Maybe it took 5 minutes, maybe 10. It was hard to tell.

Photo by Bill Oxford from Unsplash

Divorce at the courthouse was a surprisingly ordinary non-event.

The divorce proceeding itself went by quickly and it was matter-of-fact.

It was an eerily understated legal proceeding; a series of questions, yes and no answers. Then I was divorced.

Just like that.

Maybe it took 5 minutes, maybe 10. It was hard to tell.

Getting divorced in court was so easy I wished I had done it years before.

He didn’t show up to the divorce, I didn’t think he would. When there was something real in life to deal with, he fled. Having an affair, was also about fleeing…


I remember the moment my ex-husband introduced me to his mistress.

Photo by Cristian Newman from Unsplash

I remember the moment my husband (now ex-husband) introduced me to his mistress.

Formally, that is.

When recounting the story of their spouse’s suspected affair, many have said that they had met the mistress multiple times, unbeknownst to them. The mistress was in their home as a guest or at their workplace or at their family events; wherever it was, she was in the fabric of life.

My experience was no different.

There were plenty of times I popped into my husband’s workplace when I was on break from my work and she was there, but I didn’t notice much…


Photo by Clayton Robbins from Unsplash

The salient feature of marriage to a narcissist is the overwhelming unpaid labor that the spouse demands, without discussion or negotiation.

The reason why I call it unpaid labor of narcissistic marriage is because labor in narcissistic marriage is not labor undertaken through love, care, and mutuality. I also do not call it unpaid care work labor, because though we may exhibit care, the framework of the relationship is not one of care.

I think of my marriage as the epitome of the contradictions of capitalism from a labor perspective, in which there is both stability and catastrophe coexisting in…


He thought I was afraid of being alone.

Photo by William Olivieri from Unsplash

When my marriage was heaving its death rattle in the last 18 months of marriage, my husband made pronouncements at the doorway of whatever room I was in and then he ran away immediately after he made his brutal announcements, which were usually rude and intending to be hurtful.

Most times, I would look up at him from the computer or from the chair where I was reading and I could feel my own face’s complete expressionlessness, as to signify that I was no longer there and he was now talking to a ghost. …


Autophobia is the fear of being alone.

Photo from Ekrulila from Pexels

Autophobia is the fear of being alone.

According to dualdiagnosis.org, autophobia also includes fears of:

  • Strangers or intruders
  • Being unloved or unwanted
  • Developing an acute medical issue
  • Unexpected or unexplained noises

According to From Medical News Today, “autophobia is complex, and it may be difficult to distinguish from separation anxiety disorder, fears of abandonment, disordered attachment, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

Autophobia is something that I had little or no insight into while I was married, but it is something that my ex-husband exhibited, without being able to put a name to the syndrome.

Only now, after being divorced for…


Rape and employment for me were linked in my marriage.

Thank you Annie Spratt, photo from Unsplash

When I was married, I awoke several times a week in the morning, after being penetrated while sleeping.

Most of the time, I didn’t remember him taking off my pajamas. Often, I worked late into the night and got inadequate sleep. Being raped early in the morning at 5 am didn’t help my exhaustion.

When I would wake up having been penetrated, I felt dread; revulsion permeated my guts. In this revulsion, I saw in my mind’s eye a black shroud swathing my body; a death shroud. I laid there like a corpse while he did what he wanted.

Internally…


Cracks in his facade were there from the beginning.

Photo by Logan Weaver from Unsplash

I had many moments of disillusionment coming to understand the person I married and later divorced.

When we dated he was incredibly charming and witty, but cracks in his facade were there from the beginning.

I just didn’t have my Google translator to understand the whole from the part that flashed by fleetingly. These little moments were vaporous and I smelled the vapor, but I failed to understand that this vapor was insidious and the core of his ethics and structure of personality.

When I met my husband, he paraded himself as a progressive, left-wing person, steeped in the leftist…


My husband and crisis were inseparable twins.

Photo from Kinga Cichewicz from Unsplash

Have you ever had experiences with someone where nothing made sense?

Nothing added up and that other person seemed to be operating in another dimension? Have you had the experience of dealing with someone’s behavior and thinking that you had no insight into their motivations?

Welcome to the last year of my marriage. It was a surreal journey into senselessness.

This particular memory is from a trip to Argentina where I had to give a series of lectures at an institute in my field of study. My husband insisted on coming with me on my work trips — this particular…


From a neurological and psychological standpoint, this is very curious.

Photo by Damir Spanic from Unsplash

I told this story about my ex-husband to a neuropsychiatrist friend and he said, “that’s not a little weird. This is possible psychosis.”

My friend wasn’t making a diagnosis but telling this story to him made me realize that maybe I didn’t realize how profoundly disordered my ex-husband was. To this day, I wonder what his diagnosis would be, had he gotten one. It would have made a world of difference had he been diagnosed, for clarity’s sake.

Here’s the story:

Early on when I was married, I found my husband in the stairwell of our house. He had a…


What Died As Spousal Abuse Grew.

Photo by Roberto Nickson

The feeling of taking a hot bath is something that I savor.

I love sinking into the bathtub, feeling water envelop my body.

The water casts off the world and the world becomes the tub. Everything disappears; time stops marching forward for the duration of the bath.

Serenity and a sense of pleasure embrace me.

I enjoyed baths like this for more than thirty years.

I remember the period in my life when this pleasure disappeared. Repeated baths, where I laid in the water baffled by the lack of sensation. I felt the water, but I lost the feeling of…

Poppy Nagano

Researcher, cat mom, heirloom vegetable obsessed gardener.

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