How to get Dr. Irene's Advice: Look here!

Ask The Doc Board

The CatBox Archives

 

(Archives)

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

Thanks Mom!

Thanks Mom!

This won't make sense unless you read Mom's letter first!

November, 1999

Thank you so much for your email. I finally got a chance to get on last night & spent 6 hours running around the site. Today I went out and bought Patricia Evans' book The Verbally Abusive Relationship. Wow what a book!

Your site is wonderful! I have one question for you though, is it possible in a relationship for both people to be abusers and both people to be victims? 

I think I know the answer but I'm not sure if I'm right or if I'm brainwashed into believing that some of it is my fault. I just didn't feel like I totally identified with the "Partner" in Evans book. When he does something abusive, I get mad as hell, because I know he's doing it. Most of the time anyway. But I don't always know how to stop it. And I end up in the same circular dance of trying to explain myself. Instead of feeling confused about what has taken place, I just get enraged. But there are times when I doubt myself. "Did I really say it in that tone of voice?" His favorite thing is to tell me that my tone of voice said something completely different. There are times when it is true, but not as often as he says. 

I think (Hope) that he will be willing to make the necessary changes. We have two beautiful girls aged 3 years and 19 months. His biggest fear is losing them. He seems to be open to help. 

Thanks Again, Betty

Dear Betty,

Thank you for your feedback. I'm glad you found this stuff useful.

Please realize that I often get victims in my office who think they are abusers - and tell me the exact same thing about the Evan's book "I'm not sure who I am!" I also get abusers who think they are victims. It is more than the abusive behaviors you want to look at, and this is exactly why it is so hard sometimes to tell who is who.

Given what your mom said, you are probably the victim: feeling too guilty, over-identifying with everything you are doing wrong, taking on too much blame. Maybe you would be the abuser if you were paired with a man who brought out your own contempt for weakness. Who knows...

You are also acting out. Don't mix up acting out with true angry control, though its hard not to, especially if you are married to an abuser who thinks they are the victim! Both of you can be controlling and abusive, but, ask yourself, who is the person comfortable with closeness and wants it? Who provokes a fight just when things are going well? Who is (or one time was) the primary emotional giver? Who is being picked on and who is defending themselves? Who has the power in this relationship?

One of the primary reasons I ask my victims to stop acting out is because then the abuser can't turn around, provoke you and say "See...look how badly YOU behave!" Its a good place to start.

Good luck.  Dr. Irene