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Tell Me About Yourself!

This request always left me at a loss for words.  It made me really uncomfortable.  Most of the time I would just state basic facts:  the city I grew up in, where I went to school, what my profession is.   I wasn’t trying to be unfriendly…….I honestly had no idea how to answer this.  I only recently realized why this was so difficult for me.

When you are raised by psychopaths, or in a relationship with a psychopath, the lines between their life and yours get blurred.  They swallow you up like a sinkhole.  Your desires, feelings, goals and interests no longer matter.  If the psychopath likes something, you’d better find a way to like it too.  If they think something is ridiculous, you’d better feel the same way.  Individuality is not tolerated by psychopaths, because that would mean releasing control over you.  Sadly, psychopaths simply see other people as vessels to get whatever they want, kind of like using a car to get from Point A to Point B.   Then, one of two things happens:  either they accomplish what they want and toss you out like yesterday’s trash, or there never is a “Point B” because the psychopath is fixated on controlling your every move.  In my case, my parents were the latter.

After you’ve been manipulated by a psychopath for so long, you no longer have an identity.  That is exactly how the psychopath wants it.  The more they can consume you, the more content they are (as content as a psychopath can be, anyway).  Looking back on my life, this “blurring of the lines” became a distinct pattern for me.  Once I left my parents’ home and began my life as an adult, I still had no idea who I was.   I subconsciously started molding myself to whoever my boyfriend was at the time.  If he liked cars, I started reading Hot Rod magazine.  If he liked golf, I studied up on bogeys, birdies and eagles.  In fact, when I started dating my golf-fanatic husband, I drove the cart, practiced at driving ranges, and watched golf with him every Sunday.  I thought I was being a “good girlfriend.”  Truth be told, I hated golf.  And I still do.  But it wasn’t until many years later I found the courage to say “I’ll go in the other room and paint while you watch golf.”  I knew my husband wouldn’t be offended, but daring to say “I prefer to do something else right now” was a massive leap for me.

Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t take interest in other people’s lives.  That is still important, even if you don’t share the same enthusiasm for something.  But there is a huge difference between caring about the other person and becoming the other person.  That is where the lines get blurred when you are caught up with a psychopath.

If you are recovering from a life with a psychopath, embracing your individuality can be pretty scary.  Your mind gets filled with a lot of “shoulds” and “should-nots.”  The uncertainty and lack of confidence can be overwhelming.  In my case, I relied on others to define my thoughts and emotions.  I constantly needed reassurance:  Is what I’m feeling okay?  Am I doing the right thing?  Is this normal?   Pay attention to those thoughts, especially the ones concerning your feelings.  Instead of questioning them, embrace them as part of who you are.  Maybe you feel differently about something than other people do.  That’s okay!  No two people are on the same journey in life.  This is YOUR journey and your feelings are part of who YOU are!

That has been a huge concept for me, because I’ve been “trained” to think that I am a non-person.  I am in my 40’s, and I’m only beginning to develop my own identity.  I still catch myself questioning, worrying, over-thinking.  After being raised by psychopaths and exposed to their brain-washing for decades, the hypervigilance is  hard  to break. But this is what I’ve learned so far:   We each have a unique contribution to this world that no one else can give, and it will never be revealed as long as our identity is always enmeshed with someone else’s.



43 Comments on "Tell Me About Yourself!"

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  1. Barb says:

    Wendy
    Your words clarified a lot for me, especially the first two paragraphs. I remember telling a counselor that I felt like a ‘non-person’. I was cleaning and cooking for the elderly at the time, and one of the married couples (in their 70’s) told me I seemed like a ‘non-person’. On every other job I have had people could tell I was very ‘different and unhappy’.
    You also helped me realize that my older sister is a psychopath and extreme control freak. She does not care how you feel or about anything you think…she becomes very silent when I assert myself and say how I feel. I disagreed with her about our family. I refuse to participate with this family…it is always a mistake to be with them. I told her off when she said that I was a part of the family…that “I belonged to them”. I spoke to her about that and told her I would ream her another asshole if she ever said anything like that to me again. I informed her that I am my ‘own person’ and did what I liked to do. When she found out that Tom and I had been to the Caribbean five times she was astounded. She was angry (and scared) that she never knew. It never even occurred to me to tell her.
    And Tom’s family is clearly making an all out effort to follow in our footsteps. All well and go to imitate our actions, but there are limits. Now they want to go to Costa Rica because we did…they bought a piece of land (before we did) which they found out through Tom’s mother who loved to ‘get the jump’ on us (so it would look like it was ‘their’ idea…and on and on). It can become downright embarrassing.
    But your words clued me right into what my sister really is. I just thought of her as an extreme control freak. Now I realize she is psychopathic. And that is beyond embarrassing.



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    • kalina says:

      Wendy, thank you for writing about yourself Being in your forties is better than fifty. I was fifty one, divorced after 30 years of marriage to a psychopath, with only psychopathic family members. I knew my husband for two weeks only, before I left my home to run off to Las Angeles, his home. My ex was a moma’s boy from day one. I was nearly twenty. My mom hated me so much that I decided to marry the first guy who asked me. I never considered that I knew nothing about my ex. I knew nothing about his truly, corrupt and criminal ly insane family. I was covertly and overtly assaulted by my ex and his family before I even arrived. I won’t go into what emotional torture does to your soul. You have done a masterful job getting it all into language that makes sense. I have been divorced fifteen years. It gets better and better all the time. I never wanted another man in my life. I planned it that way as I was convinced that I was better off single. I came up with a conservative financial plan. It served me well. It was the commitment to my plan that showed me that I was an intelligent and rational human being. My soul and my identity were swallowed up whole. I broke down into little fragmented selves. All the more easily manipulated and assaulted. However, it is a psycho-spiritual journey that allows us to let go of the trappings of status. I believe we were addicted to whatever we could hold on to. Even the status of being a couple. Beware of the social devil, “humiliating aloneness”. There is no shame in having loved and lost, in being alone and independent, and in never knowing the meaning of love, until, reaching fifty one! I like to inspire people. I hope I have succeeded. Kalina



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      • kalina says:

        I would like to add, that we are always afraid of what we don’t understand. So, if understanding is the key to recovery, I suggest, learn all you can about yourself. We can overly dwell on what we have been through, failing to see how we can reinforce our own pain. Imagine a brighter tomorrow, then go make it happen. Without the toxic baggage of sociopathy in your midst, you are bound to fly to heights you have never thought possible before. Enjoy your life. You deserve it! Kalina



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      • SER says:

        kalina…my life is the same as yours. I have been divorced 22 years and have never remarried by choice. It’s a struggle against society though that tells you that something is wrong with you if you are alone or celibate. You are so right…there is NOTHING wrong with being alone and independent. That is me. I loved the spath more than anything and could have seen a life with him even if it would have been a crazy one, but I am fine alone. I have really realized recently how superficial so many of my friends are. It’s been hurtful and an eye opener. I am super compassionate and caring to a fault and when I look around, it is quite obvious that the world in general does not share my same chemical make up for being a caring human being. I finally realized that the quicker I know this, the better off I will be.



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  2. Totallylost says:

    Wendy,

    Your statement “Your desires, feelings, goals and interests no longer matter. If the psychopath likes something, you’d better find a way to like it too. If they think something is ridiculous, you’d better feel the same way. Individuality is not tolerated by psychopaths, because that would mean releasing control over you.” is so true. I completely lost any resemblance of who I was previously. My ex-spath was very mean and hateful to everyone, except those he wanted to present well to. Behind the scenes he was extremely racist and made very vile comments about others and situations. Over time, I began having the same attitude. I really think I was just trying to make any kind of connection with him that I could, which I now know was futile. The ironic thing is that he turned it on me in time, letting everyone know how hateful, judgemental and uncaring I was. We traveled quite a bit, and I always made a point to write a thank-you note to those who cleaned our rooms and always left them a large tip (without him knowing of course…he never recognized anyone’s service), yet I was accused of giving the wait staff hateful looks and being rude. There was nothing farther from the truth. Sometimes he would accuse me of things HE was guilty of and it simply dumbfounded me. I fell into that sinkhole you mentioned for a while. Friends who knew me my whole life made comments that I looked really different. I didn’t seem like the same person, and they were right.
    I can say though, even though it is a long, difficult road, I am finally getting at least some of the old me back. I don’t believe I will ever be the same, but I think I will be even better with time. I still have a lot of obstacles to overcome due to the havoc and destruction my ex left me with, but I remind myself every day that today is ten times better than any of the 8 years I spent with him. I have learned so much about myself and am growing and moving forward every day. But it has taken a lot of time. As of Memorial Day, I will be 4 years post spath. BTW…I too was raised by an spath as well. I was trained to be a non-person, a non-entity my whole life. I think that is why I survived for 8 years with my ex..I knew how the game was played. I watched my mother do it my entire life. You will be okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I spent a lot of time just breathing for the first time in my life. You ARE an individual person with wonderful gifts and talents all your own that God has blessed you with. You will find yourself and you will be thrilled at what an amazing person you are. Best of wished to you my dear. Remember, just one day at a time.



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  3. slimone says:

    Wendy,

    Man do I ever relate to your story. Psychopaths in my family too. My mother a teen, raised by a pedophile father and highly N mother. Me abused by very wounded mom, psychopath grandfather, and then my mom married another psychopath. That’s the super simplified version!

    I was one of those women who walked around like that duck in the childrens book, asking ‘Are you my mother?’, trying to imprint on someone, anyone. Sitting duck for predators is what I was.

    You are so eloquent and validating in the way you write. I really appreciate you sharing your story. Even after years of not being involved with any disordered people, and bascially having probably the best time in my life, I still find that reading the wisdom of other’s continues to ‘peel the onion’ of my awareness, helping me fine tune my own understanding and wisdom.

    Slim



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  4. aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

    i hate telling ppl about myself. i have a shitty life story. the older i get the worse i feel about it as its just gotten shittier and shittier.
    which part shall i tell u, mr or mrs stranger?
    the mental illness of my spoiled rotten divorced mother (with disturbed parents) so that while my brother and I SHOULD HAVE BEEN taken from her, we were left with her till she *succeeded at* suicide at age 34 (i was 14)? my dad’s alcoholism and selfishness rampant in the 70s so that he was useless too?
    the widowhood at 25 with 2 young kids and a baby?
    the singlehood for a decade and a half almost while i poured myself out to my kids and they then rejected every ounce of me and decided to become addicts (ive never done drugs)?
    the remarrying FINALLY and he’s a SPATH?? i have PSTD from this, yes u’ve won the lottery with me, dear…
    the death of my 20yo daughter due basically to FN D.R.U.G.S.?
    my next relationship–with an NPD, whom I fled with 2 more kids present now, wearing a cath bag strapped to my leg after 2 yrs of mental and emotional torture?
    or my complete failure since to do more than complete each day?
    oh yeah, and I dont have an FN car anymore either so like for instance today i am battling a UTI and could not get to the DOCTOR as no car was available. i hardly am able to get to the grocery store.
    try telling any of that to anyone.
    i’d run too lol
    i wish i could get to the nonperson part. that would be progress for me.
    actually tho i dont feel like a nonperson. i know what i like, what i wish i could do, that my opinions on things are valid.
    i just feel totally alone, like i did for so long after my late husband died. totally completely alone.



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    • Stargazer says:

      Dear ain’t. I hurt a little on the inside reading about your mother’s suicide and your daughter’s death. What an extraordinarily heavy load to bear in this life. You have had some truly awful things happen to you – things that no human being should have to suffer. And yet here you are – you are still standing. What an accomplishment to have lived through all of that and to be able to tell your story. I admire you.

      And now it is time for you to rewrite your life story to how you want it to be, my friend. And there is no time like the present to do this.

      When I talk to people candidly about my life, I often find my story turning into more of an inspirational talk. The actual story is that I have (and never had) any family to speak of. They all abused, neglected, or abandoned me. I’ve been poverty-stricken, have lived in my car, and have even been betrayed by many therapists and every man I’ve dated. But I don’t identify with that stuff to a large extent. In my story, I am someone who got up every day for many years when I was extremely depressed and dragged myself to work. On time. With a smile on my face. I acted as if I were happy and confident. I took risks where I could have failed miserably. I made many mistakes. And yet here I am still standing. I’m fucking proud of myself and what I’ve come through. I’m proud of the person I’ve become. I don’t have family. No husband. No kids. No money to speak of. I drive a 17 year old car. I have a crappy part time job. But I really like and respect the person I have become. I am grateful for things that most people take for granted. I’ve traveled. I’ve done things most people would never do. I’ve had jobs most people would never stoop to do, because I had to. I have been resourceful, I’ve thought outside the box, I’ve made something out of nothing over and over again. I’ve touched lives and spread a little magic to places I’ve gone. THIS is the story of MY life now. I tell people, “Look at my life. Look at what I’ve been though. And look at me out there showing up to work on time, being a trustworthy friend, taking care of business, having a smile on my face, and making others feel good. If I can do this with so little, what stops you from going after what you want in life?” This is what I tell people when they ask me about my life. I want to be the kind of person who inspires people. So every day I wake up and I just BE that person. Never mind that some days I feel immense emotional pain, I feel sad and lonely and depressed, or like I ‘can’t’. I just get up and do it. Every day. That is the story of my life.

      The rest of your story is not written yet, ain’t. Go out and write it. And I want to hear the part about how you are a lovely, sensitive, spunky, and incredibly strong woman whose spirit prevails over all adversity. (((Big hugs))) Star



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      • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

        what was awful about my mom was not her suicide, it was her attempts before that, that failed. i was 14 and my brother 10 1/2 when she died. that means we were quite young and having to cope with an actively suicidal mother and no father in the house. im talking years of living like this. AND EVERYONE KNEW. she was at therapists, in psych wards, etc.
        WHY werent *we* taken out of that situation? it was 15 yrs later that i said to myself, i was denied normality as a child, we should have been taken away. i didnt even recognize it for 15 yrs!
        as i’ve said death is not the worst thing. it was an absolute relief when she died.
        my daughters situation is complicated but i have had relative peace with her death. my late husbands death was the utter devastation i have not and will not ever get over. i used to think it happened for a reason, i could help ppl, etc.
        no.
        it was just senseless and its only ever hurt me and his children. the lessons i thot i was learning and they were learning were not real. we needed him. period. and he was gone.
        it seems the older i get the less wisdom i have lol unless u count *knowing* how little wisdom i have 🙂
        its no accomplishment to be the last one standing; becuz u stand all alone.
        and the ONLY thing ive learnt about life is its about connecting.



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  5. anam cara says:

    aintgonnatakeitnomore

    Your mother and father failed you as a child and you have coped in the only way you could. Your daughter coped in her own way but did not survive. Despite the fact you have had a shitty life, you are still here; a survivor against the odds and that makes you very special indeed.



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    • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

      nah, im not special. i have had the bad luck of surviving.
      the only thing I wanted as a teen was to THRIVE not survive. i am so serious, that exact sentiment.
      life is cruel to have me know that and not be able to attain it.
      some days i think i mite win tho in the end. that mite be why i get up in the mornings.



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      • HopingToHeal says:

        Dear Ain’t,

        My heart hurts to hear of the great losses and betrayals you’ve endured. I’m sure I would never be able to survive under the same circumstances. You are a very strong person! I really am so sorry for your pain and discouragement.

        I hope you are aware of how much we all appreciate the advice and encouragement you give here on LF. I know you’ve helped me so much! One never knows when a tiny bit of encouragement may be just the lift another person needed to make it through the day. I’ve watched you be that kind of positive support for your LF family. Your wisdom comes from the lessons you’ve lived and learned. We are so grateful that you share so we can learn also.

        Have you ever thought of writing a book of your experiences and advice for others on how to recover and thrive? Your circumstances are unique and I think you could offer a point of view that could make a difference in people’s lives. If you ever have the urge to write, I would hope that you would.

        You are so very valuable!



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        • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

          i used to think i would write a bk one day as i write like others breathe…i just do it.
          however as i cant share any positive outcomes the longer my life goes on, i am less inclined to write now once my kids are grown.
          it seems to me i dont learn lessons, i just survive the latest chaos. and that is NOT a positive. death is not the worst thing that can happen. i have firmly believed that for decades.
          the only thing ive gotten from trying to recover this time is my self respect is back, but its at a huge price that i keep it intact everyday.
          alot of my problem is physiological tho. if i could ever surmount that i would have a greater shot at actively recovering.



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  6. Stargazer says:

    Dear ain’t, what is a typical day like for you? Do you work or are you on disability? Are you able to exercise at all? I agree that the ability to have a healthy body helps you to have a healthy mind, and it is all connected. I am convinced that if I could not dance, I wouldn’t be on the planet anymore. No matter how depressed or physically ill I feel, if I can drag myself to dance class, I can at least get some endorphins from that. The endorphins are really important – especially when you are grieving or have a lot of trauma you are dealing with. They can cut through all the cognitive part of depression and hopelessness. The day after my mother died, I was in dance class dancing. I literally cannot live without it.

    The other thing that occurs to me is that you have had so much trauma in your life via your upbringing that it is probably keyed into your physiology. There are forms of cellular release or other types of energy work that can remove some of that from your energy field. I have an appointment in June with someone who is renowned for her cellular release work. She is the therapist’s therapist. And it’s not cheap. But it releases patterns on a cellular level so you don’t carry them any more. These are patterns you could have been carrying for several generations, such as your mother’s hopelessness and depression. I’ve had a lot of this type of energy clearing. It DOES work. I also just heard about a program called Brainstay or Brainway? It has very good results with chronic depression.

    I am not trying to be Polyanna, and I hope I’m not getting too metaphysical. But ain’t, I just want you to know that the technology is out there to fix these things. And BTW, you are so not alone – I care about you and want you to start feeling better. You are so much bigger than all of these things you’ve lived through and you are here (on the planet) for a reason.



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    • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

      i have known about energy work for about a decade and a half. i went thru massage school so i had more contact there and my classmate actually does it and was getting her LMT so she could touch ppl once the laws got stricter about licensing.
      it was hilarious as i went to a community college, it was going to be an AA not just my LMT, and the science profs all thot the massage teachers were nuts and the massage teachers told us to just put up with them lol like fascia connects EVERYTHING–>of course a yank down in ur ankle could affect ur shoulder, duh
      and why would ppl start crying while ur working on them—unless ur releasing emotions, not just physical tension, from their muscles?
      BUT i am very wary of homeopathy, energy work, etc. i am very NOT new age. now i know just becuz something isnt measurable YET does not mean it doesnt exist or is supernatural (the only supernatural im interested in is Jesus Christ). however i have watched some free summits recently online and energy work was a speaker on each…hmmmm…and the last one really slapped me and said LISTEN Hélène…hmmm…and like i said i know this woman quite well who does it (she was one of the last ppl who saw my late daughter alive, so she was quite affected by that, etc)…hmmm…and now ur mentioning it again…but the clearing shes done on my kids for allergies just didnt seem to do much, if anything…sigh
      i DO dance. i suck at it. rly. but i dance anyway. just i dont do it enough…



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    • SER says:

      Stargazer…Brainsway is like ECT, but without having anesthesia and without all the bad side effects. I have a friend who had it done last year. It didn’t really help her. Maybe slightly. I would like to try it, but I think it’s scary and insurance doesn’t pay and it’s thousands of dollars.



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  7. Stargazer says:

    Dear ain’t. We ARE all nuts! LOL (massage therapists – I’m one, too). We are all a little off the beaten path.

    My point was that there are many many ways to recover – the technology is out there. And I cannot overstate the power of prayer when all else fails. Even if you don’t do anything, just by keeping going, you will overcome, by continuing to get up every day. I took me several months to get over the latest rejection from a guy I started dating. I sunk into a deep depression for a long time. I sometimes question why I go on. I question it and question it…..until I stop questioning it and just go play. 🙂 It’s tough being a human being sometimes. It takes courage.



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    • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

      oh gosh, rejection is one thing i am not dealing with. i am sickened i used to kiss this man. i want nothing to do with him. he didnt reject me anyway lol i left, every time. he’d always beg me back, but the last time i just ignored him till i could think clearly and then caught him in a lie pretty quickly. he’s disgusting.
      btw i didnt finish that degree (did ALL the other classes but a few massage ones) as my daughter died and due to the glut in the market, at least here, the college has closed the 30yr old program. im more interested in nutrition anyway and was pursuing my bach in that at the same time. havent been in any class since fall 2012.
      i sometimes wonder if im depressed but having seen it, including in a very close friend whos had it her entire life (shes 50), i dont see it in me. i get great joy from things still & while i feel some of my goals are unattainable right now, its becuz of my own choices that i consciously made/make. i never want to feel victimized, its one thing that makes me so MAD about the these terrible men. i WAS a victim of them; that infuriates me. its hard for me to give myself that gift of…its not my fault. but im doing lately.
      and im getting pretty damn good at pissing off any man who gets near me cuz i will NEVER again be vicitimized, targeted, whatever ya wanna call it. they cant deal with a moralisitic, strong woman whos as old as i am (and therefore desperate, they are sure lmao).
      maybe i am depressed tho. i never know with me!
      i know i am pissy alot and nervewracked :0



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      • Stargazer says:

        It’s funny how many men think older women are desperate, isn’t it? I actually had a guy tell me recently that “at our age, we can’t be choosy.” “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?” I asked him. I’d rather be alone that with someone who bores or annoys the crap out of me. I have no problem being alone. I am not on track to get married and make babies. If anything, I’m much pickier being older.

        I’m glad you’re not depressed. I have battled with depression my whole life. I’m quite convinced that if I didn’t dance, I’d still be chronically depressed and perhaps wouldn’t be on the planet right now. I dance every day but one. I have one day of rest. But that’s not even exactly true cause on that day I often dance to “Happy” in my office with my co-worker. We close the door and rock out!



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        • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

          Thats becuz at THEIR age, THEY can’t be choosy. Old men are icky ick…
          Talk about projection lol
          I cant take boredom either. im bored alot already. thats one of my problems currently. im sure once i start at the post office in early june i’ll be too busy once again for boredom, i’ll just be exhausted!
          im used to chaos and coping with day to day life along with the chaos. so no chaos–>boredom. i’ll get over it when i can used to normality again. havent had normality for over a decade. it’ll take time.
          i dont think for me its being older that makes me pickier; its that once again, im picky lol
          the only reason i’m on the earth is Jesus. believe dat.
          and today im not so badtempered as i have been this week as i finaly was able to get some antibiotics to fight this raging infection i have. YAY



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        • HopingToHeal says:

          I just had to share this story. Yesterday, I was with my daughter at a doctors appointment. While we were in the waiting room, this man and woman came in with a baby in a stroller. The man began to scan the room immediately to see who was admiring him, He was about 65, tan as a cow butt, with fake blonde hair brushed back to cover his balding head. He had no ass. But he thought he was something, and obviously his 35 year old wife must have agreed. It was disgusting!!! He was an elderly Don Jaun. Nasty.

          But I laughed to myself thinking, one day soon, all of our Spaths will be old and ugly but still prancing around like young studs.

          Sometimes a visual image is all you need.



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