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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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

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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

He Seems More Dangerous Now

He Seems More Dangerous Now

 
Sent: Friday, July 09, 1999 6:37 PM
Subject: He seems more dangerous now

Dear Dr. Irene,
     First of all I want to say thank you for providing such an incredible source of support and encouragement!

Dear Roberta,

Thank you for your feedback. I've included my comments in CAPS...

 

 
     I am in the midst of divorcing my second husband.  While we were dating he was the most considerate and caring man!  I was truly very careful about who I dated--I have a seven year old child, and wanted desperately to find not just someone, but someone who would treat us with love and respect. 
I tried to avoid the "red flags" I ignored with my first husband:  I closely watched how he interacted with his family (sisters especially), I got to know his friends and spend time with them, I thought it said a tremendous amount that he was named as guardian of his best friend's two boys.  UNFORTUNATELY, MANY ANGRY PEOPLE ARE HELD IN THE HIGHEST REGARD. THEY WORK HARD TO CULTIVATE THIS IMAGE.
     Our marriage has never been consummated (we were together for 13 months before I left, and prior to the marriage we abstained for religious reasons). HOW UNFORTUNATE THAT RELIGION WAS USED TO HIDE HIS ISSUES...  He became very verbally abusive.  It was my fault there was no sex:  if I had better muscle tone, GARBAGE. if I didn't have stretch marks, BULL. if I wasn't so boring in bed, etc. then he could get aroused.  NO, NO, NO! He constantly told me how stupid I was, and he tried to alienate my family. YUK! He was never physically violent, EMOTIONAL ABUSE IS SOMETIMES WORSE...THERE ARE NO BROKEN BONES, JUST A BROKEN SPIRIT... however, he would  do things I didn't want him to do (like tickling my left foot even before I was discharged from the hospital after surgery on my left knee, NO... or "snapping" me with wet dishcloths until I had welts under my jeans) NO, NO...THIS IS ABUSE. THIS IS DISRESPECT. and then tell me not to be such a baby/ that I overreacted. NO! YOU WERE ON TARGET TO BE OUTRAGED! all the time and we couldn't even have fun. HE MADE SURE OF THAT.
     I made excuses for his behavior (very co-dependant behavior I'm learning) YES. because I thought that maybe his impotence was caused by his diabetes VERY POSSIBLE - LIKELY EVEN , and that his verbal abuse was a result of his low self-esteem due to the impotence. A GOOD HYPOTHESIS. IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO EXCUSE YOUR PARTNER FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS... ACCEPTING FAULTS IS WHAT IS NEEDED TO HELP A PARTNER OVERCOME PERFORMANCE ANXIETY. THE PROBLEM WITH YOUR HUSBAND IS THAT HE DID NOT RESPOND TO YOUR KINDNESS THE WAY A HEALTHIER MAN WOULD HAVE  - WITH APPRECIATION FOR THE LOVE HE WAS BEING SHOWN. YOUR BEHAVIOR WOULD HAVE LED TO INCREASED INTIMACY HAD YOUR PARTNER BEEN CAPABLE OF IT.  IT WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO HIM TO BE RIGHT AND PIN HIS PROBLEMS ON YOU.  (Of course he denied that it was a physical problem and refused to go see a doctor--it was me.  OH BOY... Somehow I just always killed his sex drive) HE KILLED HIS SEX DRIVE.  SOUNDS AS THOUGH HE MAY HAVE PHYSICAL PROBLEMS WITH POTENCY WHICH HE WAS ABLE TO HIDE BEHIND RELIGION FOR A WHILE. HE WAS PROBABLY HOPING THAT MARRIAGE WOULD SOMEHOW FIX HIM. WHEN HE REALIZED IT WOULD NOT, IN HIS UNWILLINGNESS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND TO MAINTAIN HIS EGO, HE PUT THE BLAME ON YOU. YOU WERE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW IT DID NOT BELONG THERE.
     When our first anniversary came and went I was very frustrated and getting angry.  OF COURSE...BUT AT WHAT? THE LACK OF SEX OR THE BEING BLAMED FOR IT? BOTH I WOULD GUESS. My husband's verbal abuse was getting more and more common and extreme.  I was walking on eggshells all the time afraid that something was going to push him over the edge and he'd really lose it and hurt me.  NOT AN ACCEPTABLE WAY TO LIVE.  I was discovering that I truly didn't believe I deserved to be treated like that. YOU BET!  Nor did my son need to be exposed to my husband's behavior. YES, YES, YES! I wanted more for him (and me) than that. GOOD. I was contemplating leaving when I found a file on the computer he forgot to hide.  It was full of pornography sites, virtual sex sites, addresses of x-rated video stores advertising  personal appearances in the town where he often went on business travel.  The porn was very hard core and involved violent and teen oriented sites. HE HAS A SEX PROBLEM HE IS ASHAMED OF (PROBABLY IN ADDITION TO A PHYSICAL PROBLEM) AND WAS NOT ABLE TO ADMIT IT. HIS PLAN WAS TO HIDE IT FROM THE WORLD AND PERHAPS HIMSELF AS WELL.
     I confronted him but didn't let him know how much I knew.  Of course I was over-reacting again, and he had to do it if there was any hope of getting excited to come upstairs to me.  YOU ARE A SMART LADY; YOU KNEW BETTER. He lied over and over to me.  HE LIES OUT OF A DEEP SENSE OF SHAME. MAJOR ISSUES HE MUST DEAL WITH IF HE IS TO BE OK WITH HIMSELF: SHAME AND RAGE. At that point I knew no matter what there would never be a viable relationship between us.  NOT UNLESS HE GOT A HANDLE ON HIMSELF. I waited until he was gone on a business trip for safety reasons, and left. IT DOESN'T SOUND AS THOUGH HE WAS WILLING TO WORK WITH HIS ISSUES. SOME PEOPLE  NEVER DO.  
   The problem is that now that I'm not in the relationship any longer things that he said keep coming back to me and seem more menacing.  IT IS LIKELY THAT YOU ARE DOING THIS TO YOURSELF. For instance, whenever we went over to one of my family member's house he would spend hours by himself reading law enforcement tactics and techniques books "in case I ever need to know how cops do this", and he repeatedly told me how easy it would be to kill someone and never get caught.  He had about 10 methods he'd tell me about, and many of them had to deal with his size (6'4" and 290 lbs), and his martial arts and government training.  He used to work with the FBI quite closely and knows their methods.  Is it common for the situation to appear scarier once you are out and no longer in  immediate danger? YES. BUT, I AM NOT A  PSYCHIC AND I CANNOT TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE IN OR OUT OF DANGER. I CAN TELL YOU THAT HIS GOAL WAS TO INTIMIDATE AND FRIGHTEN YOU. OBVIOUSLY, HE SUCCEEDED. YOU NEED TO DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES. 
 
Also, he is  very upset that I told his family about his abuse and the porn.  OF COURSE. THESE INDIVIDUALS RELY ON SECRECY. YOU WERE TOO HEALTHY TO DO THAT. GOOD FOR YOU! His image as the nice church-going man who became instant family man has been shattered.  YES. He's furious and has sent long rambling e-mails about me (though they are not threatening) to my ex-husbands  and his wife, as well as to mutual friends.  He genuinely seems unbalanced.  His facade is cracking. IT IS LIKELY THAT HE WAS OUT TO FRIGHTEN YOU, BUT THE "UNBALANCED" PART CREATES SOME RISK.
 
  I don't want to be a victim of his anymore.  I removed myself from the marriage and want to build a new life for my son and I.  Am I over-reacting? PERHAPS. BUT NO ONE CAN ANSWER THIS QUESTION BECAUSE THERE IS NO DATA ON HIS MENTAL STATE. I DON'T WANT TO FRIGHTEN YOU UNNECESSARILY, BUT IT WOULD BE FOOLISH FOR YOU TO DISMISS THIS SITUATION ENTIRELY AS WELL. WHAT DO HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK ABOUT YOUR FEARS? Any suggestions on #1) dealing with my fear of retribution from him, YES. DON'T BE INTIMIDATED. HOLD HIM RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS WORDS AND ACTIONS. HE HAS ISSUED THINLY VEILED VERBAL THREATS AND IS SENDING INAPPROPRIATE EMAILS. DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THOSE EMAILS? GET THEM IF YOU CAN AND CONSULT WITH YOUR ATTORNEY. GO TO THE POLICE. FILE FOR AN ORDER OF PROTECTION. TELL EVERYBODY YOU KNOW ABOUT HIS VERBAL THREATS. SHOW THEM THE EMAILS. LET HIM KNOW VIA YOUR ATTORNEY THAT HIS THREATS ARE DOCUMENTED.  and #2) overcoming and recognizing my codependent tendencies? YOU DON'T GIVE ENOUGH INFORMATION FOR A SPECIFIC REPLY. YOU SOUND LIKE A REASONABLY HEALTHY PERSON WITH A STRONG URGE TO MERGE.   PERHAPS THE MERGING URGE LED YOU TO IGNORE SUBTLE CUES THAT HE TRESPASSED INTO YOUR BOUNDARIES OR WAS TOO SELFISH. BY THE WAY, "TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE" IS A CLUE.  OR, HE IS SO GOOD AT PLAYING HIS GAME, HE SIMPLY TRICKED YOU AS HE DID HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY. WHILE  MY FIRST BET IS ON THE URGE-TO-MERGE HYPOTHESIS, A VERY REAL PROBLEM WITH CONTROLLING PEOPLE IS THAT YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW WHO THEY ARE...UNTIL THEY HAVE YOU.  AS THEY GET COMFORTABLE, THEY BECOME FRIGHTENED. IN THEIR FEAR, THEY BLAME AND PUSH YOU AWAY.
 
Thanks!
 Roberta 

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS THAT YOU GOT OUT AS QUICKLY AS YOU DID. NEXT TIME, GET TO KNOW HIM BETTER AND L O N G E R. A "NORMAL" GUY IS NO SAINT AND DOES NOT TRESPASS INTO YOUR BOUNDARIES. 

Dr Irene