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What’s Your Patronus?

patronus

If you could summon all your guts and courage into one being, what form would it take?

Today’s Friday Challenge is to tell CN who your Patronus is.

For those of you non-Harry Potter geeks, a patronus is this sort of guardian animal that appears when you’re in danger. You have to think hard of the people who love you, and positive things, and it just appears. You don’t know what form it will take (a white stag!), but after you summon it, it kicks dementor ass and protects you from harm.

When I was going through the Troubles, I definitely summoned a sort of patronus — Chump Lady. She wasn’t a thing yet, but I conjured up her persona in my darkest hours. She was several parts Aretha Franklin, South African freedom fighter, and WASP-y matron who takes no shit.

When I was paralyzed with depression and indecision, my persona patronus would appear and kick some ass. “Let’s call the lawyer! Let’s make a plan!” And when his rages got scary, she would appear out of nowhere in a towering rage right back at him. She would’ve killed the motherfucker if her chumpy, sensible self hadn’t intervened.

Thank God for my Chump Lady inner patronus. She shepherded me out of peril and into a new life.

Chump Nation’s Patronuses (Patroni?) are the actual Patrons that support this site — a big THANK YOU to you. I could not do this without you. Thank you for paying it forward for the rest.

And a reminder to get your Infidelity Valentines in by this weekend so I can put together’s Valentine’s Day’s winners!

TGIF!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Tough one— toss up between a fire breathing, bad ass dragon that cooks and then feasts on flying monkeys and ex narcs

    Or a Phoenix— reminds me that I rose from the flames to re-live a glorious life!

    • I’m with you Found…fire breathing dragon that would scorch him and his earth into a pile of unrecognizable ashes. That or a hell-hound. I like dogs. Especially dogs that eat fuckwits and schmoopies for dinner.

      Tracy, I am a proud patron and supporter of CN. As soon as I get through all this legal shit, I plan to give a little more money to this blog each month. You and CN have kept my sanity intact and that is priceless. I encourage everyone to donate to the Chump Lady blog!

  • My patronus through “The Troubles” (love that)
    has been the woman I was before I married the X and became a weak knee-ed chump.

    She was mighty! Independent, strong, afraid of nothing, adventurous. She was reborn on DDay… to the surprise of X. His words cut all the cords, released that woman from bondage. When I am weak, I pull out that woman and follow her into battle!

    I also have to credit two other chumps who became friends. They are mindbendingly mighty (as are you all), always there to help me hold the Sword.

    • I too was a strong mighty woman that caged that part of me over time shackled to a narc cheater.

      How many times have old friends said to me in the past 18 months “I’m so glad to see the old you shining again, that person you were in his shadow isn’t you.”

      For years it was hold my temper, make my needs smaller, spackle, spackle spackle… because I thought that iron clad self control was my strength and it fit well with his weaknesses. In truth it was just him taking advantage of my good nature.

      My patronus is a wild untamed mare in heat! She bites and kicks and protects her young from any perceived threat.

      And oh yeah Wasbunds don’t like it when you revert back to the kickass mouthy independent woman you were beforehand, because you know it makes them look bad. Which makes having a tough patronus even more important because there will be retaliation rages when his image is tarnished. I never told anyone explicitly he was a emotionally abusive entitled jerk, friends and family happen to have eyes and can add 2+2.
      I’m just no longer interested in spackling over the bad stuff and making him look good.

      • I had the same patronus thought, the dominant protective mare. And I found that power, but I was the bitch. First, I stared down and dominated an out of control mare, agressive and disruptive in our herd. I came at her swinging a rope, eye contact, acting big (I’m 5’4 and thin) and she backed off. I was mad. I knew then that I was strong and I would survive.

      • You don’t need to have a “tough” Patronus, necessarily. Lily Potter’s Patronus was a gentle doe. Luna Lovegood’s was a small hare. Hermione’s was a playful otter. Yet these are all strong women. Your Patronus reflects who you are on the inside. The Patronus Charm is exceedingly difficult to master, even for a NEWT-level student or even an adult wizard. You can’t cast a Patronus if you are in a weak state.

      • William Wordsworth

        She Was A Phantom of Delight (A Perfect Woman)


        A being breathing thoughtful breath,
        A traveller between life and death;
        The reason firm, the temperate will,
        Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
        A perfect Woman, nobly plann’d,
        To warn, to comfort, and command;
        And yet a Spirit still, and bright
        With something of angelic light.

    • Dianne, I completely identify with this. The only times I feel I am managing this storm well are when the old me resurfaces. I just need to let her do the driving and put chumpy me in the backseat (or trunk) for a while.

    • I was asking myself for years what happened to me. I have begun recovery of him. My wife did not step out on me until the end, that I know of, as I begged for reconciliation. Sixteen years of narcistic abuse took its toll. I really like making the old you your Patronus. There were others. My friend up the street went through worse. Now we are recoverying chump buddies. He is the one who gave me Chump Lady’s book.

  • This is not a pity story but one of strength:
    From a very young age I was told I wasn’t quite good enough, pretty enough, smart enough and I was painfully shy. My mother would push me into many awkward social situations and, because I didn’t know how to cope and wanted her approval, I developed a self-preservation technique. She desperately wanted me to be someone I wasn’t.

    I would mentally cloak myself with an outer persona of self-assurance, poise and confidence. I could litteraly feel the transformation. On came the big smile, straight posture and an air of ease.
    That cloak has been my savior.
    At this point in my life, I’m not sure where SHE begins and where I end. Putting on that cloak is as easy as flipping a switch.

    My protector is inside ME.

    She is mighty and, when I pulled her out for the ex’s deposition, my son’s wedding and any other time I needed to be regal, WE were spectacular!

    • Way to shine Rebecca! Upcoming daughter’s wedding will be a challenge. I appreciate your honesty here. It felt familiar. My mom was sweet and kind, but she never understood that I was more of an introvert than her. It made me feel ‘less than’ in social ways. That feeling has a way if sticking with you. It makes me sad for my young self thinking about how I listened to that and believed it.

  • I have a thing for ladybugs. I don’t know if it is a Patronus, but it’s definitely my spirit animal. When I see one, I feel like it’s a gift. Like a God wink.

    I’m going to have to think about my Patronus. I love the idea (and I love HP!)

    • Mmmmm. I love this! Personally I favor green fiery dragons, llamas, and owls, but…this! MS, you go be your bad ass ladybug self! They are beautiful creatures and remind me always of children, sunshine, flowers, and gardening. Nothing helps a heart heal faster than spending time outdoors.

  • I have a couple of self preservation strategies. In my workplace and with my adult children- I am the ministry for no! See my forehead! Read these words! Don’t argue today!
    I also do an internal dialogue that I call Frank and Ernest. Come on Frank, sit right down. What do you think? Well Ernest, first pour the champagne. I think we are ‘stuffed’. How do we fix that? Well let me think. And on I go with an internal dialogue that is a mix of Satire Black Comedy and Irony! I sure as hell cant fix Limp Dicks profound character disorder but I sure discovered I can; in a direct manner; steer him away from me. And then the Phoenix rises and I build a better life! Put your hand on your heart my fellow chumps! Go forward and thrive!

  • My Patroni has always been a mash up of all the characters from the Wizard Of Oz.
    The Scarecrow comes when I really need to think smart even when I was made to dumb down & the Tin Man was always there to remind me that my heart was beating a drum for me. The Lion always always gave me the courage to go in even when I really didn’t have any. Glinda has been with me always trying to show me the way back home & Dorothy was me, lost & trying to find her way home.
    These characters are so relatible for me & obviously the Wizard & the Witch with her flying monkeys were metaphors for the evil I faced for many years. I even have a small black dog that I rescued that has been my best friend. There is no place like home & that’s where you’ll find me!

    • Mine, too. It is also my twin brother’s sign to me from heaven. When I need it most, I always see a hummingbird and know he is close.

  • My patronus is a tiger. He may just see me as another pussy but mess with me or my kids he will come out the loser. Actually he always was.

  • My patronus was the illicit love child of Walt Whitman and Willie Nelson. Not so much fierce as composed, accepting, and determined to move forward despite terrible events (the Civil War, a wife who sewed you up in your bedsheets while passed out and beat you with a baseball bat, etc.).. When I was wobbly, frantic, and devastated, they gathered up the good and the bad in a small knapsack, whistled a sweet melody, and waved for me to amble down the railroad tracks with them to something better.

  • Mine is a dog….like my beagle with super smelling powers.
    He can sniff out bullshit and strange, but he can warn me I’m in danger and take out my enemy by urinating on his stuff.
    That would be so awesome.

  • My patronis are these cheap solar lamps from ikea. They come on at random times sometimes not coming on for days in spite of sunny days. But when they did come on it always seems to been at some pretty dark moments. they startled me out of my despair and then I would cry over how beautiful I thought they were. I think my mom’s spirit turns them on and tells me to stand up. (I don’t tell too many people this)

    • DeeMee, Thank you for sharing..
      This does not sound odd to le at all.
      My family and I have had a lot of loss as well.
      IMHO, your loved ones are still with you.
      I feel your Mom is letting you know that you are still bright as that light..
      In time, through darkness, your light of life will prevail.????

  • I did the Patronus test on Pottermore once, and I got a basset hound! Isn’t that hilarious–joyful, floppy, energetic, that hound nose and tenacity, loyal. We cracked up because I actually have a lemon beagle, and I love him so.

    I sometimes summon images of mighty women to inspire me–a lot of the usual suspects, like Eleanor Roosevelt, Nora Ephron, Julia Child–and I also quite like Zerbina, from Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away.” Once you start looking, there are protectors and guides lurking EVERYWHERE!

    • My 13 year old basset Sallie is funny and goofy and fierce! She manages all the others and is first to dinner.

      Her ears also drag and mark the floors after she drinks! And her howl? Oh my goodness, it is eerie.

  • Who’d a thunk this challenge would have brought such beautiful powerful responses? So inspired and humbled by CN today. Such poetry!!!

  • The last time this posted, I said my Patronus was Sasha the bird from “Peter and the Wolf” – high-pitched, small, slightly annoying, but good hearted and with the right sense for danger. I still like that idea, but the fact is, my husband “Ben” is my rock and my feeling of safety. I know we’re all responsible for our own feelings, but it’s wonderful to know that he and I make a home together.

    Apparently, I’m a bit of a Patronus to one of my best friends – I didn’t realize this until she told me, but according to her, I’m a big reason she was able to stop smoking for good. Don’t underestimate yourselves, folks, you never know who you can help!

  • My patronus is Bea Arthur. I would always try to channel her character in Golden Girls, because she never took crap, and I needed her strength and wisdom when dealing with my Fuckwit collection.

  • A red winged blackbird.

    They fly to trees near where I walk. They sit on a branch and focus at things. They see me. They fly away from any branch when they are ready.
    Fast, agile, intelligent, pretty, free.

  • My patronus would be a mama bear. She comes out growling when I need strength in the face of adversity. There have been types that I feel this sense of protection, whether it be for me or others. I felt it lost often when the Dickhead was being mean and oddly weird at the same time. It was like a force between him and me.

    • Remember the “modern” Godzilla movie where she had the nuclear lights “rev up” her spine scales, starting from her tail to her neck, charging up for a blast?
      It got to when you saw them starting, you KNEW what was coming, even when she was under water.

      Actually, when I saw it, people in the theater would start cheering when they saw the lights “rev ing” up.

      That’s a patronus.

      • Your welcome. Godzilla is the ultimate one to me. Loves to sleep like me saves the world from monsters and has some funny moments doing it especially in the original movies. The best she beast of them all.

  • A Higher Power….God as I understand. The Force. The Universe. Infinite Spirit. Who/Whatever it is, that actually revealed the affair to me, delivering to me fhree pieces of hard evidence that he was having an affair when I asked for its help. I just think of it as power…no form….like electricity….like the wind. Truth, beauty, love. And it has never failed me yet.

    My husband failed me.

    • My second cheater’s affair was also revealed to me rather miraculously. Unlike my first cheater, my second cheater never gave me a single red flag. People always say “Oh, there had to be something.” But, there really wasn’t. He was an exemplary husband. Kind, thoughtful, generous. Always home precisely at 5. A GREAT family man. Seriously, if God hadn’t miraculously revealed the most egregious info to me I would never have known. And if someone else had told me, I’d have never believed. But there it all was in black and white–the secret second life, which was dark indeed. The reveal was like flipping a switch. Once I knew, his mask fell off. And he was the coldest, smirking, sneering, son-of-a-bitch you’ve ever seen. Looking into his blank eyes was like staring directly into the existential void.

      • Yep, I had a miraculous reveal of the cheating asshole too.

        I asked the Universe to show me the truth and it did the very next day. And yes, the reveal was like flipping a switch ~ his mask also fell off big time. Cold, calculating and with those blank,
        dark eyes like a shark.

        Sigh.

        • There really is something about the eyes. Every now and then when those cold eyes come into view, it is like evil staring you into the face. He doesn’t show the eyes most of the time but when they show OH OH you see it. It is sick> i really wonder if it is something genetic. Because everyone mentions the eyes and I know EXACTLY what they mean!

          • Me, too! I would call them his “snake eyes”, he, before DDay, rarely turned them on me, but anyone else who crossed him? Should have been a warning and not a joke. Dead as dead can be.

            • The eyes are truly the window to the soul.

              Over 20 years of marriage I only saw it a handful of times, but when I did it was highly disturbing.

              We would be having some terrible fight as two human beings. I just assumed we were both human beings. And then he’d get a look on his face -and I would suddenly know what the rabbit sees right before the predator leaps onto them. We were not actually two human beings, we were predator and prey.

              I used to watch this show “I survived” and at least half of the people (who lived through horrible attacks) said that they saw something evil, something predator in the person’s eyes, but then convinced themselves to disregard their gut instinct. Always trust that instinct.

              • Reptilian eyes, is what I called them, sheer hatred from his soul.
                I believe it’s who they are behind the mask of the “normal” or great guy image they portray to outsiders. They mask of being the good guy that he would show itself just enough to keep us hanging on and also to question ourselves. I’d question myself and wonder what it was that I did to cause the mask to come off. It was like living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
                Everything wrong was my fault, I was to blame for his anger. In the last few years before Dday, I couldn’t do anything right despite taking the advice from my library of save your marriage books I read. I failed. It never occurred to me to question him, and the fact that he made no effort in our marriage.

    • For me, it’s my bible. Even when I can’t take in the words or speak, just holding it calms me and gives me the strength to carry on.

  • My Patronus is all the strong, fierce, flawed, graceful, crazy women in my family. My paternal grandmother that embodied her name “Grace” fully and fiercely. My maternal grandmother who embodied her crazy and always held her head high. My great grandmothers who endured hardship and struggles beyond my comprehension to make a better life for their children. My great aunt who traveled the world and taught me about strength in knowledge and humility. My Mother in Law with her subtle biting wit and spot on observations. And most of all my Mother who through hardship and her own personal demons taught me to be tough and self sufficient and never failed to make me feel loved, protected and cherished.

  • To merge two of my faves, my patronus is a direwolf. It is fiercely loyal and a good friend but mess with me and you will go down fast.

  • A cross between Meryl Streep and Betty White… Meryl’s judgey, no BS-having endurance – omg, her sly, knowing, bitchy face, I LOVE! – with Betty’s FUCK YOU, I’m doing me! attitude.

  • My spirit animal is a ferret who came in a dream – quite a surprise for a Christian of 30 years to suddenly be visited by immensely powerful visions and journeying dreams! But it all comes from the same source ❤ He’s called Eric for some reason and ferrets symbolise fierce resolve, a fearless hunter and the search for truth. I needed him!
    But my Patroni are myself – two women, one young and one old, one past and one future. They sit by a fire by a clifftop beyond a dark wood, dressed in leather and fur and indigo tattoos, and they dance or sit with me whenever I want. I’ve never told anyone else but my marvellous SIL about them. They also are fierce, intent and passionate, about me and my well-being. They are me as I was and as I will be, despite the 23 years of my life that starts increasingly to look inauthentic and false. I know they are beautiful and true, so I know I am beautiful and true.
    They and I salute Chump Nation! Xxx

  • Not an animal but my Patronus would be Harriet Tubman leading me stealthily against the odds with her steady mantra “Lord, I am steady holding on to you, you have got to see me through.” Truly must have been an angel.

  • El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha. Known to most just as Don Quijote. To some as The Knight of the Rueful Countenance.

    A believer in Honour, Pride and the power of stories and of duty and faithfulness.

    Deemed by many to be mad but who always held true to what he believed in.

    At times he gets tired and becomes plain old Alonso Quixano. A frail man who doubts his senses and who is manipulated by those around him who he trusts.

    Not perhaps the “mightiest” of patroni, but he has stood with me faithfully throughout this saga. I can ask for no more.

    BT

    • Perfect! And when the giants are revealed to be only windmills, he knows they aren’t worthy of his lance. Love this.

  • My Patronus is an interior place of igneous rock, as old as the planet, both potential, like magma, and formation, like granite.

    When I was department chair, I used to say to other faculty about students determined to self-destruct, “I can be the rock against which they [like water] dash themselves.”

    When I think about what I had to call to inside to get out of my marriage with my cross-dressing autogynephilic ex, whose ideas about “woman” were a mess of misogynist pornified fantisies, I think a lot about what Ursula K. Le Guin said was her relationship to Mt. St. Helens, and what she wrote about the eruption.

    Before the mountain erupted, Le Guine described her relationship to the mountain as one in which she saw it as, “a self across the air, a sister self, a stone.”

    After the eruption, she said she felt a “feminist solidarity” with the mountain, whose eruption she imagined as saying, in essence:

    “You men think you’re the only ones who can make a really nasty mess? You think you got all the firepower, and God’s on your side? You think you run things? Watch this, gents. Watch the Lady act like a woman.
    For that’s what she did. The well-behaved, quiet, pretty, serene domestic creature peaceably yielding herself to the uses of man all of a sudden said NO. And she spat dirt and smoke and steam….She swore and belched and farted, threatened and shook and swelled, and then she spoke. They heard her voice two hundred miles away. Here I go, she said. I’m doing my thing now. Old Nobodaddy you better JUMP!”

      • I was there for Mt saint helens erupting. All the ash that kept falling. I was 3 years old and was determined to make ash snowmen and ash angels (but my mom, thankfully, wouldn’t let me).
        It is a surreal memory for sure.

    • I went and found that essay by Ursula K. le Guin. Wow, what a powerful writer! I absolutely love that line: You men think you’re the only ones can make a really nasty mess?” It’s basically just: Watch this.

      The imagery is so powerful and clear. Thank you for sharing!! I’ve had a whole meditation this morning based on what you wrote.

  • Mine was human. I was watching Nikita on Netflix at the time so it was a sneaky secret agent battling evil, calm under intense pressure in near death situations, small but badass, all while looking pulled together and hot the entire time. I even lost all the weight to match the same scale numbers as her!!!!

  • I would (and still do) envision a ninja warrior princess who would reach over and choke him. Then once the last breath was about to be taken I would let go, stand over him and say “ka kaw”.

    Look up ka kaw on Youtube. There is a compilation of all the movies that say “ka kaw”. Hysterical.

  • Mine would be the Honey Badger, the master of meh. Hundreds of stinging Facebook posts; Honey Badger doesn’t give a flip. Venomous bites during child transfers; quick nap to sleep it off and back to no flips. “You filed at fault? But I can’t afford my own house without alimony.” Honey Badger just don’t give a flip.

  • My patronus is my friends and family that stood by me and listened to my grief when going through the worst years of my life. They are there again for me now as I navigate the storm of grief again with a bf who claimed to love me but now lobs nasty sh*t my way every chance he gets, since I broke up with him 2 months ago. Why oh why do I continue to try to hug a cactus into being a fluffy bunny? I need to trust that they suck and are not worth one iota of my time, my care, or my heart. sigh….

  • Mine is a phoenix with a fiery tail soaring upwards. I’m not really a tattoo person but I had a modest sized one put on my right shoulder on a trip to Venice Beach to see my BFF who emigrated there.

    When I needed motivation for the next stage of the mess I looked at it in a mirror…. now its me. I expect I’ll need it soon as I can now file as per separation agreement dictating I had to wait 3.5 years!!

    • This makes me think it would be interesting if there were a second type of Thestral that (rather than only being seen by those who have experienced death) is only visible to those who see the realities of human nature differently post betrayal. Sometimes I feel like I see this second type of “Thestral” and others around me think I’m crazy – but I know I’m not. I just see something they have not yet had to deal with given their life experiences. CL and CN help to remind me I’m not alone in this.

  • Muhammad Ali / Peaky Blinders Gangster / Middle Aged Mormon woman.

    Ali for his grace, skill and in your face self belief
    Peaky Blinders for their ferocity
    Mormon Woman for the zero crup they’re willing to take anymore.

  • Arya Stark (Game of Thrones) is my fierce badass! Anyone who wrongs her or her family will face the Faceless Man.

    • I always loved Bugs Bunny growing up! Maybe that was a little spark of self-preservation trying to help me and tell me that with a little ingenuity I would be strong enough to get myself out of dangerous situations.

  • Bear with me here for a moment, but mine was the Chernabog from Disney’s Fantasia. You know, that monster demon thing that emerges from the volcano.

    Not the evil portion of it, but the mighty, massive, powerful entrance of it. The ‘you stand no chance against me’ vibe. The ’emerging from the fires of hell unscathed’ image. The ‘slumbering behemoth that you’ve awoken to your own demise’ feeling.

    A phoenix could be a more positive image but I guess I needed a bigger monster to challenge the cheating fuckwit. So this is what stuck with me, weirdly enough.

    • I actually kind of love how at odds with your username this is. It sounds like you got the powerful inspiration you needed to be un-gentle towards your fuckwit and free yourself!

  • Friends of mine appointed the alligator to this job. When the husband—previously my X’s friend—learned of his actions, he said he was of a mind to enlist his friend, a rough character, down in the bayou. He said—there’s no evidence when there are gators! Said friends have given me a number of alligator-themed gifts—a wooden sculpture, left in my porch, accompanied by the text: someone is waiting for you! A gator eraser and bracelet, and I bought myself a beautiful glass Christmas ornament. When I have to see X, my friend has suggested that Toc, from Peter Pan, accompany me, that I sing his music silently, imagine just me leaving the encounter and Toc trailing behind, his tail swaying, contented.

  • I have two. My mother and my stepmother. After revelation of my ex’s first affair —- 27 years ago — my mother drove the 3 hours to my house, marched up to my bedroom, threw the bed covers off me, and sternly told me to “Get up!” and show that bastard and the world (and myself) that I would be just fine without him! My mom passed away a couple years later, and my dad remarried. My stepmom has provided much the same inspiration following Affair #2 and now divorce. Not to look back. To be my own woman. Do what suits ME! Love MY life on MY terms. Interesting in that each of these women was a “housewife” of an earlier era. Yet they both had/have many interests and hobbies and charitable commitments. They likely would have had true “careers” if born post-1940ish. And I’m realizing now, too, that women of their era were in many ways actually LESS apt to define themselves by their spouses and children. More independence of spirit. Hmmm … have to ponder that theory some more!

  • Definitely a horse. Just being close enough to smell that horsey smell, especially if I can also smell the leather of the saddle, makes me happy. Either a silver dapple pinto or (more likely) an enormous gray Percheron draft horse. Or really any horse. [Side note: I don’t have a horse. Maybe some day.]

  • A cross between a my beautiful flame point Siamese cat who is loving and serene until she’s backed into a corner. Then she puffs up, doubles in size and comes out blazing. Combined with Elsa, the ability to turn evil to ice. I managed to live with my ex for 11 months and only speak with him 3 times. One was scary and potentially violent. The last words were something to the effect of if he financially screwed our kids over there will be hell to pay. On the first day of custody exchange, he went to walk in my house. I physically blocked him and told him that he was never allowed in my house and to stay in his effing truck. Haven’t spoken a word in over 4 years. And remarkedly, the kids are just fine.

  • John Wick is my patronua. I’m calm and out of the game, but cross me, take my dog and my family, and my badass is coming back out.

  • Maybe too easy. But my Patronus is myself. Learned this when I finally started to see the light of meh!!! Growing up from a broken family and father who spent 2 1/2 years in prison for an unsavory past of being a pilot in the drug trade a lot was expected of me when I was 8 years old. 1 younger brother and 4 older sisters. I was anointed MAN OF THE HOUSE. I did all the things that was the job of my father. Electrician, plumber, heating and cooling, exterminator, lawn maintenance. I had no idea what I was doing but I learned pretty fast and asked specific people the right questions. The only thing I didn’t do was drive. Not saying I didn’t have a childhood. I did and a great one. Was always told that I had to be a better man than my father throughout my teen years. Geez, when I was 14 I was the back up plan for my older sister who was expecting her 1st child at 20. It was weird that I attended lamaz (still don’t know how its spelled) classes with her and her husband. CRAZY!!! But I loved it. Being blindsided by a divorce to only then discover her affair. Finding out about her addictions. How bad she mismanaged finances and stole money. Followed up with parental alienation. I went through it with very little help or support. All the siblings live all over the country so I spent pretty much the next 3 years by myself. I have friends but just not those kind of friends. So I dealt with it all by myself as usual. So yes!! I’d have to say its me. I help people as much as I can when needed. I’m always there for someone who needs it.

  • A cardinal. That flash of red darting through the dark pine trees of Northern Michigan! His sharp insistent birdcall. My favorite is when I see him perched on the tippy top of a tree calling out the truth with the sun shining on his bright red feathers. Every time I see one I feel the power of the truth and how it resides in the universe. Always there.

  • Michael the Archangel – Full wing span, tall, glowing, benevolent and vengeful.
    Like the prayer below

    ‘Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

  • Im going super retro on y’all, but in the Journey from Hell, my Patronus was The Mother of G-d

    When I needed her I summoned her with the same words that Luke used (1:28):

    “Hail full of Grace! the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women!!”

    I once did a horrid circuit through Tysons Corner Mall in No Virginia internally calling Her up as we traversed the layers of the “Alter of Stuff”

    Inside me I had fear and angst and anger and spite and panic and misery etc but I said “what do I want him and others to see when they look at me and I said “Grace”

    In reality, Mary is pretty badass…she outsmarted Herod and withstood the worst of heartbreaks and
    I dont think she has a soft spot in her heart for Jesus Cheaters

    In the worst worst worst moments my insides just screamed “HAIL!!! FULL OF GRACE!!!!
    and that did the trick

  • indian goddess Durga. “Goddess Durga symbolizes the divine forces (positive energy) known as divine shakti (feminine energy/ power) that is used against the negative forces of evil and wickedness. She protects her devotees from evil powers and safeguards them”. she is badass and i would summon her strength in the midst of my meltdowns and feel empowered to move on. even bought her statue and put on my coffee table to remind me to fight evil.

  • I think my spirit animal is a Turtle. I don’t know why but I have always loved them my whole life. I looked up the meaning of a turtle as a spirit animal and it is fitting.

    “Protect yourself from hurtful memories, bad influences, and negative forces. In your retreat, gain wisdom and gather strength to help you move forward”…….and “Your turtle totem encourages you to release anything that slows down your progress or brings you back to unhealthy habits and bad influences. Just keep moving towards your goals, no matter how slow or difficult the journey gets”.

    But when things were really dark-I think it was the Workout me that I channeled. I was working out all the time and was so strong – I realized I could accomplish so much more than I thought I could and push myself harder than I ever did. The workout me is mighty and rocks it! When he was a complete bully I didn’t take his shit any more because I just made it through a Grit class with a hard ass instructor. When you feel good about yourself and your body is strong-it gives you so much confidence! I guess it was me mixed with Rhonda Rousey that I channeled – and every class I imagine punching his face in.

  • archangel Michael: i also summoned michael to severe the bonds of attachment from fuckwit and protect me. i also have an angel who held ,e in her mighty wings and nurtured me. yeah-i needed alot of help. hugs! the Troubles sucked hugely,

  • Mine is simple. God. When I felt like I would break apart in a million pieces, I pictured him holding my heart together for me. When I did not know how I would afford my daughter’s medication or my other kids tuition, I imagined him fitting pieces together to work it out. Even if it wasn’t my timing, things have worked out. And when I felt like I could not breathe, I felt His spirit blow through me.

  • The tiger is my Patronus because I was born in the year of the tiger and have always identified with the animal.

    Also, she’s a dragon sign and there are always pictures of the tiger and dragon fighting. I think of the fierce dragon with teeth barred consuming the sky, and the tiger on a rock with waves splashing up violently around, looking equally ready to go to blows with this dangerous creature (which my ex is).

    Whenever she flips to the rage channel, I think of the fierce determination in the eyes of the tiger staring down the dragon, never budging. And I am emboldened.

  • Mine is the roadrunner, the bird not the cartoon. Fast runner and snake killer. Readily consumes venomous serpents. Some Pueblo Native American tribes, including the Hopi, believed the roadrunner provided protection against evil spirits. I think they are so cool. I am deathly afraid of snakes hence I would want this Patronus to be my protector against that rattlesnake of a former husband I had. Also is the state bird of New Mexico, where I was born.

  • My patronus is a Hyena according to Pottermore. Tricky, wiry (strong but not beefy), and fuck can I laugh as I walk away. Um… yeh. That’s about right. I have found my belly laugh again and it’s my joy. I am not healed yet but from the day I found those panties, from the hookers and the sex chats and the physical abuse I buried in my past… I am the ninja of the savannah and I don’t deny it. I kept my knowledge of the shit he was doing under my hat for over 8 months and collected data while he continued to think I was the same docile complacent dimwit. No. I’m not dim. I just wait until it’s time to strike.

    My other less potter influenced Patronus, but still geeky as hell? Daenerys Targaryen. Game of thrones rightful heir. Freer of slaves. Leader of people. Champion of the wronged, strong and sexy as fuck and goddammit her hair is always on point. She loves hard and works and thinks hard and it’s not a weakness to love to hard. It’s what fuels her. And you know what? She walks through fire unscathed. She’s the mother fucking khaleesi and her dragons scorch and eat those who don’t bow before her.

    Yeh. So that’s a thing.

  • I have a committee–my recently deceased 30-year-old cousin, who very gracefully lived with stage 4 cancer for over five years, great deceased beings (humans and animals) in general, a fluffy, gray stray cat that walked into my parents’ house one Christmas morning and put herself under the Christmas tree (and then was adopted by our family), and me. I often think about Jack Kornfield’s reference to the Buddha inside all of us. I believe that we can emanate love and support no matter how others treat us. I imagine that love emanating from me as rays and appearing as an aura. (I have known people who have that magical quality and are famous for it. You sense a positive, powerful energy when you are around them.) Also part of my Patroni is the future bodybuilding, advocating me. I have decided to train for a bodybuilding contest (yes, in my fifties after several body-expanding pregnancies–and I’m ok with people criticizing my physique) and train myself to be a speaker to advocate for others (and I’m ok with people criticizing me for my values). I enjoy public speaking and want to enhance that part of me for the benefit of others. Perhaps practicing public speaking will help me earn the income I need to support my family. This is the year I wholly re-invent myself and take chances that most other people will never take (e.g., as single parents, leave their jobs without another one lined up) to honor myself, live according to my values, and aspire to my dreams. I’ve learned way more, whether getting bruised and beaten or rewarded, when I have taken chances than I have ‘playing it safe.’ This is also my year of minimalist living, in terms of not only things but also pursuits (efforts) and people. If I don’t feel like going out some night to socialize/network because I am tired or I feel as though organizing my life at home is more important/more fulfilling, then I will stay home. If I feel as though going out to socialize/network will be more beneficial and enjoyable, if no tasks are pressing, then I will go out. If someone is disrespecting, lying to, invalidating, harassing me, then I will minimize contact with that person. My time, as is everyone’s, is precious and, for me, fairly short at this stage of my life. I will stop putting undeserving people on pedestals and trying to win their love. I can/will apologize to those I have hurt (not through malice but through selfishness). I am done apologizing for not ‘being enough’ and things that I have not done wrong, people-pleasing for acceptance, and accommodating unacceptable, disrespectful, unloving behavior from others. D–n the torpedoes; full speed ahead.

    • RockStarWife, I have been following your posts over the past two years and just know that I am cheering you on with your new mighty goals!

      *virtual high five*

  • Mine’s a dragon. He’s asleep most of the time, so much so that people sometimes assume he’s not really there at all. When he does come out, he’s breathes fires and destroys all that threatens him. His scales are so hard, he is nearly invincible.

  • STITCH! All the way. Short, cute, fluffy, smart and nearly indestructible. Having an extra pair of arms is always handy too.

  • Someone asked me when I was going through my divorce from my first husband, if I had ever read Women Who Run With the Wolves because she thought that book described me. Fierce, protective of her young, a force to be reckoned with when crossed. Perhaps…but I am so, so tired of fighting…so tired of constantly keeping my guard up…still so sad and angry that I didn’t get the choosing right the second time around.

    I long to be a Proverbs 31 woman….A wife of noble character…but I am so damaged and broken that I don’t know how to get there.

    10Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
    She is more precious than rubies.

    11Her husband can trust her,
    and she will greatly enrich his life.

    12She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

    13She finds wool and flax
    and busily spins it.

    14She is like a merchant’s ship,
    bringing her food from afar.

    15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
    and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

    16She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
    with her earnings she plants a vineyard.

    17She is energetic and strong,
    a hard worker.

    18She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
    her lamp burns late into the night.

    19Her hands are busy spinning thread,
    her fingers twisting fiber.

    20She extends a helping hand to the poor
    and opens her arms to the needy.

    21She has no fear of winter for her household,
    for everyone has warm clothes.

    22She makes her own bedspreads.
    She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.

    23Her husband is well known at the city gates,
    where he sits with the other civic leaders.

    24She makes belted linen garments
    and sashes to sell to the merchants.

    25She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.

    26When she speaks, her words are wise,
    and she gives instructions with kindness.

    27She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.

    28Her children stand and bless her.
    Her husband praises her:

    29“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
    but you surpass them all!”

    30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

    31Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

    I resent SO MUCH the fact that I feel like this was taken away from me. That it was never really mine in the first place. That because I my husband left me, I could no longer be a Proverbs 31 woman because I wasn’t a wife.

    Until it dawned on me that I don’t have to be married to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

    So maybe this isn’t my patronus as much as it’s my touchstone. My goal in life…not to be married, but to become.

    I have a trial on Tuesday….the twatopotamus had me charged with trespass and assault almost a year ago. On the first meeting with my attorney, he said to me, “Well, she’s a little liar, isn’t she?”

    I wish they would both go away….

    • Just because your ex failed at #28 and #31, that doesn’t negate your accomplishment of the rest of it or lessen your greatness in any way.

    • In Catholicism, Nuns marry Jesus as their spouse so they go through their whole lives serving Him and not a dude in their house with skin on. I thought that I had married nowdeadcheater but he didnt act like a husband most of the time and was marginal when he was one.

      There was a period of time when I chose to function as if I were in a religious order since I was married with no husband. It didnt last forever and I was actually pretty good at it. Im sorry that round 2 didnt work out…pain from the life can short-circuit our pickers.

      When I was 50, I married a real flesh man who is silly and quirky but decent and trustworthy. He also pays the bills and does laundry…I often day that “results will vary”(cause my particular circumstances ended up working out better than average) but get through this in a way that will keep your personal integrity intact and good can come.

  • I was actually so glad to take my maiden name back, and honestly, will not change it again, even if I EVERY re-marry. My maiden name is not found in the Spanish dictionary, but has everything to do with the eagle, which is known to be a vicious raptor. My last name means “eagle’s nest/home,” and can also mean “sharp eyed” or “black eagle.” I’m so glad to be rid of that shitty last name that belongs to the dbag, and take my noble eagle name back. They can be solitary creatures if they want (like me), highly protective of their chicks (like me), are highly intelligent, strong and fierce (like me), and that badass stare they give looks just like me after DDay with any and all dbags.

    My 18 yo daughter wants to change her last name to mine, also. She’s always been more connected and loved by my side anyhow, and doesn’t know that disordered other side of the family (thank God!). The weight of a last name you hate is horrible. She’s a little badass herself.

    Yeah. All forms of “eagle” is my name in Spanish, and it is my patronus. ????

  • Pipi Longstocking. She was always my hero and I wanted to be her as a kid. I still admire her pluck today. She is strong, capable, friendly, loyal, fair, carefree, independent, adventuresome and doesn’t take shit from anyone. She is tough, but underneath it all she has a heart of gold.

  • A Queen. I took the following as my life motto:

    “One day she finally grasped that unexpected things were always going to happen in life and the only control she had was how she chose to handle them. She made the decision to survive using courage, humor and grace. She was the Queen of her own life and the choice was hers.” Cindy Ratzlaff and Kathy Kinney

    I have a small crown tattoo on my chest to remind me every day when I look in the mirror that I AM the Queen my own life and all the choices are mine as to how I live it. Three years post divorce and I still savor the thought of that freedom.

  • The character Lucy in the movie Lucy. She took a shit load of crap in the beginning and was forced into a very abusive, dangerous situation by an evil, manipulative man. At the end of the movie she had powers she never had before and got revenge on the evil, selfish man and anyone else who got in her way. Awesome!

  • Mine would be my core values; truth, compassion, justice, fairness, loyalty, love, generosity, and the list goes on.
    Whenever I get dark thoughts I hold onto the knowledge that even in my despair I did not violate my values and never will, and have done what I had to do to fulfill them. I am getting justice for what was done to my family and my heart. I have been fair and even compassionate and generous to the cheating SOB, though he hardly deserves it. I can’t not be. That doesn’t mean I take any shit off him. Not even a little bit. That would not be fair or just and I would not be true to myself to allow that. I have been helping him to see where he went wrong, what his problems are, and I actually find it helps me, too. He has learned a lot. Only time will tell if the lesson sticks. I hope so for the sake of my kids. I have used the time I have been stuck with him to help him become a better man so the kids can have a healthy relationship with him someday, not because I want his sorry ass back. Even if he attained sainthood I could never forgive his cruelty.
    In the final analysis, we are what we value. I hold onto who I am, so I know that I can get through this.

  • My mother wanted me to summon my inner grandmother (her mother) who was classy and dignified and smart and sophisticated and adored by her husband (my grandfather.) “Take the high road,” she would implore me. She had a point, so from time to time I would don my grandmother’s big diamond wedding ring as a symbol of her, and as a symbol of how a man who actually loves his wife does big things for her –not at all like the coward who dumped me for a rescue twat.

    [Of COURSE, big diamond wedding rings are not THE symbol of love, but my grandfather LOVED LOVED LOVED my grandmother, and this was one way he showed it. Her death from cancer, after decades and four children together, broke him. My ex–he never loved me. He said so. He showed it.]

    But my default was singer-songwriter P!nk, and her Fuck-You-I-Don’t-Give-a-FUCK-About-You attitude. And I would get in character by blasting “So What” in my car, or “There You Go,” middle finger jabbing the windshield along my commute. It felt good. I had a good mix CD with Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and “Independent Women,” and Big Sean’s “I Don’t Fuck With You,” and many others. I had a nice play list, and I still love all those songs, as they got me through a really rough time.

    But P!nk is my Patronus.

    • Big trigger for me. The idiotic OW was a Pink fan, and got my cheater’s ego stroked by quoting the immortal line; “You’re fucking special. You’re fucking perfect to me.” He came home from that singing Pink’s praises, really meaning the OW of course. He actually believed she meant that and used it to justify his affair. I just didn’t appreciate him enough to quote pop songs in order to flatter him, ya see. Bitch can’t even come up with her own manipulative bullshit, she has to plagiarize. Cheater would have almost rather have shot himself before he’d have listened to Pink or any other top 40 type pop singer before that, but everything his skank liked became awesome to him. He even changed from his beloved beer to cider. She had him by the short and curlies for sure. What a weakling.

      Me being triggered is not your fault of course, I just needed to vent. Hope you don’t mind.

      • Hahah, that’s ok, my dear, no problem. I have my musical triggers, as well. Cheater had a Hittin’ the Road playlist that included such soothing sounds of the 70’s like, “Take It Easy,” and “Sister Golden Hair,” both of which make me want to throw up just typing. The clueless mother fucker stupidly made my youngest a CD of his playlist, which was an ode to bailing on the fam. And my poor kid played the disk in his car–y’know, to try to connect with his walk-away uncle dad, I suppose. When he tried to play it in my car, I told him the meaning of the songs (at least the significance to his father) and kindly asked him if we could play different music. And this is Exhibit #23 of why I will never forgive him–he confused and hurt my kids. They deserved better. At least he didn’t ruin THEIR favorite songs.

        Sorry you hate Pink. I do hope that you have your own kick-ass songs that inspire you through this shit show.

        Hugs!

        • My divorce stole my love for Bonnie Raitt; I couldn’t listen to her sing for several years, and I loved her music. Glad to say I finally healed enough to be able to listen to her again.

  • I had the same patronus thought, the dominant protective mare. And I found that power, but I was the bitch. First, I stared down and dominated an out of control mare, agressive and disruptive in our herd. I came at her swinging a rope, eye contact, acting big (I’m 5’4 and thin) and she backed off. I was mad. I knew then that I was strong and I would survive.

  • I guess my patronus would be a cool, hip version of me, who has everything she wants and doesn’t need anybody. She showed me how to go and get things I wanted. It wasn’t even a thing in my mind before then to want things, nevermind go get them! She’s equal parts poise and class, nature and magic.

  • Would love to pick something wildly romantic like an owl (nocturnal, fierce hunter, wise and mysterious), or a lone wolf (independent, a survivor, running beneath a full moon), but though I love both of those, what I actually dreamed of in the days before dday were frogs and toads. And then afterward, for a solid three months a toad showed up on my front doorstep every single night, hopping into view at dusk, an$ hanging out in the shadows under the glowing porch lights, where night bugs fluttered.

    A toad! Not gorgeous, often unnoticed, but symbol of rebirth and key in creating the music of spring and summer nights.

    • Are you kidding?? Toads have the most superb, incredible golden eyes, and the eyes are the window to the soul!
      A toad lived in the stone wall where I and the ex used to have late night/early morning nicotine-fuelled horrible conversations. It would often comment when it heard our voices. I’d love to know what it was thinking.

  • My patronus is my grandmother who lived to be 93. As a 13 year old, she escaped from Russia, got temporarily separated from her family by force, talked her way out of it, and made it out alive and with her family to the U.S. in the early 1900’s. Even though she was a quiet and frail woman when she passed, some of her last conversations included, “Get me a mirror. I want to see how I look. I need some lipstick.” In her younger days, she was full-bodied, in charge, and took no shit. My siblings, cousins, and I were terrified of her. None of us had the nerve to go against her, and not eating what she cooked was a downright act of rebellion. But all of us knew she would literally put herself in front of a moving truck to save us. Her advice was practical and to the point. When my mother hated my soon to be husband, my gradmother’s response was, “Do you love him?” When I said yes, she responded, “Can you help it?” When I said no she shrugged as if she knew that I would find out my mistake later and there was no sense dwelling on it now.

    When I am in trouble, I conjure up my strong, loving grandmother. I envision her standing in front of me, wearing one of her handmade aprons (made from the same fabric that she’d used to make clothes for my favorite doll as a child), hands on her hips, loudly swearing in Yiddish at my husband (that I am stupid enough not to have divorced yet). Sometimes I outright giggle.
    I also have a second string of patronuses lined up right behind her. My dad is alive and in his youth again wearing his WW2 U.S. army uniform glaring menacingly. He is Grandma’s back-up to add extra protection. Mom is also alive and youthful, staying next to me for hugs. I feel well protected.

    I love this post! As a Harry Potter fan, my imaginary patronuses, when I remember to conjure them, get me through a lot! Good luck to all of you conjuring up those patronuses!

  • For a brief few months, my patronus became a snake (staff of life), but it quickly reverted to my regular patronus; a crow.

    Not necessarily liked, but intelligent, hard working and wise. They keep two nests to fool predators. They use available items as tools, adapt quickly to change, are wise to manipulation, and are generally one step ahead of any situation. There is something about gliding on the wind…

    Thank goodness for fantasy storytelling in a world full of lies.

  • Lagertha from Vikings.

    SPOILER ALERT:
    She was also cheated on and betrayed, the OW (Aslaug) usurped her position and home. That plot line occurred right around my own DDay. Lagertha just got on with shit. She created her own kingdom and her own band of fighters that rivaled her Ex husband’s. She became greater than she ever could have been just being a wife.

    Someone in the forums recently posted a video of the scene where she gets revenge on Aslaug. Pretty amazing stuff…

    • Excellent! Totally taking archery classes now! I’m going to try and channel this Viking goddess in my weak moments.

  • Mine is a warrior wielding a katana! The moment it was confirmed that he was cheating……I took that MFing katana and destroyed the evil! I’ve told this story many times but for the newbies, when he admitted to the affair (I really had no solid proof, just used my forensic training) I told him to GTFO NOW! I ran around the house tossing his crap in garbage bags (Hefty, the good ones, my bad) and hummed that crap into the garage grazing his beloved Harley! Then she mourned and moved on.

  • For most of my life I’ve been the go to guy, the fixer, the mover of mountains . I have been summoned to take care of things too big or stressful for friends and family . Not to be overly dramatic but I am the dragon slayer . Rarely however , do I have anyone I can count on to help me, comfort me, have my back . I usually stand alone . When the shit storm of marital anguish blew down my street friends and family alike became Swiss . I did the heavy lifting , the fighting and the sorrow filled moments lone wolf. I quickly learned to overcome , adapt , find the ways around things and check my emotions at the door . Each and every time I rose to the level I needed . No hands up or out no attaboys just scar battered me. I am the only one I can count on the only one I can change the only one I have to answer to. My Patronus ? It’s me

    • Wonderful For what it is worth – Attaboy! While it is good to be helpful, I hope you will take care of yourself and not let those family and friends use you. You may be the only one you can count on – but I also hope you will be gentle with yourself and not keep giving away your dragon slaying skills if it depletes you. Peace and succor for you.

  • She’s a twenty-foot tall, red fox with a tail that is as soft as silk, as warm as a mother’s arms, and her tail is more majestic than the seven wonders of the world. Her eyes flash between amber and jade green. When she and I are hanging out and reading a good book, she is kind, relaxed, and she is so content that she sometimes purrs. In other words, her essence is always with me in some form.

    But, when she catches the scent of “narcissist cheater” in the air, her fur turns white until it is completely invisible. Her eyes turn glacial blue until they also disappear. Then she walks on her tip toes and stalks her narcissist, cheater prey. At just the right time, she slams right into him and knocks him out by the sheer force of her unseen blow. Then, she picks him up with her jaws, and then shakes her head around with him in it, as if he were a new chew toy. Then, she carries him in her mouth and drops him with utter disgust on the front porch of the other woman, and she saunters away with her head held high.

    This beautiful fox has not yet told me her name, but she will in time.

    The Native Americans talk about animal totems.

    The Hawaiian culture also talks about ancestral “protector animals” (aumakua) that protect family groups.

    The Fox is always with me, even if she is just a metaphor.

    Wanted to address something Tracy said about her ex’s rages. We are often taught as women to attempt to soothe a man who is raging. I have found out that in cases like Tracy’s, the best bet is to rage right back. Rage so much that an abusive man knows you will no longer do the “tend and befriend” thing that women are taught to do during conflict.

    Nope. You have to be a bigger monster when a cheating man rages. One caveat: make sure there are no guns or weapons. And if such a man is likely to escalate to physical violence, get in your car and leave.

    Raging back is only appropriate when the man who is raging is an absolute coward on the inside and uses rage to cover his cowardice. If you show a cheating coward you are stronger and the game is over, they will likely back down.

    It’s absolutely awesome that Tracy raged right back and refused to take it. Those are the situations when a woman realizes she will get through it and she will realize she has internal strength to access. Often women are surprised at the strength they can muster. Use that strength!

  • When my jaw was wired shut from surgery, it was early in my separation but it had nothing to do with my physically abusive ex. He was all bluster. He came up to my door, said threateningly, “I want to break your jaw”. I calmly said, “Go ahead”. I don’t think I ever saw him run away so fast.

    My patronus didn’t have a name. Or a face. But he sometimes had a voice. I like to think he is St. Michael because I flew on a wing and a prayer and landed safe in my new home on his feast day.

  • I’m pretty sure my patronus is Bea Arthur. If it’s not Bea, it’s someone else with a deep voice who wears those long, drapy vests. She suffers no fools.

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