAY they did it..

      Thanks for sharing.

      • Mike says:

        I think the only word missing from your very accurate description is: Cowardly.

        Cheating is the cowardly way to end a relationship. The resulting selfish behavior is, in addition to everything you already mentioned, an extension of that cowardice in that the guilty party is now terrified of having to face the consequences of their choices. Panic ensues and every effort is made to deflect any/all attention and blame onto the faithful spouse.

        You hit the nail squarely on the head!

      • Mikalee Byerman says:

        Yeah. What she said.


        Couldn’t have written it better myself. And in reality, Salmart has added perspective that I don’t think I had even considered: Their self-serving, crazy-making behavior is indeed crazy making for a reason — they’re trying to inspire “crazy” or “psycho” reactions to provide justification for their initial actions. But sharing words on a blog, or talking with friends, or joining support groups, or getting therapy … these are not “crazy” or “psycho.” Instead, I would call them “necessary.”

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Tonya — thank you so much for stopping by, for commenting, for reading the entire “book” so far … I’m so grateful you’re here!

      And yes, it seems we are seedy story soul sisters…exes leaving us for high school sweethearts. What’s wrong with people? But we have to acknowledge that we are better off for it — despite the seemingly insurmountable pain because of the impact on children. I would do anything to shelter them from this reality, but sadly, that’s not my choice to make.

      I hope you are doing well, but if you’re Googling “parallel parenting,” well…things can’t be that good. It seems you and I can both recognize how this will only hurt the children, as it is like carte blanche for the other parent to proceed, unchecked. And as I’ve suggested, there is evidence suggesting that in situations where parents continue to undermine, parallel parenting is actually contra-indicated.

      Thank you for the support, and please share your story with us throughout these pages — if you’re so inclined. We’re all learning and growing from one another’s examples. It’s very empowering, and I’m glad my silly little blogs may have helped you just a bit. Best of luck to you!

    • Salmart says:

      Hopefully MIkalee is having way too much ‘life’. Or maybe doing a ton of paid work from the interest she’s drummed up here showcasing her amazing talents. Hope so.

      No hurry at all to amuse & inspire us. Hey, we can always talk among ourselves, now we’re all introduced and we’re all Team MIkalee. There’s lots of clever & interesting posts I’d like to complement & comment on. Enjoy your time off, or on, whatever it is Mikalee. You so know where we are when you’ve got something you just have to share. Until then relax & ENJOY!

      • Mikalee Byerman says:

        Thank you for this support, Salmart … it came at a time when I needed it more than ever, and your words allowed me the opportunity to take a deep breath — and assuage my guilt. If only a little.

        There is entirely too much “life” going on right now, as you accurately guessed. Some good, some bad, and LOTS of paid freelance work all at the same time. But I will be sharing the story soon … at least as much of the story I can share, as despite my initial victory, things have changed a bit. Not formally, but through subsequent conversations warning me of consequences that I as a mother am becoming more and more concerned about…

        Anyhow, veiled, I know … so you can guess my challenge with a future post. It’s a fine line I’m treading, and I’ve learned I’m not much of a tightrope walker! Subtlety ain’t my thing!

        Again, though — thank you! πŸ™‚

  36. itsmeandthemoon says:

    Your strength, wit, and passion are completely inspiring. I read your entire blog today, and it gave me so much courage and the kick in the pants I needed. From one blogger to another, I love you!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Aw, shucks…I love you too! In a completely cool, sisterly, non-committed kinda way, that is (can you tell I may have trust issues?). πŸ˜‰

      Thank you for stopping by, and please check back if you need another kick in the pants. I have the world’s greatest readers, and they’re REALLY good at sharing insight, perspective, adding valuable commentary, and holding us all accountable.

      Best of luck to you, and it’s great to “virtually” meet you!

  37. Ivie says:

    You sound a little bitter. Amazing how most of your followers are female. How much money are you doing your husband for? If there wasn’t money involved why didn’t you just leave.

      • Salmart says:

        Haha Joyce. But Mikalee won’t let us put anyone down here, for commenting, so I’ll just stick to the facts so she won’t growl.

        1/. Yep, a little bitter, and proud of it. I’m quoting her here:
        ‘How can a sometimes bitter, definitely jaded, no longer trusting blindsided ex-wife still believe in happy endings?”

        2/. Amazing that most of the followers are females? ?? Amazing??? I find lot of amazing things on the web, but this observation is not one of them. I barely even find it interesting. What is noteworthy is the tremendous number of men that contribute. You go guys!!!

        3/. Not ONE of MIkalee’s posts mentions money, nor does any of the 2000 plus comments.. 2000 plus contributions!!! Now that’s something AMAZING!

        He’s either confusing your blog with someone else’s or he’s just needing a bit of attention today. I’d say the latter,so let’s be mean and not bother.

    • Ashley says:

      Is that you Marilyn?

      For the record…Mikalee is not bitter.

      I think she is handling things remarkably well. The person who is bitter and not acting in the best interests of his children is John. Playing mind games (we are going to take the daughter to Oregon but not the son), allowing Marilyn to undermine Mikalee’s authority (redoing the daughters hair after it was cut and taking off the nailpolish…what are you in the 10th grade?).

      He really should be ashamed of himself…but he is so full of himself I doubt that is possible.

      • Ivie says:

        Why should a man be ashamed of himself if he doesn’t want his daughter to wear nail polish or have inappropriate hairstyles? At least before she reaches a certain age.

        Look there must be money involved here, there always is in most separations. I’m not a troll but from my experience there’s always two sides to a relationship story and we are only getting one here.

        Girlfriends, wives or ex-wives can be very vindictive, it’s only natural, and they don’t think twice when it comes to ratting a man out. Most of their excuses or stories are contortions of the truth.

        By the way any man that contributes and agrees to all this, in my opinion, has been feminized. A real woman will look down on you.

        Good luck in your divorce, considering the way the courts turn these days. You probably will get what you want!

        • Joyce says:

          Ivie, if you’d read the posts about nail polish and hair, you’d know that these situations arose not due to the father’s objection, but the stepmother’s interference.

          I must admit that I posted “go away little troll” after reading your blog extensively. You put forth the following opinion in your blog, “Having been through a few ladies I now realise that all women are stupid, selfish and potential whores. Just like the ladies I have known in my life.”

          It’s unfortunate that you have such a low opinion of *all* women and believe the men who contribute here are “feminized” and therefore unacceptable to a “real woman”. It sounds like you too have suffered betrayal and disillusionment. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. It appears to me that your posts are intended to inflame Mikalee and her followers. Why add to the pain?

        • MIssKay says:

          Poor Ivie, it appears that you have been duped by whatever woman worked you over for whatever money she managed to drain from your bank account. From the couple pleasant quotes (and I mean this with all the sarcasm in my athletically built 5’9″ 145lb womanly body) you too my friend seem to be a little bitter. If you are, hey its okay, stop the macho talk, woman-bashing, condescending attitudes focused on the financial aspects of divorce, and share with the rest of us. We’ve all been there, well the majority of us for that matter. Hell we may even be nice enough to offer you some tips of getting over whatever is bothering you so much.

          You see for most people, well self-respecting people, it is never about the money and more about the principal of things. When either spouse choses to interrupt the foundation of their offspring for their own selfish desires there is much to be dealt with and hereinlies the deep-rooted psychological issues that plague many of us who have been through similiar situations.

          How does one answer questions skewering the minds of their children? Why doesn’t *insert parental figure here* do xyz? Why do I now have to see them a little bit of time as opposed to all the time like it was before? Why should I have two households, two separate sets of friends, two sets of rules to follow? To share holidays?

          Do you realize the emotional trauma from all of this is enough to break even the strongest of people. And children happen to be some of the most inutitive people on this planet.

          Besides, if you managed to do some lovely investigative googling, you can find “Marilyn’s Blog” and put 2 and 2 together. Now if that isn’t the most narcissistic, arrogant, self-serving, sense of entitlement…I don’t know what is. Because sweet little miss thing all but brags about how “fate” brought those two back together while they were married to 2 other people.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Hi, Ivie –

      I’m going to chalk this comment up to one made without context. I have a diverse following, and many of my subscribers/commenters are indeed male. And I would absolutely agree that I’m a little bitter — in fact, as another commenter pointed out, I absolutely take ownership of that fact in my bio! But this “bitterness” did not come without reason. And therein lies the context you’re obviously missing…

      I’d also like to point out that this was never about money, and in fact, my ex informed me upon our divorce that I owed him money for child support because, at the time, I made more than he did. And since that time, due to the economy and my profession as a writer, I was forced to take a significant pay cut — and never ONCE asked him for money. Not once.

      Thanks for the comment — and I hope this clarifies things a bit. I make no mistake that EVERYONE reading my words will necessarily be a fan — and that’s totally your choice to make.

      Take care,


      • Ivie says:

        Hi Mikalee

        Thank you for taking the time to write this response. I put my hands up and admit I haven’t read your whole blog, it is quite extensive! I now believe I was too quick to judge you, I apologise for that. Having been through an acrimonious battle with my ex wife and an ex girlfriend, I now lie back and wonder “what was all that about”.

        What I will say is that at the end of the day we all want the best for the victims of any relationship breakdown, the children. We also hope when they eventually grow up they are not affected, to a great extent, by what they have seen, heard or read.

        In my short time I have seen couples split up, accuse each other of all sorts of things, fight, go through the grind of courts and drag children back and forth. A few years down the road they start seeing each other again! People don’t need to be so bitter when they decide this relationship thing is no longer working out.

        Anyhow I sincerely wish you the best and hope you and your ex can come to a settlement where everyone is happy.


        • Mikalee Byerman says:

          Wow, Ivie … thank you so much for the response, and there’s certainly no need to apologize. You have every right to your opinions, and in fact, the sharing of thoughts/opinions/rants is encouraged on this blog!

          I can absolutely understand your perspective, and while I agree that some people are so bitter that they go to an extreme, I hope you can see that I’m only using these experiences to grow from, learn from, put things into my own perspective (admittedly … one sided) and share so that others can feel they’re not alone. I also hope that through your cursory reading of some of my posts, you can try to understand that this situation has been brewing for years, and I’ve been doing my best despite a very bizarre set of circumstances.

          Throughout it all, however, my children have always been firmly in focus. Their health and well being is my greatest concern. But I’m also a writer — by passion and profession. And I think I have something to say.

          In the end, I’m confident my kids will be impressed at my ability to have shielded them from some particularly crazy-making situations, yet they’ll also see me as a strong, vibrant and opinionated woman. Well — after they graduate from college, that is. Until then, I’m afraid I’m just “mom.” πŸ˜‰

          Thanks again for your thoughts — and truly, you’re welcome to share your experiences here as well. We can all use a healthy dose of the other side of the coin now and then…

  38. Salmart says:

    I’m hurting for you there pal. When you’re THIS quiet something has to be amiss. It was a tsunami that got you, not an earthquake. Why the aftershocks!! Why can’t you be left to live & let live, talk & well, write!

    Don’t feel you have to share anything too personal you’re not comfortable with, if that’s causing you any anxiety or problems. I think you’ve been very sharp in never giving any unnecessary information about others who are playing out (I mean driving) this drama with you, even including your precious children. What has bought about this huge ground swell of interest in your blog is your observations & thoughts on forced re-invention, not on any gory personal details. You’ve had to have some subject matter to discuss, however, or it would be as boring as, well, tossing salad and that would have only bought in 2 comments, one from your mother & one from her friend.

    I found it very difficult to take the ‘high road’ when my tsunami hit. I wasn’t prepared to lie to my sons aged 10 & 13 so I didn’t. So I guess that means we all followed Dad down the low road. If I wasn’t honest, where would each new lie take me? Dad told the boys Marilyn was just a friend who had nowhere to live & was staying with him. Sorry Dad, but I told them the truth. The 10 year old cried & argued with me. What did he think of Dad when he realized he’d been duped? I don’t know, but I wasn’t prepared to keep Dad high in their standings if I had to lie. I also (selfishly) wasn’t prepared for them to warm towards the homewrecker without them knowing what I knew. Just the truth, that’s all I shared. Just the truth!

    I know I didn’t follow the textbook there but on reflection I’m not sorry for any part I played ensuing there was not going to be any ‘happy families’ photos of Dad & the kids and a non-mother. I just didn’t think either of them deserved that sort of respect and I felt I’d suffered enough losses without the ultimate loss of a slither of my children’s affection. My hat’s off to you Mikalee, for showing them so much respect when they showed you none. You’re a better person than me!

    I do however; believe that honesty is not something you should get into trouble for. When you talk about considering the ‘consequences’ of your decisions, actions & blogs, I truly believe that what ever consequences come from HONESTY, you should be able to handle being of such strong character. I do hope so. Team MIkalee doesn’t want to see you in turmoil or being bullied into silence.

    I looked to this saying many times in my darkest hours:

    “The sun will always shine. Just wait for the internal storm to pass. The sun is always there just under a veil of clouds and storms. Keep chasing the rainbow of inner contentment, It’s always there inside you.”

    Keep being honest. Keep being Mikalee. Things will sort themselves out. Do what you need to and don’t worry about us! We’re not going away anytime soon.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Today, I found myself crying in a McDonald’s parking lot. Is that bad?

      And no, it had nothing to do with their rockin’ awesome Diet Coke…

      I will admit it’s been a very rough few weeks. And I’m having a particularly hard time finding my voice right now. But I’m trying — and I’ve committed to a few readers to be back in the saddle early next week. That’s my goal, and I’m sticking to it!

      Thank you, as always, for the amazing support. I couldn’t be more grateful for your encouragement, Salmart…

      πŸ™‚ (<— see, I'm happy now…no more parking lot tears for me…)

      • Salmart says:

        Now that’s a brave girl, saying no more tears. But there will be more tears (even parking lot ones probably.) It’s all part of the grieving process. So many losses on so many levels that we need to grieve for, over a long period of time. Definitely not bad. It’s normal! We’re humans!!

        I use to ponder how it would have been SO much quicker & easier to grieve my ex’s death, as that process would have been pretty straightforward and feelings would include happy memories, proud moments and a gratitude for having met and spent time with such a great loving guy . But to grieve the loss of your loved one, the loss of your marriage (and I thought dignity, but I was wrong), all the children’s losses, the loss of future security etc WHILE you were not functioning due to shock, heartbreak, anxiety, jealousy & anger, now that’s a big ask! And you’re bothered by a few tears?

        Gee, I’d forgotten about all the times I was reduced to tears until I read this. Not long after the brick got me, I went shopping with the boys as distraction therapy. (For me as well as them as it was a real lift for me, seeing them smile.) My 13 year old ran into a skateboard shop & after hours of choosing a board, wheels, bearings & grip tape he came proudly out with it. It had a penis on it!. (Heck, I’m allowed to say a skateboard’s got a penis on it, if you’re allowed to post about a tiara with penises on). I took one look at it & howled like a baby. Uncontrollable blubbering, all the way home. ‘No I do think it’s very cool, darling, I’m just feeling a bit run down at the moment’. Run over more like it.

        It was a long long time before I returned to full emotional strength. And I was fortunate to be left alone to raise the kids when I was traded in so I didn’t have to deal with the bat-shit crazies you are dealing with. Before your blog I was ‘ No problem dear, I’ll bring up the kids alone & do everything for them now. No , no, no need for a thank-you. (There’s never been one) Post your blog: ‘ Off you go dear, I’ll be right being both parents and enjoy every minute. Lucky me! Your loss!’

        Isn’t it great to share with others who know exactly how you feel?

        I have been through a lot, but come through with a dancing happy heart and soul & you will too. But you’re still ‘damaged goods’ this soon on (but fabulous damaged goods in your case) & have even more reason to be ‘run down’ when you are still being bashed by the twin losers. . If my ex’s marilyn (doesn’t deserve a capital) wrote the crap your’s has written I would be writing this comment in my smart stripe jumpsuit.

        Wishing you lots of healing, some good luck in your present battles, and lots of awesome hours with your kids to help make sense of this. And when you can’t tick ‘all of the above’ then give yourself permission for a damn good howl. Very therapeutic!

  39. monicastangledweb says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Mikalee. I hope you had an amazing day.

    I also hope you come out soon, to play. Get back in the saddle and all that. I need you here, my friend. Without you, I feel like part of me is missing, my kindred spirit. So, come back, little sheba, come back! πŸ™‚

  40. Terri says:

    Hope you’re doing well! We haven’t heard from you in a while, although I can see from the comments that you’re working on it. Stay strong!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I’m here…don’t know about strong, but I’m here!


      A post early next week…scout’s honor. And I was a Brownie, so my word is my bond. You can take that to the Brownie Bank!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      You SURE about that Mark? When’s the last time you checked?


      Thanks for stopping in. I’ve made a commitment to another one of my amazing, faithful readers a few comments down: A post early next week. Please don’t go away for good before then, k? I can’t promise it’ll be earth-shattering content … hell, it’ll probably be hardly worth the wait. But it’ll be a baby step for me — and I know I need to take it!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Thank you very much! I’m grateful for my voice, my spirit, my persistence … I just wish I were on an easier path every once in a while. You know, one without man-sized potholes and obstacles flying at me like boulders and flying 2x4s? Oh well…perhaps some day …


      I’m glad you stopped by!

  41. littlenavyfish says:

    Hi, I’m an as-of-tonight convert to your blog. I won’t be able to offer advice based in any kind of experience or anything – for one thing, I’m 20 years old so haven’t quite reached the marriage stage yet; and for another, I’ve been with the same guy since I was 15. But I hope you won’t mind me stopping by to have a read every now and then, because I love the way you write and, if it doesn’t sound too cold, I want to find out what happens in your crazy story!

  42. Phil says:

    Hey Mikalee,

    So great to see the support you have. No doubt you are going through some rough stuff. I just lost a friend who took his own life instead of dealing with this crap. I ended up in jail after my break up. So I decided to dedicate a page to those who have been wounded by love and loss. If you have time here it is:
    You will get through this Mikalee. Your writing well will be much deeper. I hope you use your gift to help people.

    From Lady Antebellum. You Will
    You wake up every morning and ask yourself
    What am I doing here anyway
    With the weight of all those disappointments
    Whispering in your ear
    You’re just barely hanging by a thread
    You wanna scream but you’re down to your last breath
    And you don’t know it yet
    But down the road the sun is shinning
    In every cloud there’s a silver lining
    Just keep holding on
    And every heartache makes you stronger
    But it won’t be much longer
    You’ll find love, you’ll find peace
    And the you you’re meant to be
    I know right now that’s not the way you feel
    But one day you will.
    Find the strength to rise above
    You will
    Find just what you’re made of, you’re made of
    One day you will
    Oh one day you will

  43. Posky says:

    At least a murder was avoided and you can get some peace before getting back to full-on blogging.

    I’m ready for your frontal assault on the keyboard.

  44. Salmart says:

    Talking about avoiding murders. Just a few minutes away from where I live a bitter ex has just murdered his ex fiancΓ©e & new boyfriend (his friend) and then drove off with their 5 year old and both have been found in his car dead due to gas poisoning. Here’s the story:

    In a nut shell the woman has walked out on the 8 year relationship 7 months ago, after sending out wedding invitations. They were running a caravan park. She moved to the Gold Coast for a ‘fresh new start’. Sounds great for her. But what about the ex who is in shock at losing his fiancΓ©e to his friend and then finds THEY take his children away so not only is he not living with them, but he isn’t even near them. He has gone to their apartment & murdered them and then taken his own life & the daughters. The now orphaned 20 month son was with the grandparents overnight.

    A ghashtly tradegy for everyone. The guy is now painted as a murderous psycho who didn’t care about his daughter. Yet residents in the caravan park describe him as a great guy, always willing to help, who used to love taking his daughter on pony rides around the park.

    The two things I’d like to comment on are firstly there should be no underestimation of the turmoil having the bricks fall causes ‘leavees’. This is not a small thing the leavers do. (Get over it & move on now my ex shouted at me after 2 weeks!) They stop functioning normally for quite some time. (And then we HAVE got good reason to be a weeny bit bitter.)

    The second thing that came to mind is how very valuable this blog is. I didn’t bother with counseling as I couldn’t bear to bleat weakly to someone who had no idea of how I felt. This blog would have been wonderful in my first dark days/month, (OK years). Even if reading this blog can stop ‘leavees’ taking the matter into their own hands, just once, it was worth the trouble.

    Sorry to change the usual upbeat mood and bring Team MIkalee down with such a sad terrible story, but it is evidence that what leavers do to leavees is something that doesn’t go down lightly plus the message needs to get out that there is a fabulous life ahead for us leavees, verson 2.00. If only Paul could have read some stories here, he may not have have felt so desperate and alone. and might have been able to see some glimpse of a future ahead after the healing. Very very sad.

  45. Angelina Marie Rothwell says:

    I am so relieved the judge effectuated justice for you in this matter. I too know exactly what it feels like to be in a place with other people listening to the conversation around you thinking, “seriously God is this what crazy feels like b/c I must be if they really live in a reality that is so different from mine and based in the same physical place.” Reading your blog is inspiring for so many people including me. Thank you.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Thank you so much for the support, Angelina! It has been a crazy time indeed — and I can totally relate to your observation about the craziness. I’ve decided that in life, the only people who are truly crazy are the ones who never question whether or not they’re crazy. Because the rest of us, every once in a while, do question our own sanity. But the true crazies are so bought into their alternate reality that they have no idea it’s not real reality. Does that make any sense?

      Perhaps not. Because I might be crazy…


  46. Someone Who Understands says:

    It is always interesting to me how first spouses (those who are left for a new love) are treated as if they are perpetually and fatally infected with bitterness and anger. No one seems to want to believe that after having been left, we could truly be relieved and happy in the end. Yes, at first there is shock and upset. That much is true. But then, during the long sleepless nights and hard-to-get-through days ahead, we learn that the person we knew and were married to no longer exists. Then there are the days when we learn about the lies and any financial issues that were hidden. Next comes learning about the affair and who the affair partner is. And of course there is the ever present concern about the children.

    I always feel as if people expect me to be this bitter, angry person. Yes, there is still hurt and anger, but I am most definitely better off now than I ever was before. It was a gift, really. Even if the gift comes with a lot of pain and permanent scars.

    Heck, everyone tells me I look far happier than the ex. As they say, a life well lived is the best revenge.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      So true — in fact, I often think I should write a post about the word “bitter.” I mean, OF COURSE I’m bitter. Who wouldn’t be? After the way I’ve been treated, and my vows were treated, and my kids were treated…bitter may just be an understatement. But the reality is, as you mentioned, I can still be pissed about what he did but grateful for the opportunities it presented. I don’t hold undue hostility toward this man and his wife. I do have due hostility, however…especially when they continually impose on MY LIFE.

      The spouses who are left, I think, are the easy target. We’re down and out for a while, to be sure, especially when blindsided — and that’s when the mark is made. Because OF COURSE we are bitter and hostile and in pain. Therefore OF COURSE we’re still mourning the relationship and our past lives and our former love. Because OF COURSE we’d take him back if we could.

      Um. Nope. Not a chance in hell.

      I’m so glad you’re recognizing the gift. It’s hard to see at first, but when I realized how much I deserved so much better — it made it all somewhat worthwhile. Well, except the pain to the kids — that’s not worth it at all. Nothing is.

      • Someone Who Understands says:

        I despise the word ‘bitter’ when attached to ‘divorcΓ©e’. Yes, some people are… but not all of us. I so not view myself as bitter, even when I refuse to stop acknowledging what happened and what was done.

        Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we, the ones who were blindsided, just pretended that nothing ever happened? But of course, that will never happen in the reality in which *I* live… you know, the real world?

        They can rework history amongst their friends and family all they want. I can be cast as Cruella DeVille and themselves as the heroes saving the puppies. The problem is that reality tends to catch up even to the best of stories. All it takes is a few words and pop goes that illusionary bubble in which they live.

        But am I bitter? No. Honestly and truly I am not.

        To me, bitter is someone who has had some adversity or something negative happen to them and have allowed that experience to forever change their personality and to forever make them unhappy and unpleasant to be around. Bitter is the person who was passed over for a promotion and spends the rest of their working days making the person who got the job miserable. Bitter is the jilted lover who refuses to move on and spends their days screaming at the sky about how all wo/men are horrible and they refuse to ever open their hearts again. Bitter has an air of finality to it and is a sense of negativity and wallowing in despair that has pervaded someone’s whole psyche.

        I don’t think bitter is the right word for people who have been wronged and justly feel betrayed. Having all that you hold dear crushed and ripped from you is not a fair or just thing.

        After all, someone who was a fully formed and fully functioning adult would never betray another like that. Someone who was fully formed would instead end the marriage and *then* find a new special someone.

        If you are attacked by someone who is deranged and you are forever changed by the experience, people understand. Why should it matter if the deranged person was your spouse and you were attached emotionally, mentally and fiscally?

        • Mikalee Byerman says:

          Wow. PERFECTLY STATED!

          If you don’t mind, I think I’ll be asking you to contribute to my post on “bitter.” Let me ponder this a bit — and I’ll be in touch.

          Seriously. You totally rock. πŸ™‚

          • Someone Who Understands says:

            Thanks. πŸ™‚ Can you tell I have done a lot of soul searching?

            I just find that I do not fit any of the classic stories and I am very unhappy wearing the labels people try to affix to me.

            I may be divorced, but it was not by choice. So why should it define me?

            • Mikalee Byerman says:

              Agreed completely. And yes, soul searching is a common side effect to surprising divorce, I’ve found…

              Thank you so much for being here and sharing — we’re all smiling and nodding in unison. Can’t you tell?

          • Someone Who Understands says:

            Thanks. I don’t think my story is unusual. Sadly it is how a lot of marriages end these days. The only differences are how each player acts their part. The only unusual parts of my story that not many can relate to reside in how everything played out.

            • salmart2 says:

              Yep, you are most certainly ‘Someone Who Understands’. It was a breath of fresh air to find Mikalee verbalizing all that had been racing around in my head all these years. What’s more surprising and uplifting is that I now find so many others on here that contribute such insightful sentiments, especially since they are proving to be highly intelligent, resourceful, humorous and POSITIVE people.

              No, we are not defined by divorce, abandonment, discard and certainly are not defined by bitterness. We had the rug pulled out from us & landed on our still cute buts, but we’ve sprung back onto our feet now and are better, stronger, wiser, happier people for it. Making fun of our shared experiences is very empowering for me, not to mention entertaining, as there’s a funny side to everything and fun & laughter is what makes our days buzz.

              Get in all the information, (boy, didn’t a lot come in, in those first few days!), process it, make sense of it, get over it, and laugh about it! (Well, laugh about some of it!) So the differences between us all here, (other than the gory details and any on-going fall-out) are how long we stayed on each stage, and if we’re there yet. Sounds like your reinvention is complete β€˜Someone Who Understands’. Thanks for sharing!

              • Someone Who Understands says:

                Not complete by any means! It has been less than a year since the rug was pulled out from under me and I am still trying to find my way. But I have learned just how strong, intelligent and wonderful I am. I am learning that I am not defined by the roles I play and have stopped letting those roles define my self-identity. I have learned that happiness that is sold to us in so many obvious and subtle ways is unrealistic and it is up to me to find what makes me happy.

                Most of all, I have learned that I can take charge of my life and shape it to be what I want it to be. I think that was the point when I knew I would truly be ok — when I finally believed I am strong enough to shape what happens instead of simply reacting to everything and just trying to survive.

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