Death of a Fairy Tale by D. L. Mars - Read Online
Death of a Fairy Tale
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Inspired by her own divorce, D. L. Mars' "Death of a Fairy Tale" is a wide-eyed and unflinching look at what causes marriages to fall apart and a candid exploration of how to grow through the pain of broken dreams.
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ISBN: 9780989439411
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Death of a Fairy Tale - D. L. Mars

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© 2012 D. L. Mars

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Death of a Fairy Tale

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

All rights reserved.

Giftedgirl Publishing Group

Library of Congress Control Number 2012941561

Printing in the United States

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN: 9780989439411

For more information or to contact the author, please go to:

In loving memory of

March 1, 2012–May 18, 2012

Death puts life in perspective.

This life work is dedicated to my phenomenal children, Alex and Zoë. You are my inspiration, my bookends, my wind.

Thank you for dispelling the myth that kids from broken homes have broken wings. I will always cherish you and each moment we have the privilege to share together.




Introduction: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale



1. Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?

2. Unroyal Treatment

3. The Wizard of Fraud

4. Beauty and the Creep

5. Never Never Land

Interlude: Reclaiming Your Joy



6. Accept Reality

7. New Beginnings

8. Validate and Empower

9. Setting Royal Standards

Afterword: And She Lived Authentically Ever After

About the Author


Tales of the courageous deserve to be told. Author D.L. Mars does just that in this brilliant book, Death of a Fairy Tale.

More than seven years ago, D. L. shared her vision for this book with me. She wanted to provide women with a universal and safe environment in which to confront their debilitating marital pain. She wanted them to embrace healing faster than she did. She envisioned that the collective stories from other sojourners would leave a trail of bread crumbs for those who, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz or Little Red Riding Hood after encountering the big bad wolf, were having trouble finding their way back home.

But D. L. Mars’s ambition does not stop with the villains who destroy marriages. In the chapter Setting Royal Standards, she uses literary license and her own life experience to help women who are contemplating marriage map out a trustworthy route that will hopefully lead them to a long-lasting and rewarding relationship. She shows them how to avoid a tragic ending by providing clear suggestions and thoughtful questions to consider before you say, I do. What do courageous women have to do with fairy tales? Truth and self-reliance. D. L. Mars weaves together the authentic and often tragic stories of women who thought they were entering a fairy tale marriage or relationship. At some point, each summoned the strength to tap the power within to rescue themselves from a bad situation.

As a counselor, mother, and wife of twenty-seven years, I have seen, heard, and experienced the devastation of women who are unable or unwilling to determine the necessary questions that need to be asked prior to committing to a relationship. I have found that some women are so broken by past experiences that they do not understand that just because something looks good to you does not mean that it is good for you.

This wonderful book encourages the reader to do many things, including establishing intimacy with yourself, determining where you are so you have a better view of where you are going, and seeking early intervention when necessary. Determining where you are in your life can help you know if you are near the edge of a cliff or five minutes away from the desired destination. I have found few helpful road maps in life, but I do consider D. L. Mars’s book just that. I am in complete agreement with her thesis that it is never too late to assess, adjust, and then progress toward your destiny.

Establishing intimacy with oneself is difficult but imperative. It requires discipline (a willingness to keep working) and authenticity (a desire to get to one’s truth). D. L. Mars, through examples of her own life story and divorce along with the tales of other women who are empowered by truth, provides some clear strategies for how others can learn to embrace and validate themselves.

Death of a FairyTale is highly recommended for all women. For women who are mesmerized by a fantasy in the beginning, stuck in the middle, living in bliss, or at the ending of a once- promising relationship and having difficulty determining the next steps, Death of a Fairy Tale (along with counseling, support groups, or other traditional interventions) can certainly be a significant part of healing.

I never understood why Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Had he not properly assessed his situation? Had he not been honest with himself about the height of the wall? Did he always think that if he fell, someone would come to his aid? Well, we know that at the end of the fairy tale, Humpty Dumpty could not be put back together again. This book helps you avoid a fatal fall like Humpty Dumpty’s. I encourage you to let D. L. Mars help you edit your own story in a way that allows you to embrace life with integrity and honesty, in a way that will ensure that you live in the reality of what it takes to get to the happily ever after.

—Dr. Lael Melville

Family therapist, CORE (Consistently Operating in Reality for Eternity)


A Note of Gratitude and Celebration

In Memory of my loving parents and protectors, Quentin Mars Sr. and Lozella Mars. Your marriage dignified the meaning of Till death do us part. I am honored to carry forth your legacy and will do so as long as there is breath in me. Also in memory of my brother, Quentin Mars II—save me a spot in heaven!

In Honor of every single mother who has put her life on pause to raise her children. Keep pushing, keep dreaming, love yourself, and know when it is necessary to say enough.

In Celebration of the expanding Mars clan and my great nieces: Zarah, Autumn, Nia, Leila, and McKinzey. Stick together; marry right.

Thank You:

To my big sister, Carrye Mars-Baker, for believing in me and for praying for me always.

To my godmother, Evelyn B. Thornton, for your unconditional love and support through the years.

To the hundreds of women who generously shared their stories with me: Thank you on behalf of all the readers who will be blessed and empowered by your individual and collective journey. Never give up on yourself or on life. My prayer is that each of you will experience a Ruth and Boaz kind of love one day. In the meantime, continue to live in truth and consistently commit to self-love and care.

To my brilliant subject matter experts: Carla Beene, Esq., Dr. Yolanda Brooks, Rev. Lucretia Facen, Dr. Phyllis Gee, Rev. Joyce Kitchen, Ms. Theresa Little, Mr. Rick Lindsey, Dr. Lael Melville, Elder Cathy Moffit, Dr. Sheila Peters, and Dr. Tracy Shaw, along with the many others who enlightened me along the way. I know that your wisdom will uplift and educate the masses.

To my ground crew: A. J., Alicia, Anedra, Anthony, Bernadette, Brenda, Calvin, Connie, Helena, Isabell, Kathy G., Kathy J., Ken C., Kim C., Lael, LaRonda, Maurice, Marshilia, Merrill, Michelle, Nonie, Pam G., Pam J., Peggy, Phyllis, Rene', Richard, Rob, Robert, Sandra, Yvette, and Zivia. Thank you for encouraging me to persevere and for loving and uplifting me with your prayers and generosity through the various seasons of my life. You will never know how much the simplest deeds and reassuring words have meant to me over the years. I love you all in my own special way.

To my nieces: Kimberly and Sydney, live your lives in a manner that you would want your daughters to emulate. I am proud of you both and honored to be your aunt and second mother. I am here for you always.

To my children whom I did not birth but will always claim: Leslie Jr., Detris, Christine, and Elizabeth, your existence in my life taught me to love more generously and fully. To Attorney Edward Johnson Sr., Bill Dunlap, and Patricia Minifield: Thank you for believing in my talents and for standing by me in some of the most challenging of entrepreneurial circumstances. I need you to survive.

My official editors: Angela P. Dodson and Lucia Retta, thank you for your mastery of grammar and your organizational guidance.

To Milli Brown and the team at Brown Books Publishing Group: thank you for helping give birth to my dream.

To Jessica Burnham: Kudos on your award-winning creativity. Thank you for your commitment to excellence.

To my little sis,Toska Medlock-Lee, the hardest working woman in America: Thank you for pushing me forward when I didn’t think I could conduct another interview or type another word. I deeply value your friendship, your candor, and all the invaluable resources you have shared with me. Keep making it do what it do!

To Erica Lloyd: I guess we have been together since I had this crazy notion to write a book and run a business while trying to raise respectable children. Mission accomplished! Thanks for hanging in there with me through my numerous ups and downs. You are a rare gem.

My behind-the-scenes crew: Jamacia Johnson of Ampli Creative, Karol Nicks and Ivy Suber of Visual Juice, and my gifted interns who assisted with the research for this book— Mark, Jordan, and Ragan—thank you for your collective contributions to the greater good.

To every client past and present who has supported my business endeavors no matter how large or small: It is because of you that I have been able to feed, shelter, and educate my children. Your financial support has given me the courage to chase my dream and hopefully inspire others. An extra special shout-out to: Mary Jo C., Robbie D., Ina S., Jonathan Y., Barbara P., Danielle D., Eris S., Olivia S., James H., Dorothy J., Kenna W., Crystal K., Ermy H., Dvorah E., Danny M., Vickie M., Laura M., Shirley F., Tyrus S., Mavis L., Daryl T., Christina P., Willie Mae, Lynn W., Daryl T., and Rhonda D.

To my Prince of Peace, my Lifeguard, my Healer, and my Creator. I give all praise, glory, and honor to God for allowing me the privilege to carry forth this difficult and controversial topic. It is only by your grace that I have triumphed over the sting of divorce. It is only by your love that I feel loveable again. It is only by your mercy that I have the ability to find joy in each and every day again. Thank you for revalidating my life.

The stories told in the following chapters

are all based on true events.

Names have been changed to protect

the women who lived them.

Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.

Proverbs 16:3


Life Is Not a Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Debra who grew up in a very loving and doting family. She was a happy child, the youngest of three children who were born to a very enterprising and loving couple. Debbie, as she was affectionately called, was a high achiever and had a very privileged childhood. She was a debutante and scholar who would grow up to travel the world and gain access to very powerful people. She excelled in everything that she pursued—except marriage. Determined not to be defeated, she risked her soul to be married until death parted her from her husband, just like her parents. Even though there were early signs of a poison apple that threatened her marriage, Debra let her pride get the best of her and refused to accept that the relationship was cursed from the beginning. Stubborn as she was, she clung to hope as long as she could, until one day she was left alone in an empty castle to fend for herself and her two small children. She didn’t know at the time that it would take a booka very special bookto reverse the curse and bring her back to life.

Ileaned back in my seat as the plane soared over the ocean. I was tanned and relaxed, returning from a much-deserved vacation in Cancun after completing what I thought was the final manuscript of this book. Suddenly and without warning, the cabin filled with smoke. I found myself gasping for air. As the flight attendants instructed passengers to drop to the floor and cover our heads, I was consumed by the numbing fear that this really was the end of my life.

My mind shot to the image of my children at my funeral. Then my thoughts raced to all of the other lives I carried with me—both in my heart and on my hard drive. I didn’t have a second thought about my purse, passport, or money. No, I had a message to share, a purpose I had not yet completed. My ambitions extended far beyond my own personal healing and fulfillment. I was committed to the betterment of every woman whose life, like mine, had been jeopardized by a toxic marriage.

I needed to shout to the world that a woman’s life did not end when her marriage did, that a new life waited beyond the bounds of fantasy, beyond a dying relationship. I wanted to inspire these women to boldly move forward, to reclaim the joy of existence, to embrace a life free from bitterness and regret. I had no intention of wasting all the stories of triumph I had spent years gathering after escaping from the solitude I had once subjected myself to. So no, I could not die on that plane. I had experienced enough of death already in my marriage and divorce. I was ready to write my own happy ending. Even if I had to slide out the emergency exit with my computer clutched to my chest, I was not going to give up. I had a story to tell, and no malfunctioning plane was going to alter my destiny.

For more than seven years, I had spent day after day listening to, praying for, and crying with women who had been left for dead. Many had fled in the middle of the night with babies on their hips. Some wore sunglasses to cover their puffy black eyes. Others had reached out to psychiatrists in search of a magic pill that would restore their sanity and help them sleep at night. Still others had financially flatlined when they discovered their bank accounts had been vandalized by the very men they deeply loved and trusted with their lives. For months, sometimes years, these women were victimized and trapped in a world of fear and self-doubt.

I had trekked across the United States, from California to New York, Tennessee to Michigan, in search of inspiration, in search of peace. I wanted to uncover the truth about the toxins that invaded once-promising unions and left disillusioned brides to dress their wounds with a fake smile. I wanted to help lift the heavy burdens they carried around with their designer handbags overstuffed with Prozac and maxed-out credit cards. I knew how they suffered because I too had suffered. But I found my way to the other side and had the undeniable assignment to take others with me.

The wisdom and truth I gleaned from the experiences of other women, along with the supporting knowledge of subject matter experts, would allow each and every one of us to flourish like never before. I held hundreds of interviews, both open and clandestine, in airports and locker rooms, at the spa and at the grocery store, in five-star restaurants and emergency rooms, in the lobbies of courthouses and in church parking lots. I learned quickly that there are plenty of thieves who steal hearts and wreck homes while disguised as pillars of the community—doctors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and politicians among them. Over and over again, just when I thought I had heard it all, when I thought I couldn’t listen to another story, someone would whisper the unthinkable in my ear. It would serve as a seed of inspiration that could be shared with another soul lost in a dark forest of deceit.

Oh no, that plane was not going down with me on board. I had drunk too many chai lattes while typing madly at Starbucks, had hauled my computer to too many remote locations in search of another gem of healing truth. I had fallen asleep too many times with only my infamous laptop to console me in the dark of the night.

In the wake of my own divorce, I developed a need to purge the things, people, and feelings that I found were blocking the happiness and blessings from my life. As I cleaned out closets and threw away mementos of a past I no longer wished to claim as my own, I happened upon an old VHS tape. Though I didn’t know it at the time, this proved to be a buried treasure of sorts.

At first I didn’t recognize the radiant and striking young woman in the flowing peach dress who appeared on the tape. There was something vaguely familiar about her demeanor, but the familiarity was almost surreal. In the video, she juggled with ease the young children who vied for her attention. She floated from room to room effortlessly, seemingly surrounded by a cloud of delight and anticipation. She remained gracious and attentive to the room of women who had come to celebrate her. That woman was me, and my behavior was not makebelieve.

The video offered a glimpse into the life of a highly successful and confident young woman who had seized the opportunity to become Mrs. Somebody. There I was, in the midst of my long-awaited wedding shower, thinking my fairy tale had come true. Skimpy teddies and future babies were the only concerns of the afternoon. My future seemed as sunny as the afternoon of my posh California soirée.

I was still glowing in the aftermath of a highly choreographed proposal, and I assumed that my Prince Charming had finally saddled up and was committed to being my protector and the father to our son. I had prayed that whenever I wed I would be cherished, adored, and treated as an equal. After the thoughtfulness of his impressive proposal, I mistakenly assumed that he was ready to give up his previously