Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999
Subject: My abusive boyfriend
Dear Dr. Irene,
I am so glad I found your website! It has been a tremendous help to
me for the last couple of weeks. I have a verbally abusive boyfriend
(of 4 1/2 years) and we are in a broken up stage now after one of his
raging fights. Reading all the stories on your website has made me
realize I'm not alone. Unfortunately, you are not
alone. Consider joining one of the email
It wasn't until earlier this year that I was able to put my finger on what
was wrong with our relationship. When I was at the library, I found
the Patricia Evans book on Verbal
Abuse. I felt like I was reading
my life with this man. He is a extremely critical, controlling, blaming,
withholding, emotionally manipulative person, and usually rages when he
has to let it out. He always blames me for his actions. That's
why we are broken up now.
I know I need to move on with my life, but I'm having a hard time letting
go. This man has hurt me so much! You would think I would be running
the other way, fast. I'm always going back to him to make up.
I just want to get back together, make everything okay. Forgive,
forget and move on with life.
What is wrong with me? Why can't I
stay away, or at least, have him come to me to make up. Life is too
short to have to go through this all the time.
Am I crazy? Tracy
Are you crazy?
You are crazy in
the sense that you don't love yourself nearly enough. (Personally, I think
that's crazy!) You haven't realized yet that you are a perfectly wonderful
being, created by God or Nature or the Universe, or whatever wonderful Almightily
force you believe in.
Somebody taught you
early on that life was dangerous, or that you had to step on eggshells to
keep others happy, or that you had to behave in a certain way to be loved.
In other words, your childhood was not carefree. You were taught to be codependent.
You were taught to
look out for someone's feelings before you considered your own. You
learned to bend too much, give up too much, do too much, put up with too
much. You learned that it was OK to disrespect the self in order to
This is not OK!
Dear Tracy, you
need to learn that you are perfect, imperfect as you are. You need to
learn that you deserve every bit as much as any other being on God's green
earth. You need to learn to defend yourself the way you
would defend your child, or your mother, or your best friend! You need to
learn that you are every bit as entitled to good stuff as whomever!
(Otherwise, you are essentially saying something like, "Gee God, when
you made me, you really blew it!")
The only place your
needs are secondary is in your mind. Self-caring; self-love;
self-respect.: these are the lessons you need. These lessons constitute your
obligations to yourself. When you learn these
lessons, you will never permit yourself to be treated poorly again. You
will not stand for it - any more than you would allow your child or your
parent to be treated poorly.
Start reading the codependency pages, get help.
Learn to love the precious gift of life that was given to you. You owe that much to
yourself...and to your Maker.
My very best
wishes, -Dr. Irene