Comments for Cat Box
here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a
substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.
I agree with Trubble, it's great to hear that you are taking back your personal power that you always had! Keep up the great work and keep loving yourself, and taking good care of you. I wish you all the best through this time in your life.
God Bless You, ~CLC
You sound great! I love your example about the cat boxes...sounds like you can certainly take care of them yourself..or should I say take care of YOURSELF. I found a mechanical litter box at Target that cleans itself... why don't you get one, you deserve a little help along the way!! Also, get yourself a massage, use YOUR credit card to buy yourself a personal gift, then take a ride along the countryside with YOUR car where you can meditate empowering thoughts about how good your life is going to be and how much you deserve to be treated like a human being. And try yoga - it's good for healing the soul and you can meet lots of interesting, spiritual people!
Best of Luck,
Dear Dr. Irene,
I gave the "cat box cleaner" 3 minutes more of my time to tell me something I hadn't heard before.
I showed him this web site 3 days ago and said that this is where I am right now. He told me today that he has been surfing through here for 2 nights (we've been in separate rooms). Trubble is real happy he's surfing here.
We tried to talk and didn't make much progress, so I said I wrote in and would he like to reply? Yes, he would and I am leaving the room. Don't know if this will work. Pretty scary, but it's his 3 minutes. Lynn
Dear Dr Irene I'm the litter box cleaner and I guess that I don't have much to say or maybe I do. And I'm real glad you're here and are writing! I was shown your web site especially the part about the verbal abuse. First off I didn't realize that that is what I was doing, is this possible? YES! I do act that way. I know it's not on purpose! After spending two nights reading and rereading your topics, I know that 1. We do not have separate boundaries, we're enmeshed together. Yep. I have read Bradford, Pia Melody, and worked with the therapist on establishing same. But to no avail. Takes time, my friend. I am willing to go to therapy, and I realize that whatever I have motivating me is a major issue for me. I was given 3 min to not repeat what I have said before. I have always controlled my temper and have never acknowledged my anger at things the which upset me. I think Lynn is complaining about the "leakage." Usually, you are not aware of how you are acting; you don't mean to treat her badly; you are just frustrated or in a space being alone. I know you have no clue whatever you do hurts the other person. I'm glad you are hearing her. I am willing to go back to therapy for this and hopefully resolve the problems which have and are plaguing our relationship. I'm called silver tongued and you may agree but I am willing to take any and all licks from those on your website as well as from you. I don't want to kick you around. You already do way too much of that to yourself. I want you to love yourself (the self, as opposed to the ego; the essence of you). I know that it will take more than a day or two to straighten out myself and to establish separate boundaries. Yeah. Thank you for listening to me. Thanks for writing.
Dear Support Group,
Thanks for the support. Bummer day today. Meow! Do you need an antidepressant? Talk to your doc? If I got down much lower I could crawl under the fence. I just got such a chuckle out of MY CAR. Actually an 81 Pontiac with no paint that I love because it runs better than a new Porsche (I think). :)
Have such a time with disengaging. because I feel every time I talk to him i.e. cats, neighbors, kids, etc., he thinks everything is ok because I'm talking to him again. He really wants things to be OK again. No crime here. But, it's OK that you know things are not OK. OK to be angry and use that energy to set your boundaries. Have you guys read any of the boundary books on the Book Shelf?
Haven't read his answer to me. I don't feel strong enough today. Will see. We are both in our 50's and grandparents 8 times and with the independence WE have we are still entwined. Toughie. Bless you both!
Automatic cat box. I will have to look into that. Thanks folks. At least I feel heard and is that refreshing.
Lynn Dear Lynn, thank you for the lovely card. Be patient; do your work. Set your boundaries; accept no abuse. Your husband is not doing what he's doing on purpose; he really knows no better. But, an old cat can learn new tricks. And your old cat wants to. That's good! Litter box guy: feel free to email me with whatever. I'll answer your Q and post it... (make sure you identify yourself!)
Dr. Irene & Trubble
Aug 24 Mr. Cat Box: I got your email but have some questions. I tried emailing you twice and got back a response that the email name was not on the server, etc. Please re email me here so I can reply to you. Thanks.
Dear Dr. Irene and Trubble,
Lynn here. The cat box cleaner has a name. Dan. Good points, I hope I'm not honeymooning again......He has done good today. Called a therapist in a town about 65 miles from here. That's the good news (more to follow). Great! Before he called he said "we could go to another therapist, but I know you don't like the drive". (It is a 2 lane road rage rally and he is right! I do not like the road). I said I would like to make my own decision as to whether or not I will travel for therapy. Since I drive there for groceries I should be allowed to decide what the priorities are. Good news. No fight and we called and quizzed her about verbal abuse and God love her, she was very concerned about whether or not we would be OK until she can get us in. Yes.....6 days Yippeee!
So even though he only has two minutes left, at least there are 2 minutes :)
Lots of major issues and we are not out of the woods yet, but I hope this can give hope to some of the guys out there who say we endorse leaving. I wonder if we are just trying to get your attention and this is the last resort. I told Dan for years "I won't be around forever, etc." Final, yes. if there was no attempt or worse for me an attempt to change my thinking. One can only hope.........
This is rather interesting. I don't know how successful, but we seem to hear each other better this way. Less personal or what? I will give him a big one for jumping in. I bet it isn't easy (no, I'm not weakening. Just trying to give credit where I feel it's due.) Excellent!
One Day at a Time or some such and a treat for Trubble. Meow!
Dear Dr Irene, Dan here. Thank you for your comments in the posted notes to Lynn. I would like you to know that I sent you a paid for inquiry and hope to hear from you. I do plan on getting all the help that I need. Pent up anger leaking out could very well explain partly why I do and say what I do, don't do where Lynn is concerned. Thank you again for your insight and comments, I do appreciate them. OK, that's why I'm trying to reach you. You don't have to pay! I invited you to write and am happy to answer you on line on a board like this. The payment is for getting picked, which has already been done, and for privacy - Q & A are not posted. Problem is, when I tried to email you, your name was rejected twice. Please reply; unless you want a private answer, I am happy to refund you money. Please reply what you want!
Dear Dr. Irene and Trubble,
How rude. I'm so wrapped up in my own misery that I didn't answer your questions. Our "former" therapist thought Dan needed the antidepressants, not me. Usually angry people do; they dwell too long in pity pots otherwise. My Dr. agreed with her. I tend to laugh too much when I'm hurting and this must fool some. Not me. I'm very unhappy, but I will get a good nights sleep and I am pretty resilient (I think). Good, but, if you're hurting, you may feel better too on an SSRI or whatever.
As for books on boundaries. Dan was working on his masters degree in a psych field and we have most from Virginia Satir through Hendrix' Getting The Love You Want: A Guide For Couples. Both excellent authors who write excellent books - but not for abuse. Both authors assume an equal balance of power. Wrong... Have all the tools, but can't do it alone. No, you can't. Ordered What Would Buddha Do? 101 Answers to Life's Daily Dilemmas Great book, but may be a bit premature for you guys; most useful after a measure of insight and self control has been achieved. Shows you that you choose to think/act as you do. but maybe we should try working through this site and our new therapist before we get Evans Books. I disagree. I think you should start by reading Evan's The Verbally Abusive Relationship together, but skip the chapter on the different realities. I don't think she understands the guy too well and it will make the victim angrier than she need be. Read that chapter later if you want...it is valuable, but not now. We seem to have all the tools, but can't connect with each other. I'm glad you guys found a therapist. That is the person you look to; consider this site an adjunct to your treatment with her if that is OK with her.
Speaking of Hendrix and the Couples Book. Suggested by our therapist. I read it and we were both reading one night and I suggested Dan might like to go through this with me. He patted me on the knee and told me to go ahead and read it if it made me feel better.
No fight, I needed humor, so I asked him to define couple.:)
He still hasn't read it. Our communication is not good on the big things. Great on the small.
Enough. I want this better yesterday. I best give the web a rest. Say Goodnight Trubble; Goodnight Lynn Goodnight Lynn.
Selling out is bad. Selling yourself out is a horrible idea.
The temptation is always there, though. Only as long as the underlying personality stuff remains broken... You want the warm body too much!
I had a year of a mostly-good relationship with my (now) ex-fiancé, followed by a year of disintegration. We're still talking, trying to figure out what in the way of a friendship or possibly (very) scaled-back relationship we might be able to handle.
I still didn't quite get the boundary-setting thing right. You might remember from a long-past post of mine that the lad was bringing a certain illegal substance into a space where I am responsible for the health and safety of others. This was NOT OK, and I told him so, and I told him if he did it again I would not remain camped with him.
Well, we went on the big two-week camping trip, and he "forgot" it was in his car. (Yeah, transporting pot across state lines is not high on my list of good ideas -- especially when the destination state has stricter laws against possession than the state we live in.) My original intent, should he bring it, was to find someplace else to camp -- but our camping gear was mostly bought together and I just didn't want to deal with the hassle. But, you've got to...
So what did I do? Told him I was annoyed, that he'd better not bring it anywhere NEAR my tent, and simmered about it. And retaliated by messing around with (and seriously considering sleeping with) an old friend of mine. Adding insult to injury... Said friend, after I got over my initial "HUH?!" reaction to what had happened and what could have happened, sat me down and said, "Cut the crap. I know you, I know you're not happy, and I know you're not yourself. What's going on?" Good friend.
I told him. At great length. I also fessed up to my ex-fiancé about what had gone on, and needless to say he was furious. For about half a day. I then told him (and this is still how I feel) that he literally could have had two different girls in his bed every night the two nights he was at the camp before I got there and it would have upset me less than what he did -- for all the reasons I thought it was a bad idea when I told him not to do it, and because I SPECIFICALLY ASKED HIM not to do it, and because "I forgot and left it in my car" was a fairly obvious line of baloney. (And yes, he later admitted as much.) Yeah!
In the days that followed, I realized some things. One is that either he doesn't care about me as much as he claims, or he has a serious psychological addiction to marijuana. Doesn't care much about himself; that's why he doesn't know how to care about you better. (And he tried to blame me for this! When we met, he was very anti-drug and fairly anti-drinking. I'm a responsible social drinker, which apparently "showed" him that alcohol could be used responsibly, which made him believe that the drugs he played with in high school could be used responsibly, etc. I'm all for legalization, and have friends that are VERY occasional pot smokers, but there's a world of difference between once every few months and every night!)
That led to the next realization, which is that I've rationalized a lot of things with "he's a year younger than me, and at a different life-stage, but he's committed to being with me and if I just give it time it'll all be OK." Or worse, "my expectations are too high, I'm being abusive like my dad was to my mom and me, and I should just let it go." "We love each other, the things that bother me about him are just little things." Glad you see these are denial mechanisms.
Some of the so-called little things: I'm allergic to his cigarettes; he's allergic to my cats. I want children, not yet, but probably between two and five years from now and probably children, plural. He wants one, maybe, and not for many many years. We have different ideas of where we want to live (though compromise was reached on that), what sort of food we prefer to live on, how important religion is in our lives, how best to spend spare time, etc.
The MAN I fell in love with is the person that he thought he wanted to be, both for me and for what he thought he "should" be. The person he wants to be too. Actually, in his heart, he is that person; he just sells himself out all the time. That person doesn't exist, except in brief wonderful moments. (For instance, I admire his courage and honesty in leaving a note on the windshield of a parked car he ran into, when nobody saw the accident. I just wish that same honesty would be applied to me more often.) Perhaps one year or five years from now, that man may return permanently, and we will both have changed enough to pick things back up. More likely, this won't happen. In either case, the boy that he is now is too young for the woman I am becoming. (He's 21, and I will be 23 in two months. The slightly more than a year age difference often feels much larger.)
He's still too hopeful. Or, more likely, too concerned with getting his own needs met. Ego needs. That's why he sells out left and right. One of the first questions he had as we discussed things is "So, when do you think we can have sex again?" He wants the sex, he wants the care taking, he wants to be able to say, "See, I'm not a loser, I have a really cool woman who wants to spend her life with me!" That isn't love. I just wish he'd realize that.
I can't sell my soul for moments anymore. I can't play Wendy to his Peter Pan anymore. I can't keep trying to put square pegs into round holes anymore. Good girl.
It hurts. Sometimes it would be so easy to pretend the hell that broke loose on vacation never happened. It would also have been easy to completely break away from my ex-fiancé and turn to the friend who would gladly have let me stay in his tent! ;) But, as I told him, "Even though my relationship is falling apart, I don't want to rub salt in his wounds. You would have also rubbed salt in your wounds. Even though your ego may have felt better, what would selling out like that for momentary "love" and comfort do to your integrity? Besides, I need to work on ME right now, and if I just ran to you for comfort that'd be too much of a distraction." And he understood and respected that. Yay! Yah for both of you!
Easy things aren't often the right things, though. The High Road, the little straight and narrow path, is hard. But, it's the only way...
Dear Dr. Irene, B. here, keeping you posted.
With hubby, you're just on to the next level. You're
clear on the overt stuff. Now your body is more sensitive to the covert stuff
and his intentions as well. You are now asking him to jump a level in his
development; you are asking him to be the best he can be. This is hard, but
very, very good stuff. High Road stuff.
I feel I should call us the group in the cat box :), so: to angry in the cat box. I may be selling out, but I prefer to think of it as the last effort (Will it be? Yep! I think so). I feel he is a good person and consider my age. I hope I've learned a little over the years and I really don't believe he means to hurt me. Glad you see that. One fault I find with us and I don't like it at all, is the role reversal. He's on egg shells now and here I loose my respect for him. He's trying hard. He doesn't know how to simply be straight with you and be real honest. He's doing the best he can so he does not abuse you. I have told him this is not the appropriate time for gift giving. I stopped that years ago. What I need is for him to hear what I'm saying PERIOD ! Dan: Try to hear her. Maybe it will help Lynn if you were to jot down all the stuff she wants you to hear on a piece of paper and give it to her - so she knows you heard and understood it. Fight the tendency to qualify what she wants you to hear. Just repeat her. Think: you are Lynn and you are repeating to Dan the things you want him to hear.
I have this little fantasy about duct taping his mouth shut when I have a biggie to talk about. The first word out of his mouth is where the problem starts and we keep it rolling from there. I get so I give back after a while. Lynn, I know how fed up you are, but 2 wrongs don't make a right. Stop dishing it out back. You compromise your own integrity. Dan: See, see! Just shut the mouth (which is trying to explain why you did XYZ from your point of view so she'll understand). Don't go there! You simply need to listen. OK? Just humor me and do it!
I'm so glad you brought up the sex thing and I'll get to that, but I would have liked to have said this bothers me and PERIOD ! Do you hear that Cat Man and others? You can't fix it. Don't try to. You can't justify it. You can't make it better. You can't change my thinking. You can't change my mind. So maybe say NOTHING. Yes, I know I'm shouting. Ignore it? Certainly not, but maybe just listen. PERIOD. Hear that Dan? By the way the "sex thing" is no more than a symptom... A symptom of alienation. An addictive symptom to be more specific where the objective is to experience some pleasure and avoid the pain or emptiness of real life. The "sex thing" is extraordinarily common in abuse, as it is in other addictions.
Now about the sex thing. Before this comes across like I'm living with a pervert......
On WebTV with a movie channel and we were looking up old movie stars. I went to do something, come back to the room and there is Adult XXX, etc. on the screen with a list of data. What's that?? He turned the WebTV off! I asked why he did that and he gave me a 10 or 15 minute explanation of babble.
Alarms went off in my head. I am not usually snoopy. He is entitled to a life of his own, but I went snooping in his mail and found a sex site with three days free with a $1.95 charge that he put on his credit card, then it was cancelled. I was on vacation for 3 weeks at the time and it is the first time I've left him in 12 years.
Now comes the tricky part. Right or wrong I snooped, ancient history and on this I knew I had to confront. Did I do it wrong? Probably, but again, Ancient History. I called him at work!!! This went downhill from there.
I experienced the strangest emotions I have ever felt. Shame, shock, Personalized it, raged, took on the whole load of no self worth. "Old, fat, ugly, inadequate, we have a problem, and what am I doing wrong and why aren't I good enough for you?" Yukky down to my very soul. (I can't imagine the hurt of infidelity).
Again, as serious as this was to me, Dan tried to brush it off and some of the "mind games" I felt were being played on my head were more than I could handle. It still went down hill. Can you believe I spent 6 hours in this mess. Also got the last words in and they were UGLY.
How do I feel? Nothing was solved, resolved and I only wish we could have fixed our communication problems years before this. At least it got you guys started...
For you younger ones. Settle this on the small things because it gets worse, out of control, and don't sell yourselves short. If it feels yukky, it is yukky. Yes.
Can we fix this? I don't know? I still have 2 minutes of hope and I hope he follows through on our therapy. Every time it gets 1/2 ok he quits. If he does it this time we will destroy each other and I will have the last word and it will have to be "bye". I hope Dan sticks with it. If he quits, he is only quitting on himself...
Dear Dr. Irene,
I told the new therapist who recommended us and how I found you. I know now why I like this site. I cannot share this sex thing with anyone. I have got something big in my life somewhere that I'm so broken by this. I am getting able to get up and get dressed and function, I wallowed in my pity so I didn't have to think for a few days. Purrrrr. With the dog and cats in bed with me. Purrrrr Great feeling of comfort and I feel better for it. Thanks, Lynn Love to T and I haven't re read or edited this. It still hurts. You have every right to hurt. You are experiencing betrayal. But, please try to understand this is not about you. This is about Dan. This has nothing to do with you although it touches most aspects of your life....
Mrs. Cat Box here,
It seems there is an interesting phenomenon going on at this site. I don't understand it, nor do I need to, but Mr. Cat Box Cleaner can read what I'm saying (and have been for years) without the defenses. Is it because it is there on TV and not directed at you. My body language, tone of voice and other actions may influence. My words here don't seem to threaten and bring up the defenses. Isn't the net wonderful? Mr. B, I'd like to hear your side. Me too! Hugs to Mrs. B and the rest of us in he litter box. The He Said She Said Site. Be it sex, drugs, family or whatever, we are hurting here and ready to leave you soon if our needs aren't met. I think it's more accurate to say if your self-respect "needs" are not met... This doesn't mean yours can't be........What have you got to lose? Your way didn't work. My way didn't work. We got into this together and I'm not so far gone (close) that I have forgotten why I fell in love with you in the first place. :) I am old enough to want and expect peace, tolerance, acceptance, respect and all the other adjectives and enjoy these golden years with all the comforts, security and intimacy we both deserve and will get if we both work on this. Tears, Lynn See Dan... She loves you...
My analogy for the cat box fight: Some of the things I said in my abusive/get even mode made me feel as if I had cleaned out the cat boxes with my tongue. Lynn Perrrrfect! The good news is that you don't have to do that any more!
AngryGirl here, complete with darling kitties. Meow!
I'm finding that (these first few days at least) I'm missing the warm body aspect of things less than I thought. It's kind of sad though, up till things just went crazy, sex was the one place where it didn't seem we had problems.
That's why, when I found myself seriously considering sleeping with my friend, we both knew it was time to sit down and say "What's really going on here, because this makes no sense?" My "retaliation" was not planned (retaliation is rarely planned; more of an impulsive emotional survival thing...) -- I originally thought it might have been over exuberance on my part to see a very dear friend of mine for the first time in about a year - and to see him alive and on his feet when he was nearly killed in a car accident last fall - and hasn't been able to walk until about a month ago. And insecurity relief on the friend's part, since he was very athletic (he teaches fencing) and had to put that aside. So he feels all out of shape and is glad that someone still finds him attractive etc. And neither of us go for the picking-up-strangers thing. :)
If I was going to compromise my morals, I instinctively picked the least harmful-to-me person I could possibly do so with, because we were immediately able to sit down and talk and say "OK, this is confirmation that something is extremely wrong." (That, and we live six hours away from each other -- makes the immediate bed-jumping thing a bit more difficult were I so inclined, and my friend won't LET me get emotionally dependent without calling me on it.) And I was so far into my rationalizations of wanting to fix things because I wanted to honor my commitment that I needed a wake-up call from some wiser part of me that had already made the decision to leave. I had been getting subtler ones for probably months and rationalized them away. This one, I couldn't do that with.
And listening to the body is a good thing. One of the reasons I have no interest in sex right now (particularly with my ex) is that, much as I *enjoyed* it, I experienced an intense energy drain afterwards, and he usually experienced the exact opposite if it wasn't very late at night. I realized that, and then I realized that I experienced the same thing to a lesser extent just being around him and trying to accommodate his needs.
A friend of mine who never completely liked him said she can hear the difference in my voice just over the phone. I have all this energy now that I am not quite sure what to do with (other than keeping the barriers up so I don't just take him back, which I know he still wants). For a bit I'll just enjoy it, I think, then it's on to all the things I've wanted to do but neglected for HIS sake. Yay! Glad you are feeling better. You sound lighter. Need any more reasons to really pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you? Now I'm going to go into "mommy" role: Sex is more meaningful when you don't treat it casually, dear friend or not...
I identify with B's "yucky" feelings--I've been having a lot of those lately. My solution is to stay away from him when I feel that I need to. The moment I begin to feel uncomfortable, I go upstairs, outside, just somewhere else for awhile.
He has noticed this, and I have explained that I am at some sort of turning point. (My self-respect has increased, my tolerance for being abused has decreased). I do not want to separate or divorce, but I do not want his hostility and blaming in my life either. This is affecting my health: I wake up crying quite a bit, have nightmares about him, my headaches have increased, and I'm generally shaky inside and out.
His reactions to this alternate between defensiveness and manipulative bullying (He started reading the Evans book, and now uses the info against me if I talk about how unhappy I am, i.e., "She says anything negative is abusive! Garbage. You're being negative! You're abusive!" Ignore it when he tries this tact, which is a pretty common one by the way. Don't engage!), and loving concern. I believe he has one foot in and one foot out, doesn't want to make a decision either way, and would like me to join him in this limbo.
So, like B, I make it a point to listen to my body. I was on the verge of hysteria yesterday--truly about to wig out. This tells me that I need to take better care of myself. I realize that doing that makes things uncomfortable for him, because it forces him to see that his behavior really DOES affect me, and more importantly, that I WILL put my well-being ahead of placating him. I hope I can stick with this--not sell out when it gets too scary! One day at a time! I think what he's doing is scary... Selling out is scary... Look what happened to Angrygirl when she didn't sell out...
Best of everything to everyone here! And to you too Becky.
Welcome Becky and Good Morning Group. Boy, did you hit some good things. The last one of mine had me in bed for three days. Took stock of my medicine chest headboard. Over the counter sleeping pills (at personal Dr.'s suggestion), plus a stockpile lest I ever run out. I by these in bottles of 500. I currently have 3 full bottles, some in my purse and some in my suitcase. An extra box of Unisom because they seem a little stronger. I tell myself I don't abuse them because I "only" take 2 a night. That's just for starters. Generic Excedrin by the 500's too. 4 full bottles of Mylanta. Muscle rub, heating pad (with a spare), and I get 1/2 and 1/2 delivered to mix with cranberry juice because it settles the stomach and fiber tablets, too, because I'm "always" constipated. I internalize things for the price of peace. !!!??? You certainly do seem to be abusing over the counter drugs. To escape, cope...
Dan, too, I feel has using things against me. He was working on his masters degree in therapy and there is a thin line between some of these words as I said in my original Cat Box Letter. But he has the education and I so buy some of what I call his "Psycho Babble". Wears me down and I go into the medicine chest. I can get very righteous. We don't do drugs. Define drugs ! Listen: when Dan starts with the psychobabble and you feel yourself getting snowed, you probably are. Don't go there. Ignore it. He will try to analyze you despite the fact that the only person who can take your inventory is you. Same for him. Don't engage.
Some of the quiet abuses can be pretty amusing, and to give him his due, he has changed a lot of these because I just don't allow then to work. Eyeball rolling; Parroting- repeating what I say; To a direct question - arms crossed - "Just answer me this, just what did you tell me on such and such a date?"; This switched to "What did I tell you whenever?"; What I call bad acting, "I can't believe you are doing this to us" or "I am only doing this for us."; What I call "acting retarded" like he didn't understand what I said. The list goes on and on and all of this with a soft gentle voice and a few "honey's" thrown in for good measure. Another good one is "I thought you meant." Lynn, he is trying, and is trying the best he knows how. But, the best he knows right now is to alternate between trying and protecting his ego. He is reacting to how you appear to feel about him, just as you are reacting to him. It would be to everyone's benefit if you didn't react to each other emotionally. So, stop engaging to the best of your ability and certainly don't pay attention to the stuff that feels manipulative to you. I would give Dan the same advice...
I had a physically abusive ex over 30 years ago and my dad is a loud bully, so these I see instantly and can defend myself. Great boundaries, if I can recognize it. The more situations you recognize as abusive, the more you will. You're training yourself to get real good at it.
Sometimes I don't know what hit me. Some things I recognize and don't play. Don't speak, just make an exit and go elsewhere. Tub is good. This gets "I'm trying to work on this and you are leaving!" The change, awareness for me was the biggie. He had his fists clenched, his face was RED with veins sticking out. What's scary is I wasn't scared. I sat erect and stared him down. Didn't say a word.
This escalates and I can see where this is heading and this is why I knew I had to issue an ultimatum. "Lucky" I have the resources to go, but the strength isn't there yet. Key word: "yet."
He is trying. Before he has "tried" and this meant he learned new tactics. Domineering, ball busting, everything MY way, etc.? The louder I got the calmer he was. I don't know how to fight this, so I don't know why I have tried. It's not up to you to fight; it's up to him to stop.
One of the symptoms I have from this..........He doesn't hear what I'm saying, so when I feel heard elsewhere I can't shut up. Not bad as far as symptoms go. Have you been to a support group? Codependents Anon, or ALANON are excellent.
He says he hears me here (web), too. From me to the TV to his brain is once removed. Some tones, no matter how hard I try, come out with a nasal twang. I can hear myself say "your mother". It sounds like Lily Tomlin and I have no control, so I do not even say it any more. My tone gets him instantly defensive on that.
We both have a lot of work to do and if it takes two of us to tango into this, it will take two to tango out of it. Your job: Stop reacting emotionally to him. Do not engage to the extent possible. Please consider a 12-Step group like those I mentioned above, in addition to whatever therapy you guys get into.
Slept last night without a drug. That's progress. :) If we get well, I will decorate my toilet in shades of blue and if not..... I better anyway.
Hugs to you all, I hear you, Lynn
Hello group, Lynn here,
Just sitting and thinking. We seem to be the ones willing to give it one last try, so we are here for a different reason than those who need support to get out. More often than not, the boundaries between the two groups is not all that clearly defined, or they are shifting...
Tell me if you agree with me or not:
Our mates recognize the abuse and are willing to try?
Now, here's where I got to since my last email. I gave all the negative and abusive things I feel he does to me and totally left out the progress we have made. Don't leave out the progress... If he's trying, and I believe he is, he needs to hear what he's done that you appreciate.
At one time in our life, he could not answer to "What do you want for dinner tonight?" This put him on the spot and I would get, "Well, we had such and such last night, we have this in the freezer, etc, etc, and more etc." I was simply bored with my own cooking and was ready for a suggestion. Can this be answered wrong? Why not accept his answer; he really didn't care? No problem here, unless of course you get blasted later for not doing something else he never mentioned...
With a lot of work and a lot of reassurances he can answer this in one word or less. I had to learn that this isn't about me and when he starts delivering Hamlet I just say, "One word or less" and we grin and get on with whatever. Threat or something is gone.
We have been great at the boundary thing, too. It's not ALL been bad. "His mother (twang)", had no respect for his boundaries and I bought into this and I let him feel she could do this or that to me, too, because, "after all, she is my mother". This one gets long and convoluted so just a few brief ones on how we worked this out. If you don't like the way his mom is treating you, tell her!
She would come to our house and go through his papers, wallet, come and sit outside and honk the horn until he came out. Ulp... Come to our house at any given time and tell us who and sometimes what we were having for dinner. You get my drift. Tough one. No, not tough. So off-the-wall, it's easy. "Mom, do not go through belongings left in my house." "I am sorry but you do not dictate my dinner parties." I expected him to protect my boundaries here yet he had no ability to protect his. Once I got my boundaries healthy I nipped this in the bud. After about 6 years :) Good for you. If it offended you, it was up to you to open your mouth. His job is to support you.
She told one of his brothers she wanted to come down here (we moved) and he called to warn us. Previous, we let her. This time I said "no. " Good for you! She is "not welcome in this house until some things are settled." And honestly, Dan shrank. I stood my ground and made him call her. Why didn't you call her? He suggested he call her and tell her to call before she came. NO, call. He did and she tore him apart and threatened him and it was really ugly. We had a tough time with this one, but, we worked it out. But, you're making him change instead of changing yourself! You are the one with the problem with his mom... As your partner, his job is to respect you and your feelings and support your position with mom should she try to split you two. This was not about me either, so I could back off with time and realize his fear of her is greater than his fear of getting me mad. He had two of us pulling at him. With me, he jumped into my boundary and let me say NO. She is not mad at him because "I made him do it" and his contact with her has lessened, but she stays out of his space now unless he chooses to let her in. He insisted this strength was why he fell in love with me in the first place. I took this personally for years because he Never defended me. I don't think he could have. Probably not. He does need to fix this. But, he needs to fix this. You have no right to control him either and "make" him stand up to people he doesn't want to stand up to. This will just make him angry with you in the recesses of his mind.
There are a bunch of little ones, too, and yes, there has been progress. I think I see here, am I right ?? When he feels threatened about losing me, he fights to keep me with the only tools he had learned to fight me with ?? If this isn't about me either, I can back off. I saw THE SEX THING and lost my everything. I'd love a Devil's Advocate here. Some of me says I'm selling out and........ some of me says stick with it because this guys worth it, he just has to break his old habits which means I have to break mine that get us into the fights.
Boy, Trubble, Do you make life this tough? Lynn Trubble's opinion: This guy really cares about you. If you love him, stick it out. While he works on himself, you work on yourself. You need to better define your own boundaries and what it is and is not OK to ask your partner to do...
I think your husband and mine must be brothers! Actually, as I said to someone else on this site, I think all of these folks took "Abuse 101" together!
It strikes me how similar, even identical the behavior is, right down to the body language and words they use! To be fair, the same can be said about us co-dependent types (but at least some of us recognize it)! Correct. But also recognize that while abusers have similar yukky tactics, the strategies codependent type often use are not OK either! Like the control stuff above.
My point is, if your husband is like mine, he tells you that his behavior is all about you. Which we all know is pure garbage. We are supposed to go to a ballgame tonight. I enjoy doing that, but I feel very nervous, even panicky at the thought of being an hour away from home with him. I don't feel that he loves me, or cares about the marriage, and I don't want to be with someone who doesn't care. I told him this (he seemed to want to know). His reply: "It's hard to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you. Makes me think I should be with someone who wants to be with ME." He just doesn't get it--I DO want to be with him--a non-controlling, emotionally healthy him. I hope you told him this part too. And my feelings, I think, are reasonable under the circumstances. Of course. But in his eyes, I'm doing something bad to him, and he can't get past that to understanding how I must be feeling. That's sad for him.
I am playing this by ear; I've spent the last little while relaxing, listening to music, and dealing with the panic. If I feel like going, I'll go. If I feel uncomfortable in a serious way, I'll ask to go home, or at the very least, walk around the ballpark a bit. Sounds good to me.
Most of all, I'm trying to bide my time, and get my ducks in a row, and avoid exploding and forcing the issue before I'm ready. I've looked into my legal rights, gotten a second job and am going to save some money. Good! You are leveling your material power base. I'm drawing on the strength and support of those who care for me, and looking to God every day for guidance. Excellent. It took ten years for me to get to this point; it will take some time for me to determine the best course of action. (That won't take ten years, though! :-) )
Hang in there, Lynn! Becky You too Becky.
Hi Becky, this is Lynn,
I love the brothers bit. He has a slew of brothers and collectively they are interchangeable. We have quite a support group with each other and call us "The-Sisters-In-Law". I am with the oldest and we are the only ones trying Therapy, Web, (my term, Cyber Shrunk), workbooks, etc. We are quite a force together and in groups with our men, his mother won't even come sit with the group. We get quite a chuckle. The Force Field is almost visible. Just one part of the..... I'd love to have you as an in-law. :) Becoming pen pals is the next best thing!
Abuse 101, I feel like I'm in graduate school.
Some of this is so silly, isn't it? I don't like highway travel. If I said, "Please slow down," he would up the speed 5 mph. Ugh. This went on for years. I tried lots and even quit going anywhere with him. Assured me he would do better if I gave him a chance and then he drove at 25 mph. Next time 5 + 5 + till I unbuckled my seat belt. He asked what I was doing and I told him truthfully that I would rather be killed outright than mangled. Then he listened. Now at a reasonable i.e. 65 mph, he'll ask if I comfortable. See, he can be a good guy Yes!, but what didn't he understand the first 2000 times I told him? He's terrible at listening. His defensiveness gets in his way. Hear that Dan: Just Listen! This never was about his driving. He's a great driver. It was about all the other goofballs on the road and I told him that.
I'm glad you are taking care of yourself. Tough to do, isn't it? MHW suggested yoga. You younger ones should love this. My yoga is ironing. I love to iron. You're welcome to be my houseguest any time you want... I plug in some old black and whites in the VCR and press away. I even iron his blue jeans and starch the seams and do Military Creases on his work shirts. Nuts ? :) To some of you maybe, but I love to iron. :)
"Save some money and at least give yourself the ability to go if you should decide to." I agree with Dr. Irene. It will be his loss. It is important for you, and for him too, that you come from a position of power and that you remain in this relationship because you choose to.
My prayers tend to be the direction of Please God, help me make the right decision, rather than to wait for him to tell me what to do. Try: "Please God, show me Your will and give me the strength to accomplish it."
I was a widow when I met Dan and I had a good relationship that the two of us worked on for years. Sometimes I feel like I'd hate to break in a new one after all the work I've invested in this one. :) Don't forget the most important part; he really wants to make things OK. This guy, awful as he can be is not telling you, "Too bad if you don't like me the way I am. You change; I'm not." We aren't getting any younger (mid 50's) and these years we should be secure in our relationship/s. We really have all of the hard work behind us. Kids, divorces, step-kids, all the years we worked hard to get here are being wasted in games, control, power, fights. I earned some rest. I want to enjoy the rest of my life with this guy. Sometimes they just don't seem to get it, do they? I'm on his team. You still love him... :)
Can you find anything nice to say about your guy ? I needed to about mine. When it is bad I think it always was bad. There is a great one here, too. When it's good, I forget there ever was a bad. I think that is the Theory of Relativity. Stop making blanket generalizations and confront each good or bad "scene" as they come. Yes, this is hard; you can do it.
How hard to not bend to his will and go if you would rather stay. Ballgame, I mean. Sometimes it's easier to go rather than fight about why you don't want to. You don't fight about silly things like this. If you want to go, go. If you don't, don't. He has to accept your decision, whatever it is. Disengage from any arguments. I'd like to be able to say, "No I don't want to." And if he asked why just say "because" and have him not take this as rejection. He is the one who needs to realize that not wanting to go somewhere has nothing to do with rejecting him. You can't impart this knowledge to him. The best you can do is point this reality out.
The toughest part for me right now is real life. Kids, grandkids, things we've planned, family get together, all the little real life thingies, jobs, chores, the little stuff is overwhelming.
I have to end this with something positive. I'll try and come up with one...... Let's get out of abuse 101 and take another class..........:) I'm open for suggestions........ Trubble, are you out there ???? Dear Becky, I Love You, I know you are a good person. Lynn And welcome to the family !!!! I'm here Lynn! I told you elsewhere about this hot orange number? I just took a break and a cat nap... Tip: Look for a course on assertion 101 and boundaries 201. 'No' Is a Complete Sentence is good reading for you.
I went to the game and all was well. It was a lovely night, breezy but not too cool. We ate with his alumni group, he chatted with some people, about the 7th inning; we went into the stands to watch the rest of the game from a better vantage point. The team is the farm team (I think that's what they call them) for the St. Louis Cardinals. We used to go to a couple games a year, but hadn't gone for awhile. They're not "the big show," but they're not park district softball, either. I find it relaxing to sit in the fresh air and watch. :)
On the way home we stopped at a bookstore. He bought computer books, and I had a momentary lapse into the blues when I realized he'd expressed no interest in the self-help section. But I just let it go; after all, why would I expect anything else? But, you could go browse in the self-help section...
You mentioned trying to find good things about him. Well, there are, but I find myself not trusting the "good." I wonder, Is this the real him, or is the hostile nasty controller the real him? Maybe both are.
How are things with you?
Dear Becky, Lynn here,
I am so happy you had a good time. That can be us, too. at the book store. I have such a tough time with patience. Dan got me the coffee cup once that said, "God, grant me patience, and please hurry." I found one thing out though, I can't MAKE Dan read the books, or do the work. I can't do the work for him, although I have tried. Stop wasting your energy. His work is his work.
I'm wishing yours would jump in here. I have a reason. You helped me with Dan. He read what you wrote and he heard what you said. Now isn't that great. I don't care how he gets the message.
I wrote Dr. Irene a rather wordy letter and she may post it here if she wants, but rather than repeat all to you and then have her post it would be toooooo much, I'll simply tell you what happened as the result of you. He has suggested after an mind boggling discussion that if I'd let him take me to bed, he could make it all better. Funny in retrospect. I didn't know what to say.... I'm not often speechless. Well, obviously, I didn't go and just went elsewhere but I couldn't believe it. I've heard better lines from 16 year olds (when I was that age, too) and I didn't buy it then.
Last night (here's where the letter to Dr. Irene is important) in bed I apologized. Yep, I was wrong. Re read my 1st letter. "I'm not a snoop" and I'm snooping. I had myself feeling I was justified, too. Yep, I apologized, and in bed he held me, cuddled me, kissed me goodnight and did not even get near me sexually. :) You took responsibility... He laid down, turned over and I scooted over and we spooned. Remember, Dr. Irene told him to trust her and not talk. He didn't and read what you said, and gee, did that feel nice. Thank you I don't understand why when I say it he doesn't hear, but you got through to him. Thank you. I can't do this alone and neither can you. He will lose a lot when you are gone and probably want you all the more. This I don't understand. Think nice thoughts about yourself. you seem like a lovely person. Lynn
Lynn here to all at this site. I directed a thanks to Becky, but it wasn't just to Becky. Thanks to all of you who shared your feelings. Dan has read this and for some reason he can get another point of view and get the message. The support sure helps me and I really felt I was alone in this. Some of us will make it and others won't, but I do feel we have to get our guys at least open minded enough to just come look.....
Love, hugs, kisses and a cat is a warm body.
"I Am My Own Dr. Irene" dedicated to Trubble by Lynn
As I read through my posts and I do, I even answer some of my own posts. I know what the answer is ! I can answer every sentence of my own. This is pretty heavy stuff and it has only been 5 days and this is a lot of power to deal with right now.
I have the answer. I know the answer. I know what I have to do. I acknowledge where I am making mistakes. I recognize what I am doing to keep this cycle going. I am not totally blameless. This is not all about "he did this to me, he did that to me." This is about what I am doing, too. In my heart I have the answers if I am truly honest with myself. In my mind I know what I want to do (Not WE, I). I have this right in front of me and cannot deny what I have written. I can read from my first sentence and see what I have said. This isn't all about US. This is all about ME.
I is not selfish or greedy in this context. I know what I want. I know what I need. I know what I expect. I know what I deserve.
Where I feel I have been "blowing it", is in expecting him to give this to me. I can give this to myself. I can tell him my needs, wants, etc., but only I can satisfy my inner needs. I can take care of Lynn and Dan can either come along for the ride or not. That is about HIM. Not Us.
I have been shouting I NEED TO BE HEARD. I think he heard me here (Thank you, Trubble, and others sharing MY cat box).
Ok, I think he heard me, now what?? Now I shut up. Now it is his turn. What interest do I have in keeping the old battles going. NONE, unless it's about keeping the old battles alive in this relationship.
If it is about keeping the past hurts active, I better get out today. This cycle will never end because I wont let it.
He said he heard me and so now what? The ball is in hs court now. I don't know what will happen next. I do know it is time for me to "SHUT UP" and give him the chance to be the man I think he is. If he isn't, well, I know the answer to that, too, don't I Trubble?
Then and only then do I know I have to move on having given him my best. There will be no excuse for my staying, no matter what I tell myself.
I can only tell him what I want and need. He can only give this to me or not. Now is the time for ME to get out of his face and let him be responsible for his own actions.
Will we make it ?? Probably. Will we need help ?? Yes. Will we make mistakes ?? Of course. Will it be worth it ?? Yes.
This just might be simple math..... HE + ME = US Lynn
Lynn, You are sounding very strong! I think we are just about in the same place: the ball is now in his court.
I hope yours takes the ball and heads for the basket! You said that you wish mine would jump in here (I assume you mean read the posts). I know he won't do that on his own, and I'm scared to ask him. In his present state, he's liable to see my posting on this site as a betrayal. I know, that's his problem! I don't feel I've betrayed anyone, and I've been careful as to how much info to share here, and on the message boards. But since he's used the Evans book as ammo against me, I'm reluctant to even show him this site, let alone let him read my posts.
I hope Dan is truly hearing you, and is up to the hard work ahead. If I helped in that, I'm so glad! I'm a little sad too, that mine isn't at the place where he will listen and learn from someone else. I think he knows he'll need therapy to get the job done, and is too afraid of it. We went to counselling together in the past; both times he left after going for a year or so. He gave excuses both times; the first time he said it cost too much (wouldn't look for a cheaper therapist, though). The second time, when the therapist asked us to make separate lists of what we wanted to work on, THEN return, he never got around to making a list--said he didn't have time. What really gets to me is that despite his passive attitude about whether or not the marriage lasts or is any good, he STILL expects me to do and be for him--and gets very angry when he thinks I'm not.
Oh, well--I'm venting--sorry! I hope you have a great week! Pat Dan on the back for me.
BeckyPosts continued here...