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

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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

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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

Comments for B's Board

Comments for B's Board

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2000

S1

Hi, it's B. Reading all this, also with your new comments, has just given me more ideas and solutions to "Yucky stuff". As I drop my old futile reactions I am left many times with "not doing and not saying" anything as my only new reaction, simply because I'm at a loss. Doing "nothing" is the best loss I ever heard of!

Now I realized that two good reactions would be: This is what doing nothing lets you do: realize. As in compute; think; frontal cortex; smart response...

a. When he does something Yucky, I don't have to explain to him exactly what he did etc., etc. (as you say, that's his job). I can simply say (as I did once!), calmly and without the slightest hint of accusation: "What you just did is exactly what I don't want to live with anymore". I don't have to explain, elaborate, discuss or otherwise "justify" what I feel. This is "letting him know", and leaving him to figure it out for himself. Right. When you stop doing his job, if it is to be done, he must take responsibility for it. This is not only good for you, it is good for him.

BTW, when he started complaining that he's the victim here, and I'm an insane aggressor who's difficult to live with (I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing and couldn't stop...) I told him: "OK! This is what you'll tell when you go to the meeting at the center for prevention of domestic violence! Tell them about your horrible wife and how you suffer!" I told him it wasn't my job to explain to him why I call his behaviour "abusive" - that's what they're for...

b. When he touches me (hugs, fondles etc.) INSTEAD of apologizing for some abusive act, I will take your advice, Dr. Irene, and simply say: "This is not a sincere hug. I don't like that" or something like that. If that is the truth, what have you got to lose?

When I re-read my question to you and your answer I realized, he does that all the time: He really feels bad about what he did/said, and wants to make it up to me and restore harmony, so he touches me fondly. :) But he never acknowledges to me that what he did was wrong. On the contrary, he denies it hotly if I "call him on it". So he wants to be forgiven without having to admit to his "crime", so he can feel good about himself again but also would keep the "right" to do it again. He is extremely defensive about his mis-behaviors.

Now that I "got it", it's one more thing I'll handle differently!

Yesterday I met the therapist I was sent to. A mature, reserved, quietly speaking lady. She works with the "dynamic method" and uses my "associations." (What's the dynamic method? Psychodynamic models are based on the work of Freud and his followers.) Her quiet and control is the product of a very well trained professional. Again I find myself with someone who is very caring and attentive but lacks warmth. Her role is transparent. Her job is to mirror you.

She listened to me, and said that whenever there is abuse, there is first of all a lot of PAIN. She seems to think that we should work on the pain. She does not focus much on practical advice for dealing with his abuse. Psychodynamic theorists do not give advice. The cognitive-behavioral model I practice and psychodynamic models are in diametric opposition with one another, at least on the surface. But, you know, all roads lead to Rome.  

She also suggested group therapy. I told her this does not feel good to me. I tend to "speak up" and participate, but lose my center and "grow" very little from it. Well, all the better. You need to learn to participate without losing your center. This will help you remain centered with your husband. She said that I don't know her, so it's understandable that I don't trust her to guard me /defend me (difficult to translate. To be my "guardian angel" in a way), to help me keep my center, to help me not talk too much, to help me not lose myself etc. Yes.

That hit me. I suddenly realized I do not trust even one soul in the whole world to guard me emotionally. I desperately try to learn to be able to "guard" myself. She said it's extremely difficult for a person to raise herself (or himself, of course), that I'm trying to do it alone, but I really need help. Yes. Sounds like she's a good therapist for you!

She also said it was amazing that I did not feel what was going on in my marriage until I read other people's stories in a web-site. I thought it was the common case, isn't it? I mean, had we been able to be in touch with our feelings and with some self-respect, we would not have become victims in the first place, isn't it? B. It is common. But, each and every victim that has no clue until they receive validation has difficulty accessing the center...

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2000

S1

Dear B,

This is Lynn and I wish I was as smart as you when I was your age. I also loved what Dr. Irene said about not packing until it was over. I always told Dan than when I was gone then it would be tooooo late. I'm glad he heard me.

B and Dr. Irene, I don't know if this was a compromise or not, but it works with US. Dan never, almost never puts anything away. I use to get quite witchy over this and picked up after him. This I decided was giving me too much grief, so I got so I would move it out of my way, usually with my toes, and then I'd remember where it was. Honestly, he once asked me if I knew where he left his pipe wrench. I asked him if he remembered where he used it last, and yes, there it was! (Just out of the line of traffic), but in the same place he used it 3 years before. You stopped fighting him...

This has become fun for us and saved me years of ulcers. He is quite endearing at times and takes it with a great sense of humor when he puts something away and can't find it and it's where it's suppose to be and I ask him how he expects anyone to know how to find it if it's where it belongs. To give him his due. Spilled coffee, etc. gets vacuumed right up by him.

Moral B. Some of these I gave up on as they weren't worth fighting over. I'm so glad you are as far as you are and don't give up. I am such an optimist, but I know personally that the time and effort are worth it with the right man - and I don't think the men are sorry at the results, either. Yes Lynn. It all boils down to letting go of your own anger and being able to pick your battles.

Hugs, Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2000

S1

Dear B., I feel now as I have a twin...only you can write a lot better than me! I too left, then went back and now my husband and I go to a counselor. I too feel "yucky" with many hugs and our sex life has deteriorated into nothing. I think sometimes it is just too hard to give of ourselves when we have yet to heal our own bodies and minds. That's how I feel anyway. Correct. You have to heal yourself. Not give everything you have away... My challenge now is to not be "abusive" to him.....because it can be easy to fall into this trap when the relationship has been based on control. Yes!

I would love to write more but I have a class full of students waiting for me.

Hang in there......I am.

Rebecca

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 14, 2000

S1

Having been told by my abuser that he didn't know what he wanted anymore (me or possibly the ex after 23 years of being divorced), I mentioned to the abuser that maybe I should just leave; he said maybe HE didn't want that. I was advised by a close family friend to take a breather. He was told by the family friend that I was going to visit my folks for a while. The abuser thought it was a good idea which would help clear the air to clear the air between us. I packed a few things, and got ready to leave. I called before I left; said I would probably be back to pick up the dog that next day. He said "What, you don't want to see me?" I said, "No, I thought it was the other way around." Anyway, I stayed the night in a hotel and didn't come home. I picked up the dog the next day (he wanted me to leave the dog at our house). I left a note that I would be at my folk's house and left . That was 10 days ago and I haven't heard a word from him. 

He is telling people that I'm visiting my folks for a while and friends have told me it hasn't impacted him yet. I also made the mistake of telling him he would miss me. Since I've been gone, I've discovered I'm codependent and loving the memory of what he used to be like and what it was like then. I can't stay here forever and I'm told by others not to contact him. Please help. I'm stuck-half of me wants to "stir the pot" even if it's wrong and part of me says just wait it out. (The close family friend said I wouldn't win this if I didn't leave). Any comments would be most helpful and appreciated. Thanks, ODAT  You won't win. You'll just dig yourself in a little deeper. Better you spend your energy on getting yourself together. You may want to consider an antidepressant...

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 14, 2000

S1

P.S. from ODAT Sorry for the typos. He thinks he's having a midlife crisis and "Just wants to take a look at where he is and what he is doing and where he is going. Thanks again, ODAT He wants this because he sense your weakness. Become strong - and watch what happens...

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, September 17, 2000

S1

Dear Lynn and Rebecca, B. here, thanking you for your support. I think I read posts from both of you throughout the site. Glad we're on the same team - working and getting progress! (though, Lynn, I don't think I'm as young as you think I am... :-) ;-) ). I agree with both of you: it is so important to differentiate between what's really hurting us, and other stuff that may be "annoying" or "not how we would do it", but it's how he is, and after all, we too have peculiarities HE doesn't like... (can't think of anything now, we are perfect after all, but... :-).

Dear ODAT, You sound in real distress. I agree with Dr. Irene. You did get yourself into a vulnerable position. It seems that you left him as a sort of "manipulation", because you tried to make him change. However, your attempt backfired and now you are really at a loss. I hope you can get professional help. You really need someone who will be "on your side", support you and guide you, because right now it seems that you do not get enough support at all. I am not the doc (not even the cat!), but I have "been there" in a way, so even though I hesitate to give you any direct advice (I mean, who am I to tell you what to do, or anything) - I still would like to suggest to you, to really ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you really want to go back to living with him as he is now?

2. If no, can you get money/a job etc. that will enable you to get a place to stay and start a new life for yourself? Who and what can help you with that?

3. If yes, then what you want is to "end the visit" and go back. You will have to prepare to your homecoming. Then, when you are back, you will be able to change yourself and your reactions to him. For instance, you will not explain yourself, you will not "threat" to do anything (such as leaving), you will not try to elicit any response from him - but you will stay on guard and maintain your self respect by not letting him say or do hurting or disrespectful things to you. My advice is: read this whole web site and learn what is assertive and healthy (to "copy") and what is "victim" and "co dependent" or "manipulative" and "controlling" (to avoid). The more I read, the better I handle my life. I wish you the best, and I'm here if you want to talk more.

Dr. Irene, you wrote to me about my husband that he is "extremely defensive about his mis-behaviors".

Right! Just a few days ago I reacted to his "defensive attacks" (after I pointed out to him some mis-behaviour) by saying: "Hey! I'm not your mother! I'm not going to punish you! You are a grown man! The proper reaction I expect from you is that you will apologize, and next time pay attention and don't do it again. That's all!" Good!

It drove me crazy, that he acts as if he expects to be horribly punished, and his only way to save himself from this imaginary punishment (to the best of my knowledge, "punishments" were not part of his home life as a child) is to launch a huge defensive attack on me. So I get to suffer from both his mis-behaviour and his abusive attack - and he ends up feeling an "attacked victim" by his terrible shrewish wife! Because his idea of a "wife" is someone who lets him misbehave, shuts up about it, and cleans it up for him...  He's got to stop beating himself up. But, it's much better if someone other than his wife can tell him this.

Love, B.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 18, 2000

S1

Hi Dr Irene,

I have some questions:

B says: "stuck" with taking care of the kid, he does his best not to succeed (so kid keeps going to mom and disturbs her work), blames it on the mom ("It's not my fault, you raise her that way, so she prefers you!"), and also complains about the time mom spends doing "her things" (hint: I deem them unimportant) instead of being with him (abuser feels neglected because victim does something other than take care of him).

The main covert abuse here, perhaps, is the ways the partner manages not to be a partner, not to help, not to do his share, but in a covert and manipulative way. :) Passive aggressive stuff. Yes.

I have 3 kinds of questions: One is, what should the victim do in such a situation?

Dr IRENE ANSWER: Take care of the self. Always, always, always. Everything else takes care of itself.

[Dr IRENE is it true here that there is only one option: Take care of one's feelings about his behaviour, then two find someone else TO HELP YOU!!!! But can this go on indefinitely, I mean this MAN will never help. IS THIS FAIR???? [sounds like my ex partner] Now we're separated he is still the same!!! HUH? I think you're twisting things. Take care of the SELF means that you do what you have to do to maintain or increase your self respect and integrity. In the above example, you take care of your kids, don't engage when he starts complaining, don't ask for his help since you won't get it - and then ask yourself if this is the situation you want to live in.

I hope Dr Irene you can answer this one, you always can!!!! Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 18, 2000

S1

Hi Dr Irene,

This was a big one for me!!!

But, needless to say, never pack your bags to send a message or to fix the marriage. Pack your bags when you've done everything you possibly can and you've had enough. There are no guarantees. You leave because you have to take care of yourself by removing yourself from a situation that is toxic. Correct. You leave because you have exhausted other means, you are behaving, you are fed up, and you need to take care of your Self because staying is detrimental to the Self.

THIS IS ALL WELL AND GOOD BUT WHEN YOU ARE SO AFRAID OF BEING ALONE AND KNOW THAT YOU FEAR SETTING BOUNDARIES YOU STAY STUCK!!!! Right. It is your job to deal with your fears and to learn to set boundaries. Nobody else can do this for you. I SET BOUNDARIES BUT THE MORE I SET THE MORE MY PARTNER UPPED THE STACKS AND LIFE BECAME UNBEARABLE. THOUGH DEEP INSIDE I KNEW I DIDN'T DESERVE ALL THIS, I KNEW HE'D NOT CHANGE IN THE SHORT TERM. I TRIED TO IGNORE HIM ACTING OUT. I TRIED LOTS OF TECHNIQUES BUT WITHOUT AVAIL. THOUGH I STILL HAVE A DREAM [WHICH I KNOW MAY NEVER COME TRUE!!!] that my PARTNER WOULD WAKE UP, THE FRUSTRATION OF HIM NOT TOOK ME A WHILE TO ACCEPT. THE DIFFERENCE NOW IS I KNOW ITS A DREAM. Yes.

BUT EVEN THOUGH I KNOW NOW I AM BETTER OFF EMOTIONALLY AND AFTER FACING MY FEARS CAN SET BOUNDARIES AND SURVIVE ON MY OWN. I STILL FEEL AT TIMES IS THAT IT, DO I GIVE UP???? You are the only one who can answer your own  question. Answer this one: What do you need to do to take care of the Self?

MY COUNSELOR SAID THAT'S ABOUT THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT, HE JUST ISN'T CAPABLE OF GIVING YOU A LIFE WITHOUT SARCASMS AND CRITICISM, AND SHOULDS SINCE HE DOESN'T SEE THESE AS A PROBLEM. Correct. Either you accept his stuff and totally disengage, assuming you can, or you get out.

MY QUESTION: DON'T WE ALL END UP LEAVING OUT OF FRUSTRATION AND SILENTLY WISH THEY WOULD CHANGE AND FEEL IS THIS IT, DO I GIVE UP???

THANKS T. I'm not sure I understand you. If you mean "don't victims end up leaving out of frustration hoping their abuser would change" - sure. Sometimes the abuser does change, but only after the victim has changed and become healthier and won't put up with the abuser's junk anymore.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 18, 2000

S1

Hi Dr Irene,

I want to ask you about CENTERING and needing validation of others!!! If you are centered, you don't need validation.

I find I have coping mechanisms with ABUSERS now you GAVE THEM TO ME!!!!

Though I have trouble dealing with other VICTIMS, can you help????

My sister is an A CLASS VICTIM, AND I Played right into her hands. WHY IS IT HARD TO SEE HER MANIPULATION??? SHE manipulates my mom, me and anyone who'll feel sorry for her, she has competed with me all my life and MY MOM HAS treated her like a POOR HELPLESS CHILD!!!! Read this book: Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You by Dr. Susan Forward and Donna Frazier.

She always asks me for a lift in my CAR, she can't drive!!!! I will say YES when I have time and its not OUT OF MY WAY, but there are times when I just don't see why I should drive her about!!!! She continues to ask and I'll set my boundaries and say NO. BUT some days when she starts on about how cruel I am in front of EVERYONE, I'll start defending myself!!!! Don't. I'll give excuses as to why I shouldn't have to give her a lift!! 

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?? AND HOW CAN I HANDLE THIS??? You care too much about what other people think. Start with the book above.

Take care Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2000

S1

Dear Theressa, B. here. You describe your sister as a victim, but I disagree. She is a classic abuser. Re-read the articles about "the abuser's state of mind" in this site (sorry, don't remember the exact ones). She believes it is *your* responsibility to take care of her. She does not ask for help (in which case, she would have been ready to get a "no, I can't") but tries her best to make you do what she wants, and if it does not work, she abuses you (humiliates you, attacks you, etc.). Her "victim act" is a manipulation to get others to do things for her (the truth is, she really is a victim, though not YOUR victim, but in the sense that every abuser is also a victim. Read Dr. Irene about that too). Most victims have abuser in them; most abusers have victim in them.

What happens to you is, that even when you say "no" it still comes from a place of guilt and weakness in you. Deep inside, you still see yourself as "the good girl who SHOULD help everyone who needs" you. You are still not clear about what is "good for you" and what is "not good for you". This is something you will feel inside you, in your heart, in your stomach - not in your head. When you will feel the "I do not want to take her in my car now. It's her business to take care of her own transportation", and you will feel it with the sureness that YOU ARE ENTITLED to refuse a request, for whatever reason (it's none of their business!), then you will also have the right tone of voice when you say the NO. It is not so much WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. When you have this confidence, assertiveness, lack of any apology in your voice - you will discover that people just accept it. Also, you will then not care at all when she starts the usual BLABLABLA about how cruel you are etc. (YOU? Cruel? Allow me to laugh! What a sister you have. What an ugly way to treat you, her loving and caring sister who does so much for her. What a leech!). Right on target...

BTW, I don't mean any disrespect towards your sister. I only want to let you see a more balanced way to look at what your poor sister does. Seeing her in a different light might help you "get it" and it might help you break the spell of her manipulations.

Nobody can force you to do anything.

If anybody wants your help, they should ask.

You then have the right to say yes or no, as pleases you.

They have to accept your answer. This is part of the language-game we call "request". I bet you always EXPECT "no" when you ask for something.

If you bump into anyone, no matter who, who does not respect your "no" - then you know you met abuse. This is the time to feel in your heart: "That's your problem!" and to say to the person, calmly but confidently: "I'm sorry about your problem (note to yourself: YOUR problem), but I can't .... (whatever)". End of discussion. And a very important note: Since this is an abuser, never ever give any reasons or explanations. You may explain yourself only to a kind and respectful person like yourself.

What to do when the abuser starts accusing/attacking etc.? You can give them a confident look that says, without words: "Really? Am I seeing a tantrum of a 2 year old here?", ignore it and get on. Try not to use any more words, because the "trick" is to engage you. Once you engage (argue, explain, give information that will be used against you etc.) - you've lost some of your power. Engaging = losing it, losing yourself.

Hope the Doc will have more advice for you. I hope what I wrote helps you. All my love, B. I can't improve on what you've written B. Thank you.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2000

S1

Hi B,

Thanks this really helps!!!

Well I never saw my sister as an abuser. But when I look at her and my partner they are very similar in many ways. They both have low self esteems. They have both torn me down because I am academically minded and they are more practical minded. They both call me names in public and humiliate me. They both guilt trip me into helping them. They both play the poor old me acts!!!

Oh B thank you, oh thank you, you've hit the nail on the head.

I was telling my counselor that I couldn't cope with these victims, like my sister. He said REALLY!!! She's a victim, well that is interesting. Well now I know I can treat her like I treat my H.

One question B, is my mom an abuser?? It really doesn't matter. People don't fall so neatly into these categories. If someone wants to take something from you that you don't want to give, it is your obligation to protect yourself...

My mom looks after my father who is ill. He gets very angry sometimes but he is a CLASS A victim and acts out but isn't an Abuser, he is who I take after.

My mom laps up the sympathy, the good catholic girl who had to put up with such a pain in the a&^% husband. BUT who enables her to work part time because she is paid to stay home to part time care for him. He buys her anything she wants. He is possessive and gets annoyed when she goes out, he acts out. My mom will do anything for anyone but will then invite you to dinner and burn the roast so to speak. Passive aggressive. She'll help you do anything but then will go on and on about her doing xxxx and how she's so hard done to. Your mom needs to learn that she doesn't have to do things that she does not want to do for other. If she only did the things she really wanted to do, she would have no need to burn roasts and complain. MY HUSBAND USED DO THIS AND STILL DOES!!!! 

Is my mom an Abuser or a Victim?? Who cares?

My other sister fights with her partner when she goes out and has a drink and he thinks of her last always, he puts himself first and her down last, he is like a bachelor but lives in a family so is she an abuser or a victim ?

Thanks B

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2000

S1

Wow. I know what you are feeling, I need to be more like you B. You are so much on the right track. What happens when a husband refuses counsiling? I need to control my self better. And stop taking responsiblity for everything else. Thanks for the insight

Tree

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2000

S1

Dear B,

Lynn here. Thanks, maybe, I was hoping to be the Senior Citizen of Dr. Irene's.

Dan and I are reading your posts and although we touched on the Emotional Blackmail (Dan's daughter) We have decided we better get the book. I went by the "book" with his daughter and she hasn't talked to me in 2 years. Yet I know I did the right thing. We are here reading and had forgotten some of the one's his mother pulls. One is hilarious so I have to mention it. Dan is co guardian of his DD brother. His mother tried to get him removed and couldn't (Good). Yet the caseworker was doing a yearly evaluation and told her Dan would get a copy and his mother told the caseworker that "Dan wasn't the 'Co' guardian. He was the 'Co Co' guardian and until she 'was gone' Danny didn't need to know what was going on." Dan went in for the evaluation (his mother didn't show), but the caseworker even had to laugh at the "Co Co".

I won't get into all of, just interesting how some of this connects to just the normal day to day things.

Take care of yourself, and I'm going back to my cat box. Good Luck to you and H. Ours has been much better thank to Trubble. He is so kind to take time out from his cat naps and help Dr. Irene help us. We really were minutes from the big goodbye when we both got to this site,

Love and Prayers, Lynn     Salmon for Trubble...

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000

S1

Dear Theressa, B. again. Concerning your question: try reading "Quandary: Who Is The Victim / Abuser" in drirene.com/quandary.htm

However, the only thing you should care about is not allowing any abusive or controlling acts towards yourself.

Best wishes, B.   Thanks B.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000

S1

Hi. ODAT here.

Thanks to the Doc and B for responding. I have been going to ALANON for about 9 months and AA for 17 years (we met there), but have since decided that I need to put both feet into the water. I've had some insights the last day or two and I know I had a part in this as well. I was in an ALANON meeting this a.m. and someone said something about "they had to be good or else they were going to be abandoned. I had a silent scream. I need to look at that. I am trying to make my self "strong". The close family friend, also in AA for 43 years said don't come back to town unless I had a good reason and come back with a new attitude and as a new independent woman, but to still "stay the hell away from him." Why? The close family friend (aka as 43) has said no conclusions have been reached by my other half or at least along what I was thinking. They were "remove the two adult children from the house-they are part of this set-up; their mission in life lately has been to get mom and dad back together; accusing me (not to my face though) but to their father, of things I swear I would never do-of course Dad doesn't know who to believe. #2 was to go to counseling and #3 for the abuser to start practicing again the program of AA (I believe he is on a dry drunk and has been for some time according to the literature I've read recently.) SO, I'm just starting to snap out of it and my folks want me to stay a little longer to get stronger.

What are your suggestions my get myself together and stronger. I had somewhat decided that I needed to get on with my life earlier this week and was on an emotional hangover for two days-awful. Is this a common side effect? I had thought about an antidepressant but to top all of this off, I lost my job this past summer (due to my lack of concentration (home-related, I think) so I have no health insurance. I do just want to cry at the drop of a hat. Eating and sleeping patterns are off as well. How about St. John's Wort (unless you take AIDs drugs, some cancer drugs, some heart drugs - do a search for drug interactions)? It is very effective!

Looking forward to more input and thank you again for your comments. ODAT P.S. IS there a way to respond directly without having to go back to this letter and submit a post? No. Sorry. Thank you. . O

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000

S1

ODAT again here. I've been reading Codependent No More and anything about crises in ALANON literature that I can get my hands on. I still haven't heard anything from him and still want to pick up the phone. But then I think that ALANON says to mind your own business. So I don't. Do you think the no communication is helping? I'm trying to keep the focus on myself since I "allowed" the mistreatment/disrespect/abuse from him and to work on repairing me. I think that stuff about possibly going back to his ex-wife was b.s. or an excuse. He denied that there was someone else locally. Maybe he just wanted out. I don't know, but like I said as far as I know "I'm visiting my folks since I'm not working." All the while I'm typing this I say above "it's about YOUR recovery first and foremost. Your recovery is necessary if you want to give your marriage its best shot at recovery,...." I will have to go back sometime since the utilities are in my name, my unemployment checks are going there, and most of my clothes and furniture are still there. I can stay at different friends. like a gypsy. when I go back, but I can't keep doing that forever. Need to get a job first, I think. Thanks, ODAT

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene,

I continue to use your site for insight and information as I work on my recovery and healing from abuse and my co-dependency. I am doing EMDR therapy which is amazing, but I am still having symptoms of depression. I hate the idea of taking anti depressants, partly due to past problems with addictions and also guilt. I know you don't "allow" guilt in your office, but I have so many wonderful things to feel blessed about and I feel whiney to be depressed. I have a great son, a great job, a nice home, a supportive and loving family, friends...how can I be depressed? Because of your history, biology, and how you learned to think. Consider an antidepressant, please. Try it; you can always quit.

Thanks, Suzanne

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 22, 2000

S1

Dear Suzanne,

How can you be depressed?

How can you not be!! Co-dependency doesn't go over night, and neither does the hurt you've suffered. You haven't yet completely healed. There are things deep down still need making healthy. (Your not alone, I am in this place also!!) One day you'll feel so good inside that you will feel whole and healthy then the depression will lift.

One thing which sure isn't helping is you feeling guilty about being depressed, just accept your at this stage and its okay, in time it will lift. The more you worry about it the more depressed you'll feel about being depressed. Accept your whole self weaknesses as well as strengths.

What is EMDR??

You have lots of wonderful things in your life and some not so nice is still present. You are trying to change habits deeply ingrained. They took time to get they were, and it will take time for them to be replaced with healthier alternatives.

WE all need GRACE (self acceptance) TRUTH to be honest TIME to improve (ALL THREE ARE NECESSITIES IN IMPROVEMENT CHANGES)

You have external good things in your life but inside you haven't reached this stage yet. Feeling truly good about you, self love that is deep, deep down in your unconscious, it takes time!!

Suzanne try patting yourself on the back for doing so well. Your climbing a moutain and will stumble and grow along the way, then you may go down the other side of the mountain at times you may take a few steps forward and one back and three steps forward and one back. Its what happens when we are growing, we may need to relearn something not yet deeply enough ingrained inside us.

Mistakes tell us what to do next time. (do something different)

Take care Theressa

A million miles start with one step!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 22, 2000

S1

Dr Irene,

You say we should either learn to handle the sarcasm and criticism. RIGHT!! or decide to leave if we don't want to. RIGHT!! Correct.

Therefore the abuser isn't gonna change are they?? That is up to the person involved. You can only control yourself; that is all any person can do.

Or is it that when you set boundaries and limits they have no choice but to react differently?? When you set boundaries and limits, people will react differently in most cases. In any case, it's certainly worth a shot to change yourself to see if your partner's behavior will change.

One more question, is it more damaging for a child to be present in an abusive home, or to be part of a single parent home?  I don't know. I don't think an abusive home is a good place to grow up however. Why not ask your child for input?

You sound angry. Are you?

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 22, 2000

S1

Thanks Theresa,

Most of the time I am doing so much better and am grateful for my progress in recovery. Last night I was thinking about why I am so intolerant of my depression. I have several friends who are on anti-depressants and I support them fully. I realized I am still holding onto the idea that I have to be strong, perfect and I am not allowed to have unhappy feelings. Part of my healing will need to be accepting that I am allowed to have all my feelings and I don't have to appear "strong" all the time. You bet!

EMDR is a wonderful therapy that my regular therapist recommended. It has been used quite extensively with people who have experienced trauma, or who have other issues or phobias they want to address in an accelerated way. Here is a website that describes EMDR: http://www.emdr.com/

It has helped me heal and uncover such deep information/feelings/beliefs. In my session on Monday, the therapist said I accomplished about 6 months of regular therapy. For the first time I am beginning to feel like a whole person. I am accepting and healing things from my past and present, and replacing old negative messages with positive feelings. I had thought/felt I was unworthy of love, respect and peace. Now I know I am worthy and I am learning more about my true self. Have a blessed day,

Suzanne

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000

S1

ODAT here. I had some insights yesterday and hoping for feedback. I though I was taking care of me by taking caring of the relationship. Wrong. I need to take care of me first and that will take care of the relationship one way or the other. Picking up the phone to call him is an act of control or manipulation if I'm only calling to put out a feeler and it is not part of Let Go and Let God. Thanks, ODAT

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Hi ODAT,

I have some comments to make on what you say firstly I agree with you taking care of thy self will sort the relationship one way or another. BUT if you are to sustain your marriage DOING what works AND not doing WHAT doesn't Work also plays apart. What doesn't work is doing the same old because you get the same old.

e.g.: If someone my ex spouse, a family member or a friend brings up an issue I get defensive, it doesn't work, I start explain and I end up engaging. It doesn't work. BUT: If I stick to the issue and not drag in any one else or any other issue and say what I think about xxxx and what I want, in a positive way, instead of saying what I don't want it may work better.

What would your partner and you be doing different if you were in a healthy environment? What steps would get you there? What are you doing that isn't working? What steps would you take to change this.

MY GOALS: To start making decisions for myself, Instead of: saying my partner stops me making decisions. I will state my issue (I would like) and give positive way I want things to go: Instead of saying: I don't want xxxxx. Or being defensive.

We create love, it doesn't just fall at our laps, self love, we have to do the foot work and discover. When we stop fearing revealing ourselves growth in all areas can manifest.

Take care Theressa

ODAT here. I had some insights yesterday and hoping for feedback. I though I was taking care of me by taking caring of the relationship. Wrong. I need to take care of me first and that will take care of the relationship one way or the other. Picking up the phone to call him is an act of control or manipulation if I'm only calling to put out a feeler and it is not part of Let Go and Let God. Thanks, ODAT

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Hi, ODAT here. Update. He called and wants me to get my stuff out of the house. But not to do it while his ex-wife comes for a 10-day visit. I told him not to make any more requests of me that would make it more difficult for me to get on with my life. We are hoping to part amenably, but I have too much anger right now. He also wants to live in another state. Don't engage! He's egging you on and you're falling for it... I told him he should move since I had lived where we live for 35 years, he should move if he didn't like my being there and that it wasn't not my problem that he was uncomfortable. Said it was also his and his ex-wife's problem if I did come to town to remove my things while she was in town. Was I wrong? I need to figure out why I want this jerk back. The slant is wrong. You are approaching the situation from a perspective of wanting him back rather than loving yourself.  Evidently this thing with his ex started about 3 years ago and has been developing ever since. He told the close family friend that there was no future with me but yet he put it off telling me. This friend also told me about these developing feelings of my other half's after I had got the phone call to come get my stuff. Why am I hoping it doesn't work and that he will come back to me. Why? Thanks, ODAT I will survive I know and I will be better for it, right? Why are you asking?

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Yes, a question. As you wrote, "what you are doing is very, very hard. You have to keep doing it 24/7 until it is habitual." Seems to me that the lessons a victim need to learn are all healthy, to set boundaries and limits, and basically to have self-respect. A healthy person treats others the way they expect to be treated, and do not spend much time with anyone who disrespects them. Once this fundamental lesson is learned, why then beat your brains out to stay on guard 24/7 with some jerk who needs a mamma more than a spouse; at the very least, someone to wake this abuser up to him/herself?

Isn't this expecting too much of a victim who is new to recovery of such state? Not in my book. Expecting no more of the victim than of the angry person. Don't stats show that the percent of abusers who do "recover"...or make any lasting change, is exceedingly low? I wonder how the stats would look if they discriminated between victims who made the change vs. victims who didn't? Think their abusers would fare differently?

A victim who has gone on to make self changes, wouldn't want to remain in an abusive relationship, I would think, so having to be hyper vigilant seems to be incongruent. It's not about hyper vigilance. It's about becoming healthy and balancing their tendency to give unconditionally (which makes them rageful!) with self love. The self-esteem and self-confidence would suggest it is time to move on to see other like healthy persons. That's one argument and may in fact be the best solution for some. But, why in the world would an individual want to say, "Gee, having to watch out for myself is too difficult a task. I don't want to bother. I'll just go find someone else instead." I think the trick is to embrace recovery for the self despite anything else, despite whether the victim chooses to stay or walk. 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2000

S1

Whoah! Very good article. I would say I am half there and half still unaware of how many levels of covert abuse I am still not catching. Big indicators for me that I missed something abusive is I run to food when I am stressed. I do a list of questions and I figure out what triggered my stress. But still after reading this post I realize that it uncovered more covert abuse and control. Good. You're seeing it very quickly. And you'll get even faster at it. Now you can tell him to knock it off. 

I gave up my career to raise my children when I got pregnant with 3rd child. I was the only caregiver home during the hours my children were awake. My H is a workaholic. So am I but I gave it up with much grief so I could be a less bitchy mother. I then threw myself into being a workaholic mother. I don't do any of that anymore. I refuse to be every one else's doormat and servant. They all resent it but they are learning respect. Good!  I am learning to uncover more disrespect that I have ignored. All the descriptions of covert abuse in this article I have experienced, until I got educated. Now I am wondering did you ever complete that list of more covert abuse tactics? Look on it's board. There are a few here and there, but mostly people's stories. I am realizing I need more information. All of the information you need is inside you, as you have already discovered...

My H and I are remodeling our home. We moved out 3 years ago and it is still not even close to being completed. This project has magnified his controlling behavior. Even though He is a controller, he is basically out of control. It shows in this remodel because nothing is getting finished. Workers are quitting and being unreliable because he doesn't listen when you are trying to work with him. It is his way or no way even if he doesn't have experience in whatever he is building. I have reached a point where I refuse to be involved unless I am treated with respect. Decisions are made without my approval and I am angry. It is basically his house not mine. It has been a therapy session for me to realize he doesn't need me to share anything with him. He says he does but it is all talk. He prefers by his actions to do it himself. I set up a weekly date night for us on Wed. to spend a couple hours together. He could never be there on time, so I would go to the designated spot and start date night without him. After about 7 date nights he couldn't handle it anymore, he bailed. He said he just didn't have the time with remodeling the house and said we would do it again after he finished the house. Which I estimate at his pace will be one more year.  That was a good strategy on your part, but, it didn't work. Seems to me you keep trying and trying and don't know when to say "enough" and back away. Meanwhile, look how mad you are getting...

So in the months of no date nights he has managed to get to a tail gate party for a football game with his buds, planned an out of state football get together on another Saturday and managed a baseball game with his secretary. Each time I pointed out my anger, the disrespect to our family (my daughter's missed soccer games), and my date nights with him. He felt guilty and cancelled his out of town event. He gets more depressed the more assertive I become. He doesn't know how to handle it. He has had chronic stomach pains for a month. I think he may have an ulcer. From my end of it I am getting more control of myself. I have stopped all inconsiderate use of my time by him. He constantly orders me to do errands and child activities for him. I refuse. He gets upset that I am not the people pleaser I used to be. Exactly. But, you're not happy and you two remain angry with each other. You've done your part, albeit angrily. What happened to your softness? Look for it beneath your anger. Your hubby has not learned to accept any of this, nor does he realize all you did in the past was never your responsibility to do. Send him here. Let him start talking about all this. We'll help him understand if he lets us. But, you need to work with your anger...you are letting it kill you and it is working against you.   T

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000

S1

Hi, it's B. again. I'm in a hurry today and can't answer everyone, though I'd like to, but I do want to tell you one thing, especially concerning questions about "why live with someone who wants a mama instead of a wife" (You won't believe it, but I want a mama too, and I bet I am angry at HIM because he isn't one...) and "is there any chance for the abuser to heal" (since they seem like "the complete bad guy" when you are angry). Don't we all!

ODAT, are you the one who left and your partner wants back to his ex? Let me be blunt: he does not love you. It was obvious from the fact that he did not call you for weeks. He is not worth you. You still want him back because that's the co-dependent in you (read about love and co-dependency on this site). You are worth 10 like him! Let his ex suffer with him again!

OK, now to what I wanted to say: Since I came back, I'm more and more successful at being assertive and loving instead of angry, hurt and depressed. He is more and more loving, now there are days without any abusive or disrespectful or controlling acts at all. This is what B is doing right: she is assertive and loving together!  No doubt B is angry with him, but she realizes that acting angrily will get her marriage nowhere. So, she uses her anger constructively. She asserts herself.

Now here's the surprise:

In the beginning, I thought: OK, so he is no longer abusive, but he is still passive! I have to do everything! I am not appreciated! I get no help! He still does not do his share!

But I decided to let his therapy deal with that, or we will go together to therapy and discuss it. Good. I decided to just keep working on my self respect and on the love - from my side too, helping him learn to tell me what he needs from me, translating complaints into positive requests, like : "whenever I come home you're on the computer!!!" to: "Oh, so you're telling me that greeting you when you come home is very important to you and a symbol of being loved?" And then I make special efforts to give him this time and a loving greeting. Excellent.

And guess what? He is becoming more helpful and more like a real partner every day! It's amazing! He is truly a different person now. YOU are truly a different person now. This is exactly where I was going with my post above to T. I keep up my good work, he becomes the ideal husband. Now I really have to rush, so will talk to you later. Love to all, especially to Trubble (here, salmon for you, fresh from Norway!). B.  Meoww-yum-yum!

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000

S1

I try to point abusive things out to my husband, and just recently he has started saying something really scary in response. "I am not responsible for what's going on inside your head. It's not my business to know." It doesn't matter that he has just scared the h--- out of the kids, or blamed me for all kinds of things I didn't do, and is now raging at such a level his eyes glare with hatred. Our fear, any of our feelings, is " all in our heads, and it's not his problem." This is what scares me - it seems to me that if he truly believes this, that means he can do anything he wants and truly doesn't care that he's hurting us. How can setting boundaries even mean anything to him at this point? What do you recommend? Start to take care of YourSelf Pam... Doc B, can you explain to her? Pam

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

Hi Pam, B. here.

Dr. Irene requsted that I answer You, so I'll do my best:

You said: "I try to point abusive things out to my husband".

This sounds suspiciously as if you are "blaming", "accusing", or just asking him to change himself - since, as you later say, he is hurting you.

However, this is not the self healing we are talking about. Of course asking him to change just makes him angrier. Of course he can't stand it when you point out to him what a "bad boy" he's been - that kind of "education" probably made him an abuser in the first place. What you need is to point out to YOURSELF that he has just been abusive, and choose a new reaction to it, one that will a. be self resprcting for you, b. will stop the abuse.

I can't explain more without a concrete example, but let's take his answer as one. In answer to you, he says something that you perceive as abusive: "I am not responsible for what's going on inside your head. It's not my business to know."

I actually think he has a point... But that's besides the point. What do you feel? you feel scared. What do you want? You want to protect yourself. So you can say, for instance, "You scare me. I am afraid of your rage", then take your kids and leave the place. This is "take care of the self". This way, you take care of yourself and your kids, you express your feelings and act upon them, and you avoid engagin, blaming, accusing, anger etc. etc..

My H used to blame me for things I didn't do. I used to do the mistake of arguing, explaining, righteous indignation etc. Naturally, I was angrier and he never "admitted his crime".

What worked? I just started saying, not angrily at all: "Here you go again, blaming me just because you're upset!" He stopped immediately, I felt empowered, no more anger.

You write: "This is what scares me - it seems to me that if he truly believes this, that means he can do anything he wants and truly doesn't care that he's hurting us". But Pam, it's not about what HE does or doesn't do, or what he believes. He is an abuser, after all. It's about what YOU will do. If you truly fear him - get away! If you don't fear any physical violence - Change your interaction. He is hurting you NOW. What can you do to protect yourself? How can you change what you do in order to stop a misbehaviour from happening or escalating?

You ask "How can setting boundaries even mean anything to him at this point?" But the truth is you did not set boundaries at all. Setting boundaries is not about changing HIM, but about You doing something different in order to dis-enable him from abusing you.

So my advice is: read everything on this site about boundaries, and books about boundaries. Learn how to change yourself.

I hope I helped you, and Dr. Irene, thanks for trusting me... Love, B.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

S1

Hi B.

It sounds like you have been making a lot of progress. I am on a similar path as you. (I've posted a lot to the Cat Box section). I'm feeling very strong, but I do get irritable at times, and I too have to "sit" with it for awhile sometimes because I don't always know where it is coming from. Even when I think it might be PMS, there is usually something behind the irritability - the PMS just seems to emphasize the feeling.

I think a lot of my irritability comes from fear of repitition of old negative patterns by my H. Anything that slightly resembles one of these patterns brings up big warning signals now, and I am *so* impatient to know for sure that his changes are solid and permanent. I don't expect him to be different overnight, but I also want him to acknowledge that he does still have learning to do and to "own" his mistakes.

Time will tell. I do see that his perspective has changed because his actions show it. It's just that I kinda feel like he should be giving "extra" right now, since I felt like I had such little power in the relationship for so long. (Although I do realize that above all, he needs to look after himself, and he has neglected to do *that* for a very, very long time) I am focussing less and less on what *he* should be doing now though, and just recognizing what feels right for me at the moment. Sometimes I think I just feel mad at him for the old hurt that I experienced, even though I forgive him for it. This is something I just need time to get over. I am also now able to say, "something doesn't feel right, and I need to sit with it until I know why".

take care B. Hope to talk to you more.

Asha (AK)

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

Hi Asha!

I do know what you're talking about! Loved hearing from you. B.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 16, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene:

My wife and I are going through some really bad marital problems. We've became abusive towards each in every way. One night, I came home to find that I was locked out of my home. I push my door down to get in because I was worried something was wrong. I was calm. She called the police and had me removed that evening. The next day she went to get an order of protection against me. This order has expired.

Turns out a month later, a see her coming from work with a man with his arm around her shoulder. I confronted them later that evening and told them that I simply know what going on.

The man was taping my conversation. Apparently my wife had warned him that I was going to speak to him.

I love my wife and I know this man knows that I am not home and is taking advantage of her vunerable situation. My wife hates me for causing a scene. She wants nothing to do with me now, and seems like she is protecting this man.

She no longer wants to be my wife but has not metioned anything about divorce. She HIGHLY believes in the legal system and threatends me to use it against me. She wants to see me in jail as of today.

I am scared and I'm thinking of getting a divorce. I don't want to divorce my wife. I know that our problems are happening because we are recently married (last 2 years) and have a daughter. Times were difficult... But now she leaves me no other choice but to divorce her. She does not want me to see my daughter at ALL. Nor does she want me to ever speak to her nor come around our home ever AGAIN.

Should I wait on the divorce or should I just do what I have to do? Help me Dr. Irene!

Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 22, 2000

S1

Hi B,

This is Lynn. Just droping in to say hello and see how you are doing. I've read the posts and do like hearing from you and about you. Keep up the good work.

Love,

Lynn in the Cat Box

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, November 04, 2000

S1

Dear B, Dr. Irene and Trubble,

Lynn here taking some liberties with B's board, but I wanted to get this down, but for reasons later explained I don't want Dan to read it YET. I also didn't want to email you Dr. Irene. I feel you have helped me tremendously, but there are a bunch who need your personal help and this I have to work out for myself.

The Cat Box started because I found Dan ad subscribed to a porn web ste and I didn't like it. The story is there in the cat box. Well, when I confronted him with it he got too theatrcal. He went and got his xxx moies and came out to the TV room in front of me and was opening the video boxes and smashing the tapes across his knee, throwing them into the fire and then throwing the boxes against the wall. Then he made dozens of trips to the dumpster with his playboy mags. I felt then that this whole thing was sooooo overdone, like a B actor in a stupid movie. I couldn't understand why he was beng so theatrical. Now I know why.

A couple of days ago I came in early at night and was upset by my actions and wanted to watch a movie and relax. I seldom watch TV or movies, but I got a tape and went to the bedroom and plugged the movie in and there was a tape in the VCR. It was one of his old (thrown out??) porn tapes. Then I went snooping and found two others under the dresser drawer where he used to keep them.

I felt deceived, used and had and basically thought that I let him do it to me again. No wonder the theatrics. Was I counting how many he threw away? Did I think to check? NO. He diverted me ok and then kept the ones he wanted to keep. Whodda thunk? Shoulda been me because I've had this done to me before.

He "lost" his keys once and this is a long story, so I won't get into it, but I found his keys in his bathroom. Not hidden, just out of the way. I confronted him about this and asked him whyhe didn't tell me as I felt like a fool. Everytime I went by the restaurant where he lost them I'd stop and ask if they found them. He told me I didn't have to feel like a fool because he found them after I asked the restaurant ?????????????

Reason for this post. I knew I had to do something about the tapes, but I am not going to get into his games. I didn't know whether to leave them, substitte them for cartoons or what. I threw them out and I have decided to confront him. I want this down in black and white so I can say when he starts in on me that I saw this one coming.

He will either say, I didn't know I didn't get them all; or I thought they were all gone; You (me) had some stuff in front of them and I didn't see them; You (me) know I meant to throw them away, can't you tell, because I threw away my books, too; (My personal favorite) One mistake, one mistake, and I'm never going to hear the end of it!; I lied to you once and got caught and I'll never do it again. (Not true, some I choose to ignore rather than fightig over); I have my rights too, and I can do what I want; I don't need you to tell me what to do, I've already got a mother; and the list goes on.

I think I saw lots of improvement whie he was posting, yet thigs started up within minutes when he quit to see the therapist which he had to cancel for work and I think (been here, too) he willfind another excuse not to goand we'll start the merry go round all over. He says he's in therapy. When? We went to meet her and given her our personal data.

I hope this doesn't sound like a witch. I'm not trying to turn anyone against Dan. I really feel he was making lots of progress. Maybe things got too close to something here. Maybe not, it just can't be my problem anymore. He's going to have to sink or swim on his own now. I can't take anymore of these crazy mind boggling diversions.

I'm also expecting things to get worse for me, because I have technically given up all hope of him changing. He's been engaging me long distance. In a rush and then loving and thankful and same o same o. This has gotten so nutty I can even visualize him losing his job so I have to take care of him indications here, too). I've got news for him on this one, sick, injured needy, fired or whatever, I won't "take care" of him. I feel like I've been doing this for years and I've doe my time. I want someone to take care of me and that doesn't mean doing the laundry.

Sad and disappointed in him. I think it is ok for me though because it taught me something. He's got a lot of work to do before I even want to talk to hi again and I think if he spent half as much time getting well as he's spent tellig me he was going to we would have had this behind us and it wouldn't have gone on this far. Or spending all the time changing my thinking.

I heard the wake up call and Dr. Irene, I described disengage as no longer caring what the outcome was/is. I can o longer be so involved in us keeping together for the sake of the cat boxes.

Much Love, and thanks B. I appreciate the space. Hi, Trubble ^_^

Love,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 05, 2000

S1

Hi Lynn,

Borrow my box any time!

OK, now I get many things. I have some questions:

1. about the porn: I hate porn and you can imagine what I think about it all. Probably like you. However, this is HIS business. This is how he is. He likes it, it's his movies, books, magazines, etc. He actually has a right to watch it or keep it. It is yucky to live with a guy who likes porn, but then your choice is not to live with such a guy. You can say this is your home too and you do not want this stuff at home, keep it somewhere else if you want it, but it is not right to "make him" throw it if he does not so choose himself. I am not totally sure about that, but I hope Dr. Irene will set us straight on this.

Again, he has the right to do things that don't hurt you. The porn makes you mad, but it is not an abusive act against you - unless he uses it to hurt you, such as in trying to make love to you like they "do" in those movies (yikes!), or watch them as a way to not be with you or punish you - and even then it's not the porn itself, but what he does with it.

You don't like how he is and you want him to change what he is and what he likes doing. This seems too much like crossing his boundaries. Dr. Irene, please correct me if I'm wrong. Maybe I missed something here.

2. Concerning the tub, again: What are your needs? Your needs are for a functioning tub. Why wait for him? Just because he said he would do it? But he does not! Just because he will be mad at you and accuse you of making him look like a fool? Just say: "I had a need for a tub. I asked you to do it. Then I expected you to take care of my need for me. However, you did not take care of my need. Instead of getting angry with you for preferring your own needs (he has a right to prefer his own needs, and you have the right to not want to live with the way he does that, because he does it abusively) - I went and took care of my needs. I'm sorry for you that you feel like a fool, but this is your feeling and you are doing it to yourself". That's the spirit of the things, anyway.

Now the issue here is: do we want to live with men who are not partners? Is there a way to become a cooperative couple, or will it always be "He does not do his share. I need help, I can't and won't do everything. So I ask him, but then he gets abusive too many times in too many ways. How to get out of this Mother-Child relationship? Do everything yourself and not expect him to be a partner. Then what? So what's he doing here? A parasite? Yuck."

Love, B.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 05, 2000

S1

Lynn, B. again,

You said you wrote here so that Dan won't read it. But can't Dan come to my board just like anybody else from the cat box bunch? What do you say? Love and hugs! B.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 05, 2000

S1

Lynn, B. again,

You said you wrote here so that Dan won't read it. But can't Dan come to my board just like anybody else from the cat box bunch? What do you say? Love and hugs! B.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 05, 2000

S1

Dear B,

Thanks, I think I wanted this down so I could recognize the stuff he uses as excuses and when he did I could say, "there" you are not going to do this to me anymore! Sure he can come here, but unless I'm on the web (TV) he doesn't read them anymore. I didn't want to give him new ammunition by his knowing what I thoought he'd say. He does this. When I catch him and confront him he goes to new things. I just get so sick of it in the first place.

My opinion of porn isn't too cheery either. I personally think that is the thin line that is used by controllers to get their own way and abuse the wording. I have made repeated requests to Dan to keep this stuff hidden. Yet whenever we have company the kids usually go back to our bedroom to play nintendo or watch movies. I think it is very irresponsble to leave this stuff where "anyone"could find it.

Dan was also ordering movies that I didn't know about. Our sex life hasn't been too hot either, so well so, Wouldn't it be more normal to work on real life sex with a real live person, than pretending?

I think that this comes to the thin line that yes, we have some control or what is in our homes. I have rights there/here, too. I felt Dan has used this logic in other things, too. I'm with you here. I need Dr. Irene's help describing the control thing. He (I feel) can reword some of these things and make it look like I'm in the wrong.

I'm even having nasty thoughts about the tub. That is the one place I can disengage. I just go soak with a good book, some bath salts and revive. He also knows I hate things half done for years. I do and have hired someone to come in and do this. This is the only time he's told me to let him finish it. On this then, I have to hope he means it and does intend to get it done. I'm trying to give him a break here.

Thanks B and just for the record on my rights vs. your rights, I don't think he gets to get all of his rights just because he said so. Not necessarilly Dan, but say someone walked into our house and lit a joint. I have the right to say NO we don't do that in this house and I would be furious if Dan said Oh, it's OK. (This hasn't happened), I'm just trying to define when two live together one doesn't get all the say. There has to be a compromise.

Thanks B. I talked to him and I'll go post at "home" now. I wanted to get my feelings down privately "your home" and now that I've talked to him he can read it or not.

Much Love to you and thanks,

Lynn

PS I hate "Let's make a Deal" ie. If you fix my tub we'll watch an xxx movie. I won't play those games ever. I also hate if you do this, I'll do that. I've had these tried on me.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000

S1

boo hoo quack qwack love jay

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 08, 2000

S1

Dear B and others. My apologies on behalf of my son who wrote the post above impersonating me! At least he can't have read my posts on the catbox....As he got the wrong site. I though t I had managed to stop the post getting through but apparently not.

He will be tickled unmercigully later!

And a lesson to me to be a bt more careful when in a rush.

 

B I found your board. But i haven't got time to read it yet. I will post later when I have read it! Love, Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2001

S1

B's situation sounds so..... familiar to the T. It really got my attention. Sometimes I feel that I may have a distorted view and need to take inventory of myself. How can I express my feeling to my spouse, when he has minimized them or not acknowledge them by saying so or that's my problem? I know my feeling are mine, but when I express them, he acts as if doesn't want to hear them, that I am complaining, and/or doesn't care. Should I not share my feelings knowing his reactions in order to protect myself? The other day he told me he's had temptations to sleep with other women, because we have sex only once a week (I, too, have learned to say no, instead of giving in, when I don't want to). I told him the next day that I was hurt when he told me that, but he did not apologize or he said I twisted to be about me. I believe he said that in order to manipulate me to have sex and him not accepting my "nos", when I am tired or want time to myself. Also, we have a 21 month old son, and I do the bulk of taking care of our son. However, I do get out and do things about once a week and go to a boundaries support group, which is a win-win situation for our family. B, Thanks for your story, it's encouraging. DE

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 30, 2002

S1

Dear Dr. Irene, I found the link to your website under the topic of Abuse at DrPhil.com. It sounds like a combination of Dr. Phil and Dr. Irene are just what I need. Dr. Phil has helped me to understand that I am enabling my husband to be abusive. I can see how I have allowed him to totally control and manipulate me through intimidation. I am rewarding his behavior by acting out of fear! This man has me exactly where he wants me. It looks like "B" has made some incredible strides with your help. I'm wondering if she and I are married to the same man! I'm off now to explore the rest of your website. So far, it's very encouraging. Thank you. 

S1