Dear Dr. Irene,
After reading Donna's letter dated 11/17/99 I felt like
sending something Donna might read for support. I can relate to many
things she says. I'm in a relationship with a girl that is just as
Donna describes. Except in this case I'm Donna and my girlfriend would
be Donna's man. I could see my relationship in her writing. Looks like I need to consider making all the
The thing that is so frustrating
for me is knowing when the abuse takes place. I'm usually caught
off guard and then it's over by the time I realize it's
happened. I feel guilty if I try to bring the incident back up
later because it took me awhile to figure it out. That's
a tactic she uses. Don't fall for it. You can bring up whatever you want
whenever you want, and don't you dare apologize for taking too long to
figure it out! Things are good again and I hate to spoil it by
the argument that sure to follow. She seems to be a better talker than
me and I feel like I lose when I try to discuss it. She's a better talker because you let her guide you into
irrelevant side-topics, among other things. Read You
Can't Say That to Me by Elgin.
I'm divorced and
have three good children, just like Donna. I have to cringe when She is
around them because, as Donna says, She describes them as horrible and
bad. Her own son was arrested for beating her up, but she always seems
to be busy badmouthing mine. One of my kids wanted to know why she
treats them like losers.
Anyway, I can
relate to Donna's confusion about the whole thing. It always seems like
the rug is getting pulled out from under you just when things are
looking up. Unless you stop it, that is
exactly the pattern. The insidious
little jabs and games drive me crazy. For instance, last night I go to
her place with my kids to fix her computer. She makes a point of telling
me that she's expecting some important e-mail, but won't tell me
anymore. She said several times "He said he sent it". So I'm
wondering "who is he and why is this a secret?" I finally
decided not to worry about it since it seemed to be a game to make me
insecure. Dinner went well after that, but as I was going out the door
to leave, she suddenly tells me that my daughter didn't give me the
message that she had called. This happened a couple days ago and she is
really angry about it. She demands I ground my daughter from the
phone for three days as proof of what kind of relationship we have.
Needless to say it caught me off guard. I 'm trying to catch up
while she's lecturing about punishing my daughter as proof of
..something, my love and commitment I guess. We live an hour away,
so I drove home upset about the whole incident. I get home and receive
an e-mail thanking me for the good time she had. I'm really
confused by this time. She has no business
interfering in your relationship with your kids. Totally out of her boundaries, and so are you for considering it.
Boy, are your kids going to be -rightfully - angry with you if you go
that way! (If your kids are acting out, which they might well be since
you are unable to set limits, also get Assertive
Discipline for Children, a great little book that teaches parents to
implement effective, loving discipline - all without raising your voice!
As I write this I see how
crazy the whole thing sounds, which makes me embarrassed to be putting
up with it. Good. Then its time to stop!
I guess Donna's letter touched a nerve and I wanted her to know I
understand how hard it is for her. And for you too.
Please start by joining Men_D, the
victim guy's support group. Some guys are also on Ouchhh, which is a general purpose victim
group populated mostly by women. (But, I don't know how well that's
working. Seems some of the women are just too angry with men in general
to care if you're a victim or not. Very sad.) Also get one of the boundaries
books. ASAP! You may want to seriously consider counseling to help
you stop being so compulsively nice!
Good luck to
you, Dr. Irene