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Happy Halloween. Haunted Château

There are a lot of spooky places in Paris. I took Gracie to the catacombs of Paris when she was little. The Catacombs are deep underground the streets of Paris and house the remains of 6 million people. The bones are all artistically arranged, of course. I continued my reign of terror with Gracie as I also took her to the Conciergerie in Paris which is a former prison where Marie Antoinette awaited the guillotine. Gracie was so terrified that she could hardly look into Marie Antoinette’s cell. Gracie decided the best thing to do was to just stand still and close her eyes. She was even too scared to run. I had to carry her out. It was hysterical… I should have my parenting license revoked or at least suspended.


The most scared I have ever been in my entire life is at my grandmother’s house. She had a big old stone house and everything was beautiful and warm and cozy… Except the basement and the attic. It was like a house of horrors up in the attic and down in the basement. I was always convinced that I saw blood on the walls. I wouldn’t even go there as an adult if you paid me.
There is nothing spookier than a haunted house but there is also nothing chicer than a haunted château, non? Take a look at these photos of abandoned châteaux in France. By the way, in my mind, abandoned means haunted.…

A toute!

*Okay, I’m here today to ruin our happy-go-lucky Happy Halloween series. I have a feeling this blog could go two ways… You might hate me or you might agree with me. Regardless, I will still like all of you… Maybe. Here’s the scoop.… I received a “comment” on my blog yesterday that stirred up some emotions. A woman who identified herself by first and last name and was aware that her comment was public, wrote that we all have our burdens to bear… She said my burden was ALS and her burden was an abusive husband.
Now, being me, I could not just let this comment slip. Now, also being me, I wasn’t very empathetic. My response to her was that yes, I do have ALS but I cannot run away from it. She, having an abusive husband, can run away. The two are not similar. I told her that if she was smart enough to get on a computer and write a comment on a blog, then she was smart enough to stand up and walk away. The only way she wouldn’t be able to walk away was if she was hostage and I doubt that is the case if she’s reading my stupid blog. In this day and age, in my opinion, there are no excuses to stay in an abusive relationship unless you want to. There are shelters, there are hotlines, there are charities and there is the police. I am fully aware that this is not an easy out. I realize that even if you get a restraining order against your douche bag husband that he could violate the restraining order and still hurt you, and maybe even kill you. But guess what? He would do it anyway so you might as well try to leave. I don’t fancy the notion that you should stay in an abusive relationship for the children. That means you’re a shitty mother. Your job as a mother is to protect the children, so grab the rugrats and leave. I also don’t fancy the notion that you should stay in an abusive relationship because your douche bag husband is the sole financial provider. Walk away, get a job and support yourself. Like I said, there are plenty of charities that will help you get on your feet. Hell, I’ll help you get back on your feet. I also don’t fancy the notion that if you were raised in an abusive family then this is just the circle of life. No, it’s not. It is up to you to break the abusive chain. No matter what excuse you give me for staying in an abusive relationship, you are wrong.

You are not brave enough, you think, to walk away? Yes you are. Women are stronger than men. Do you think a man could ever have a baby? No, that’s why women were chosen to have the babies because we can handle it. Gather your courage and walk away

No matter how scary it may seem to walk away and start life on your own it’s better than being abused by your douche bag husband. You don’t agree with me? Well then, stay in that relationship and see how that works out for you, idiot.

 Remember what Maya Angelo says, “When you know better, you do better.” I know that this woman knows better.

Do you think your husband will change? Nope, he won’t. Remember also what Maya Angelo says, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Maybe this woman was reaching out to me and telling me that she has an abusive husband as a way of asking for help. Good for her, if that’s the case because she came to the right girl. I will be her superhero, I will be her wonder woman and I will guide her out of this rabbit hole that she has gotten herself into. Maybe all of you can help as well. If I can help her while I have ALS, you all can help as well. Even if you have cancer, you can do it between your chemotherapy. The only way I’m going to let any of you off the hook for not helping this woman is the following… If you are in Africa, working with Doctors without Borders at an Ebola clinic…you are off the hook. If you are caring for any sick child, a child in need or a child in danger…you are off the hook. If you are working in any capacity to get the African schoolgirls back who were kidnapped by Boko Haram…you are off the hook. If you are at Oscar de la Renta’s funeral…you are off the hook, obviously. But, other than that, no one is too busy to help this woman. Leave your advice for her in the comment section and maybe, just maybe, something one of us says to her will flip the light switch back on and she will see clearly.


  1. If you have not gained strength after reading Ellie's advice.. Try this. and make the decision to leave. You deserve a happy life.

  2. Wow! I so totally agree with you and that you have said everything that could be said but I will chime in with this. When I was a stupid teenager, I dated a jealous guy who didn't like it when I talked to another guy at all. ...I.thought it was cute at first- until I was on the receiving end of his anger. After lying to my parents about the bruises and taking him back (stupid stupid teenager) he promptly hit again - I decided enough. Broke up with him. He is now in prison for assaulting his 3rd wife to the point of almost killing her. Don't you see they NEVER stop....YOU are not going to change HIM. YOU are just as guilty for staying. I pray courage
    for you. Ellie said everything you need to hear~Read it again - Pam Atk

  3. I agree,too many options to just stay.

  4. You are right, Ellie, and your response was logical and well put, as are all of your posts. She should go and go quickly. There is no reason to stay and endure an ever-escalating cycle of violence. Also, your Halloween posts have been fantastic. I await the cookbook!

  5. Argh, blogger ate my comment.

    I agree absolutely with everything you've said.

    I grew up in an abusive household and at 44 yrs old, I'm still not over it. He won't change, and if you have kids, they deserve a better chance than what you're giving them. Even if he never lays a hand on them, or if they never see him hit you, they still know. My dad was abused as a child, and in turn abused (terrorized) my mom, my brother and me. This isn't the "circle of life" because neither my brother nor I abused our kids. You make a decision to live differently, and then you do it. People just don't change. He says he'll kill you? Believe him and run faster. He'll do it if you stay too.

    An abusive husband is not a "burden to bear". It is a thing to run far and fast away from. Also, so completely unlike living with ALS that the comparison is insulting.

  6. Leaving will be the hardest thing you have ever done. And then it will be over and each consecutive day of figuring out a new life will be easier. It is a process and you just have to start. After awhile you will look back and say "why did I wait so long?" And then you can help someone else do it. Read Ellie's advice on a daily basis.Courage!

  7. In addition to physical abuse, you have no doubt been the subject of years of emotional abuse. He is the weaker one and has to condition you to believe you are nothing for his charade to work. Surely you know of the story of the 3 women held captive in Cleveland and the horrors they went through. One of them was brave enough to get out and now they are free and the creep is dead. Stand up straight and get out of there. Think of Tina Turner. You can do this. You need to do this. Now go!

  8. I believe that making the decision to leave him - and then actually doing so - will become one of your proudest life moments. "Better the devil you know..." is total BS. A better, safer, happier life awaits. Take the first step today and do not look back.

  9. Think my comment got eaten too, first time at this.
    You must leave, I'm another adult that dealt with this as a child and it's left me half living, the fear never leaves. You really can't use ALS as a comparison, you can leave your situation, there's help available, I will also leave my email with Eleanor if you want to talk further,
    If Eleanor's blog has shown you anything it's live now, live with some balls at whatever life serves you. You can do it, make a plan, get help and get out.

  10. Ellie is one is saying it's easy to leave...but you do have options. Be brave.
    Here is a hug...get moving. If Ellie can deal, so can you. You must admire her courage or you wouldn't be here. You can be courageous too!

  11. Ellie and all of the commenters are absolutely right. You must decide who is more important, you or him, because that's what the issue is when all is said and done. Please listen to these women.
    I hope you get a comment about "how" to leave from someone with experience. I left my husband but he was merely narcissistic, not abusive. But I will tell you, it will never happen unless you take the first step. First make a plan & a deadline (say, three days from now, no more than a week). Every day, do something to head you in the right direction: find the homeless shelter, talk to them, talk to the local hospital-they probably have all sorts of resources for you, see if you can find a lawyer who does pro bono work so you'll know your rights, line up some friends who can help you--but stay away from the ones your husband knows so they don't get hurt in his rage. Don't think about a month from now, think about today, maybe tomorrow. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. But just take it a step at a time. Every step you take, you will gather courage and self-respect and strength and all those things your husband has taken from you. If you don't look out for you, who will?

  12. I think Ellie's response was worded clearly and concisely ---the most important point being that he will never change and it's up to you to take that hard first step and give yourself a chance at everything one deserves it more.

  13. Katherine has said it all right here. My first husband was emotionally and verbally abusive...which was a nice mix for someone like me who had self-esteem problems. You must leave.

  14. Right On! Leaving is "the" action of choice and rebuilding self esteem. It seems hard but it will be heaven, make a plan and work the plan. I think almost every community in the USA have battered women's homes with addresses protected and provide guidance, direction, a safe clean room, direction for work, even nice toiletries. (I donate all my bags of hotel samples to them & clothes). Being alone is far better than being in abuse, hands down even though the dream in one's head may be gone, it is the dream & hope that they hang onto when there is none in such a relationship so they become frozen. Action is the answer, get out NOW and offer loving time for yourself to heal ~

  15. You must leave. The abuse will only get worse over time, not better. You owe it to yourself and to your children.
    Before you leave, speak with a counsellor or women's shelter to make a safety plan. Reach out for support, read, educate yourself about the cycle of violence (physical, emotional, financial).
    Don't allow him to grind you down and make you feel worthless. Don't be ashamed to admit you're in an abusive relationship... I was, and what kept me hooked in was the belief that as a university-educated, professional woman, I was somehow 'immune'. Not so.
    Courage and good luck! Here are some resources:

  16. Please, please, please leave your husband. It may seem impossible, perhaps no one in your current circle of family and friends understand, but it will be the best thing you ever did even if you don't think so now. You really deserve a wonderful, beautiful life. Go to a liberal church or temple or whatever your religious affiliation is, even if you don't have one. Talk to pastors, talk to people on help hotlines and centers for domestic abuse. Talk to them on the phone, Go to them in person and tell them what you are going through. Keep talking and telling people that you need their help and their support both emotionally and physically to leave your husband. Tell them you need help very badly, keep talking until people understand what you are going through and they will help move you out of your house and will do everything possible to help keep you safe. These people believe you deserve a beautiful, safe, joyful life, it is why they are there, they want to help you, they know you are doing a very brave thing by coming to them and asking for their help, they know you are in a terrible, frightening situation, to the point where you may be telling them it is not so bad, just so you can survive being there, but they know it is bad and they will not judge you for wanting to leave your husband, who is very, very sick, because love is never abusive, love makes you feel joyful, and your husband is not loving you by abusing you. You deserve a life filled with lightness and beauty and love and those things and more will be available to you once you leave your husband, and you will look back one day in astonishment and wonder why you believed that you had to stay with him, you will look back and be so grateful that you left, (even though it was very, very hard). You will look back and be relieved and grateful and happy because you will have created a life that is full of joy and love and personal fullfillment in so many ways, that you may not even imagine right now. This is your future and your birthright.
    And you do not have to do it alone. Those people will help you. They will help you pack and move out of your house. They will come with you when you leave. They will help get a restraining order against your husband, they will not tell him where you are going. They will help you find a place to live where you can be safe. Temporary free housing is available for women in abusive, domestic situations. They will help you get whatever you need, people will donate clothes and furniture to get you set up for a new life. If you need skills in order to get a job, there are people to help you with that. If you are ill or disabled and cannot work there is SSI and social workers to help you fill out forms and make sure you have food and money. And if you have children, you must leave your husband in order to protect them, too, because that is the loving thing to do. People will help you find counselors and support groups to help you do this emotionally, because they know you are precious and valuable, and those people will become part of your circle of family and friends.

    Wishing you lots of love and joy and a beautiful future,

  17. You are amazing--common sense and empathy, not to mention courage. I hope your correspondent finds the courage too. It's not easy but we should be grateful when we have choices and we should look for those choices--they are often there even when we feel trapped. Margot

  18. Dear person - yes, unquestionably Ellie is right, and so are all the people who have commented. You must leave the awful situation you are enduring. I have never been abused but I have been bullied, both as a child at school and as an adult in a work situation, and while I knew I had to put a stop to it that is easier said than done. I felt completely worn down and incapable of taking any action until one day I realised that to continue to do nothing was tantamount to condoning what was being dished out to me. There will be people who know or guess what is happening to you - reach out to them. Make a plan of action. Find out what support services your community offers. Just go. Don't cave in. I wish you courage and the peace of mind and happiness you deserve.

  19. There is really nothing to add as everyone before me said it perfectly. I will only say that if you not o it or yourself, do it or our kids so that they don't see this as a norm or when they grow up.
    Your can't make anyone else happy unless you are happy first, and that includes your children.
    Start gathering financial records, change your email accounts & passwords, erase all messages even the deleted ones and go see a lawyer. I wish you much love & courage

    Ps- Ellie your advice is bang on and you make me laugh my ass off. You're my sister from another mother. Have a fabulous day

  20. Dear friend in need. I am going to go out on a limb here but your use of the word "burden" makes me wonder if you have stayed in this abusive relationship for religious reasons. As in your burden is a "cross to bear." But I have say with my whole heart that I don't know of any religion all over the world (and I have studied or experienced many in my travels) or any form of God that would condone your being abused nor any God that would not want you to leave and to find your true life, one where happiness is not only possible but real. Even if you think otherwise, you are not "serving" your God by staying in this relationship, if anything you are serving the opposite by letting this man hurt you. This is your life. You do hold it in your hands and yes, you are capable and worthy of making a change.

    Here is the thing, by telling Ellie of your situation, you were reaching out for help. And that took courage in itself. So you have that courage in you. As so many others have said, we are really, really fortunate to live in times where you can get help every step of the way when it is away from him. Now, this is not the same thing at all but when my Dad passed away (after 43 years of marriage) my Mom had to start over from zero. Less than zero actually. Sell the house and the possessions. Move. Find a new house. Find a job after years of not working. Get out of debt. And she has. She has a really good life now. It isn't fancy, she works hard but her life is her own and she did it. It definitely wasn't easy but she did it. But not on her own. There were people to help her every step of the way, from a Women's Center, to government aid, to religious conselors to family and friends. You are not alone. I love Sabrina's advice to talk to people. Just that. Just do that one thing and see what happens. But don't wait. Your life is on the line. And you do indeed deserve better.

    From a personal point of view, I can say that I have been through a period in my life where I couldn't imagine it ever getting "better" - I thought that my life would always be that way, that I would always feel that way...but I was wrong. Thank goodness I know that now.

    You can do this.
    Sending Love and Strength,

  21. I see this as a cry for help from the commenter since she left her name and bothered to comment at all. My sister-in-law lived in an abusive marriage for twenty-four years before finally finding the courage to get out. After having been abused both mentally and physically, she was left with absolutely no self esteem to battle back with. He husband told her she was worthless and she believed it. She also had two boys to raise and I suppose she was worried about how to provide for them. Finally, with the support of her family and friends, she went back to school, got a job, and began planning her exit. She did make the break and although it was difficult at first, she persevered and never looked back. NO woman deserves to be abused in any way. And, NO woman should EVER allow abuse of any kind to take place. YOU don't deserve to be in that position - YOU are better than that. You have to believe it! And, YOU have the power to do something about it.

    As many of the ladies above have mentioned, there are resources out there to go to for help. You just have to want to help yourself first. And, if you have children, you must think of them also. Your children don't deserve to grow up in an abusive environment. Keeping them there will hinder them in more ways than you will ever know. They deserve to have at least one parent who can love them in the way they need to be loved. And, that one parent is YOU!

    Today, my sister-in-law is remarried to a wonderful man who loves and supports her in every way. They live a happy life - a life she so deserves!

    I truly hope you find the strength to do what's necessary for you to live a happy and fulfilling life without the abuse. Remember, YOU are stronger than you think! And, most of all, YOU ARE worth it!

    With love and hugs,

    xoxox Janice

    PS: Eliie, I'm completely in love with you! You possess a gentle spirit and the sass of an old soul. I'm in awe of your courage in the face of adversity. What a gem you are! You do know you were put here for a reason, don't you? More on that later.....Kisses to you! Janice

  22. Since Ellie said I have to help, I'll try...
    I assume your self worth has been whittled away and that's why you stay. You've been beaten and treated like a D O G, but turn that word around to G O D, now turn it into GODESS. Make your body your temple, and find new ground to lay your foundation. Soon, others will follow and worship you. May knowledge and strength guide you. xoxo Nicky

  23. FIND me via ELLIE..........I will LISTEN.I'm HERE for YOU to talk too!
    The women above have given you GREAT advise.............JUST DO IT!!

  24. First, your blog is not stupid! Second, you may have ALS, but ALS does not have you.... life is a choice and you chose not to be a victim. I think she reached out to you, she see's your strength and courage as something she desperately needs and wants. I don't know where she is located, but count me in. I will be happy to kick butt and do whatever I can.

    Elle from NYC

  25. Dear Ellie, I applaud you for taking the situation a step further and for trying to make a difference. Your interlocutors have risen to the challenge with wisdom and clarity. I hope it makes a difference in her life.

    I grew up in an abusive household, at a time when divorce was still taboo. My Mom endured way too many years of pain (for the sake of the children) before she reached out for help. Long story short, it was the local priests she befriended, who gave her the strength and stamina to leave my father. Phew! It was a weight off everyone's shoulders...including my father who needed the time and space to defuse. Fast forward 50 Mom sees it as a pivotal moment in her evolution and holds no grudges. My father still hasn't learned to cope with his insecurities very well, but at least he has a calmer environment in which to reflect.

    In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, "Never waste your suffering. Suffering without catharsis is nothing but wasted pain." We all have a lot to learn, non?

  26. Sit quietly alone. Close your eyes. Imagine where you would like to be. Color that image. Do you remember those colors are real? They aren't jut crayons in the box. Try with all your strength to ask just ONE person to help pick out a crayon color. Take their hand. Hard? Yes. Impossible? No. A HUGE step toward coloring again. Take a chance to make the color of that HELP as brilliant as you can imagine. And say I WANT IT!!! Good luck.

  27. What that woman said is ignorant and dumb. Sort of makes me angry that you are making this effort. Sorry.

  28. Dear Ellie, Thank you for taking this on. Tears came to my eyes feeling all the love that has poured out from all your wonderful followers.

    To the lady, please take all these comments in, and leave. It will be a "love myself" moment. There will be plenty to follow.

    Best of luck,

    Carleen Cafferty, owner of Seattle Cat Hotel

  29. To the woman who stirred up some emotions for Ellie and me:

    “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.” -- Mary Oliver

    Like too many others, I allowed my first boyfriend in life to destroy my teenage spirit: severe physical abuse for 6 years, with emotional abuse, naturally.

    Everyone knew yet nobody knew how to get me out. Because they can’t. We can’t.

    One day, I woke up and was sickened by the idea of him. Ended it. Just like that. He cried like a stupid baby. His tears and snot freed me.

    I now have no recollection of those years. A blur. Denial. I thank a higher spirit every day for the 6 lost years of my life, and my family’s life. Nobody deserves shit.

    I have not seen him since, but I fear the day he finds me. But they DON’T DO THINGS LIKE THAT because they aren't brave, as Ellie wrote. So don't worry. He won't. The weak gain strength by weakening your strength. See?

    I don't think you can 'make a plan' to end it – I’m sorry. I wish we could. Perhaps some can.

    I think you just have to decide. And one day you will.

    You will. You will.

    Listen to my story: we have to arrive before we can leave.


  30. Dear Ellie and new friend:
    Ellie- i loved your honesty and directness of your response. New friend- I did my college internship at a women's and children's shelter well over 20 years ago. Unfortunately, abuse continues it takes strong people who stand up and say no more to end it. Please get yourself a copy of the book Getting Free by Ginny NiCarthy. It is available on amazon for about $13.00 us dollars. Also, google The purple purse web site. It is funded by the Allstate Foundation and has information available to you. Every situation is different so you have to plan for when you leave. Be careful my friend. To everyone else- you can make donations to the purple purse via their site to help. If that does not work, donate women's and childrens clothing and toys to your local shelter. These women and their kids often leave everything they have behind and have to start over. I wish you both the best. Ann a first time reader

  31. Lock your abusive husband in Ellie's grandmothers basement and run for your life .

  32. Dearest Commenter,
    Ellie's advice and point of view is spot on. So is Maya Angelou's belief that "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time". PLEASE, get the hell out, post-haste. If you need support, you can see that there is much here among Ellie's readers, and she can get us in touch to help you, I'm sure. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

  33. Of course; you are entirely correct. Women who stay in abusive relationships (with their children) need to "get up and go"!! I have had friends (I am are my daughter's age or younger); who stuck with abusive husbands....and when one's husband "picked the little girl up (in the middle of the fight) and threw her against the wall"
    She came to our house.....

    My (now husband) said: "If I had not seen this with my own eyes; I would not believe a man could possibly do this to a woman".
    My advice: there is now support in your community.....there was none then...
    There is support on the internet.....there was no internet then.

    Get in touch with your inner smart person.....(we all have that) and follow her. You are not "stuck" unless you choose to be!!!

    Good luck! Find your courage.......and get OUT! There are support groups in your community!!!

    Fabulous of you to post this!!!

  34. I forgot to say something really important! Ellie.....(please support me if other readers agree!!) You are NEVER allowed to call your blog "a stupid blog" EVER

  35. Thank you Ellie. I think this went in a good direction.
    I left my first husband who was abusive. It was really hard; I was used to the situation, it wasn't always bad, and I didn't want my friends and family to know how I was allowing my life to be lived.
    One day it was really bad and I called my family, they came and helped me leave. My brothers and father rented a truck and as I pointed to what was mine, they moved me out.

    It's been over twenty-five years (I'm 49 and I was about 20 back then). Life goes on and can be much, much better. My husband now, of 17 years and father to our four boys is amazing and kind and we love each other and work hard for a healthy, meaningful life. This is available to anyone who works toward that goal; but it's true what others have said, you are the only person who can make that decision. You are in charge of your life. Don't put reasons that become barriers in your path. Abuse is wrong; it is a cover-up for weakness so your husband is weak and doing his best to pull you down with him.
    I'm sorry for the mountain you'll have to climb...but you'll be that much stronger once you're on top of it!
    Thank you Ellie for all of your posts. I love them. Your wit and writings are so funny. I've shared your blog with anyone who'll listen. (And many do!)

  36. Dear Ellie:
    Thank you for sticking your nose into your reader’s business and sticking your neck out to help her by sending out a call for help. I’ve been a quiet visitor of your blog for a few months now and your nudge for us to do something has prompted me to respond. Your heart is beautiful, you are a hoot and you are courageous!
    Dear Reader:
    There is not much I can add to all that has been said by this loving community but I pray that your heart hears this – like Ellie, you are also courageous! Otherwise, you would not have exposed your abusive situation to Ellie, us and the rest of the world. Thank you for taking the first step and know that many people are ready to help you. You were not created to be abused but to be loved and valued - you are wonderfully made! Svetlana

  37. Ellie,
    You are wonderful!

    Dear reader, one step in front of the other, and keep moving FORWARD. This is not a dress rehearsal, you have one life and one shot... Don't let some f*uker ruin it for you! ��

  38. I had the same problem, my husband started to beat me if I didn't get home before he had gone to work. He thought (going to a jazz dance lesson) was me cheating. I was in my middle 20's and thought, "I have a lifetime ahead of me, get out NOW before I become an old lady". I did marry a good man and have a son...BUT, if you didn't get out...remember it is NEVER to late to try to find happiness...Vikki