Hera Dumps her Golden Boy – March 2017

It’d been two weeks since Skyler had jaw-reduction surgery. The pain was harsh and she was on Percoset. She was too miserable to feel like her well-organized and poised self.

Skyler was a Hera: Natural beauty (enhanced by pricey cosmetics), fiercely protective of her family, with a high value placed on monogamy.

Fortunately, her best friend Nancy was sitting with her, chatting over the kitchen table. Nancy was her only real confidant. They didn’t always agree, but their bond was indestructible.

“Where’s Aaron?

“He’s in Chicago working on a mergers and acquisitions deal. In the hospital after the surgery, he spent a total of 15 minutes with me. He said, ‘The doctor told me your jaw is going to look great. I asked him about the bump on your nose. He said he could fix it.’”

Nancy rolled her eyes. “You didn’t want the jaw surgery. He pushed you into it. And I never heard you complain about your nose.” She paused then added, “I’m going to be brutally frank because you need to hear this. With Aaron’s colossal ego, he’s determined to keep you a showcase wife. He values your remarkable skills at managing the house, the children, and your talent for entertaining. But he’s making an object out of you. He just can’t accept the fact that you turned forty.”

Tears streamed down Skyler’s face.

“I’m worried about what it’s doing to you. You used to be so self-assured and it’s always been an open secret that you’re brighter than Aaron despite his business success. You have narcissistic victim syndrome.”

“What the hell is that?”

“Hyper-vigilance, easily startled, pussy footing around Aaron, always watching what you say to him, sleeping and eating difficulties, exhausted most of the time. All the things you’ve been experiencing long before the jaw surgery.”

Although Skyler tried to dispute what Nancy was saying, she knew her friend was right. “What should I do?”

“Where are his financial records?” Nancy asked.

“He keeps our mortgage insurance, and our household bank account here at the house, as well as some of his business records.”

“Find them and scan them,” Nancy said as she departed.

Fortunately, Aaron was a creature of habit. He tended to use the same password. While in the process of lifting out documents to scan, Skyler discovered that Aaron had a secret credit card account and an apartment in Chicago. There were many dinners for two on the card. Digging further, she found documents about an M&A deal in which he was involved that was clearly illegal. Although she was in shock, Skyler had the presence of mind to hire a first-rate lawyer.

Summer was approaching. Skyler signed up their twin 12-year-old sons for a summer camp that lasted eight weeks. Always a careful planner, she wanted to spare them the worst of Aaron’s temper when he got the news.

Of course he exploded and threatened her. Skyler calmly made for the door. Before slamming it shut, she announced: “I have the documents on your M&A scam.”

The following months were excruciating for Skyler. I have no identity now. She’d say to herself. Everybody knows me as the woman who was lucky enough to marry the golden boy in college. Even though she worked on and off after graduating and liked it, she regarded marrying Aaron as her biggest achievement, and her marriage had become her career.

  • Skyler did not see the trickster in her husband. Still, she was strong enough to face the betrayal head on. No time for anxiety or panic. She paused and then resolved that she would go back to her youthful self who had interests and a firm identity.
  • The news had been full of women protesting treatment by the patriarchy. Skyler was beginning to feel that anger too. She had no idea she had fallen into that pit by agreeing to being made over to suit Aaron – until hearing Nancy’s stinging comments. Trapped in a gilded cage? How had that happened? The price of being too attached to the role of the Perfect Wife.
  • Skyler went directly into ‘response mode’, kept her cool, stayed organized and managed her exit with grace – leaving the dirty work up to the lawyer. She called on her mother’s examples on how to competently assert energy, rather than flounder in ‘react mode’, when dealing with Skyler’s authoritative father. Yay, Mom!

A funny thing happened after the divorce papers were signed. Chester, her divorce lawyer who was a partner in a prominent firm, had observed Skyler’s professional approach to navigating her life crises.

“We need a manager in our law firm.” He said to her as they left the courthouse. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but it pays well.”

Skyler let out a whoop of delight. “When can I start?”

Hera – December 2016

Dominique Trims Her Sails

 “I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.”  — Nora Ephron

When Dominique’s husband Calvin left her for an easygoing bohemian artist named Willow, she wasn’t a good sport about it. Dominique played hardball and got the house, Mercedes, and enough money to continue her lifestyle — bait to attract another successful husband. This time she’d bag a guy who would appreciate her formidable skills as a professional wife.

The only sticking point was the yacht club. It held more power, and rivaled the Episcopalian church in terms of exclusivity in this shoreline New England enclave. Calvin, whose grandfather had established the club, was currently the commodore. Worse, Calvin showed no guilt in bringing Willow to club festivities. Since Dominique was in charge of the Memorial Day kickoff party, she dreaded the evening.

Never underestimate the extent to which a woman with Hera characteristics will go for revenge. While helping a server arrange the food on the buffet table, Dominique learned that the server had lined up a job in North Carolina but was worried about travel expenses. So Dominique whispered that she would give the woman $100 if she would “accidentally” spill a glass of red wine on Willow.

The scheme worked beautifully – but with unintended consequences.

Willow laughed off the stains on her paisley dress, which endeared her to the members at her table.

Crisis. At that moment, Dominique realized that since she was now Calvin’s ex-wife, her membership was in jeopardy. And she knew many of the club insiders resented her take-charge ways. They felt relaxed around Calvin and Willow. How could she continue to keep her position among those whose esteem she prized?

Did Dominique understand she had choices? What would you do?

  • Turn off your animosity and graciously welcome Willow into the fold?
  • Keep ranting? Bad idea. Others will soon tire of you bad-mouthing your Ex.
  • Get real. Deal with Calvin more directly – let him know how difficult this transition is for you?
  • Let go of the past. Dig deep into your skill set. Find another purpose to enhance your life, rather than count on a boyfriend or another husband to do it for you.

Goddess Tip: Take ownership of your control freak-mindset. Try hands off, instead of hands on. Let your husband, children, friend, or colleague come up with another way of tackling a project. Collaboration opens the door to harmonious solutions.