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The Basis for the Story

Recorded from

May 18, 1991 - November 22, 2003

Being born in the early '50's, my upbringing led me to understand that most young women stayed in the family home until they left to get married, then had their children and in turn kept their own warm and loving home.

T.V. shows such as "Father Knows Best" and "Leave it to Beaver", where the wife would have the home cleaned, children tidy and respectful, and dinner ready for the father/husband's arrival, were typical of that times' collective belief system. Everyone would eat together, discuss their day, and wait until the dad was fed and relaxed before approaching with requests or questions. Even with the mom having some input, and knowing her children as she did, the father always had the final word or ultimate say in the decisions. This could have been an example of my home life as well.

So to say I grew up in an environment and time when it was expected that the man would take care of his family and wife, while she was taking care of the home, meals, and children would probably describe my frame of mind and belief for my future, when I agreed to marry Fred. What was there to make me think otherwise? However, as I was to find out, life experience can be a cruel teacher. Even though I was educated and worked hard in the first few years towards our home and future, Fred and I looked forward to the day when our children came along and I could stay home and invest my time and energy into making the life I thought I had prepared for. I began to record my daily activities and feelings in my journals when I was most frustrated or upset and couldn't seem to get a handle on why things were as they were. It became a source of comfort as there was never any judgment, I could be brutally honest, gain some perspective, and release tension. It was impartial and I could vent, practice words that I could never say in the heated moment of argument and in general release thoughts from my mind so that I could sleep or find some sense of peace.

This story from my own journal entries embodies the disillusionment of the fantasy I grew up with and the reality of the hard work and challenges that create relationships. It also highlights the emotional roller coaster found in day to day living when there is emotional and psychological abuse. You will see in reading the book "Private Misery" © that the first entries were relatively short ones and gradually as I trusted the process of writing, became more detailed.

When our marriage fell apart, I turned to these journals to see if I could figure out where I went wrong or what really happened. Was I to blame? Did I try hard enough to make him happy? Could I have left sooner or should I have stayed longer? Anyone who has been through a marriage breakup knows these questions and more.

Whether this was in fact psychological or emotional abuse, a need for self-discovery, male midlife crisis, hormonal changes for us both, incompatibility, or just a simple inability to communicate, I do know that I have found strength, confidence and a sense of peace within myself at last.

While he has moved on, I am more cautious. I still have the love of my amazing kids, and great supportive friends. I have learned though, that I will never partner with anyone who can't accept me as the total person that I am.

As I stated, this is my story and there are always 2 sides to every story.

Lara Martin


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