The Pain of Not Being Wanted

by Chloe Jeffreys · 29 comments

in The Unabridged Story of My Life

Woman on the Beach by Joana Kruse

Woman on the Beach by Joana Kruse

I’ve spent the last three days doing nothing else but working my ass off as a travel nurse for a company that treats its nurses like shit, and reading Julie Deneen’s book, wanted: a memoir.

The work situation has been a bit disheartening considering it’s Nurses’ Week.

Sure they gave us cheap, nylon backpacks with the company logo splattered across the front announcing how much they care about their nurses, along with a daily assortment of overly sweet cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, and root beer floats served up by administration down in the cafeteria for those who could get away long enough from caring for patients to enjoy them, but did any of us get a freaking lunch break? Hell no!

Added to the irony is the fact that this company is running a HUGE ad campaign–and let me tell you it’s really, really HUGE, and probably quite expensive–about how much they care about and respect people. I guess people doesn’t include their nurses who are expected to work for 12 and a half hours, day in and day out, without food or water.

How anyone retains their compassion and gives exemplary care under these conditions is beyond me, but I’m supposed to make sure that each and every patient knows I have the time for them when time is the last thing I have.

I’d be more sympathetic to the plight of this company if this was a critically acute situation for this facility–I mean if a hospital is bringing in a traveler then it only makes sense that they are having staffing woes–but it is not.

This place has been running without adequate staffing for a long, long time, and they have no plans to fix it. There are no positions posted despite the fact that they desperately need more staff. They are intentionally filling in their perpetual staffing gaps with travelers and burning them out one after another.  I’m just the next in line.

I’m doing my best. But I can promise you that there isn’t enough money on this planet to induce me to extend this contract if they ask. I’m taking the best care I can of the women and babies God puts in front of me, and when it is over I’m taking my money and going home for a much-needed, long vacation.

I’ll walk away from this job debt-free, and with enough money saved for next year’s vacation in Barcelona, which is not bad for 13 weeks of work. But I promise you that they are going to make me earn every single cent before I’m done.

One of the saddest parts of this job are the nurses who are stuck there. In just a few weeks I get to leave, but they can’t. In their collective powerlessness they’ve resorted to the most pathetic and ineffective coping mechanism weak women have: Gossiping. What makes me really sad (and a little mad) is that these nurses actually do have all of the power. They just don’t act like it.

And I must remember that I’m there to care for patients and make money, not help these nurses grow a backbone.

wanted: a memoir

Julie Deneen

Julie Deneen

So I’ve been looking for some diversion from this job, and I found it in Julie Deneen’s riveting book about her reunification with her biological father, Greg, called wanted: a memoir.

Let me preface this review about Julie’s book with this disclaimer: I love Julie Deneen. If there was a Church of Julie Deneen I’d join and lobby for the job of High Deaconess.

Julie helped me during one of the darkest days of my life, and she ministered to me in such a profound and beautiful way. I appreciate her more than words can say.

Julie is a true Warrior. She lays it all out there and makes no apologies for her truth no matter how hard or unpalatable it is. I have long loved and respected her gritty honesty she shares regularly on her blog, JulieDeneen.com.

I wouldn’t write about Julie’s book if it sucked (she did not ask for this review), but it is hard not to love her book when I already care so much about her.

But I’m not writing this post because I like Julie.

I’m writing about her book because I COULDN’T PUT THE DAMNED THING DOWN! And after spending all last night dreaming about Julie and her dad and how their story speaks to my own life, I knew when I woke up this morning that I would write about it.

That said, I had NO IDEA what Julie’s book was about when I bought it. She mentioned her memoir once to me in passing during a phone call, but I thought, “Hey, she’s a blogger. Of course she has a memoir.”

But Holy Crap!!

Genetic Sexual Attraction

WantedWanted is a real-life psychological drama about an adopted girl who grows up and reunites with her long-lost biological daddy, and how their relationship turns from sublime to malevolent in the span of a few months.

The book opens on a beach in Hawaii with a happy daughter and a seemingly doting father. But Julie wastes no time in letting the reader in on their dark secret. She and her dad suffer from a phenomenon known as Genetic Sexual Attraction.

This condition is more common than you know and happens when genetically-related people meet as adults and find an overwhelming sexual attraction for one another. (For more information about GSA, you can watch Julie and her partner, Carly, talking with Dr. Drew or listen to this much more comprehensive podcast with blogger, D. J. Paris.).

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

What struck me about Julie’s story is how far she was willing to go trying to secure her father’s love. Spending most of her life without him, all she wants is what most little girls have: to be loved and adored by her Daddy. So when he demands sexual favors in return for his time and attention Julie finds herself trapped. Unwilling to live without him again, Julie compromises herself to keep him in her life no matter the cost.

What troubled my sleep is how often I’ve done this very thing in my own relationships.

As a teenager, I spent my 16th year letting my dad feel me up and treat me like his girlfriend in return for his affection, attention and protection from his rage. When he found out I was sleeping with other boys he acted more like a jilted lover than a father, calling me nasty names and beating me up in the hallway of our house.

Julie’s book brought some aspects of my sick relationship with my own father into question.

Did he nail my windows shut and take the door off my room to keep me safe, or to keep me for himself? When he held me up against a wall and spit venomous accusations in my face that I was “such a slut that not even the Pope would be safe if left alone with [me]“, was he talking about me, or was he alleviating his own guilt by blaming me for his atrocious behavior?

And what about the relationships I’ve had since my Daddy?

I had therapy for years getting over my issues with my father until I’ve finally reached the place where I can freely express myself sexually with my husband without worry over what my Daddy will think.

But what about my relationships with women? How have a compromised myself with them for love and acceptance? How have I let women walk all over me just so they will be my “friend”?

These are really painful thoughts.

I recently had the experience of having someone I trusted, and who knew many of my secrets, throw them in my face after I refused to continue doing something that was hurting me. I’m still recovering from this betrayal. I might never really recover. I’m not sure I want to.

Because never again do I want to I compromise myself to win anyone’s love.

I now know that the minute someone tells you that they will only be your friend–or your lover, or your daddy–if you keep behaving in ways that only benefit them–and hurt you–the relationship is not one of love no matter how much they tell you it is or how much you want it to be so.

This is a hard lesson for a girl who learned young that she was only worth loving if she traded herself in exchange for it.

I never want to forget Julie’s powerful story of unrequited love, betrayal, self-discovery and recovery. While her situation might be unique, the choices she made betraying herself in her desperate efforts to win her father’s love speaks to all of us who have experienced the gaping wound of parental abandonment or betrayal.

I’m sure there must be moments when Julie regrets writing such an honest and vulnerable book, but I want her to know how much her story meant to me.

And here’s some Tina Turner just because she’s an amazing over-comer, too.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

ZHOU NA May 25, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Hi Dear Chloe Jeffrays,
I had feelings on my father. he is 42. And I am 17.
Would you please send the e-book WANTED by Julie Deneen?

ZHOU NA
From Shanghai China

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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:43 am

I cannot send it to you, I’m afraid. Can you get it on Amazon? Do you have Amazon in China?
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Burning for YouMy Profile

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Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) May 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Say it, girl, and keep on saying it. You have a gift.
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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:44 am

Thank you, Jane. Only by speaking out can we reach the women and girls who are living in silence and shame. Toxic and predatory men seem to instinctively understand that they can act in these poisonous ways and the female will take on the shame for them. It needs to stop.
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Mary Buchan May 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Chloe, I admire your candidness. I’ve commented in other posts, “you have balls of steel.” You say what I and others want to say but don’t have the balls to say. I’ve been a nurse since 1983 and spent 17 years of them in the hospital. I started my nursing career as a caring, empathetic healer and left the hospital a zombie and totally burned out. The bottom line, there wasn’t enough of me to go around…we were constantly short staffed. Enough about nursing. I am looking forward visiting Julie Deneen when nurses week is over.

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Chloe Jeffreys May 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm

The hospital system that exists today is like an insatiable vampire sucking the lifeblood out of our nurses. I don’t know about you, but I’ve known many nurses at the end of their careers whose bodies are disabled and their spirits crushed by the unrelenting demands placed on them by ruthless administrators, cruel doctors, and patients who don’t seem to understand that their nurse is a human being too. It really needs to stop.

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Beverly Diehl May 14, 2014 at 4:13 pm

While there are many who may be squicked out by your revealing things that are quote – a little too personal – unquote there are many more of us applauding your courage, and Julie’s. Way to go, ladies!

The more all of us speak up about the “shameful” and secret things, the less shameful and hurtful they become.
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Chloe Jeffreys May 14, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Beverly, thank you. I deeply appreciate your kindness.

The thing that I would like to point out to those who are offended by what I’ve written, or are saying that I should never have aired my “dirty laundry” is that neither Julie nor I have anything to be ashamed about. The entire burden of shame rests squarely on our fathers who didn’t act like daddies at all.

It wasn’t that long ago that rape victims never talked about the crimes committed against them because of their shame. And their fear that they would be blamed by others, and the court system, for causing their own rape. I am certain some rapes still go unreported, but rape does not carry the stigma that it once had. And it is because of the brave women who stood up and spoke out and refused to accept the shame that wasn’t their’s that has changed our culture.

1 in 4 (some studies say 1 in 3) girls experience some form of sexual abuse by the time they reach 18, and most of the perpetrators of this crime are men they know. Uncles, cousins, step-fathers, and, yes, fathers, commit these crimes and many women today suffer silently feeling ashamed, dirty, and broken. It is not unusual at all for these men to blame the girl, much as my own father did, for what they are doing, and if the girl is getting anything out of the attention they are receiving then it only adds to her belief that she has caused this to happen and it is her fault.

As a woman I feel it is my obligation to stand up and say, “This happened to me, and I recovered, and you can too.”

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AlexandraFunFit May 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I hope your pain and 13 weeks pass quickly. Very quickly.
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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:45 am

Thank you!! Only 8 weeks left!!
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pia May 13, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I found out that my biological father died when I was 13. He was Catholic married to a Catholic woman who had 4 kids (not me) with him. They were going to get divorced had he not basically dropped dead.

I can’t imagine not having an incredible father who did everything he could to make me feel great.

I can’t wait to read Julie’s memoir though I know it will make me very sad.

I’m so sorry about your job and glad you will be able to leave!
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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:46 am

The lack of a good father is devastating for children.
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D. A. Wolf May 12, 2014 at 5:55 pm

You bowl me over with your ability to speak of issues, and so eloquently, that most want to pretend are non-existent.

Such bravery, Chloe. I’m sure your words help many as well.
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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:47 am

Thank you, D.A. As always, I deeply appreciate your encouragement and support. So much more than you’ll ever know.
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Sarah May 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm

I will have to get this book! Thank you for the honesty Chloe – hard stuff, but these stories need to be told.

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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:48 am

It was a difficult book to read in many ways. I was unprepared for the emotions and memories for myself it would evoke. But it was like a long hidden festering wound that needed lancing. While painful for a moment, I feel now like more healing can occur.

Julie is spectacular. Her brutal honesty is a breath of fresh air.
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Considerer May 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm

I’ve not read the memoir, but have heard of its content. This is a truly powerful and compelling review, and I’m glad that both you and Julie have managed to achieve a place of healing and safety after such experiences.
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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:50 am

Women like Julie who put themselves and the truth out there help us all heal from these sorts of wounds. While Julie’s story is unusual, the fact is that 1 in 4 girls experiences some form of molestation before the age of 18 and it is most often from a relative. Women live in silence and shame that isn’t theirs to own. Thank you for commenting.
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Connie McLeod May 11, 2014 at 10:34 am

I’ve been impacted this Mother’s Day of how many of my online friends have suffered such pain because of their family. I am so sorry that you had this in your life. Be proud that you broke the cycle with your own children and now grandchildren. You are in a chapter now that is all yours, you’ve earned every drop of happiness that is in your life.
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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:51 am

Thank you, Connie!! So many of us carry these deep wounds of familial betrayal feeling damaged and shamed beyond repair. It is time for the healing to commence. Not being loved by a parent doesn’t mean we are unlovable. And the sooner we learn that the sooner we can start accepting the love we deserve.
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A Pleasant House May 11, 2014 at 10:23 am

I know both of you, and you each amaze me with your bravery and strength. I’m honored to call you each my friend.
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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

Thank you, my friend.
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Carol Cassara May 11, 2014 at 6:17 am

Your post reminds me that every time I think I am the only one to face betrayal by someone close to me, I find out that I am just one of many. That everyone faces this at some point in their lives, some more severe than others. I was late to the spiritual beliefs party but the ones that ended up resonating for me helped put the heartbreaking betrayals in my life in a perspective I could never have seen before. We should talk about this when we see each other again.
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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:53 am

I can’t wait for our lunch together! We have much to catch up on. Betrayal is one of life’s more important lessons. I have learned that I really ought to listen to my inner voice (who always does tell me the truth if I’ll but listen) and that another person’s betrayal of me speaks more about them and what resides in their heart than it does about me.
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Crazy Mama May 10, 2014 at 11:34 pm

I held my breath as I read parts of your post… That was a really powerful. Yes, absolutely he was relieving his own guilt. I’m so sorry you went through that. I get not being able to trust. Thank you again for sharing the way you do.

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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 11:54 am

Thank you for reading. It took me years and years before I realized that my father’s words were really about himself and not about me at all. I can’t believe how often I hurt myself believing what he said about me.
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