Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?

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Liftedfog

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Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« on: March 19, 2016, 09:53:19 AM »
I've been spending a lot of time on this forum as well as other support sites.  I'm seeing a huge common thread... Alot of nons are educated and intelligent people with stable jobs.   So I ask myself personally..how did I get here?  All my education and smarts didn't keep me from becoming a victim of a PD.  I know a lot of single moms who are bright and in top positions in corporations.  It is mind boggling that a person can run a whole corporation and still be a victim in their own home.  I know it has something to do with being guided by our hearts and not what our brain tells us to do because we do see the dysfunction.   Peace to all in your journey to freedom. 

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1footouttadefog

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2016, 11:50:42 AM »
Its because outside of the house where they are successful they are away from the pd. 

Its a validation that the pd is making alot of the problem and erroding success in that area of life.

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fozzybear

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2016, 12:06:08 PM »
Yep, I've beaten myself up on that score a few times in the past!
I had a degree, was the go-to person for advice and support, held a responsible job as a senior manager, and all the time my home life was becoming hell on earth.
I think I am clever, but he was manipulative, something I have never been, and he spent years grooming me, isolating me and slowly running me down. This wasn't something that happened overnight, and by the time we click what is really going on, some of us are too scared and confused to leave. Once I realised what damage it was doing, I was terrified he was kill my daughter and myself - up until that point he was just threatening suicide, to make me stay, but the day he truly assaulted me was my wake-up moment. I left and never looked back.
Maybe we are clever, but I think our main guilt is in having "a good heart" and shed loads of empathy. I've learned my lesson there, and from now on, I will come first - I've not hardened my heart, but I'm going to be much more wary.
Almost free.

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Rosemarie

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2016, 04:30:01 PM »
This talk speaks for your question. I found it very helpful and enlightening. https://www.ted.com/talks/leslie_morgan_steiner_why_domestic_violence_victims_don_t_leave?language=en

And yes I am capable intelligent and run my own business. Everyone thinks I am so together and it is true, in my home, my self esteem was being eroded over time, until I was totally exhausted and could not take it anymore.

Be well and kind to yourself everyone.
"Communication is to relationship what breathing is to life."  Virginia Satir

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Kit99

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2016, 05:54:16 PM »
I've wondered the same... Here is my hypothesis:

When we entered the relationship, got serious, or married- the person we fell in love with was different from the person we truly "ended up with." At the beginning they are so attentive, loving, romantic, thoughtful, etc. Who wouldn't fall in love with someone like that?! Then slowly, little "quirks" start to appear - infrequently as first. We make excuses or don't make issues out of them because no one is perfect! Then the issues are more frequent, more intense, etc. and we start to worry that maybe something really "isn't right"- so we talk to our PD about it and sometimes they project blame onto us, other times they profess willingness to change, and other times they shift the focus to entirely unrelated issues- or a mix of all these.

 Despite being intelligent and know the behavior isn't "right" or healthy a part of us thinks maybe we are overreacting or too sensitive. Then, the person we "fell in love with" comes out to reassure us that he/she was there all along and these "issues" are normal in any marriage or relationship. We hold onto our ideal and want to hope for the best.  We try to "fix," "plead," or "negotiate," which sometimes works temporarily and sometimes doesn't. Then we repeat the cycle all over again until we are exhausted, empty shells of the kind, loving and vibrant souls we thought we were when we entered the relationship.

I have to say this is one situation where my kindness and blind trust have absolutely been my downfall.

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Rosemarie

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2016, 06:16:06 PM »
I've wondered the same... Here is my hypothesis:

When we entered the relationship, got serious, or married- the person we fell in love with was different from the person we truly "ended up with." At the beginning they are so attentive, loving, romantic, thoughtful, etc. Who wouldn't fall in love with someone like that?! Then slowly, little "quirks" start to appear - infrequently as first. We make excuses or don't make issues out of them because no one is perfect! Then the issues are more frequent, more intense, etc. and we start to worry that maybe something really "isn't right"- so we talk to our PD about it and sometimes they project blame onto us, other times they profess willingness to change, and other times they shift the focus to entirely unrelated issues- or a mix of all these.

 :yeahthat:'

This is so right on and in this I think it is important to hear that "who would not fall for this."  And it feels important to remember that there is a con game going on and many people who are intelligent fall for cons. The disonance comes on once the other person has convinced us that they are the love of our life, that we can trust them. They have worked hard to create a brainwashing situation. This is part of the manipulation.

If you have not been through this before, why would you think anyone would do this? And now we know.

Basically Kit99 and others, I don't think we should not be so hard on ourselves. We were conned and we don't have to be conned again.
"Communication is to relationship what breathing is to life."  Virginia Satir

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Oneness

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2016, 06:51:42 PM »
You should read "Women Who Love Psychopaths," by Sandra L. Brown MA. It is written for and about us, intelligent, successful women who end up in pathological love relationships with PDs. It really opened my eyes, and helped me stop berating myself, and accepting what happened to me.
It's better to love and lost, then to live with a psycho for the rest of your life.

If your presence can't add value to my life, your absence will make no difference.

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waking up

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2016, 01:04:11 PM »
One factor is, as others mentioned, that these people initially present themselves in a different light and we are conned. We see the good parts and we try to ignore the bad.

But for me I can see the other factor has been my own lack of trust in my intuition.  Looking back now its obvious the red flags were present right from the start but I chose to ignore them. Why?

 Why did I ignore his meanness and disrespect towards me? I noticed his lack of empathy long ago but I still went ahead and married him.
I think now that my own lack of self esteem is part of the equation.

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InTheDarkness

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2016, 01:48:08 PM »
On the site, shrink4men, I've read stories of combat veterans, doctors, lawyers, police officers, corporate executives...  All of us have blind spots.  Some of us are and have been unknowingly co-dependent and emotionally needy or emotionally dysfunctional, though in other aspects of our lives, we do fine and even excel.

I was drawn to my wife by her beauty, sexiness, and intellect.  The physical reality of her was the only thing that was real.  Her emotional and psychological self is held together by duct tape, pieces of wire and Crazy Glue.  I make it sound funny but it isn't.   Everyone on OOTF; women, men, straight or gay come here because we're in pain, confused and trying to save our lives.

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openskyblue

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2016, 02:00:43 PM »
I don't think intelligence, level of education, professional success is a barrier to being taken in (or victimized by) a person with NPD. In fact, I think they might contribute to people being more taken in, if these things are combined with having a strong pull to be a caretaker and for being a problem-solver.

Look at a relationship with an NPD and you will find a spouse/partner who is a caretaker.  In my case, after we were married my husband was charming and successful, but there were just some things that he "couldn't deal with" or didn't "have the head for." He talked a lot about how what a great partner I was, that I would take on these things.  Well, by year 5 I was taking care of everything and anything he didn't want to do (including childcare, family finances, home maintenance, social engagements, dealing with his family, holidays, vacation planning, etc.) If I refused to do what he demanded (notice how "ask" turned into "demand"), I was accused of being lazy, selfish, and (the worst) a BAD partner.  He knew that worst thing to say to his primary caretaker was to accuse me of being a bad caretaker -- and he used it whenever he needed to get his way.

Look at a relationship with an NPD, and you will find a spouse/partner who is a problem-solver.  In my case, my stbxNPD husband always kept a constellation of dysfunction and chaos spinning around us.  (It took me years before I recognized this as the fence he had erected to trap me inside the marriage.)  He was great at setting up this scenario: He needed to file a business document with a state office, but he didn't know his business ID number with that office, and he couldn't get that number because his laptop was down, and he couldn't get that fixed because he couldn't find the power cable, and therefore he wouldn't be able to complete the RFP for a big piece of work because he hadn't filed the business document.  At any one time, he might have 3 or more of these dysfunction tornadoes spinning around us. And being the crack problem-solver that I am, I'd get busy trying to fix them -- only to have him throw up MORE barriers, and then blame me for things not working.

I think the more you are a caring, problem-solving person, who strives to get along with others and to work cooperatively and take the needs of others into account -- the more you will be attractive to an NPD.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that you are that person and, once shed of the NPD, you can be yourself, which works pretty darn well in the world, so long as you don't pick up another NPD on your shoe.

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Mariposa

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2016, 02:30:59 PM »
They typically charm people from the beginning. My ex sent me flowers at work the day after our first date . At WORK. He had picked me up for the date at my place, he obviously knew where I lived. I got so many flowers, cards, gifts when we first started dating. Had me meet his parents only after a month, wanted to see me daily after the first date. I was charmed.

I read in some book, that when 2 people meet and go out for the first time, each should be nervous to some extent, there should be some awkward silences, unsureness happening, at least for several dates. It said to watch out for the "smooth" talkers, men/women who are good with the lines. Beware of the ones who come on strong.  He was such a smooth talker. Made it known to me early on what a good catch he was and how other women wanted him. 

I also read that its so easily to be intrigued by a psychopath, attracted to danger.  I'm starting to feel some confidence that I will recognize and act if I see the red flags. Some of the red flags I saw when I was initially dating him I called him out on it, yet he always had a "good" answer to why he demonstrated that behavior. Again, another red flag, always justifying their behaviors.

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Rocket Girl

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2016, 05:29:26 PM »
Waking Up, please don't be too hard on yourself.  We have all had the same questions.

You are caring and loving.  You are willing to support and defend. 

I secretly think my ex n/bpd saw those same things in me and hated them.  He couldn't understand it and saw it as a weakness, something to use against me to make me feel as bad about myself as he felt about himself.  I confronted him about it one time saying "you just can't handle it I have love all around me.  You won't be happy until you've stripped me of joy and made me hurt."   I believe he confirmed that thought over and over and still tries to defeat me to this day with the stupid hoovering. 
- Rocket Girl

I will take my broken heart any day over his lack of one.

You don't have to be hit to be hurt.

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RunningFree

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2016, 06:31:52 PM »
Liftedfog - a great observation.  I think there are a couple of critical elements.  First, someone with a PD wants to attach themselves to someone who is successful.  They're searching for some kind of external validation of self.  They think (somewhere, deep inside) having a successful spouse or having the perfect relationship / the perfect family will make them feel better about themselves.  But I think over time they still don't feel better and they need to keep evolving and try harder to feel better - I think this is why they can change and get worse.
For those of us in relationships with someone with a PD, I think we have a tendency to take responsibility for things.  This trait, in addition to getting us into relationship trouble, can be a great plus for career, parenting or other parts of life.  Add in a little codependency from our FOO and we make perfect, though completely dysfunctional, matches for someone with a PD.
When going through Hell, keep going.

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gary

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2016, 12:38:22 PM »
Hi Liftedfog

  On the average we spend 12 years being educated, reading books, getting instruction, doing hours and hours of homework, traveling to far away places for even higher instruction and many times spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn differant ways to add 2 and 2 together.

 How many hours , years of instruction were even offered or did we spend on learning what a dysfunctional relationship looks like and what to do if we find ourselves in one.

 I don't even have to take my gloves and socks off to count mine. ;)

Kinda like how I learned and many learned how to swim....someone threw our ass in the water :wacko:
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 12:40:54 PM by gary »
" A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not on the branch but on its own wings.

Believe in yourself ".


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chocolateraspberry

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2016, 06:33:03 PM »
I love what gary wrote. It's true: there isn't training for dealing with or spotting dysfunction. Take it further, there's no training for relationships, period. Many are likely in the same spot I was. In their 20s, culturally (subconsciously) programmed to settle down soon after college, meet someone, think he/she is nice, maybe even kind. Intelligent, too.

Hell doesn't rain down in a single hurricane. No. Cloud bursts are here and there.

I ignored my instincts. One strong one told me not to move in with him after I caught him engaged in cybersex and phine sex with many others.

A family member--my closest confidante--told me it was just a guy thing, and he needed to grow up. To not hold it against him..

And i listened to her and not my gut, and I stayed.

After he left his job 8 years ago, his dysfunction became abundantly clear. But instead of seeing it for what it was clearly, I overfunctioned, like openskyblue described.

None of us jump straight to the "am I married to a nutcase?" books. It's years of thinking things can be salvaged, a person can be motivated to be responsible, boundaries will be respected once they (oh, wait for it, the beautiful damn irony) "understand how much they hurt us."

And when none of that works, we finally end up in places like OOTF.

IQ has nil to do with it. Our hearts and our rational minds often don't cooperate. We rationalize and minimize and frankly, we fight to prevent the death of important dreams tied to important values.

We dont want to get it wrong. We dont want to admit to ourselves "this cannot be salvaged." Because it feels like failure--OUR failure.

Even though I actually chased/pursued my husband, I believe my intelligence and "can do" nature are why he wanted me back. Because ultimately he could see the use for me, long-term, in holding the bag and enabling his life.

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LilyMarlene

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2016, 08:57:05 PM »
Totally beating a dead horse, here.  But I agree with what many above have posted:

-Many (if not most) of us are successful professionally.  A manipulative, toxic person may wish to "hitch his wagon" to ours  because this reflects well on him/her.

-Many (if not most) of us are problem-solvers.  In finding common ground and solutions, we are willing and able to self-reflect and adjust (something the abuser cannot do) and this provides the abuser with plenty of wiggle-room.  They thrive on that gray area....that place where you are able to admit your own flaws/faults... They exploit your ability to be vulnerable and self-correcting.  (b/c that little part COULD become a whole, to someone who is totally unable/unwilling to take accountability for their own negative behaviors. )

If nobody has mentioned this, I'll add that:

-Many of us problem-solvers have our own control complexes...which is not to say that we endeavor to control others, but that we believe (perhaps b/c of the reasons I list above) that the world is fair, and that we can persevere and CORRECT things, if we are just, and self-reflective, diplomatic, and put in our due diligence. NOT SO.

-EMPATHES-  I mention this b/c it's a big one for me.  I'm no dummy.  I KNEW what his abusive behaviors were.  Could call them by their proper name.  BUT I thought that they were unconscious coping mechanisms for him (and they may very well be) but I assumed if they were UNconscious, they were somehow less harmful to me.  This, I guess, means that I thought I could "enlighten" him and we'd live happily ever after.  Let me just smack my head into a brick wall now. :wacko:


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chocolateraspberry

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2016, 01:34:54 AM »
Oh lilymarlene, yes to everything you Wrote.

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Upstream

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2016, 03:20:26 AM »
So many really good thoughts here!! I really appreciate this thread.  Yes and yes to every post.

I was just watching my uPDh confront our renters today about how the friend who did some painting left the brushes full of paint in the new bathroom tub. Wow! I was so amazed. He made eye contact, started with saying how if we do anything that they have a problem with then we'd value hearing that and we value open communication. And how people can't always do everything just right when painting, but.... And he was so gentle, so sincere, so kind and forgiving. If i didnt know what he is really like, i could still be fooled. And so that is the man i saw BEFORE the wedding. Always kind, considerate. Even down to the sincere eyes and all. I thought today, i wouldn't have a CLUE if i were just getting to know him.  As soon as i became his 'property', i mean , 'wife', it's like a switch flipped. And then all the stuff that has been posted here applies. But it was too late. We were married and i thought that was for life. I am soo terrified that if i were to meet another wolf in sheep's clothing that i wouldnt see it. And by the time i did, i'd already be in his clutches.

So this kind of reflection, like in this thread, is so vital to our future safety and well being!

Upstream

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sonofanarc

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2016, 05:16:51 AM »
I think the answers are all the above and yet more. I've been fascinated by romantic attraction for a decade now. I believe most romantic attraction in is taking place at a much deeper unconscious level. A mirroring of our early life emotional wounds. I see this in nearly every couple I work with. The pairing  of the more emotionally dependent love addicted co-dependent rescuer and the more distant love avoidant narcissist.

And so the question for me now becomes, why am I attracted to such a person? What is it i'm trying to heal in myself that this other person is mirroring for me? 
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. - C.G. Jung

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Hoolio

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Re: Educated and intelligent - how did we get here?
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2016, 09:43:52 AM »
I am a newbie here I have uBPDexW     (I need to leant the abbreviations here!)

I searched this thread and only found the keyword "child' once.

Via my 4 year journey in therapy I believe  that events and certain conditions took place in MY childhood that left me able to tolerate (withstand?) verbal and emotional abuse.

We may be focused on key childhood events in the person with the PD (sexual abuse being a huge factor) but what about OUR (nonPD's) childhoods?

To my counsellors I likened my situation as that of a soldier, stuck in a foxhole, wearing an army helmet and bulletproof vest, with bullets (endless verbal abuse) flying over me. I was going to be there (to help protect my young children) for a long time - there was no 'rescue' in sight, no helicopter gunship to get me out of there - I was trapped. I wasn't a crybaby, I wasn't a complainer, I wasn't a wimp, I was a brave soldier stuck in a bad situation.

So I am over 6ft tall, I have wide shoulders - I am not a 'little guy'.

I knew If I hit my wife that would be it - game over - never see the kids again, yet I hated the constant insults, her profanities in front of the kids. But I didn't know what to do about it. If I left - what would she do to the kids with me not around? Shout back?  what would be the point of that - it would just upset the kids.

That was the trap,

Via counselling I have come to realise that perhaps in my childhood - I was treated poorly, it might have been someone I was left with, might have been my own mother. But whatever occurred - I was left with a big capacity to ENDURE harsh treatment. I am unable to remember any events that might have given me this inner fear, but I 100% believe some stuff may have happened to me (my very young mother perhaps unable to cope and I spent a lot of time in child care with both parents working. Perhaps I had a cruel child carer, perhaps my mother was harsh to me, I dunno...)

Anyhow, I dont want to be that boring person who attends counselling and then suggests EVERYONE needs it too... (but....!)

Also, I think its worth remembering that PD people can behave very differently during courtship phases, from what I have read they can often conceal their PD traits and heap flattery on new partners, Idolise them, put them on a pedestal. It was not until 3 years into our relationship and the birth of our first born that her uBPD started to emerge (temper rages, black and white thinking, isolating our family unit from socialising with other people).

So just saying its worth thinking about. Us non PD must have something other people dont. What is it? and How did we get it.

I live in very big city, and from my childhood through my early teens and onwards into adult life I have been very fearful of "street hassle' or physical attack (by teen thugs, muggers etc) It added an extra layer of stress to my daily life as I moved through the city, often on public transport. (dont forget I am a wide shouldered tall man, but it was a deep fear I had)

Since my counselling I have not only gained the courage to leave my uBPD wife I have also almost totally lost my fear of street hassle.

We discussed this in counselling:

My 'scared' inner child was sometimes more dominant than my 'inner (adult) parent' so the scared child would take over and make me fearful while walking around the city.

My 'scared' inner child would also react badly to being verbally & emotionally abused by my uBPD wife - her (abused and wounded) inner child would be effectively interacting with mine. (not a good combination! What was missing was a logical adult persona..

Today the  'scared' inner child is probably still there (we all have it) but my 'inner (adult) parent' (the more 'logical' decision maker) is more to the front.

Anyhow it took me 4 years and two counsellor (the first being not very good) to arrive at this.

Its gained me

Courage to leave the wife and to start to pursue a life with happiness and being able to be a loving father without sabotage,  criticism and verbal abuse.

Total loss of my (unnaturally strong) fear of street violence and attack.

So that my journey.

I belive us non PD's can have all the normal behaviours of society, but may have some deep inner (look to childhood?) issues that 'enable' our PD partners to mistreat us far beyond the normal human experience.












I am an ex husband of uBPD wife. Co parenting 2 children. Good luck to us all here!  Glad to be OOTF and rebuilding my life!