Sixty-four years after her death, French writer and libertine, Colette, has once again been resurrected for our entertainment pleasure. With the Autumn release of the 2018 film starring Keira Knightley as Colette, I am reminded once again of something I'd much rather forget: step-mother/step-son incest. It's not actually portrayed in the film but articles about Colette inspired by the movie make sure we never forget: Colette seduced and bedded her teenage step-son, Bertrand de Jouvenel. For the rest of his life, she actively or passively made his marriages and romantic relationships as transient as their affair had been. Yet he blindly loved her passionately for the rest of his life.
Recently, the DailyMail published an excerpt from America's self-styled 'first supermodel', Janice Dickinson. You may remember her as the hyper contestant in Season 16 of Big Brother House who bragged that Stallone paid for her breast implants Yes, that Janice Dickinson.
Full Heart, Empty Arms was originally started to address infertility and all the sadness, pain, relationship issues and self-esteem issues whirling around not being able to have children. In the months since its introduction, we've expanded to discuss all kinds of other related topics such as Parental Alienation, sexual abuse, incest and even Aspergers.
Parental Alienation is a living horror every day of the year but it acquires an extra anguish at Christmas. For alienated fathers faithfully paying child support and alimony, Christmas presents can be another source of anguish, struggle and even further alienation at what should be the happiest season of the year.
It's not just that alienated fathers are lopped off the family tree. No, it's worse than that. It's that the true strong oak limb that represents that father's character is gouged out of the family tree and the spectre of an ugly, gnarly, thorny limb grafted in its place. Along the way, the children receive an entirely wrong picture of their father, their hereditary line and the character of their family tree.
Last week, my friend Rhedyn invited me over to her house for curry. While we sipped tea and gossiped, her Aspergers husband Dan practically bounded into the room. He was waving his hands excitedly, trying to break into our conversation. This was highly unusual as Dan usually hides when I visit, barely acknowledging my existence. 'Ivy!' he interrupted us, looking me in the eye, 'you've got to hear this'.
'Our marriage is great,' the Aspie's neurotypical wife told me, 'except when we talk. That's when it all goes to Hell'. Baffled, I begged her to elaborate as I was unable to fathom what I'd just heard. It flew in the face of all marriage counseling, every book on how to have the 'perfect' marriage: talk, talk, talk, talk, talk to each other, they all say. What if doing the opposite was actually the key to a happy neurotypical/Aspie marriage? I had to know!
Maybe I just got lucky, but I don't understand why marriage is always presented as being 'so hard'. Why? Why does it have to be 'so hard'?
She didn't sue for sole custody until after I married the father or, as she calls him, the 'sperm donor' of her children. Suddenly, after making her five children warmly welcomed and lovingly step-mothered in my home for their visitation with their father, she was citing me in her suit to remove my husband, Rhys', custody-on-paper of his children for the 'reason' of abandonment. Abandonment! I felt guilty. Damned guilty. Sometimes I wondered if it would've been better, all around, if I hadn't married Rhys. After all, he didn't lose custody of his children until a few months after we wed. What had I done so wrong for everything to speedily go so pear-shaped?
I took a double-take, unable to believe the evidence of my own eyes. Had I just seen my sweet little step-son, Terrwyn, viciously kick his beloved dog in the head? No. Certainly my eyes had deceived me. But now he was sobbing, hugging his spaniel who was licking his face forgivingly. His obvious penitence made me hold my tongue. The last thing my bullied, abused and alienated step-son needed was more shame, more pain. He got enough of that from his birth mother and the angry, vicious bullying and abuse of his siblings. Strangely enough, the only time I saw him cry was when he kicked Mitzie. From then on, I kept a close eye on him and his dog during visitation.