Mating Beta Fish

Mating Beta Fish

If you have bred beta (Siamese fighting fish) the above cartoon will make sense.  It takes careful timing and observation to ensure a successful pairing because these fish want to kill each other pretty much any time they see another fish of their species.

My ex and I were like beta fish.  We argued a lot and that’s being kind.  It did not help that I grew up in a dysfunctional family where harsh words flew out of my mother’s mouth like daggers popping all the happy bubbles in my little soul.   I would have made better choices as a young person had I felt I had any value whatsoever.

Mother convinced me I was barely above “r” even telling my my IQ was 90 and making sure I knew at least one sibling was in the genius realm to make my 90 IQ seem even smaller.  She told me (and my younger sister!) girls should use their looks and spread legs to get what they wanted in life.   Like she had.   She reminded us both that orgasms were for men and it was sinful for women to have pleasure. She said all men are they same and they will all hurt you.

She burst a lot of bubbles.  She told me I was unwanted, a mistake, lazy, stupid, not pretty, and from a very young age would call me fat.  When my siblings joined in and taunted me mercilessly she would defend them reminding me “you are fat.” 

She told me more than once I was an embarrassment to her.  She blamed me for destroying her marriage to my dad because of the childhood trauma at age 4 I had no control over.

She was very, very cruel and very good at bursting bubbles.

That was my normal.



1976 Lahle

I was 16 going on 17…. my life was spinning of control and I was no longer living at home.

Dear Older Me,

This guy I am dating got mad and threw a six pack of beer at me — it hit the back of my head.  But he said he was sorry but that I had just made him so mad.  I guess it was my fault — it always is, I’m just so lucky to have a guy who loves me like he does that he will give me another chance.

What should I do?

In Love With Being In Love,
17-year-old Younger Me



Dear Younger Me,

As I recall, the boy you dated just before this one tried to kill you by ramming his car head on into another and so you think beer man is okay? No.  Hell. No.  He does not love you.  Anyone who intentionally emotionally or physically harms you to gain control or punish you does not love you.

I know you think it is love when someone is so consumed with you and your behavior but is there a fine line between love and hate? 

No.    If someone treats you badly, don't dish it back -- just move on.  Period.

Love,
Older Me

PS Stop listening that Nazareth song Love Hurts and romanticizing pain!

What Happened Because I Did Not Listen?

I married the beer man in 1981.  Our divorce was finalized in 2004.  That’s was a huge chunk of life.

About the Photo: My then boyfriend, RI, took this photo with a Polaroid. I asked him to take it because I was wearing a little sundress my mother had made for my sister.  I told my mother I was wearing it and she said I was a liar because she knew I was way too fat for that dress.  That explains the expression on my face.

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