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Comments for Catbox 28

Comments for Catbox 28

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 1998-2001. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

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Back to Catbox 27

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2001

S1

OK, hopefully this post won't end up in the scoop with the dirty litter and get tossed!

I've been through all of this before and am frequently beating myself over getting into it again! This man uses vastly different tactics than my X and sometimes I feel like I am just taking things the wrong way or being "too sensitive". All I know is, I feel like I have a brick in the chest and whenever he opens his mouth to speak I feel sick. The examples are so numerous though this morning really made things clear: my alarm went off and I was still lying in bed trying to wake up. He comes in and sits down with a serious look on his face. He told me I was dreaming last night about my X husband, I was yelling "Philip, don't do that!! Please don't!" (My X was very abusive). My beau said, "I only dream about you and you dream about your husband. Why is that?", "Please don't dream about him anymore. OK?". I was frozen. How does one respond to that? Does one choose who or what they dream about? NO! Besides, it sounds like I wasn't enjoying it either! He doesn't realize that he is even trying to control my dreams. Rephrase: It hurts him (right or wrong) that you are so attached to hubby. Also, if this wasn't such an issue for you, you would probably have laughed and said something like, "I promise to never, ever dream about his again!" This type of interaction diffuses the tension between the two of you instead of increasing it.

I have found that there is no way to discuss these instances with him. They always end up snowballing or in his words, "You expect me to be perfect". I bought another copy of Pat Evan's The Verbally Abusive Relationship. After reading it again I wish there was more information about what to do, how to respond... Every day I vow to have a wonderful day, let his abusive comments go, smile genuinely and be happy. Every day at the end of the day I am so exhausted and frustrated and so very UNhappy. My 8 year old daughter asked me a few weeks ago why I never smile anymore.

The light is just around the corner though. He asked if we should separate for a while. Inside I was screaming "YESSSS" though I could only say, "I'm not sure what we should do". He posed this question minutes before he had to get back to work from his lunch break. I know we will continue the discussion later today and there will be time to actually talk.

One of the questions I posed in one of my lost posts was: How do people in "healthy" relationships interact? Any books or web pages that can give me some insight? Look here for a start.

DJ

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2001

S1

Hi Catbox,

It's Kathleen aka Perdida here, back after an absence to find a zillion new people who have all come to the right place!

I just had a ten-day visit from my parents and that was eye-opening. My mother is so critical of everything and everyone! To look at her, you would think she is such a sunny person and all my friends here in Brazil reacted to her in that way, which was really great. Within the family, though, both she and my father say such mean things about everyone they see, as well as to and about me. I hate calling them on it but I do: "Mom that was mean" "Mom stop criticizing, I can't stand criticism like that." Then I found myself a very angry little girl here for ten days. Actually, I managed to stay an adult a lot more than usual this time. But guess what, Kathleen, that's how you grew up.

My parents talk to each other and to me in ugly harsh voices that make others look around, and their faces are ugly - my father's face at 80 has set into the face of a grackel, if you know that bird, with the inverted crescent for a mouth and beady hard eyes. He was so jolly when he was young. It was my mother's birthday Sunday, and my friends had a big party for her, but my brother and his four children and wife didn't call or email - all of them have email as does my mom. Not one sent a birthday message! How can it not hurt when your first-born son ignores your birthday? I found it painful when he forgot mine two years in a row - it's such a small family, what does it take to remember so few birthdays?

I had them bring "Angry all the Time" because I wanted to read about my ex, and I re-read it today when I noticed myself feeling angry that my parents were putting me down for being concerned about my brother's silence on the birthday - I'd begun to get a little worried that there might have been a problem or accident or something. I liked the idea in the book that anger is a sign that something's wrong. Well, something IS wrong! I want a different family! I don't know this family I was born into and I don't know how we came to be associated! I want the family I create to be something entirely different.

My ex, from who I have heard nothing and it will be 8 weeks this Saturday (and I haven't communicated either), my ex is just like my family and I think that's what I saw in him, or part of it anyway. I love the sunny mom/ex so much but the critical mom/ex is unsupportable. Am I expecting my mom to be perfect? if so, I feel guilty.

I just want to be around people who are nice, warm, who aren't mean, who don't yell, who don't put you down, who don't make you feel like a piece of dirt in innumerable covert and overt ways. Having met people like that here, I know they exist. I DON'T THINK THAT'S TOO MUCH TO ASK!!

So Jay, Sharon, Theressa, Asha, aren't you all impressed that I haven't communicated at all with my ex in 8 weeks? Strokes, please! Trubble rubs against your legs... But what do I do about my stuff at his house in Chicago? Do I let him know I'm coming (it won't be until July or August) or do I use my key and let myself in, maybe take a rent-a-cop because I don't want any scary scenes? (leaving the key behind after I get my stuff of course...)

I think I am getting to the root of my stuff. I feel like I have to treat myself like a separate person - there's an awake me who takes the angry child aside, calms her, and explains things. *sigh*

Love, Perdida 

Dear Theressa: I'm not mad at you!!!! (Your buddy Jay ratted out your concern) I love the way you guys are there for each other! Be back later. Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2001

S1

Ps - Argh! Sorry about *three* long identical emails (or mostly identical because I changed things each time - ) Every time I sent them, they didn't show up like they usually do! So I thought they didn't go through... Now I found the stuff on narcissism, let me see who I see in that...

Love, Perdida Hi Perdida. What 3 long posts? Giggle. Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Dear all,

First of all, Lynn, good to hear from you!! You do sound rather together, even if there is trouble every now and then. But I think we are learning to accept that maybe it will always be there, sort of :-) :-(. Congratulations (haven't a clue how to sell it!) with all the new grandchildren and let's hope and that they will grow up to be happy non-abusive, non-codependent adults!! It seems this can be done. :-) Any change Dan will post again too?

 

Dear Jay, I love the way you tell about your therapy sessions and I think it is great you keep going. You seem so much more relaxed and filled with a kind of humor. You have a little more distance I think. I am so looking forward to seeing you next week, that is, if they let me get in and out of England with al this disease trouble going on!

I still feel ok with myself. Had a great weekend all by myself. C. is still in Portugal and I do not seem to care. I do not even care he has not phoned. I have decided to give more priority to my own ideas, so I am planning a garden tour in September. I used to not want to plan ahead, out of fear of frustrating a possible holiday together,. But now I think, ok, he does what he wants, so will I, and we will just see where that will lead us. If he is really interested in being with me, he will have to make some adjustment to my timetable too. So we'll see. And I do not even feel worried about this!!

I am making new friends and feel good about it. I also just found out that I used to worry about everything, especially other people, because I thought that was the only way to show I cared. Guess I was wrong. When other people have problems, they will not get better by me worrying over them, I know that now.

So, I guess, slowly, slowly I am learning.

Dear Perdida, You asked input on how to handle getting your stuff back from his apartment. First I think you absolutely did the right thing by not contacting your ex. Seems he does not want any contact either, so, so far, so good. I would not put myself in the position of having to meet him again, with all the risk of being pulled back in by going there to pick up my things. Is it possible to ask a friend, or maybe your brother (?) to d that for you. It would make things easier. Then again, seeing him, might get you some definite kind of closure, but I have the feeling you are getting that anyhow.

Take care, all of you. And Trubble, want to come over and see your new babies? My cat is going to give birth in a week or two, and I seem to remember you sneaking around some weeks ago. I do think you should take your responsibility, and bring her something nice to eat (or flowers maybe. Jay, what do you think? ;-))

Lots of love and healing,

AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Good morning Catbox,

Gee Dr. Irene, I guess I was seeing things when there were 3 long posts from me and then there weren't! Trubble must have been hungry!

Hi AJ, thanks for your advice about getting my stuff from the ex's house. My family won't help me in this respect, in fact this is part of my problem. They are more likely to side with my ex, or with anyone I have trouble with. They believe that I pick bad or "weird" friends. In other words, the blame game that was all too familiar with my ex started when I was little and continues. I don't confide anything about my private life to my family. I would never tell them why I was afraid of my ex, i.e. that he attacked me, because I couldn't deal with hearing that I brought it on myself and that he must be somehow justified - get the picture? My mother even got in a dig in this recent visit about how I must have "driven him away" - even though I told them that I had left him because he was mean to me. My parents do not get better with age.

So I can see that my issues with abuse and rationalizing poor treatment from others began way, way, back, and I need to dig around beginning in my early childhood to resolve these issues. Recently it's turned me into a hyper-achiever and if I look rationally at what I have managed to accomplish (after overcoming bouts of severe depression and other unpleasant side-effects) I can *rationally* say, with agreement from the outside world, that I'm not the loser my family thinks I am and I deserve more love and respect than they are able to provide. It's really lonely though. I crave a real family, but I will have to make my own and let go of the one I grew up with.

Am I in the pity pot again? Gee whiz.

AJ, I don't know if my ex doesn't want contact or not - it would make me feel queasy if he did. I think he is finally, for once, respecting a boundary I set - 6 months of therapy before I talk to him again - but knowing him I am sure he is doing it out of spite, a sort of game of chicken to see if I will crack first, to see if he has value to me. I don't spend a lot of time wondering about him. The problem with my stuff, which I really don't have to worry about until July or August, is that I live in Boston and that's where my storage is - he lives in Chicago - long drive - who'd be willing to make that drive with me? Do any of you UK residents want to see a bit of the US?? I am currently living in Brazil and maybe I won't come back permanently because I like the warmth of the people here - it's part of the culture that people try to make sure everyone else is comfortable and they choose their words and actions so as to preserve social harmony. I want to pick up these qualities, and every time I go back to the US I have a hard time hanging on to the niceness because many Americans just aren't nice!

But what do you think about letting myself into his house with my key, when I know he isn't there? I think I need to bring someone with me in any case. I wasn't really kidding about the rent-a-cop.

I'm off to read more about narcissism! Want to make sure it isn't me! Dr. Irene, do efforts at self-preservation and building one's own self-esteem up make one a narcissist?? Nope!

Have a great day, y'all!

Love, Perdida

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

OK folks, I'm trying to re send one post that didn't come through...

Dear Dr. Irene-genius (Yes, that WAS my e-mail!) and dear matchmaker-Trubble,

First to Trubble - GB and I have no RELIGIOUS problem, 'cause I'm not religious, Meow!! YES YOU ARE cuz, cuz... Cuz I said so! Cuz I prepared this whole big thing for the UN! (Whew....) But, that's OK RealMommyB. I'm a big boy. Plus, you can make it up to me. I'll come visit and you can take care of *Me* 24/7. I know that's what you really, really want to do. Cuz you're my RealMommy! but... I don't want to further disappoint you, so let's suppose that we can be a good match on another planet...  Giggle! How's Venus or Mars?

Yeah, I was mad when I wrote in catbox 26, and my mail from March was when I was just starting to understand "what's what". Basically I have come to realise that it's H IS selfish and abusive and passive aggressive, that it's not my imagination, that asking for help is NOT abusive or selfish on my part (HE gets angry at my requests for help, as if I ask "too much" of him). In short, I understand now that I am not crazy, just living with a possible Narcissist. Dr. Vaknin seems to think Narcissists cannot change. However, from your site I get the impression you think they do have a chance to become better people, if they are truly committed to change. No? Yes. Maybe not enough to make Trubble want them as their RealMommy, but enough. Maybe they'll forget themselves from time to time, but they'll "remember" soon enough. Motivated individuals, especially those in pain, can learn to think and feel very, very differently.  Cognitive schema therapy essentially teaches these people new thinking and coping skills. This is a very didactic and directive approach. I don't wait for the client to spontaneously "discover" stuff; I will tell him or her what's irrational, what won't work and why, where to look instead, and what to try on for size. Dr. Vaknin's references are all psychodynamic, which can, I suppose work, but is bound to take forever. 

Psychodynamic writers like Guntrip, Kohut, etc. do a superb job of describing the inner experience of the individual, although, there are so many "split off" things, the theory starts sounding like science fiction after a while.  However, these writers don't focus on showing the individual how irrational /  unrealistic their thinking/even the feeling is. They don't focus on the active re-training of the motivated person to develop new auto pilot habits and coping skills. But now we're getting into theoretical bias and I am happily biased. This is an emotional theoretical battle to the death in my field, so, I'll stop here. (And won't even mention that the emerging research is more and more on the side of cognitive behaviorism...) By the way, psychodynamic stuff can be OK in dealing with less serious disorders (like your stuff for example), but, I think, is out of it's league when it comes to borderlines, narcissists, etc.  

Still, it takes a long time. My wives are forever complaining about the same stuff you're complaining about. And they should. Speed up his therapy: Stop permitting this junk about you're asking too much; his passive aggressive stuff, etc. The more aware you are (and you are certainly aware now) and the less you act out yourself (you're not much of an act-outer), the more you can demand a partner. You've already seen what not putting up with violence, etc. effects. Up the expectations and watch what happens to hubby!

I am still checking whether my H is truly committed to change, or going to the therapist only to boost his own abusiveness (i.e., he gets someone to listen to "his side" and he feels "justified" in his ways, and certain that the problem is that "his wife is very difficult to live with, and she does not understand him") or to really change. Sometimes I see change, but mostly I get the same attitude. He is not "violent" anymore (does not kick house things, does not use very hostile talk), but that's because I stopped him and would not have it, so it's not a change coming from therapy. YOU are the only one with the real power B.  

Dr. Irene, I know what you mean when you tell me to drop my responsibilities, but technically it does not work. I talked about it with my therapist, and she too saw what I mean.

Here's a specific example:

One weekend I needed time to work on my lecture for the next day, and about another urgent thing. Both jobs could only be done here at home on my computer. I *could* take my computer, all the materials, books and stuff, pack everything, and go ask a favour of others to sit in their house and work - for instance, ask my parents (workplace is closed for the weekend). However, this is very inconvenient to me, to say the LEAST.

Since the day before that was a very good day with H, and I clearly stated what I needed to do during the weekend, he felt very loving and *offered* to take our daughter out so that I can work. He made some plans to take her to his parents. However, in the morning he got a phone call from the friend he swims with, and decided he wanted to go swimming at the pool instead (forgot to call and tell his parents he won't come, and they kept waiting for H and granddaughter). He tried to "check the water" with me and see if I can stand the change of plan and stay with our daughter instead of working. I gave the clear message that I have to work (I don't even remember how I did that, it was more body language than anything, but I know I blocked a clear attempt to break his *clear* and agreed-upon promise). So he decided to take her along to the pool (said something about the possibility that they will charge money for her, hoping to scare me with that into not sending her there, but saw that I don't care if they do, so he quickly dropped the concern and convinced himself he has a solution for this too). He *did* take her to the pool, they stayed there for a long time, which was very helpful for me, and later went to a playground, to my request, when they came home. Then she fell asleep nursing, on me, while he was making a great meal, so he also cut my food for me, and we sat eating and watching a movie. Then I continued to work, until our daughter woke up. Then he was already tired and became resentful of my every request, because he also wanted to watch football. Yes. Because he "worked" so hard "catering" to your "demands" all day. He thinks it's his time now.

This is an example of a very good day, on which H actually did what I asked him to, and cooperated with me. Now, many times he says no. or, when I ask him to be with her so I can work, he starts questioning what I have to do ("you don't have to do that", or "does it have to be today?" or "do you get paid for it?"), or simply says he can't, he has other plans. He then might simply get dressed and leave for the swimming pool and leave me there with the work I have to do (*want* to do, and yes, I do consider taking a long vacation from work in favor of a more stress-free life!) and our little girl, that needs the care and attention of someone, preferably me (her preference). Giggle... See, Trubble's no dummy!

If I had a study, I could have locked the door. As it is, we live in a tiny apartment and my "study" is a corner of our open living room. If I want to "take" the space I need (time to work and do things I want to do) without his cooperation, it would mean going out early and simply leaving him there with her - but then many things I want to do need to be done at home, and for others I'll have to pack so much stuff and go work in unpleasant surroundings, that I don't want that. 

I don't clean the house. Or, rather, now I do - only when *I* feel like it. I don't want strangers to clean for me. I had a little help in this department and I discovered I felt Yucky that my privacy was invaded. He does his share with that more and more. Also, when he comes home and sees me cleaning, he joins me either in cleaning half the place, or in going to cook, or in other ways. Good for him!

Dr. Irene, the problem is not that I do everything because I think only I can take care of our girl the way I think. I trust him to do just about everything. He washes her, dresses her, takes her to pee and poop, feeds her, cooks for her (he's a great cook), reads to her, plays with her, takes her places, etc. The thing is, I mostly have to ask him to do that, or to not be there, otherwise he behaves as if he is on another planet. I see.

On one of your articles, forgot which, you mention how the abuser *does not answer phone calls*, remember? I remember reading that and amazingly thinking to myself: Gosh, he really doesn't! He always expects *me* to answer! And I used to be so surprised that he got *angry* if I could not answer the phone! I used to wonder about that. And here it is, written on your web site as a typical abuser thing!

Well, it's exactly the same with being a father and a partner. The phone rings, and he expects ME to answer the call. If I don't, almost always because I can't (maybe I'm in the WC!), he answers it, but he gets ANGRY about it, and later retaliates. Sometimes it works to say: "Oh, dear, I can't answer the phone because xxx, can you answer it please?" (Listen, I have to work tomorrow, so I need you to take our daughter out to play). If it works, his anger will vanish, and he will answer the phone (cook, take care of daughter, whatever). If it does not work, he will angrily say "NO!". If I simply don't answer (thinking: Ah, let the answering machine get the call), he usually calls angrily "why don't you answer" or "the phone is ringing!" or answers it and later hurts me some way. You are faced with the struggle of not knowing whether or not your partner will cooperate with you. This is emotionally draining. It is this that you need communicate you will not put up with. His therapist needs to help him understand that he implicitly comes from a place of deprivation, where he just doesn't feel he can ever get enough for himself. His therapist needs to help him understand that his thinking is a fallacy; that he does not need your attention. He must understand that there is no other way out than to tolerate the "boot camp of extra effort." The more he tolerates doing doing doing - without acting out, or at least catching himself and stopping - he finds the more he does it, the easier it becomes to do. Better yet: he feels good about himself for having done it! This experience directly counteracts the inner emptiness of the narcissist - filling it instead with a sense of integrity, personal power, and self worth, along the lines of the book, Grow Up!: How Taking Responsibility Can Make You A Happy Adult  Each individual will have to go through several layers of this same process to get the "big" yukky stuff out of the way.  At least that's how it works in my office.

Whatever *I* do (and I AM working on my self to NOT answer the proverbial phones) - he still acts under the assumption that it is not HIS JOB to answer phones in our home, and he still gets ANGRY that he needs to do it sometimes.

To whom the bell tolls?

Yes, yes, Dr. Irene, I know it tolls for me. But for the time being, I keep giving him a chance, hoping he WILL get to the point where he stops denying his abusiveness and gets better at being a cooperative partner. Yes, sometimes I'm really fed up and I WANT HELP and support, but then I go to the catbox and feel appreciated and loved and cared for, and that helps a lot. Good. Come get appreciation, love, and support. Then identify each dynamic (the draining stuff) and tell him to fix it - and drop the attitude in the process. Don't accept the attitude. No, it's not easy. But, doing all this is good for you too. Because if hubby steps all over you, you can bet your booties he's not alone. 

So, much love to you all, Lynn I was so happy to see you popped in, and good night from B. (the next Mrs. GB, if Trubble gets his wishes). 

Ps: I can't tell you how relieved Trubble is not to have to go to the UN. He even had me believing it... But, he's still hell bent on getting you and RealDaddyBush together! Giggle! Stay tuned...

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Gordon, it's B.

Concerning your question: when one is a person who does not know how to get in touch with feelings, believe me they have no clue where to begin.

This person needs real human help. I don't think the beginning can be learned via books. This is a person who also needs TONS of touch. He or she should not begin alone, they have too much pain locked inside. Try looking up NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). It can be a good place to start.

good luck to your friend, B.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Hi DJ,

How do healthy couples interact?

Well healthy couples can say YES or No to requests without the involvement of guilt, obligation or fear.

When a request is not met since it would mean one party not taking care of themselves. The requester accepts the person's right to say No. Knowing that there is a good reason for saying NO.

Both members feel that give and take is balanced. Further if a request made was urgent or an emergency both members of the couple know that the other would more than likely drop other things to help out.

The feelings of both parties are considered, and no one feels attacked, or uncared for.

Humor is used to diffuse tension.

HOWEVER, in an abusive relationship. Saying No is problematic, since the abuser doesn't want to take NO for an answer and takes it personal. And the victim can't say NO, even if it hurts them. SO YES is the only word understood by both members of the couple.

Further guilt, obligation and fear are felt by the victim. (unjust I might add but it still exists)

The abuser feels betrayed and angry. The victim feels helpless and hopeless, guilty, obligated and fearful.

In summary in a healthy relationship it is a balance between ME and YOU. We both matter, and understand that sometimes we have to say NO, and other times when we can, we will say YES. Though both the requester and the receiver of the request know it is okay to do what is best for them at that time. However, in an emergency it is okay to just say YES.

YES and NO ALLOWED.

In an unhealthy relationship (abusive) It is Me at the expense of YOU. (Abuser needs at the expense of the victims needs) Only the abuser seems to matter. The abuser doesn't understand why the victim can't just say YES (cuz if she loved me she would say YES.

"In actual fact if she doesn't love herself/himself, he can't begin to truly love another, it starts with the self"

The requester (abuser) and the receiver of the request, know that the receiver of the request (victim) must NOT say NO. Since the abuser can't handle rejection, the negative feelings of not being good enough.

EVERY request is an emergency or urgent for an ABUSER (the me, me, me mode of thought).

HOW TO BREAK THIS CYCLE Read: Manipulation: Fear, Obligation and Guilt (fog for short).

WHY? Cuz you matter, we all matter, we are all valuable and we all deserve to be considered as valuable. We aren't slaves, we are people who are interacting which should be beneficial to all concerned.

Take care Theressa Thanks Theressa

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Perdida,

You don't really need our approval!! You know you have taken care of yourself. (Though I know the ego thinks it needs approval) So here is my approval.

My approval comes in the form of as long as you are feeling better, and as long as you are not staying away to change your X, then this is okay.

Cuz I know only too well that there are no guarantees. In fact for me it was the biggest surprise I ever had, when my partner changed somewhat. (still some way to go for both of us yet).

Always do it for yourself. I don't mean to discount you, I do mean to be honest. We have to ask ourselves what our motives are for our actions.

Take care, keep smiling, life is what you make of it. Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Dear Perdida, I realise what you said about your family and how they won't help you, and I can feel with you for wanting another one. Have you ever read one of the posts form Astrid or Asha too I think, about their ‘chosen family'. I think that is such a good thing! I am slowly getting to have friends I trust enough to ask them things like that. And the reason I feel I could ask it, is because I know they would say no if they really could not help me, but would help any way they could if at all possible. Maybe you should try and trust your friends a little and just ask them. You might be surprised at what their answers! I know this asking can be a big step, how do you trust people, when your mom and dad are not trustable. But try taking the risk, it's worth it.

As for wanting to stay in Brazil, I can understand that. I have been coming and going to Turkey for 15 years and I too get more and more irritated with a daily live of egotism that is prevailing here. There seems to be a total lack of caring. Maybe we are just all so hurt, and don't want to be hurt again, so we just try to protect ourselves by not expecting anything from anyone. But we would so much want to expect something. And coming to countries where this neighborly helpfulness still exists, makes you wonder and want to have it too. At least, that's sort of how it works for me.

Still, try taking a little risk in this, try  asking.

Good luck with this and take care.

Love AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Dear Perdida:

That is wonderful news that you have not been in communication with your ex. 8 weeks IS a long time. I am sure you have felt some of the internal changes inside taken place, as well as the external. I know you miss him. I know sometimes at night it can be hard. BUT YOU ARE DOING IT! YOU ARE STAYING AWAY FROM AN UNHEALTHY SITUATION! YOU ARE GETTING YOURSELF HEALTHY AGAIN!

I know you wished things could have worked out differently. I know you would have liked him to have said nice loving things. Verbal confirmation. Encouragement. Loving thoughts. Validation.

You asking him to go into therapy wasn't asking allot, however, we both know that he was not going to go. He needs to reach that point on his own.

In the meantime, REALLY give YOURSELF credit to working through this very trying time. You have worked hard these last 8 weeks with inner work that can be really draining. You are cleansing, revitalizing, sustaining and maintaining your true self. You are cleansing and nurturing your health by removing yourself from the toxins. Toxic relationships are not healthy. Living with truth is.

Keep up the good work!

Love, Sharon

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Hi all.

I found out I was in an abusive relationship on this web site in January. The abuse has been confirmed by my counselor and I am working on myself to stop the abuse. I am also going through a mid life crisis, dealing with a teenager who is acting out, and got fired from the first real job I ever considered as a career because I was feeling like I was going crazy due to what I was feeling and it affected my work. (I've been a stay at home mom for most of 17 years of an 18 year marriage.)

I have been feeling like things were "out of whack" since about June of last year and have been distancing myself from my husband ever since. After discovering that I was an abuse victim, I told my husband about it. We've had conversations about our relationship and I have told him that I don't know if I love him anymore, I don't want to be close to him, and I'm starting to think that in order to find out how I feel about him that we need to separate for awhile.

Part of what brought all of this on was the confidence that I gained from my job, and a 30lb weight loss. Apparently, this made my "wall" start to crack and crumble. I had been in denial for years and my sisters knew it all along but I wasn't strong enough to start dealing with it until last summer. That's when the nagging thoughts started in my head, the confused feelings, the feelings of selfishness, going out with the girls at work, doing things that I wanted to do and did for the first time in my life.

Since I lost weight, my husband has been treating me differently. He started being more affectionate, touching, feeling, kissing, hugging etc. It progressed to chatting with me online at work. When my boss was concerned that I might get in trouble with the big Kahuna at work for being online, my husband started calling and emailing me at work. Stupid stuff like asking me if I was there, telling me I needed to pick up our son when he was there the night before when we discussed it. He got me a cell phone and calls me with the weakest excuses to check up on me. I can't go anywhere without telling who, what, where, when, why, how long etc. I stopped sitting on the sofa to avoid being practically laid on, then sitting in the chair, he will come over, kneel down in front of me and lay across me. If I'm standing up he will make it so that he somehow has some part of himself touching me.

I have been feeling smothered for some time now, and he's progressed to other tactics. My gut was telling me that he was reading my email, he started calling my best friend and talking to her about me, (claiming that he did not have any friends to confide in), and I caught him going through my notebook when he thought I was sleeping, I've busted him lying and the list just goes on and on.

I know that he is perusing me, but I'm starting to feel like I'm being stalked by my own husband and we still reside in the same place! He decided that he needed to get counseling and set it up and didn't tell me about it until after he had his first session. He has been "kissing my ass" for months before I discovered the abuse. He says that he is trying to change, but the abuse is escalating in frequency, and we are arguing more than ever. I have to constantly be on my toes to catch him when he does it, and he is using all the techniques listed in Evans books.

I don't trust him, I keep telling him what I don't like, e.g. him being all touchy feely, I call him on the abuse when it happens, Stop it! etc., but I feel like he is getting frustrated that he hasn't been able to pull me back in and that's why he's abusing me more. I feel like a possession, and I don't see an end in site. I also feel trapped in that I don't have a job to support myself and my 2 other children. (the oldest (17) was acting out and going down the wrong path and I have let her move in with one of my sisters because I couldn't deal with that on top of everything else. That is a whole other story in itself, which is also related to the verbal and emotional abuse and controlling behavior in this house.)

Where can I find more information on this pursuing thing these abusers do? I have read everything on Dr.Irene's site, have read both of Evans books on abuse, and just ordered a few more by Engle and one by Ellis.

I have gone back to my old employer and asked for my job back, explaining to the Pres. what I was going through, but at this time he can't promise me that I can have my old job back, or that another will be created for me to have. I am optimistic that if possible he will have me back, but in the mean time I feel stuck. I don't feel like I have the energy or the strength to find another job at this point, and I don't know what else to do.

Maybe I should have posted this to the my story board. I've never done this before so someone will have to let me know if I should have. I would appreciate any insight or advise on my situation.

Thanks for listening, Robin

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

hi, my name is Jennifer ... I've been codependent all my life, survivor of childhood sexual abuse, dysfunctional household growing up. I was made aware of coherency when I was 25, after my 2nd divorce when I sought therapy. wow! I could check so many of the things on the list. I've done work in and out of therapy, lots of journaling ... 4 years ago I confronted my dad about the abuse and started intensive recovery for the abuse issues and PUTS. I've taken my own inventory a zillion times by now I think ;) today I can honestly go down the codependency checklists, and say "no" to far, far more than I say "yes" to. I thought I was going to actually die when I first started the work. it's been rough, it's not easy. I still can't look in the mirror and say "I love myself" because frankly it feels silly, but I can look in the mirror and say "I like you, I'm very content with you, I like you the way you are right now, today." even 4 years ago I couldn't look in the mirror without self-loathing. so ... this is the time in my life when I'm reaping the rewards of my self-discovery, right? er, right??

yeah right. I married a codependent (of the angry style) man, our 9th anniversary is this May. all this time I've been tying my knots and holding on to my rope, even climbing it ... he's been riding his own roller coaster. I've been able to see it. when he's tried to deflect the blame to me, it's worked to some extent, even up to 4 years ago. since then, I've been refusing to own his problems, and continuing working on my own. I ask myself, "why am I with this man? why do I love him?" and I go through the codependency checklists, and journal about my motives. my answer has been "because I love who he is, as he is" and that hasn't changed in 9 years. but our situation has changed.

he left me 2 weeks ago. he'd been wanting to leave on and off since Christmas. he's been abusive and has anger problems, and stopped his treatment, the anger escalated and I called the police. we've tried counseling before but each time, the counselor says "your wife is working on her stuff, you need to work on your stuff" he quits and says it was just the wrong counselor. since he left, we've had two sessions with a new marriage counselor, and my husband has been putting all the blame on me in the sessions, one big whammy after another, stuff I thought we'd settled long ago ... when I try to interject and say "hey, this stuff was settled, and I haven't done that in 8 years" etc., the counselor says to just listen to my husband. yes, I know I'm supposed to listen, and not only listen but reflectively listen, so he will feel heard ... but now I find myself in the position of being on the defensive again ... a place I never thought I'd be in again.

my husband says he is working on his codependency issues. he says he wants me to work on mine. I point out that I've been working on them all along and he can't take my inventory any more than I can take his, then he says "well if you had been working on it, we wouldn't be having these problems." he has been verbally and emotionally abusive, I've gone through phases of putting up with it, then coming to my senses and refusing to put up with it. he has ADD and depression, and ACOA and abuse issues of his own ... he's been getting treatment and medication, and has improved quite a bit, which is why I've decided to give the situation time before I decide if I need to leave.

basically the reason I'm here is ... in the marriage counselor's office, my husband talks about past issues as if they're current, and he also attempts to turn around his problems onto me ... it's only a 40 minute session, and the counselor seems fairly bowled over by the level of anger my husband has, so he doesn't have any immediate advice for us and we're just going to keep going once a week. I'm on another forum about marriage issues, we were talking about codependency and this web link came up (great site!!!). it's helped me to read so much of this website, I can see how much progress I've made when I see it listed out in print. I'm using topics from here as a journaling tool, as well.

I'm not perfect, I'm as f*&*^ed up as anyone else is, just in my own way. ;) I know all about *my* codependency ... what I need to know is: if someone you love is codependent, and they're not as far along in recovery as you, what can you do to make it work? is there even anything that can be done, or is it hopeless? sometimes I feel like I've left him behind, but then I realize he has to do it himself, I also realize I can't stop my own healing and wait for him to catch up. in the last 2 weeks since he left, I've slipped back into several of the codependent behaviors, and I really am working hard on not going back down into that pit I used to be in. but it's hard!! so hard.

if I didn't love him "as is," I wouldn't be in the marriage. I'm very glad I've unhooked almost all of my codependency issues, I feel proud of myself. but the marriage counselor even said, "too bad you guys can't work on these issues both separately and together, if you were in the same place you could work along at the same rate and it would bring you closer." do people really have to be at the same level of healing to work it out?? I'd like to believe not. my goal is to keep working on myself, and just go with the flow as he works on his own stuff. but that's hard when he keeps throwing up my past issues in my face as if they were happening now, I'm starting to feel in the last 4 days like I'm reliving the bad old days all over again.

thank you for listening! -- Jennifer

p.s. - PLEASE, if one more person says "just leave him," I'm gonna go crazy. I'm looking for real solutions to complex problems, I know I've got to work this all out for myself, but feedback is a wonderful thing. but only if it's more than "just leave him" ;)

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Hi, my name is Teri I just found this site through a board I post to. I saw all of the stuff on living with a narcissist. I feel that is who I am dealing with. It sounds like there is no hope in this situation. My Husband and I have been married 2yr separated 7mo of that time. We are currently separated. I have a 17mo old son and a 7yr old daughter. Three weeks ago he came back to me and said he wanted to work every thing out, that he wanted to be a better husband and father and that he wanted to go to this other new therapist with me.( # 5 ) Against my better judgment I said ok Well, He has kind of forgot saying those things he is back to his self centred ways, He acts as though I am disposable and that we are not married he refuses to give me any emotional support and says "that's why he pays for me to see a therapist" He is very cold like that unless he needs some emotional support or he is feeling bad about something that has happened to him. He always puts his needs before mine or our family. I have tried sooo hard to look at my behavior and see how I contribute to this. I guess I do just by being here for him. I feel so hurt by the realization that he only loves himself and cannot love me. I want to not care it hurts to much I want out of this mess. Any ideas or support would be very helpful. I just want to get untangled from this web.

Thank you, Teri

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

More about the therapist....Oh no!

Actually, I have had a really weird time today. It occurred to me the problem was connected to the "inner child" stuff on Sunday. Then I just saw the unhurt child that had to get angry to survive. Today it dawned on me that I don't trust her as my inner child is still raging about various incidents where I was told I was wrong unjustly. That I was pushing her away because she brings out a kind of fear of someone else being in charge and so I take control get angry to survive. It all seemed to hook in to a couple of really awful things that happened to me as a child. The first was the vicar; completely unknown to me who appeared to have been commissioned by my parents to tell me how naughty I was and ask why? Yuk! Yuk! YUK! What does this say about mommy and daddy? Perhaps that they abused their little girl by thinking her "bad." Maybe she was "bad," - because she was acting out in response to (gasp!) their poor marriage, which they refused to address, finding it easier to blame instead the child... Leaving her feeling guilty, unsafe, unprotected, misunderstood, ANGRY... (Gee, she's ANGRY! I bet if she wasn't, she'd be psychotic!)  The other was a police interrogation that was completely designed to hatter anyone's trust in authority when I was about 15 and ran away from home. It was a case of mistaken identity; another runaway was who they thought they had; but this was about 4 hours of sheer hell. Real nasty interrogation tactics; kind/nasty soft and in your face loud.

Maybe I am reacting to her as I am so scared of being misjudged? I think you feel unsafe Jay. The therapist, who "should" protect you and help you feel safe, lets you down - like mom and/or dad, and more recently, like Jake does. That's why you so desperately want her to take charge of the session - and get so ANGRY that she cannot or will not. So very angry, you "reported" her. You feel at her mercy, and you feel unsafe. What mom and dad did... That's my take on what the team's paradoxical approach* is out to help you understand Jay. (And why "reporting" her was perfectly OK.) But dear CatBoxer, that was then and this is now. You don't need her to protect you. It is not unsafe. Jay can take care of Jay. Jay is safe... She just needs to realize that truth with every single fiber of her body... And stop demanding other people do it for her.

AJ I think the government is getting more scared now of losing the tourist industry than of foot and mouth. The only thing I do know is that you will have to walk through disinfectant. I am still puzzling that out as what about the shoes in your suitcase and does that mean people need to come into or out of the country in their wellies. (I bet that is an English term so wellies are gumboots. Plastic boots or the type you would wear with a mac: For the new people the translation of mac was given by Theressa several catboxes back. In England when this is not a computer it is a long waterproof coat. Why a computer is named after a long waterproof coat. Actually the long and correct version of the word is Mackintosh...I do not know.

Welcome to the yet more new people and Hi to everyone; jay

*Read/search "Jay Haley", whose group has done tons on the pokerfaced "paradoxical intention" technique. (Which, I have subsequently found, for me works even better when done with a loving smile, and a warm laugh, letting the person know it's OK to laugh at their own, very human silliness...) 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Hi catbox, B. Here,

I've read carefully the articles about Narcissism, and came to the conclusion my H does have some Narcissistic traits - as have *I*, to be completely honest! - but he is not a Narcissist. I found that very reassuring... a Narcissist does seem so hopeless...

OK, back to work, bye catbox, kisses for Trubble, B.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2001

S1

Dear Dr. Irene, Trubble and the rest, Hi LynnHoney!

Lynn here and I haven't read the posts, I haven't even been able to get through so I hope this takes because I feel I have to get this down somewhere.

I mentioned that a couple of weeks ago Dan deceived me. I confronted him with it and since then we have spoken nada about it. Again (typical of our relationship), he's on his best "honey" behavior. Well last night I asked him if he would bring a chair I had just recovered to the middle room when he fed the birds. Before I could blink he was on his toes practically tap dancing down the egg shells to get it done now!!

I'm sick and so sick I can't even think or sleep. All I can come up with is that I don't want this kind of power over anyone. It made me physically ill.

I don't think I'm wrong in thinking I deserve an apoloy or at least something for the deception, but quite literally I don't want my tushie kissed for the rest of my life because I'm mad at him. And still the deception never gets confronted or dealt with.

I think there is something very sick in the fact that when things are going well, ie sex, food cooked, clothes washed and ironed, and I ask for something to be done it doesn't get. Yet when I'm angry at something else EVERYTHING gets done.

Anyhow I just wanted to get it off my chest and I did tell him tonight I will no longer be a party to this. I don't expect that kind of power over my dogs. I certainly don't find it very desirable in a person. And I could get just as sick and keep him on the egg shells and get the house redone from stem to stern. I just don't find that a healthy way to live, even if it does work. I'd just as soon he moved my chair or whatever because I asked him to and needed the help, rather than because I was angry at him for something else.

I did apply for a job. The girl called me tonight and wants an interview next week.

Someone way up there said something about sharing the hotel room with her boss. I had to laugh (sort of). I'm a very private person. My bed and my body are my own. Period. Dan's family is all so chummy. Everyone shares rooms and some of these people even get physical (like giving each other enemas). I find this repulsive. I think it's just how people were raised though. In high school, my aunt and uncle and male cousin went on vacation and I got my own room in guest houses and motels. It wasn't because we were rich. Just private. Anyhow, I'm with you. I wouldn't go to a motel and spend the night in the same bed as my sister (I'd be on the floor). If they don't understand this then it's their problem. Stick to what you are comfortable with.

Sheesh! Just when I thought things were looking up.

Ok. I feel better now, just hearing myself. Hello to all of you, and Loads of Love and Prayers.

Lynn Bye LynnHoney!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2001

S1

Hi B,

You have the same problem I have. I am working on saying No to my partners requests when saying yes harms my integrity.

Though unlike your partner, mine won't go ten feet near a therapist. He had child psychologists all his life. Nosy parkers only he says. WELL that is why I like DR IRENE and my therapist because they help you make changes without going on and on and on about things and never finding any solutions.

SO I think I have the old therapists to thank for him not liking therapists.

I have decided for the time being there is nothing I can do to force him to take equal responsibility for our child. (EVEN THOUGH IT ANGERS ME), all I can do is accept what he is doing, which like your partner is more than he ever did in the past.

OH well maybe God will send some help to help me get this balance, who knows!!

Take care Theressa

PS Jay you sound like you are making lots of progress, and so does AJ, and I see such growth on this site.

Glad Dr Irene isn't angry at me for posting the divorcebusting thread. Not at all. I deleted it cuz it looked like an ad!

Dr Irene I post some thing on the YAK board purely because sometimes I get the sense that some of them are stuck in anger and only new insights will help them. I get some stuff from the I am responsible board and copy over to the YAK board.

Thanks all of you for being part of my growth. Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2001

S1

Dr Irene,

I am about to go to trial with my ex over the money he still owes me. After reading the series on Narcissistic abusers I have a question:

I split with my narcissistic abuser over 6 months ago. However, I filed a lawsuit against him to regain the over$16,000. he still owes me. This situation has wiped out my savings and I will go into debt by going to trial.

I am perusing this for 2 reasons: 1. It is my money that I earned and he promised to pay back 3 years ago. 2. I have to stand up to his abuse in a very direct and strong way. I have stood up to him by not allowing him to have contact with me, but this is a different level.

Do you feel it is worth pulling the abuse element into my case by hiring an expert witness - Someone who could tie the abuse and money issue together? This has clearly been a source of his abuse over the past 3 1/2 years and may be his way of abusing from afar. He even said he formed his counter-claim, not based on fact, but to hurt me and have revenge for the stress I caused him by filing the suit.

I would be glad for your input.

Thanks, SK

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2001

S1

I just recently found this site and have been reading every chance I get. I've learned a lot about my husband. I didn't understand why he was so mad at me when I did little things (like leave the top off the pen or crack the window when the air conditioner was on in the van, or leave dishes in the sink, fall asleep too early) Now I know it's all about him, the language of MeMe. He yells and slams things, throws things, he has punched holes in the wall, etc. About a year ago I asked the court for a preliminary protective order. When it was served on him he was charged with assault on a police officer. that was later reduced to simple assault. I went to court with him because he kept telling me it was my fault for getting the order. My mother cried that he was in jail. His mother and family blamed me, but they also thought he had some problem because his father is abusive and has been to all of the children. Anyway, he had to go through anger management and still is getting angry (mostly in the middle of the night). About five months ago at 1:00 o'clock in the morning he woke me up and wanted sex. I told him I was tired. he started yelling at me and ran downstairs and kicked the dogs out of the way (little dogs), this really scared me. I ran downstairs to protect them and see if they were okay. He threw a highchair at one of them yellilng F---ing dogs. This has frightened me so much that I don't refuse him anymore even when I don't want to and it's 3:00 o'clock a.m, (the other night). Right now he's trying to do better because he's being very nice to me. I don't know how long this will last and so I'm just gathering information, lawyers, etc. I think I've had it. But I'm afraid for my little boys (2 and 4), going to a new place, going to daycare, etc. I'm just hanging on until the next loud outburst. One thing going for me is he's very afraid of the police now. I know I need help, I just don't know what to do now. I feel my family still has sympathy for him and doesn't understand. My mother thinks I should just stand up to him. But when I tell him what he's doing he turns it around and says I do the same thing or shames me saying that I will leave He doesn't give up until I agree with him. This means for me no sleep. Any advise? Thanks, May

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2001

S1

Hi, Jay again and I am going to mention the word "therapist," so you can all scream now, or scroll down if you are sick to death of the subject!

Dr Irene, your blue pencil on my last post sent me into a complete spin. Giggle. I figured. But I also figured you needed it (I know I'm so "straight" like you, I would have!) I couldn't get enough about the "paradoxical intent" from the net; too vague. Now I will have to buy yet another book! Look at the Jay Haley stuff. He's one of the 3 biggies of the family therapy movement.

About the stuff with my parents. I did survive. I didn't become psychotic (Hope not!). But they really had this equation that I was bad and therefore mad. I spent a lot of time at one point with my mother trailing me to doctors and child psychologists. The one thing I remember really clearly is that on every occasion my mother was told I was perfectly normal. Giggle! I do remember a psychologist telling me my dad wasn't ......I knew I was, and I had a wonderful grandmother who backed me up. All I was was shy and sick of all the arguments. You had sick parents who inadvertently scapegoated you since that was the best they could do...

I married Jake because he didn't swear. Because of his incredible calm and then got really frustrated when I realised I had married someone who hardly expressed emotion at all. And you're still fighting him on this one! Stop already!

 

 

If I survived my dad shouting non stop, and can't justify my own shouting then at least I can't be like him. It goes the other way into Critical Parent Mode.

I think somehow the therapist is confused with the Critical Parent. You see, you can't be, because before I got to "know" you I had the evidence of the web site. It showed that you cared about people. It sent me an I am safe with this person message. All the therapeutic stuff I have ever been involved in has been along the lines of build trust first. She doesn't do that. Again, that's not how it necessarily works in family therapy!

So can Jay work with her and take care of Jay? I guess what really irks me is there is no choice. And, there is no doubt in my mind Jay can do it. But, you need to stop asking for the therapist to take care of you when she won't; stop asking Jake to take care of you when he won't. You don't need anybody to take care of you. Why do you think you do? The people or therapists I choose would be people who are professionally distanced obviously; but a little more human. (OK she is not from Mars!). She doesn't feel genuine to me. It has to be me, as plenty of people think she is good; but just not feeling good for me. I am sure now this all does relate to the safety issue.

The paradox is that the victim ends up raging while the abuser sits quietly. Not just in your therapy Jay. In life. That's why I always ask both partners, especially the victims, to stop acting out! To be honest I think I need someone who is going to turn everything on it's head like a hole in the head. I mean be paradoxical. If the therapy makes your issues clear to you, which it seems to be doing, it's worth every tear...

Who exactly is it supposed to be working for? So far all I can see is that she has confirmed Jake's narcissism. Whatever she MEANS to do he uses this and the other therapist he sees to confirm his own world view. This view is that Jay is wrong; even if it is her subject and not his; even if it is in the face of evidence. Even if you tell him it is in the dictionary written down and please will he look. Where is it written that you can't not put up with what you don't like?  

 

Actually as a person I am strong. Oh yes! Most people wouldn't recover from stuff I have been through and I know I am. maybe I needed finally to exorcise all the anger (not in a religious sense). Perhaps this process is cathartic. Perhaps the personality of the newborn inner child as it was meant to be returns. Now that you are aware of the anger and the big stuff has come out, so to speak, you are freer to simply hear the anger as a signal of what you don't like and with practice, react in a calm, constructive manner.

Years ago had lots of prayer for the healing of the inner child and maybe this is what it is. Maybe Jake is just a side issue to things. I really thought I was pretty sorted emotionally before. In lots of ways I was. Still am in lots of ways.

??Why do I suddenly have to defend myself? You don't. I am defending myself to me rather than the catbox, but I will leave it anyway! 

GRRRRR (This is light hearted, I am not really angry) It is soooo frustrating to be married to someone who expresses shock and horror if you drop something and swear....Who EXPECTS perfect self control from his wife whatever the circumstances. (So that's why you won't do it! Giggle!) Seriously, who cares what he expects! Once he insisted we drive home after a car accident (I am the only driver and got angry when I got upset we weren't going to stop and go to a hotel. Shock didn't come into the equation for HIM. HE was ok. The fact someone had just driven into the back of the car and caused a lot of damage meant nothing and as for the sensible precaution of getting checked out at a hospital (I hit my head). Well, apparently I could drop him home first 60 miles away....sorry that has been brewing all day; His latest thing is he won't come in the car with me at all for a very long time. I have NO IDEA what it is I have done! It's what he did: he was plain inconsiderate and insensitive to your feelings. Wrong! What you did is question yourself that he didn't think you should be so upset. Plus you were mad. You are who you are and that is just fine. You went wrong in not telling him you don't care how irrational he thinks you are being, if you feel hurt and shocked, you feel hurt and shocked and he needs to respect that. Period. (Otherwise, who is inconsiderate?) Just part of the general distancing I guess. (OOPS turning into an anti Jake vent...) That's fine. Just recognize that you run your life and if you feel off balance, it is your right to feel off-balance. You need to be scorned for being off-balance like you need a hole in the head. And furthermore (and here is where you messed up): you need to question your right to be off balance like you need a hole in the head. Repeat after me: "I reserve the right to be nutty, off-balance, crazy, irrational, shocked, sick, depressed, whatever. " OK?

Anyway I started off about the therapist. I guess if I have no expectations I can handle her. To be honest, she makes me want to start playing games with her. Giggle! Wait just a while; just control yourself and be yourself.

Maybe I should, just to break the ice!

Maybe I will ask to use her garbage can just to see what happens, or even better refuse to let her use it herself! Hahahahahahaha!!!

That is not a dig at you Dr Irene, I just like the idea. I love it! This is much better; constructive use of anger!

Actually to us a garbage can is a dustbin, the big metal kind ;so I have been imagining some pretty funny scenes. We call the little ones waste paper bins. So if I ask to use her "garbage can" it will sound as if I am really 'off the wall". You see her own garbage can will be wherever it is she lives. I just spent the last minute hysterical... This is very good! I like that you're mad at her and making a joke out of it - and not taking the d*&**ed woman so seriously! And, I especially like that you're not doubting Jay!

Heh. or maybe I could take the tip from a lovely learning disabled student I met last week. Now he came to class with his snack. Fish and chips! Sat there happily munching.....No knife and fork. If only I had the courage to do that! (Trubble what would FakeMommy do about that one?) I'd let him eat. What else?

Ha maybe I could wait until she does something like that garbage can stuff to me and say "you're trying not to laugh aren't you?" 

I think my inner child is laughing. ........  Yes, yes, yesssssss!

Maybe I had better not do any of this as it is too near the psychiatric hospital ...

Maybe it is a good sign I am thinking about this stuff?? Smiles!

 

A few years ago I was quite happy to have Jake at a distance. Is it just we always want what we haven't got. (Like Trubble for a therapist!) Send Trout AuntieJay.

Now Trubble if you could just tell GB that you will leave him until he protects the environment and signs that treaty. ..you could come over and take over from the therapist as I am sure Jake would listen to a cat. I'm having trubble with RealDaddy on the environment... I think he understands that you can't burn the candle at both ends, but cares more about the economy. What's an aide to do?

This post had a lot of serious stuff in it but it suddenly didn't seem so bad after all so I deleted it. Now will it get to the catbox or won't it? Maybe Trubble is still on a blue pencil diet. Jay 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2001

S1

Theressa. thanks for being there for us too. Guess a man wi=ho does something is better than a man who does nothing. I guess most men are still a little more culturally conditioned than we would like them and for it to be the NORM that the load doesn't fall on the woman will take a few more generations.

Hi Lynn and Dan if you still look in and if you do Dan...It is the honesty stuff we fall for and not the dancing around kissing our feet. Old automatic habits die hard...

Perdida I am sorry your parents were so horrid while they were with you. Spent half the day worying if I was awful to my own kids; but don't think I am. Guess by getting emotionally healthy we break the generational cycles! Hope you get your stuff from your ex soon.

Sharon HI. And you need Dr Psycho NOT.

B. Actually that was one drawback with the cleaner; that it is difficult not to feel you lose your privacy.

Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2001

S1

Dear All, Sharon here. I have no news on Dr. Psycho - had a glimpse of him in his car yesterday after work, which was weird because I've been altering my way home, and so did he. I felt like I was being stalked. He didn't go down his street which is a major artery - he went down a side residential street, and that's how I get home now, and we were at the same crossing in our cars. I gave him the right-of-way, he had a smug look on his face, but it was weird! Why did he go home that way? No phone hang ups, either at home or at work, those have stopped. I think its because he knew I was honing in on him doing it.

Its been a week since I wrote him and informed him that I had met someone else. I am sooo glad that I did this. I think what opened my eyes was the narcissistic remarks he continued to make to me, saying that even if I got married to someone else, I'll still be obsessed about him, drive by his house, want to see what he's doing, and who he's with. Ugh. Now *Me* I could understand. But him? Yuk. He'd also say that my goal was to buy a house closer to his so I can watch what he is doing with binoculars. His latest crap that he told me which really made me end it with him? Within the last month, there were 2 houses in the neighborhood which got broken into - I had heard about this through my neighbor - then I informed Dr. Psycho to make sure he keeps things locked up better, due to the break-ins. He then insinuated that "maybe I'm telling him this because I am the one doing this." Is he nuts? Could you see a middle-aged 5'2" 150lb. woman kicking doors in and breaking windows with her fists? Last year at this time he accused me of stealing his house keys. I flipped out over that one too. I filed a declaration, had it notarized and witnessed and had him served. I may do the same by filing a police report on these accusations because this is definitely "defamation of character". This guy is a freak. He is a borderline personality/ with narcissism/ with manic depression. Anyway, he save myself, I completely squared off by severing the ties but I had to do it as to cut the narcissistic supply by letting him know he was no longer "God." He really thought he was my higher power. I have to say that since he was a narcissist I gave him that role. I'm no longer in his "realm". Thank GOD!!!! 

Hugs, Sharon

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Date: Thursday, March 29, 2001

S1

Hi group, Lynn here and Dr Irene... If Trubble doesn't want everyone to know he's here he should quit flying Air Force One! (Whew! Psssst: Thanks FakeLynnHoney)

Actually rather funny. We're a small town and the Prez just barnstormed the country our direction. Comments from "down here" were, "It was worth the trip to see Air Force One and the helicopter." Needless to say I didn't think it was worth the trip to stand with millions just for a glimpse. (I went and picked up T and we came home).

Perdida, I hear you loud and clear with the nasty parents. My dad. So sad, but I don't have to be part of that either.

The rest of you with Dr. Psycho and Mr. Hyde mates.... I get angry with Dan and he turns into Fred Astaire! Since my name isn't Ginger (Maybe I need a new cat) this doesn't work either and I sure see this from a different perspective these days. I hate it when I make a request and say please and it doesn't get done and then get mad at something else and it ALL gets done.

Anyhow I came to the conclusion that I can't do this to someone I care for. It's not about watching him go through the hoops. I'm uncomfortable when he does this. It really leaves a bad taste (rotten Salmon) everywhere.

Dan still insists this is his upbringing and his mother did (and still does) get him mad to get things done. I want to shout at him, "I'm not your mother and this isn't what it's about!" Exactly.

Speaking of his mother Dr. Irene, Dan and I saw her recently. I can't tell when or why (confidentiality), but I lived through it. And he took me! One point for him. More like ten, no?

Ok, enough babbling. I know I have to sort this out, but in a nutshell, I don't like the feeling of having the ability to cause this much grief to someone I love. He's going to have to get his own respect back and I'm not going to compromise myself either. I get to get angry! What he did made me mad. It isn't about housework and he can tap dance for the next ten years if he's so inclined, but it isn't doing anything to better the situation.

Whether he'll get it or not or read here or not, I don't know. I am going to check into that book you mentioned above about accepting responsibility. For me, not for him.

Ok Trubble. My boo boo is all better and you can take that big jet back to someone else who needs you. Thanks for coming to visit an we'll check into a Ginger kittie. I'm keeping the magic wand though. I think I'll need it.

Love to all of you, Lynn I'll be flying in again soon. Maybe to take you on a White House tour to thank you for all the broom rides...

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2001

S1

Hi Catbox,

Thanks everyone for all that warm fuzzy approval! Thanks Sharon, AJ, Theressa, Jay, Lynn... It might seem a little silly to want approval - I know I don't need permission but the supportive approval feels really good. I feel like a cat who has been petted by expert petters! Know what I mean, Trubble? I feel like this site is made up of the enlightened ones, because it is hard to explain what we've all been through with partners and others to people who haven't stopped to analyze meanness or who have been lucky enough NOT to have encountered a meanie or a yeller in their lives. Or who won't leave ever even if they are miserable and getting sick, like my friend who has shown up needing to talk about her marriage. I gave her all the books, and she reads English, but it's a case where unsnarling a marriage is more traumatic than sticking it out in misery. I'm at a loss as to what to say, but at least now I can say that it's somewhat common and there are some ways to deal with it. I guess leaving my situation makes me sort of a lucky one.

Sharon and Theressa, I would be lying if I said I didn't daydream that my ex would change if I left. I didn't leave for that reason but I wish he would change, frankly. The only problem is that at this distance I don't see the relationship getting put back together because I wouldn't go to spend any time with him because I don't trust him to treat me right. So logistically, it's not going to happen. If I go where he is, I would be burying myself and ruining my chances for a good career. One maybe could do that for Prince Charming but not Bluebeard (although the Prince would support my career!). So him changing is a nice daydream, but I am getting more satisfaction out of looking forward and making sure my career stays on track.

Jay, I felt for you when you said your parents made you out to be bad. That is so painful - my family seems to think I'm some kind of loser. I don't know what I have to do to not be a loser! Stop caring what they think. It doesn't matter one bit... It's like a lowgrade sorrow because I know what I have accomplished and what interests me, and it's not the picture of a loser any more than you were the picture of a bad little girl. As long as you care, it shows you carry that pix around with you...

Well, we will survive our families and create our own with our own way of doing things! I like the idea of the chosen family! Hey, I could have told you that! Still working on getting my RealParents married.

Love, Perdida

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001

S1

Hi everyone, Asha here

I was gone for a couple of weeks, and it looks like all the regulars are back! Hi all! I've missed you.

I'm doing okay. Steve and I aren't doing all that great right now, but I don't feel like going into it in depth. I think the catbox lacks a sense of privacy for him, and I'd like to respect that. There are lots of reasons for both of us, particularly Steve, to be under stress. It just seems like he hasn't noticed that some of his old programs are up and running again. Hope it's temporary, but it's not up to me to "fix". Lots of additional issues, on top of other stresses, including some of his kids' behavior patterns. They haven't had an easy time of things, and I think that some damage has been done. I don't always know how to deal with this - I think they are screaming for boundaries, but at times I'm at odds with Steve's approach. The kids aren't used to much structure, it seems, and I don't know how to enforce structure and not tolerate disrespectful behavior, while still making it clear that they are loved and important. Sometimes it's all so overwhelming, especially when Steve and I aren't communicating well ourselves or when we disagree on our approach towards their behavior. That's why you have to butt out; they're his kids..l.

No doubt, I have my own stuff to work on. Funny, but I think I am realizing that when Steve is not dealing well with things, I'm somehow able to hold it together, no matter how angry or hurt I feel. When he *is* doing well, I feel "safe" enough to let the anger and hurt come out more. Problem is that when I do let the hurt out, he seems revert to old behavior... He has a hard time dealing with it. Just understand that and don't personalize it.

Anyways, it's me I need to focus on. A couple of weeks ago I was so mad that I basically went ape and had a screaming session (at Steve's expense). I don't think *I* even knew I was that angry. I felt misunderstood all over again; like an old wound had been ripped open. The anger is still there, and I have to do something to release it. I also need to keep myself feeling safe and nurtured. I wrote down all my feelings of hurt and anger. I would like Steve to eventually read this, but I'm not sure how helpful it would be to him. Maybe I just want him to feel my pain, and I don't know if that's constructive. Maybe I myself just have to acknowledge and accept my pain. Maybe Steve can't give you what you're looking for.

I also feel I need to have a healthier balance in my own life, where work doesn't supercede all other things. I need to step back and take a look at what's wrong in my life, and make a plan to *do* something about it!

I have wasted so much time worrying about so many things, and my absorption in work creates a lack of balance for me. I need to look at this seriously before it affects my health.

I read thru some of the recent posts and I relate to so many of them. We have all chosen some big challenges and I guess we have to remember the element of "choice" that's involved. It seems that there is no rule of thumb about what's truly "right" for anyone; it's all personal choice. I've been following my gut feelings, and though they don't always please those around me, I need to acknowledge for myself when things are and are not okay. I know that things *can* be okay, and that I'm not impossible or unreasonable. I've also known the feeling of peace and safety so I know it can exist in relationships. And when it can't exist there, it can exist in me alone.

Anyways, just wanted to say hi to all of you.

take care and lots of love

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001

S1

Hi Jay,

It is a safety thing. And you know what you get aware, like you are doing and you learn the self control skills and how to calm down, and then you realise you are in control of yourself.

You have limits and boundaries of how far you want to go into something. Sometimes it is good to have wide boundaries, others it is good to take one step at a time into the pain if it is painful.

YOU need to decided when you want to do things, and how fast. THIS is how you get control of yourself.

It is like going into cold water in the swimming pool, sometimes you dive in the cold water with faith that you'll cope, other times you dip your toe in and slowly you lower yourself into the water, knowing after each step you coped and so can go on.

JAY you can make it, you are strong enough. You are doing great.

Take care Theressa I can't find the FOG book and I'd like to look at it. Got a better reference? Thanks, *Me*

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001

S1

Hi all. I had a killer session yesterday. I've moved on to the next stage, mourning my past. It all started 2 weeks ago when I went to my employer and asked for my old job back. In telling the pres. the effects the abuse has had on me, a sentence just popped out of my mouth. I could have been so much more......... Man, I started to cry and choked it down. When I got to the van it hit me again and I started to cry over it. For the next few days, every time that thought came to me, I'd cry again.

I told my counselor about it last week, I said that I didn't know if I was feeling sorry for myself or what but that one little sentence really got to me. He told me that it was because I realized the potential in myself, that if I hadn't been abused I could have been more than what I was.

Yesterdays session started out as they have been lately, me telling him about the abuse that happened over the week and my responses to it. About 3/4 of the way through, he asked me what if wasn't talking to or about my h about the abuse. What if I was talking to myself? I didn't get it at first. He then asked If I didn't talk about the abuse, what was left? I sat thinking for a minute, and slowly started to cry. He asked me what I was feeling right now and I told him, PAIN. There you go he says. You are feeling the pain/hurt that the abuse inflicted on you. Feel the pain and mourn what was done to you, it's just energy. OUCH! A few comments from him later I told him, I don't know what to say or talk about now, and he told me that that was the best thing I could have said. Now you can be depressed. (been fighting with that off and on all along)

This seems to be the hardest stage of recovery so far. I have to consciously think about how it makes me feel, and it's tough. Am I still trying to protect myself from the pain/hurt? There's holes in the wall but the wall is still there, that much I know. 18 years worth of wall does not come down overnight.

Anyway, thanks for letting me think in here. Robin

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001

S1

This is a post to DJ:

<<I've been through all of this before and am frequently beating myself over getting into it again! This man uses vastly different tactics than my X and sometimes I feel like I am just taking things the wrong way or being "too sensitive".>>

I really do know what you mean like that. My ex-wife (yes, I am a woman too) was exactly the same way. She knew how to push all of my buttons & manipulate me...it becomes very exhausting.

<<My beau said, "I only dream about you and you dream about your husband. Why is that?", "Please don't dream about him anymore. OK?". I was frozen. How does one respond to that? Does one choose who or what they dream about? NO! Besides, it sounds like I wasn't enjoying it either! He doesn't realize that he is even trying to control my dreams.>>

So glad that you realise & can verbalise that this man is controlling. I never would admit it to myself, although I knew it in my heart. I finally told my parents & they were VERY supportive. It took me 2 1/2 years to get out!

<<I have found that there is no way to discuss these instances with him. They always end up snowballing or in his words, "You expect me to be perfect".>>

My ex's favourite thing to say was, "You treat me like a damn dog!" I would often just stand in amazement when she said that.

<<The light is just around the corner though. He asked if we should separate for a while. Inside I was screaming "YESSSS" though I could only say, "I'm not sure what we should do". He posed this question minutes before he had to get back to work from his lunch break. I know we will continue the discussion later today and there will be time to actually talk.>>

This sounds like a ploy. My ex continually threatened to leave me & I would think YAY!! and they she'd turn around & come back. It's all a game, DJ. You have to remember that.

<<One of the questions I posed in one of my lost posts was: How do people in "healthy" relationships interact? Any books or web pages that can give me some insight? >>

That is a good question re: the other web sites & books. Does anyone have any suggestions? Most of the sites are geared toward physical abuse... You're right Em. Mostly everything tells you how not to be!

Em

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001

S1

Thanks very much, Dr. Irene--and Theressa too--for those ideas about how to get in touch with feelings. I'll pass those on. In fact there are a couple of those books on the reading list I'd like to take a look at myself. M. Scott Peck's "The Road Less Traveled" is one; the title alone is appealing. The trouble is, I always have a reading list a yard long; at any given time I seem to be in the middle of reading about four books at once, all at different speeds. But this site is a good source of book recommendations Yippeee! generally, and I'm not limiting that to Patricia Evans's little bible, though I did read that through twice. Since I've been hanging around here, I've been busily plugging huge gaps in my cultural literacy about everything from the Pre-Raphaelites to Kate Chopin, her life and writings (that was Cynthia's doing, and nothing to do with abuse) and read Wally Lamb's "I Know This Much is True," courtesy of Jenna's recommendation--a great novel about abuse as well as love, and 900 pages you can read straight through without being bored for one moment.

But I obviously wasn't thinking broadly enough about the original question, from two separate aspects. First, if we want to do something we've never done very well--whether it's "getting in touch with our feelings" or whatever--how do we go about it? One thing I've never done very well is drawing. There are occasions when I need to draw things, so I suppose if I waited for those to come along and then focused hard on ways of drawing better, I could get better at it in time. Just the same, if we really want to get better at doing something, it's no use sitting around waiting for opportunities to practice it. We have to make our own. If I were truly sincere about wanting to draw better, I'd have to find or set myself some exercises in drawing, and practice at those. (The fact that I haven't so far only shows how lazy I am in this field!) Likewise, if anyone wants to "get in touch with their feelings," I don't doubt there are plenty of things in our ordinary lives for us to "feel" something about; but I'm sure that deliberately stimulating ourselves with anything we might call "spiritual" is a great exercise for anyone to set. It gives anyone a *reason* to "feel" something profoundly. Nice!

More than that, I wonder: if anyone is bogged down in an abusive environment or history--as they must be in some way if they have an inability to feel--that's bound to narrow anyone's outlook, to tie it down to a set of desperate inner struggles that never get resolved and never leave much time to let go of all that and look around, to see what there is to see, and explore what there is to find. Anyone in such a predicament needs what we call "spirituality" and "philosophy" all the more, to draw their attention outward. Yes. You are in perpetual "survival mode."

And thanks, Theressa, for those comments about the Anger Control Workbook. (Great for angry victims too!) "Positive thinking" is something we all need, no matter what position we're in. Apart from that, even if the issue with someone who isn't "in touch with their feelings" is more likely to be one of stuffing feelings down rather than acting out anger, I have to ask myself "if someone doesn't 'feel' their feelings, what do they do instead?" Sure, we can alter the way we feel by the way we choose to think; but if anyone feels unavoidably bad about something, surely those feelings have to go somewhere. To that extent, feelings, like matter and energy, can't be destroyed. They can only be turned into something else. What are they turned into? Muscular tension? A stiff neck, a bad back, a headache? A nasty tummyache, and eventual stomach ulcers? So that's the second aspect: if anyone has "lost touch" with their feelings, it's a good idea to ask where they went. All that tenseness you mentioned has to be a good symptom for anyone to look at, even if they're not overtly angry: a good clue that they "ought" to be "feeling" something, even if they're not aware of it. They all seem like useful suggestions to me!

Take care,

- Gordon    Gordon, not feeling is a self-protective mechanism we learn in childhood and too often continue using even when it no longer works for us. When we're little, we just can't deal. When we're older, we can, but never learned how. Sometimes when  we feel our current situation just hurts too much, we just don't feel: too painful; too much rage to deal with, etc. If you are in this space, by all means read the books and do the exercises. But, do yourself a favor and get into counseling if you're not already there. It's easier to face the hurts with another person than alone... This stuff is in the PTSD neighborhood, which means it won't go away until we face it.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001

S1

Thanks Theressa,

What happened at the therapist! HA this felt sooo good. And I think I will get blue penciled to death by the end of this post! Uh oh!

We go in and I am suddenly overcome by the desire to discover where the waste paper basket is. There wasn't one! And that made me giggle only I wasn't able to say why. Giggle!

Then I said I felt unsafe and 'in the relationship' slipped out. I was going to say with you the therapist (Same difference whether its with her or him, cuz its your issue you carry around.) and then it got onto an incident that happened between me and Jake in a bookshop and the flowers and things like that and you know what, Jake hadn't got the sense to see why the flowers were in the poem and be honest enough to send or not send them. HE SENT THEM AND HE THOUGH HE WOULD DO SO TO MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR HIM ......The poem which said send me my favourite flowers if you want the relationship to continue meant nothing more than an irritation. He hadn't picked up the clue, and they only clue he had was HumanKatKid telling him what my favourite flowers were! Too self-absorbed to smell the coffee. That's just how he is Jay.

This time the whole way she worked had changed again and it was through role play which I am comfortable with and Jake is not. We role played the bookshop incident about a zillion times and Jake finally got the point about how he might have made me feel. And I got the point about why it all happened and that was ok except then Jake justified it all as just what might have happened.....No apology on HIS side... So what? He's insensitive, remember?

But he did say how he thought I might have felt and that is progress. YES!

To cut a long story short, I finally had Jake in a 'fridge' of chairs on the floor with his face hidden by a curtain....And the fridge was locked from the inside. We were supposed to be acting out how we felt in the relationship. Jake just had me alternately opening my arms and putting my fists up...As far as I could make out the therapist was asking me why I felt so disempowered and how I could be more empowered SEE! She wants you to empower yourself! ; and then I just knew. If it was going to change I couldn't do anything other than play it REALLY negative.

He has to be really desperate for things NOT to end before he stops the games. He won't end it himself as he can't admit failure. He can play games with me because he is self sufficient and I feel abandoned.

It didn't strike me until later that the whole thing was ludicrous! I mean who in their right minds gets their husband role playing being in a locked fridge and surrounds them with chairs and puts them behind a curtain!

But that is where I put him. He's got frozen feelings.

Then I said I wasn't going to go back, which I am, and I hope the therapist had the message right....AND JAKE GOT INTO SAYING HOW IT WOULD BE GOOD TO EXPLORE THIS WHOLE THING..... Ah, she's learning how to speak Jake's language instead of expecting he learn English. Good.

Then I realised he had taken all the power and it had all gone his way even to the extent of him telling the therapist that we would heal at HIS pace...I kept saying 'this is narcissism." and she didn't disagree... Don't you see what you're doing? The therapist is responding positively to you because you are taking your power! Excellent! 

On the way home it occurred to me that If I don't talk for a while it will really send the message home...if I just don't communicate at all with him except by silence seeing as my words offend him so much... And he just asked for our 10 minute talk and started by 'what do you want to say? and we managed 3 minutes silence before he ended that there was "not much point in sitting in silence" which is what if I don't talk we do. ......You see he never volunteers anything on his own behalf...He would say I never gave him space. Well now I know what happens if I give him space. Nothing. Only nothing has been an easy place to be in as I have always filled it. Yes. You are no longer allowing him to make you second guess yourself and take the blame for his deficits, so to speak. Excellent.

I guess this has to be played out with some wisdom. I'm not involving HumanKatKid in our stupidity. But, and I hope this is not about me having suddenly become a control freak; just a little having control felt sooooo good. Controlling yourself to effect changes in your life is not about being controlling. It's about personal power and empowerment. Good stuff. Part two of controlling yourself is to accept what he does as well as what he won't/can't give you. But in the end what today showed me was I have nothing to lose anyway. So I may as well hold out for some gain. That's right. Now you're thinking.

Oh help does this all sound loopy? JAY Loopy like a fox!

 

And now he is really rattled but it feels right he is. He said he wanted no arguments.... He said he wanted complete peace and how a really non stop talker like me will keep this up I do not know... But now, he's getting what he wants. He is creating his own box and you're not going to give him the out.

Nut just now it feels that that's the right thing to do and if it is the wrong thing then Dr Irene will have to tell me... Sooner or later I am just going to burst out laughing. Giggle!  Because what I saw in that therapists office was that his behaviour towards me is just silly and rude and he needs to have a taste of his own medicine. Well, how you handle it is your prerogative. I'm just excited right now that you see that he is silly and rude; and there is nothing wrong with your sense of reality; and there is no need to doubt yourself; and your therapist can't fix it;  and it doesn't help when you scream bloody murder that he's rude and silly..

Until he thinks that I really might have had enough then he will never work on making it work on an equal basis... Probably.

And I do hope I haven't taken leave of my senses.......Could I suppose have gone stark raving bonkers and this won't last as I will never keep it up until the next session. No stark raving mad Jay. Just an "aha!" 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001

S1

Hello Catbox,

It seems like every time I spend time with my mother, it takes me about a week to recuperate. I feel cranky, angry, nervous, need to be alone, need to remember who I am, need to restore the integrity of my Self because it gets real shaken up - and right now I also need to prepare an important talk for next week, and this friend has unfortunately descended on me needily even though I did tell her what a bad time it would be if she came... And unfortunately, she has gone into victim mode and has taken to asking permission to go to the bathroom, and has said stuff like people who live alone don't know how to be hostesses (well, not in so many words) and pointing out how nervous I am. I've just been cooking for two elderly babies for two weeks, who get lost if you look away, and now I am cooking for a person who has two fulltime maids at home and seems to just want to sit. Well, I have to go ahead with my work and she can say what she wants. At least she will go back to the hotel tomorrow, and hopefully that will leave me time to finish my talk so I can travel on Sunday. And, you don't have to be doing any of this...

But how can I deal with my feelings about my mother? Where do I put them and the anger? How much longer do I have to resent the fact that she just didn't turn out to be the ideal mom? I feel like my feelings are controlling me. Am I just extra raw from the ex and how similar he was to her?

Vent vent vent, thanks so much, Catbox!

Love Perdida

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001

S1

Jake? Role playing??? I think I better give him some credit. That would have been Really hard for him. Ok Maybe he is trying a tiny little bit? Jay (OK a fair bit.. Ok a fair lot....) Actually for Jake to role play anything is amazing. Yes Jay. I've no doubt he is trying big time. But, it's very, very hard for him. Still, your empathy for how hard it is for him should neither keep you from putting up with it, nor should it keep you from giving credit where credit is due. You're batting 1000 kiddo!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 30, 2001

S1

Dr. Irene --

After returning to your site a number of times, I feel compelled to thank you -- and to let you know that you reach a more diverse readership than you may realize.

I am a 42-year-old gay male struggling to get my life together after leaving my partner of 13 years. In trying to make sense of what I've been through, I spend hours at my computer reading everything I can about relationship dysfunction. As you can imagine, this has snowballed -- leading me to search topic after topic so that I can gain knowledge about myself, my ex, and whether I have any reason to expect a brighter future. When I stumbled upon information relative to abuse -- verbal, emotional, psychological -- the pieces seemed to fit, and I believe this is leading me to a deeper understanding of why my relationship was never what I wanted it to be.

Of course, most of what I read is couched in terms of male and female -- but I have not let this be a deterrent, as the relationship dynamics described do, I find, apply to humans of all genders and inclinations. You're absolutely right. This stuff has nothing to do with sex roles, gender, etc. It's about relationships.

I am less interested in delving into the particulars of my relationship here than in simply asserting that the material in your site spoke to me. I have gained comfort and insight thanks to you, and believe I have spent more time with the eminently readable Dr. Irene than I have at any other site in the course of my "research." Which has been considerable.

Particularly helpful to me is the ten-part series on narcissists by Dr. Vaknin. Great stuff, isn't it? You may want to download his book (find url on any of his series pages in the orange block.). I had long suspected that the emotional unavailability of my ex was based on a lack of intimacy with himself, and see reflections of him as I read about the defenses narcissistic types throw up to keep others from uncovering the inadequacies that lie within.

Extrapolating from this, might I conjecture that this phenomenon takes on a special twist within a gay relationship. Drawing from the "emotional work" that defaulted to me over the 13 years I was with my guy, I suspect my ex was troubled by unexplored feelings of internalized homonegativity that fueled his drive for achievement, financial success, glamour and a not inconsiderable physique (all of which, it should come as no surprise to you, I lack).

It seems to me that this internalized self-hatred -- a reaction to cultural norms that in themselves abuse gay people -- is just as valid a catalyst in the formation of a narcissist as all the other contributing factors I've read about regarding this personality type. It shares the characteristic of being a reaction to abuses experienced early in life, but with a gay phenomenology all its own.

Not that I'm any kind of expert or anything. After 13 years of observing and enduring my ex, however, I feel rather certain that my conclusions are not too off base -- as I worked desperately all those years to figure out how so wonderful a guy could neglect and mistreat me as he was too often given to do.

One last thought. I was surprised to read that Tex had written a series about his abusive relationship (with a woman, and I do hope he's not uncomfortable that I've invoked his name here). I can't imagine why he would be! Stop being homophobic. I'm not, my practice isn't, and this site is not. It so happens that I also have written a book about my own experience -- and mention this only to say that it wasn't until I was two-thirds of the way finished that I began learning about abuse, and it was the proverbial strike of lightning. I realized that what I had been writing was not merely the wacky if heartrending tale of how one man left another man bereft. What I had written was a personal account of an abusive gay relationship -- a chronicle of mistreatment that has played no small part in finding my path to recovery. And to myself. Wow!

As I continue to wander along that path, sometimes making progress, sometimes not, I value the input of caring people like yourself more than you can know. With this, I've experienced an intense desire to reach out to other gay men and lesbians who are making their own path through the morass of abuse -- and hope that the unseemly length of this post does not appear too self-involved or inappropriate. No. Thanks for posting. Let me know if I can help by setting up a gay board or list or something.

Thank you for the help and support you provide. I shall be visiting your site again.

-- Brian Chicago Good luck Brian. Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, March 31, 2001

 

To Catbox,

"Here are the boundaries that separate OUR business from another's:

If YOU said it, it's about YOU.

If you said it ABOUT ME, it is still about YOU.

If YOU did it, YOU live with it, not me.

If YOU did it TO ME, my only responsibility is my own reaction.

If I did it or said it, ONLY then am I responsible for it.

"STEPS for recovery" April 2001

 

Have a GREAT weekend!!!

Tim B.       Good stuff Tim. Thanks!  

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, March 31, 2001

S1

Thanks Tim

I liked your post and am going to try to keep it top of mind.

Welcome Brian, you are very articulate.

Nice to see more men posting finally!  Yes! 

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, March 31, 2001

S1

Hello Cat Box,

Welcome Brian and thanks Tim I am also chewing on that stuff thing. Now that I was back, I am leaving again for ten days so I will have to vent somewhere else.

My friend went back to her hotel today which was a great relief, and I was able to get some work done. She never even ate anything here, she just sat. I felt bad for her because she must be suffering. I talked to her about her husband, but it was one of those cases where she only wanted to talk about it and not do anything. So the talk can only go so far. I tried to give her this site but she didn't have a pen to write it down - later I will give it to her.

Today is the 8-week anniversary of my breakup. I heard a pop psychologist say that in 8 weeks if someone in a breakup hasn't made changes and tries to reconcile, they aren't going to. Last year when I broke up with my ex, he emailed me 8 weeks to the day that I had made it clear there was to be no more communication. Of course I told him about the psychologist! One of the good things about him was that he listened and remembered everything (sometimes a little too much and sometimes he remembered wrong...). So he will probably contact me today over his own dead body!

But it's a marker date and I am thinking and remembering, but not longing and NOT calling. Tomorrow I leave town until Easter.

Happy Bunny Day, everyone! Eat chocolate! Happy Passover - does it fall at the same time?

Love, Perdida, going to Brasilia and Recife, if you have a map. Have a wonderful trip!

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 01, 2001

S1

? I thought I posted the day before yesterday; but maybe I didn't? Can't be Trubble now as no cat could eat that many posts! Anyway I thought I said something empathizing with Perdida and I know I forgot to say Hi to Asha which was one of the things I was going to so in this post. Hi, Asha and also Hi to all the other new posters. Lynn, did you get the new job and B I think we will have to find a girlfriend for Trubble! Well, maybe that will keep me out of trubble...

May, it sounds like you did the right thing calling the police and I wondered if they let you talk to a DV officer like they so here (I am in GB). Also do you have an escape plan  and a bag packed? The details of one are somewhere on this site. If you wait until Dr Irene blue pencils I am sure she will put in the link. I think now you have seen things you will get stronger. Yes. Also, best way to see what's on file is to go to Contents.

Sharon. it seems to me like you are finally breaking the emotional tie. I wouldn't even have told him to mind his house; let him take care of it himself. How is it going with the new guy?

Asha. I think I can understand how Steve feels. Much though I want him to read and post, Jake won't. I think he would feel his privacy was violated by doing so though paradoxically he thinks it helps me. 

You actually sound very much "on the way."

Robin. you made me think. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what has happened to us that we forget to have a life apart from what has happened. I know I have felt better since I have been doing lots of non related to Jake stuff. At some point my thoughts just revolved around marriage and family and what was wrong and it just ended up I felt so negative. Now I have loads of things to do and it feels so much better.

Em's question, How do healthy people interact? I guess they respect each other and each others boundaries. They can say 'yes" or "no" and that is respected but they choose to do what the other wants sometimes.

Hi Brian Gordon and Tim: Hey where did all these males come from? Seems like a few catboxes back we were wondering if any would ever post again! Gordon, what is YOUR story? You never will give it will you? (The message board posters speculate/...)

Now as for me, well, I feel pretty good and this is really odd, but I am enjoying the vow of silence. I think it is just giving a space to be in. I can't explain it but I almost feel as if I couldn't break the silence if I tried. It feels like a space I have chosen for a bit and my OWN space. Excellent! What happens in it is MY responsibility and mine alone and there is no anger in it. Right. This is personal power. I suppose it could be a space created out of anger; but I don't feel as if I am raging any more. You're not. My inner child has curled up into a ball and gone into a sound sleep so I am not going to break the silence and wake her. She feels comfortable and quiet and in a way I think I have to wait until it feels safe to start talking to Jake again. I am sure it's not revenge, at least it doesn't feel like that. It is more like a part of me is amused by the idea of Jake seeing how ridiculous it is NOT to communicate. Isn't it? How silly his demands for non communication are. How daft it is to spend your life in the fridge. (read last post before one if you are new or you will think I am nuts!). Stay in this good space: but: warning: Jake may never see this as a ridiculous space Jay. Don't expect that now you know how to "show" him. But, you've discovered how to be with yourself and to stop acting out all over the place.

I guess I will HAVE to talk to him sooner or later. The thing is I think then I will be doing so from a safe place. I will have found out that Jay CAN be safe all on her own and can make her own choices. BINGO! I do hope this isn't passive aggression. No! I don't really don't feel like it is. Good. Trust thyself. It would be if I was angry; but I just don't think I am. I hope it isn't "of the wall.' Will you stop doubting it already?

I think it may actually be very good for me. You see I just put some toast on and forgot it and Jake turned it off and then I remembered it and found it isn't cooked at all and if I was speaking there would be a huge argument as I would be cross he did that to me. Because you would reacted way too quickly and impulsively and personalized and jumped the gun on him over something that probably had nothing to do with you. Now you are seeing clearly.  But there isn't one as I am not speaking; just calming music playing and I don't know about catboxes getting cleaned but I do know I want to be responsible for burning my own toast! Excellent! What I mean is I don't feel I need to be rescued any more. EXCELLENT! He is letting me make my own breakfast! (Only Lynn will understand the importance of that!)

And Hey I get to see what AJ lOOKS like and is like and vice versa! We really are going to meet on Tuesday ....Weird really, isn't it that we write so much about ourselves to people we have never met? GREAT!

Oops can't make my own toast apparently, he got there a minute before me.... And, he's doing his best: mechanically "trying" to do what he thinks he should to "be there" for you.  

Theressa I just twigged that like you I don't want to be rescued!

Now I have my eye on the kitchen floor which Jake cleans always...I think I will give him a break. (with the floor and not the silence!) Jay  Cool!

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 01, 2001

S1

Oh help! I just read the articles on narcissism and I find so much of Jake only, Trubble PLEASE get FakeMommy to help here are there degrees? Of course! Think of all this as a continuum, not an on/off. You say Jake and I are improving, but what Dr Vaknin writes chimes so true... Is it really THAT hopeless? That's where Doc V and I disagree, but more about that later. I think I understand now why you were telling me to take what he can give, No! I say that to save yourself a zillion headaches. Jake will do what Jake will do. He won't do what he won't do. Don't make that your problem. Dr Irene. Is this silence thing my metaphorical leaving? I don't actually want to leave. I know. That's fine Jay. Leave the reacting and the acting out. But it is all there including what I did when we did get on...including the reaction to my becoming more emotionally healthy. But I know you know we have had some life crises...several........Could God? Oh help! When you stop reacting to him and his part in it all becomes clear, if you still find your situation intolerable, you can pull away, issue an ultimatum, find a way to reach a workable life for yourself, etc. He may or may not work his issues, but he certainly won't if you make yourself the scapegoat. Even if you stay and he doesn't change, you can be OK with that because you have peace of mind - plus, he's not violent. Just chill for now. jay

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 01, 2001

S1

I need a little advice on how to explain my verbally abusive father and the dynamics of his household to my children who are 9,7 & 3.

Here's the latest. We are in the process of moving to another state. Currently we live 1000 miles from them, and we will still live that distance when we move. I had free tickets to go and visit them and figured it would be a good time to do it, since once we move it will be quite a while before my kids can see them again.

The day before we were supposed to leave, my mom called and said that it is not a good time to visit. In that whispering voice moms use when they talk about drugs or someone with cancer, she said that Dad is still sick, a "cold" he has had for the last 5 months and refuses to go to the doctor for. (So now he is physically sick as well as emotionally, and refuses help for both.)

On top of that, it will be raining the whole time we visit, so she doesn't think it is a good time because having all of us in the house would "upset" him. Translation: he is now so entrenched in his daily routine that even having his own flesh and blood visit is a source of discomfort.

Then, she expected ME to break the news to the kids. When I told her no, it was now my fault because I shouldn't have said anything to the kids about our trip(?).

Does it bother me that we are not going? No, not at all and for the following reasons.

1. If he is now that irritable that we would be a source of irritation to him, I'm glad we are not going.

2. If he now has enough control over my mother that she will easily resigned herself to not see her grandkids for a really long time, she is in worse shape than him.

3. They no longer have any control over me and my emotions, and I can see the illness in their actions.

4. In no way, shape or form do I want my children to think that the way Grandma's house runs is normal.

So, of course my children were disappointed about not going and I explained to them the best I could that as Grandpa gets older, he is becoming more irritable. Having lots of people around makes him nervous. So since we would all be stuck inside, we are better off staying home.

I have further decided not to even attempt anymore trips up there as I see no reason to subject my kids to this sort of disappointment as well as this sort of environment.

But, did I explain it to my kids correctly, or should I tell them flat out that Grandpa is abusive and controlling? The way I explained it, I sort of feel I am covering for him.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 02, 2001

S1

Hi, B. here,

Dr. Irene, I wrote "...Then I continued to work, until our daughter woke up. Then he was already tired and became resentful of my every request, because he also wanted to watch football."

You wrote: "Yes. Because he "worked" so hard "catering" to your "demands" all day. He thinks it's his time now."

Exactly, I know this is how he feels. But what can I do or say at this point, when this happens? Is there a "line" I can use with the first or second angry refusal to help (and I have to *ask* for help, since he "shuts himself out", and refuses to see that I am still working and it is still "his turn" to take care of our child)? I am at a loss as to how exactly I should react. All you can do is recognize the nutty place he's coming from, protect your boundaries and not let him get to you. Ask him to please drop the attitude. Thinking differently is not a job you can do or help him with.

Also, you say:

"You are faced with the struggle of not knowing whether or not your partner will cooperate with you. This is emotionally draining."

Yes! You hit the nail right on the head! This is what kills me. I married a cooperative guy, but the moment I was "his", the default became "no cooperation". He is a cooperative guy still; he really hasn't changed. But, how much he "does" for you has (more, whether you want it or not) and his expectations, whether right or wrong, have not been met by you (you let him down too much emotionally).

You say: "It is this that you need communicate you will not put up with." Right. Find a way to let him know your relationship is draining you and that feeling this way is not OK with you.

How? How do you communicate such a thing? I have no model of that. The best way is to identify your feelings, be real clear on what he does to attack you or fight you, etc. that is draining you. My guess is that you can explain it to him until doomsday and won't get very far because he truly sees it differently. "If she would only xxx, then I wouldn't have to feel zzz" is the position he likely comes from. He is expecting you to be considerate of him, anticipate him, etc. He feels angry or resentful if you miss the boat because you too are human too and have your own needs (which you must tend to first).  Because he is unlikely to understand, you need to set clear limits about his unrealistic expectations regarding you and his resentful, hurtful behavior when you inevitably fail.

You say: "His therapist needs to help him understand that he implicitly comes from a place of deprivation, where he just doesn't feel he can ever get enough for himself. His therapist needs to help him understand that his thinking is a fallacy; that he does not need your attention. He must understand that there is no other way out than to tolerate the "boot camp of extra effort."" Yes. You are his wife and can't go here. I see the world the way a cognitive therapist sees the world - and assume he has poor poor thinking, coping, and communication skills that get in his way. My assumption is that I can teach him to think, cope, and communicate differently assuming he is motivated to learn. Another therapist is likely to conceptualize this very differently. You have to trust that the therapist is doing his or her job and that all roads lead to Rome. 

But I have no control over what his therapist does. Correct. (BTW, what is "boot camp"? "Boot camp" is slang for the challenging and rigid training young soldiers are subjected to when they first join the armed forces. It's considered a tough and regimented program where no slack (i.e., benefit of the doubt) is given.) What do I do if his therapist does not do that? You won't change the therapist's theoretical orientation, and that's OK. You can help the therapist in most cases by attending some sessions and articulating the ways you feel your husband is selfish, resentful, etc., etc. and how you feel his behavior is affecting your partnership. You give the therapist  information to work with.

You say: "The more he tolerates doing doing doing - without acting out, or at least catching himself and stopping - he finds the more he does it, the easier it becomes to do." 

You know something - I think this is happening to him, gradually, since he began going to therapy! Excellent! It is not a linear process, it goes back and forth Yes!, but the general direction seems to be towards more doing, more cooperation. Can I take it as a sign that he really does change, and I don't need to despair? Yes! Don't despair, please! I know virtually nothing about your husband, yet, I can tell you that I am certain that he loves you, does not want to hurt you or drain you. He can't help feeling needy. That's what he's working on, and, you are reporting positive changes! Setting your limits/ making your expectations clear gives him and his therapist something concrete to keep in mind. Expect little and that's what you're likely to get. Shoot for the stars and maybe you'll get them...

Trubble, you are welcome here! I WILL look after you 24/7, though I will expect you to do your share, mind you... Hey RealMommy! Just wait one cotton-picking minute! Here's the deal: you take care of me physically and emotionally 24/7 because you love me (And, don't forget, I picked YOU to be my RealMommy because you are so wise and soft and loving and giving and tempered and big-hearted.) I'm the kid. You're lucky enough to have three of us. My "job" is to love you, that's all.  *Me*  *Me*  *Me*  *Meow*  I'm a kid! La da dee da!

B.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 02, 2001

S1

For anyone interested in the FOG book. Jay is the one I posted this book to. Dr Irene recommended it to me.

Here is the full title, of which I had forgotten:

Title: Emotional Blackmail : When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward, Donna Frazier

It is called the FOG book for short. Giggle! You're right! Talk about miscommunication on my end! Thanks Theressa! Doc.

Take care Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 02, 2001

S1

Doc, Theressa & Em,

Thank you for your input! Theressa, thank you for clarifying the "FOG" book, I had looked for it on-line and at the library. Now I will be able to find it!

This weekend was from Hell! I started tracking his abuse cycles and estimated the next blow-up would be Friday. Sadly, I was correct. I had posted the following to my on-line support group, they know the history of this relationship and so I apologize if there is a reference to a past situation:

 

Well, I knew Friday would be the day of the next blow out. It is one thing I did not want to be right about. He and I were having a very good day though I could sense his tension. I had no idea what this one would be about! His rages always ended up being about something other than me. A little background, he is very jealous and almost daily would ask me if I was "his and only his" or if I did not want to make love when he did in his mind I was "getting it somewhere else". No matter how many times I told him I am faithful, he would neve trust me. I had never had an affair on him or my X and would never consider it!!

We went out to eat after work on Friday. We talked, laughed, snuggled. After din we went to the video store. As we were in the line to rent our movies he said he wanted to rent a pornos. I told him that I didn't like watching those type of movies. He went off with "Don't bullshit me, I know you've watched them!". (me) "Yea, I did a long time ago and I am choosing to not watch them any more". (him) "No one put a gun to your head and made you watch them". Meanwhile his voice is raising and people are looking. I told him to STOP as this was not the time or place. He stopped. As soon as we settled in at home and popped the first movie in, he started again. I told him that it is my CHOICE to not watch pornos and this was not up for discussion. Ok, end of that! So I am watching the movie and he is reading the newspaper. He asks "Do you want to hear your horoscope?" Sure! It said something about having a secret romance. As soon as I heard that I froze up because I KNEW it would set him off. Sure enough! Over a horoscope! He was convinced that I was having an affair! How psycho is this???!!! That incident ended with him saying, "I suppose you want me to leave" (He had promised after a prior incident that if he ever raged at me again OR accused me of infidelity, he would move out) I said "Yeah!!" He spent the next four hours begging, pleading, not letting me get near the phone, blocking me in rooms. I said,"Fine! If you won't leave, then I will" I grabbed my purse and keys and ran to my van. He ran out after me, begging. He said he would go. Stupid me believed him! He came back in the house. For some reason I sat my purse and keys down and went to the bathroom. When I returned my keys were gone. I frisked him and found nothing so he HELPED me look for them! I located my spare van key and took his housekey off his ring and bolted out the door again. Jumped in the van, locked the doors. This time he did leave. My God! I was shaking so bad! I tore the living room apart looking for my keys, believing him that I must have dropped them somewhere. I looked outside, under the deck.... driving myself crazy! There was no sleep for me. The only way I can describe it is stark terror. Early the next morning I threw his stuff together and called a friend of his asking someone other than him come collect his things. I tore the rest of the house apart looking for those damn keys! I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and didn't want to believe that he would take them! Later that morning I called his friend back asking to relay the message that if he didn't return my keys by noon he was not getting his things. He called that afternoon and said he put the keys under the tissue box in the bathroom. The only place I didn't look!!!!! Of course he was begging for forgiveness, it's not his fault because he was abused as a child...... I said, "You know!! I was abused too and I don't take things out on everyone else!! That is no excuse!" I asked him to NOT CALL AGAIN or come near the house and requested he have a friend come over for his things before my daughter got home. He started begging again and I hung up the phone.

When my daughter came home I told her what happened and she said, "Mom, I am glad he is gone". (She is 8 and my child with my X husband) She only commented that sometimes she would put her hand near him, he would take it and squeeze it hard. She didn't "think he liked small children much". We cried together and held each other and I told her I was so sorry for putting her through all of this. That evening she and I went to visit my sister and her family. When we got home there was a message from him begging me to let him come home. All she said was, "Mom, do you want me to turn it off?" I said yes and we both laughed.

BTW, his belongings were still outside when we got home. It is supposed to rain today so I was nice and put them in the storage shed.

There is already a sense of peace around home. I can breathe again. I know there will be more begging from him though I will get a restraining order if he even comes near my home. No threat to do it, I will just do it. He also knows that if one truck payment is late it is getting sold. (I financed it for him and it is in my name)

I look at our relationship and feel so much shame for many things though am glad it is over. I feel like I should have know better!! I know can't go back and change what was done though I have learned much and know more than ever that I need time for just me and my daughter, no relationship, no men.... for a long time.

I have been reading "Hell is My Husband" by Beverly Gaines. It is Bev's story of her abusive marriage. I feel everything she does as she tells her story because I've lived it (twice)! If any of you have friends or family that doesn't quite understand what you have been or are going through. I recommend this book for them to read. Sounds excellent. I can't find it!

DJ

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 02, 2001

S1

Hi Catbox, You're right Jay, I have got myself wrapped up in all that has happened to me and I'm trying to break out of it. I did get out today, I went to tan and run some errands. We're going to Myrtle Beach the end of April, us and my best friend and her husband. The first real vacation we've ever had, and no kids.

For me it has been one of those snowball effects, everything I mentioned earlier all happened in January and February. One thing right after the other, I didn't have much time to recover and the next one hit.

Last summer when I was working, I realized that I had lived my life through my kids and my husband. My h. didn't want me to have a life and I never allowed myself to have one. I've been this way for so long it's very difficult to break out of, but I'm trying. I think that's why my counselor told me that I needed a vacation. Go for a week and relax, have some fun. (except he said by yourself) We live on a farm and for the first 10 years we were married, we farmed the family farm. It helps keep you isolated and tied down. (Not to mention poor) You can't plan anything until it rains. You get used to not planning at all.

I've just about finished with Beatie's "Co-depentant No More". Wow was that an eye-opener! But I must say, when I started working in Oct. 99, that was the start of me becoming undependant. I'm not saying that I am cured, I've still got a loooong way to go, but I know that I am not as bad as I used to be. For example, I used to absolutely OBSESS over my husbands work problems, to the point that I paced the floor and about made myself sick. Not anymore, those are his problems to deal with, not mine. I think it was the fact that I had something of my own, a job, a place to go everyday, a reason to get out of bed in the morning that made the difference. (MY home has felt like a prison to me for too many years.) That's why I went back to my employer and asked for my job back. I felt a sense of independence and some sense of having a life that I have not felt since I was single.

Well, I'm gonna try to psyche myself up to do an exercise video, so we'll see you later. (trying to get into a bikini for our vacation, wish me luck!)

Take care, Robin

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 02, 2001

S1

On Jay Haley's website Thanks! I never thought to search his stuff. He is one of my favorite systems theorists. you can download "How to have an awful marriage" just in case you want one. Fact out of 3 bookshops in an English University town you can find one book by Jay Haley despite all three having a record total of 10 on their system. Theory: there is a glut of student family therapists in this town. Alternative theory: bookshops are lazy and don't replace their stock. I am still guessing on the intentional paradox but now I have read all these other books (well bits of them) I will drive the family therapist round the bend. Giggle!

Thought as I was walking down the road. Probably the only people who don't have therapy are dishonest. 

Another thought. That therapist would have been confused by garbage can as well. Translation into English makes it dustbin. Hey, I'll have to remember that the next time I don't let someone use my "dustbin." That will really confuse people!

Rats. I had to break the vow of silence. There are times when you have to communicate and it is impractical not to. Also I didn't want to be insensitive as this was the anniversary of his best friend's death. Good judgment. Your goal is not to use silence as revenge, but to use it as a means of connecting with yourSelf and as a means of not acting out/reacting to him.

This is totally weird. 1998 close friend's husband dies. In March. 1999 Jake's best friend dies in April. 2000 Jake's uncle dies in April. 2001 in the same week and on the same day my best friend Jake's best friend's wife and I helped another close friend as she moves out and separates from her husband (i.e. on the day my best friend's husband died). This means that all 3 of my closest friends have now either lost their husband or ended their relationship in the same month. I am beginning to dread April. 

Helping my friend tonight was so awful. Both partners were saying "good riddance" but it made me think. Could I go through all that with Jake and I think the answer is no. I couldn't.

I also wonder, if there is a part of me that is pushing Jake away as I am so frightened he will be next. I know I am not the only one in my set of friends who has had problems about this. My guess is you push him away too. You're no pro in intimacy and "picked" Jake as much as he "picked" you.

But the silence? The sheer relief of it is so lovely. No arguments of course. I can understand a bit more of his withdrawal and why he is so comfortable withdrawing. :) I can see the silence could get addictive. When I finally had to speak, I almost felt annoyed. When I did interact he walked off before I had finished, as usual. Ok Dr Irene I am not out to save him but maybe I can change something like save Jay. Every time he walks off in the middle of talking I am going to have a silent phase. If he thinks that my words aren't worth listening to, I won't get mad; I will simply not talk and enjoy some personal space. It might just work? Jay It will certainly work better than screaming at him for walking away. My sense of Jake is that he walks away because he can't handle it, not because he wants to "get" you.  Amazing how clear things become when we stop the noise, huh?

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 02, 2001

S1

Dear all, Sharon here. Well, I have interesting news to share on Dr. Psycho. Strangely enough, I ran into him all weekend, either by car or on a walk. We finally stopped the dance and talked for awhile by phone. Things are now making sense about him. And I'm beginning to feel as though I have an abusive side to me as well. Of course! That's anger - what happens when we don't pay attention to what it's telling us and we let it get too big.

There is no doubt in my mind that he has been verbally abusive, and has other problems as well. Borderline personality and narcissist traits BIG TIME; however, for once, I had him in a very rational state of mind last night. I know he sensed that he had "lost me" in the arms of another man, and he felt abandoned. So, he was willing to not withhold some thoughts and show a little vulnerability. It was major insightful for me to hear him share.

For one thing, I do not trust him. And he does not trust me. We have both done things to each other in the last 18 months to piss each other off. He acknowledges that. He does not trust me with information about himself because he feels as though I will use it against him later. He does trust that I did love him enough to not cheat and have sex with anyone else; however, he doesn't trust me enough to share his feelings about things because he says I throw things in his face when we fight.

I don't trust him either. I never did trust him about other women because he had an ex gf call him constantly the first six months in our relationship. Yuk! And eventually, I did call this woman after we broke up (over a year ago) and we talked for a few hours about Dr. Psycho. She shared with me alot of her past with him, as well as what was going on between them as to why she kept calling. Apparently, Dr. Psycho has NOT forgiven me about me calling his ex gf. He also doesn't like the fact that I am friends with his friends. He hates that! We have alot of mutual friends now and he regards that as bad because he gets paranoid that everybody talks about him. So, he does not trust me as a result. Giggle! He thinks I should trust myself first; then we will get along better. I think he just does not trust women in general and his track record proves it. Though I can see how he would think I did cross boundaries when I have talked with his friends. I work and go on breaks with one close friend of his. He thinks Dr. Psycho is a nutcase! And its because they have had several fall outs over the course of several years, so its not just me that have fought with this man. So, I am taking inventory - my own - and have taken responsibility as to what sets this guy into a place of rage. He thinks he is being victimized and accused of wrong doings every time I ask him a question about another women. Sounds right. He claims he did NOT take anyone with him to Monterey 2 weeks ago. He just got sick and tired of me asking him if he was taking a woman, and that's why he started screaming on the phone. Of course, it was inappropriate behavior coming from him. He felt entitled. Oh well! Oh well! Nobody deserves that! My bone of contention is that he taunts me constantly about his involvement with other women - like whenever his phone would ring - he'd say "mmmm, I wonder who that is?" Could it be HER???" So, of course, I am feeling provoked into reaction. But, I have never yelled at him or acted out crazy - he admitted to that - that I just behave weird and emotional, but not "outward" onto him. Just insecure, quiet and "tight." 

So, even though I hate to admit this to myself, he is right about my being insecure. I have felt insecure most of the time I was in the relationship with him. STOP! You are insecure because he does everything in his power to create a space that is designed to foster that feeling in you. Unfortunately, it worked. Even more unfortunate, his tactic would work with just about any living being. There was no way you were going to win with this I've just never been treated so inconsistent by a man - or had such a push me/pull me ride with anyone like this. It was a roller coaster ride with him. And he thinks that it just an excuse for my being insecure. Its hard for me to admit this (my being insecure) but hey! it felt like HE WANTED ME TO BE!!!!!!!!!! He did. 

I am in therapy and have been for quite awhile, and have come to grips in a few things. First, I think he is a narcissist, but I am also co-dependent and an inverted narcissist, therefore makes us a bad match. I am sure that what kept us going was the great chemistry, but I don't think that is going to save the day. I am happy that he and I had the opportunity to share "rationally" however, our trust issues will not get resolved unless we are willing to let our guards down, and I don't see that he is willing. But that's OK. I'm happy for the time spent talking about things without biting each other's faces off. And I still think he's a nutcase! Friends with Dr. Psycho? For now, I think that thought should be saved for future thinking. I feel at peace knowing that I took the high road by admitting my part in a very emotionally charged situation. One day at a time.

Hugs, Sharon Good work!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 02, 2001

S1

Jay, B. here,

Just wanted to say your silence thing sounds great. Your description of how you don't even want to break it reminded me of my good shiatsu sessions: I get to a place where I simply don't want to talk at all. I get silence, peaceful silence, which I feel I do not want to break. This is the place to be. And I get there many times lately.

Believe me, shutting me up is really an accomplishment...

It feels so clean and centered. It is then that I acutely realise how talking, to me, is a form of defense, and of running away from my feelings. :)

Love, B.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

Thanks, B. and Dr Irene. I opened my mouth this morning and realised how much I still don't want to talk. He is in passive aggressive/abusive phase (twisting my words). I should still apparently "listen to the therapist." Hey Jake actually I did but you apparently didn't hear her saying that I should take my power. I am going to tape us if he will agree....Oh yes, apparently I have the rest of the day to burn my toast! True but .... oh boy how do I not laugh in his face...Now I wonder if I should set a timetable for this and make sure I do burn toast after 9pm cos all I really want out of life is burnt toast....Sorry Jake but actually I am worth more than the toast crumbs of life. 

I have never done Shiatsu, B. Our local bookshop has Shiatsu massage on a Friday and I keep meaning to read a bit about it. Just to see if I like the idea; but my guess is the background philosophy won't sit with my Christian beliefs. I don't have a very still mind and would love to learn to calm it though so you got me thinking about massage and meditation. My sister and HumanKatkid have 'healing fingers." I wish I did but I am too tense. 

There is a lot going on today and I better go wash and dress or I won't get to meet AJ. Now that is exciting, the only thing I am worried about is her reaction to my three heads.... :)

Sharon, it must be really hard to separate from Dr Psycho it you have the same friends and live in the same area. I think in your last post you still sound locked in to him. Can you fill your life with lots of non Dr Psycho stuff so you don't focus on him as much?

Jay

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

Hi All,

I would like to share the stage I am at and ask for some input. It seems now I have all this awareness I have to ACT. I have six more weeks of therapy left, then my therapist ends our session since he is leaving the practice.

Anyway, It is very clear now that I do lots of things to sabotage my growth, and it is evident that my people pleasing is alive in my life and sabotaging my growth.

So this is the next thing on the agenda to gain insight and kick it out of my life, as it is stagnating my growth and hurting me.

I went over the weekend with my therapist. I seemed to please my friends, my partner BUT NOT ME. My boss, my colleagues, BUT not me.

Well, well, well, whose life is this? Is it mine, OR is it theirs. Will being so nice get me into advanced recovery. NO! So why do I go there. Why do I rescue everyone but MYSELF?

Cuz firstly I learnt this behaviour was a way to gain friends and be liked. BUT this is self defeating since NO ONE IS LIKED BY EVERYONE. Secondly You can't set boundaries and take care of all of their feelings, and FINALLY why do something that leaves you with a short straw? Cuz you are afraid to set boundaries of what you WANT incase they don't like you!

 

Okay so On Friday I was pulled between pleasing my partner and my friends. I set myself up, hook line and sinker. What did I do: Well I asked my partner if he was staying over (since I was going out with girlfriends), he said "I don't know". SO I gave him total power over me!! to decide on my next actions.

My girlfriends went back to one of their houses, I went along to. I wanted to, know one forced me. (HOWEVER, in the back of my mind I could see my partner, maybe he was at my home waiting for me? Or maybe he wasn't? but I felt guilty, since he'd be livid with me cuz I hadn't let him know where I was and could be involved in an accident or something)

One of my friends of whom I was going to get a taxi cab with was with a guy she met and I wanted to go home. WHAT DID I DO? I tried to please her by waiting for her.

So NOW i was feeling guilty because of the possibility that my partner might be waiting for me. AND trying to please my friend by waiting for her!

SO was I pleased in all of this, NO!! Firstly I hadn't considered that I might want to stay at my friends house and this was perfectly okay. Secondly I hadn't took my power and communicated this to my partner, to avoid any confusion. Finally I let these two decide based on guilt and obligation what I should be doing. How I should ACT.

 

What I could have done was firstly said to my partner "I am staying out at my friends house, or I am going back after for a drink, so I will see you in the morning."

Or I could have phoned him after I left the pub and said "i am going to my friends house for a drink so I will see you when I get in. Some of us are going to her house for a drink."

Further with my friend I could have said "Look I am going at xxxx time, it is up to you if you want to come."

AND also I could have rang my partner and told him if I couldn't get a taxi cab and seen if he could give me a lift. HE could have chosen not to.

IN ALL THIS INCIDENCE I never gave any of these people CHOICES, and most importantly because I tried to please them, I ended up not choosing what was right for me.

If I decided to do xxx, and they didn't like it, that is their choice, they can choose.

However, If I go about trying to please everyone, which I can't possibly do I end up not pleasing anyone. INCLUDING never pleasing myself.

NOW THIS IS going to be hard work, but I hope you can all help me to break this bad habit, which is stagnating my growth!!!!

Thanks all of you Theressa Excellent insight Theressa! I'm very sorry your therapist is leaving. That's got to be very, very hard...

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

Hi All,

A continuation from my last post:

I please my boss and my colleagues but NOT ME!!

My bad people pleasing habit is evident in my work life also:

I had a meeting the other day about some things I wasn't very pleased about in some of my work. This meeting was with the computer officer and one of the senior lecturers. I do an attendance record system for them. The problem was some of the information handed in was hard to read. Anyway I asked for the grid lines on the sheets to be more bold. And also said It was hard for me to sometimes distinguish the signatures.

 

WELL here came in my people pleasing: I rang my supervisor who allocated this task to me, of doing the attendance records. I informed her firstly about the meeting and then I went on to tell her that i had trouble with the grid lines and the signatures. SHE RESPONDED by saying, "Theressa you should be able to remember whose signature is whose by now, after six months, and as for the grid lines there is nothing wrong with them."

Well I people pleased some more, I said Also in the meeting we were discussing the time it takes, and I was saying "how much work it must be for you checking them before you give them to me."

She respond "look it isn't any work for me, you do the imputting of the data and it only takes me two minutes to check over the sicknesses and authorised absences. BUT it the job needs doing and I allocated it to you, so you must do it. It doesn't matter that it is a lot of work, it needs doing and you are going to do it."

WELL really I was asking her to empathize with me and the work load on me, but I didn't stress this I didn't show how it affected me, I tried to be TOO NICE and show my consideration for her. Even when she threw it back in my face.

SO what did I achieve by trying to get her APPROVAL and see ME AS A NICE girl. I got nothing worth having back, infact I got made to feel ashamed for having problems, I got insulted, I got told that it was tough that it was tedious. SO WAS IT WORTH COMMUNICATING TO HER. Did she deserve for me to please her! NO!!! I set myself up to be abused.

SO I know that if I am telling her to gain her empathy or approval, I AM WASTING MY TIME. Cuz I don't need her approval, and it has nothing to do with her, LET her find out off someone else, if she wants to know. OR at least let her ask for my HELP, or for information about the meeting.

AGAIN I know I was offering help (in the form of keeping her informed) that wasn't asked for, and I was asking for approval I didn't need.

SO TIME TO KICK THIS HABIT IN THE SKINS AND STOP TELLING HER THINGS UNLESS SHE ASKS.

What do you all think????

Take care Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

Excellent stuff, for all of us:

http://www.drirene.com/jupdate4.htm   http://www.drirene.com/jreply.htm

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

HI ALL,

I FEEL I NEED TO RECOPY THIS FOR MYSELF AND FOR OTHERS, comments made after reading FOG.

(Posted by THERESSA at the end of last year)

Hi Jay,

I want to reply to you first cos you sound like you need someone to listen and support you.

Is it that, if codependents avoid their pain, I have stopped being codependent and started to feel mine? Someone out there can you tell me if this is what is happening?

Well in my opinion if you can avoid their pain you're half way there. And if you can feel your own, by allowing yourself to be sad without needing to get up and make yourself happy, your feeling your pain. I think your therapist is GOOD!!! Small steps are what makes for professionals, experts, SUCCESSFUL people. Change anything and the link is broken. You broke the link by not taking on or being responsible for fixing their pain. WHICH you cannot do anyway without hurting you.

If you pity someone else and try to help them without them wanting it, your not SELF CARING, so this is a big step you took to leave your co-dependency behind. This what DR I means when she says Care about them, not for THEM. So allow them to have their pain and not RESCUE them, listen and accept YES rescue and correct and sort out NO!!!!

Small step maybe to allow yourself to cry for limited amounts of grief time and then keep busy the rest of the time, CALL this your black hole time. The rest tell yourself you have great resources and can cope, say "I may not like this, but, I CAN STAND THIS". See yourself making the small steps.

The steps you made the first not getting involved in rescue others from their pain. The next one is putting yourself FIRST, so ask what am I getting from this action, behaviour.

APPROVAL perhaps??? DUMP it you don't need approval, make your own life and know your here and important cuz GOD thinks so. That is all that matters. So does Trubble 

ABANDONMENT WORRIES perhaps??? You can get support from where ever you need to.

Not so long ago I felt just the same as you, I thought the world would end. What did I do? Well I let myself feel in set aside times, I let all the tears out. I wrote some letters "Anger letters" to tell those who hurt me how angry and hurt I was. I then set boundaries, for all the areas that angered me.

I thought about what behaviour I would accept and what I wouldn't.

Also Jay its normal, to feel so hopeless and sad when you can't go and rescue others. JUST allow the feelings, allow yourself to feel angry at them, to even hate them for how their behaving, ALWAYS label the behaviour and not the PERSON. Cos we are all mixtures of good and bad.

AND take comfort in knowing that the intention behind all our behaviours is good. YES even the negative behaviours like rescuing, this intention is to feel that you are caring. THOUGH you can be caring by just allowing people to have their pain. SO change the behaviours to meet the intentions you want.

Hope this helps.

Plan some time taking care of yourself, bubble baths, walks in the park, lying down just to rest. YES resting is allowed, it relaxing and letting things flow and a time to listen to what is inside you.

Love Theressa Excellent, excellent, excellent advice! Thanks Theressa!

PS we all know how you feel, so allow yourself to feel, IT IS OKAY to feel whatever you feel.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

HI ALL,

Dr Irene I realise me not notifying my partner that I am going to be out into the small hours is more PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE STUFF. Just like when I was being late and didn't realise this was not being caring.

I didn't purposely do any of this I know, but just like with the lateness, since I am now aware, I can make a conscious choice to ring if my plans change. (JUST so others know and then they can make a choice about how they want to take my change of plans.) Also, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR ANGER towards your partner. Your body is trying to tell you what is ticking you off.

THIS all stems back to my childhood and the patterns we used then!!

The reason I haven't changed these patterns previously is because I had the mistaken thought that IF I made a conscious choice to let people know where I was, that I would be reporting to them. Ooooph! Somebody controlled you as a child. Glad you cleared that one up!

However, i now realise I can choose to do as I wish, but if I want to be respectful to others, I should also let them know so that they can choose what they want to do.

Another thing I have always done but because I wasn't sure why I should not do it, I wasn't ready to change it.

It seems I usually need to know why patterns are not healthy before I can change them. Of course!

WELL YIPPEEE Now I can change this one!! Yippeeee!

Take care Theressa

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

---------------------------------------------------- ** 7 LIES that PREVENT POWERFUL RESULTS - written by Kathy Gates ** ----------------------------------------------------

Have you ever considered that most of what happens in your life happens because of the way you think? Your thinking directs your emotional reaction, which in turn directs your behavior. The way you react to a situation is not just a representation of the events; your reaction also depends on what you think the events mean.

Everyone has something in their life that they would like to change. Nobody's life circumstances and environment are perfect. But what do you tend to tell yourself about these circumstances? Often times, it's easy to fix blame on others. Consider, however that your feelings are not caused by your cranky boss, or the construction on the street, or the inconsiderate friend; but rather your feelings are caused by what you TELL yourself about your circumstances. One writer gives the following example: Imagine that a friend is late to meet you for dinner. Depending on what you THINK (i.e., she was in an accident, she's rude, I wanted to do something else anyway), you might be worried, annoyed, or relieved. These feelings (ignited by the thoughts) can then dictate how you react, i.e. calling the police, having angry words for her, or being glad she bailed on you.

What you tell yourself, or what you think about your circumstances, may keep you stuck in a bad situation. That is why recognizing the lies you tell yourself is very important.

These lies prevent us from being as powerful as we really are.

1. It'll never happen. It's true, we have all seen our lives change in a heartbeat - sometimes an upturn, and sometimes a downturn. But generally success towards any goal is a longer road that takes daily work to make it a reality. It will happen. Don't expect it to happen overnight, but expect it to happen. Don't give up. Powerful Results come from taking baby steps, one after another, day after day, until you reach your goal.

2. Complaining is OK. The Law of Attraction states that you will attract whatever you put out there. If you have a habit of complaining, you will attract more complainers to you. Life reflects back to you what you are expending. Or as the Bible puts it, "you reap what you sow." One of my favorite cartoons, "The Far Side", shows the character contemplating Spring, and she says "Time to go out in the garden and see if the bulbs I didn't plant didn't come up." Powerful Results come from planting seeds for what you want to grow.

3. I'll Fix It Later Winners recognize that it doesn't always matter how the hole got in the boat. It matters that it gets fixed so that you can get on with the fishing. However, it DOES matter if you keep running over the same rock day after day, and you are patching the same hole over and over. It is important to find the SOURCE of the hole and stop allowing it to happen. Powerful Results come from creating a lifestyle that supports your desires.

4. Having an *idea* instead of a plan Did you miss becoming a doctor, or dancer, or chef, or actor, or CPA because you were "absent" the day they were handing out those careers? Of course not. All of those careers require that a person choose to go to school, sometimes for many years. If you don't purposefully choose the path to go down, something else will choose it for you. Those who don't create their future, have to endure the future they get. Powerful results come from creating a plan and getting into action.

5. Ignoring your talents Thomas Leonard, founder of Coach University, suggests that you "customize what you want out of life so that it fits you perfectly." This means using your natural talents in a way that works best for you, in all that you do. So often we put ourselves into a role or get so busy responding to life's daily crisis, that we end up frustrated with busy work instead of taking the time to sort out what we're good at, let our strengths help us, and be willing to ask for help with the rest. Powerful results come from customizing whatever you do so that it's a better fit for you.

6. Having Elusive Goals instead of Do-able Goals An elusive goal is "lose weight". A do-able goal is "walk 30 minutes 3 times a week", or "stop eating ice cream after dinner". That's a plan of action that has measurable results. Powerful Results come from specific actions that have measurable results.

7. Adopting a "what I do doesn't matter" attitude. It's easy to say to yourself that other people and circumstances prevent you from doing something. It's easy to think that they are more powerful than you are, so your puny contribution won't matter in the long run. But this attitude tends to paralyze you, and keeps you out of the action of creating better circumstances. Powerful Results come from being honest with yourself, listening to yourself, and then doing what needs to be done.

Theressa, I bet this is this you posting!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

Hey folks AJ is sooooo nice. Just had lunch with her and she is so lovely. Funnily enough she looks like the sort of person my friends look like if you see what I mean. Anyway it is nice to feel there are real people (ok and cats in the catbox). Gee whiz! You mean the Catbox crowd is actually normal? Only one head and no purple stripes across her nose? Cool! Giggle!

Dr Irene I have now given up on Jay Haley and bought a whole big thick book on family therapy. It's great stuff. It's a way of seeing the world. EVERY act bounces off another... So now I will drive any therapist to distraction! I don't think she will keep seeing us anyway after next Friday. Why? I think she actually has us down as a hopeless case. Dust bin. The thing is Jake is literally expecting her to sit there and tell us what to do and there is no way she would do that. So he thinks I haven't "listened" as I don't do exactly as she says, but she doesn't say anything half the time anyway. Also to be honest I am finding the whole thing very time consuming and I just want to get on with the bits of my life that do work. if I can just get enough work to be financially independent, then I think I shall just get on with life despite him as it is clear he has chosen to do this anyway.

I don't know if this is a bit more anger coming out. I felt positive towards the therapist before I rang her and I actually can see her point so I am not objecting to that but then I felt like it was hopeless. Jake will always be locked up in a fridge with his frozen feelings and I have no intention of getting into the fridge. I LIKE my warmth and empathy Me too! and I like ME. Yeah! I wouldn't like me if I was lacking in warmth and empathy. Everything others say about me is diametrically opposed to what Jake says, and I think I am going with the majority view. He hasn't openly made me feel the negative things like depression and stuff like that are wrong, but also laughter and spontaneity and chilling out and enjoying things. I DON'T WANT TO LIVE LIKE THAT. I am happy to have the full range of human emotions and use them and if he can't accept that the that is HIS problem. His loss.

In fact I DO feel empowered. I think I know what I will and won't accept and the frozen stuff can be HIS and HIS alone as that is what he has chosen. Let him get FROSTBITE which isn't a bad idea as then he might get worried enough to get some help. Giggle!

In fact I have decided I will block anything I don't think is helpful to me out of my life and not feel guilty and that includes people and situations. The only person (kids aside) I am going to feel responsible for is ME.. BINGO! YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Theressa, I have been thinking. It seems an awful lot of energy used up wondering whether you should ring home or not. Mostly I think ringing home is just about letting people know where you are and that you are safe. I don't even think you should worry too much about your motivation. Or about other people's choices. Let them make them and ring home just because it is the sensible and right thing to do.

Also about that stuff with your supervisor. It kind of feels that it was made bigger than it needed to be. Don't offer help unless it is clear you need to. I suppose the crux of the matter is did she need to know and could you just have made the lines clearer. You could also get everyone to sign a name on a sheet with printed version beside? I did this too at work and my people pleasing always ended in disaster.

Giggle, Theressa I just nearly posted a long disagreement with your last post not realising you had copied an OLD post. So I must have moved on!

Just tried to talk to the therapist but she won't engage as she only wants me and my husband to talk to her if the other knows. Funny really as neither of US has a problem with this! So I think I am going to revert to silence for the rest of the week. I shall take it as an internal holiday. Today Jake tried to take back the empowerment by saying the silence was what HE wanted.... Sorry Jake it won't work cos this silence has nothing to do with what YOU want.

 

ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAR watchout Trubble there is a tiger in the catbox today taking it's power! Jay *Cool* AuntieJay!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

Hi group,

Lynn here and I just posted half a post and it got lost. Rather than repeat myself I'll wait and see if the first half appears and if so, I'll finish it and maybe Trubble can put it together. But, FakeHoneyMommyLynn, what if I ate it instead? heheheheheh

I did welcome Brian and Tim and also wanted to say HI to the oldies. AJ, Becky, Asha, Jay, Theressa, B and the rest of us.

Thinking of you all,

Love, Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

Dear all, Sharon here, Well no news on the Dr. Psycho front other than the fact that I am proud that I take the side streets instead of the main ones to NOT go by his house. Lunchtime is hard though because we sometimes see each other in the same restaurants. I hate that! I have good days and bad days about this however I am glad we spoke. It takes the "ick" out of things.

My new friend, Michael, is slowing being more invited to be part of my life. This is a good sign for me that Dr. Psycho is fading into the sunset. All things are taking time; I have to be patient with myself. I have not yet developed an intimate realm with Michael yet as we are still getting into knowing each other, I think there's potential for that with him. He seems to have qualities that are geniune and not just showing me good sides consistently in order to win me. I think he may be real, and not just putting facades on. But, we shall see! For as much as I can see, I like it!

Hugs, Sharon

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

S1

Hi group,

Lynn back and my post is bye bye, so I'll try again.

I made a list of SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) around here. I'm in a rut and I need to break the routine.

1. Things are going ok. 2. Dan lied to me. Fine. Accept it. Move out or move on. 3. I gave him a chance to explain. 4. I confronted him. 5. He said, "Well, I'm sorry." 6. I won't accept that, I go to the bathtub. 7. He comes in and is very angry. Almost in a rage. Clenched teeth and saying he apologized. 8. That's not enough for me and I say so. Feels more like he's sorry he got caught. 9. I'm cold. Until this gets solved, resolved I don't want to pretend. 10. Dan gets busy. He does, "Everything I want him to do." (I think he takes mental notes of all the requests and stores them up to do when something is wrong he doesn't want to discuss). 11. He fixes something wrong. (I used to think and said once, "How could anyone be that stupid." Abusive, I still think it. He isn't that stupid, he's doing it on purpose.) 12. See, he can never please me. 13. Days, weeks of his doing previous requests. 14. I relent, soften, forget and get on with "life." Including intimacy, cooking, cleaning, etc. 15. The nasties, i.e. lit cigs on carpet, road rage, etc. 16. Back to # 1.

Right now I'm stuck on # 13. I have him right where I want him. So to speak. I don't like it, but I have him on his toes. From previous experience I KNOW when I relent and things get back to "normal" the same old routine starts over again.

Time to start a new trend. Makes no sense to me that when I'm nice to him he's nasty and when I'm mad he's loving and helpful. His language tells me to stay a witch all the time. I don't want to live like this. Even if it does work, it isn't fun or healthy. Then when things get going good and are good and feel good he lies, burns holes in the carpet and doesn't do things I ask.

I may have to face the fact that he'll never change. I sometimes feel that if he spent half as much energy on the relationship when things were ok as he does when they aren't we'd have this behind us. It feels like when things are going good, it means to him it's get even time.

Dan says he's doing everything I want him to. Not so. He's doing everything I've wanted him to do and he didn't, but if he does it now we wont have to face and confront what's really wrong.

Sound bummed? I am. I don't want to stay stuck here, but 'm not going to give on this one. I feel like he's learned that if he waits it out I'll give in (and I do/did).

I came up with an analogy to living with Dan. There's an 8.7 earthquake and so I tell him we have to get a plan and do something, so he goes into the kitchen and does the dishes! Hey, somebody has to do them!

Ok, I've vented enough. He knows what the biggies are. He knows doing all the little things won't make them better. He know they won't go away. He can live in lala land and pretend all he wants to. Time for me to decide if I want to continue this cycle. (I don't!). What to do? Nothing. I've done all I can.

Thanks for listening. Now I've got things to do and I'm going to do them!

Take care all and much love, Lynn Hey Bro, Dan: Get off auto pilot! Stop trying to please her; you'll only resent her more for it later... Stop giving her so much power and bouncing off her so!  Granted, HoneyAuntie thinks she knows everything and how to do it better than you and *Me*, and she wants to run the show, but so what? She can't. There's no reason to fight her. She doesn't run your show. You're the one rebelling against her. She can't run your life!   She can't guilt you! Only you do that. So, listen to your buddy here, cuz you and me, we're in the same boat and *I* love you and LOCO loves you... And the heck with mom and the heck with Lynn. You'll never get their approval, so stop making yourself mad for working so hard in trying to meet their demands. OK? Notice how mad and put upon you feel when she asks you to do something. You fight her and keep the rebellion guilt dynamic alive when you don't have to. Your buddy, Trubble.

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