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Comments for Catbox 31

Comments for Catbox 31

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   Copyright© 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 30

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001

S1

Dear Jay,

good for you to look outside and get a Life. You deserve one and you'll have a great life, I am sure. And it will probably make things with Jake much easier, and know what, when he really sees you changing, he just might follow. I do believe in miracles. Did my cat arrive?

Perdida, I come from the Netherlands, and I am mostly very sloppy in writing and do not have a spelling check in English, hence the bad English and of course it is not my native tongue.. But thanks for the compliment that you had not noticed. Form you last post I get you really let go of you ex. It does sound different then the ones before. Hope you'll do fine after your vacation trip.

As for me, I am angry, again. It seems that when settle into a sort of nice routine with C, things start to go wrong again. I know I have to act now, in order not the let things get worse (how well we can advice others, and how hard it is to follow our own advice, isn't it?)

We had an appointment for either Saturday night or Sunday to have dinner together with special spring/Easter food. He wasn't sure he could make it on Saturday, so I said, no sweat (and feeling very good in saying it, I might add!), just call me in the afternoon whether you will come Saturday or Sunday. I was rather pleased with myself and went out Saturday morning to get the things for dinner and buy some Easter things and flowers. Then He dialed me on my Mobile phone, which wasn't on at the moment and left a message, asking me to call back. I did and he said some friends from Germany just called that they would be coming over so he would not be able to make it Saturday. I said, no problem, we agreed on either Saturday or Sunday anyway, so that's fine with me. Well, he said, I am not quite sure when they will leave, Sunday before or after dinner. I felt a little frustrated and said, well, I bought beautiful fresh fish and things (I am sure my tone of voice was not very nice). He then stated to say he didn't know they were coming and he did have other things to do and feeling sorry for himself and maybe the fish could wait until Monday. I just said , I'll hear what it will be then. He said he would call Sunday, very sweet voiced, apologetic. But still. After the phone call I cried and then got very mad at him. Thinking I should have said I wasn't there on Monday, so big deal. But I really felt bad. Partly because he just let me down, and I do know these friends are important to him, and he has been staying a lot with them when he felt real bad and they do come all the way from Germany. But either he did have a prior appointment and forgot, or he did not tell them he had an appointment with me and that makes it even worse.

I am not sure yet what to say when he calls today, I will just see how he handles things. But I am still mad at him. Am I too harsh No. He was rude. Stop discounting your anger! It is telling you that you were not treated OK! Pay attention! and should I consider the circumstances that he was just informed they would come a couple of hours before their arrival? Why couldn't he include you in their plans? But he could have said, I'd love to have you, but can make make an appointment for another weekend. He did not want to and that's what's bothering me. So I do want to talk about this and say what I feel, but am afraid of nagging again, of appearing too needy. But I do not think this is about neediness, cause if I would have known in advance I'd have been fine and done whatever I wanted to and not felt bad about it. It is just this last moments notice that get at me. Controlling??

Any input will be appreciated.

Love to all (Lynn, I will keep doing it, cause that is how I feel, and if Doc want to throw me out of the Catbox because if this, she may, but I hardly think she will :-)) Dear, dear AJ: You'd never get thrown out for this... though your spelling is another story! Giggle!

AJ

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001

S1

Dear Cats,

Asha, that list idea is a great idea. I've noticed that that hole gets filled real quick because I have this set of friends who have just taken a turn for the more intimate. I just came from a little outing in which I determined that there would be people into renting bikes, skates, going to films, bars and live music, and hiking in the local national park. All I have to do is suggest it!! Well, there's one thing that the ex was good for, when he was good, although only when HE did the suggesting, acting out when I suggested anything... but that's history now, isn't it. Anyway, that part was one of the things that I missed.

That was funny about your truck... I had a truck once... I think I have done that before too, but I think it was a Golden Retriever rather than the truck. Break up with a guy? Need something to hug? Golden Retriever Puppy! (or, of course, a kitten...)

AJ, I've had guys do that thing to me too, agree to do something and then something else comes up. I HATE that! You're not being needy, he was just plain RUDE! Unfortunately, I have never handled that situation very well, or at least, how I have handled it has always caused consternation in the partner. I usually demand to know, why doesn't he include me in these other plans if we're in a relationship and the relationship is important to him? Makes sense to me but the guys have usually resented it. In Monday morning quarterbacking, I think I would chill, seriously, no changing Easter Sunday to Easter Monday, maybe chill for a few days. I just think that if your relationship is important to him, it's his responsibility to figure out a way to accommodate his social obligations so that all of his friends, including and especially you, feel valued. If you are the friend who is expected to bend in the wind and take what he feels like scheduling in, then you have to assume that you're not that important to him, and I would feel perfectly comfortable pointing that out to him without any extra emotionality. But don't forget, YOU ARE NOT BEING NEEDY!!! HE WAS RUDE!!

It seems like the abuse comes in when you are made to feel like you are showing some character flaw or semi-illness, i.e. excessive neediness, when in fact he was just plain not polite. That book, "You Cant' say that to me" talked about how if we were as polite to our intimates as we are socially, verbal abuse would disappear. Maybe we should start a mass movement to demand simple good manners. That's an excellent idea!

"Love to all", heh heh heh,

Perdida

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 15, 2001

S1

Hi all, it's Tina again, Today is Easter. Hope everyone had a good one. I am missing my husband today really bad. He sent a basket of flowers yesterday and a basket for our dog for Easter. I had mixed feelings. It was cute and sad all at the same time. I just keep feeling this thing, I wish it could be different. I wish we could just connect fully. I wish he could see himself as I do so he would want to change. But he won't. Accept that. This is really hard. I am trying really hard to be strong. But I miss him but I also know that getting back together for life again won't work without change in behavior. This is so frustrating because I feel there is deep feeling between us. I don't think I really want to let go of him I just wanted him to treat me better and I couldn't get him to do that. I wanted to be appreciated and shown that. I wanted him to respectful of my feelings. I can't understand why he wouldn't want to. We're we just suppose to float along with just me tending to his every need and whim. Him with his money, me with mine, Separate everything. It just seemed to me that the man wanted to still be single but enjoy all the perks of marriage. I just keep feeling this empty sick feeling in my body. I just want to go to bed and stay there. I start my first day of work tomorrow after a 2 1/2 month lay up due to a car accident in February. I don't even feel like facing the day. But I have to. I am hurting. What does one do with all this hurt? How do you get on the other side of it? I am not doing very good. All his stuff is gone from my apartment. I told him to leave and he did. I guess he wanted to go too. It's hurts. I wanted him to change, he wouldn't. The flowers he sent, I thought now why can't he do these things when we are together for no reason other than to show me he loves me. I would have given 100 times back to him. Because I would have been so touched by that gesture. But no it always comes after I am gone. I hope he's happy. I will never be the same again. My life will never be the same. We did share a lot of good together. I wish we didn't hurt each other the way we have. I wish I could just cry this pain out and get it over with. Maybe it's me. Maybe I am the one who messed up here. I've been told I make big things out of little things. Maybe that is what I do with him. Anyway I am going to go to bed now. Thanks for listening. Happy Easter everyone. Tina

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001

S1

Tina

I'm sorry you're hurting so much. I really wish you well. It's difficult to let go even when over the long run the relationship hurts more.

There is no reason, except an emotional one, to believe that his patterns will change without some tools/help. You can't make him change if he doesn't want to. But you can work on you.

I find it helps to make "conscious" choices and be realistic about consequences.

I know this isn't easy...

I really wish for you, someone who appreciates what you have to give, and is capable of giving back to you.

I think Dr. Irene has talked about just "sitting with" pain. I know for myself, I am easily capable of distorting and intensifying pain, and I've learned to control this quite a bit, though I have a long way to go. At times, I just let myself go through it, knowing that yes there is an end, and time does heal.

Here's another trick a friend taught me: Give yourself a hug - it feels good, really!

 

AJ

I really understand your disappointment, yet I can imagine C's dilemma as well. Could it have possibly been a boundary issue for him, in that he may not know how to assert that he had other plans?

Could you have invited his friends over with him for dinner? That would seem like a possible solution. Were you invited to be with his friends also? Ideally, he would have checked in with you first to see about dinner. If he was in the habit of doing this maybe you would feel more flexible or accommodating about this change of plans. His friends didn't give much advance notice, but ultimately it's up to him to assert his boundaries.

This reminds me a little of my pre-Xmas weekend issue when I was upset that Steve went out with a friend when I thought we had planned to spend time together. Had I felt that Steve was in the habit of normally checking with me around special events then there wouldn't have been a "button". So for me it wasn't about him seeing the friend, but about my feelings of hurt about not being considered.

Could it be something like that for you?

love "to all" :)

Asha And Love to FakeMommyAsha!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001

S1

Hi everyone, Hope you all had a good holiday. No sign of the cat yet, AJ but better call him Salmon if it is male. Not quite so sure about Salmonella though! Maybe it went by plane and not ferry!

AJ what I don't understand is why C couldn't have invited you over too? Why does he have to keep you apart from these Germans? Also maybe he should be paying for the dinner if the fish ends up in the cats.

Ron posted??? Theressa? Dr Irene if you could only be the therapist for our partners! If only Jake...

Perdida, Lynn, Asha and all the new people I am reading your posts; but I can't keep up! Now we have a catbox mansion. Giggle!

Bystander, It sounds like you need to look at what AA say and Dr Irene, I think you need to leave for your own sanity. What sanity? I know you have posted lots more on the message board. But I think that you won't be able to move on unless you put some distance between you and the situation with both your husband and daughter.

As for me.......Well, Here is what I did. Last week I made an appointment with the solicitor re divorce. Not wanting to go here into reasons; but there were some things I could stand no more as they affected our son. And YOU. It's OK if it affects just YOU.

Then Jake took HumanKatKid away to grandparents over Easter. Daughter staying with boyfriend. So I got on a ferry. I found you can do an overnight trip both ways to CAEN for less than £10!

This is $7.50. I think. So I went and looked round Normandy for a day all alone. Drank wine, ate what the French eat and went all over on a bus....It was FUN! And I realised I wasn't the only lone traveler. I am not so odd after all...I coped with buses; I saw what i wanted to see and I had a good time. Ahhh... good for you! I've always been in awe of how people living in Europe (my favorite continent), can change cultures just by going on a jaunt! How totally cool!

I even coped with an unpleasant individual who sat next to me too close on a bus. It was EASY to say loudly. Excuse me and move to a different seat. One time I would have doubted the individual was even offensive and been sure I was being unkind! :)

It was wonderful.

Then on the way back my car clutch went on the motorway roundabout.....I had to phone Jake and get him to join the breakdown service at 7 am. (Had no credit cards..) His mother amazingly told me that I was "a nuisance and should be in bed and she was off to church. (Gee, my mother in law can decide when I go to bed/wake up/eat??????? Drive car????) He learned from a Master.

 

She wouldn't get Jake AMAZING! and finally I said, "Would you please act like a normal human being...I am in danger here." Good for Jake, he rang the breakdown people etc and sorted it so I got rescued. He got abusive after that telling me I wanted to be independent (fair enough I should have joined the breakdown service; but I forgot about it.) Car is now 50 miles away...coped and stayed calm with ridiculous train journey due to messed up lines; getting to church still during the service. Lunch with friends and finding I had locked my key in the house.... Giggle! Did ya call mom-in-law to help?

WOW! I am really STRONG! I can cope on my own; well I can now the breakdown service is joined!) You bet!

Jake behaving confusingly. Bought me a present for Easter...polite/kind but knows I have the appointment with the divorce lawyer.......Gosh maybe I should keep putting the appointments off and keep them going I could have a really good life! No abuse! (This is a joke).

Dr Irene. I can't remember the therapist saying Jake was hopeless. But she did make the fridge bit clear. Guess I was just hoping for changes.......I don't CARE any more. Nothing is worse than a loveless relationship. Perhaps you said "hopeless," though I think it was her. No matter.

And I so like the new me! Just I guess I always hoped I could be who I was with Jake.... ah well.. watch this space....

Weird I seem on an emotional HIGH! JAY Get used to it.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001

S1

Dear Tina,

I'm sorry you're feeling so bad. The pain will go away, it really will! Would it help to ask yourself if it hurts more now or if it hurt more when you were being abused? Ask yourself that and put it in perspective, and a few bad memories of the bad times might help. Keep a journal, including your dreams.

Try to appreciate the flowers as beautiful flowers and nothing more, because the message behind the sending is control. If the flowers made you miss the good times, your husband has succeeded in controlling you again. Let it make you mad!

I think Asha's list idea is great - make a list of all the things you have wanted to do or have and didn't do or buy for yourself, and do or get some of them!

That's great you're going back to work - is it an old job with old friends, or a new job with new possibilities?

As for me, I am trying not to sound like a cynical, angry, hardened tough cookie! (Grrrr! Men! - because I do still love the critters). Critters? Giggle! Last night I dreamed of a joyful loving reconciliation with my ex and woke up depressed, and only this minute connected the two. Anyway, my last thought for Tina is why don't you stay distant for a couple of months, maybe even ask for no contact for that period of time. You need the space to feel better. Many of the people on this site are working out their partnerships, and it can be done. It sounds like you love your husband enough to try. But, as Jay told me, it's only successful if BOTH partners are willing to participate and grow. I think your husband needs to feel your absence so he also can clear his head and do some serious reflection about what he needs to do to keep you. Don't be fooled by his easy willingness to move out - it was the line of least resistance and it put ALL the responsibility on you, which we all know is not where it belongs. He drove you away and he needs to come to realize that. Stay strong! It's tough but it is NOT hopeless! Just get out and enjoy your freedom!!

Asha, your advice to AJ was really great and I like how you sound so centered. I'll get there someday!

Love, Perdida

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001

S1

Hey Jay,

Caen sounded so great! The French eat well! That sounded like a really good time. Your email was so funny. I guess we can all see where Jake's problems come from! I'm so glad you took yourself out for a good time and found out you could have a terrific time!

Heck, I would MOVE to Caen...

Love, Perdida

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001

S1

Thank you Perdida and Asha for your advice. I think you are right about the absence. I know you are right. My husband told me on the phone last night he is filing for a divorce today. That hurts. The conversation started out nice but ended in disaster. This man really does not want to face anything he has done to me. Its always what I've done to him. I can't stand it. You were right about the flowers. It was an attempt to get me to take him back, to control. I told him I didn't have any quick fix answers for him. He keeps saying, "I don't know what to do" I've tried. In my mind he has not tried at all. I asked him "What have you tried?" He has no answers for me. I don't feel I should have to write the script for him. He's a grown man. I guess he is just going to have to lose me. As for my job I am returning to work after a car accident injury from February. I am a visiting nurse so it is interesting. I like it a lot. I am on lunch right now. This morning at work it felt like I've lost my confidence. I feel like strange in a strange land. I just don't feel good about myself. I feel guilty for hurting my husband so much , causing so much pain. I guess I am feeling it is all my fault. Same old trap. Well I've got to go for now. I'll check back later. Love Tina

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001

S1

dear all, Sharon here. Hope everyone had a nice Easter. No real news on my home front, nothing real new on the Dr. Psycho page other than we saw each other on the weekend. He was nice and not at all weird. I told him the reason why I had been avoiding him all week was because every time we got together, he'd bring up old "junk". I told him that if he wanted to stay friends that he would have to stop the repeating behaviors of bringing up the past in a toxic way. He didn't behave inappropriate and we had a nice time together.

He knows I am dating other men, however, it is now the "unspoken word." He knows that if he crosses this boundary again by making inappropriate remarks about it that I will again distance myself. Its nice to be dating others, but not sleeping around. Its a nice balance for me to finally not be somebody's "girlfriend" these days because I am getting into my hobbies again and spending more time enjoying myself. I am getting lots of exercise too by walking almost an hour every day. I know that I will be finding the right man for me one day so I am doing all I can to make me very together. I can't believe that I was in such a toxic relationship those days and its weird to be able to talk to Dr. Psycho in a rationale way without being the emotional one. He thinks I've changed and its scary to him. He did not like the fact that I am getting a breast reduction this summer. (I have back problems from it) but Dr. Psycho does not *own* me anymore like he *thought* he did. He does not like the fact that he sees me with my friends walking our pets, riding bikes, etc. - so yes, sometimes its hard living in the same residential neighborhood with him, though interesting. He shared that its going to bug him when he sees me with another man. Oh well! He should have thought about that when I really wanted to have a real relationship with him - complete with trust, respect and health, but he couldn't step up to the plate. I have met so many nice men that now I am finding my heart opening and healing though *slowly* that I see him as just a man in my past. My question these days is this "what was the big passion for him?" Granted, I still think of the good stuff between us - but there was too much bad abuse and negativity to really outweigh feeling a terrific big *loss*. Loss of what? Only thing I can come up with is loss of my self esteem. If he ever came to me and said that he wanted to put this thing back together again I would tell him that he would need individual counseling for six months. What's neat is that he sees my changes from a distance and when the opportunity to talk to him is there, I make sure he knows something about me which denotes good things. I am taking care of myself - and he feels more fear now than ever. I am not responsible for that! I am responsible for my own happiness and I am making it happen! Thanks for letting me vent!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

S1

Dear Ahsa, Perdida, Jay and Dr. I.

Thanks for your answering my last post. It really helped me a lot, even though by the time I read the answers, I had already seen C. (time differences are nasty things some times). They really helped me get my perspective. He actually called me Sunday morning that his visitors had left and he was exhausted (they have a one-year old and he apparently ran all over the place (giggle). He came over as scheduled and I found it very hard to think of what to say, since everything came out as planned in the end anyway. And he came all sweet and wearing my favorite clothes and earring lalala (maybe someone was feeling a bit guilty???) So I did not brace the subject, but we managed to get into a conflict anyway! Apparently it was time for one.

We talked about friends of us (a mixed couple like us: he is Moroccan, she is Dutch) and how hard it was and C. said she should not help him, he has to find out for himself whether he wants to stay or not. And then we started talking about how I helped him too much (does this sound familiar) and that I should not have done that, but he agreed that it would have been a hard thing to do, especially since he got mad at me when I did not want to help. Good for him for seeing this! Then we came the the subject of our house, which he said, I never gave him the idea it was our house. I said I never thought of it in any other way until he started wanting a divorce and then, for my own sake I had to make it emotionally my house, I needed that safe haven for me. But, of course, I know you could understand the effect this had on an already insecure man... I started crying again and walked away to pull myself together. When returned I tried to explain, said I could no do good anyway, when I was talking about ‘us', or our house, He felt pressured, when I talk about my house, he feels left out. The after a while we hugged and sort of made up, but without the subject really being finished. It can't finish if you don't acknowledge having shut him out and without him acknowledging his insecurities and the irrational demands he makes of you. I said sorry for crying, he said sorry for not being able to handle my crying. I then pointed out that he did only seem to want my positive emotions, he wanted me to be ‘the sunshine of his life'. But that I was only human and had negative emotions too and had my own needs. After a while he agreed and said, you are right, maybe I picture you the way want you. Yes. The man has insight. But that does not mean that he will be able to drop his ideal image and appreciate a real person... He stayed over and was very warm and hugging and even though it took me a while to get in the same mood, it was ok in the end. He did give me enough space to get my bearings, he did not run (which is something) and neither did I. We had a nice breakfast and a day out, with him getting slightly mad at be for getting carsick from his driving style, Oh my... You don't live up to his standards again... But I just said, I can hardly do that on purpose, can I, and he seemed to realize that after all. Actually it was a nice day. That he does this at all is a problem because it creates a place where you are constantly defending yourself. Difficult way to live.

But in the evening, after he left, still the anger stays with me. Good. Like you said: why did he not even try to include me in plans with his friends, he does seem to live two lives: one with me, and another one as a sort of bachelor. And confusion about the house thing. I feel he may talk more about the financial part of sharing then the emotional one I am talking about, so I am seriously considering proposing a divorce to settle that one once and for all. Then he talked about visiting a girlfriend in Belgium, sort of off handed mentioning: oh I might visit such and such, I met her in Africa and I could visit her. Yeah, right. Sure he could, but I would not like that and I feel it is not something you do when you are in a relationship with someone. But apparently he feels the need to let me know he has other options. He is orchestrating your rejection by rejecting you first. How unnecessary! How silly! But that's for All these things together have me feeling quite mad and not wanting to see him for the time being. I just want to get away from him, but I also feel I should tell him these things, but do not know how to handle it. I think I want to write him a letter, to make sure I can tell it without being sidetracked and then just see what will happen. Do that. He may agree. But, don't get your hopes up; it's only a half measure. It won't change how he thinks and acts.

I must fight very hard not to let things like this give me the feeling that everything is lost. They are important issues and they should be addressed, but I really feel i need to learn not to let these issues run the entire show. It is part of the yo-yo pattern we used to be in: lalala when things go nice and run like hell when they don't and no where in between. I really want to change that, I do not want issues to get so out of proportion and then be buried way undressed until they pop up again. But I find this very hard to handle. It will make you sick. Physically and/or emotionally.

Lots of words again, and I did try to get a better grip on my spelling (;-). Giggle! Don't worry about the spelling AJ... Well, who said live was going to be easy, at least I know when I am angry now, I just have not found out how to actually use the anger in a positive way.

Lots of love and hugs to all. And Mackerel Trubble says hi to his real Daddy, cause I showed him the picture and he is sure now. He says he would really love to meet Real Daddy and could he please send and autographed picture until he is old enough to travel.......

Love, AJ

Oh no! Trubble just freaked! He's hoping Mom won't sock him with kitten support. He's having a trubbling time these days, but sends an autographed pix anyway...

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

S1

Dear Jay,

Lots of news to tell you have over these Easter holidays. I am so glad to hear you got a day of to go to Normandy. The story you tell about your mother in law is really hilarious and I can hardly believe it. Good for you to speak up (I'd liked to have seen her face when she finally got Jake!!) and good for you to finally have joined the breakdown service yourself. Be as independent as you can!!! But I do love this story and the way you tell it. You'll get there. Are you really filing for divorce now? I seem to remember you planned to before. Well, it does not matter, as long as you feel good.

Any news about jobs? Hope you will find something nice with a big fat salary very soon.

Oh, and can you get to Ostende in stead of to Caen, or is that much more expensive? We could meet there if you could, I could easily drive over. Would be nice to have dinner together and talk every once in a while. Don't get too specific about the logistics. Trubble may show up to picket.

Lots of love, AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

S1

Hi Dr Irene,

Those questions were from Ron my therapist. Although it was useful to know what you would suggest to my partner. Ooops! Can you please rewrite them and I'll re-answer? Just give me a bit more context.

Anyway, on Thursday I was having lots of car troubles, my partner rang me up to find out what was happening. I told him I didn't know, but I would ring the garage to find out. So I rang the garage, and then rang back my partner to tell him what the problem was. It seems that the local garage couldn't fix the problem, but recommended a bigger dealership would fix the problem.

This meant bigger problems, since it was now the Easter holidays, so all the garages would be shut up until Tuesday. Anyway, I was thinking through what I needed to do. WHEN my partner started telling me what I needed to do.

This felt yukky!!! Yes I was glad of some direction, but it was so codependent.

I should have been thinking for myself, shouldn't I Dr Irene?

I was happy to let him take over, THIS IS NOT OKAY IS IT?? It's absolutely OK if you know you could and have done it yourself.

Anyway, there was my partner saying "Oh I don't need this stress Theressa, I don't know what to suggest, the ball is in your court, your car, your problem, your responsibility, you sort it."

So I did, I arranged to leave the car until Tuesday at the local garage, and I worked out how I would get the car to the dealership. ALL BY MYSELF.

My partner then rang me up and offered me a lift home from work. WELL of course I said Yes since it was easier than getting a bus. Though he complained when we got home. He said "Theressa, cheers, do you ever say thank you, I came all the way to work to get you, I tried to help you sort out your car, and do you say thank you, NO! You never say thank you."

I said "Ok thanks".

He said "NO!! Theressa that isn't the point, the point is that you just expect, expect, and expect Your a taker, taker, taker, BUT it isn't gonna be OKAY this time around. Last time I worked, worked, worked and spent on this family, well I am not anymore, so think on, cuz I would rather be on my own than used."

I said "Used, who has used you, and why do you think I never give, I am always giving, I give in whatever way I am capable of, I can't give financially but I do give."

That night I cried and cried buckets fulls. I was so frustrated and angry. THEN I realised how confused I am about this give and take system and taking care of thy self.

SO HOPEFULLY SOMEONE HERE CAN HELP ME UNDERSTAND???

*So we learn to say NO when it isn't okay for us to do things?

*We have busy lives and so much to do, so we end up tired and don't feel like helping others, so if I help others I am not taking care of myself, SO HOW DO I HELP OTHERS?

*My partner has been working all week long hours. He asks me to make him a cuppa but I feel like not getting up yet. SHOULD I GET UP AND MAKE HIM A CUPPA?

*My partner always gets up and makes me a cuppa at his house, so should I be obliged to return the favour when he stays at my house?

*How do you feel motivated to give? I do not!!!

Thanks, all of you Theressa

YOU answer these Theressa.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

S1

Hi All,

JAY funny you bringing up about your car rescue problem. IT seems our partners are not aware of the concept of INDEPENDENT PEOPLE being able to cope independently but still able to ask for support in a crisis, or when we need further some help.

THE KEY WORD IS SUPPORT, and not do the whole job for us.

Oh well Jay good for you for GETTING A LIFE, YIPPEEEE!!! I think you finally got on the adventure of a lifetime, the one where WHAT EVER WILL BE WILL BE, but you can cope!!!

Take care and well done, you've come a long, long way. Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

S1

Hi All,

Theressa here!!

Well here is an update on the results of my Assertiveness regarding childminding as promised.

On Sunday day my sister asked me why I hadn't gone to Blackpool with my friends for the weekend. I said "Well with it being Easter and my dad's birthday party, I wouldn't want to be away from my family."

She said "Great stuff".

My partner said "You should of gone, you'd have had a lot of Fun."

I said "Yes I would have had lots of fun, but would have missed our little girl getting her Easter Eggs and my Dad's 50th which are much more important to me. And anyway who'd have looked after our child?"

He didn't respond.

Later on in the evening he had to nip out to deliver some Easter Eggs and he phoned me, and asked me to get a babysitter so we could go out. HE was originally going out alone.

Anyway I got a babysitter and had a lovely time. On the way home from the night out, one of the couples we were with starting to have a disagreement, ABOUT you guessed. CHILDCARE!!

She said to her partner "Do you know what bothers me it is your lack of consideration. It isn't that you go out with your friends, it is that you don't consider me. I am not like Fiona your friend's wife who never lets him out without her, but I do expect some consideration."

My partner remained quiet. Anyway the guy of the couple walked on home ahead, we walked the lady to her door. Then we linked and walked home. On the way we began to talk about how things are and child minding.

My partner said "Theressa it isn't the same anymore, it will take time to sort things out, lots of things have happened that have caused damage to us. It will take a few years to repair all of this. But we are starting! What bothers me Theressa is you going on about me going out. For the record, I don't mind you going out, and I hope you don't mind me going out. We need our own lives also, this was the trouble in the past, we were too enmeshed."

I said "Yes but can I ask you one question, would you mind our child if I went out."

He said "Yes! I would mind her, as long as you ask me, and let me decide for myself without demanding I mind her or trying to guilt me in to minding her by nagging. Though I don't like being told on the spur of the moment you are minding her. If I have plans then I obviously won't just change them cuz you demand I do. I have only a little time off so there are certain nights such as Thursday and Sunday afternoon I always go out. Though YES! I will mind her on another night such as a Friday, or Saturday as long as it doesn't interfere with work times, since If I need to go to work I can't mind her."

SO I said "SO you will mind her".

He said "Yes she is my child". Cool!

SO I GUESS it was the demanding he didn't like (BEING CONTROLLED) Nobody does!

I don't think I can expect him to be able to let me just get up on the spur of the moment and go out, since taking in to account his work hours, and the fact that we live in separate houses. SO I guess it will be not until we ever live together again if we do that I can expect this.

I think this is the best possible outcome. SO I can ask him if I plan to go out, to mind our child.

Though it seems I won't be able to just get up and go out at the drop of a hat. Nor would I be able to realistically expect him to mind her half the time I do, since he is at work a lot of the time.

I understand what my partner meant when he said his time is more limited since he has to work and he did say he understood that meant that I was left carrying more responsibility but he said "He couldn't help this, and nor could i, which is why he tries to compensate by paying when we go out and trying to give me a good time when we can go out together."

SO maybe as you said Dr Irene I have to accept what is possible and either live with it, or decide to get out.

FOR ME I think I will live with it. I feel much better now that we both heard each other out.

Take care Theressa

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

S1

Dear Theressa,

This sounds great! You asked him outright would he mind your child and he said he would. And i do think you are right when you say he probably did not mind you demanding he would mind her, but would do it when asked. And of course, you want him to consider your needs, so it's only fair to consider his too. Good for you. This does sound really like progress. Yours cause you can see his point, his, cause he can talk to you about this and not stop at just saying no when pressured. Looks to me like you maybe had a little help, like in these friends arguing just about the same subject. These things sometimes help us to see issues more clear don't they.

It looks like you are actually starting to negotiate. Wish C. and me would be able to do that!

Love AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

S1

Does anyone know any good books for older teenagers who have verbally abusive relationship with their parents and need help? Most of the books on verbal/emotional abuse seem to deal more with the husband/wife perspective. Any suggestions?

Hi again Theressa and Ron! I feel silly! So, I'll be a good codependent (Giggle!) and repost the Q's (sans the compliments which make me blush) and answer therapist Ron now:

If a patient had an issue with getting her partner to help with minding their child:

I told Theressa to speak up Assertively, she said "Regardless of us, I expected you to sometimes mind "our" child out of principle." This I agreed with her. Me too. Excellent answer, I think.

What would you have suggested? Pretty much the same. Because she's new at assertion and is angry, I would ask her to pay close attention to her misbehaviors and exert self-control over them. I would suggest she role play with me and/or practice what (and how) she might say ahead of time. She will feel better about herself for behaving - and - she takes away one of the tools he has likely been using to divert from the topic at hand.

Further after speaking up assertively she got no response or help. This doesn't surprise me. Though I understand she was being demanding, he is likely to find "reasons" why he can't/won't comply. By the way, the excuses don't really wash, despite their semblance to reason. His anger over her demanding tone is greater than his desire to care for his child? Hmmmmm....

Then what would you suggest? That she learn to assert herself without acting out and without allowing herself to be sidetracked.  (Accusing her of demanding-ness, while true, is the excuse that doesn't  wash.) I would also advise her not to be defensive, to acknowledge any true accusations of her misbehavior, and quickly get back to the point.  In other words, I would encourage her to perfect her skills, not only to have a better shot of attaining her goals, but for herSelf's sake: they directly counteract her dependency traits.

If I advise Theressa to just let it go then, how is she ever going to get this issue resolved? The issue will likely resolve as she becomes assertive and stops misbehaving. The issue will not resolve if there is underlying personality-type stuff going on inside him - and he will not or cannot cooperate. What sane choices other than letting go of the child care issue does she have? 

I suspect that no matter how expert at assertion Theressa may become, her partner will find new and apparently reasonable ways to do as he pleases. But, as her acting out diminishes and her confusion (and it's associated self-blame) mitigate, the "Heads I win, Tails you lose" game he plays becomes clear to her.  There is a shot at resolution when she is no longer willing to put up with his stuff / half-measures. 

Her only sane option will be to back away from or leave the frustrating relationship entirely. Bolstered by increased self-confidence via the assertion skills, she is less needy and better able to back away or leave. Most, though not all, partners become desperate at this time and agree to their partner's demands to obtain help as a prerequisite to reconciliation. 

Then the next set of stuff starts...

Thank you for your time. Ron. My pleasure.  Irene.

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

S1

Dr Irene

Is part of a typical "victim" mentality the feeling that we need to ask others for answers that we have inside - that maybe we don't trust our hunches the way we would if we weren't quite so concerned about others feelings? Precisely Watson.

I trust my perspective on other's situations, but in my own case I am more unsure (though getting better) and I really don't understand that. 

Of course moral support is nice for anyone, but is it our deep desire for that support and understanding that makes us more vulnerable to abuse? Yes, in part. 

I had an excellent test with a client scenario the other day. I made a mistake (not a huge one) and they wrote an extremely nasty email. My first reaction was to "buy into" what they had said. Then I really thought about what had happened and realized that the issue was actually very small, very easily fixed, and that most people would not have reacted so negatively.

I thought about that great post by Tim B. and the fact that their reaction had absolutely *nothing* to say about me, and everything to say about them. I was able to move from being upset and somewhat embarrassed to feeling perfectly okay. I apologized for the error (which was appropriate) but did not dwell in it, just reassured them that it was very fixable and there was no problem. In fact later I began to think how upset they must make themselves on a regular basis over small things. Purrrfect! You got it!

This is the kind of thing that I used to easily "feed" off of, but am learning to disregard and feel okay. Vision clears when you stop the automatic (often irrational) emotional knee jerk reaction.

thanks and don't worry Trubble, I don't think kitty support will be very expensive. You could also do a blood test, just to make sure you are the "RealDaddy". Giggle!

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

S1

Dear Dr. Irene,

Thanks for your comments on my last post. I don't know what to think. I know I was wondering maybe I was egoistic in wanting the house ( but also thinking, damn it, I paid for most of it), and you seem to think I was. Was (and/or am) I mememe-ing? I am still struggling with this and will try to make an early appointment with my therapist to sort this out, before I talk to C. again. I really do not get it, I think. STOP! You are assuming too much blame. It is just a small bit of it to understand his reaction and/or to anticipate his emotional counter, not to excuse his mis-behavior. The only thing you are doing wrong is not thinking clearly because your emotions are in your way. Look at Asha's post above. You need to stop second guessing yourself. Also, look at what I wrote to Theressa's therapist Ron above.

---In my last post I wrote: I said I never thought of it (our house) in any other way until he started wanting a divorce and then, for my own sake I had to make it emotionally my house, I needed that safe haven for me. You answered wrote: But, of course, I know you could understand the effect this had on an already insecure man...------

To be honest, I think I never quite realised this. After all, he left me, he had an affair, he said he wanted to be independent and take care of himself. HE HAD AN AFFAIR!!! He can't have it both ways. Just stay with this line of thinking and do nothing (except see your therapist) until you are clear enough to do what Asha was able to do above: see clearly.

I did know important the house was for him, he always said that he had had two real houses, this one and the on he lived in when he was a child until 8 years old. I know I tried to use the house to control him, t.i. when he left, I talked about it still being our house, I kept it nice, for him even more then for me. When a friend came from Turkey March last year, he really wanted to show him the house and I made it as nice as possible, so he could be proud of it, and would miss it. Then I went to turkey in May, because of his sisters wedding (we had just decided to try to get things togethe again and he coudl not go to Turkey for reason I will not elaborate on). He decided to stay in our house and a week after I returned, he told me he had felt so closed in, and could not stay in the house and how he felt real bad about that. So I changed the house a little, and told him: OK, maybe in this way it will not remind you so much about the problems we had here. Then about a month later, he decided he could not handle things (he was seeing a therapist at the time and went really into he youth) and wanted a divorce, cause I felt not like a person worth fighting for anymore.

Then, and only then did I decide that I needed to make the house my own, I needed to feel it was ‘my' place instead of ‘our' place. It was, and still is difficult for me, cause there are still so many things that remind me of our living here together. I got rid of a lot of his stuff (i packed them, the boxes are still in the attic) and started trying to think about maybe selling the house and going to live somewhere else, cause it is quite big for just one person and three cats. So, that's the story. I do think I shut him out, knowingly, and I do find it extremely hard to let him in again, cause I do not really trust him. I do not understand what this house means to him: an insurance for old age, money or emotional value. Probably all three. He still pace part of the mortgage ( a small part, but the same part he always paid) When he was complaining about money, I once told him we might reconsider these payments, cause I had had a raise in salary, and I could easely afford the house on my own.

In our last conversation, he said he always thought, that when we were old we would sell the house and buy a house in Turkey and live there. I said, that was what I wanted too, still wanted that. That that was one of the reasons I wanted to have a house in the first place. He said, well you can still do that, I told him that would hardly be teh same, that I lost a future too. He seems to think my loss is the lesser, since I have a good job, and I live in ‘our' house and I have money (which I inherited from my family and isn't all that much). I feel the money part might be more important then the emotional part and that hurts. At the same time When we first started dating again I did not want him at home for the first month, it just felt too threatening. I knew, was he came there again, I would have a hard time feeling it was my house again. And now he is coming over regularly and I do have a hard time and I do feel it is ‘our' house, but I do not want to feel this, so I get angry at him for suggesting it, I feel I need to defend my space, and get all confused all over again, now that I am writing this.

You give him TOO MUCH benefit of the doubt at your own expense. Don't be surprised if you get used.  

Dr. I, you always tell us to care for ourselves, to act, to show that certain actions have consequences. I thought I did the right thing, I even told C. in our last, things have consequences, that I cannot keep feeling the place I live in is ‘our' place, if he keeps telling me he wants to move. It only makes sense, when the money is the main issue, and it really hurts to think it might be. He always told me, I came with one suitcase, and if I leave, i will leave with one suitcase. I think he still wants he house to be his, to come back whenever he would want to, if ever. And I do feel he cares for me, but I am not sure whether in the end it will be enough to counteract the bad stuff. 

Dr. I. , one other question, last summer he has been seeing a therapist. This man has said that he was no sure whether he could help him, goes with his past it was only logical he really had a lot of problems. He said he was really ill and that it would take a long time to heal. That he had to view the situation like having a broken leg and that he first needed to heal and then learn to walk again and that he (C.) was trying to run an marathon immediately. Then, after four sessions, it seems he has said C. was fine and did not need any more therapy. I never understood that, what can have happened? C made it real clear by his words and/or actions that he did not have a problem and /or he wanted no treatment. And do you think it might help to suggest further therapy (though I think he will not want it...) I think your only sane option is to get as far away as you can.

Love AJ

 

Trubble, I am very disappointed and I am not going show Mackerel the picture you send. Do not worry about kitten support, we (Mommy Cat and me) do not want ANYTHING from you, you cannot willingly give. Puh! And Mackerel is doing fine without you and found a Real Mommy to take care of him when he is ready to leave the house!!!!! You're probably not fit to be a Real Daddy anyway!!!! Yeah, I'm not fit. Phooey to youey!  If you'd named him "Trubble" instead of "Mackerel Trubble" maybe I would have felt differently about being Daddy... It's all your fault. AJ: Trubble is very manipulative. Just because he's cute and furry and intends  to do the right thing, he gets away with murder.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

S1

Dr Irene,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for replying to my therapist.

Dr Irene I am a little disappointed though, is there really no hope for my partner and me?? Not while things are as they are now.

Ron (my therapist) keeps telling me that he is just pulling you back under the water. He said It is like you are holding on to a life belt and he is tucking at it, if you let him take a hold of it to, he will pull you down.

Dr Irene I get so angry sometimes at Ron, he is always so pessimistic and when I mention the good bits, he seems to not see them.

Whereas I thought being positive and seeing the good bits is how we have a good life??

There a few things about Ron I have not felt right about, firstly his instance that I went out and met someone new and fumbled as he calls it, date and meet different guys. And his insistence that I not feel guilty about sleeping with these guys. WELL maybe I am naive, but I kept telling myself that RON says it is okay so it is okay. ISN'T this being even more co-dependent than I was with my partner?? Sort of, but not really. Ron is objective and is trying to point you in the right direction.

Then when I went back to therapy after all of these actions, I told Ron that I felt even worse, but he didn't seem to be alarmed, he said "it is all part of the process". He is right.

Secondly, Ron insists on telling me that my partner is no good for me. He seems always to see the negatives. For good reason: it is real, though you seem to prefer denial. AND we all know what happens if you "always" focus on the negatives!! What you pay attention to grows. 

Thirdly Ron doesn't listen to me when I am telling him, I have been assertive and spoken up about an issue, but I can't force my partner to comply. RON replies but you must if it bothers you. He is correct. He is telling you to open your mouth, not to make him comply. There is a difference.

How do I do this? I can't beat him with a stick and force him. RON doesn't seem to understand I can't force others to comply!! 

Finally leaves our session saying YOU MUST do something about this problem, talk to your partner.

Dr Irene maybe it is me but I feel controlled by RON my therapist at times as if he is leading me on a lead, and I must do as he says. IS THIS THE WAY A THERAPIST SHOULD BE???? Ron isn't doing this Theressa. You are. That is one of the issues you have to resolve.

I am not disputing Ron has my best interests at heart, but should his goal be to make me HATE my partner?? His goal is to teach you to take care of yourSelf, and now I understand why he wrote me.

Should it be to cause more conflict??

I seem to end up in conflict each time I do what Ron says, like with dating other guys. Like when I speak up about issues. IT seems things get worse. 

Why is this?? Because you are in tons of denial over things that really, really hurt. Ron asks you to face it. You don't want to, nor do you take responsibility for yourself. You dump the responsibility for your life on Ron - and then you question Ron's ability to help you. Oh the messy webs we weave.... You are doing all of this Theressa.

Aren't I suppose to feel better after therapy??

Why Dr Irene do you and Ron think I only have the option of getting away from my partner??? I would like you to answer this one.

Is the goal to grow strong just to leave?? Answer this one too. All the info you need is already on this page.

Thanks Theressa

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

S1

Hi All,

Dr Irene told me I should answer my own questions, so here goes:

*So we learn to say NO when it isn't okay for us to do things?

Yes! But we also need to ask yourself why we are saying No! Is it to do with something else that has happened that we are Acting out and trying to get back at this person?

If we are angry about something maybe it is better to speak up assertively, and then look for alternatives if the help isn't forthcoming.

 

*We have busy lives and so much to do, so we end up tired and don't feel like helping others, so if I help others I am not taking care of myself, SO HOW DO I HELP OTHERS?

If there is no underlying reason (ie anger about something else) as above, then maybe there is another reason why I do not feel like helping?

It could be I am not making an effort to be caring, or it could be that I feel controlled.

Feeling controlled is the most likely, since when my partner tells me to do something I Feel Angry and want to say NO.

Maybe the solution is that I do some things spontaneously and enjoy doing them, when I was a child I loved surprising others, but when I started to learn about ABUSE I thought it was wrong to GIVE since I was giving too much.

Maybe it is balance I need. So YES maybe it is okay to give and feel good. Perhaps I got confussed about GIVING and people pleasing.

This I think is correct! There is giving out of joy and care. And there is being PASSIVE and never making a conscious choice to take what you need,

An example of this is when I don't inform my partner, so through my passiveness I end up losing out and end up receiving anger from others.

SO MAYBE the answer is that GIVING is not the same as people pleasing. People pleasing is when you are passive and don't inform, therefore you never get what you NEED. giving is when you want to show care and love.

*My partner has been working all week long hours. He asks me to make him a cuppa but I feel like not getting up yet. SHOULD I GET UP AND MAKE HIM A CUPPA?

Why do I not feel like getting up, is it because I feel that I shouldn't have to help him. NO! I shouldn't have to! But I can out of care if I want to.

*My partner always gets up and makes me a cuppa at his house, so should I be obliged to return the favour when he stays at my house?

It is nice to care for others, it is the motivation that is the problem. Am i not helping because of my anger? Is this another form of acting out.

I think it is another form of Acting out my anger. TIME TO STOP THIS BAD HABIT.

*How do you feel motivated to give? I do not!!!

You feel motivated when you give out of care for another, and stop using not giving as a form of acting out.

DR IRENE how did I do is this advise OKAY???

Thanks Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

S1

Theressa

I think your advice is great!

Also I don't think that Dr Irene is saying there is no hope for your partner and you - I think she is just telling you what your "sane" options are.

You *can't* control your partner, and trying is *not* a sane choice.

What she is saying, I think, is that your partner has to be motivated from within to make the changes necessary to have a healthy relationship - it can't come from *you*.

He may or may not make those changes. In the meantime you need to decide for *yourself* what consitutes a healthy relationship. Being angry and hurt most of the time is *not* healthy.

What can you do for *you* right now?

On another note...

When you mentioned being passive it struck a chord with me. I notice that I can sometimes procrastinate or waste time and then feel uncomfortable about it later. It's almost as if, when we are in this mode, we are letting life steer us, instead of taking charge of our lives. There is Self care, which sometimes *does* mean doing nothing... but then there is self sabotage which sometimes is the result of procrastination or lack of structure.

What I have noticed is that when my energy goes to hurtful or stressful things I start to have less structure in my life and things get overwhelming. I wonder if this is a form of depression.

When my house is clean and well maintained, when I have good social outlets and have accomplished the tasks I set out to do, I feel pretty good. I guess it makes sense then, for my own self esteem to do these things. It seems perfectly logical, yet if I "zone out" and let hours pass by it feels good (or maybe just "comfortable"... hmmm...) at the time. It's later that it occurs to me that I could have used that time more constructively.

I think it's to do with balance where structure doesn't overtake you, nor does lack of structure... a nice balance where things are not falling apart around you, but you can still take time to smell the roses.

BTW - spring is here! Tulips are popping up in the garden - nice smells everywhere! I spent time playing in my garden on the weekend (I feel like a little kid, sitting in the dirt with big overalls hehe) and realized that that is one of the better therapies for me!

take care

Asha

p.s. Trubble - I think you could at least show the decency to send your son a few cans of tuna! 

Hisssssss! FakeMommyAkasha!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

S1

Dear AJ. I can't email you just now 'cos my computer is having a nervous breakdown, and it will only let me into my son's part! I can't even use his email as it has disappeared....Need son to reappear home to find out why there is this strange state of things. He probably did SOMETHING! ??What? Other question is is son at friends house to avoid wrath of mother as he messed the computer up again??????

I am planning my revenge....any ideas? Earlier on I met him in town. I had a cappuccino with a lot of froth on and he put some white chewing gum on my hand and I of course thought it was froth.....YUK!

Guess I must be a lovely mummy to have laughed.....AAArgh whole cafe laughing!!!!!!     Giggle!

I can get to Ostende, I think. But I need to check if it is from Dover only or I can do it from Southampton. Certainly Le Havre is pretty near if I take the car. I did go to Ostende about a year ago. The children agreed to go to France ONLY if they also went to a different country. We went to McDonalds...and that was it! 

Well, I did go to the divorce solicitor. She talked me out of it for now! Said if I wanted to go ahead she would fight tooth and nail; but she has seen one too many judges come down on the side of the parent who had not been in hospital....She suggests waiting until HumanKatKid is older and also dies laughing as I told her about the banana custard. However if Jake makes one move, violent or one more accusation I am ill With this level of empowerment, he won't dare!, she will act and so will my doctor. BOTH say the same as Dr Irene.....I AM STRONG! I will just concentrate on being my own person. 

The Solicitor seems really to have liked Humankatkid. She wrote a letter for him...

And I just got tested on that at a writers group. There is a woman in a group I attend who makes my skin CRAWL. This is because she is just pretentious and I think also there is some professional jealousy. She paid to get published. I didn't. (Giggle, I don't think something in the window cleaner's magazine is exactly fame!) Well, now you know better.

Anyway this woman butted in on my reading. Perfectly OK by me. SHE decided she had offended Me and walked off. I sat there calmly saying I really hadn't a problem and if others wanted me to stop I was quite happy. YOU KNOW WHAT? I REALLY DID KNOW IT WAS NOT MY PROBLEM! Last week this woman tried to put me down as well. Rest of group handled it well. I just thought, "Oh well." On the day I went to the divorce lawyer I sit here calmly not worrying what everyone is thinking! (Of course what nobody but me knew was that my writing teacher has already said I should develop this particular bit of work.

SO I WASN'T CONTROLLED BY A CONTROL FREAK.......

Also I had a really good conversation with my doctor yesterday. It was puzzling in a way. I went as the locum got worried about the sleeping pills he prescribed and partly I said I would to keep what I thought was a new young doctor's mind at rest! The Dr. Said; She will get a specialist if Jake questions my sanity any more and ALSO she BELIEVES me about the abuse. I am not the only woman visiting where the husband has control issues.....Then she handed me a prescription for yet more sleeping pills. This was puzzling as I just said I can't keep on taking them. She insisted I took the prescription! Also produced a letter from my psychologist which seemed to say I was pleasant. calm, good eye contact and should be returning to work with parents....(The psychologist knew the whole story about my daughter, Dr Irene.) Yes.

Giggle. I also realised the mistaken section is NOT in my doctor's notes! They sent the stuff to me instead! I guess they were afraid of a lawsuit! Giggle!!!

The Dr knew as I told her; but she wasn't following that up as she AGREES the seroxat was the problem.

So now I have PROOF of my sanity and Jake will have to shut up or he can make banana custard until the mad cows come home.  Oh yeah, Trubble has a present for you here!

GIGGLE; I made rhubarb crumble and told Jake this. He STILL made banana custard as well!

Maybe it IS because he is addicted to bananas as he ate the crumble too.

I still feel kite high and I don't know why. Maybe it is just I now know where I stand, and also there is a lot of new stuff I am starting to do. Like the teaching next week. My car is still in the garage 50 miles away.....

Maybe I just stopped judging myself. Maybe I just realised how safe Jay can keep Jay. *Meow!* It feels like a total character change in a way; but I am not saying it is all ups. I have felt like raging at all the injustice still, felt upset, had thoughts go haywire; but it all seems just part of being. Jake CAN'T abuse me any more as there is no more of the bit of me he could hook into. As a result it is all a lot more peaceful.

I did ask a lot of people to pray for a miracle and I do believe there is a God and maybe I was looking for the wrong miracle?

BTW Trubble, I can't work out what you are saying no to! It's *Me* and I am saying "No" to the unjust, unfair accusations that I am Makerel's RealDaddy and that they want to take all my Trout and Salmon away from me for kitten support.  What's wrong with you AuntieJay? Why aren't you anticipating me any more? I liked you better before.  Love, your adoring Trubble, who misses you terribly.

I will look at the posts tomorrow. This may sound selfish; but you see the old Jay would have felt obliged to look at all the posts and reply. I do want to but I am practicing looking after me by deciding it is bedtime and I am going to do that in the morning! Not selfish Jay. Self caring! Yippeee!

But I am thinking of you all. Jay

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

S1

Dear Trubble,

There is more than one kitten and all kittens have to grow into cats and I think you will have to pay kitten support for them all. I am sure you have too much Trout and it won't hurt you to part with some. Prove it! There is no Trout in my name. In case AJ's Mummy cat has difficulties, I will start a special web site for cats who can't get support from their spouses. I will write a website on abused FakeDaddyCats after I sue you for defamation of cat. I am also writing you a parenting programme for when you face your responsibilities. I don't have to. I'm a Cat! I didn't think you were really at the Whitehouse all the time Yes I was. and I think going to see Lynn and Dan didn't happen as often as you said it did! They lie! When are you going to make an honest woman of AJ's cat???? Huh? Can we come to the wedding and we all promise to bring presents of Salmon and Trout. Tell you what: Just send the fish to Makerel and we'll call it even. OK? Just skip the rest of it. We will send an invite to RealDaddy for you. jay Yuk AuntieJay. Yuk. This is War: The US against Europe. You and AJ have been chomping on too many mad cows in France! After all I did for you, and this is the thanks I get. Oh, woe is me-ouuccch! 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

S1

Dear Catbox, Dr. Irene, and Trubble:

I am so confused as to what to do. I am in recovery from an abusive relationship. For four months, my ex verbally and emotionally abused me, as a means of sheepishly backing out of our relationship after I had agreed to give her the commitment she wanted. As you can imagine, it was a long hard road out, possibly because I spent the whole time wondering why she suddenly changed so much. So this is where I stand: I do not contact her, I do not pursue. I let her go her own way. But...she can't stay away from me. While she insists she does not want a relationship, she still expects me to "be there" when she's had a bad day, when she's lonely, when she needs someone to talk to. She calls and calls. But only on bad days, of course. After noticing the pattern, I told her that I was getting nothing out of this, that she ended the relationship in a very cruel and inconsiderate way, and now I'm expected to be an emotional pillow when she's upset. She gets angry. Sometimes, she calls and says flirtatious things. I respond, and she goes silent, or gets angry. I keep thinking she wants to rekindle, but I do not trust it. I think she's only reeling me in for "narcissistic supply". She wants to see me, as she'll be stopping in town soon. I really cannot for the life of me think of a reason why I should, and yet, I somehow cannot bring the hammer down. She does not want me, but she doesn't want anyone else to have me...it goes on and on... Somewhere in there, I still think the kind person I *used* to know is still in there, wanting to come out. But I don't know if I'm kidding myself. I think this person is using me for emotional support, while giving none in return. She gets angry, thinks I should be able to go from being her fiancée to being a "buddy" in no time at all, and criticizes me because I'm not willing to be "friends". (Being friends to her means running errands with her while she raves about all the guys she has crushes on, and tells me how I'm not her type...) She does not understand how I can't be friends with someone who constantly belittled me, lied to me, hurt me very deeply. Believe me, I went through the whole "you're too sensitive" thing, girls...including the dreaded "you feel too much". I feel guilt. Unearned guilt, I know, but I need some advice as to how to get rid of that irrational guilt for standing up for my own feelings, and sticking by them. Perhaps I care for a person who no longer exists???? Perhaps all too typical a situation, but I still hesitate; I have been trained over the last six months not to trust my gut, and I'm still coming out of the woods. XX.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Have just spent the last 5 minutes with Jake convinced I really AM insane as I couldn't stop giggling at Trubble's present! I am going to print it out and show it to my doctor as I think she deserves a laugh too. Thanks and to FakeMommy too who must have helped. Nope. I did it *Myself*, with my very own furry little paws.

Guess I will forgive Trubble for messing up with AJ's cat. We are allowed to make mistakes. But personal responsibility not for cats???? NOOOOOOOOOOO it is in the cat manual. But mainly cats are responsible for looking furry and sweet and raiding dustbin (ok garbage bins). Trubble? I think you better get that blood test anyway, quick! I can't afford the law suit anyway, so I will skip the website for now! Hehehe

I will be your favourite Auntie still as long as you promise that if Mackerel is ever in need of finding you you won't turn him away and you will fund his entry to an exclusive school at the right age. *I* promise you the world! All is forgiven AuntieJay.

 

Oh boy...Jake just told me his "secretaries"? there is only one as far as I know. Have asked me not to ring as I am rude to them. Actually they are rude to me and I just said please can you pass this message on. He just HAD to try something spiteful as I am not talking to him...........However, as I have no intention of ringing him at work this is a non issue. I just refuse to be messed with any more. Giggle. Giggle! Told Jake I will complain to his boss if I have any more rudeness from his secretaries. CALMLY! Yep I AM empowered. Just tell me if I pass from empowerment to power crazy.  OK.

Giggle. What it is really about is that I just took HumanKatKid his breakfast and said I would wash my own plate! !

It can't have been mad cows, Trubble cos I know AJ is a vegetarian as we have eaten together. Actually we ate in the cafe where my daughter decided, at about 5 years, she would never go to University! I took her there one May morning (Everyone with no sense gets up at about 3 am to hear singing on a bridge and generally goes mad with a champagne breakfast.) Daughter said as we were having out breakfast she wouldn't go to University, and she didn't want to get drunk like the students!

 

This empowerment stuff is addictive! love, Jay Yes!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Dear Jay, Asha, Dr. I and Trubble (and all the rest of you of course!!)

I had really had it yesterday with Dr. I. commenting I should run as far and fast as I could. I did have some blast of insight, which I sorely needed probably. I tend to idealize C. like he does me, not as much, but even so. I can see what he does in trying to put the responsibility for his own behaviour on me. Yes. He did this by saying I helped him too much in the past, which I admitted. Then he said: it is not a good thing you know. I said I knew and was working a lot on that. So, he could not get me there (I owed my responsibility and that worked). Good. But don't forget that it is his responsibility not to trespass into your space! There seems to be an erroneous understanding between the two of you that if he hurts you, it's because you let him. True, but you need to make him responsible for hurting you in the first place!  Then he started on the house, how I had never made him feel like it was ours. I defended myself, said well I think I did, what else should I have done. But as you pointed out Dr. I. I will probably have to own my responsibility on that issue too, before it can end and I am starting to see he might be right that I did this, even though I was perfectly right in doing it. There's more, it's still a bit muddy, but I'll get there. What is muddy is that his "rightness" seems to be more important that your "rightness." Question that unfounded assumption, especially since he instigates with his poor behavior. 

Yesterday I vented to a good friend, send mails en received replies which was really helpful in getting my spirits up again. Then this morning I read Jay's letter to Trubble and I was all smiling and grinning and feeling very up again.

C. was on the answering machine. He called yesterday (about hunches....) but I did not answer any phones, cause I wanted to get my bearings before talking to him again. I am very glad I did. Cause know I do have a much better perspective on what happened, why I was soooo mad and that him being cute and nice and furry (like Trubble grrrrr  Who, little ol' *Me?*) is nice, but no excuse for bad behaviour. But I think I now can address the bad behaviour without throwing away the nice parts. I could not have talked to him yesterday without getting all emotional and I do think it was a good thing he called without me being there and being available or calling back right away. I have learned to wait, to give myself some leeway to get my bearings and I am very very happy to have discovered that.

I was really feeling bad, but it did not last half as long as it would have in the past. I did find the reasons for my feeling bad Excellent, I could handle the bad feelings with the help of friends without needing C. to fix them Good, because C. CAN'T fix YOUR feelings! and I was feeling happy again when I found out he called (which, admitted, made me smile and feel even better).

So, Dr. I. , I am not running yet, but your advise did help a lot to empower me. Maybe I will run in the end. But, it is not over until it is over. And it's not over yet, if you get my meaning. Cool!

I will talk to him, about his apparent need to wave other women under my nose, about his twisting things, not taking the responsibility for his own behaviour, about the house. But now I believe I can do it more assertively and I know talking is not a guarantee to success. But for me it is a huge step, and a change I want to give our relationship. I still do not talk enough about what bothers me. I know I am still learning, and will fall back every now and then and I will keep on doing so. But I can get up by myself and that makes me so much stronger. My friend said: well when he first left, you were feeling so bad, but then you did not have us, to cheer you along and tell you you are a nice and caring person, whatever he says or does and that you should not buy into his twisting things. And she was soooo right. It is like Cloud and Townsend say in there book: When to say yes, when to say no. About boundaries setting: you can only set boundaries when you have a real good support group of friends, cause you know there are people who love you then, even if your partner will drop you because of this boundary setting. It is so true. Friends give you courage.

Thank you all my friends here, you are so much a part of that support too!!!

Lots of love and hugs And *I* forgive you too ... 

AJ 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Dr Irene,

Am I understanding this correctly:

 

Theressa said, "There a few things about Ron I have not felt right about, firstly his instance that I went out and met someone new and fumbled as he calls it, date and meet different guys. And his insistence that I not feel guilty about sleeping with these guys. WELL maybe I am naive, but I kept telling myself that RON says it is okay so it is okay. ISN'T this being even more co-dependent than I was with my partner??"

Doc said, "Sort of, but not really. Ron is objective and is trying to point you in the right direction."

Dr. Irene, was Ron's goal to get me to see how other guys are so I could compare them to my unhealthy relationship? Yes, and also to face your fear of dating. And also to make MY OWN CHOICES about what he was telling me and not just being lead like I had been in the past? YES! Also perhaps he was letting me know there is no need to feel guilt if you make a conscious choice to do something. YES!

AM I right in thing this DR IRENE??? Yes Theressa. 

Theressa said, "Then when I went back to therapy after all of these actions, I told Ron that I felt even worse, but he didn't seem to be alarmed, he said "it is all part of the process".

Doc said, "He is right."

SO Perhaps Ron's goal was to let me know that when others make decisions for me and I let them, I end up getting hurt, Ron was not alarmed that you felt awful because he knows that it hurts to grow. He also trusts your ability to tolerate the pain. About letting others make your decisions, I think Ron wants you to see that you have choices: you are free to accept or not accept decisions others make for you. However, once you choose a course of action, even if it's following another person's plan, you need to accept responsibility for the outcome because YOU are the one who chose to carry it out. The other person did not MAKE you do it, even if they put pressure on you. SO maybe it is time for me to MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS.

Am I right on this DR IRENE??? 

Theressa said, "Secondly, Ron insists on telling me that my partner is no good for me. He seems always to see the negatives."

Doc said, "For good reason: it is real, though you seem to prefer denial."

NO! I am just not always sure how to sort out the problems and am confused, as I was with people pleasing and give and take. I stand corrected. 

 

Theressa said, "Thirdly Ron doesn't listen to me when I  tell  him I have been assertive and spoke  up about an issue, but I can't force my partner to comply. RON replies, "but you must if it bothers you."

Doc said, "He is correct. He is telling you to open your mouth, not to make him comply. There is a difference."

So I should speak up if I am unhappy, but if what I want is not forthcoming, then I have to accept this. Yes. You have to accept that your partner will not give you what you want. You may then move on to the next set of choices open to you.

Dr IRENE am I right??? Yes.

Theressa said, "Dr Irene maybe it is me but I feel controlled by RON my therapist at times as if he is leading me on a lead, and I must do as he says. IS THIS THE WAY A THERAPIST SHOULD BE????

Doc said, "Ron isn't doing this Theressa. You are. That is one of the issues you have to resolve."

DR IRENE are you saying I need to question what others say including what Ron says and challenge my own thoughts and then decide for myself??? YES! That's why you do nothing when you are confused. It gives you time to consciously choose your best options.

IS THIS what personal responsibility is about DR IRENE??? YES!

Theressa said, "I am not disputing Ron has my best interests at heart, but should his goal be to make me HATE my partner??"

Doc said, "His goal is to teach you to take care of yourSelf, and now I understand why he wrote me."

DR IRENE RON thinks I should not give in at all though, this surely isn't right if I am ever gonna have a decent relationship. Ron does not want you give in to your partner all the time. You don't realize yet how much your giving in hurts you emotionally. He wants you to be more in touch with yourself so you know when giving would cause you too much pain. You can't do this until you first "reset" your internal "pain toleration thermometer" so to speak. Right now it is set too high. You accept way too much pain; much pain is "normal" for you.  

AM I OFF TARGET??? You misunderstand what Ron is saying.

Should it be to cause more conflict?? Wrong question. Giving in less will temporarily cause more conflict. But, if your partner consistently makes a fuss when you don't give in, you are probably with the wrong person - because your partner only knows how to take and not how to give. Before you mentioned your concern with wanting a relationship. A healthy relationship is a two way street, give and take. Ron wants you to see that your partner may not be capable of a two way street, therefore a healthy relationship may not be possible with this person.

Theressa said, "I seem to end up in conflict each time I do what Ron says, like with dating other guys. Like when I speak up about issues. IT seems things get worse. Why is this??"

Doc said, "Because you are in tons of denial over things that really, really hurt. Ron asks you to face it. You don't want to, nor do you take responsibility for yourself. You dump the responsibility for your life on Ron - and then you question Ron's ability to help you. Oh the messy webs we weave.... You are doing all of this Theressa.

SO DR IRENE I HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT I DO!!! YES! AND SPEAK UP ABOUT WHAT IS HURTING ME!!! YES! IS THIS CORRECT???

Theressa said, "Why Dr Irene do you and Ron think I only have the option of getting away from my partner???  

Maybe it is because unless my partner starts to change, I will continue to get hurt. Yes.  AND until I speak up in the face of my fears, I will never get what I need. Yes.  

Am I correct???? Yes.

Theressa said, "Is the goal to grow strong just to leave??"

I think the goal is to take care of myself, and in doing this I might eventually realise I am not getting what I want out of this relationship. Bingo!

AM I Correct??? You bet!

Thanks Theressa

 

OK guys, I'm done for a bit. Doc. 

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Hey Cats,

Today was my anniversary (3 years, not so long!) and I totally forgot! until I opened the site and remembered that it's my brother's anniversary too. Well, anyway, that, I think, is progress.

XX, every time I read a post from a guy I am always afraid at first that it's my ex who is writing, but then I see from the details that it's not. I always wonder if he saw things the way you are seeing your ex, although of course I have a vastly different take on things. AND, of course, I have always insisted on no contact each time we broke up.

But, XX, it's tacky and rude and inconsiderate for her to gab to you about her current love interests. It shows a total lack of consideration for your feelings, and for the fact that you still have feelings for her - and she must know that. So it's back to the basic theme: She is being RUDE. Ask yourself if you would really want to put up with a friend who is rude to you regularly. You don't need a friend like that, XX. You need friends who care about you and support you and who are nice to you because they like you. It sounds like you would like to start the relationship again, and it also sounds like she just wants a buddy. This is not a healthy combination of goals for you, especially since she doesn't treat you with even the consideration she should treat a casual platonic friend. I think you should walk away and not look back, give up on the idea of friendship for at least a couple of years, and don't stay in contact with her. She is not being nice to you and she will just continue to bring you down unless you cut her off totally. PS - are you still sleeping together from time to time? DON'T!!! It will become a mere convenience for her and you will only get hurt!

Jay, you sound so good and funny. Hang in there! You know what you can do now for your happiness! There are lots more things to do, you only have to use your imagination!

AJ, Dr. Irene's reference to C.'s insecurity seemed to have made you feel guilty, did I read that right? Don't!  It's not your fault he is insecure.

Theressa, I liked your answers to yourself. I really don't think you should feel bad about having gone out with other guys. If Ron can't be nice to you, don't forget the saying about how many fish there are in the sea, and it's not a bad thing for Ron to realize that. If a man can't be nice to you, there are SO many men, Theressa. It's good for a partner to remember that so that he can value what he has. I see your going out with other guys as empowering for you.

But why are men so inept at figuring out what to do socially or how to express themselves? I'm thinking about AJ's recent experience with C. and his German friends, an experience I have definitely been through once in each relationship. Why aren't men getting better at expressing themselves? Why isn't patriarchy disappearing faster? I think they're getting worse sometimes.

Is the key to this to help men/partners (let me try to de-genderify) figure out what to do to keep the relationship , deal with social situations and family responsibilities, etc etc, while at the same time not permitting abusive compensatory behavior? Well, not "help" them per se, but at least not act out when they make doofus choices.

Love, Perdida

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Whoops, Theressa, Ron is your therapist, isn't he... please substitute "partner" for "Ron" in my last post! Perdida

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and everyone,

I realise the majority of my problems are to do with my WEAK boundaries.

I did post a long post but just lost it. In brief what I do is MY CHOICE, not my therapist's nor my friends', nor my partner - JUST ME!!

My therapist can make suggestions, I decide whether to ACT. By George, I think she's got it!

Take care Theressa

URL for boundaries is: http://www.drirene.com/boundari.htm

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Perdida;

It's XX. Thanks for your comments. I admit I felt that deep inside, but like I may have said, I still catch myself "protecting" her feelings. As in I fear telling her I don't want to see her because she'll get upset, and blame it all on me. Yes, she's being rude. The above mentioned is cookies and milk compared to how she usually acts. Are we sleeping together? Heck no! Sex became THE ultimate power trip and control issue with her. We had a wonderful sex life, but after she knew she had my devotion, she suddenly one day cut it off to NOTHING. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not into "male privilege" and all that...if someone doesn't want to do it, it doesn't happen, and I live with it. But she was awful to me. She'd tease me, touch me, turn me on, anything...and as soon as I responded, she'd either push me away and tell me not to touch her, tell me I was "sexually harrassing" her, or set up countless situations that she would play like invitations to sex, then watch with glee how let down I was when she'd suddenly change her mind. Meanwhile, I was not supposed to pursue or even talk about it, because she wasn't "feeling intimate." OK, you're not feeling like it, so don't tease me or invite me to have sex, OK? Nope. It got worse. I think possibly the most hurtful, mean-spirited thing anyone has ever done to me was the time when she pinned me up against a door, grabbed my private parts and said in my ear: "Just because I can..." It was shocking; I couldn't even react to that. I was like a deer in headlights, it hurt so much, and when I think about it I still feel horrifying pain. Like being stabbed in the stomach...because this was coming from the person who told me she wanted to marry me. I tried to talk to her about this; she responded by telling me she was just being playful, and I was "too sensitive" or "too intense", and that I needed to "lighten up". She'd get really angry anytime she had to take responsibility for her actions. Comments? Please? Does this sound abusive to you? XX.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Hi! Hi Kyle.

After our chat this afternoon (ok - it was morning where you are) - I have had the following thoughts, starting with some background, then the relationship with my boyfriend and then to me:

Opinions seem to be divided as to whether setting boundaries works. Some say it will; some say the only 'good' way out is to end the relationship. You seem to say it depends on the individual - how 'screwed up' (to use a technical term) their personality is. Giggle! (OK - 'screwed up personality disorder' is not yet officially recognised; it will probably be in DSM V, which will run to 2,000 pages and have 400 new disorders. I admit it - my thoughts on DSM IV have been strongly influenced by the 'antipsychiatrists'. Amen! )

OK - so the question is will setting boundaries work. I can answer that without knowing anything else: Setting boundaries will help any relationship become healthier. Setting boundaries however may not be enough.

The relationship with my boyfriend has developed as follows:

Started normally, i.e. slowly, we saw each other with increasing frequency over a period of some 7 or 8 months. Then we started to see each other every day, and after several months his behaviour started to go off - first idealization then devaluation. Typical narcissistic stuff. Have you seen Dr. Vaknin's stuff? Starts here.

Then for a number of reasons his behaviour improved, but it is worth noting (I think) that I was at that time no longer working in Germany and we saw each other only at weekends. However things were still not quite right. An internet search found your site - and I began to learn what was going on.

After some 6 months or so I was working in Germany again. We saw each other every day. He virtually lived with me, and after 2 weeks he began to push away. Somewhat later he suggested (though obviously not really meaning it) that we see a therapist. I took him up on it. I was setting boundaries, but was unsure whether it was working. But by the time we had made arrangements - he said he would make an appointment, but had to be reminded twice before he did anything - I was working abroad again, and his behaviour has been its best since the problems started. So he has behaved better, although the therapist described his behaviour as normal and has told me it is just his way of communicating and I should try harder to understand what he wants and what I am doing wrong!! It is a tactic that is worth trying you know. Having a sense of how you are, you probably don't understand his communication. But, I think there is more than that. From what you tell me, I think his communication is unconsciously "designed" to be evasive. The therapist probably does not understand abuse phenomena - and, he's got to be responding to controlling you are. He's asking you to "relax" so to speak, as I am. You have to stop playing out this drama about finally getting daddy's/brother's love. It 

For the last 3 weeks I have been in Germany again. We have therefore seen each other more often and after about a week, when we saw each other every day he started withholding - affection and sex. Yes. He is so terrified of you hurting him, he has to push you away before you can push him away. He is convinced if you really knew who he was, you would reject him, as he rejects his empty self. So after about 10 days like this I said I would rather spend the evening alone. The following day he wanted to be alone (tit for tat, perhaps). But on the day after that he came round in the evening and wanted sex. I don't mind if he always has to initiate - as long as he does it often enough, say on average 3 times a week. Nice to know your preferences, but you don't stop there. If you don't get what YOU decide is reasonable, you persist. And persist. And direct. And fix. Etc. A saner way to live your life might to to accept what he offers and enjoy it, and accept that at times he does not offer.

OK - so what will I do? I will not allow him into my life, into my space every day. Why? Fear of being hurt? No. When I think about it the best times in my life, the times when I felt strongest, I had 2 good friends, but spent most of my time pursuing the things I wanted to do, and we need to reshape this relationship along those lines. Here you go again: Orchestrating the relationship so he will respond and give you what you want. Yuk, yuk, yuk! I need space to be myself. OK - I can tolerate more closeness than he can; sometimes I just need to be there for him to feel 'overwhelmed', 'threatened', that his space is being violated. Then he pushes away. And, your feelings are so shut down, this pushing away hardly bothers you...

OK - ensuring that we do not come too close, so that he does not need to push away might not work. For a while. As you become comfortable and let down your guard, he will become frightened. Becoming independent again can calm the other or be perceived as provocative, I know. Only time will tell. Yes. Seems I recall "fixes" you've been implementing since last year. When have you had enough Kyle?

As for the therapy, my boyfriend now wants to go and I do not. He is likely to want what you don't and not want what you do. This is part of push-away stuff. I do not want to go for a number of reasons. No need to explain, except to yourself. If you don't want to go, trust your gut. Partly because some of the things the therapist tells me are sheer, unadulterated rubbish. Secondly because he tells me I cannot expect normal behaviour from my boyfriend because he is bipolar, while telling him his behaviour is normal. I guess it's a way of saying that what is normal for him is not likely to fit your criteria of normal. OK - so my boyfriend wants to go, and I shall go once more. Why bother? So what shall I say? What's on your mind. OK to tell the therapist you think some of his stuff is garbage. But, knowing you, you would never, ever say such hurtful things...  I think perhaps I shall mention something he said last week, at a birthday party, in front of others and not just to me, namely that he has often been pulled up on his behaviour because he is aggressive and insulting (he then mentioned an incident), and that he supposed he got his aggressiveness from his mother. Aggression is a typical component of mania. That's why the therapist will regard his aggression as normal. I shall point out that I AM NOT responsible for his behaviour - whatever the therapist might say Correct! - and that I KNOW that he has behaved much better with me than with his two previous boyfriends, and that he should take the credit for that, while also accepting responsibility for his bad behaviour. STOP. You get some of the "credit." Because people "bounce off" each other, his behavior has been less reactive (i.e., "better") because you create a calmer space than his previous friends did. Notwithstanding, this does not detract one bit from the notion that each of you are fully responsible for your respective behavior. But his aggressiveness is his problem, and what he wants to do about it is his decision. He would obviously have a better life if he could learn to be less aggressive, and that people no more like to pull him up on his behaviour that he likes to be pulled up. It is not a pleasant situation for anyone. But I will not accept his aggression, will protect my space and lead my life. As you get progressively angrier and angrier with him for all you have given up... He knows he sometimes behaves badly, and tells me I should simply tell him 'das fand ich Scheisse' - lit. 'I found what you did sh*t'. OK I can go along with that Sounds OK, IF and ONLY IF it does not then lead to a discussion, and he accepts what I say. Excellent. This is an example of excellent boundary setting on your part. You are setting limits surrounding your space; you are controlling your space. You are not attempting to control his space. Does this seem an appropriate strategy, not to 'control' him, but to get out of this therapy? You don't need a "strategy" to get out of therapy! Why are you creating so much extra work for yourself? You don't want to be there; that is your prerogative; you owe no explanations. He must respect your decision. Period. End of story.

Now what do I want to do with my life? Ah - lots of things. I've always wanted to learn classical Greek properly (I had two years at school) and pursue my interest in Indo-European linguistics, which I've started on. Incidentally, Dr. Irene (or can I just call you Irene? Yes. ), you tell me you speak Greek, which didn't exactly surprise me - your surname is a bit of a giveaway, can speakers of modern Greek read Homer and Plato or is it like a 'foreign language'? A foreign language... Oh and I've taken up stamp collecting again, and started listening to more music (mainly classical), and I've always wanted to do a large jigsaw (I'm 3,000 pieces into a 9,000 piece jigsaw), just to have done it and then say never again, I've got this urge out of my system, etc., etc. I now I feel this is the real me speaking. The 'me' I want to be again. Excellent. In my previous relationship with my ex-wife, I never talked or complained about her behaviour to anyone - or analyzed her or whatever. There was no need. And I know she did not talk or complain about me, except at the end, when I ended the relationship. We respected each others boundaries and the boundaries of the relationship. And this is the person I want to be. Then you will require a partner who can do likewise.

Something very interesting my boyfriend said when he was depressed (this was shortly after the abuse began) was 'Kyle you do so much and I do nothing'. Well I will start doing things again, and this is easier with some space between us. Yes. I am glad to see you taking space. This is excellent "therapy" for the very dependency needs that keep you in emotional bondage with this guy.

Finally there was a subtext to what you said, I feel. Of course you were telling me to lead my own life and not to try and solve my boyfriend's problems. Over and above that were you saying the relationship cannot work? Unless your friend learns to change his style, you will remain a very frustrated man. I don't think so. You were saying set boundaries, create distance; it might work, but don't expect that it will. Yes. I predict your strategy will work for short periods of time. I hope I am wrong. Take things as they come. Absolutely. Am I correct? Yes. Please do not overlook my biggest message to you: Stop acting out. Controlling, strategizing, etc. is guaranteed to fail. You will not "fix" him; he does not think there is anything to fix. Let's assume you did somehow manage to fix him. You would still not get what you want because he cannot give it to you. Only you can. That's why I placed paying attention to the thoughts and feelings that well up in you when you don't react/control, etc. Your oasis is inside. The one place you have the least familiarity with. Go there. Stop diverting yourself from your task by controlling him. Control Kyle and let Kyle's feelings be the guide. 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Dear all, Sharon here. Well, today I'm sitting here in my office just a little confused after last night. If you read my posts about Dr. Psycho, I've been posting since last December about how he and I broke up about 18 times in the last 18 months. The last time we officially broke up was the week before Christmas because he couldn't do 2 holidays in a row. (how lame!) Anyway, we never really have gotten back together, nor do I think its a real good idea due to all of the verbal abuse and crazymaking in the past.

What is weird to me is this: he claims he does not trust me, he claims that he had a lot of anxiety during dating me because he is not willing to commit, he claims that he really thinks we are compatible sexually but can't step up to the plate about anything else. I don't see him dating anybody else - and have not seen anybody else there at his house either.

What is really weird to me is that he is calling me more and more frequent. Last night he called and wanted to take me to dinner. Last Saturday he called wanting to wish me a happy Easter. Do you think that since I am now at a distance he is finding that I am now safe? Yes. And you will remain "safe" as long as you remain distant. As soon as your comfort level increases, his discomfort increases. This is the roller coaster ride that can go on ad nauseum. He does not finally "get" that you are indeed safe all the time. I do not drive by his house any more as I take a separate route, so I think he is bugged about that because when I drove by at least he knew I was either doing shopping, domestic stuff, etc. and it was his way to control. It also fed his ego. Now I think he's calling to see if I'm home. Its weird because I'm feeling somewhat pursued now, and I've always been the pursuer. It doesn't take away the fact that the relationship between us was sick and toxic, but maybe he is reconsidering getting some help? Maybe I am reading too much into this? Yes. Your neediness is getting in your way. Cut your losses. Maybe he thought the grass was going to be really greener and he hasn't found his trophy babe yet? Unless he changes, he'll always be on the lookout for the perfect babe. And he will become the perfect prince out to court his Cinderella. Yet, each time he finds her, he will notice her foot has blisters from the glass slipper and lose interest. Until she goes away...   Maybe he just misses the sex? I realize I'm over analyzing this but I am writing this to myself as well as in "thinking out loud" because I don't really want to ask him. I know he'll say something creepy - but I like the fact that he's kinda thinking about me. If he starts making moves on me I'm gonna suggest therapy first. Anyway, I am finding his "interest" a little interesting. Ugh. You have no clue what your neediness is about to let you in for. I think I'm gonna just lay low and not be too accommodating. And how long will you be able to keep it up dear? He will win you back with his charms, and then complain about all you are not.  When we do go out, no uglies or inappropriate "junk" come out. But, we shall see! I am seeing other people as well though. I need to still do that. Putting all of my eggs with Dr. Psycho is not very bright. Hugs, Sharon

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Dear all, Sharon here. Important to say that the reason Dr. Psycho called me last night for dinner is because he had a scary incident at the young men's institution he works at as a psychologist. A young kid threw some toilet water at him when he was walking down the hallway. So, staff took Dr. Psycho home - I guess he was pretty traumatized about it - so he took a really good shower and then called me for emotional support and company. Weird eh? And this is a man who doesn't trust me, yet I'm the one he calls when he's hurt on the job???? And we are broken up????? Big tough guy he is.....can't or doesn't want a relationship with me - but yet - when he needs me I come running! But what should I have done? Comments? Run.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 19, 2001

S1

Dear Dr. Irene and the Rest of the Catbox Crew --

Brian here. And here. Hi Brian! Though I have already thanked Dr. Irene for the opportunity to contribute to this site, having seen the finished pages, I want to say how pleased with them I am. It feels good to reach out to other folks who are not receiving what they should from their partners -- and so gratifying to read the feedback that my stuff has generated, as the posts are something I had not anticipated. The input has been a wonderful surprise.

It is no secret to me that my people-pleasing tendencies -- remarked upon by Dr. I and others -- point to an unquenchable need to attain the approval of others. Though I am aware of this, these patterns are so deeply entrenched. Yes. They're automatic habit patterns. I remember when I was a teenager, I told a friend how I live my life feeling that "if I could only find the right person to apologize to, then maybe everything would be okay."

It would seem that I am still searching for that person.

All of this reeks of codependency, I know -- and I am frustrated by my inability to simply switch it off. Even in receiving the esteem boost from the pages I wrote and the kind words I've heard from many of you, my best efforts at protecting my fledgling sense of self are too easily undercut. 

As I was basking in the glow of my pages -- and I did bask (he said somewhat guiltily I support guilt-free basking only; insist on it should that help.) -- inconsequential tid-bits of news regarding my ex reached me during a phone call from a friend. I say inconsequential, knowing that the news should not have impacted me as it did. But I have been suffering ever since -- and I present this information with no small amount of chagrin, so crestfallen after proclaiming spiritual growth, my strength diminished by images of my glamorous ex getting on quite well without me. Hey, hey! Early spirituality is about fits and starts. That's normal. Accept it.

Have been making every appeal to the Universe and to my computer for aid in dealing with this sudden loss of momentum. But it may take some time before the wound starts to heal again. I would frame same this way: you are struggling as you develop the coping skills you need to deal with life's ordinary stuff. You used him as a coping mechanism before. Kyle, above, does this too. So does Theressa and Sharon. Perdida, AJ... Lynn, B, AK, Dan, and Steve all do it less than they used to, but still do it. And Jay, star pupil of the month, who is soaring in her first solo flight successfully mastered the first BIG layer of junk. (Yes Jay, that's how it goes: The BIG stuff is gone, but the stuff is embedded... You will spread your wings and soar and soar, as you are doing right now! Then somewhere down the road, the rut seems to set in, usually just when you're getting used to being empowered. It's never ever nearly as awful as it was once, though many people think they "slipped back." They didn't; you can't. Promise! You are just getting ready to deal with the next layer of same ol' same ol'. You will deal with each, increasingly subtle layer of same ol' same ol' for a long time. Then, one day you will realize it really is gone...) All of you who magnify the importance of Other, please take a look here.

Meanwhile, my ongoing search for answers precludes me from participating in the sort of vigorous interactions I admire so much in the catbox. I am on a quest of self-determination -- and spend more time reading than writing. I like this. You are doing what you know you have to do. Excellent work! And, please share the wealth if you run across any more of your cyberspace or written "gems!"

But please know that I value all the good that I've encountered via this site, and that I will continue to check in, even if you don't always hear from me.

My best to all of you, -- Brian  And my best to you Brian. Thank you for the humility, kindness, and love you spread everywhere you touched us; thank you for the service you performed for gays in abusive relationships. You are a very special guy on a very wonderful journey. And you are right on track. We'll be here whenever you want us... Irene 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

dear Sharon.

This is probably going to offend you but you can be straight as a die with me when I need someone to be...

When I read about Dr Psycho's 'scary incident' I laughed. Having worked in similar places I can tell you his incident was PEANUTS. If that is all it takes to upset him then he shouldn't be doing that job at all. For Heavens sake. Like Dr Irene says RUN!

Also I am starting to question why you still seem to know his every movement. It seems really unhealthy. Either you want to be free or you don't.

But pleeeeeeeeze. Some kid threw toilet water and he needed a shower. In these places kids do stuff like slit their wrists; far more traumatic I assure you. He is lucky it was only water. jay

 

 

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

To the person who posted asking about books for older teenagers. I think I have guessed that you mean the parent is abusive to the teenager and I like Dr Irene. can't think of any books.

For the record re verbal abuse. teenagers in the UK can verbally abuse their parents and there is nothing a parent can do unless they can withdraw priveleges or walk away or simply practice not hearing. Working out the right thing depends on the teenager.

A teenager can tell a parent anything and get away with it. However if they hurt the parent physically then the police will step in and at the parents request give a warning; or press charges.

Parents who swear at their kids are guilty of child abuse however. Likewise if they hurt them physically. Emotional abuse is also treated seriously even if the parent doesn't actually swear at the kid. Put downs are never OK.

If it is the parent hurting you. Get out and tell someone. Never, as I was as a child be afraid to tell.

In the situation,of a parent verbally assaulting you if you can leave the house that is the best option, but not if they then physically stop you. It is better to ignore and just do what needs doing. Later, ring a helpline and get advice.

If you are the parent and the kid is abusive. I now know that I would ring the police the minute violence occurred and nip it in the bud if this looked as if it was going to be an ongoing problem. With my daughter I have spent so long thinking "if only." Also, hard thought his will be, get witness statements if appropriate..

I wish I could be more helpful. This just comes from seeing life from the point of view as a verbally abused teen and as a parent with a daughter who is often abusive. Jay

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Hi to the person who posted about teenagers,

If you live in the UK Dr Banardos has some parenting books that speak about REVENGE which is the foundations of why children are abusive, along with anger and feeling controlled.

Generally pay attention to your feelings:

If you feel hurt =revenge towards you from the child. If you feel angry and frustrated it may = a powerstruggle If you feel helpless and hopeless it may be = because you feel out of control and fearful

Firstly it is recommended you don't try to fight the child or force the teenager to do anything. NO ONE LIKES TO BE DEMANDED OR CONTROLLED OR LECTURED!!

Secondly you need to sit down with your teenager and LISTEN ask them do they feel controlled? Do they have any suggestions on what would make life easier for them and you?

Thirdly can you negoiate to gain co-operation, can you move the goal posts slightly at the time they have to come in? Can there be a bathroom routine on the wall so each person in the house is taken into account? Are you doing too much for your teenager? Do you discuss a time that works for both of you for chores to be complete? Do you nag when your teenager forgets to do chores? (maybe you could say Jimmy I noticed the lawn isn't mowed, is there a reason for this? Could we agree on a time span that it will be complete and also a consequence if it isn't complete! [this should be agreed upon with yourself the parent and the teenager before the chore is begun.])

If the chore isn't complete say: "Jimmy we had an agreement about the lawn, now I know you are responsible so can you take care of it."

Finally sometime times we have to sit down and have family meetings and discuss what we all expect and want. This time should include telling each other of our future plans where we will go out. DON'T pressure teenagers to tell you where they are going. JUST tell them you know they are responsible.

If a teenager swears at you, tell them you are leaving the room, and will discuss things when they calm down. DON'T try arguing back and lecturing them. (AS WITH ANY NEGATIVE BEHAVIOUR WHAT IS FOCUSED ON GROWS).

If a chore isn't done and you haven't nagged and lectured, and you've done the above then you set a consequence. You may remove tv privileges or allowance money. TRY TO SET A CONSEQUENCE YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF, there is no use saying I will keep you in, if it will be beyond your physical capabilities to do this.

During family meetings make it clear if anyone ever hits you will call the police. Infact I would pin up boundaries on the wall.

If someone hits another the police will be called. If someone swears at another, the other will ignore and leave the room. etc.

SOMETIMES teenagers have learnt bad habits the only way to learn good ones is to teach them by DOING THE POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR YOURSELF, it may take sometime before the teenager copies, but be patient.

So to summaries: 1.) Set boundaries (what each member of the household will not accept. 2.) Try to negoiate and gain co-operation from a teenager 3.) Don't lecture 4.) Try to take an interest in their friends and life 5.) Try to point out when they are doing well 6.) When a chore is agreed upon also agree upon a consequence before the chore is begun 7.) If the chore isn't done say "I noticed that you hadn't yet done xxxx, we agreed it would be done by xxxx o'clock. NO LECTURES. 8.) If the chore is still not done after this I notice reminder, NO FURTHER REMINDERS THE CONSEQUENCE IS NOW PUT INTO FORCE.

Sometimes teenagers feel controlled. Sometimes they act out revenge Sometimes they feel adults don't give them enough personal responsibility.

To conclude, try to let teenagers sort out their own problems and make their own mistakes, and only intervene if it looks critical or they ask for help.

 

I hope this helps. I am trying to practice this also. Theressa

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Hi All,

Here I am posting to myself, so I can answer and work out my problem: [Any input gratefully received] my answers to me will be in CAPS just so I know which was my answers and which were my questions.

Melissa is our daughter's name.

*********** I have a problem that I am finding frustrating, it has been going on for a long time and is part of a wider problem.

Melissa and I now life separately from her father, however, we did live together for the past eight years until we separated last August 2000. Myself and Melissa go and stay at her father's (my partner's) a couple of times a week when he on the night shift. He stays at my play some of the nights when he is on day shift.

[His shifts are two weeks nights and two weeks days]

For many years Melissa's father (my partner), has done either shifts or full night work. He drives a chemical wagon so he does need his sleep (WHO wouldn't want to be alert when driving a wagon full of fuel LOL)

The usual scenario I'd bath Melissa in the evening. Then in the morning she would dress and have breakfast. I would bath in the morning (for woman like to be fresh in the morning or at least I do).

THE PROBLEM would start: I would go and get Melissa up so she had time to come around. I would go and get my bath run and bathe, I would put the tv on low for Melissa (ALL OKAY UP TO NOW!!) I would ask Melissa not to come upstairs whilst I was bathing since she would wake her father up.

PROBLEM STARTS: Melissa will come upstairs even though I asked her not to. She would bang the living room door (very loudly), then she would rush upstairs (very loudly), I would say "what is wrong", she'd say nothing. I would ask her to go back down stairs, I will be down shortly.

PROBLEM: She would say NO! (Very loudly), I would say "Please be quiet you will wake your father". She would say "NO!" I would be feeling frustrated and angry.

I would get out of the bath and then Myself and Melissa would go downstairs. I would go into the kitchen to make our breakfast. Melissa would enter the living room and then again (Slam the living room door - VERY LOUDLY), By this time i am very frustrated, how can I keep her quiet.

We would start eating breakfast, but she would dwardle. I would ask her to eat up we need to go soon. She would yell "NO! I am won't." Then would start the power struggle.

She would answer back, "NO, you can't make me do anything, and then she would whine." [I hate whining when it isn't even a cry, but more of a yelp to wind me up]

Then her father YOU guessed it would come hurtling down the stairs and yell at me. "Theressa why the f*ck don't you understand I need my sleep, doors banging, kids up the stairs, whinning and yelling. And on top of that I can hear you telling her off. You have no consideration or respect, you know I need my sleep, but do you F*&king care, No, YOU ALWAYS THINK OF YOURSELF".

Now I am feeling really angry at Melissa, I get into our car and begin to lecture her, telling her I am not having her poor behaviour, and now she is going to bed early and having no allowance.

(Not that she changed her behaviour the next morning)

I was relieved when we separated, for the FACT that this morning ritual would stop.

Now we go to stay THIS scenario is starting again. I AM SO FRUSTRATED. Although this time my partner doesn't come hurtling down the stairs. HE does complain and say "Theressa why can't you sort her out??? Your her mother".

WELL THIS IS THE PROBLEM, how can I stop her from behaving in this way. I can't gag her, or tape up her mouth, or tie her hands behind her back. NOT THAT I EVER WOULD LOL but you get what I mean!!

SO how on earth can I sort this one???

Take care Theressa

OTHERS INPUT GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED, NEEDED RATHER!!!

I'd go and make our breakfast. We'd keep the tv low. We would talk quietly about what we were going to do during the day.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Dear Brian,

"But please know that I value all the good that I've encountered via this site, and that I will continue to check in, even if you don't always hear from me."

We know.

And know we appreciate what you have given us too. And when you are with the Catbox longer, you will see, we all are ready to call it quits every once in a while, all think we will never ever get there. Especially when we were thinking we were doing sooo well :-).

We have these ‘vigorous interaction' cause they work for us. Doesn't mean it has to be your way of growing. And I think for most of us it is part of the way we learn things, test things. I know for me it works if I try to clarify some special issue here, or comment on someone else's problems. It helps me see mine more clearly.

As Dr. I. said (and she's the boss Giggle!), we'll be here whenever you need us.

Take care, AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Dear Theressa,

I think you are not mad at Melissa, but at your partner, or maybe at Melissa for making your partner mad at you. Would you be mad at her for coming upstairs if you would not be afraid of your partner getting mad about it? I can imagine your frustration, but I think it is not so much a problem you are having with her as with your partner.

In one of your earlier posts you said that Melissa was doing much better then when you and her Daddy were separated. When you tell this story, I wonder in what way.

Maybe you and your partner should try to work out a routine for him sleeping and you two getting time enough to bath. He might wait to get to sleep until you two are ready, maybe even have breakfast with you before he goes to sleep. I think something like that would be so much more relaxed for all of you. And it might be fun for him too, actually! Or you could take her with you while bathing and talk a little or something like that. I think she probably feels left out when you leave her to take a bath.

And about your partners reaction: I think you know yourself that it is inappropriate: your he mother, he's her father, you both have the responsibility to sort this out (I know he does not want it) and if he has such a hard time sleeping at your house, he should not sleep there.

Or maybe he should look for another job to make it easier to be together. I think you talked before about him complaining how hard he worked anyway.

But remember: he choses to do this job, don't accept his guilting you for the problems it makes for him. It might very well be he does not, and did not want a child in the first place and cannot cope with what it takes to have a child. Maybe both of you had not anticipated the stress a child can brings and are frustrated because of this (not a very uncommon thing I believe). She would probably feel this and behave accordingly. Children do have a tendency to react to your feelings. 

Dear Theressa, would it be possible to work out some kind of schedule in which your partner gets enough sleep, you get nice time together (in two's and three's) and the least amount of frustration? Don't expect you can banish all frustration, cause you can't, but I think you could minimize it with some planning?

Hope this helps and.... only suggestions, you make up your own mind ;-)

Love, AJ

And Trubble, Duh? How grand of you to forgive me for being me!!! That's OK AuntieAJ.  Just don't let it happen again.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Hi All,

 

Well I am now ready to answer my own post and give my opinion as if I was answering another poster, as DR IRENE ADVISED. My reply is in CAPS.

 

Melissa is our daughter's name. *************************

Theressa writes: I have a problem that I am finding frustrating, it has been going on for a long time and is part of a wider problem.

Theressa replies:

Who are you frustrated with? Your daughter, Yourself, Or your partners unrealistic expectations of a child.

Theressa writes: Melissa and I now life separately from her father, however, we did live together for the past eight years until we separated last August 2000. Myself and Melissa go and stay at her father's (my partner's) a couple of times a week when he on the night shift. He stays at my place some of the nights when he is on day shift.

Theressa replies:

Sounds like a good setup, So you all get to spend some quality time together.

Theressa writes: [His shifts are two weeks nights and two weeks days]

Theressa replies:

Shift work must be a strain on your partner and sometimes maybe he resents you for having regular hours.

Theressa writes: For many years Melissa's father (my partner), has done either shifts or full night work. He drives a chemical wagon so he does need his sleep (WHO wouldn't want to be alert when driving a wagon full of fuel LOL)

Theressa replies: YES he does need his sleep but he also needs to realise that if he asks you to stay with a 7 year old child it maybe difficult for her to fully understand that it isn't okay to make noise, in fact she might make noise without thinking.

Children of Melissa age cannot understand the concept that if someone doesn't sleep it can cause lots of unnecessary sleep. In fact she will forget sometimes that she needs to be quiet.

Theressa writes: The usual scenario I'd bath Melissa in the evening.

Theressa replies:

Sounds like a good idea for all concerned, since Melissa can then splash about and have fun and feel free to make some noise whilst playing without being restricted because someone is sleeping.

It is a good idea for you Theressa because you aren't so stressed, and it is a good idea for her father because then she isn't disturbing him unnecessarily.

 

Theressa writes: Then in the morning she would dress and have breakfast.

Theressa replies:

Could Melissa have her breakfast at your mom's house?

Theressa writes: I would bathe in the morning (for women like to be fresh in the morning or at least I do).

Theressa replies:

Could you not make an exception when you stay at your partner's home and bath at night and then get a strip wash in the morning.

Theressa writes:

THE PROBLEM would start: I would go and get Melissa up so she had time to come around. I would go and get my bath run and bathe, I would put the tv on low for Melissa (ALL OKAY UP TO NOW!!)

Theressa replies: Sounds okay

Theressa writes:

I would ask Melissa not to come upstairs whilst I was bathing since she would wake her father up.

Theressa replies:

Melissa is so predictable, she is sure to forget that you told her not to come upstairs the minute she is excited about something and wants to tell you.

This is why bathing in the evening might be a good solution and getting a strip wash since then Melissa isn't missing you for long.

You could try to make sure all of the stuff needed, clothes, shoes, keys, bags etc are all in the living room the night before, so you don't need to fetch things from upstairs in the morning.

It might be a good idea to wash, clean teeth, dress self and brush my hair before Melissa is woken up.

And to kisses her father etc goodbye before you both go down stairs. This would mean you didn't need to come back upstairs to disturb him.

Theressa writes:

PROBLEM STARTS: Melissa will come upstairs even though I asked her not to. She would bang the living room door (very loudly), then she would rush upstairs (very loudly), I would say "what is wrong", she'd say nothing. I would ask her to go back down stairs, I will be down shortly.

Theressa replies:

Maybe what is wrong is that Melissa wants your attention and feels lonely down stairs or bored. Or it could be that she is annoyed about something and wants to share it.

This is why it might be best if you got ready before she was up. Then you'd have time to spend with her. Then there would be no need to go back upstairs or to be opening and closing doors.

Theressa writes:

PROBLEM: She would say NO! (Very loudly),

Theressa replies:

She is firmly telling you, she doesn't want to go downstairs and be alone and bored. However, much you try to force her, the more she will yell.

It is like if you are washing her hair and she yelled. You might leave the room for a moment and then come back without saying a word. Since it appears when you lecture her or yell back it makes her worse and she keeps on and also it makes twice as much noise.

Theressa writes: I would say "Please be quiet you will wake your father".

Theressa replies:

You are pleading with her, leaving the room would be more effective. If she yells still when you return take away her sweets for that day.

It would be easier though to find another time to do her hair, like in the evening.

Theressa writes: She would say "NO!" I would be feeling frustrated and angry.

Theressa replies: This is a powerstruggle and it is better to disengage and walk away then to engage and escalate things. Your feelings of anger and frustration are indicators that you cannot control this child. The best option is to give up the struggle.

Theressa writes: I would get out of the bath and then Myself and Melissa would go downstairs. I would go into the kitchen to make our breakfast. Melissa would enter the living room and then again (Slam the living room door - VERY LOUDLY),

Theressa replies: Maybe you could ask Melissa to help you in the kitchen to get the cereal box. This would then mean she would not be going straight into the living room and banging the door.

Then you could open the door and let her follow you, and then you shut the door. Also Melissa might practice shutting the door quietly if you do also.

Theressa writes: By this time i am very frustrated, how can I keep her quiet.

Theressa replies:

It seems some of this behaviour is done without conscious thought and some of it is done for attention. So maybe if you shut the door quiet all the time, she will imitate you. If you do the above Melissa will feel involved and not be trying to get attention in a negative way.

Theressa writes: We would start eating breakfast, but she would dwardle.

Theressa replies:

Try having a race, make into a fun game.

Or better still let her have some fruit and eat breakfast at her nana's house when she arrives.

Theressa writes: I would ask her to eat up we need to go soon. She would yell "NO! I won't." Then would start the powerstruggle.

Theressa replies:

I bet if you were having a race she'd want to win! So this wouldn't happen

 

Theressa writes: She would answer back, "NO, you can't make me do anything, and then she would whine." [I hate whining when it isn't even a cry, but more of a yelp to wind me up]

Theressa replies:

Firstly if you did the above game she wouldn't get to this stage, however, if she did she is absolutely right you can't force her but you can ignore her, and tell her if she yells you will stop her sweets for the day.

Doing the above game would avoid the need to give consequences though.

Theressa writes: Then her father YOU guessed it would come hurtling down the stairs and yell at me. "Theressa why the f*ck don't you understand I need my sleep, doors banging, kids up the stairs, whinning and yelling. And on top of that I can hear you telling her off. You have no consideration or respect, you know I need my sleep, but do you F*cking care, No, YOU ALWAYS THINK OF YOURSELF".

Theressa replies:

It seems Melissa's father has been lay awake listening to the whole things and as he expectation are that since he has been to work all night the least he can expect is to get some sleep, he is resentful and angry.

This abusive language is an angry person who has let his anger build up until he blew.

Though alot of the noise was unnecessary with careful planning so that there was less need to go upstairs and keeping Melissa occupied by playing a game with breakfast.

As for her getting dressed you could time her, ask her to win the clock to see if she can get dressed quicker. Again this is a game.

Mornings will be more fun.

Theressa writes: Now I am feeling really angry at Melissa, I get into our car and begin to lecture her, telling her I am not having her poor behaviour, and now she is going to bed early and having no allowance.

Theressa replies:

Threats and lectures don't work. And also piling up punishments isn't going to solve the problem.

This could have all been avoided by the above. Melissa is a child and she is predicatable she will keep up the same old if new ways of doing things aren't taken up.

She is a child, she has a short attention span and she is only 7 years old so she forgets sometimes to be quiet so the minimal need for her to be going upstairs and in and out of the doors means she is making alot less noise.

Theressa writes: (Not that she changed her behaviour the next morning)

Theressa replies: See above.

Theressa writes:

There I was relieved when we separated, for the FACT that this morning ritual would stop.

Now we go to stay THIS scenario is starting again. I AM SO FRUSTRATED.

Theressa replies:

That is because behaving the same old way is going to get the same old results.

Theressa writes: Although this time my partner doesn't come hurtling down the stairs. HE does complain and say "Theressa why can't you sort her out??? Your her mother".

Theressa replies:

This man sounds frustrated and irratated. He rants on about your lack of planning. Is he right? Do you plan to avoid all the unnecessary trips up the stairs? Do you make the morning fun for Melissa so she isn't getting into power struggles because you are lecturing her.

Theressa writes: WELL THIS IS THE PROBLEM, how can I stop her from behaving in this way. I can't gag her, or tape up her mouth, or tie her hands behind her back. NOT THAT I EVER WOULD LOL but you get what I mean!!

Theressa replies:

None of that is necessary just see above. Plan, and give attention.

Theressa writes: SO how on earth can I sort this one???

With some self discipline, organization, planning and some attention giving to Melissa.

Take care Theressa

 

WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK TO THIS ADVICE I GAVE MYSELF????

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

dear Theressa,

I just checked out something on this page on the Verbal Abuse pages: What's healthy ineraction look like? It reminded me a lot of the way you describe your partners reaction. Maybe reading it can be of some help.

Take care, AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Hi AJ,

There are a few reasons why she is much better now.

firstly she now eats breakfast at my mum's house. Secondly she does bath at night. Thirdly I bath at night and get a strip wash.

Therefore Melissa has less to do. Less pressure.

(My post was telling the history as well, some of the things I already sorted and are working)

SHE is also crying less and not hitting other children now. She was very angry when we separated. I know when I try to control her, like all of us she reacts.

Today doing this post has helped me to see other ways I could cause less stress for me and Melissa and also her father.

I realise if I was more organised I could avoid making so many trips up the stairs instead I'd only have to take one trip down the stairs.

Also if I dressed, washed, styled my hair etc before I woke Melissa she would need to miss me. Further if we kissed her daddy goodbye before we went down stairs. We'd avoid having to come back up stairs.

WHY I said it is part of a wider problem. THE PROBLEM I'VE been discussing in therapy, MY lack of planning causes me no end of trouble in different areas of my life and thus, I end up stressed.

My lateness, my self discipline with my degree work, my people pleasing, and my conflicts with Melissa and her father all have a common thread LACK OF PLANNING AND ORGANISATION.

This does not excuse Melissa's father for being abusive, nor for not taking her age and his unrealistic expectations into account, but it does help me to see that lack of planning trips me up alot.

Thanks AJ

Take care Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Why does Dr. Irene tell Brian to forget what Patricia Evans writes about the abuser? Because Patricia Evans literally "wrote the book" about the victim in an abusive relationship. The best. No contest. But, I fully disagree with her assumption that it is ALL about the abuser.   I don't think she understands the angry person at all - or the anger of an often self-righteous victim who is less interested in taking responsibility than in blaming (ever see an angry, engaging victim?)! Relationships are rarely the black / white good guy/bad guy picture presented.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Dr IRENE,

I need to check with you difference between Planning and controlling outcomes.

I was told controlling outcomes is what victims do but self empowered people Plan.

What is the difference? Healthy people plan to increase the probability of success -  and control themselves to help facilitate the outcome.

Thanks Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

REMINDER WE ALL NEED:

What co-dependency is: http://www.drirene.com/coinfor.htm (includes people pleasing)

Self control: (how to control the self and stop trying to fix and control others)

http://www.drirene.com/selfcontrol.htm

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Dear all,

In one of my last posts Dr. I. commented: "There seems to be an erroneous understanding between the two of you that if he hurts you, it's because you let him. True, but you need to make him responsible for hurting you in the first place! "

And "What is muddy is that his "rightness" seems to be more important that your "rightness." Question that unfounded assumption, especially since he instigates with his poor behavior. "

I really had to read these remarks several times to let it sink in. And only after this did, I slowly came to realise how right she is. I did focus so much on how I needed to deal with things, learning the lesson of taking my own responsibility, of how I never will be able to control the behaviour of other people, and how the only person I can control is me - that I totally neglected that he is part of it too, that he really did/does things that are not ok, and that I can hold him responsible for that. Not only can, but even should.

I think I actually had to learn that lesson first, cause I think I do have a tendency to control, not because I am by nature a controlling person I think, but because with C. my environment was so unstable that I desperately tried to control anything that I remotely thought I could. Yes. A very common dynamic. I think now that I am more aware of how this works, I might be ready to get on with this business of how I relate to him. I know I can control my anger, I know I can stop myself from acting out, so now the time has come to hold him accountable for the times he is acting out, or reversing the blame, making me responsible for things that are his responsibility. Excellent!

Dr. I. is so right that somehow I always felt that his ‘right' was more right then mine. Even if I really new better. It probably has to do with my youth, I think my mother was very manipulative (still is, I guess) and I did not want to push my choices on C. like she used to do on me. I wanted him to be able to learn from his own mistakes, to chose his own path etc etc. All right stuff I think, but somewhere in the process I forgot that I had the same right to. Somehow ‘en route' (just practicing Jay :-)) I learned to feel that indeed his rights where more right then mine, his needs needier then mine, his anger more appropriate, his unhappiness more real and his happiness more important. He is an expert fighter, I never really learned to fight. 

I do feel slightly overwhelmed. I do not have a clue yet on how to really handle this, In theory, I know, but practice will be hard work. Now your vision is clearer. We operate "automatically", without thinking much of the time. You may find yourself lapsing into an old pattern; that's OK. Notice it and when you are not upset, think about different ways to handle it if it were to happen again: what you would do, say. But I do have faith I will find out. It might not make all the difference needed to get our relationship back in track, cause he has to play his part too. But I will get my relationship with ME in better shape. I can stop focusing on whether I am good enough for him and what should I do to be that. Yes! I can focus on is he good enough for ME and what do I need from him to be that. I might not get it, I know, but I will not know, before I have tried.

On Monday I am seeing my therapist and I might well decide not to act before I see her. I feel great!!! "When in doubt, do nothing" is the best policy.

Love to all and kittykisses to Trubble Did you know AuntiAJ that Makerel is really my littlest brother?

AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Dear all, Sharon here. Thank you!!!!! Thank you for all of your support and constructive words!!! Yes, getting squirted with toilet water was a little strange!! And I can't believe the institution actually gave him a day off with pay. I can only imagine how he played it up as the victim when it happened. Knowing him he probably threatened a lawsuit or something.

Fortunately, I still take the back roads to go home after work so I don't have to see his house. I actually prefer it because there is no traffic. Taking my walks is a different story though. He always sees me. I hate that! Although I love my place and the price was right, if I find another job downtown I am thinking of moving downtown someday.

I have NOT heard from him since his lame incident at work. I am going to be gone for the next couple of days so that will be good. It will take the edge off. First things first, but I have put in my applications for other jobs with the state and I am still waiting for an interview. I know that I need to do this as he and I work in the same work place too close for comfort. It would be really nice to get away from this situation because I see him every where I go!

Different topic - this man named Russ is interested in establishing a relationship.   Moving slow is the way to do it, I told him last night. He seems OK with it. I am asking him tons of questions which I hope doesn't scare him, but I need to know things about him before I proceed in actually spending more time with him. I don't want to spend time with someone if they don't have the character I'm looking for, and the only way I'll know is to spend time with him and ask questions about himself. I just want a healthy relationship with someone, and I don't want to something that's going to end up "weird" later. I'm playing it cautiously - he does have some very nice qualities - outside - but I really don't know what's on the inside yet. So, last night I asked him about past relationships - he seems OK with me asking - so we shall see! I'll write next week with an update if anything is new with Russ.

I really doubt if I hear anything more from Dr. Psycho. I think I was being tested on Tuesday from him, and I probably failed since he could feel my distance.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Dear all,

writing in my diary I just got a very funny notion I want to share. I feel like Sherlock Holmes, looking for C's bad behaviors. I thought everything was better, cause he did not display his old bad behaviors which I had learned to recognize. But somewhere inside I still did not feel it was right. Now i know: there were new, more subtle forms of abuse: how could I get mad for him telling me he might see a girl in Belgium, I felt so guilty, controlling. See how he uses your emotions to manipulate you? But I did feel it was not ok, I even wrote in the Catbox I was feeling bad about this and rationally I understood why. But I could not yet label it ‘Bad Behaviour‘ cause it was not like the bad behaviour I knew. Now I understand that if I feel bad about something it is potential Bad Behaviour, and it makes everything quite humorous: I see me searching like Sherlock Holmes for New, as yet Undiscovered Bad Behaviours. Giggle Giggle! Lunch with Jay must have somehow infected you with the sanity bug!

Love AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Dear Theressa,

At first I thought maybe you could put socks round the doors so they don't slam which may help a bit....but if it is a control thing Melissa will find another way....You can't shout as that wake s your partner and that is exactly what Melissa want to happen.. Gosh then she has got attention for sure...negative attention but attention and not just from mummy she has it from daddy too.......

Does Melissa know her dad needs to sleep? Are Melissa's needs met re the physical stuff and has she had some time for her with you both individually and together so she doesn't NEED to work for your attention (Not saying you don't give it; just laying out possibilities)

Would your partner wear ear plugs for a while?

Would Melissa respond to rewards....  In the Book Shelf there are a couple selection to help you with effective reward-based discipline.

Could you both leave her to have the inevitable tantrum as the TV is off when she is not behaving....BOTH get earplugs.....

There will not be instant miracles. Changes usually take hard work and time.

It may help to know that by the time you are in the car you are actually modeling some behaviour you are not going to like to see in Melissa in a few years time and that she is also not by then hearing a word you say....just getting the idea that what mummy's do is rant and rave when angry.. I can be tough on this as I made a rod for my own back on this one when my daughter was small...I realised one day I was always shouting at a particular traffic light.... But was the traffic light abusive?

One good thing to do is to take to sucking a mint as you get angry...it is hard to go on at someone and suck!

I just listened to these amazing tapes by Ivan Tyrell and want to post about them when I have had time to digest them properly; but seeing as the man is in the UK and he is pretty good....He says about anger management that you need 20 minutes timeout for an adult to calm down because of the physiological responses....5 minutes can do more harm than good as you are not far enough away from the angry state and by going back that soon you can make it worse. He uses the solutions based therapy you told me about. Solutions based stuff is pretty good, I hear.

Maybe given the above is just suggestions you. your daughter and your partner could all sit down together and work out a solution to this problem? Hugs, Jay

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

p.s Theressa, Jake doesn't drive which can be a pain on a long journey...but currently he won't come in the car with me.. a control thing... .giggle he pays for the outstanding payment for it and won't use it! Anyway in a breakdown with Jake in the car all I ever have heard is the 'big end might have gone." This is based on his total experience of being in a car when a 'big end' went. Driving with Jake is actually quite a skilled art as he once told me to turn right on a roundabout and got annoyed when I didn't and says GO loudly at every roundabout and traffic light one second before it is safe.....Funnily enough when I give his mother a lift.....

? I have no idea what a big end is! Giggle!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Hi,

Jay again, ridiculously redundant so I might as well write.. Jake has just informed me that as I got back early from getting the car he will now be annoyed(!) if I try to get dinner... anyone like to borrow him for the week? 

I wanted to say hi to the new people. i think Brian came and went before I got round to it and to Asha. Perdida. (Critters??? No you have to find one who isn't a critter).

This empowerment stuff is very reinforcing. Something I wanted to say is that it is not about all the troubles disappearing. Believe me, there was a point last night where I felt really low and it took a lot of work to get back on track...it is about reframing stuff and seeing things in a different light. Yes. It's about knowing your destructive patterns and catching yourself once you notice you are in an old, yukky place. Also, no matter how well you behave and how empowered you become, things will not necessarily go your way. It's about coping and problem solving.

I am getting very keen on this Ivan Tyrrell guy. I wish I could discover if he has anything on abuse; but I don't think that is his area. It seems to be more depression and anxiety/anger management.  

Anyway one useful message was about bashing on pillows and generally giving reign to anger. He recommends timeout instead and says venting can make the anger Worse. Exactly. This is supported by established research.

He also suggests this for panic attacks. You hold your breath in for 6 counts and breathe out for 11. he suggests it for insomnia as well. He wants to discourage shallow breathing and encourage diaphragmatic breathing because fast, shallow breathing increases CO2 levels and contributes to a panicky feeling. My daughter has panic attacks and got told to carry around a brown paper bag. Same notion with the CO2. I wish we had known this. I always felt the paper bag thing gave it all a little too much attention and it was ideal for getting out of the classroom. He recommends not leaving the point at which you have the attack and as far as possible carrying on.....  Yes. Face the fear and the fear will disappear. These are all established, sound behavioral methods for dealing with panic. One of my favorites: When you are in a panic state, you are afraid of your fear. Whatever you fear (dying; a heart attack; going crazy, etc.) tell it to happen already!

Boy, did we get that one wrong...

I still feel good although there are problems again with my daughter. I don't know why but every time we get things right she goes into 'rejection mode.' So on Sunday she was asking in the morning if I had her Easter present and by Sunday evening saying she hated me. Don't react to her mood swings. Let her know it's OK for her to hate you, but don't make a big deal out of it, which will reinforce her hating you. Be cool; distance until she warms up again. When she is calm, you can ask her why she was so angry with you that she felt hatred.

If I ring she answers and then suddenly gets abusive; but sometimes it is ok when I ring back...I seem to be two different people to her and the worrying thing is that she is getting past the adolescent stage now. I really do wonder if her brain did get badly messed up as she was glue sniffing for a while. I suspect this is more a function of emotional problems. She's manipulated you and daddy her whole life. Some days I do wonder.....I should say she isn't a street corner kid. She really does work hard; but she is always getting ill and we had a USELESS doctor. She still has, apparently.

Anyway, to not be codependent. I can't go on supporting her abusiveness and I have started thinking that I should back off COMPLETELY EXACTLY, though there is no need for any anger in your backing off. . for a bit as that is what she last said. The difficulty is my mother's 70th birthday is soon and I would love and my mother would love to see us all together. I can't FIX this. It has either to happen or not but I would need to ask my daughter about her plans... That's ALL you can do. 

She will see Jake so I should trust that if anything is wrong he will look after her.... 

It is so hard but she does seem to blame me for ALL the problems in her life... Because until very recently dear lady, you had been the powerless guilt-ridden victim. 

What do other mothers think...Is it better to leave her and just send a letter from time to time or WHAT? I really do miss her dreadfully when we are not speaking although I try to be laid back... You have to let her go emotionally, hard as this may be. Disengage. You have no power over her. The missing her dreadfully and your guilt over all that happened with her gave her quite a handle to manipulate you with. If you don't clean up your guilt, you will continue to enable her to blame you and not take responsibility for herself. 

She won't go to any therapy. Not with me....I think this is because she has said some stuff which would get uncovered as lies and she is probably afraid of the consequences....There wouldn't be any. Just a sigh of relief... She will go when she is ready. She is at a very weird age: teenage.

Anyway, I want in the end not to push my child away.....jay

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Hi all

I got *so* much out of some of the recent postings and the "love addiction" link: The best prescription? "Get a Life!"

I *love* this and how appropriate!

 

AJ

I really relate to you in this this statement:

"I think I do have a tendency to control, not because I am by nature a controlling person I think, but because with C. my environment was so unstable that I desperately tried to control anything that I remotely thought I could."

This sounds just like me and is probably exactly why Steve thinks I am angry and controlling. Because I was! Yes. This was my unhealthy reaction to a set of circumstances. I am not this way when my life is balanced, and when I feel a sense of structure, respect and care. It's when things feel totally out of my control that I start to control and manipulate. The control is about doing for him / making him happy; it doesn't work. But no more!

I recognize myself doing this and I have come to the conclusion that it must stop, completely (or as much as I am consciously capable of) and that the "consequence" of stopping is that I am no longer responsible for shaping Steve's life to be how *I* would like it to be (so that *I* can be in it!). The other consequence is having to accept that things as they are right now in our relationship are not okay. Yep. Another way of saying same: I can no longer allow meeting my dependency needs to run me. The price of denial, self-sacrifice, anger, etc. I pay is too high.  

As of last night, Steve and I have decided to call it quits on a personal level, for now anyway. We continue to work together, so we are still in a lot of contact. Good for both of you that you were able to preserve the professional relationship! That was not something you thought you could do before.

I realize that I absolutely don't want to feel so hurt and angry any more. It does neither of us good. But I also need to be completely honest to myself about what I want out of life, and out of a relationship. I see that Steve, with a few changes, could be that person, and that's what has been difficult. Yes. "...with a few changes," is the unrealistic error. However that doesn't change the 'here and now', and the here and now is all that really is. 

So for me this is about total acceptance of the moment. That what is *is*, and though I may have influence and be able to manipulate the environment, it isn't a good investment of my energy. It hurts the Self.  

On another note, the description in the love addiction article that talks about "vacillating between a sense of purposeless, mindless floating, depression, and an obsession with Getting There" sounds like me at times. I am very goal oriented and have a clear vision of the things I want from life, but sometimes find myself in that purposeless mode. What happens when you work hard to please other so they can "complete you"...  

What I have realized is that for myself the "frozenness" that I sometimes encounter has to do with indecisiveness and not knowing what next move I "should" make. In examining the indecisiveness that I feel, I wonder if it's a lack of self assurance or a difficulty in hearing my inner voice. Probably both. Or maybe these moments are necessary when there are changes in life circumstance. Yes. Maybe I'm impatient YES!!! You need to stop reacting so emotionally. "When in doubt, do nothing" should be posted on your refrigerator. or feel that I'm not living up to my role in society... Ask yourself why you waste energy caring about this one... gosh, I just don't know what it's about. It confuses me though. Any thoughts or direction on this? (as if you can be in my head, or would want to be! :) ) Slow down; do nothing; tolerate the uncertainty. Your head will begin to connect with your heart.

What is interesting is that lately I've been feeling a real inner "high" and everything feels absolutely right. When it disappears I can't seem to access it again and I have a hard time living fully in the moment. It almost feels like a body chemical thing, yet I know that my thoughts create these chemicals to some extent. I also know that I've been eating healthy food and that seems to contribute to the "high" feelings. My guess is that the inner "high" is about doing what you know you need to do, whether you like what you have to do or not. I think you lapse into yukkiness when you get scared, lose your center, focus on others, etc. And yes, your thinking and actions influence your chemical state and vice versa.

 

Sharon

A question - I am curious to hear more about *you*. If you weren't involved with anyone at all, what things would you most enjoy doing, what are your goals and visions for yourself with or without a partner? I was thinking exactly the same thing.

I just get the feeling that you put a lot of weight on the men in your life, and I think that you, the special person *you* are, isn't getting as much attention as it may like from *you*. Does that make any sense to you? I just wonder if your*Self* is feeling a bit lost with so much energy going to your relationships.

An experiment I have become quite good at - I turn off the radio, and tv and just quietly listen to my thoughts. I "sit" with myself. The first time I took a meditation class I found this *very* uncomfortable. But now I can sit still and be okay, just being, and dissipating thoughts of anxiety and fear.

Brian - hang in there, we're with you!

take care all

love Asha  Sorry about you and Steve. There were too many places you two were bouncing off each other. I'm glad that you are focused on "correcting" your "errors" of focus on other, "fixing" and controlling other, etc. I hope Steve does same and looks at his tendency to expect the worse; his selective perception has "proven" that the world is an  emotionally unsafe place, when, in fact, it is what we make it. 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

dear all, Sharon here.

Hi Asha. Sorry to hear about you and Steve. I hope it works!! Well, in answer to your question - this website is the only place I can write and read back my progress of myself. I really love this website. I feel as though I can write my thoughts - sometimes raw as they are - and not feel judged. I don't really share alot of this personal stuff about Dr. Psycho any where else. I have a few girlfriends that swear against relationships and men because they have been sooooo burned in the past. I relish my thoughts around that in that I'm not naive nor jaded. I haven't really been with anyone other than Dr. Psycho as I've only been single for 3 years (married over 20 previously) so I haven't the time under my belt to be jaded about relationships. Thank God! This is my only place to write about my "junk" about men, so if it seems as though I don't have a life other than *men* oh well! Its my only real place to vent! I do love meditating, yoga, massage and all that good stuff, but this place is the place to be TO VENT!! That I love to do when things irk me about all things having to do with toxic relationships. I think I've come to the right place! I wish some of my friends knew where to go when they were having their problems! However, I can't fix them! They need to find answers themselves. And alot of it comes from *within*. Asha's point has little to do with your experience; your emotional focus is on Other, not on Sharon. 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Dear all, Sharon here. Amazing info about love addiction. Thank you for that link!! It sure hit home for me about Dr. Psycho. That stuff went on between us for a long long time. The intensity, high/lows, all of the feelings were either really high or very low. And I hated it! It wasn't me nor my lifestyle. But I got caught up in it. And now I'm trying to work it all out without being "bitter". Take a look too at Susan Peabody's article and at the difference between love and infatuation.

I'm not putting the blame here however I do think since he was single for years, he knew how to play the game so to speak. The romance, charm, seduction, sensual side of him really got me hooked in. I was married for years to the same man - not at all tied in to the "hook" but after I met Dr. Psycho he knew he was working with a rookie in this land called "love", if that's what you call it.

Anyway, I'm fighting really hard not to get hooked in again. I have not heard from him -and I won't even call him - so hopefully this weekend will be uneventful. We have bad weather here in Sacramento, so that's a good thing!! I plan on doing lots of home projects inside that is!! Have a great weekend. signing off

Hugs, Sharon

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Hi Sharon

I understand - we all need places to vent!

Naturally I read my own stuff into what others say, and I didn't mean to judge you if that's what you were thinking. I just wanted to offer some input and see what you thought.

I know what you mean about not sharing this stuff with friends.

I've done a lot of dumping here myself, so I'm not one to judge anyone, nor are my thoughts necessarily relevant to other people's situations. 

Take care and vent all you want! And if I offer feedback feel free to take it or leave it. Yes, vent all you want. But, do think about what she said. Your preoccupation with Other is evident throughout.

Asha

***

I wanted to add a note to my previous one, about "control", just to clarify. Though I can and have tried to control many things in my relationship, I also do feel I was often misread as trying "to control", when it had nothing to do with that. There is really no way of proving intentions, and I think a lot of this has to do with trust.

Just a thought. Boy, you are sharp today kiddo. I agree with what you say.

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

Dear all, Sharon here. Wow! The weather here is so bad that I can't leave my office just yet. Its pouring out there!!!!

Asha - isn't it great to have a place to vent? I was sincere about not being able to talk to my friends about "junk". For one thing, I have noticed for my one friend - she recently entered into a highly abusive situation, and she is on the verge of marriage to him that they have only been together 2 months. And he verbally assaults her almost on a daily basis. Therefore, she and I are no longer on the same page, which is a shame, you'd think she'd learn as this is her 3rd abusive relationship. ugggg. Though I can't save her and take her inventory! At least I try not to!

We all have to find a safe place to deal with "junk" in this life, and I thoroughly enjoy reading everyone's posts and I enjoy getting the feedback as well. Every Monday I get excited coming into work because the first thing I do is log on to this site and scroll down to see my name any where (hey, at least I'm honest!!) or people that haven't written in for awhile and read the stuff. I try to envision what you all look like too! Group picture!! And it seems as though you are all across the world. Makes for a very interesting website. Thanks Dr. Irene!! Thank all of you!

Love, Sharon

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 20, 2001

S1

I am in the process of a divorce from my husband of five years, and in these pages (as well as other pages on emotional/verbal abuse) I see our marriage. I have only just begun to understand the dynamics of our relationship, his abuse, and my response. He wants to go ahead with the divorce but still "date". He basically wants me to be available to have sex with him, comfort him, care for him, and be there for him but with nothing in it for me. No commitment, no return love or caring, financial sharing, no anything. Even when he is "affectionate" or says "I love you" there is no emotion, it is cold and unfeeling. It gives me the creeps. He is in complete denial and believes that I am the one who needs counseling. My problem is that after years of emotional/verbal abuse I feel like I am "addicted" to him. Although I know intellectually that he is incapable of love and caring for another person (other than himself) and that he will only hurt me, emotionally I am terrified of losing him. I feel like a drug addict, needing my daily "fix" of my husband - willing to risk the pain and emotional devestation for approval and attention and sex and this "fake" emotion that he offers. Nobody seems to take me seriously, and I feel as if I'm going crazy. How do you treat an addiction to a person or relationship? Help!

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2001

S1

Dear Signed Help:

In response to your question. Break the cycle with this man. He is not meeting your needs and you know it. Cut contact and get with people who do meet your needs. You are selling yourself short. Believe that you deserve to have needs met. Stop taking care of him. Take care of yourself. Give to yourself. You are not being fair to yourself by continuing with this man. Is your purpose in this world to serve him? Relationships are give and take. Not all one way. So my advice to you is to cut the contact, get into counseling and or a support group. Get with people who are willing and able to give to you as well. You deserve it as we all do. Take good care of you. Tina

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2001

S1

I understand that I need to completely cut myself off from this relationship. It is a one way relationship, with me giving and him receiving. I know that. I am in counseling with an intern who specializes in abusive relationships, and am looking for a support group as well. My problem is I don't know HOW to cut the relationship off. I think about him all the time, everything I do I do with him or his reaction in mind. When I moved out of our house into an apartment, I realized that I have no life of my own - his life was my life. I'm terrified of being alone, and feel as if I might "die" without him. I hate feeling this way and have a difficult time understanding why I feel this way as it is so illogical. I am an educated, intelligent, feminist. Why the hell do I need this person who hurts me so much? I try so hard, but if he doesn't call me for a while, it's like I HAVE TO call him. Control yourself. You'll find you won't "die."  And if he asks me to come over or do something, it's like I CAN'T RESIST. When I try to accept that it is really over between us, I panic and cry and feel as if my entire world is self-destructing. I am addicted to him and/or our relationship, and I don't know how to overcome it. Everyone says, just leave him, cut off contact. I know that, I have to figure out HOW. How do I deal with my irrational fear/panic/anxiety/addiction? How do I resist these OVERWHELMING urges to see him, be with him. I feel like I NEED his approval and acceptance to SURVIVE. Why? How do I get over this? I think I am going insane. Lori

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2001

S1

Dear Lori,

If I understand well, you were the one to break the relation, you moved out of your house to an apartment of your own. Big step, and you did it all by yourself, even if you had help from friends. You are living alone right now, so, at least physically you can do it. I can relate to these feelings of thinking you might die without him. I remember once telling my therapist it felt as if the simple act of even disagreeing with him would sort of kill me. I know now it does not. It took me a long time and really hard work, but I did come to a point I can say, he, don't do that; I don't like that. And low and behold, I did not die!! Giggle!

The only way to do it, is to do it. Try to keep from calling him, every time you want to a little longer. Find something else to do, close off your phone ( i closed of the sound of my phone for two month, cause I did not want to speak to him, even though a part of me wanted that sooo much. This was after a separation of almost a year, a reconciliation and a second breakup (on his part).

The only way to do this is make it as hard as possible to have any contact at all. Because you know that once you have contact and he asks you to come you will go. Protect yourself from being asked in the first place. Go away, take a trip, make yourself invisible, make it as hard as possible for yourself to contact him. This may sound overdone, but in a situation like this, when you can't keep away, I believe this is the only way. And believe me, I know how hard it is.

C. and me are trying to get things together. Maybe my situation does not even differ all that much from yours. There is one BIG difference though, I am learning to keep away, I can easily not answer his call when I do not want to and I have lost the compulsion to call him. Yes! I used to need to be with him, even though I did not want to. That is over. I have reached a point where I can ask him to leave, instead of begging him to stay the night. And it feels great. I have a long way to go still, and I am not sure whether C. and me will go that road together, but it does not scare me any more. The only way to overcome this fear is to live it!! And I had forgotten how much fun living alone can be.

You will get there too. The first months are the worst. Try to be as strong as possible, try to slip less and less, but don't berate yourself if you do. You can do this, you will do this, because you know this is no good for you.

Whenever you need support, just come to this place, and we will be there to cheer you on as we have been cheered on when we needed it most and still are. Very nice advice...

Dear Asha,

I feel sad you and Steve broke up. Your situation seemed so full of hope and growth for a while. Glad you can still run your business together. I think you did the right thing though; at least this will give you both some rest. You need to care for yourSelf rather than for Other. Steve needs to look inside to find the danger he carts around everywhere. Hugs and lots of love and good wishes to you both. Doc & Trubble

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2001

S1

Has anyone here had experience with CoDa (Codependents Anonymous) support groups? I need all the help I can get to get through this, and I am considering adding CODA to my support system. Lori Go for it! Each group is different. Look around to find one you like.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 22, 2001

S1

"Control = trying to haggle with the wind..."

This is the true path:

Awareness --> Forgiveness (of others and Self) ---> Compassion (for others AND Self).

Once you completely understand, you can go home.

There was a 16th century French (Christian I think) monk, the name escapes me now...but his cool revelation was to understand that awareness, forgiveness and compassion were meant to be applied to the present - not just the past. In other words...live in the present and do all your awareness, forgiving and compassion in the present. You will then live a stress-free, fulfilling life, never needing to forgive anything that anyone (including yourself) did in the past because it was forgiven the moment in came into being...

Your compassion will free your Self.

Am I getting this across? If I could keep this on the tip of my hot tongue always, I would have the secret of life on tap...

Anyone see what I'm getting at?

Anon

PS. I don't care what religion you think you are, or if you steer clear of religions altogether, I still think the above principals are universal. No religion has ownership of this.

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 22, 2001

S1

dear all, Sharon here, Well, its Sunday and its a beautiful day outside. The storm is gone and the air is clean. I spent all day Saturday cleaning and went to church this morning - I joined the choir - today was my first day - and it was an unbelievable experience.

Nope, no news on the Dr. Psycho home front. I came in to the office to look up some stuff on the website, and I noticed that there is more energy about me that has been in the past. I don't know if its the weather or the "place" I'm at. For one thing, I really want to be some place else and I really would like to see changes for myself - I'm in a transitional spot - and though its scary at times - I'm feeling a little more comfortable about letting go of my entire past. I went to my therapist last week and we rehashed out all of the many changes I've been through. The last 3 years have been a process and I can't believe that I've actually lived through some of it. I realized that I was in a codependent relationship with my ex husband - very, very toxic as well - then I hook up with Dr. Psycho, again, very toxic. My ex also had a drinking problem, and Dr. Psycho did not. At 45, (I'll be 46 next week) I can't believe that I lived through 2 very toxic marriages, and almost went into #3. I am happy that I didn't', or I'd be posting on this forever!!

My goals for now is to work through some of my trust issues. Where and how would I start on that one? I think that component alone is something and someplace I need to start. For me, it began years ago, and I now realize that husband #2 who cheated on me didn't help my situation. The divorce was a nightmare (3 years ago), and I am now set up financially independent from him, and independent every other which way, I think my trust issues will hinder some of my progress unless I start there. Any suggestions?

Love, Sharon

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