Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999
First Letter: September 1, 1999
Dear Dr. Irene,
I have been looking over your site off and on for the past two
months. A very good friend of mine e-mailed it to me. In your
"Signs of Verbal and Emotional Abuse"
page, it lists questions to see if you are in an abusive relationship
and I was just wondering if I am the abuser. I do ignore
statements that are made (which he says are his feelings). I
think I withhold approval, appreciation or affection. I do give
him the silent treatment. Maybe what I am about to say next is
only to make me feel better about myself. I can justify my
actions. He makes comments to me that hurt and I react in anger
(which I realize is not the way to handle it), then after arguing, I
start to ignore what he's saying because he's usually making statements
about how I should have handled what he said in the first place.
That he was only trying to get some affection from me. He tells
me that I need to be more sensitive towards his feelings, so when he
makes a derogatory comment, or accuses me of something, or makes an
insinuating comment, that I am to say something like, "I didn't like
what you said. You must be bothered about something, honey.
What is it?" I can't understand why he has to put me down and
expect me to be sensitive to him. Why can't he just tell me he
feels like he needs some affection?
I already went
through this letter. You are clearly not the abuser, even though you
behave yukky at times. You are not obligated to mind-read. Your husband should be able to take care of himself by
expressing his needs. My most important comments will be at the
end, for reasons which become obvious later.
This has been going on for over two years now. It started
almost instantaneously after we got married. He wanted to know more
about my past relationships. I think that I was very open and honest
about them. I admitted to him years before we even got serious,
that I had done things in my past that I am not proud of and that I regret, and
it's too bad that I didn't know then what I know now, and I thought that
he had accepted that. I don't condone what I did. I think
that growing up without a male figure in my home and also a mother who didn't show
affection, had a lot to do with the things I did. I told him
that I think that my upbringing had a lot to do with what I did, that I
was confused about love and affection, and the fact that I did have a
low opinion about myself (I thought I was ugly, no boys interested in
me) didn't help. But they were still my choices and my
We all make
mistakes. Good for you for fixing lots of it.
He says that I lied to him about them, that I tried to "sugar
coat" my past, that I have a "poor me" attitude about it, that in
reality, that I was just out screwing around for fun. He constantly throws
snide remarks at me and then tells me that he said them because I wasn't
paying him enough attention, or that I haven't "lusted
after" him lately. He tells me that he must not be good enough for me,
that he'd get more attention from me if he were a complete stranger. It
is very difficult to give him attention/affection when he says things like
"I bet you did this to all the guys" when I do, and when I don't,
he says things like "I bet you did it (gave attention/affection,
touched) for all the guys but me".
Your husband is very insecure.
He is picking on you. He wants you to fix his insecurity by
lusting after him. Of course, that will not fix it. Stop defending
We have had a lot of confrontations over the issues of my
"past". He says that he has no problems with it, that I do because I haven't
been honest with myself about it. He has physically beaten me to
"get the truth" out of me. Stop! Not OK.
He says that he did it
because he loves me so much and that he was hurting over my lying. Garbage. NO NO NO NO
It has been over a year since he beat me last. I think it scared him because I think he
realized that he could have killed me and I think that his mother seeing the bruises
and the pain I was in, also made him realize that if it happened again,
that she wouldn't believe "the story" of falling down the
stairs again. This last beating happened only a few weeks after I got out of the
mental ward. You see, I admitted myself because I had thoughts of
suicide. I wanted to kill myself because I couldn't take his accusations any
glad you got help. You sound much better now. He was telling me that it was my fault that he was
drinking because I wouldn't "take care" of our problems (i.e., my
lying, my lack of affection towards him). This was the period when he used
to call me names, very derogatory names. He doesn't do it now. I
think at this point is when he started being abusive to my children. He
started ordering them around like they were his personal slaves (cracking
his toes, massaging/scratching his back, getting him beer, picking up
after him, calling them stupid pieces of sh*&...). Not
OK. Why do you permit it?
still call me insensitive, cold and a bitch from time to time. He tells
me that I am not normal because I am not sensitive towards his needs, that
any normal woman could see what was really bothering him when he makes statements like he does.
He does not work. This again is my fault because I am not
being supportive of him.
That I am not encouraging him to
go and work. He's supposed to be self employed.
He hasn't worked on any repairs around the house, because I am not
being supportive of him and am not encouraging him to do so.
He hasn't worked on the repairs on the cars (8 of them, 4 which
he's suppose to sell). For the same reasons as above. It
goes on and on and on.
I've walked out (running away is what he calls it) when I can't
take it anymore. I think leaving such a difficult, demanding
person is sane. Why did you come back?
I left (to my sister's) for 10
days. He said that he realizes that he's done some wrong and he actually started to do things, at
least work wise. I know that I've done wrong too. I think
that my wrong has been not communicating and not being assertive. Your wrong
has been putting up with is ridiculous demands. He is asking you to do
or take responsibility for things that are his responsibility to do!
Your biggest wrong is not seeking safety...but now I'm at the second
He says that he realizes that he hasn't been communicating his needs
But he continues to do it the same way. At least he doesn't get
as mad as he used to.
So what? Doesn't
mean he won't in the future. Past behavior is the best predictor of
He has said, several times, that he's had enough
abuse, and that he needs to move on and find someone who truly appreciates
him. But he doesn't leave. Why should he? He has no bills to
pay. He moved into my house, which he constantly reminds me is my debt, but
almost in the same breath he will make statements like "my driveway, my
yard, my fence, etc." When I bring up finances to him, he tells
me that it's my fault that I got into debt. He doesn't seem to want to
recognize that he helped me get there. Earlier I said that he started to
"work" while I was away. Well it's slowed down to about nothing again.
He blames this of course on me. Because I am not taking care of our
There is so much more to say but I think I've said enough, at least
for today. I'm sure that whatever I've written here today
probably doesn't make much sense anyway.
On the contrary, you are making perfect
I really appreciate this site. I'm glad I was directed to it,
even though he is using some of the information against me (he found a
print out in my book bag and took it). Thanks for having this site
available for us all to learn more about ourselves.
Let's be real clear about one thing:
You are not the abuser. He is. Even though you behave very badly at
times, you do not provoke and you do not try to control him by insisting
it is his job to make you feel better, etc.
Dear Dr. Irene,
I would like to continue or add to my story. My husband thinks
that there are gang members trying to poison him. Not to kill him
mind you but to see what kind of damage it may do to him. He's
been thinking like this for almost a year now. He thinks that
they've poisoned our food in our home and poisoned the vehicles with
some kind of powdery substance. This is why he thinks he's not
physically capable of working and the cause of him physically abusing
He thinks that the poison they are
using is the by-products of the making of the drug "crank". He says that this drug
causes people to behave aggressively, thus the abuse; have physical pain or damage
the body, thus not being able to work. If this is happening, then
why aren't we (my children and I) being affected in the same way?
He says that we are being affected because of my emotional behavior lately,
blowing up or crying. He says that this physical pain and the
mental pain (that I've caused) is the reasons why he drinks.
He drinks everyday. The minimum amount is three beers a night. He
sometimes starts drinking in the early afternoon. When I left to go to
my sister's, he told me that he had quit drinking. When I got
back, he was still drinking but "only beer" as he states it.
Drinking is drinking in my opinion. And the last month, it has gotten back to the
hard liquor. At one point in time, he was up to a half a liter of gin everyday.
I left again on September 29. I told him that I just couldn't
take the stress of thinking that someone is "out to get" us and
that he is doing nothing about it. He supposedly has proof but won't take it
to the proper authorities. I told him that I'd think
about coming back after he had seen someone about his mental instabilities. He told
me a week later that he had gotten a clean bill of health from a medical
doctor and the therapist told him that what he was experiencing was
"burn out" and that he was in a "survival mode".
My guess is that he was not entirely
forthcoming with the doctor. He probably did not talk about the alcohol
or the paranoia.
Meaning that he was lashing
out, like a cornered animal, trying to survive his anxieties/stresses.
But when asked who he went to see, he changes the subject or says that
it's not important, or asks if I doubt him, which I know I should say
yes. Yes. Say "yes." But then I think to myself, if I tell him that I don't trust him
that he'll throw the fact that I've talked to people about our problems
in my face and that why should he in turn trust me. Because your problems
are not normal problems. You need to face that and to recognize that you
have to do something.
I came home with the kids recently. I must admit that he has
a more positive outlook on things, but I question his sincerity. It's
not a matter of sincerity. It is a matter of addiction at best, possibly
combined with serious mental illness.
As I am writing this, he is painting a home to earn some money. I
guess that is promising, isn't it?
He's been acting a bit too
"sweet" at times, and he stresses to all of us to keep the kitchen clean. He's
constantly "cloroxing" the counters and he was cleaning up the kids'
messes and doing their dishes until just a day ago until I told him that we
could just load up the dishwasher and turn it on after it was full.
He is still drinking. He was pushing the issues of his feelings
again but when I kept "blowing up" and telling him that he was
making me responsible for everything again, he kind of has backed off of at
least that subject. He hasn't come right out and said that we're
still being poisoned. But he told me that he prayed about what was
happening to him and got an answer that he was right. Does this mean if he
prays that he should kill me and/or the kids that he is right?
Yes. That's the problem.
He will actually leave the house unattended for awhile now (of
course with cameras rolling). He used to make someone stay home even
with security cameras on. Or make someone go with him whenever he
went to the store so that the car wouldn't be left unattended. He
goes alone now.
He used to make one of the kids go with him whenever he did do any
work on his home. He says that they owe it to him.
No. This is child
He says that this last time I left him was the best thing that's
happened to him. He now realizes how wrong he was to make other
people responsible for things that he should be doing for
himself. I still have my doubts and a lot of resentment. I
keep thinking that I should just call it quits because I can't handle
the stress of wondering what's going to happen next. Will we
regress or progress?
The therapists I've talked to have told me that he is a very
delusional man and needs to be treated. YES!
I've been told that the drinking
may have caused his behavior or that he's a "crack" user which I
doubt because he can't afford it.
Crack is cheap and
he may be dealing.
usually use alcohol to break the crash from the crack high.
I've also been told that maybe he was given
methamphetamine unknowingly and this could be a side effect of it.
Unlikely. He's been delusional too
long. Nevertheless, he needs
treatment. His condition is serious and is possibly dangerous to you and your
kids. The only way to know if the delusional thinking is drug or
alcohol-related is for him to get sober. He needs alcohol rehabilitation
at the very least and probably needs detoxification as well. He also
needs to see a psychiatrist, preferably one experienced in dual diagnoses.
I know I'm wandering all over the place. I just want to have
a normal life for me and my kids. Not having dinner at midnight, not
staying up until 2:00 a.m. because we are being talked to, not having to worry
if the house will be foreclosed, not worrying if he is in a bad mood,
to not feel guilty for going to friends or family's homes, to not have
to walk into the house and see his "stuff" scattered all
over the house while he throws our things away, or saying just the wrong thing.
I hope that I haven't made this too mis-understandable. I'm
just lost. Not sure what to do. Again. Thanks for having this web site to turn to.
Your husband is an
alcoholic. He may be a crack addict. He is abusive. He may be suffering
from one of the paranoid disorders. You may be in danger. With a
history of having been beaten, delusional paranoia and drinking, your
husband has the potential to hurt you and your children. You need to
protect yourselves. Helping him, if he'll have it, is secondary. He is
likely to resist help, though he went in the right direction when you
put your foot down.
Who are these
therapists you have consulted with? Go back. Can they help your family?
Have you told them the whole story?
I think you need
to enlist all the support you can: friends, family, the police. See if
your community makes a crisis team available. Perhaps Child Protective
can assist you or point you in the right direction. Your husband needs
to be taken to a hospital emergency room or an alcohol detoxification
center for evaluation. You cannot trust him to go by himself. He will
tell them very little. I promise. At the very least, he needs treatment
for alcohol dependence.
You need to tell
staff about the extent and duration of his drinking, the paranoia, the
past violence. Talk about having been beaten, and how badly. Talk about
any current safety concerns you may have. In fact, print out this
letter and give it to them.
Your husband is a
sick man. You probably won't know how sick until he has been sober for a
while. You seem to hang onto small improvements he may make. Don't. All
diseases I can think of wax and wane. Don't assume he is better because
he can leave the house alone. His symptoms are serious. He has been this
way for a year. This is not likely to get better any time soon. You are
your family may be in danger. Get help.
May God help you
and your family.
My very best wishes, Dr. Irene