Friday, July 09, 1999 6:37 PM
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!
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
He was never physically violent, EMOTIONAL
ABUSE IS SOMETIMES WORSE...THERE ARE NO BROKEN BONES, JUST A BROKEN
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.