How to get Dr. Irene's Advice: Look here!

Ask The Doc Board

The CatBox Archives

 

(Archives)

4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Catbox 33

Comments for Catbox 33

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

Back Up Next

Back to Catbox 32    32 Edited

 

Submit
Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Hi All,

I've been going over some old catbox threads. Lots of insight.

I found another button. It is a biggy for me!

During in therapy on Monday evening we discussed my "Not good enough mommy button".

I am a little confused about another aspect of "taking care of thy self". As some of you may know since my daughter was born, she is 7 years old now. My partner has been very critical of the way I do things with her. I found it very hard becoming a mommy. I was the eldest child, however, my mom never let me help out with the younger ones. She never taught me about having self respect which includes keeping your surrounding environment clean because YOU deserve to be in a clean place that doesn't make you get sick.

I am not blaming my mom, she did what she thought was best. However, I feel effects from this even now.

Anyway I left home, and my partner started where my mom left off. He started to train me. (train me not to disappoint him, or else!!) He needed things perfect. For fear the neighbours, his family, my family, anyone external thought he wasn't DOING A GOOD JOB of taking care of his family.

In August as you all know I had, had enough and left him. Just prior to August my victim anger was defensive and I would passively-aggressively not do tasks because he told me to. AND I didn't want him controlling me.

Well after August was when things in a state of confusion and MESS with a person (ME, accepting my present state) I accepted a part of me I used to have when I lived at home with my parents. "The who cares about tidying up, its my home, my mess so what is the big deal???"

If anyone mentioned the mess in my home, I would say "Whatever, it isn't anyone else business". My partner would be around to tell me about it."

I felt lost and in a COMPLETE confusing about my ability to care for my child (without her dear daddy looking over my shoulder, and me looking for his constant approval, so as not to displease him. GOD forbid it I disappointed him!)

My daughter played up. This reinenforced me as "not a good enough mommy". I couldn't sort her out. I tried to listen to her and to sit with her and let her cry. I explained to her things would be okay. I read positive parenting books. I tried to implement the ideas. I ENDED UP FEELING AN EVEN MORE USELESS PARENT.

So now I didn't only have my EX criticising me, the book helped also. Friends and family kept telling me to get this child under control. At first the choices helped. BUT when I found it hard to implement consequences things folded.

I felt stuck, one book told me that to discipline by taking away privleges didn't work and was cruel. SO what could I do? I had a child sat on the ground never wanting to go to school.

The school were no help. I rang a parenting group organiser. I screamed at her, in frustration about there being no help available.

Then in January myself and my partner decided to give things another go. Though we still lived separately.

Anyway our child improved. She stopped acting up. I THINK all along this was for attention. Since I was now not so up in the air and feeling out of sorts. She to felt better.

THOUGH The "Not good enough parent button" is still around. I need to get rid of it. It is causing me alot of stress and is hurting others and myself.

Last week and this week, Our child has been very poorly. She was very weak. My partner helped out alot. We worked well as a team. Though my partner and myself did alot of bouncing off each other.

My partner kept telling me how I am doing enough. (I thought what - I am staying up all night, I am not asleep like him!! how much more does he think I can do!!) My partner was up most days with her. Though I had to go to work one of the days and the other day I was at a funeral.My partner was off work the whole week.

THE BUTTON: My partner kept going on about what he had been doing, and pointing out what I had not done. THIS BROUGHT OUT my "not good enough mommy button"

I also have some confussion. (AND NO! I don't need anyone bashing me saying I am an unfit mother. I think I bash myself enough already!!)

My confussion is in the "Taking care of thy self" vs "children wanting attention on demand"

During last week I was very tired, after having NO sleep. There was one occassion when our child said "mommy I need a drink" I said (whilst sitting with my eyes closed), "dear, go and ask your daddy".

My partner shot into the room. "Geezzz Theressa what sort of mother sends a sick child into get juice." I said "I didn't think". He said "NO, it is always Theressa comes first, no one else, THERESSA never comes second."

Last night after 9 days without sleep. I was at my own house. I felt so drained and worn out. My partner was at home, at his own house.

Our child said "mommy I need a drink." I said "go get one". (She is quite capable of doing this. She was told by the paediatrician to get some light exercise, move about slowly since she was playing on being picked up everywhere and it was making her muscles go stiff.

Then she wanted to go to the bathroom. I noticed her earlier go to the bathroom on her own. SHE woke me up. I felt really groggy since i only just got off to sleep. For the first time in days. I said "go to the bathroom honey". She said "I can't" I said "Oh yes you can, i saw you go before." She started to cry. Though I told her "you want wee, wee, you go to the bathroom alone, night, night".

Anyway my button: I feel confused about taking care of thy self and attention on demand. Also I am unsure how to handle my partner's guilt about me not helping our child???

I am told this is about me, unhealed stuff in me, which is why I react when someone (my mom, sisters, friends etc) say "why don't you do xxxxx." Why do you put yourself first.

DR IRENE Ron (my therapist) said maybe if I share this on catbox others can help me dig out some of the beliefs and hurts in this button.

He also told me to ask you how you would help a client draw out the hurt under this button???

Any insight gladly needed. Theressa

 

Submit
Wednesday, May 02, 2001

I'm 29 weeks pregnant and going through a divorce. I emailed the stbx twice and told him we could file the petition and get this thing over with, but I didn't hear from him. I went to an attorney, filled out the petition and emailed that I would be sending him the petition to fill out and sign. The next day he emailed back that he had filed the petition and was having me served with divorce papers. Guess he hasn't dealt with all those control issues yet. In the papers he also states that he wants to be at all my OB appts., have me update him once a week on how the baby is doing and he wants to be in the delivery room. The kicker is...after the baby is born, he wants a paternity test "to determine the baby's father." He knows darn well he's the dad. The fun never ends. :)

Amy

Submit
Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Dear all, Sharon here. No real big news to report. Glad that the catbox is up and running. I'm been home sick and just got back to work today (tues.) Dr. Psycho is still acting fairly decent these days. No real abuse to report. Every now and then he'll say something in jest - like say, if a woman is being abused on TV, he'll say, "oh, she's been abused and she needs to go to WEAVE (women escaping a violent environment)!!" and I'll say "yes, she is being abused, and WEAVE will help her stand up for herself." But, he does NOT cross verbal boundaries with me. At least, not lately, but we do not spend the time together like we used to. We act like we are "just friends". In some ways, we are rebuilding something, in some ways not. The way I feel about him is this, he is NOT the significant "other" in my life like he was; he is certainly not my bf, nor will he ever be, unless and until he goes to therapy. I am in therapy and will be in "group" for the next 12 weeks through WEAVE every Tuesday night (starting next Tuesday) so I am and will continue to gain more insight and coping skills. Dr. Psycho is NOT my only challenge in relationships. My co-worker is also in the same behavior mode as Dr. Psycho. He is a man who has major issues with women, esp. ones that are assertive, and he is in a miserable marriage. So, I deal with his crap daily as well. I would love to find a new job; I've been looking but I have to be selective, because I don't want to go from bad to worse.

Being home sick the last 3 days was actually nice for me. I slept and read alot. Still not feeling up to par, but its OK. Its God's way of telling me to slow down.......

Hugs, Sharon

Submit
Wednesday, May 02, 2001

I'm finally following through on my divorce. We've been legally separated for a year and a half and the divorce has been filed for two months. He talked me into putting it on hold so he could prove that he could change. That was two months ago and I don’t see a change.

We’ve been married for three years. In that time he has either not worked or worked but refused to help out financially (last year he made $40,000 and blew all of it on movies, games, drinking and God only knows what else.) He criticizes how I raise my three kids from a previous marriage, how I keep house, my religion, and my friends. I work a full-time and a part-time job and go to school. He complains that I don’t spend time on him, trying to make the marriage work. Meanwhile, he is living with a friend, mooching off of other friends because he doesn’t have a job right now (supposedly he is looking for one) and going fishing all day long and sometimes until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.

The day we got married he flew into a rage and humiliated me publicly because on the direction signs to the wedding hall I put my last name first and his second. He said he was the “man” and had the “equipment” and so his name should have been first. He finally asked his mother who told him he was wrong and the woman’s name always comes first on wedding items. During the wedding ceremony he mouthed to me “I’m sorry” and then later excused himself saying he was just stressing out because of losing his bachelorhood.

He lost his job a week before we got married and six weeks after the wedding still had not even looked for another one. I was paying his car payment, his insurance and buying his food. He had me down to $4.00 in my bank account and had even drained my savings. Meanwhile, he spent the entire day with the unmarried boys next door drinking, playing darts and shooting pool and smoking pot. I finally came home one day and told him to get a job or get out. He was furious, saying I was putting money ahead of the marriage, but he did go out and get a job. He has paid his own bills for the most part since then, but not contributed toward the payment on my house he was living in or anything else family-related. In fact, when I asked him for $500 a month to cover his part of the house payment, food, utilities, etc., he was angry and told me I was just greedy.

I finally got a legal separation after we had a major argument over his closing down the bars or hanging out with his drinking and drug buddies until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. He threatened to burn my house down, called me a “f-ng slut”, dragged me around the house, pushed me, slammed my wrist in the door (accidentally, of course) and finally pushed me out of the house. I left and called the police who came and arrested him for domestic violence. His parents bailed him out of jail within a couple of hours. Of course, in their eyes, I’m the bad person who had their son thrown in jail. His dad even told me “I don’t see how you can say you love someone and then have them thrown in jail.”

After that, he got a job that required that he travel a great deal of the time. He would be out of town for 3 – 4 weeks at a time and in town for a few days or maybe a week. I don’t know what he did while he was in other cities. I do know he spent a lot of his $40,000 last year on drinking, video games, movies, etc. He says he never cheated on me, but I found a note from a girl saying “I thought I’d let you sleep…you can’t reach me at home, so I’ll call you later on your cell phone.” He says she slipped the note under his door because she was trying to contact a mutual friend of theirs and she knew he had worked hard that day and was already asleep. He’s extremely convincing, and I’d like to believe him, but everyone who sees the note tells me I’m being gullible and naïve if I believe it.

Throughout our three years of marriage I repeatedly found marijuana in my home (I specified he could never have drugs there because I have three children, two of whom are teenagers.) There were wild drinking parties in my front yard until 3:00 in the morning while I was trying to sleep (and then I’d have to clean up the mess the next day.) I have repeatedly found pornography in various places throughout the house (he always claimed it wasn’t his – it “blew” into the yard, or it belonged to a friend who left it there by accident). He yells at the kids or at me, then says he wasn’t yelling and we just need to understand he has a loud voice. He humiliates me in public by fighting and refusing to wait until we get home to discuss it or by using loud and foul language when complaining to management. He drives dangerously and plays road games that he thinks are funny by speeding up and tailgating friends on the highway, then gets angry and tells me he’s a good driver when I ask him to please stop. He’s punched holes in walls, broken mirrors and dishes and even threw my wedding ring against the wall so hard it bent and had to be repaired.

When I filed the divorce, he promised to pay for marriage counseling if I would put the divorce on hold for three months. It’s been two months and he still hasn’t made an appointment with a therapist because he doesn’t have a job and can’t afford it. Because he doesn’t live with me right now, he has all the privileges of bachelorhood and marriage both. He can stay out late with no one to question him, he doesn’t have to share money with anyone or take care of any family obligations, but he still expects me to sleep with him because we’re married. I don’t think he really wants things to be different. I think he’s happy the way things are because he has no responsibility and still gets what he wants out of the marriage. But I’m not getting my needs or desires met. I’m not going to waste any more time waiting for him to grow up. He righteously proclaims the “sanctity of marriage” whenever I talk about divorce, but doesn’t uphold that doctrine in his daily behavior. What’s even funnier is that he’s not religious at all, I’m the one that has faith. Yet he tries to twist my own beliefs against me to defend his own behavior and keep me from protecting my own and my children’s best interests.

He will be enraged when he gets served. We are including an order of protection so that (hopefully) he won’t rush to the house and threaten me or take my possessions out. I’m not letting him know that I am proceeding because I’m afraid of him talking me out of it again, and even if he can’t talk me out of it, then he’ll become angry and possibly do damage to my home or possessions, or maybe even me. I needed to write all this down so I can read it over and over to remind myself why this must be done. I am afraid of being lonely. I am afraid of growing old alone as my children grow up and leave (very soon…my oldest is getting married next year.) I am afraid of having to be celibate the rest of my life. I don’t want to have to face daily anxieties and problems alone…but I already am and just keep hoping that someday he’ll share them with me. I guess it’s time to realize that will never happen, no matter how much he says he wants to change and I just won’t give him a chance. I feel numb because I’m trying not to think of the future because I can’t guess what it will be like. So I’m trying to get through each day until the divorce is final without thinking about what is happening. I feel disconnected from everyone and everything and am having a hard time smiling or enjoying anything. And I’m so afraid of what he will do when he gets served.

Thanks for letting me say all this. My friends are tired of hearing about it and my kids don’t think I have the guts to go through with it – I hope they’re wrong.

Marji

Submit
Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Eeeeeeeee!! Marji!!! Get the heck out of that one. You are going the right direction. Don't look back and don't even think. Don't listen to anyone and don't flinch, and Do forget that you married that guy! Just get out as fast as you can and don't even talk to him anymore!!

It's me, the black-and-white Answer Girl, Perdida!

Theressa, don't let your little girl get into the mommy blaming act with your partner. You can't take care of her until you take care of yourself. You get to be "selfish," I give you official permission. I don't think a 7-year-old needs her mom to go to the bathroom with her unless she is barfing or afraid of the dark and needs some nurturing. I don't think it's too much to ask her to learn to get her own drink - how sick was she, anyway? She was out of bed, after all. I can relate to the messiness; my mom was so tidy that one boyfriend asked me if she cleaned the house herself or if she had someone come in and clean "every hour." I never did any housework either, and it wasn't because my mom wasn't tough enough to make me; it was because it was HER identity and she didn't want to share. I don't clean very well either. Why don't you hire someone to clean the house for you once a week? It's good for the economy and you're helping the person and you're helping yourself.

I'm losing patience with your partner! You can't be a bad mom just because you're messy!

Love, Perdida

Submit
Wednesday, May 02, 2001

My parents were in an abusive relationship themselves. They were so busy with their own enormous problems that they really had no time to pay much attention to my sister and I. No matter what I did right, there was never really affection, attention, or approval. I was also very hurt and angry at my mother for putting up with the horrible violence, abuse, and sexual abuse of her kids. It felt like she didn't care enough about us to leave. Now I understand what she is going through, but back then it hurt so much. I remember once when I was 12 or 13, I think, and I was horribly upset about something and feeling depressed and suicidal and hopeless and I tried to talk to my mother. I was sitting on the back steps and it was getting dark and tears were running down my face and my mother was standing by the door behind me and I just thought how much I needed her to love me and that if only, at that moment, she would hug me or do something to show that she cared that everything would be alright - but she just turned and went back into the house. I was also so ashamed of the violence in our household and of the abuse that I always felt like there was something wrong with me. I was always terribly quiet and shy and had an impossible time making friends or interacting socially. No matter how much I accomplished I always felt bad about myself. I moved out when I was 16 with a man (he was 21)who I thought cared about me and would love me and take care of me and I imagined this "perfect" little family and my being happy and safe. It was all a fantasy and that's not how it turned out at all. We were together for 10-11 years, but he constantly cheated on me and that hurt so much. I thought that if I was just "good enough" or "pretty enough" or "smart enough" that he would love me. So I spent the first 16 years of my life trying to be good enough to get my parents' love, and the next 11 years of my life trying to get his love, and the last 5 years trying to get the love of my abusive husband. No matter what I accomplished, I always felt like a failure and I never felt whole or accepted - even though I accomplished much more than other people my age (kids, college, graduate school, good jobs, volunteer work). My husband was horribly verbally & emotionally abusive, and my self esteem is at an all time low. I feel like I'm going to die. I need his approval so badly for some reason. I am so terrified of being alone and so afraid that no one will ever love or care for me again. It sounds creepy and silly, but I am also very afraid that I will never have sex again. I feel so old (30's and ugly and used up or something - who would ever want me now - it seems like it was easier when I was young and left my first relationship, plus I have/had cancer and have surgical scars and my husband said such horrible things about my body) I kind of see that to me sex is affection and love since I never got affection and love - the only physical contact and "approval" I received was sexual, so now, even though I've left my husband, I have this sense of wanting to sleep with him to get this "fix" of approval and of thinking that I'm wanted or needed. It is so horrible and scary and all I do is cry. I don't sleep or function and feel like I'm going insane. I know that my husband is narcissist and abusive and unfeeling and yet I feel like I need him. I just feel so hopeless like I'll never make it. Sometimes I just want to give up. Lately it has been so awful I think about suicide - but I can't leave my son or my pets or hurt my family - but many times it seems like the only way out of this. Lori

Submit
Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Lori, Things sound dangerous for you. You can only change if you want to and sometimes people have to get real low before they even make the effort to go back up. But you are living with a 300 pound gorilla who dragged you across the floor by the hair. This is unsafe. It's also undignified, immoral, and illegal regardless of the insensitive cops. Report THEM too! Do you have family you can go to? You need to get out of there. Take your self and your stuff away while he is at work or something. Get out, catch your breath, enjoy being alone and doing for yourself for awhile, doing anything YOU want to do. Can you leave? Get some help from friends or family and arrange somewhere to go, and don't go back until you feel GOOD about yourself without needing him or anyone to "make" you feel good - only you can do that for real.

Keep posting, this is the place for you to get support! Ending it all -don't go there, come here instead. Just lose the gorilla.

Love, Perdida

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Dear Lori, I am so sorry that the police were so insensitive. Don't forget that if you made another call then there mey be a more sensitive person on the other end. Also you can probably talk to your DV unit in advance. Jake and I (it turns out,) both did this about each other! This however, worked, in the end in my favour as I don't think he would want the embarrassment of another call out and nor would I but we both set the boundaries. Jake does not know that I have talked to them a lot about his passive aggression and it helped the day that he called them as I lost it and I heard him being given a bit of a talking to by a policeman about 'winding me up.' he tried to use this in a passive aggressive way later to prove to someone else I was out of control but didn't seem to realise that if they ask him to leave the house (he refused and then complained via a formal complaint nobody responded to) then they saw him as the problem.

The interesting thing is that as the boundary has been set there is no more violence. Passive aggression, yes, and my raging verbally, yes. But who in their right senses wants to end up in a police cell?

Actually I do know a woman whose husband is abusive and very aggressive . He called the police out and she got taken to jail......she tells me she was so relieved to be away from him that she took it as a gift from heaven! It did all get sorted out the following morning. This woman was so confused by things that she was telling the police she would like to be put in a psychiatric hospital. Instead she got some help about DV and she says they have been very kind when her partner calls them out.......

But the main thing about you, and this woman is the violence is so great you need to leave. I wrote the above as I know you won't! To leave takes a lot and most women return more than once. Please though have a bag packed!

Dear Theressa, YOU ARE A GOOD PARENT ! Actually, you didn't let Melissa be manipulative. What a good lesson to give her. Won't say more because I emailed you yesterday and I am hoping I wasn't too blunt.

Dear all. Wow I just had the 'statement of the year.' I can stay and make things pleasant or I can stay and make things unpleasant.

Yes. well, I suppose if I want to, either way I can.

Er, excuse me Jake, but if you would prefer not to be married to me why do you want me here at all?

Seems like you are a bit not self caring here. You will put up with someone who makes things unpleasant????She can stay if she does that??? I have your permission to stick around and make your life hell and gee if I do that you can encourage me to get worse and worse because you won't throw me out???

Of course if you are really lucky I will choose to stay and make things pleasant. OOOOH it is all down to me. I can have my own way on everything as long as it is pleasant. Oh! You didn't mean that you meant pleasant for you..

So, let me get this straight. If I stick around and be nice it has to be nice to you. The fact that I am pleasant will not be in response to any effort from you as you are so perfect you don't need to make the effort?

Seems like on this basis I am doomed as I don't think I have the capacity to do either. Being a human being there would be days when I failed to make things pleasant and so would make things unpleasant. So I can't stay on this basis.

Actually Jake I choose whether I stay according to what is best in caring for the self and although you conveniently refuse to ignore it, my staying will be based on how you choose to act towards me.

Let's rewrite the script shall we.

It seems to be. I want you to stay as long as you will do what I want.

THAT is what you have said.

I would prefer you to have said:

"I would like you to stay and I hope we can both work at making a better relationship however it works out."

This includes two of us. Both working on being our best selves regardless of what the other person is like but setting limits and boundaries on what we will accept.

Personally, as I intend to work on my being my best self for me ,and that will be good for you it may work if I stay. But don't think I will be fooled into thinking that you are therefore working on you.

And please don't be fooled into thinking that if you change because of me you have therefore worked on you.

My boundary is I will not stay if you make things unpleasant for me. I will not stay if things are unpleasant, whoever makes them so.

I will stay if I can see we are both working on our respective selves. So PLEASE be self caring.

LOL did he see what he said??????????????????????If I wanted to be REALLY mean, hasn't he given me permission to abuse?????????If I wanted to abuse and wasn't prepared to work on me wouldn't jake just have made himself a sitting duck.?

I think I better stick around to protect him (oh no I can't ! That would be codependent) because if he offers this to any human being he is going to end up as dead meat.

What he said is I have no boundaries at all and you can treat me as you like.

Fortunately for Jake I am interested in my own personal growth and can set boundaries around how I allow myself to treat others and am working on that. Fortunately for Jake I have a conscience. Unfortunately for me I just realised how weak Jake's boundaries are.

What a dangerous position for one human being to put another in.

sadly, Jake will never read this. he will never acknowledge his life partner took time out to see how destructive she could become if she stopped working on herself. That she had the integrity to realise that human nature being what it is, she could so easily BECOME abusive if he she let herself.

How difficult respect is for someone who says clearly they have weak boundaries.!

If I do appear to be acting on Jake's invitation to behave as badly as I please, then please tell me.......

JAY

 

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

RATS! I should have looked at the punctuation. The point I am trying to make is that the STATEMENT was a very dangerous one to make. jay

 

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Hi All,

I think being in a healthy relationship is:

Being able to request help. And then accepting the response, without trying to convince the other person, or proved why they should help you. Or start yelling.

*No means NO! Your response "Okay". Then you look at your alternatives.

There is no point in having expectations others do not have for themselves. The majority of the time when you don't argue, try to convince or persuade, or relay all that you've done. The other may choose to help you. ***********

I think being able to say NO! to requesters because you aren't willing to help out without having to explain and convince them of your rights to say NO! Their reaction is their problem.

(think about your motive for saying NO.) ***********

Trying to control each other doesn't work. (so no quilting, or trying to convince each other. No one has to help you, it is always a choice. You have to respect their right to make a choice and accept it.)

This was hard for me to accept but what other sane option do I have. As my therapist said "sometimes you have to bend to see others reality, whilst still not losing yourself."

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Hi - Asha here

I don't have much feedback to offer anyone - I have my own "dumping" to do.

I woke up in the night feeling really stressed, though I have been feeling pretty good about things in general lately. I'm in a bit of limbo workwise, and don't feel really motivated lately, but I think that will pass. I've been really working on not "taking care" of Steve's issues at the expense of my own Self. I am an expert at taking on his stuff and feeling bad, while not resolving anything for either of us. We still aren't together as a couple, though we work together and have remained friends. I've been taking time to focus on my own feelings, and just taking that time feels great. Cultivate your friendship; it's your biggest asset.

Anyways, Steve is in an extremely tough spot financially, and he has been in and out of court, dealing with legal aid, filling out forms for his lawyer etc etc (His ex wants him to accrue a debt to her since he can't afford child support right now). He's been looking into various funding options to help him during this difficult spot and is working like heck to make the business profitable, but 'just scraping by' creates extreme tension for him, when combined with pressure from the ex, and all the court rigmarole, as well as the more serious issue of wanting to provide for his children, both emotionally and physically. Anyways, over the past several weeks I've detached myself from all these issues, which I basically can't do anything about, except feel bad.

Yesterday, I went on a walk with Steve and later realized someone had jimmied open the lock causing damage to his vehicle and Steve had left his wallet under the seat so all of his i.d. is now gone, as well as a precious $40. He doesn't have the money for gas to see his kids this weekend. I feel really bad for him (though I'd warned him about leaving his wallet there in the past). Still it's an unfortunate thing, and it makes me feel a bit unsafe about where I am living.

The previous day, I'd gone into a store and was trying on some clothing when the police and ambulance arrived to take away a young couple that looked like they were on heroine. Then I went to a nearby grocery store where there were some really scary looking dudes hanging around. To top it off, I think my new neighbors are drug dealers - lots of creepy characters driving up, stopping there for 10 minutes, then driving away. I hate to think the area where I live is taking a turn for the worse, but my experiences over the last few days seem to reflect that.

I just don't have much comfort to give Steve right now, since I'm really focusing on the awareness of my own feelings and desires. I feel bad though about the break-in though, and slightly unsafe. I also feel concerned about how this kind of incident will "prove" the world even more unsafe to him because the trust issue was such a problem between us when we were together. Anyways my feeling bad isn't solving anything, but I don't really know what to do with those feelings. NOTHING. Just notice that you have them. Feel them; let them pass through you. Do not act in response to them.

I've been praying, sending out good thoughts etc. and trying to have faith that everything is as it should be even when the lessons are difficult for people.

Maybe it's just that I have been trying to find comfort within myself, and I feel bad that I have little comfort to give out these days. Notice that you feel badly that you don't have comfort to give. (Later, ask why you think you need to give it...)

thanks for letting me vent.

Asha

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Dear Jay,

I just read your story, and I think you really did great. Your last Catbox post rang a lot of bells. About how weak Jake's boundaries were and that he was almost giving you permission for abuse. Isn't that exactly the position you yourself (and me and loads of others here) where in before: no boundaries and therefore the willing victim....... Isn't it great you can see that by buying into that ‘invitation' for abuse you would compromise yourself more then anything. Maybe all of the abusers should be victims for a while, just to learn. What you said shows very clear how important boundaries are and it helped me feel less guilty about the boundaries I am trying to impose. I do it for me, ok, but not to hurt C., I think he will benefit.

The situation is C. wanting a new car, asking for money to borrow and I said ok (conscious choice) to a certain amount I could lend him without feeling not good about it. I also made it clear I expected him to return it in due time, say 10 months at the most. He cannot decide what to do, and wants to draw me into this decision, as if needing to get my permission, which I absolutely refuse. I like the car, but I would never buy such an expensive car for myself, but I think he should make the decision himself and take all the consequences that go with it (he needs it for work, he says, and I think he is partly right but a less expensive car would also do the job). He says, well, but if I buy it, I won't have any money when I go to Portugal (he leaves in august). He's right about that, but that's not my problem and also I do not want to make it my problem. I feel guilty, but at the same time I am so sure that he needs to learn to make these decisions and take all the consequences into account and that if I help him, again, I am just getting him of the hook, like I have done for years. And I finally decided I want a partner who can take responsibility for his own actions. So I guess this is sort of a test case.

What do you think, is it ok to ‘lend' your partner money and tell him you want it back. Yes. In writing. I am not asking for any interest, and I love giving him presents, but this is different, it is money I inherited and though I do not need it right now, I might need it in the future.

Glad to see the Catbox working again and I will try to answer some posts later.

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Hi Sharon,

Your job, how do you measure a job? In monetary value? or quality of the atmosphere? Good use of your skills?

It sounds to me like you need to go and speak to your boss. I say: "I would like to be treated with more respect, otherwise I cannot do my job properly, I am unhappy about ________ etc"

Sharon as you know behaviour is a loop. If one person breaks the loop then the loop can be broken. Also it is possible as it was for me because of my BEHAVIOUR (co-dependency and the abuse etc), I found all areas of my life were effected.

Have you tried setting boundaries at work? (I will accept xxx, I will not accept xxxxx) Do you say NO when you feel put on?

I suffered for two years complaining about my work colleagues, and my relationship with everyone else in my life. THE main thing was until I was clear about what I would accept and sorted out what I could control. Nothing changed until then.

I then spoke to my head of section. We ironed out some resentments and discussed how we could work together. I never drempt it would work. BUT IT DID!!

When others are clear on how you will be treated they have no option but to treat you respectfully otherwise you will refuse to deal with them.

Sharon for years I have felt put on. Then I discovered the skill of Informing others of my plans and letting them either fit in or not. I learnt to accept a NO and give a NO.

Sharon you owe it to yourself to look at your options:

What could you do to change things at work:

1) Speak to your boss and tell him that you are unhappy about how you are being treated. (specifics) I would prefer it if you sat down with me each morning to set out deadlines. I am willing to work until xxxx 0'clock.

2) You could take a job less challenging until you found the job you like.

3) You can go on putting up with this environment and continue to complain and put strain on your heart.

4) You could do nothing.

I would take option 1) and speak to him. Don't say YOU SHOULD do or YOU shouldn't. Use the skill of I am unhappy because of xxxxxx, I would prefer it if xxxxxxx happened instead.

If you get No joy, and no agreement then I would say "I am going to speak to your superiors." If he is the superior, I would say "I am unhappy and do not think I can continue to work in this atmosphere."

Then if nothing changes and you do not wish to continue working there. You go to the next option.

Taking a job that may not be as good pay but value isn't only in monetary, maybe the new job would be less stressful.

Maybe you haven't exhausted all job finding methods. THOUGH I think I would recommend speaking to your boss.

I think this is a lesson in you learning to speak up for yourself, set boundaries and use your self control skills of breathing and being respectful even if the respect isn't returned. So don't run from the lesson. This is an integrity lesson. BE on your best, respectful behaviour.

See it as a puzzle, you can get through it. There are always options, and what is the worst that can happen. The boss could say "Sharon I no longer require your services" Well in that case Sharon can go out and find another job.

It isn't a matter of life or death. You are capable of handling this.

Take care Theressa

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Hi Asha,

THIS is about caring about Steve vs caring for Steve. You can tell Steve you are around to listen to him if he needs an ear. You can perhaps try to look at other avenues for your business. Is there any areas which overlap your business you could go into.

Maybe you could think about other directions for the business that are in line with what the consumer wants.

You can give Steve some space and trust him to work things out himself. You could tell him that "Steve I know you need some time right now to sort these things, I trust you to ask for any help if you want it, I am giving you some space".

This is caring about Steve. This is healthy.

What is unhealthy is caring for Steve. Starting to take the responsibility from him and showing him you think he is incapable of sorting things out himself.

The point is supporting him, when he asks for help, whilst trusting him to ask for the help if he wants it.

STEVE and yourself have some choices to make about the direction of the business. It appears it needs a new direction, to generate some money. So maybe you need to research how to do this?

Take care Theressa

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Hi AJ,

You are absolutely right to expect the money back. Why should you feel guilty. You were asked for a loan. You didn't offer a gift.

Rule of thumb: If you can afford to give it away then you can choose to give it as a gift.

If you can't afford to give it away then you can choose to loan it on the assumption that they will return it.

CAN you afford to go out and give away all that money?? I doubt it, and just because you don't need the money now, how would you feel if it wasn't returned??

You would probably feel used. So listen to your feelings. You are not in a position of financial richness to go giving away large quantities of money.

Nothing to feel guilty about. Conscious decisions. Conscious choices.

Take care Theressa

 

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

I feel for you. I know exactly what you are going through. My husband does the same things! Almost worse than the physical abuse is when he says or does something and then denies it and tries to say that I am crazy (just like your husband). I know how you feel. I left my husband about a month ago and am in the middle of a horrible divorce and he still manages to (or tries to) abuse, threaten, and manipulate me. Last night he called me and while we were on the phone kept making "beeping" noises like he was recording the conversation. When I asked him why he was making beeping noises, he denied it and acted like I was "hearing things". This is the first time I didn't respond to it - I just calmly told him that I heard him making noises, that if he wanted to deny doing it it was fine, but that it was called "gaslighting" and he might want to look into it. He got really upset when I didn't respond the way he was used to (my getting upset, emotional, crying) and he became all agitated. He continued through the night making maybe 80 phone calls crying, cursing, threatening me, begging me. I just stayed calm, told him that I did not believe anything he said, that I knew that he was attempting to manipulate me, that I wouldn't play his games, and that I absolutely would NOT come over to his house. At 3am he called me and came over to my house hysterical. I did not answer the door. Then he called and claimed that I had another man here (which is crazy) and claimed that his grandmother had died and that he needed me and how dare I be so selfish as to not rush to him and console him. I called his grandparents and confirmed that they were alive and well. I called him and said "You are a complete liar. Do not call me again." Then I turned off all of my phones and went to bed (of course I couldn't sleep as I was so wound up over all of this "turmoil"). He left obscene messages and e-mails after that, saying what a terrible person I was for calling his grandparents in the middle of the night (he's the one who said they were dead!) and tried to turn everything around on me and make me into some monster even though he was the one who spent the entire night harassing me. I didn't answer the phone or respond to his e-mails. I forwarded his messages to my attorney. This is the FIRST time ever that I didn't play "his game" the way he likes to play it - which is for him to be cruel and push my buttons and for me to get upset, emotional, cry, and try to convince him to be logical or caring or something and try to prove myself. It felt SO GOOD to refuse to play the game. I felt like I finally had some amount of control and power in our relationship, instead of being manipulated and abused. I hate to admit it, but I enjoyed seeing him get all emotional and upset - it was about time. Now if I can just stay strong until this divorce is over and until I can get back on my feet and stay away from him. I know what it is like to be so tired and depressed. Sometimes it seems so hopeless like it will never end and you just can't imagine another day of misery and torture. I'm thinking of you. Lori

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Doc,

I am a man who was fortunate to have wonderful parents that are still in love today. Only for 1 year I have fallen in love with a woman who verbally attacks me with anger ( short of name calling) when I do something wrong. Even though my father made mistakes, I never saw this before. I have tried to explain this is not what I want in our relationship, and she doesn't care. Do I accept this as her? Or does she not really love me?

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

HI cats, Is that you AJ, with C needing money for a car? The man cheated on you, AJ. How are you going to turn around and trust him to pay you back money that he borrowed. You've been so disappointed in him and your relationship in recent posts. I think you are setting yourself up for a BIG disappointment, i.e. that money won't be there when YOU need it. Think of yourself first, and what's yours is yours, not his.

I bought myself a brand new car, am paying on it and decided to store it while I am in Brazil. For some reason, my ex, even with absolutely no formal commitment to me and to our relationship, got real huffy that I wasn't giving my brand new car to him while I was traveling. My question is, WHY would I do that? It's my car!! AJ, if that's you, ask yourself the same thing. What is he doing to deserve this consideration? It's YOUR money, not his! It just feels like a very bad idea to me. And lending him money will NOT enhance your intimacy - it could very well completely destroy it if he proves to be untrustworthy. Which his track record shows he is likely to do.

Today it's been 3 months since I broke up with my ex. The silence is golden. It's hard to miss him with my new playmates although sometimes I get sad. I had a breakthrough in which I forgave him because he's got it harder than I do. I'm happy now because I removed the source of my unhappiness. I can't say the same for him since I no longer know anything about his life! About getting my stuff from his place, sometimes I feel like I could give him advance notice,like during the flash of forgiveness, but sometimes I get scared that he will damage my stuff or put it outside to get stolen, or make a scary scene when I show up and even try to bite me again or something. I hope I can get someone to go with me.

Jay, you sound really great. You just keep moving right along. It sounds so crazy-making, what you have been through! Can you put up with it until Humankatkid turns 18? no custody discussion then. Jay gave you a very funny choice! He left out a few options there!

Love, Perdida

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Hi again, AJ,

So I just read the rest of the posts and I think Theressa's rule of thumb is really good - but I have a complimentary rule of thumb to add on in terms of loaning money to friends: If you loan money to a friend, make sure it is money that you could think of as a gift in case you don't get it back. Catch my drift? I feel from your post that you're going to loan him the money, but my advice is that if you're going to loan him the money, set terms to get it back but in your mind kiss it goodbye, especially if you want to stay on good terms with him. For me, this would go for any friend wanting to borrow money, not just because you're asking about C.

Well, there are two more cents from me! Can you tell I have loaned money before (not to mention borrowed...)?

Love, Perdida

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Lori, your husband sounds like a combination of my first and second husbands (what is it about me that I either always attract or seem to always be attracted to, abusers?) My first husband was the master of “gaslighting.” I remember him walking out of the house and five minutes later coming in and saying, “ Did you pour me my glass of milk?” I said “What milk?” He said, “The glass of milk I asked you to pour for me right before I left!” When I insisted he never asked for the milk, he accused me of never listening and then said I was just like my grandmother (who died of Alzheimer’s.) This time my mother was right there and agreed with me that he hadn’t asked for anything. He said my mom would of course stick up for me. When this episode was related to a marriage counselor, the counselor asked me why I didn’t just apologize, go get him the milk and avoid the argument!!! My first husband eventually convinced me I was weak, mentally and/or emotionally ill and an incompetent mother. After going through a clinical depression, spending time in a mental hospital and trying to kill myself, I finally decided no one would ever push me to that extreme again and I divorced him, after 13 years of marriage and daily verbal and emotional abuse. He NEVER became physically abusive, though.

So this time, I seem to have picked a guy who is verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive, but isn’t “smart” enough to use the “gaslighting” technique. His blows are very direct and obvious.

I have now told him I am following through on the divorce. He did some odd jobs a few days ago and earned $200. He wanted to take me out to dinner and he bought me a dozen roses, just because he had the money and “could.” I refused to go to dinner with him and told him to give the roses to someone else. I told him he had a $400 car payment coming up in two weeks and he wasn’t going to be able to pay it if he spent his money unwisely like that. He said he’d just go out and get some more work. I told him to plan ahead, grow up and start taking care of business. When I refused to go with him, he realized something was up and asked if I’d talked to my lawyer. I confessed I had and I was going to follow through with the divorce. He started off by crying and begging, telling me he would die and please don’t do this to him. When I didn’t back down, he started pushing a new button – one that surprised me and nearly tripped me. He said I had done such a good job of nearly convincing him that my religion was a good thing and that he should give it a chance and go to church and study the Bible with me, but now that I was doing this, it just proved that I was a hypocrite and religion is wrong. I rallied and told him he was just being manipulative and that if he really had a good heart it wouldn’t matter what I did, that he would still seek spirituality. When he saw that didn’t work, he began threatening me, that he had some tricks up his sleeve and he could make sure I got hurt too. At that point I hung up and turned off all my phones. He left messages I never responded to and he hasn’t called in the last 36 hours. I called my attorney to be sure the restraining order was going to be served as well as the motion to convert the separation to a divorce. So far, it seems that he’s hoping the silence from his end will make me give in and come crawling back. I’m too cynical to believe that he’s actually given up already and decided to let me go without a struggle.

Hang in there. I have my kids, (who don’t really believe in my ability to pull this off anymore,) and a few friends who care. I hope you have people to call and get moral support from too. I’ll look for your posts to see how you are doing….

Marji

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Asha here.

Thanks Theressa. We've adapted our business quite a bit, and have recognized that some things have worked, and some haven't. I know for myself the direction the business needs to take, and it involves some work that is unpaid, initially. I am in an okay position to do that, but Steve is not. There are some funding possibilities for him which he is currently investigating. I think this is quite hopeful, but the car break-in felt like one thing too many in an already tense situation. (I actually dreampt that I found some of the contents of Steve's wallet, caught the thief and with the help of a very strong, large policeman, was sending the thief to jail! I'm even trying to fix things for Steve in my sleep!!) GIGGLE!

You are right that this is about caring *about* Steve vs caring *for* Steve and that I need to continue to trust that Steve is an adult and can work things out himself. If there is something specific I can do, that he requests of me, and that I feel good about, I can do it. Otherwise I'm wasting energy on being over-concerned. And you are right, that I need to let him know that I believe he is capable of overcoming his difficulties.

The problem I have is "over empathizing" I think. Rather than just feeling empathy, I can feel incredibly bad about something and then can't get it out of my head. For example a friend told me a very sad story about a dog that had been euthanized at an animal shelter, then a week later the owners came looking for it. (Maybe I posted about that before, can't remember.) I felt awful about this story, but when most people might have a momentary thought about this and be able to let it go, I will wake up in the night thinking about it. I don't know why I am this way, except that it seems to run in my family.

Dr. I, any suggestions on how to break this pattern? I am aware of it now, and I try to pray or meditate on the issue that is bothering me, but I would appreciate any suggestions on putting a "stop" to the reaction before it reaches a point that's hurtful to me. Become more and more mindful. Pay attention and notice your thoughts and feelings, but do nothing about them other than accept what is each moment. Check out Wherever You Go, There You Are : Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

I don't have time to offer feedback to anyone right now, but good wishes to all.

Asha

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Theressa, This "partner" of yours seems to find every opportunity to put you down or tell you your are not doing it right or try to "fix you". He doesn't seem to have much respect for you and he has convinced you that you are the only one who needs fixing. In all the cases in which you have given his side and what he has said the message is always the same. It goes something like this " Theressa is wrong, Theressa is incompetent, Theressa is inept!" It's all a bunch of crap! Please, for you own good, stop buying it. I think you need to get away from this guy permanently. If you stay with him he is going to erode your self esteem down to a little nub and then rub it out. He wants you to be someone that you are not. You want him to be someone that he is not. You know you can't change each other and what you say about him suggests he is in no hurry to change anything about himself. I really believe you can find someone who accepts you as you are and doesn't need to keep telling you how to do things. I'm sure I am not alone in these perceptions. H Lynn

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Where to start? I guess at this point, I am writing merely to vent to all of you who may understand my situation, and can hopefully in some way provide support. I am a 23 year old male, married for 2 years and have a 1 year old son.

My wife began seeing a therapist because of stress. I thought nothing of it and offered little support. After a couple sessions, she cam home and told me I was verbally abusive. I was in denial. ME? No way! Then I put it all together, I think logically. When we argue it isn't like the arguments I see my friends and/or family have. Rather it is me yelling at her, calling her a f**ing b* or telling her she is useless.

After my bawling, shaking, and begging for sympathy for her not to leave me she asked for me to see a therapist. "ME, why?" (Exactly). I agreed but procrastinated about it.

Here we are, two weeks later. On Wednesday I called to get approval from the insurance for a therapist and actually scheduled an appointment with a gentleman to whom I was referred by my wife's therapist. That evening however, she came home and told me she was leaving me. She has grown tired of my verbal abusiveness, which most often happens in the morning when I am actually just waking up, still 75% asleep, as I like to say. However, it does happen outside of that time frame. It counts no matter what time it happens.

At any rate, what all of this comes down to is that I am verbally abusive. I demean her. I don't make her happy like I used to. After researching all day today, I see myself in the descriptions and characteristics of verbally abusive people, i.e. road rage, hitting things (not people), cussing frequently, extremely nice to everyone but my wife. My appointment is for tomorrow. I hope it goes well. I want to change because I love my wife and family and I want to continue being a family. I want to know what it is like to "feel" as I am extremely dormant when it comes to feeling, especially when it comes to stress caused by money (we are well-off to say the least in terms of salary however, in terms of debt I am still paying for all of the big kid toys I had as a bachelor). Anyway, no more rambling, just wanted to get my story out there, see if anyone has good advice to help us through what will surely be a difficult time. I'm not a quitter and am convinced I will make good on my goal to fix what is broken. Excellent attitude! 

  Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Dear Computer Nerd,

I bet a lot of the Cats can relate when I say that I wish my ex had written the post that you wrote. Just coming to the realizations that you've come to and seriously going to therapy is to me half the battle right there. Now you will learn new skills and heal yourself, and with some practice you'll be able to stop the behaviors that are making your relationship unhappy. I am so glad you posted and I hope you keep the Catbox filled in on your progress. This is a good place to vent and to go over confusing situations. Welcome, welcome! I just wish you were my ex-fiancée!

Best, Perdida

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Hi Computer Nerd

I agree with Perdida - but additionally I think if you want *real* change, you must been really really committed, and really really motivated.

This is what I feel the people who *don't* change lack. Think of it as an addiction, like food addiction. Say you were overweight, and you went on a diet. You lost weight and just when you started to feel good about yourself, you went back to your old eating patterns again, and then you became overweight again. For permanent healthy living, you have to be committed to a new lifestyle and a new way of thinking - for the rest of your life!

And sure we all slip sometimes, circumstances affect us etc. etc. but we are also all capable of dusting ourselves off and getting back up again, and not giving up! (See the poem I posted on the Jay's story section)

The other thing I would suggest is that you make the changes in your life for a better *you* and not just to try to win your wife back. Sometimes being a better *you* can be appealing and you may get back with your wife as a result, but not necessarily. I think when people are motivated from within, because they truly see the benefit of changing negative thinking, they are more likely to succeed than if their motivations are for external purposes; i.e. to please someone else.

It's a long hard road ahead, *but* it can be done, if you want to do it badly enough.

This website is a great place to start and chock-full of information.

Personally, I would love to see a self-avowed narcissist, or verbal abuser stick with this site and be committed to his/her healing. I know there are people like this out there, but we don't seem to see a lot of them here.

A good thread to look at - you can probably find it on the site map or Dr. I could maybe put up a link: "Do I have to be the Buddha"

A guy called David was in a situation similar to yours. (Wonder what ever happened to him anyway?) He's in the process of moving on...

Good Luck and hope to see you keep posting.

Asha

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

My husband has been extremely abusive towards me and has done some terrible, unforgivable things to me. I am intelligent and educated and was a strong, independent person before this relationship, and never thought that I would be in that situation. If a man had done to a friend what my husband had done to me, I probably would have gone to his house, kicked the #&@( out of him, and whisked my friend to my house where she would be safe and secure. But somehow in my mind it became almost "okay" for my husband to abuse me. I knew intellectually that it was wrong, but the years of abuse had worn me down to where I almost felt as if it was acceptable. I would make excuses for my husband and feel guilty and horrible for things he had done and was (and still am) absolutely terrified to lose him. I thought (and sometimes still do think) that I would die without him. If you have never suffered long-term physical and/or emotional/verbal abuse, it is almost impossible to understand the dynamics of the abuse and why an abused woman stays with an abuser. I know that I never really understood until I was in this situation. I used to think, why don't they just leave? Anything would be better than that. Living on the street would be better than that. I feel awful for feeling that way, for making it so simplistic. It is not simple at all. Abuse is emotionally devastating to a woman and her abuser controls her, intimidates her, and makes her feel so awful about herself that she is literally trapped out of her own fear and insecurity. It is like brainwashing. My husband took me, an intelligent educated and attractive woman with a good job and post graduate degrees, and turned me into a terrified, depressed, suicidal, mess! I never believed that anyone could make me feel so awful about myself that I hated myself, so awful about myself and so fearful that I would stay in an abusive situation rather than face my fears of being alone. It is so hard to explain. It is almost impossible to explain. But I do know that when people blamed me, called me stupid or weak, made it seem easy to escape, insinuated that there was something wrong with me, it only made me feel worse and had me running back to my husband. Abused women don't need judgment, don't need to hear, "it's so easy - just walk out", they don't need to hear insults to their intelligence. They don't need people to oversimplify the situation or overlook the complicated emotional web that they are trapped in. What they need is support, encouragement, love, affection, reassurance, education, and constructive advice. Same thing we all respond well to... I left my husband about a month ago, and am struggling to stay strong enough to not go back. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. Sometimes I am so afraid that I shake and cry. I don't sleep, I don't eat. I am terrified, I am devastated. I know that it is the right thing to have done, and I want more than anything to make it. Yet, I still feel like I love my husband. I still feel like I need him. I still feel like I want him. Everyday I am tempted to go back to him. When he calls me and begs me and says that he loves me, I dream of running to him and collapsing in his arms and living happily ever after. I know it is a fantasy, but it is one that is hard to let go of. To let go of the fantasy that your abuser will see the light, will change, will love you and treat you right, is the hardest thing. Letting go of that means that it is over, accepting that they do not and cannot and will not ever love you. That you will never have the love and approval and kindness that you need from that person that you "love". That you are alone and have to accept that and go through a literal emotional and mental and physical hell in order to make it on your own. Everyone here has been very supporting, non-judgmental, and encouraging. I appreciate it so much. Lori Thanks for being part of it Lori. 

Submit
Thursday, May 03, 2001

Theressa

It seems like your partner is not very good at empathizing with you. Do you think that's true?

Asha

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Dear Asha,

sorry to hear you are feeling less and less safe about your neighborhood. Maybe it is time for a change in that aspect too. Could it be, it was like that before and therefore just put it aside, but you just felt you had to put up with it and now you are so much stronger and know you don't have too and have a right to want better things??

About Steve, again it amazes me how much similarities there are to our lives. C. is often in a financially tight spot, which is often due to his own neglect of money matters (at least in my view) . He simply tries to ignore money all together, and even when he is working very hard, it just seems to disappear. He gives it to friends, pays things for them and then finds when he needs it, there is none left, even though he worked sooo hard. It is also part due to his family who are constantly in financial problems cause of the economic situation where they live and all sorts of other things. This makes it hard to draw a line. Like you, I do feel for him when he is in a tight spot, but I refuse to rescue him again. It seems to me he will have to learn to do some fanatical planning for himself and not just buy things when he has money and keep some apart for a rainy day.

I can understand right now you don't have much to give, you need to take care of you now and there is probably so much ‘negelcted maintance' it would take a lot of energy. I think you are doing absolutely the right thing here by detaching, cause, as you say, there is nothing won by your going overboard too and there is nothing you can do anyway. If anything it is to be you and take care of yourself and help when help is asked for and you are able to give it. You cannot rescue him, he either will learn to rescue himself, find someone else who he thinks will rescue him, or stay in these kind of problems for the rest of his life. His choice. And by helping him unasked, you would deny him that, I feel.

About your bad feelings, I think the best thing is just to acknowledge them remember where they come from, the old patterns of feeling the need to help as soon as someone else is in trouble, putting their needs (Steve's needs) before your own and remembering that you cannot solve other peoples problem for them, it did not work in the past, and nothing is gained by your feeling bad too. And then try to make the conscious choice to do something that makes you feel good.

Hope you will feel better soon.

Theressa, thanks for your answer. I know you are right, there is no need to feel guilty, but guilt is such a strange emotion.....

Lori, glad you have finally been able to tear yourself awya from this man. Keep it up, you can do it. It sounds great the way you reacted. If you are afraid you'll go there again, log in and talk here. Just write down what you are feeling and tell yourself posting you know you should not go. I think you are doing great and you will do better after a while. Hooray!!

Love to all,

AJ

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Hi All,

Thank you for all your support. My therapist hit the nail on the head the other day. I also read through some of the old catbox posts and saw lots of you going through much the same.

"Bouncing off each other", "Keeping score of what you do vs your partner does".

As I realise this is about ME! I see this in different areas of my life. I need to feel good about me. I need to define my beliefs about what a good enough mommy is.

It really isn't just about others emotionally beating me up! It is mainly about me beating ME up!

I don't agree my partner doesn't empathize. He has done alot recently. There was results from helping with childcaring for our daughter.

I think it is when CONTROLLING comes into the equation, from either side things get messy. I need to kick the habit of trying to convince him that I am okay.

I need to convince ME I am okay. As Dr Irene and Ron my therapist said "There is no bad guy or girl, we both play a part in creating this craziness."

I have to work out for myself and define a good enough mommy. I feel shaky about this at present, hence the button. Like with other things when I can stand up to myself and say "geezz Theressa you are doing the best you can."

I have for sometime even when I was separated been working on this good enough mommy in therapy.

I belief when you feel good on the inside things balance out on the outside. In the way you present yourself and the way you allow others to treat you.

I know that I made a mistake with Melissa. As in when she wanted a drink. I was tired and didn't want to help. I know why also? I was in a flux of confusion.

This confusion was about ME taking care of me, hence resting. Vs helping Melissa out. I have now worked this out in my journal. "In a crisis it is good to help out" And it is also "good to know when you are being manipulated by your child, when you know she is capable of doing it herself" Though she was ill and this was a mini crisis she needed my help.

I felt sensitive about this and was actually beating myself up emotionally. This is why I was so reactive with others, including my partner.

I am not excusing him. But I to point things like this out to him. He didn't go on and on about it, like he used to in the past.

I worked out in my journal. My daughter is a dependent part of me, to some degree, she is like a kite. I have some control over her steering by using boundaries and consequences. However, I have to let the string loose little by little as I see is, capable of doing things herself. One day the string will become so loose she can be free and soar up in the sky on her own.

Therefore, when I take good care of my daughter, it is the same as taking good care of me. Though as with my own inner child, I have to set boundaries. I have to set limits on what is an acceptable way to behave or treat others, and treat myself.

I've learnt the NEW healthy word for me to aim for:

The old co-dependent word was "Sacrifice". The new healthy word is: "I deserve the best".

Now I have worked this out, I no longer have to worry what my partner is or isn't doing. It is really all about me being responsible for what I want. As I have noticed when I let go and leave my partner to choose, things go much smoother.

I concentrate on me and my goals and the results I want to see.

So cleaning my home, is for my benefit, my reward, because I deserve to be in a clean environment.

Looking after my daughter when she is sick, is for my benefit because she is a dependent part of me.

My life, my responsibility. i wouldn't want anyone else to steel the responsibility of caring for a special little girl in my life all of the time.

Live and let live, really does work. So fixing me inside is helping me to feel good on the outside. Yippeee!!

OH well I am learning lots. I even cracked the key incident. I forgot my key the other day. I knocked on the door. He answer and said "where your key?" I said "in the car, Melissa was more important".

I think he felt uncomfortable but I laid that responsibility for his feelings back with him.

SO I choose consciously and then accept I did the best I could at the time. WOW.

Take care, and thanks all of you. This problem solving technique I learnt from the anger book, is great. "listing your sane options".

Off to a Lionel Richie concert tonight, have a good bank holiday. Theressa

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Ooops just lost the long post I wrote. (my computer and not the site!) (For a change.) I wanted to reply to so many and will have to keep it to the few. Lori, hang in there and I can identify with all you say.

AJ don't lend him the money.!

Asha, Sorry things are so bad in the neighborhood and I think you need to care for Asha by letting Steve find his own solutions which will also be caring for Steve. If you keep rescuing him he won't learn to cope with the situation.

Computer nerd. Congratulations. So many will be saying "If only."

Other new male poster. You made me think of a friend who told me how her husband got through on the kind of behaviour you talk of. He waited until she was calm and then told her how her behaviour affected him. You may need to be patient as this is a very difficult behaviour to change..it will have been learnt over a lifetime. Turn a deaf ear when it happens. Disengaging really helps.

Theressa, I agree with the others about your partner. I think he feeds the way you are so hard on yourself. I would like to hear what good things Theressa does as a mum and in the house and I think you should identify them!

(Not exactly and English custom to do so is it?-culturally we are not supposed to do this and I think it is a result of years of being told that we shouldn't boast!)

Perdida you sound great. Hugs

Sharon, Hi. Theressa said it all, I think.

Marjii - hang in there.

Becky?????How are you? Lynn and Dan?

Anyone and everyone else, hugs.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...well not exactly a ranch ... in fact nothing like a ranch a t all, Just an English expression. I guess I am just reeling at 'my story' appearing on the board! Thanks for the comments anyone who posted them. Asha I loved the poem which I will cut and paste.

Weird. Jake and I getting along in a friendly manner.... (About time!) Humankatkid being himself and hilarious as usual. I think it is God's gift to me to have someone else in the family with humour!

Right now, today I am going to do things...like (giggle, Theressa if you could ONLY see it here...housework and stuff that needs doing as my next way of working on me is to stop procrastinating on the things I need to do.....Interesting as this is completely un Jake connected. So today I am working on me, for me, as there is no need to feel he is involved in any way. Crumbs, no people pleasing in this at all......Now that is new.....jay 

 

 

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Hi, this is AJ

C. finally decided not to buy this car. And I am sure he made the right decision and I am sure that I was right to say I would lone him part of the money. I was clear about the conditions, I made it clear I would accept any choice he made, but stayed very firm in that it was HIS choice and He would be the one to bear the consequences, not me. And I do feel it helped. I think he made a conscious choice......

Perdida, what you said about loaning money only if you keep at the back of your mind, can I loose it without feeling too bad, is right I guess. I loaned a very substantial amount of money to friends in Turkey and the economic conditions are so bad right now, I am not sure what will become of it. But when I offered them the loan, I knew something like this might happen an I felt it would be ok if I would not get all of it back.

I think with C. the problem is not as much him not wanting or being able to pay the money back, but me not wanting or being able asking for it. Up till now, whenever I ask him to pay something, he does it, without a problem. I pay for his car insurance and he pays it back to me every month, no problem.

I think i needed to do this to know I could set a boundary in this area, to know it's ok to make a difference between ‘normal' money and big money, that I have a right to take care of me in that aspect too. It is hard for me, I do feel I should share all I have, but at the same time don't want to. I need some money on the bank to feel save. C. never did learn to save: when there was money in the family, they used it, when not, they just ate dry bread.. That's life. I think living on is own is doing wonders for taking his own responsibility in this respect, and for me this car thing was a huge test on how he would act. And I think he acted responsible.

Last night I lay thinking and just realised that for a big part of my life I really did not want control over my life, I wanted ‘things to happen', so I would not have to be responsible. I got mad at C. that because he was even less responsible then me, I had to take responsibility, but I tried to take his, not my own. I did not want to make my own choices, did not want to live my own life, cause then I could be held accountable for my choices and God forbid... Excellent observation.

I think I am slowly learning being responsible for yourself is not half as bad as it seems, and in learning this, I start to expect others to be responsible too. And I believe that I gave C. all the opportunities to be irresponsible cause I kept taking his responsibility instead of my own and that now, in taking my own, and expecting him to take his, we both have such a change to grow. He has to do his work, I have to do mine, but right now, there is still a lot we can teach each other.

 

Love and hugs to all, AJ

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

take a long look at the man -- or woman --- in the mirror. It's not how others view you; it's how you view yourself.   Take care Theressa

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

http://www.drirene.com/thine_own.htm Take care Theressa

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Hi All,

I've listed in my journal all the things I do for Melissa. Lots of good emotional stuff. I also recognize the things I need to improve upon, but these are things I couldn't do before because I didn't understand why I needed to do them for me.

I was too busy concentrating on bouncing off my partner and worrying what he was doing, or not doing. Now I am just controlling me, I know what I do is my choice.

I just couldn't get my head around letting him off. BUT I know the universe never lets us off scott free. We always get what we give in the end.

It is up to the universe to settle scores not me.

There are a few things that would enhance my relationship with Melissa but I also see all the good I do and I have written them in my journal as reminders.

I was very keen on the emotional stuff but I realise now that the physical stuff is also important. I was threw for a very long time, scarred by the constant criticism laid upon me by my partner.

Though this was nothing compared to the self loathing I felt. I truely never thought I was worthy. I never thought I had any choice but to put up with BS. Now I do know.

IT IS all about me. And it is great that it is! I deserve it to be about me. I really do have choices don't I. Yippeee!! Yippeee!!

Just got off track and engage sometimes but I notice this and can get back on track.

I think the puzzle was I needed to see that my behaviour really is my business and I don't have to answer to others. I can choose to help out in a crisis.

I can take care of my little girl, regardless of what her daddy does. It is, his life. I have only enough energy to live my life. I plan my life and live it and let others get on with their lives. Excellent.

Take care Theressa

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Hi, Theressa, it sounds like you are on track and acknowledging some of the good stuff you do. I had a thought half way through the afternoon which was that your partner doesn't live with you so he actually has no right to comment on what your house is like. He needs to keep his own tidy!

So do things for YOU!

Giggle. Not that I can talk about housework.....still haven't done it. Jake doing so much is so bad for me.  It has made me lazy....er, there is something wrong with that statement! Correction , I am just lazy? No not that either.. maybe it would just be helpful if Jake left me some responsibility for the way the house is. There is no incentive to do anything when you know someone else will do it if you don't. Correction: Since Jake takes responsibility for the house, I have chosen not to take any. Of course, I can re-evaluate my choices any time if I feel they don't work for me.

And I am so confused. Thrown by pro Jake thoughts...then I think of the abuse and what I can't work out is, if I forgive him will I get abused again? can I just set it all to one side? I get thrown by these warm feelings and then I remember...... Correction: "Forgive, but don't forget." :Live in the moment and deal with each second as it happens.: There is no confusion really, just my inability to trust my fledgling ability to handle myself/ take care of myself / protect my boundaries effectively. As my skills in this area improve, I gain more and more confidence in my ability to be able to enjoy him, while not letting his (unresolved neurotic stuff) hurt me. I see how this is all perfectly normal...

Yet again I know I will never let him control me again. i will never let him make me feel put down and I don't think I will ever ask for his support again. I wish I knew if this was a longing back or a moving forwards.

And all the stresses we have been through in the last few years have to have taken their toll.

i suppose I have been asking myself not will Jake change, but have I seen him making changes anytime in our marriage , The answer is "yes." So he does have the capacity.

But what is meant to be the other side of the anger? You are already on the next level Jay:  Questioning your gains. Normal. You are now spotting more of same ol' same ol' but at subtler levels. This will continue for some time. One day, there will be no more levels... (And you can go on to another lesson altogether!) Giggle!

jay

 

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Dear all, Sharon here. Hi Jay, Theresa, Perdida and Tim B, Asha and AJ. Haven't had the chance to post and when I have posted it doesn't go through. I've been out sick the last few days - came back to work on Wed - though not feeling up to par. A viral infection, so I know I am run down.

Sounds like everyone is doing well. Couple of bumps in some of the roads, but otherwise OK. Perdida, its been 3 months already??? Time has flown!! Jay, sounds like Jake is giving you fits. What's up with that? I can feel your emotions in your posts and its strong. I am the same way - I feel strong about things when it comes to loved ones. My convictions run deep, and I love deeply. Seems like you are the same. That's a good thing! However, sometimes we love them too much!

I have no real news to report. Dr. Psycho has been fairly decent towards me and his behavior. Since I've been sick, its not like he's going to come over and take care of me, nor would I expect him to. But when we are in contact, he's been decent, friendly and somewhat loving. I can tell our distance is making him feel feelings and he shares every now and then some vulnerability about wanting more of a friendship. But that will take time. In the meantime, I'm still in my mode of nurturing myself. I'm still in weekly therapy, and I've been looking into other jobs for myself as well. I'm not at liberty to write about issues on the job since I'm writing this from my workplace, but I really am lacking the same motivation I came in at due to some issues. I have a very good reputation here and have even been given recognition about certain achievements, however, sometimes bosses don't like that. Especially insecure new managers. So, I'm on the look out for what I REALLY want to do. Hopefully by the New Year I'll be in more challenging position! That's one of my goals!

Hugs, Sharon You never addressed the codependency stuff Sharon... Keep it in mind...

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

I was wondering if there are any cases of parents that have got their children back after physically abusing them.

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Dear Whoever who wrote the above about children and physical abuse. It has, certainly in the UK to be fairly serious for the parent and child to be permanently separated. I think to answer your particular question you will need to write a little more if you can. jay

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

is it engaging to say "you are obviously in a passive aggressive mood and so I am going to bed?" I just did and I am not sure if it is just provocative? Yes, because you are passing judgment ("passive aggressive"). Even if you are right.

GRRRRRRRRR RRRRRROWL he is so impolite and my buttons are pushed. Surely reasonable humans answer one another. Right that settles it. I am metamorphosing into a cat! Good choice.

DUH????"I knew you were talking but I didn't think it needed an answer"?????????????Well if I become a cat he won't even know what I was saying! 

Giggle, I was in trouble this morning for saying I wanted marmite on my toast, I am apparently not 'allowed' to change back from marmalade......eeeeeeek! I am abused by my breakfast. GURR. The logic is that if I wanted marmalade yesterday I can't want marmite today. And as for saying I would like fruit with something on.....well you see I can't because the other day I wanted it plain. This takes the biscuit...talking of which I wonder what will happen if I break tradition and take the biscuit tin to bed with me......OH one problem.......no biscuits! Meow Mix. Much simpler. 

Sorry everyone jay acknowledges she is typing here because if she engages with Jake she will end up verbally making crumbs of him (joke). Giggle! You need to practice mindful paying attention and not doing too! Wherever You Go, There You Are : Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

Actually I think looking over some of the posts I am not so badly off. I doubt if I will become insane over the issue of marmalade although ...there is the Cheshire cat. I may by that token be Alice in Wonderland.  Also, once certified sane by a cat, there is no turning back. Giggle.

 

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Trubble, would love to be here. That is if you like cream. I now have a dish full of more than any sane individual can eat and guess what he put in it. yep ....bananas. I get it. He thinks I AM the cat. Well, you are then!

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Hi all - Asha here

AJ - You know it's weird about my neighbourhood. It's a fairly decent area, but south of where I live there is a higher component of crime. The house next door to me is a rental house which is getting kind of run down, unfortunately, but the rest of the street is friendly and most people take pride and care of their homes.

A really weird thing happened last night. Remember my dream about the cop? It seems like it was a sort of premonition.

I was sitting at my desk and the phone rang late in the evening. It was the office phone, forwarded to my home phone. I decided not to pick up. The most bizarre freaky voice left a message full of expletives ending with the words "now you're gonna pay, because the devil's gonna come and take you away." (The greeting on my answering machine is a business message, so whoever called knew he was calling the business - it wasn't a wrong #)

I felt very weird about it, and phoned Steve. I then put a call trace on the phone call, and contacted the police. What's so strange is that Steve's wallet had our business card and business # in it, along with my home address and other personal information. I just found it odd that the individual chose to call *that* particular number, just one day after the wallet was stolen. So remember the big policeman in my dream? Guess who came right to my house? Weird, huh? Just like in the dream.  Amazing... that we are so amazed each time we are faced with our "knowing."

I was impressed that the police actually cared enough to check this out and listen to the message (which was basically a death threat). I also told them about the "business" that's going on next door and the strange timing of the phone call after the wallet was stolen.

They are going to trace the call. I won't know what's what for a week or so, but the police seemed to think that it was worth checking out to see if there was a connection to the stolen wallet. I hope the rest of my dream comes true and that they do catch the criminal involved. 

Somehow, I do feel safer anyway. What I'm realizing is that a lot of my unsettled feelings are about not feeling "safe", whatever that means. Excellent! That means you are getting in touch with very early stuff, feelings of unsafety - stuff that got you into trying to control your environment in the first place (like fixing Steve; paying attention to other to see what you think they want of you, etc. ) This is the root of your reacting: A common but misguided attempt to control your anxiety (i.e., fear). Why you want to practice mindfulness and "doing nothing."  Slowly, by doing nothing, fixing nothing, you develop new coping skills. So you deal with the external danger internally. There is no longer a need to "do something/ fix something." Get it?

BTW AJ, Steve is usually pretty good with money - he just doesn't have any right now, not because he's overspent though. Still, I can't "fix" it for him and I do want to treat him like an adult who is capable of sorting all this out on his own. You won't be able to do that until you learn to  cope internally with how you handle unsafety.  

I think something for all of us "fixers" to consider is: if you overgive and are overresponsible to others, you are only "helping" them to become dependent, childlike, and *ir*responsible. Is that what you want to develop in a partnership? An adult/child relationship? Remember that song - "work your fingers to the bone, what do you get? Bony fingers!" - it's kind of like that: "treat your partner like a child, what do you get - a childish partner!" Pretty simple really. Yes. That is the effect your fixing has on others. Creates resentment in them too, especially since they sense your lack of confidence. (They think you lack confidence in them; really you lack confidence in your internal ability to deal with the lack of safety in how you perceive your environment!)

Money is a biggie though, and when I read about situations where the guy has more "power" in the relationship because of a better financial situation, I sometimes empathize. I think we often, unknowingly, create dependencies - both males and females. I suppose I have the most "power" financially between Steve and I - yet I didn't want to have that more powerful position. It was because of circumstance. I suppose Steve could have demanded alimony and by law maybe that would have even been possible. (he didn't) Is it right though? I think traditionally, us females are the ones to normally put ourselves in financially dependent positions, and society seems to see that as acceptable (and sometimes it may be - for *both* males and females, depending on the arrangement). However, it's not so acceptable in our culture for a man to do that.

I think our "agreements" early in relationships about this stuff is pretty important, and I've seen it from both sides since my mom was financially dependent on my dad.

 

Theressa

It sounds like when your partner questions your actions, your "button" is there because you are asking yourself the same questions already. If you reach a point when you are comfortable with *you*, then you will be able to better judge whether your partner is being rational or irrational about you. So I think you are wise to work on that.

However, unless there's a part of the story missing, when your partner said: "Theressa what sort of mother sends a sick child into get juice?" my immediate thought is - what about the *father*? If he has a problem with her getting juice on her own, why is he running to you and not going to get the juice himself? From your descriptions, it seems he is quick to blame you, and tag the responsibility on you, but not accepting his own parental responsibilities. Good that he didn't go "on and on" about it, but is he expecting you to be the main caregiver when he is *present*, and is that fair?

As for the actual situation, I think your daughter probably wanted reassurance more than anything, and I think, if she was capable of getting the juice, it was okay for you to ask. It's a judgment call - a hug or some reassurance might have been a nice supplement to asking her to get her own juice. In any case it doesn't make you a bad parent. You are going to make mistakes, and that's okay, especially if you keep learning from them. You don't have to be perfect, and I think it's good if you tell Melissa that you *do* make mistakes from time to time.

I like how you are sounding though Theressa - focused and aware. Yes! She's really growing by leaps and bounds! Gone is that pervasive confusion... Much less confused...

Jay

a small note - I think you can forgive and still be "aware". You can forgive without ignoring "what is". It still comes back to conscious choices I think. Yes. And why the fix always boils down to self-awareness and not reacting. I think sometimes (myself included) out of hope for our partners we make choices out of our own projected images of our partners which are not always based on reality. I don't think that's what you are doing right now though. You don't have to throw away the warm feelings you have for Jake. I think you can acknowledge those feelings just as you acknowledge the hurt, the anger and the disappointment.

Also, maybe it's time you started making your own breakfasts. :) (or if you already are, not discussing them with Jake) Just do Meow Mix. Much simpler. 

take care all

Asha

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Hey Cats,

Theressa and Jay, you're rockin'! You are both just blooming. It's really great to see! Jay, your story was really moving. I didn't know all of your background until you wrote it up for us. But you are doing so great! You have totally picked yourself up from such a series of lows. You are an inspiration!

Theressa, you sound like you are completely getting "it", learning to be responsible for what YOU want. I think you sound like a wonderful and thoughtful mother and I think Asha is right, that your partner is too quick to blame you and make it all your responsibility.

While I'm on the subject of Asha, I think Asha is brilliant.

But Asha, I am worried about the phone call although you got really good police attention. I have always been plagued by weird phone calls and they are disturbing. Can you put a caller ID on your phone? I think these calls have become so common -talk about misplaced anger - but I don't think they ever amount to much real threat fortunately. But they unnerve, so I'm sorry you have to go through the annoyance.

Yes, Sharon, it has been THREE WHOLE MONTHS with no contact. I have known you all now for more than three months! Thanks again for all your support, Cats! For my three-month marker, I deleted all of my letters, files and notes relating to my ex-fiancé from my computer (well, actually, I downloaded them on a disk first and put it in a drawer - in the back). Giggle! Now I'll just purge my email and that will be that! Well, except for the stuff at his house which I will get this summer. What do I do? Do I just show up and ring the doorbell or do I give him notice? Have I asked the Catbox this question 1,000 times already? He is somewhere between the sneaky covert abuser, who maybe could get some advance notice, and the 300-pound gorilla where you should take a large armed policeman with you to get your stuff. I suppose I could show up with pepper spray. You don't suppose you too see the environment as dangerous, huh? (Giggle!)

Love, Perdida

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Hello, Asha, Perdida, Theressa, Jay, Computer Nerd, and others. I've posted occasionally before, but not lately.

I appreciate being able to "look in" on other people's process. It is a learning experience, and there's a lot of helpful interaction.

I am in an interesting situation right now, one I have not seen anyone else comment about yet. After being in a verbally abusive marriage for 23 years, I left my husband about five and one half years ago, and we divorced (He would say I divorced HIM) almost five years ago. Last summer I married again. It is a warm, happy relationship with a kind, gentle man. I have 5 children, 4 are birth children and one is a niece who came to live with me and my first husband when she was 3 (she is now almost 17). As I said to her therapist the other day, "it's ironic that of all my children, the one who is most like my Ex is the one who's not related to him." The ex is a narcissist/ alcoholic/ passive-aggressive/ probably borderline and treated me like dirt. He's a very scared, very unhappy person. He doesn't seem to think that other people have feelings, or have any existence apart from what they do for him. People appear to be interchangeable for him. I thought he was a good dad, and would continue to be. He now lives 500 miles away and seems perfectly content to be a "dad" to his new wife's children and forget his own. Once our son was having trouble in school and doing drugs and in a lot of pain. I tried to talk to the Ex about it and he actually said, "he's not the teenager I'm worried about right now" and went on to tell of some calamity that befell his stepdaughter. He treats people like extensions of him, or toys, or possessions. He is very immature. He never apologizes when he does something wrong. In fact, I don't think he ever thinks he does anything wrong. If anything happens that is not to his liking (and he has very high expectations, so that's a frequent occurrence) he blames someone. Usually me, when we were married. Probably his current wife now.

Anyway, the ironic thing. This child has had her ups and downs. She wouldn't still be with me if I didn't love her, and didn't believe she is capable of healing. She had a rough start--attachment disordered, failure to thrive, physical and verbal abuse. She was a very strange, very scary three year old. For the most part, she is a wonder. Intelligent, beautiful, insightful, spirited, opinionated. But after a few fairly peaceful years, she has turned into HIM (and, not coincidentally or accidentally, my mother, who was her grandmother). This child (I think of her as mine, she calls me Mom) is so much like him (she calls him "Dad," and he is the one she identifies as her dad.) Constant rage and blame. Narcissism. Verbal abuse. Passive aggressive. Blames me. Baits me. Criticizes and judges everyone. Avoidant. Hostile. Acts as if she is being unfairly deprived of some perfect, pleasant, constantly rewarding existence to which she is entitled. The fact that people are imperfect and she doesn't always get what she wants HAS to be someone's fault: she thinks it's mine. She thinks I'm "mad all the time." She seems to blame me for not being perfect.

If I hadn't gone through the ever-worsening marriage and the pain of all the years it took to wake up to what was going on, begin loving myself enough to FEEL finally, begin trying, in a clumsy way, to stick up for myself, leave, get depressed, and finally heal, this would be destroying me. Don't get me wrong, it isn't any fun. But I've learned even more things about myself, and about the places I still need to heal. The therapist says she has never yet met a child of an alcoholic/rageaholic (I had one of each for parents) who does not have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. So this child of mine, and I both have PTSD, and both "hook" each other. Now that she is big and loud and mean, she reminds me of (tah dah!) Mom, and the Replacement Mom I married. It doesn't always get me, but sometimes I am just absolutely high jacked by it. Pounding heart, knotted stomach, cold fear. HE did that to me too. And he no more intended to do that than this niece/daughter intends to do that. My reaction is my part of it. HOW I react is my responsibility. Learning to recognize when I am "hooked" by the PTSD is very helpful.

It doesn't happen with anyone else. It doesn't affect any other part of my life.

The differences between the child and the Ex are numerous. She has gotten better; he has gotten worse and worse as years go by. She has some awareness of what she is doing, and even a bit of awareness about why, and, more to the point, how to move in a better direction (and that this doesn't really do her as much good as she sometimes think. The rage gives her a sense of power, but the power isn't real, and doesn't really satisfy. On some level she knows that). His maturity level is about 12 or 13. Hers (at almost-17) is a bit higher, and she's still young enough to keep growing up. She hasn't started using drugs or alcohol, and so far is opposed to that. She has nice friends. She isn't always a lazy, selfish, self-centered, narcissistic, mean, hateful brat. She is just veering off in that direction as part of finishing working through the things she didn't heal from the last two or three times she was in therapy. She, on some level, believes she can be helped, and believes she needs it. One needs to look past quite a lot of acting out to see that, but she has a good heart.

What I know now that I didn't know then is that none of this is really about me. She thinks it is. I'm a screen for her projections. I didn't cause it, could not have prevented it, can't control it, can't cure it. I need to define and stick to MY bottom line, hold (in a responsibly assertive way) to my boundaries and that's all I can do. Anything else in my vast recovering-codependent repertoire would be, at best, useless to help her while at the same time harming me. But she sure would like me to take the blame so she can feel better, or give back what she gives me so she can "prove" she's really the victim. I am so much stronger than I was 6 years ago. Thank God.

Recovery is a process, not a destination. I am basically happy, satisfied, content, centered, peaceful. I am committed to staying that way, and not giving away my personal power. My sanity was hard-won, and I will do whatever it takes to maintain it. Or regain it when it flees temporarily.

To change the subject, so glad to hear from Computer Nerd. Truly recovering abusers are rare. Most of the ones who say they want to change really just want their source of narcissistic supply back, and will not put a whole lot of effort into that if they perceive it to be unrewarding. I echo the suggestion that you do it for yourSelf--so you can be comfortable in your own skin, so you can believe you are loved and loving, so you can have a life that doesn't involve obsessing about someone else or impressing other people. So you can love you. You can't give with empty hands. You have some broken or missing parts in your heart. They can grow back, but it takes time and effort and faith. It's really hard to be self-regulating, to get one's "strokes" from a strong, inner Self and not outside. Change is hard. Don't expect it all to happen at once, and certainly not once and for all. But little by little you can be more real, more human, more kind, more gentle, more authentic, more trusting, more alive.

Amy

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Marji, Reading your posting was like looking back in recent history for me. Our circumstances are (were) very much alike. I just want to let you know that once you make the decision, heart and soul, to let go, to take back control of your own life, then your life has improved already. Part of your fears and doubts about leaving (ie-being alone) are unquestionably tied to the abuse you have suffered. I left my Sociopath almost two years ago and it was a difficult, horrible journey but you know what? It was the BEST decision I have EVER made in my life because I realized how valuable I am, how attractive I am, how smart I am. Your fears about serving him are probably well-founded (I'm terrified of my ex still). Go with your instinct - it's all you have and it doesn't lie. Remember that the rewards at the end of it all will be priceless - you will be dignified, stronger and unquestionably a better person for all the agony that there is to come. There WILL be pain, but the alternative would be to stay and let your soul wither away. This may be difficult for you to truly understand at this point of your life (I have "aged" remarkably in the past two years - I'm only 30 but I feel like I'm 50) but your life is really only beginning. Good luck and stay safe! Love, Caren

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Dear Asha, Just to say I am sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. I hope like in the dream, the criminal gets caught. Dear Steve, I am sorry your car got broken into too. i really hope it gets sorted out for both of you and quickly.

As for the breakfasts.. Asha, I could get my own breakfast; but for some reason this is Jake's current way of showing care. It just isn't worth the effort of changing it. I guess I just get amused by the strange preference for repeating the same breakfast over and over, Mind you, thinking about it in 20 years I don't think he has ever had a day when he hasn't had a bowl of museli (for breakfast). Unless we went out, we had peanut butter and Tahini at college for four years every night. Hmmm maybe this is obsessive compulsive food disorder...(joke) although obsessive compulsive fits the bill. Definition: OC stuff is how Jake binds his anxiety...

Quite seriously, I wonder if the food stuff hasn't got worse since things fell apart. I am also feeling quite guilty although actually it is the girl in the pasta shop who ought to,. I bought Gnocchi for tea. It turned out, despite my asking, to be meat filled and only enough for two and not for three. I said I wasn't hungry and Jake apparently made toasted cheese when he found it was meat, but didn't mention it. I keep thinking that some men would have perhaps made a real big deal over this lack of dinner.

Strange not to even mention it?

Thanks for what you said about the giving, It really helped. jay

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Hello all. I must thank you right off for your support. I met with my therapist for the first time this morning, he specializes in verbal abusers and BPD. It was wonderful to talk to someone knowing so much about it. Also, to find someone that could make a little sense out of why I may be the way I am as I was not verbally or physically abused as a child. He feels that he can help me to make a difference in my life by teaching me to think about what I am doing and saying, to actually make it a process and not a reaction. He has recommended several books for me to start reading, some I have heard of and some I have not.

As for my life, I feel like it will be better. My wife thinks so to. She has decided to tough this out with me and support me through it as long as she is seeing positive things and not negative. She is working with her therapist to set boundaries and learn to speak to me when I begin to go outside the boundaries so as to not anger me but be more like a boundary in itself. (I think that is how she described it.) At any rate, we have vowed to make it through this together as we married for love and not necessity or anything else. I set high goals for myself and my therapist says he will help me to reach them but he can't make me reach them, I have to do it myself. I will.

Thanks all! Computer Nerd Yipeeee!!!!

Submit
Friday, May 04, 2001

Dear Computer Nerd,

Bless your heart, keep it up. Good for your partner. I also offered to stick it out with my partner, but he wouldn't acknowledge a problem, much less do what you are doing, so we are no longer together, and I am not able to practice what I am learning on this site with him, which I regret.

Keep posting! I want to hear how you are doing and what happens with you and your partner, and I really, really, really wish you both all the best!

Love, Perdida

Submit
Saturday, May 05, 2001

Hi everyone It's Tina again. I haven't posted in a while but I've been reading. So many words of encouragement and strength. Thank you all for the sharing. My husband has been gone for 37 days now. I was served with divorce papers a week ago. Cruel and inhuman treatment on my part. That hurt! He's been calling and leaving messages on the machine. "I don't feel right about this, I don't want to do this" Well needless to say I had to respond to the papers within 20 days. So I had to get a lawyer to counter claim. I refuse to have a divorce on record some where that a divorce was granted for cruel and inhuman treatment on my part. That hurts because it is not true. I feel that my husband's filing for divorce was a power play. I think he thought that I would freak out and tell him to come back. Because he know how much I didn't want the marriage to end. But when that move didn't work he starts calling with I don't want to do this. The other night he called and left a message saying he wanted to go to counseling. I did not respond. I don't know what kind of counseling he is talking about. But I am not going to any marriage counseling. We've already been down that road at my pushing. No more of that. I've have come to realize and accept that my husband does not love me the way that I consider love. He just uses me for what I can give to him. When it comes time for him to give to me he complains and is mean. I read something the other day and that really turned on a light for me. What I read said, If you are loved, you will feel loved. That is so true. I remember many times feeling unloved. I wanted so desperately to feel loved by him. He would just keep saying,  "you know I love you". And I would say, " no, I don't know." I've gone back to work. I am working two jobs now. It makes for long days. But at least it brings extra money and keeps me busy. I am starting to look better and feel more confident about myself. I go to a support group for battered women and it helps me a lot. They are so great. I always feel so much strength when I leave there. I feel understood and loved. I don't feel so alone. I bought a treadmill. It is the best thing I ever bought for myself. I get on it with my Tina Turner CD with my head phones and just tune everything out and walk like I've never walked before. It's great! My dog barks when I am on it. He doesn't understand. It's so funny. He probably senses the release of my anger from the walking. Who knows. Each day I feel myself letting go of him a little bit more and concentrating on myself more and what I want for myself. I still have our wedding pictures up in my apartment though. I need to work on putting them away. I don't know if I am quite ready to do that yet or not. I still feel him in my heart. I still dream of him at night. I cry in my dreams over him. I still can feel his tenderness when he was kind and loving. I miss the good things about him. When I bought my treadmill. I had this gigantic box and I thought to myself if my husband were here he would of put it together for me and I wouldn't have to worry about it. It felt overwhelming. So it sat in the box for a couple of days. Then I finally decided that I have to do it because there is no husband to do it. So I did it. What a time I had getting it out of the box. Then I am reading in the directions that for a couple of steps I would need two people to complete the task. I am like what am I going to do. Well I managed to do it with one person ME! I put it together by myself. I was so proud of myself. So every time I get on that treadmill I feel proud because I put it together by myself. I do alot of things by myself. But I also know that this is good for me. It is my healing time for me. It's a time for me to discover who I am and what I want for me. I get to be Tina. Nobody around to get in the way of me. I have my dog who loves me so much and brings me so much comfort. He is my buddy and I am his. For right now my dog is enough for me. Love to you all. Keep being strong and thank you again for all your sharing. Tina Thank you Tina.

Submit
Saturday, May 05, 2001

CONSTRUCTIVE LOVE, Letting Go...

To "let go" does not mean to stop caring, it means I won't do it for someone else.

To "let go" is not to cut myself off, it is the realization I won't control another.

To "let go" is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To "let go" is to admit powerlessness, which means that the outcome is not in my hands.

To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another, it is to make the most of myself.

To "let go" is not to care for, but to care about.

To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To "let go" is not to be protective, it is to permit another to face reality.

To "let go" is not to deny, but accept.

To "let go" is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out MY OWN shortcomings, and correct THEM.

To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take each day as it comes, and CHERISH MYSELF in it.

To "let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody but to try and become what I dream I can be.

To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To "let go" is to FEAR less, and LOVE more.

 

...As Marshall Tucker says..." Pass it on..."

Meow! Meow!

Tim B.

 

 

Submit
Saturday, May 05, 2001

Wow, Tina, you sound terrific. I know how hard it is to let go (thanks, Tim) of all the good stuff. It's like the good stuff is a poisoned apple, though.

But you're doing it! You sound like you feel so good about yourself, which is how you should feel! I'm glad you're doing that counter-claim; it sounds like his filing for divorce was definitely the ultimate grab for attention. Yucky!

Best part of your post: "If you are loved, you will feel loved." How true that is, and how simple! How often I felt like the hated enemy with my ex-fiance. The "impediment to his happiness" as he once said. Yuck, yuck!!

Love, Perdida

Submit
Saturday, May 05, 2001

Oh help! The food fight continues.....I am just so mad at me for engaging. I was mad at Jake and his accusing me of stalking him in OUR house was laughable. However he was withholding both important information about OUR daughter and just plain rude. And now I am not sure if I am madder at me for engaging and proving that if you are angry you look like a fool. Or at him for HIS behaviour ...Basically I put the pizza box (empty) in the bin and he took it out. I said I didn't want the food he was cooking and he disrespected me by putting it on the plate and I got mad and put the lettuce in the bin,.........yes I know. NOT good on my part... Giggle!

The thing that I have cottoned on to though . While I am posting here. HE has found himself a therapist who is giving the same advice to him as Dr Irene is giving to me. He keeps coming out with these statements......Trouble is, I am the only one who is going to say sorry about anything.....No wonder he won't let me see this particular woman. I have just twigged.

I think I will send her the catbox posts.......Jake if you DO look in, by all means write here or to Dr Irene! Isn't it wonderful how he's changing! He seeks out therapy; wants it... Wow!

OK OK I will pick myself up. I don't think on this particular day I am not partly to blame......

I suppose the guy who posted about having a family who never argued.......?..jay  OK Dear Lady, one more time: *hint, hint* Wherever You Go, There You Are : Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life   Giggle!

Submit
Saturday, May 05, 2001

except that today has been a really bad day and I think sometimes I use my humour to cover up the hurt. Yep. A coping mechanism. Pretty good one too. Better than drinking, don't you think? But, also, it's good to let yourself feel the hurt so you can identify it. 

I have just thought what might be a 'cure for me and Jake. I n fact I am going to advocate it as a possible means of resolving marital disharmony. I know it works because I once threw the eggs in this manner at my father at a school fete....

Basically you have an egg throwing contest. You both put on wellies and macs and walk within throwing distance of each other and then begin to see who can get the most hits with a basket of eggs.

Apparently this strange idea originated in New Zealand. My uncle told my father...... eeeeeeeeeeek I just realised my father has nutty food fads too...

No , not drunk. Just trying to get a little balance in a pretty awful day. Jay 

Submit
Saturday, May 05, 2001

Giggle....I don't mean I am married to my father. Just I was very angry with him at the time...Actually even madder for his making me throw the eggs....sooooo embarrassing in front of teachers and friends. it would be fun now though.

Submit
Saturday, May 05, 2001

Giggle. Why do I apologize (see therapist post last)? Because I am British and we are brought up to say sorry in advance just in case we need to be...Thanks, Dr Irene for the comments on the therapist post. I still think I let her she violated my boundaries. Do Jake and I still love each other..?? I guess only we can answer that. Your words sort of tie in with what Asha said and i do think we abused each other. But he hides it and I have never said I did and as for the tape over my mouth....just now it is a good idea because I have just drunk 3 glasses of wine and that is not a Jay sort of thing to do hic and it has occurred to me this is not a sensible time to post to the Catbox! hiccup Giggle! Meow Mix on ice please. 

Actually HumnKatkid takes great delight in creeping up and guzzling so make that 21/2! Is probably low alcohol? I hope.

Perdida you sound like you are rocking too.

Submit
Monday, May 07, 2001

I'm not sure if anyone will read this Just us no ones here. Giggle! but I feel like venting. I have been with my boyfriend for 3 1/2 years. He cheats, he lies, he smokes a LOT of pot, he calls me names all the time. I am only 18 and I have known this is wrong for a really long time and I'm so scared of him. I have been homeless twice since we have been going out and he has offered no support. I got an apartment when I was 17(with a roommate who has an 8 year old son) and he always uses me for my apartment. All he wants to do is party there. He yells at me when i don't have sex with him. He hasn't graduated from high school and he's really mad because I'm going to college and skipping a year. He hates it when i succeed and he yells at me because i don't do his homework..."luckily" he was too lazy to register for classes lately. i am so sick of it. I have created such a good life for myself. I am really self sufficient but i have this guy leeching on me and I'm scared to be alone. He doesn't even make me happy...EVER. i just want to get out. I'm so young and even my 30 year old roommate has more of a teen life than i do... i missed out on high school and i don't want to marry a pot-head loser who is going to keep calling me a loser and a tight-a() for caring about school and my life. I know i have a future but he could really screw it up for me if i let him....HELP s_tarr_z@yahoo.com

Submit
Monday, May 07, 2001

Good Morning, I am new to this board. I have read some of the previous postings. I need a little advice perhaps y'all could give me. If I am in the wrong place, please let me know. I have a daughter from a previous marriage that live with my wife and I. I have a good job and I am active in their lives. I like being home and doing things there (not to some weird xenophobe extent). My problem is this; my wife is never happy and takes it out on me. I could wake up in a great mood and do 10 things. If 1 of those 10 things is "wrong", she will yell at me and berate me for hours. Then, after literally hours of yelling at me, she will say, "sorry" and expect me to bounce back and be happy. Then she is pissed at me because I can't just "be ok with her". When I try to tell her that I really hate the conflict, she just twists my words and bashes me all over again. I really have honestly tried everything I know how to please her, but she just refuses to accept anything that doesn't go exactly her way. The major problem I have is that I see my wife exhibiting the same behavior upon my daughter. I live in the NW USA, and it is not socially acceptable for men to have feelings like this. Except you do. Good for you. We are just expected to handle it and be strong. But something needs to happen. This is just an overview of the multiple things that are going on. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks...

D.J. in the woods

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

I am new to the catbox and I can say that since I have found this site it has helped me a lot with my situation. I have been verbally abused by my husband for over 8 years and this past January I had had enough. I told him that I was leaving the marriage because I couldn't handle his abusive behavior anymore. He started on his road to change. At the time he seemed very depressed and so was prescribed an antidepressant by his family doctor. He had a hard time handling his change and ended up having to take a leave of absence from his work in order to work out his personal problems. He is still on that leave until mid-June. He is enrolled in an anger management advocacy program, consulting a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and clergy. This past week the psychiatrist diagnosed him as having high-anxiety. Does this disorder have anything to do with his abuse? He is now off the anti-depressant and on some anxiety control pills. He seems a lot more relaxed, but still I wonder could having control of this "anxiety" thing help the abuse subside? Our marriage has been centered on his control and abuse, and yet, I feel it is still focused on him. How do I deal with this? I forgot to mention that I am still with him. He left for a couple of days but came back because it was his "house" as just as much as it was mine and he missed his kids and me. I feel somewhat trapped, is this normal? I feel that a separation would help me heal and help him change. The way it is now he is staying here working on his "change" and is hoping that we can become friends and then happily married. I have been letting go of him for years and I don't love him as much as he hopes I do. He feels that my feelings will come back if I just give him yet another chance. I am really confused right now. We have 3 children and I am sure they are just as confused. One minute their dad is leaving, the next he is back. He also cries in front of the kids. I know what my gut instinct is telling me, but he is making it really hard. Not letting someone out of a relationship is also abuse. He doesn't understand this and says that I should just give him a chance and we will be fine. I, on the other hand, feel that all the years I was married to him gave him ample opportunity for change. When I confronted him about the abuse before he said that it was all in my head and that I was being a baby. I still feel as though I am walking on eggshells. Not knowing if what I say or do might start him crying or into a rage is still an issue. He promises that he will never do it again. We have both been told to take it a day at a time. But how long do I have to stay in a relationship like this not knowing for sure if the abuse will get worse again? I feel like my life is all about him right now, as it always has been... Please give me some ideas on how to deal with this situation.

Laurie

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Hi Jay,

Thanks for the encouragement.

JAY it never hit me before not until recently. FOR me it is my house and so if I do the housework, it benefits me. If I don't do it, it dis-benefits me.

BUT for YOU, things need to be looked at from another perspective. WHY is it so bad that Jake does the housework? Is it because deep inside you are thinking of the societal expectations? (What maybe you think you should do?) The cleaning has evolved into a power struggle in their home. 

Maybe Jay should note down as LYNN did what she exactly does do! Then she might not feel so guilty for Jake doing the housework. What does Jay think??

If Jay noted down what Jay does she'd be amazed how much she contributes over all to the marriage. JAY if you look at it from the perspective of OVERALL what you contribute, then you'd see it is okay to leave Jake to do the housework and not feel guilty, or bad in anyway.

YOU are the emotional carer of the marriage. Your priority right now is to take care of Jay's emotional side. This will help the marriage.

ETC.....

It isn't until you look at the overall picture you see, YOU really do contribute in a big way. JAY just because you don't do the housework. A marriage is a team. SO Jake took on the housework as his responsibility. That is okay! Jay took on taking care of her emotional self which will help her marriage.

LOOK at it this way: Jay's strengths right now lies in her getting emotionally fit. Jake's (like my husband) lies in physical areas. (THIS is how they feel good)

Granted they need to work on the emotional stuff and eventually we need to work on the physical stuff. However, Jay it isn't because you can't do these things. It because you allow yourself to realise you are contributing so it is okay to let Jake take over the housework.

As DR IRENE told me it is okay to let others doing things, IF you know you could do them yourself.

SO Jay stop worrying about the housework. As Dr Irene says we all have priorities we need to work on, YOU are working on your priorities.

JAY ASKS:

if I forgive him will I get abused again? can I just set it all to one side? I get thrown by these warm feelings and then I remember......

Theressa thinks:

Jay having fear is GOOD it helps us to not fall down the same hole, but we have to not let it run our lives. If you are asking will Jake act up. YES! He probably will. CAN Jay handle this? I think so. Jay can set boundaries, and she can say NO I will not accept this. "Jake knock it off".

Jay it really is okay to enjoy the good bits, and also know you can handle the bits that aren't so good. JAKE won't get sorted over night. Jay does need to set boundaries and limits on him. She also has to keep caring for herself and not trying to fix Jake.

 

Jay writes: Yet again I know I will never let him control me again.

Theressa thinks: GOOD, glad to hear it.

Jay writes:

i will never let him make me feel put down

Theressa thinks:

No! not now you know that you really are okay, and also you are okay about not being perfect.

Jay writes: and I don't think I will ever ask for his support again.

Theressa thinks:

It is okay to ask him for support, as long as you accept it if he says NO. It is about trusting JAY, knowing she can accept it when others say NO, and that she has other options. SHE never knew about in the past.

Jay writes: I wish I knew if this was a longing back or a moving forwards.

Theressa thinks:

It is another lesson. (the same one I am on), risking asking for support and being able to accept NO and using alternatives, without arguing or trying to convience PARTNER to help. THIS IS how you get faith in own abilities to take care of your self, whilst building back trust in your life.

Jay writes:

And all the stresses we have been through in the last few years have to have taken their toll.

Theressa thinks:

I only use the past now to see what not to do. I don't feel I need to make him repay anymore. I concern myself with recent things only. As the lessons we need to learn keep coming, there is no need to look back. THE PAST before the last couple of days are GONE, bury them. New lessons come, look at it this way, why be stuck in the past when you've emotionally moved on.

You wouldn't go and get a 1st grade book to give you information about the 5th grade would you, because you know you've moved on to another level. THE SAME Here! Once you understand this, you keep with the recent past and work on that.

Jay writes: i suppose I have been asking myself not will Jake change, but have I seen him making changes anytime in our marriage , The answer is "yes." So he does have the capacity.

Theressa thinks: Yes Jake has the capacity as long as Jay keep working on Jay and not trying to fix JAKE, he will learn and grow, as Jay stops enabling him, by constantly trying to convince him to change, which promotes anger.

Jay writes: But what is meant to be the other side of the anger?

Jay the other side of anger is growth. You know something isn't okay, you acknowledge it, then you decide what you can do. (without lecturing or trying to convince Jake), and you LIVE and let live.

Take care Theressa Oh Theressa, as you grow, so does your advice. I can't wait to see the next time you turn it on yourself! Excellent!

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Hi Tim B,

Thank you so much for the Constructive love POST.

Take care Theressa

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Hi TimB,

I was very confused about your post. You said "your friend's wife thought before acting and your friend acted and then thought about it later and analyzed it."

CAN you explain this to me??? 

Thanks Theressa

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Hi All,

I am a little confused about GUILT here, maybe you can help me.

I went to pick up my sister and her kids yesterday since we were all going to the park. (We were meeting some others, however, their children were in trolley's). The reason I offered to pick up my sister was I thought it was a far walk. (I wanted to do this!!)

I made some sandwiches and other tip bits for Melissa my child to have as a picnic. The others were making sandwiches for the picnic also. (AS you are aware Melissa has been very ill and only just starting to eat again!!)

I am a little short of cash at the moment until next week since I had to pay for my car to be fixed at the beginning of the month.

Anyway I got to my sister's and bundled the kids in the car and we set off. On the way my sister said "Theressa I need to go to my mom's to make a picnic."

I said "well I am not driving you their, it is out of the way. I don't have the money to refill up the petrol tank for work."

She started to say: "Oh so Theressa would let my kids starve, oh that is great."

I said "Look it isn't my fault, you knew we were coming to the park".

I was angry because I didn't have to take her to the park. I did it because I wanted to. Though that didn't mean I wanted to be a taxi/cab driver.

What is more, my sister told me that she'd spent her last money on some bottled beer last night. Well my thoughts were, why should I be inconvenienced. And have to drive extra, and waste my petrol just because she is irresponsible with her money.

She went on about how "So Theressa you'd let my kids starve."

I said "Look it isn't my problem, it is up to you to sort out food for your children, not me, if you were so bothered why didn't you save some money instead of buying beer and buy them a packed lunch for the picnic."

I knew exactly why she didn't. BECAUSE she thought some mug, like me would take her to my mom's house to get her packed lunch, thus, the expense would be on me. AND my mom. My mom isn't pleased either that my sister took all her bread and fruit and biscuits to the park.

My sister is a typical person who doesn't take personal responsibility, what's more my dad, my mom and everyone else enables her. She wastes her money and then comes to them.

Anyway we got to the park. My sister said "Theressa give the kids some of Melissa sandwich. I said "NO! you know Melissa hasn't eaten properly for weeks, and needs to eat small amounts regularly, so NO!"

She said "Oh so my kids can starve, you are so selfish." She said Okay will you mind them whilst I walk 20 minutes to my mom's house. I said "Yes, No problem." Or will you drive me there. I said "You know I need my petrol since I have no more money to fill up my tank for work."

With that off she went. She came back 40 minutes later. She said "Our other sister said You are so selfish, she can't believe you'd let two kids, your niece and nephew starve."

I didn't respond.

WAS I really being selfish? I thought I wasn't buying into manipulation and guilt, and taking on responsibility that wasn't mine.

Am I guilty of being CRUEL??

Then later in the evening I got home and was telling my partner. He said "Theressa i understand she is irresponsible but it isn't the kids fault, you shouldn't have left them without food."

So why is it my responsibility to feed her kids? If she chooses to buy beer, why should I be put out?

Am I selfish?

Thanks for listening Theressa

 

OK Theressa. Go to it!

 

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

My husband received a certified letter at my home Saturday morning. I decided to take it over to him along with some other mail that had been accumulating over the last several weeks. I thought things would be ok because I hadn’t heard from him for a while and I figured he’d cooled down. I knew that things would go crazy after he got served with the motion to convert the legal separation to a dissolution, so I thought I’d be nice to him and get the certified letter to him before that happened.

He stepped out of the apartment when I got there, obviously having just awakened (although it was almost 1:00 in the afternoon.) I quickly realized he was in an aggressive mood, so I just handed him the bag containing his mail and told him there was a certified letter for him, and then turned to leave. He asked me to stay and talk with him. I said no, I had a hair appointment at 2:00 and was very busy that day. He began trying to engage me verbally, using foul language and raising his voice. As soon as he started cursing, I immediately turned and started up the steps to get out in the open and to my car. He ran past me to the car and stood in front of the driver’s door so I couldn’t leave. I asked him calmly to move out of the way and he just laughed and said “You’re on MY property now, and you weren’t invited.” I said I would leave immediately if he would let me into the car and he just said no and stood there grinning. So I walked over to the passenger side, unlocked it and got out my purse which had my cell phone. In the meantime, he’d jumped into the driver’s seat to make sure I couldn’t get into it from the passenger side. I pulled out my cell phone to call for help. He ran over and twisted it out of my hand. My keys were also in that hand and they scraped across my hand, causing me to bleed. He threw the cell phone across the parking lot where it landed in the grass. I went to retrieve it and tried to leave again, but he came back and wrenched it out of my hand again, then started back to his apartment. I followed, keeping my distance, repeating over and over, “Please give me my cell phone, and I’ll leave.” He turned and threw it on the sidewalk and began to walk away. I grabbed the phone, but he came back and grabbed my arm and pulled me into the apartment stairwell. I began feeling trapped and seriously threatened as he began roughly pushing me up against the apartment building, still calling me terrible names. I began screaming loudly for help and it must have frightened him, because he threw my cell phone onto the sidewalk as hard as he could and went into his apartment. I grabbed the phone and went to get into my car. A young lady, having heard my screams for help, came from another building and asked if I was ok. I was hysterically crying and told her I didn’t know and I didn’t know what to do. I showed her the phone, which was destroyed and she saw my hand bleeding and expressed concern. About that time, my husband came back out and approached her, telling her to leave and mind her own business. He said I was his wife and this was a personal matter, that I was just looking for pity and I was crazy. She said “She’s the crazy one? You made her bleed.” He said my hand was that way before I got there. Then she said “You threw her phone.” He said “I paid for the phone.” Which was true, except I’d paid him back for it. He started screaming to me again to leave and never come back. With the young lady being there, I was able to get into my car and drive away. When I looked back, he was still standing there yelling at her.

I called the police when I got home. They put out a warrant for his arrest, but couldn’t locate him. Being a weekend, I had to go to the Sheriff’s department and get an emergency ex parte. (He’d called me on the phone at home afterward and told me if I cared about myself and my kids I’d talk to him when he came over. He kept saying I was crazy and everyone was going to know how crazy I was and that I’d cheated on my ex-husband and on him (neither of which is true) and that I just wanted pity from people.)

Somehow he found out that I’d made a police report and turned himself in on Sunday and posted bond. I got a subpoena for court for Monday morning. When I walked past him in the courtroom yesterday morning he loudly called me a “b*tch.” When the judge continued the case until June 25 and told him there was a no contact order against him and he wasn’t to see or talk to me at all, he told the judge that I’d showed up at his house unannounced, making it sound like I was antagonizing him. The judge told me to leave him alone and hopefully he’d leave me alone. I didn’t say anything, but started crying when I left the courtroom. The counselor told me not to worry, that I’d get a chance to tell my story on June 25 and that abusers never think they did anything wrong and that they always try to make it look like the victim’s fault somehow.

It’s so strange – I think the thing that hurts the very most is that he broke my cell phone! It’s like the damage he did to me physically was nothing. All the emotion is centered around my phone, and when I think about it’s poor broken face, I just start crying again. Also, he’s not even pretending to be remorseful this time. He did call one last time before he turned himself in and said he was sorry and he was going to get help because he loved me too much to be treating me this way, but then called me a name right there in the courtroom.

After he got back home from court Monday, I found out the special process server got to him and served him with the divorce papers too. So things are moving. I won’t go back on it now. But it’s still scary and lonely……Thanks for the encouragement and words of support - Perdida, Lori, Caren and others. Marji

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Dear all, Sharon here,

uggg...I'm very angry. Haven't posted for awhile because of my anger. I have a lot on my plate right now - this issue is hard for me to even share, though I realize I need to for all good reasons. uggg.

In some of my posts, I mention that my mom has cancer. She is doing OK to be expected, however, she is dealing with my father's illness as well: alcoholism. Its come back! He was a heavy drinker for many years, then he seemed better, however, since her cancer (she was diagnosed a year ago and has gone through chemo, surgeries, etc.) we saw that he started drinking again. He himself just had a 7-way bypass surgery 2 years ago, so he has NO BUSINESS drinking. He's back to smoking like a chimney also.

Anyway.......this past Sunday, my parents and I went to an Indian casino to have dinner and gamble a little bit. I told my dad I just wanted to go for an hour or so (money is tight for me) well.......we were there 6 hours, we couldn't get my father to leave the casino! And to boot, he was drunk off his butt! He brought his booze with him! In Indian casino's here in California, booze is forbidden. My mom and I were LIVID. Since he drove, we expected a sober man to drive us back home. We couldn't get him to leave, so we had to summon the security cop to get him out of there. My dad was so drunk he could not even walk! It wasn't until 8:00 at night that we were finally able to get him out of the casino. My mom and I were madder than hell because it was getting dark, and neither of us drive well in the dark, let alone the highway. I would have drove us home but I am not familiar with their big luxury car. It would be like driving a boat. We finally got my dad in the back seat and of course, he was yelling at us, calling both my mom and I names. My poor mom - who's fragile, sick, and in shock, (and close to 70 years of age) drove us in the dark. I told her that I would drive and she said that once we got on the freeway, she preferred it. Well, she was going well so she said she felt comfortable enough driving on the freeway. However, once she got us on the freeway, she freaked out and slowed down to almost stopping, and we all got closed to being killed. We were in a very, very dangerous situation all from my dad's selfishness of bringing booze to the casino in a water bottle. Straight vodka. I am so upset I can't see straight. How dare he risk our lives? How dare he treat my poor mom (and me) this way, especially in her last days? My dad is a very sick man. And his only way of dealing with my mom's cancer is his drinking. I told him that he needed AA -- among other things -- I told him exactly how I've felt and what I had been holding inside of me for 45 years -- but he's not ready to change -- and he can't really hear me until HE IS READY to go to AA. I've been going to CODA nearly all my adult life; my mom never went. Its such a sad thing here going on, I just want to stay home and cry. :(

Hugs, Sharon

 

 

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Hi - Asha here.

Perdida - thanks for the compliment! You totally made my day. BTW I did have caller ID, but it was a private line. However there is a service through the phone company that tracks calls. I did this, and the police were able to track the number. Don't know if anything much will be done, but I feel good knowing that this person may be "trackable" in case he does something again. (and I still think he may have found the business # in Steve's wallet!) Anyways, I'm supposed to call on Wednesday to see what they've found out, if anything.

Hi Amy, Tina, Marji, Lori and the rest of the "litter".

18 yr old - it sounds like your guy will continue to bring you a lot of pain. You probably need to work on your fear of being alone, because it will cause you a lot of heartache if you hang onto a relationship that hurts you so.

DJ - what I have learned here, in the Catbox, is that there is no amount of explaining, trying, justifying or trying to "make someone understand" that will help someone who has negative patterns. Dr. I. has said that if you say something twice maybe even three times, then you can assume you've been heard. If the behavior does not change, then it's up to you to decide what your rational choices are. The "adult" choice, as I've learned it, is to present the dilemma to your partner, observe the response, then look at the "sane" options you have open to you. You can put up with the behavior, or try detaching from it, but that won't necessarily change the behavior. Or, you can choose to leave. You cannot change someone else. (doesn't mean that they can't change either, just that it has to be motivated from *within*)

You also have an additional consideration - your daughter. If the poor behavior is affecting her (and it sounds like it is) are you okay with that?

I know it's harsh, especially when you love someone, but there is much long term gain to making conscious, adult choices, rather than manipulating, "helping", or pushing others to change.

Laurie - the above thoughts apply to your situation as well.

 

I loved the Tim B post again - where do you get this stuff? It's great!

 

 

Theressa

I think you did the right thing. You might even go a step further by not defending as in saying "it isn't my fault" etc. and just lay out the options, in a friendly, non defensive way, and ignore the stuff your sister throws back at you. Remember, it's *her* problem, not yours. I think you can pat yourself on the back for what you did, which I thought was very adult. On some level you are believing the things she is saying about you, and they are simply not true.

 

(((((Marji)))))

What an awful situation. You'll get through it though because you are strong. As much as I feel for you and the trauma you experienced, I feel a deep sadness for your husband; its as if he is living in darkness. Not only will he alienate anyone who tries to get close to him, but he has to live with what he has done and is doing day after day after day. Still, it's his choice, and unfortunately he will probably continue to make these awful choices which are life-destroying. How sad.

Take care of yourself.

hugs

Asha

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

(((((Sharon)))))

Just read your post. It's really awful to see the people who raised us acting in such awful ways. Your dad might be falling apart because of his fear of losing your mother. I don't know what you could do, other than just showing your support and your love.

Have you ever thought about writing each of them a letter? You don't have to send them even.

take care

Asha

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Theressa,

Tim B. here...

I'm going to " think about" my response, regarding my friend, BEFORE I post it. I'll be back later!!! For the record, it make sense to me. 

Hugs and Happy Mom's day to all he wonderful Moms here.

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Yo Theressa,

Your sister was out of line. You handled it with "tough love." What is interesting is that you grew up with this (you grew up with your sisters, didn't you?) After growing up with this treatment, that people pleasing stuff that you developed to survive is not only understandable, but really hard to break out of. I think you're doing great. I think your sisters need help. Why don't you wait a few months before you do anything nice for them again? (I think that comes under "distancing" but I am new at this). My brother recently started forgetting my birthday. There's only 2 of us, so I don't know how that is possible. But it hurt. Prior to that, he and his family stopped giving me presents for my birthday and Christmas. So, much as *I* love to mark occasions and give gifts, I stopped remembering my brother and his family. I think that hurts more than being forgotten by them! But it's a distance that feels better than trying to pretend we have the loving family relationships that I would have liked. I wonder if you could use a little distance from your sisters. I think they are mean. Try it - the freedom at least feels good, a lot better than the lack of consideration coming back to you after you try to put love into the relationship.

"Knock it off!" what a beautiful phrase...

Love, Perdida

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Dear Marji and Sharon,I am SO SORRY you both had to go through those horrible experiences! Marji, I'm so sad for you. I understand why you went over to give him his mail. I guess you just can't ever again try to be nice to him. That's the sad part! You are obviously a very nice, loving woman and it is so awful to want to care for someone and have him turn on you like that, completely insane and cruel. But legally, don't try to be nice because it will be turned against you. Morally, you are really kind and sweet and give your kindness to someone who can appreciate it.

Sharon, I remember a Christmas night when I stood in the street in my brother's neighborhood, screaming at my father to give me the keys or I would NOT ride home with him and my mother. Totally embarrassing, but I am willing to embarrass whomever it takes when it's a matter of life and death like driving with a drinker. Why don't they get that?! I'm sorry you had to go through that, Sharon. It sounds like it would have been a nice evening. It sounds like you grew up with some stuff, too. What does your mom do about it? Do you see a connection between your putting up with Dr. Psycho and your mom/you putting up with your dad...?

Today I had a flash that I am forgetting my ex-fiancé, like really forgetting him; he's losing his reality for me. Then thinking of that, there he was again... like a series of mirrors...

Love, Perdida

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Hello everyone! Has anyone heard from their abuser that they wouldn't call you names and get so angry if you didn't act the way you do? Help, because for some reason I believe this enough to stay with him. Thank you... Katie

Submit
Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Theressa,

I thought about your question and felt that it would be best to go to the source and be able to accurately report to you what my friend Jim B. meant.

It comes from Father Martin's "Chalk Talks", a priest who is famous in So. Calif recovery circles. It is emotion over intellect as opposed to intellect over emotion. Jim would "feel" then take an action and then think about it and further feel about it. Usually involving regret, remorse, sadness, guilt or shame. Pricilla would think about the action, have her feelings about it, then act. If it felt good she would do it again, if it did not, she did not repeat the action.

My own experience followed Jim's pattern...knee-jerk REACTIONS....leading to negative thoughts and feelings about my actions. In fact, I usually felt so rotten that I repeated the action, trapped like the " rat on the treadmill" - doing the same things over and over again expecting different results.

<<<<Sharon>>>>

P. has some great insight. What is being repeated ( reenactment)? What is familiar here?

(((Good Doc))) Pulled my covers, thanks for the book suggestion!!!!

 

Hugs,

Tim B.  Hugs

 

Back Up Next