Arguing with a gaslighter is like wrestling a greased pig

“Are you cheating on me, again?” I did my best to sound unbothered, but the words came out all shaky. His response was perfect. Eyes wide with shock, he immediately walked over to me and hugged me.

“Of course not,” he said as he lifted my chin and made eye contact. “Babe, I made a promise. I know I’ve hurt you a lot in the past, but I’m not doing that kind of stuff anymore.”

He pulled me closer again, and I could hear his steady heartbeat. His response should’ve been reassuring, but I only felt worse. Early on in…


Unacceptable situations are an accelerant for growth

“I will never, ever, be okay with this,” I said. “I am fine now, but every time I look back at what happened, I am still appalled by the situation. There is no alternative timeline where I will ever be okay with his behavior.”

She nodded. “If I hear you correctly, you are saying his actions are unacceptable?”

Stumbling through my words, I tried to explain that yes, it was unacceptable, but I was also fine now. Even better than fine. Despite his actions and the subsequent heartbreak, I am happy. It is good that we broke up. …


Sign on the dotted line in case the happily ever after doesn’t work out

I knew it wasn’t a smart move. But he was persuasive. “Come on. Trust me,” he said.

We’d been together for over ten years and worked through some pretty big stuff. But this time, we were at a standoff. We’d fallen in love with a beautiful farmhouse on the other side of the country. I felt it was too far away from everyone we loved and crazy expensive. We were still in the middle of the economic recession, and I wasn’t sure if we‘d be able to sell our current house without losing money.

We had some intense fights over…


Two lives ruined in the heat of the moment

“If you show your penis now, right here, I’ll give you 17k. Send me your bank account, and you’ll have it.”

His friend interrupts him to inform the kid is a minor. But either he doesn’t listen, or he doesn’t care. So he continues, laughing his ass off while he keeps persuading the boy to show his genitals. The boy protests by saying he doesn’t have a bank account.

“I’ll give it to you in cash!”

And that is how a 12-year-old boy exposed himself on an Instagram live stream. Almost 5,000 people watched the stream, and the screen recordings…


Why more women are postponing or opting out of motherhood

Even before I started menstruating, people wanted to know about my plans for my womb. I never got asked if I wanted children. People always asked me how many children I wanted.

My answer was always the same: two. I am a middle child and didn’t like that, so I wanted better for my hypothetical unborn children.

As I got older, the question started to make me anxious. I still wanted two children, but I also wanted to be a diplomat, a writer, an astronaut, an archeologist, and a background dancer for Michael Jackson. …


“Either this is going to kill me, or it’s going to be the most amazing adventure ever”

Every light on the dashboard was flickering red. She let out a stream of curses and kicked the console, triggering a gyro alert. According to the numbers, they were spiraling. She looked outside, but without any stars or planets visible, it was impossible to know what was going on. Gravity was normal; she could stand up without floating away.

Still cursing, she unbuckled herself and ran to the sleeping quarters, banging on all the doors. Ji was the first one to step out, looking groggy. He looked over her shoulder at the cockpit.

“Wha — ” eyes wide in shock…


They already know it’s out there, they live it

I was so angry; I stumbled to get my words out. Suddenly, my friend broke off eye contact, frowned, and looked away. I thought she did this because she was appalled by my co-worker's Facebook message, just like I was. But I read the room wrong. She was appalled by me.

“Why are you telling me this?”

Her question caught me off guard. “Uhm, because we talk about this kind of stuff all the time?”

“No, we don’t. We talk about how racism affects society and what we can do to stop it. We talk about how racism affects my…


The gap between fantasy and reality

It was the sentence I hated hearing the most.

“We can’t afford that, sweetie.”

I know my parents weren’t poor on purpose, but sometimes it did feel like some kind of punishment. If only we could afford it, we’d be the happiest family in town.

When I asked if I could take riding lessons, my mother sent me to the riding school to ask about the costs. Which was very cruel of her because:

A. I was deadly shy, and going somewhere alone, asking an adult about costs, seemed more terrifying than slaying the monsters from my nightmares.

B. I…


Fiction Friday

“Moms don’t leave their kids!”

Her eldest blocked the doorway. She still couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that the tiny baby she’d given birth to had transformed into this massive muscular teenager. He looked so much older than his 16 years, simply because he was so big—one big block of muscle, resistance, hair, and know-it-all.

“Kids don’t abuse their moms, yet here we are!” she said in a chipper tone as she kept packing her bag.

The youngest started crying. “Mommy, we don’t abuse you.” …


And so worth it

Sobbing, I was walking down the promenade of La Malagueta. The waves crashing on the beach, the pastel color palette of the sunset, the aromas from fresh-made food, and the sounds of people laughing and talking in the chiringuitos created a perfect atmosphere.

I felt free. I was living the dream. And I was absolutely terrified.

Because it was at that exact moment, I realized that my life is mine, and mine alone. It is up to me to decide what to do with it. …

Judith Valentijn

Failing forward. Writer. Psychology student. Certified Non-Duality Coach. Reluctant marketer. Reach out: judith.valentijn@gmail.com

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