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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com

Am I Crazy?

Am I Crazy?

Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 11:13 PM
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 support lists.

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

Dear Tracy,

Are you crazy? Maybe. 

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 respect other. 

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