never married, over forty, a little bitter


I reined myself in last week when dealing with my difficult encounter, but I could have done an even better job. I should never have criticized the woman back and instead should have followed the advice here:

I’m not beating myself up over it too much though, as, like the majority of people out there, I don’t have an advanced degree in psychology, and it’s only after I’ve been spurred to seek help in dealing with a difficult person that I learn what I should have done and thus what I can do better next time.

I’ve encountered enough difficult people in my life– (I believe) some with narcissistic personality disorder and others with borderline personality disorder– that I’m slowly learning and getting better with my reactions each time. What does this have to do with this blog? I guess that I find those types of people to be quite canny at spotting the vulnerable spots, and being single is being vulnerable. I try to be honest about the pros and cons of single life, and that’s a definite con.

I do get defensive if friends suggest that somehow I bring these situations on myself. It seems to me that is a case of blaming the victim. We can all improve our reactions, but none of us can completely predict who is a time bomb or what will set them off.

Also, I’ve read that people with personality disorders are drawn to the very qualities that healthy people treasure– strength, competence, kindness, empathy, charm. They prefer to feed on a healthy host, after all.

Unfortunately I’ve had to become less open, friendly, and empathetic with people I don’t know well, but I can’t and don’t want to completely shut off those qualities. It’s definitely tricky!

the eccentric

I have an older, childless, never-married female friend here who has an unusual lifestyle and who could be considered a bit eccentric. She comes across as a more upscale, less bohemian version of Auntie Mame.

A few years ago, a younger, married woman told me she thought this woman was “a bit weird.” I bristled when she said that; I suppose I was feeling defensive. This particular woman is quite colorful, but I can’t help but think that no older, childless, never-married woman can win. That she will be considered eccentric no matter what her lifestyle.

We are pioneers though, and if current trends continue, surely this perception will gradually change. In the meantime, there’s a new post on Gateway Women on how to cope:

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when the only messages coming back at you are that your best days are behind you, and it looks like you screwed those up anyway. But you were there, you made those decisions to the best of your knowledge. Other women you knew made what looked like much worse decisions at the time, but they ‘ended up’ with a family and are now considered to have ‘got it all right’, whilst your role seems to be some kind of cautionary tale for younger women…

hotel california

L.A. is turning into a haunted house that won’t let me leave…

I just had one of the worst weeks of my life. Between several days of coping with someone who might well have borderline personality disorder, suffering a daily migraine, and getting in a car accident (a week before my road trip), I thought I might just lose my mind.

Despite all, I got back in the saddle this weekend and participated in a big outdoor event and also managed to connect with someone I’ve long since admired from afar.

Things are looking up again, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the big earthquake doesn’t hit before I carry out my escape.

One thought that crossed my mind repeatedly last week was, “Thank goodness I don’t have kids.” I honestly don’t know how I would manage all this if I was also dealing with children. I’ve really turned a corner on that one and know I no longer have the energy to parent. I also realized that I never, ever had the desire to have a child on my own, so I’m glad I never wasted time going down that road.