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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments to Buddha 3

Comments for Buddha 3

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: Saturday, October 14, 2000

S1

AJ:

[This night I am going to see my husband for the first time in more then two months.]

Ouch, that's a long time to not see him. But maybe in the grand scheme of things it's not that long. Time and distance, right? Isn't that supposed to be the magic answer? We have kids we are sharing so two months of solid separation isn't an option at the moment.

[I would (reconcile) if he would.]

Same here.

[BUT (big but) that doesn't mean I still don't have to GOWL.]

As Pee Wee Herman said "Everybody's got a big BUT!"

[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.]

That's exactly where I am at the moment. "Without You I'm Nothing" syndrome. My wife cannot understand this at all. Because when we were together I ignored her or didn't treat her very nicely. So now when it is all broken down why do I need her so desperately? Because when everything was given to me on a platter I COULD take it for granted. Now that I can't have it I want it just that much more. It's human psychology 101. I don't think I would relapse into my old behaviors because I am never going through this again.

[You can start enjoying yourself.]

I think if I did start enjoying myself I might be more attractive as well. :)

Best Regards, David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2000

S1

David

You might find some of the comments Dr. Irene made at the "Cat Box" section 6 helpful. ( http://drirene.com/forms/comments_catbox6.htm )

I really did.

To be honest, before I started posting there I thought they seemed a bit nutty. :) Now I know that's an asset. I didn't see at first how much these people could offer me in different areas of my development. (How arrogant of me, really!) I actually thought I already knew quite a lot about myself, but now see there is so much more going on inside than I realized.

Another question David

you said: [Because when everything was given to me on a platter I COULD take it for granted. Now that I can't have it I want it just that much more.]

What do you think it is that you *really* want, if you take away the circumstances and characters? i.e. what is it that's really missing in your life right now; or what is it that your wife & family now represent in terms of what you don't have? I know that's a bit convoluted, but what I'm getting at is what's underneath the surface of what you want.

I'm wondering because if when your wife and family was there for you you didn't notice them much, maybe it's more of an "idea" or a "feeling" that you're now missing. I know I'm not wording this very well, but I hope you understand what I'm asking.

have a great weekend

Asha (AK)

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 15, 2000

S1

Dear David, <<That's exactly where I am at the moment. "Without You I'm Nothing" syndrome. My wife cannot understand this at all. Because when we were together I ignored her or didn't treat her very nicely. So now when it is all broken down why do I need her so desperately? Because when everything was given to me on a platter I COULD take it for granted. Now that I can't have it I want it just that much more.>>

I am going to say something very tricky here, but I feel I need to say it. But please don't take offence and know it's said with a genuine feeling of wanting to help. Here goes: maybe your wife doesn't understand because the way you are acting now is essentially the same as before. Ok, you're not yelling, abusing whatever (or at least you try to). But the underlying feeling you convey is: I NEED YOU TO TAKE CARE OF ME. And that was what you demanded of her all the time anyway. As long as you don't feel able to take care of yourself, this is just another way to express your uncertainty and neediness to her. But she has tried to take care of you for 17 (?) years and she might just want/need someone who is able to take care of himself and fulfill her emotional needs for a change.

I do hope you understand what I mean. I am a bit uncertain about this, but I feel it's right. It's what happened with C. and me a lot. He said bad things, and then would say how much he needed me, but in the end both ways of behaving were essentially the same: he needed met o vent his frustration at and he needed me to say he loved me. He himSelf did never enter the picture.

The meeting with C last night went rather well. He wants to try to work things out and see whether we can get a live together again. I do have the feeling he too went trough a lot of pain and did some serious soul searching and healing. Before this two-months-no-contact (which was by the way because I did not want to see HIM, instead of vice versa as you might think), we still saw each other a lot, tried to talk, work things out and often still slept together. But it was the same story over and over again. Me putting a lot of pressure on him to decide, to come back, me wanting to fix him, wanting to fix the situation, and him getting defensive, withdrawing, being angry and me feeling hurt again. It was like Steve's merry-go-round. For us no contact probably was the only way to get of and start addressing our own issues and both start some healing. I am not sure what will happen next, but I now am the one now who really wants to take things slowly (kind of funny, but it does make me see his need to withdraw much better. ) We sort of agreed to commit to try to work things out, at that feels great. But there's still a lot to talk about and we won't be moving in together for a long time anyway. I understand that it is difficult for you to have a no-contact-period. But you might try to agree on not talking about "THE ISSUES" for maybe a month or so. It's harder then simply no contact at all, but you might try it. You need time off from your obsessing and you need to feel you can address you own problem without her. C. sort of learned it as did I by being apart, we both feel much more at ease with ourselves and I feel that is very important.

David, I am very glad you said that maybe if you started enjoying yourself you might be more attractive to her as well. I bet you are right. AND, nice by product: you will be more attractive to yourself also :) :). Take care, love and hugs, AJ   :)

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000

S1

Hi Dr Irene, or anyone else who can help me,

What does this mean???

 

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.

What puzzles me isn't watching how you speak to another person the same as controlling the situation??? It depends what you do with it. But, you're asking different questions.

In intimate relationships, if you try to give the other person what you think they want, you are being controlling or manipulative because you compromise yourself and other by not speaking your truth plainly and respectfully. 

If you watch how you speak in the sense of controlling yourself so that you don't say anything that demeans the other person or yourself, you are taking care of yourself because behaving in a respectful way feels good to most people; they feel good about themselves.

I sometimes get so confused because if holding in your anger is healthy, then why was it so long for years??? I'll explain if you are angry at xxxxx for doing xxxxx, and you leave the room to cool down, you never get it resolved, aren't you controlling the outcome???? Anger management: You hold your anger until you cool down. Then you think about what happened and what about the situation is bothering. Then you figure out how to say what you have to say. Then you talk about it.

Thanks, I am getting there slowly Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000

S1

[You might find some of the comments Dr. Irene made at the "Cat Box" section 6 helpful.]

All of Dr. Irene's comments are helpful. Except the ones you don't want to hear!

[What do you think it is that you *really* want, if you take away the circumstances and characters? i.e. what is it that's really missing in your life right now; or what is it that your wife & family now represent in terms of what you don't have?]

A mature relationship with a woman is not enough? Why do people even get married or live together in the first place? I think this is self-evident, isn't it? Life is just better when you have someone to share it with. It's just more interesting. Yes, it is self-evident. But I think the questioner was asking from a more internal perspective.

[I'm wondering because if when your wife and family was there for you you didn't notice them much, maybe it's more of an "idea" or a "feeling" that you're now missing.]

Yes, I very much miss being part of a couple.

[maybe your wife doesn't understand because the way you are acting now is essentially the same as before. Ok, you're not yelling, abusing whatever (or at least you try not to). But the underlying feeling you convey is: I NEED YOU TO TAKE CARE OF ME.]

Do you think begging and crying might convey that sentiment? :)  Cute.

[she might just want/need someone who is able to take care of himself and fulfill her emotional needs for a change.]

That pretty much describes her current boyfriend.

[But you might try to agree on not talking about "THE ISSUES" for maybe a month or so.]

My wife is very much in favor of this. She can't stand talking about our relationship anymore, except in the counseling context.

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

David  AJ is pretty smart, huh? 

David: Almost wry tone to your comments. Question: Do you think you are the "type" of person who doesn't have the capability to take care of your wife's emotional needs?

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2000

S1

Hi David

I think AJ's comments were more to the point than my questions which were rather sketchy.

<<What do you think it is that you *really* want, if you take away the circumstances and characters? >> [A mature relationship with a woman is not enough? Why do people even get married or live together in the first place? I think this is self-evident, isn't it? Life is just better when you have someone to share it with. It's just more interesting. ]

It's becoming less and less evident to me when I continue to see people who would practically kill each other when together, absolutely broken, once apart. There has to be something other than a mature relationship at play in these circumstances. Maybe I'm still distinguishing between "ego" and higher self. For example, if I knew that on a higher level, Steve would be better off with someone other than me, then my higher self could accept this, but my EGO would certainly not be happy about it. I think that what might help me in these circumstances would be a belief that there is a "higher" plan for me whether I ended up with him or not.

Just something to think about. Hmmmm. Excellent point. David: What do you think?

take care

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2000

S1

David, Hi. I'm DJ Hi DJ. and am new to this site. I was drawn to the Buddha postings because you have the same name as the "abuser" I left (but still love) and because you give me insight into his mindset. The last post, by Asha, left me wanting to ask you a question I often ask myself. You wrote *Life is just better when you have someone to share it with. It's just more interesting.* Ok, I'll buy that. But why is it that it doesn't "seem" as interesting to share it with a friend, a child, a parent, etc. as it is to "share" it with a romantic partner. I am coming to realize that by focusing so much on sharing my life with my David, I cheated myself out of good times I could have shared with others in my life. I know you neglected your wife before, but now with your insight to your abuse, you have turned into the needy codependent. Ask yourself this, is the feeling you're lacking right now the feeling of having someone who wants you in all the ways a person can be wanted? (Your wife wanted you emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually -- she wanted a partner in every aspect, and before you liked that, but didn't give her that feeling of being wanted back.) Now you are missing being wanted and because she is the person who would best fulfill your need to be wanted in every way (to be supremely special to one person), you want her, you ache for her, you miss her and you are having a hard time GOWYLing. I know it's not as fulfilling as if you shared life's events with your wife, but my advice would be to let yourself focus on being grateful for the enjoyable times, events, moments, holidays, etc., of your life that you share with your friends, children, and others, and while you are enjoying yourself with others, don't diminish the joy potential by missing your wife and resenting that your wife isn't there by your side. It's normal to want to share the enjoyable events of life with your wife and it's somewhat normal, I think?, to feel as if enjoyable times are sort of wasted if they aren't shared with that one special person IF you haven't fully come to appreciate and enjoy whatever people and events come into your life at the time they come. Bottom line: My unsolicited opinion of what you are wanting is to be supremely wanted, which is what you had and lost. What do you think? DJ

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 19, 2000

S1

Hi David and everyone else,

I just want to ask a question anyone maybe be able to answer it, I hope!!!

If we work on our own ISSUES our own WOUNDS, is it possible to ever have an intimate relationship after all the water that has gone under the bridge?? What I mean is if you've been part of an abusive relationship, how? can you start a fresh and both be healthy??? is this possible?? Maybe Dr Irene is out there and can shed some light on this???

Is it possible for a broken couple to become whole?? Healthy?? Intimate?? Instead of co-dependent or counter-dependent???? Yes!

Thanks Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 20, 2000

S1

Dear David Are you back from England yet? (Sorry I don't have a clue when Thanksgiving is. Please enlighten me :-)) Wooh, did I step on your toes. But you know, what, I'm glad I did, because I somehow feel you got my drift. Hope you had a good time. Love and hugs, AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 20, 2000

S1

Hello Group,

This is Lynn and I've got to be quick. I have to reply to the Cat Box. David, I'd like to think of this as the "Can" box as opposed to "can't." Sounds positive to me!

Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 23rd.

Ego vs. self.... Could this be when I need someone else to make me feel good and that is stroking my ego vs. feeling good because I am and do and did the right thing and don't need anyone else to confirm it and pat me on the back? :)

Love,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 20, 2000

S1

[David: Almost wry tone to your comments. Question: Do you think you are the "type" of person who doesn't have the capability to take care of your wife's emotional needs?]

Not behaving like I did, no I don't. Can't people change? Doesn't anyone understand that I would like to do this now? That I have learned my "lonely heart's" lesson and don't want to continue on that way? Yes, I think now that I have spent a year and a half thinking about this issue non-stop, I could have the capability to do a much better job of "taking care" of my wife's emotional needs, by being an actual contributing interested partner to the marriage. Why doesn't anybody believe me on this point? Whoa there! I asked you if you thought you had the ability to be your wife's partner because I was looking for underlying thoughts on your part that it wasn't in you somehow, which I still think is there a little.

But, look what you did with my comment... Do you believe you on this point?

David

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 20, 2000

S1

[I think that what might help me in these circumstances would be a belief that there is a "higher" plan for me whether I ended up with him or not.]

[Just something to think about. Hmmmm. Excellent point. David: What do you think?]

I think that my "higher plan" is to stay with my wife. For reconciliation after a period of soul-searching and penance.

David 

But what if that was really not your higher plan? Or hers?

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 20, 2000

S1

[My unsolicited opinion of what you are wanting is to be supremely wanted, which is what you had and lost. What do you think? DJ]

Yes, I desperately want to be wanted by my wife again. I would give anything if she cared a rip about me again. That would be great. I really miss that aspect of our relationship. More than you know.

David 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 22, 2000

S1

Hi I'm Stacey. I just found out from my ex boyfriend that I "abused" him and that's why he broke us up. He tells me after two years. I knew I had hurt him a lot. Apparently my abusive father taught me well. I'm only 22 years old. I don't know how to deal with this. This goes deep down in my soul. But I'm a believer in healing oneself through spirituality. It helped me deal with other things before. But this problem of verbal abuse and being controlling goes deep. I'm angry that I have the problem. I'm wondering if I should hate myself. NO! I'm so ashamed. Very ashamed. OK, enough shame. Just start to fix it. He's the only man I love. And how he must hate me.  

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 22, 2000

S1

David

[I think now that I have spent a year and a half thinking about this issue non-stop, I could have the capability to do a much better job of "taking care" of my wife's emotional needs, by being an actual contributing interested partner to the marriage. Why doesn't anybody believe me on this point?]

I believe you David. Me too!

I (and others) have been asking some tough questions. And at the risk of stepping on your toes I'd like to ask some more. If they are not helpful, please disregard them. I am rooting for you David, and I'm wishing you the absolute best outcome, so please know that.

How best can you take care of your wife's emotional needs right *now*?

[I think that my "higher plan" is to stay with my wife. For reconciliation after a period of soul-searching and penance.]

Here is another genuine question. I want to preface it by saying that I'm not trying to insinuate anything: What do you think your wife's higher plan might be (from her point of view)?

And let me go even further. What if it is was revealed to you, beyond any doubt (and I'm not suggesting in any way that this is true) that your wife is best off with her current boyfriend right now, and that you are in exactly the right circumstances for your higher learning? How would you then treat this situation?

My personal belief is that all the things that happen in life are all part of life's lesson book. Since you have no control over your wife's choices how can you make your life as it exists now better for yourself and for everyone involved on the "highest" level?

Again, if this is not helpful, please disregard.

take care

Asha  Oh Asha, such good questions...

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 23, 2000

S1

[Dear David Are you back from England yet?]

I'll be going to "Old Blighty" from Nov. 22-26. I have lots of fun things planned. It will be fun.

[Whoa there! I asked you if you thought you had the ability to be your wife's partner because I was looking for underlying thoughts on your part that it wasn't in you somehow, which I still think is there a little.

But, look what you did with my comment... Do you believe you on this point?]

Well I don't know if I can ever measure up to her "SNAG" boyfriend (sensitive new-age guy, available on CD from Amazon: That link was way too long!

But I am sure that I could do a much better job. Sure, I am defensive on this point, but I've learned so much in the last year and a half. Like that you have to treat your wife like a human being, that you have to contribute to the marriage, that you have to listen to what your wife is saying. I didn't believe in any of these things. Do I think I will get an award for emotional connectivity? SNAG of the year? Probably not. But I do believe that I can function as a good father and husband because I now value that and want to work at it. Not good enough for you? Yes, I believe what I have just written. 

[I believe you David.]

Thanks.

[How best can you take care of your wife's emotional needs right *now*?]

Probably by leaving her alone. By joining in when opportunities present themselves, like teacher conferences, football games. Supporting her. Not confronting her or her boyfriend. Going to counseling with her occasionally. What have I left out? Getting a platonic girlfriend that I can do things with. That would help.

[Here is another genuine question. I want to preface it by saying that I'm not trying to insinuate anything: What do you think your wife's higher plan might be (from her point of view)?]

I don't know what it is. To just be left alone and to live her life however she wants, I suppose. No demands from anyone, including her boyfriend. That seems to be the plan so far. I think she had some grandiose plans of going back to school and other big ideas but they never panned out. It is just out with the bad (me) and in with the good (her boyfriend) and everything else is pretty much the same.

[And let me go even further. What if it is was revealed to you, beyond any doubt (and I'm not suggesting in any way that this is true) that your wife is best off with her current boyfriend right now, and that you are in exactly the right circumstances for your higher learning? How would you then treat this situation?]

Pretty much as I am now, but without the crying and begging. If God told me to cool it for two years and then she would come back enthusiastically to the marriage I would be behaving quite differently I am sure. But, what if the message was to cool it forever since that's what's best for her?

[My personal belief is that all the things that happen in life are all part of life's lesson book. Since you have no control over your wife's choices how can you make your life as it exists now better for yourself and for everyone involved on the "highest" level?]

I don't disagree with this. I would just say that there is a struggle going on between wanting to be a good person in the absolute sense and wanting your wife back. I would rather have my wife back and be a "bad" person than the other way around right now. If I knew for sure she was coming back to me eventually, that would free me up to work on myself without reservation. David: this makes no sense. Free yourself to work on yourself without reservation no matter what! 

David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 23, 2000

S1

Originally posted by David +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

I would just say that there is a struggle going on between wanting to be a good person in the absolute sense and wanting your wife back. I would rather have my wife back and be a "bad" person than the other way around right now. If I knew for sure she was coming back to me eventually, that would free me up to work on myself without reservation. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dr. Irene, HELP!!! I think this statement encapsulates exactly where my h and I are. I'm 28, he is 38, we have one son (13 months) and he has an 8 year old from a previous relationship. This is the first marriage for both of us. We have been separated 5 months (my decision) after only 2 years of marriage (though I've known him since I was 21 and we dated for 4 years before marriage).

I feel like we are in a power struggle. I'm saying change or I'm not coming back. He is saying come back or I'm not trying to change. You call the shots. I conceded sooo much over the course of our relationship that to come back under these terms is unacceptable. H is not quite where David is yet. He still thinks I'm out to punish him for hurting me, that he was not that bad, and that quitting after two years is only a sign that I never gave a damn about him to begin with. How can I look at this situation a different way? I want to believe that I am right (that he has some work to do FIRST). But in a situation like this is there a way one of us does not feel like the loser?

I've lived alone independently from the time I was 17 until I got married. I know I can provide for me and my son. Instead of getting easier I'm starting to lose my resolve. Please tell me that I'm just sad and lonely (the holidays are coming up, lots of social and family functions, and I haven't had sex in over 5 months). You are sad and lonely, the holidays are coming up...

Btw, David, you are not alone. I have been following your thread from day one. The pain and the anguish you feel is almost palpable in your posts. Your words have helped me to UNDERSTAND my h...finally. I too am rooting for you...what you have shared and experienced requires a great deal of courage. I don't know if you would find it comforting to know that your experience is similar to other men. You sound exactly like my husband that I feel compelled to read your posts. Continue to be brave and thank you for the thread.

Mom2One You have nothing but my respect and heartfelt best wishes)  You have choices: Stay strong and maybe, maybe he will start working. Or, give in and go back to what you had. Expect it to worsen.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 23, 2000

S1

Dear David

You wrote << If God told me to cool it for two years and then she would come back enthusiastically to the marriage I would be behaving quite differently I am sure.>> and <<If I knew for sure she was coming back to me eventually, that would free me up to work on myself without reservation. >>

:-) I know the feeling! If only you would be sure that everything would be oke in the end, it would be so easy to do what has to be done, wouldn't it? But I think it is sort only practicing running if you are sure you are going to need it (BTW I absolutely HATE running). Problem is you'll never be sure when you'll need it, but without practice, you won't be able to run when the need arises. Bit cryptic, I guess, hope you'll understand. I sort of get the underlying feeling that you think that being good (i.e., feeling good) is not something you're entitled to do for YOU. It seems to only make sense with respect to your wife: you want to be good for her. Please David, be good for you. Not because it will make other people feel better, but because you are worth it to feel good about yourself. Take care. Love AJ

Stacey Have you told your ex about the way you are feeling? Maybe he would be willing to talk things through with you, since he is willing to tell you now how he felt. I have no idea whether you two could eventually make up, but talking would at least make it more clear to the both of you what really happened. You said you had a ‘good' teacher in your abusive father. So don't keep putting all the blame on yourself. Just try to find out what happened and how you can help yourself feel better and start having better and non-abusive relationships. It won't be easy, but you'll get there if you really want. And you're so young yet, time's on you site. Keep up the good work, feel your feelings and keep posting. We've all done yukky stuff, victims and abusers alike and we're all learning to cope with it. Love, AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 23, 2000

S1

Hi David

[But I do believe that I can function as a good father and husband because I now value that and want to work at it. Not good enough for you?]

Why would it not be good enough for Dr Irene? Again, at the risk of stepping on your toes, I think it may be *you* that it isn't good enough for. That's why you may see an accusatory tone in others. 

It's also reflected in this statement:

[It is just out with the bad (me) and in with the good (her boyfriend) ]

Do you agree that it might be *you* that doesn't feel good enough?

[Do I think I will get an award for emotional connectivity? SNAG of the year? Probably not.]

haha - I love this. How about this - May I award you the GIG award instead? "greatly improved guy"? :)

[If I knew for sure she was coming back to me eventually, that would free me up to work on myself without reservation. ]

So what if you 'pretended' that this will happen. Say you knew that in 2 years - on October 24th, 2001, she will either be back with you, or something far better than you can imagine right now is going to happen - guaranteed. If you can convince yourself of this, then maybe you can relax and just do what you need to do. Personally, I believe that if you can make yourself this promise, then it will come true. It's just having faith really. This I believe because I think everything that happens in life is designed for our highest good, especially those circumstances beyond our control.

I think the platonic girlfriend is a good idea if it's not intended to manipulate your wife in any way, and if the girlfriend clearly understands that she is "platonic". Being with others might help you in any case.

Good luck.

Asha Thank you Asha.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2000

S1

David: [But I do believe that I can function as a good father and husband because I now value that and want to work at it. Not good enough for you?]

AK: "Why would it not be good enough for Dr Irene? Again, at the risk of stepping on your toes, I think it may be *you* that it isn't good enough for. That's why you may see an accusatory tone in others. "

Hmm...I think I see something here. David, you just need to stop letting these girls push your buttons. I think I know how you feel. Dr Irene keeps telling me how angry I still am and it's pretty impossible to convince her otherwise. However, what I've realized is, it's not up to me to do that. It's actually up to her. I only need to prove to myself that I'm not angry. Right. Because it doesn't matter to anyone else.

Don't try to convince them how sincere you are. Just be sincere to yourself. When you hit that brick wall, where it seems like you just can't get it through to them, let it go. It's not your responsibility. :)

AK, I may be putting words in his mouth but I don't think David sees an "accusatory tone". I think he sees people here treating him statically. It's much like how I felt Dan and Irene and you were treating me. It felt almost like you were all saying in unison "you're sick, you're sick, you haven't changed, we'll let you know when you've changed", even though I knew myself, that I was changing, progressing. 

It can make someone feel quite defensive. Although I can blow it off easy now, there was a time when I thought I had to "prove" my progress. Once I understood that I was only fixing me, and not them also, the huge gorilla on my back jumped off into a black hole, never to return - knock on wood.  :)

The one thing that I would hope you keep a close watch on David, is your feeling that you would rather have your wife back while you were "bad", than have her gone when your "good".

You already know, somewhere inside, what's best for you. All you have to do, is allow it the grace to float to the top.

You also may have to face perhaps your biggest fear. The fear that you may be better off without your wife. I could very well be wrong about that, but I just have a feeling... I remember facing that fear, and when I did finally face it instead of running from it, the whole world opened up, saying "You can do, what's best for you, and it'll be alright".

What's hard for me still, is living without my kids. That hurts and I haven't found a way around that pain yet. I can live without their mother, and not feel any pain, but the loss of my children is a permanent scar that seems to grow larger as time passes. I think it's the knowledge that they are only children once, and I cannot protect them nor give them all the guidance they need. Their mother certainly doesn't do either with much expertise. Unless you call a steady diet of game-boy, play station and TV guidance.

 

Steve   Good stuff!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2000

S1

Hi David and Buddha Bunch,

Some pretty good posts here. I don't think there's a thing I can add. Keep up the good work and I am following faithfully.

Love,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Theressa just posted (Oct 24th) in the Cat Box a definition of Love vs. toxic love. If you feel like looking, I think it's great.

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2000

S1

Do you think that I am a toxic lover?  You have been. But only because you can't get outside of your own point of view...

David

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2000

S1

Dear David,

I have no idea what kind of lover you are. I find myself guilty of some of these. I'd like to use this as a guide for me to become a better lover. I personally think this may be The Thirteen Commandments toward true intimacy.

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2000

S1

I posted something in Cat Box a few days ago that might be vaguely applicable here as well.

The gist of it was realizing from my perspective that depending on my ex for emotional support when the relationship overall was making me weaker Self-wise was about as silly and generally ineffective as having a drink in the morning to get rid of a hangover.

He also asked me to come back because he was "miserable" alone and "a step above miserable" without me. Doesn't sound like the best of situations to me. :) If I go back (not likely) it needs to be based on desire rather than need, and in effect there would need to be a completely different relationship between us.

The relationship isn't a comfortable place to be. If this makes any sense, he's not continuing to hurt me but the relationship *is* continuing to hurt me. To get free of the relationship, I need to distance myself from him somewhat. I think to an extent this might be where your wife is at. Make sense?

Hope this helps a little bit...

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 27, 2000

S1

Astrid:

[He also asked me to come back because he was "miserable" alone and "a step above miserable" without me.]

This is where I am. I am miserable without my wife. I should be happy that I don't have her companionship anymore? No David. But wanting her back because you are miserable is not a good enough reason for her to return. She can't MAKE you happy, no matter what you think. You must make yourself happy. Then you can be a partner and appreciate a partner.

[Doesn't sound like the best of situations to me.]

It's not. He's not happy that you are not with him anymore. Should he just snap out of it and GOWYL?

[If I go back (not likely) it needs to be based on desire rather than need, and in effect there would need to be a completely different relationship between us.]

Self-fulfilling prophecy? What would have to change for you to consider going back?

Does the man become unattractive just because he wants the woman? I am finding out that my protestations of change and desire to be close to my wife is not getting me anywhere. You're missing the point. The objective is to become whole and content within yourself. Then you have the capacity to be a partner.

David

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 27, 2000

S1

Dear David

You write <<Does the man become unattractive just because he wants the woman? I am finding out that my protestations of change and desire to be close to my wife is not getting me anywhere.>>

I think not when he wants a woman, but when he needs her, essentially yes. And the same goes for a woman needing/wanting a man too much. I think it just gives us a feeling that if he/she wants me so badly, that's probably because he can't live on his own, he can't find anyone else so he'll just have me. Erich Fromm stated in The Art of Loving that there is a huge difference between needing someone because you love them and loving someone because you need them. I think if the latter is too much the case the other party tends to run, cause it doesn't feel like you are loved for yourSelf, just for certain tasks you may perform, or needs you may fulfill. Anyone else could do that. It doesn't make you feel special.

Don't know, it sort of struck home with me when I first read it, maybe it can help you too. Lots of love and take care, 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 28, 2000

S1

David, it must have been tough writing this message, not knowing what response you would have from victims. This goes to show you have strength and courage. Use them.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 30, 2000

S1

David,

I think you are a victim, too. Yep. I think you are a nice guy, too. You sound like a nice guy. Are you okay? I'm thinking of you, Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2000

S1

Dear David, I still check in with you. Hello, I'm thinking of you. I have a cute story for you. My 15 year old nephew is taking "Life Skills" in high school. He hates it. He thought this would be cooking, sewing buttons on and learning to balance a check book. They have him weaving baskets! Some life skill! No wonder he hates it.

(((HUGS)))

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2000

S1

Hi Lynn:

I am still here. I am just hanging on and not really trying too hard at the moment. I am tired a lot of the time. I wonder if it's because of the Paxil. May be. I am going to start re-reading my self-help books to pound this stuff into me. Good! I get the feeling sometimes that I am being given more opportunities to demonstrate good behavior but I don't take advantage of them. Excellent observation. Do you know why you don't take advantage? My wife is highly attuned to bad behavior and now even minor incidents of bad behavior are met with "Aha-see that's what I am talking about", but of course good behavior on my part is not rewarded. Is that what gets you mad? People don't routinely get reinforced for being "good"... It's just what is expected... If I had the remotest sense of encouragement things would be so much easier. But as a verbal abuse victim of 17 years I guess I can't expect much encouragement from her. I am so sorry for everything I did and just wish we could wipe the slate clean and start over. Well, you do wipe the slate every second. So, wipe it - and stop expecting accolades! Oh well ....

I actually did basketweaving with the boy scouts this summer. Some of the kids did an excellent job. Others looked like something from outer space.

David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2000

S1

Hi David,

Thanks for the reply. I was starting to worry. Tired is OK. Maybe your body is doing some healing. With the stress I put myself through I don't sleep, so when I unwind I seem to need 3 days of rest to catch up.

I think I told you I quit with the heavy self help reading. I have a old self help book that I've always loved. It's called Peoplemaking by Virginia Satir and it's such an easy read. I can get messed up with the terminology and anyhow I don't particularly care for labels.

I think you are sounding a lot better. Not the same, but I'll reward you for your good behavior. David, I think you are doing great!

As for "the remotest sense of encouragement" from your wife. Does this make you angry? I truly don't believe you were a "bad" husband ALL of the time. Albert Einstein defined this as the "Theory of Relativity." He said it was simple. He said it was like sitting on a hot stove for one minute and it seemed like an hour, while sitting with a pretty girl for an hour seemed like one minute. Your wife may be in this right now, thinking it always was bad.

David, whoever remembers good behavior anyway? I was single and chased around a bit and bartended for years. I also saved a man's life once. If you went back to my hometown and asked about me I think the majority would remember the "bad" behavior. Just human nature I think. The President might be a perfect example of this. I'll bet 98% of the population can't think of one good thing he has done. Most people don't take the time to dig that deep.

You may have hit it right the first sentence when you said something about trying too hard. Just try. That's all anyone can ask and don't lose who you are while you are at it.

We talked about the basket weaving before. That's why I wanted to share it with you. Not that I think there is anything wrong with basket weaving. It's just not something I would like to think of as a life skill.

Are you still with the Boy Scouts? I loved the flying saucer comparison. I can imagine. Some people just aren't cut out for that stuff. I have no hand eye coordination. I can't play ball because I always get bonked in the head. But I don't take this too seriously. It's probably as simple as my parents didn't play catch with me when I was a little girl. Baskets don't sound like they'd be my bag either.

How are the kids? Good I hope. My best to you and I do worry when I don't hear from you for a while. This is my phobia. I think I said something to mad and I start to feel guilty. I think it's time to get over that. If I say something to make you mad, why don't you just tell me if you can and we'll go from there.

Are you up to a chuckle or a grin? If not that's OK, too. I worked myself out of a bad mood yesterday by being silly and giggling. Feels better than my usual upset stomach. Yes. I'm mad at mine. Oh well, he's working out of town for 2 weeks so I have time to do whatever I'm going to do with it.

Truly (((HUGS)))  Words of wisdom.

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 01, 2000

S1

Dear David, How funny. I turned your baskets from outer space into flying saucers. Guess that tells you what I think is in outer space. I just heard what I wanted to, I guess. Lynn

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 01, 2000

S1

Dear David,

This is Lynn and this is a strange thought, but it's been on my mind since your last couple of posts and thanks to Steve who's been posting in the Cat Box.

I've reread your posts today and had to give this a lot of consideration. I got mad at Dan because he did something and I thought, "MEN!" Then (again thanks to Steve) I thought how stupid that sounded. From our posts (women) to you I think it's been easy to put you in that MAN category. Simple really. You are a man. You just aren't "our" man.

Now I'm thinking, if your name was Davina how differently I would have responded to your posts. If I erase your gender from my thinking I think I can feel more sympathetic towards you and what you have been going through. Nice going Lynn.

We women are admitted abusers, too, but I think we feel you guys deserve it. Pretty childish thinking that!

If I can start over, I can really feel for you and your plight. I can see the changes and notice the improvements you have made. It is really a shame that she cannot or will not notice and give you a break on this, because I do see how sincere you are and how you don't intend to make the same mistakes again. If you were a woman I'd think that she was being unreasonable in not noticing the effort you are making. As a man I think I probably thought you deserved everything you were getting. Again, sexist thinking and not fair to you. Lynn, everything you are saying is right. But, this lady is NOT as forgiving as you. David needs to deal with that reality. 

I truly am sorry that she hasn't taken the time to notice and care. It's a shame, really, because if she were to post, I think we would be fair to her, too. I can see now how hurt you are and why. I can see where you are coming from and why you want to preserve the relationship. That's what I said before. I don't think ALL was bad and abusive. If she's like me, she probably get her say in, too. Makes us all human, not just male vs. female, doesn't it?

Well, if you'll forgive me again (and again), I'm starting to hear you loud and clear. I think I know how I would feel if Dan were going around town with another chickie on his arm. I'm glad it hasn't happened, but I'm sure it's really hurting you because you know you have more to give her than he does. Lynn: What would you do if Dan were going around town with another chickie on his arm?

I do wish things were better and that she would notice the changes you are making. Take care of yourself though. That's most important.

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 01, 2000

S1

David

I really felt like that was one of your more most real posts so far. I'm glad you're not 'trying' too hard.

I think your idea of reading and re-reading the self help books is a good idea. A few years ago when I wanted to 're-program' my thinking, I read books, listened to self help and inspirational tapes (Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway is a good one Yes!), and even put up affirmations all over the house. The tapes seemed to help most. I played them when I was driving or used a walkman while I was doing things around the house. Eventually when you hear and see enough of it, it does sink in. I really love Louise Hay's books and tapes, which have a more spiritual slant. I think they are geared toward women, but men might find them useful too. "The Power is Within" is one of my favorites.

I had mentioned affirmations before. I sometimes decide on an affirmation first thing in the morning. When my mind starts to wander back to negative stuff, I can access this new thought quickly, and keep repeating it. At first it doesn't seem honest, but you would be amazed at how that can change. Now I think them up almost inadvertently when 'situations' arise. I really believe we do shape our own lives, so why not shape them consciously? Affirmations are a form of cognitive reframing.

take care

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 02, 2000

S1

If God told me to cool it for two years and then she would come back enthusiastically to the marriage I would be behaving quite differently I am sure.

[Dr. Irene: But, what if the message was to cool it forever since that's what's best for her?]

This is so good for my ego, Dr. Irene. Forever is such a long time. Once again, I take this as evidence that your website is heavily geared to GOWYLing as the solution for everything. How about hang in there, do your best, work on yourself, and then maybe she will come back to you one day. If the solution is GOWYL, then just pull the plug on the first day of trouble and that's that. Middle ground: Do the best you can for yourself, begin to get on with your life, leave a door open. Who knows what may happen... This is just a healthier attitude, because your life does not hang in the balance. You can control you, you can't control anyone else. Why leave your life in the hand's of another person?

Oh by the way, you have to do that again in the next relationship just for intellectual consistency don't you?

I don't like that solution and will hold on to my dream of an eventual reconciliation regardless.

On the other hand, maybe your comment is made to make me think that my good behavior towards my wife should be unconditional? Absolutely. Always. 

Regards, David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 02, 2000

S1

Funny, that.

I've seen complaints that this site is too geared towards reconciling and forgiving the (more) abusive partner. Then I see the opposite here. :)

And I don't think she says pull the plug the first time someone messes up, not at all. We're ALL going to have slip-ups.

Have you seen the movie The First Wives' Club? Sorry this will be a little spoiler-ish if you haven't, but I think that this applies especially to those of us over in CatBox. The three main characters are brought together because their husbands did them wrong in some pretty spectacular ways. At first, their thoughts were mostly of revenge...then they turned their "blackmail" scheme into something meant to help others. By the end of the movie, one of the three women had reconciled with her husband, one had found someone new, and one was enjoying being single. Her husband had left the other woman and wanted to re-commit to her but she "told him to drop dead" and seemed to be enjoying her life alone.

Each of those possible outcomes is going to be valid for some of us. Some will choose to reconcile, some will find someone else, some will decide we're happiest alone. *shrug*

I feel a lot of guilt about not wanting to go back to my ex, and about possibly wanting to pursue a relationship with another friend. I am dishonoring a commitment that I made, and that still tears me up. Perhaps the commitment should not have been made (in my case I'd say almost definitely not) but it still hurts that I found myself unable to keep it. But wanting to go back, for me, when I want to, is at this point more out of obligation and guilt than out of love. And I know that would just make things worse. It's not that I don't care about him, but I think that we'd both be better off apart right now. At the same time I still feel like I've failed. :(

I don't know what goes through your wife's head, but I don't want you to have the impression that ALL the women here, or even all the women who decided they want out, make that decision anything that approximates lightly. Yep.

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 03, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Why two years? Two years from when? Why are you giving this to God? Why can't you do this for two years and see what God has in store for you? Maybe God is asking you to take charge of your own life for two years. Maybe God has heard your Prayers and is waiting for you to get with the program. Set your date and set your goals. November 3, 2002. Two years from today. Is that okay with you? I believe all our Prayers are answered. What's the next step? I'm praying for you, too. Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, November 04, 2000

S1

David

Do you have any choice but to GOWYL? Whether your wife chooses to stay with you or not?

What is the other 'better' option you are suggesting?

Why the sarcasm directed towards Dr. I over this? That's what happens when the anger slips away from him... He's working on it.

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 05, 2000

S1

I am sorry if my posts seem a little sarcastic, especially towards Dr. Irene. I really am, because I know this is one of the character traits I have that helped to chase my wife away. 

I guess GOWYL is the only thing you can do in a situation like mine, but I just want to make it clear that I prefer GOWYL with the possibility of reconciliation over GOWYL with no possibility of reconciliation. I am a little sensitive to the GOWYL advice for abused women. Because I interpret that as meaning GOWYL and just forget about that bum. Unless you still love him and he is making it his life's quest to change (like you are.) Sometimes when the man was physically abusive or doesn't have a clue or won't accept responsibility or hasn't changed then that is the correct advice. What if the man is deeply repentant and has changed and wants to renew his commitment. It just seems to me that the advice is still the same. Not from me. Just go slow and don't trust it until you can trust it. More typically, like your wife, the woman is too angry now to forgive. That takes time. I ask the woman to look at what she's doing by pushing the partner away; if that is what she really wants. And I guess it's still the woman's call as to whether or not she lets the man back into the relationship. Still it would be great if there was a voice out there that said "maybe, just maybe, he deserves another look." It just seems that the voices are on the side that it is much better to just make the break and start off afresh on your own or with someone else.

Does anyone remember reading on this site or in any of our collective reading a phenomenon that couples describe that there relationship was much better after the separation? In fact it was no terrific and much better than they could have ever imagined? That's what I want with my wife. I am totally being truthful in that statement. I know.

Best Regards to Everyone,

David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 05, 2000

S1

David

It's really nice to hear you say "sorry". To me, it really means a lot. When you don't say it, people are never really sure if you are or not.

I agree that there is a predominant belief in our culture that "abusers" don't change, but I disagree that this website promotes that idea. It is because of this website that I have decided to continue in my relationship, because I now have better skills, and understand more about boundaries. Unfortunately a lot of "victim types" don't have access to these skills.

One question. If your wife were to take you back, but was still interested in the guy she's been seeing would you feel okay about that? Wouldn't that be a blow to your self esteem? I would hope that if you two get back together, it's because she clearly wants you in her life more than anyone else. Otherwise I would foresee issues of jealousy and distrust. Maybe when you yourself feel like a worthwhile mate, you will want someone that loves you and wants you for *you* and isn't with you out of obligation. Aren't you worth it? I think he is Asha. Why would David want his wife back if she was not willing to give up Other?

take care

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 05, 2000

S1

David,

I've purposely erased two previous letters to you. I want to say,

"David, this is God and I promise you that if you do your part for two full years your wife will forgive you and let you back into her life."

David. Are you sure God hasn't heard you? I think he has. I feel you need to do your part now. God has sent me messages in unusual ways. God may have led you to Dr. Irene. Now it's up to you. God isn't going to do your work for you. You have to do your work for you. 

Lynn

David, this is God's assistant and I promise you that if you do your part for two full years, without expecting anything in return,  your wife will forgive you and let you back into her life. Under those circumstances, why would she want to give you up?

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 06, 2000

S1

Lynn:

I want to tell you a quick story. I was on the phone with my Dad the other day (he turns 75 on Nov. 25), and he starts giving me the GOWYL rap. How I should just move on, why wait around, blah, blah, blah.

This from a man who verbally abused his own wife in the worst possible way for about 17 years (sound familiar) until one day he just stopped. (I think my mom may have given him an ultimatum) The difference being that my mom stayed with him after the abuse was over. Anyway, my dad is the weakest person emotionally on the planet and would have literally DIED if my mom left him. So I guess it's OK for him to give out advice like that, huh? A little inconsistent, though. And you are mad at him. He's just trying to be supportive of his son... Focus on that aspect rather than on the negative...

Best Regards, David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 06, 2000

S1

David,

I just read through the Buddha postings and would like to offer my perspective, as the wife in this kind of situation. I don't like to call myself victim or him abuser but there was a lot of pain and opportunity for a great deal of growth when I left.

A very distressing part of my recovery was his efforts to reunite with me and to prove that he could be the 'good' guy. From my perspective it felt that this desire was just another aspect of his wish to control me. That his actions to grow were only inspired by the reward of getting me back, more inspired by the fear of living without me then the love for self and others.

As I started to read self help, spiritual growth, and codependence books, I started to love who I was becoming, who I was in the marriage and who I am right now. The part about loving who I was becoming came first and I had this intense desire to have that validated. And who better to validate that than my ex-spouse? But what I realized is that this is my journey and he is on his - so there is this chance that he may never see the part I was becoming so proud of. What I have discovered is that when I close that door (him getting it), another opens and my new relationships (platonic and other) become that much deeper because I am in the moment with myself and others.

The other part of this, is that there was so much built up anger and resentment towards my ex and the situation that I wondered if my higher self would win out (over hurt ego self) if we got back together. Could your ex have regrets over what she considers misbehaviors as well and that she just isn't 'strong enough' to get back into a relationship with you and slip into her own patterns that she regrets. It just might not be about you. It seldom is...

I read your posts and am uplifted by your desire to grow and maybe the gift your ex gave you was some incentive to do this. Maybe the next loving relationship (after you've had one with your self) will be that much more joyous and enlightened now that this part of your journey has started. The path you are on might lead to something you haven't even imagined. Why limit the destination?

Best of luck and thank you for considering my words. N

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 06, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Lynn here. I wrote you, but Dr. Irene must have been posting. It was just a brief "I See!" My father was a bully (abuser), too. Are there any other kids, besides you?

Have you read any of John Bradshaw's works? I like them. They help us learn from our parents mistakes. Not that it is always easy. My dad can push my buttons in 15 minutes or less. I'm learning, though. Yippeee!

Hi, N and Dr. Irene, if Dan were running around with a chickie on his arm, when I wrote that post I think I would have gladly packed his bags, probably washed and ironed them first and got the kennel for LOCO. I had quite a downer and didn't talk to him for 2 days (He was out of town) and could have given it up and got on with my life. I was down enough to give up on him. Then I disengaged with the help of the Cats and he changed. Amazing! Amazing...

I understand now, David. At least I'm understanding a little better. Take care, (((HUGS))) Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 06, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Lynn again. I'll bet my comment to Dr. Irene didn't make much sense to you unless you read the Cat Box 9. I went out last week with a girlfriend and had a couple of pops. Dan and I hadn't been communicating well and just a bunch of stuff. I lost heart, truly.

Well, I ran into a guy I've known for years and he gave me a hug (I'm a hugger and a toucher). I could have melted in his arms. I didn't. I ran for the hills and will not set myself up for that again. The moral though was that I felt so alone and lonely and untalked to, that I knew what it felt like to need the war body. It wasn't even about sex. I just wanted to be held and comforted.

Well, I posted what (didn't) happened. Like maybe a warning that I felt it could be easy to confuse this feeling and make mistakes we couldn't get over. I was glad to have the support of my friends here.

I just lost my perspective for a moment and I really didn't think I was that I was that vulnerable. It made me stop and think about me.

OK, just thought I'd explain in case you thought I had totally lost my mind. That's OK. We understand.. Uh, how many cats, dogs, mice, trolls...

Still take care and warm regards to you, too.

Lynn 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000

S1

Hi N:

Thanks for your wonderful, insightful post. I'd like to comment on it.

[I just read through the Buddha postings and would like to offer my perspective, as the wife in this kind of situation. I don't like to call myself victim or him abuser but there was a lot of pain and opportunity for a great deal of growth when I left.]

Ah yes, the "lemonade" syndrome :) I was surfing around the other day and found a lot of articles that basically said that the pain and the growth are closely related. Also from bodybuilding, "no pain, no gain".

[A very distressing part of my recovery was his efforts to reunite with me and to prove that he could be the 'good' guy.]

I am guilty of this. I even told my wife one time that I was a "good person" which didn't solicit the kind of response I was looking for, to say the least.

[From my perspective it felt that this desire was just another aspect of his wish to control me.]

My wife has this same feeling and has told me soon in those exact words.

[That his actions to grow were only inspired by the reward of getting me back, more inspired by the fear of living without me then the love for self and others.]

Guilty, guilty, and guilty.

[As I started to read self help, spiritual growth, and codependence books, I started to love who I was becoming, who I was in the marriage and who I am right now.]

My wife is in the middle of this process right now.

[The part about loving who I was becoming came first and I had this intense desire to have that validated. And who better to validate that than my ex-spouse?]

My wife has a boyfriend who "validates" her parking ticket. Her boyfriend is a sensitive new-age guy (SNAG) who tells her exactly what she wants to hear - some examples: "you are a good mother", "your work is important", "you are a great person", "in no way what you are doing (with me) is wrong", etc. (I may have made that last one up). The general point being that she is using him to build up her self esteem. She also gets validated by her whole family who whole-heartedly has embraced GOWYL (no reconciliation version). There isn't one person in her family who hasn't been divorced at least once. Anyway, she doesn't seek validation from me, because I was more in the tearing down department than the listening and validating department. So she would be reluctant to seek it from me until we could build up the trust again. She may like to have it some day but right now I am guessing that she thinks that I am so far gone that I could never appreciate her for anything other than being a sexual partner and to have around to raise the kids, etc. based on my previous behavior.

[But what I realized is that this is my journey and he is on his - so there is this chance that he may never see the part I was becoming so proud of.]

Hmm - what if you ask him to comment on what's important to you? One thing I have experienced with women is this guessing game phenomenon. Sometimes you have to hit men over the head with these things. A quick story - I had a girlfriend long ago who revealed to me (after we broke up) that she was going to marry the first man who bought her a gold cross necklace. She wasn't going to hint around or anything, but that would be the sign that this was the right guy to marry. Men don't have this ability to read minds.

[What I have discovered is that when I close that door (him getting it), another opens and my new relationships (platonic and other) become that much deeper because I am in the moment with myself and others.]

I don't agree with this at all. First of all if you are still married, "other" relationships are very hurtful and just complicate putting the pieces back together again. I don't think she is  talking about marital affairs per se. Also, "being in the moment" is just so much easier to do with someone with no history of abuse. It's hard work to try to rebuild a relationship. Example: which is more fun? A) a balloon ride with your newly minted boyfriend or B) a short walk in the park with your ex and kids after a half an hour phone call to explain the grounds rules. She's talking about her experience of being with whomever predicated on the richness of her experience of being with herself.

On the other hand, if you don't value marriage as an institution, then just walk away and be done with it. If you agree with this, you have a lot of company in the USA in the year 2000. What do you do when the next partner doesn't quite live up to your standards, though. I guess eventually you wind up like my wife's mother and aunts - "post men" and living alone. Ooops. Your own stuff got in your way and you lost her point.

[The other part of this, is that there was so much built up anger and resentment towards my ex and the situation that I wondered if my higher self would win out (over hurt ego self) if we got back together.] A common experience...

This is a big part of my wife's reluctance to work on our relationship. She is still, almost a year out, fairly seething just underneath the surface. I am not sure what you mean about the "higher self" part. Basically, her ability to overcome her anger.

[Could your ex have regrets over what she considers misbehaviors as well and that she just isn't 'strong enough' to get back into a relationship with you and slip into her own patterns that she regrets. It just might not be about you. It seldom is...]

Absolutely. If I became the Dalai Llama tomorrow she still wouldn't come back to me if she felt that her boundary-maintaining skills weren't fully established. BTW, did you ever read "The Art of Happiness"? It's a great book. The Dalai Llama prays every morning from 3AM to 7AM. Some of his prayers are "be nice to people" and other such affirmations. A whole life of that kind of thing is bound to have an effect :)

[I read your posts and am uplifted by your desire to grow and maybe the gift your ex gave you was some incentive to do this.]

Thanks, and yes.

[Maybe the next loving relationship (after you've had one with your self) will be that much more joyous and enlightened now that this part of your journey has started.]

PLEASE!!!!!!!!!! Are you precluding the "next loving relationship" being a loving relationship with my wife? This is the way I take that sentence. Let's all agree that recovered ex-spouses are still people and have a right to exist on planet Earth, and may even one day wind up with people that they have wronged. Some words that don't appear often enough on this website: forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, compassion, etc., etc.

[The path you are on might lead to something you haven't even imagined. Why limit the destination?]

Because, I prefer to re-establish a loving, mature, functioning, life-affirming, mutually satisfying, adult relationship with my wife, just like I never had in the first place.

[Best of luck and thank you for considering my words. N]

Thanks, N. How about some practical advice if you could just humor me and help me win my wife back? You have been/are currently there. Your post is really thoughtful and I am sure I could benefit from your practical insights.

Regards, David 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000

S1

Dear David,

This is Lynn. I've had some very revealing input here from Dr. Irene and I was thinking about you. And me. I'm wondering if we are a lot alike? I almost desperately want to stay with Dan and keep us together. I use my age and the time involved as my excuse. Not only that, I kinda like the old coot. Giggle! My Daddy Dan!

One exception between you and I and I'm wondering if that is what I've been saying to you and should be saying to myself. Dr. Irene asked what I would do if Dan had another girl. I KNOW exactly what I would do. I would never let him know he got to me, hurt me, reached me or even got my attention. I really would have got on with my own life. Not because I didn't care, but out of sheer stubborn pride. Sort of a never let them see you cry attitude.

I wonder if I'm trying to give you a bit of this? (I have way too much for my own good). Somewhere from my past experiences (mine or someone else's, I know that this gives the other too much power). I'm wondering about you and your wife. She knows that she has the power to hurt you now. That's unacceptable to me in my relationships, even if I pretend I don't care. In my heart I may be dying, but I WOULDN'T let it show. Hmmm... I like this.

PS. This works! If only because the other person usually can't stand to be disregarded. I know this with me and how this works. I'm wondering (taking the male-female out of my thinking) if this is what it would take for you. Take charge and pretend you don't give a darn and act like you have given her your all and pretend to GOWYL. Get a lady friend (platonic) and act like life is rosy.

Just an idea from a fellow human. And who knows, it might work. Agree with your dad. It doesn't mean you agree. Tell him he's probably right and it's time. I'll bet his reaction would be totally different.

Okay, enough of my suggestions. I've, for reason I can't explain, taken your side or at least I can see where you are at right now. Now I don't want to see you hurt anymore. (I thought you deserved it at first and maybe you did, some, but enough is enough). You did your time and paid your dues. Now I'd like you to become a survivor. Even if only because of stubborn pride. Yes, Dr Irene, the mouse is still in the dresser. Dan tolerates my nuttiness. It's freezing cold out there and I don't want my poor little mousey out in the cold and I know the dear little creature has to move on before I have three dozen generations living there. I suggested we get the extra aquarium and capture it and then let it (them) out when we have a warm spell. He went back to work out of town and left me to my meeses. He's just as nutty about birds, so I think he understands. 

Tally: 2 dogs, 7 cats, 3 birds, fishies, mooses in the yard, a bear in the garbage, meeses in the bureau and a partridge in a pear tree. And a Cuckoo Clock! Last but not least, bats in the Belfry. Appropriate. Mom only has fishies that "overwinter" in the fake pond; I keep trying to tell her they'd be warmer in my tummy.

(((HUGS))) to you David. Thanks Doc and love to you. Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000

S1

Hi Lynn:

[I KNOW exactly what I would do.]

Do you really? If you would have asked me a year before we separated what I thought I would do if my wife had an affair, I would have said just what you said and then some. Now that I am in the middle of it, I feel completely differently. I get the sense from most people that GOWYL and righteous indignation is the gut response to a spouse having an affair. I think I can overcome it if we could ever become a couple again, for the simple reason that I know what caused her to engage in this behavior - me!  Good stuff!

[She knows that she has the power to hurt you now. That's unacceptable to me in my relationships, even if I pretend I don't care. In my heart I may be dying, but I WON'T let it show.]

I do think that this is good advice, though. It's just that I am running a little short of the mark living up to it though. Also, like a lot of men in my situation, distancing-giving up. Begging and crying intuitively feels more like what you are supposed to be doing, although clearly it's not. Nope.

[Take charge and pretend you don't give a darn and act like you have given her your all and pretend to GOWYL. Get a lady friend (platonic) and act like life is rosy.]

I am trying to do just that. I got a very nice rejection letter from a woman whom I asked out to lunch. The problem is when you literally just want to go to lunch the implied offer is for a lot more. I would have liked to just talk with her but I don't want to go back for more rejection. I will try with someone else.

[Now I don't want to see you hurt anymore.]

I don't want to be hurt anymore either but remember pain=growth. Also, I am sure if you talked to my wife she could tell you a bit about pain and suffering. I really like the empathy here. So in the big scheme of things I suppose it is only fair. That's why GOWYL has some problems. You abuse somebody for a long time and when the day comes and they turn the tables on you, you just split instead of taking your medicine? Hey, take your medicine, but don't misunderstand getting your own life does not mean what you mean by GOWYL, so I refuse to use that word with you. You add more (baggage) to it than I do.

[You did your time and paid your dues.]

I've only been separated since January, semi-officially. I've researched cases of reconciliation after as much as nine years. Yep.

[I'd like you to become a survivor.]

I'm trying. You are.

Best Regards, David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 08, 2000

S1

David

I may push some buttons here, but there's something that doesn't appeal to me about saying "win my wife back" which I don't think your wife would like either. Win kind of implicates win/lose with your wife as the "prize". You could consider reframing your thinking to "how can I become the best person I can be, and treat my wife the best way I can treat her?" Then you both "win". Nice.

[What I have discovered is that when I close that door (him getting it), another opens and my new relationships (platonic and other) become that much deeper because I am in the moment with myself and others.]

I can't speak for the person who wrote this, but I think what she is talking about is her acceptance of where her partner was at in his understanding. I think she is talking about seeing the truth of the moment and accepting that truth, rather than fighting it. Like if you accept exactly where your wife is at right now, I think you'll make it easier for both you and her. When you 'accept' rather than trying to manipulate situations, lots of wonderful things can happen.

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 08, 2000

S1

Dear David,

First and number one, please don't get a platonic friend and spend lunch telling HER how you want your wife back. She's got an ego, too and would probably rather talk about her job, etc., kids or anything but another woman.. I don't care how platonic. Save that for us or your therapist, please.

And I think I'm giving you good practical advice and "secrets." I don't think there is a woman alive who wants to live with or hear about "How much I Want you back." I'd tend to want you strong and healthy (not abusive) and able to stand on your own feet. Yeah! Dan has (past tense, I hope) told me I am everything to him and that he'd die without me and will/would do anything to keep me. Sheesh!! I don't want that kind of power or control over any man. Few people do. 

You told me about your dad. He's got your mom back, but what is his life like?

I stick to my opinions. I think you would stand a greater chance of gaining her respect and approval if you pretended you were GOWYL. I don't think your way has gotten her attention. What do you have to lose if you try it my way? I'm not saying you have to give up on her. I'm saying don't let her know. And please take care. I worry about you, Lynn

Dan is out of town right now and he calls briefly once a night. He never looked so good and I feel there is a great improvement in our relationship because of the distance. Of course we haven't done anything constructive towards us, but we are both getting on with our own lives (work, laundry, dishes, etc,) with the hope that in the near future we can work on our problems. The distance has done a lot for me. I like him a lot better right now because it gives me a chance to make my own decisions and do my own thinking. Being "allowed" to do so, I am liking him better all the time. Do you understand what I'm saying here? Lynn She is saying that Dan seems more his own person to her David. On his own. Won't die without her. Able to make it without her. With her by choice. Etc.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 08, 2000

S1

David,

First I would like to let you know that my relationship with my ex has unfortunately ended in divorce. So I would take any advice from me with a grain of salt. You've given me a chance to deepen my understanding of my own situation by being so open with yours.

[I don't agree with this at all. First of all if you are still married, "other" relationships are very hurtful and just complicate putting the pieces back together again. Also, "being in the moment" is just so much easier to do with someone with no history of abuse.]

I agree with your disagreement. While within a marriage I do not advocate looking for greener pastures. In the beginning of our separation, I did not pursue a romantic relationship but as I found myself growing and changing, different people were coming into my life - as friends. These were very supportive relationships and they were of great comfort. What these relationships provided were opportunities to see myself through the eyes of others besides my ex and my family (who did not support separation/divorce). So rather than spiral into a guilt/shame/anger pattern, I was able to begin to understand who I was and why I was reacting. These friends were not advocating divorce either but they listened without judgment and supported my path without trying to direct it. Yesssss...

[PLEASE!!!!!!!!!! Are you precluding the "next loving relationship" being a loving relationship with my wife? This is the way I take that sentence. Don't. Let's all agree that recovereding ex-spouses are still people and have a right to exist on planet Earth, and may even one day wind up with people that they have wronged. Some words that don't appear often enough on this website: forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, compassion, etc etc...

...Thanks, N. How about some practical advice if you could just humor me and help me win my wife back? You have been/are currently there. Your post is really thoughtful and I am sure I could benefit from your practical insights.]

During my separation, I kept saying over and over to my ex "let me go". What I realized during this time is that I was giving him the advice on getting me back. Giggle! What a double-edged sword for both of us. There I was working on myself with lots of reading, private therapy and crying for hours at a time and it seemed to me that every time I turned around there was my ex either wanting to get back with me or raging about not getting back together. Yes. I had this fantasy that I would work on my self and he would work on his self and then after realizing what was real (higher self) and what was false (hurt ego self) we could honestly face each and decide to go forward with love (together or alone). By "higher self" I mean the "soul" or "inner guide" or whatever you call the part of you (or god) that inspires your "purpose in life'. Yes.

[I can't speak for the person who wrote this, but I think what she is talking about is her acceptance of where her partner was at in his understanding. I think she is talking about seeing the truth of the moment and accepting that truth, rather than fighting it. Like if you accept exactly where your wife is at right now, I think you'll make it easier for both you and her. When you 'accept' rather than trying to manipulate situations, lots of wonderful things can happen.] Yeah...

That's right Asha. To continue on the thoughts I expressed above, the fantasy of my ex "getting it" was something I had to let go. (Funny how I was telling him to let me go, I needed to give that same advice to myself.) By accepting what was and only taking responsibility for my own actions a real healing started to take place. Forgiveness, compassion and kindness came to my heart and I trusted myself. I stopped putting energy (reacting to his rage) into my ex and focused on myself and the path I was on. I do feel that if he took the energy he focused on me and put it towards self discovery and acceptance of others (including the possibility that I might not return), things might have ended differently. It was a leap of faith he did not want to make (yet... ;-) who am I to say what will happen in 10 years?)

I don't know if you are interested, but a wonderful site for me was joy2meu.com - There was a lot of helpful information on codependence and romantic relationships etc. That's Robert Burney's site; one of my favorites!

Best of luck. N

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, November 11, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Are you mad at me? I hope not. I was hoping to hear from you yesterday. I had a tough day with and about Dan and could have used some input or advice. He's the type of guy who leaves everything (nearly) where he used it last. I don't usually pick up after him anymore, I simply move it out of my way. Well, he left his chainsaw out in the yard. That I did bring in. It re-pushed a bunch of my buttons.

Well, I'll either get over it or I won't. That's for sure. Are you leaving for England (?) soon? If so, and I don't hear from you, have a nice trip and we'll talk when you return.

Sincerely,

Lynn  I think he is in England...

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, November 11, 2000

S1

David,

Keep reaching out for help, asking questions and listening...like you are doing. We all need that. Being open to feedback and putting it into practice is a big step and it can only help you in the long run. I wish you success. Michelle

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 12, 2000

S1

David- I hope you can stay motivated and stick with your resolve to change even when it becomes hard, time consuming, painful and expensive. Good luck to you in the rest of your life - every day you have an opportunity to do the right thing.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 13, 2000

S1

Hi David,

PEACE TO YOU!!! I think from what I've read of your posts you sound like a guy who is very brave and more masculine for allowing yourself to change than a man who thinks anger is what defines strength. He's super, isn't he?

I to have to accept what I cannot change and learn to change myself. I have great fear but am learning to push through it. That scary place is becoming less scary day by day. IT makes my heart skip when I hear of the bravery that some are facing life with.

I just want to take my hat off to you, GOOD ON YOU CHAPPY, your a fine one!!! And how are you like our lovely bright sunny, scorching weather, here in ENGLAND. (Well we can all dream, CUZ if at first it isn't a dream it may never become reality.)

Take care Theressa

Fellow grower.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2000

S1

Hi N:

I'm still here. I don't leave for England until Nov. 23. I've been quite busy with my kids (two sleepover birthday parties in one weekend!).

[First I would like to let you know that my relationship with my ex has unfortunately ended in divorce.]

I'm sorry to hear about that. Yes.

[During my separation, I kept saying over and over to my ex "let me go". What I realized during this time is that I was giving him the advice on getting me back.]

Do you really believe this is the key to it? Yes! David, when you "let go," what you open is the door to her choosing to be by your side by choice... Would you really have considered your husband for a second go-round if he left you alone and worked on his own issues and became a better person? Hey, nobody said don't keep in touch! You have to anyway. You have kids. 

[ ... every time I turned around there was my ex either wanting to get back with me or raging about not getting back together.]

This sounds so familiar. This is really off-putting I take it. YES!!! It seems so natural for the dumped party to do this. It's hard to let go because you think that letting go means "letting go". My eventual goal is to be re-united with my wife in a loving relationship and not to be separated from her permanently. "Letting go" means letting go even though you may harbor hopes of being back together because she decided she wants to be with that wonderful person - the friend - that you've become.

[I do feel that if he took the energy he focused on me and put it towards self discovery and acceptance of others (including the possibility that I might not return), things might have ended differently. It was a leap of faith he did not want to make (yet... ;-) who am I to say what will happen in 10 years?)]

Do you really mean this, even now your ex has a chance with you? Since I don't get any encouragement from my estranged wife, I come to this board to get that encouragement. 

Also some "hints" would help. For example, the other day he did THIS, when he could have just as easily done THAT, which would have shown that he is making progress.

Another short story for you. A few months back I had dinner with my wife and the kids in a real nice restaurant. I was on my best behavior. I asked my wife later about it and how did that make her feel. She said it made her feel like maybe we could get back together again, which just floored me. However, she said, we haven't had too many of those kinds of experiences lately. Hey, you gotta start somewhere! So, she knows you really, really care about her, she knows you are working, working, working at it... Now, be strong, stand on your own two feet, live your life without putting her face in the fact that you have a life, let her go out with what's his name if that is what she chooses - since you will accept any choice she makes, like it or not. You just upped your probability of success kiddo.

Regards, David

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2000

S1

Hi Lynn:

[Are you mad at me? I hope not.]

No, just busy and tired.

[I was hoping to hear from you yesterday. I had a tough day with and about Dan and could have used some input or advice.]

I am so mired in my own problems I don't think in terms of other people's problems these days. Maybe if I did it would help me a bit. It would. Promise. I know most people here are hurting or they wouldn't be here in the first place. Feel free to vent. I am interested especially if it gives me some insight into my own situation. Be interested simply because it helps Lynn.

Over at "divorcebusting.com" there was another David who wrote passionate volumes about his problems. He was an inspiration to me. And you guys just heard the story of why I named David "David," since David's name is not David. He was the only person I know of who actually had a strategy to "win" his wife back - and it worked! (For those interested, it was a GOWYL variant of being in control of your emotions, ignoring the boyfriend, treating the estranged wife with dignity and respect and helping whenever asked, and repeating this over time.) Yes. Anyway, now that he is back with his wife he is GONE, just like William Shatner in the priceline.com ads. Giggle! That's where we want you!

Regards, David

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2000

S1

Hi Theressa,

[PEACE TO YOU!!!]

Peace be with you!

[I think from what I've read of your posts you sound like a guy who is very brave] definitely! [and more masculine] yes, definitely! [for allowing yourself to change than a man who thinks anger is what defines strength.]

I don't like anger much anymore.

Do you want to have a pint when I am in England? Do you live near London? (Actually even if you live in Scotland you are "near" London) Let me know via the Board and we can work out the email addresses later. I will be in London Nov. 23-26. Not a lot of time but enough to have a good conversation (i.e. free counseling).

Cheers, David   If you both want, let me know and I can do the email address forwarding. 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2000

S1

 

Here is the anti-poem to Jay's poem. The lament of the sadder, wiser, repentant, dumped husband:

 

Make the World Go Away

(words & music by Hank Cochran)

Make the world go away Get it off my shoulder Say the things we used to say And make the world, make it go away

Do you remember when you loved me Before the world took you away Well if you do, then forgive me And make the world, make it go away

Make the world go away Get it off my shoulder Say the things we used to say And make the world, make it go away

Now I’m sorry if I hurt you Let me make it up to you day by day And if you will please forgive me And make the world, make it go away

Make the world go away Get it off my shoulder Say the things we used to say And make the world, make it go away

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 16, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Lynn here and so glad to hear from you. I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but it's good for me. Into the songs and music. We were watching "The Music Man" last night and Shirley Jones started singing, Dream of now, dream of then. Dream of a love song, that might have been. I started with the silent tears and couldn't quit. Turned the Music Man into a 3 hankie movie.

It could have been a great love song. I just gave it all I could and essentially gave up on us. Then, after I gave up, things started changing. Interesting concept to me.

Still don't know the outcome, but I sure feel better about myself. I don't need him, I don't have to have him, I generally don't care. Maybe that is a healthy start toward the future for me. Whatever it holds.

We are Scottish on my mom's side of the family. Dan's is English. In fact, some of his family came over with the first Mormons and one was a Captain for Brigham Young heading to Salt Lake City. Interesting "tree's."

Gotta run. Dan is at the vets and should be home any minute. Have a wonderful trip and I will be thinking of you.

Happy Thanksgiving, Trails and all other nice things.

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, November 18, 2000

S1

Some thoughts for David, from someone in a similar position to his wife:

1. You described your wife as "using" her boyfriend for self-esteem. I would find it incredibly belittling to be described as "using" someone that I cared about and was involved in any kind of relationship (even a friendship) with. That would be a big button-pusher for me. I don't know if you have ever said to her that you feel she is using her boyfriend, but if you have, and if she felt the way I do, that would be a big step back from reconciliation. Good point Astrid. "Using" him demonstrates anger and lack of understanding regarding the give and take of emotional relationships.

2. There's a good chance that it's been so long since her relationship with you was happy that she doesn't even know what she wants from you or how to begin to fix it. I'd agree. She mostly knows what she doesn't want. And that probably feels like a wholesale rejection of you, personally, at this point. I doubt that she means it that way.

3. There's a lot more to change than saying "look at me, I'm changing!" or doing "good" things specifically to show what a good person you are capable of being. Love doesn't conquer all without a lot of hard work. You can love her and she can love you all you want, but that still won't make it any better if there are basic issues between you that just seem never to get solved. Do you have any such elephants in the living room? I know that L and I have many of them -- my allergy to his cigarettes, his allergy to my cats, the vastly different upbringings that mean he sees nothing wrong with behaving in ways my family would consider extremely rude, my desire to spend money on things his family would consider incredibly frivolous, both of our too-short tempers...etc.

4. You speak of being on your best behavior during that time in the restaurant. You can't be on your BEST behavior all the time. It's not humanly possible. :) What you need to do is to bring your AVERAGE behavior up to a reasonable standard that your wife would be comfortable around. Make sense?

5. Please, please, please don't turn this into a "women that don't need men" issue. It isn't (IMHO) healthy for anyone to consider any other individual person a necessity for life! When I hear "I need you" or "How can you say you don't need me?" or (not from L but from people especially men in general) "there's something wrong with these feminist women who don't need men," I get very angry. Very very very angry. I do NOT want, let alone "need" a relationship that drags me down in the name of making L (or any other partner I might have) "one step above miserable." And equating feminist with man hating is offensive to me (a feminist who decidedly does NOT hate men) on a personal level. It is such a paradox: to feel that you love a person so much, you "need" them, that your life is about them - yet, you do perfectly well and can be content on your own. Of course, this relationship does not make either one of you "miserable."

6. Talk of a "strategy" also makes me vaguely uncomfortable for much the same reasons that the "win" talk made others uneasy. Also, the "pretend to GOWYL" with the hope that it will "work" bothers me because it's not honest. Honesty doesn't mean saying "I want you back pleasepleaseplease!" every chance you get; we've established that this is off-putting. :) But neither does it mean pretending you want to be without her when you don't. Right. No pretending. No strategy. Just common sense, survival, and... love.

There's a line in an Indigo Girls song that reminds me of your situation and my own: "I don't want what's best for you, where will I be when you've found it?" In the end, we need to get past that, and truly wish the other person the best for that person, and build a life that will not collapse if the other person isn't there to hold it up, but that will accommodate that person if it is truly what is best for both of us. Yeah...

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 19, 2000

S1

Astrid - Amen!

Very well said.

Asha Happy Thanksgiving week guys!

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