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Comments for Catbox 37

Comments for Catbox 37

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

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

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Back to Catbox 36  36 edited

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Friday, June 01, 2001
 

Dear Jay

Asha here.

About some of the Bravenet hostility that I saw - I wonder if it could be compared to this:

I went once to an AA meeting with a friend who didn't want to go alone, but I'm not, and never was an alcoholic. Everyone around the room introduced themselves and said "I'm so and so, and I'm an alcoholic", and when it came my turn, I couldn't lie, and said "I'm Asha, I'm not an alcoholic, but I'm here to support my friend." I felt a certain reaction from this others that a) I was an alcoholic and still wasn't admitting it or b) I wasn't an alcoholic and had no business being there in the first place!

Maybe someone who, like I did with the AA thing, shows up and posts on Bravenet to support others could be perceived as an intruder or as someone who is hiding his own dysfunctions. It doesn't mean that's true, but as you said there are lots of women on the boards who are familiar with intrusion and deception and they may use their internal "template" about men, to decide who Gordon, for example, really is.

I just didn't think it was healthy to see how some people really slammed him, and went as far as to say they didn't like him. Personally, I think his long posts show that he is a thinker, and I like it when people spend time examining ideas and issues.

Given all of that, I also understand what Dr Irene says about keeping this a place to focus on the Self. Though I think it's good to offer support to others, none of us are perfect, and this is the best place to try not to be. As much as any of us feel we know (including me), none of us has flawless insight and maybe when we spend time examining our own flaws, our presence on these boards comes across as less threatening and hey, we may even learn something we never knew about ourselves :) .

take care Jay.

And do keep posting Gordon. Your insight is appreciated.

Asha  What the heck happened on  Bravenet?

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Friday, June 01, 2001
 

Dear Asha. I like you a lot and I am not going to get into this one ...have said my bit and am disengaging from the whole thing. Hope you will understand this. I just have too much else on my plate and need the catbox for other things just now. Jay

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Friday, June 01, 2001
 

Dear Asha, Lets agree to disagree and remain friends. Disengaging from the whole topic now for me is more about having a lot to cope with in my own situation just now. Too much more important stuff going on. I  regret my last post re the message board and wouldn't mind Dr Irene pulling it. Need the catbox for looking into the self rather more just now. jay Where is it? Tell me what to pull.

 

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Friday, June 01, 2001

Dear Jay

Asha here.

Of course I understand!

With posts you can never know for sure the other person's tone - mine wasn't to condemn anyone or "take sides" etc. I hope you know that. *Everybody* has their story.

I didn't even mean to debate anything - just voicing a concern and trying to have clarity, for my own sake.

I don't even know what you posted, and it doesn't matter.

And yeah, let's get back to looking after ourSelves here again.

take care Jay (((hugs)))

Asha  I must be missing something. Maybe not. Here's what I understand: Gordon got unfairly attacked on Bravenet and blasted the PTSD article which loosely brought up an issue related to his being attacked. Mind you, this was not an awful blast, but a giveaway that Gordon is not in fact perfect (like Trubble is.) and is here even though he has "no issues." Jay tells Gordon to cool it, implying he's got issues. Gordon gets defensive. Asha, trying to be helpful and perhaps a tad naive, tells Jay not to over-react and make assumptions about Gordon, implying Jay's got issues. Jay  reacts and feels ganged up on and especially in light of all the junk in her life, wants to drop it.

Somewhere along the line I pop in and suggest that Gordon popped a button  and is dumping denied, displaced anger on the article. That doesn't make him a bad guy, but he may want to pay attention to that which he may not see. Gordon pushed one of Jay's buttons in denying that there is a problem, especially in light of what's going on in her life.  Doesn't make her a bad gal, and she's already paying attention to a few zillion issues.

Well gang, now you get it straight: I think Gordon denies his anger and popped a button when his affect spilled onto the article. I think Jay's so overwhelmed by her husband's denial, Gordon's denial popped her button. Asha, in trying to support and soothe everybody, went where she didn't belong and blew it with Jay, probably because she has Gordon on a little pedestal - which Jay has to resent cuz that that's part of what hubby's been getting over with for years.

Now that I probably pissed everybody off,  all I can say is that it's nice to be able to blip posts like the one where Mel blasted me. (Giggle!) Human nature! Geeez, are we coo coo clocks or what? 

Comments? Remember, we don't have to agree. We only have to respect our difference.

Love,

Dr. C. Clock, Mother of Trubble.

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Friday, June 01, 2001

Am I doing the right thing? Ken has neglected his dog a long long time. At least Nick is getting fed & watered, but absolutely not being cared for. Gee, why didn't I see this 4 years ago - the man is emotionally incapable of caring for ANYTHING. Nick has not been to the vet for 3 years - no shots, no check-up, nothing. Nick is sick. Nick bites. Nick is in pain.

I digress. I called the vet yesterday and made an appointment for today. I told Ken that I had made the appointment. He thanked me & offered to either go with me or take Nick by himself. I said - take him yourself. It's your responsibility.

This morning I called the vet and asked them to call me if Ken is a no-show. I hated myself when I was making the call. I'm justifying it in terms of Nick needs to be cared for.

This is the crazy behavior at our house. Ken won't take care of ANYTHING. Won't help with house work. Won't fix anything. Won't play with my son. Won't pay his bills. Won't compromise ("it's for losers). Won't make love.

I've turned into everyone's mommy - sort his mail, make his appointments, make excuses for his behavior. I guess this is what co-dependence is all about? How do I separate out the co-dependent behavior from the stuff that absolutely MUST be done - like paying the mortgage else my credit report will be shot? Or taking care of the sick dog that he won't take care of? Should I have taken the dog to the vet myself? I feel very crazy today.

-gail

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Friday, June 01, 2001

Hugs to you too, Asha!

Just today I think I am a bit scrambled up. I also took on a big project in the voluntary work I am doing and I am just not sure if I can hack it. It involves learning desk top publishing and designing and editing a leaflet in a hurry. I want to do it and it will benefit me in the long run but it is kind of daunting at present.  What a wonderful productive safe nook this provides! This may be just what you need to stop obsessing over ... Jake.

i have been wondering how long it will go on that life is so mixed up and crazy and Jake refuses to communicate at all. I keep telling myself he is sick....sick like I was, only the symptoms are different, (Translation: Different = incomprehensible, not to mention horribly hurtful.) but it just seems crazy all this bad stuff happened to us in the last couple of years....two educated and intelligent people in a kind of weird dance that negates the good times. I guess nobody is exempt from pain. Nobody my friend. Jake did agree to take some orange to my daughter, and I have decided I am going to take up Trubble's hobby so I can send cake etc to her. Giggle. Sounds like a great idea. I'll send him over to coach (Translation: nag) you while you take breaks from publishing! It will make me feel more in touch. My faith feels stronger but that is not the same as saying every thing will be ok. You are coping and you are feeling off balance because Gordon and Asha's suggestion that you are reacting to Gordon (Oh no!) is making you doubt yourself again. Jay, there is nothing to doubt. You picked up the same stuff I did. Asha, like the majority of people in your husband's life, did not.  This one is about doubting your internal rudder because your hubby plays a good game. Well, don't. Also, don't mix up hubby and Gordon. Another excellent lesson for you.

What's really fascinating about Jay folks is that she tells it the way she sees it. Apart from stuffing anger, there is little pretense. Her issues are wide open and she puts it out there. Well, when you put it out there, you get it. Lesson after lesson after lesson! (Jay, I bet there are times you wish you just stayed out of "it!") Well, be glad you are the way you are. All these lessons are paying off. Look at you! "Stuck" is about the opposite of where you are. Yes, you still have issues and yes, you are negotiating their layers fast! (And yes, I know it doesn't feel like you're anywhere right now or that it's fast!)

People I know are being so kind.....I think I missed how many people out there are rooting for me....I have been thinking that if my daughter passes her NVQ, then I will give her some money to start her business rather than waiting for her 18th birthday. That way, even if I made my point, I have also shown I don't wish her harm. Look, see what I mean? She's asking for it again! Jay, why do you need to "show" that you don't wish her harm? Could you be compensating for the rage you have towards her?  Tip: Feel it; don't act it out; let it come to the surface and talk to you.

I just wish the house sale would go through though. I t seems like solicitors are always going on holiday!

Trubble, I think I will stick to jam sponge but if you ever get to England I will make some trout sauce. The hat suits you . Jam sponge with Trout Sauce! Mmmmmmmmmm!

Theressa???????????? jay

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Friday, June 01, 2001

Dear Dr Irene, and Trubble and others

Would you say that a man who announces you can't use the cheese in the fridge as it is his is round the bend and in need of therapy? This is just so off the wall, as if the rest wasn't. Also what is the prognosis for recovery? He did buy the cheese but I certainly didn't think he thought it couldn't be used. He got really upset about this.

Now if it had been Trubble's trout........jay There would be HELL to pay!  Poseidon would rise from the Seas and... Oh Trubble, knock it off. Now you'll really hate me Jay, but I don't have a problem with him buying cheese for himself - as long as he labels it or otherwise clarifies. Getting real upset (at you) is another story. Look, and I know you already know this, this is his compulsive stuff... No need to let your frustration put you in a place to  make it your stuff.

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Friday, June 01, 2001

Dear Gail, I do think that we have to care for animals in the situation you describe. The dog can't act for himself and it would be cruel to let the dog suffer if he is sick and in pain. For anything else not alive, let it fall apart. Take care. Sis

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Friday, June 01, 2001

Dr. Irene,

I just found the ask the doc box today. I accidentally asked the question here a couple of days ago. I will think about my question again. I just met with my therapist. She recommended that I attend a CODA meeting for support and validation. I left her office a little confused yesterday. I am coming out of my FOG and pretty grief stricken. I thought I was already out of the FOG but I am more on awareness. I kept focusing on being aware of his behaviors when I should be looking at my behaviors. Oopsie? Yep. Ooopsie! *grin* I kept hanging onto that hope. I am still like a baby fawn walking around on my new two feet. She says that trying to make him see won't help. Right. I started to try to tell you that above, but left it alone instead when I realized I couldn't make it brief without risking sounding trite. ...Just to use "I" statements and communicate my feelings. It's like I am maturing and realizing how powerless I am. I have set a goal to start working on myself, and stop looking over my shoulder to see if he is "getting it". I was asking for techniques. My therapist advised me to leave it to his therapist. She recommends that I just stay focused on me and getting myself in the safe place inside. So...back to the journal I will go to write out my triggers. When I have a question though I will go back to your board. Meanwhile, off to research CODA Meetings :P Thanks Again!

LisaMM

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Saturday, June 02, 2001

Seems sad to me that when a person finds this site and posts their experience in an effort to reach out to other people and feel less isolated in their situation - that their posting gets removed. I now feel more isolated - and will not post again.

-Jules

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Saturday, June 02, 2001

this one goes to jay, who took the time to read my long, rambling, largely incoherant post a few days ago and reply to it(the one from the nameless 18 year old). thank you for the insight, again. i have broken up with him. it took me over a week, and four different attempts. he tried pulling every concievable line to get me to stay, the main one being to tell me that my reasons for breaking up were not "good enough". ? but i told him many things about how he acted toward me. interestingly enough, he admitted to them. he even said he knew he was "borderline abusive." i said "borderline??? hun, you ARE." its great to find that strength inside myself, knowing that it was there even when i thought i was at my weakest. and right now i just made a wonderful realization: that right now, its time to tend to mySelf. and my life. and its ok, cos thats not being selfish, its being healing. im just thankful i realized this now, like you said, young. im praying i dont make the same mistake again. i still have a lot of issues, and faulty patterns of thinking. but...thats what therapys for.....at any rate. maybe this was a message to everyone, of hope. :) thank you to the rest of the cat box posters, i would go online every day and read your stories and find examples and comparisons that allowed me to realize my situation was harmful to me. and that i did have a choice on wether or not i deserved to put up with that. so keep posting... blessings, heather

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Saturday, June 02, 2001

just a few poems:

~~**what i'd lose**~~ ice eyes coarse touch coarse speech rough tongue like rust dig into my spine while we're making love lover bleed my senses sour my skin with your lemon caress : your dichotomy complex and contrast fingers like a velvet crucifixion going down going down dripping honey saintly like a bumblebee biting my folded wings in this bed of fire mind erasing trembling fingers skipping tracing a trail of lust down broad backs of deciet so skeletal veins so skeletal darling i'd starve i'd starve 14*may*2001 (written after i was told "i hate the way you eat.")

~~**implode**~~ the sudden [tensing of wind] before it bellows in an

(eruption) of anger and (frustration) of fury

is like the gallows of your mouth your tongue is the noose

;i am left to strangle 14*may*2001

--blessings, heather  Thank you Heather...

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Sunday, June 03, 2001

Hi Dr Irene

Okay, here's my take... Here are the reasons I posted, and I still stand firm on them. (but enlighten me if I'm wrong) Ohhhh, she's mad! (Cool!)

I don't know Gordon, and though I may have come across as protecting him, what was bothering me on Bravenet were comments which are now bleeped into cyberspace forever (thankfully) that said stuff like "I don't like you Gordon" and other negative stuff that I don't remember. While I'm glad they're gone too, oddly enough, nobody bleeped them! Though all of us show anger on these forums from time to time, I didn't like the "ganging up" effect against one person. I've seen it on plenty of forums and I don't think it adds to an atmosphere of healing. It's yukky.

I didn't interpret Gordon's opinions on the PTSD article as "blasting" and perhaps I am naive there, don't know. I agreed with a lot of what he said, and maybe I'm inserting my own opinions and own tone into what he wrote - most likely I am. You guys agree. No problem. Maybe he was angry and reactionary when he wrote it, maybe he just felt strongly about his views, I really don't know, but I did agree with lots of what he said. Still no problem.

Dr. Irene said: <<Asha, trying to be helpful and perhaps a tad naive, tells Jay not to over-react and make assumptions about Gordon, implying Jay's got issues.>>

Actually I don't think I even wanted to be particularly helpful, except maybe in the grander scheme of things. I said what I thought because firstly, I agreed with lots of Gordon's comments, and secondly some of those posts on Bravenet seemed rather "bullyish" to me, and I don't like the potential effects of people getting on that bandwagon. As I said, I know everyone has their stories, but when I see something that to me looks like bullying, I just don't like it. An additional thing that I often feel, is that a lot of us don't like seeing men do this, but it's somewhat acceptable when women do it. Amazing, isn't it... As a woman, I don't want to perpetuate that.

I wasn't telling Jay not to over-react, or telling anyone to do or not to do anything. I was just saying how I saw the situation. In fact it wasn't personal to Jay at all. She had responded to some of my comments, and I addressed some of hers back. I don't think that Jay *did* over-react, or if she did, I certainly didn't notice. And I *never* implied that she had issues - woah! Maybe I *am* naive, I don't see how that got read into what I wrote. What I was talking about was the "ganging up" effect, *not* about Jay. I think Jay's feedback also had merit and was worth considering, and I certainly hope she didn't think I was attacking her!! That's not what I meant to do at all. It's "attacking" that I don't like and that's what I was getting at.

I was also speculating why some posters might suspect or not trust Gordon, and I do feel there may be similarities to the experience I had at that one AA meeting. I really felt afterwards I *didn't* belong at that meeting, but it's probably somewhat different with Gordon, because whether he "fits in" or not (and I don't like the concept of "having" to fit in anyway), I think a lot of posters do and have shown appreciation for his commentary.  Yes, including myself. But, my point is, from a perspective of Self, that you went to Gordon's defense - when Gordon doesn't need defending.

Irene said: <<<Somewhere along the line I pop in and suggest that Gordon popped a button and is dumping denied, displaced anger on the article.>>>

Could be true, and that's also worth considering. However, whether it's true or not, I think many of Gordon's comments had merit. Same here. What's one thing got to do with the other?

The problem is, I think, as I posted earlier, that there are certain issues that I believe are sexist in reverse. *But* I also recognize that it *is* possible to focus on this and other "victimization" stuff instead of self empowerment stuff and stay stuck. Still, I'm glad Gordon posted his comments and I'm not making any attempt to read into his intentions, though they seemed harmless to me (again, I insert my own intentions, had I written what he wrote). I'm not on the side of protecting anyone's ego, and if there was any of that going on, I didn't sense it.

Irene: <<That doesn't make him a bad guy, but he may want to pay attention to that which he may not see. Gordon pushed one of Jay's buttons in denying that there is a problem, especially in light of what's going on in her life. Doesn't make her a bad gal, and she's already paying attention to a few zillion issues.>>

And Jay is not a bad gal - she's a terrific gal!! Yes!

<<Well gang, now you get it straight: I think Gordon denies his anger and popped a button when his affect spilled onto the article. I think Jay's so overwhelmed by her husband's denial, Gordon's denial popped her button. Asha, in trying to support and soothe everybody, went where she didn't belong and blew it with Jay, probably because she has Gordon on a little pedestal - which Jay has to resent cuz that that's part of what hubby's been getting over with for years.>>

I don't know about the other stuff, but I disagree that I was trying to support or soothe anyone - in fact I thought I might be attacked for what I said (still might). If anyone is upset with me about what I wrote to Jay, I don't think they understood my intentions at all. I still don't feel I "blew it", by what I said, though it's likely that I was misinterpreted. I can't know what will upset someone in advance and I don't want to not express my views for fear of how someone may react. (Then I doubt I'd ever say anything!) Giggle!

Again, it was the bullying that I saw (and that's *my* interpretation) that I disliked, and that was my main issue and what I was trying to understand. My intention was *not* to put anyone down, and *not* to protect anyone.

<<Now that I probably pissed everybody off, all I can say is that it's nice to be able to blip posts like the one where Mel blasted me. (Giggle!) Human nature! Geeez, are we coo coo clocks or what?>>

Dear Dr. Irene, I'm not even pissed off with you :)

I think somehow there was a misunderstanding about my intentions, or something like that - but who cares. I still love Jay, I love you, the posters here, and this site, and that's exactly why I said what I said. I don't want to protect, defend, attack etc., but I do want to comment when I feel something affects the spirit of healing on this site.

There was a time when I wouldn't have posted any of what I posted for fear of having to defend myself later, but I feel okay about saying what I really think now, because in reality I have nothing to defend. If I'm wrong - I'm sure someone will enlighten me! That's what I'm here for. :)  Now that's what I call an empowered woman. Not afraid to take a stand!! Go for it! (Though I still think you went to Gordon's defense. So what? Let me.)

take care all

Asha

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Sunday, June 03, 2001
 

Hey Cats,

Yes, I think we should win just one lottery so we can have a meeting in Brazil instead of on the Continent this time. There is a lot of fish here, Trubble!

I have given up on my friend. He has decided that we are just friends, but in laying that down he chose to express himself in a way that indicated he'd listened to gossip (of the kind: single woman living with single man, whatever could be happening, blah blah blah) and he also made me feel like a Jezebel or something - and before I buy into that perception, which I am likely to do since my mother has always shared it, I have to remind myself that HE called four times a day this week, that HE made every effort so that I wouldn't leave his house for four months, down to buying shampoo for me, ordering my vegetarian foods specially prepared, and having me set up my computer in the library, etc etc etc. My guess is that he got scared. My plan is to stay away because I didn't like feeling like a Jezebel, and gossip will only hurt ME and not him.

This doesn't seem like verbal abuse but more normal annoying stuff that happens when 2 people are trying to create intimacy, but I can feel a difference in that I am stronger about what is good for me and what isn't, and staying away from what isn't. Anyway, a friendship isn't precluded, just the illusions can go away, now.

So come to Brazil! but I can't vouch for romantic liaisons with the men, nor, from what I have heard, with the women for that matter... you can be sure the women have their own issues after a lifetime of dealing with Brazilian social expectations.

Crankily yours, Perdida  :)

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Sunday, June 03, 2001

Okay doc, ;)

Maybe I did go to Gordon's defense, just a "tad", since there are so few men on this site, and I think it gets a little one sided. That's what I meant about going where you didn't belong. Not an awful thing, but a reaction nevertheless. There is no problem with reactions per se. The whole idea is that you run them instead of them running you...

But it's not because I don't think he's a big enough boy to look after himself. He is.

I don't want to lose the "male perspective" here. So I admit it, I too am biased. :)

One thing I've felt very good about lately is allowing myself to express my feelings without needing anyone to particularly agree with me. That wasn't always completely the case - I was more "careful". That doesn't mean I don't seek to be understood, or don't care how what I say impacts anyone. It's just that I'm following my gut more, and not worrying so much about other's reactions. It feels really good, so I think I'm on the right track. :)

Asha

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Sunday, June 03, 2001

p.s. Doc - an email I had sent you keeps bouncing back to me... I'll try again tomorrow.  Yikes! Come to think of it, my mail is less than usual...

Asha

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Sunday, June 03, 2001

Dear Asha, i am not mad at you at all. i think you missed a lot of stuff historically, but so what? You are braver than me. I just had a an awful aromatherapy experience here. I got some vanilla oil. It smells awful. Really sickly sweet and I don't know how to get it out of the house! any ideas. I never thought oils could need an antidote.

Heather I am so glad you made a good decision. There are better guys out there.

Jezebel? Perdida you didn't ask for his head on a platter? Actually that was Salome. I think that it is really hard to be part of any culture not our own. My Brazilian friend here says she can see how oppressed women are in Brazil. Yet actually she doesn't seem that way at all. I must buy a lottery ticket - you never know....

AJ??????Theressa?????? I know Becky is around but have we heard from B in a long time? Lynn???? Funny isn't it how we are thinking of people we never met?

Well I have met AJ so I am worried about her too.

OK codependent.......? I get confused about the difference between codependent and caring. Look at it this way: codependent is having no choice. Caring means you have a choice. The goal is not to STOP all codependent behaviors. (These are talents you developed!) The goal is to have control over when and where to implement those behaviors.

Meanwhile, here, Jake was just so strange yesterday that I realised he is probably suffering from a fairly deep depression. I know how that can take you. So for now I am going to lay off from "Jake is abusive." If he is sick then that would be part of the illness just now,. NOT meaning I will put up with abusive reactions but I am going to try and be as nice to him as if he was physically sick and hope that this is a kind of catalyst.

Sort of heap burning coals on his head.

ABOUT THE CHEESE. I think know this is all part of what he is going through. It kind of comes out in a food thing. I will give him some stickers and let him label the food. I think I get off beam on the food issue as he has used it so much as a means of control. I could go on at length. I just never really saw it as control for years. The cheese opened my eyes though. Giggle, I will leave that. Excellent.

Better go and get ready for church and I am going to spend the day by the river after that. Ok day I of not co dependently; but because it might benefit me, being nice to Jake....jay Yes. Think of it this way: You are in better control of your anger towards him and so you can give him a break and try something different that might work better. Give him control of what he's fighting to control, at least as it involves him. Giving him labels etc. should help him feel cared for and as though you are not fighting him.

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Sunday, June 03, 2001

Hi Jay and all,

Jay, I don't hope that Jake is depressed, but I do hope that if he is you'll be able to work it through with him. I'm tiptoeing around NOT implying I hope you can rescue him and thus restore your lovely previous codependent relationship!! I also think there is a limit to how sorry one can feel for someone who won't help him- or herself. Is that heartless?

I thought of my ex, because I often thought he also was depressed. He has a depressing life, all work and no play, in a most boring part of the US, in which I decided NOT to bury myself. He admits to repressing a bad chaotic childhood with a bipolar older brother and the whole family's attention focused there, that they went to family therapy. But now, of course, EVERYTHING'S FINE. ie, don't ask any questions and he wouldn't talk even if i did. I was going somewhere with this other than a reminiscing vent.

I hope that your understanding makes things better. I hope that Jake gets the appropriate help - Dr. Irene has mentioned for months that she thinks he is depressed. Good luck! I will be interested to hear what happens.

I am just staying away from the circle of friends around my Brazilian, especially the suspected gossiper. It leaves a gap, but there are a lot more friends here. It's just that I was living there since January, so I think that I will be missed as much as I am feeling the loss. That's a little comforting. In less than 2 weeks, I am going back to the States for 2 months for a break and reorganization. Part of the reason I wanted to go was to get a break from the relationship with the Brazilian, which was very confusing and undetermined. The other day before the scene, he was acting jealous of my ex, saying I would get back together with him. I wonder if this is all separation anxiety. He has met my ex, so he knows that he's young and cute - one of those nicely wrapped packages that contain nothing but trubble, er trouble. My mantra: "I JUST WANT MY STUFF... I JUST WANT MY STUFF..."

Well, gotta go suffer in silence for awhile. Be back soon.

Love, Perdida

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Sunday, June 03, 2001

I'm new to this board and not quite sure how to use it. I am a victim of verbal abuse. My husband and I recently started therapy but I am afraid he will "con" the therapist and we won't get anywhere. There are so many things I'd like to address but not sure where to start. I read through the site a bit and it was hard to believe that the "signs of verbal and emotional abuse" were so very identical to what my spouse does. I've never found it so hard to articulate exactly what that page said. I guess that's one of the frustrations I've found is that anytime I've tried to articulate my words are twisted or I'm told that I don't communicate well, etc. I don't want my marriage to fail (at times I'm not sure why) because I do love my husband and I know there is a part of him that is loving, kind and generous but then there is this deep, dark, ugly side that is nearly unbearable to be around. It's like living with Jekyl and Hyde. It is comforting to know that there are individuals out there who have overcome such abuse and mostly I'd like to know that there are abusers who have overcome this as well.

I think one of the items on the list really hit home..."say things that make you feel good but do things that make you feel bad", although he also does the reverse of this as well. He says that I only remember the bad and that is what is making ME unhappy. He says all the time that I'm not a happy person...well, he's right! I don't remember ever feeling so helpless, unhappy, insecure or incompetent in my life! He likes to tell me that I am a failure. He does the same thing to my daughter in a less direct way. I worry most about the effect this will have on her. I've tried telling him how it makes her feel when he says things that he says but he just doesn't listen or respect our feelings. He compares her to other kids who do better in school, are better behaved (in his opinion), tells me that his family (who live far away and don't really even know us) says that she is a brat and does not care much about others around her. My family always speaks quite well of her and says how well behaved, sweet and helpful she is....as do her teachers! It's funny, his siblings do not even have children...don't you love those who claim to be parenting experts and they don't have children?!?! I guess I'm ranting a little bit here and I apologize for that. I guess you can see a little bit into what is going on....I don't know how to read the posts to my post so hopefully I will figure out how so I can read the valuable responses to my post. Thanks for taking the time to read this...

Julie

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Sunday, June 03, 2001

Dear Julie,

Keep ranting! Ranting to the Catbox helps a lot! Then you can go back later and remind yourself how things felt if you ever have any doubt.

Your husband sounds classic, and you are right to worry about the effect on your daughter. You are spot on about him conning the therapist. It's better if you both go to therapy separately, and for him to find a therapist who knows about verbal abuse and family violence. It sounds like you're ready to take some steps. Go for it! Don't feel guilty, unsure, whatever - you're doing the right thing to question and not put up with stuff.

Keep posting and reading the other posts - that's how you use the site. It's like group therapy! It's better than my last group!

Best, Perdida

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Sunday, June 03, 2001

Perdida-

Thank you very much for your advice and support! I hope this will be a useful place for me to receive "group therapy". Do you live with or are you married to an abuser? If so, have you made progress and how? I've never felt as weak as I have since I've been with this man and I want so badly to get back the confidence and strength I once had. This is my 2nd marriage and I'd be devastated to be divorced TWICE in my lifetime! I also don't want to continue to be abused! I think there's a way to stay married and heal the abuser and myself but I just hope that I am able to figure out the way to do it. Thanks again for your support!

Julie

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Sunday, June 03, 2001

hello to all the catbox folks!

Sis here. I am the one who posted a reply on bravenet that I did not like Gorden. The reply to several other posts was titled "Finally." I added my reply to a string og other posters who expressed concern about some of Gordon's recent posts on bravenet.

Right now i am out of town, not much time for details except to say that Asha's interpretation of posters bullying Gordon is an exaggeration. People were pointing out what upset them.

Asha, you keep pointing out that I said I didn't like Gordon. But, you fail to mention the reasons I mentioned, in other words, taken out of context. If I don't happen to like him, so what? Did you read Gordon's post to me? You don't find that manipulative? And why not say what concerns other people have about Gordon?

I've been viewing this site regularly since April 2000. Gordon appeared in May 2000. I mentioned that in my post. I also mentioned that I had never posted my feelings/thoughts about Gordon because he had a following and I didn't want to get flamed.

I am not backing down. I've read enough of Gordon's posts for over a year to know that he is angry, sometimes furious by his own admission. I still question why he spends HOURS on this site while claiming to have a wife, child, and fulltime job. Whenever anyone disagrees with him, he posts unbelievably long replies and doesn't let it go. He has to have the last word.

I could go on. But unlike Gordon, don't have the time to write this in a word processing program and then copy it to this site. I don't have time to post all the details about why I feel the way I do. Nothing about Gordon would surprise me. He gives as much bad advice as he gives good. He has issues but zigs and zags around them. In my opinion, he is a manipulator. All of those smiley faces are covers.

Sometimes he reminds me of my brother, who writes 15 page letters (two-sided) about why he's right and you are wrong. Sometimes he records 90 minute audio tapes. People have called my brother intelligent (yes, straight A's), humorous, witty, and charming. As one of the other posts mentioned, just like her husband.

Well, I'm glad all of this has come out because I'm not the only one who feels this way. Gosh, I spent too much time on this topic! Right now I'm with someone going thru cancer surgery. Best wishes to all!! Sis

Dear Sis, Thanks for having the courage to post all this.

Gordon is your teacher. But you already know that. The trick is to deal with what he brings up in you to pull in that "brother button." It's fine not to like him. It's fine to agree with 50% of his stuff, and not the other 50%. It's fine to voice your opinion regarding what you feel and to counter what he says/ does that you don't like. I encourage you to call him on what you think is not OK, while you look at the button he pushed inside. When you can selectively take the good and leave the bad of what he offers and not care about what other people think, you've pretty much done the job.

If he's smart, he'll hear what you said about him. If he's not, he won't. Some people take longer to break out of denial; some are not in denial. No problem what he does, since that's about him not you.

For example, here's a thread I found on Bravenet. Gordon is speaking in response to your commenting about not liking him:


I don't mind if you don't like me, Sis. That's your problem, not mine. I don't mind if you don't read my posts. Other people will, and I enjoyed writing them anyway. I don't mind if you call me "arrogant," or think I'm "manipulative," or any of that stuff. I'm not even going to talk about that. Watch me detach.

All I want to talk about is something totally unrelated. Something I wanted to mention to you for a long time.

"Sis, Sis, wherefore art thou Sis?"

In English we say "What is your name?" In French they say "Comment vous appelez-vous?"--"How do you call yourself?"

Why do you call yourself "Sis"?

Why do you *define* your identity as the sister of an *abuser*?

Screw the abuser! Ditch him! If you can't chuck him out of the house, at least chuck him out of your mind, and out of your identity. Do yourself a favor. Stop calling yourself "Sis." You can call yourself "Constance" or "Gloria" or "Butterfly" or whatever your real name is, or whatever name you like best. I only call myself Gordon because it's my real name. Just quit *attaching* yourself to abuse. That only keeps you stuck. Be someone new.

And even if you don't like me, I hope you enjoy your trip anyway. I'm sorry I can't put a smiley face in, but I know you'd only call that "manipulative."

- Gordon

If someone spoke to me this way, I would probably say something like:

"I will consider your feedback. Yet, why do you find it necessary to attack? Clearly, your comment was an attempt to knock me off balance, even if you gave good advice at the end to "save me" from your attack! Giggle.  Perhaps you need to ask yourself why you reacted to my negative feedback by pushing me away and attacking. Or not. Your choice."

Should he come back and tell you that you're paranoid, he's only trying to "help you," you say: "Thank you, but I prefer my paranoia to your help. So, please don't bother." If he comes back again, you dismiss this person entirely because you know you are talking to a wall.

In other words, you find a way to let him know he won't get away with this type of stuff. In time, you'll get less and less of it because you've made your boundaries very clear. You really won't care if Gordon (or brother or anybody else) "gets it" or not since you can handle them easily.

Taking care of the Self is not about groupthink or agreement. In this case, it's simply about the skills to connect internally and instantly pinpoint what's bugging you - and to put it out without baggage. 

 Learning to do this is what this site is all about!

Our thoughts are with your friend...   Doc.

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Hi, jay here. Well my plans yesterday went really badly. Jake was awful all day and I think I was just too tired .Then a friend came round and he was pleasant to me...convincing the friend it was me who had the problem. At least she didn't say so. Then we went round to another friend and I just couldn't keep it together any more. That friend said what she has seen over the years. The big difference is that the first friend didn't have an abusive husband herself.

What is odd is that the second friend and I have both seen our respective husbands in action...Is that common. Do both husbands latch on to a sort of weakness they sense. On one occasion I babysat for the second friend and when I said I would get a taxi home as he had been drinking he became very abusive -to both me and my friend and she called the police. He banned me from their house. Next day he apologized but every so often he would let out something really off the mark to me.. sort of sneering. She left him in the end.

I don't think he ever did that in front of the first friend.. We all tended to have a kind of "come in even if I am not here yet and make yourself at home friendship." Sigh those were the days. Now circumstances don't permit that .

Any way I hope it will be better today. I did try to speak to a doctor about Jake yesterday. It didn't do a lot of good. The way the law works here is I could have him sectioned: but to do so at present is abusive - he isn't tearing up or anything. What I am sure would happen is that if they did anything at all they would offer anti depressants and send him home. If they gave a further diagnosis it would be 'personality disorder' and they would send him home because this is just a blanket term and also they say, untreatable.

So it would just end up with Jake hating me more. In fact it wouldn't get that far as IF a doctor agreed to see him he would appear "normal.' The doctor I spoke to did say "Is he hearing voices. " I don't think so. But I did wonder about the "everyone says" and "The police told me " stuff. I think though if the was it would be a lot more obvious.

What I do know is that Jake is unlikely to go to the doctor. Or to admit the depression. yesterday he was saying we were living as divorced and he is an 'individual parent/' and that he therefore doesn't have to speak to me at all about HKK. So HKK has for example apparently and arrangement with his dad that he gets pocket money for doing homework . But as I had no knowledge of this I have given him money......Now I know HKK can earn it. by doing his homework: but I can't support what I don't know. I only finally learnt this from HKK!

I am so tired I wonder if I am spouting drivel. Not at all. If you want to stay married, you often find that you are between a rock and a hard place. Please can the catbox not get used as a pro - anti Gordon vendetta. Vendettas are not OK. There is a lot of difference between objecting to a portion of someone's post and the person themselves. Yes. It doesn't make me feel unsafe: Because you're more centered. Those who are less centered are likely to feel unsafe, and their job is to do nothing and sit with it while they figure out how to handle it...  but I just think the catbox is for looking at the self. Yes.

Anyway I have no idea if what I am writing makes sense as it is % am and yet another night I can't sleep through. Just one whole night might help enormously just now. I think I could see things more positively if that happened. I do have a prescription I have been avoiding getting so I think I will have to use it.  Hey AuntieJay, no need to go to sleep! Come with me! Prowling London at night is great fun! Trubble: Go to sleep!

Hugs to all and the new poster. Jay

 

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Hi Sis

I took a little time to think about why I posted about what I read on Bravenet.

It wasn’t to pinpoint anyone personally; it’s because I wasn’t comfortable with the “way” people were pointing out what upset them. You didn't like the groupthink stuff. Good.

The only thing that it has to do with me, is that I feel there are certain “codes of silence” that sometimes are upheld that aren’t right, and that does affect me in a broader sense. The codependent's code of silence goes something like this: Don't say what you think to the person you think it of because you'll be attacked or you'll offend, or, maybe you're not sure that's what you think, etc. Instead, find others who agree with you and talk about how awful this person is. When it's really bad, people split into camps over junk like this.

I think we all have the potential to abuse, and those of us who are or have been abused ourselves probably have even higher potential.

I won’t go on about this – I’m sure as you said there is more to it than what I saw. I just don’t support the *tone* of some of those posts. I’m uncomfortable with it. Me too. Trubble is, the tone of Gordon's post was no different. By the way, that's all you had to say...

Gordon: Don't go away; you are welcome here! OK? Please consider the possibility that you may have some very human "issues." But, you're still welcome even if you don't.

Thanks

Asha

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Yes, don't go away altogether, Gordon -I don't think you will. Maybe it is just about asking what effect what you say is likely to have? I don't know and that applies to anyone not just you. Yep.

Calling Jake on communication about HKK worked . This morning he backed me up about HKK saying where he is. He kind of forgets. Mind you how I was supposed to know what the ground rules were when only HKK got them but they included times for contacting me I don't know! Oh well a partial move forward.

-------" Not at all. If you want to stay married, you often find that you are between a rock and a hard place ."

This probably sounds daft, Dr Irene, but can you expand on this? Same thing we've been discussing. And, I quote me (talk about daft...) to Sis, "Taking care of the Self is not about groupthink or agreement. In this case, it's simply about the skills to connect internally and instantly pinpoint what's bugging you - and to put it out without baggage."

You said, "Calling Jake on communication about HKK worked...He kind of forgets." There you go. But it's like being between a rock and a hard place because you have to sift through your junk and not act out, while you pinpoint each and every affront... Tough stuff. But, you are making yourself Whole. The more Whole you become, the more space you create for your partner to grow within, should he or she choose to (No guarantees...). Does this make sense Jay?

Trubble, I have roamed the streets of London at night. They are very boring. I suppose that if I was a cat..... rooftops and all that and I guess there are fish markets somewhere. jay Yeah AuntieJay! Lots of fish markets. Lot's of fences to practice balancing on. Lots of cats to have fun fighting... Not boring! What do you mean, "if  I was a cat..." 

 

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Hi Jay,

It is Theressa here:

I've been very poorly. (nose running like a tap) The big guy upstairs engineered this to help me stop feeling so overwhelmed me thinks. I couldn't do anything so I had nothing to worry about. LOL

Jay, I think DOC meant in your last post, "Your between a rock and a hard place". I think she means you just don't seem to be able to win whatever you do. Your damned if you do and damned if you don't. That is why you can only focus on you.

Take care Theressa  Glad to have you back!

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Hi, Theressa, I am sorry you have been unwell and relieved you are back in touch! Thanks Dr Irene,

OK so here goes I just got a letter that made me rightly angry. I have a choice here. I can leave it and hope everyone forgets the issues which I am not going to post into a catbox but involve a kind of social services and government cover up or I can start really making waves.......Basically anything I have said has been reported back, twisted and at times accompanied by lies. I just feel sick. All I know just now is that I will not be voting Labour ever again. And that government people are the most manipulative of all . For the first time in my life I don't care if the conservatives do get in, Sorry, but I can't think of anywhere else to vent this. Theressa I don't know what you vote. (Giggle. don't tell me! ) I guess this is  abuse at the governmental level and I never in my life thought I would be the butt of it. Grrrrrrrr! I am just sooooo mad! Claws out stuff, this. Giggle you had better delete this one Dr Irene if it's not ok to write a political catbox post.

OK I will sit with it until I cool down. But now I know at least what I won't be voting. I have been puzzling over that for a long time.

Actually I was horrified by the local candidates posters anyway. They don't have one word about what he would do and just slam the Green party. Oh well the Greens are not going to win a major election so I may as well vote for any passing cat. *I'm* right here AuntieJay. Ready for London yet?

All else I know is I just do not need this. I haven't got the emotional energy for my own situation. (yeah so there is my answer. Don't vote labour as I will feel better and hope the Green party has a miracle.

oh YUK.

Theressa I am sooooo glad to hear from you. I have been worried if you were ok.

Jay........

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Hi All,

Today I am in a big, big mess. Yikes it hurts!!

You see I understand what is going on, I know what tapes are running inside my head, I understand my partner's behaviours. BUT GOD DAMN IT, DOESN'T HELP ME ONE JUT!!!

I've been unable to sleep last night. My head is in a spin. MY fears have become reality and oh boy I feel like I am on a roller coaster.

I feel an ache inside my chest, my stomach feels like a washing machine, and the lump in my throat is making it hard to swallow, my head feels like it could explode.

AND Yes I know I have to sit with these feelings but IT HURTS, IT REALLY HURTS.  This sounds like it hurts too much. You may want to consider an antidepressant! Ask your doc!

I would like to say and YES this may be defensive, I don't want anyone bashing my partner for what I am about to say. I only want constructive feedback that will help me move forward. (I don't want the sort that just helps me get angrier at my partner.)

Phew now we got that straight, TRUBBLE you included.  *Moi?* Never!

As you know I've been poorly. SO I told my partner it would be best if we had limited contact this week, since he can't afford to be off work. He was away some of the week working, so this helped him stay away and not get sick.

Some background info: My partner just paid for a holiday we were meant to take in August this year. In fact he pays for the majority of nights out for us both. On the other hand, I don't ask for maintenance for our child. (Ron my therapist said: He does this for you but he is bound to resent doing it, despite the fact that you don't ask for maintenance payments. He might still feel used for his money!!)  Ron's a   v e r y   smart guy...

What do you all think?

I do try to contribute financially as much as I can. I try to help in other ways also.

Okay so back to my turmoil:

On Friday night my partner said "I am going for a pint, so see you later".

He came and stayed at my house and said he'd mind our daughter whilst I attended college on Saturday morning. He did this, then he went off to have some time alone (sorting his glasses out), I took Melissa out with me.

My partner asked if I'd like to stay the night at his house. I said "Yes, and went off to get my stuff", Our daughter stayed with her daddy (my partner)."

We were watching "You've been framed" (a programme where members of the public send in silly video recordings of themselves and their family), I had a headache, and didn't find some of the pictures funny.

My partner said "why do you look so miserable." I said "I've got a headache." He didn't say anything after that.

We continued watching the TV.

For info: Earlier there was a power struggle between me and Melissa. Her father said: "I don't want any of this pettiness in my house, so if you two want to fight, go home." He's setting limits. Fair enough.

We disengaged from power struggling. My partner says we do it a lot. Take the info and pay attention. He's probably right based on stuff you've said here. He say children should be told, not given choices and a chance to argue. That's just his parenting style. His style won't prevent a power struggle. Likely to create a resentful kid though...

Anyway as I say we continued to watch TV. My partner had made some angel delight for him and Melissa (I said I didn't want any), WELL I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT WAS ONE OF MY BUTTONS WERE ACTIVATED, AND I ENGAGED. Good you see it's a button!

My button is about a conflict I have regarding my mother and grandmother. I am not sure how to fix this button. ANY IDEAS???

It is about when I was a mere 2 and half to approx 3 years old. My mother used to take us to our grandmother's house from morning until sunset. It seems that we'd mither our mom when she was speaking to my grandmother. (BOREDOM after 5 hours of trying to keep occupied.) She'd try to ignore us but would then get annoyed and smack us (I have two sisters, though one wasn't born at this time.)

THEN obviously we would cry. (me and my sister), As I would cry I would say, "Wipe my eyes, wipe my eyes, wipe my eyes," over and over. THE response I got is MY BUTTON.

The response was ridicule. My grandmother would chant "wipe me eyes, wipe me eyes" and laugh. My mother never said a word. NOR did she stop my grandmother ridiculing me. SHE NEVER DEFENDED ME. Sad...

So if anyone attacks my daughter, OH BOY are they gonna get it. If she doesn't deserve the attack!!!!! Oh boy! Watch out!

Anyway back to the incident at my partner's house. (for any of you who don't know, I moved out last August and live alone with my daughter now, my partner lives on his own and we stay at each others houses a couple of times a week.)  And my name is Theressa, even though I forgot to sign.

The incident at my partner's house:

Melissa was sat on the floor eating her angel delight, her dad sat on one chair and I sat on another. (Kids seem to prefer sitting on the floor so they can sit close to the TV, God only knows why?)

A typical thing happened: Melissa wanted her drink, she knew I had a headache, so she didn't want to bother me. She didn't dare bother her dad. (Since she isn't sure of his reaction), she wouldn't put her angel delight on top of the fire, cuz she'd think her dad would say, "it will get hot". SO THIS POOR INNOCENT CHILD TRIED TO PEOPLE PLEASE, She decided best to leave the angel delight there on the floor. BUT when she got up, she again was left with the dilemma of whether to step over the bowl or walk around it. FOR fear she'd knock it over.

Well as she stood up the bowl moved and tilted to the side, thank God the contents didn't spill out. (My partner's home and carpet cost him all his savings to do up.)

Just then he did what lots of parents do, ME included. He yelled "Get in the kitchen!" She got up and took her bowl into the kitchen.

I engaged: I defended. YES DOC I KNOW I PUT MYSELF IN A ONE DOWN POSITION, but I was defending not only my own daughter, but the hurt inner child within me, THAT I DON'T know how I should have reacted. I've made it real easy for you: When in doubt...do nothing.

Any ideas how I should have reacted?? You don't react. (At least, that is your goal.)

SO my defense: Theressa said: "it was only an accident, no need to yell at her."

My partner's response: "She is always clumsy, she should look what she is doing."

Theressa said: "it was an accident, she is a child, she makes mistakes, but we all do, you yourself, make mistakes."

(TRUTH IS I KNOW HOW SHE FELT, WHEN YOUR CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT TO DO SINCE EVERYTHING IS WRONG ANYWAY!!!) So, his attack was taken as about you...

My partner's attack: "makes mistakes, yes she is like you, her mother, you make so many mistakes everyday. you need to sort yourself out. She's just like you." And apparently, he was attacking both of you... How sad that he is in the space he is in...

Theressa said: "I don't care what you say about me making mistakes."

My partner's response: "GO home Theressa, go home." "Melissa come and get your stuff, you've going home with your mother."

Just then Melissa came into the living room, and her father went into the kitchen. He said: "why have you left your angel delight."

Melissa said: "Because you told me to come and get ready".

Theressa said: "Melissa go and eat your angel delight."

SO Melissa ate her angel delight.

So I collected my stuff as I went to leave the living room, Melissa shouted, "daddy I love you, I always will, daddy, I do love you." Ouchhh...

(I took her and cuddled her and left without saying a word.)

Yesterday, Sunday her daddy came to collect her to go to her grandma's house. He spoke only when I spoke to him, mainly about what Melissa had been doing. When he brought Melissa back, he again only spoke when I spoke to him. Then he left.

THIS IS WHEN THE GAPING HOLE I HAVE INSIDE OF ME CAME ABOUT. I received a text message that read: "I don't think it is working for us, lets call it a day, sorry."

Dr Irene what is going on in this man's head???? He's pushing you away. It puts him in a position of power since he knows exactly how you will react.

Well the opposite to what Ron (my therapist would hope I'd do),  I did. Giggle! I texted my partner back (SO what. Is  it co-dependent, at least it is doing something and not just hurting endlessly.) You can't stand that he is pulling away. That's the power he has over you. You'd have lots more power if you learned to stand it and calmly let him pull away. Watch him come zipping back!

You see people keep telling me maybe ending it is for the best. THE BEST FOR WHO??? Ron doesn't live inside my head. He doesn't have to feel the hurt I am feeling. Ron wants you to have the courage to end it. Then, you may not have to. If you had the courage to end it, your partner may become willing to check his temper...

I firstly sent a text message back saying "Do you really want to end things, everyone has arguments." Yuk.

He didn't reply. Of course not. He's got you exactly where he wants you. But, you already know that.

Anyway I wrote my partner a letter sharing my feelings. (Again I don't think Ron would agree since he said I should detach) Yes detach, and then what let my relationship slip through my fingers - because my partner doesn't know how I feel. You are rationalizing Theressa. Ron wants you to have an equal relationship, where the two of you share power. Not one where your partner calls the shots. He essentially told you unless you let him misbehave, he's history. Yuk yuk yuk!

Well in the letter I told him I cared and told him that sometimes I just fear getting close to him in case he rejects me. I told him I love him but I know I may have to accept it if he chooses to not continue with our relationship. That's not too bad because you told him you are willing to let him go. Now, follow through.

I told him to speak to me if he wants to continue our relationship. ****

He has not replied yet. He is on the night shift so he won't get the letter until this afternoon.

THE fear I feel is so overwhelming what if he doesn't want to know anymore. My fears have come reality. He has done what I dreaded: ended everything. OK, so now that the worst has come to be, you've got nothing to fear. Do nothing now.

Why would a man who seemed so set on us in January, who wrote to me asking for another chance, now turn the tables and reject me. After I opened my heart to him?????  Because he can't tolerate too much closeness. So, if you can't pull away for your own sake, don't you see that he'll get worried if you pull away - or let him pull away?

All I know is it hurts, hurts bad.

SO YES RON now my fears are out, no hiding from them now, they have become reality.

The truth is, everyone it wasn't better when I was on my own and we separated. I missed my partner every day. I don't want to go on without my family. MY FAMILY means so much to me. Me, my partner and our daughter are my family. Crumbs. Why would you settle for crumbs when you can have the cake?

I have a friend called Rob, his family is blown apart and he is miserable. WHY would I want to trade what I had for MISERY??? Because you had misery.

I am so unsure of what to do next. Nothing. I know I have to wait to see if my partner responds. AND if he tells me its over for good then I guess I have to get on the best I can. BUT I hope he does want to be with me.

FINALLY not to do with this post. BUT I'll post it here any way.

DEAR Sis,

Gordon has helped me to see light when I was stumbling in the dark. So please understand that also GORDON is human, he has histories and experiences of his own that will influence his advice.

SO please take your power and allow humanness, take what advice you need and leave what you don't need, for GORDON like me and anyone else trying to advise can only advise on what in our own lives we've worked through ourselves.  That's good advice Theressa, once again. But don't forget that Sis has a right to be mad. Gordon attacked her, and he needs to get a handle on his anger, but she let him attack her - because she's still learning how to deal with attack... These are all lessons...

Take care Theressa

COME on guys and gals I need some support, please check in and give me some. THANKS a million.

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Monday, June 04, 2001

HOWDY ALL! I NEED HELP IN FIGURING OUT IF THIS QUALIFIES AS VERBAL ABUSE AND ANY IDEAS/ADVICE TO GIVE TO MY GIRLFRIEND. SHE'S BEEN MARRIED FOR 10 YEARS (NO KIDS) AND JUST GOT STATIONED DOWN IN FLORIDA (AFTER HAVING BEEN IN ALASKA). HER HUSBAND, WHOM SEEMS LIKE A LOST SOUL AND VERY DEPRESSED, DECIDES LAST SUMMER THAT HE HATES FLORIDA AND WANTS TO MOVE BACK TO ALASKA. SO HE DID. HE'LL CALL HER EVERY NOW AND THEN AND FROM WHAT SHE SAYS, HE JUST SOUNDS LIKE HE'S REALLY MEAN TO HER, TRIES TO PULL OFF THE GUILT TRIPS ON HER (WHY THEIR MARRIAGE IS FAILING, WHY HE HASN'T GONE BACK HOME TO HER YET)....WHEN SHE GETS HER STRENGTH UP AND TELLS HIM THAT SHE'S GOING THROUGH WITH FILING FOR A DIVORCE....ALL OF A SUDDEN HE CALLS HER UP AND SAYS THAT HE'S READY TO COME BACK HOME TO HER, GETS HER TO WHERE SHE'S HAPPY AND REALLY EXCITED, THEN ONCE SHE PUTS THE DIVORCE BACK ON HOLD, HE CALLS HER UP AND STARTS BEING A JERK AGAIN! AND THIS GIRL IS HELPING TO SUPPORT HIM FINANCIALLY AS WELL WHILE HE TRIES TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HE WANTS TO DO WITH HIS LIFE!IT SEEMS LIKE HE'S SENDING HER ON AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER AND IT MAKES ME SOOOOO MAD BECAUSE SHE'S A GOOD-HEARTED PERSON AND DESERVES BETTER THAN THIS! WHY IS HER HUSBAND DOING THIS TO HER? SHE'S SUPPORTED HIM FROM DAY ONE AND HAS STUCK BY HIS SIDE BUT IT DOESN'T SEEM TO MATTER TO HIM BECAUSE HIS SELF-ESTEEM IS SO LOW AND NOTHING EVER SEEMS TO BE GOOD ENOUGH! ANY THOUGHTS AND ADVICE WOULD BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED, THANK YOU!!! -JORDIE

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Theressa

I know it hurts, but think about your "sane" choices, which Dr. Irene often talks about.

When someone says "it's not working out" will begging, pleading or manipulating help the situation?

It's possible that he says this because it puts him in a one up position, knowing that you want so badly for things to work out. You don't know whether he means it or not.

Remember when you finally detached to the point you decided to date someone else and get on with your life? Remember that he came running back to you? Giggle!

Knowing his patterns, I think the most level thing to do is to not have many expectations from him, and determine what your own expectations are from a relationship.

Sometimes what the universe gives us to learn, is not what we think we need at the time.

It doesn't mean you "shouldn't" feel your feelings of love, hurt and disappointment.

I really think that every time you have shown strength and independence, he has made a bigger effort on the relationship. When you show neediness, he tends to show disdain.

Theressa you can't control his actions. You can lower your own expectations to meet his requirements *or* you can keep your expectations for a relationship high and see if he can raise his own expectations of himself.

Truly Theressa I think you deserve a happy relationship, and I think if you operate out of strength and integrity rather than neediness, things will be better for you, no matter how they turn out.

take care

Asha

 

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Monday, June 04, 2001
 

Hi. I am brand new here and read the post by Julie. I don't know how to get around here yet and I wanted to post to her message. I know exactly what she is saying!!! I thought that I was the only one who had the "Dr. Jekyll-Mr.. Hyde" person in my home! My husband and I got into a fight just this weekend after a short camping vacation. He won't let me touch him in a sexual way and I get upset at that. We have been married just a short time-some 3 1/2 years. I am confused with the concept of the abused being like the abuser too in the way that ?I try to be nice and let him figure out what is wrong with him? I know that he has some issues and it is very apparent that it is from other relationships before me. I don't think that he has dealt with them. When I ask him why he pushes me away he takes the stance that I am being selfish and that it is my problem and I am a "whiner" because I don't get what I want or when I want it. I don't know how to get around that. I have gone to counseling and he went to couples counseling once. That one time the counselor pounded him on how much control he wanted in the relationship. He never went again nor will he ever go again. I know that I have issues on holding my hurts in, but this is why I do--I never know who to expect, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. I want to go back to counseling at the expense of us paying off our debts to buy a house next year. What do you do when you find yourself just standing there in the middle of the room staring at nothing out the sliding glass doors while he is just there watching you? It makes me feel like I am in the wrong for wanting to give of myself to him.

You need to read The Verbally Abusive Relationship  immediately!

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Monday, June 04, 2001
 

Hey Cats,

Now I need to vent. I was talking to a friend, an American so no language problem. I was talking emphatically about the draconian energy rationing here in Brazil and how it only hurts the poor. He broke in to say "You sound really stressed!" I HATE that! I wasn't stressed, but when he said that I became stressed! I don't know, is that caring or subtle nastiness? I say he is a friend, but really I have had bad feelings like this about him before. Once in a social situation I felt I had to stand my ground and challenge him on whatever it was he was making assumptions about. I just think it is so easy to label someone something in a social situation and make them feel whatever it is you want them to feel - and I think this is what he does - anybody know what I mean?  You know Perdida, it's not a problem if you are stressed. It's human stuff. I think the problem is that you don't know what you are! If you are internally unsure, when he makes a comment, you will doubt yourself and feel off balance. It's not what he says to you that is the problem. The problem is that you are out of synch with with what's inside you...

It made me take a step back and think about how I sounded, which controls my time and my mental energy. All I know is I didn't FEEL stressed.

Now I am obsessing about whether I sound stressed or not, and how I come off to other people. At least I know that this particular guy has this very irritating effect on me. Don't obsess. Just sit with the discomfort of not knowing. It's OK. You can tolerate it. Keep it up, and you will know...eventually.

On the other hand, maybe I am a little stressed, with a trip to the US coming up and the problems with my Brazilian friend. He called twice last night and hung up (I looked at my caller ID and didn't pick up) but today he didn't call, nor did I. I did learn from a Brazilian anthropologist that Bahians (I'm in Bahia) HATE conflict more than anything. So now I know that I will also avoid conflict at all costs ( when in Rome...) and it helps me understand my friend's reaction to me.

Gee that American totally threw me off. Now is the time to be Bahian and run from conflict!

Cheerfully, Perdida

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Monday, June 04, 2001
 

PS,

Dear Julie,

I didn't get married, but I was in a relationship with Mr. Jekyll and Hyde. He was really nice and sweet to everyone, and even often very nice and sweet to me, but he had these moments, and tantrums, and he would also act completely bewilderingly nasty and irrational and then say that he was trying to "show" me that that was how I acted and how crazy it was, so I would "learn." Once he picked a fight with me, saying that I had made an ugly face at one of his female friends. Twice when I took my stuff home from his house, he lost it and tried to bite me. Over the course of the relationship, I ended up gaining weight, taking antidepressants which didn't help, taking incompletes in ALL my classes at my university (in a PhD program, NOT good), and generally being in a complete miserable fog wondering if it was ME!! Everyone thinks he is wonderful!!!

I read some books and was able to pinpoint specific examples of how he was making me feel crazy and how he was sabotaging my work and my self esteem. Take a look at the library on this site and read some stuff. It is really strange, but abusers all follow the same script. The script makes it easy to spot and I hope that some day it will be easy to eradicate.

Good luck, keep posting, sharing, venting, reading, practicing! If you love your husband, and he can get some insight, there's hope. The couples on the site say it's a lot of work. I think that abusers can learn not to abuse but they really have to practice.

Hi Theressa! I'm sorry you have been sick. I'm sorry you had to go through that yukky patch with your partner, too. You've been working so hard and really growing. I hope that knowing how far you're getting will make you feel better. Don't let him hold you back.

Love, Perdida

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Dear Dr. Irene, Hi Gordon!

I'm a little behind with the Catbox--I don't always read it and I didn't realize it had rolled over into number 37--and I find scads of things I'd like to say. But "last things first," as it were. Thanks for very much for your interest in all this. I'm also very grateful once again to Asha for her support. I find we're in complete agreement, right down to the parallel of her insight about the AA meeting she attended.

I'm sorry by the way if I did push one of Jay's buttons. I'm not sure you did; that was my interpretation. Seems Jay's had enough of her own junk to deal with that she's choosing not to get caught up in this. If I did, I was certainly trying not to I know. , because I could see very well that Jay was doing her very best to help. This is another of those dilemmas we can get caught in. Do we invalidate what someone says, or do we leave them with what we believe to be a mistaken impression of ourselves? But, what others think doesn't really matter... Whatever. Heads you lose, tails we both lose. I chose heads, though I did my best to flip it gently. By the way, Jay, though it's out of place to talk politics here, I'm strongly tempted to agree with you that "government people are the most manipulative of all"! How else did they get to be governing us in the first place? :)

To straighten out one point of fact, I responded to Dr. Ochberg's article on May 22, having thought about it for a few days before, while the incident on Bravenet began in response to something I posted on May 25 in response to someone else's post of May 23. So the incidents occurred in reverse order, and I see no connection between the two. They were coincidental. What incidents occurred in reverse order? Why does order matter?

My problem with Dr. Ochberg was of course a gender issue, and since it came up first, it wasn't triggered by the attack on Bravenet. Doesn't matter. The button was there before. On the contrary, I was deliberately and consciously editorializing. Of course I was annoyed, for the reasons I stated. Just the same, I don't think my tone was much different from what we'd often expect in the world at large--the normal world, that is--when somebody criticizes a third party. Even in public, we can afford to be dismissive, like the critic of a Broadway show called "Wham!" who condensed his entire review into one single word: "Ouch!" Naturally if I were speaking with Dr. Ochberg face to face I would be more diplomatic. How do you know the Doc won't read this? Why not be diplomatic anyway? (Answer: because you used his article as a hook to hang your stuff on...) I hoped more people would agree with what I said. If they didn't, that was just too bad. You can rationalize all this, and that's fine. And, if you don't think you're rationalizing, that's fine too.

I did, as you suggested, spend a little time "looking inside," and while I had some remarks to make later, I will say now that I didn't find anything obvious there. Specifically on the gender issue, I see no *personal* causes of anger; no "bad mother" (very much the opposite!), no great "rejection in love," no bitter divorce, or whatever it is one might expect. Whatever does concern me I see "out there," in the world at large.  Stop looking for such clear causality.

Now the Bravenet incident had nothing to do with gender. Except, very likely, in the sense that gender tends to influence how we feel and what we do, and contributes to many disagreements between women and men. Jay tells me you've seen my post that triggered that incident. I obviously misjudged the effect it would have. Yes, there was anger in there, but it was simply anger at what I saw as outrageous behavior. Then, it's your job to put just that forth. Why didn't you? It's behavior that I wouldn't have dreamed of pulling on my own parents, and I've been lucky enough not to have to face anything like it as a parent myself. So there's nothing personal in that either. What's more, it wasn't an isolated incident, which might lead more to astonishment than anger; it was part of a growing pattern of abusive behavior. Now I've never hit my own child, but I have to add that I've never felt as if I "needed" to. Whether it was the "right" reaction or not--and I'd have to think about it or judge it by the result--what I hoped to do with that post was to validate how I think a very large number of parents would have reacted, and, while supporting a child's other needs of course, lead in the direction--at least--of exploring the value of being tougher on abusive behavior. Insofar as gender may be relevant, that's something fathers more than mothers tend to do, with some overall benefits of its own. Clearly I overstepped the mark, and instead of following, everyone recoiled. Well, that's how we learn, finding out where the boundaries are by tripping over them and falling flat on our face.

But I'll skip ahead to the issue of Sis's post. Now, if Sis were to respond as you suggested, I'd seize on the question as an opportunity to answer it. And I'd say something like this. (And I'll respond back.)

"Sis, I admit I was more blunt than I should have been. I am in fact sorry that you don't like me, because I do prefer it when people like me. Just the same, there's a reason why I was blunt.

"I was somewhat angry because of what you said to me. I've never told anyone on this board that I 'don't like them,' labeled them 'manipulative' or implied they were 'arrogant,' insinuated that they were 'fake' by enclosing their name in quotation marks, that they were lying by referring to what they 'claim' about their personal life, or any of that. Come to that, I can only remember one other person saying things like that to me. There may be anger and button-pushing on this board, but this is unusual, and you were blunt enough yourself. I've never written a post like that to anyone on the board before, so this was a first occasion on both sides. In all honesty, I reply the way I do because I'm still learning to do better. Yet, if you have such a problem with my behavior and know better, perhaps it would be in your interest not to reply in kind. When do two wrongs make a right? If you know better, why model poor behavior? I've got to conclude that either you don't know better or I'm pushing one of your (nonexistant?) buttons...

"I had a choice of what to do about this. I didn't have to sound off at you. Mere anger I can blow off, as I've done with other people's anger. If I can see I've done something wrong, I can back down or apologize. But I felt you left me very limited choices. Please take responsibility for your behavior. I don't have the power to limit your choices. Only you can do that.

"I could have ignored both your posts attacking me. But to me that seems like giving the public appearance of running away in shame, as if I'd accepted that what you said about me was true, which I don't. If you know better, why would you provoke me, when you know I don't know better? I can only again conclude - that you didn't know better.

"I could have said I was sorry you don't like me, that you don't like my smileys or the length of some of my posts, or that you think I'm manipulative, or whatever. But what good would that do? I don't believe it would ever change your mind about me. Why is it what I think about you so important to you? Why not respect me enough to allow me to draw the conclusions I draw?

"You see, Sis, I don't think I can ever win with you. No Gordon. You cannot win with me - if your agenda is to dictate how I regard you and if you don't respect how I do feel.  I know there are issues we disagree on, and that's part of it. But we can always agree to disagree, so it's more than that. Yes. You are hell bent on controlling how I think. If I don't think the way you do, I have the "wrong impression." So you see Gordon, it's why no one can win with you. When you call me manipulative, I have no details of what I do that you think is manipulative, apart from putting smiley faces in my posts. OK: The post from Bravenet above is manipulative in that first you give me "permission" to not like you in a very cold-shoulder way. But, you don't let it go at that. You then engage in a sort of  emotional sabotage by trying to throw me off balance. You are counting on my inability to respond to you and to act out angrily instead. So does everybody else; does that make them manipulative too? I don't recall "everybody else" attacking as you have. I have too little information here about what I might change to stop appearing manipulative to you. Perhaps you have more now.

"When you call me angry Gordon, "anger" is not a bad word! It's OK to be angry! Please don't get defensive on that one!, which I'm not very often in my posts, you don't raise any examples of what I was angry about to examine whether the anger was justified or not It does not matter whether or not anger is justified. Anger is an emotion. It just is. : whether it was the action of some abuser, or the staff of a mental hospital flagrantly misusing their power to abuse the patients in their 'care.' Plenty of people here are angry Why do you keep defaulting to "everybody does it think?" Who cares what "everybody" does? , and they talk about things that might make anybody angry on principle. Anger is normal. Everybody gets angry about something. Yes. That doesn't mean there's something 'not right' about them. Again, I have no information here about what you think I should stop sounding angry about. The same applies to whatever advice I give. Well, what I am obviously angry about is your post above. I think you approached me with thinly veiled hostility. I too have no problem with your anger towards me. You have the right to be angry, for any or no reason. I do ask that when you express your position, you do it without acting out your momentary contempt towards me. That is how your post made me feel: hated, albeit momentarily and despite that I knew you just lost it.

"I must thank you for the compliment that you see me as 'charming, witty, and funny,' and perhaps even 'intelligent.' You are. And you also give excellent advice at times. You can have amazing clarity. Unfortunately that hinders rather than helps our relationship, because it seems clear to me that this is why you see me as manipulative. That is your opinion, and we disagree. Strongly. What I believe in turn is that you're simply projecting your brother onto me. I think I do too, but you are not innocent in this. You're not going to change my mind, and I don't think I can change yours, because I suspect that any attempt on my part to persuade you would only be seen as 'more manipulation.' True. But, I see you as manipulative because that is my experience of you. That I project my brother onto you because your behavior is at times strikingly similar does not make it "all me." That you don't take responsibility for your behavior is just one more thing that bothers me.

"Unfortunately I have a suspicion too, though I may be wrong, that if I tried to be nice and appeasing to you in response to your 'don't like Gordon' post, you'd only see that as 'more manipulation' as well. I don't think so... There again, I don't think I can win, so it looks like a fatal breach to me. I don't believe you're going to like me any time soon, if ever. Which doesn't mean I can't be polite to you in the future. But I will say all this publicly so that other people can make up their own minds. I've no problem with that. 

"Yet it's not as if I don't listen to you, Sis. Because what I did in response to your posts was to modify my behavior toward you. First, you've told me you don't like long posts, so I made a short one, and pointed out that it was short. I never asked you to bend over backwards. Second, you've told me you don't like my smileys, so I left the smiley out where I would otherwise have put one in--and pointed out why I'd done it. Please don't work so hard. It's not the smileys per se I object to, but your tendency to use them to cover up your hostility. Maybe if you looked inside, you might use your anger as the signal it is. Perhaps you are mad that you are working so hard to accommodate me. Perhaps if you didn't work so hard, you wouldn't feel so ... angry! Lastly, since any attempt at 'charm' or complexity on my part might be seen as manipulative, I decided to be blunt--which I had to be anyway if I was going to write as short a post as possible. Maybe that would come across as "real" to you. You don't get it...

"I'm sorry you read it as manipulative anyway, because it contained a mixed message, positive and negative. Apart from that, what I said was certainly true enough to me. It's no use my minding that you don't like me, because that's not going to change anything. I do believe it's 'your problem,' though we disagree on that. And I do hope you had a good trip, because I have no reason at all to wish you ill. I'm not into spite. I'm not your brother. But I have gotten you angry and you retaliated - and you refuse to acknowledge that.

"What about the advice? Here I echoed something that you did. You'd been wanting an opportunity to say something to me, although it was negative. You didn't say it before because you felt that others might react badly. Then your opportunity came, so you seized it. But I don't like ganging up--it's one of the issues you know we disagree on--so there was another factor likely to draw a more negative response from me.

"What I said was also perfectly true. I'd wanted to mention that point to you for a long time, though I meant it positively. But you're not often on the board, and I sensed you were at least somewhat suspicious of me. So I didn't say it before because I wasn't sure if you'd react badly. Since you said you didn't like me anyway, I felt I had nothing to lose, so I may as well seize the opportunity to say it now. That's how the positive got in with the negative. Needless to say, after that there was no call to end up negatively.

"I could have stuck to giving the advice, I suppose. Or something. But if I'd done that, I think you'd say I was sidestepping what you said. Or if I'd stuck to criticizing, even mildly, I'd just be blowing you off. Maybe I should have said I'm sorry you don't like me and left it at that. That would be fine. That's all you need do. Or I could have asked you what you thought was manipulative, bad advice, unjustified anger, and so forth. Well, next time I'll try that. Just let me be upset. Can we let each other feel whatever it is we feel?  FakeSis

"- Gordon"

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Tuesday, June 05, 2001
 

Hey again,

You are right, Dr. Irene - I think I am trying to pretend that I'm not depressed and stressed, and I seem to be incapable of hiding my feelings from people. I don't know if it's a good thing to consistently let my feelings out - no repressing here - or if it's immature. Just let yourself be who you are! But today I am up at the crack of dawn again, which isn't a good sign. I am sad about the rift with my friend, and I also got really down on Saturday when I had to take my other best friend to the emergency ward. The hospital was poor, the people were poor, things were really sad, I felt sorry for everyone, and I didn't like seeing my friend all gray although he has completely recovered.

So yes, I guess I am stressed and a little depressed. I had been totally happy staying in my friend's house - I felt loved, cared for etc. So it is hard to have it fall apart like this. I do remember now being depressed through January and February, before I got close to this person, but it was over my other relationship, which I needed to leave, and which brought me to this site. Is it possible that feeling depressed goes with the territory? Feeling depressed goes with the territory of codependency.

Love, Perdida

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Tuesday, June 05, 2001

Hi All,

CALL me mad, call me sad, BUT he came around and things seem to have went on from there. He kissed me goodbye when he was leaving and said see you tomorrow.

Dr Irene I take note about what you said. I guess this time I didn't feel strong enough to detach. I've been feeling rather low lately so my strength just wasn't there. Seems like he took you up on your ultimatum and contacted you, as you asked him to.

Ron (my therapist) said some interesting things to me last night at therapy. He said "Theressa I was very angry when you returned to your partner after your 7 months split. I never told you this at the time because I knew it had to be your choice, but i feel now I need to be truthful with you."

He went on telling me "Theressa you are working on your values system with me and in the catbox, Dr Irene is terrific and she compliments what we are trying to do in therapy."

Further Ron my therapist said "In fact she teaches me a thing or two. (Hey Trubble your mommy Dr Irene has fans outside of the catbox)

"Theressa the main thing that confuses me though is Dr Irene's principle on not defending your child, DOC can you explain???? I think you should defend your child and care for your child!

"I have a 14 year old daughter and she lives with her mother, her mother is very abusive to our daughter she shouts and lectures, and tells me our daughter is bright as a button at school but has no commonsense. OF course I sit back passively and cringe. My daughter stays in her room where she can't be embarrassed if she messes up in front of me, then her mother would yell and embarrass her.

"I wish I could stand up to my ex-wife and tell her to leave our daughter alone but I don't, each time I just sit and watch this happen, so Theressa when you stand up to your partner I admire you. "

WELL DOC fancy Ron admiring me LOL! :)

WHY does doctor Irene think it is wrong?? How else are you ever going to stop your partner from being abusive to your daughter??  I don't think it's wrong, I just come from a position of wait until you can act purposefully rather than react, except where there is imminent danger.

I told him I didn't know. Perhaps the goal is to not react from my buttons, though later explain to my daughter that she did nothing wrong it is her daddy who was naughty, and THEN perhaps later I should discuss the problem with my partner. This is the tact I would take because confronting your partner while he's angry is likely to be counter-productive. You risk putting her in the middle of a power struggle, you risk a fight she would witness. The way I see it, you are not going to stop your partner from hurting her. Unless I'm missing something, he can't help it. If he can't apologize to her himself, second best is to let her know that daddy loves her but has a problem with his temper and that none of this is about her. The only way he won't be able to hurt her is if he has no contact with her, and that itself would hurt her...   I see all of the above as a no-win: damned if you do; damned if you don't. So, I am inclined to concentrate on instead helping you, the parent, become strong and healthy (so you can get away from him, which may be your only hope for him to fix himself).

DOC can you help, is the above paragraph correct is this what I should do??

Or should I just explain to my daughter and not try to fix or explain the issue or discuss with my partner??

Theressa, there are more than one ways to skin a snake. This forum is not therapy. It is about support and advice and getting called on your stuff. I am a consultant. I give you food for thought. I want you to think about this stuff and I am delighted you bring it to Ron. Ron is your therapist and knows you and your situation best, far better than I could.

Ron went on to say: "Theressa I remember when you were alone without your partner, you were doing great, you progressed a lot."

I said "Ron it didn't feel like I did great, I was still abusive to my daughter myself."

He said "YES you were and you know this, though now you are working on letting her make mistakes and being sensitive".  Yes...

I then asked Ron why he'd told me at our last session to bend to the way my partner was, in other words try to work with him, by not controlling him, or trying to fix him, but requesting help and then finding other sane options if he refused. Ron is absolutely correct.

Ron said "Theressa I was working with around your choices, it not my place to say hit the road. Although I think you'd do much better on your own than you think you would. Theressa I think your partner needs to go to therapy if he is ever gonna change his values system." Yes.

DR IRENE this confussed me a lot. Ron is telling me mixed messages on the one hand he is saying "It would be best if you left Theressa" and the other he is saying "Theressa you have to bend towards your partner if you stay." No Theressa. There is no mixed message here. Ron is being very, very clear: His "advice" is that you get away from your partner. But, Ron cannot and will not run your life. Because you are choosing to stay with your partner, Ron is working with you to achieve the healthiest possible outcome. If you choose to stay, there is no point in fighting him; you will only make things worse by doing so.

What does he mean Dr Irene??

Is he saying right now it is best if I want to stay with my partner to work with what I have and take risks to get closer to my partner. I will let you answer this Theressa.

DOC will he ever get comfortable and stop pulling away, if I detach?? (is this the goal of detaching.) Your detaching will help him be more comfortable temporarily. He will need therapy to become more trusting in general.

Though if nothing changes in time I am strong enough to go it alone?? YES! We all are Theressa... We're stronger than we think...

SO the storm is over for now.

Dr Irene if I stop being reactive how else would my partner blow off steam?? (I ask this because you say that Abusers use victims to blow off steam) Don't know. Depends on how creative he is...

Thanks Theressa

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Tuesday, June 05, 2001

Dr Irene you said this to Jay,

"Let the big girl outside care for the little one within..."

How do you do this? I wanted to defend my little girl inside of me like my mom never did, but you said don't defend.

So what should one do to take care of the little one within??

"jay  You're mad you were not/ are not cared for..."

Dr Irene what do we do with this anger about not being cared for as children??? Face it; accept it.

Thanks Theressa

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Tuesday, June 05, 2001

Hi Dr Irene can you clarify what you mean in the post your responded to me.

Theressa said "So if anyone attacks my daughter, OH BOY are they gonna get it. If she doesn't deserve the attack!!!!!"

You said: "Oh boy! Watch out!"   I was amused  with how protective you were - and should be!

Dr Irene is my goal to set a boundary and leave the scene of the crime and then detach???

Such as "I am not staying here while you put Melissa down, come one Melissa lets go home." and then detach.  That's one viable option, and a good one. But, there are many ways to skin a snake. You just must be prepared to deal with the consequences of whatever option you choose.

Thanks Theressa

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Tuesday, June 05, 2001

A house next year. What do you do when you find yourself just standing there in the middle of the room staring at nothing out the sliding glass doors while he is just there watching you? It makes me feel like I am in the wrong for wanting to give of myself to him.

You need to read The Verbally Abusive Relationship  immediately!

Thank you. I am on the way to ordering it now. I printed some things from your site for him to read this day. I am very apprehensive about what tonight is going to be like. He will be home about 9:30-10:00 tonight. I am hoping that he will see some of the things here and get a light on in his head. Although I have tried this before, but it didn't work. I want to go to his family and see if I can get some answers, but am leary of that. You are jumping the gun and working too hard to fix him. You can't. Read the book and take it from there.

Thanks, Debbie

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Tuesday, June 05, 2001

Shhhh Trubble I promised Fakemommy I'd go to sleep. But it is so weird here. I am at the computer and Jake and HKK are playing guitar and all is peaceful and if anyone came in they would think 'what a lovely family, that is great that dad and son play the guitar together and they are not all watching TV. I don't even feel any undercurrents. EXCEPT I know if I speak directly to Jake they will begin. So, don't AuntieJay.

How on earth do I manage this. HKK really got upset last night about how his father treats me. It was a relief in a way to be defended for once; but I can't see how to manage things and yet it all feels ok today and nothing bad has happened this evening. DO NOTHING AuntieJay!

I m over tired though and it has been a rough few days . Actually I noticed a lot of people are down just now. Maybe there is something in the air? I have kind of gone into that spacey feeling when you are tired but I don't want to wake too early.

Perdida I will write to you tomorrow. And Theressa.

HKK has election fever. It must be real nice to be 13 and have your politics all worked out. He insists on listening to all the party political broadcasts - oh help I hope he doesn't plan to become Prime Minister! Well if he can handle his weird parents, it will be a piece of cake.

I think I will look see if the Monster Raving Loony Party has a candidate again! (now where did THEY go.? Ah well only a day or so now before we see who gets a chance to mess the country up next! FakeMommy said to remind you that you PROMISED you'd do nothing. Otherwise, I'm going to hop on the broom AuntieLynn gave me and come on over and move in. You really, really don't want me to do that! Hehehehehe! Love, *Me*

 


Tuesday, June 05, 2001

Dear FakeSis,

Thanks for writing back. First of all, Sis, I apologize because this is me being extremely longwinded again. I'm one of these thinkers; I've got the kind of mind where things just pour out. I hope you find it worth your time to read. If you don't, that's OK too.

[FakeSis: In all honesty, I reply the way I do because I'm still learning to do better. Yet, if you have such a problem with my behavior and know better, perhaps it would be in your interest not to reply in kind. When do two wrongs make a right? If you know better, why model poor behavior? I've got to conclude that either you don't know better or I'm pushing one of your (nonexistant?) buttons...]

OK, Sis, I know you're still learning to do better. I don't pretend always to know better either. The fact is, this is a fairly new environment for me, so I'm learning to do better as well. I've made other mistakes myself. I've been here for about a year, as you know. If I've found it "difficult" to interact with you at times, that's partly because of where we are and what everyone is trying to do here. I know about environments like my family, and friends, and working with people, and debating boards, and others. But it's very different here, with different kinds of people and different goals, so I need to learn to work toward those too. And I think that's a valuable experience.

I don't pretend not to have any buttons either! To have a wrong impression is one thing, but I don't think many people like an implication that they're lying. I think that's a bad one to push on anyone. Another of mine is a thing about "fairness." Like the "gang" business we've discussed. That may be a "male" value, like "two onto one ain't fair."

Why did I model poor behavior? First, I was angry, as I said. Apart from that, what is "poor" behavior? Attacking me is poor behavior. Are we always nice just for the sake of being nice? I'd judge behavior by its result. If I hurt your feelings, I'm sorry about that. We humans though aren't all "monkey see, monkey do." If I modeled anything, that didn't mean to me that you were going to copy it. I'd give you a lot more credit than that. For one thing, as I said, if you found my usual communication style manipulative, then "if what we're doing isn't working, do something *different*!" Sometimes it's "do *anything* different"! The flip side of that is the definition of insanity: doing the same thing a hundred times and expecting a different result. Well, I "did something different" and messed up, because I came across as even more "manipulative." My mistake. But at least I learned something. More below.

[FakeSis: Please take responsibility for your behavior. I don't have the power to limit your choices. Only you can do that.]

I think I do take responsibility for my behavior, Sis. I make conscious choices. Sometimes they get a bad result, but if they do, I'll change them. I won't make a post like that again. But we can't learn without experimenting, and when we experiment we make mistakes. Don't forget that, Sis; that's true for you too. The woman who never made a mistake never made anything.

I'll rephrase what I wrote before about "limiting choices." That was just a kind of shorthand. You're right, you don't have the power to limit my choices. I could have responded to your post by reciting the alphabet backwards, or any way at all. What I meant was that in view of all the information you'd given me, I judged that certain outcomes were less likely at that moment--like a reconciliation--and that certain behaviors on my part were less likely to achieve anything I wanted to see. My judgment of course; I could have judged wrongly.

[FakeSis: If you know better, why would you provoke me, when you know I d Huh?

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Tuesday, June 05, 2001

Hi Debbie,

I wanted to save you the trouble of going to his parents to tell them what's going on. I found that my husband's parents did not "get it" eithor. They minimized my experience. His mother kept saying I wish I could help you but I just don't understand. His adoptive father was the abuser and she was the enabing codependent. I was in such a panic and fog I did not even realize what was going on at the time. So, it was the blind leading the blind in a dysfunctional way. They said to call them and let them know what happens. Then he showed up because he was being asked to leave (his consequence for not controlling his rages) told them all kinds of lies, so they turned on me. His father tried to get me to "keep it in the family" then behind my back said I was "crazy". They were more worried about how this made them look rather than what this was doing to me and my children. They started collecting information to use against me. They enabled him and actually starting hiding money for him. They even tried to convince me that "If I would just..." I realized that they were still in denial and starting to blame me for their son's abuse. What was odd was my husband blamed them all these years for how he was raised and how he turned out. He had been passively aggressively getting back at them for years. He had all kinds of anger towards them. He kept saying that I was really mad at my mother for the abuse that occured to me as a child, and turning it all around.

So, it just complicates things. If you are in danger then contact the police, your family, and friends for support. Too many hands in the pot complicate things. I found that as long as he knew I would tell then it stopped me from being in danger. He started talking to "his" friends and neighbors. I just told a couple that I trusted to call the police if they seen or heard anything unusual at our home. I would not tell my husband "who" I confided in because he would go over and start telling them I was "crazy". A good neighbor told me I don't need to justify or explain anything, he always knew there was two sides to a story. He said this is between you and your husband. I was relieved to know that there was somebody I could trust to call the police and not cover up for him.

It took me several months to get this but do not try to "fix him, and work on "YOU". You can not control him but you can control YOU. I would just start reading and preparing a safety plan. Attend support groups. Get your yourself in shape. Read up this website. Get into therapy. Take it one day at a time. You can vent here or join the Ouchhh group. I am in that one. It's absolutely wonderful to get your experience validated.

Take Care,

LisaMM

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Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Dr Irene,

I understand what you are saying. I think the best option for me right now is to: Do nothing until I feel calm. When me and Melissa are alone I will tell her it isn't her fault, her daddy just doesn't know how to let people make mistakes since he wasn't allowed to make mistakes when he was little.

Then at a later date I will speak to my partner. I had also thought he might learn from my example. In the past I've said things, mainly in the recent past and the funny thing is my partner some time after will say the same thing to me.

For example I had been talking sometime ago about doing favors for people and lending them money if it leaves me feeling resentful. I said "sometimes we have to say no because if we don't it effects our lives in a big way."

At the time I thought none of it sunk in. Now the other week when I was feeling rather low, I said to my partner "Sometimes I think it is okay to let things go, I mean a couple of pounds is no big deal"

He said "yes but your sister wants to borrow a couple of pound every other day and not pay it back. Sometimes Theressa you have to say NO, just so they know you won't be a doormat."

And the other day my sister asked me to mind her son. Her partner let her down because she didn't do as he asked. (yes he is abusive to), she phoned me. Now in the past when my partner wouldn't help me she'd come to my rescue.

Though when she asked me I was still feeling poorly and weak and didn't want to mind her son. I said to my partner "I will have to mind him, she always helps me out." My partner said "Stop right there Theressa, you help when you can, you are ill and sometimes you are tired from working. She doesn't work and she refuses to mind Melissa if she has other plans or is ill, so why shouldn't you say NO? Tell her you have other plans, tell her anything but don't mind him when you don't have the energy.

Well, well, this was a turn up for the books, he was telling me to take care of myself. Maybe what I've been saying to him has been sinking in. I mean what I've been saying in general conversations, rather than fixing him.

So Maybe it is possible by example and by changing our own behaviour to influence others, what do you think DOC??

Dr Irene Ron laughs when I come to him with things you've given me for "food for thought". He says "Thanks again Irene you've challenged me again, you don't half make me work hard". (especially when you Dr Irene told me to look at my feelings and emotions, Ron said "Goodness this is a tough one, I sure wish Dr Irene had explained this, but well Yes I am your counselor".)   

You see Dr Irene your even helping Ron's career. Lol  Giggle! Theressa, I don't think Ron needs any help! Look at how he handles stuff: he is candid, emotionally connected, and  secure enough within himself and his work to allow himself to learn from both of us...  I'd say you found an excellent role model...

And in answer to the question you told me to answer:

I think YES it is my goal to work with what I have and take risks like going up to my partner and hugging him when I need a hug and then handling the reaction, or response.

RON said much the same.

Thanks a million, you are one lady worth more than her weight in gold.  You should find out what I weigh before you say that! Giggle!

God bless you Dr Irene.

Theressa

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Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Good Morning,

I like to read the catboxes when I get a chance, but unfortunately don't have time to be a regular poster. I wanted to share about a new book I am reading. My therapist gave it to me yesterday, because one of the issues I am really struggling with is boundaries. I have been struggling with understanding where do my boundaries begin and end, and where do the other person's boundaries begin and end. Do I cross their boundaries when I set boundaries of my own? How do I apply God's word to all of this? It felt so confusing before.

The book is called "Boundaries: When to say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life ", by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. For me, it has been the most helpful book, next to ", Codependent No More: " and "The Verbally Abusive Relationship".

Have a blessed day, Suzanne Thanks Suzanne.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Hi again,

I just read the article by Wayne. It was interesting and somewhat funny, but it fed right into my fears of never finding someone I want to spend my life with. I have found I've stayed in bad situations because I am so afraid I will never find anyone better. I really hope to marry again.

In this current relationship, I am wondering whether I should stay or go. I'm taking it slowly and believe the right answer will come soon enough. Part of me would like to just get out now and break my old pattern of staying. Another part of me feels we deserve a chance to work through some issues - therefore I'll stay for now and be open to my gut feelings. I'm sorry you're operating out of fear, but if you stay and learn to implement new skills, you're doing very well...

Suzanne

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Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Dr Irene

Can you explain why abusive types lack empathy toward others? For the most part, it's not that these individuals lack empathy, it's that they are so absorbed in their own stuff, the other person's feelings are the last thing on their mind... Another way of saying same is that empathy is mood dependent.

How do we develop healthy empathy at a young age, and what is missing for those children who don't develop healthy empathy? This is best left to other writers.

Can empathy be “taught”? As a cognitive-behaviorist, I teach empathy skills all the time. Not all clinicians will agree with me.

I suspect that this has something to do with not having your own needs met, and just not having the capacity to consider others' needs Yep., but I'd like to understand this better. Read some of the child development literature (e.g., Margaret Mahler).

Thanks in advance

Asha

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Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Dear Theressa,

Sorry to hear you have been ill and your partner has been trouble again. I do tend to agree with Ron and dr. Irene that you should be at l;east willing to leave your partner. It took me a long time to get to that point and I do not even know how I exactly got there. But boy it is a much better place to be in then the one I was! You may remember C. and me broke up a couple of times, the first time (about 5 years ago, I was so anxcious to have him back, that nothing else mattered. He wnated thing to work out to, so neither of us actually addressed the issues we had. We just took some time to cool of, thoght this ment we were doing better, and move in together again. Wrong move! Last time, it was the same, more or less. It was only last september that we started of at another foot. I can see the difference. What happende was, I did not want this relationship to work ABOVE ALL ELSE anymore. I still wanted it to work, but I knew I could be happy on my own. I was still a bit weak at that, so it might have been better if we had not seen each other a little longer, but nevertheless, I knew, somewhere deep down, I could do wihout him, even f I did not want to. So, with help of the Catbox I got to see things more clear, albe it with lapses and faal backs (still) I think I know reached a point, where I know my well ebing does not depend on him, I feel, really feel I have a choice. And that makes all the difference. Sure, I still don't like confrontation, and neithjer does C. But I have come to relaize that these confrontaions are the only way to get certain issues in the open. I need to teel him what I like and do not like, I need him to tell me. As honest as we can. And I do remember the first time I really did this: I was so scared that he would call th whole thing of. But I asked myself: do I want to live with this issue between us, and I knew I did not. So it was ebtter to have it out in the open and know whatever would come of it, then live being scared of it all the time. I did grow bolder and bolder. And I fin things with us get better and better because we show our anger, we are more open and honest about the way we feel, even if we are afraid the other might be hurt. I still get mad for misinterpretting things he say or does, he still does abusive things (so do I b.t.w.), but calling each other on it does help. I realized one of the important things why poeple are abuseive, is they are not told/shown their behaviour is unacceptable. And when they come from a family that was abusive to, how are they to know?? We have to tell them it hurts. And if they still keep doing it, we have to let them feel the consequences. They need to know these issues are important to us. If we do not act like they are, how will they know???? Bottom-line is I guess, I found out from my own experience, detaching, pulling back and being clear about my own needs and wishes helps. I get to be myself more and more, I in being myself, I find more that I like about me, then I ever thought there would be. I am stilling willing to try and work things out with C. and I feel he is too. But I do not NEED him, or any other man in my live per se. It would be nice if we could work things out, and I am willing to work on it and so is he, I feel. But if not, my live will continue. There is no (ok, less) inequality in power and I think we o benefit and feel the better for it.

Take care and try to let go of your need of him. As Ron said: you will do fine for yourself, don't ever forget that. One more thing: Theressa did you notice you stopped SHOUTING??? I guess, you know you will be heard here anyway!!! :-) :-)

Dear Jay,

hope you are doing ok. Why not savour the good moments, instead of thinking up ways to makes them end :-) Just enjoy. Give yourself some rest from worrying. You know, I used to do that a lot, but I did get to realise that worrying is a kind of control thing in a way: you worry, cause you think you know how things should be, and they might not turn out that way. I know it will not be easy to see it that way when you are beset with problems, but for me it works well. I still get anxious of course, for instance about this Portugal adventure. But I think I have learned to handle things differently. I spoke to my therapist about it, cause I was scared to fall back into denial again. But she says, you are not, cause you clearly see the things that are not ok, but you react in a different way. As for Portugal, I share my worries with C., I do my own information gathering, so as to be prepared, I take some extra risks in confronting him, cause I figure when he will still act abusive, and I still cannot handle it, I'd rather find out now then somewhere in a little hut in Portugal. It builds my confidence, and gives me the feeling I am at least in control of my part of all this. What he will, or will not do is something to wait and see and I seemed to have let go of the worrying over it. I do not want to control it anymore (ok, I do, but I do not need to control it). I can let things happen at their own time and in their own way. And it feels great. You should try it sometimes......!!!! C.'s mother might be coming over and I'd love to have to two of you meet. I'll just keep you informed. How are your feet? Did you have any trubble after the last hospital session? Love and hugs, takes care and remember you have a place to stay here!!!

Dear Asha, hope you are a bit rested after all the turmoil of the last weeks. Hope you will get the used energy back quickly and are enjoying spring coming into summer. How it the business going? I am hoping to hear more of You soon again.

Love to all the rest, including of course Trubble, dr. Clock and dr. Irene. Hugs and good wishes AJ Welcome back AJ. Trubble's feeling guilty these days. He's asking about Makarel.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2001

[FakeSis: If you know better, why would you provoke me, when you know I don't know better? I can only again conclude - that you didn't know better.]

In part it was that I didn't know better at the time. But there was more to it. If you didn't like me anyway, and didn't want to talk with me, what did I have to lose? Maybe nothing. If you didn't like my advice, maybe you had nothing to lose either. Then what did I have to gain? I didn't come round picking on you. I was provoked first, remember? So if you didn't like my response, maybe you wouldn't provoke me again. Maybe you'd leave me alone, if there was no better result I could hope for. That's called "self defense."

Giving you credit again, it's also possible that you might have realized you'd done something that got you a bad result, and we might end up apologizing to one another. As it is, we're here in the Catbox learning things with Dr. Irene. Is that a bad outcome of this behavior? So was my behavior--*or yours*--so poor in the end? As long as we don't go on doing it, that is.

[FakeSis: No Gordon. You cannot win with me - if your agenda is to dictate how I regard you and if you don't respect how I do feel.]

I do respect how you feel, Sis. And my agenda isn't to "dictate" how you regard me. More on this in a moment.

[FakeSis: You are hell bent on controlling how I think. If I don't think the way you do, I have the "wrong impression." So you see Gordon, it's why no one can win with you.]

No, Sis, not "hell bent," and not "controlling." I know perfectly well that nothing I do, even if did something awful--say I pointed a gun at you (I'd never do it, I'm just saying *if* I did)--could possibly control how you think. Or even how you behave. You could *choose* to tell me to go you-know-where. And some people placed in similar situations have done just that.

And yet, and yet, on the other hand... everything I do--that you're aware of--can *influence* you in some way. Even if I did nothing at all. If you sent a post to me and I didn't respond, you'd probably think, or feel, or wonder about that in some way. It may not make any difference. Or you may decide to do something you wouldn't have done otherwise. We can choose to accept "influence" from others or not.

We influence people everywhere we go. And we must, in order to get our needs met, and those of others too. Even little babies influence people, very powerfully, by crying, to get fed or changed. Influencing people is only "controlling" if we insist on it, or use bad methods to do it.

So naturally, I'd be interested to *influence* how you think, and I'm sure there are things I can learn from you as well. We'd find things we agree on. We might come to agreement on things we used to disagree on. And if we didn't, well, at least we'd understand one another! I think that's "winning."

But I'm not "hell bent." I can tell you what I think, and if you don't agree, that's fine. If you don't want any dialogue, that's fine. I haven't been chasing you around with posts about issues we disagreed on, or bombarding you with unwanted e-mails the way some people do. You know what they say: "A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind--and won't change the subject"! I'm not a fanatic. I may not always change my mind, but I will change the subject.

We've had a couple of exchanges in the past where I responded directly to something you wrote with a long post, to which you didn't reply. You see that as "me overwhelming you." I see that as "you shortchanging me," because I gave you feedback on what you said, but you gave me none on what I said, even on one or two things. Or even as "you don't care what I think." OK, fine; I was only disappointed. Maybe you were annoyed, or whatever. But we just dropped it, so where's the problem? Of course, some of these issues have come up again, prompted by something that happened, or something that somebody else posted, or even something you posted yourself to open it up again. So I usually responded at those times. But don't forget, we have an audience here. Most of what I say here isn't aimed at you, Sis. So if I'm posting something again, it's not because I'm "hell-bent" on changing *your* mind, when I know I can't do that. It's because somebody else might listen and discuss instead. The two of us can always agree to disagree. No problem. If there's something you see differently, please let me know.

And don't forget, Sis, that you have influence too: influence you can use. That's part of your "personal power" as well.

So far we've "influenced" one another into the Catbox, which can't be all bad.

[Gordon: When you call me manipulative, I have no details of what I do that you think is manipulative, apart from putting smiley faces in my posts.]

[FakeSis: OK: The post from Bravenet above is manipulative in that first you give me "permission" to not like you in a very cold-shoulder way. But, you don't let it go at that. You then engage in a sort of emotional sabotage by trying to throw me off balance.]

OK, Sis, though I already understood from the previous discussion--I think--how that mixture of positive and negative had this confusing effect. Particularly in that order, I think. Incidentally, I understand about the "cold shoulder," but I'd like you to know I changed that at the last moment. What I originally wrote was "I don't care if you don't like me," and I edited that to "I don't mind if you don't like me," which sounded less dismissive to me. I wasn't trying to blow you off with a real blast.

[FakeSis: You are counting on my inability to respond to you and to act out angrily instead.]

In fact, Sis. I wasn't counting on anything at all. I realized the post must have some effect--"do something different"--but I wasn't sure what it would be. I was by no means *counting* on you to act out angrily. Here again, I gave you more credit than that, otherwise I wouldn't have written the post that way. And you didn't act out angrily either.

Now the reason I wasn't counting on anything is precisely *because* I don't come from an abusive environment. It's something I *don't* know as much about as you do--as unpleasant as that must be for you, Sis. I don't know the "rules," you see. I didn't know it was a "rule" that when somebody made the kind of post I did, the recipient was "supposed to" act out. And it isn't really, because you didn't! So you *are* learning, like me.

Also, when I post something, I always read through it first. I'm asking myself "What effect is this post likely to have?" I have to take account of people's concerns and sensitivities that I don't have myself. Just the same, a lot of my judgment has to be based on my own feelings: "how would I react to this myself?" And occasionally people think or feel differently, so they don't react the way I'd expect. But if I didn't like someone, had just told them so, and got the kind of response I posted to you--and as a tribute to Douglas Adams, who died on May 11--I'd probably have said "OK. So long, and thanks for all the fish!"

So to me, it's not a rule that anyone has to act out on a post like mine. But apparently some people think it is. So I'd better avoid triggering that rule.

[FakeSis: I don't recall "everybody else" attacking as you have.]

That's true--though I have seen far worse posts on here!--if not to you. And with one other exception you know about, I don't recall anyone else attacking me like that either. Now I'm not using that to "excuse" my post, OK? But I do find this well worth learning from. Because we were just now discussing what your reaction to my post *might* have been, and this is the other half: my reaction to your original post.

Now I emphasize again that I hadn't a written a post like that here before. If I seemed to be throwing you off balance, you threw me off balance too, and I had to come up with something to get out of it. To me, it was a kind of experiment. At the same time, I followed some kind of mental process I've already explained that led me to write it that way. Yet it's not the kind of post I write, and since I didn't come from an abusive environment, I didn't know the rules. I didn't know the rules said I was "supposed" to write that kind of post when I was under attack. (And again, nobody has to obey those rules!) Yet there was some underlying and more general law at work that *influenced* me toward writing it that way.

So without attaching blame--which is pointless--somehow I *let* you get me into a dance that you already knew, and I didn't. Wow! I find that well worth noticing. I also *let* you trick me into carrying some of your anger. I'm annoyed with myself about that part, because I don't like to make myself look bad.

But in my mind, "abuse" isn't abuse unless there's an ongoing pattern of it. Not this kind anyway. We did a couple of dance steps, Sis, forward and back. But I don't want to dance that dance, and I know you don't either. I guess that's why we're sitting this one out in the Catbox.

[Gordon: I have too little information here about what I might change to stop appearing manipulative to you.]

[FakeSis: Perhaps you have more now.]

Sorry, Sis, but not from this post. I already understood how the post of mine that we're talking about looked manipulative. I hope I've straightened something out about being "hell bent on controlling how you think"--unless you disagree. What you'd said though is that my posts in general look manipulative to you, and that's what I'd like to know more about. Do you have any other examples? Do you see this as widespread, or just one or two?

[FakeSis: Gordon, "anger" is not a bad word! It's OK to be angry! Please don't get defensive on that one! [...] It does not matter whether or not anger is justified. Anger is an emotion. It just is.]

Then I expressed myself badly. What I was talking about was whether the expression of anger in my posts was generally appropriate.

[Gordon: Plenty of people here are angry]

[FakeSis: Why do you keep defaulting to "everybody does it think?" Who cares what "everybody" does?]

What everybody does isn't really my point, Sis. If some people here express anger inappropriately, I'd prefer to behave better. What I'm really interested in is what standard you're judging me by, and where and why you think I express anger inappropriately--as a general pattern I mean, not the exceptions.

How do you feel about expressing anger yourself? Does anger make you feel uncomfortable--from yourself, from others?

[FakeSis: Well, what I am obviously angry about is your post above. I think you approached me with thinly veiled hostility. I too have no problem with your anger towards me. You have the right to be angry, for any or no reason. I do ask that when you express your position, you do it without acting out your momentary contempt towards me. That is how your post made me feel: hated, albeit momentarily and despite that I knew you just lost it.]

I'm sorry you felt hated, Sis. I never meant to express hate. I sure don't hate you. That's why I wished you a good trip at the end. I'm sorry I sent such a mixed message, and I won't do that again.

[Gordon: I must thank you for the compliment that you see me as 'charming, witty, and funny,' and perhaps even 'intelligent.']

[FakeSis: You are. And you also give excellent advice at times. You can have amazing clarity.]

Thank you very much, Sis! I really do appreciate that. Do you mind if I put a smiley face in? :)

[FakeSis: But, I see you as manipulative because that is my experience of you. That I project my brother onto you because your behavior is at times strikingly similar does not make it "all me." That you don't take responsibility for your behavior is just one more thing that bothers me.]

I think I talked about manipulation and about responsibility in other places.

[Gordon: Unfortunately I have a suspicion too, though I may be wrong, that if I tried to be nice and appeasing to you in response to your 'don't like Gordon' post, you'd only see that as 'more manipulation' as well.]

[FakeSis: I don't think so...]

OK, then I'll do that in the future.

[Gordon: First, you've told me you don't like long posts, so I made a short one, and pointed out that it was short.]

[FakeSis: I never asked you to bend over backwards.]

I'm afraid I've bent over forwards with this one! I'm touching my toes this time. Again, I hope you feel it's worth your time. If you don't, I won't mind.

[Gordon: Second, you've told me you don't like my smileys, so I left the smiley out where I would otherwise have put one in--and pointed out why I'd done it.]

[FakeSis: Please don't work so hard. It's not the smileys per se I object to, but your tendency to use them to cover up your hostility.]

OK, but that's where I need more information. I guess I can look for smileys in my past posts, but it would help me if I knew some of the places where you felt I was covering up hostility, especially if that hostility was inappropriate for people on this board.

[FakeSis: Maybe if you looked inside, you might use your anger as the signal it is. Perhaps you are mad that you are working so hard to accommodate me. Perhaps if you didn't work so hard, you wouldn't feel so ... angry!]

I'll think about that, Sis. The only thing is that I hadn't been working at all to accommodate you for some time, because you'd hardly been around.

[Gordon: Lastly, since any attempt at 'charm' or complexity on my part might be seen as manipulative, I decided to be blunt--which I had to be anyway if I was going to write as short a post as possible. Maybe that would come across as 'real' to you.]

[FakeSis: You don't get it...]

If what I "don't get" is the effect of that post, I did get it already.

[FakeSis: But I have gotten you angry and you retaliated - and you refuse to acknowledge that.]

I did acknowledge that I was angry. Yes, I retaliated too.

[Gordon: Or I could have asked you what you thought was manipulative, bad advice, unjustified anger, and so forth. Well, next time I'll try that.]

[FakeSis: Just let me be upset. Can we let each other feel whatever it is we feel? FakeSis]

That's OK with me, Sis, if that's what you'd prefer.

Take care,

- Gordon  Whatever Gordon. Love, FakeSis

Submit
Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Theressa,

I am so choked up after reading your latest posts. I identify with so many of your feelings, especially the fears. I too, am reluctant to give up, and afraid to detach too completely. But deep in my heart, I know that that is the way to go, no matter how he reacts. The question I struggle with is this: how much distance should there be? I feel like telling him that I will not put myself out for him in any way unless he agrees to therapy, but my fear says "Don't do that! He'll use that to justify his behavior." I realize that I don't have to buy into his justifications, but it still hurts to hear it, and when he bullies and threatens, it is so painful! I have enforced small boundaries and he can't handle it; what might he do to me if I set a really big one? I guess if he left, I wouldn't be losing much, huh?

Anyway, your posts and Dr. Irene's replies have given me much to think about, and I thank you--despite the tears.

Becky

PS. I have chosen to stay away from the Gordon topic, but I do want to say that I've always gotten a lot of good from Gordon's posts both to others and myself. I'm glad he's here.

 

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