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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
 

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B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000

S1

[David  Can you rethink this last statement based on what I just wrote?]

Dr. Irene:

Be glad to take a shot at it. I don't think you are going to like it though. I don't have to like it. The reason that it is so hard to do what you suggest, i.e. "get on with your life" aka GOWYL, pronounced like "growl" without the "r" is what just about everyone tells you to do giggle! and I just rebel against it because that is my nature. So, you're telling me you shoot yourself in the foot simply because you are a rebel. OK, your call. But, thanks. Now I know how to push your buttons... I don't want my wife to spend time with her boyfriend. I don't want her to go on balloon rides with him on her birthday. I don't want her to write me off because I spent years verbally abusing her when I didn't have any idea that I was doing anything wrong. It's not fair. So now I tell her all the time that I love her and want to be with her and cry occasionally. I know it's not doing me any good, but that is the best I can come up with. Because there is NO WAY you will do what logically might work. Letting her alone is just cementing her relationship with ecstatic freedom and her relationship with her boyfriend. It is? Where did you get such power to "cement" a relationship that does not include you? Unless you misunderstand what I mean by GOWYL: Let her know you love her; let her know you are there. But also let her know that you will respect her feelings to be left alone as much as you hate her decision - simply because you respect her decision. So, you are not cementing anything. Where is her commitment to our marriage now that I am back on board? I am just enabling a fantasy lifestyle that will have who knows what effect on our kids in the future? Did you see the latest Time or Newsweek magazine - new flash: divorce might be harmful to children in the long run!! I am so tempted to just pull the plug and flee, although I know intellectually that would just harm the children. Right. It makes lots of sense to flee. Either you get back together or flee. Nothing in the middle. That's too, too... unrebellious.

I just feel so bad about what has happened. I know you can't make someone love you. I want my wife to fall in love with me again. To worry about where I am. To share in the day to day little things with me. We were always good together on that level. I want her to break it off with her boyfriend and love me again. I can't understand why she can't just sense my enormous desire to put things right and go with that. Because you are not letting her "be." Why should she give a hoot about Your desires? That's what she did for years and it got her nowhere. But, if you mind her desires, she might begin to feel differently. Common sense.

I know I am using the exact term that you cautioned against "the I WANT mentality" but it seems so clear to me. My wife pursued me for years without me showing much love for her. She even broke down and cried about it early in our relationship. Even though I didn't love her at that time, I hung in there. Now that I am totally emotionally attached to her she wants to end our marriage just now when I am starting to be capable of knowing what it actually takes to make a marriage work. It's so hard to take. I know David. The trick is to let her know you care while at the same time respecting her wishes.

I know that I have to get my life together to have any chance with my wife. Her exact parting words this very Sunday when she came over to get the boy's winter coats. But I just don't want to struggle along as a "pod person" providing sustenance for the debris of a marriage and family that used to be so that my wife can have a good time with her boyfriend. I don't want to give up on our marriage because I had such hopes and dreams, believe it or not, when the boys got older. I think this is common in a lot of marriages that the woman is expected to raise the kids until they are old enough to go hunting with dad or whatever and then the man kicks in. I admit to this but my wife just sees it as evidence of abandonment and neglect that will continue in the future - although now that we are separated I have to raise the boys exactly 50% of the time.

Also, how can you expect your wife to disconnect from her boyfriend? I know I rate an absolute ZERO with my ex-girlfriends that are married or in committed relationships, but I will probably be the lucky one that has his wife secretly involved with this guy for the rest of her life even if we do reconcile. Oh boy... Talk about projecting into the future...

Paxil update: I quit taking it after about four days because of extreme dizziness and general mental cloudiness as well as immense hopeless feelings. I know Paxil is supposed to sharpen you up mentally but it just did a number on me. After I quit taking it even for a few days I had a crying and begging jag like you wouldn't believe. I feared for my very life. Try another SSRI. And, talk to your doc about starting at a lower dose. Some people have symptoms like this initially.

I am still struggling to pick up the pieces. I have fantasized about volunteer work or trying to make a few friends. The only real positives are the gains I am making vis a vis diet and in the gym, so it's at least something. Yeah! It's so hard though and I feel like I shouldn't have to be meeting new people now at age 47. I've got a beautiful wife and two beautiful kids and I should be enjoying them not meeting new people. "Oh, you work in publishing and you've been divorced for three years now - and your favorite color is blue?" WHO (*&(*& CARES!!! I don't. I just want my family back. Frank Zappa said he didn't have any "friends". He had a family. Between his work and his family that was it. There wasn't anymore time in the day.

Dr. Irene website update: You will be happy to know that my wife has found your website and found it very "pro-woman" and ample evidence/justification for her to get out of the marriage. I hope you are pleased. Ohhhh... are you mad with me! David: This website is as pro-guy as it is pro-gal. It is pro-human and pro-SELF. And, you know it. David's wife: if you want, please feel free to email me.

Well that's the update. It's not pretty but it's my reality. I'm sorry; it doesn't have to be.

David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

I hope this is "fair use" under the copyright laws. It's from the below-identified website and focuses on reconciliation as opposed to GOWYL. There is a lot more on the website if you are interested. If you are a female reading this you probably aren't. Please comment, however.

From Single Parent Magazine

GOWYL: Pronounced "Go Will"

by Dr. Jim A. Talley (www.drtalley.com)

---------------------------------------------------------------------- This acrostic represents the five most destructive words to the American family, and the five most common words of marital advice given by both professional and lay counselors, both secular and sacred!

G Get O On W With Y Your L Life!!

Molly is a twenty-seven year old mother of two children. Ron, her husband of ten years, has had an affair, and has moved to an apartment. The kids cry for their dad, Molly is miserable. Ron is still seeing this "thing"! As a Christian, what does Molly do? Some friends say, go file, others say don't. Her family wants her to get rid of the "bum", but she still loves him! She cannot face him while he is seeing "her", but the kids want him home and he wants to come visit the kids. She is broke and he took all of the money from the bank. He is giving her just enough money to pay the bills, nothing extra! What is a body supposed to do?

Society: The definition of Divorce Recovery is to get a divorce, find someone new and remarry... ASAP.

Our society has shifted around to the point that they give you the same advice every time you get a divorce, GOWYL. After the second divorce they again give the same advice. Even after the fourth divorce the advice remains the same. All of this will drive a person crazy! Our society's definition of sanity: How fast you divorce and remarry, the longer it takes you to remarry, the sicker you are! If you mention reconciliation, you are really SICK and need drugs and to be hospitalized right away! No one tells you that: frequency is inversely proportional to longevity in marriage. This means the more times you get married the shorter the marriages tends to be! Each cycle of remarriage complicates you life and the lives of your children, but no one tells you the horror stories, you just get the GOWYL advice!

[much deleted]

Rules of Conduct:

Do kind and gentle things to or for them. This is to keep you from becoming bitter!

Log as much good conflict-free time with them as they will tolerate. Just try to have some fun.

Control your expectations. The first step into anger is unmet expectations and the second is a lack of emotional response on their part after you ask them about the unmet expectation!

Circumstances are no more responsible for your attitude than a mirror is for your looks. They just reveal who you really are. Stop playing Dick or Dixie Tracy: Getting information before God wants you to have it will cause you to have emotional and spiritual relapses.

Treat them emotionally like they are married to someone else. Treat them courteously, as human beings who have a right to exist, and upon whom you can make no demands.

If you are legally married, wear your wedding ring as an indicator that you are not open for business. You can only take it off the day after you are free to marry someone else.

Hello doc. This is good stuff you posted. There is too much divorce. We decide we won't have problems with the next person, but, we do. And we will until we fix ourSelves. Thanks. Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

David Wrote:

"One final comment. A common thread in all of these self-help books is the notion of out-distancing the distancer. If your husband was distant and uncaring and verbally abusive, one way to "smoke out" his true feelings for you is to distance yourself from him and no longer try to please him. No dates, no sex, no calling him. In a lot of men they wake up to what they have lost and become the perfect husbands and will do anything to get back into the marriage. From what I have read in this website, though, a lot of women think this is too little, too late and don't even want the husband back once he wakes up and tries to make amends. If this technique doesn't work, then, well ...."

Irene Wrote:>>When this technique works, it works after the wife has left him, told him what a crummy creep he is - and only then is she able to forgive him. <<

What is going on here? Sounds so deceptive. Just with-hold sex etc and smoke him out? Absolutely not! This is not a game; this is your life! This is about listening to the Self. How long should you continue to knock your head against a wall before you distance? It is not strategy; it is about living in a way that cares for the Self. Bad, bad. I don't like it. You are both way out on this. AK probably hasn't been giving you the full story either.  That's the problem with these message boards. You are commenting on someone's account which could be partially fictitious, muchly opinioned, and vastly ommissioned. So, fill us in where you are concerned; how else can we know?

I am extremely concerned about AK taking any of this advice.

It appears as though you believe honesty is not nearly as effective as deception. So you deceive and expect that to produce something beautiful? I think not. Oh boy, Steve, I think you are misunderstanding much of this...

Steve

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

[Steve wrote: It appears as though you believe honesty is not nearly as effective as deception. So you deceive and expect that to produce something beautiful? I think not.]

Steve:

First of all everyone who reads this website knows that there are two sides to every story. However on the abuse and receiving end dichotomy it's just statistically more likely that the man - you and me - have the greater share of the blame than not. It might not be 99/01 but it's probably 80/20 or at least 60/40.

Now directly to your point about the deceptive nature of outdistancing the distancer, read Dr. Dobson's book "Love Must be Tough". This topic is infinitely more nuanced and cannot be dismissed in one sentence. I can't begin to do Dr. Dobson justice, but I will try: Is it more beautiful and loving to just let the relationship die with both people bitter or to put it back together again if there is a chance? Human nature is extremely complicated and your instincts to shy away from anything the least bit "deceptive" is not going to help in putting the marriage back together again. Think about the dating process. Any chance any of the partners did anything "deceptive" to try to snag the other one?

David

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

David.

>>First of all everyone who reads this website knows that there are two sides to every story. <<

Yes, then I would caution us all to be careful how we "read" certain advice forwarded here. We may be hearing what we want to hear, because we are only giving our side of the story. Some of us may be looking for sympathy/empathy, or a condoning of our future actions. We should be careful. We should look very close at our motives. Absolutely! 

>>However on the abuse and receiving end dichotomy it's just statistically more likely that the man - you and me - have the greater share of the blame than not. It might not be 99/01 but it's probably 80/20 or at least 60/40. <<

We must respectfully agree to disagree. Statistics, and real life, show a 50/50 situation. However, this isn't the point. It's not about men and women, it's about people. People abuse people. People abuse people, yes. And, 50/50, yes sort of. But the 50/50 split is deceptive in abuse. The victim does not have the awareness, knowledge, or skills to stop the abuse (any more than the angry person does). The victim's 50% therefore simply allows the abuse to continue. Some victims can dish out their own brand of control / abuse; others don't.  What is entirely out of whack in a classical abusive relationship is the balance of power. The victim gives away his or her power. There are other types of abusive relationships where both individuals are abusive to each other and where the power is pretty balanced.  That is my take. I don't have statistics. I leave statistics to the more scientifically oriented because my talents lie elsewhere: It is infinitely clear to me that despite where a victim or abuser is on the abuse or victim "scale," the recovery task is the same for each partner: take care of the Self. Neither victim nor abuser does that.

>> Now directly to your point about the deceptive nature of outdistancing the distancer, read Dr. Dobson's book "Love Must be Tough". This topic is infinitely more nuanced and cannot be dismissed in one sentence. I can't begin to do Dr. Dobson justice, but I will try: Is it more beautiful and loving to just let the relationship die with both people bitter or to put it back together again if there is a chance? <<

It IS more loving to let it die, than keep it alive with dishonesty. In my opinion at least. We agree.

>> Human nature is extremely complicated and your instincts to shy away from anything the least bit "deceptive" is not going to help in putting the marriage back together again. <<

But why would anyone want to put a marriage back together on a foundation of dishonesty? Wouldn't you then be living a lie? This sounds like insecurity, and desperation. Exactly. Wouldn't the individual producing the deceptive works, be carrying that around as "guilt baggage"? What if the "deceived" found out that this was going on? That could do extreme damage and create immense distrust. When trust is gone, what's left? Nobody is suggesting a marriage be put back on a dishonest foundation. Where did you get that idea?

Do you really want to hang around with someone you don't fully trust? It's up to you of course. But feelings of distrust are not something I would build, or attempt to repair, a relationship on.

I think honesty to one's self and one's mate, will make the waters clear. Respect and trust will be the fruit. Whether the relationship mends or dissolves isn't the priority. Being honest with your life IS. In my opinion of course. So Steve: we are on the exact same page. Do you think we are not?

Steve

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

[Steve says: This sounds like insecurity, and desperation.]

I'll tell you what insecurity and desperation is. It's exactly what I am doing at the moment with my wife, i.e. begging and crying and trying to force her back into the relationship. The only that is going to work, if at all, is to outdistance her and allow her to want to come back into the relationship of her own free will. Is that "deceptive" because that's not how I really feel? It's the hardest thing in the world to let go of someone when you desperately want them to love you and want to be with them 100% of the time. My complete honesty and openness about my feelings with my wife is just making things worse for me. The advice David is being given "to let go" is not about deception Steve. It is about accepting reality. It is about respecting the partner's wishes. The paradox (not strategy) is that if David can do this, his wife may wonder why she is letting this person who loves her go.

David

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Some comments to Steve from AK...

If you are the Steve I think you are, I am *really* glad to see you here, of your own accord. I think you make some interesting points and I want to address them. Steve: Are you AK's husband?

<<<<What is going on here? Sounds so deceptive. Just with-hold sex etc and smoke him out? Bad, bad. I don't like it. You are both way out on this. AK probably hasn't been giving you the full story either. That's the problem with these message boards. You are commenting on someone's account which could be partially fictitious, muchly opinioned, and vastly ommissioned.>>>

You are right - AK can only give one side of the story - my own. I can assure you that the only "fiction" that I have written on this site is related to concealing my identity. Definitely, everything else is "muchly opinioned" because I only have my own viewpoint, and naturally much is ommissioned because there is an entire lifetime of personal history - my own as well as my partner's. I can only deal with my problems in bits and pieces, and through those bits and pieces hopefully a larger picture will emerge.

<<<It appears as though you believe honesty is not nearly as effective as deception. So you deceive and expect that to produce something beautiful? I think not.>>>

I tried very hard to be open and honest with my partner, but even with all the honesty in the world, neither of us had the tools to fix the relationship; nothing was moving forward. I would very much like to share with him the tools that are available on this website, but I didn't feel that he was ready or open to this idea. I hope I'm wrong. In the past when I told him about other relationship-related sites that I had posted to, he felt betrayed and so I stopped posting. This time I needed to do this for myself, whether he approved or disapproved.

I began posting to this site, when I reached a point where I was at a complete loss as to how to repair the relationship. I knew that *I* needed help and information, and that perhaps this was one last last attempt to see if there might be hope for reconciliation.

<<<It IS more loving to let it die, than keep it alive with dishonesty. In my opinion at least.>>>>

Okay. Opinion accepted. I secretly hoped that my partner would run across this site for himself. I do think it would have been better if I felt comfortable in showing him this site, and if we could have posted together. But this time regardless of his approval or disapproval, I wanted to see what I could learn. This I am doing for me.

<<<But why would anyone want to put a marriage back together on a foundation of dishonesty? Wouldn't you then be living a lie? This sounds like insecurity, and desperation. Wouldn't the individual producing the deceptive works, be carrying that around as "guilt baggage"? What if the "deceived" found out that this was going on? That could do extreme damage and create immense distrust. When trust is gone, what's left? >>> Again. It is NOT about deceit. It is about pointing no more fingers and fixing oneself.

I don't think that reading, asking questions and learning can be considered putting a marriage back together on the foundation of dishonesty. And I agree that a strong healthy marriage should be open so that either partner can talk about important issues, like what I have been learning and posting on this site. But I knew that my partner would feel betrayed, so I chose to do the work alone, for the time being... I really hope my partner will join me in this work. Actually, it looks like maybe he has. And I don't have "guilt baggage" about my participation here because I feel like I've done the right thing. I have learned a lot. Do I regret that I couldn't share it with my partner without some negative consequences? Yes.

No, this isn't a kind of experiment that I am doing at his expense, as he suggested to me this morning. This is about my own progression and what I can do hopefully to repair the relationship and repair myself. I need tools. I accept my partner's feelings of betrayal, because this site has given me hope that there are tools and ways to mend our relationship. If we both want to.

<<<Do you really want to hang around with someone you don't fully trust? It's up to you of course. But feelings of distrust are not something I would build, or attempt to repair, a relationship on. >>>

Neither of us feel safe in the relationship right now. I don't expect my partner to trust me. I don't trust him with my feelings either right now. This is exactly why I'm here.

Steve, as I said I'm very glad to see you here and I hope you stick around. Me too Steve. Whether or not you are AK's hubby, but especially if you are.

AK

p.s.

David:

<<Dr. Irene website update: You will be happy to know that my wife has found your website and found it very "pro-woman" and ample evidence/justification for her to get out of the marriage. I hope you are pleased.>>>

Listen to your words here. I don't think you mean the last sentence. Especially when I read your own responses to Steve. AK: David just momentarily lost it. This is what he is struggling against and trying to fix in himself.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

David said, and I quote, grin...

"I'll tell you what insecurity and desperation is. It's exactly what I am doing at the moment with my wife, i.e. begging and crying and trying to force her back into the relationship. The only that is going to work, if at all, is to outdistance her and allow her to want to come back into the relationship of her own free will. Is that "deceptive" because that's not how I really feel? It's the hardest thing in the world to let go of someone when you desperately want them to love you and want to be with them 100% of the time. My complete honesty and openness about my feelings with my wife is just making things worse for me. "

David, you believe it's making things worse for you because you believe what's absolutely best for you is to be with your wife. It may be so, who really knows these things for certain? However, it seems to be putting the cart before the horse.

I'm not saying you need to be begging and crying. In fact, quite the opposite. You need to be honest and open with your wife, but definitely not begging. Right. It is disrespectful of the Self. Crying's ok I think. Looking short-term, we believe ANYTHING that could help us regain our lost love must be good for us. I don't think this is a clear way of thinking. David's wife would be more inclined to respect him if David respected himself - if he became the best possible David he could be - which he most certainly CAN do once he fully realizes the irrationality of doing anything else.

I agree that it's very very hard to let go of someone you love. But, looking deep into myself, I find that what I'm really dealing with is, facing certain truths. Truth that I don't have the power (nor should I) to make her love me the way I want her to love me. Correct. Truth that I alone am responsible for my life. Correct. And, facing the fear of being alone. Yes. Nobody really wants to be alone. Yes.

As far as out-distancing goes, it just sounds too much like a competition to me. It may work, you may win, but in the end, what have you really won? It's kind of like writing a test, and afraid of failing, you copy some else's (in this case Dobson's) answers. Did you pass the test? Not really, because you know, you cheated. Don't get all caught up in phrases. "Outdistancing... does sound like a strategy and doubtless some people will employ this technique as a strategy. Other people just need a little push to do what is in their own best interests and stop knocking their head against a wall.

If you remain absolutely true to yourself, you pass the test of life. Yes! If you are true to your Self that is, as opposed to your ego.

So to wrap up this long-winded comment, I believe that you need to be honest AND strong. No begging, because that's being dishonest and disrespectful to yourself. Excellent.

Something like "I love you with all my heart, but I also respect you as a person. I respect your choices as yours. I wish you the best in life whether you choose to love me or not."

And then you can walk away - free from fear. If she comes around, it will be because she really wants to, not because she feels sorry for you, or has been subtly manipulated. And you will never again feel insecure about a relationship.

You must be willing to lose that which is not real/true, in order to gain that which is.

I will walk my walk, proud, yet humble. I'll laugh when I fly, and laugh when I stumble.

Steve  

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Dear Steve

<<<I don't have the power (nor should I) to make her love me the way I want her to love me. Truth that I alone am responsible for my life.>>>

Your wife loves you - trust me on this. I don't know how you want her to love you though, perhaps she can't show her love to you in this way. Yes, you alone are responsible for your life.

<<<As far as out-distancing goes, it just sounds too much like a competition to me. It may work, you may win, but in the end, what have you really won? It's kind of like writing a test, and afraid of failing, you copy some else's (in this case Dobson's) answers. Did you pass the test? Not really, because you know, you cheated. >>>

Personally I don't follow a set of "rules" in this way, but I do know that things couldn't continue the way they were going. I personally have needed some "distance" in order to be honest to my feelings and to have some space to look at the big picture. I agree that if your choices come from some prescribed set of rules and that you don't tap into your own gut feelings, then you might end up heading somewhere you don't want to be. I think it's about being very tapped into "feelings", rather than a set of rules. It starts with your own feelings, then you can tap into other's feelings. My feelings have been that the relationship either has to grow, or it has to end. The "distance" I have created has given me some space to find out. My preferred choice is that the relationship grow and progress, if that is truly the best life choice for both me and my partner.

<<<I will walk my walk, proud, yet humble. I'll laugh when I fly, and laugh when I stumble.>>>>

beautiful..

AK

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Pat:

Where are you? Would love to hear your thoughts about all of this. What did your husband do to convince you that he was worthy to be taken back? Please elaborate. I loved your post.

David

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Steve and David - one more note about "distancing".

Many times on this site we hear of the woman who ends a relationship and is not willing to go back, just as the guy finally realizes some of the things he could do differently. I think that if some space and distance is taken before the relationship gets to this point, then permanent damage to the relationship can sometimes be avoided. Yes.

I don't see "distance" as a sort of game, but a necessary step in deciding to either end or truly "begin" a relationship. (I probably said that already.) That doesn't mean you can't let your partner know how you feel, or that you can't be honest. Yes.

David, while you are allowing your wife the space she needs, that doesn't mean you can't tell her how you feel. Sometimes doing it on paper is more effective than verbally, so you have time to think about what it is you really want to say and not leave out any important parts.

As I said, I don't think there is one set of rules that works for every situation. And you can't "make" someone understand or feel the way you wish they would. Yes...

AK

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

AK:

Dr. Irene (and Dr. Dobson, btw) said that this distancing and time away from the relationship is what makes you heal to enable to come back to the relationship if you ever do. It's just so hard for me to take in the meantime. Yes! But it is exactly this "frustration tolerance muscle" that you need to build. That's why I suggest you let her to: you strengthen this part of David. In doing so you become more whole, less desperate. You take care of David. I remember a woman's post many months ago about her wandering husband to this website "how long do we have to give them"? It's no fun waiting around. I guess the trick is to do something with your own life in the meantime. But what? I already know what kind of cereal I like.

David

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Are you interested in Genealogy? There is a lot of Family Tree information on the web.

Take Care, L

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Bless you L,

Yes, and let's not forget basketweaving! :)   

Regards, David

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Bless you too, David,

I haven't tried basket weaving, YET! 

My very best, L  You guys are cute...

  

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Some more on Dr. Dobson's book, "Love Must be Tough":

"I should acknowledge at the outset that some of the principles I will offer [outdistancing the distancer, and letting go, among others] may be controversial within Christian circles [and to Steve :)]. It is my belief that the advice traditionally offered to victims of infidelity and other violations of trust [to love your partner no matter what and be a complete doormat This is what happens when one is asked to put other ahead of Self. There is a loss of integrity. This is different from putting other ahead of ego; that's a good goal for all of us.] has often been unbiblical and destructive. But obviously, not everyone will agree. To those who draw differing conclusions, I can only ask for charity as we seek to resolve the most difficult family problems with our limited knowledge and insight."

David

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2000

S1

Hi Dan

After reading your email I just thought of what your dream might have meant. Maybe it was "making friends with Nam"? He did offer you a cup of coffee, maybe it was to get you comfortable?

AK

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2000

S1

Oh no I posted to the wrong spot again with the "email from Dan" post - sorry for my ditziness! Ditzes are welcome here!

AK

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000

S1

Dear David,

How are things with you today? We miss your posts and care about you. Hi AK, we understand.

Take care David, L aka Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000

S1

Hi Lynn:

Thanks for asking. I actually had a pretty good day yesterday, as I went to counseling with my wife. The session went really well. My wife talked as if there might be something left to work on in our relationship (although she is no where close to letting me back in the house yet) and said the kind of things that I don't hear when I see her out there in the "real life" world. According to her, I guess, counseling is for discussing the recaps, strategies, chances, etc, etc, but once we are both back to reality it's "actions speak louder than words". And no talking about the relationship.

From what I could gather in the counseling session is that she reached one of her "bottom lines" and that was she was convinced that I didn't love her, and I certainly never told her I loved her, even when I was finally at long last asked point blank. (I know, get out the horsewhip - how can anybody be so cruel I ask myself?.) Stubborn I'd say!

A friend of mine who is divorced said he went to counseling with his ex-wife and had that light go off over his head when he made the realization that you know, I really don't love you, in fact I don't even like you that well.

Well my situation is the EXACT OPPOSITE. Here is someone that I have been treating poorly for a long time for no conscious reason and now that she has upped the ante enough for me to finally recognize that there is something desperately wrong, I also realize that I really do like her, in fact I love her. She is an attractive vibrant giving caring interesting person. She is more than capable of being a great marriage partner and she is someone I definitely want to be with for the rest of my life.

Well, anyway, that's where I am now. At least it makes the loneliness, pain of her affair, separation, alienation, etc etc a little easier to take. Also, it gives me a little more encouragement to work on myself as well. Maybe we can get the snowball to roll back up the hill. You can. Tip: Always ask yourself how what you are about to say would make her feel - before you say it.

Cheers,

David  Cheers!  Yippeeee! Yayyyyy!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Cheers yourself, In fact 3 cheers for you. You sound good. I'm glad. I hope someday your wife feels comfortable enough to join us here. Us too. At least you are with us and among caring friends. And I'm happy to see guys here at this site.

Keep up the good work and take care. I'm from snow country and it's amazing what those snowballs can do! If all else fails we build snowmenwomencats!

Keep posting. We follow you faithfully, My best, Lynn 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000

S1

Thanks Lynn, you are pretty classy yourself. And with a wonderful sense of humor to top it off.

I'll gratefully take the love, luck and prayers too.

AK

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 29, 2000

S1

I've been going over some of my "greatest hits" of articles and inspirational stuff that I've found over the last year.

The following speaks to the possibility of putting relationships back together again and is the wisdom of Dr. Robert Firestone from his book "Fear of Intimacy": excerpted and analyzed in an article from "Salon" internet magazine entitled "Psychologist Robert Firestone rejects the quick fix for bad marriage." Apparently the book itself is a weighty academic Psychology tome and not the standard self-help book. However, some people on Amazon have claimed that they have slogged through it.

[Hey Doc Firestone, you can use this book for practical advice to put an ailing relationship back together, right?]

Yes, though bear in mind that practical advice is of limited value when one is up against psychological defenses of a long-standing nature. There needs to be a strong realization that to get what one really wants in a personal relationship, one has to "sweat out" the anxiety of changing established defenses and lifestyles. You bet; well put.

However, people [couples] can attempt to: 1) recognize the signs that indicate that they have formed a fantasy bond [that they think is probably love but isn't, as opposed to a genuine real intimate loving bond] and admit that they have become distant and that their actions are not necessarily loving; 2) become aware of their self-attacks and attacking thoughts toward their partners and subject those thoughts to objective scrutiny; 3) respect the equality and human rights of both their mates and themselves as free and independent spirits; 4) face the pain and sadness involved in trying to restore intimacy; 5) expose the fear of being a separate, independent individual as well as the fear of loss or the death of their partner and fear about their own death; 6) develop a non-defensive posture toward feedback and an open and honest style of communication; 7) move away from isolated couple interactions and toward an extended circle of family and friends; and 8) if necessary, plan temporary or long-term separations, and hopefully in that separation period, possibly refresh and reclaim their original feelings of friendship, affection and sexual attraction. By moving away from habitual modes of relating, people can awaken their feelings for one another.

My comments: that line about the pain and sadness of restoring intimacy just gets to me. It's easy to wreck a relationship but really hard to put it back together again. Not only because it is so slow going on the part of the victim to trust and accept and forgive, but also because it is so painful for the abuser if he's changed and really wants the relationship to go on. I'll bet that a lot of relationships ultimately came apart because the pain of putting them back together again was just too hard to take. Yes, but look at it this way: your choice is face the pain so you can put yourself and your relationship back - or don't face the pain and stay stuck in your self-imposed hell until you choose to face the pain...

Also, that line about the fear of being a separate individual is a big one for us abusers. You just don't want to have to live life on your own if that means you have to do the hard work to feel comfortable in your own skin.

Executive summary: you might be able to get back together with your wife but brother it is going to extremely difficult and painful, it will take a long period of time, and you are going to really have to want to do it!  Yeah. But David, doesn't it feel better? Each time you've gone through another revelation, don't you feel better about YOU?

David

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 29, 2000

S1

Dear David,

This is Lynn. Can you tell me a little about you? It might be back there somewhere, I just haven't reread. I like today's post.

Cheers again,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 29, 2000

S1

Hi Lynn:

What do you want to know? The material on the face of the Buddha thread pretty much says it all. I'm middle aged with two small boys. I'm separated from my wife and she's got a boyfriend! She lives in the house and I live in a nearby townhouse. To me that's pretty much it. I am motivated to get back what I never had in the first place which is a give and take type relationship with my wife.

Did you agree with Dr. Firestone that there is a lot of pain involved in restoring lost intimacy with someone?

David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 29, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Lynn here, I agree there is a lot of pain restoring intimacy. I am not familiar with Dr. Firestone.

I hear you about being middle aged. Us, too. Over 50. Does that make me more middle aged than you? :)

That was all I heard about you though. I don't mean statistics. I'd like to know a little about just you. Just David the person. I give a lot of credit to you guys here. Us women seem to be able to tell about us. I'm 53 or 54, I keep forgetting, I was adopted and had two great parents. My mom died of cancer in 88 and my dad is still alive. A lot of who they were/are really reflects on me today. Funny or peculiar, but I ended up with traits of both. I'm just working on these now. Who can you thank the big heart, humor, and chatty people-loving disposition for?

I think you are sounding so much better. I have been keeping track and I finally had to jump in again and say so.

Take care and I do like hearing about you.

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 29, 2000

S1

Hmm. I think that some of what Lynn might be getting at by asking for more about you is that there must be stuff that makes up David beyond "I'm middle aged with two kids and my wife has a boyfriend." Ya think so? Gee... :)

Who is David? Not who is David's family. :) What does he like to do? What's unique about him? What (not necessarily who) makes him smile? What makes him tick, generally?

(Important questions I've done a lot of asking myself lately.)

-AngryGirl

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 29, 2000

S1

Hi David,

I'm glad to see that you haven't abandoned your web site.

I'm also happy to see you have a sense of humor, before you were so deep that it wasn't showing through.

I read Steve's' comments to you and your replies to him and I must say, that some of what you were saying was so far over my head that I at first thought that someone else was posting for you. I have to be honest, I haven't heard of any of the gentlemen of whom you wrote.

I see that you have been doing a lot of introspection as I have, and I have really started to face my Self and from what I can understand so have you. You guys have done a great job.

Your post to Lynn has me thinking of some of the people which I met as a bartender, you knew them by their drinks, nothing else unless they volunteered the information. <<I'm middle aged with two small boys, etc>> It's like a screwdriver, hold the rocks. That's how you associated that customer, screwdriver.

As I told you previously, my first wife and I were separated a year before the divorce, and I still felt very married to her. It was hard to get involved with other activities. Plus the fact that I wasn't working at a full time job, so I did a lot of drinking. That was my only interest other than getting with my daughter every time my X wanted to go out. Then I met Lynn, a match made in a bar. We became pool partners before we became life partners. It was the only time that I could tell her what to shoot, and if it was a better shot than the one she had planned, she listened. Especially bank shots, because (I'm tooting my own horn here) I excelled at bank shots.

Basketweaving is a good hobby, a long as you don't weave yourself into one.

Take care

Dan    David: Dan and Lynn are asking you to stretch; get more comfortable with you overall. It's good stuff. I'd also like to ask you to stretch by posting more to other boards. Helping others helps you; gets you out of yourself for a bit.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000

S1

Here is the URL for the Dr. Firestone interview. It's pretty good, but I am not completely "down" with his concept about the "fantasy bond". Maybe one day Dr. Irene can explain that one.

http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/1999/11/16/guru/index.html

My two boys are 8 and 10. We just went to see the first half of "Riverdance" recently. It was OK I guess. We've got a season ticket to the local theatre that ships in these productions every couple of months. Three tickets so that either me or my wife can escort our boys to the show depending on who has them on that particular date.

I used to think that I had a GSOH (good sense of humor if you haven't read the singles ads lately giggle) and I have my own interests in popular culture, books, movies, what not. I tend to the elitist/obscurist side and that is one of my character flaws that I am sure contributed to the breakup of my marriage.

I'm 47 and my parents are still alive. My wife's father just died last year. I organized the travel for the burial. It was just brutal. Just me and my wife and our two kids and her two brothers standing in the cold in Nowheresville, Kentucky with a couple of funeral parlor workers that couldn't wait for us to leave so they could get on with it. My wife's dad had been married three times, each one with less commitment than the last. It really shook me to the core and that is why I don't want to take the divorce route out of this. I don't want the rest of my life to wind up like that. I don't think it is a real solution for a lot of us. Some people fine, but not me. I still have dreams about my first real girlfriend and that's all I need is another person to obsess about for the rest of my life. Your priorities are finally straight...

Hey, has anyone seen that movie "High Fidelity" with John Cusack? It's just the best relationship movie. It's out on DVD now and will be out soon on video. Watch for it. It could be a whole thread or maybe a couple of threads in itself. It's got everything - heartbreak, old girlfriends, pursuing, reconciliation, plus a really great ensemble performance. Tim Robbins has a great cameo role. John Cusack is absolutely tortured after his girlfriend leaves him after he wasn't treating her particularly that well before she left. A situation I can really identify with. I bet...

I'm going to London over Thanksgiving. Holidays are really tough on me and I prefer to just avoid the whole thing. The mental picture is so vile - Mom, the kids, the turkey, all the decorations - and the boyfriend. Yuck.

All for now, David.   

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000

S1

Here is the URL for the "High Fidelity" DVD:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003CXGA/qid%3D970287737/103-5648033-7081433

Regards, David    I'm going to get this.... And think of you while I watch it. 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000

S1

David

Isn't Lynn a great bartender? She has a way of getting the truth out of people.

It would be nice to see you over in the Catbox sometimes. We could use your help and perspective on things. Hi AK

I haven't checked your urls yet, but I will. Your original post with the "Fear of Intimacy" quotes sound bang on to me. I also agree with your executive summary. I hope Steve will read this post. That's why we need you over in the catbox.  Yeah. Steve really needs you and Dan big time. And Bill too.

You said:

<<Not only because it is so slow going on the part of the victim to trust and accept and forgive, but also because it is so painful for the abuser if he's changed and really wants the relationship to go on.>>

This is a bit tricky.. you can be "changed" in one instant, but go back to abusing in the next.  Old habits die hard.

I'm not being critical here, I think you're great David, but remember this recent line? He knows. Trust me.

<<You will be happy to know that my wife has found your website and found it very "pro-woman" and ample evidence/justification for her to get out of the marriage. I hope you are pleased.>> 

This isn't to make you feel bad, I know you probably beat yourself up too much already. Yep. "Change" is a process, an attitude, and most of all a commitment. The commitment is the most important part of it, in my view.  David is committed. Trust me. What I teach: OK to have lapses. They will happen. Notice you blew it and go on. It's OK. What do you expect? To change such ingrained stuff overnight? Give yourself a giggle and a pat on the back for your commitment and allow yourself to slip up. Do this and you'll slip up less and less.

From what I see in Steve, I think the pain in facing yourself has to probably be what's hardest. But this can change too. You can learn to re-program. But it takes commitment, and practice, practice, practice. And you will slip up on occasion, but you can learn to forgive yourself. The solid commitment to a healthy positive life, is in my view what makes good behavior "stick".  Yep.

<<<I'll bet that a lot of relationships ultimately came apart because the pain of putting them back together again was just too hard to take.>>>

Unfortunately, I think you are absolutely right here. Most of us don't have the information or tools to know what to do. So once we learn this stuff, I think it's important to pass it on in any way we can. I've absorbed an unbelievable amount of information on this site alone, in a relatively short period of time. 6 months I had no clue what role I was playing in letting myself be treated poorly. I really didn't know why I wasn't being understood. It seemed like an odd and painful "communication problem", but I didn't know what to do about it. My H is now beginning to acknowledge his role in the problem. And I am now certain that it really is a problem, where I couldn't define what it was before.

Happy basketweaving! (I prefer stained glass - makes me feel manly - all that busting up glass and soldering :)

AK

(finally posting here on purpose) Giggle

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000

S1

Hi Buddha guys,

This is Lynn. Ginger-ale, think ginger-ale. Oh boy David. No wonder. That is yukky. And yep, I don't blame you. Funny you should mention it, but we had a brawl for years over a turkey dinner.

I don't ever watch new movies. Wait for them to get to a dollar before I'll rent them.

I'm getting so educated here, too. I never heard of GSOH. Though I don't know what I'm going to do with all this new found information.

We have a good one for us on the holidays. We're pretty much the same here with the traditional days, yet our children live out of town, so between Thanksgiving and Christmas we all try and meet in one town and put up a tree, have a turkey and sing songs and exchange gifts. Dan can't make it this year so I'm going alone next week. That's why I have to start packing now. Oh, the grandchildren have renamed this holiday to either Thanksmas or Chrisgivng. I works for us well because of the extended families.

I was in London once. I loved it. I lived over seas for a while and saw some neat places. I love to travel, but I hate to drive. That makes it tough to travel these days.

What about your parents, David? And are there brothers and sisters? I have a younger sister. She and I don't have a lot in common. Different lifestyles I think. She has 3 kids, too. ALL in college! Professional husband and she works with him. They met in high school and have been together ever since. Great!!

My dad had a lady friend after my mom died and she died, too. He's a very compassionate caretaker type of person. He excels in this. He took care of my mom before she died and she died at home. He's got a ripsnorter friend now. They are so cute together. Don't we all like companions? I can live alone, I have, but I'd rather share my life. I'd also rather be alone than unhappy.

You must have cared a lot about the former girlfriend. Whatever happened? None of my business, never mind. She's asking her good Qs again... It is a good one.

Let's try the sense of humor today. Do you really have much faith in anything by Firestone? GSOH

Have a nice vacation and say hi to Liz and Phil. Respectfully, of course.

My hobby of choice is Genealogy. I found a relative of Da's who was hanged. End of story. Did 6 years of tracing and found out little else about him. I love this guy. He's got a story and I can't get it. I will someday, then I don't know what I'm going to do. Have to remodel again. AK, I like pounding and breaking, too. I like tearing out walls.

Neighbor sprung another leak so Dan is off to the cellars again (if one can have a cellar under a trailer) The original black hole and good test for a claustrophobic.

Take care All, Love, Lynn

 B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000

S1

Now my posts are here 3 times! Better thrice than never? You bet! Great way to handle messing up by the way. Zap them please Trubble and Thanks, Lynn Zapped!

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

Dear David,

This is Lynn, Hope all is fine today. I like what D. I suggested. I am going on vacation and I'd like to see you join Dan and Steve over in the cat box. Stick together guys. 

I'll see you in a couple of weeks.

Take Care,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

Giggle, Giggle.

This is Lynn again. About the Doc's blue pencil....... Re: CatBox... Steve needs you and Dan big time! I read it as Steve needs you (comma) and Dan big time!

Yikes! And thought we were doing sooo good. I'm glad I reread :)

Lots of Love and Laughter,

Lynn MommyDoc2 I luv U!

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

David - a question:

"I tend to the elitist/obscurist side and that is one of my character flaws that I am sure contributed to the breakup of my marriage."

Was this because you felt you had to prove yourself "superior", because you didn't actually feel so great about yourself?

Just curious. I'm still trying to understand some of this stuff.

Something I just mentioned to Steve that may be helpful to you as well. I don't know about your wife, but I know that I was always helping and supporting Steve with his problems, but felt I had nowhere to turn when it came to my own problems.

The things that I know I want from a relationship are support, encouragement, freedom, respect, and praise. I wasn't getting those things before (nor was I demanding them). I think that the more you can give all of the above-mentioned things, the more your wife will be able to feel respect and closeness to you.

Just a tip.

AK

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

Another question.

What do you think led you to become abusive? i.e. what factors, childhood or otherwise may have contributed? What sorts of role models did you have?

If you're comfortable answering. (It helps me to understand)

AK

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

And one more tip - say "sorry", when you are.

AK

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

Dear David,

I was reading your posts and those of AK, Lynn, and Astrid and Lynn's' question about your girlfriend brought my first serious love to mind.

I went out with this girl for about three years, more or less. There were 5 of us who used to go out and cruise the drag or go get drunk together. She was just one of the crowd. After I got out of school, I saw her in a different light, it was like a slap inside my head. I found that I cared for her in more than as a friend way. We started going together, which my mother objected to, and soon we became serious enough that I proposed. I then shipped to Nam and we wrote everyday. I came home and things were different, I was different. I still felt very much in love with her but we started to argue and fight a lot so when I shipped to my new duty station, she didn't go with me and we broke up. She had said that if I hadn't sent for her within a time period, we were through. I didn't.

This girl has been on my mind ever since, her bother and I are very close. I always asked about her because she still means a lot to me, but not in the same way.

To make a long story short I got her number from her brother and called her up......... Brief interruption, A neighbor needs some help. Dan! How can you stop now!!!

Dan

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 02, 2000

S1

[This is a bit tricky.. you can be "changed" in one instant, but go back to abusing in the next.  Old habits die hard.]

That's certainly true. Also, those closer you get to your target the less you want it. I hate to beat the drum here but it's in the Dr. Dobson book. He has a whole chapter on this towards the end of the book. The prototypical situation is the abused wife whose husband leaves and then comes back two years later after the wife has gained some hard-won self respect and probably has a boyfriend by now. After spending countless lonely nights crying for her husband, on the eve of the big homecoming, she tells him to get lost and she's changed her mind and she doesn't really need him after all.  That's called anger. And after she's done being angry she'll figure out how she really feels.

[You must have cared a lot about the former girlfriend. Whatever happened?]

Well many years ago I drove her away after she lived with me for a couple of years, just like I drove my wife away - through the controlling behavior that wasn't really loving. Also she wanted to get married and I didn't at the time. (Cf. "High Fidelity") The problem is that I am left with her permanently imprinted onto my consciousness, like it or not. Have you ever seen one of those nature shows where they are trying to raise the California condors by hand? They have to use a hand puppet of an adult California condor so the baby gets imprinted on that image. Otherwise they follow human beings around for the rest of their life. I've tried to contact her but she is divorced and now living with her new boyfriend. She is vehemently opposed to being friends with me because she doesn't want to jeopardize her relationship with her live-in boyfriend. I think that is just quaint given my situation and that she is on "committed" boyfriend / relationship #23 by now. And I find it interesting that you want what you can no longer have...  Has the School of Hard Knox taught you your lesson yet?

["I tend to the elitist/obscurist side and that is one of my character flaws that I am sure contributed to the breakup of my marriage." Was this because you felt you had to prove yourself "superior", because you didn't actually feel so great about yourself? Just curious.]

Absolutely not. I was convinced that since I knew about all this obscure knowledge and am highly educated, etc. that I WAS better than everyone else including my wife. I know now that it's just not true. Only a guy who is comfortable now with himself can make this type of statement. Congrats.

[The things that I know I want from a relationship are support, encouragement, freedom, respect, and praise. I wasn't getting those things before (nor was I demanding them). I think that the more you can give all of the above-mentioned things, the more your wife will be able to feel respect and closeness to you.]

God knows I am trying. It would have taken so little of this to keep the relationship going. "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a very fine Christmas." Thanks for the tip and I am doing that as much as I can.

[What do you think led you to become abusive? i.e. what factors, childhood or otherwise may have contributed? What sorts of role models did you have?]

Oh God, don't get me going on this one. Verbally abusive father. Physically abusive to us kids as well, but not to my mom. He quit cold turkey one day and my mom and dad are still together. It was a different time back then: 1960s. He quit too late though and left me with a very bad role model in my relationship with women. I want to say though that little kids have a very good memory and I remember a lot of men on the block being equally verbally abusive to their wives, not that that justifies it. It is so unbelievably common! And even worse. But anyway, I am sure that's where I got it from. I had the whole blueprint laid out for me in lurid detail. Daddy taught you all he knew... and now, you're learning differently. Excellent! 

[And one more tip - say sorry, when you are.]

I have, but it can't make up for it now. I do say it all the time now. As well as telling her I love her, which I do.

Regards, David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 02, 2000

S1

[I'm going to get this.... And think of you while I watch it.]

Dr. Irene: What a compliment!!! I am a bit older and not as good-looking as John Cusack. However, some of the parallels in the movie to my very own personal life are just scary. I am an avid record collector, I have broken up with my wife, I do want her back, I have gone to my wife's father's funeral and she told me I could go but don't expect that I will sleep with you, and her boyfriend has long hair. There are many other parallels of a general nature. It was really hard for me to watch this movie but I think it helped with my personal growth. Looking forward to your comments after you see it. It's on order.

Cheers, David.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 02, 2000

S1

Interesting to hear your responses David. You really remind me of Steve in many ways. (which is why I seek your input)

One last tip - you can apply all my above-mentioned tips to *everyone*, not just your wife.

AK

p.s. I'd love to see a spelling error or two from you, or at least can't you post to the wrong area once in awhile? ;) 

 B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 02, 2000

S1

haha

was that you David?  AKasha - now I can't even edit it out! 

AK

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 04, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Lynn here, I'm going away for a couple of weeks, but I will be thinking of you.

Take Care,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 06, 2000

S1

Hi David,

You've admitted to yourself and countless others you made some mistakes, HAVEN'T we all here, whether called victims, abusers, we've all missed the mark, so what, what is ever so important is being honest with yourself and others and saying I MESSED UP BIG TIME BUT AT LEAST I CAN ADMIT I DID (even if it did take me a while, David it took me 7 years, sometimes it takes great courage!!! it did for me)

A person who owns up when they know they'll have to face lots of pain is wise, and deserves so much praise. I believe that those who have had far to climb, (I feel I have) and get up and climb, BRAVO!!! at least they can admit their mistakes!!! Then can grow feets tall, they can learn true love, which is self love. They can begin to live, DAVID anyone who criticizes you ought to look at themselves. ARE THEY PERFECT??? Whether we are victims are abusers (WE ARE ALL REALLY VICTIMS IN ONE SENSE OR ANOTHER!!!) if we face up to our mistakes, and open up and learn and grow. LIFE IS WORTH LIVING!!!! Yes!!!

YIPPPPPEEEE!!!! YOUR ALIVE!!!!!! TRUST FROM YOUR WIFE WILL COME!!! When you earn it...

GOOD WILL TO YOU DAVID, PLEASE KNOW HOW BRAVE YOU ARE, AND HOW SPECIAL YOU ARE, BECAUSE YOU ARE SPECIAL AND NOW YOU KNOW THIS, YOU'LL DO YOUR BEST I AM SURE NOT TO MAKE YOURSELF ANY LESS THAN THE MAN YOU AIM TO BE!!!

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene & Trubble.

I was wondering if you could give a clear definition of the "Self" (as in higher self) and the "ego", and explain what distinguishes the 2.

Thanks

AK                    Did you look here?

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000

S1

Dear AK

I am neither Dr Irene nor Trubble, but I would like to give you some thoughts as to how I have experienced the Self and the ego. When I was particularly mad at my husband for ‘putting me through all this pain', I was very perplexed about a lot of other feelings I had at the same time. I was mad as hell, and at the same time I felt this compassion, this love encompassing not only him, but a lot of other people that hurt me too. It was not just love like the other site of the anger I was feeling. It really was something totally different. It felt sort of two distinct layers of feeling. I came to the conclusion that this layer where all the angry feeling was is my ego: at that level I was hurt and mad and just wanted him to die a horrible death or something :). The other layer I suppose was my Self: feeling compassion (not pity, that's ego I think) and love. I knew he hadn't wanted to hurt me, I could see his pain, his need, his confusion, and I could do nothing else than love him. And I knew these feeling were true, because even though we were going to be apart, I felt happy, and wanted him to be happy and whole. So for me the Self is the layer of your feelings were you can see things clear, apart from your own hurt and anger. For me, the Self is God within us (or the Light, or whatever you want to call it). It's the place in you were unconditional love resides. I guess that when your really hurting and you just give up the fight, the Self gets a better chance to get through to you and tell you the thing that really matter. Trick is to let it get through also when you are not hurting. Hard work!:)

Can't wait to hear the docs definition and hope this may help you along in the mean time (though maybe I am way off track with my perception. Will give you something to think about anyway.)

Love AJ   AJ: It sounds good to me, but only you can say. No other person in the world knows as much about you as YOU!

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000

S1

I think the easiest split for me is that Ego is generally interested in instant gratification (which is odd, because sometimes some incredibly masochistic things are included), and Self looks more long-term. True.

One of the misunderstandings I see a lot with people I deal with (having suddenly and semi-unexpectedly been thrust into the role of religious leader quite recently cool!) is the idea that Ego is served only by "material" things and Self is served only by "spiritual" things and never the two shall meet.

Not so. Taking care of the physical Self is every bit as important as taking care of the spiritual Self. She is a spiritual leader! The physical Self is perfectly capable of demanding food, sleep, exercise, a hug, or a nice warm bath. Has anyone else here played The Sims? Notice how quickly a lack of meeting physical needs will put a Sim into a rotten mood? We're more complex than computer games, sure, but that's a valuable lesson.

And the Ego has a mental/psychic/spiritual side as well. The whole "need to be needed" thing, for instance. And this is where Ego is really good at convincing us that Ego is Self and Self is Ego. There is such a strong cultural tradition that states that physical self-deprivation is the best, perhaps the only, way to cultivate a "higher self." Nonsense. The occasional up-all-night "vision quest" is one thing, or limited and controlled experiments of deprivation (like the Catholic tradition of giving something up for Lent), but I'm a firm believer in the idea of a strong mind (and spirit!) in a strong body, and that both need to be taken care of.

One of the things my ex did right was that he was one of the very few people who could remind me that I'm human and need food and sleep without completely irritating me in the process. I've gotten better about taking care of that on my own or allowing others to remind me, but it's not been an easy process.

And something else I find amusing in an odd sort of way is that since the breakup (in the past slightly over a month) I've lost 7 pounds without particularly trying. If I could get back to the weight I was before this relationship (about 15 more pounds to go), that'd be good, even though I'd still technically be another 20ish pounds overweight. Actually, I don't care what the scale number says (since nobody ever believes me anyway *giggles*), but I'd like to have a lower percentage body fat. I'm pretty strong physically, especially for a woman, and I think this is a very good thing. I know I'll never be little and graceful, but I'm getting over it. :)

Astrid (formerly posting as AngryGirl)

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000

S1

Okay, here's an even more specific question:

What questions can you ask yourself when trying to distinguish if your motives come from "ego" or from "higher self".

Some situations are pretty black and white, but at times the exact same issue can be motivated by a higher good, or from a lower ego need. i.e. the desire to have your spouse spend more time with your family - this could be motivated by neediness and desire to please, but it could also be motivated by a genuine sense of wanting to celebrate family and sharing. I'm not trying to say that you should *make* the spouse want this too, just how do you define whether what you want, the ultimate goal, is healthy or unhealthy?

I think if there are one or 2 simple questions I can quickly ask myself, I could be more immediately sure that I'm not engaging in a power struggle or trying to "control" in any way. I don't know how to answer your question; my favorite book that may help you distinguish is The Choice Is Always Ours: The Classic Anthology On The Spiritual Way - but it is out of print! Ick! . Second choices: The Power of NOW: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment as well as Seat of The Soul and others on the bookshelf in the Spiritual section. You won't find find a quiz you can take, but you'll get a feeling for the difference between ego and Self.

thanks for the input.

Asha (AK)

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000

S1

How to distinguish?

For me (and I don't always do this), if there is something I strongly want, I try to take a step back and say, "OK what is this really trying to tell me?" Especially if I want something that is potentially going to cause me trouble later. Good.

If the thing I want is an irrational and off-the-wall craving of some sort, I try to find a less damaging way to indulge it. For instance, the occasional fantasy of "wouldn't it be nice to just say the heck with everything and disappear?" that I get is usually dealt with by getting in my car and driving somewhere random for a couple of hours if the "real" problem is simply wanting a change of scenery or wanting to be unreachable for a little while, or finding some appropriately empowering book/movie/music to live through vicariously if the problem is known by the technical term "I'm surrounded by idiots!" (The latter is frequent these days, since I'm having difficulties with obnoxious co-workers. "Listen Mister Bigot" from Peter Paul & Mary's Flowers and Stones album has been blasted from my stereo frequently of late, due to the problems I'm having with said co-workers.)

In either case, I end up feeling better, but I don't blow off my life, the kitties get food and clean litter boxes and attention, and my friends don't decide to send out a search party. And I don't do silly destructive things like blowing off work even when the Ego says "who cares? call in sick, everyone does it!" I give myself the more pleasant surroundings that the Self is (rightfully) asking for, but without giving into the demands of the Ego for "gotta have it now, who cares about consequences?" :)

Certain desires, though, whether they originate with Ego or Self, might as well be indulged. Sometimes when you want a piece of chocolate cake, you aren't trying to fill an emotional void, you aren't hungry for healthy food, and you aren't playing the game people (especially women) are encouraged to play with the Ego of "I can be around all this fattening food and ignore it!" -- you just want the darned piece of chocolate cake. Now, sometimes you DO think you want it, but one of those other reasons really is at work.

Same goes for emotional stuff. If you think you need a specific need met, is THAT really the need you have, or is it covering up for something more general? Either answer is OK, but it's the *actual* need that should be being acted on, and sometimes the "I want!" isn't the real thing. Often, in fact, it's not the real thing... When I used to get upset that my ex wouldn't come to my dance practices with me, the real issue was less about the dance practices (though I would have liked to have him there and we needed more men!) than it was that 1) he used to say that he wanted me to suggest more of what we did together, then when I *did* he wouldn't want to do it and 2) he would do things for Cheech and Chong that he wouldn't do for me. He started going to clubs with them, he voluntarily went to a musical with them (this being the same guy who once subjected me to a 10-minute lecture on how he couldn't *possibly* enjoy a play because he couldn't suspend his disbelief for a play, especially a musical, the way he could for a movie), he'd eat stuff at their place that he wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole if I served it (maybe it was just munchies *snicker*), etc. Mix that in with my mom's regrets that SHE married someone who doesn't dance and didn't want me to make the same mistake... the issue wasn't really dancing at all, but I ended up presenting it that way because the Ego was saying "if he really loved me he'd be by my side dancing!"

Just some thoughts...

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

S1

Thanks Astrid (sorry David, we're taking over your forum :).

I think maybe the question I need to ask myself is something like - what is my true intention behind this issue?

My problem is that sometimes even when my intentions are from a higher place, I will doubt them. I think it's something to do with being taught to be "nice". And when I am angry about something (warning sign from higher place that something needs attention!), at times I mistake the anger for the true intention. i.e. someone breaks a promise and I am upset about it. I'm not feeling "nice", but there is a message from the higher self that is saying that this is not good for me. It's not exactly a glowing "feel-good" experience, but I don't think the higher self always gets its message across in a pleasant way. I think this is where I sometimes mix "higher self" with feeling good, which is often not the case. That's probably typical "victim" mentality.

thanks again Astrid.

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

S1

p.s.

maybe it's kinda like when the actor asks himself "what's my motivation?"

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

S1

David,

Firstly I would like to say I am new to this site. And that I am a woman. And that I have experienced both sides of the abuse coin. I have been the abuser and the abused, both feel extremely crappy. Yep. On my own I have discovered the suggestions Dr. Irene offers in her note with a few different twists. I have a 6 year old daughter and one of the methods I have to control my behavior with her father is that I imagine her always there witnessing me, and therefore, if I so choose also learning how to be verbally abusive. It's funny because my usual MO is to beat myself up afterwards and get no where, but if I imagine her watching and listening... it sort of encourages me to "take the high road", without the judgment. Good luck, I have felt change occur myself and I know that if you are kind but firm with yourself, you will too. --Janice Very nice Janice. See how you have all your answers inside?

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

S1

Thanks for the post Janice.

On the self/ego controversy could it be that self is what you know you should do but ego is what you want to do? Certainly. For example, I know in the abstract (Self) that personal integrity and taking the high road is important and we should all do it (for some reason) but I desperately want (ego) my wife to come back to me right now, and so I yell at her, beg, cry, jump in the pity pot, etc. Good distinction. Because she's had it with yukky, demanding behavior. Yelling, begging, crying, pity-partying, etc. are all wonderful ways to ensure that she stays away. All of this stuff is easier said than done cuz lots of bad habits get in the way of taking the High Road.

It's like an internal battle. Some days I am able to cope and the self is predominate, other days, like this last Friday, the ego is clearly in charge. As long as you see it now; that's what counts. The more you see it, the faster you'll be able to get out of ego mode.

Phil Deluca, whose book, The Solo Partner, refers to the split as "new brain" vs. "old brain". That is the old brain is our reptilian core brain whereas the "new brain" is the outer part and frontal lobes that are concerned with the higher reasoning powers. Could be roughly associated with self vs. ego maybe? Maybe not. He's making the distinction between the emotional limbic system and the frontal cortex, the rational part, capable of forethought - that makes us uniquely human. Yes, I think there is an association...

I am currently reading a good book that Dr. Irene recommended for me (us) which is "Grow Up!: How Taking Responsibility Can Make You A Happy Adult" by Dr. Frank Pittman. It's spot on as far as I am concerned about the self-absorbed baby boom generation. Guilty as charged! Excellent David; glad you see it. He hits the spot re: how today's generations elevate narcissism to a quest. This book is about taking the High Road. 

By the way, didn't you say you were going to post to cat box? Well? we're looking for you...

All for now,   Bye.

David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

S1

Well, defining "self" as "what I should do" and "ego" as "what I want to do" is a bit of an oversimplification.

How do I know this? I grew up with a workaholic father, whose list of "should-do" is miles long because he thinks (sometimes justifiably) that if HE doesn't do it, it doesn't get done. And if it gets done, it doesn't get done to his exacting standards. He doesn't *want* to do this stuff in the ordinary sense of the word "want", and he deeply and sincerely feels that he SHOULD be doing it (took major stress-related illness to get him to slow down). But that doesn't mean it's what his Self ought to be doing.

How else do I know this? I have to struggle to keep myself from doing the same kind of stuff. :)

Ego's sneaky that way sometimes. Looks an awful lot like Self (lessness). 

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2000

S1

I want to post this in response to Dr. Irene's latest poem. (Thanks for the credit, but I'm not the author.) There are always two sides to every coin. I wonder exactly what "the lesson" is he's referring to? It excerpted from "In the Wee Small Hours" as sung by Frank Sinatra from 1955:

In the wee small hours of the morning, While the whole wide world is fast asleep, You lie awake and think about the girl And never, ever think of counting sheep.

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson, You'd be hers if only she would call, In the wee small hours of the morning, That's the time you miss her most of all.  How does David know all this stuff?

David 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2000

S1

Dear David, it's been some time you posted about how things are going with you. I'd like to know. I would also like to share some feelings with you that I think may be of help. My husband and I are separated for about a year now. He is the one that left, though he kept telling me how much he loved me. I think if you'd want to speak in terms of abuser and victim, he's probably more abusive then me (used to yell, put me down, didn't take any responsibility what so ever). But in the end we both have the same problem, no boundaries, no sense of Self and really no idea how to live alone.

I pretty much felt a lot like you are now. I really wanted him to come back, I would do anything, change myself into anything I thought he might want - just for the security of a relationship that wasn't even that great after all. As I say, he was more abusive then I was, but I enabled his behavior and always felt I needed to save him, so he never needed to take any real responsibility. I had a lot of power in our relationship (by no wish of mine, I might add. It had to do with money, nationality, family and friends, but that's another story to tell)) and that finally was the reason for him to leave. He said he was scared like hell, he had lost himself completely and had become totally dependent on me and really really needed to find himself. He started an affair (This is not how one "finds" them self.)  and it really made me feel very sad (and angry I might add). Whether he was right or wrong doesn't matter, at least not anymore. It took me a lot of time and tears to see it DID NOT MATTER WHETHER HE WAS A SON OF A B**CH, OR NOT. What mattered was that he would do what he felt he needed to do anyway, that that was hurting like hell and that THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS GOING TO CHANGE HIM. If I wanted a different situation I had to start at my own end. Yep.

There was one particular moment I was so down and I sort of asked anyone up there who would hear (no special God in particular) please help me, I am so unhappy and I don't know what to do.... And then all of a sudden the answer came, like a clear voice in my head : YOU CAN BE HAPPY WITH OR WITHOUT C. YOU JUST HAVE TO GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE HAPPY. I know it sounds weird, but it really was like a kind of revelation, it was nothing I had ever before thought about. And then I saw that indeed it was true :) : I just had decided that I simply had to be unhappy, because I wanted something and I couldn't get it. And from then I started to see a lot of things. I sort of started giving myself permission to be happy, even if it was hard, and even if I really wanted my life to be different at that point. And it made all the difference. I started learning about boundaries, about codependence, about how to feel my feelings and I all of a sudden I felt I started a wonderful journey: the discovery of ME. I was so exited. I still wanted things to be different, I still wanted us to be back together, but I changed my priorities. Priority one was now: I'll be as happy as I can NOW and learn as much as I can. I stopped being totally obsessed with him. I ACCEPTED reality, even if I wanted it to be different. And I think that's really the crux. Yes...

Dear David, I do hope you'll find the strength to face reality and start looking for your own happiness, your Self. You already started the journey, I know. You might as well start to enjoy it!

Wishing you all the best and love. There's a life out there and a someone said in the earlier posts (forgot who): it might surprise you.

Love and hugs, I feel you need them

AJ  Thank you AJ.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Hi AJ:

[Dear David, it's been some time you posted about how things are going with you. I'd like to know.]

I'm OK, considering that I am still separated from my wife. I'm on a low dose of Paxil which I seem to be tolerating a lot better. I will ramp up after next week. I had a big blow up with my wife last Friday. That usually clears the air and I am really on my best behavior for a couple of weeks. In fact, she was just over here last night for a little while. We had a short "family meeting" which is a kind of a privilege, I guess, because we had been doing two family meetings per week, but my behavior got so bad that we had to cut these out entirely. I am hoping that good behavior over a sustained period of time will allow me to get more contact with my wife. Your behavior won't stop cycling unless you change the underlying thinking. You know, the kind of stuff you have decided you don't want to give up. Sheer will power only works for a given amount of time; the pressure gets too big and the frustration breaks through. 

[I would also like to share some feelings with you that I think may be of help. My husband and I are separated for about a year now.]

Sorry to hear about it. Are you leaning towards GOWYL or reconciliation?

[But in the end we both have the same problem, no boundaries, no sense of Self and really no idea how to live alone.]

Boundaries are good. I still don't want to live alone even if I can. I much prefer to live with my wife. A good friend of mine is complaining that his wife gets up in the middle of the night to blow her nose and that drives him nuts. I could only think back on the beginning of the end of my relationship and I over-reacted to these kinds of things as well and moved out of the bedroom. I traded a good night's sleep for my marriage. Not a good deal.

[I pretty much felt a lot like you are now. I really wanted him to come back, I would do anything, change myself into anything I thought he might want, just for the security of a relationship that wasn't even that great after all.]

Well, I've got an answer for that. I will change anything that was abusive, but I am not going to change who I am. Maybe that is easier said than done. I will think of other people, I won't criticize all the time, I won't be the center of attention, I won't let little things get to me, etc. This is assuming I ever get the platform to do this again. What does it matter if you are not going to criticize if there is no one there to criticize?

Plus, I want the relationship to be better than it was. It wasn't half bad from my perspective and I put NOTHING into it. I can imagine that it might be really great if I participated in it as well. That fantasy keeps me going to try for an eventual reconciliation. I wouldn't go through all of this hell if it was just to get back where we were.

[What mattered was that he would do what he felt he needed to do anyway, that that was hurting like hell and that THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS GOING TO CHANGE HIM. If I wanted a different situation I had to start at my own end.]

No argument there. My big thing is controlling my own behavior in the meantime while I am working on myself. If I could only get to that bare minimum of self control I might have a chance. The Paxil is definitely helping. Yes! I never gave any thought to "personal integrity". I just figured you could go through life looking out for number one and there wouldn't be any consequences. How wrong I was. Anyway, I am definitely starting with me. And my wife is definitely going to do whatever she is going to do whether I like it or not. I agree with that as well.

[YOU CAN BE HAPPY WITH OR WITHOUT (your spouse) YOU JUST HAVE TO GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE HAPPY.]

I've given myself permission to be happy, but I haven't taken myself up on the offer yet! :)

[I stopped being totally obsessed with him.]

I talked with my therapist about this. She thought that maybe I could go for four hours where I didn't view my wife as the most important thing in the world, for starters. A healthy person's life is like a pie that has all these slices in it: spouse, self, hobbies, kids, job, God, leisure activities, workouts, whatever. My life is a pie with no slices that is labeled "my marriage". It's all I think about. Paxil may help here too, but you still have to fix the thinking.

[I ACCEPTED reality, even if I wanted it to be different.]

I haven't quite yet. I guess I don't want to accept reality. Now we're getting somewhere. Admitting you have a choice; "I don't want to" vs. "I can't." Excellent. Reality is for people who can't accept drugs. :) 

[Dear David, I do hope you'll find the strength to face reality and start looking for your own happiness, your Self. You already started the journey, I know. You might as well start to enjoy it!]

Thanks for your kind thoughts. I'm looking forward to my trip to London over Thanksgiving. That should be a lot of fun. The English are so hard to get to know. I have a few business colleagues, but no real good friends. I still like to see them anyway.

Warm Regards, David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2000

S1

Dear David, You asked me was I going for GOWL or reconciliation. Well, I'm going for both! I think what was my biggest problem in the first place (seems to be a problem for you also) is that I felt my husband WAS my life. This night I am going to see my husband for the first time in more then two months. Before I agreed I needed to be sure would I want to reconcile or not. I would if he would. BUT (big but) that doesn't mean I still don't have to GOWL ( I'm going to make it into a word, I rather like it), cause GOWL'ing is FUN. And I also rather not live alone, though I found out it's not so bad after all.... I think the point I am trying to make is that regardless of whether you live alone or not, whether you get back with your wife or not, you'll have to start GOWL'ing anyway. And you can do it, and it will be fun. :)

As for giving yourself permission to be happy, start taking yourself up on the offer :) I have to admit though , I am no happy all the time either :). But that's not the point. Point is that at this moment you seem to feel you're ONLY way to happiness is getting your family together again. At the risk of sounding presumptuous: it's not. You can start enjoying yourself. I think going to England for Thanksgiving is a great start.

I have to go now, take care and start working on a few Barbara-less hours each day. Hugs and love,

AJ

To Buddha 3

 

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