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Comments for Catbox 46

Comments for Catbox 46

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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45 edited

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Sunday, July 08, 2001

Hello Trubble. This is Mousie. Do you have a ball of string? Mousie knows how we can make lots of money. All we have to do is take your litterbox and push it up next to your water dish and call it Trubble Beach. Then we will cut the sting into tiny pieces and sell them as thongs. We'll be rolling in tuna and cheese (with pizza underneath) for life. Fresh Tuna? What about Fresh Trout? You can even buy Dr Irene a new vacuum cleaner to catch the litter that you're kicking while dancing and singing to Johnny be Good in perfect time because you are so happy thinking about how rich we are going to be. Can we also get AJ a new Hoover? And Jay a new keyboard? Then after we buy Graceland, we can get Lisa Marie and Nicolas Cage a trailer so they cannot turn the Temple of Elvis into their love nest (which Mousie read in the National Enquirer). I like that! Even better, we'll open a waste management company to clean up the beach... Then, if we mess with where we dump the poop, we can make... Oooops! OK! OK! FakeMommy is at it again and threatening Cat Abuse (i.e., no Trout). She wants me to ask you what you think about forcing yourself to  "do nothing" at those very times when you absolutely positively just have to get all that poop out...

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Sunday, July 08, 2001

Hey Cats,

Thanks for the blue pencils, Doc - I am very concerned about offending people and I sometimes feel like I voice my opinions too strongly or dramatically. Now the trick is how to find the line between being emphatic and over the top. Yes! In graduate school, where one is supposed to find intellectual freedom, we are all pathologically tiptoeing around making sure no one is offended. I guess that's life. Everybody won't like you in life. Guaranteed. (And purrfectly OK too.)

But I am afraid that people won't like me because of my opinions, and actually my family MIGHT NOT as a matter of fact! And, that would be fine. They'll still love you. I don't feel like they know me at all because I never tell them how I really feel about just about anything. Is that life too, or just life with a dysfunctional family? I have been mocked for saying I loved someone, so I never tell them how I feel about my partners. I guess that's not normal.

When I read Emotional Blackmail, it included this exercise about learning to tolerate abuse, a useful tool in certain circumstances, and I was reminded of that when I read the blue pencils to Asha about building up her tolerance. "I CAN stand it!" It's bigger than that Perdida. It is one of the most powerful ways to build coping skills I know.

I still have not sent that email to my ex. I appreciated the blue pencil that said I didn't need to announce what I already know I need to do. That's exactly how it felt! The email cuts to the quick and is without any emotional stuff, just the facts, ma'am. But I wondered why not just live the choice instead of making it one of those stone tablets. Anyway, I can always send it or an abridged version, or a spoken version. It helped a lot to write it out. Exactly! The email is really for you!

Jay I need a latte! It's a beautiful day and I've been inside working all day! Yuck! Let's go! Sharon will come too!

Love, Perdida

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Sunday, July 08, 2001

Hey Cats,

My new mantra: I CAN Stand it! I CAN stand it!

I just went out to a movie with an acquaintance who turned out to be the kind of person I would run from as far and fast as I could. First thing I noticed: she has no boundaries and I guess she didn't think I did either. Second thing: expresses herself aggressively and doesn't see or agree she might want to consider other ways of saying things so that they could be heard.

Okay, I am taking her inventory but I'm doing it to paint a picture. The mantra works! It really works! I didn't jump screaming from my car, and I was even cool when she told me to turn off my Celia Cruz CD because it was irritating her!

Anyway, I am now an advocate of learning to cope. Yes, we CAN cope!!

The ex got home and called twice, like just now and I let the machine get it. Yes, I wimped out. I came up against this feeling: "What am I supposed to say?" Actions speak louder than words.

Standing It,

Perdida

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Sunday, July 08, 2001

Perdida I think you did the right thing in letting the machine pick up. I wouldn't think of it as wimping out just because you didn't know what to say to him? When you are feeling vulnerable sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. My ex and I broke up six years ago and you would think that I wouldn't feel vulnerable any more. Especially after the way we'd broken up and what had transpired during our relationship (his drug abuse and his physical and verbal abuse of me). Yet, he called me at 3 in the morning of July 4 to tell me that he'd been thinking of me and did I want to come to his place to watch the fireworks on the 4th. Yuk! I told him to call me in the morning (what else could I say at that hour?)   Because my friends were all busy with their families or whatever, I was on my own that day. I really wanted to see the fireworks and decided to take him up on his invitation. I drove out forty five minutes all the way feeling very nervous and telling myself that I could turn around at any time. Even when I got there, I sat in the car and couldn't decide whether to knock on the door or leave. Had he not been standing outside, I might have left, I don't know. We spent the day walking around his town and I realized that the charm I saw back then when I was "in love" with him was still there. I also realized that some of the things he said he'd changed about himself (like no pot smoking) were not true. What's funny is that I went out there with no expectations - I just wanted something to do for the day and his invite was as good as I was going to get - and yet, even with no expectations, I still wound up feeling hurt. I'm not surprised... He's thoughtless enough to call and wake you at 3 am... Actually I felt betrayed by him when one of the tenants in the other apartment asked if he wanted to smoke a bowl and he did. I felt as if I was out there under false pretenses. When I left he asked if we could see each other again and I felt funny just coming right out and saying no. Was it because one of his friends was standing right there and I didn't want to embarrass him? Or was it because I'm not sure if I want to see him again or not? Your mind does, but your body knows better. Trust the body. He doesn't even have a phone hooked up yet. He told me what the number would be and I gave him an excuse for not writing it down (no paper/pen), but I could have easily stored it right in my cell phone. Yet, now every time the phone rings, I half expect it to be him. In a way, a BIG way, I feel as if I've done some major backsliding in my recovery. I was co-dependent. I was abused. My therapist says I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder on account of the abuse I suffered during the seven years we were together. It was also right after we broke up that I was diagnosed as being bi-polar. Yet, as I used to do while we were together, I forget about the black eyes and the dislocated shoulder and the bloody mouths and the words which reduced my self esteem to zero and remember the good times that we had - how he looked when we first met, the trips we took, how nervous he was when he proposed...

I think the worst thing I did was go to see him. I used wanting to see fireworks as an excuse and all it did was send me back YEARS. No... What you did is confirm your suspicions. Next time, maybe you won't have to. The sad thing is, I am involved with someone who cares about me very much. He knows nothing of my visit to my ex. He knows what town I went to and why (fireworks); I just left out who lives there (a friend was an acceptable answer). Am I being deceitful by not telling him that I was with the man who nearly destroyed me six years ago? Why in the world would you tell him? Guilt is not a good reason.

How can I tell him when I know the question he's going to ask is Why and I can't answer that myself?

Thanks for listening.

Kris

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Hello Trubble This is Mousie. Yes we can get AJ a Hoover too. A J. Edgar Hoover. Who is fakemommy? Doc. I'm an orphan. I'm always looking for my RealMommy and RealDaddy. My goal is to find them, get them together, and they'll take purrrrfect care of me forever. I think I find them, then they disappoint me and I get hurt or mad. So they become Fake.  Mousie's cat thought Mousie was it's mommy until Mousie shaved her legs and the cat found out she was adopted. Mousie does not know what a trout looks like from other fish. she does not fish because she cannot stand to put things on hooks. She can not even look when someone gets a shot on tv. If it's not in a bun at a drive up window, then Mousie cannot help you with that put she knows how to cook instant pudding and order everything on the menu at Taco Bell. Mousie does not understand the question about doing nothing when you need to get the poop out. Yeah. Neither do I. That's FakeMommy's question and I hate her today. Cat Abuse. Ugh. Here she comes.... Bye. Love, *Me*Are you talking about being constipated? Why do you have a big blue line through one of your sentences? Hello Mousie. It's Doc. The line is there because Trubble was getting ready to get into trubble again, so I crossed him out. He's pooping all the time on the posting page, so he's not constipated. What I asked him to ask you was what you think about all my "do nothing" advice. Working at "doing nothing" especially when you are mad or upset improves your impulsivity and gives time to think... Look here!

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Asha here

Perdida – can you tell us what the useful exercise was from that book for those of us that don’t have it?

****

At the risk of boring everyone to death, another question to the doc...

Maybe this is a difference in philosophy I don’t know, or maybe your vision of the scenario is a lot different than mine, but this still doesn’t make sense to me.

<<Here is your goal: You don't need to talk to Steve despite your feelings and concerns about the dog. Can you think about learning to tolerate doing nothing?>>

Yes I could, but I think it would have been abnormal to say nothing about the dog after a night of listening to and watching the dog screeching and contorting itself. I don’t think it would have made sense to say nothing.

<< - Asha: At that point I was still looking after the dog, so I do feel it was appropriate to talk about it. (but my method – trying to mind read - wasn’t effective) Doc: You miss the point. It's not your dog. You were out of your boundaries.>>

Maybe we have a difference in philosophy, but I would still like to understand what you are trying to say. Of course you wanted to communicate about the dog! But Steve showed no inclination to talk about the dog or to hear what you had to say about the dog. This is your cue to let it go.  You offered to communicate and your offer was refused. When you continue to talk to him, mind read, ask questions, etc., you are imposing on him because he has made his position clear nonverballyExample: If I was looking after, say a female friend’s dog, and the same thing happened, and I knew she couldn’t afford a vet, I would have offered to pay as I did to Steve. If she didn’t say anything back to me, I would also realize that she was under some severe stress and I would want them to know my offer was genuine and perhaps try to understand what she was thinking or feeling. If she showed a discomfort about the idea of calling a vet, and neither of us had the background or knowledge to know what to do anything for its pain, I would ask her (not push her, just ask) what made her uncomfortable about calling the vet (because for myself I think that getting information can be helpful). That's fine. I've no problem with this example at all. Your friend is fortunate to have you as a friend!  But with Steve, you have a history of history together of being caring and moving in on him when he doesn't want to be moved in on. He's at the point where he bristles, just as you do when he acts yukky towards you. (I promise you, Steve's experience of how you handled this was yukky. Steve open your mouth if you disagree!) You see Asha, you're not "wrong." You just don't pay attention to your surroundings for cues because you are too caught up in the press of your internal monologue. Another way to put it: You don't accept what is (Steve's not wanting to discuss this; get your input) because of your own internal press of concern / anxiety, etc. Neither is Steve "wrong," but the situation is  complicated by his inability to calmly but effectively help you get out of his space and back into your own space. Does this make sense now?

If, however, she told me straight out, *loud and clear* that she didn’t believe in vets and didn’t want her dog near one, I would not push it. I would also, at that point, have to decide whether *I* could handle caring for the dog anymore, since I had no way of knowing if it could drop dead at any moment. I would also have to find a way for me to best deal with being around a dog in obvious severe pain, knowing I was under the restriction of not being able to call the vet and get any information on what to do. That solution for me would have probably been to somehow physically remove myself from the situation (unless the dog was alone, in which case I would just do what I could to comfort the dog, and would have called the vet myself privately just for info on the phone.)

Basically in my earlier scenario with Steve all of the above, except calling the vet privately, was what I did and said. I still don’t think I was out of my boundaries. Because you've got the whole thing all figured out. If Steve doesn't behave according "to plan," you don't know how to handle it. I know you are well intended and you want to be helpful! But you neglect to take into account that your help is being refused at that moment. (It might not be later, if you give him the moment to be where he is now...) Instead, you persist in running your agenda - and you end up feeling hurt and angry and *misunderstood* . Steve didn't misunderstand. He just didn't know how to get you out of his space. You misunderstood - by disregarding his right to not communicate when you offer to communicate.

But I’m interested in what you have to say. (and don’t even need you to agree – grin) Not only don't I agree, I don't agree big time. Thank you for asking for clarification...

thanks

Asha

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Dearest Jay,

Why do you think it is so wrong for me to use the catbox to challenge and work out my thoughts??

Isn't this part of my learning?

Are you offended by my difference of opinion? Did I hit a button? Is it not okay for me to share my beliefs and for others to take or leave what they don't want?

I am challenging and questioning my thoughts, the beliefs passed on to me by my parents and the church and other people in my life. Isn't this what we are suppose to do.

Doing this in my opinion is what each of us should be doing, others bring their issues, and working out my thoughts and challenging them is one of my issues. SO I don't agree with you that I am misusing the catbox.

Maybe you just don't like my beliefs? that is your choice.

I am choosing to question a deep sense of insecurity I had surrounding the church. For along time no one has been able to provide the answers for me. All the pastors I ever spoke to just said "Oh you shouldn't question the scriptures." WELL I am afraid I think we should if we are to develop and form our own thoughts.

I am not forcing my beliefs on to anyone else. I am merely working out my own head (mind).

How others take this is their issue not mine.  Theressa, of course this is part of your learning, etc., etc., etc. Jay is learning too and that's what her struggle of the past few days has been about. Don't take this personally. I think Jay in her increased awareness of her mixed feelings, what she terms her "two sides" (her angry, nutty, self-sabotaging side and her loving, accepting, "proper" side), is  trying to work this stuff through. So, unless I'm really off base, Jay's comments were not about you or your post, but  an expression of Jay trying to make sense and "integrate" her mixed feelings. Did you notice? First she blasted you, then she mixed up that you even wrote the post, then she tried to take the whole thing back -  because she loves you...   Give her a little time. She'll be better than ever!

Take care, Hugs Theressa

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Monday, July 09, 2001
 

Dear All,

I just discovered my religious button:

For years no one answered my questions about religion. I was frustrated as for in my perfect world everything had a logical reason, but maybe it doesn't?

Do I need to know everything? Does everything have to have a Newton twist, everything predictable logical?

Or maybe it is more an Albert Einstein twist not so predictable?

This is part of me accepting what is....

That perhaps no one is able to predict the whole Truth, they can only have their own beliefs, as no one only GOD knows the whole destiny and Truth.

I see there are ALL only beliefs, one perspective or the other. ALL roads lead to GOD/the universe. But no one knows the destiny/final outcome.

Why should it matter to me which road others take? (it is their choice what they believe in and how they use their energy/where they focus)

Why am I trying to convince, explain to others?

Can't I believe what I want, no need to question or convert others is there!

It is not my job to fix others unless they ask me to tell them my views. Though I can share my views. *****

OKAY guys and gals I know what this is about, it is about my co-dependency. My need to bring everything in line with my views. No need to do this, I can accept others have a right to choose their views without me questioning them. Which is away of convincing others I think?

SO it is okay to share my views but it is not good to question, try to counsel/convince others to my way of thinking.

Thanks for listening Theressa  Yes...

 

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Kathy,

I am just now reading your post from last week about your boyfriend. I feel I am in the same situation. We talked last Friday because I had hit my limit - not overt abuse, but I was irritated by him and angry about some things too. Of course I was then guilting myself about setting boundaries and wanting out.

Last night, I was reading my book about boundaries and it said irritation and then anger can be signs that boundaries are being violated. The more we learn about our boundaries and start expecting them to be respected, the more irritated we become when they are violated. I can clearly see this happening.

After we talked Friday, he said he would be more helpful, and was, but there are still the underlying issues. He is so immature and insecure!! I don't have the energy to raise another child who is 2 years older than me!! He's still not willing to do counseling. I'm in counseling and want a partner who's interested in growing as a person and having a healthy relationship. I can see he's trying to fix the superficial issues, but is clearly unwilling to face anything deeper.

Take care, Suzanne

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Dear All,

I see it clearly now what happens when I am defensive, my partner reacts by withdrawing. He does one of two things. First he will say "It is like flogging a dead horse" or he will walk off. SO I think this means he reacts to my reaction. Or put another way he gets angry at my anger (defensiveness).

Do you all agree? Sounds plausible.

Thanks for listening Theressa

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Monday, July 09, 2001

AJ back from hoovering

Wooh, Trubble and Mousie, when are you going to start your plan to get rich? I need a new Hoover soon....!!! :-)

Actually I was rather into cleaning this weekend and have been very very busy co- dependently cleaning up other peoples messes. C’s friends are moving to Portugal tomorrow and on Saturday most of their stuff was still in the house (well, actually they had two 10 ton containers filled up, but even so..) C’s been helping them a lot and I have been helping C. Getting his stuff ready to move out, since he has been living with them. C got rather agitated that they were not working harder and he was working hard to help them out. I told him if they were not ready it was their problem and it was ok to help, but only to the extent he could help. But he has a hard time saying no (his problem). I did manage to do just what I told him to do: help him as well as his friends, but only to the extend I felt comfortable doing it. Well, maybe a little more, but I did not jump and run, I did do my own shopping first and take time to rest when I needed it. This felt good, and it is really nice to be able to see what is happening when you are trying to help out at the cost of yourself and to be able to put a stop to it. What was very insightful was feeling my own ‘need’ to help at the cost of myself, resisting it and see C. Getting himself into trouble by not being able to resist, getting angry at his friends, telling me this, but not telling him. It was a very very clear lesson on how to help.

I am not sure about this: do I ‘teach’ him how to do it differently? Can I, should I? I know telling will not help, but I think, maybe setting the example and explaining to him I need to take care of me too, might give him a change to see there is another way. I might also hold a mirror to him by telling alerting him on how mad he gets, cause he is feeling he is doing so much more then his ‘share’ of the work. He is really working very hard at helping them, and they, especially his friends wife, just go and have a drink somewhere. So, I think he would benefit himself as well as there friendship if he would look after himself and told them he was irritated instead of telling me.

I for me need to be very careful not to start rescuing him again. After all, it is his decision to help them out. I realized that in the past this happened a lot: him helping other people out, feeling used and getting angry. I would feel sorry cause he would be disappointed and tired and would not ask for my own needs to be met and get mad at him because of that. It seems so clear now. And I guess in theory it is, but to change this pattern is very difficult. He is staying with me until tomorrow and immediately I get this urge again to feed him, care for him, see to his comfort and I immediately feel pressured because of it and feel the need to plan and control our time together. I scares me. I have to fight this and it takes alot of energy. On the other hand, it gives me a good opportunity to see what is happening and take time to find a strategy to handle it. He is leaving tomorrow and I will join him in a week. Time for thought.

I think I am struggling with the same thing a lot of you are struggling with: when to help people out and when not to; how to take care of yourself without dropping other people. I think I am at least getting better in recognizing what is actually happening, what I am doing, which choices i have.

Dear Asha, I have this same problem Dr. I. Is telling you you have: I am planning everything in my head and when C’s ideas do not fit in with my planning, I get upset and have a hard time handling it. I am getting better, but it is very hard. I see this is very controlling on my part and I begin to realize he had every right to get angry when I pulled this on him in the past. Like Steve, he did not handle this very well, but he was, I can see that now, frantically trying to protect his boundaries and his right to choose for himself. I think he had no idea what was going on then, I am not sure he has now. But I am pretty sure that as I am learning about boundaries, he will pick thing up too. As I said before, I already see a lot of difference, when I ask what I want willing to accept what I get. I get what I want more often the I used to. Good stuff! You deserve a new Hoover!

Dear Jay, I hope you are doing ok. I am going to go to Portugal in a week and I can already say now I will be back in a week....giggle. You know what I mean. :-) Wooh, you got blasted away, I am sorry I missed your post. Hope you are not feeling to bad about this. I usually feel like a total mess when someone really criticizes me, especially when they may be right. But as Dr. I says, it is ok to mess up sometimes as much as you mess up. I hope I will get there too. Right now I am still doing my best not to mess up in the first place, which takes loads of energy. And I am not even sure what not messing up would mean. I guess doing it is the only way to find out. Does that make sense? BTW is your keyboard any better? Take care.

No more time to write. So just lost of love and hugs to everyone here on the board.

AJ

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Dearest Jay Honey,

I see your defensiveness then confusion and guilt. Though I want to thank you because you taught me a lesson I needed to learn which has come to me in many forms over the last few days. Jay dear, I know how you are feeling cuz I to have felt defensive then confusion and then guilt recently.

The lesson I learnt is I am not here to convert everyone else into clones of me. I am suppose to accept others choices of how they use their energy.

Take care Theressa

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Hi all. Kathy here.

I was doing OK until Saturday night. Boyfriend came over, brought the baby home. We ate dinner then watched a movie on TV & played with our son. It was a nice, relaxing evening.

Later on, after we were in bed, I had horrible flashbacks to when I was living in my other house and my daughter was out of control. I used to sleep with my son in my room with the door locked because I was afraid of what she would do. I ended up crying and sobbing - sorry for my son who has downs' syndrome that he had to endure all the craziness and unpredictability of her.

I'm still struggling with putting all that pain in the past - too many horrible things happened while I was living in that house.

I know in my head that I need to let go of all that - I did the best I could and its over but even today the feelings and pain are still there. Counseling would be helpful for all this PTSD stuff...

My daughter even called yesterday and I was OK with her on the phone. Just asked how she was doing and if she found a job yet.

Somehow, I'll get through this. Thanks for listening.

Kathy

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Dear All,

Things have felt unsettled with my partner recently. We haven't been in conflict, nor have there been any screaming matches. It has been more aloof. My partner has recently came out of work. I am threw a bit.

When we first got back together in February things were alive, magic even, exciting. We couldn't wait to rip each others clothes off. We went out alot. Though this lust time also was fraught with dissatisfaction on my part. It was when I was coming to terms with us both having our own space and this being okay.

A few weeks ago things dwindled alot. It was when I was in the clothes shop and I acted defensive, when my partner said "Jeans aren't really good for hot weather" I said "Jean shorts are fine". He said "The material is too thick." I said "They're in fashion" Then he walked out of the shop.

I discussed this with Ron (My therapist at the time) he said "So your partner messed up a perfect day, Or Theressa messed up a perfect day. OR whoever messed up a perfect day. Since rejection took place? Rejection firstly by Theressa she rejected her partners views on the jean shorts without thinking about whether he was correct. Then her partner rejected Theressa by walking off.

This rejection thing is BIG. Theressa's Partner can't handle others rejecting his ideas (sometimes Theressa can't either), so Theressa's partner rejects her by walking off. It is typical of a control drama if your gonna reject me, I am gonna reject you."

ANYWAY I came up with this solution: Maybe if I listen to his ideas (by the way, I am more since then) then I can decide whether it is realistic what he is saying. In this case it was and I decided after all that the jean shorts would be too thick. THEN he won't storm off and reject me. Perhaps. And if he does, it's not about you...

It is like if you punch me, then I am gonna punch you twice as hard. (metaphor ONLY)

DR IRENE sometimes I feel like my partner is always proving me wrong. When I act defensive, so maybe if I just accept that he might have something good to say this cycle is broken isn't it? Depends on him. You've got nothing to lose by trying it. The rest will be up to him.

DR IRENE why is it that my partner seems to comfortably be able to balance his life, do all his housework, be so perfect? And I find it so hard? For the same reasons you find it comfortable to help others and be so good at it.

Take care Theressa

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Continuation of post above:

Anyway as I say above I am a bit confused since the incident at the clothes shop. The evening after the clothes shop, my partner and I tried to make love. I was very dry and so we didn't carry on. He seemed fed up about this. I thought it was to do with my anger? Pay attention to yourSelf. Anger is a good hypothesis, but only you can know.

Since then I've been tired, I've been forgetting my contraceptive pills etc. I just haven't had the enthusiasm. You feel rejected... It seems the sparks of only a few months ago are dwindling. I want to be like a normal couple. The ones who do it a few times a week at my age (27), not like people well into their seventies.

Does anyone know why this is happening? How I can sort this out?

It seems like a nightmare since this is what happened last time, we drifted and things were so cold like this. You could talk about it with him for starters.

Also my partner complains when you kiss him if you press on his lips. "Don't press my face" He says. On the other hand, people with intimacy problems will push you away when they get frightened of the closeness. This would be his problem.

Can anyone help me sort things out??

Take care, thanks for listening. Theressa

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Therresa,

I have had the same problems with intimacy if I have unresolved conflicts with my boyfriend. (I also find my hormone levels at different times of the month, affect some of the physical responses). A big part of intimacy, and the excitement, for me is the emotional trust and closeness I feel with my partner. If that is missing, I can't respond intimately. I don't think there's anything wrong with me. As Dr Irene keeps reminding me, I need to listen to my body - it's probably trying to tell me something.

Suzanne

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Dear Trubble,

Why is it my partner is so insistent on telling me he is a "Bachelor"!! He obviously isn't TRUBBLE since he has a daughter. Though he used this statement each time he wants to justify doing something. SUCH as I am a bachelor so "I am letting you know this bachelor is going to the pub." It is like telling me "I am not married to you so I can do what I want"

Why keep telling me he is a bachelor? OR another familiar thing is "we aren't married". Why trubble does he do this. Is it to push me away? It's kind of why I call her "FakeMommy"... She just doesn't understand how to take care of *Me.* She's not too bright. I don't have to listen to her, except she controls my Trout - and that makes me even madder...

Is it a statement to say YOU CAN'T control me. I don't want to control him!! I've learnt there is no point trying. Tell that to FakeMommy.

Thanks Trubble for listening. YOU being a bachelor cat might understand Theressa

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Dr Irene wrote "calmly but effectively help you get out of his space and back into your own space"

How do you do that?

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Oh.. help! Now I have totally blown it...Theressa, I thought you originally wrote that post to me. I was just so off balance yesterday that I got into 'oh no I can't answer a religious post and thought that you were correcting my thinking....Sorry I got it wrong big time.....jay Theressa's cool with it Jay. I'm sure she'd want you to be OK with it too... 

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Hi Cats,

Asha, that exercise from Emotional Blackmail  has to do with what you tell yourself when someone is pushing on your boundaries or manipulating you to make you do or feel something so as to control you. A cognitive behavior therapy approach. Very effective! Well, I adapted that explanation a little. But essentially, when you feel your buttons being pushed you can empower yourself by repeating "I can stand it!" The book gives examples of messages we say to ourselves that make us vulnerable to manipulation, like "I Can't stand it when he says stuff like that to me!" and "I can't stand feeling guilty!" etc etc. Those statements disempower us, and so replace them with "I CAN stand it." Then you have the emotional space to deal with the problem sanely rather than caving in to your own emotions. There are other exercises, but this one stuck and seems to be working.

It also works on bosses and family members too. And one-time movie dates like I had last night.

I was really bothered by that woman I went to the movie with because I was afraid I had some of her qualities, at least before I became such a wise, kind, together genius!! ;) But that exercise really helped as I was trying to disengage from feeling like i wanted to slow down and push her out of the car as she was saying Celia Cruz looked like a hooker and were all my CDs "like that." ("I can stand it! I can stand it!") And not only can you stand it, but it doesn't even matter! (The Goal.)

One last feedback on the dog issue - I thought about this because I love dogs too - I guess I would have called the vet and d--m the owner! I would have been aware that the owner might object and that I would likely be stuck with the bill. I think that if an owner leaves their pet in your care, you have the right to seek emergency care for your own peace of mind as well as the pet's well-being. The only thing that I wouldn't feel I could do would be to make a decision about old-age euthanasia. So I guess I would deal with it the best I could and disengage from the owner's objections if any. Not a problem because you are taking action; you'll deal with the consequences later. This is different from a repeat pattern of insisting your partner communicate when (s)he doesn't want to.

Hey Kris, thanks for your feedback. I actually think you did the right thing going to your ex's for the fireworks. Number 1 - you got to see fireworks. Number 2 - Best of all, you had a nice reality check and you saw that he has not changed and is telling you lies about himself and his drug use. This should make moving on a lot easier. I don't think it's wrong to have this kind of check. I agree with Dr. Irene - I wouldn't tell your new boyfriend. He doesn't need the details.

HI AJ! Gosh, I am glad you finished vacuuming and came back to the Box! AJ, Don't teach your boyfriend! Let him suffer. Don't even help too much. Help like 2 hours than go have a nice lunch, take a bath, then show back up and watch from the sidelines. He needs to suffer to get it. (BY himself!) He needs to really want it and be willing to (gasp!) work harder at helping himself than you are...

I still don't know what to say to my ex so I am still not replying to email or phone calls - anyway my phone card ran out and I can't make any long distance calls until I get another one. Now there is a convenient boundary! Remember: Actions speak louder than words. You don't have to justify/explain yourself. Like the old Nike commercial, "Just Do It!"

Love, Perdida

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Monday, July 09, 2001

More musings on my ex if you can stand it,

I guess the one-up, one-down thing was really obvious in my recent exchanges with him. Beyond the manipulation of the Perdida shrine he keeps in his house, and thanking me for boots I gave him two years ago, as he was leaving town he sent an email that said he would have email access at his conference but he "hadn't decided" if he would use it or not, meaning I could go ahead and send emails but he hadn't decided if he would answer them. So I didn't send any. who wants to waste one's fingers?

He also told me my eyes weren't "as bloodshot as they used to be." Huh??? Were they bloodshot before? Did I see that in the mirror? (no) It seems like in 12 short hours plus a few emails he was able to pack a lot in of his stuff in.

So this is why I don't find anything to say! Who wants to be one down! On reflecting, it seems like the dynamic is that unless one plays to win with one of these guys, one will lose. You can't just be real or you will "lose." These examples seem so small, but they were constant! I lived three years in those constant pick pick picks, my head spinning every time. Defend, defend, defend. I still don't get the payoff for the abuser. Who has the energy to try to win all the time? I hope I can recognize a "normal" guy when I next see one.

Soon I will bore myself and move on... again... Perdida

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Dr Irene

Looks like we truly do disagree this time don’t we? :)

(And I still love ya anyway, and appreciate your viewpoint.)

I think this comes right down to my core belief system, which I’m open to changing if I believe it will benefit me.

If I read you right, it sounds like part of what are saying is that I should have known what to expect from Steve because of our history. I didn’t. No!  I am suggesting that since you two end up in pattern too often, with you may knocking your head against the same wall and ending up feeling frustrated, upset, misunderstood, pained, etc. - that, clearly your approach doesn't work. Try something else.

I wasn’t picking up the “right” signals from him early in the conversation (though later on there was clearly a “bad vibe”) or I wouldn’t have thought money might be the issue regarding the vet. I don’t think I could have read his mind at that point, but I could have just outright *asked* instead of “prodded”, “suggested” etc. Wrong. I'm not suggesting you become a better mind reader. Just to learn from experience...

Did I have an agenda? Absolutely! To find out what was going on with the dog and find out what could be done. Did that agenda interfere with my ability to pick up Steve’s signals? Probably. This is not about Steve. Steve cares about his signals, and when I advise him, I suggest he look out for his own interests (like keeping his boundaries since that is so important to him). When I talk to you, I care about your stuff. So, while Steve is the person you are bouncing off of, I am not concerned with Steve's signals. More broadly, I am concerned with the difficulty you have changing gears as your environmental demands shift... That's what I mean by "agenda."

I couldn’t imagine though (still can’t) how it would hurt Steve for me to make that phone call.

In a different situation, less critical, I could see how this could be perceived as controlling or pushing an agenda. But what happens in the following scenario? ....

A stepmother is caring for a child whose mother does not believe in blood transfusions. An emergency takes place and the child will die if nothing is done. At what point is the decision “controlling’ and at what point is it okay to do what you believe even when the one supposedly “responsible” for that life (and who *is* really responsible for another life other than the higher power?) is frozen and unable to give a firm answer. If I really believed in that child’s right to live I might risk going over the “in charge” parents head, especially if they didn’t state firmly and clearly what their position was.

When do we intervene and when don’t we? (Also, keep in mind that I *didn’t* intervene by calling the vet, I just *talked* to Steve about it, which I still think was okay to do, even if the result wasn’t what I had hoped for. At the time I didn’t know what the result would be. But I did *not* clearly ask for what I wanted) Calling the vet would be more OK because you are exercising your best judgment in a situation under your charge. What you do that is not OK is intrude on Steve's emotional space when he does not want you (or anybody) there. You have decided that it is favorable to communicate and care for the dog, and there is no room in your head for any other outcomes. You are not "wrong," but you disrespect your partner when you impose your will. In other words, you do not let Steve "be" (hurt, lost in himself, whatever he is at the moment) because you have an agenda to care for; to be concerned for; etc. Caring and concern are wonderful. But, not when you are trying to impose your unilateral agenda, even if it's "right."

Perhaps Steve and I just have value differences so great that when a critical decision occurs we *can’t* talk about it. If it always has to come down to “you win, I lose” or “I win, you lose”, *your* dog, *my* dog, *my* house, *your* house etc. instead of “how can we co-operatively solve this problem?” then you basically wind up with a sort of dictatorship structure. That’s not what I want in a relationship.

Sure, you have to define *roles* sometimes so you don’t waste endless hours debating trivial things, but for the big decisions, I think you need to talk it out. Using your criteria Asha, almost every decision is a "big" one...

As I said, it could be a difference in philosophy. Perhaps. But, more important: You need to pay attention to your tendency to try to control your environment.

Having said all that, in less critical situations, I can look at whether I am tending to push my agenda, or whether I’m really hearing the other person out. I think I often have the opposite problem – getting bowled over by others’ agendas, but that doesn’t mean I don’t do the same thing myself at times. You have a hard time staying centered. 

I think it is important for me to think about, not only my *means* of trying to get what I want, but also *why* I want what I want, and whether it’s *really* that important. (this did seem important to me)

However, sometimes I’ve felt like almost *any* input I offer can be experienced as offensive or controlling by Steve, and I don’t always know what will trigger that. Yes, but that's his issue. Your job is to clean up your stuff - and, there is stuff here...

I can’t be the little submissive woman who doesn’t say what she thinks or stand up for what she believes. I think there are times to let things go and there are times to stand up.

I think this is a good discussion because it forces me to look at my true underlying core beliefs.   I really don’t want to be someone who says or does nothing when my inner core tells me otherwise – unless of course that inner core is just reacting on impulse, and isn’t consciously *aware* of what’s behind the impulse. I will also look at whether my “standing up” is worth it at times – sometimes it most certainly is not.  Look at how you feel somehow lost when your world view is challenged; how difficult it is to shift gears in emotionally charged situations...

thanks for your thoughts

Asha

p.s. to influence or *not* to influence... that is the question...  Giggle... Not anything under your control...

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Perdida

thanks for the book tip. Sounds like a good, short little affirmation to use.

Yes, the people that tick you off most are probably the ones with the most to teach you. :)

And yes, I still wonder if for my own sake, I should have just called the vet and asked a few questions (risking Steve's wrath).  I agree that I wouldn't euthanize an animal without the owner's consent, nor would I medicate, unless that owner was unavailable to consult with - at that point I would just do what my gut told me, *except* euthanize.

I *laughed* when I read the bloodshot eye thing! LOL! Reminds me of an old boyfriend who used to say *I* think you are pretty - extra emphasis on the *I*!

take care

Asha

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Enjoying today's posts. Perdida, keep doing what you're doing. Don't waste your life energy (or fingers?) on the ex. I'm amazed that I have been able to finally allow my answering machine pick up at home when I get an "Unavailable" (STBX), or voicemail at work when I don't know the number (STBX). I'm not going to use any more energy trying to have a rational conversation. At this point, it is impossible, and I would be wasting far too much energy trying.

Even with the RO, he just doesn't get it! I've been called in the last week about his broken nose, a "business proposition" of doing his books for his business, and him needing help with a legal form. As a good friend suggested (and I may actually do this!), tape recording my voice saying , "Gee, I'm sorry, I don't know what to tell you", and playing it if I do decide to pick up the phone. He has been persistent the last several days, trying to get me to feel sorry for him, and take on his stuff. While my heartstrings are being tugged, I'm not falling for it anymore. I can't tell anyone how many times, and how many years I tried to give him "his stuff". He always managed to manipulate me into doing for him instead! Now granted, I had choices. I like to help people. But I like to help people see that things they think are so hard, really aren't that bad once you learn how to do it. Bottom line was if he wasn't interested, he would not do it...period. That, and he could keep me in the position of blame when things didn't work out the way he wanted (of course, he would readily take credit on his part when things went well...even my career because "he let me go to work").

The last real conversation I had with him was when he called me again on the 4th of July with his business proposition. Basically, if I did his books and saved him money, maybe he could pay me child-support. Ooops....there goes the phone again (Unavailable--guess who?).

Then I told him I ran into his friend's part-time employee who was really upset at him. She point blank told me "the man drinks too much. No one normal acts that way". When I asked him what happened to get her so upset, he said (like I should be surprised), "I didn't do anything, you can ask 'so and so'. She misunderstood and was just being a b#*ch!". Wow--that was eye-opening. Anytime he does something offensive or unacceptable to another person, denial. Anytime a woman doesn't agree with the situation-she's just a b#*ch!

More affirmation that it isn't just me and his kids. I think a friend's theory is correct that as he can't dump this on us, it will have to come out elsewhere. Guess it is.

I've listened to a weeks worth of messages where he sounds sad and depressed, angry and belligerent, cocky and sarcastic (have a nice day...), and back through the cycle again. I am proud that I didn't feel the obligation to pick up the phone every time and subject myself to it directly. This is a huge step for me.

Well...I started out thinking this related to the other posts. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but thanks for a nice place to let it out.

Hope you all have a good week.

L

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Hi Trubble Mousie has been thinking very hard about your question. She thinks your FakeMommy wants Mousie to stop and screw in the light bulb before she turns the mouth switch to on. Well, I have no clue what she thinks, but she asked me to type: "Yeah! What a way with words!" Mousie was also thinking about you having a FakeMommy. Maybe it is your real mommy because Mousie did not practice self control and gave your FakeMommy kittens. Hmmmm... Is that why you guys were fighting? Over *Me*? Are you my RealMommy - and want me back? Mousie couldn't figure out what was wrong with your sentence that got crossed out. I was suggesting ways we get involved in illegal dumping with our new company and she cut me off... Well anyway, the thong business at Trubble beach is going so well that we have bought everyone a Hoover so keep looking in your mailboxes. If it's not there, the post office lost it. Now Trubble do you know if Perdida is related to the song Perdida that Mousie plays in the dance band that she is in? Huh? Look, if you're my RealMommy (I thought RealMommyB was, but she's gone... sob...), don't ask  silly questions. Get *Me* Trout. And it's got to be Fresh, not Frozen. OK?

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Monday, July 09, 2001

Hi catbox,

My topic today is a new relationship after suffering two horribly abusive ones previously. I've found a man who is completely supportive, non-judgmental, accepting, non-argumentative, and who is willing to, in cases of disagreement, work towards a mutual solution. He says I see my own reflection in his eyes and that my soul has an inner beauty and strength that shines through all the travail and heartaches. He has told me that my whole life has been lost in a denial of appreciation and validation by those around and close to me and that his soul wants to rage at the true injustice of it all. He's told me that I deserve attention because I'm me, a world of mystery unto myself, to be delved into and exalted simply for who I am. And that love without acceptance is not truly love, but insecurity. According to him I am insightful, thoughtful, loving, caring, intelligent, beautiful, and sexy.

I find this to be nearly "storybook" and have some trouble accepting that I actually deserve this type of treatment. I know I didn't deserve the way I was treated previously. I know deep down that I am worthy of all this. However, I suppose I'm wary that like most good things that have occurred in my life, it'll be yanked away in a very painful manner. I'm torn because I truly know this person and that is NOT what they would ever do to me...my insecurities are shining through and chewing at me... Does anyone have any advice as to how to accept the good fortune I've been given without looking for a reason to reject it (as I seem to be doing). I've even told him all the deepest, darkest secrets of my life (thinking that would do it), only to find him gently telling me it's ok and many other positive things...

I have been totally honest with all my shortcomings...as well as the struggles I've gone through to get where I am. He knows how I sometimes backslide...but he still admires what he calls my 'spirit'.

My heart and soul feel incredibly good about this relationship. It feels 'right'. No one is 'rushing' anyone, and I don't have to decide anything now, nor has anything permanent been pushed. Anyone have any words of advice for me.... Recognize that if the other shoe has always dropped, expecting it to drop again is normal. Accept that it's perfectly OK to have the fears you have.  Give yourself whatever time you need to stop listening for the sound of shoes dropping...

J.

Hi Jay. How are you? Allowing yourSelf to be a ditz yet? Remember: Ditz is Good!

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Monday, July 09, 2001
 

Hi Cats,

Mousie, I think you're playing "Perdita." It means the same thing but it's two different languages. Many people get marked wrong for saying the same thing in different languages, so don't fall in that trap! It's better to use the same language as the people you want to communicate with.

L, great vent. Vent away! Make yourself at home! Yes, that not picking up the phone is a little weird. My ex will be thinking it is punitive. He called again just now but I just don't want to be drawn into a nice nice chat. I don't FEEL nice nice. I'm not angry (well maybe a little, or maybe only chronically and sub-clinically where he is concerned) but I just don't want the intimacy. I'm also not comfortable with making a pronouncement to him that I don't feel nice nice anymore. I thought about sending an email, but why? I would have to either confront the situation and declare my feelings, or make nice. I don't see any middle ground today with the communication thing. He's the needy one and I think what he really needs is to hit rock bottom, like they say in AA. So I guess this is "tough love" in the Catbox.

Hey Asha - I might be understanding this wrong, but... it seems to me that you spend too much of your energy trying to understand and be understood. Sometimes things are simply not understandable, and you just have to let those things lie. Sometimes people don't WANT to understand you for incomprehensible reasons of their own, and they get to make that choice even if you have the best motives, which you do, and they're supposed to care enough to try, which they may. What would happen if you jumped in and at any given moment just did what YOU think is right and let everyone else sort themselves out later? Especially where Steve is concerned. He may or may not be sending signals and also his signals may be hamfisted. If you don't understand him at first glance, time to go. You guys aren't in a relationship right now and you don't need to understand him or be understood by him. The rest will do you good!

Sharon? Weren't we going to have a virtual latte?

I went swimming in the lake, where I almost caught a duckie for Trubble. I opened my eyes under water, and NOW they are bloodshot! OK, yes, that's bloodshot. Trubble want fishie!

Love, Perdida widda "D"

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Monday, July 09, 2001
 

Hi everyone.

I posted here for the first time a little over a week ago and received some very good advice...one of the posters here suggested that I contact a women's shelter or something of that nature. I am proud to say that today I had an appt. with the local abuse network and went with the intention of educating myself about abuse.

Unfortunately, I am more confused than ever. After reading the "symptoms" of an abusive partner I realized that my husband does not fit into the patterns described. The list talked of things like control of finances and control of people allowed in your life. The list also mentioned things like cruelty to animals and children, threats of violence, using sex as an act of aggression, etc. Well my husband doesn't do any of this. He has an explosive temper, will throw things and when angry will belittle me thru name calling. He has no desire to control me or the finances and never tells me what to do. Is it possible for him to still be an abuser but just not fit the typical pattern. If this is the case how do I figure out what's what? The only times when abuse appears to be present is during his angry episodes (usually about every 3 - 4 weeks). The "symptoms" page does not require you say "yes" to all or most items, just more than a few (whatever that is). 

He has read a great deal on verbal abuse of late as well and is convinced that I am the abuser. Of course he points to several things in his material that appear to substantiate his claims. However, I do a lot of soul searching on this and I always come to the same conclusion...wouldn't I know it? Deep down, my only motive is to make our relationship better - to talk things thru and find resolution to the things that make us unhappy. I certainly never intend to hurt him. Could he be right though? I am going crazy as you all can see and I really don't know what to think anymore. The problem with being reactive is that you cloud the water. Your first job is to stop acting out yourself. This will improve your vision. Next, realize is that abuse is relative. We are all capable of abusive behaviors, but "abuse" is what happens when one partner consistently punishes the other for not bending to meet his or her perceived needs. Every relationship has elements of abuse from time to time. The question is how far are the scales tilted (the balance of power)? Regardless of whether you or hubby is "the abuser," if each of you practice the stuff discussed throughout the site (impulse control/ self control, mindfullness/ doing nothing, assertion, looking at irrational thinking, etc., you'll each be healthier. Don't worry that you're confused. It takes me a while in some cases to figure out what's going on! It's good that you are taking this seriously and hubby apparently is too since he's reading.

The counselor at the center was of very little help as she didn't seem to understand that my husband is much more subtle in his approach with me and that he doesn't seem to fall into a neat little package. She didn't know what to say and had a lot of difficulty in helping me find any direction. I truly don't know what to do next. Please help. Stop looking for who is the abuser. Stop looking at your partner. Just stop reacting and look inside You.

Cindy

 

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Duh! I'm such a slow learner! It dawned on me the other day that when I defend/explain myself to my H, I feel sick and weak inside. I soon feel frantic, and I ALWAYS end up being hurt. When I refuse to take the bait by not taking responsibility for his behavior, I feel strong and calm. I used to become very upset when he'd say things such as, "Getting married was a mistake," or "We are incompatible." When I reply "You may be right." or something similar, I feel as though ten tons has fallen off my shoulders. And when I take myself out of the line of fire, I feel in control of my life: I am in charge of how I am treated! Slowly but surely, I am refusing to try to keep a leaking boat afloat on my own.

Becky

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Hi all. Steve here.

Asha said: "I can’t be the little submissive woman who doesn’t say what she thinks or stand up for what she believes. I think there are times to let things go and there are times to stand up."

I don't think it's about submission. I believe it's more about how far we extend our dome of control. Most of us have a deep need to control our own surroundings. This makes us *feel* safe. Sometimes, in this desire for safety, I think we make our dome so big that other individuals get caught in it. Then, we are actually inside their boundaries, AND, at the same time bringing them inside OUR boundaries, even though we probably don't really want them there.

I truly don't want or need you to be submissive to me.

Asha: "Perhaps Steve and I just have value differences so great that when a critical decision occurs we *can’t* talk about it. If it always has to come down to “you win, I lose” or “I win, you lose”, *your* dog, *my* dog, *my* house, *your* house etc. instead of “how can we co-operatively solve this problem?” then you basically wind up with a sort of dictatorship structure. That’s not what I want in a relationship. "

The reason we can't talk is not related to value differences (imo). There's something else going on. I'm still looking at it so no answers yet.

I don't want a dictatorship either. I don't have to win. Ever. I just want the autonomy of my boundaries. Which I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) is what you would like as well.

If we get more clear on our own boundaries, maybe we can more clearly see when we are trespassing in someone else's.

Irene: "I promise you, Steve's experience of how you handled this was yukky. Steve open your mouth if you disagree!"

I'll keep my mouth closed then.

Irene: "too caught up in the press of your internal monologue.."

Soooo true. I find myself in this situation often. Another area I've defined as a target for improvement. The programs running are very dominating. They don't leave much room for opposition. It's a one-party system in there most of the time. Until we start our own quiet revolution. Elsewhere on the site I've commented that despite whether one is "victim" or "abuser," the lessons each need to learn are the same...

Steve

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Hi all.

Jay here with a broken=but working slightly better keyboard. And a brain that feels it is walking through treacle-I just realised that it it is not only prescribed drugs that have side effects! I have been using some herbal tablets to help me sleep and now I feel sleepy in the day too! Ugh catch 22 again. I am just so relieved to be getting sleep but the price is a really fuzzy brain in the day.

Dr Irene, it does not feel ok to mess up. It feels really bad. I can't stand the feeling at all and I constantly think I mess up when it is really the other person. Jake was just so stupid over something last night and he was so clearly in the wrong - there was even written evidence...I did get insistent; but no more and eventually he had to concede the point. I ended by saying " a normal person would just say 'sorry I made a mistake" and then he said, "sorry I made a mistake. "This is the first time I have ever ever heard him say 'sorry' for anything and even then he needed a cue! But he did! Yippeee! Your own anger prevents you from appreciating his gain and focusing at his deficit...  The thing is now *I* feel bad for not staying absolutely calm and rational throughout. Feeling "bad" is OK. Beating yourself up is not. Learn from your "errors;" you'll have lots of chances to improve!

I guess what I am saying is the feeling I have is out of proportion to the event. Good observation. I feel a failure for not reacting perfectly to what was just plain silly. Yes. You have just identified an underlying irrational thought. I'm glad you're challenging it's validity. (I am trying to sell part of a house and Jake was telling me that despite the fact a solicitor has seen the title deeds, my name isn't on them and was so SURE he was right.)  Obviously I can't do this if my name isn't on the deeds! Really I should have laughed and changed the subject. Or stop arguing and ask him to show you what he means.

I know I haven't hallucinated the conversations with my solicitor and the bank and I actually saw the deeds anyway!

I suppose it is his stuff - but why?????????

Oh yes, then he wrote the letter I needed from him to the bank which totally acknowledges that what I said is right. He was never not going to write, so what on earth is it all about? -It is like the time he refused the key and then finally gave it to me as if that was what he was planning all along.   Stop focusing on what he's doing!

Why can't I even let myself be irritated at the stupid stuff? Why do I then hate myself for being irritated and think I should be perfect? Just notice the feelings Jay and don't work yourself up over them...

Dear Mousie

Thank you for the hoover.

I now have a picture of you as a mouse with a light bulb on it's head and a switch by it's mouth. It would be a lot easier if that is what we really had. Don't eat too many take aways or you will be a very unhealthy mouse. Also for the unitiated: what is'Taco Bell?' We don't have that here.

Dear Perdida

of course Sharon can come too; but where is she?

Dear AJ

I will email you and hope you have time to answer!

Giggle. I hope that your trip to Portugal is not like my two (now unmarried friends!) (I had a friend who gave a big going away party as she and her husband were going to live in Portugal and 'get away from the rat race.' They insisted it was permanent and we all got sad as my friend is a very special friend and opened accounts so we could get to Portugal to see her...Two weeks later I met her walking down the road. They hadn't managed even a week of the 'good' life.

However AJ is much more sensible than my friend.

Will you still have a computer? Don't disappear!

Also don't rescue C. I think he will get the point when he finally realizes he is tired out and working harder than your friend.

Dear Asha and Steve.

I think you must still really care for each other Yes... - or why work all this stuff out? For the Self.  I think like Perdida, I would have got the vet anyway. Or I would have asked Steve to come get his dog and care for it himself. I would not have wanted to feel responsible for what I did with someone else's sick dog.

Dr Irene again,

About being angry at not being cared for. I think it is more about being unable to accept I am cared about - Jake just brought the toast again. You just don't make breakfast for someone you care nothing for. Giggle!

While I was ill he did some stuff that was caring, and I was so lost in anger that i rejected it all. I was just so upset and grieving that I couldn't accept anything from anyone. I think that put him off.. I have no idea at all how to put it right. Next time, just say "Thank you."

And I think that I am angrier that he will not accept any caring act from me and rarely has. You are taking his broken pieces personally. I once bought him a shirt and got a lecture from his mother about how 'she would never buy his father a shirt!" But in my family that would be taken as a caring act - actually my mother buys me some hideous stuff sometimes; but I just thank her gracefully and don't wear it.

Is it wrong not to hurt people's feelings?

Now this morning Jake is in game playing mode again. I just said I was asking his brother and family up. I am the godmother to their kids and they have made it clear that they want to see me and that whatever happens they want me to remain 'godmother.' Jake said the other day "Stay away from my family!"

Excuse me but they are also people I love and good friends and we have not fallen out. His dad is also a lot nicer towards me than Jake would like; but confused as Jake is saying one thing to him and another to me about our marriage.

How do you live with a game player and not get caught up in it? First you stop acting out. Then you work on maintaining your own boundaries - so you can remain centered.

Dear Theressa,

I would ignore the batchelor stuff. I think it is just a way of him saying, 'I don't take responsibility for my life as it is."

Also on the lovemaking front, I think there are phases. It gets good - -it gets less good and then one day you realise it is sometimes not about either of you; but just external stuff.

The space bar is playing up so I am going to go now. jay

 

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Dear Jay,

Can you see the obvious in your post. The caretaker of others' feelings. You would even accept a gift that you did not want to take care of others feelings. (Were you taught to keep the peace at whatever expense??)

It is good to be sensitive to others feelings but it is also good to be sensitive to YOUR OWN FEELINGS. I would say to others "I enjoy picking my own clothes as I don't want to offend you by not wearing the clothes or using the gifts you buy, I hope you won't mind buying me gift vouchers instead."

Jay maybe thinking isn't this hurting their feelings. WELL Jay dear, it hurts their feelings when they never see you wearing or using the gifts they buy doesn't it? (this isn't to make you feel guilty, it is just to show you sometimes it helps to be honest) This way Jay gets what she wants and the person giving the gift feels like they are giving something needed.

Also Jay you say Jake doesn't accept anything. Do you know why? Do you usually ask him if he wants such and such or do you try to impose it on to him? Giggle! I always ask my partner or anyone else for that matter what they would like unless it is something neutral such as toiletries, flowers, chocolates or pair of socks.

This is about him not letting you control him, methinks! Petty maybe but it is his reality. Just like I used to not want to tidy up cuz I was told to. (this is passive-aggressive stuff - best way to cool it is to ASK not impose!!!)

Jay you sound overwhelmed, take some deep breaths and keep on even if it is murky. Keep doing whatever you can to build your life. That means YOUR life not your websites, not helping others for now. It means taking 100% of Jay only. If Jay needs to sleep let her sleep, if she needs to eat etc.

Also a walk in the park, go out into the garden taking all the beauty, and breathe it all in. RELAX, and appreciate the beauty. Just concentrate on doing this for now. Enjoying what is around you. It will also get you out of the house, nothing like some fresh air (Air fresh or not will do you good), listen to the birds singing.

Jay for along time it was not okay for me to mess up either. INFACT if anyone made a mistake I would blow. Why? cuz they messed up my little world.

I wanted them to apologise, but it wasn't enough when they did. I was angry, I felt used. Melissa was ready to move out to Space rather than be with me. Do you remember at Christmas when she put chewing gum on my carpet? Well I was livid.

The truth is though Jay as Ron told me, "It is not the end of the world, let it go" "Understand also that abusers are afraid of mistakes, so they will run on hot coals rather than admit they are flawed. Just as JAY won't allow her self to feel not OKAY. Jake won't either.

How can Jay sort this? when accidents, mistakes happen regardless of whether Jake will admit it. Just tell yourself "it isn't the end of the world, and let it go" (YOU DO THIS FOR YOU JAY, BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT ISN'T WORTH YOUR ENERGY!!!) EVEN If there is evidence, who cares. So he messed up and couldn't admit it, is it worth worrying about??? (remember when I was all bothered about my partner not opening the door and making me use the key to his house, what did you say, "Theressa is it such a big deal"

Jay why is it so important to you that Jake says sorry? Is it so things can be fixed and all nice again? You are trying to control your environment. (Just like when I apologise and take the blame, and write text messages saying "do you really want this," and letter "I love you, please keep trying" etc IT IS begging for peace.

You shouldn't beg for peace!!! (I do though even though it doesn't work) the universe/God sends peace when he thinks it is time.

Jay leave it in God's hands to teach Jake. (can you do this?) So if Jake makes a mistake or does something wrong can you just leave it in God's hands and not try to teach, fix or get sorry's out of Jake???

When you do the above you will be rational. Since only one and that is God through sending new lessons can teach!!!

This way you won't feel you over reacted since you give it up to God.

You won't feel silly if you give it up to GOD and let him teach Jake by sending new lessons.

Jay Writes: (I am trying to sell part of a house and Jake was telling me that despite the fact a solicitor has seen the title deeds my name isn't on them and was so SURE he was right. **

WHY DIDN'T Jay say "OK" and leave it at that (was Jay trying to force Jake to agree with her???) then you go on knowing yourself (without needing to convince Jake) that your name is on the deeds.

*NO need to convince or get Jake to agree

Jay writes: Obviously I can't do this if my name isn't on the deeds! Really I should have laughed and changed the subject, **

(Laughing is aggressive in this situation. Better to do above)

Jay writes: I know I haven't hallucinated the conversations with my solicitor and the bank and I actually saw the deeds anyway! **

SO THEN WHY DO YOU NEED TO PROVE THIS TO JAKE, IF YOU KNOW IT IS TRUE NO NEED TO TRY TO CONVINCE HIM!! TRYING TO CONVINCE HIM IS A WASTE OF ENERGY.

Jay writes: I suppose it is his stuff - but why????????? **

NO it is both of your stuff. You needing to convince him to your way of thinking. Him being too defensive and stubborn to see if your correct about your name being on it.

Jay writes: Oh yes, then he wrote the letter I needed from him to the bank which totally acknowledges that what I said is right. He was never not going to write so what on earth is it all about? **

Passive-aggressive, tit for tat. The same as the other week my partner kept telling me not to let the petrol go low. I ignored him said he is always moaning. GUESS what happened the fuel pump had to be changed. ALL because I wasn't being controlled by him.

All about control. She/he isn't controlling what I do. In your case, Jake is thinking I am only doing it when I want to, not cuz she asked me to.

(silly really but it does happen when we are angry - though it is not productive. Better to not force, just say: "When your ready could you give me a letter for the bank. Then leave it until he does, if he doesn't after a certain period of time, go let the bank/or solicitor know let them deal with Jake, they will then write to him _ THOUGH IF YOU ASK AND THEN LEAVE HIM LIKE ABOVE IT WON'T GET TO THIS STAGE)

Jay writes: -It is like the time he refused the key and then finally gave it to me as if that was what he was planning all along. **

See above.

Jay writes: Why can't I even let myself be irritated at the stupid stuff? Why do I then hate myself for being irritated and think I should be perfect? **

Your integrity knows you are wasting energy. You react and then you beat yourself up. (SHAME) how to fix it, do all of the above I mentioned. When you give things up to God especially then you don't act out of your ego.

Jay writes: About being angry at not being cared for. I think it is more about being unable to accept I am cared about - Jake just brought the toast again. **

You feel thrown and confused. Just accept the toast and enjoy it without looking for hidden agendas. Remember enjoy the moment and appreciate it, just cuz it is given to you.

Jay writes: You just don't make breakfast for someone you care nothing for. **

Bingo!! He does care he is just in a battle to stop you controlling him. As I said above he doesn't want you telling him to do things, ASK and then just wait, you'll see he'll give in when there is no control.

Also though he tries to control you, when you do the above.

Jay writes: While I was ill he did some stuff that was caring and I was so lost in anger that i rejected it all. I was just so upset and grieving that I couldn't accept anything from anyone. **

You didn't think you deserved it that is why!! Well you do!!! so just enjoy it. All you are given is a gift from GOD in whatever way it is given if it is enjoyable and you can appreciate it.

Jay writes: I think that put him off.. I have no idea at all how to put it right.. **

Do nothing, just stop controlling the environment, see what I wrote above.

Jay writes: And I think that I am angrier that he will not accept any caring act from me and rarely has. **

See above impose vs asking do you want.

Jay writes: I once bought him a shirt and got a lecture from his mother about how 'she would never buy his father a shirt!" **

If it is a treat or a birthday gift buy him what you like any other time ask him.

Jay writes: But in my family that would be taken as a caring act **

Gifts that are neutral as I say above, chocs, flowers, socks etc are okay as surprises, but as for clothes I find it better to let others choose their own. My partner for instance might buy a blue shirt and yet if I bought him another blue shirt he'd probably not like it, maybe it wouldn't be the right fit etc.

The point is we do change our minds, have your ever gone to the supermarket and thought Oh I don't want beef today, even though for years you've had beef, well you suddenly want a change, this is why it is better to let individuals as far as possible choose for themselves.

Gift vouchers are a good idea. Let the person know you know they wouldn't rather choose their own clothes etc.

Jay writes: - actually my mother buys me some hideous stuff sometimes; but I just thank her gracefully and don't wear it. **

See above.

Jay writes: Is it wrong not to hurt people's feelings? **

Maybe you do hurt their feelings when you accept things and not wear them, that is why I said above gift vouchers are better.

Jay writes: Now this morning Jake is in game playing mode again. **

Passive-aggressive both of you. Both not doing what the other tells you to do.

Jay writes: I just said I was asking his brother and family up. I am the godmother to their kids and they have made it clear that they want to see me and that whatever happens they want me to remain 'godmother.' Jake said the other day "Stay away from my family!) **

Say nothing and continue to see his family, he is trying to control your actions. Just know you are doing this because you want to, not to get back at him. Don't tell him or try to argue with him about seeing them, just see them.

Jay writes: Excuse me but they are also people I love and good friends and we have not fallen out. ** See what I wrote above.

Jay writes: His dad is also a lot nicer towards me than Jake would like; **

For Jake it is all just about being angry. When you are both controlling each other you are both angry. So don't tell him what to do ASK and let him decide etc However much it bugs you, go and do something for yourself.

If he then doesn't reply say no more, look at your other sane options to get it done. Such as the above example where I said contact the solicitor (as a last resort) though it will rarely ever get this far once you give up controlling him.

Jay writes: but confused as Jake is saying one thing to him and another to me about our marriage. **

Jake is confused, he is all angry and so can not think straight. Same for you Jay.

Jay writes:

How do you live with a game player and not get caught up in it?

See above.

************ I think it is external stuff such as me being so busy and tired sometimes.

I realise now the bachelor stuff is his way of pulling away. It is him justifying that I cannot control him. SO instead of realising he can pull away and take space he thinks he has to act out to pull away.

I can just accept it is the only way he knows to pull away. And if I don't resist he'll zip back soon. **

Jay honey you remember I had to learn all this about Asking and accepting the answer I got and then taking the sane option. Yes it feels uncomfortable at the time. Well with me I asked him to help and then he'd not answer. for example I'd say "Will you mind Melissa whilst I go to college?" He'd not answer so in front of him I'd ring my sister or mom and say "Will you mind Melissa whilst I go to college" They'd say "Yes" and I wouldn't say another word. After a while My partner didn't do it as often.

It still is uncomfortable at times but now I realise I have sane options. Sometimes the sane option is to change my plans. Such as if no one can childmind then I don't go but I can decide to collect the work from another student or I can contact my tutor and get the notes.

The less I resisted and complained the more my life flowed.

Take care, it all comes with practice, you remember me. You helped me through this stage, you can do it to. Well, dear Theressa, you've gone and done it again. Excellent stuff. 

Love Theressa

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Dear Theressa,

I know the problem of the fireworks that stop and I suppose most of us do. When you meet someone new it is exciting. When you start over again with your old partner it is maybe even more exciting. You have missed the good parts, he/she is familiar and you are happy for the second change: maybe you will not have to part permanently. There is a lot of drama involved and once you get used to drama, live can seem pretty boring without. I have the same problem with C.: when things go right, I miss the fireworks. But, it is good to realize that fireworks hardly ever come solely in the sexual area. Usually it goes hand in hand with lots of fights and confrontations: making up is what causes the fireworks (at least for a part), also there is this tension of will we make it, will I lose him/her again etc. magic mix, but also a very tiring mix I think.

Also, like Jay writes, there’s up’s and downs, periods of great intimacy and periods where you both need to take you distance. My guess is that distance breeds intimacy and intimacy breeds distance and the best is to let the eb and flow take there natural course. I can understand you getting anxious about this, cause of your past experience, and I think it would be a good idea to try and do some nice things together to get a little closer again. But don’t force things. These ‘a couple of times a week sex’ is just an average over a longer period of time and who cares about averages anyway: you do what feels good to You and not what you think should be good. Again a decision for you (and your partner) only. Don’t let yourself be forced into having sex when your really do not want to, it will make things worse in the end. Try other kinds of intimacy, try doing nice things, alone or together and most of all, try to let go, relax a little.

Dear Jay,

It is quite ok not to hurt other people’s feelings and I am sure you know that :-). It is also quite ok, and even more important, not to hurt you own feelings. You need to take care of that first and foremost, but it would be best to do it without hurting others’ feelings. Like you I am having a problem with accepting my ‘bad’ an my ‘good’ me, let alone integrating them. I think I am getter better in harmonizing as I do not have the violent mood swings anymore. But I think we are brought up to deny our ‘bad’ side, which is not all that bad anyway for most of us. We get to think we are ‘bad’ when we want something for ourselves, feel guilty when we take care of Us.

Yesterday (night actually) I got mad at C. For coming in quite late and announcing that he would be getting up at half past four to depart for Portugal. I told him he was nuts and he was mad at me. Somewhere in the night we hugged and I though t it was ok, until in the morning he started stomping around announcing he was never going to bother me again and how he had thought he cold depend on me, but when he needed me I got mad. He refused to have a coffee, he refused to accept anything from me, just went on to put al hi stuff in the attack. Finally I got him to sit and calm down. I agreed I was mad, explained I was mad cause I thought it was total madness to work as hard as they had, and depart for Portugal with virtually no sleep at all. He said it is not my fault, and i could hardly just dump them. When talked a little, he cried, said he needed me behind him, just this once and I was angry. He cried. Funny thing, I dis not feel hurt, nor angry. It was so obvious he was totally tired out and at wits end. He said I rejected him and I said would he call all; the thing I did this past weekend rejecting, or hugging him after I said he was nuts, or a getting him things for the journey? He finally ‘conceded’ in letting me bring him to his friends house for the departure and after some time got a bit more relaxed and we kissed and hugged and he said thanks and when someone said: take it easy, don’t let them (meaning his friends) drive you nuts, he answered, smiling at me: I am nuts enough as it as, aren’t I? I said: wooh, look at the insight the man has, and we hugged again at laughed. It felt good, even though I thought I might me appeasing him, but I do not think so, cause I did not feel scared or angry. I just loved him and wanted him to feel better.

What do you think?

Another thing: yesterday I got a mail from someone, sort of offering me a job in Portugal I would really like to do in the area of eco-tourism and things like that. Did not jump at it, said I was very interested and would get back later when I returned from Portugal ( she knew I would not go there before next year anyhow). It seems that maybe I should go.....

Love to you all, take care.

AJ

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Cindy,

Good for you for educating yourself! However, it doesn’t sound like the counselor at the shelter is very adept at emotional abuse, just physical. That does not mean you are wrong or crazy to be feeling what you are feeling. Maybe his behavior doesn’t fit into a neat little package, but if you ask me, someone having an explosive temper, throwing things when angry, and name calling should would control most people in their normal decision making process.

My STBX never controlled the finances either. He never wanted anything to do with it. However, when things went wrong, or I tried to talk to him about things coming up, he would say I was complaining or that I spent too much, but never, ever, take the time to get involved in the decision making process. That would take me out of the position of blame. I now realize that was a way of him controlling me. He also never told me what to do, but again, he would conveniently throw it at me when he felt the need.

Your husband clearly has difficulty expressing his anger if he is throwing things. I believe that is a form of raging (Dr. Irene-help?). An abuser can have certain traits, and none of the others, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t an abuser. No one in life fits into a neat little package.

Not knowing what to think and second-guessing yourself is part of the “crazymaking”. I went through this for years. If you feel something is wrong, it probably is. Does it mean you have some imperfections too? Maybe, but no matter what, you shouldn’t have fear of someone else’s anger. Anger, if handled in a healthy manner can be a good thing. One shouldn’t have to worry about stuff being thrown or being called names. Don’t children behave that way until they are taught boundaries?

Sorry the advice you received wasn’t much help, but don’t give up. The person you spoke to probably had more experience with one type of abuse, and not the other, which is too bad. That doesn’t mean you are wrong. Keep looking for some help with this, as it can be overwhelming for one person to carry. Try a counselor who has experience with family/marriage issues, or maybe try another organization in the next town over.

Hang in there!

L

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Hi Cindy,

You have to go with what YOU know to be true. If your body tells you you are uncomfortable with this man, something IS wrong! You've tried, you've explained, you have worked on things, all to no avail and HE tells YOU you are the abuser It's typical. What happens is that even though in the process of trying to work things out, we non-abusers as human beings act out and behave badly, so all of a sudden we look like the abuser. Do NOT buy that line of "reasoning." Just get out and don't look back. He is trying to make you feel crazy. Keep a journal of everything he does and says and soon you will see what's what.

I went from happy and productive to being on antidepressants and not finishing any of my work because my ex told me I needed "help" and let me know that he was staying with me because HE was the good guy and I was the sick one, that HE was the one who was trying to be understanding of a crazy, volatile person. He also put on displays of rage and threw things and other stuff. This one sign is what you need to remember: No normal person repeatedly loses their temper to that point, and he could become dangerous to you. When you explain to counselors, give them that information and if they don't understand or can't help, you need another counselor. It's sad but often therapists don't get it - I had one of those too. Ask therapists if they know about verbal abuse because it's a pattern and some know about it and can help you and some don't, and they make it worse. You might feel pretty alone in this, so keep posting. Good luck!

Love, Perdida

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Cindy,

Perdida makes some excellent points! This pattern is so typical in this situation. I was always told I was the only one with the problem.

Main point to keep in mind: No normal person repeatedly loses their temper to the point they could become dangerous to you.

Not all counselors/therapists "get it". One of the best things a counselor pointed out to me was the simplest...She held a piece of paper right in front of her face and asked me, "can you see the writing when it's this close?" No. But as you remove yourself further back, the writing on the wall becomes much clearer.

Keep posting!

L

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Good morning,

I am trying to fully understand boundaries and I have a couple questions. The book I am reading says you have to have consequences with boundaries. How do I keep the consequences from being manipulative. For example, if I say "I've let you know that bothers me. I am not going to call you in the morning to wake you up - you need to set your alarm. If you are not here by 9:35 I will leave without you". Is this a fitting consequence to chronic lateness, or is it manipulative?

When you suggest accepting someone the way they are - how is does this fit with setting boundaries. If I accept that my partner has a temper problem, aren't I letting him infringe on my boundaries? I let him know I don't like him yelling at me, he continues to do it, so when he does I leave until he can settle down. If I stay in the relationship am I accepting his anger? If I accept his angry behavior, won't it continue?

Thanks, Suzanne

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Dear Perdida,

I found that I have the same problems as you do with being bold or "loud" in my statements and feelings. I know for me it is hard to change that because I have been taught that by my mother. I am trying very hard to not be like her. I think that I am doing it right. "But I am afraid that people won't like me because of my opinions, and actually my family MIGHT NOT as a matter of fact! And, that would be fine. They'll still love you. I don't feel like they know me at all because I never tell them how I really feel about just about anything. Is that life too, or just life with a dysfunctional family?"

I finally told my mom off. It was very difficult to do that and sometimes I still feel sad because it had to be done and sometimes I still doubt that I did the right thing. I had to finally set my boundaries weather or not she like it or not. I have done this before and she still hasn't got the point that she cannot run my life or accuse me of lying all the time. I cannot be fun with her and everything that I do is wrong. She has even gone so far as to make accusatory remarks that I cannot take care of my finances---I have never asked them for a penny and although she paid the taxes and title to my car, she has never, ever made one single car payment. I will never let her do that for fear she will retaliate and have it her way. This problem with my family runs deep with me. I was shocked because my dad took her side this time because he has always taken my side. So it has been since Mother's Day that I haven't talked with her. I don't want to talk with her because everything that I fell and say and do are lies with her. I can't handle that anymore. I have sent some e-mail to my father and I know my mom reads it too, but it isn't as close as it used to be.

"so I never tell them how I feel about my partners. I guess that's not normal. "

The first thing my mother brought up in our fight was how she thought that my husband and I were going to get a divorce. I told her some things that only would be shared between and mother and daughter and she used it against me. She then went after my father and said that maybe she and he should be the ones getting a divorce--no one even brought up the subject of divorce! So I don't tell her anything anymore. I have to distance myself from that.

Dear Theressa,

"Also my partner complains when you kiss him if you press on his lips. "Don't press my face" He says. On the other hand, people with intimacy problems will push you away when they get frightened of the closeness. This would be his problem."

Yes, that is my husband's problem. I would like to hear more on the subject of intimacy problems. When my husband does that (after we were married and not before) I do take it personally or have. Now that I know some of the problem I am more tolerant of it. Sometimes, not always, I will make him kiss me by holding his face and kissing him on the lips and then walking away. I leave it in his court, so to say. I get it out that I can show him that I love him and he has to deal with it. He asked me to marry him and not the other way around. So he must have felt at the time that he could handle a lifelong relationship.

I have the book about verbal abusive relationships laying around (The Verbally Abusive Relationship), but he has to really be at the floor level to notice it. I don't know if he is reading it, but some things have gotten better or is it that we are in the midst of the cycle. I am not sure which. I got a little mad at him the other day and raised my voice to him and he immediately told me to lower my voice as if I were a child. I just sat there and didn't say a thing, but in my mind I was thinking that I will just whisper and if he doesn't hear me then that is his problem. What should I have done? I didn't want to be treated as a child, but at the same time I didn't want a confrontation.

Thanks for listening, Debbie

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

http://www.oprah.com/phil/quiz/phil_quiz_control.html

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Dear AJ,

I think being able to mess up means you don't try to control things, you just let things happen. You live in truth.

Let me explain how I like you try to prevent things getting messed up and it results in pain anyway. (RON used to call it softening the blow initially but having an explosion on the inside cuz you end up getting hurt in the end. As you have to continue to control)

For example I would bend the truth if I had an accident, or made a mistake so as to soften the blow. Once I knocked my car wheel trim off and said "someone else did it and even went as far to say I confronted this person" (of course I didn't) but it took the blame off me or so I thought. WELL NO it made things worse. My partner said "Theressa who are you to confront and blame another without evidence" (words to that effect).

Another example is when I forget to do things. In the past I'd lied and say "Yes i did it" Then he'd find out I only just did it when he reminded me. He'd then explode and say "WHY did you lie".

To summaries: Be honest and let the other person react how they do. Then you can set a limit on any poor behaviour. such as "Please calm down" and if they continue behaving angrily say "I will speak to you later" then detach and go off and concentrate on your life.

SO it is HONEST, Let the other REACT as they choose, SET A LIMIT on any poor behaviour, DETACH if you have to.

You make a mistake, you admit it, you let others react, you protect yourself by setting limits, and detaching. THIS WAY YOU CAN LIVE YOUR LIFE WITHOUT STEPPING ON EGG SHELLS. The other person has to accept what is and if they react poorly you set limits.

With small things decide if it is worth arguing, if it is big work out your sane options.

THIS as appose to: bending the truth, blaming another, people pleasing such as apoligising and doing, doing for someone to get them back to loving you. Pleading, trying to explain why you did xxxxx. TRYING TO GAIN ATTENTION, MAKE PEACE.

PEACE comes from GOD/UNIVERSE if you try to force it, it back fires and NO one learns or grows. GROWTH and REAL PEACE only come from GOD/UNIVERSE knows we've learnt. The lesson can only be learnt if we are truthful. WHEN we are not we prevent growth. WE prevent our spouses from learning to gain self control.

Take care Theressa

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Dr Irene,

I asked and you responded: DR IRENE why is it that my partner seems to comfortably be able to balance his life, do all his housework, be so perfect? And I find it so hard? For the same reasons you find it comfortable to help others and be so good at it.

Is this to do with him controlling his environment like I try to control and over help others to Control my ANXIETY. So it is about controlling ANXIETY. He puts all his energy into making his environment safe, like I put my energy (slowly stopping) in to over helping.

I realise now though as RON said we have to set priorities. We have to have goals and decide what is most important as we can't do everything.

"Is this building my life, or am I trying to build someone else of which I have no control so is not a good use of energy".

Take care Theressa

PS ASHA and STEVE's Posts have really helped me. I to try to get my partner to communicate and feel rejected when he doesn't share my desire to talk. I KNOW NOW THAT he has every right to say he doesn't want to talk, and it is not his problem if I am anxious about this. I have to accept it is up to him how he spends his ENERGY/TIME, it is his CHOICE not mine. Yes. This is an important message. Nobody has the right to "decide" how another should behave.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Hi,

I really appreciate the posts and the content of the website. I am now convinced that I am not going out of my mind. The most helpful comments (probably not verbatim) were ' the abuser can be so subtle that you'd actually have to live with them to see it' and that I am responsible for my own boundaries. This past week while on vacation I finally woke up and said this must stop. I won't go into details but rest assured my H is very typical and so am I. After one discussion I asked him what he would tell his mother if he were to discuss our situation with her. He admitted that he would tell her that I was too sensitive, too emotional, too touchy and that all he did was bend over backward to make me happy and I didn't appreciate any of his efforts. He was quite proud of himself and all he did. I was shocked that he saw himself as having NO responsibility. He said that maybe he was a little short with me sometimes, but that shouldn't be anything to be upset about.

You know, I am a well respected executive in my field. I have been an idiot in my personal life, accommodating a bad attitude, bad moods his short temper and sulking. I've just awoken and I am mad. At him and me. I have been taking far too much responsibility for what he feels, acts like etc. I've got a lot of anger and that's making it very easy to find my boundaries. How ever, it doesn't seem healthy that the only way to fuel the boundaries is with this anger. Can anyone tell me how this is done by mentally healthy people? ALso - how does one cope when the spouse displays the triggering behavior without simply giving in and starting the cycle all over again? I am thankful to have found you.  The anger is a signal that something is wrong. Right now, the anger is too big because you've been ignoring it for so long. Learn to pay attention to your anger to hear the message and pick up some assertion skills, to express yourself. Keep up the good work!

Mae

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Dear Kathy, I keep meaning to say that treatment for PTS really does help. I had a session a while ago and it worked. Hugs, hope life sorts.. jay

I was going to post reams; but tonight my brain feels full of cat fur! jay

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Thanks Jay....Hope you are taking care of YOU and not worrying about me or the others here!

I am back to reading, and reading and then reading some more. Wow, what a lot of work I need to do on me to get me to where I want to be!

I am better about the incident the other night - just let the feelings dwindle so they're not scary anymore.

Oh, thanks to whoever posted the link to Oprah's website. Lots of good info there from Dr. Phil. I printed out the life laws and am going to post them at home where I can read them often.

Theressa - you sound back on track. I was going to respond to your post yesterday but lost track of time and never got around to it. Glad to see the doc's blue pencil.

I'm still not sure what I want to do as far as my boyfriend is concerned. I tried to have a conversation last night with him and we didn't communicate well.

Kathy

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Hi Everybody

To the anonymous poster who answered my post a couple of pages back I have not read The Gift of Fear,  it was on my list of books to read (I purchased it over the weekend). Thanks for the tip.

On Sunday morning I was doing my usual thing watching CBS Sunday Morning and my partner woke up, sat next to me on the sofa and I said "Good Morning" and his response was to criticize me and start calling me names. I said to him your starting already I don't have to sit here and take this I am going downstairs. So I went about my business and later when I came back upstairs he was sitting on the sofa crying. I felt so guilty, I know his response to my actions aren't my responsibility. Maybe I felt guilty because I did this in anger, I wasn't yelling but I am sure he hear the anger in my voice. I felt bad for him, what's wrong with this picture? He abuses me, I set a boundary and detach, he cries and feels bad and I feel guilty. Then I become angry because I feel guilty and then I beat myself up, maybe this and maybe that etc. THIS IS YUCKY!!!!

OK now that I got that out, moving to a different subject. Last nite I was in my yoga class and my teacher was reading from one his books about meditation. The book stated that meditation is not for people who eat too much and you should have balance in your life etc.. Well, this popped a button for me since like he always says I have a "beautiful round body". I was thinking does he mean if you have a weight problem you shouldn't meditate?? Am I not supposed to participate in opening and closing meditation?? Logically speaking I knew this couldn't be true, but the doubt was there. In the past I would not have said anything and sat around and stewed about this, but something inside of me said, Just ask him to clarify the meaning or otherwise I would continue to think about this in every practice. Sharon, Theressa and Tim this is something I learned from you. Sitting around making up little stories in your head about what might have been meant is nuts It's always best to ask for clarification or to speak up if you think you've been misunderstood.

Thanks for Listening. Kala

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Mae,

Try reading Dr. Irene's Article in Contents on "Victim Think". It helped me tremendously understand why I was so angry and deal with that justified anger and rage. The key was not to act out on it no matter how justified I felt.

I can't tell you how much rage I felt. It was also combined with 25 years of stuffing feelings from my childhood abuse. It came out all mixed in together. I had to literally sit and sort each feeling and incident. I am still sorting through my feelings. My husband is still blaming my childhood as to why I am depressed, angry, and acting out. It's both. He is triggering it. I am learning how to cope with all my emotions at one time. I accept that my reactions or acting out is my responsibility. He is still responsible for his actions and misbehavior. I am learning to understand that his behavior has nothing to do with me. We are bouncing off each other.

I read those articles mentioned above for validation. I am attending my support groups. As I learn that I have choices I do not feel so powerless. I am noticing I do not act out my anger as much. Now that I have taken my power back. I have learned to walk away or go cool down by walking this helps me put it in perspective. It's not as fustrating. It's been a relief. It's a process you have to go through. It's not like you can read it and skip over the uncomfortable parts. I really did not realize this until now. I kept thinking if I understood it then it would make it better or easier on me to cope with. I had to learn it the hard way. I have since learned what works and what does not work. I am more open to learning a different approach and perspective. It does get easier with time, practice, and patience.

:) Lisa

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Kala,

It was me, Lisa that recommended that book. It's great. There is also "Protecting the Gift" to teach you how to teach children to listen to their intuition and what their bodies are telling them about someone who is not respecting their boundaries or hearing the word "no". Big Red Flags.

I can go back into history and see the red flags I missed along the way. I am learning to forgive myself for not knowing any better. I really did the best that I could. Now that I know better I am trying to do better.

I have had those same feelings of guilt when I assert my boundaries. I have heard my husband using guilt and shame to manipulate me into doubting myself or my decisions. I am still not sure if he is aware he is doing this. I can't hop into his head and he won't tell me. I am aware of it and stopped listening to it. His latest statement was "Our marriage was over since you won't listen to me. You chose to do it your way." All I did was tell him I was not ready to go into counseling because I felt as though he was still blaming me for his behavior and trying to turn it around to be my fault. I was tired of him saying I was abusive because I set boundaries. I did not feel like I could trust him. I was not ready. He ended up having an affair (again) after he promised not to since it hurt me so bad. He says he was trying to get me to go to tell me he was sorry for cheating and not allowing me the space to grieve, be angry, or heal the first time while he was pressuring me to go into therapy with him and cheating on me this time before our marriage was officially over. He says "Our marriage was over." I felt in my heart that it was not over until the papers were signed, and we allowed each other time and space to heal and change. I felt we were spiritually connected until the annulment went through the church. He promised me he would never cheat on me but he rationalized it by just saying "it's over", and now I don't trust him. I understand the relationship was over because there was no going back. I just kept hanging onto that glimmer or hope he would "wake up" or "snap out of it". I wonder if it is beyond repair at this point? I know I did the right thing by stopping the cycle of abuse, and setting limits. I am learning how to cope with those yucky feelings that "it's my fault or that I did something wrong." He really messed with my perceptions. My family of origin did not help this either. I had no reason to trust yet. I am learning to trust mySelf.

So I would like to offer what you may have already been told to challenge those irrational feelings of guilt. Write them out. Work them out with a therapist or Dr. Irene. I have written them out and read them out loud. I can not believe sometimes how I sound. If I was seeing this in a friend I would say "Of coarse you are entitled to your feelings". For some reason I say I believe something but I don't really feel I deserve it. It boiled down to my feeling worthless....Then you have to challenge those....It opens up layers and layers. You then see it more clearly.

I wonder if you'd like to share some of what you feel guilty about here with us. We may all be able to help each other challenge those beliefs. I will think of some of my own to offer.

Lisa

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Hi all, Sharon here,

No news on the home front, but some fun stuff. There's been some sightings of Dr. Psycho, however no communication between the two of us. We ignore each other which I think is best. At first, I felt slighted but then I reached into my own place of feelings and realized I don't have anything to say to him anyway. I need to heal and contact with him just pushes buttons. Time needs to be moving forward to a comfort zone for me if I want to heal more from this relationship. In the meantime, he's spending time with an old woman friend who he claimed long ago a real nut case and someone he's never slept with. She's not spending nights over there, so for once he may have told the truth. And also 2 things happened, last Saturday when I took my walk, he and his friend were in his friend's truck and they were following me taking my walking route when they could have taken the direct road. They then got 'caught' and he put his hat in his face to hide. He should have hid the hat instead! I just do my thing in life now and not contact him for anything! I'm not even in communication with mutual friends because I want to stay aloof - its the only thing that keeps me strong. I feel toxic when I get wrap up in talking with his friends because I feel they are sizing up the situation - and me - because they are political animals - what they really are Dr. Psycho's trained mushrooms. I call them 'little pet mushrooms'. Dr. Psycho treats his friends with abuse but his little friends are willing to be fed s*** and be left in the dark. The other thing that happened was that he called a mutual friend and told her to give me a message to call him 'anytime'. That doesn't even dignify a response. Why would he go through a friend? He knows he can't contact me until October or I'll eat him alive, but to call a 70-year old woman and tell her that? Giggle.

Yep! I've lost almost 10 lbs. - looking real fit - and all of his little mushrooms, Dr. Psycho included, can really just jump in the lake. Two of his friends are driving by my house checking to see if I'm home. I see them! I've gotten 4 hang ups here at work since last Thursday. I see Dr. Psycho on the way to work every morning and I just walk with my head held high. So, yes - I am close to my goal - as I conveyed last January - my grocery store vision is closer than I think. He can have his little '9 miles of bad road' women friends - this one woman who's been hanging out with him looks like a man - drives a truck - and probably drinks like a fish and swears like a sailor - because those 'junk yard dog' kinda women are the only ones who will go toe to toe with an abuser. Maybe she'll even hit him if he gets verbally abusive with her.

Sounds like I'm having fun with this post! Oh well! It just needs to come out! Its not like I'm taking his inventory or anything. (smile)

Love, Sharon

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Hi All. My name is Kate and this is my first time on your board. I found this site and after reading and being able to relate to many of your posts, I thought I would take that first step and make contact with other people dealing with verbal abuse.

I think I've read all the books and have most of the head knowledge, just can't seem to own it and stay aware of it. I told a friend recently that I seem to have spent years (17 actually) with my head burried in the sand. Then every so often, something said or done causes me to pop my head out of the sand and I see this life I am living and I am sickened by my weakness.

However, maybe you can relate to this: when you start to look at your life and you see the abuse that you are condoning and ignoring on a daily basis and how numbed you have become - its so painfuol that all I end up doing is plopping the head back in the sand.

I am a mother of 2 boys (12 & 13) who, along with me have endured a lifetime of verbal abuse from my husband. This is what I am currently struggling with: the realization that I have allowed my children to endure so much pain and that the role of peacekeeper and buffer I have played all these years has not prevented my two boys from suffering.

I don't want to run on too long, but I truly hope to find others who have been through this and can offer suggestions on how to keep one's head FIRMLY plucked out of the sand! :)

Thanks for letting me join your board and I hope to be able to share with you and learn the skills you speak of like setting restrictions and boundaries; disengaging, etc.

Take care, Kate

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Hey Cats,

Don't say "ouch" but I answered my ex's email so he would stop calling. I told him I hadn't returned his calls because I didn't have a phone card and I had been at the movies and then swimming when he called. I said I was glad he had fun and that I read about his conference in the paper and how exciting it must have been for him. That I sold my good guitar and was putting my car on the market in a couple of days (the car he wanted me to give him while I am in Brazil, HAH not likely!) Blah blah blah. Yes, I made nice. (Okay, I was poking a little)

And he did stop calling. Good. Because he sent an identical email back to me. Exactly the same length, exactly the same tone. He said he was talking to his BRAZILIAN friend (!) (where did that friend come from?? why, when my ex was current didn't we spend some time with this Brazilian since I do my research there??) and that the friend plays bossa nova guitar (that's what I got a masters in, again where has this so-called friend been? we could have had great musical get-togethers... and he whines about how boring his town is) (and what's with the guitar theme - the mirroring is sort of creepy), that the friend is returning to Brazil and that he doesn't like his city (dig, dig, even Brazilians don't like Brazil)... Let's see, how many one-ups was that in a paragraph and a half? Not keeping score or anything. The exercise is about being aware and remembering what I lived with for 3 years, and remembering that it isn't anything I care to go back to.

Which reminds me of a point I thought of awhile ago - Sometimes you HAVE to keep a little score. If we , us Cats in the Box here, don't keep score, we will forget or minimize the put downs and blaming discounting and etc that we are trying to get out from under. I like to "keep score" in a journal. Then, when I waver, I can read my journal and I go "Oh, yeah, EEWWWW. Never Again!"

So anyway, he will not call at least for a few days. I guess I wasn't grateful enough for his attention and now he is mad. I think he got the message that I won't be crawling back, so that frees me up to continue what I was doing, screening my calls and not responding to emails anymore. And not having to make any pronouncements about what I intend to do and why.

Okay, this was a vent because I feel icky. I feel like he was pretending to have a Brazilian friend to wave under my nose and make me feel like I am missing something. And I know who the friend is and they aren't really friends at all. It's pathetic, and it feels yucky.

You know what? Every time I communicate with him, I feel yucky. Today I opened my eyes under the water in a pool and they're bloodshot again. Maybe I will swim every day as a reminder! Or I could get goggles. Screening my calls will be like goggles.

Ick ick ick. Time for a shower.

Love Perdida

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Ohhhh, I don't know - I feel icky but I sound picky... very destabilizing... Perdida

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Dr. Irene, My 8 year old son seems to be obsessed with keeping friends to the point of constantly having to follow them like a puppy dog. Even if they are mean to him he just Has to play with them and allow them in his house at all times. He'll demand that neighbor children stay in the house and play with him even after he has told them to get out of his house. Can you help us?

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Perdida,

I'm don't get the impression you are being picky, but maybe you are feeling icky. Isn't that what happens when we face the reality of what we are dealing with? Keeping score? Again, I don't get that impression. You are just taking a survey of what happened to remind yourself of the reality. If none us really paid attention to the situation, it would be minimizing. Isn't that what we are learning not to do?

Maybe you were just "opening your eyes" to remind yourself what you were dealing with, and they are bloodshot from his underlying agenda of the conversation-LOL!

Your answering machine can serve as your "goggles"-LOL!

Just providing some validation that you are not alone. While I let the machine pick up the majority of the time, when I do pick up and listen, I feel icky too.

L

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Welcome Kate,

For me denial was a way to survive horrible abuse. I would deal with it little bits at a time until I was able to see the whole picture and get out. It takes a lot of physical, emotional and mental strength to get away from an abusive situation - especially when you have kids involved. It was so easy to second guess the right decision. Maybe I should stay for the kids... Then I beat myself up for exposing them to so much aweful stuff - adding more pain and guilt to a mountain of pain already there!

Counseling was a life saver for me along with the books, and friends and learning to take care of myself. I did a therapy called EMDR and it was so healing and wonderful!!! It totally changed my life and my future. I went from feeling unlovable, stupid... Now I know I am loved, smart, strong and competant.

Take care of you, Suzanne

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Setting limits/(knowing your boundaries):

What you will accept and what you won't accept = Your boundaries

If someone does something unacceptable = them crossing your boundaries

If someone crosses your boundaries you can set a limit

E.g Someone is yelling and screaming: LIMIT would be "Please calm down"

If this person continues to scream you only have one more option to REMOVE (CONTROL YOURSELF ONLY), You say "I am not discussing this any further" THEN YOU REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THEM. You could leave the room, the house, whatever it takes to get you away from their angry outburst.

REMOVING YOURSELF = Detaching

During detaching you do SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE, BUILD YOUR LIFE. You don't go away and dwell on this person, on what they did etc.... DETACHING IS ABOUT TAKING CARE OF YOU. IT ISN'T ABOUT you working out how you can fix things.

You must not try to fix things, or make them better. YOU DON'T Apologise and you certainly don't accept the blame, however, much the abuser tries to put it on to you. SO WHAT YOU MADE A MISTAKE, HAD AN ACCIDENT THAT IS HUMAN, NO NEED TO APOLOGISE for being human. You go on as normal.

If it is a small thing. Not a big issue YOU don't need to verbally set a limit you can just ACT. For example the other week my partner acted passive-aggressive. He made me a cuppa coffee and as he handed it to me, I didn't take it. IT WAS BOILING HOT. He wouldn't give me the cup handle so I refused to take the cup. He acted passive-aggressively and poured it down the sink. THEN he came into the living room and switched over the programme on his tv I was watching.

What did I do? I detached, I got up tided up my things, went and made myself a cold drink and then went to bed to rest. He shouted to me some things. I ignored him, I didn't engage. I continued on up to bed.

AND here is an example of when I did engage and did try to fix things:

The other week my partner had a deck chair in the living room. I adjusted it earlier so I could lie back on it. "My partner" moved the chair still reclined. Later when he got up off it, it folded up. He got a fright. ANYWAY he blamed me for him falling off it and getting a fright. I ENGAGED. I said "Don't blame me for you falling off the chair, it is not my fault." He continue to argue and I continued to defend. AFTER A SHORT TIME I GOT FED UP OF LOSING since he was insistent it was my fault, and I saw the arguement going no where so I went to leave the room.

He didn't like this and so he tried to control me. AND I TRIED TO CONTROL MY ANXIETY. He yelled come back here. I said "NO" Feeling somewhat empowered. UNTIL he raised his voice again. THEN RETURNED ANXIOUS ANNIE. Yes I felt so anxious and need to stop these feelings. I started to go back into the LIVING ROOM. But I stopped myself. I carried on up the stairs.

My partner didn't say anything. THOUGH ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOID had I done a couple of things.

WHICH ARE:

I could of been healthier and not defended, or explained. INSTEAD I COULD OF: Agreed with the true part of the what my partner was saying "I reclined the chair" NO MORE needed to be said this would have deflated his anger somewhat. YOU SEE ABUSERS fear imperfections especially in themselves. SO THIS deflates things.

Secondly I could have then detached and left the room.

Defending, pleading, begging, explaining, conviencing, trying to convert, are not good for you nor for your abuser.

If you feel fear face your fears and they disappear. You still feel anxious but you can calm this to by breathing. And telling yourself you don't need to buy into GUILT, FEAR, OBLIGATION. "I can stand it"

I can stand it I know they are trying to make me feel guilty.

I can stand it he/she is only trying to scare me and use fear. (MOST of the threats are empty) Abusers say they are leaving many times. (ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER - are they still here?? So why believe them.

Don't tell the abuser he or she is lying. Just know they are saying what they need to, to control you at that moment.

FEAR AND GUILT ARE THEIR WEAPONS TO GET YOU TO COMPLY, don't buy them, they are too costly. The cost YOURSELFESTEEM.

ONLY say Yes when YOU know it won't harm you. IF your tired, ill, or have other arrangements. THE ANSWER IS NO.

No need to feel guilty, your priority is you.

ONLY ONE ACCEPTION TO THIS RULE. CHILDREN, Children do need unconditional attention. OTHERWISE they attention seek.

The rule is someone you are suppose to care for, (YOUR CHILDREN) Someone your not meant to care for (OTHER ADULTS, unless they are bed ridden so you physically care for them, or are elderly)

EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ADULT WORLD IS ABLE TO CARE FOR THEMSELVES, AND THE SOONER YOU STOP CARETAKING THEM, THE SOONER THERE COPING SKILLS WILL GROW.

CARETAKING IS NOT LOVING, IT IS STEALING SOMEONE ELSE RIGHT TO LEARN AND GROW. RESCUING MAKES THINGS WORSE.

It is also true when I say give children unconditional attention. THAT DOES NOT mean live their lives for them. It means encourage them to do things they are capable of, though guide them in things, help problem solves by asking questions when they are stuck. It means hugging them and then guiding them. THIS IS NOT RESCUING. This is containing. This is helping with the bits they aren't able to do yet. Like feelings, comforting them and helping them then by asking questions to problem solve.

TEACHING is also part of a parents job:

Teaching children how to: set limits (Know boundaries) Allowing children to make choices on things that are okay to make choices on Teaching children to detach Anger control skills

I taught Melissa how to set limits on her friend who seemed to boss Melissa about alot. I said set a limit "You tell her you won't play with her if she continues to boss you about." If she continues to boss you about GO and find another person to play with (you are lovely person you don't need to stay playing with someone who doesn't treat you right) this is detaching.

I am now learning also to accept that things that are important to adults are not to children. For example Melissa was making a model out of card etc for me and her daddy. I asked her to help me bring some dishes into the kitchen she said "Mommy I am busy at the moment can I do them later?" WELL I could be a BOSSY parent and said "NO do them when I say" OR I COULD RESPECT Melissa and say "Yes okay, if what your doing is more important"

Take care, I am glad I share my learning as it means I reinenforce my learning and also IF YOU GIVE CONSCIOUSLY WHEN you really can the universe gives you more. IT IS WHEN YOU GIVE OUT OF NEEDINESS AND FEAR you don't receive.

Take care, you can all get through this, (Me to) with practice, practice, practice. AND reading CO-dependent NO MORE by Melody Beattie.

Theressa, signing off to get on with her own life.

Submit
Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Setting limits/(knowing your boundaries):

What you will accept and what you won't accept = Your boundaries

If someone does something unacceptable = them crossing your boundaries

If someone crosses your boundaries you can set a limit

E.g Someone is yelling and screaming: LIMIT would be "Please calm down"

If this person continues to scream you only have one more option to REMOVE (CONTROL YOURSELF ONLY), You say "I am not discussing this any further" THEN YOU REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THEM. You could leave the room, the house, whatever it takes to get you away from their angry outburst.

REMOVING YOURSELF = Detaching

During detaching you do SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE, BUILD YOUR LIFE. You don't go away and dwell on this person, on what they did etc.... DETACHING IS ABOUT TAKING CARE OF YOU. IT ISN'T ABOUT you working out how you can fix things.

You must not try to fix things, or make them better. YOU DON'T Apologise and you certainly don't accept the blame, however, much the abuser tries to put it on to you. SO WHAT YOU MADE A MISTAKE, HAD AN ACCIDENT THAT IS HUMAN, NO NEED TO APOLOGISE for being human. You go on as normal.

If it is a small thing. Not a big issue YOU don't need to verbally set a limit you can just ACT. For example the other week my partner acted passive-aggressive. He made me a cuppa coffee and as he handed it to me, I didn't take it. IT WAS BOILING HOT. He wouldn't give me the cup handle so I refused to take the cup. He acted passive-aggressively and poured it down the sink. THEN he came into the living room and switched over the programme on his tv I was watching.

What did I do? I detached, I got up tided up my things, went and made myself a cold drink and then went to bed to rest. He shouted to me some things. I ignored him, I didn't engage. I continued on up to bed.

AND here is an example of when I did engage and did try to fix things:

The other week my partner had a deck chair in the living room. I adjusted it earlier so I could lie back on it. "My partner" moved the chair still reclined. Later when he got up off it, it folded up. He got a fright. ANYWAY he blamed me for him falling off it and getting a fright. I ENGAGED. I said "Don't blame me for you falling off the chair, it is not my fault." He continue to argue and I continued to defend. AFTER A SHORT TIME I GOT FED UP OF LOSING since he was insistent it was my fault, and I saw the arguement going no where so I went to leave the room.

He didn't like this and so he tried to control me. AND I TRIED TO CONTROL MY ANXIETY. He yelled come back here. I said "NO" Feeling somewhat empowered. UNTIL he raised his voice again. THEN RETURNED ANXIOUS ANNIE. Yes I felt so anxious and need to stop these feelings. I started to go back into the LIVING ROOM. But I stopped myself. I carried on up the stairs.

My partner didn't say anything. THOUGH ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOID had I done a couple of things.

WHICH ARE:

I could of been healthier and not defended, or explained. INSTEAD I COULD OF: Agreed with the true part of the what my partner was saying "I reclined the chair" NO MORE needed to be said this would have deflated his anger somewhat. YOU SEE ABUSERS fear imperfections especially in themselves. SO THIS deflates things.

Secondly I could have then detached and left the room.

Defending, pleading, begging, explaining, conviencing, trying to convert, are not good for you nor for your abuser.

If you feel fear face your fears and they disappear. You still feel anxious but you can calm this to by breathing. And telling yourself you don't need to buy into GUILT, FEAR, OBLIGATION. "I can stand it"

I can stand it I know they are trying to make me feel guilty.

I can stand it he/she is only trying to scare me and use fear. (MOST of the threats are empty) Abusers say they are leaving many times. (ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER - are they still here?? So why believe them.

Don't tell the abuser he or she is lying. Just know they are saying what they need to, to control you at that moment.

FEAR AND GUILT ARE THEIR WEAPONS TO GET YOU TO COMPLY, don't buy them, they are too costly. The cost YOURSELFESTEEM.

ONLY say Yes when YOU know it won't harm you. IF your tired, ill, or have other arrangements. THE ANSWER IS NO.

No need to feel guilty, your priority is you.

ONLY ONE ACCEPTION TO THIS RULE. CHILDREN, Children do need unconditional attention. OTHERWISE they attention seek.

The rule is someone you are suppose to care for, (YOUR CHILDREN) Someone your not meant to care for (OTHER ADULTS, unless they are bed ridden so you physically care for them, or are elderly)

EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ADULT WORLD IS ABLE TO CARE FOR THEMSELVES, AND THE SOONER YOU STOP CARETAKING THEM, THE SOONER THERE COPING SKILLS WILL GROW.

CARETAKING IS NOT LOVING, IT IS STEALING SOMEONE ELSE RIGHT TO LEARN AND GROW. RESCUING MAKES THINGS WORSE.

It is also true when I say give children unconditional attention. THAT DOES NOT mean live their lives for them. It means encourage them to do things they are capable of, though guide them in things, help problem solves by asking questions when they are stuck. It means hugging them and then guiding them. THIS IS NOT RESCUING. This is containing. This is helping with the bits they aren't able to do yet. Like feelings, comforting them and helping them then by asking questions to problem solve.

TEACHING is also part of a parents job:

Teaching children how to: set limits (Know boundaries) Allowing children to make choices on things that are okay to make choices on Teaching children to detach Anger control skills

I taught Melissa how to set limits on her friend who seemed to boss Melissa about alot. I said set a limit "You tell her you won't play with her if she continues to boss you about." If she continues to boss you about GO and find another person to play with (you are lovely person you don't need to stay playing with someone who doesn't treat you right) this is detaching.

I am now learning also to accept that things that are important to adults are not to children. For example Melissa was making a model out of card etc for me and her daddy. I asked her to help me bring some dishes into the kitchen she said "Mommy I am busy at the moment can I do them later?" WELL I could be a BOSSY parent and said "NO do them when I say" OR I COULD RESPECT Melissa and say "Yes okay, if what your doing is more important"

Take care, I am glad I share my learning as it means I reinenforce my learning and also IF YOU GIVE CONSCIOUSLY WHEN you really can the universe gives you more. IT IS WHEN YOU GIVE OUT OF NEEDINESS AND FEAR you don't receive.

Take care, you can all get through this, (Me to) with practice, practice, practice. AND reading CO-dependent NO MORE by Melody Beattie.

Theressa, signing off to get on with her own life.

Submit
Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Steve here.

Asha: "And yes, I still wonder if for my own sake, I should have just called the vet and asked a few questions (risking Steve's wrath)."

Hehe. Wrath? Did you eat from the tree which I forbade you?

So...back to the planet - yes, I wonder, how different the outcome would be if you had said, "Steve, *I* would like to call the vet just to satisfy *my* own curiousity and needs", instead of "Steve, don't you think *YOU* should call the vet? I'll pay for it if we need to take him in..."

I see a huge difference in these 2 approaches.

One is completely within your boundaries, and I would have been a big dolt to argue with you on it.

The other, is putting pressure on me to do what *you* think is right, and *taking care* of me when I am not asking for it.

I believe I see what the doc is getting at.

Also, to clear up some weird misunderstanding some seem to have about the dog situation...it's not like I was dumping the dog off at Asha's while I went on holidays. The kids and I would come over EVERY day and take both my dog and Asha's dog for walks and hikes and Asha would come with us if she wasn't busy.

She would often ask me to take her dog for walks/hikes when she was just too busy. I never EVER thought that meant she was dumping responsibility on me for her dog.

I guess we DO see some things very differently. Asha appears to believe that when I ask her to keep my dog at her place (since I can't have him in my apartment) I am asking her to take on all this responsibility. I'm not like that. Perhaps others are and she is putting that template on me. I just don't fit it.

When I ask her to keep my dog, I am saying..."could you do me a favour?" Not - "Can you assume all responsibility for whether my dog lives or dies or is happy or sad or hungry or rich or poor or a liberal or conservative...etc.?"

Oh my, I did go on didn't I?

:)

Steve

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Hello All - Jody here,

It's been a while since I have posted anything, but I am a diligent reader.

I've been feeling quite yucky of late. It's been two months now since my separation from my abuser, and I have not heard from him. My self-esteem is just really low right now. He basically took every opportunity he had to tell me that I was worthless in his eyes - and that I was treated badly because I simply was not worth it. In my heart I know this is not true - but it really stings to hear it. I am terrified that I am the only person he has ever treated this way. He is currently involved with a young 19-22 year old girl - who after one week of involvement, moved into his house (he is 42). I wonder if she is getting better treatment, because somehow she is worth it - and I am not. I know that he has a pattern of abuse - but my self-esteem is so low right now that I am starting to believe all the terrible things he said to me. He lives next door to my parents, and my mother told me the other day that his girlfriend was outside yelling at him, because apparently he had killed, or done something to the flowers she had planted in the yard. This has been my only proof that he may be repeating his pattern of abuse thus far. Having concrete proof that he treats all women this way would make me feel so much better. I am really hurting right now.

Ouch! :-(

- Jody

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Dear All,

I would like to share this with you:

STROKES - Transactional Psychological term

Strokes what is it?

Firstly we benefit greatly from being with people who are HONEST, TENDER, LOVING, APPRECIATIVE WITH.

Rather than with People who say mean things.

To grow we need to be treated respectfully, nicely to grow, and feel good.

TO HUG instead of to HIT or touch in a positive way is more healthy.

NOW here is the secret you all want to know, to grow:

Eating sugar increases our production of the super heros ENDORPHINS (so alcohol, and chocolate eaters no why they eat and drink theses)

THOUGH the secret is there is a more healthy alternative to these vices:

What is it? (should I tell you, well, go on then LOL)

Hugging, YES it is hugging, positive touch. THIS is the magic ingredient that also increases the production ENDORPHINS

So you know now why TRUBBLE looks so well, and why your cat, dog etc come for a pat and hug etc. OR why you go to your cat, dog etc for a hug, a cuddle.

ALSO compliments (are positive strokes) Feel the compliment accept it, smile, say thank you, feel it through you, appreciate it, feel happy about it. Take it into your heart. IT is showing you how loveable you are CELEBRATING YOUR BLESSINGS.

The more good things we hear, the more good things we believe about ourselves, the better we feel. The better we get.

A REAL FRIEND SAYS WITH REAL love:

"You're having problems, I care, and I'll listen, but I won't and can't do it for you."

(YES DR IRENE I am glad you let me answer my own posts, you made me grow. Maybe the rest of you here could try this technique. REPOST an answer to yourself)

SO ARE YOU ALL LISTENING CATS, CO-dependents.

Love and hugs to you all, your growing, growing, growing. With lots of practice, practice, practice.

You can speed up this practice if you look at your interactions and see what behaviours you use that are attention seeking and don't work.

http://drirene.com/cofam.htm http://drirene.com/blaming_defensive_victim.htm http://drirene.com/copage.htm

Take a look at this URL, do you do any of these things?

http://drirene.com/codepend1.htm

Take care Theressa

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Dear Steve,

Two approaches that is a good lesson for all of us co-dependents, doing things to take care of our own needs APPROACH 1.

versus asking others to do things so we feel better APPROACH 2.

Thank you Theressa

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Dear Steve,

Two approaches that is a good lesson for all of us co-dependents, doing things to take care of our own needs APPROACH 1.

versus asking others to do things so we feel better APPROACH 2. (this is asking for reassurance, approval)

Thank you Theressa

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Dear Steve,

Two approaches that is a good lesson for all of us co-dependents, Sharing our own needs and doing things to take care of our own needs APPROACH 1.

versus asking others to do things so we feel better APPROACH 2. (this is asking for reassurance, approval)

Thank you Theressa

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Jody,

My therapist told me that my husband could choose to not get the help he needed or change. He went out and found a single young girl to replace me. I know what you mean when you say it stings. Just remember that his choice to do this has nothing to do with you. My husband truly believes "If you would just...." then he would be happy and fulfilled. He told me that he would find someone that would "make him happy". I told him that I was in therapy to learn how to take care of myself so that we could be happy together.....It was his job to work on his half. He had to learn that it was his job to *make* himself happy. So....It's something that they have to go out and find out on their own. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 marriages before they actually catch on.

So let him go not only for him to do what he needs to learn his lesson but for you to be able to learn how to take care of yourself. Once you are away for a while you will grieve, then learn from the experience, grow stronger and that zest for life comes back.....then you will automatically attract someone to you....Just have faith :)

I kept reminding myself for one if this women did not listen to my warning that he was cheating, abusive, and controlling to me which made it likely that he would do the same to her....then she will eventually learn on her own when their honeymoon was over.

You can bet that new girl will figure it out. So consider yourself lucky not to be her right now starting all over.....Ugh....Can you imagine? I figure I put 15 years into learning this. I am using this lesson to spend the next 15 years not making that same mistake!!!

Hugs to you today.

LisaMM

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Theressa,

My therapist told me the same thing about Actions Speak Louder than words. My husband said he cared about me but would not allow me to feel or talk about my concerns. He would threaten me to leave but then stayed to bully me into backing down. He would try to tell me he was sorry but then be doing exactly what he was sorry for. My body was telling me for years that this was someone that I could not trust. He kept saying he loved me but did everything to push me away and blame me for his actions. I stopped listening to what he says a long time ago. I started watching his actions.

When you can back up and watch what they do then you realize that he is doing and saying two completely different things.....No wonder you feel like you are receiving *mixed messages*.

Hey, confession from me......I will utilize this same theory in looking at my "stuff".....I said I wanted to lose weight but I sat and ate ice cream every night. I did not get up exercise. I must have complained for years that I was tired of being overweight but I did not DO anything to take that weight off....Oh, yes I did I went to the doctor and asked him for some magic pills to help me boost my metabolism. He gave them to me. He said, "You know walking is much more effective." Did I listen...Nope. Now you bet my tail end is getting out there now that I see I am responsible for my actions. Since my husband is not around to blame you bet I realized I better get out and exercise! Hey, my chocolate lab appreciates this new awareness too!

I tell you it's absolutely wonderful to realize I have all the power in the world to change ME !!! Plus now I have this added benefit of natural endorphins. Watch out World Here I Come :)

LisaMM

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

I am currently going through a very ugly divorce with an active alcoholic/verbal abuser. He has been physically abusive to me in the past - twice on our honeymoon and once before we got married. I am just wondering what I can do other than totally ignore him to try and curtail some of his ultimate control freak outbursts. I took our daughter (she's 3) to the dentist today and he was supposed to go - I sent him the address twice - but he didn't show up. He called to ask how it went - he acted genuinely sincere and nice. I went on and on about how great it was and I was so glad that she had a good experience because I had a bad experience when I was little and so on. He asked where it was. I immediately felt his tone change - he was planning on saying that he went too. I told him that I had already sent him the address. He started yelling at me asking "Where the f!@# is it?" At that point I told him to call and get directions like I did and he started. The name calling, calling me crazy, etc. I know I should've just hung up the phone and that I engage as much as he does. But, what scares me is he now is saying he's going to find another dentist and take her. I begged him to please not do that to her and he said he was in control not me. I told him that was torture to her - for him to make her go again and she might not have a good experience. He accused me of torturing her and that he hoped he was around when he "caught" me doing it so he could prevent it. That kind of freaked me out. He was acting wild and crazy. Thanks.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Dear new-person-going-through-an-ugly-divorce:

Welcome to the catbox - hope you hang around here - it will really help you see that you are NOT crazy!

As for your stbx and taking your little girl to the dentist - I think he is looking for which buttons to push to make you upset, make you engage, etc. The trick is to NOT let him know that his words bother you.

Just tell him "fine, if you think she needs to go to the dentist again". I think by doing this, he will reconsider and/or forget. I mean, what does he have to gain by taking her to the dentist - do you really think he would - especially if it didn't seem to bother you? I bet if it really bothered you a lot (and it seems to), he would go out of his way to do it just to get back at you.

By engaging and begging him not to, you are letting him know how to get to you. Detach and act calmly, know in your mind that he is only trying to get to you and expect this sort of "getting back at you" behavior. Then when it happens, you won't be surprised!

Hope this helps!

Kathy

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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

My name is Jane, I am fifty four years old. I have suffered from depression for most of my life, even as a small girl. I have gone through two marriages. My mate now is fifty seven years old. I have been in a off again on again relationship with him. I left a twenty two marriage to be in his arms. I was feeling so alone in my marriage and very regected as well. This man has had a drinking problem since he was young, he did give it up about two and one half years ago. But he did not give up the habit of verbal abuse. It is like riding on a roller coaster all the time with him. I never know when he will go off on me. I can say just one word and it can as he says triggers him. Of course I am smart enough to know now, that it is not really me that triggers him he does that all by himself. Almost everything I have read on the site decribes him to a tee. He can be so nice butter would melt in his mouth but then on the other hand he can explode at the drop of his hat. Of course never with most other people , he could win a academy award for the act he puts on for other friends and the neighbors. He think he has them fooled and I really agree with that , he does. And that is what really burns my cookies. Anyway I have not found the power yet to leave this man for good. I feel weak and helpless because I know in my heart that is what I need to do . I am pretty sure I feel no love for him anymore so I don't understand why I can not just walk away for good. I have got down on my knees many times and prayed to God to give me the strength to leave this man and start a new life, but it has not happened yet. People tell me to "just do it" . Oh how I wish I could. Maybe God has other plans for me... I wish I could start my life over and make better choices but I cannot do that. All I can do is to try and make it through another day. God help me.

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Good morning Cats,

I like the "actions speak louder" theme. LIsa MM, I had the same experience. My ex wanted me to come and live with him, then he chose a big house he couldn't afford and immediately chose 2 roommates, neither of them me, and without conferring with me, then became enraged when I objected. I told him at the time we weren't on the same page (trying to let him out easy) and that his ACTIONS made it appear that he really wasn't ready for a live-in. I said it very reasonably, trying to give him an opening. His response? More rage.

Your point about your ex saying he cared about you but not letting you express your opinions or feelings fits my ex exactly. That was the merry-go-round (not so merry) that I had been on too. When I pointed out the disconnect, he became enraged and said I was making a big deal over every little thing. When I would say that every little thing becomes a very large aggregate, that's when he would throw something or scream that he couldn't live up to my "expectations" or rip the sheets off the bed, or jump over the back of the car seat, or storm out of the car in the snow without shoes or a jacket to go use a public WOMEN'S restroom without closing his stall door (those are some of the colorful things he did when raging).

I wish he was reading this.

Even this last email exchange when I said I couldn't call back because I didn't have a phone card, was there a scrap of sympathy for my temporary poverty? NOOOOOOOO!! Did he say "I'm sorry, I will call you again at a time when I can actually speak to you"? Noooo. Do I have anything to say to him anymore? NUH-UH. In the old enmeshed days, I would have said something to him about not setting up a time to call under the circumstances with me without a phone card (engaging), and he would have re-engaged and been upset at my "criticism" of him.

Just like the typical abuser pattern, I think he has only gotten worse in my absence. He seems to have absoultely no empathy for me at all and isn't even pretending, which is something I noticed when we got back together last summer. Oddly enough, I went out with him becasue he was so sweet and empathetic and kind! Where did THAT guy go? Remember the time I called him and he thought I was another woman? Catbox 23? He said that he thought I was his ex girlfriend who used to call and call to try to find out "what went wrong" - after 3 years. In this recent visit when I retrieved my stuff, I said something about her calling and his neck veins popped out, his teeth clenched (it's just SO attractive), and he said, "She doesn't call ANYMORE." I imagine that a little rage got dumped on someone other than ME!

I am having to work this all out again because of the recent communication and the stuff that it brings up, and he lives only 2 hours away instead of 15,000 miles away, temporarily. But what a mess.

So I think I will put more weight on actions from now on -

Love, Perdida

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Wow. I just found you 2 days ago. I have read everything I can find on this board - and am constantly finding new stuff. I went out and purchased Nasty People and the Elgin book   The Verbally Abusive Relationship. I read halfway through both last night.

I wrote the other day that I have finally awoken to the abuse. I drew a line last Saturday night when we returned from vacation. I am sleeping in the spare room. I have miraculously been doing what the books say to do (no engagement, etc). What a validation! I'm not nuts and I can do something right. Who knew? ;)

Anyway. My H is straightening right up like you would not believe, but I must tell you my gut says that the minute I let my gaurd down he'll be right back to square one. Right now he's being very careful and correct in his dealings with me - I can see that he's a little disoriented (who is this new woman who really means business?) YAY it's ME!

So since my nice husband is back, I'd like to jump right back in his arms and have him wisk me right back to the other bedroom, but I'm not sure how fast to take this. If I play 'hard to get' I worry that I will cross the line from abusee to abuser. If I go to fast he won't take me seriously. May be I'm afraid I won't take me seriously.

So here's the plan. I have been nice and talkative and myself when he's behaving, and I simply stop the conversation, refuse to engage etc when he doesn't. Do I go back to the BR ( a sign to him that everything is back to normal) and simply continue to draw very straight lines about what I will and will not tolerate?

Does this seem like a lot of work because I really don't want to take care of myself? I wonder.... Sure would be nice to not have be vigilant - I don't think that's realistic, is it? Once you are vigilant about your boundaries, it becomes "normal." It's not such hard work. Perhaps if I had drawn the lines years ago, I wouldn't be in this position - however I am, and that's the reality I am dealing with today. Rats. (Rats in the catbox? Too funny)

I am getting quite attached to all of you. Thanks for being here.

Mae

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Thought you might enjoy this today - Suzanne

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

1. "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." - Rebecca - age 8

2. "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth." - Billy - age 4

3. "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." - Karl - age 5

4. "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." - Chrissy - age 6

5. "Love is when someone hurts you. And you get so mad but you don't yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings." - Samantha - age 6

6. "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." - Terri - age 4

7. "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." - Danny - age 7

8. "Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss." - Emily - age 8

9. "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." - Bobby - age 5

10. "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." - Nikka - age 6

11. "Love is hugging, Love is kissing, Love is saying 'no'" - Patty - age 8

12. "When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you're scared they won't love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more." - Matthew - age 7

13. "There are two kinds of love. Our love. God's love. But God makes both kinds of them." - Jenny - age 4

14. "Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." - Noelle - age 7

15. "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." - Tommy - age 6

16. "During my piano recital, I was on a stage and scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore." - Cindy - age 8

17. "My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." - Clare - Age 5

18. "Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine - age 5

19. "Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford." Chris - age 8

20. "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." - Mary Ann - age 4

21. "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." - Lauren - age - 4

22. "I let my big sister pick on me because my Mom says she only picks on me because she loves me. So I pick on my baby sister because I love her." - Bethany - age 4

23. "Love cards like Valentine's cards say stuff on them that we'd like to say ourselves, but we wouldn't be caught dead saying." - Mike - age 8

24. "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." - Karen - age 7

25. "Love is when mommy sees daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." - Mark - age 6

26. "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."- Jessica - age 8

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Dear Mae,

When in doubt, do nothing! It's okay to not know what to do. It sounds like you are doing great! These things can be slippery... and so can this type of partner... not to mention his commitment to change... check it out until it feels right! Yes.

Love, Perdida

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Hi, Cats. I am reading; but for once in my life have very little to say! Mainly my brain still feels full of cat's fur! I also feel very tired; so maybe I am sickening for something.

AJ when is it you are off to Portugal and will you have computer access?

Lisa, I think the exercise thing is really important. I am trying to do more walking too. I really have to lose weight now; but not eating is impossible! Also someone said they are depressed. Exercise really helps even serious depression. A lot of the people at the resource centre I help at would vouch for that. For some reason they say it takes 8 lengths to release the endorphins. However, that doesn't say a length of which pool and our several local ones are not large!

I just need to get my act together. I have a brilliant rucksack that is small enough for swimming stuff and has a picnic set incorporated.

I got a brilliant invitation from a friend today. This friend is a manic depressive; I have seen her when bad and when well. She says she is celebrating her retirement as service user. (What we in the UK call people who are having treatment for mental health problems).

It occurred to me that if a really sick person can work so hard at being and staying well then I should be able to keep myself OK. This woman did not make a secret of her illness-and she helps so many. She has held her head up high and is now really respected. But if you hear her story it is really heartbreaking.....an intelligent woman who when ill can be so in need of help to protect her dignity. I can't share the story because I heard it in a confidential setting.

But you just realise that abuse isn't the only suffering and that people can recover...from even traumatic things. Inside all of us I think there is an inner strength we can find.

I think a part of me denies that strength. I sort of feel that because of the bad things that have happened I should not be able to be OK because who can recover from what I have gone through?

I HAVE been through enough to send any sane person crazy; but here I am sitting typing at my computer...others do go insane and have a far worse time...Going on the very short time I spent in hospital, I don't think that you get the option to be well; but you can learn to be well.

I thought recently I was going into a major depression and was so worried. I had forgotten that you learn skills to help yourself. You can't stop the feeling; but you can act more quickly to get out of it. The thing that I notice has changed is the way I think.

It is Jake's stuff when it is Jake's stuff - so if the situation still makes me depressed then what makes me depressed can now only be my stuff. I can't control/alter him; but I can work through to the one tiny change in a low moment that will make me feel better.

EG. Yesterday i felt so bad about the situation with my daughter. Then I realised I had a present I hadn't given to her. So I sent it via Jake. I did not do that for her benefit entirely; I felt better to do it and the depression lifted.

I have to finish this later as I just realised I am late for an appointment I need to walk to! jay

 

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Suzanne,

It is so sad to see so many co-dependent kids. One day I am gonna work to change that. It makes me cry when I hear how children need to think it is right to give up them for others sakes.

My little girl is co-dependent to. I am learning her to be more healthier, but she finds it hard around her daddy. As Dr Irene said I'd hurt her either way. If I stopped her seeing him, and if I caused a fight about him being the way he is.

I guess I can only hope she learns from me, and she is doing.

Last night was an example of my partners faulty thinking. Our daughter dear Melissa was joking around with him. She got annoyed and stormed off. He went to kiss her, she rejected him and stormed off. Then she came and said "are you kissing me good night". He said "NO, I offered, you refused, end of story."

I hug her good night no matter how naughty she is, I even hug her when I feel hurt. HUGS and misbehaviour in my opinion are linked.

Sometimes children get frustrated and don't control themselves, so adults should realise the immaturity of the child, and not take it so seriously by being immature and stubborn themselves.

With my partner he treats her like an adult. He has been rejected alot in his life, you would think he knew how painful this is...

Dr Irene why is it that abusers treat others the way they have been treated? don't they realise how painful it was for them so not want to inflict it on to others?

Or is it because they know no other way?

I guess I know the answer to that, before I started to gain knowledge in the effects of poor role modeling I to behaved similar. So glad I woke up, it makes me feel like crying for joy that I had good role models such as Ron and Dr Irene to teach me and all the books recommended to me.

So you newcomers see how helpful and supportive a counselor/therapist can be. They walk your path with you, holding your hand like a parent would if you were reaching your teenage years ready to enter adulthood.

Then you can begin to soar like a kite.

The more I get healthy the more I notice my partners sickness.

Take care Theressa

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Jane,

Track up to the bookstore/library and get Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.

I am not a fan of the emotionally abused relationship as I think it takes sides. It makes the victim think it is all the abuser. My opinion.

Whereas Melody Beattie actually gives you concrete steps to get better. (DR IRENE RECOMMENDED THIS BOOK)

You need to work on your neediness. Your need to have someone in your life. And you constant search for peace and happiness in others.

Jane, you don't need to keep searching for this happiness in others. It is all in your reach, in you.

You set goals and you achieve them. It was a goal set in your head to come here and write in the catbox. Did you tell yourself well done?

Write down what you want to achieve, and write down small steps you will do to get there. e.g reading xxx book, following the steps.

Look at this: Jane, http://www.drirene.com/copage.htm

Also learn to appreciate everything. The food you eat, eat it slowly savour it. Learn to slow down and enjoy the morning air. Hear the birds sing. Learn to see the good in yourself.

As you start to achieve your goals you'll see your strengths.

MOST of all realise you are loveable on you own. God didn't make you as a Siamese twin did he now?

You don't need a man joined at the hip to feel good. BUT as you get healthy you'll realise this.

Your partner isn't a bad person either, he is just broken. Look at the posts above in catbox 46 lots of tips on setting limits etc.

Take care Theressa 

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Jay,

At last GOD in got it through to you, you need to just read and use your energy to work on you for a bit. We all understand.

As Ron always told me, you can only teach when you've learnt it yourself. If you don't spend the time reading and learning for yourself how can you ever pass it on.

I am sending a skip full of hugs to you, your really getting it now.

Take care Theressa

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Dear All,

I have spent alot of my time posting over the last couple of years. I have learnt alot, in the last 12 months since I first came to catbox and met Ron my therapist, and learnt so much from Asha and Steve, Dan and Lynn, Jay, B, and more recently LisaMM. I can say I have grown alot.

I never drempt of the day I would be able to not buy into guilt which is my partners biggest weapon. Nor did I think I'd ever live on my own and manage. I certainly never dreamt of saying "mind your own business" to my partner.

I think it amazes him more than me. When I am no longer in the loop of his control dramas. I think he is very confussed, but he keeps testing me.

I can say it has been painful and the pain is not over by a long shot. I still have to practice, practice, practice. AND YES I know trubble the practicing never stops.

I have learnt about giving Melissa unconditional attention. This confussed me for so long. Taking care of thy self vs taking care of thy children in comparison to taking care of other adults who don't need caring for. So it is good to give children unconditional attention, but adults don't need this.

Well thank God/universe I finally got it. Now I have stopped Melissa from suffering extra pain she has no need to have. It is funny also she is much more confident, she knows it is okay to say No to me and to use her time as she wishes.

Just now I was talking to her, she phones me every day at work. She said after a few minutes, "I am tired mommy, I am going." In the past she'd have feared saying this, and would have said "can I go now."

The only sad thing is she still has to work so hard pleasing her father. I to am not out of the woods yet. I still make mistakes with Melissa and try to control her at times. Though I am getting better.

I hope though he will eventually learn from my examples, if he is meant to.

I like parenting now. I used to be frightened, unsure, lack confidence.

If only my school teachers could see me now. On most of my school reports they said "Lacks confidence" Well now I know I can take small steps and set goals, I don't need to lack confidence anymore, I can enjoy and relax. I can learn to take risks and can look at the results and work how to change things that didn't work next time.

I have justed finished Melody Beattie's book. Co-dependent No more.

Well now it is time to live my life. I am still going to continue reading from time to time. I learn alot from the catbox. I think though for my own sake I have to curb my time spent on the catbox.

I have to start working on the goals I have set with the help of Melody's book. Highly recommended to help you make the steps to change your life.

AND I would like to visit Trubble he is cute.

Though if I am to get balance in my life I have to spend more time living it. As Ron said "You can read and read Theressa, but it is doing, doing that brings results."

SO I am off to live my life. Good luck all of you. No promises though this catbox is addictive so I might lapse and end up returning more than I should, and getting side tracked

I can live with that.

All my love and strength, I hope you all find inside of you the strength I have found. For you really are wonderful, you just have to look inside.

Love Theressa

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Dear Theresa,

I admired your last post! I understand that you want to spread your wings and fly - but I feel that this post is not JUST a place for the wounded. This is also a place to share about life. The good and the bad. For victims and survivors, as well as the abusers.

So, be it for now. I understand and appreciate your standing on this to depart; however, know that I will miss your sharing of thought. Theresa, most importantly, ALL of us have surviving instincts. We ALL have inner strength and the courage to believe within ourselves, and God won't give us any more than what we can handle. Having the courage to make changes - being a "stand alone" and facing 'stuff' sincerely on our own is hard work. Its sometimes so much work - its more than just what words can say. Good luck and Best wishes.

Love and peace, Sharon

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

I just wanted to say thanks to those who have responded to my posts. I am actually posting this from the public library because I won't have a net connection for a few weeks...I moved and it sucks! :)

Thanks so much for all the encouragement and the advice. I plan to read up on the boards when I'm able to gain regular access. I will be looking forward to reading all of your posts. Talk to you all soon!

Oh, by the way...my husband and I seem to be improving somewhat...I hope it's permanent! :)

Julie

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

My husband claims to be so concerned about my behavior since he trying to convince everyone that I am crazy. He says he is worried about the children because he says "You berate me in front of the kids"....I just ask him a question and he does not give me a straight answer. That's berating. Not when he yells at me like a dog to "Go get the g*d d*M towel Now!" He says he is going to try to get custody of the children. I noticed this provocation immediately and ignored it.

He has been attempting to "set me up" but now that I realize this I am not biting the bait.

Today he "pops in" while I am watching a daycare child. He says "I don't feel good I did not get enough sleep." He was out playing pool with his friends. I offered an "Oh". He was sulking on the couch. I was feeding my children lunch. He wants to "talk". I told him that "I don't want to talk while the children are here.". I offered to call my sister to come watch the children so we could go to the park or on a walk. Nope, what he wants to say "will just take 5 minutes". He was not concerned at all about the children being here. Hmmmm....thinking back I should have set a boundary. I know our previous "talks" end up in disagreement. But I thought that this would be a good time to practice my disengaging......Besides he has been in therapy. He says "My therapist says I am the least angry person he knows. I am just fine. Your the angry person look what you did to me." (He's referring to me setting boundaries) Well, that should have been a red flag (no anger? That's not what I have been seeing?) Then, he just starts going into "It all started when I was back in Junior Highschool..." I am not kidding. He starts with tears and sadness. I looked at him thinking...."Oh, this should be good, 5 minutes?". I listened calmly. I am always waiting for him to "get it". I was thinking "Give him a chance". I sat and listened patiently. But he was not happy with that. No sooner did the words "I disagree" come out of my mouth. He pounced! As soon as I said, "It getting heated this conversation was over for now...His verbal attack was already in full force....He wanted me to "explain". I just said, "No, I am not explaining....this conversations is over." He left absolutely furious. He tossed a few last comments and he was out the door saying "Your Crazy". I actually can't remember all the rest because I was suddenly concerned about where the kids were in the house. I thought the kids are here "What in the heck was I thinking?" My mind wandered to "The phone is there. The kids are there. I see my neighbor right outside."

I realized that he was feeling bad because he had been to his attorney he knows he has to pay me child support and alimony. I may be awarded the home. He is getting 80/20 visitation. He may have to submit to a drug/alcohol testing. He has been out on his own for a couple of weeks. He has not been able to dump on me the last couple of days. The consequences of his actions are just now starting to sink in. He doesn't want the ball. He came over before he was leaving to go to a baseball game to "talk". I figured out that it was to unload or justify his actions. I was sooo proud. I realized "This is not about me, this is how he feels." He is entitled to his feelings. I don't have to take it personal.

After he left....I thought to myself.....If he is so concerned about the kids why did he just show up during my daycare hours with the kids, and start wanting to "talk"?

My lesson learned....."This is not a good time to talk the children are here" That's the boundary and I am not budging given his recent behavior. Next time I call the police if he starts in.

LisaMM

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Thursday, July 12, 2001

Theressa,

My daughter just did something similar to my husband. He "popped in" today. She was coming down the stairs with a little boy that I watch. She says, "I love you Daddy but you can go now. I am playing. Go Daddy, Don't talk to mommy just go." He shakes his head at her. Gives me the look.

My son use to "pay" for this behavior too. If my son would not do what he says then he would say "No you don't get to because...." I kept wondering why he would sit and argue with a 3 year old?

I am thinking when my daughter says things like this that "she is 5 years old and just having fun with her friend. It's good she does not need me right now." She feels secure and happy....or just fickle at the moment.

My daughter has said, "I hate you" but I just know she is mad because I did not allow her to eat a cookie at the moment before dinner. I don't take it personal.

Heck, if I took her seriously I would be concerned that she "Wants to marry her brother" or is "Running away from home and never ever coming back"

Beware there will come a day if he does not grow up that your daughter will start sounding more adult than he does. My son is 8 years old and never ceases to amaze me. He sounds more grown up than my husband. So just keep up the good role modeling. I keep reminding myself that I am learning along with him. I have taught him that I make mistakes but I am still his mother, and he is to respect me by talking respectfully to him.

:) LisaMM

 

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