I was a career mom, very family oriented and dedicated. Very selfless really, as far as the proportion of time I dedicated to myself, as opposed to dedicating to pleasing everyone in my family, from the smallest details to the largest challenges, in order to make their life easier, fun and amazing every day. I saw myself as a champion mom and a creative and resourceful you-can-have-it-all woman, building my happily-ever-after scenario. As far as my career was concerned, I was at the top of my game after a decade as a branding and packaging designer, a fine artist and a business entrepreneur. As far as family life was concerned, I was raising two active boys, while looking forward to having a third one and working on plans to build a big and beautiful house.
Sounds perfect… but it has all come to a screeching halt. What has gone wrong? My marriage has fallen apart. But why? How? What have I done wrong? Why was I not warned? Or was I warned and missed the memo? How could this have happened to me? Is he the worst man on earth for doing this to me? What to do next? These are the types of questions I have spent the last three years pondering from various angles with diminishing anguish. Changing my perspective brought me towards enlightenment.
The realization of our marriage being on the brink of a full catastrophe was evident after some dramatic events which escalated over a few months, with roots and signs going back years– possibly even all the way back to the day we got married, 16 years ago. It probably happens in other families and it might have similar cocktails of the negative factors such as: loss of love, disappointment in self and the spouse, hate, shame, infidelity, middle-age crisis, jealousy, depression, feeling trapped, lonely, and a variety of other factors such as financial, health, and other life circumstances. The condition seems to be like a land mine in which one spouse has been getting ready to explode and the other one, possibly quite unaware of this taking place or seeing it from a different perspective, is slowly but surely about to step on it. Once it explodes, their world will shatter and one will be the instigator and the other will, inevitably, feel like the victim of the blast.
When I finally stepped on this land mine, I got blasted with an explosion of abusive language, demeaning me and likening me to an evil piece of trash, who, according to my husband, ruined his life. His campaign could be summed up by a slogan – I am not happy, it must be all your fault! I HATE YOU – YOU ARE A FUCKING BITCH!
Was I in shock?.. YES.. Devastated? Of course.. Lost? Very much so. It took me a while and a lot of therapy to separate my self and my self-image and self esteem from my marriage and status. This journey of rebuilding myself after 18 yeas as a separate being – reorienting my dreams, needs and wants away from my husband and our previous life patterns – felt like a rebirth. I really had to ask myself: Who am I? What do I need and want? What makes me happy? I, a woman of some ripe age, had no idea. Sad, but true. I had to start somewhere. And I decided that starting by pushing off the lowest point to climb back up was the only way to go. I was faced by the statement that I HATE YOU – YOU ARE A FUCKING BITCH was the reward I got for 16 years of dedication, love and endless energy I poured into my husband. I helped his career and life gave him children, never complained, was always positive, evened out his explosive temper, and yes took his abuse. I did it for the sake of the family, or at least my idea of one.
With all the uncertainty around me and so much confusion and hurt, fear and anger – one thing was certain: I am NOT a FUCKING BITCH! The question remained whether I should become one! After all, my other life strategy led me to a dead end. I tried to examine the meaning my husband put in to this statement and what I would associate with it, trying to understand myself and who I am.
At first came this image of an uncompromising, glorified selfish bitch with gluttonous self indulgence, no human values, and no human worth. Well, this certainly was not me. In my mind, I was quite the opposite. I was selfless. Now the real question was why? Why was I so selfless and why did I not get the recognition or the gratitude I was expecting? It took time to get to some answers and I tried various strategies, from family counseling to creative outlets, some more impulsive than others. I was taking chances.. I was making bold changes… I was going to get to the bottom of my own motivations and nature. I was going to finally look myself fearlessly in the face and deal with who I really am, not who I thought I was supposed to be for the sake of others.
I tried on the FUCKING BITCH role, then the fabulous bitch role, went through several stages and came out on the path of enlightenment as a “fabulous being” — As an someone I truly felt I was on the inside, after stripping off all the layers of pain, past hurt, unrealistic goals, fake confidence. On this road, I do not see myself as an example, but maybe as a guide who has made it out of the dark situation and wants to share the experience with other women in similar situations and give them support and hope, if I can. This has motivated me to start the Fiona Fab Club and friends! This is the place for the women (and men too!) to support each other in being themselves, coming out strong and in control, being labeled BITCHES if the world is not ready to deal with us and being OK with it! This is the club and the channel for us, speaking candidly to each other, accepting ourselves as we are and facing our challenges together.