Wednesday, November 6, 2013

White Collar Crime and The Families it Destroys

In beginning this blog I've considered the fact that many families who are suffering from the fallout of white collar crime have gone into hiding so I may not have any interaction here with those folks. I fully understand that the stigma is far reaching and many wives and ex-wives of white collar criminals don't want to expose themselves as such. But please know that you can post anonymously and share your heartache, shame, guilt by association and or anger and receive support. With the staggering number of men and women behind bars for wcc there are just as many families who need a safe place to vent and share their stories. I went into hiding myself FOR YEARS and to some degree am still tucked away into the new, (nearly unrecognizable), life I've created for myself and my son post-apocalypse. Like many of you, our life before my husband went to jail was one of moderate privilege. We weren't in the same stratosphere of the Westchester Wall Street gang but we lived a nice life in suburban Boston that we had worked hard for. Our young son lived a carefree life under the impression that we were about as happy a family as one could have. But when his young life was blown to smithereens the damage ran so deep that it will affect him profoundly for the rest of his life. We will never be free from the fallout and although I haven't been invited to a dinner party in years, (sigh, oh the horror!), I have family and friends who have stood by my side and without them I simply would not have survived. My son and I are learning, day by day, even still, how to live. No matter how long or short the sentence or whether you are divorced or still married to your criminal husband, we all have been through the same experience. We are in fact all or once were, white collar wives. 

  I've written a book about our experience. The process has been daunting to say the least and at times I've wondered if it was worth it. Having to relive events leading up to, during and after my husband's, (now ex), incarceration has taken it's toll on me and I question my own sanity on a daily basis for taking on this hefty project. But it's also been cathartic for me to clean out the junk and gain some much needed perspective that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Living it in real time was a blur so to now have the luxury of slowing things down and seeing what actually occurred has been a great help to me. When I was going through the initial hell of my husband's criminal investigation and subsequent incarceration I was in desperate need of a mentor. I had no idea how to process what was happening or how I would get myself and my son through this mess. Friends and family were truly supportive but I needed guidance from those who had experienced what I was going through. I looked for books and scoured the internet but found nothing that was of any help. I did find a few articles on how men can prepare themselves for prison life but I found NOTHING to prepare wives. I did find a couple of fictional books that were based on true white collar crime stories but they had nice tidy happy endings and they didn't do anything but make me feel even more adrift.  So I took matters into my own hands and began the long process of telling my family's story. I'm 90,000 words and over fifteen chapters into writing "House on Fire: A Cautionary Tale" and have received positive feedback from the "industry" and my valued "editors".  I'm not writing this book for any other reason than to help others feel less alone and to hopefully help get other women to the other side of this thing.  I'll be posting chapters from time to time and invite any and all commentary, i.e.,  "This happened to me too. I'm not alone."  I know all too well about the night terrors. Waking out of a dead sleep in abject panic. It was 3 a.m. on the dot for me. Every night. For two years. As horrifying as those nights were, the sunrise was worse because it meant we had to live another day of being the walking dead.

After five years me and my son are surviving. We still haven't reached the thrive stage yet and might never get there but we are still standing. I hope the same and more for all of you. If there's anybody out there like me I hope to hear from you. Share your own stories with me here or privately.

I'm not one for platitudes but I'll leave you with this for now - Do the best you can do today. Don't worry about tomorrow. Live in the now. That's how I'm getting through. Looking too far back or too far forward is too overwhelming. You can only live one day at a time anyway. 

Warm regards to you and your families as we head into the "horror days" as my son and I now refer to them. Lower your expectations and make the best of a bad situation and....soon it will be January!

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