It’s a new year and time to shove 2020 out the window, welcoming a fresh start. The following handful of posts are a series, written a lifetime ago, that track my journey from a painful breakup with a man I adored, to the shock of discovering the truth behind his mask, to glimpsing the depths of his depravity, and finally acknowledging my own error in blindly trusting him. This tale ended long ago, but only now am I ready to disclose it – and perhaps help others who find themselves in a similar situation. Thank you to those who shared evidence and convinced me to tell my story.
To His Next Partner:
Please don’t hesitate to IM me!
I’ll be there for you after your first disagreement when he seems overly sensitive to a minor misunderstanding. Or after the next few, when he’s unjustifiably upset and leaves you wondering what happened to your perfect relationship and near-perfect boyfriend. Or after the next wave, when he begins gaslighting you, making you feel crazy, and he questions your character. When these arguments last for days – or even weeks – and he throws everything you ever did or said back in your face, unwilling to listen to reason and bringing you to tears. When you have to be the first to apologize just to end the battles, and you justify staying with him because you’ve convinced yourself the good times outweigh the bad on this roller coaster of emotion.
Please don’t hesitate to IM me once you notice he’s detached about things going on in your life that aren’t about him. After you discover he lied – about almost everything, including his feelings for you. And you’re shown the salacious photos he’s sent to other women that he swore were “just friends” – and hear of the intimate items he requested and received from them. When you’re crushed by an account of his behavior while you were out of the country – and when you discover he’s already lining up his next partners – some of them possibly rumpling his sheets while you still share his bed. Once you learn about the one he calls his “work wife” and the purpose of his “afternoon naps.” When you finally comprehend why the neighbor above glares at him and what she’s probably witnessed.
Please don’t hesitate to IM me when you wonder where that cute, charming, sensitive, boyish partner has gone. When friends tell you he’s a narcissist and you protest, “Impossible! Every woman claims their Ex is a narcissist and, besides, narcissists are flashy, strutting peacocks and, if I know one thing, he is not that!” and then you Google something called “covert narcissism” and the description stops your heart; when you read words like “victim” and “emotional abuse” and you finally understand.
IM me – or call me, because I’ve been there and I can help you heal.
Today’s musings took a great deal out of me; made me queasy, in fact, to splay myself in front of you, to hit the “post” button. I can’t bear to follow them up with an overly complicated dessert recipe. What today needs is something simple, something homey, something comforting like this Chicken Piccata Stew, which has been a favorite of mine for years.
Chicken Piccata Stew
This stew is light, hearty, and tangy, reminiscent of chicken piccata.
- 1 pound boned, skinned chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, liberally seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, separated
- ½ cup white wine (or water if you do not have wine available)
- 1 ¾ cups chicken broth
- 1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
- 1 8 oz. pkg. quartered frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
- 1 bunch roughly chopped Italian parsley
- 1 cup pitted green olives, such as castelvetrano
- Cut each thigh into 3 chunks and coat in seasoned flour.
- Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add chicken in a single layer and cook, turning once, until browned,. Transfer to a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, capers, and lemon zest and stir just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and simmer, scraping up browned bits until reduced. Add broth, potatoes, and chicken with any accumulated juices and return to a simmer. Cover and cook 10 minutes.
- Add artichokes to pot and stir. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced, about another 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, olives, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Slightly adapted from Sunset’s Chicken Stew with Olives and Lemon.
When a recipe calls for chicken, I almost exclusively use thighs. They are juicier and more flavorful than most other options.