• peacegirl

    You made a typo! Gurl, you made a mistake and didn’t catch it. Progress? For fuck’s sake I hope so.

  • TucsonPatty

    Heather, I am so sorry for your pain.
    I have had such wonderful results with something called EMDR. My counselor says it was invented for PTSD, and it sounds as though it may help you get over some of the trauma.
    I beg your to google it.
    My thoughts are with all of you, always.
    Be well, my friend.

  • ktbkat

    Your writing is so powerful, it always has been. That power comes from inside you, hold close to it when everything else is falling down, and you’ll find you are still standing, still going. You are powerful enough to inspire warmth and ache and well-wishes all the way from the east coast.

  • cinrose22

    First of all, boy did that post ever hit home. I was in a similar place last year and am still fighting my way out. Can I just tell you to hang on, it will get better? I believe that every experience both big and small have some bearing in who we are today. You are a strong woman and a terrific mom, be kind to yourself. Hugs, love and peace!

    *To Lisdom, when I was reading your post, I had to check to see if I wrote it. Amazing how much it sounded like my life.

  • Natty

    Sending you Metta. Sometimes the trauma that you can’t label as an act of violence or a hurtful situation is the most pervasive because you don’t give yourself permission to call it trauma. Give yourself permission.

  • Jan

    Been there in many ways, not to take away from the depth and particularity of your own situation. Maybe you need to shut down the blog for a while, and just take time for yourself to heal? This public forum can’t really be that healthy, as much as we care about you.

  • travelmonkey

    One day at a time and one hour at a time, and remember to breathe. It will get better and you will have more good days. Keeping you in my thoughts……

  • jeskmom

    Thank you for the power of your voice. Mere words on a computer screen should not have the ability huddle us with you in the fetal position of your pain, and yet they do…as far as those words are able. Of course, even though we are here–though so clearly hear you–you live it one foot after another, one ‘take a deep breath and then hope you have the air to take the next one’. But we hear you. And I hope that something is lessened in knowing that we hear and and that we pray (whatever that means for each of us) for a day when you take a step without having to clench your side in pain. I pray that for you.

  • leblanc

    i am still reading…..how many years now? 10? (my blog is slightly older than yours, 11 years old this week!) but honestly i read only casually, and without much interest usually.

    but this one…….shit. i almost cried. it’s so brave of you to write this, braver to me than writing about the marriage. or maybe it’s more revealing to me because, sadly, i 100% relate. i have those same moments, for the same reasons. i know it was trauma. i didn’t really start to feel the effects/recognize it until i was in my early 30s and started having really intense reactions to certain things/people. i can imagine children bring it all back in waves.

  • monkeysmom1

    You tell that 10 year old that she will accomplish great things. That she will give birth to two beautiful girls, and have a million followers on a thing called the internet, and that people will read her written word for laughter, joy and tears. You tell her to be strong, and that she needs to make it. I’ve been there. Been forced to talk to that 9 year old girl, and then the one at 17, to deal with my parents separating, getting back together, then divorcing 8 years later. (Only to reconcile again! 12 years after that.) I’ve army crawled, around my mother this time, and watched her battle severe mental illness most of my life. And then, today, I hid upstairs, away from my own two beautiful girls, so that I could hide and take deep breaths, exhausted from the daily grind, not wanting them to see it. Perhaps I need to talk to that 9 year old again myself. Thank you for showing us how you make it through the day. I hope it helps you to tell us, I think its helping us more that you know…

  • Meauxzie

    You are loved.

  • hugsNpuppies

    Meauxzie, you said it best. Pure and simple:

    Heather, You are loved.

  • zchamu

    I understand. Hugs.

  • kalala31

    just keep swimming..

  • lucidlotus

    Oh, my dear. One foot in front of the other.

  • carymsf

    I just went through the million-year process of creating an account just to say this:

    Thank you for sharing your stories with us, even when they are incredibly and impossibly difficult. I’m just some random woman out there that you’ve touched with your honesty, and I can’t explain exactly why it matters so much to me to know that I’m not alone in experiencing such. hard. shit. But it does.

    I’m sure you’re feeling really lonely but know that your voice has made me feel less alone.

  • tellmewhynot

    I just read this, about making peace with your past. Seems like it might help you too:

    Good luck, Heather. Lots of people pulling for you and Jon and the kids.

  • Sigga Darling

    It’s customary to talk shit out over pints at the pub in the UK and there are a few waiting for you here in London on me if you ever visit :) From yet another long time reader who has your back and wants you to know that we care about you.

  • lacollins

    My first comment here, though I am a longtime reader: So many more people are with you than you can ever know. Thank you for your writing. Your work is so important to me and to many others. Bless you and Jon and your girls in these dark winter days–my mom always says, spring will come.

  • Funnygirl78

    Dear 10 year old Heather: You are a wonderful, worthy and truly lovable little being.

  • OldMuthaHen

    One of the ways Merriam-Webster defines the word “trauma”:

    - an agent, force, or mechanism that causes trauma

    Force, indeed.

    There is physical trauma, and psychological trauma, and fleeting trauma, and lingering trauma, and, and, and…

    Nowhere in Merriam-Webster’s definition is the word “horror” used. That doesn’t mean someone who experiences a horror won’t be traumatized, but people who aren’t typical physical/sexual abuse are allowed to feel traumatized.

    Maybe you’ve never given yourself the OK to label yourself traumatized. You feel stupid and silly because people have had it far worse.


    Your bad is your bad. It doesn’t matter what anyone else labels “bad” – yours is just as valid.

    Validate yourself. Validate your feelings. You had experiences growing up that really affected you and maybe you’re afraid to put a name to them or hurt someone’s feelings, but if it affected you so deeply then you have to name it and feelings may be hurt. If someone really loves you, and they hurt you, they should want to validate the hurt.

    Whatever the agent, force, or mechanism that traumatized you needs to be dealt with. You deserve to move past this.

  • JuliaDil

    Long-time reader, infrequent commenter here. This post particularly struck me because I, too, deal with issues of being the “spectator” of conflict, and living in fear of it happening. When you mentioned the police lights, I thought we were still with your ten-year-old self, because me at 9, I remember those lights through our living room windows. I’ve found a forgiveness for all parties since then, but only because their love weighs heavier now than he lights and the fear. Those wounds are never far away, but they, too, can sit back as spectators themselves… at least I hope so. I just wanted to send you my sincerest gratitude for sharing your words. Thank you.

  • manyfires

    I came across this blog entry today, and the words and song were particularly poignant, and made me think of you: http://www.icarusandoccident.com/mansions-on-the-moon-rest-of-your-days

  • meowsie

    Sending you hugs, hugs and more love, Heather. It takes courage to face your demons, let alone face them so publicly.

    Maybe that specter is simply waiting for you to take her in your arms just like you do your own children and tell her with every ounce of love that you have that everything is going to be alright. Cuz it is. As kristanhoffman said above… bad days end and every morning is new. Until bedtime, one foot in front of the other. You ARE strong enough to do this.

    More hugs.

  • Ashlee_Mae

    Sometimes the mental trauma is worse…It definitely sticks with you long after any physical bruises would heal.

    I don’t have any wise or magical words for you…But I’m definitely sending happy thoughts your way. You’ll get through this.

  • kdw

    I think childhood = trauma.

  • nordcq

    Just in case it didn’t sink in yet: Your worst stuff is your *worst* stuff…. doesn’t matter how it compares to anyone else’s stuff. Give that 10 year old a hug & see where it leads you.

  • salvationamy

    Oh, Heather. Never have I been so proud of someone I have never met. This work you are doing is so hard, and scary. But the only way out is through. It’s not a cave, it’s a tunnel. Keep plugging away, there IS another side, and you WILL get there.

    10 year old Heather is just frightened, because she doesn’t know how to fix anything, and everything is kind of falling apart around her, and she feels powerless. Just sit with her. Tell her it will all be okay. Even when you don’t believe it.

  • ElizabethKenn

    Maybe your 10 yr old spector wants you to find your dad’s 10 yr old spector so all 4 of you can find peace.

    Hang in there.

  • knittygrrrl

    (((big hug)))

  • JenS

    I was afraid of my Mom. I still am. I haven’t talked to her in over a decade because I’m so tired to making me feel small and then telling me how terrible I am because I don’t want to be with someone who makes me feel small. She did hit me, too. A lot.

    I work through it in therapy, but I feel like I’m at a plateau. I can’t let go, I never have been able to – I carry all the baggage on my back and my shoulders and they hurt and they’re tired, but I can’t let go. I have to hang on because if I let go, it will kill me, but if I don’t let go, it will kill me. It’s with me, every day, all day long – and I think it always will be.

    I don’t see the light. I think I will always be in the dark.

  • LaurieML

    JenS, I am so sorry.

    Through my ups and downs with mental illness the one thing that I always come back to is ‘I will wake up tomorrow and it will be better.’ Even if it isn’t sometimes, eventually it turns out to be true.

    I heard a phrase in a speech once – “we are tougher than the times we are in.” And I came across a phrase today that said “mental illness doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you tried to be strong for too long.”

    We’re all tougher than anyone knows, aren’t we?

  • Colgate

    For me, the army crawl was around my mother’s blame and away from the forced responsibility for my 3 younger siblings. It took me a few years of therapy to acknowledge my 5-year-old self (whose name is Esmerelda) and my 16-year-old self (Sheila – at the time I didn’t like either name, but who was I to argue with what they were named?). Esmerelda shows herself at odd times, but I’ve learned to ask her what she wants. Most often she wants to be hugged, so I’ll do that. I’ll picture me holding my 5-year-old self and rubbing her arm (while hugging my actual self), telling her I love her and that she’s perfect just the way she is. Other times she simply wants to play. But it’s through actively loving my 5-year-old self that I find the most comfort, ridiculous as it seems.

  • jenwilson

    I’m so sorry you’re hurting.

    ps. Congrats on 11 years of Dooce.

  • KKW

    Everything is going to be alright. I tell myself that every single night as I look at the pictures of my two children just before going to bed and turning out the light. And it will.

    A big hug and a kiss on the forehead. {{*}}

  • bambooska

    Heather, I am so very sorry for what you are going through.

    I have “known” you since mid-2004, and can honestly say that most of the things you write are very powerful and have a large amount of impact on me. Even though I’m not married and I don’t have any children. Perhaps because you are so sincere to yourself, perhaps because you allow yourself to be a little open about issues, perhaps because of the way you see the world, your opinions. I find wisdom, I find reality, I find a conscience, I find sincerity in every thing you write. This is one of those moments.

    I have never wished for someone I don’t really “know” to get better as much as I have for you. Because it doesn’t really matter that we don’t know you physically, we know you for who you are (years of reading!), how well we relate to you, and for how good you are. Because you, Heather, are a good person. A very friendly familiar face. And we should wish all the best in the world to good hearted people. They deserve it. They’re the ones who feel this world as a whole with all its good and bad effects. We’re invisible but yet together and holding your hand, the hand of a friend. I know I am since 2004.

    Someone once said to me “Give it some time. It WILL get better, I promise.” and even though I was in disbelief at that time, I held those words close to my heart. What a wonderful thing to find out there is all the truth in the world in those words. So I say it to you.

    Hang in there, Heather. Give it some time because someday in the near future, it is going to get better. It is going to ache less. It is going to be all right.

    I promise.

  • Jen

    Maybe she is waiting for you to tell her she is safe now.

    Sending you hugs and love and peace…

  • AliciaMaria

    Goddamn, do you have some awesome readers! Never have I been so proud to be a part of an online community. <3 We’re all rooting for you, chica. (I almost typed rotting instead of rooting, that would’ve been weird..)

  • Rapieress

    My dearest Heather Armstrong…

    I’ve been reading you for years as you have lead the way through the blog-sphere, only occasionally have I stopped to comment because I simply love your writing style and often don’t think that you need anything added to it from me.

    But you are the mother to your tribe (hello mom), an honor bestowed upon you whether you felt ready for it or not, and any woman that can create such a blog empire can handle this divorce… and the needs of her children.

    You have the power to make everyone well.

    Because they will recover, and need you to recover faster.

    I have Hashimotos disease. I lost my father at age 18. My ex chose to move with our son when I was working for a company that sent me traveling for work. Depression is a common issue for those of us with thyroid disease. We have to fight everyday to be in our lives. Let me tell you it is well worth the battle.

    My son had a learning disability. The type of career I chose was wiped out by the real estate melt-down. And how did we survive?

    Because being a mom was the only thing that mattered and you know that it is an amazing thing. I know you know this. You are the lioness, the head of your pride and you have the ability to get your entire family through this.

    I know with all my heart that it is in you.

    Regardless of what you feel happened to many years ago.

    Take your kids and go volunteer. Go plant some trees. Go feed some single mothers.

    Grow some flowers.

    Because you are bigger than all this.


  • AusKate

    Heather I am so sorry you are in pain.
    You give so much to so many with your honesty and I hope you can somehow feel the support of all us out here in the world who are thinking of you and that it can help ease your pain.

  • TxSuzyQ

    I have one of those specters too. Mine doesn’t seem to want anything except to remind me, I’m guessing, so that I can avoid the mistakes that made her so unhappy all those years ago.

    Thats my take on it.

    Keep trudging forward. The mud and the muck isn’t this deep forever.

  • ClaireinAustin

    that is a hard day indeed. From what you describe it sounds like you are grieving. If so, maybe the course you travel will be like this, some days calm and sunny, some stormy, until you move past it and come out on the other side. I have lots of tricks to help me when I get low that I’m tempted to share, but I don’t want to give you an avalanche of unsolicited advice, and of course I don’t know you so I don’t know what would be really helpful to you, even though I would really like to help. And every person’s grief is different. But know there is so much good will coming your way, from me and many other people. I look forward to reading sometime in the near future that there has been a shift, that you feel healed, and that there are way more good days than bad ones. And what a hero you are for being so patient with Leta when you were struggling. pat yourself on the back for that one. wishing you peace in your heart.

  • benderhill


    My 10-year old specter wants to give your 10-year old specter a hug, and to tell her that it will be okay.

    And my 36-year old self wants to give your 30-something year old self a hug too.

    There will be a light at the end of this. You and that little 10 year old inside of you will be okay. As will your daughters.


  • TurdFerguson

    I don’t have anything to say that’s insightful or eloquent. I’ve been checking in more frequently because I worry about you. I just wanted to let you know that you’re brave and so honest with your feelings. You have so many people that care for you and are rooting for you. I pray that you will get through this and find peace. Stay strong, Heather.

  • susanruffin

    Oh Dooce, I just downloaded BE HERE NOW dammit. Please don’t drop your basket. You’re needed more than you’ll ever know.

  • floridagal73

    More hugs Heather. I can’t know your pain, but I feel for you and I hope that every day you walk closer to peace. Let your children be your every day reminder that, in the end, it will all be ok. No matter the outcome – you will all be ok.

    When you feel that you can’t cope with the minutae of daily life – don’t. Do something else. Take them for ice cream instead of making dinner. Stop what you’re doing that is causing you stress and pain and play a board game. It’s okay to sometimes tell your pain you just aren’t going to do it. Make it your bitch and tell it to just wait. And then, in your time, cry. Because that’s ok too.

    Everyone that has said that 10 y.o. girl wants you to know she’s ok is right. She’s letting you know that no matter, she is strong, she will go far and she will have a whole internet family who loves her and stands beside her, come what may.

    Stay strong Heather. XO

  • Jen Cottrell


    Oh, how I feel for you. I’ve been there: the unknown, the pain, the grief. I understand the breakdowns, the tears, the traumatic childhood, and the deafening silence and blinding darkness that seemingly fill your world right now.

    You have been a pillar of inspiration and hope for me since I “discovered” you in 2009. Just as others have admitted, I don’t “know” you personally, but you have become somewhat of a friend to me. Checking your website is an element in my life as routine as starting my coffee or brushing my teeth in the morning. Reading about your struggle is as painful as an old friend crying to me on the telephone.

    You are brave. You are strong. And you will pull through. I wish you strenghth and courage while you navigate yourself through this difficult time.

    Hugs from Chicago…

  • collegemama67

    Heather, she is waiting for you to set her free…

    The 10 year old in you has been ruling your life for over 20+ years and until you tell her that you love her but she will no longer control of your life and then let her go you will always be at the mercy of that 10 year old.

    I know this because my 6-year-old self was who ruled me and almost cost me my marriage. (See my response to Jon on blurbomat) and after 6 months of counseling together we got our crap together after we said goodbye to our 6 and 8 year olds that had controlled us for the first 8 years of our relationship.

    On Monday, February 13th (which we actually were married on Friday the 13th – go figure) Wayne and I will be married 25 years! We love each other more now than we ever did the first 8 years of marriage and we have seen great ups and downs and both Wayne and I have some mental health issues and so does our daughter who is marrying the love of her life in June.

    Breathe and know that tomorrow is another day and sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you and even sometimes the bear eats you and then pulls up the asphalt to check for blood and bones. You WILL get better and your family WILL be better! Hugs and kiss to the forehead.

  • firefly1818

    I had a similar encounter with a 10 y.o. me, just a couple of weeks ago…I needed to calm her down that Dad was not that scary in reality, that she needed to take all his stupid accusations with a grain of salt, that I feel very bad that she had to leave her home because of him and to live with her grandparents for 13 years. But then again, I told her, you were so lucky to have great grandparents and the best little brother in the world, you can’t have it all, it’s not how it works. And, most importantly, I had to explain her that she was a strong person, that she could deal with it and that she would not need to extrapolate her father’s idiotic behavior on the males’ part of the humankind.
    Anyway, it was not a bad day, I think. It was a milestone, which I needed to work on, I reached it and left it in my past. I hope you reach yours soon.

  • stan7826

    This breaks my heart. And I think I know exactly how you feel, since I’m just on the other side of the tunnel that you’re entering. It’s not fun. It’s not a good time. But you will make it through. And it will get better.