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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

Comments for Be Sure

Comments:  How Can I Be Sure?

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 1998-2005. 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

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005
03:15 AM

Hi Serena Are you able to ask yourself what is different about him now that makes you able to consider this relationship has a future? I've read your letters and I'm a bit confused. Putting aside his renewed interest in you, Has his behaviour improved? Has he acknowledged any wrongdoing? Did you confront him with his abuse??? Have you discussed with him the "major changes" you believe need to happen? If so is he committed to those changes and is that being demonstrated consistantly? I feel you are in such a strong position now. You don't live together, are not financially entangled, not married and don't have any children. Why do feel he is the best thing around for you? Do you feel that you are not worthy of someone who will treat you with genuine care and respect? I am sorry that all I am doing is asking you challenging questions, its so much easier to be given advice, however I think that finding the reasons in yourself as to why you have been a part of this relationship are more important and integral as to whether the two of you have a future together. If you haven't already done so - I suggest locking yourself in with a computer for a week and reading as much of this website as you can! Serious! Read what happens to people who are married and have children with abusers and are REALLY stuck. You are so far ahead of that - please read these peoples experiences, we were all like you once. G-d bless jenjen

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005
10:20 AM

Dr. Irene said, "Let me put the answer to your question another way: You'll know it's OK to get back into a relationship with him - once you can't imagine why you put up with all the junk you put up with, and demand much, much better for yourself. Consider looking at whether or not he's changed - only when you'd never, ever see yourself in a relationship with somebody who has hurt you, when you are confidant that you can read the abuse signs (and you can't read them now at all!), and when his past treatment of you disgusts you!" Serena! When I look back and reflect on all the hideous things the abusers in my life subjected me to, I just CRINGE and I get ANGRY at myself for EVER having allowed myself to be treated so poorly. I know only TOO WELL how it hurts terribly to detach from a lover. But the Doc is right in saying "This too shall pass". Sure, you can still love the guy, but you just have to love him from a distance. You need to learn to ~love yourself MORE~. Any attempt at reconciliation with this guy would be nothing more than a temporary pain killer. ABUSERS DESTROY THAT WHICH THEY LOVE THE MOST. This is a fact and there is NO changing it. I should've left my X when I still had feelings for him. But, heck and alas, I stuck around ~until~ any good feelings I had for him were replaced with ~contempt and disgust~. I do NOT like to have ugly feelings towards another, especially towards the father of my three kids!!!! I knew I had to leave my X 5 years ago. (That was just before I found Dr. Irene!) Yep. I've been on this site for FIVE years. The most important thing I 'changed' about myself is that I now could NEVER, will NEVER allow myself to be treated any less than a GODDESS. If a man EVER tried to treat me the way my X did, he'd find himself at the curb SO FAST that he'd wonder ~how~ he got there and only realizing how by noticing the ~smoking footprint~ in his derriere. Kick him to the curb. There is NO FIXING an abuser. Tallulah

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005
10:32 AM

As a male who has been guilty of abusive actions in my recently ended 18 year marriage, I can tell you with absolute certainty that your relationship with this man is not only bad for you, it is dangerous. I did nothing in 18 years like what he has done to you in a few months. Listen to your family and friends--this man is NOT someone you want to be with, ever. What he is doing right now is what we at the Catbox call "The Hoover Manuver". He is being his absolute sweetest to try and lure you back. There will be a honeymoon period of a few weeks (at most!) and then the abuse will start again. As the physical barrier has already been broken, next time he won't grab your face, he'll hit it. He won't let you fall on the road, he'll push you down onto it. YOU HAVE TO END THIS NOW! Good luck Serena! Trust me, things will get better as time passes. Hold your head up, be strong, and don't look back.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005
11:07 AM

Wow Serena, You sound just like I did a year ago. I had all the same questions. It was so hard figuring things out in my head. It was even harder when he was being the "sweet and loving husband." We were married for 4 years. He was controlling, jealous, verbally abusive and at time physically abusive. We had 3 children. We both already had a child from a previous relationship. I left him 4 times and each time he promised me that he would be better. That he missed me and he wanted our family back. Each time I went back the good times would only last for about 3 months and then his ugly side would come out. He constantly accused me of cheating, he wouldn't even let me go to the store by myself, I had to talk to family in front of him so he could hear what I was saying. He would call me all kinds of names and at times in front of the children. At one point he began calling the kids names and slapping them in the face. That was a wake up point for me. Seeing my 3 year old being called a pu$$y and being slapped because he was scared to get a shot brought me to my senses...for a little while. I left and went back...because I felt lonely and because I felt like I loved him and needed him. Finally I became deeply depressed and contemplated suicide. I ended up seeing a psychologist who told me that I needed to get off this roller coaster ride. But how do I do that I wondered? I can't seem to cut the cord with this man. He's horrible to me but yet my heart aches for him. Well we divorced last August and let me tell you how I got off that ride with him. I stopped all contact. It was so hard seeing him. He would sweet talk me and he would touch me and I missed that. I missed his smell, his body, etc. He was a great manipulator. So I refuse to see him anymore and I don't speak to him on the phone. We email about our child that we have together. That's it. Secondly, I kept a journal. Every single bad thing that he did to me, I wrote it down. Every hurt feeling that I had, I wrote it down. If there was a time that I missed him and wanted to pick up the phone and call him, I read my journal and I began to hate him for what he had done to me and I would think...He does not deserve me, let him get some trash off the street because I am too good for him. You need to get your self esteem up and realize that you DESERVE better than that. I made a list of everything that I wanted in a man. He did not meet anything on that list and I will not settle for less than what I want. I keep myself busy so I don't have time to think about him. I joined a church and I work alot and I spend alot of time with my kids. I have a boyfriend now. He is wonderful. I wish I would have met him 4 years ago before my ex husband. Oh Serena there are great men out there. You just have to stop settling for less. My boyfriend would never call me a name, he would never disrespect me like that. He would never put his hand to me. He is loving, respectful, honest and caring. He lets me be me. I can do what I want, wear what I want, go where I want. He realized that I have life too that is outside the relationship that we have together. I wish you the best Serena. You are the one who has to get off the ride with him. You have to cut the cord. I know it hurts but you're wasting your life with a man who does not deserve you. April

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005
12:14 PM

Serena, Please consider Dr. Irene's advice, people don't change unless they think something is wrong with themselves and THEY WANT TO. Abusive people do not change with out help. You have been with him 10 months, don't make it 10 years like my mistake thinking you can be wonderwoman, prove him wrong, help him change, etc. He's not going to just change yourself and they way you perceive things. Know that you are worthy of someone treating you kindly with respect & love. The rollercoaster you are on right now will not stop unless you get off the ride. Leave him and seek counseling to improve your outlook on yourself and to get strong enough to face the real fact that he is not good enough for you. I have changed my self to be a better person, think clearer, know what I want, deman the respect I deserve, etc. , however, like I said it took 10 years , 3 kids and now I need an out. Don't get stuck, cause once your ready to go you should only have to worry about you, it makes it easier to deal. ~Angel~

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005
01:21 PM

Hi Serena, I am emotionally exactly where you are except I was w/ my exvabf who became physical in a similar way for over 6 YEARS. Dr. Irene is right, the scars get deeper and to get out of the relationship gets more difficult w/ every passing month. I finally somewhat ended (I say somewhat b/c we still speak and I am holding on to a hope, like you) over last summer when there was another rollercoaster ride which happened very often in our relationship. There would be abuse, I would confront him on it, we would 'make up' and then it would start all over again...But like you, I never cut ties and now it's going on close to 7 years of this. He has made strides and is in therapy now for almost 4 months but has he really changed? Not yet, will he ever be able to respect me and truly have remorse and take responsibility for the abuse and torment he caused? I'm not so sure, it's doubtful. You should ask yourself these questions too. I totally understand how you feel, I understand feeling torn and the optimism. I also say I don't want a relationship but the truth of the matter is I want a healthy one w/ him. Dr. Irene's advice was very good, I think we both need to take it:) What happens is time marches on and you will get more entrenched in it all, even if you are feeling stronger. It is too easy to fall right back into the cycle. You should join the catbox, there are many great people there who have been where you are. Best of luck to you. Please realize you deserve better! Sofia

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Thursday, March 24, 2005
11:34 AM

Hi Serena it all sounds so well known to me. Been there where you are now. Was with my x and left him (or been dumped?) after getting pregnant. There was not much of contact for 8 years. Then he turned up on my doorstep, was really nice, told me how much he regretts everything he has done to our daughter and me and he wants to have a real and honest relationship with us in future. I was able not to fell right for him again, some things I've experienced with him e.g. maintenance payments or quite in general: his words did not match his actions (or the other way round) and I was very careful. The time went on, we'd been together, there were always things I wouldn't like or thought I don't need this. I've talked to him about it and things were better - for a while - at least it looked like it. After an incident (not respecting me and my sexuality) I've broken up with him. He came back again.... instead of closing the door on him, I took him again. In hindsight I would say there was quite a lot of emotional, verbal and beginning of sexual abuse already. I did not see it like this at this time. There were always reasons: a painful divorce, problems at work and so on. So, lots of excuses from his side and to much understanding from my side. Quite easy - like a lot of us has experienced: when abusers are nice they are really nice and you tend to forget the bad things. He was also in a certain way very honest (today I think it was just playing another game) for example he told me that he has mistreated his first wife - sleeping with another woman in her presence and trying to get her involved - so she attacked him with a carving knife. He told me how wrong his doing was and that he has realised not to hurt people like this. I believed.... To cut a long story short: I didn't realised one single warning sign, even I've always known things were not right and tried to sort them out. Today I know, there was emotional and verbal abuse from the beginning, control of money, time, friends, family and career etc. I often was speechless, frustrated, without hope... and then:"never give up hope" a saying I was brought up with! What a stupid message. I don't know anything about the recommended book "When Hope Can Kill" but this sounds so right to me. The verbal and emotional abuse got worse, so did the physical and sexual. He started an affair, wanted to live with both of us in the same house, same room, under the same blanket, wanted us both have children (we have already 4, his girlfriend non but she heard her biological clock ticking), so I would need to stuck with him for some more time. I should raise the children and she should carry on working to support the family income. For representation he would take her, because she is looking so much better, than I do, but for my work he would go once or twice to a concert or the cinema with me. My job description was clearly the one of a slave, for bed he has given me so clear instructions, I am sure I would be able to earn my living today in making pornographic movies. But only when he started raping me and when I finally realised what impact the whole thing had on the children, my son was suicidal, the other two were effected too, I was able to do something for my own good. Even then I first tried to solve it by talking to him, but as I was his belonging all he told me I should not be stupid.......and when I finally would understand and do what he wants me to do I would be fine. For the sake of the children I should just play happy family and all their problems would dissapear. I went to the police, got an protection order and filed for divorce. This is now 3 years ago. I was finally divorced last year. Things are not over as he is ignoring the court order in every point. He is not even paying maintenance for the children. I lost all my savings, had to sell my life insurance, had to take up loans and so on. Today we are living on benefits. After 10 month of hard fighting the child benefit agency agreed to pay the child benefit to me, and so on. But we have a roof over our head and one warm meal every day. The children are much happier now - they still have problems so - and I am very grateful to been out of this relationship. Last month I've met him in court: he was accused because he is not paying child maintenance which is a criminal offence in his country. Anybody wonders, he was not convicted, he talked himself of it. But this is a different story. He tried to sweet talk me again, how much he missed me, how much he miss the way I am and so on (he has not changed a bit, he is still together with that girl and he fathers a new boy, but he misses me). This time I did not fell for it. I have not given him my phone number, so there is no phone terror any more. E-mails I answer only with: you know the name and address of the lawyer, who is dealing with my case. And he tries again and again and uses, abuses, misuses the children as well to get his way. 5 years of war now; a war I never wanted to have. I hope all this makes sense (as you probably realise: english is not my first language). Serena, you do not need to go through all of this. Stop early. Stop before there are any children involved. Every day you wait makes it more difficult to stop and start new. I do like jen-jen's advice very much. Lock yourself up in a room with your computer for a week and read through Dr. Irenes pages. Doing this, together with therapy and medication shows me what went wrong or never was right and that we deserve something better than living in an abusive relationship. And: trust your friends and family: I was warned by friends and family, even our oldest daughter asked me not to marry him. I was liked by his family as you. Today I know why (I called my sister law last week for her birthday): they were all very grateful to find a fool, who was willing to put up with this crazy, difficult and moody person - passing on responsibility they don't have for a grown-up??!!?? But after not putting up with him any longer, his family is not interested in me (and our children) any longer. I still have quite a lot of lows, but sometimes I think I'll get over it one day. I told my x to call me "Phoenix" in future. That's how I would like to see me. All the best for you and don't go down the path I went. You have all the information I did not had (unfortunately)! Phoenix 

(3 copies of above deleted...)


.......and I have pressed submit only once.............. phoenix Can you imagine what would have happened if you pressed a bunch of times?  ;D

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Friday, March 25, 2005
10:48 AM

Dear Dr. Irene, I have an unusual situation, or at least I hope for others sakes it is not that common. Deleted! This is Serena's board!

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Friday, March 25, 2005
11:28 PM

Dear Serena: You will never absolutely, positively know that leaving this man in you past is the right thing to do. There will always be a time that you will doubt yourself and think: "Maybe, I should have given him one last chance." Even though YOU do know that he is toxic and that you do need to get out, and stsay out, now. I speak fom experience, here. I kept hanging onto a toxic relationship for three years, I married him, I had a child and divorced within a year of marriage. There was NO contact for 26 years and then I got a series of e-mails from him: pretty much on the order of the "Hoover Manuver" to suck his daughter in to exploit. Then, nothing from him for almost a year: and now, new E-mails and he's as nasty as he ever was. All the doubt that I'd had? Gone. I know that I MADE the right choice! And, isn't that a pity? After 27 years, he's STILL playing the same sick games. I know that you don't want to hear this, but, Serena, so is your ex. He'll keep reeling you back in as long as YOU let him. Don't. It's the best thing that you can ever do for yourself. Leave him out in the cold. Hang in there, Chelli

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Monday, March 28, 2005
08:26 AM

For those of you who are posting your own story and trying to get Dr Irene to respond- there is a post to the doc board which you can find on the home page. That is where you will get responses from the Dr for your issues. If you would like support and advise from others please post to the Catbox. Thank you! Doc

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Thursday, March 31, 2005
06:59 AM

Hi Dr. Irene I would like some help with a relationship I have been in for the past year. Deleted. This is Serena's Board!

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Thursday, March 31, 2005
02:02 PM

To the person who just posted about their relationship with S- there is an ask the doc board on the home page. The doc can respond to you there. This thread is devoted to Serena. Thank you!

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Saturday, April 02, 2005
09:16 PM

Dr. Irene is 100% right!!! GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT!!! Your situation sounds so similar to mine. For 2 years I hung on to hope only to realize that it would never happen and I just needed to move on. I am so glad I did! I love being single. Being my own person and doing my own thing is great! No one defines me but myself! I am much happier now. sweetfreedom

First I want to thank all you wonderful CatBoxers (and wonderful non-CatBoxers) for all your validation and good advice for Serena. She's not here yet, and I know she doesn't log on very often. I'll wait a week or so, until she finds her board, and then will be back to reply to her. Warmest regards to you all, Dr. Irene April 2, 2005.

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Monday, April 04, 2005
11:12 PM

serena, i have been in a codependent, mainly passive aggressive abusive relationship for 21 years. i am new to this board; after reading the below paragraph: Sit down right now and write a comprehensive list of all the times that he intimidated you, abused you verbally, emotionally, or physically. Don't forget the passive aggressive stuff (like helping another woman with her coat at a party, but not helping you; being late; not following through; not answering, so you have to "chase" him for an answer; etc.) in a previous response, I realized.. wow,, its ok to feel this way. I am NOT a priority in this relationship and I AM NOT CRAZY!!!!! Go girl, do what you have to do.. If I had been stronger, better off financially and had a family to lean on in transition, I'd have been gone too! Abuse is abuse. blessings mik

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005
07:25 PM

Serena: I am glad there is no co-habitation with this guy! Remember: he called you a "dumb bitch". Point blank: He believes you are a dumb bitch because HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING TO YOU AND YOU KEEP GOING BACK. Be a smart bitch: STAY AWAY. Tell him you are staying out of a relationship with him.

Still haven't found us Serena? I'll be back again. Doc, April 7.

 

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Saturday, April 09, 2005
10:38 PM

Oh my God, I am printing Dr Irene's responses to Serena and carrying them with me in the hopes that her direct responses will save my life. Serena, there is something about passive-aggressive behavior and when you shut the door, they (the abusers) get angry and as they don't like having the door shut on them. They need to be the ones to shut it in your face. After five years of my boyfriend telling me I bring nothing to the table because I didn't give him a child I got pregnant, only to be called a c--- and told I was garbage, and that if I wanted to see evil he would show me evil. These comments in response to my telling him I was did not want to move from my home during pregnancy and I wanted to resolve certain issues about where he keeps his gun etc. (prior issues we had when I lived with him) Anyway, the reality and wish list holds true and for me I am in love with the potential this man has, not the behavior he exhibits. I would tell my daughter (if I had one) to stay clear of any man who called her such names, and in reality I don't so much understand why I have held on for so long. I am going to get the books Dr Irene recommended for you. I am suggesting you do the same. Sincerely, someone in similar shoes. Good luck to you! Doc.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005
12:56 PM

Serena, I am 26 years old I have been in a relationship with my husband for 7 years now I had 1 baby already when we started dateing he moved in was not but about a year & the abuse started I would fight back we have split up 4 times sence then once he hurt me physicaly lots of bruses my family & friends told me leave him dont' look back but I took him back during the 3rd x of seperating we were seeing each other like you are now I got preg w/ our daughter 1 yr later we got married then abuse started again I have grown tierd of fighting back so just quit for a while the lies & abuise cont. then I stood up & told him to get out he did I let him back 1 month later(he promised he had changed )that was a year ago things are back to the fighting & abuse I really want out but I feel I in so deep I dont' feel strong enough to kick him out & keep it that way not let him back in, don't wait till you have been in this hope dream it will change change it now before it is too late for you I want to end this now but I know if I make him leave I will not be strong enough to keep it that way so just living in missory don't wait till is too late for you GET FREE NOW BEFORE YOU HURT MORE THAN YOUR OWEN EMOTIONS

Dear Serena, I hope you found your board and have just chosen not to post. If there is any problem, please email me. Good luck to you, Dr. Irene, April 14, 2005.

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Friday, April 22, 2005
03:06 PM

Dear Serena, It has been one year and a half now that my relationship with my fiance has been over. It was not my choice. He left me for another woman he had met while we were engaged. She became pregnant then he had her abort the child, but decided to live with herand leave me after a 6 year relationship. Anyway, he was abusive to me for 1 year while he was hiding their relationship. It was the worst thing I have ever been through in my life. No hitting, just pure verbal abuse - threats, blames, tantrums etc. And this was a very successful Yale trained architect from a nice family and extremely charming and kind to me for 5 years - until the abuse came out in the 6th year. Long story short, when he finally walked out, everything about my life started to heal. I knew there was no going back to him. Ever. The ending was disgusting. But my life took a big step forward naturally with out me doing a thing except for being away from him. The healing began immediately. I did not expect this. I thought I would be so lonely. I started to notice things like flowers, books I started to read (couldn't concentrate on anything while I was with him), food started to taste good again, travel (just to see my family) was exciting. It was like I was reborn. It was the best thing that happened to me-this guy walking out. I bless every day that he is gone. The smallest things in my life are so wonderful. It is so nice to wake up every morning and not feel threatened and hated. People say I look better - some say great! I hold my head up high. My humor is back. Serena, You will see that this person is a loser and there are better people out there. Abusive people are in a terrible spot. They are lost souls and they take you with them. Remember you only have one precious life. Only one. This is not a dress rehersal. You will be amazed - mark my words. Even if you think the current guy, despite his abuse is a great, a handsome person, whatever. Get this out of your head. Within months this negative person will fade from your thoughts. And each day will get easier. This rush that I have experienced can only happen if he is COMPLETELY out of your life. Within a month you will be on the mend. It will not take long. It's a great thing, trust me, trust yourself! Loving Life, all my best Elizabeth

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Friday, April 22, 2005
06:26 PM

Serena, I read your post on April 9th and responded that I was in similar shoes. Checked back today to see how you are and just want to say that I again printed Dr. Irene's response to you. You have no children with this man. You are blessed!!!!! My son has just witnessed a five year relationship I had with a man who demonstrated much of what you describe. The other day I saw my son (he is eight) crying and turning the anger on himself (something I must do) and he was angry too. He was calling himself a moron and blaming himself for something he had no control of. I am mindful now more than ever, just what a toll my participating in my relationship with my abusive boyfriend has done to me, and my son. I will again print Doc Irene's message to you. Because the reality is you do forget why you left, you cry and feel all alone and feel like you will never be "loved" like this again. If you are lucky, you won't be. Serena, hold on and let time heal the pain. Good for you for making the break. I hope you stay determined. Doctor Irene, you are a Godsend!

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Thursday, May 12, 2005
03:22 PM

DR.IRENE I AM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT MY BEST FRIEND AND HER BOYFRIEND. SHE LEFT A SIX YEAR RELATIONSHIP ALMOST OVER NIGHT FOR THIS GUY EVEN AFTER REPEATED WORNINGS FROM A MUTUAL FRIEND ABOUT HIM. FROM THE BEGINING I FELT THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT HIM THAT MADE ME UNEASY ALL THE TIME,AND WITH HER LEAVING EVERYTHING SHE EVER LOVED AND HER RESPONSABILITIES,BILLS RENT KIDS, ITS JUST THINGS SHE WOULD NEVER LET GO LIKE THAT. SHE IS A VERY LEVEL HEADED PERSON. AND SO HER MOM AND I ARE QUITE CONFUSED. THEN SHE TOLD ME HE JUST CHANGED. HE WASNT THE SAME PERSON AS BEFORE, NOT AS LOVING OR NICE ALWAYS MOODY AND DEPRESSED.THEN HE WOULD GET MAD AT HER FOR COMING OVER TO MY HOUSE. THATS WHEN I COULDNT HOLD MY LIP ANYMORE AND TOLD HER AND HIM HOW I DIDNT LIKE THE WAY HE WAS TREATING HER AND THAT SHE DOES NOT NEED A CHAIN OR A HALLPASS. WELL HE DIDNT MUCH CARE FOR ME BEFORE THAT CAUSE SHE WAS ALWAYS TALKING TO ME (HER BESTFRIND OF CORSE SHE IS) AND NOT AT ALL AFTER THAT. SO BASICLY SHE WAS TORN RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE, BUT EVENTUALY A BIGGER PART OF HER WENT HIS WAY. SHE DONT CALL MAINLY CUZ HE HAVE HER PHONE ALL THE TIME AND WHEN THEY FIGHT (EVERY OTHER DAY) HE CHANGES THE GREETING AND THE PIN. NATURALY SHE COMES TO MY HOUSE, AT WITCH TIME HE IS CALLING NON STOP.THE SCARY PART IS WHEN HE ISNT CALLING BECAUSE THAT MEANS HE ISNT AT HIS MOMS AND MY FRIEND HAS HER PHONE.WELL THE OTHER NIGHT HE WAS SITTING IN THE FIELD NEXT TO MY HOUSE. I FREAKED OUT, LOST COOL STARTED YELLING AT HIM TELLING MY FRIEND WHAT A SICKO HE IS AND IF SHE WAS SMART SHE WOULD DO THE SAME AND LEAVE HIM. SHE GOT MAD AT ME INSTEAD.....AND THATS THE CATCH-UP TO THE PRESANT. PLEASE HELP WHAT IS GOING ON HER MOM THINKS SHES BRAINWASHED I THINK SHE IS WAY TO SMART TO GET MIXED IN WITH SOMTHING LIKE THAT BUT THE MORE I READ THE MORE IT SEAMS LIKE THE WRITER SAT DOWN IN FRONT OF THEY AND WROTE DOWN EVERYTHING HE DID. HOW CAN I HELP HER WITHOUT PUSHING HER AWAY? JEN

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005
12:27 AM

hi, I am just now realizing how bad my abusive husband is. He didn't start off this way, he was so sweet with what he said to me. There was no verbal abuse, so I didn't see the warning signs like you are. But I got pregnant and married him because of the baby. His abuse is all verbal but it never ever stops or goes away. My son is almost 4 and my family is urging me to get out because of the damage it is doing to my son. This is going to be the hardest thing I think I've ever done in my life (if I can do it after 9 years of relationship). I want you to hear this because if you don't get away now, you will end up with children who learn that behavior. I am now in a position where I am feeling that I must take my son away from the influence of his own father. How sad is that? Would you like that kind of life for your children? You are a smart woman and should realize that you do not deserve to be abused, and that there is a man out there that will honor and respect you. I am wishing I was alone and free rather than trapped in this mess. Please don't compromise, you will regret it. - Carolyn (May 16, 2005)

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005
10:42 PM

I think there is another way to think about things that has helped me let go. My guy and I are broken up now after four years. Like everyone it wasn't all bad, it wasn't all good. And I continued to learn a lot about myself throughout the relationship. What I've found helpful to remember is that there really isnt' a "bad guy" and an "innocent victim." Just two really messed up people who are broken. Otherwise, why would he lash out? Why would you put up with it? Both play a part. And I would say that going along with any abuse is also harmful -- because it's dishonest. In thinking about this I simply can't go to the place of "that wasn't love, it was all evil and screwy" and I'd never want to deny any woman that there was some experience of love in their relationship, no matter how bad. But we who go along with any abuse have to think to ourselves: what kind of abuse are we also perpetrating? what kind of arrogant thinking (I can change this person) are we indulging in? how are we preventing someone's growth by preventing them from taking responsibility? Preventing them from consequences? And are we, ultimately, using them as well; staying in a bad situation because we need it. It is often a very loving thing to leave someone, and it can be a very selfish thing, in reality, to think "i can change them if I love them enough." it may sound nice. It isn't. You're using him too. And in my opinion that is why the abuse gets worse. A guy hits you and you put up with it, he knows you don't love him, you just need him, and I think that fuels the anger. Chances are he has been used before, in many cases a parent who needed him versus loved him, and sometime they're testing out that same thing: do you love me or do you need me? Would you put up with a friend that you love slapping you? Calling you names? No, you would very lovingly distance yourself, maybe telling her why. You would let her accept the consequences of her actions. You wouldn't cling to her and try to keep her from pain she needs to face. There's an irresistable dance to that idea. He gives you that power to "change" him, or hints at it. It's a lie both of you need to let go of completely. Your not his mother. You can't "love him through his pain." He's the only that can do that. HE'S THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO THAT -- reminder to myself as well :) The parenting years are over for him. The system of unconditional love doesn't work, it won't heal him. He's the only one that can heal him and you're keeping him from his work. It's a lie that makes him hate himself and hate you. Because it keeps you both from an honest life. In regards to getting back together with him and how can you tell if he's really changed, I think the more important question is have you? Have you worked on all the things that drew this relationship to you? Have you let go of the negative beliefs you have about yourself that made you stay? Are you truly and honestly in a place of not needing someone? Would the relationship truly and honestly be pleasurable, easy, a delight, a nice enhancement to your life but not the meat of it? Or would it be drama. Where are you at? And don't go for the easy answer, the superficial "I have my own job and my own apartment so I must be independent." Are you really? Can you imagine the rest of your life alone and feel completely content about it? Completely fullfilled? Do you truly know that you are all you need...and God (for those of us of a spiritual bent). You know the answer to that. And that's the only answer you need. Focus on you. Nobody's wrong, nobody's right. Just two dysfunctional people. Have YOU truly changed...not so that you feel fine alone, but so that you feel so fine alone that you have NO DOUBT you could hold your own in a relationship. Or would that vortex of need come back and make you vulnerable again? Who knows where he's at, and who cares. What's much more important is not to kid yourself about you. And from what you've said, you have a nice fantasy going that you have changed, but I don't think you truly have. You have the appearances and words of someone truly independent, but it just doesn't feel true. The major changes YOU need to make in YOURSELF don't come about after a few months. It can take years of work, and deep, core work on ourselves. You'll never know anything about him or whether he's changed. You only know about you. And the vulnerability and dependency that got you into this, I think, is still very much there. Clear up the dynamic on your end. Completely. Learn everything there was to learn about yourself from this. Get to work and stop thinking about him. Our battle is with ourselves. Quit monkeying around with this phantom.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005
11:31 AM

My name is Melisa and i have a question about my boyfriend. In the past my boyfriend cheated on me with a girl i cant stand, but when i used to ask him about it he would lie. Just the other day he came out and told me that he did have sex with her. I am heart broken do i stay with him or kick him to the kurb? Keep in mind i love him alot but i love my bodys feelings too.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006
03:20 PM

Dear Dr. Irine

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Saturday, January 14, 2006
07:13 PM

Starting over at 37 is better than 40 isn't it? Does this fit the mold? "I'm the most imperfect person on the planet." Then why doesn't he go down the list of what he does wrong for hours in front of the mirror? It's my daughter's fault he yells, name calls, dishes out outrageous punishments..can't compliment...can't uplift without first slamming. Sometimes I feel crazy. I found a house I like today...can I afford the payment by myself? I want to be out but where is the line between when it will get better and when to quit? He said he wants to go for counseling...but I can't WAIT anymore! We have a child together and I have a daughter on my own who is ADHD. It's always our fault...what he says gets ignored...I don't do what I say I'll do (even if it's removing a box from the basement). Last night a good life lesson for my daughter was interrupted over her using too much cellophane...calling it a "sin"...no he's not religious. I can't even put a proper paragraph together...I feel hopeless. Anyone have thoughts? Where do I draw the line?! When do I quit? My son adores his Dad and my daughter needs a role model.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006
05:59 AM

Serena, Wow, reading your letters reminded me of where I was two years ago. I was with a guy who could be incredibly kind, charming and gentle WHEN HE WANTED TO BE (those are very, very key words - i'd underline, bold, italicize and make them big and red but cannot change the formatting in this reply section). He drank and (big surprise here) when he'd had a few he'd be someone totally different. Looking back I can't even say when things started going downhill (well before he told me while packing to go spend christmas with his family that he'd cheated on me, and not with the attractive woman but with her fat sister as it took less effort!!! - I still went to his family's for christmas as they were great and loved me and wanted us to get married - and had to spend a week pretending everything was okay between us which made it easier to ignore the hurt and pain and keep pretending when we got back). Things went downhill, in the end when I didn't want to get out of bed at 4am on a work night to get up and get in a taxi as he was on his way home from 'work drinks' as he would want to pick me up, he would call me a 'f***ing c**t' - the amazing thing is, I let him!!! I'd buy the excuse that he was drunk and didn't remember. I should have walked! The only time he got physical is when he pushed me through a (luckily hinged) glass door on holiday in South Africa. I still stayed!!! He was emotionally manipulative and abusive and very controlling. Things got so bad I would have panic attacks thinking we would break up. It took a long time to realise that the panic attacks were my body's way of saying it couldn't cope with the relationship, NOT because of my fear of being alone in a strange city. While being with him, he helped engineer distance between my friends and I, told me that if my family wanted to see me, they'd contact me and that it wouldn't be good for me to intrude on their lives (later confirmed as complete bollocks - they would have loved to have me call and thought I didn't want to see them). So I had no-one on my side to talk to about this. Everyone I knew in London (I'd recently moved here from Canada) were his friends. If I left him, I'd be on my own. Any how, I can't condence 1.5 years of this into one letter. Suffice it to say that it's really easy to let the 'little things' slide at the time and make excuses for them but what you don't see at the time is just how many 'little things' are being excused away and accepted until much, much later. Even now, two years later I find things in my behaviour which have been shaped by him (he earned hugely more money than me and still expected me to pay 1/2 of everything even when he knew I couldn't afford it). So, two years, a lot of councelling, a course of antidepressants, a very slowly shrinking loan from the bank (to pay for those holidays and meals, etc that I couldn't afford), and a failed engagement to someone else who has their own set of problems my new year's resolution is to focus on me. I am an amazing, beautiful, intelligent (though you wouldn't think so looking at some of the men I've dated) woman who has a lot to offer a man. Unfortunately, I also tend to look for the best in people and have a tendancy to be way to understanding. I now recognise this for the trap that these good traits can create - it is possible to over compromise out of understanding of another person. It is possible to erase your boundaries because you think you are 'helping' them because they 'need' you. If a man is verbally, emotionally or phyisically abusive it is because they have their own issues that THEY, not you, need to deal with. It does not make you a lesser person to decide that you deserve better than that - it makes you a stronger, more impressive person! I realised that, by excusing his behaviour I was not demanding the respect that any human being should be. afforded by those in their life. I would wonder why he didn't respect me, then I realised that I'd given no indication that he should - why should he give me the respect I wasn't giving myself? Once a man feels he can get away with treating you like a doormat, he will. He will also keep doing so, more and more until you are completely subjugated and trapped and not realise that you have given away yourself. I finally left my man when I realised that being alone in a strange city was actually a better option than staying with him. You cannot make a man stop treating you badly. By staying in contact you are telling him that you still accept his behaviour towards you and he will start to treat you that way again, if not worse in the future. I am taking a year to focus on me. That doesn't mean I'm not going to meet interesting, attractive, uninteresting, unattractive guys, it just means that any man I meet is going to have to put a lot of effort into convincing me to go out with him. No more me chasing, making excuses for why he hasn't called, waiting for him to call. If he doesn't recognise from the start that I am worth treating right and worth the effort (because if he has to work for it he will respect the rewards more and will be less likely to take me for granted) and starting off on the right foot re the whole respect thing. If the respect starts slipping he's deleted from my phone, that simple. I'm not going to let myself start excusing the 'little things' as I know (as you do) that they build up into pretty big things pretty quickly. At least you're writing in and asking for advice. Now that you've taken that first step - follow up with the next logical step - take that advice and use it to free yourself from the idiot who has been abusing you! I hope you start demanding the respect that you deserve (which he will never give you) and treating yourself right. take care of yourself first, above all else.


Saturday, February 11, 2006
04:31 PM

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Thursday, June 08, 2006
12:57 PM

my boyfriend has raped me and i told my parents, but they don't believe me. even though i had the bruises to prove it. recently, he did it again, but this time i didn't tell my parents. they asked me how i got the bruises, so i lied, and told them i fell down the stairs at the library. they said "oh" and left me alone. i know that i should leave my boyfriend, but every time i try, he either hits me, or if its on the phone, he calls me a fucking bitch and said that if i do leave him, he'll kill me. what should i do??

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Monday, June 26, 2006
06:21 PM

I am having great difficulty getting over my abusive ex. To sum it up, the first time he hit me was 5 mnths. into the relationship. I was left emotionally and physically hurt. I got back together with him, thinking that these things are normal in all relationships and that he "really loves me" , but in reality I felt deep inside that it could never work. After violating his deporation, he was imprisoned for 10 mnths. while of course I waited for him, and all the while I knew that his sudden change in attitude was only because he didn't want to be left alone in prison. He got out, and after admitting to him that I had exotically danced for money while he was in jail ( to hurt him, which was my immature way of dealing with his past), he used this as an excuse to continue cussing (and I mean really badly, such as "you f*ng whore, you have the ugliest body....the women I've f*d before you were much better...you've ruined my life...no one else will lever love you as much as me...) at me and eventually to throwing me around and slapping me at full force. After the insults got worse, and the physical violence continued, I decided that I should try to seek interest in someone else, someone that would respect me, be nice to me. This attempt failed, as I was only lying to myself in trying to take the easy way out of being in love with my boyfriend. I eventually admitted to him what I had done while we were on a break up ( only because he had decided to not call me for weeks... )and he seemed to accept it and move on together. Of course this wasn't the case... a few days ago, we met up at a hotel in Mexico (where he lives) and after telling me that the only way he would stay with me is if I had sex with him ( I am saving my virginity until I feel it is time)I said no. I fell asleep and woke up to him drunk. He begna choking mee , picking up by my hair or neck, continuosly slapping me till i passed out with fear. I woke up to him kicking my pelvis which he knew was an old injury. He then dragged me outside to show me that there was some girl in a truck waiting for him, I can a\only assume what went on while I was balcked out. I was dragged back in the hotel room, and after more physical abuse, i managed to escape through the window and ran in to a random car. I am torn up inside. I do not understand why it is so hard to forget about someone hwo obviously didn't care about me, who best me, who slept with other women to "get back at me" . I need help. My father was mentally ill and the abuse in my childhood was everyday...am I subconsciously attracted to this familiarity? Please help me. I want to change but need guidance!

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Monday, June 26, 2006
06:22 PM

I am having great difficulty getting over my abusive ex. To sum it up, the first time he hit me was 5 mnths. into the relationship. I was left emotionally and physically hurt. I got back together with him, thinking that these things are normal in all relationships and that he "really loves me" , but in reality I felt deep inside that it could never work. After violating his deporation, he was imprisoned for 10 mnths. while of course I waited for him, and all the while I knew that his sudden change in attitude was only because he didn't want to be left alone in prison. He got out, and after admitting to him that I had exotically danced for money while he was in jail ( to hurt him, which was my immature way of dealing with his past), he used this as an excuse to continue cussing (and I mean really badly, such as "you f*ng whore, you have the ugliest body....the women I've f*d before you were much better...you've ruined my life...no one else will lever love you as much as me...) at me and eventually to throwing me around and slapping me at full force. After the insults got worse, and the physical violence continued, I decided that I should try to seek interest in someone else, someone that would respect me, be nice to me. This attempt failed, as I was only lying to myself in trying to take the easy way out of being in love with my boyfriend. I eventually admitted to him what I had done while we were on a break up ( only because he had decided to not call me for weeks... )and he seemed to accept it and move on together. Of course this wasn't the case... a few days ago, we met up at a hotel in Mexico (where he lives) and after telling me that the only way he would stay with me is if I had sex with him ( I am saving my virginity until I feel it is time)I said no. I fell asleep and woke up to him drunk. He begna choking mee , picking up by my hair or neck, continuosly slapping me till i passed out with fear. I woke up to him kicking my pelvis which he knew was an old injury. He then dragged me outside to show me that there was some girl in a truck waiting for him, I can a\only assume what went on while I was balcked out. I was dragged back in the hotel room, and after more physical abuse, i managed to escape through the window and ran in to a random car. I am torn up inside. I do not understand why it is so hard to forget about someone hwo obviously didn't care about me, who best me, who slept with other women to "get back at me" . I need help. My father was mentally ill and the abuse in my childhood was everyday...am I subconsciously attracted to this familiarity? Please help me. I want to change but need guidance!