posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be
considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care
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
to Catbox 14
OK Gang, PAGE 14 done. Steve & Asha, espec,
please go look see. Also, Lurking Lawyer, are you my favorite Lurking
Date: Friday, December 08, 2000
(((Jay))) you have had a time of it! I'm glad you came through
Suzy, I don't attend college, I am an instructor at a community
college, also a librarian at a parochial school. I did go to college as
an adult, though, graduating in 1994. I think I've said before that your
husband and mine seem to hold similar attitudes. He also was very
offended when I told him that I would want what the law says I should
have if we divorced. He has tried from the beginning to arrange things
so I would get little or nothing, and I think he is dismayed to realize
that he may not know as much as he thinks he does about what the law
says. For example, he refused to add my name to the house because he
does not want to consult me if he ever decides to put the house up for
collateral for business purposes. he believes that the house is his
alone, even though we finished paying for it after we were married. (He
says he used "his" money to pay for it, so it's
"his.") My lawyer says that it is marital property.
My husband has a thing against women; he denies it, but others have
noticed it too. He uses that as an excuse to accuse me of using him, of
wanting to take him, etc. I used to think I had to convince him that he
is wrong. No more. I know who I am, I am not the things he says. I'm
plain sick of his insecurities!
Theressa, I understand your anger. The injustice of it all gets to me
too! I am often told also, that I've "never done anything."
Just try to remember that 1. he wants you to lose your temper; it makes
him look good in comparison, and 2. you want to be better than that, and
that's what's important. Strive to be the person you want to be, focus
on that and you'll find yourself engaging less and less. In other words,
your purpose will have changed. You'll no longer be wanting to get back
or win, you'll be wanting to be dignified and strong, a person with
inner calm. You'll be choosing integrity, and you'll feel so much better
about yourself! It takes time and practice; stick with it! remember that
you are undoing many years of habitual behavior and thinking.
I hope we all have a good weekend!
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000
Dear Doc and Trubble,
I found this site while looking for another (typical) and have spent
the past 3 hours reading about Lynn and Dan as well as the others'
stories. May I just say, good luck to all of you. It's crazy how love
can be a huge source of stress and pain for many, yet at the same time
it possesses some addictive quality that forces us to continue at all
In any case, I'm 26 and for the past 2 and a half years have been
single. In this time I've dated, but nothing serious has come of it. I
suppose I wasn't ready...
From the age of 15 I was constantly in a relationship... each lasted
from six months to three years, with maybe a month in between. When the
last one ended I vowed that I would stay single until I no longer feared
being alone. I also wanted to know myself, not in the way that
significant others defined me, but in the purest way... how I defined
myself. For so long I shifted and shaped myself to those around me...
suppressing the qualities that weren't compatible with that person, and
compromising my values and beliefs, if expressing them would rock the
boat. It got to a point where I didn't remember what was important to
me, I didn't know what I liked, or who I wanted to become as a person.
As you can imagine, this existence was very unsatisfying and very
unhealthy. The "true" Tara was buried so deep inside by this
time, that I had no clue how to find her and if I did how to
"revive" her. I mourned what I thought was her
"death" for a long time.
After a year, I somehow slowly chipped away all the thought processes
and stagnant behavior that kept "me" dormant for so long. I
was no longer a shadow of myself and the happy, independent little girl
I once was emerged. This was a beautiful time and the
"re-awakening" was evident to everyone around me. I was a
positive force to myself and to others. I became extremely picky in
those I chose to date and at the first sign of a "red flag"
I'd choose to maintain my self-respect and walk away than to stick
around... something I hadn't done before.
In any case, I feel that I know myself better than I ever have and
I'm grateful for the time I allowed myself to get to know me. Somewhere
in all this, however, I forgot or it seems as though I've
"unlearned" how to be in a relationship with someone. I tell
myself "don't settle!" so at the first sign of imperfection, I
I can't imagine that I just haven't met "him" seeing as I
used to have no trouble jumping into a long term relationship... I'm
wondering if I'm now so afraid of "losing myself" again that I
won't let anyone get close enough to be in a relationship.
I guess I'm at some sort of crossroads where I've stopped the
co-dependent pattern of having someone just for having someone's sake
and I know what I want and what I don't want, but I haven't learned how
to apply it. My question to you is... what's the next step? I'm ready to
share myself with someone and to be shared with, I just don't know how
to do the healthy "give yourself without losing yourself"
Help? :) Tara
P.S. Thank you for listening.
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000
Dear Suzy, I know what you mean about the paintbrush/. I went to some
art therapy sessions the week I was in hospital earlier this year. One
of the best things they did was I got there one day and said what I
really wanted was to throw paint representing all my anger onto a huge
piece of paper. I was given the biggest piece they could find and I
threw the paint. It was really therapeutic and the other people in the
room were in stitches by the end. It went from angry to playful. It was
the one therapy I wanted to continue when I left.
I do have brushes and paint around, although my real talent seems to
be in writing. An artist friend reckons we produce our best work after a
time of intense suffering.
For years this friend, who is a trained artist didn't paint. The
church we were both in said she had to 'die' to her old nature! Finally
she seems to have gone through a whole lot of Christian counseling and
started to paint again. She never had the word 'codependency' I think
until I told it to her. Things are not that advanced in England. But now
she is an absolute shining example of a recovered codependent. And she
has a job teaching art. She started to paint again and I think it was
really significant for her.
Funnily enough, when she first showed me her pictures I thought she
was not very talented. They were really mediocre. Now they are not and I
can se the talent was there. Now she is being described by the same
church but newer members as a woman of God!!!
It is kind of hopeful to realise that church recognized it's very
serious mistakes. Maybe they will eventually get the submission thing
right. Now it is a creative place.
On the Paxil/Seroxat front, I think from what I have now read, some
people have really bad and some very good reactions to it. I think the
danger is its unpredictability. Apparently, according to people close to
me I have acted weirdly at times while on it. It seems to have come and
gone. Obviously I post when rational!
I got two letters in the same envelope this morning. One saying I was
insane and the other they had decided I wasn't. No apology.
I will write suggesting practical changes. Maybe they could get a few
tips on patient care from the hospital in my home town.
Also, strangely, as he definitely IS passive aggressive, and has
problems I remembered this morning that although initially the
depression was linked to the way he was, his issue always was that I was
my own person! Also I felt warmer towards him as I remembered that it is
not his fault he is so strange! I used just to be thankful he didn't
drink and think of him as a gentle person with communication problems.
I have a feeling that Paxil/Seroxat may have nearly ruined all our
lives. Also I am now wondering did something really happen to scare my
daughter. Either she lied or it did. It has never added up that one day
she was telling me what a good mother I was and how I was always there
for her and the next making these allegations. I have NO memory of doing
anything to her. Maybe something did happen. I think this is definitely
going to need a miracle to sort out as it seems to have so many layers.
And thanks. I am very bad at remembering the breathing techniques.
Dr Irene I am dying to know what you think about Paxil!!!!! I
think all these drugs are miracles.
Also, Suzy, the advice from the consultant was that I should be OK
after about 14 days. I did try to withdraw slowly and that gave me just
as many problems. Fortunately, there is no history of heart disease in
the family. Having started I may as well carry on to the end! My doctor
wasn't against me withdrawing from it (gradually)! very much she seems
to respect my opinion on my own health.
I read on a chart in the bad hospital ward that there is a drug
called ? Mithril which doesn't have SSRI effects (I presume, serotonin
withdrawal symptoms. I have never been offered this. I also had a really
bad reaction to the drug Trazadone. Got all the symptoms to indicate
discontinuing it. went crazy when I did for a day or two but stopped
having fainting fits and feeling really dreadful.
Sorry everyone if these posts are long and boring. I actually have a
feeling that as the days go by I am getting very long winded!!
One other thing. I have N EVER thought where we live a cat was a good
idea. I am not by nature a cat lover. I have been planning on getting a
cat. In the cold rational light of day, it just seems provocative to get
a cat when my husband and I have always agreed it is a bad idea. Good
grief. some poor moggy would have probably ended up squashed on the main
road if I hadn't come to my senses.
Now I have to work through what the reality of everything is.
Dear Tara. If only I had recognized the roots of codependency in
myself as young a you. You sound like you have done so well. I guess in
the end, what all of us wanted and needed was someone who would give us
RESPECT and let us live out 'to thine own self be true.' I NEVER
understood what that meant until this year. I hope you find your own
true soul mate. Maybe the secret is to be happy whether or not you are
in a relationship or single.
They should teach about codependency in schools. I actually think
that it would be more helpful than drug education. My daughter started
glue sniffing directly as a result of this and I have seen enough of how
she reacts in relationships to realise the biggest disservice I have
done to her is to give her a role model of co dependency.
For the record. I have only found one English Dr Irene. Interestingly
she also operates email advice. No boards though. In some ways it would
be helpful to have some reflection of English law which seems very
different from American.
I used to think American's were really over the top with their
emphasis on therapy. Now I think they have a lot right! (Doubtful.
We do so much therapy cuz we need so much therapy! Giggle!) If it
hadn't been for all the American websites I wouldn't have got through
this far. And when my son helps me get them online (reliant on a 13 year
old!) I am definitely having a codependency page and I am going to put
as much English law on as I can.
So far, I have got dancing flowers on every page courtesy of my son.
I have to laugh. My son is playing basketball in a tournament at his
school from 8 till 8 today. He is the best player in the school so last
year he won the best player award, He is quite miffed as the school seem
to have realized he would win again and made it 'the best team'. I hope
they have put him on the weakest side! I must be one of the few parents
who hopes their son will not be made out to be the best. He has a
ridiculously high IQ. Is brilliant at art and music. His art teacher
says that he is A level standard at 13 (You take A levels around 17-18.
He can write really well and he is a computer wizard. Just to add to
that the girls like him....... Again, most of the recognition of his
needs is in America!!! (Here giftedness is frowned upon.) I believe
people need to learn to fail and I do wonder if my husband is giving me
a hard time as marriage is the one thing he has not managed to be
He comes from a family who are all pretty gifted. The difficulties
with my daughter and family are the first real difficulty and they are
in denial about it. Just close their eyes. Perhaps it has become too
painful not to be successful?
meanwhile for us lesser mortals.........I think I would like to get
something done really well. love Jay
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000
Hi, B. here. I'm much behind on the posts. But I got to what Steve
said: "Thanks for your words of encouragement B. Now go twirl
around the house topless if you wish...oh my gosh, was I ever shocked
when I read that. I must be really sheltered. "
You are most welcome, and oh how you made me laugh!
I feel I need to explain a bit. Many times I'm on my way to the
bathroom, I start getting undressed, but too many things get in the way
so I'm going around half naked, usually topless. The same happens after
the shower. Now, imagine the situation: I am running around, juggling
the million things I have to do, H is (usually) sitting on the sofa in
front of the TV, not helping at all, but making comments such as:
"What's that, the neighbors can see you!", or "hey,
you're improperly dressed, get decent" (sheer play acting, this
one, and he knows I know that. He imitates certain movie characters) or
something like that.
I used to get really angry. I do everything around here, and he sits
there and makes controlling, abusive comments? What do I care about the
neighbors, What makes him think he can tell me how to dress, etc.
After a long time it suddenly hit me one day: I finally realized he
was only ACTING controlling and abusive, because he feels embarrassed
and weak to pay me certain compliments! He does not know how to say nice
things sometimes, so he acts naughty instead! Just like the boy who
loved me when we were 12 used to throw things at me (chalk, toads!!!) or
pull my hair because he was too embarrassed to tell me he loved me!
Then I also realized his "you have no sense of humor". He
knew he meant to pay me a compliment. He thought his way was funny. But
I go and get insulted and angry. He could not see his fear, and he could
not see his way was not funny, but controlling, demeaning and yucky.
When I realized all this, the next time he did that I simply
"translated" him to himself: I said OUT LOUD the compliment
that he MEANT but could not utter. Then I said, that this way was the
only way to get a positive reaction from me, and I explained that
telling me how much he likes me topless would get him my smiles, hugs
and love, whereas disguising his thoughts and displaying abuse instead -
would beget him only an angry, hurt wife, who doesn't want him!
Well, when he heard my "translation" and explanation he
laughed, and re-told me the compliment, this time properly. He was
smiling his smile of "gee, you make me do such embarrassing
things!", and seemed to enjoy his own courage, that he was telling
me "the truth" and by that giving me the power (the power to
know how much he cares about me, so scary). He enjoyed my positive
reaction, too. I could see him feeling: "hey, it was scary, but it
wasn't so bad!"
And he's doing it the right way more and more.
And I, at my end, am learning more and more to "translate"
him, so that instead of seeing the OUTWARD APPEARANCE of abuse, I see
what he really feels inside, and I see he is only trying to protect
himself from his fears, not trying to hurt me on purpose. So by
"translating" I can gently teach him how I want to be treated.
OK, now part of me wants to apologize for the long post, but the
other part thinks: maybe now that I explained all the parts and stages
of it, it would help someone here. Love, B.
P.S. read till the end of box 14. Theressa, you are doing so great!
Asha and Steve, you are working. Boy, what hard work... Becky, how are
you? And love to all the rest.
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000
Dear B . Good to find your post. You have certainly put a new
perspective on things. I am so glad you got through to a good point with
your husband. It really made me think.
I have taken my husband's refusal to talk about divorce as a control
issue. He has said clearly this is not what he wants. What if it is just
too painful for him to discuss?
What if he just couldn't handle my depression?
What if he has been trying and I have been rejecting him?
What if he isn't as have been seeing him?
Maybe he also felt abused by me.
I am going to take a leaf out of your book and give him some credit.
I was going to file for divorce soon. I am going to wait. Now with
the Paxil thing I think I need to wait. It seems unfair to file for
divorce when we have only just started family therapy.
What if we have both misunderstood. We have been together since we
were really young.
He has been doing loads of housework and said this is "doing
what he can' to help. I have wanted hugs. But what if these were his
What if it is not control but kindness. The best he can do.
What if he is locking his study door as he just can't cope. Maybe he
is crying behind there.
Some things he has done are abusive and I do think he has made me a
scapegoat. But weirdly I can't hate him any more.
I used to take him as I found him. We used to have some brilliant
times. I really did used to think of him as a gentle man with a problem
with shyness and communication.
He used to feel safe with me as I was equally shy. I stopped being
shy and am now quite gregarious.
What if that made him feel unsafe?
What if we can find some common ground again.
what if I stop and reassess his actions?
Thanks B. My first step is to go and put on clothes he likes and some
make up. He may not be ready for this but that is not the point.
Becky. One thing I am worried about is I don't want you not to take
Paxil if that is prescribed as people do have different experiences. I
guess the thing is to be aware that some people have bad effects from it
and some good.
My guess is, Dr Irene, please comment! that it affects everyone
differently as we all have a slightly different chemical make up. Try
it; give it a shot and if it is not working for you, stop it. Becky, are
you OK? I must have missed your posts...
In my case, please God let the nightmares end! Jay,
this is wonderful. I'm sure he's not as bad as he appears and he is
hurting inside. Steve, thank you for opening up to us and showing
everybody that an angry person is not an escapee from Hell..
Unfortunately, that's the rap guys (yes, especially men) get and
unfortunately, live up to the rep - because they haven't learned
the skills to disengage, manage the anger, begin to respect the Self.
Plus, they believe the bad rep!
Jay, this doesn't mean it will work. It means
you're doing everything in your power to give your marriage a
chance. Hopefully hubby will do his part. If he starts to, I hope he
joins us here. Then, you both would have to keep on doing your
parts until your parts are so over learned, they are automatic. If you
can't do your parts, it means you will feel like you wasted more time
with him. No promises, just hope.
Love to everyone, Jay.
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000
Dear Dr Irene. I felt I have to comment on the comment you made to
Steve about not disempowering the guy as he CHOSE to commit suicide.
I don't think people always do. I didn't choose to try when I became
suicidal. It was a reaction to events too terrible to live with. I think
it can be like an illness. My friend Jim who died of a heart attack also
once said that he found this to be true for himself. I think you can
just be so distraught the feeling takes you over. The reason I knew I
wasn't suicidal the other day was about feeling in control of that kind
I ALWAYS thought before things happened to me there WAS a choice. I
don't as a result of my own experiences.
There is a choice to get help and live. But I don't think that
happens for everyone.
I would say there is an attention seeking non suicide attempt. The
cry for help. Sometimes that goes tragically wrong.
My religion, nature, beliefs all meant that I thought I would NEVER
act that way.
What I d know is that even despite recent experiences if I ever had
suicidal thoughts again I would get myself safe very quickly. The human
mind is an odd thing. love, Jay
None of what you are saying is wrong Jay. You
are correct; what in fact is choice and what is not in terms of our
biology is concerned is something we will probably never know. My point
was less about the man's free will than in the irony I saw in Steve's
siding with the man. While siding and support are acts civilized humans
do to help their downtrodden, the very act tends to disempower the
individual being helped. You are most likely to notice this tendency on
this site among the disempowered types who support and validate each
other - yet remain disempowered because they believe their status. And
here was Steve, jubilant in his new empowerment, asking to cut him a
break. I was struck by the irony and chuckled....
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000
Sorry, the seroxat (Paxil) withdrawal seems to result in messing up
my words and spelling. I noticed this as the post was going through.
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000
Sorry for the double entry. My computer was on the fritz and I didn't
think it went through. In any case, I wrote something for a friend of
mine a few days ago. She asked me to make her what we call a "Cheat
Sheet" so I sat down at the computer and put down everything that
I've learned about co-dependency and relationships and just being alive
in general. I hope some of you find it helpful:
1) Your worth cannot be determined by someone else. For one, no
person's affections are guaranteed and two, you know how wonderful you
are better than anyone else.
2) Don't force or expect someone to express themselves when you need
them to. When and if they're ready, they'll come to you. Be patient and
have faith that they will and be willing to listen. Sometimes when we
take the "me" out of the equation we see things much more
3) Remember that people who say things that are meant to hurt you are
hurting inside themselves. Be gentle with them, even if only in your
thoughts. Negative feelings towards anyone equals a state of negativity
within yourself. Losing control and reacting out of pride or bruised
egos gives "them" the upper hand.
4) YOU decide how you're going to feel. The only person in control of
your mind is you, so make sure your inner dialogue is full of
pleasantries. Fake it till you make it! :) It does work.
5) Be accountable for your actions. If your instincts are telling you
not to do something, listen to them. If you choose to go along with
something you were hesitant about, remember that your body warned you if
things do go awry. This awareness should eliminate any surprises.
6) See yourself not better or worse than anyone else. We all come
from and strive on the same energy force of the universe. You're as good
as YOU CHOOSE to be not as good or bad as someone tells you that you
7) Remember how addictive it is when you feel good about yourself
around someone else. Aim to make others feel good about themselves and
expect nothing in return. In the grand scheme of things, you'll
automatically feel good about yourself when you make someone else happy.
Furthermore, miss no opportunity to tell someone how wonderful you think
8) Don't expect to click with all people. You can't have all things
in common with all persons, but you can respect them and learn from your
9) Don't be discouraged if you feel you've regressed. We repeat
experiences when we still have something we need to learn from them.
Don't beat yourself up if you find yourself in a place you thought you'd
outgrown. Sometimes, we're "there" again as a gentle reminder
of which way not to go.
AND last but most certainly... not least...
10) Love yourself!!! It will open the floodgate of receiving love
I think all of you are great, I hope this helps... Thanks Trubble and
Doc for letting me share :)
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000
Thanks so much for your blue notes.
I haven’t had time to check the other posts, but I will do that
later. Just want to respond to Dr. Irene’s blue pencil.
Dr I said <<Steve had to have felt less important to you than
the dog. What little, tiny things could you have done to contribute to
his feelings? >>
I give the dog “treats” – something special I do from the
heart. I don’t do this for Steve nearly as often. Not because I
don’t care, but because I *used to* (I’m stressing this because
these things have been changing a lot) feel that whatever I did as a
“treat” for Steve, wasn’t quite right – if I rubbed his back,
he’d sometimes pull away, if I made coffee it often wouldn’t be the
right strength, he didn’t seem to like what I cooked etc etc. I
started to feel inadequate and stopped offering to do the little special
things as much. I just felt I didn’t know how to please him, so I
stopped trying so hard. Betcha you were making him
happy. He just didn't know how to catch the automatic reactions around
his frustration. You let his junk affect you (Yes, this stuff is less
satisfying than appreciative behaviors, but the lack of appreciation was
not about you.)
<<How come you didn't find a bed you both liked?>>
I guess we have a bit of a difference preference about soft vs. hard
mattresses. The old one I liked was soft, the new one is hard. It’s
not as big a deal to me as it is to Steve, but I guess it was another
“small sacrifice” that has added up to bigger resentments. Part
of the gloomy yukkies Steve carried around, I think.
<<When you "sacrifice" so much, you are going to get
really, really mad when you think he should be giving in. Like with the
kids, for example.>>
Yes this makes sense. I think I “sacrificed” feeling it was
“compromise” and that there would be compromises on his end too. I
know he feels there were. I know that he has paid dearly through his
kids and his tumultuous relationship with his X, for example. But I
still didn’t feel there was healthy, balanced mutuality coming from
his end, and that’s where the smaller compromises started to add up
into “sacrifice”. The point is when you
compromise and compromise, and you don't get big stuff you want back,
you get angry! Who wouldn't!
<<"Sacrifice" is a better word. By the way, he does
it too. Surprised?>>
I think he may have “sacrificed” in ways I didn’t want him to,
though. Compromised We’ve talked about
this a bit and he seemed to think I didn’t want him to socialize or
look at other women etc. I have *never* been that way! My X boyfriend,
while we were together, met X-girlfriends for coffee, socialized without
me (with my encouragement – we had time together too), at one time had
another female roommate, and I *never* felt the least bit threatened. I
think the closest I’ve felt to jealousy was when there was a real
possibility of Steve going back to his Ex. I never thought I would be in
that sort of situation. I felt like I should have stepped right out of
the situation and yet I didn’t. I cared for Steve a lot by this time
and because it seemed he cared for me too, the “Ex” stuff seemed
like some kind of surreal dream that I couldn’t seem to get a grasp
on. Anyway, I’m getting off track. Yes and no.
Because Steve could have used the ex thing to bring you in; to comfort
you and help you feel emotionally secure, but he didn't know how.
(Steve, don't get defensive here, OK? It's true; you're still
<<Asha, do you see what you are doing? This is very subtle.
Tell me instead how mad you are at him! It's OK! I'm sure he acted
plenty creepy, but what Steve is referring to, and I'm glad he's
disengaged, is that in just reading the post, you are the good guy and
he is the bad guy. And, I know from your perspective, that's exactly how
it seems. And, that's fine. But, do you see your anger? >>
Yes, I do see the anger. Good. I’m not
denying the hurt and the anger that I felt (and still do feel at times,
sometimes more than others). I’m not sure if it seems like I want to
hurt him when I post my ill feelings. I don’t. It
comes across as a zinger, no different from the ones he's put forth that
have hurt you. Specifically, it seems like you want to let people know
that it's not your fault. I did all this good stuff, and this is what he
did back. He's the guilty one, not me. That's the implication.
Steve bristled at this stuff..
I’ve been trying to get at the source of the anger and why I
feel it. I hesitate sometimes before posting, because I know certain
things will appear hurtful to him. Don't work so
hard at protecting him Asha. You will resent him for it later. Instead,
speak your piece and hear him if he objects. I don’t want to
hurt him, but I want both he and I to understand what my feelings stem
from. In no way do I want to make him a “bad person”. I know he
isn’t. Just he maybe didn’t have the knowledge and tools to give
back what I had hoped he would want to give back. I
think Steve would give you anything...when he's not hot under the
collar. I feel like Steve is starting to get those tools
I’m also dealing with fear – the fear of being off balance – my
roller coaster riding, where I swing up and down with Steve’s moods.
I’m really trying to change this. Good! You are
the only one who can fix this one. I think where the dog comes in
is that I don’t feel like making radical changes in my lifestyle, then
swinging back again. Don't. The dog was
representative of some of this backward and forward swinging. Yes.
It's not about the dog. It's about the up and down, back and forth. At
least that's what it's about for you. Dog outside, dog on
the bed with me when I’m alone, dog downstairs etc all depending on
whether Steve and I were together, and if we were getting along. I hate
this sort of constant change. I’ve decided lately that I want my
journey of growth to be less melodramatic and I don’t want to make
“sacrifices” that bring me out of balance. Good.
<<Asha: Do a little soul searching, please. In your frustration
with Steve, have you ever gotten back at him by using the pet to make
Steve feel less than? (I would be very surprised if you hadn't since
this is one of the few places where you did have some power. You
certainly didn't over his kids for example. And, you are human. No
matter how much you swallow your anger, it's GOT to be there...)>>
Oh yes, the anger is there, as well as hurt and a feeling of
rejection. I guess it’s all basically the same thing. Right.
I want to be totally honest. I don’t feel I’ve purposely,
consciously tried to use the dog to “get back” at Steve, but it’s
possible (probably even maybe? Probable. )
that it happened on a less than conscious level. Exactly.
I know you did not do this on purpose - any more than Steve set out to
hurt you when he did. For example, when Steve was cold and
distant to me it was natural to want to seek out affection from the dog.
This is nothing new, because even as a child I did this when I felt hurt
or upset. My dogs have always accepted, reassured me, and loved me
unconditionally. You reacted to one of
Steve's broken pieces (with a broken piece of your own). When Steve, for
example, rejected one of your "treats" out of his own stuff,
you took the rejection to heart and got solace where you could. Steve
reacted to this. And on and on.
I can see right now how it would have appeared to Steve that I was
“choosing the dog over him” though it was really more that I felt
rejected and was looking for comfort from a source I knew would give it.
Exactly. One person's broken piece bouncing off
the partner's broken piece. When Steve would sleep downstairs, I
used to resent my “compromise” that the dog wasn’t allowed to
sleep in the room. It was sorta like giving something up that was of
great comfort to me and not getting enough back because I would feel so
alone and rejected. Right.
When Steve decided to move out, and was sleeping downstairs, I
decided to let the dog sleep upstairs with me again. I sorta decided I
wasn’t doing anyone any favors by sleeping alone and being unhappy
about it. I guess that could be seen as “getting back” at him, but
even if Steve never knew or cared about where the dog slept, I would
have wanted the comfort and protection of the dog. I just stopped caring
about how he would interpret this. Yes, of course.
But do you see the polarization that is occurring simply because each of
you is bouncing off the partner? This is why its so important to
find your Center and simply let other be.
I think if anything, my anger came out more towards him in areas
where he did seem to respect my input, such as at work. Sure.
That's where the balance of power was more even. Also, I think my
general tone towards him was basically resentful even when he was
feeling happy. We had lots of work power struggles too. I knew I was
angry at a certain level, but I also felt sure at that time, that he
just didn’t understand me He didn't. and
I put a lot of energy into trying to “get” him to understand. I
never completely buried my anger – I think I did try to express my
concerns as clearly as I knew how. I wrote lots of letters to him and
spent lots of time trying to identify the problem but we just kept going
round and round and round… until I found this site. And,
you're still going round and round, just beginning to understand your
respective roles better.
I knew that “getting back at him” wasn’t the answer, maybe
subconsciously I did this sort of stuff, but I knew on a conscious level
that hurting back wasn’t going to solve anything. A lot of my anger
towards him would begin before he left to see the kids (without me) and
would remain until a couple of days after he came back. I know that that
was a definite pattern for me. That's how big the
children issue is for you. Big!
I don’t know if this answers the question. I’ve tried to answer
honestly though. I’m sure there are certain things going on in my
subconscious that I’m still unaware of.
Thanks again Dr. Irene. You’ve gotten me thinking some more, as
always. Asha Thank you Asha. We're amazing
creatures, we human types (Sorry Trubble.). What always amazes me is the
scope of our potential power. Look at all the little places
identified here, where you and Steve have acted unconsciously,
automatically with subsequent negative outcome. Each and every one of
those nooks and crannies are opportunities to exercise choice,
take control of your life, exercise free will... Wow!
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000
Dear all . This is really a post to the males on the site. But as the
seroxat withdrawal is really taking hold I hope I am going to make
sense! I seem to have stopped using punctuation and forgotten how to
spell and keep hitting the wrong computer keys. Confusion, anxiety,
electric shock type feelings weepiness, just about anything happens and
my research shows this seems to be from sudden or slow withdrawal. Suzy
you were so lucky to have the withdrawal you did. And
the way you are thinking, instead of making it smaller, you are making
Weird how some people find a miracle from a drug which gives others
nightmares. Today seems bad in terms of being hyper sensitive to
everything so apologies if I offend someone in advance!
Steve, I could really identify with Asha about the way she stopped
bothering about the little treats. I stopped this too. My husband when
he did love me used to buy me the most wonderful presents. He is
surprisingly god at choosing clothes for me and always did give me
wonderful ethnic jewelry and clothes.
But I have never been able to reciprocate. Whatever I bought it was
never right. Sometimes it has stayed in one place for over a year. I
would love for him to pretend (like the year he cooked me a birthday
meal which consisted mostly of cabbage) Or to tell me what he wanted.
You see Steve, the dog gives Asha what she needs. He accepts politely
and gratefully what she gives so she gives to the dog again. Steve:
Fight the urge to bristle here. She's right and this is valuable info!
(But, you may already know that.)
I don't know if this is a male thing. But I think it is about us?
females? needing to feel what we give is valid.
In my case my husband won't respond and tell me what he does like and
want. In 20 years he has never been able to understand I would
appreciate it if he would open up enough to tell me. I still would like
to give him something he actually wanted. I would like to feel that what
I gave was valued.
Unfortunately for me I am just back at square one.
He doesn't want to post here. He must be getting codependency
terminology from somewhere. He has just told me he is "not
engaging." THIS DR IRENE IN THE CONTEXT OF MY TELLING HIM YOU HOPED
HE WOULD POST!!! That's fine Jay. Why would you
have expected otherwise? Just let him be.
Yesterday he thought I was stalking him for being in the kitchen at
the same time! I don't think it is me who is crazy.
Trying to give him some credit. It is not easy when someone
deliberately blocks out anything you say......
Not easy when he says things like "maybe you should be sectioned
while you withdraw from the drug. Again we have the "other people
have told him" bit.
I fail to see how they could have. On two occasions when I was
depressed they refused to have me in hospital and repeatedly told me I
was having cause related depression and was NOT mad.
Probably, what was said was IF I became a danger to myself or others
then they would section me (as they would anyone) and this was probably
said to allay his fears at a specific time.
How long do I have to keep trying to prove I am NOT suicidal?
I guess in some senses, for quite a while.
What I wish is I could see when he is genuinely worried and when he
is being abusive. Literally, my mind furs up.
He ....when I was a danger to myself they told me I was sane. When I
definitely wasn't they told me I was.....
Just chosen not to be self controlled and eaten the selection kit I
bought for my sons stocking. I knew I couldn't keep chocolate in the
house that long/......
Asha and Steve. My husband and I also had the mattress problem. We
got two different mattresses and put them together. If you have
different beds as well tie the legs together. (Or you end up with a
crack you fall down!
Dr Irene...official from my mother in law. She thinks I am demon
possessed.....! Maybe I am the escapee from hell!!!!! This is truly
ironic as my husband has always insisted that I think he is demon
possessed. (Theology from the church we went to.) This is one of his BIG
issues. Drop it Jay. This is not your stuff.
Dying to Know how he will cope with this. Drop
it. Work your own program.
Hopefully he will see how stupid the whole issue is. He even wrote
this on the family therapy agenda. He also appears to want to 'stop'
people praying for him!!!! Again an agenda issue. Boy will the therapist
and her team have some fun.....How can you counsel a man who refuses to
believe that his wife doesn't think he is demon possessed. (To be fair
in our very young days we were in the sort of church where everyone
decided they were possessed by demons and demons got cast out every
Actually. Having genuinely (yes) lived in a haunted house and having
some spiritualism in the family I do think there are powers of light and
darkness that latch onto people and make the negative things in them
worse. I didn't do myself any favors getting interested in witchcraft as
a teenager....But I just think that most of the demon theology is hype.
You can pray for someone and they can feel better and free without a lot
of screaming. Please don't criticize others so...
Personally I think that it is often the way people avoid counseling
and therapy. an easy way to avoid the issues.
Well. off to bake a Christmas cake. Love Jay
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000
I posted last night but I don't see it. Darn! I was so brilliant,
I don't have time to try to recreate it, so I'll sum up: First, Jay,
my doctor is going to have me try Celexa. He was going with Paxil but
when I expressed some concern he willingly changed his mind, said he
didn't want me having negative feelings going in. I haven't gotten them
yet and with a major storm on the way, I may not get to the store until
Tuesday. Steve, I may be reading you wrong, but I go with my gut
feelings when I read your posts. I'm aware that I may be projecting my
anger at my husband onto you since you seem similar in some of your
attitudes. Where you differ is in your willingness to examine what's
going on in regards to your own thinking, and I do give you credit for
that. I do agree with the Doctor that the dog is not the real issue,
just as bath towels, juice glasses, and clutter are not our real issues:
it's all about control and one person wanting most or all of it.
unfortunately, my husband doesn't want to see that. And unfortunately,
(or not depending on how you look at it) my tolerance for the resulting
nuttiness is pretty low! Celexa is another super
drug. Let us know how it goes...
Gotta go, Becky
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000
Sorry, thinking about it what I said about demons is offensive. Dr
Irene is right. love Jay Hey, you
could have been criticizing cat poop and I would have said the same
thing. My point: Stop going outside yourSelf. Stay inside you Jay and
don't worry about others. Have you noticed how much time you spend
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000
Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and the rest of the family, Hello
First off welcome to all newcomers.
I haven't read any of the posts since I last posted so am afraid that
I can't give any comments on what's been happening with your lives.
I guess that I'll start out with Thanksgiving weekend. The first
couple of days were really nice, we had a great time with the grandkids
and also met some old friends. I had lunch with my High School
Sweetheart and we talked about events in our lives after we broke up
until the present.
Sunday, Lynn's dad and his lady friend met us for brunch and he
started in complaining about the political situation, interrupting and
giving his ideas. It went downhill from there. The waiter brought us the
wrong bill and I returned it to him, over Lynn's dad's objections and he
apologized. When he brought another bill, I took it to make sure that it
was the right one, Lynn's dad said Go----- it, give it to me as I'm
paying it. Lynn asked me to get her out of there which I was very happy
to do. I don't know why but I have had enough of his tactics. I felt
pretty good about it too.
On the way home we had car trouble and ended up spending the night in
another town till it was fixed. We then proceeded home and got about 20
miles from home and got behind a dump truck towing a trailer with a
backhoe on it. I got a little close and Lynn unbuckled her seatbelt. I
pulled off at the first wide spot that I found, hopefully to let him get
far enough ahead that I wouldn't run into him again, no such luck. When
I pulled out Lynn felt that I was only doing 15 MPH, and that I was
doing it just to make a statement about no one telling me how to drive.
The other night Lynn said that she wanted to talk, I said OK. She
then went on to say how she felt about the truck and about her dad and
my road rage. So far so good. She then
asked me when she was going to get the respect that I seem to give my
elders. Zinger! Ouchhh! Ouchhh! Ouchhh! Lynn,
next time try, "When you speed like that, it makes me feel
frightened and helpless. Why do that when I'm in the car with you?"
Now you're specific, not attacking, and really asking a question he can
answer. (Except, it's not funny, but I trust you to find a way to jazz
it up.) I didn't give her any reply as I didn't want to be
accused of telling her how to feel, as I have done in the past, not
knowing that I was doing that. Once again, I thought for myself. She
told me that she wanted my feedback. But since I couldn't give her any,
then she felt that to kiss me goodnight would compromise her feelings
I did tell her that as far as respecting my elders, I didn't consider
her one even though she is a year and a half older than I. I think that
this was why I felt good about the ending with her dad Giggle!,
I had been brought up to adults were right no matter what and you had to
respect them for it. He was wrong and didn't deserve any respect, I took
a long time to recognize this fact, but I have. I know that when I was
teaching, that I earned my students respect and didn't demand it. You
lose when you demand and win when you let things occur naturally.
Friday last, we started to decorate the tree, and Lynn didn't seem
herself, as she has always looked forward to this time of year,
something I haven't for a long time, but am looking forward to this
year. I asked her if she wanted to talk and she said that she couldn't
talk to/with me about anything.
I haven't looked forward to Christmas since 90 but this year for some
reason, the commercialization and all the hoopla surrounding it doesn't
matter, it's the day and the feelings which the day conveys for me. I am
even enjoying decorating the tree. Yesterday it was fun watching Lynn
decide which ornament to put on, and then me deciding which branch they
would be safe on. Safe on... Giggle. The pets...
I went to the therapist last Thursday, and we did a sort of genealogy
of my siblings. I told her that I had a chart already drawn up here at
home if she wanted me to bring it next time. She said no. She then told
me that from the information which I had given her that although I don't
necessarily have a depressive personality that I do go too deep into
depression when I am there. I already know this. The one thing which I
don't understand is why knowing how many brothers and sisters I have and
their ages is relevant to the reason that I am going to her. I never
thought of this until just now, I am going to have to ask her. She's
a family therapist. Good!
The thing that really scares me about the future of our relationship
is that Lynn has said that if it works out, it does if not, oh well. I
find that there are days that I feel the same way. I know that
indifference can be just as harmful to a meaningful relationship as
anything else. (Sounds like anger to my uneducated
Lynn no longer posts when I am around, which is her decision and I
don't read the posts or post as I did before, perhaps there is a
connection perhaps not.
Now onto a lighter side, it got down below 0 last night and when I
went out earlier it was still -1. My truck let me know it too, started
hard and then drove like a tractor without power steering.
I think that you and LOCO are forever young and kittenish as it seems
that your both getting into the doghouse (pun intended) lately. And
"arf arf" to you too FakeDaddyDan. We should run into each
But, I love you even though you don't care about me (I'm trying to
butter him up.)
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000
Dear Trubble, Nope, it's me, FakeMommy...
Lynn here, try hair around the base of the bird feeder. Or red or
cayenne pepper. Suppose to keep furry critters away. ^_^ Or,
"Let them eat trout." hehehe People hair from the beauty shop
or dog hair from the groomers is suppose to work. Heck
why not. How about cat hair from Trubble?
I'll be back. I'm just catching up on the posts and reading the blue
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000
Hi CatBox and hello Trubble,
Lynn here I got it! At least I know what the problem is. I don't know
the cure yet (yes I do, don't I Dr. Irene?)
Dan asked me 2 nights ago if I wanted to talk and I replied,
"I've wanted to talk for 5 or 6 years."
I know what I want. I've had previous experience with Dan of
"using" what I've told him and then later on down the road
feeling like it was used against me. That's a no
I don't want to talk. I don't want to be heard. Well, yes I do, but
what I say I want it left there and kept locked in somewhere and not
used as ammunition at a later date. Cool. You have
to make sure you do likewise. Zingers, however witty, count.
I think I thought things were getting better and I couldn't even put
my finger on it. There it is. And it happened last week, too. I didn't
Okay, now that I do, I think I know what to do. This I can disengage.
I am mad again. Only at my stupidity. Dan can bring something up not
pertinent to the conversation and change the subject. Bingo. Slippery,
Been there, done that and now I feel better. I need to be his on the
head with a stuffed trout, Trubble.
Back to you later,
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000
Dear Cat Box,
Lynn here again and life is so simple, it's we the
"thinking" humans that make it so complicated.
I was so sick all day. I couldn't sleep again last night and my
stomach was in turmoil.
Then I read the posts and posted and within minutes I was feeling
Herein lies the secret. Amazing as it sounds, Dan can outtalk me. He
did it last week when I was down over my dad (hence the Gargoyle
reference) and again the other night. I can get taken in by this ALL the
time. In the bar business I only once got taken by a short change
artist. I don't know how they do it, but I know the lingo and just put a
stop to it. I need to do that in my life, too. When the lingo changes, I
take everything at face value and believe everything I'm told.
I have to relate a simple story here. Late H and I had a raging
battle going on about toilet paper. Me, over the roll, he under the
roll. This got so crazy we had to set rules. Whomever used it last got
to put the new roll on and it had to stay that way. Well, we got
nuttier. If the roll got looking low we would the last 20 feet just so
we could put it on "our way." Amazing...
Solution. We bought a holder that held 2 rolls. His went under and
mine went over and who cared in the first place??? We sure did and it
got so far out of proportion that we couldn't think straight.
Of course it wasn't about TP.
B, I loved your reference (and Steve's) about dancing around the
house topless. Ask Dan. I'll bet he'll swear I'd do it home alone in the
closet! I take modest to extremes.
I don't remember who posted about the gifts, but we went those
rounds, too. Dan NEVER said thank you first. It wasn't that he didn't
like the gift. I don't think he ever learned how to say thanks. I think
I countered once with something like, "Fine then, go get your own
gift." We worked on that one. He also used to have his mother go
buy me a gift. I hated it. I would rather have had something from him
than something she wanted me to have. We worked on that, too, and now he
does his own buying and does it great. He also thanks me for whatever.
Well guys, I may go talk now. I have a lot to say.
Loads of love to you all and loads of prayers. Dan just lit a candle
tonight for the lost children. Tall one in a glass tube. The cats are
still after it. I never saw cats so attracted to flame.
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
First I'll respond to Dr. I's blue posts, then I'll have a closer
look at the other posts.
Re: the tone of my posts, Dr I said <<It comes across as a
zinger, no different from the ones he's put forth that have hurt you.
Specifically, it seems like you want to let people know that it's not
your fault. I did all this good stuff, and this is what he did back.
He's the guilty one, not me. That's the implication.>>
I think this is, in part at least, accurate - the "I did all
this good stuff etc." is true that's how I felt. I felt like if
Steve wasn't so angry (whether at me or at anything else) then a lot of
things wouldn't have escalated because I did really want to find
solutions. Correct. I don't know if it's so
much that I'm wanting to let people know it's not my fault, as just
laying it out on the table as I see it (through whatever filters I may
be wearing - healthy or unhealthy). You are and
it's OK. It just comes across as a zinger in that people will tend to
sympathize with you and vilify him. This is not "wrong" per
se, but it helps create the dynamic between you two that you don't want.
Maybe there was a time when having a perfect appearance mattered
more to me, but I really don't want anyone to side with me over Steve -
I think that would defeat the purpose of my growth. I guess I wouldn't
want anyone to "hate my guts" either though. :) I've been
quick to doubt my own (sometimes healthy) motives frequently during my
relationship, and I'm trying to doubt myself less. Good!
Maybe I *am* looking for understanding though, and to see from others
that there is light at the end of the tunnel (I already know there is,
actually). I don't like being misunderstood, though that's a part of
life I think I just have to get used to. Yes. And
be OK with it if Steve gets upset instead of getting upset that Steve is
<<When Steve, for example, rejected one of your
"treats" out of his own stuff, you took the rejection to heart
and got solace where you could.>>
Yes. It's hard to know what things he said he really meant and what
things were said out of anger. You can't know.
That's why it's each person's job to watch their speech and gesture. I
still get confused about interpreting some of it. I guess part of this
is first knowing what you *yourself* mean. I'm still not exactly sure
when to believe or not to believe someone, but the difference now is,
when something feels funny to me, I try to step back and identify it. Excellent.
You will then come from a centered position. These things build
up rather quickly so I have to really stop and examine them when they
<<But do you see the polarization that is occurring simply
because each of you is bouncing off the partner? This is why its so
important to find your Center and simply let other be. >>
I think I'm getting the jist of what you mean, and the trick is now
to put it into practice until it becomes "normal". For now,
I'm trying to at least sense when I'm responding negatively to Steve. Excellent.
And he needs to do same. Again, each of you do all this
"behaving" to remain true to your own selves... Other just
gets to benefit from it.
Some yukky stuff happened to day which relates to this, so I'm going
to write it down. I followed my usual unhealthy pattern of bouncing off
Steve (I think) and I want to pinpoint what went wrong.
We were hiking with Steve's kids who had been bickering a lot. They
put each other down a lot and are quite competitive - their adult role
models (and I'm including myself here) have been no help to teach them
healthy communication skills! So the whining, complaining and bickering
are "normal". I had asked one of Steve's sons to hold the dog
leash until the end of the trail, then the other son would hold it on
the way back. Steve wanted feedback from me because the son with the
leash was complaining that we had taken lots of detours on the way there
and the trail back was much shorter, so the other boy wouldn't have to
carry the leash nearly as far. I just said that sometimes life's not
fair and there would be other times that the other boy would have to do
these things too. (Steve agreed.)
Anyways there was more complaining and (this is what *I'm* perceiving
- could be wrong here) Steve seems to feel that talking this out isn't
enough and that the kids need specific punishments for the competitive,
put down, complaining type behavior. I tried to say that these are
patterns that they are used to and we can't expect them to break these
patterns overnight by using "punishment" - pointing it out,
yes, maybe making some sort of exercise about thinking these things out
even, I don't know. I think it's no surprise that the kids do this. How
can we expect *them* to understand all this, when we are having the
exact same problems? Maybe once we have it all figured out ourselves,
they will tend to listen a little better (the not listening is another
prevalent behavior which I think is a lot to do with getting really
mixed messages from our "role modeling"). Anyway Steve
basically said that my idea of talking things out with them doesn't
work. That he's tried it long enough to see that. I don't agree, and I
don't think we've tried it long enough at all. In fact, I think that
there is much more for both Steve and I to both learn in this area. (BTW
If you can suggest a good "parenting" book, I'm all ears). I
just love Assertive Discipline for Children. Incredible
Years : A Troubleshooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 3 to 8
is also excellent.
Anyway, we decided to turn back on the trail, the boy with the leash
handed the leash to the other boy, who then proceeded to unwind it and
break the spring (it was a "reel in" type leash - breaking it
probably wasn't altogether his fault, though he has a repetitive history
of breaking things so we tend to "assume" he did which isn't
really fair). At this point Steve seemed fairly upset, and I didn't want
to get in the middle of it, so I left them to work out a solution. Then
Steve came back to me and handed me the broken leash. This made no sense
to me and I told him I had asked the other boy to carry it back. (Steve
knew that because the first boy had complained about this). It made no
sense to me that he broke the leash then was semi-rewarded for this by
not having to carry it back. Correct. So
Steve turned away from me in an angry way and went ahead on the path.
There was no talking about it at this point. I still don't get the logic
of what went on. Anyways, we had a fairly silent trip back for awhile,
and I figured we'd talk about it later, but I felt rather miffed because
I just felt there could have been a more peaceful solution and we were
role modeling more bad behavior. I agree. Don't
expect Steve to catch his anger right away. It will take him time in
most cases. The more he practices, the less time it will take. He just
When we got home, it seemed to me that Steve was being really
sensitive about the kids teasing him. The teasing seems pretty normal to
me (though perhaps not ideal), but I see it as them looking for
affection from their dad. For example they cover their ears when he
plays guitar for dramatic effect, call him silly names etc. I'm no
expert on how to deal with this stuff, but it seemed to me that Steve
got more offended by it than necessary. Probably.
But again, he's new at all this and I don't expect him to be able to
react calmly most of the time. Especially when one incident follows
I mentioned it to Steve and he told me "not to tell him what he
was feeling." He was right. It was just my "read" on the
situation. I really don't know how he was feeling. (My bouncing off him
again, I'm sure.) I just felt uncomfortable with some of his reactions
to their behavior - they appeared to me to make the behavior
"bigger" than it was. I agree. Anyway,
I did feel uncomfortable about the role modeling aspect of it. You
don't have to like it and you don't have to participate in it. But, you
do have to respect that they are his kids.
Then the topic of discipline came up again. Steve said that I use the
same methods as his ex - just to "talk it all out". I have no
idea what methods his ex uses, and it's doesn't really matter to me, but
I honestly don't feel that Steve really knows my "methods" cuz
I've never had a chance to practice them to any extent. He said that he
*has* allowed me to use them, and has watched them and he feels they
don't work. Anyway, I feel we both lack knowledge in this area. Asha,
your methods seem reasonable to me. I think Steve was just having a
yukky day... I have a feeling he was in part bouncing off your
disapproval of his ways. Steve: please feel free to correct me; I don't
want to put words in your mouth.
The kids (IMO) sensed that something was in the air and started to
act up more. Kids are very talented at that! I
got them to do the dishes, and one threw the dish stopper down because
he couldn't get it working. I told him there was no point getting mad
and he said in a low, growly voice "I'm *not* *mad*." I feel
like both boys are angry, *very* angry and I'm really concerned about
where that could lead. Not much you can do about
it Asha, other than alienate Steve.
When Steve came back, I let him deal with the bickering good,
and went to do other things. I just felt like anything constructive I
could contribute wouldn't be well received by Steve, and I couldn't
stand there and watch them all in such foul moods without saying
When Steve left to drop the kids off, he came in to speak with me
privately. I had thought I would try to cool down and then ask him some
specific questions but I wasn't "cooled down" when he came in
to talk. I said (in a too blunt way) that if "punishment" for
the kids patterned behavior works, then it should also work if I
"punished" Steve every time he went into an old pattern. I
really wish I could have cooled down more before saying this, because
the point I wanted to make was constructive, but I unfortunately
delivered it in an angry way. Yes, humans tend to
do that. Anyway, he was, of course, insulted and said that kids
and adults are different. And yes they are, I think... kind of, but not
Thanks to anyone who has had the patience to read through all this
junk and can offer constructive feedback!
One good thing - After Steve left (mad), I didn't guilt myself or get
worked up over him having left on a bad note. Excellent.
I'm realizing that these are really *BIG*, *really* important issues
for me, and I just can't carry on in the relationship, without finding a
constructive way to deal with them. The last thing I need is an angry
man and two angry teenagers in my life! (And this isn't meant to say
that I believe it *has* to be that way - I think we humans can change
and have enormous influence on our children, if we so choose.) Steve
is changing Asha. But, he won't transform overnight. Let him make his
errors, and give him feedback only if he requests it or he's obviously
open to it.. You won't be accomplishing much otherwise.
And to also add some balance to the post, in case it does seem like
I'm trying to "one up" Steve, I want to say that we had a
really nice time with the kids earlier in the weekend. That I could see
at times, Steve was consciously overriding some old typical impulses
(maybe I'm wrong, but it seemed this way). Also, he showed affection to
me in front of the kids, which he never used to do, and that was nice. Yes!
Though I wasn't in the room, he also put on a hilarious puppet
show for the kids (who totally get enthralled by this), and did some
great guitar playing and singing. When Steve and I behave well
ourselves, I see such positive impact in the kids' behavior. Yes!
Kids are like barometers...
I'll try to look at the posts and respond to some of them tomorrow,
cuz it's getting really late.
love and hugs
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
I think I am really just trying to work some stuff through.
Dr Irene, for the first time EVER I felt really mad at you yesterday.
I was going to post but decided it was better to work out why I felt so
mad. Yes. Get a cool head and then reply.
The good bit being I could now, my rationality has returned, stop and
think 'what is going on here? It might not be about Dr Irene." The
initial reaction was because you said: "don't criticize so."
Instead of ignoring it , I apologize for something I am not even sorry
about. Really, I think my thoughts are valid. So I got mad at myself for
being dishonest with myself!
Then, it never was about that remark I was mad at you. I found the
source later. "He is not as bad as you say he is." He is
actually worse. What it was, and still is about, is that it is very
difficult when you are not believed. That has been part of my difficulty
all along. My husband is abusive and he is sometimes violent. He just
doesn't present that way to others. Even my closest friend has problems
believing he could ever be violent. This is also why I changed doctors.
This is the reason I became depressed. Violence is
never ever OK. And you should not have violence in your life. But the
reality is that even a creepy person is not always creepy, so it
is not a matter of being believed or not. Besides, who cares what
anybody thinks! I find it almost impossible to make global
judgments (unless I'm real mad, giggle...).And, if the chemistry between
the two of you is such that he is creepy too much of the time, get
yourself away from him!
Rationally, although I emailed you so you do know the
"story" there is no reason why you shouldn't have your own
opinion. So I am even mad at you for validating and then not validating
me? (Yes definitely not logical.) I know it can be
trying when I support parts of what you do and not others. But, that
just goes hand in hand with how I am trained to observe and respond to
clinical material. I really take few if any "sides" other than
what seems to me to be the side of the other person's healthy Self. Most
of the time, I'm pretty good at this.
The root of it is, nothing, of course, to do with you. It is about
wanting someone else; e.g., husband to validate my feelings and say he
is sorry. About feeling nothing will move forward until I have this from
him. It is about wanting him to take responsibility for what he has
done. I think really, I want revenge. I would like him to feel as I
have. I would LIKE him to experience what I feel and have felt. I
understand, promise. Yet, it's my "job" to tell you that if
that's what you require, you're probably setting it up so that there
will never be a meeting of the minds.
I am sure he might want the same for things I have done to him. But I
can't deny my own feelings. Good. Don't deny. Just
control the behavior and assess if it's working in your favor. Are you
helping yourself get what you want, or are you shooting yourself in the
Now I think the Paxil has worn off and I did have the symptoms I
wrote about, I do not think it is a good drug for many people. (my gripe
is more about lack of information than it is about the existence of the
drug). I still can't just say the reasons I ended up on it are invalid! These
drugs are an educated guess for the prescribing physician. But, it's a
shotgun approach. Keep trying till something works.
Looking inside, my problem is on the outside. So is his. We are both
so angry at each other. He does do good things. At the height of all our
troubles he kept saying he was doing what he could. But what he did felt
abusive because of things he had previously done.
So what I'm really mad at you is at making me face how unwilling I am
to forgive him. Which needs to happen if we stay together or not. Cool!
I appreciate that kind of anger.
(Light aside form the best son in the world. He is off sick today and
has just walked in to say he wants to be looked after "because he
is worth it!" I wish I has his self esteem!)
So in the end what, and who I am really mad at is me, as I can't
forgive and I know that that is what eats people up and destroys them. STOP!
You can forgive. You just don't want to. At least right now. So, let it
be; don't fight it. Just be aware. I don't want to think of
myself as someone unable to forgive. As bitter about what has happened.
(The righteous anger I can keep.) I dislike my own bitterness. To
balance this, I am a lovely person as well! I
But what I can see is that I have forgotten how my anger affects
others. The temptation was to write a post starting "Irene"
just because I was mad at you. (Steve note this.) Not
a big deal. All my clients call me "Irene." I do the Dr. Irene
thing on the site for credibility. I used to get annoyed when people
would "Irene" me early on. Then, I decided it wasn't worth it.
Now, I sign off emails "Dr. Irene" and think I'd rather just
be signing my name. To deliberately disrespect and invade what I
am perfectly aware of is a means of creating an appropriate professional
distance. To hope I could upset you for upsetting me.....Possibly, I
have just felt so hurt that I haven't cared how others are affected.
Definitely, so hurt that anything that I could do or say to hurt seems
justified. Blow the effects on them. (I don't for a minute think I would
have affected you in any way, I am just trying to work through the
feelings). I know that. And that's where I say
"STOP" and ask you to examine whether or not you are shooting
yourself in the foot. Why I ask people to chill before they do
Of course I spend all that time outside myself. If I don't I will
have to do what I don't want to....
I guess I will find al the answers through the Christian faith I
have. I know them anyway in the head sense so I don't need the sermons
(or maybe I do). Right now, if it worked, I would believe in the God of
green cheese. I have no "Theology' left. God
is inside you and talks to you all the time...
Strangely I remembered some things today. Like my husband comes from
an extraordinarily eccentric family. (So, I have to say they are the
ones who let him be eccentric.) Like the study door thing originally
came about when he worked at home and then it was about locking up
valuable equipment. Like this is the man who changed jobs to spend more
time with his family....Like this is the man who once did nothing round
the house...he may be abusive but he does try. Yes.
The whole point is nobody is all good or all bad all the
time. We tend to be baddest when we don't control our behavior and do
not act in accord with taking care of the Self. Victim types typically
think they are all good. My job is to show them otherwise. Angry types
tend to pretend they are all good but secretly feel they are all bad.
You're not alone in getting angry with me for what I point out. This
stuff is often hard to hear, which is why I have a job.. The good news
is I'm safe to get mad at since I generally don't retaliate, and if I
do, I own it pretty quickly. Thanks for writing all this. Watching
people grow makes me feel good.
OK, time to sleep. Be back...
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
OH Steve, you don't how much it means to get a post from you about
this. IT shows how much you have grown, and helps me see we can all get
better. WELL DONE STEVE!!!!
Steve I am glad it was you who replied, because you previously posted
about it not all being one sided. WELL your absolutely right. I learnt
to be angry with my X who was the negatively empowered one. Though I was
the negatively disempowered one. SO I TOO had lots and lots of anger
also. I ENGAGED as you rightly pointed out to me and still do.
Though what bothers me is THE DISPLACING of my anger on to others who
are nothing to do with all of the chaos. YESTERDAY for instance my
sister just asked me HOW come I'd been so long. I SAID "Look I had
things to do, why is it everyone needs to know where I am and clock
watches for me." SHE SAID YIKES your in a bad mood, you need to
sort yourself out, otherwise you'll have no friends left. SHE IS
I am even more frustrated because it seems I can't relax for one
minute. My daughter sees to this, it seems where ever we go, she is
naughty and hitting kids. I end up yelling at her in frustration. I am
so hypersensitive at present (GUESS YOU GATHERED THIS ALREADY!!) I am
sick of being told "YOU must do something about that child",
from friends and family. WHAT ON EARTH CAN I DO!! Its obvious my yelling
isn't helping. I've read and read books. THE trouble is if I let up she
gets worse and I can't allow her to hit 2 year olds can I? If I am not
stood over her saying NO don't do that, she is up to no good.
She has bit my niece who she never got on with very well in the first
place (GIRLS eh!!!) but recently she has been even more tense. My niece
is only one year younger than MISSY so they clash somewhat.
Its just so difficult!! that is an understatement its impossible!!!
Christmas day we are gonna have the two girls in one house, YIKES how
are we gonna cope?
STEVE, YES I do know I am angry and have a problem with it!!! (HARD
TO ADMIT but I know I had to if I am gonna get this under control.) You
say the money vs. self worth is perfect opportunity, HOW???
GOSH Yes this is a big button for me. How do I sort it out????
I have spent 7 whole years being told that everything I do is NOT
contributing. I tried so hard, I just get so angry with having to
compete. I WANTED my X to acknowledge whilst we lived together that we
were a team and what I did was valuable. BUT NOPE he still to this day
thinks he gave more. Maybe materially he did, but I gave emotionally, I
also loved after our child. I walked on egg shells so he'd not have more
stress on top of work.
MAYBE that is it, maybe I am mad at myself for walking on egg shells
and then expecting thanks for this!! FOR years I kept MISSY quiet and
tip toed around so he could sleep. HE would still outsiders that I
always wake him up with my noise. Normal noise like putting bowls on the
sideboard to make MISSY breakfast. Even that I walked heavy. BOY maybe
he'd be better in a bed sit I would think a place all on his own!!! I
mean what man who yells and curse deserves a family, INDEED what man.
(Well I to yell and curse now!!! so maybe I have no room to talk!!) NOW
he has the peace and quiet and is all alone so maybe he got what he
asked for. AFTER all GOD does give us what we ask for.
I read that the recognition is in seeing how it helped someone else
one of your skills and feeling real pride. BUT where does that go in
I mean he wasn't pleased when I was trying to be quiet, he even
blamed me for not being. SO how can I be okay about all this???
Thanks a million, GOD I wish you would send the answers cuz I am so
fed up and worn out!!!
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
Dear Dr. Irene,
Lynn here. Hello All. Have a migraine today, one of the in the toilet
ones, but things are going better and I need to post. This was about
Steve and I was weeping over the post. I did it to Dan again. 2 days
later he decided I was upset and then he offered to talk. I said I'd
wanted to talk for 5 or 6 years. Yeah! Dropping
those old bad habits is tough!
Gave me a chance and I threw it back in his face. Well after we both
posted (We communicate sooo well on the boards), I asked him just to
listen. I may have been wording these wrong. It was about the warning
to Steve to use the knowledge but NEVER use it against Asha. Bingo.
Dan and I can get into discussions, fights and whatever and then zoom,
out of somewhere comes something else (usually something I've shared
with him). Last night I tried to use a pretty generic example and used
the time in an argument when he called me a lousy mother, rotten
daughter and a slut. Not meaning to bring that up again (I never told
him any different) but because it was so impertinent to the argument. He
right away said, "Correct me if I'm wrong. Were we both not
fighting below the belt that night?" Sheesh Dan says, that's not
the point. The point is that I don't like this stuff being used against
me at a later date. Right.
Conversation got better and thoughtful after that. Same about the
driving. I asked him to slow down. He was being nasty. He hasn't done
that in a long time.
Jist of this, I think is we do so well posting. The talk to talk
still is like a competition. I really think I/we had a better
relationship when I'd reply to him to stick it in his ear or go do
unnatural (or natural) acts in the closet I quit that because that is
not the way I want to talk to a loved one. It seems if I get the least
off guard though I get zoomed in on.
My next one is "DON'T call me HONEY! When we don't talk, solve,
resolve, whatever... Dan gets up the next day and starts calling me
Honey. I ain't his honey. It ain't over, it ain't resolved, etc. Then I
get zingy. Giggle!
Okay. Not as bad as it sounds. Actually got a lot accomplished
between us last night. Mostly for Steve and I. Get it out and let it go.
And to Dan not to stockpile confidences to use against me just to win. This
one is big. It strikes at the very heart of your relationship. About
trust... He wins alright. And don't call me honey till I tell you
can call me honey. If it isn't over I don't feel like your honey. And,
not only don't I feel like your honey, but I reserve the right to hold
onto my anger as long as I want and if you mess with me, watch it buddy!
Thanks Doc and sorry about the typos. Head too bad to read and edit
and anyhow, who cares?
PS I did disengage and GOWYL. Funny outcome, but I don't want to post
it yet.. I don't think he even knows what he did.
Thanks and Love a bunch, Feel better soon!
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
I didn't understand Dr. I's post to you at first either, but her
second post made a lot of sense.
<<Of course I spend all that time outside myself. If I don't I
will have to do what I don't want to.... >>
Yes! It's the "having to do what you don't want to" that
prevents us from seeing things clearly. But Jay, I honestly feel that
when you take charge of your own life and live with integrity great
things can happen. Close relationships are forced to rise up with you,
or move away from your life. I think that living in denial (as I did)
was a sort of "half life". It's the kind of life that results
in a lot of stress related symptoms, and even disease. It slowly kills
I notice too that you often focus more on others than yourself. The
answer isn't to beat yourself up over it - just change the focus. :)
We're all here on this forum, because we're doing *something*
wrong. If no-one points it out, we can't progress. Having said this, I
totally understand the feeling of "invalidation" you spoke of
when you feel no-one believes what's really going on. I felt a little
fear of this when Dr. I asked if I used the dog to express my anger,
though I know she wasn't invalidating me - she was just asking a
question to identify the problem. Like you, at first, I felt like I was
"supposed to" "admit" to doing this, though I didn't
feel like I did it (at least consciously), but I realized the point of
the exercise was to be fully honest, ego aside, and I just tried to
really look at my feelings. Yes. But you can bet
that once upon a time, you were invalidated, most likely as a child by a
parent. As Asha so well puts it, "you were supposed to
admit..." Or else. Scary... So, you get into the habit of feeling
as though you are doing something wrong when questioned because that was
the implication when you were a kid, and there is a sense of fear and
intimidation and powerlessness attached to it. When you feel other is
invalidating you, you are either buying into other's attempts to be
intimidating and achieve power over you, or you are tacking on lots of
extra junk to what should be a neutral exchange. Either way, you are
just reacting to old stuff and letting others push your buttons.
The Fix: Recognize you are doing some variation
of this. You don't need to convince anybody of anything, and it really
doesn't matter whether or not other "believes" you. You don't
need anybody's permission to feel as you feel. The only thing that
matters is knowing how you feel and trusting your right to feel the way
you feel, whether your feelings are right or wrong, good or bad,
etc. They just are. Once you can let yourself feel the way you
feel, you no longer require other to validate you. Validation
becomes a nice extra that feels good rather than a requirement to
feel OK. You are now taking care of yourself rather than asking
other to take care of you. You are taking your power... Good
I'm glad that you took a closer look at your feelings before posting
back angrily. I'm also glad that you spoke about your temptation to
"get back". Maybe things would be better if we didn't all try
to be so perfect?
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
I am new to this site, but have spent the weekend in
"withdrawal" after missing Th./Fr. work due to attempting
breakup with boyfriend. I slept most of Thurs., Fri., Sat. I initiated
the breakup or " distancing" because after 1.5 years, I
continue to have periodic bouts of anxiety and depression. (I already
take medication, which works to keep me balanced emotionally.) I met him
by answering an ad in the newspaper singles site. He described himself
as a well-rounded gentleman, and physically fit. After several months of
dating, we became intimate. Only after this did he reveal to me that he
had a serious kidney disease with impending dialysis and eventual
transplant. By that time, I was very devoted and vowed to be there for
him through it all!! That was over a year ago. While he IS a gentleman,
he is also very vague and noncommittal, while I have tried to draw from
him some specific forms of commitment. He deliberately avoids discussion
of marriage, money, or past relationships. I have responded to this in
true codependent fashion by having bouts of anxiety, and
self-recrimination for expecting too much from a sick man,
or....swinging the other direction with accusations of using me for
convenience, since I have been such a devoted caregiver. (I often drive
him to the hospital, or go with him to the doctor, etc.) Early in the
relationship, I was troubled by his secretive nature. This resulted in
my snooping around while in his house. I discovered a list of all the
women he met as a result of running the singles ad. There were notes
about each of us, rating us as "very nice person," "got
interrogated," or "unbelievable!" There were about 12
women on the list. I realize he was probably just trying to keep track
of each of us, our personalities, phone #'s, etc., and after all, that's
what you get when you respond to an ad. That incident DID prompt anxiety
on my part, however, and my confronting him about it. That was the first
such incident. There have been others, which seem to flare up in me
about every couple of months. It's all pretty embarrassing. I have
finally become somewhat indifferent to him. And so, with this past
attempted distancing, I was able to express myself rationally. Rather
than sounding hurt, angry, or accusatory, I stated that, due to my
emotional makeup -- bouts of anxiety -- we spend some time apart. (I
have spent every weekend with him at his house since his dialysis
machine requires he be there.) Formerly, when I confronted him with
anger or hurt, he would respond in patient, kind tones, reassuring me of
his devotion, etc. To this I would respond with shame and apology for
being so weak and unreasonable in my expectations, etc. As I said, this
time I did speak to him more rationally. And instead of succumbing to
the very real pangs of withdrawal I feel after a couple days away from
him without communication, THIS time, I got through it. To my surprise,
the next day, he called ME. I still managed to maintain my balance, and
keep the resolution to spend time apart. He seemed to be communicating
on the edge of anger, and also in a fashion suggesting that he might
just follow my suggestion to see other women. Based upon what I have
described, I would appreciate objective feedback. Oh, also, I am 50
years old, and divorced 4 years now. I am a teacher, own my home, have a
daughter in college, and manage to take care of myself financially .
Emotionally, well, I haven't done as well. So I would appreciate the
insights of others... Thanks, PAW.
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
Is there any chance you could be "bouncing" off your
daughters' feelings the way that you "bounce" off your X's
I spoke to Steve last night about this sort of thing, because I see
him doing it with his kids. They act out, then he seems to respond
negatively to their behavior. It's so similar to what Steve and I both
do to each other.
I'm looking for answers to this too. Obviously you can't allow Missy
to hit other children, but it sounds like you are reacting to her moods
and feeling "responsible" for them. Can you instead, decide
*not* to be responsible for her bad moods and try to keep yourself calm,
role modeling the kind of behavior you would like to see in her? If
she's acting aggressively could you give her a "time out" so
she can be alone and cool down? Yeah! I'll come
out from under the bed when I'm good and ready!
I notice that not only does Steve bounce off his kids feelings, but
they bounce right back off his. So if they are angry, then Steve reacts
angrily, they start getting even wackier. But I've also seen them get
angry, Steve react calmly, and then they calm down too. I don't know if
this happens with you.
<<I have spent 7 whole years being told that everything I do is
NOT contributing. I tried so hard, I just get so angry with having to
So don't. Why do you have to prove anything to anyone? I think it's
*you* that's not feeling adequate, and that's probably what you have to
work on. You are perfectly imperfect, and don't have to justify it to
anyone, including yourself. It occurs to me that you might feel bad
about me pointing this out to you. Instead of feeling bad, why not
realize we're all this way and that you're no different or
"worse" than anyone else. We all have "stuff" to
work on otherwise I don't think we'd be human.
<<I mean he wasn't pleased when I was trying to be quiet, he
even blamed me for not being. SO how can I be okay about all this???
I think you were making him responsible for your feelings, as I have
done. It was ridiculous for you to be as quiet as he expected,
impossible probably, and the reality was that you needed for him to
validate you so much that you tried to appease him - I know because I
did the same!! It's us that engaged in the silly behavior - sure he
pressured and gave negative consequences but we have free will, and it
was ultimately our choice to go along with this silliness.
<<I am so fed up and worn out!!!>>
Theressa - I think this is a choice too. We can choose our frame of
mind. I think we get "worn out" when we feel hopeless, but
there is plenty of hope, so don't get discouraged. Sometimes it seems
like it would be nice to take a vacation from life, but it wouldn't
really solve anything.
take care Theressa
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
I read your post about the boys and here are some of my thoughts.
Feel free to take what you want and leave the rest!
First, I think that children are like adults in that, that they
deserve equal respect. We grownups think that just because we're bigger
and wiser, we should control them. But that is practically unwise (look
where it gets all of us) and theoretically unbiased.
Good parenting books: look up books that La Leche League recommends.
Their site is www.lalecheleague.org.
Again and again in your story what I saw was, that no one
acknowledged and/or validated the other people's FEELINGS. Also, none of
you (especially Steve and the kids) knows HOW exactly to express your
feelings, so they come out as complaining and directing anger of all
sorts at others.
About the boys complaining when you asked them to take the leash: The
kids tried to say "I feel used. Nobody understands me. I feel
helpless. I feel unloved. I feel controlled".
When one complained he had it harder, you told him the
"rational" answer, that life is unfair etc. But you ignored
what he wanted to convey: DISTRESS. Another way to handle the
complaining could be:
1. First reflect to the kid his feelings. For example: "You are
upset because you don't want to hold the leash at all, and here you find
yourself holding it more than xxx (the other kid)". That way the
kid feels HEARD, Cared for and UNDERSTOOD. If you identified the feeling
wrongly (maybe he's not upset to hold it, just upset he's doing more
than his perceived share) - the kid will let you know, but nevertheless
will feel that you listen to him and that you care.
2. Define the problem (see 1.), For example: "so your problem is
that the burden is not equally divided?"
3. ASK ASK ASK the kid for his input. Ask for HIS advice on the
solution, instead of imposing one on him: "How would you suggest we
solve it? Can we measure by minutes instead of by the direction of the
walk? Can we agree that you do this thing more, and your sibling will do
more of yyyy later (another job the kids don't like but have to
Doesn't matter what the solution is. What does matter is, that the
complaining one gets to air his feelings, be heard, validated, not
ignored, not contradicted, not told how he *should* feel or think (if he
has to do what you tell him, and his complaints are deemed rationally
unfounded, he feels doubly ignored and belittled), and also gets to
offer his own fair solution to the problem at hand.
Note! After the complainer offers the solution, that necessarily
involves others, you ask each of the others (including yourself, if it
involves you) to agree or disagree with the solution. If someone
disagrees, he has to explain why, and offer a better solution, and so on
until everyone is satisfied on the compromise.
Always make sure to validate the feelings, but at the same time stay
firm on what needs to be done. For instance, my daughter may not want to
fasten her car seat belt. I will tell her I understand she does not like
it, but we cannot move the car without everybody fastened and safe. Full
stop. On the other hand, if she does not want to wear her coat on a cold
day, or insists on boots when it's sunny and hot, I let her. Why argue?
No reason to "control" her over stuff that hurts none. I'll
take the coat with me, because she'll surely ask for it once we're out.
That's all. (she's 3). Note: if I don't take the coat, thinking that
"she'll get cold and then she'll know next time to listen to
me!" - that's angry punishment. Stupid solution that helps no one.
She would learn from it that she is small and stupid and mommy is
against her. Now if my mommies treated me like
that, I'd never go under the bed!
Now to Steve and the kids making fun of him: Again you tried the
"rational" way instead of validating his feelings, and he made
the mistake first by NOT TELLING the kids how he feels. That reminds me
of myself - hiding that I am hurt, angry or afraid. Steve should have
simply expressed his feelings, calmly, not in anger, complaint or
tantrum: "Listen kids, I don't like it when you do xxxx. I get
offended and I feel like you are deliberately trying to hurt me"
(MY WILD GUESS, just to illustrate the general idea).
Then the kids will have a chance to relate to HIS FEELINGS, and
probably will stop the hurtful behaviour and maybe even say they never
meant to hurt. It would also help if Steve could tell them what he would
like them to do instead: "I would love it if you would sing along
with me instead" or something (again, I freely invent, just to give
Now, Asha, suppose Steve is caught up in his hurt and does not do
that, and you want to help out. So instead of telling Steve he
overreacted (he knows that, and feels bad inside already, both because
he's hurt and because he knows he engaged), you can express his feelings
for him, either directly to him, like in: "Steve, I see you feel
hurt at the kids' doing xxx", or to all of them: "Kids, Steve
is reacting zzzzz (description of what he does and says) because he
feels hurt and upset by your pppppp (description of what they did), and
does not know how to tell you to please stop because it upsets
Key words: HRE (Human Relations) stuff, Validation, Reflecting back
what the other says/feels, Identify feelings instead of finding reasons
(the reasons are true, but they fail to address the problem, so everyone
feels hurt, punished, unloved and generally yucky).
Hope this helps, because I send it with all my love! B. *Maybe
you are my RealMommy?*
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
Dear Theressa, I think it might help to look at information on
timeouts for your daughter. I have done research on this and one thing
its important to know is that one minute for every year of the child is
enough. 5 minutes is as effective as any longer period.
Make the timeout for aggressive behaviour only and have a designated
place. And don't be put off by "audiences." One woman I heard
about gave a time out in the British Museum.
Timeouts are shown to be most effective quickly not combined with
spanking. For leaving the timeout.)
In your home you could have a timeout cushion. The idea is the child
stays on the cushion until the timeout is completed. Coming out of
timeout means you start to time al over again. An egg timer is useful.
You do not start timeouts without explaining what the timeouts are for
but you do not say anything when the time out is ended . (No "now
if you had been a good girl stuff"). The idea is the child will
learn to use the timeout him or herself eventually.
To make this more effective make up a star chart with your child
(include her in doing it) Include small prizes (can just be an extra
bedtime story) and a bigger reward at the end of the week: something
your daughter would like. Make sure it is something she can achievable
and don't make the star chart for more than behaviour and keep time
spans realistic from your daughter's point of view.
This will take time and perseverance and is much easier if the other
adults in your life are supportive.
Timeouts are not (not that I think you would but who knows who is
looking in): leaving the child in the bedroom and forgetting she is
there: Locking the child outside the house or in a scary place. It is OK
for an adult to sit with the child but not to talk to him/her during the
Timeout is not meant to be punishment. More it is about thinking I
have made a mistake and calming down.
A reward is not the same as a bribe/ The reward only gets given after
the good behaviour.
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
Long time no hear Dan!
I wanted to respond to your post, but didn't have time earlier.
Something I noticed that I wanted to comment on:
<<When I pulled out Lynn felt that I was only doing 15 MPH, and
that I was doing it just to make a statement about no one telling me how
I found it interesting that you did a narrative here about Lynn, but
didn't say anything about what *you* felt was going on. It would be
interesting for you to rephrase this without the reference to Lynn, as
in "I was angry at Lynn for criticizing my driving, so I *really*
slowed down", or "I realized I was driving erratically and I
slowed right down for reasons of safety". It's hard to know from
the statement you made, how *you* really felt about it. Maybe you don't
know. I think this is similar to the "bouncing off" Dr I
speaks of where you forget to think about how you feel, but instead
react to Lynn's feeling. It gets so convoluted that your own feelings
get buried away somewhere and it becomes hard to identify them.
<<I asked her if she wanted to talk and she said that she
couldn't talk to/with me about anything. >>
I hope you don't let her reactions influence you about reaching out
to her. I think you did the right thing here. It's okay that she's mad.
But I hope you don't experience her anger at you as punishment for
reaching out. Keep reaching out and I bet the anger will diminish.
<<Lynn no longer posts when I am around, which is her decision
and I don't read the posts or post as I did before, perhaps there is a
connection perhaps not. >>
Dan, do you read her posts?
Anyways, glad to see you back! I'm sure we'll talk again.
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000
Thanks for your post! I'm in a hurry so I don't have time to respond
just yet, but I'm going to re-read it later and ask Steve to read it
Just wanted to quickly thank you for taking the time to offer your
Also, Jay, I think your info on time outs as "cool down"
time rather than punishment is very interesting.
take care all
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000
This is advice from a hypocrite in a house where two adults can't
agree. BUT it is a big issue for me. What use talking things through is
hard to tell as I don't know the kids ages.
Asha is right about the role modeling and Steve, it might help to
work out what household rules you have (not too maybe I hope) and keep
specific punishments for them. Let the rest go.
I can identify, Steve with how you feel when your kids tease you. My
family do this to me. I am sick of being called THE PARROT! (Don't ask!)
But from the family it is affection. They cannot know about the
childhood years of being teased in a cruel way. My reaction is not fair
if I make it about the family. If you think about it they are
affectionate and get their head bitten off for being affectionate so
they will stop the affection as they are afraid of your reaction. Then
you might well find you feel rejected...(There is a lot of my own stuff
mixed in here but I hope you see what I am trying to say.
Sadheart : Hugs and prayers. I saw your post on the message board.
Lynn and Dan? The candle for the lost children. What is that? I was
in a Jewish friends house the other day. They are lovely people who
follow all the traditions and I used to use my friend a lot when I ran a
preschool....Anyway she lit a candle while I was there. Apparently they
do it on the anniversary of the death of someone close.
I think I will do that in April (when my husband's best friend died.)
I think a lot of the way I feel is tied up with intense grief over
things. I can't remember the sequence but I know anger is a part as is
I love the story about the loo rolls. I think that it was a good
compromise. In this house we are having a friendly battle over a tree
decoration...I really don't understand why they don't like the red apple
but they do not....I will hide it at the back of the tree where none can
see of I can se we will be moving it around a lot!
My daughter was just so nasty today I lost it in front of my son. I
fell so bad about this. It was a reaction that just came out: no
control. My dad then rang her and talked for a long time explaining that
the way she is does not just affect me and she talked to him for a long
So something between me and my dad healed despite his denial of
things that happened when I was a child. I think I lost some of my fear
of him. Maybe people do change......
Also whoever was off track today except for the communication bit it
wasn't my husband. Again reacting to what was not even implied. I
decided the day had been so bad I wanted a glass of wine. I very rarely
drink and don't drink enough to get drunk. He said "Is that a good
idea." Which immediately made me feel criticized. He wasn't
criticizing at all just concerned as I have been so distraught and also
it is clear the Paxil withdrawal is not complete.
Analyzing it what I felt criticized for was I knew it wasn't a
sensible thing to drink the wine in the first place. Now it is 4 am and
I can't sleep.....
also I am mad at him over the family therapy agenda as he has not
shown me his points and made the excuse I have not been around much this
week. It was Sunday yesterday. So now we have or rather he has sent it
without me having a clue what he wanted to discuss or if I agreed to it
which was the point of the exercise.
But he did make dinner and open the wine even though he didn't want
any. he did offer a taxi to the doctor although in the end I couldn't
But I am still angry at him and I still can't forgive. I thought
about saying sorry today and felt too freaked out by fear of bang
controlled or him thinking the unacceptable things are o.k.
If the truth be known he is trying hard and I still want revenge. I
know this isn't o.k. I never even knew there was a vindictive side to my
nature. I want him to hurt like I have been hurt. I want to MA KE him
empathic which just will never happen. I want him punished for the hurt
he has put me through....Not good thoughts at all. But that is what is
And after his comment to me about computer programming - he is one
and says I would not be able to learn to programme which is the only
sort f job change I can think of short of becoming Mrs. Mop which would
just take away my self respect....I have this urge to try and
learn...but it is just really to spite him......
I think maybe what is surfacing is all the rubbish I have carried
around for the last few years.
Maybe I will get through it and love him again? Maybe it is all about
a kind of catharsis. I hope so as I do not want to stay like this. It is
unusual for me to stick in this mode.
I am definitely his scapegoat but I think I am starting to do this
back. I think he stands for a lot of other people who have hurt me.
I HATE being this screwed up. I was meant to be the together sort and
I don't like losing my personality like this. This is the oppressed
becomes the oppressor stuff. This is not my image. I would like not to
want to feel like this.
But that is what is inside just now. Yuk.
Hopefully I will change in mood soon and deal with all this stuff.
getting it out on paper helped. AARGH I need to clean my own CatBox! I
will work on me as I am worth it.....See son's earlier comment!
Trubble and official note from me and my son we are having Salmon for
Christmas lunch. Now how do you put the stuffing in a Salmon..?
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000
Hi All, and HI to all the newcomers,
Thanks B, I've read positive discipline - mistaken goals, timeouts,
telling children how their behaviour makes you feel, choices,
consequences etc. SO WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? Well this is hard to admit but
I did it in therapy last night, the point is I have to admit to fix
Well I have to admit I am a big part of the problems with MISSY, not
been a good role model. There are few reasons for this, 1) I became so
frustrated and unsure of consequences that weren't punishment. 2)I
became so frustrated when my daughter continued to hit the children, and
I'd say why are you hitting the children are you hurting. Come here and
have a hug. - THOUGH she seemed to still hit the kids, so I ended up so
damn fed up and reverting back to the same old.
3) I am disorganized - I am easily side tracked into resting, or in
the evening reading or watching TV instead of getting school things
ready, and ironing, I am just tired some days, therefore in the morning
I end up with loads to do. Like washing my hair. You see I want to take
care of myself and do my hair and have self respect BUT I don't have
time so I end up doing it not the way I want, but then envying those at
work whose hair is blow dried every day and not just put up in a hair
4) I also had MISSY to blame since she also was misbehaving in the
mornings. Though so was I. I was disorganized and not following my
routine and yet telling her to get ready. So role modeling was modeling
how to be late.
SO If any of you can help me I'd appreciate it, I need help knowing
what consequences are positive and teach for the future ANY IDEAS???
Also my counselor pointed out one very significant thing to me.
BOUNDARIES, he said "Theressa you know about them but aren't using
them why?" I told him, well firstly if there is a PAYOFF involved
in the form of help from these people I end up allowing myself to be
used. YOU see I can't do some jobs yet and need help learning and
sometimes even relying on them to do the job so if I alienate them they
Secondly sometimes I am unsure about enforcing boundaries. I've read
about boundaries in fact I have even enforced them, BUT with MISSY I
find it hard, since as I say above I am unsure of what consequences are
appropriate and teach for the future instead of punishing for the past.
Finally how can I stop a child hitting another child, MAYBE REMOVE
THEM FROM THE ROOM, but won't they continue?
Jay and Asha thanks also, I am a little busy now so I won't go into
details answering you both but I think what I've said above is enough.
Take care Theressa
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000
I think setting boundaries is always the most hard with people you
love, like Missy, because you get so scared of the consequences. But,
think what the consequences will be if you do not set boundaries!! Not
only will you get more and more frustrated, and consequently will
eventually take it out on Missy (you will, even if you do not want to),
but also she will not learn about boundaries. Also having people around
with firm boundaries makes live easier, cause you know what to expect,
you do not have to walk on eggshells, you can trust them to say what
they need and want, without having to guess. Missy will get mad at
first, but after a while, I am quite sure she will feel more safe and
secure because of these boundaries. She will no what she can and cannot
do. Boundaries make life much more clear.
Just start maybe with small boundaries, and teach her what it means
that you say no. Not by hitting, or yelling, but by being calm and sure
about it. You are learning to do that with your Ex and you can learn to
do it with her too. I think, the main thing to remember when you are
afraid of consequences is: what are the consequences if I don not set
boundaries. I can tell you, my own mother always ‘sacrificed' for us,
and always told us so and I really hate her for it. If she would have
had and set her own boundaries, I am sure we would have stood a better
change. Take care, and remember, practice, practice :-). And remember,
you said to me, don't throw the towel in. Now, you don't either!!!!
(((((Hugs hugs hugs.))))) It is all right to want revenge, it is all
right to be angry, to feel you cannot forgive. It's part of the process.
We are all going trough it time and time again. But it will get less
over time, less frequent, less powerful. I know the feeling of not
wanting to be so upset, so angry, so ready to take revenge. But give
yourself some space to feel it, without acting out too much. As for
forgiveness, remember you forgive someone not for their sakes, but for
your own. You do not want to drag that anger with you for the rest of
I read a good advice on forgiveness somewhere: you say out loud: I
forgive *name* for *...*. I try to do it with as much feeling of
forgiveness as you can muster. You may have to do it several times and
for several thins. It does help. First time, I really started crying,
could not say it out loud. I simply did not WANT to forgive. Not
forgiving and feeling angry, made me feel strong. But letting go of the
anger and forgiving made it possible to feel other emotions like joy and
love again. And I feel it is worth it. Try it.! Right now, I am not
angry anymore, I know it may come again, but I also know I can handle
I am doing OK right now. I like my new therapist, even if I do not go
too often. But she is great for talking things through. Like Dr. I. she
is constantly trying to get me to feel what *I* want instead of trying
to guess what C. wants. And it is so good to have that reminder as it is
still a hard thing to do for me. But when I get afraid of the
consequences I tell myself what I told Theressa: what are the
consequences if I do not look out for my own needs and feelings? It's
hard, sure, because I have not done it for quite a while and it is
difficult to know true feelings. But I feel I am learning, thanks also
to all of you here. Forward is the only way, as we already know what is
behind and we do not want that anymore. I am looking forward to going
away with the holidays, though I will really miss you all. I will be
extra lucky: not only will I have Christmas and New Year, but I'll join
in a major Islamic holiday as well.
Dear Becky, how are you? And Suzy, and Astrid. Long time no hear.....
Love to all of you and remember, the days will get longer again and just
as the seasons change, so will we. Natural law.....
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000
Hi, it's B.
Theressa, I loved Asha's advice to you.
About "punishments" and "consequences" - I do not
believe in any kind of punishment for a child. I believe it only hurts,
and teaches the child to be 1. afraid of you, and 2. want to please you!
And then when we're grown ups we're trying to get rid of that
programming 'cause it ruins our lives!!!!
"natural consequences": Missy hits children - and then they
don't want to be near her, or hit her back.
"natural consequences": Missy isn't ready on time - she is
late for school and that is not pleasant.
However, I agree, that hitting younger children is not OK, you can't
allow it. One way would be to "rescue" the child she hits just
before she does it. A better way would be, to stay close to her, and
stop her physically when she tries to hit. Simply by hugging or
something gentle like this, saying at the same time calmly and surely:
"Missy, we treat other children kindly. Especially those who are
smaller and weaker than you".
Note: it is better to state a positive boundary, i.e.: treat people
kindly, instead of negatively, i.e.: we don't hit.
THink: this is what we do. These are our customs. This is what our
family believes. Try to convey that to her in that spirit - these are
boundaries. Not as criticism, not in anger, not as punishment. And don't
expect that she learns it all quickly... And of course, modelling is the
best way of teaching that.
Obviously, Missy is full of anger and upset, coming from you. Don't
blame yourself for that, just see it, understand it, and just accept
her. Accept both of you. You are in a tough situation! Life is so hard
and upsetting right now! I think you should not punish or shame her in
any way because of it. You can only prevent certain damages (such as
preventing any hitting), you can tell her the behaviour you expect, you
can give her extra love - and you can validate her feelings again and
again. "You seem to be very angry today. What can I do to help you
relieve it?" or "Something seems to be upsetting you. It makes
me sad, because I don't know how to help you".
All these are suggestions. I'm sure you got the gist of it.
You can also be honest with her and apologize to her when you feel
you modelled badly. It's all right to say, for instance, that actually,
you're sorry you just yelled at her. You can tell her you feel upset
yourself. You can tell her you are afraid that you were disorganized and
influenced her, and you are sorry about that. Try not to punish her for
being such a good daughter. She is totally "tied" to you. She
feels you, she is so close to you, she loves you, she depends on you.
She does what you do. It's difficult enough. Give her the validation you
need yourself, give yourself a break too - you are human and you are
allowed to err - and you are allowed to tell your child you made a
mistake! We want so much to be perfect with our children, but I think
this perfectionism damages them more than our mistakes do!!
Ah, it's so easy to give advice to OTHERS... I'm going now to listen
to my own advice and take care of my sweet little girl...
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000
Theressa - URGENT message to you. DO NOT give your daughter a hug
when she hits someone. She will hit then to get your attention. You wil
be reinforcing the hitting. Give her lots of hugs when she is not
hitting. This is the root of why my daughter could be so aggressive to
me (how I got to run parenting programmes without seeing this........) .
You are confusing this with unconditional love. I told my daughter I
loved her when she hit me. This I can now see aggravated the problem.
I bet the people at work with blow dried hair don't have kids. Or
maybe older kids. Organisation and working at the same time with small
children is just not easy. Give yourself credit for managing to keep
You are more than half way there to excellent parenting if you are
aware of the consequences of role modeling. Don't bash yourself up but
instead work out the trigger points and what you can do to change them.
E.G. Do you get Missy's breakfast laid in the morning or the night
For consequences try If....(you do that) then. I will....when you
Probably like almost al parents you are trying to change too many
things in Missy's behaviour at once. Work out the really important thing
to change, concentrate on that and leave the rest for now.
Also one think I KNOW changes a chi;d's behaviour more than anything:
I have heard parents testify to this time and time again is to spend
about 10 minutes a day "special time" with the child.
Where Missy's play is concerned, I wonder if you know about letting
her take the lead? Let her choose how the play goes and ask her about it
but don't take over. This is the area where Missy as long as the play is
appropriate can have control. It is amaazing how many parents organise
or take over the parents play. I wish I could do one of my childcare
role plays for you. (about play). Let missy choose and follow her lead
in the special time. (I think she is 6?)
Yes, if you take missy out of the room she WILL continue to hit. You
will not get progress in a day. It may take several months of
It would be so good if you could find a parenting programme in your
home town. In the end, most of them have a variation on the same themes
but different approaches. Also you would find you really are not alone.
I will not be offended if you don't take up the offer, but if you would
like some free email support on parenting this is what I am trained in
to a high degree (Nobody who runs parenting programmes should think they
come from the perfect family.). I worked with parents with significant
need and couldn't carry on with doing that after I got ill. But I would
LOVE to use the skills i have again. In the end, like the CatBox, 99% of
the time the answers are within ourselves, but we can sure use bending
someone's ear. I will email my email address to Dr Irene and if you want
this then you can email her. ABSOLUTELY no offense if you don't want to
take up the offer. Prior to my illness I had an excellent reputation and
I am still getting students coming up to me expressing sadness at my
AJ's advice on boundaries are also good.
Hey Theressa, you just made my day! I just realised I do have some
confidence left. I have felt like I had none ever since all the bad
Thanks AJ. Today despite volatile mood swings which are probably due
to the wine and lack of sleep, I do feel o,k with the revenge thing! I
think, about time I stopped covering up with niceness.
Some days I think that I am being tested about all the advice I have
given others in the past! You say about forgiveness is advice I have
given others. Reminds me of the song that goes "I've looked at love
from both sides now."
I got in quite a state feeling everything I worked for got thrown on
the scrap heap. It hasn't. I just have to be patient and think how I can
get healthy and expand my skills. There is NO reason why I can't do
In fact the "sectioning' experience has probably done some good
as now I have got in touch with an advocacy agency and I hope to train
as a volunteer with them. I am also writing to my MP to try and get that
hospital's policy changed. I talked to our local MIND office and they
I realised today I can either stay stuck or move forward. I need to
push myself. Like Theressa I can find plenty to do other than the things
that need doing. I am going to take my life back.
About my daughter. I think she may well be Bipolar. I have been
blaming myself. Yet it was me who acted responsibly in the first place
and looked for help for her. I got the "we don't want to label
her" treatment. I am not the doctor, who dismissed things at a time
she could be helped. Also, she may change again.
Actually, because she was so unhappy I was all in favour of her
leaving school. I would have supported her leaving home when she was 16
as I do think she needed space.
I can't blame her for blaming me. I need to put the anger where it
belongs: on the pedophile who abused her.
She could have disappeared and be on the streets on heroin. Lots of
kids rebel against their parents. I left home at 16 myself and didn't
speak to my parents for the whole summer. I did survive. Just I wish I
had known about codependency then. And I did do the drugs and sex
I had an idea today. My husband [resented his agenda topics. Actually
I can go along with them as to be really fair he has not put down things
as him or me.
I am going as he won't post here to ask him if we can create our own
private catbox and post in it rather than talking. The ground rule being
that I do not then try to talk to him about things as well.
In fact maybe that kind of thing would be helpful for my son as he is
finding it hard to talk about how he feels. (different cat box).
And I had a great idea so I can do voluntary work and write. I am
going to start my own cleaning agency. I know just how much I have paid
for cleaners and I know how hard I have found it to get them. I used to
clean a real Lord's house when I was a student. It was fun.
And I am still going to look at how to do computer programming.
Another thing that hapened today was I told my recovered codependent
friend about worries I have that I got codependent onthe church and we
both realised that now in the church we want to go to there are people
who have joined who are definitely not codependent and they are changing
I am delaying setting the divorce in motion on the basis of the way
the agenda is written. He has actually put down as main areas of concern
controlling behaviour and abuse and left that neutral. He has put down
we need to explore why I feel like a victim. I am going to take my poem
to the therapy.
I know this could all be hype on his part but I have a gut feeling he
is trying and I have to go with that.
Also I am feeling so much better without the drug seroxat. I asked
the doctor today about something else but she was reluctant. She gave me
sleeping tablets instead.
Had a very funny time in town visiting the doc. I went into a
department store and while I was there a woman squeezed a teddy bear. It
farted! Then as I was leaving I couldn't resist squeezing a female bear.
It made all the sounds of a woman ...er ......well you can guess. (I
missed the sign saying bears for adults!)
Then in the street, I heard a male voice saying "I am going to
terminate him when he arrives" . Turned round and to my belief it
was the bus superintendent and he was talking about the bus conductor
Must go and cook some fish for my son. He will be purring soon. He is
a healthy human cat. Yeah. And, he invited me to
dinner. Better make lots extra.
Hey this feels good. I am smiling. I feel happy for the first time in
a long time. I have energy. love Jay.
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000
Oh, Dr I. just made my week- her FAVORITE lurking lawyer! Ah,
yippeee! And I'll be back as soon as I get through the posts... OK,
will get you not worms, but free legal advice anytime- but remember,
it's only worth what you pay for! Some kind soul asked why am I lurking
here? I'm a divorce attorney with fifteen years experience. My undergrad
degree is in psychology- Cognitive Development, to be more specific than
my diploma. That's why Dr. I's advice always hits a good spot with me.
It's about how the brain takes in and processes information, how
thoughts translate into conduct. My focus is on kids, custody,
schedules, support, etc. (I do write a mean Will, however!) and I find
this kind of website very very informative.
Years ago, when I prosecuted
child abusers, I would marvel, "How does a person allow this to
happen to him (or her?) (or their child?)" I found the same
internal questions when I got into private practice. Now I'm more
experienced, and I don't wonder anymore. You all give me wonderful
insight, and I certainly need an injection of compassion every once in a
while. The cops told me once I had bigger balls than most of the men in
the county ;) which I took as a great compliment. You
must be Lynn's long lost sister! So, no, I'm not a
co-dependant abusee, hopefully not the opposite, either. I believe as an
attorney I'm pretty darned empowered, perhaps more than is good for me
at times. ( A "good" woman in these here parts is barefoot,
pregnant, and six miles from town.) I'm here because you all help me, and
I hope I can give a little help in return. The concept of
"emotional maturity" helps me to understand my clients'
behaviors. Greenspan's book "Growth of the Mind" is good, but
a little scholarly for someone without the clinical terms (What's your
Amygdula? and where is it? Hehehehe! )
It sounds like Steve is on the same
emotional development level as his kids, with the dog leash story. Good
advice in general about giving kids the right to have input, but that
may not have worked in that situation. Kid's solution would be "you
carry the darned thing, lady!" Just pushing buttons they think
they're supposed to. It's not about the leash. It's about somebody being
the leader and giving firm, loving guidance. And, NO HITTING! That must
be the most basic concept with (????-sorry!)'s daughter. Do NOT hug her
after she hits! Good heavens. Separate her from everybody, give her a
timeout, (one minute per year) and hug her after she acknowledges that
she did wrong. This will take years of consistency, since she had years
to get to the "I can hit" point. Same with those who still
agonize over an ex-spouse, what they believe or think or do. It took
years to get bad, it will take just as long to get good. Common
must mention to Trubble that we have a new kitten in our home- Sylvia
has killed all out hands, several times. We're lucky she does not want
to drag us out and bury us in the yard! Salmon and season's greetings to
all) Sounds like Sylvia could use some anger
management training... Or, maybe she's just looking
for her "Real" parents too.
is a dedicated, straight-talking, abuse-aware
professional I respect. We've had some rather humorous
ins" in the past. Anyway, she sent me some
stuff a while ago on violence and types of battery.
I started turning it into a joint article, and it's
still on line, unfinished. Mostly because I've been
tending not to do anything that feels like work
lately, even though doing it was my idea. (Giggle.)
Anyway, I'll snap out of it when I do. For those who
want a preview,
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000
Dear Lurking lawyer.
I can tell you from experience how we end up with our kids getting
abused. pedophiles are very plausible people.
They are plausible in or outside the home.
In my case the law was also to blame for making it possible for a
pedophile who was actually known to be in a group of flats with children
in. 2 other girls were abused at the some time as my daughter. She was
abused when we visited them. Unbelievably, when my daughter wanted to
prosecute both the police and social services had lost the files both on
the pedophile and the two other girls. This is the UK not the US.
It happened to my daughter because I listened to someone's
reassurances despite my own doubts. It has taken me years to forgive
myself. It's not your fault...
Amygdula? Yes what is it? Something
in the brain that mediates anger, among other
Dear all. My brain is back in order. Yes definitely I am going to
give husband a chance. I read the poem on this site about flowers and
asked myself, is this going to happen to me? (I got flowers yesterday.)
No I do not have even a doubt that it will. I think he has scared
Really I think he is confused and trying hard. love `Jay
Jay, he will need help;
the chances of him finding his way out of the place
he's in alone are slim. Get yourselves to
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000
Now I understand why I see anger and distortion/exaggeration in many
of Asha's posts referring to me. Because it's there.
Her last post about the "leash". The "slant" was
throughout. I think we all do this to some degree. Unfortunately, when
Dr Irene or someone else responds to the post, their response ends up
being slanted as well, through no fault of their own.
Today, I understood something (actually I saw it firsthand). Asha is
very very angry. And not in control of her anger. If she could see it,
like Jay has, things would move a lot faster. As I saw and faced Asha's
anger, I also saw how far I had come. I didn't engage at all. Not at
all. I mean zero. I was so happy with my SELF.
Asha showed me how her anger IS capable of being harnessed as a
method of revenge and hurt. I was feeling this very often in her posts.
Sure they were her feelings, but there always seemed to be this
"extra effort", an almost subtle demonizing of me. OK
Steve, you did the first step of not engage. You did the behavioral
part, but there is more. You are furious with Asha for being
human and having the feelings she has! You are not acting angrily,
but you are nevertheless angry! And, your codependence is showing in
that you're overly concerned with what she's doing rather than with what
you're doing! (Which is paying so much attention to Asha!)
A little more on what I mean by
"disengage:" To allow the other person to feel what they feel,
whether or not you agree with how they feel. When you
"disengage," you are OK with the fact that your partner has an
entirely different viewpoint than you do. You do not bounce off your
partner by reacting emotionally yourself to their emotional stuff.
So Steve, you are not disengaged because you
are obviously put off by how you perceive Asha! In
other words, you have given Asha the power to create yukky feelings in
you. You are bouncing off her feelings and emotionally reacting
because you still put too much stock in Asha's approval, agreement,
etc., which for you must equate with love, etc.
Stop! Please recognize that you are
bouncing off Asha. This is the interactional process you identified some
pages ago. It is destructive stuff you don't have to engage in when you
realize that it's OK for Asha to be angry or whatever it is that she is
- which has nothing to do with you unless you make it your business -
as you are doing now!!!
Then others (not all) here will jump on the ball (maybe it's their
own anger and desire for revenge) and run it down for a touchdown. (I
love my dramatizations, excuse me). Aren't you
doing that to her? Unfortunately, they're not running with the
real game ball. Then I feel the need to clarify things, and there's just
too much to deal with. So I don't respond. And I think my lack of
response seems to validate Asha's profiles of me. Garbage.
I'm ok with that. I know I can't spend all day addressing and
clarifying every issue. I've admitted many of my problems here. I'm
working very hard and I know it, which is what really matters.
Here's an example of what I DON'T like to respond to because it is
commentary (and more of an anger-based put-down than a useful
observation, IMO) on a story told by an angry person who wrote it while
The lawyer: "It sounds like Steve is on the same emotional
development level as his kids, with the dog leash story." You
don't like this post and you are engaging with this post exactly as you
engage with Asha, . Giving it too much power Steve...
Back to my original thread...
Seeing how easy it is to create a negative profile of someone is a
very powerful lesson to me - in what NOT to do.
I am hoping Asha will see her anger-management problem and talk about
it publicly. Wrong. Now you are focused on her and
blaming her. Asha has the problem. Well, of course Asha has a problem.
It's called being human. I call on Asha to deal with her own stuff, and
You need to deal with your tendency to want
to focus on Asha's misbehaviors instead of how Steve chooses to make a
big deal out of Asha's misbehaviors. That is big Steve. HUGE! I
respect Jay so much for being willing to look at her own anger and
revenge feelings. I know how hard all this stuff is. But just to see Jay
go for it like that is so encouraging for our situation right now. I
still have hope but I'll be ok without it.
I am very pleased to say this: Irene, you have taken the number 1
spot in my list of most influential people in my life. Really. Not
after this post, I'm sure.
Every day gets better. And yes, there is "backsliding", but
I now KNOW that the progress is there.
Irene is my personal Angel whether she likes it or not. She's gone
way past the Doctor stage. Way beyond the call of duty. Fine.
Personal Angel Irene here asking Steve to please look inside. Steve,
you have choices. You can remain in the yukky comfort zone you spend
entirely too much time in and are in right now, or you can accept the
fact that Asha is human, will never be perfect, will never be
all-accepting, etc., and all of that is OK.
It seems that if Asha isn't in the frame of
mind to be all-loving, all-giving Perfect Mommy, you choose to
bounce off her mood state and you make yourself feel upset. Like,
she somehow let you down because she's got her own, very normal stuff.
Kind of like Trubble, when he hides under the bed, sulking because each
person he picks to be RealMommy/Daddy inevitably disappoints him... This
stuff is very big... Huge...
Now, I need to give more credit where it's due. Without Asha, I could
never have found this place. She has also helped me find my own anger
places. She IS a very loving person.
And I love her. Always. Whether we make it or not. And,
I would like you to make it, and have a satisfying, wonderful
life. That's why I'm being so tough on you...
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000
B. I found much of your post very enlightening. There's a lot to work
with there. Thank you very much for responding. I've been seeking better
ways to deal with my kids than we are currently using. Your ideas are
very plausible. I'm definitely going to try them out.
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
I had just read the Lurking Lawyer's post about "emotional
development level" and felt uncomfortable with that. My
objective when I post isn't to get anyone to "side" with me. But,
that is the effect you often have. No reason to get
uncomfortable/defensive. The lady just tells it the way she sees it. I'm
sure my own emotional development isn't so advanced either. I think that
she (you) had other interesting things to say, but the emotional
development stuff made it hard for me to respond objectively. You
are letting your buttons get pushed. Actually, I
don't think Lurking Lawyer's analogy is a bad one. Steve is
tough enough to handle it, but I think we have to remember that no-one
here is Jesus or Buddha and we are all at various states of emotional
immaturity (or maturity depending on how you see it). BTW Steve
apologized for a lot of what happened on that day.
Re: my anger. Yes I'm angry. I don't know if I'm "not in
control" of it, so much as allowing myself to express it when I
feel it. I'm not driving like a maniac, throwing stuff around or calling
anyone names, which is what I envision when a person allows anger to
take a grip on them. Not to say I've never acted on my anger in the past
- I have. But I don't think that's what's going on now. I think what's
going on is that I'm feeling a little safer to express some of my anger.
In particular, I was angry today because Steve told me that he and his X
had decided the kids wouldn't be back to see Steve and I until after
Xmas. I told Steve I was really pissed off, and I *am* pissed off! I'm
the last person to be consulted about these things, and I had bought
supplies, and started with the kids to make Xmas gifts (for the kids to
give to their family members for Xmas). It's basically a waste now
because I won't see them. They had left behind the projects they
started, so they won't be able to give them to anyone. Steve did mention
that he could speak to his X to see if the plans could be changed. I
have no idea if he will, because I feel like my feelings on the matter
are basically insignificant (or at least they have been in the past). As
long as it works for Steve and his X, the plans usually move ahead. I'm
just realizing how I really hate this, and have hated this for so long -
the lack of consideration of what *I* want and need. And not being
consulted about these weekend plans. It brings up a whole wad of old
stuff that yes indeed, I'm *angry* about. And I *know* that it's old
stuff and that Steve is working on lots of change, but I no longer want
to bury what I feel about all of it. Logically speaking, I forgive for
the past, and I know Steve didn't intentionally hurt me etc etc, but I
still *feel* hurt about all of it, and *really* don't want to set myself
up for more hurt in the future.
And know what? It felt safe for once to express some of this, because
Steve *didn't* engage. Though I doubt he understood what the anger was
about, I at least felt he *heard* me, and didn't deny me the anger.
We went to his kids' Xmas concert and before his boys went to perform
there was a group of little 5 year old elves and mice, all looking
nervous, some wearing their hats crooked - it was the epitome of
innocence - so touching! And I felt like bursting into tears! I don't
know what that's about, except that something has been getting stored up
inside me, and it's something really painful. Maybe it's just that I
want to be able to *not* be perfect sometimes and to have someone
support *me*. Maybe I'd like to just give up adulthood for awhile, or
maybe the kids represented the family I don't have, or it was some
sentimental thing - actually I have no idea why I felt so emotional.
I don't feel I have an "anger management problem" but I do
feel anger towards Steve right now. On a logical, thinking level I know
he's working hard at change and I respect that. On an emotional, feeling
level, I feel hurt, worn out and unsure of the future. I can't make
anyone any guarantees right now because there are wounds from the past
that haven't healed.
The problem, IMO, isn't managing the anger, it's acknowledging it,
and not letting any more of it build so I can begin to let it go. I gave
so much of my own power away for the last few years that I need to learn
how much to take back, and how to be "empowered" in healthy
ways, without having to "have my way" all the time. This is
tricky because I can give on most of the little things, but even they
add up over time.
I wish I could be of more help to Steve, but my choice right now is
to acknowledge and verbalize the anger I feel - not as in name calling,
violent outbursts etc., but in just being able to say "yes! I'm
mad! Yes, I'm pissed off about this!" It doesn't feel unhealthy to
me - it feels far more unhealthy to bury it. I know there are times to
walk away and talk more about it later, and I can do that, but that's
not what I feel I need to learn. I guess I'd like to know that I can say
something really upsets me and for that to be okay!
I do wish I didn't feel angry at Steve - it's not the Steve who's
trying so hard, who's growing and learning I'm mad at. It's the old
Steve who kept me at arms length for so so long. It's as if I can't get
any closer than arms length right now for fear of the old ugly patterns.
I'm not good at dealing with them without involving my emotions, so I
seem to need to step back right now.
Maybe I'll just go have a good cry. Thanks for listening.
p.s. I'm not PMSing either - wrong time of the month, so we can rule
that one out.
Excellent! Excellent, excellent! You are self
aware, you trust your feelings despite not liking them, and you refuse
to hurt yourself by either squashing them or angrily acting them out.
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
Oh m'gosh - triple posting!
Sorry 'bout that - that's the first time the posts haven't appeared
for me after hitting refresh. Don't know what that's all about. Trubble,
were you toying with me? All the time FakeMommy
Akasha Vampire-Lady. who isn't there for me always, like I
expect. Your job is to take your feelings, whatever they are and put
them aside for me so you are always available to tend to me.
Oh well, I guess the heavens are allowing me to express my anger
*extra*. Loud and clear. teehee.
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
HELLO ALL, Suzy here, Did you think I got lost? My internet server
went down a couple of days. Well, it's late, just wanted to check in and
say I was alive and well. My abusive husband and violent son are moving
out soon. We have filed for a legal separation. In this year we will all
work on our emotional health, and if we begin to heal, there is a
chance, if not, divorce will be final in a year. This brings many
emotions, happiness for no more abuse in the home, sadness for what
might have been, hope for what could be , and doubt for the reality of
strong in born behaviors to change, anger, for not having a nice
marriage both at my self for allowing the abuse and anger at him for
doing it. But, all in all my spirits are good, and I look forward to a
year of hope and healing. I hope I can catch up on the posts
soon.>Love, to you all, Thanks, Suzy
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
I wish you all the best, now and in the future.
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
Steve was just talking to me by phone about my "anger
problem" and my "slant" on things, and then I got even
angrier! Of course. Steve is taking your inventory
instead of his own. His codependency is showing, that's all.
Dr I - Is it wrong to tell Steve that I'm mad about something? No.
I don't mean doing hidden stuff like little zingers etc which I'm
*really* honest to goodness not trying to do. I mean expressing that I'm
really hurt, mad, upset etc. I can't always do this in an
expressionless, robotic, factual type way. Is it wrong to say that I'm
angry? No. Steve has to deal with it.
I get even more irritated when he starts focusing on how I should
admit/fix this huge problem I apparently have. It just gets me more
riled! I think because I *don't* want to focus on the problems he thinks
I have, I want to focus on the problems *I* think I have. Purrrrfect.
Steve's stepping into your boundaries. And you're ticked! Good!
The only thing I can think to do is retreat because this sort of talk
just goes in circles. Right. Give him time to get
out of his yukky space. He's hurting right now, but he's the only one
who can get himself out of there, though he mistakenly thinks that if
you just do x y and z with your anger, he'll feel better.
If there is a specific thing I do that he is unhappy with, I'm fine
with that. If he sees something differently than I do, I'm open to
hearing it. But to just make blanket statements about my slants, my
"anger problems" etc. isn't helping! No.
And only Steve has the power to recognize that he's putting all this
stuff on you and trying to make you responsible for his well being. Kind
of like, "If Asha is never upset, Steve will be fine." Wrong!
(Steve: I know you don't want to give anybody this kind of power! Do you
see how you do it? Which means, you can also stop doing it.)
I don't think I'm generally an angry person. But I'm angry at Steve
(though I really don't want to demonize him either - he has his reasons
for where he is in life - I understand this logically, but not
emotionally). I need to figure out how to be able to avoid burying this,
and express some of it. I think you've figured it
out. You are doing it. And besides trying to live up to
Jesus or Buddha, can't I sometimes just tell Steve I'm upset about
things and show that I'm upset? Again, not by shrieking or screaming, or
with sarcastic remarks etc., just allowing my face and words to show
that I am upset? Absolutely! Doing that in fact is
It's nothing against him. It's about me. Yes.
Everything about you is only about you. That's why I tell Steve that his
upset has nothing to do with you or your anger, which you have a right
to and are handling responsibly. But I *am* upset about lots of
things - a lot of built up stuff, and it's hard to deal with this when
Steve is wanting me to "admit" to an anger management problem
which I don't feel I have. I feel that focusing on that would be lying
to myself, and I would allowing Steve's "take" on the
situation override my own gut feelings by doing that. Agreed.
It's the "expression" of my anger to Steve that seems to be
a problem. Through posting I really don't intend to demonize him, but if
I don't post what I feel then there's no point in posting at all. Steve
will be much happier when he realizes he does not need your constant
support, approval, etc. to be OK. That's why he's so sensitive now to
angry nuance. I'm hoping to help him see how much responsibility he
tries to pin on you for his happiness, responsibility that up until
recently, you accepted. A no win for all.
It would really help the relationship if some of the specifics of my
anger were dealt with. i.e. the weekend plans when I am not consulted.
It seems that when I get angry, Steve feels a wall has gone up and he
can't get through, and I don't see attempts from his end to reassure me
about the issues. It's as if he feels there's no point, as soon as he
knows I'm really angry about it. When I'm really angry about it, I need
those attempts from him most of all! His choice, obviously, but then my
only option is to withdraw from a situation where I feel no solutions
are offered other than ones which I have complete power over.
I'm trying to break this down, especially because I want to let Steve
know what I feel is going on.
I *don't* think Steve is Satan when I show this anger towards him. I
have a hunch that's how he translates it. It's *not* tit for tat. But
I'm human. I have feelings. Yes.
I think I'll try to calm down now.
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
Dear Asha and Steve,
When I read your posts, what became obvious all of a sudden that you
two are continually analyzing every interaction that you have. What did
he/she mean, what did I feel, did I really feel this, was I reacting,
was I true to mySelf etc. I think that, however much useful analyzing
is, it is not healthy to do it all the time. You get so entangled in
your own analysis (at least I do ;-)) that it becomes increasingly hard
to act normally. You start looking for clues, for meanings where there
are none, you start taking things apart, just for the tearing apart. I
do not mean you should let things pass just like that, but to ‘pick
you battles' as Dr. I. says. I know it is a hard thing to do, but you
are not doing yourselves any favors by bickering over all the things
I do feel for you Asha, when you tell about all the old feelings that
come up associated with events that are happening now, but I think that
it is really your job to sort them out, in order not to let hem rule
your present decisions. IMO you are entitled to show your emotions,
sure, you have feelings too! If that bothers you Steve, I feel that is
your problem to solve. If she is angry or upset, that does not
automatically mean you have to fix it and that you fail if you cannot
fix her negative feelings. Let her feel them, talk about them and see if
you can talk to her about what her feelings mean without searching for a
solution. I think when you say (as Asha told) that you might talk to
your X about having the children to come in before Christmas, that it
would mean a lot to her, if you really would put in an effort to find a
solution that is agreeable to both of her (I do not mean do everything
she want btw!)
And Steve, good for you for not engaging. Did you read that Asha said
that this made her feel safe enough to show what she feels! I think that
great progress for both of you!!! One more thing Steve, I don't think it
will help you if you keep telling her you want her to see her anger
management problem. It is like you want to control again: you decide she
has an anger problem, so she should do something about it. It simply
won't work that way. She will only do something about it, when she feels
she has an anger problem, and pushing will only make it harder for her
to recognize it if she has it.
Take care, both of you
Love AJ Nice.
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
Hold down the shift-key when you hit refresh.
Then you will see your post. If you don't, your browser will usually
use the page from the cache on YOUR computer. (unless you set it to
specifically check for changes on remote websites).
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
Oops. I meant "CTRL" KEY.
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
AJ - thanks for your input.
<<When I read your posts, what became obvious all of a sudden
that you two are continually analyzing every interaction that you have.
What did he/she mean, what did I feel, did I really feel this, was I
reacting, was I true to mySelf etc. I think that, however much useful
analyzing is, it is not healthy to do it all the time. You get so
entangled in your own analyses (at least I do ;-)) that it becomes
increasingly hard to act normally. You start looking for clues, for
meanings where there are none, you start taking things apart, just for
the tearing apart. I do not mean you should let things pass just like
that, but to ‘pick you battles' as Dr. I. says. I know it is a hard
thing to do, but you are not doing yourselves any favours by bickering
over all the things that come.>>
I understand what you're saying (I think), but in the past I let a
lot of things go by, including my own feelings and reactions to things.
It feels really important to me right now *not* to do this. I agree that
the subject matter seems petty - dog leashes etc. but the underneath
stuff is really important for me to look at right now, and I have to
trust my own judgment that it feels healthy for me to examine it. I
don't want to keep living in limbo, and I see this power struggling etc
as harboring some very big issues in Steve and my relationship. Every
time something feels yukky, I now stop, and take a look. Maybe I am
missing your point, but I feel I have to *not* overlook any yukky stuff,
in order to act out of a position of Self empowerment. I suppose what's
right for me isn't right for everyone.
However, I just finished having another argument with Steve who seems
to think that Dr. Irene said I shouldn't be feeling angry. He went on to
analyze the slant of this line from an earlier post: <<Steve
wanted feedback from me because the son with the leash was complaining
that we had taken lots of detours on the way there and the trail back
was much shorter, so the other boy wouldn't have to carry the leash
nearly as far.>> saying that I exaggerated the detours etc.
Something felt really yukky about going into such depth about my
"angle" and the perception of others about this line etc etc.
and I got very angry again. I didn't want to talk about that line
anymore, and he said that I don't care how he feels. I had pretty much
had it and should have ended the conversation earlier because I did lose
it, telling him that no I don’t care and to get out of my life (which
he's been threatening to do forever anyway), and that I’m tired of
this stupid stuff. Yes, it was misbehavior, abuse etc. on my part. I let
my anger get out of control at that point, rather than stopping the
conversation before I got to that point. The thing is, that I don't feel
our talking about it was going anywhere and I just wanted him to leave
at that point, which he did.
Obviously things aren't improving and we're not moving ahead, so it's
probably best we just leave each other be and just have a work
relationship. He can't understand me, and my feelings of anger are
unmanageable to him, so maybe we just can't progress as a couple. I
certainly don't like how I'm reacting to him right now, and I probably
need to back away.
My needs around the kids seem like too much for him to handle and he
definitely doesn't want me to feel the anger I feel. I don't know how to
*not* feel it, and somehow I don't think that's the solution.
I think there *is* a point where you can just try too hard to make
things work when they're obviously not working. I need some peace of
mind, and neither Steve and I appear to be getting it. I can't seem to
work on the couple aspect of the relationship, so I should probably just
Maybe I need to stop focusing on the relationship completely other
than how we work together, and just make my plans alone. I think I'm
wasting both Steve and my own time by trying to work things through,
when I feel like we have such different perceptions of the problem.
Neither of us are happy together much anymore.
The ironic thing is that what would have made me far less angry would
have been some sort of validation by Steve of my feelings, and some show
of concern for a resolution. Empathy, concern,
compassion for your feelings... Of course, he has no obligation
to do that, and maybe it's not even healthy for him at this point
No Asha, he has absolutely no obligation to go to these places, but it
would be very healthy for him to do so. Steve hurts himself when he
takes your anger personally., but then I have no reason to feel
safe that my needs/desires will get met through the relationship.
hope you're all having a better day than me.
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000
Asha has asked me to "get out of her life". Yes she was
angry when she said this. But I can only hear this so much before I
start wondering when it will ever end...
I feel caught in the middle again (or still), between my X and Asha.
When the smoke clears, I see myself on the sidelines of my kid's life.
Struggling to keep the peace and both women's needs met.
Not much left for me. I don't think I can live this way any longer.
I am not who I was. I am not who I will be. But I'm someone going
somewhere I want to go.
I just wanted to say how great everyone here has been to me.
AJ, your last post was right on. Except, Asha and I cannot
communicate. I don't feel like I want to put any more time into it. I
want to keep working on me. The more progress I make, the more inspired
I feel to keep at it.
Oh, while I was composing this, I noticed Asha posted. She posted
about me analyzing her slant...well, she never let me speak a word
hardly, so again I just see her venting or whatever it is she does when
she does that. I never had a chance to say what I wanted to say. I am
not allowed to have feelings of my own. She doesn't want to hear
anything *I* have to say. She just gets angry and posts stuff which is
pretty meaningless to me, except perhaps the underlying hostility, which
has gone way to far in my opinion.
The word "Yukky" seems to symbolize her profile of me now.
Well, her attitude lately makes me feel physically sick. Unhealthy.
It's Very unhealthy. Damaging. Destructive. She seems Vengeful.
Vindictive, and very much out of control.
I don't want to be involved anymore. I am finding myself repulsed by
her maddy face. Her voice, her body language, everything seems so
aggressive and ugly.
The more I expose myself to it, the worse my memories will be. I want
to remember her smile, her laugh, her tenderness...not all this
ugliness. No no no no! You are creating this
mess for yourself Steve. All because you are taking her every word so
seriously, bouncing off her every gesture, requiring her to be perfect
so you can feel OK! You don't have to do this Steve...
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000
Dr Irene I just read your blue pencil. I am impatient aren't I. Well
I guess Practice, practice and more practice.
Why am I so anxious well, I just am finding it hard to know what to
do when Missy is misbehaving. You see if my X plays up then I won't be
late for work, and I can ask him to leave, with MISSY I obviously can't.
I always get stuck on consequences etc. I wrote to Jay today she offered
to help me. She is one kind lady. (Friend!!)
STEVE how did you manage to see the physiology in your self, the
awareness of how your body feels etc?
I have ordered the book on anger management from the site you
DR Irene my therapist frowns when ever he hears I ordered a self help
book. He says "Another book". Is it so bad reading books? He
says "Theressa you know yourself and only you can help you. You get
so tied up in reading and yet doing is what reaps rewards." BUT Dr
Irene how can I do if I don't know how to do?
This is what frustrates me, I am unsure about one thing my therapist
said, he said "If Missy misbehaves take something important to her
away from her". YET in positive discipline book it says don't
punish. GOODNESS I am confused. Hope Jay can help me.
Dr Irene is it correct that you should teach for the future and not
punish for the past?
If it is true then how can anyone get a child to do what needs doing
especially if the child won't budge? (some say smack em, some say take
xxx away from em. I say I don't know what the hell to do, cuz I don't
know how to get a child to not manipulate me.)
Positive discipline is fine but it doesn't help you work out
The more I was being positive the more MISSY was pushing me. She was
walking all over me. She is harder to sort out than her father.
Thanks, I hope Dr Irene replies.
Love to you all, I have another cold.
Dr Irene if your feeling run down are you more attracted to colds?
PS All keep up the good work. STEVE you are doing cartwheels of
growth WELL DONE.
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000
Dear Dt Irene, rubble, and the rest of the family,
I've been remiss in that I haven't checked the posts or posted in a
couple of days.
Lynn has had a killer of a headache for the last three days but has
been busy trying to set up a genealogical web site for my family. The
lady is very talented so I know that she will eventually do it. Hope
she's feeling better soon. Please give us the url!
The other morning she asked me to just listen, and not reinterpret
what she said. I listened, kept my mouth shut.
Yesterday we received a card from her dad with his usual gift of
money. I told Lynn to return my portion to him, although I can do it, as
I really don't feel that is what I need from him after his behavior
Thanksgiving Sunday. I would appreciate an apology to both Lynn and I,
but he won't do that as he never has, when he's acted in a spiteful
(wrong word) way.
I go to the therapist today and have to remember about my family
relevancy. One of the question she asked me last was how was my
long/short term memory. It's very bad, some things I remember,
others????? I've even started to write myself notes at work.
Lynn told me that when I'm not on her good side that she wished that
I would not call her Honey, it's very hard for me to do a that is what I
call her, like some couples call each other snookems, sweetheart, etc. I
have to make a concentrated effort. Only if you
want to Dan. She is requesting that you make a change, when in fact, she
needs to deal with the fact that you call her Honey when she doesn't
want to be called Honey. Are you mad at her that you have agreed to
make this effort now? Don't be too quick to answer.
You asked how I felt the day coming home, I was angry, angry at Lynn
taking off her seatbelt, angry at her idea that I would intentionally
endanger her. We have had this discussion before and I can understand
her phobia about it as I am claustrophobic, although I have been getting
into areas where before, no way. Under the bed, in elevators, etc. I'm
still uncomfortable doing this but there are times when it has to be
done. Lynn jokes about my fear of flying, which isn't, I love to fly, I
just wish that they would put all the other passengers on another plane.
I do feel closed in when there are two other people sitting next to me
and we're rubbing shoulders.
Will try and post later
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000
Irene: "You need to deal with your tendency to want to focus on
Asha's misbehaviors instead of how Steve chooses to make a big deal out
of Asha's misbehaviors. That is big Steve. HUGE!"
I agree. I don't want to ONLY *focus* on Asha's behaviour. But I need
to see things clearly. I do want to focus on how I react to Asha's
anger, but first I need to focus on her anger so I can see what it is
I'm reacting to. I'm not understanding what is wrong with this Irene? Good
question. Here is where you get to put most all of my lessons together:
You say above, "I do want to focus on how I react to Asha's
anger..." This is good because the target is your
reaction to (bouncing off) Asha's behavior. This is different from the
target being Asha's behavior. So,
Asha's behavior does not matter. How you process and subsequently react
to Asha's behavior matters.
This means that all you have to worry about is
what you are doing with her behavior rather than her behavior itself.
This is good because you can't control Asha's behavior (only Asha can do
that), but you can control Steve's processing and interpretation
of Asha's behavior.
Again, because I don't post as much as Asha, you don't get a complete
picture. I understand all the stuff about not letting her anger get to
me. The problem I am having is, the amount, and level of the anger. It
is so strong that I am drowning in it. In other words, I am unable to
speak. So, my dilemma is, do I just submit myself to the anger (and it's
not just a mad-looking face Irene, as Asha says. It's a very loud aggressive
voice. I'm more sensitive to volume and inflection than I am to facial
posturing) and live constantly amidst it? I can't seem to find a way of
agreeing that this can be healthy for me. Even if I don't engage, I feel
that it's this powerful negative energy that is lashing me. I feel like
I don't want to live in this state. What is the point? I need to do
what's right for me. Irene, you haven't convinced me that this is good
for me. What am I missing? Reciprocity.
"I'm hoping to help him see how much responsibility he tries to
pin on you for his happiness"
Hmm. There's a "degree" factor here. I am in a reduction
process. I do know, that it feels incredibly icky to be around Asha's
anger. She isn't responsible for me feeling the ickiness. I can change
that. But it still won't make me want to be around someone who's so
angry so often. Again, it's a degree thing. I want to make healthy
choices for my life. I want to be in a warm, happy and positive
environment. You don't understand how much control
you have in creating a happy and positive environment! I would
like that to be the more common and prevalent situation. I don't think a
person should commit their lives away to a situation where the
dominating (time-wise) environment is angry. We
agree. So, why are you making yourself so upset? Why can you not
take Asha as she is, good and bad? Why are you focusing on her bad stuff
instead of her good stuff?
I think the reason you allow Asha's anger to
affect you the way it does is because your subconscious stuff
(underlying expectations, irrational thoughts, schema, call it what you
want) goes somewhere along one or more of these lines:
must always be loving and considerate towards me.
hurts so much when she isn't there for me, rejects me, slams me.
she loves me, she should accept all of me and my flaws because my
intentions are good. Therefore, she must not really love me since
her anger is shutting me out so. |
Asha is angry with me, that means I have disappointed her, let her
down, whatever, so I have messed up and that makes me somehow
can't stand it when she's mad at me. It just makes me feel awful
and unloved! |
dare she get mad at me after all I do for her! |
I don't know what your specifics are, but, in
one way or another, you expect her to let you down and not love
you, so you are unconsciously focused on every little cue that
"proves" to you that she doesn't love you. You expect
her to disappoint you because somebody in your early life was not there
for you. Somebody taught you that you cannot rely on the person you
love to comfort you when you need them to.
You also think that somehow, if she could only
be the loving woman you fell in love with, your own hurts would go away.
Because you give her the power to make you feel really good. So, you
think you can't stand it when she is not being loving. You don't
understand that she has emotional needs too, and cannot always be ready
to drop her needs to tend to yours without paying a heavy price. When
she won't drop her needs for your sake (which is what I am trying to
teach her to do), you equate her taking care of herself with not loving
you, which is not the case.
I think you have very little idea of what it is
to soothe yourself, to take care of yourSelf. You were never taught to
care for Steve because somebody in your early life was not reliably
there for you - and left you wanting at a time when you were helpless.
Had they been there, you would have learned to trust that it will all be
OK. You would have learned to soothe you.
Well, it wasn't OK. And, because you were
left hurting and you never learned to soothe yourSelf (what I
am trying to teach you do do), you look to Asha to do it for you.
That's why you are so sensitive to her anger and almost require
Asha not to be angry with you. Have you noticed that you interpret
her anger as rejection? If she is angry, you feel rejected! Your
subliminal experience of her "rejection" takes you right back
to the emotional memory of an old, horrible place you no longer
remember: Young Steve at the mercy of a caretaker who for whatever
reason was unable to be there for you enough...and the anger you
had towards that important person who let you down, but shouldn't
have let you down.
So, you think you need a loving partner who
never lets you down, never gets mad at you, is always there for you.
But, first, no such person exists, and second, you don't need this
person. You do want a loving, giving woman, just like Asha, who has her
great capacity to give, but each of you need to do your parts:
Asha needs to put her needs first. If she
continues to consistently put your needs or anybody else's needs ahead
of her own, she will end up depressed, confused, miserable, and angry.
All the symptoms on Beatty's
codependency list. This is why I validate her right to feel the way
she feels and urge her to care for herSelf first, you second.
You need to "internalize", or deeply
recognize that no human being other than yourself can comfort you. I
know you know this in your head, but that knowledge needs to seep
through your very being. You need to stop asking your partner to deny
her feelings (because she will eventually break if she does...). You
need to recognize that it is really OK (and healthy even) for her to be
mad at you and you must stop yourself
from going into horrible helpless awful angry place when she is mad.
Asha is not putting you there, neither is her anger. You are bouncing
off her anger and unwittingly putting yourself there.
Your job is to identify these feelings,
understand the connections you implicitly make, and retrain yourself to
create healthier underlying thinking auto-pilot habits. The wonderful
thing about all this is that it puts you in the driver's seat. You are
in control No one else!
Am I making sense? I'll wait to hear from
Asha: "The ironic thing is that what would have made me far less
angry would have been some sort of validation by Steve of my feelings,
and some show of concern for a resolution."
Irene: "Empathy, concern, compassion for your feelings..."
Asha: "Of course, he has no obligation to do that, and maybe
it's not even healthy for him at this point."
Irene: "No Asha, he has absolutely no obligation to go to these
places, but it would be very healthy for him to do so."
I have not made things clear enough. I cannot get through Asha's
anger wall to give those things (empathy etc). You have to be there to
understand what I mean. I feel pretty helpless to make you understand
this Irene. I promise Steve, I do understand! I
know just how awful a frustrated, fed up, self-sacrificing hysterically
angry woman can behave. But it's just her anger Steve. It's not a gun
she's put to your head, though I can understand that this is how it
feels. But, it feels this way only because you think you can't stand
it. In reality, you simply don't know how to deal with it well,
which is easier said than done, but do-able.
You know how frustrating it feels to you that
you think I may not understand Asha's anger? Well, likewise for Asha.
She is frustrated that she cannot get you to acknowledge that she feels
the way she feels. The more frustrated she gets, the louder she gets.
Human nature... You are not being asked to admit to every wrong in the
world, you are being asked to understand that x, y and z is
experienced as hurtful, hateful, awful, or whatever by her.
You have to give her space and time to chill
out! Let her be angry and do nothing but let her know you hear her; especially
do not make implicit assumptions about what her anger means to you. If
you can let her be angry and if you do nothing about it but hear her
message, her anger will go away. But, give it a little time! You need to
give her time and give yourself time. You need to learn to deal with her
anger as per the above... Have you ever tried to get a word in
when someone is raving much louder than you feel like doing? And if you
open your mouth, all your energy just goes swooosh, out the lungs and
into an enormous vacuum? Please believe me Irene, inside my mind I was
doing all those good things. I was thinking of the various resolutions,
like calling my X and seeing about different arrangements etc...but I
couldn't get it out my mind and into the situation. I was highly aware,
and quite frustrated inside at not being able to get it out. I think I
have learned thru past experiences that there are times when Asha's
anger wall is too thick to break through. I usually choose to withdraw
under those conditions. Is that a mistake? What are my options at that
point? Do nothing. Recognize that you don't have
to fix her anger. She just wants you to hear the message. It's OK to
tell her you heard her later on, when she's calmer. Can
you identify what kept you from getting the good stuff out of your
mouth? My guess is your irrational anger and perceived blame kept you
too angry to "give it" to her. I may be off here, but it's
something along those lines, I think..
It's not just Asha's anger per se. It's the level of it, the
intensity and consistency. I find it all-consuming. I own my feelings on
this Irene, although you don't think so. I am not making Asha
responsible for my feelings about her anger. At the same time, I am not
making my self responsible for her anger. You are
telling me you can't stand her anger. I am insisting that you can
- and in fact must, for your own sake. A partner without anger does not
exist. I also think you can trust Asha not to let herself get too
carried away with her junk. She certainly has convinced me she can be
trusted. She has the ability to look inside and check herself when
I ask her to take a look at something; so I know she won't go haywire on
you, at least for too long!.
For me, it's a matter of life energy. I have a choice to be around positive
or negative energy. Sure I can immerse myself in negative energy and
battle it out on a daily basis, reaching a point where I don't let it
affect me at all Your idea of not letting it
affect you and my idea of same are different. I don't want you
sitting there like a piece of stone, letting her beat you up so to
speak. That's nowhere. Yuk yuk yuk! But, you imply that your only
choices are to either be around her anger or get out of the negative
energy. No! I am suggesting that you question how you deal with/react
to her anger - and hurt yourself, as well as behave in ways that
contribute to her perpetuation of her anger (though the last one is not
your job, it is certainly in your interest not to help her perpetuate
her anger). , and look forward to a future full of the same, but
why would I? Even attaining a perfect Buddha state amongst negative
energy would still leave me wondering "well, now what?".
Where's the fun? What's the point in being with someone if you don't
have any fun? The fun: If the two of you can
allow the other to be angry, hear the message, not make it a big deal,
not have awful feelings, get past it quickly - you can go have
No, I don't get it Irene. Work on me some more.
Asha: "Is it wrong to say that I'm angry?"
Irene "No. Steve has to deal with it."
Asha's question is like asking "Do you want to live forever in
Of course the answer is obvious. But the question is general.
*Saying* you are angry is one thing. How you act on it is something else
altogether. Steve can "deal with" saying you're angry. No
problem whatsoever. Can Steve "deal with" the fact that he
cannot speak, cannot communicate, is unable to talk about his feeling
due to the fact that your anger is so loud and un-interruptable?
Yes, Steve can "deal with" this too. But how should he deal
with it? He doesn't want to raise his voice. He wants to speak calmly
and clearly. But he wont be heard. So then what?
I think more than anything, I am feeling that the current icky
pattern of anger is going to be a permanent part of any future with
Asha. I can
deal put up with
it, with Irene's help and advice, but do I really want to? You
are now putting up with it. That is not the goal. You don't want to put
up with it, you want to learn to deal with it. I
have a gut feeling that cries out quite emphatically at times. It's
saying no. "No Steve, you will not be happy like this. You have one
kick at the cat (sorry Trubble) and do you really want to use it up this
way? No way! Wouldn't you rather be running
wild on the beach with a pack of wolves? Wouldn't you rather have a mate
whom you can talk to and be heard?" You
assume that the anger resides in Asha - when in fact, it resides in you.
You will take it with you everywhere you go. Until you put your baggage
down. Put your bags down and talk and hear your mate.
Yes, I am *looking* at Asha's anger. At times, I feel I need to focus
on certain things to see them clearly.
PS, You are still number 1 Irene. Never a doubt in my mind. I could
say more, but we'd both be blushing... Cool,
but please don't make the pedestal too high... I hate the crash landing.
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000
I read just a few of the newer posts, as I haven't had any time
lately. Things are pretty good right now, and somehow that is more
confusing than anything. I, too, am beginning to wonder if I may have
just taken him the wrong way. Though he really DID do and say (on a
regular basis) most of the things which constitute verbal/emotional
abuse, I still feel that I should look at the way he is now differently.
If he really is getting better, but we haven't resolved all the past
issues, should I forget what has happened in the past? Start with a
clean slate, but with everything I have learned here an integral part of
my outlook? I don't know. The thing that scares me is that he is getting
"better", but there has been no acknowledgement of the past
abuse. Could it be that he "got it" on his own and is going
about fixing his stuff without actually talking about it? Wow. I am so
turned around! I hope you are all able to make sense of this!
I am getting stronger, not engaging as much, and that could have a
lot to do with it. There were so many bad times, so many times I allowed
him to yell & curse me into agreeing with him just to end the
attack. Lots of other things, too, like not speaking to me for days if
he felt he wasn't getting enough sex, for example. What a turn on THAT
I know I'm rambling. It just seems like my feelings go from one
extreme to the other. This weekend, for example, he was ugly and I
thought, "OK, that's it. I'm going to tell him about this site. If
he reads the material and still refuses to at least acknowledge that
there is a problem then I am leaving." But then he acts genuinely
nice, as if he realizes he misbehaved and is making amends for it.
Without actually coming out and saying it. So I give him the benefit of
the doubt. I suppose the question is, is there a healthy relationship
lurking here? Is my mind so clouded by what I perceive to be abuse that
I have completely lost the ability to see him objectively?
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000
Theressa: I find the most telling part of my physiology is my neck
muscles. (If I had blood pressure monitor handy I'm sure that would work
When I am angry or absorbed in unhealthy thought patterns, I can
almost guarantee my neck muscles will be tense. The interesting thing
is, if I consciously relax them, I actually feel much less angry,
sometimes completely free of anger. My thought patterns become more
logical, almost mathematical as opposed to the emotional programming
that is usually at the helm during anger or frustration. You
are learning self control of your anger, and that is good. But, you need
to look at your feelings too, rather than try to just squash them. The
feelings I am trying to point you towards are subtle. Like a whisper.
The other interesting thing is, it's EXTREMELY easy to tense up again
if you aren't paying attention. There is thinking
in there kicking rage back in... Look at it; identify the thoughts.
Write them down. My unhealthy program is still there and wants to
be heard and wants full control of the operating system. It's used to
having all the power. You cannot replace it overnight, but you can
replace it eventually. The more time you put into it the better of
Another observation I want to share...I have found that it was very
hard for me to relax (unless I was in a virgin forest, miles away from
civilization - don't ask me why, I haven't figured it out yet) even when
I had decided I wanted to relax.
I would pour a bath, turn out the lights, light a candle, and lay in
the tub. My intention was to just relax, relax. I found it was nearly
impossible. My mind was racing, usually stuff about Asha, my kids, or my
X, sometimes work also. I would cut my bath short - NOT EVEN REALIZING
IT! - and get dressed and start performing some task.
This was totally bizarre. I was on some sort of auto-pilot.
The solution? Awareness...major awareness. Almost like I was training
a puppy to sit. Every time I would get up, I would lie myself back down
again. At first I was up and down every 2 minutes. Amazing eh? I started
realizing the obvious. I needed practice. Lots of it. So now, I take 4-5
relaxing baths a day just to practice. I am turning into an amphibian
but it's working.
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000
I won't try to suggest solutions for Steve because I'm too close to
the situation to be able to do that. But I want to offer my perspective
<<I think I have learned thru past experiences that there are
times when Asha's anger wall is too thick to break through. I usually
choose to withdraw under those conditions.>>
I find this so perplexing. Each time I've shown anger/upset and hoped
for Steve (you) to offer compassion and potential solutions, and yet
what I usually see from my end, is anger at my anger. Steve:
Do you see this? See how you can't tolerate her anger? Check out your
internal monologue. See if you can track what you are telling yourself
when she's mad... How could you know that my wall is too thick to
break through if you don't show your compassion and offer your
solutions, and instead show anger and repulsion? Have you really tried
to "break though" my "wall"? I admit that when you
don't show empathy, and when you act "repulsed" by my upset
feelings, and depict your choices as lose-lose, as in either *I* win, or
the X wins, but you never win, I lose the desire to be considered in
your life with your kids.
If you are thinking of various resolutions, it's really hard for me
to see that. My impression was that you would be sacrificing something
by changing the kids plans before Xmas - that you would be doing it out
of the "struggle to keep the peace and both women's needs met"
with you on the sidelines of his kids' life. And naturally I don't want
you to make that sort of sacrifice. That doesn't feel in the least good
to me. I don't want my own way. I want a way that works for all involved
I would like to understand what you really deep down want. Because it
seems to me that your having to consider me around your kids plans is
just one burden too many for you. And I don't want to be a burden - I
want to be someone's gift.
When I express my upset feelings and it's interpreted as
"damaging, destructive, vengeful, vindictive, and very much out of
control" and that you are "repulsed" I feel extremely
misunderstood and misread. I know that I am not vindictive, out of
control etc., yet I can't affect how you see (or don't see) that.
<<Yes, Steve can "deal with" this too. But how should
he deal with it? He doesn't want to raise his voice. He wants to speak
calmly and clearly. But he wont be heard. So then what?>>
Why are you so sure you won't be heard? Then again, if what you have
to say is about my "anger management" problem or other
problems you think I have, then I guess you're right, because I don't
want to hear about that from you.
Will be back later to read other people's posts.
doing OK kiddo.
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000
Becky crawling out from under the snow drifts--
There is a lot of talk about anger here, lately. I seem to go between
anger so strong it's almost rage, to weak, tearful crumbling at the
slightest hint of his disapproval. Last night he was angry because our
decrepit snow blower wouldn't work and he took it out on me. I was
crushed. I didn't say much, just went upstairs to bed. This morning I
told him that my feelings had been hurt. he apologized-- but only after
defending and justifying himself and criticizing how my son and I had shoveled
the snow. I called him on his habit of being instantly angry and
contentious and told him that he just puts walls up when he does that:
normal conversation and problem solving aren't possible.
I get the feeling that he is angry and resentful over some things
that happened in the past. Example: he quite angrily talks about having
to shovel the entire driveway and parking area himself when he lived
here as a kid. I told him flat out that i am tired of hearing about
that, and how he had to mow, and take the garbage out, etc. etc. He
sounds resentful when he talks about these things, and he always follows
with some variation of how I (or my son) don't do enough. He ignores the
fact that we do and have always done most of these kinds of things.
Anyway, I said that his having had to do those things alone didn't
make him any more virtuous than anyone else, and that I wanted him to
stop taking his resentment out on me. He said, "Okay," very
I felt awful! Like I'd been too hard on him! I wasn't yelling, or
crying, just firm. It hurts me that he may be facing some painful things
about himself, like the idea that he is angry about certain aspects of
his childhood. I know how much it hurts to deal with that.
But it seems to me that we have to be brave and go into those dark
angry places. Once we face and deal with them, we can leave them behind.
I think he wants to hold on to the idea that his parents and childhood
were perfect, or nearly so, yet resentment surfaces every now and then
when he talks about certain things. I wish he'd deal with this!
Strong anger in another person can be very scary, and I think that is
why he seems to not want me to express anger. I have worked very hard to
find appropriate ways of expressing it, and I do fail; this past summer
I was barely able to contain myself at times. Truth is I feel duped,
used, disregarded, disrespected, blown off--you name it. And yes, I'm
While I know that I have to be careful in how I express my anger, I
also realize that this is a necessary stage I'm going through. If he
can't handle it, he needs to ask himself why he was so willing, for so
long, to turn a blind eye to our situation. You can't ignore cancer and
expect it to go away.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I do understand the anger,
and I understand the fear felt by both parties when anger is strong and
I'm waiting for the weekend to start the Celexa. Hope it helps.
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000
<<<<Maybe I am missing your
point, but I feel I have to *not* overlook any yukky stuff, in order to
act out of a position of Self empowerment. I suppose what's right for
me isn't right for everyone. >>>>
What I meant to say is not to overlook the
yukky stuff, at least not for Steve's sake, but maybe not to get so
upset over everything that happens, for your own sake. You can feel and
see the yukky stuff, that's important, but I feel it might be easier to
let some of it rest for now, as you cannot expect things to change all
at once. It has to do with priorities: concentrate on the most
important things, like you would do in a work project.
Also, when you are constantly analyzing and
trying to find what things are about, that's very hard work, and if you
do not give yourselve(s) time off every now and then, you get less
effective in learning IMO, cause it is too hard to
concentrate all the time: all work, no play.
So my advice was not about giving up your power, but instead to use it
in what I feel would be a more
efficient/effective way. And of course, these are my feelings, and it
might be wrong for you.
I seem to have let go of my anger all
together. I am not sure whether this is a good thing, am I denying, am
I taking a break, or is it really gone. I feel very
peaceful, a bit I think like Lynn said just before Dan returned: I seem
to not really care anymore what the outcome will be. It feels so
strange, after all the turmoil, and I find myself wondering, whether
peacefulness means I do not love him anymore, so that is why I do not
care any more. I am not sure yet. It is maybe like Dr. I. said to
Steve: it is hard to hear your inner
voice talking normally when you are used to screaming (and drama, I
might add). Without the screaming, crying and the big emotions, life
seems too quiet, and I do not know
whether to trust it, whether this is what I want. It seems I somehow
feel that loving should go together with drama and without it there can
be no, or probably is no love........
Will see what happens. I have no desire to
get back into turmoil right now, just for the sake of turmoil. But it
doesn't scare me anymore, somehow.
Trubble, are you oke? I have been thinking,
maybe we should stop looking for new mommies and daddies all the time,
and start making friends???!!!! NO NO NO BadFakeMommyAJ,
yukkies to you! I want to find my RealMommy and my
RealDaddy and get them to marry each other so they
can take good care of me. BAD BAD BAD stuff
you talk about. No family values! Bad!
Love to all,
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000
haven't read the posts just now. I am going to take time to do some
things to fill my brain with anything, anything other than my problems.
I have a few goals like writing a short story and a simple computer
program and the Xmas baking.
Family therapy was an out and out disaster. I can't even make my husband out. Why has he refused to tell me he has been going to
marriage therapy and then does he announce in family therapy that he has been going for months.
Ended up a gibbering wreck and it was
obvious the therapist does not know about codependency. Some of the
remarks she made like why have you stayed so long just made me think
please go and do some research.
Really, in all reality I think I just have never liked or felt comfortable with her. The therapist we had at work was lovely.
So I think this may be a personality clash.
Basically I think my brain is on some kind
of overload and I don't want to think about things for a bit. Looking
inside is healthy and I have at least expressed the anger but I need
taking time off thinking.
My guess is that this is where the
withdrawal is complete and I find out if I am depressed still.
Distraught and weepy, yes. Unable to handle things, yes. Suicidal NOT!
Just now I feel like having a rest from it all.
The anger hasn't gone. I am so tired of it.
I am hoping it will work itself out in doing. Like this great big
animal got released inside!
If I was a cat I would be the sort of cat who uses CLAWS.
In reality it feels like I am getting my 'pound of flesh'.
I know I am not giving him credit for trying (to his face).
I can't work out why I have locked myself into a dangerous game of not letting anything work. He can't please me.
When I am calmer I am going to write to him and his marriage therapist. At least I now know who "other people' are.
I have been a screaming wreck most of the morning but now I am off to prove him wrong about my aptitude to learn to
program a computer. Huh. I couldn't do it and there are
programs for kids?
Somewhere in this is a part of me that wants
to prove I am an equal intellectual. That isn't about him it is
something in me. About needing to be seen as clever as anyone else and
it probably comes from when I was in the Nursery and infants and was
too shy to say I found everything really easy!!!!!!(So they thought I
couldn't read as well as I could!).
How dumb can I get to react like this but I am going to.
Sometimes I wonder if I am programmed to self destruct!
And all the time I know it is about the
anger. It is about not liking others to know that I am angry and not
liking myself for not being able to stop shouting at him. I don't mean
to but I open my mouth at present and the anger comes out. I think I am
calm and then I find I am not. All my boundaries for the way I act seem
Yet other people tell me I am calm and
rational. It only happens inspecific situations. But I do know I will
never visit that particular therapist again.
Rationally I can see I am running scared. I
think my trust has got fractured. Maybe if I switch off for a bit as
none of the things I plan on doing won't benefit me (just the
motivation is all wrong). I can calm down and be a bit more rational.
Sorry It just helped to post this rubbish! love Jay
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000
I need to check some things out about my co-dependency.
When I lived with my X he worked shifts. On
the night shift this is what happened: in the mornings whilst he was in
bed Missy, and I would be going about our normal morning routine. Missy
sometimes slammed the door, (Not on purpose just as kids sometimes
do!!) I would say please try to be quieter. We'd walk around trying to
be as quiet as possible, BUT it is impossible to be silent. So YES
you'd hear the bowl bang on the sideboard perhaps, or you might hear
the tap running if you were My X asleep in bed. THOUGH so did I used to
hear these things when he came in early in the morning.
Some mornings at 4 am he'd come in to our bedroom and bang the drawers on days when he was on day shifts cuz he needed to get a
pair of socks out of his draw.
But I understood that it is impossible to be silent all the time.
Though he didn't understand this, or didn't want to. So he could bang and be normal but we couldn't.
I know that it is said that I allowed him to
do this, I people pleased so its my fault. And he never made me do
this. THOUGH what
I can't understand is this:
If someone is on a night shift shouldn't you be quiet so they can sleep?
IS this people pleasing, being quiet or is it having respect?
What is the difference between having normal healthy respect for someone on a night shift who needs sleep vs people pleasing???
I hope someone can help me with this.
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000
Hi Steve and Dr Irene,
I am learning a lot from Steve and Asha's posts. (I get to see All sides)
I see a lot here about how I have been with
Missy. I have been trying to control her. YEAH Me!! I was the
disempowered one in my
relationship but guess what I was the one trying to be in control of my
mother/daughter relationship with MISSY. This realisation
is important I think!!
I find it hard to just accept MISSY might be angry, or might be in a mood to play up. She might misbehave sometimes. AND also
very importantly she might not get along with my niece (her cousin) all the time.
I also noticed that my sister expects and ME
TO Missy to go to my Nan's house and behave all day. A FULL DAY, even
grown ups find
this tough, being GOOD all day. None of us are saints are we! I am sure
unintentionally we offend lots of times in an average day.
So I think that Missy's behaviour has been blown out of proportion at
I listened to others too much, telling me
how she has started doing x, well when I look closely her dad is right,
she didn't get on with Abie (my niece) alot even before we separated.
So its not a new problem. THEY have different opinions.
I still find it hard myself to understand
how one can get along with another and HAVE different opinions and
ideas. ITS like someone
may have been AJ or Asha or B. Said if you both have different values
how can you both live together, well its the same for children i think.
How can they get along?
I realised that I am co-dependent in all of my significant relationships.
GOODNESS look at the co-dependent list from Co-dependent No more, I have so much to unlearn. And learn. MY GOODNESS, do
healthy people have to know all of this?
Anyway must go and do some work.
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000
I understand your confusion. I often feel
the seem in situations like that. What's the
distinction between caring and people pleasing? It seems to be a thin
line sometimes. But I think
that what you should do is consider you own needs (like you need to
open the door the get out/in, you need to take cups from the cupboard
to feed yourself and Missy). Then you consider what the other person
needs (he/she should clearly state them, no guessing there), and see if
you can fulfill their needs without compromising your own too much.
If you are always tiptoeing because he ‘needs' you to be quiet, you ask
too much of yourself and you will get irritated. Finding a
solution, like maybe putting the bedroom as far away from other living
quarters as possible
would have been the best maybe.
But I think, always identify your own needs,
before you consider someone else's needs. And then weigh them in a kind
and considerate way. Hope this helps.
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000
Lynn here and doing much better. In fact I
was doing OK, I just couldn't think so I was working on building a web
Sooo funny. Small town living. I called the
Dr. to see if I could get this RX. He had given it to me before but I
went down and it was $104 for 6 inhalers. Sheesh!! (My insurance is now
through computer so I get the cost share when I buy and don't have to
submit forms later). Anyhow the Dr. had an
emergency and couldn't even get to his nurse. The next day she called
and then the drug store called. They couldn't get the imitrex (sp?) in
till the next day. Then when Dan went and got the prescription the
pharmacist suggested he let him know in advance if I needed this.
As for Dan and the calling me "Honey." Oh
boy, I created quite a monster there. It seems if we have "words" and
he gets up the next day and I respond to "Honey" all is better. WEll
there was an old country song, "You don't have to call me darlin,
darlin." love country, bur this was a little too twangy for me and all
I could do was go over in my mind, "Don't wake up and call me honey,
honey." The tune and my words started sticking.
About the driving. Crazy making stuff. Dan
has been right behind a car before and told me that the guy behind him
was going so fast he had to go faster and that's why he was on top of
the car in front of us.
Since when does the guy behind determine how fast a person drives?
Crazy making stuff this and I don't have a phobia about driving. My
phobia is driving with Dan when he gets in these driving modes. The
road is treacherous anyhow without my driver being crazy, too. Dan and
I were coming home from dinner one night from a town about 11 miles
north and there were two horses trotting down the road in the other
lane, but going our direction.
Enough. We lit a candle one night because it was a "special time" to light a candle for a lost child.
i.e. Wednesday night at 7 PM. We read about it in Ann Landers. I guess I thought others read it, too. Then we had to
baby-sit the candle. Our cats have a firefighter (seasonal) for a daddy and they do like flames.
I've been keeping busy, at least getting
other interests that Dan.
I've sat here for days (with a headache) playing with the computer (web
tv). I haven't done much but learn new tricks.
I still have a bundle to learn.
As crazy as this seems to me, I have better luck writing my own html
rather than copying someone's anything and adding it. I guess I'm one
who works better at the innards than the outters. So as for page
building I'm in kindergarten and have a long way to go. I want this to
be as right as I can make it so I keep on with the trial and error and
don't have much else. We did write a group sheet and a pedigree chart
from scratch so we are making progress. I even got backgrounds.
I will talk to you all later and good luck.
It sounds like we are all making progress. Hi Trubble. If you get bored
or in trubble jump (fly) over to our family tree and you can help me
enter data. We could do your real family tree! And remember not to call
me honey, honey when you get on my list (which I doubt could
Much love, Lynn
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000
Clearly computers are the best therapy!
I have been trying to learn HTML code and how to program all day but I seem to my annoyance to be a complete Klutz.
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000
Earlier I said: <<I had just read the
Lurking Lawyer's post about "emotional development level" and felt
uncomfortable with that. My objective when I post isn't to get anyone
to "side" with me.>> Dr I said <<But, that is the effect
you often have. No reason to get uncomfortable/defensive. The lady just
tells it the way she sees it. >>
I understand that, and it's no biggie - just
that I know if someone questioned my emotional development that would
probably not be helpful to me. She had other comments that were
interesting. I understand that *is* the effect I have, which is why I
posted about my discomfort. It's not my wish to have that effect. No
offense to the writer. My personal vision of this site would be a place
where the "negatively empowered" (as coined by Dr. I) can come and feel
relatively safe against personal attacks. I think it's much harder for
a negatively empowered person to post here and I personally want to
encourage those who do by offering constructive (hopefully) input and
avoiding personal attacks (again, I realize that's not what was
intended - just wanted to clarify my feeling about this). Then again
we're all here to make mistakes, and we'll often be misinterpreted
regardless of our intentions. I think it's courageous of all of us
(including Lurking Lawyer!) to post here and read the feedback later.
Thanks Dr Irene for the blue pencil - very insightful, and right on target, I think. Thanks also to others for your comments.
<<You asked how I felt the day coming
home, I was angry, angry at Lynn taking off her seatbelt, angry at her
idea that I would intentionally endanger her. We have had this
discussion before and I can understand her phobia>>
Hi - nice that you're posting again. Are you still angry with Lynn about this or do you feel like it's resolved?
I think the "driving" issues are classic.
Similar situations have happened between Steve and I. I guess I'm
interested in your viewpoint, because like Lynn, I can react with a
certain panic if I don't feel safe and I wonder how I could better
communicate this without invoking a negative reaction. How could Lynn
tell you she's uncomfortable in a way that would feel okay to you?
Hi Suzy, and newcomers!
I don’t think the answer is to “forget” the
past. Forgive yes, but your first priority is to keep yourself safe,
and when you see an old unhealthy pattern you need to know how to deal
I don’t think there’s any way of knowing
what’s going on in your partner’s head, but don’t assume everything is
worked out just because it looks that way. Sometimes I would falsely
assume that Steve understood my anger just to have the exact same issue
come up all over again. Having said that, it also doesn’t help to
“expect” bad behavior because you can create a negative atmosphere that
So I think there is no way of knowing – do
you ask him about these things and talk about your concerns? Other than
that all you can do (that I know of) is take care of yourself.
I’d love to see him here at the catbox.
Your post demonstrated to me how quickly our
partners can gain our compassion by not being defensive and just
accepting your hurt. I’m sure your H *is* hurting. Anybody that’s angry
You had said earlier something to the effect
that you worked on having a “blank” sort of expression. I think your
objective now would be like mine – *not* to be blank, but to express
the anger – not through insults, sarcasm, throwing things etc., but
just to be able to say – “I feel hurt, angry” etc and don’t be thrown
off by his reactions to it; know that it’s okay and normal to feel
those feelings. I was starting to feel uncomfortable with my own normal
reactions of hurt, and it just adds to self-doubt when you respond to
someone else’s lack of compassion or understanding, with thoughts that
you are some kind of nut case for having bad feelings. Dr Irene has
been really helpful to me in realizing that I don’t have to be perfect,
and in fact my goal isn’t even to be perfect – it’s to feel what I feel
and then deal appropriately with the source of the feelings. That means
identifying what the feelings are, where they come from, then deciding
what is within my power to do. Firstly, not letting the feelings pile
up and secondly creating an atmosphere for myself where I am able to
let them go.
I feel like I understand you Becky and none
of this is easy. You have to be absolutely committed to your strength,
integrity and ability to focus on this higher path. I feel that inside
I have known what was right, but my self-doubt sometimes gets in the
way. Dr Irene’s blue pencil has really affirmed to me that negative
feelings are natural and though it’s important not to let anger get
control of you in destructive ways, it’s also important to acknowledge
the anger, and not bury it.
I think what I most agree with in your post
is deciding when you are no longer being productive in problem solving,
and stepping away for a bit. For me my “Self-work” is to identify what
went wrong (not necessarily for Steve’s sake, but for my own, so that I
don’t need to repeat it), but that doesn’t mean we have to immediately
work it out, especially if one of us is not in a “work it out” mindset.
I think that it’s important to look at why something becomes an
“issue”. Often I agree some things are just plain not worth it.
BTW you sounded really grounded and peaceful in your last few posts. You sound like you’re doing well.
How can your husband go to “marriage
therapy” on his own? Isn’t that individual therapy? Is your family
therapist the same person as his marriage therapist? If so, maybe you
need some of your own private sessions with her so you don’t feel
“ganged up” on.
<<I can't work out why I have locked
myself into a dangerous game of not letting anything work. He can't
please me. >>
Are you sure that this is what’s happening
or are you doubting your fears of having therapy used against you?
Instead of beating yourself up by saying that you don’t “let anything
work” maybe you could instead look at specifically what is *not*
working. Don’t worry about whether he can please you or not - you can
learn to please yourself.
<<If someone is on a night shift
shouldn't you be quiet so they can sleep? IS this people pleasing,
being quiet or is it having respect? >>
You were probably trying to be respectful,
but there is a limit to what is humanly reasonable. Shift work is tough
for everyone involved. There may have been other solutions besides
having to be unrealistically quiet – like earplugs, sound proofing the
room etc. This doesn’t mean you would have been “empowered” to bang
around, make tons of noise etc. I think you can usually tell when
you’ve tried *too* hard because it’s more than inconvenient, it’s the
“walking on eggshells” feeling.
Lynn, honey (hehe)
Glad you’re keeping busy. (I don’t have any comments but I just *had* to say that.) Hope your headache is gone now.
Take care anyone I’ve missed.
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000
You CAN call me honey, honey! Whazza matter, you don't like my way of telling Dan to slow down? Take off
my seat belt and hope to be killed outright rather than maimed and mutilated?? I get results my way!
Hi Jay, Me, too. Crash course in html. This
is so silly, but I'm told to "simply" cut, copy and paste "their" codes
in and they work. Not for me. It's easier on me to start from scratch.
I've got some pretty nifty looking backs.
Hi the rest of you. I'm just (was going to say venting, but I'm not) Just saying that (with a sarcastic nasal twang), If
you feel that way, I'm sorry and FINE, It will NEVER happen again!" is not an apology.
Actually, I'm having pretty much fun playing
with the computer. About 16 hours a day and not a lot of couples
interaction is working for me.
Cold, snowy and blowing here today. Warm fire in the stove and it's great. Hot cocao time!
Trubble, Little one who is now Garbo still
nurses. He prefers inside my left elbow. The other night he was nursing
on LOCO and LOCO was just grooming and a cleaning him like a good mommy
cat. They are both males. I love my HoneyFakeMommy!
Our old male dog was like a mama nurse. He loved kitties and once took the pick of the litter or himself (9 hours or so old).
After we returned it he would check and make sure the mama's were doing a good job and help clean the babies up.
Well, that's my therapy for the day. Love to you all and have a good weekend.
To Catbox 16