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Comments for Catbox 48

Comments for Catbox 48

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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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Dear Sharon, I would definitely file that report. I would also have a rape alarm handy in the house. II am not sure that it will bring help; but a loud noise can sometimes help divert things and it may make you feel safer....My rule of thumb is never let anyone into the house when alone unless you know them well. If they are drunk...not that I have had this scenario for many years as the only person who drinks anything around here-they leave. I would also like Perdida have locked him out; though I think I may have thrown his clothes out of the window after.

After that I think you need to spend time looking after you this week. Keep the curtains closed and then you won't be able to see Dr Psycho. It is now time to spoil yourself and heal up....

Now I have a question about boundaries...I tried to be nice and offer Jake my rucksack for the weekend; but before I could even get to saying the end of my sentence he cut me off... I find that really rude. I was brought up to listen to the end of what someone has to say. But he doesn't. Let it go and stop trying to help someone who doesn't want help.

But clearly he is going to make an effort to keep up his shield of permanent rudeness. He thinks if he doesn't want me to speak, I should just shut up... Without being angry, I hope. You won't be if you realize the rudeness is his issue and not about you.

A recipe for a row.....

Which is not what I want and not what he SAYS he wants...

Who is crossing whose boundaries... I didn't manage to keep my mouth shut and said something about the way he was treating me...but ha... I went away after that and there is no row...  Yippeee!

So now I feel pleased there wasn't but also a bit yucky. I will not let him know that and heheheehe he can be as horrid as he likes, and I am just praying for him more.....This is definitely a brilliant tactic as you can't remain mad at someone you are praying for and then it also puts the focus into you...cos you can't pray if you are mad at someone so you have to sort that first.. non religious people can take this as thinking good thoughts. Or meditating. Or centering.

The thing is it does make you calm down.....and it also sorts out your stuff from theirs......... Yes! You are no longer reacting to something you can't do anything about - and making yourself unnecessarily miserable.

And puts you in tune with your maker and the Universe and the yucky feelings do go....

Which means the other person has no power over you and you can relate to them in a grounded way.......

Grounded - I have found a real feeling- physically as well as emotionally...sort of like a sure inner rock.. I like that feeling when I find it....

Back to the boundary. Jake's is don't interact with him unless he chooses to hear... I would say this is pretty controlling...it gives no room for anyone else to put a different point of view. I think it is rude.

My boundary is that I don't wish anyone to be rude to me and I don't want to interact with them when they are....

So is it right that in interacting with him I crossed his boundary but also mine... Interesting phrasing! I see it as compromising the Self, and perhaps that's exactly what crossing one's own boundary is about...

Can we do that? Cross our own boundaries and is that wheree the bad stuff happens? Lots of bad stuff happens when we compromise the Self...

If I had walked away and not engaged at all I would still, initially have felt yucky because I was on the receiving end of bad behaviour; but I would also have kept to my own principles. Yes.

So who crossed the boundary?????????????????????????? Jake locks himself inside a freezer and you keep trying to have him see the sense in thawing... You can't. And you hurt yourSelf when you persist he thaw.

To the mum speaking about big fights...I think the bit of the equation you are missing is that it is not just about the kids it is also about you and your needs.

The kids WILL be affected by the fights and whether any of us like it those big fights that happen in front of the kids are abusive to them   (lets not get hung up on definitions here; kids do get terrified as they think all the daft things you say in anger might happen. I got that situation a lot as a kid and learnt some tough lessons with my own....

If you are going to be rolling around on the floor together get the kids out of the house first!

So if you stay you need to learn how to disagree together i n a different way..can you do that? And can he?

Maybe the first step is to see if you can get some counseling..

BUT it is not all about the kids needs.. It took me ages to see this.. I would go for counseling and constantly get told -ok, I heard about everyone else's needs and not your own.

Looking after every one else's needs and not your own actually teaches your kids not to look after themselves... kids need to be looked after and their needs to be met but if they don't see you looking after you they will not learn to look after themselves...they get a poor role model.

Which I am just experiencing form my son who just copied his dad's behaviour earlier.......YUK....I know he is just winding me up but YUK anyway.. see how they pick the stuff up....

Sigh ...one day Jake will learn how to behave like an adult.......  Maybe.

So I am refusing to be drawn into it....Jake is behaving as if our son has to only want to be with one parent.. well tough luck Jake.  I am simply going to encourage our son to enjoy being with you and not play your game......

Games wear out eventually or get put away forever at the back of a cupboard....and you can't play an interactive game alone....

love, Jay. (Who will not longer play the 'lets have a really terrible relationship and make each other unhappy game.)  

 

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Goodness, goodness me,

Aren't you all so suspicious. Maybe you should check this out??

The anonymous poster who posted fixing vs support was ME. (Theressa!!!) and the reason I did not sign was because I was in a hurry and just needed to get this off. Giggle!

Maybe you should all look at your buttons in this area?? Is it a button to wonder?

You want to all know where I am at, well here goes:

*I did support my partner in his career. He would tell you this. *He in the recent past started to support my studies, by minding our daughter. *He didn't stop me going out, nor did I ever stop him. (Doesn't mean though we didn't feel anxious when we both did go out separately, but we are working on these issues now.) *I am/was defensive about anyone mentioning balance in my life (why? because it wasn't very balanced, still isn't at times but I am working on this)

I would say I am mid way along my work on learning to not control/fix and slowly my partner is too. In fact, remarkably he has progressed alot too.

Right now I am in a state of being in a rock and a hard place and my energy levels are reaching zero, I've had a migraine for the last two days and have spent them sitting looking out of the window and sleeping, eating.

I posted the support vs fixing because I thought it would help others, but then that is their choice to accept it as a true gift or to react towards it in which case ONE should check out why it caused them to react. Giggle!

As for the other anonymous poster which wasn't me, (the poem writer), why are you all so suspicious of this person? I remember everyone of you, including me writing down your feelings. THIS person is a victim just like all the rest of us here.

I found nothing wrong with the poem, this person is at the beginning of recovery, (accept that!!) Steve gave a good account of this poem, GOOD On you Steve.

Acceptance is the name of the game. Accepting what is... So please recognise the stage each poster is in, in recovery, just like I recently learnt with Sharon. It is good like Steve did to point out that the victim must take responsibility for themselves. BUT aren't they starting the steps by posting?

It is better use of the catbox to accept all without unnecessary suspicion and to give feedback. In time the poster will catch on to the healthy ideas. THOUGH we must have patience, not ridicule if anyone is to feel okay to share!!  Thanks Theressa.

Take care Theressa

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Asha here

Dr I you said: <<<Using your criteria Asha, almost every decision is a "big" one... >>> But, that's true Asha. You care more than anybody else, even if it's not your issue! (Lots of wasted energy here...) >

But c’mon Dr. Irene – “almost every?” like ... whether to take a bath or a shower, eat rice or potatoes, clean my fingernails, blow my nose, wash my dishes, get out of bed in the morning, brush my teeth, gargle... ? (okay, so I’m being silly, but you get the drift.) No, I don't. Brushing your teeth is your business. I'm talking about stuff related to other people. Think of it this way: You often care more than the other person cares about the other person's business.

I’ll take constructive criticism about “caring more than anyone else”, but that line makes me sound like a hysterical “drama queen”. Huh? Please don't put words in my mouth - and then blame me for having put them there!  I wish you could meet me in person, because I wonder if I come across online in some way other than how I really am.... Why do you think you are being insulted or disrespected? If, for example, you said to me in the CatBox, since that's what we do here, "Irene, your gray roots are too evident and it makes you look older," I could assume you mean I should consider whether I want my roots gray, and whether or not I want myself to likely appear older to others, or, I could (various reactions) assume you are tossing a dig, or, I could  feel incensed/ embarrassed /etc. that you noticed, since the roots are only 1/8th of an inch long and you expect too much from me (as though I  am sloppy about my hygiene, and why don't you give me a break already), etc., etc., etc.  In other words, in my assumptions, I added meaning to your statement.

It's OK to reach whatever assumption you reach, but instead of assuming with certainty what the other person "did"  to you, you may want to first ask them. For example, I might say, "Asha,  are you insinuating I am sloppy about my hygiene?"  You might say, "No Irene, don't take it that way. I am simply commenting that your roots are evident and it ages you, in my opinion. I am asking you to check this out since you complain you no longer feel young...blah, blah, blah..." 

Now watch:

If I feel badly about my gray hair (and if I didn't dye it, trust me, it's beyond gray), I am likely to feel judged/  insulted/ disrespected/ whatever, by your observation - because I assume you are judging me...

If I feel OK about my gray hair, I am likely to consider whether or not the grey roots may have an impact on how young I feel, and whether or not I want to be more conscientious about my roots.

If I don't feel OK about my hair, I am likely to get defensive. Yet, it would be to my benefit to accept that my hair is gray, no matter how much I hate it. Then I could proceed from there.

This is important Asha. This is about your power!

If you do this here with me, you  do it with others.  Don't you see, you complain of feeling misunderstood and this pains you. Yet, you are the one who misunderstands and is judging yourself! 

When it comes down to the core of it, it’s just that I was hurt by the comment because you have always shown respect to me, and that comment was, I felt, disrespectful. Just my opinion. It's because I do value what you say that I feel this way. I'm glad you  can talk  about how you feel!  

I know that some “big” things for me are not big to others, just as certain “big” things to others are not “big” to me. The dog stuff I talk about probably seems ludicrous to some people. It’s not to me. Not ludicrous at all. The only problem is that you were upset with Steve for being where he was instead of communicating around your need to help him.

I agree that *many* times I have gone into Steve’s space, and there is an element of that in the “dog scenario” but it seemed to me to be blown out of proportion to what actually happened. Stop! We blow things out of proportion here to make them evident.

IMO Steve’s reaction to me exaggerated (in his mind) what really happened. I don’t measure (anymore) what I do “wrong” (or ineffectively) by Steve's "yukky feelings”. Good! No matter how “perfect” I am, he can still make himself feel yukky over something I say or do. Yes.

So why are you wasting precious energy feeling disrespected? You could instead be using that energy to look at what you do that creates those feelings in yourself...

I didn’t “repeatedly ask Steve to communicate when he didn’t want to”. I said about 3 things - #1. “Maybe you should call the vet.” #2. “If you want to go to the vet, I’ll pay for it.” #3. (after me leaving my kitchen when the dog went into more contortions, and him coming into my office) “Why is there a problem about calling the vet?”

Okay – it was a waste of energy – I know that now, but hyper-sensitive? Over-reactive? Isn't that what you are doing with response to me? I think so... I just don’t see that. And yes – no point in doing what’s not effective, or perplexing myself over *why* he was unresponsive – what is *is*, no matter how “big” the situation to me. This is the one thing I can learn. But I could not have known he was unresponsive unless I gave him something to respond to. Please don't waste energy being defensive. The dog incident is meaningless in the scheme of things. The point is to use it to learn about yourself. These silly incidents keep repeating; I believe I've pinpointed one of the reasons why. You can do with it what you want.

By the way, if you stop reacting to this stuff, it is likely you will become more mindful of other cues Steve may be communicating and that you are in fact "rightly" reacting to, For example, are you reacting to his tone of voice? The look on his face? If that's the case, then something like, "Why are you scowling at me for offering assistance?" might be more accurate and reinforcing of your  boundaries of how you expect to be treated. (I don't know you and Steve, but, knowing what I know about this topic, I expect that Steve is unaware of reactions that escape him. Promise! How do I know? Because his angry outward expression was one of the things he learned about and got a handle on in the CatBox. "Stuff" is not resolved for once and for all when we get the glaring insight, as Jay can testify. As the song goes, "You've only just begun..." Steve is likely to be working on this one at increasingly subtle layers for years to come...)

 

What I could also have done better was to take out the “should” statement. Steve took this as pressure and I could have empowered *myself* more by realizing right away that he was unresponsive or incapable of responding, and then looked at my remaining options. Yes!

I *will* work on improving my communication skills and expectations and underlying assumptions, but I will *not* take blame for Steve’s yukky feelings, nor his yukky behavior. ABSOLUTELY NOT! NO WAY JOSE! Etc. Realize  I never blamed you for Steve's yukkiness...

But there is another issue – and I think it comes down to a difference in philosophy between you and I, Dr. Irene. You say it’s not “my” issue (which “should” be true if Steve and I are not partners, but that’s a whole other story)..

I hope you won’t cross this out because I think this point is important. The philosophy issue was not crossed out before because it was not important, but because it was, in my opinion, only symptomatic of the underlying dynamics generating it. Kind of like focusing on the sniffles when the sniffles are a function of the cold.

You have said in the past that Steve’s kids are “his” kids, not mine. If I understand what you are saying, you think that the final decision-making authority for kids should revert to the biological parent (or in the case of a dog – whoever had that dog first). My dog is “my” dog, but if I have a mate in my life, I need to deal with conflicts we have about “my” dog or “my” kids (if that was the case). Yes. You deal with the conflict and find a way to resolve it. You can educate Steve why you see things differently. Then, right or wrong, your job is to let go and accept that it is his business how he deals with "his" children.

I think otherwise, it creates a win/lose scenario as a method of problem solving...

I think there has to be a better way, but it can only happen if both partners are willing to extend “authority” and willing to put time into talking the “big” things out (if it is “big” to one of the parties, it’s “big” in the relationship IMO). Maybe the issue for me is that Steve *hasn't* extended this authority ... hmm.

Here are some quotes that make a lot of sense to me - from Peter K. Gerlach who has been studying stepfamilies for over 20 years. (btw the website is well worth checking out - http://www.stepfamilyinfo.org – there is a *ton* of information on stepfamily and other issues there):

“When workable compromises aren't found, if stepfamily co-parents don't agree to (usually) make their relationship second only to personal health and recovery, without excessive guilt and anxiety, loyalty conflicts (and other factors) frequently wreck their re/marriage, over time....It's a well documented fact that most second and subsequent marriages break up over problems with the children and the loyalty conflicts involved.....” Absolutely. This is well known and doesn't conflict one iota with what I'm talking about,

some other links to his philosophies on problem-solving and “metatalking” that I find interesting:

http://www.stepfamilyinfo.org/projects/02/prblmslv-practice.htm http://www.stepfamilyinfo.org/projects/02/meta-wks.htm

Maybe these methods don’t work in “power-imbalanced” situations, I don’t know. Exactly Asha. There is an assumption of mutuality and that is lacking in "power-imbalanced" relationships. My objective, by pointing out where each partner gives power away, is to empower each of you.

Dr. Irene, I hope you don’t see the above as “defensiveness” because I truly don’t think I am defending so much as telling you how I really see it. I could agree with you just to “keep peace”, but I’d be lying to both you and to myself.   

Yes – I can be controlling, yes, I can be self-righteous, and over-reactive, and all that nutty stuff. And I know I don’t have to be perfect (though I can try – grin). I know there are things I don’t “see” about myself. *But* I’m not “denying” anything. That would imply that I “knew” something and wasn’t acknowledging it. That’s not the case.  In a nutshell: People react when a button is pushed. If we stop reacting by getting OK with what is, we are in a better position to determine specifically what cue is bothering us and why.   We are in a better position to determine where to take it from there. Think of all this as increasing "discriminative thinking" so to speak. 

OK... You challenge me Asha, and I like that! But, now I'm  pooped. So I'm going to pop off. Be back and - I'm really glad you came back!  Consider the stuff about inserting assumptions (ye old "irrational thoughts") and reacting to them and let me know what you think... G'nite!

 

I'm back.

I don’t need to make Steve right or wrong either, though frankly I find it unhelpful and quite irritating when he talks about my “denial” and explains things on your behalf, when he could instead use the catbox to examine his own stuff (which I haven’t seen him do yet). Agreed. I want to focus on *my* behavior, and I would ask from Steve in turn that he focus on *his*. Me too. When he puts his energy into my “problems” then my posting doesn’t serve to help my growth; rather it just provides him with ammunition (or sometimes he just sits back, waiting for me to change so everything will be “better” – which it won’t – at least for him - if he doesn’t do his part.) I don’t want to focus on what Steve does wrong, but it sure doesn’t help *me* when he does this kind of stuff. That's why you should ignore his stuff; particularly, don't react to him! I'm capable of doing all the calling either of you would want.

This is probably asking too much, but it would be nice if Steve could show compassion or curiosity about my reactions rather than make them “wrong” or a symptom of my “denial”. Of course, he can do whatever he wants, but that’s what I’d prefer. When he “knows” what I’m thinking, but doesn’t ask, he’s usually way off! I supposed each of you could say that.

Dr. I, I think you know that I am grateful to you and your site. Lots of times the advice you have offered *has* hurt (though I didn’t say so). I accept the hurt when that little inner bell inside says that what you are saying is true. But sometimes the inner bell doesn’t ring. Sometimes when you ask “does it work for you?” I have to say “no, not this time”. You haven't had a chance to look at the irrational thought comments yet.

And hey, who knows, maybe I’m just thick-headed and don’t “get it”. It’s not for lack of trying though. It's very hard to "see."

I’ve been plenty controlling in the past, but this incident doesn’t feel the same to me. I think that I could be more “aware” of Steve’s signals and be more prepared to back off if he is unresponsive– even ask him if something I’m doing or saying is bothering him. Instead of making suggestions, I could be more straightforward and ask questions. I also think I could be more focused on what *I* can do and not what he can do (although that’s tough when he has the authority to do something and I don’t). Doing much more than this feels like the old “walking on eggshells” routine, or having to run everything thru the “Steve screen” like old times. Yuck. You misunderstand here.

I know I have anger – even rage sometimes. I’m not denying that either. At times I act out on it, at times I don’t. I try not to act on it, but it slips through from time to time. Also, sometimes when I’m truly *not* angry, Steve still thinks I am... I don’t think either of us trust each other any more. Steve’s “boundaries” feel more like walls to me. But that’s neither here nor there.

And Dr. I, I don’t ask you to hold my hand, but I do ask you to speak to me respectfully. I always have - except when you put words into my mouth...

I know your intentions are good and I hope you understand this.

Enough said.

Asha

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Dear All,

I understand the button: "I love and accept you exactly as you are"

This does not mean I will tolerate the way you are! But I have to accept it! I have three sane options. I can share my needs for things to be different and trust you to take my needs into account as well as you knowing what you are doing isn't productive. THOUGH there is a risk you are comfortable and see no desire to change for yourself. It must be for yourself. You abuser/victim must know inside that what you are doing/acting is not working in the end it only hurts you and me.

That includes people pleasing, yelling, (All forms of abuse - inevitably anything that pushes honest/directness out of the picture.

This does not mean I should not set boundaries and limits and detach. I MUST set limits of what I will accept, I must detach and get on with my own tasks.

My second option is to just keep on going with my head in the sand, whilst continuing to moan, complain and say "Why do you do this to me?" over and over. Well "I continue to do this because you continue to tolerate it".

This is being passive-aggressive. Moaning, complaining but never setting limits and detaching.

THE final option is to say I won't put up with this no more and to move on. This option is usually taken when you've decided after a while nothing is changing. It doesn't matter what limits you set and it doesn't matter how much you detach. THIS other person isn't interested in working towards the common goals. IT IS ALL ABOUT THEIR (ME, ME, ME, if I am satisfied and comfortable and you don't like it tough)

YES it is tough. Though one day we have to speak up if things never change and decide do we want to continue or not?

SO gals and guys when it says accept, it doesn't say TOLERATE does it? It means accept what is.... (Reality), if you live with someone who always says NO. Why do you continue to ask?

if you live with someone who never has any desire to do anything nice, why wait for them? Do it on your own!

if you live with someone who can't discuss things, and can only yell, why continue to discuss?

Though in the end nothing discussed, nothing ever gets worked out. So where do you go after that? That depends how long you are gonna sit back and keep your head in the sand.

I feared taking my head out of the sand and checking out my assumptions due to fear. Fear that my facade would crack.

For months I dwelled on the statement made by my partner, NEVER daring to ask him what he really meant.

Well now I know the truth and if only I'd had the courage to ask him two months ago all the pain I'd have been spared.

I know now though, "if in doubt check it out. Face the fears, the only way to prevent excess, unnecessary tears."

Take care, Theressa

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

DENIAL EH!!! Yes I am guilty of that!!! LOL

Though someone blew my cover. Was it you trubble. Did you tell my partner it was time to push me away LOL. Never Auntie Teressa!

I sense fear in my partner Dr Irene. He said when we stayed for 4 days a couple of weeks ago whilst my kitchen was being decorated, he didn't feel okay.

It felt like it used to him having to take care of me. Tell me not to misbehave. Be untidy. Tell me not to do unacceptable things in his house.

I was guilty at times for not taking care of myself. I think he was right to feel YUKKY..

I am working on fixing me not taking care of me SERIOUSLY. My self discipline is lacking. One of the easiest things to improve with practice!

Like my partner said "Theressa if you are self disciplined 75% of the time, the 25% when you are tired and leave things is okay, though lagging 100% of the time leaves you feeling out of balance, overwhelmed, and unable to cope, then you beat yourself up, become reactive, yell and Melissa gets it. Do you think this works?" Yes!

So I see Dr Irene that my partner is right in saying it felt yukky. I am glad he was honest. And you took it: clearly, constructively, and are putting it to good use. Congrats!

Take care Theressa

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Dear Friday,

I agree totally with your analysis. I think the trubble is people think acceptance is TOLERATE and it is not. I think sometime ago another poster did this and Dr Irene pointed out that accepting what is.. is not the same as tolerating the poor behaviour. When you accept you still set limits. Right. You accept the things you can't change (but you can always get out of the line of fire, so you don't have to tolerate it.)

You sound very healthy. In fact you all do, maybe my post got us all thinking.

Take care Theressa

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Dear all, Sharon here,

I read these posts and remember the quips and quotes you all write - some, but not all - "If in doubt, do nothing". my own little quote "if in doubt, say nothing." Well, I have my doubts but I need to share anyway.

All I can say is hmmmmmmm and a bis-zillion question marks in my head register as to this 'anonymous poster' phenomenon and "suspicious-ness" about 'things' and 'pushing buttons' and on and on.

I'm groping here - I'm having a hard time here understanding people's tactics in writing posts - no name at the end - and then people read it wondering who it was - now all of a sudden it "pushed buttons???" - and then somebody cops to it and says "I wrote it!!" I felt like it was to basically see people squirm!! Theressa was responding to the speculation and the reactions, that's all. When you are deep into self-examination, you look at everything. That's part of the process...

How do you know it pushed buttons? Just because somebody asked about it, got thinking about it, taking one's own inventory, is pushing a button?

Well, Passive-aggressive behavior pushes my buttons BIG TIME! And unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I'm one of those who sees it 10 miles away.

Well, guess what? I wrote this post and I have my name on it. I didn't even read the contents about the 'fixing' vs. 'support' but I am sure it was very insightful information. I'll go back and read it. But I still have lots of questions about 'this'.

I don't even think I needed to share this, however, I haven't had my latte yet. No real feelings - good, bad or indifferent - I just have question marks as to 'why'. Just "because." No consequence; no need to get ruffled...

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Giggle-lucky I looked to the next page before I emailed Dr Irene to say the posts are not going through.. I seem to get stuck on the wrong page every week! You finally figured out I'm not terribly conscientious with this thing, huh?

I don't think it matters who posts anonymously or not- most people don't use their real names anyway- I suppose a link is made to whoever...

But it was interesting to see how people responded not knowing it was Theressa, I am too tired to worry about who thinks what,,.....I just think it was a single post......

I have just spent the day tidying up cupboards and made a glorious mess! I t is really interesting to tidy a cupboard you have not touched for years and find all the old history of your life.....now I have to clear up the mess.....

But it is more progress...my energy is no longer taken up with sorting the relationship because I have disengaged from the yucky stuff...Makes me realise how much energy you have when you don't have a bad time each morning..

Asha, is it that you are really wanting a parenting role with Steve's kids and he is hanging back as he is unsure...maybe that is the thing that needs sorting....I might be off my rocker totally here; but a dog is a bit like a child...maybe the dog symbolized how Steve felt about his kids.....This is just something that ran through my head...maybe Steve is unsure because you two are not together, technically at the moment... This could be why the \dog issue is important????????

Did you see Trubble's message on the last page?

love Jay - who had better, literally put her own house in order!

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

The Value of a Broken Pot.....

I have been kind of meditating on this as I got this tape by a psychotherapist who tells stories from Homer to her clients and I wanted to see if I could tell a healing story...This is for people whose lives are shattering and I kind of found it helpful to think of this for me and what has happened to me...

There was once a water pot. It was used every day. It was very much needed and had value to the family who owned it...One day the pot was dropped and it shattered. The shards were buried in the family rubbish dump and years and years went by.

Houses were built and destroyed and families grew up and dies near to the spot where the shards were buried. Many many moons and suns went by.

Finally a team of archeologists arrived and decided that they wanted to know about the spot where the shards were buried- so they started to excavate.

The pieces of the pot were found and stuck together. It took time and skill to do this and still there were cracks visible...but \now the pot had even more value than ever before...It was the key to a whole history of a whole people.

from that one pot the way people had lived could be constructed.. It told of a time and era in history and provided a link to much of importance...

it was no longer a water pot but a thing of greater value...The second life of the pot was more important than the first.

Ah well I will leave you to work out if this is daft or not! I just realised this is my first storyline in a while. So I am also getting back my creative energy....jay

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Hi, I posted yesterday for the first time. My husband and I have been receiving counseling together for a little more than a year now, although he has not gone with me for the past 3 sessions so I have gone by myself. He refuses to see that he needs to take some responsibility in healing our marriage. He wants me to do all the fixing, all the changing, everything I do is wrong or not enough. I have spent years trying to save this marriage and I have had enough. I am scared of divorcing him though. There are so many questions, so many unknowns. I doubt that he will leave the house so I would need to be the one to move out and I don't want to make the kids move out too. He has threatened to take the kids from me if I do leave. I feel so stuck right now. I still have not given up hope that things will get better but it has been years and it is still so bad. I am so sad. jay, thank you for responding to what I posted yesterday. I know I need to be strong and maybe if I can be strong enough the abuse will lessen. I need to continue on the right path, thinking about my options, reading, learning and continue to see my therapist. I want to make the right decision for me and for my children. Thanks for listening.

Mary

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Hi, Dr. Irene, Friday here.

I posted “and I won't stay in any relationship where it isn't safe to have my boundaries.” And you replied ”Food for thought: There is no place where it isn't safe to have boundaries - except where you make it unsafe... “

Ok, I’m having trouble with this food for thought. I can understand it if we are only talking about verbal/emotional abusive behaviors. Because with those I choose how I respond to the comment or behavior – I choose whether to get my feelings hurt by the way I think of the comment. (Doesn’t mean I like it, though). However, I don’t understand this in the context of physically abusive behaviors. If I say no to a request that makes me uncomfortable and I’m responded to with a slap or a push, then how did I make that situation unsafe? You were there to begin with. Abuse doesn't come up out of the blue; you find you're "there" one day because you didn't get yourself out of it.

One example (near the end) comes to mind. I had been seeing an individual counselor weekly. She (my now-ex) asked what we discussed in session. I responded that I didn’t want to talk about it. She kept moving closer to me physically – literally pushing me up against a wall. “I want to know.” says she, “No,” says me. And then she continued to invade my space. YUK! (This space invasion is a precursor for her to pushing/shoving or hitting – I had seen her use it on other people before). I was very afraid of that. How did I make that situation unsafe (other than by actually continuing to stay in the same house?) By not leaving much, much earlier, but that's neither here nor there. This isn't about blaming you; you did the best you knew how to and you are learning more and more each day. My comment is about personal power/ personal responsibility. Abuse isn't like a car that comes flying out of the blue and hits you. Abuse approaches over a long period of time, but our denial prevents us from seeing it. Personal responsibility is your goal; that's what real power is all about!

Maybe a better way of putting what I was trying to say is that I won’t stay in any relationship where my boundaries are not respected. Cool. Now, that's taking responsibility!

Thanks for pushing me to think.

Ms. Friday

PS: Trubble, we have salmon here in the Pacific NW if you ever want to visit. I hear it is good for what ails you. Gee, don't I wish! You know ever since I got caught lying with the FakeDaddyGeorgieB fiasco, she's really been awful...

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Dear all, Sharon here,

Weird, weird, weird. What's wrong with spending time with a man developing a friendship - with potential for a romance down the line? I met someone in May who I kinda liked, though not super charged about him but he was nice - we had alot in common - however he lived an hour away. We spent time together 1-2 week going to dinner, taking walks and he was a nice guy. The red flag was at the beginning because he seemed desperate looking for a girlfriend. I told him that I was not desperate looking for a boyfriend but wanted to start out as friends and to let things naturally develop. He - during the course of the time -was saying things like "if this relationship doesn't move any faster I have other women that are interested in me" and I told him "go and date them Good Woman! - we have no commitment between us - I'm not interested in just jumping into something intimate right now but I may down the line". Well, I started to feel after a period of time that these were ultimatums from him that I should either "produce feelings" or "produce something" or else...... Well, we met last night for dinner - then took a walk - and on my walk he tells me "I met someone, but I really want to be with you, but if you can't start being my girlfriend by August then I'm going to go with her" Ugh! - I said "fine". Then I get an email today from him with the same 'ultimatum' so I called him and said 'well, this is it then, hope it works' and he said 'well, I've given you 2-3 months to get to know me and since you don't want to give in, then I'm going with her." I said, "fine, hope it works." And that's it!!! Boy, I felt pressure from this guy - I really wanted to get to know him first as a friend - but I guess after a certain month or number of days of waiting its like "I can't wait." His issue was he didn't want to spend the rest of his summer alone on the weekends up in the hills. Well, I didn't ask him to spend his weekends alone. He should have been out anyway. I don't do ultimatums!! Total YUK!! Yeah!

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Hi Theressa,

No one was "ridiculing" the anonymous poster. The poem was very nice but it was definitely someone's beginning. As far as your post went, it is indicative of how fluid the categories "victim" and "abuser" can be because you sounded exactly like my ex, and several others' exes. I don't know that it's a "button" to react to something you have heard over and over again in an abusive context. Your signature on your posts would have contextualized the post and would have been very helpful - does this mean our "buttons" are really about your carelessness? I am glad that you are doing better, but sometimes, Theressa, you can sound very preachy. I don't think it's fair to use words that many of us heard from our abusers, NOT sign your post, and then tell us we have "buttons." Why does this bother you? Why take Theressa's reaction to the speculation negatively? She didn't set out to trick anybody... Actually, it's kind of funny...

Perdida

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Wow, Sharon, you DO live! You're fightin' 'em off with sticks!

Speaking of sticks, stick to your guns with this new guy. He probably doesn't have a replacement lined up really, but who needs that pressure. He is NOT being at all sensitive and he sounds like the same old same old all over again (ie Psycho II). I know there are a lot of them out there and they get worse as they get desperate.

I'm so glad the anonymous poster wasn't my ex. I'm hoping to get him to read and post on the site, at least start out reading. I read the Misogynist page and even with everything he fell into the category of "Not A Total Hopeless Case." But it's all up to him, of course...

That Misogyn site is great, by the way.

Love, Perdida

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Dear all, Sharon here,

I think when we post we should put our name on it - that way we can get credited for what we have to say. (giggle, kinda)

But I'm not scared of being discredited for what I have to say either. (another giggle, kinda)

I just don't like anonymous posts sometimes when it can be 'potent' and can get people upset. Be up front, honest and trust what you have to say - as long as you can monitor how you say it to your audience.

I've read some real strange stuff here lately -- though I like the poems, I do not like some of the 'tit-for-tat' -- it doesn't feel like real sharing -- it feels like 'admonishments' to others.

Lots of hugs,

Sharon (the not being so silent one) Good Sharon. But, it's really OK to post anonymously. This board won't get out of whack. Even if I'm not around, I can count on one of you guys to email me to check things out. So, it's really OK since some people do it out out of fear rather than out of a need to intimidate. And it's only a matter of time before we figure what's what out. OK?

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Dear Perdida,

I must be on a roll, eh? I really need a latte......a french vanilla one.....with cream and everything......

Are you going to go pick up your capuccino part from him? I'm interested to know how or what the status is of your ex.

Is there regular contact?

Sharon

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Dear Perdida,

Thanks for the comments about the other guy.....I mean, gee whiz, I just wanted to do things right by taking things slow, getting to know him as a friend and let things develop into a romantic place. However, he wasn't on the same page as me. It felt like he gave me 14 days from today to either produce feelings for him or he's gone to others. He told me 'well, I've given you plenty of time to develop feelings for me and its not happening.' "Well, no **&& sherlock - is it like this?

"You either love me in 90 days or I'm gone?"

That's how it feels. So good riddance - hope it works - Mr. Can't Be Alone for the Rest of the Summer.

Just more psychos! I agree, though Trubble likes him (uh, oh...).

Yep, I do make my splashes, don't I? Onto the nest endeavor!

Love, Sharon

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Hi Sharon,

Was I "tit for tatting"? I was sincere... ooops!

The ex is BRINGING me my cappuccino Frother and Special Scoop which he discovered I had left at his house. I guess I am ready for anything... It's very nice of him to drive 2 hours to make sure the froth on my cappuccino is appropriately frothy.

Actually, anything could happen. I am going to use the opportunity to practice my Catbox Skills and Sense of Self. I am sure it will be a very nice visit. There has been no regular contact since he went to his conference advising me he hadn't decided whether to use email or not, at which point I got a hold of myself and stopped emailing. There haven't been any calls either, since I never called him back when he got home and started calling, and he is very into tit for tat - er, that is, balance and reciprocation. I have no clue as to his mental state although I doubt it is angry; don't know whether he wants to perform any reconciliation shtick; I am assuming that he wants to bring me my Frother and Special Scoop, see an African film, and go home. If he has more on his agenda, maybe he will tell me ( and maybe he will expect me to guess...). Tit for tatting is angry. The assumption is look what I've done for you; what have you done for me?

PS - I never noticed my Frother was missing... I've given up milk... I didn't choose to share this information with him...

More later... Perdida

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Dear Perdida,

Oh my gosh, no, my posts were not directed at you regarding the 'tit-for-tat'. It was a general statement I made but it wasn't to anyone in particular.

I did look up 'tit-for-tat' in the dictionary though and it means 'retaliation in kind.' Ooopppsss!! I've used that word in the past in the right way, but I didn't use it right in my post.

I meant that didn't feel comfortable with the fact that a post was written and then was automatically assumed that it activated our buttons!!!!!! Plus, no name for the 'credit' to boot!

Funny though - I haven't even read this anonymous post which was written by Theresa. I'm sure it was very insightful as she does write well, though sometimes can be admonishing. But its OK Theresa, I've learned alot through your writings, though I do agree with Perdida, a little preachy. Theressa has style. I'm surprised we all missed it. Her writing almost has a "signature." (BTW, I like preachy.)

So now I'm tit-for-tatting!!!!! Oh well, I've been on a roll all day.

Hugs to all, Sharon

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Hey Sharon,

Oh, we all engage in some titting and tatting. But you should read the post. It's very nice on the face of it but it, as I said, echoed what my ex used to say. It's an example of how really nice sentiments can take on a sinister meaning in an abusive context. The cycle of abuse feels like a kaleidoscope sometimes! If you look one way it looks like this but if you twist it a little, it looks really different. Exactly. And all is in the eye of the beholder...

The anonymous post did spark some interesting thought and discussion - I especially began thinking how crazy it can all feel when one hears those nice thoughts and reacts to the words - it feeds into that paranoia that - maybe it's ME who is crazy!! Maybe we're all crazy, and so what? Giggle! But you hear the nice words and you get the abusive actions and suddenly nice words take on a different meaning. But if I'd known it was Theressa, the post would have looked entirely different to me because I read Theressa in a certain way that belongs to how I see Theressa, and the post being anonymous but sounding like the creepy sweet stuff that my ex would expound... well, I feel very deceived and set up with the "buttons" thing. You see Perdida, that you felt deceived is what you need to look at. Theressa did what she did. You interpreted it as ominous. That by the way is the button stuff Theressa referred to. She knows that all is in the eye of the beholder... I can understand your (and other people's upset). It's certainly reasonable. But, if you knew you were crazy and were OK with it, you wouldn't get upset... (Being human is about being nutty....)

And it sounded so much like my ex that I have to admit I actually thought it might be my ex! Theressa had no way of knowing she would sound like that to me. My objection is to the tone of her post in which she identifies herself as the writer. She's emotional, that's all. How are you taking it?

Yow, Perdida

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Helloooo Trubble Mousie is very excited to be your new Auntie but Mousie must ask a couple of questions in order to fulfill the obligations of her new position. 1. Are you Mousie's new niece or nephew? Nephew. Does Trubble sound like a girl's name? Ugh. 2. Does this make Mousie and FakeMommy in-laws? You don't deserve such an awful fate AuntieMousie. 3. Does Mousie get to come to the family reunions and help herself to anything on the food table? Assuming you find anything left once I've been there. Hehehehe! 4. Will Mousie be mentioned in the will? I think I can probably get her to leave you the mousie traps!  5. Does Mousie get a new wallet sized school photo of you every year to stick to the front of her refrigerator? YES!! (Now we're talking!) 6. Does Mousie have to get you a graduation and a wedding present when the time comes? YESSSS!!!! Well that is all Mousie can think of for now. Mousie does not know what a koi is, but you'd better not go snacking on any fresh pirahhnas. They have zero vitamins and you'll be up all night in the litterbox. Better than the canned mush I'm getting now. Here is a hug from your new Auntie Mousie and her kitty cat Dusty But don't get any ideas if you're a boy cat because she is 14 and does not go out with any young gigolos. Humphhh! She's too old for me, but I can use a new GrandMa. Giggle! However if you're an older single mature rich male, she might be interested. Well, she can have him that way, but I have dibs on him as a RealDaddy. Love Mousie

For Your Fridge AuntieMousie:

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Thursday, July 19, 2001

Hi Catbox,

I wanted to comment that since I have become more aware of my husband's abusive and controlling behaviors, I have become more hypersensitive. Of course. Since our divorce it's like we can't saying anything with out polarizing it or waiting for the other person to attack. I feel as though he will take anything I say and twist it so he is the victim. He appears to be just waiting for an excuse to be abusive. I was doing the same wanting to be validated. Good for you for recognizing that! I didn't realize I was asking the wrong person to validate my feelings. Yes... Also, once you know, you no longer need the validation. Perhaps, I am just not secure in my boundaries that I make this assumption. It never occurred to me that people where playing this power struggle game. You sound pretty secure to me. It takes lots of courage to own all this. I have now become aware of it, and at first was scared of the challenge of standing up for what I believed in because I wasn't even sure what that was. And then the air begins to clear...

I wonder sometimes how I will react when I meet a truly loving caring person who is confident enough in himself to just want to share his life experience with me.... I hope to know enough about myself to just go for the ride and trust that I will be okay. Right now, I am not there. I have a lot to learn.

I think it is a lot easier to communicate in person then to type on this board. I know I have written things in here that I have gone back and thought "Oh, that's not what I meant." or "I hope it's not taken the wrong way". Giggle! I know as a codependent I always assumed I knew what's best for me was best for everyone. You, me, and the rest of the world...   I will say "You need to..." with out realizing it this person may have already thought of this. I think it sounds better to say I have done this and this has worked for me. I am now learning myself how to listen, reflect back, and accept that there may be another perspective. It's definitely a skill to be learned. I am working on my communication skills. A fun idea is to tape a telephone conversation and see how you sound.

As far as the titting and tatting....I don't see it that way. I see people sharing different perspectives. Me too.

I believe Theressa is excited to share her new found Self, and learning experience. Yes. She grows by sharing her experience. I know her post's give me lots to think about. I challenge my opinions or perspective. I think if we go back in 6 months and read it again it will even sound differently. It depends on where you are in your recovery. I wouldn't take anything another person shares as a personal attack on me. BINGO!

An example is like reading some personal home pages that deal with darker ritual abuse. You will read a poem that reflects a certain feeling at that time. When I wasn't comfortable with myself I felt yucky and uneasy about what I was reading. Exactly. It's all about being OK with whatever part of you. Then you don't get intimidated, take offense, whatever. I could not understand what was meant. Now I can actually open up to read it and almost respect it. I feel more open to learn. I believe people have different perspectives about this. It may make one reader uncomfortable while offer comfort to another.

I just wanted to share what I am learning. It's helped me see things a little differently now. I have learned to inquire what was meant if I am not sure "Help me understand why you think.....".

LisaMM Thank you LisaMM.

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Becky checking in-----

First, Dr. Irene, thanks for your comments to Asha: they really helped ME! Also, the "R" in EMDR stands for Reprocessing. That's right! Thanks.

All the talk about boundaries reminds me of the discussion my therapist and I had on Monday about those tricky little things. We discussed a recent boundary smashing by my H and she pointed out that I tend to cave in still. It's true. I usually feel that I must give in because I have no choice; that he will do what he wants to anyway, regardless of how I feel. Good you see that irrational stuff. You just need to remain aware of the fallacy of that thinking, AND you need to learn new skills to do/ say something more effective.

She advised me to halt any "discussion" that entails him attacking, insulting and otherwise disrespecting me ,and refusing to say "yes" to what he wants until rational negotiation is happening. In other words, if I say "yes," it should be of my own free will, NOT because I'm intimidated into it, and feel powerless to say no. Exactly. She's giving you tips to help you learn the skills you need.

This morning I explained how I feel about the issue there is a conflict about, (I think I mentioned it earlier; it involves making "my" space at his rental property into an apartment, necessitating the removal of belongings of mine to an attic or garage) and told him that I feel railroaded. I said that I was unhappy with how I'd responded, that I didn't want to feel so powerless and told him what i want in the future as far as mutuality and respect. He responded by snarling --yes, he snarled!--that I will pay him $200./mo. for the use of that space!

Yeah right! Wait right here while I get my checkbook! Clearly, he is interested only in getting his way unopposed.

Setting boundaries is easy--enforcing them is not! It is so scary! Taking these risks feels scary in the beginning because it counters your dependency stuff. This is good for you, and it's normal to feel scared, as I'm sure you know by now. But, as I explained to him, my self respect depends on my doing just that! I cannot respect me if I allow myself to be bullied by him. Correct.

My H is the type that feels attacked and victimized when I set boundaries and there isn't anything I can do about that. Other than accept it, and do nothing. That's hard for me to accept, but I am powerless over him. It is also a great relief! You bet!

Other news: I have applied for a full time teaching position, but haven't heard anything yet. I'm a bit nervous, as I need to inform my present employers pretty soon if I'm not returning. I wish schools would post vacancies earlier in the summer! This position is at a small private K-8 school, so may not offer me much more than i make at my 2 part time positions. If there isn't much money, and no benefits, I'll stay where I am.

Theressa, your post on acceptance was good. I was thinking the same way about it.

It's late; think I'll grab a book and crawl into bed. Would you believe I have read 4 books since July 4th? I'm on a reading frenzy and I love it!

'Night all, 'Night Trubble! 'Night.... Zzzzz

Becky

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Good Evening all!

Dr. Irene

You said that I need to remove myself and my son from my husband if things are not good but to know what I was doing and not to do it impulsively. Could you please elaborate? Well, if you are hurting, and there is nothing you can do about it - especially if he's prone towards violence - you may have to get out. You need to formulate a plan. When you leave, it is because you mean business, not because you secretly want him to miss you and seek you out.

If I really feel that things are out of hand (abusive), is it alright to discuss this with my son. Generally, yes. Especially if you're going to take him with you if you leave, or if he's an anger target too. I guess I'm still getting used the idea of my husband's moods being "abusive". If he's in a good mood he goes along with everything my son wants (can't say no or won't because he'll have to enforce it)... if he's in a bad mood he's much more strict and son can't do anything. My son who is now 11 reacts angrily when my husband is in his no patience mood. We both walk on egg shells when my husband is in the "bad mood". Yes. You certainly talk with your kid. I used to react angrily as well. We had many, many fights over his moods, which lead to him being assessed. This is not something that showed up only at home. In the space of about 5 years, he left about 8 jobs. As I said, they said he had low self esteem, but no treatment followed. Typical. When our son started showing signs of extreme anxiety, I clued in that I had to lessen my reaction to my husband and not expose him to this anger. I've got it 90% licked. Excellent!

I can tell by his mood whether it's good idea for him and our son to be together. If he's in "that" mood they will be alone together for about 5 minutes and then one or the other will come storming up to me with a complaint about the other. One night they returned after being out of the house together for a while my son stormed in the house just furious because Dad was being a "jerk" again. I find this disrespectful when I hear it and am torn on what to do because It seems like every time I try to support my husband, I find out he's just been in his mood. I asked my son what had happened and through angry tears he told me that Dad said I didn't listen to him. My son, even at 11 can use some colourful language. I got after my son about showing respect and that he had to listen to dad the same as he did me and not to use bad language. I find out after a while that the problem was that my son had closed the door too hard on his truck. I thought, "Oh my god, not the door thing." Even before our son was born, when my husband was in a "mood," that's one of the things that he used to natter at me about and trust me you COULDN'T shut it to suit him.  Explain to your son that you understand the rage he feels. Validate the injustice. Also tell him that while it may momentarily feel better to act out, doing so makes one more like him. Ask him if he wants to grow up like dad. Also point out how you used to get more angry and loud, but stopped it because it did no good and just diminished your self-esteem and personal power. 

I was amazed when I read about "silent or subtle provocation". I believe this is a major factor in our home. When you have someone who:

a) withdraws; or b) becomes very nitpicky all of the sudden; or c) just walks around in a grumpy mood (his specialty is Christmas, family get-to-gethers, weddings, vacations, etc.)

You tend to get a little fed up and then your behaviour can start to be yukky. Yep.

One example of silent provocation...When we decide to have a family get-to-gether, I have to do the cooking and cleaning. When my son was an infant, I would ask him to help. He would do a little bit and then sit down. He would not look after our son. I run myself silly and about 15 or 20 minutes before our company arrives (he's done this many times), he'll start playing with our son (even though he hasn't paid attention to him all day (or all week) - and will act like the really great Dad when everyone arrives. After everyone leaves (all the mess is still there to be cleaned up), he'll go back to the couch. Typical.  Sometimes when I get angry, I don't think my son has understood why - because he doesn't see the subtle or hidden stuff. If he does decide to play with our son, it's always in the front yard (not often) where someone is apt to see him and never in the back yard.

I know that my son can figure some of this stuff out because he said to me one day, "Dad only takes me to see so and so because he gets to visit with his friend. If there's nothing in for Dad, forget it." Smart kid. Validate him.

I've tried to support my husband when I could, but there were times that I just couldn't. How to I validate my son's feelings without threatening my husbands authority? Should my husband have authority if he abuses it? What do you say? It's important to validate your kid. Not validating him is confusing because internally he knows, yet the environment is telling him he's wrong and not to trust his feelings. Tell him that while it feels like a no-win with dad, it's not really so. He'll "win" if he doesn't let dad get to him - cuz that's what dad wants to do. Have you read Evan's The Verbally Abusive Relationship . ? Have you talked to domestic violence people? Do so!

Love Norma

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Friday, July 20, 2001

This post is more about me than Theressa, Perdida, Sharon or anyone else! Always, always, always!

OOOPS....My first reaction is to rush in and rescue everyone! Giggle...so I would have ended up telling Theressa it was ok to be preachy and Sharon it was sounding a bit edgy in her post and Perdida that she maybe is reading too much into it...... Giggle! You mean all the things I did? I love it when the student passes the teacher!

And hoping everyone would be friends and not disagree........  And that Theressa wouldn't feel shut out  and leave.

And probably ending putting everyone's backs up!!!!

And feeling yucky as I was dishonest about what I really think: to keep the peace....... Sentiments most of us share...

OOOOH what a lovely recipe for disaster.....been here before ...so I am keeping my mouth shut.......incredibly hard as I really want to have my say....... A very good exercise for you Jay!

But in the end I guess that much though I would love to be indispensable and make it all ok, I am not really needed.......

If they did need me they can all contact me anyway.....

Is this progress for me or what? I am finally fixing nobody -unless they ask.... Giggle!

Giggle- anyone want the mess in my house after I tidied up...I have still created chaos............

Jay - who is now going into town to do some voluntary work and mind other peoples business on a help line! Because people are asking Jay. And, one day, you'll get paid for it.

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Kris,

Why not try answering these questions yourself, it really helped me to progress.

Why do you feel guilty? Is it because you don't think it was ok to move on and be happy? why not? who told you or made you think it was not okay to be happy?

Why do you have these feelings? Listen to her Kris...

Take care Theressa

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Dear Sharon,

I get the impression that you don't like my style. That is your choice. So if it pushed no one's buttons, that is okay. Maybe pushing others buttons is the wrong word. Maybe it got people thinking. That sounds better. Yes. That's more accurate.

Maybe I am wrong, suspicious - but I have an impression you think I am a know it all and am getting a kick out of pushing peoples buttons. Now I think your buttons are getting bopped. Please let Sharon have her feelings, even if her feelings do not reflect who you are.

Well I will explain my motives. I just want to share. If you have a problem with me sharing the way I do, then it isn't my issue it is yours. You are mad. Feeling rejected gets you mad? Why? (Yes, it's OK to explain especially since that's what we do here, but, please check out if you are having a hard time with rejection - cuz it's really all OK...

I will not feel bad about my style. Good! I spent years stepping on egg shells ever so lightly. I can't see any harm sharing a quote as I did. It was put on to the catbox just as information. Not to push buttons. But from my interpretation. It did. Maybe you don't agree. That is okay.

Though I sense you have an issue with my style, so maybe we can get this sort out in the open. That's fine too. Excellent to talk about what angers you - rather than to act it out. But what do you want Sharon to do? Explain herself? She got a bit upset, and that's her issue to consider if she wants. Now you're a bit upset, and that's your issue. My advice: Let it go Theressa. Accept that it's OK for her to find you "preachy." It's OK for others to disagree, misinterpret, etc.

I've heard it said that others think I think I know it all. My sisters for one. Though I explained to them, I don't think I know it all, I am just not afraid anymore to share what I learn, and to let go of worrying how others react as this is not my issue. OK!

Take care Theressa

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Hi All,

I am going to stop posting because I need to sit and do nothing. I think it is a button if it causes any reaction, it shows us stuff that is sensitive. Though as I said above it was meant to share, just like others share from books. It was a quote.  Doing nothing is a viable reason to not post. When you've thought it through, I hope you'll come back and tell us.

As far as me being careless I don't agree. I am not in charge of walking on egg shells. How others react is not my issue. The information can be taken how others wish as it is to do with their stuff. Correct. Please let Sharon be; allow her to be who she is, buttons and all. (And to Sharon, I would say exactly the same about Theressa.)

I am no saint, though I am honest at the same time. For many years I lied to myself and to others. I tip-toed around afraid to say it like it is. I worried unnecessarily about every statement I used/said.

I don't agree sharing what Ron shared with me and I share here is wrong. Our purpose is to be honest. Though what I did learn from Sharon is tact. Yes and this is what this anonymous poster was not given. I realised when Sharon told me I was too blunt about one of her posts, that we have to recognise what stage people are at.

If I sound preachy that is not the way it is meant. I just say it how it is. Maybe I could make you all feel comfortable and familiar by bending the truth and not sharing things I've used to wake up and grow.

Maybe if I walked on egg shells you'd all feel better. Well I won't do this because I don't want to go back into denial.

As for forgetting to sign my post, it is an honest mistake. Aren't mistakes allowed here. Aren't I human?

I have faults. One of them is/was worrying so much about what others thought. Well if others can't accept a human mistake then maybe I am in the wrong place.

I want to grow and make mistakes if this isn't allowed I guess it is the wrong place for me.

So if no one ever uses the words your abuser used how are you ever gonna fix your sensitivities to them? The trick is you hear them and you work on reasoning the new meaning to them.

I am working on this myself. I was always so reactive to people joking and winding me up. Even though I realise it is just their personalities at times. And not an attempt to single me out, it is something they do to everyone. So I don't have to take it personal. Though I can still choose to ask them not to do it to me.

I made a mistake, I forgot to sign my post. Though what I would like to know is it cuz I didn't sign my post? or is it the contents in which the poem was taken that is the issue?

If it made people think is that a bad thing? If we are not to feel reactions and check out our thoughts, and then reason these thoughts, whether the contents in some contexts such as a healthy relationship are useful. Granted not in a abusive one. Isn't this the goal?

As I say it is obvious to me, from my reality that what I interpret is that you want me to tip-toe around, well I won't so I guess the only option is to leave.

**Dearest Jay I will contact you from e-mail from now on, since I am going to take my rejection healthily and detach and get on with living my life.

I don't feel right now that posting here and sharing is the right thing to do. I need to be alone and do nothing for now.

Take care, thanks to all who have helped me, though I can handle rejection now and so I won't be inflicting my preaching on any more of you.

Oh boy... You're off on a tangent dear Theressa... Taking this stuff all too personally...

Theressa, signing off, Dr Irene thanks for all your help though I think my time is up in the catbox. Too much reactivity I am not in the strength to deal with. I wanted to help maybe my trubble is I am trying too hard to fix others. What do I care if they ever get it!! Not my issue. I am gonna stop this unproductive helping now. Your time in the CatBox is not over. You do have the strenght to deal with this stuff. In fact, this is the "stuff" of every day life, and you'd better learn how to deal with it - without taking stuff so personally.

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Friday, July 20, 2001

WOW I blew it, I reacted. My stuff.

Nothing personal SHARON or PERIDA, it is about me. Yes. Theressa's button. Storming off. Well I am now ready to be an adult, so if you can forgive my last two posts, maybe the child part or me can stop acting out. Giggle! That was fast!

YES I was reactive. Though I am now ready to return and learn.

Why do you find me preachy? This is important to me because I've heard this before!! So I want to fix it. If you could give me some feedback I'd like to hear it.

Promise I won't react!!! (Giggle! By the way, all of you guys have permission to react. You learn from it!)

Trubble I need a cuddle can you give me one!! The cake was lovely, thank you. Cuddle

As for leaving the catbox I guess I have too much to learn, so I am gonna swallow my pride, and live out of my integrity, so I am afraid sorry to disappoint I will stay.

Thank you Theressa for accepting the reactive part of me. Theressa

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Dr Irene did I just do this out of my neediness? As I couldn't stay away!!! No. I think you realized you took Sharon and Perdida's reaction too personally and got all bent out of shape and insulted for no reason at all. Can you allow them to see things the way they see things? (Since you have no control over how they see things anyway?)

Take care Theressa

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Dear All,

I want to share this, which I got off one of the self growth newsletters I receive. It may help some, it helped me.

To dream anything that you want to dream, that is the beauty of the huma nmind. To do anything that you want to do, that is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself, to test your limits, that is the courage to succeed. - Bernard Edmonds, American Writer

Take care Theressa  Giggle! I couldn't resist!

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Hi All,

Just something I want to share, it may help some of you?

---------------------------------------------------- ** HOW TO ATTRACT TERRIFIC PEOPLE - written by Mike Moore ** Thanks for the author credit!------------------

I remember asking my Dad, when I was 16, how I could become charming. I must admit that my motives were hormonally inspired at the time, but what he said to me has effected my life and relationships ever since. He looked at me and said, " Son, you become charming by making another person feel better about themselves when they are in your company." What wisdom!

With my Dad's wisdom ringing in my ears I offer you a few suggestions on how to do just that- make someone feel better about themselves when in your company.

* Be alert for any chance to praise another.

* Be fun to be with.

* Be genuinely concerned about what's going on in the life of the other.

* Suspend your agenda in the interest of the other's.

* Encourage and affirm your friend at every opportunity.

* Listen twice as much as you talk.

* Give genuine compliments, frequently.

* Accept the person as they are and not as you want them to be.

* Ask questions and listen to their answers. There is a difference between prying and being interested.

* Be enthusiastic.

* Be a friend without conditions.

There is nothing more flattering or rare than the undivided attention of another.

It is more important to be interested than interesting.

You are invited to subscribe to Mike's free Lifeline newsletter at http://www.motivationalplus.com

About the author Mike Moore is an international speaker and writer on human potential and motivation. You can check out his books, tapes and manuals at http://www.motivationalplus.com

---------------------------------------------------- ** 10 SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO to IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS –written by Susie and Otto Collins ** ------------------------------------------------------------

1) Start Your Day off with a prayer of gratitude.

This is how we start each and every day. Before our feet ever hit the ground in the morning --we say a prayer of gratitude for all the good things about our lives.

By doing this what we find is that it sets the tone for the day in a very positive way. We express gratitude for each other, the people in our lives and the abundance that surrounds us all.

2) Make your relationships a priority.

If your relationships aren't what you want them to be-- one of the reasons may be that you haven't made them a priority.

Whether it be with your intimate partner, your mate, the people you work with, the people in the social organizations you belong to or the people you meet on the street---make ALL your relationships important-- More important than getting things done.

3) Turn off the TV or Stop spending so much time on the Internet

Start reading self development or inspirational books -- maybe a chapter a night with someone you care about and then discuss the important discoveries you make about yourself and each other.

We suggest Gary Zukav's Seat of The Soul, Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements and Gay Hendricks book Conscious Living as good books to start with.

4) Be present in All your relationships

In every relationship you're in and in every personal encounter give whomever you're with your full attention. Giving another person your full attention is as good of a gift as you can give anyone.

5) Love the other people in your life the way they want to be loved and not how you think they want to be loved.

Believe it or not there is a difference in almost all cases because we all come from a different set of circumstances and experiences.

So take the time to ask the people in your life-- "how do you want to be treated or loved?"

Then treat them that way.

6) Speak your truth in all your relationships

Sometimes we think we are being kind to another when we hold back from telling another person how we are feeling. We've found that if you want your relationships to be real and authentic instead of being mired in fear, you need to speak your truth.

7) Honor the people in your life even when they're not present.

If you have an issue with someone that needs to be addressed--be sure to address it with that person and not make it a part of water cooler conversation at work.

8) Listen to self-development or inspiring tapes in the car instead of the radio.

The average person will spend over 750 hours a year in a car traveling somewhere. You can be using that time for personal and spiritual growth instead of listening to the latest information about wrecks and drug busts on the news.

9) Don't take anything personally

This is great advice and is one of the four agreements from Don Miguel Ruiz's book--The Four Agreements.

If someone else is having a bad day it may have nothing to do with you. If someone you come in contact with is inconsiderate or rude just practice sending them love instead of taking offense. You have no idea what things may be happening in the life of that other person.

10) Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you

Otto's father has had a saying for many years that he wants his flowers while he's living.

What this means is, he wants to know how much the other people in his life care now instead of after he is gone.

Honor the people you love today. Don't wait.

You can get more articles like this from: editors@selfgrowth.com

and the website: http://www.selfgrowth.com

Thanks Theressa  Thank you!

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Dr Irene

What is your definition of "going into someone's space" or crossing a boundary? As individuals aren't we all different about how we regard our space, and what space is "ours"? Your boundaries include everything about you. Your tastes and preferences, your body, your thoughts, your reactions, your feelings, your color hair, your prejudices, etc., etc., etc. These things don't very. They just are.

I notice that people are constantly crossing boundaries that they don't know even exist. Yes. And others are feeling their boundaries are "crossed" when the person who crossed them had no idea. Yes.

I know that when my boundaries are crossed it just comes as a "feeling". It doesn't mean that the person who crossed them necessarily did something "wrong", it's just my own personal limit. Correct. It's good that you don't "automatically" get mad at a violation. I've learned that people don't automatically "know" and it's my job to tell them if I don't want it to continue. Exactly!

Some people tend to be more generous with their "space" while others are not. I think it's inevitable that we will bump into peoples boundaries now and again. You bet!

If I'm riled because of something my partner did or didn't do - am I "infringing on his boundaries" by talking to him about it, just because he feels I am? You are allowed to be riled, but if he doesn't want to hear it, you are in his space. (I know, "But then he'll just what he wants when he wants!) Well, you tried to communicate and he didn't want to hear it. So be it. Now you pull away physically and emotionally because it's silly to do much else. Somehow I'm getting the feeling that it is (even if I don't know I’m “infringing”) and that boundaries aren't necessarily "healthy". This can be especially difficult if the "boundary" somehow affects the other party's space also. An example is an ex boyfriend of mine who decided that Friday night was "his night", which basically just meant that he could watch whatever shows he wanted on tv. Only problem was it was *my* tv, and I had never agreed to this. Yes. He can have his Friday on the TV, in his house. And if being alone every Friday is not OK with you - you walk away.

I think boundaries when taken too far become "walls" and can shut people out. Correct again. You must be reading the family therapy literature! I get the feeling that even "walls" need to be honored to some degree (though they make a healthy partnership impossible). You can only go in as much as you are invited to.

I think one of my boundary issues with Steve has a lot to do with communication (how much, when etc.). Yes! I used to feel “shut down” most of the time, like he really wasn’t interested in much that I had to say, and that I had to communicate only in certain ways (short phrases being careful not to repeat myself) in order to be listened to. I felt controlled and not free to be myself. Not OK. It's your job to be yourSelf. It's also your job to let Steve grunt or whatever he does when he does it. You can let him know a couple times that you find the grunting distasteful, but if he continues to grunt, you have no sane option but to pull away from him. Not in anger, I hope, but because there is no point in fighting City Hall.

I guess one of my problems with Steve is that I waiver between just moving on with my personal life - accepting what he does without communicating how I feel about it (because I guess it's not supposed to "matter"), and (knowing that at times he does seem to want to work things out), communicating and telling him how I feel about issues that concern me. If you pay attention to his "cues" you'll recognize when it's OK to talk and when it's not. If you feel there is too much time you can't talk, you pull away. Chasing someone down never works...

I told Steve that I want to be "in" or out of the relationship because it's too painful as it is (it’s basically been a friendship, with few expectations, still hanging out together a lot). I also mentioned that if he was willing to help out to pick a counselor who we could meet on a regular basis, that I would be willing to give the personal stuff a try, taking things slowly. I just feel that there is so much damage done, that I need a mediator to talk to when things get yucky - so they don't get ‘out of control’ as they inevitably do. I really hope you two find a counselor! Each of you is expert at pushing the other's buttons. You have so much to learn from one another!

Steve said he needs to structure in his own life before he can do this, and I respect this. Good. I just don't want to be in limbo, and believe me, it's really hard when you run a business together to have a clean break, if that's the objective. For now, I'm doing my best to keep my personal life separate from his. Good plan. I don't know exactly how this will work because we've been friends for so long and we still do work together. Steve probably thinks I'm trying to hurt him by doing this, but I think by now he must understand to some degree. I think he probably understands fully, though he may have mixed feelings about it.

I noticed myself feeling angry at him recently because he cancelled his invitation to an event we were both supposed to go to for work. He has cancelled out on things a few times before and that's a button for me.   It used to be that I felt "responsible" because I would book our spots and then have to explain why he wasn't there. Excellent observation. This wasn't the case this time though, because I didn't make myself responsible for booking him in the first place and he had booked it himself. Good! He also contacted the person directly to cancel. Excellent! I still felt kind of mad at him though. I think this is because of all the old patterns that I'm so familiar with - my being "responsible" for him, passive aggressive “retribution” stuff, not being invited to go with him to social events, or the cancellations we made to social events because of some personal "catastrophe"... Really it’s totally up to him whether he cancels or doesn’t and there is no reason for me to care. Right. His stuff. No need to make it yours. If we were in a relationship though, I would want him to understand what that button is about. It's fine that he understand, but don't expect that his understanding should have an effect on his behavior. He should not "fix" his cancellation button because it bothers you, though that you are allergic to cancellation may motivate him to fix it. Perhaps he'll realize his cancellation is poorly tolerated by many and he loses out. So, if he chooses to fix it, he should do so for his own reasons. For you: Why not just get rid of the button? Or, why not just *expect* that he'll cancel (I'm sure he was canceling long before he met you!). How could I initiate healthy communication without it being “pressure”? Right now, I think you have to accept that you can't. I find that the result of *not* communicating is that Steve attributes his own reasons to my anger which often cause even more misunderstanding. There is nothing you can do about that Asha. Stop doing his job for him... Yes, I know it's frustrating... It seems, from your perspective, such a simple thing. And it is, but only from your perspective... Let it go, and Steve may pick it up...

I wonder if we are just 2 people with values differences so great that neither of us would ever be truly happy, yet we are "codependently" hanging on by a thread... I think you two have much to teach and learn from the other...

Asha

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Steve here

Theressa: "I want to grow and make mistakes - if this isn't allowed I guess it is the wrong place for me. "

Don't even think it Theressa. You have helped me tremendously. As I watch you grow, I also grow some of the same parts with you. I would not be happy if you left this place. Yeah!

I think, you are just feeling a little hurt by some responses. And you yourself said that is "your stuff". Feeling hurt etc.

You ARE allowed to make mistakes. And so am I and so are those who seem to hurt us.

By the way, I find everyone here preachy at times, including myself. Me too.  I think what some people see in you is what I see in Asha sometimes. A great and sincere attempt to help others. Sometimes people don't want help though, and THEY take it personally. That is one of my problems. Excellent Steve!  When Asha tries to help me when I don't want it, I tend to feel controlled. I shouldn't. That is something I need to work on and I shall. Yippeee!

Anyways Theressa, I think you know how much we all appreciate your input. And you are allowed to be "stormy" at times. Your storms are like gentle whirlwinds compared to some of my tornadoes I shot off when I first found this place. Grin. Giggle! You were fun Steve! You even riled me, and caught my yukky post before I could undo it!

Take care Theressa, and make it a great day! You too.

Steve

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Dear Theresa,

Sharon here.

If I could draw you a great big chocolate cake with butter cream frosting I would. Maybe Trubble could help me have that arranged. You bet! Chocolate Peace Cake...

This is all part of sharing I think! Having disagreements - stating opinions - sharing thoughts - though everyone has different thoughts (let us hope) is a fact of LIFE!!!

I have learned that if someone can't afford to get a bloody nose every now and then - they don't need to be in the ring!

I've had lots of bloody noses in my life, Theresa, as I'm sure you have to. Don't give up the fight of sharing!!!!! Embrace the fact that its part of growing - because it is!!!!! We can disagree with love - we can even tit-for-tat in kind. But its not personal. Its just sharing thoughts, ideas, emotional states, etc. and we are all different in our approach. Thank God!  Yeah!

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Asha,

I know how you are feeling. I to am trying this friendship thing whilst we work on our issues, yet we see each other everyday.

I am to like you trying to work on my anxiety issues. These seem to be similar to yours. I know how frustrating this is. Though I think it is worth the work since ALL my relationships and not just my romantic one I seem to behave similar and it hurts me.

I do talk alot and at times try to keep or focus too much on one persons attention. I know it is because I fear silence.

I know I eat chocolate because I find it so hard to sit with my feelings. I know I don't go to bed early enough and then I am too tired to do my coursework.

Etc.

And at times it feels hard to make all these changes and yet feel accepting of myself. It feels at times like I must change to feel whole. So at times I am in conflict with myself over on the one hand making the improvements and on the other accepting me as I am.  

My partner as Steve does points out my flaws, the things I need to work on. In fact you see how I reacted when Perida called me "Preachy" though my partner is getting more tactful.

At times I feel like he is just telling me how to be better and him do no work, but then I talk to him and find over time he to is changing his perspective by what I say.

It is just I am not so blunt. I will tell him about what I've been learning and leave it at that. This works best. I guess that is what I should do in the catbox, say what I am learning, what is working for me and then let others choose if they want it or not, instead of me sounding judge mental.

At times I feel if only I could stay the same and shot all this learning and analysising in the bin. Well I could and I would stay stuck. I never thought I'd be able to discuss things with my partner and then call a halt when it was going out of control.

I did this the other day. I told him I didn't think it was a good use of my energy arguing over this stuff. He stopped and we changed the subject. Yippeee!

I also note I am defensive and defend others when I have no need to. As Dr Irene clarified today to you. What does it matter what my partner or in your case (Steve thinks). For me I was defending a relative who my partner doesn't like. Instead of just accepting he doesn't like him and also that in fact my partner was correct in sharing his feelings about this persons behaviour. AND had it been another person my partner was speaking about, I would have agreed.

I instead argued my relatives case instead of saying "Okay that is my partners opinion and it is his choice what opinion he takes. and that is his choice. that is okay.

NOW to what you ask Asha:

I used to have walls. Walls are inflexible. Many times my partner has said "Theressa you are being defensive and won't listen to anything I have to say."

He was correct. I didn't want to change my mind in any way. IT was set. Though this is not healthy. If we can just listen to what others say then go away and thinking about it. Then we do ourselves good.

The other week my partner commented on something. In the past I would have reacted. But I didn't I sat very uncomfortably and then went home and thought about it. I decided after all he was right, and by challenging my thoughts on this I grew.

ME TO ASHA, my partner doesn't like to talk much. In fact he finds it hard to hear my opinions. BUT he wants me to hear his. That is why I have learnt to just say what I think, and not try to convince him. Just say I think xxxxx and then leave it at that. In the past I would try to get him to see my way. WHAT MAGICAL THING happens when I just put it out their, my opinions.

Well some time/weeks later he will say do you know I think xxxx. AND it is usually his thoughts have been modified to similar to what I was trying to say.

I think the point is I gave him chance to choose to take or leave my advice.

Asha have you tried telling Steve that you value his attention, him listening to you.

Though Asha I find sometimes I talk about others, their problems and issues and my partner shuts down. Do you do this with Steve?

I am learning a conversations is about others learning about me, and me learning about them. SO the main basis of the conversation should be about ME my views, my issues, and the other part about them, their issues, their views.

I to repeat myself. The trouble is sometimes I can't just make the point. Like for instance when I went to the doctor's, she sat me down. Told me what the possible problems maybe. WHAT did I do, I then went on and said "So what do you think is wrong".

The point is sometimes I don't just say it: This is wrong xxxxx. I would like this changing xxxxxx. (No explaining)

I have learnt that sometimes it is not my job to explain, it is just my job to put out my point, and others have their own imaginations to use to figure it out. They don't need me to give lengthy explanations. SINCE we each take what we hear and process it ourselves anyway. WE HAVE OUR OWN PICTURES IN OUR HEAD of what we think about things.

We use our own filter system. Our own examples, past histories, experiences.

SO I think we should only explain if others ask for an explanation.

Asha said: (See above Asha) I think one of my boundary issues with Steve has a lot to do with communication (how much, when etc.) I used to feel “shut down” most of the time, like he really wasn’t interested in much that I had to say, and that I had to communicate only in certain ways (short phrases being careful not to repeat myself) in order to be listened to. I felt controlled and not free to be myself. **************

Maybe what I say above will help Asha. We are going through so much the same I think it will.

Take care Theressa

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Hi Theressa and All Cats, (with a nod to Steve's Dog)

Theressa, I really enjoyed ALL of your last posts. Of course you are human, of course it's not your responsibility how anyone reads your posts. I will read your posts as enthusiastic now instead of preachy and receive what you have to say in that way. Anyway, I think enthusiasm is closer to the spirit in which you are writing, and I promise to change my way of seeing.

My ex just left. He brought two CDs as gifts in addition to my Frother. The problem is, when I see him I end up back in Want-To-Work-It-Out Land. Giggle! I ask him why he buys me CDs, and he says that he likes thinking of me listening to his music. I tell him that when he does that and when I see him, it creates the desire and hope in me to try to work things out. He says that he has accepted that it won't work out but he doesn't "BLAME" me! He supplies a list of things he "doesn't blame" me for. I say, There's no place for blame here, but rather taking responsibility, each for 50%. I ask, what about yourself? I say, you aren't responsible for me just as I am not responsible for you. Each person needs to take responsibility for his or her 50 100 percent, and if those two people do that, then things can work out. He says he has done a lot of thinking about things and after the first year he gave up on trying to change me and just accepted me as I was (gee whiz, thanks a lot! See what I mean Theressa, my ex is STILL saying that stuff that you said). I said," But no one changes another person - that's the work that other person has to do. What about yourself? Have you looked at things in yourself that you might like to change?" I say, "I think there is behavior that needs to change, yours and mine" (I am now paraphrasing). I ask "what did you think I needed to change?" He says, "I don't want to rehash everything." I agree," there's no point."

But I told him about how seeing him (calm and friendly of course, not the other side... ) creates a desire in me to work it out, and that I don't think this is a good thing since he says that working it out is not a possibility. So in essence, I told him that continued contact isn't going to work for me on these terms. Once again, I won't respond to or initiate email or phone calls or wish that he would come and see me or wish I could go see him. Tentative plans for him joining my class this week for dinner are off (although I am assuming he will understand that).

I gave him this website again and said I wished he would read it, that he could post his thoughts and everyone would get back to him, and that everyone was really nice. I gave him The Verbally Abusive Relationship  with all my underlined passages, and Emotional Blackmail: . I don't know if he will read them, and I won't even invest any energy wishing he will. I told him "let it be known that YOU have shut the door." and he said, "You broke up with me..." (No blame there...) I said that I didn't want to but I had hit a wall and couldn't get through and it was HIS wall.

I don't think the wall will ever go away. I get sad, but in a way I feel kind of rationally dispassionate about it - I was already there, having let go and moved on, and I am getting my confirmations.

So Cats, why does he still buy me presents and why did he come to see me for a silly reason like my brother which could have been mailed or even forgotten about? I find that confusing. I guess it's all about him. He was lonely, he maybe wanted to see if he still had some control over my emotions (he doesn't, exactly - I feel things but I accept the way this is ending), he wants to punish - paradoxically - by giving a crumb of himself and holding the rest back after creating desire? Probably all of those.

The interesting thing was that his ex-girlfriend has visited last week, that she had invited herself and he told her no until she said she was bringing a girlfriend. I can see that he really has no boundaries, because the visit made him uncomfortable, he said, but yet he couldn't tell her no for some reason. This ex used to call periodically, even after he and I had been together more than 2 years, to ask him what went wrong. It seems to me that she has not accepted the fact that their relationship is over, and I can see his responsibility in not ending it definitively. And now, I can see him doing the same thing with me. I wonder what he gets out of that? I advised him to change his thinking about liking to think of me listening to his CDs!!

I also wonder what this ex of his thought of all the pictures of me on his walls, which he said he still hasn't taken down. I think she must truly be masochistic.

It's really helped me to write this out. Sometimes I feel like I think with my fingers! My feelings of wanting to work it out never last very long after I have seen him... that's kind of telling too. If I never see him, soon he will be forgotten, the desire will be gone. Maybe he senses that. It sounds to me that never seeing him is the situation I need to set up right away - I am ready for it - that wall around him is made of titanium.

Love, Perdida, doing it till I get it right...  Excellent Perdida. You are clear, you accept reality, you are on the High Road.

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Friday, July 20, 2001

More Perdida ruminations:

And another odd thing - every time I say that working on things is a 50/50 job, my ex starts going on about how HE doesn't blame ME, and how he doesn't think *I* did anything wrong, and today's theme, of having given up on trying to change ME... There is never any sign whatsoever of introspection or looking at himself in any way shape or form. I don't engage with this emotionally, but I think it is REALLY WEIRD.

OHHHHHH! I get it. The discourse about not blaming me is to distract from the idea that HE needs to do some introspection... Duh!  Yes, it's still all about him, from his perspective...

I really felt like he didn't see me as a separate person today. I had never felt that so strongly before.

I'm sure there will be more, Perdida

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Thanks Theressa

The communication stuff with Steve is so tricky because on one hand I know that my communication style can be better, but on the other I don't want to end up at the other extreme where I'm using the "Steve filter" and meeting Steve's needs, but disregarding my own. Right. Monday morning quarterback failed attempts. How would you do it if given another chance? This is how you build the skills...

I'm sure I do repeat myself - I noticed my Dad does this. I would like to improve my communication style, but still be able to be "myself"; that is not be *so* careful about my words that I'm afraid to express myself (which at one time I was - very shy). You are the only one who can integrate yourSelf...

There are times when I could try to modify how I talk, but there are other times when I feel like I really do need to expand on a point to say what I want to say, and when I try to put it in a concise short form I feel blocked and can't say what I want to say. That's when you say nothing, and take time to sit with it...

I'm not sure exactly when Steve shuts down - it seems sometimes like it's when I'm the most cheerful and full of energy and things to say. Maybe I overwhelm him. I'm just sad sometimes that I can't share my happiness with him. I think I'm expecting more than he can offer.

There are certain topics that we both find draining - for example talking about the problems he has with his x. I think we both have to put a time limit on that one.

Its funny, because I know certain other people (including my family members) who can get really excited and yak away and don't have a problem with this. I think Steve and I absorb things differently and I guess I don't really understand how he's feeling when he doesn't want to talk. At times it does feel like he's just not that interested in what I have to say. And Theressa, you are right, it *is* because I value his attention, and listening to me. That's probably a better way to frame it than "you don't care about me." Excellent stuff Asha!

Thanks Theressa, I appreciate your input.

Asha

 

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Wow, a catbox storm and everyone sorted it and that is great..

I am worried if my computer is going to crash - I am having real trouble keeping connected to the internet for any time and then it takes a zillion tries to get through...if I do go off the page for a while; don't worry I will be back...I think I forgot the phone bill again so it might be that......

Some useful phrases....

"I wonder if you could see it as..."

'I wonder if there is an alternative way of looking at that"

I find this helpful for me"

"Would it be worth considering .."

"I find it to be a principle that ....if you do x .....y..happens....

Rule of thumb,...in friendship you can say how it is for you.. you can share your stuff....

The way it works for you is not the way it necessarily works for someone else...

In counseling you do not talk about your stuff......you might self disclose in a small way; but you don't let the client get involved in your problems.....

The way people share in friendship is different for different people....it all evens out as the corners get rubbed off......

Jay (who has been on a lot of courses about this stuff and still manages on a session where she is supposedly the most experienced person to ask a closed question when she is meant to be demonstrating how to ask an open one!) Excellent!

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Asha here

Rules for a Kindergarten Class on conflict resolution:

#1. no blame #2. you must agree that you want to solve the problem

I think I'm going to head back to kindergarten and learn to do things the "mature" way... As opposed to the manure way? Giggle! Couldn't resist!

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Dear Editor,

You changed my artistic spelling of "nekkid" to "naked." I just want you to know that I know how to spell "naked." God forbid that I should let you think for a second that I can't spell! :)  Whoops! I run these boards through a spell checker real fast. Sometimes I know I really mess up words...

So I sent the email I referred to a couple of pages back to my ex. Sorry it was an email, sorry it was in the middle of the workday... I just decided that I had to cut it off clearly. I can see what's going on and I can see the writing on the titanium wall, and I don't want to be just a buffer for him against loneliness or neediness, even if I get presents.

Back to "Normal", Perdida

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Perdida here,

So I get an emailed response from my ex that he would have expected a warm goodbye after 3 years! That he had nothing but good things to say about me and couldn't respond in kind! (now that I reread this, what the heck does that mean? It seems he thinks he has to mirror any communication I send instead of just listening to what I am saying. Why does he always respond to my objections to his behavior by saying he has no objections to mine? I just don't get this part at all) I sent back 2 lines saying he had had all my warmth and he knew it and to STOP trying to lay a guilt trip on me just because he couldn't deal with his own stuff. Giggle! Probably a waste of internet space...

Ugh, I won't get caught up in this - I feel really bad and yukky. His long-suffering, superior human being thing is so slimy (he even said his ex girlfriend couldn't let go because he broadened her horizons and she couldn't find anyone good enough to replace him - maybe I should reread the narcissism stuff) Good idea. Sounds like a lot of hot air, doesn't it? at the same time I wish the image he would LIKE to be known by was the real truth so I could love him and be with him. It's such a deep disappointment, like a picture of e beautiful place you can never go to because it doesn't exist. I was left wondering how many times I would have to break it off before it stuck. This was it, though.

Bleah, as Snoopy would have said if he was still with us.

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Friday, July 20, 2001

I’ve read the articles and posts on this site for a year now and it has helped me learn to set boundaries with my H. Now I need some further support and that is why I am finally posting. I’ve been married for 8 years and there have been problems with control in our marriage. My H really believes I don’t truly love him because I will not accept anything he says blindly without thinking or questioning him. For instance, he has given me advice (unsolicited) about life, religion, cooking, cleaning etc. I suggested maybe he shouldn’t be giving advice since he gets angry when it is not taken. He is also always giving advice to friends, colleagues etc. Many times I have done what he suggested because I agreed that it was right, but when I don’t do what he wants he says I don’t respect him or I would listen to him and take his advice. He tells me that he loves me and since he had these learnings wants to share them with me. I’ve told him that people learn from their own experiences. Sadly, it sounds as though his world seems to him the only world...

Now he is starting to question things I like to do. He make comments about the fact that I enjoy shopping or reading (critizing the types of books I read). He states it in a contemplative way like “What is missing in your life? or What are you looking for?” I’ve told him I’ve been doing these activities since I was a young girl and it is relaxing to shop and browse the mall. Even if I don't buy anything. He has disregarded my explanations and continues the same line of questioning for years now. His most recent thing is saying "I must be in denial and trying to escape by reading or shopping etc." I am starting to become very self-conscious about shopping and reading. Don't go there! I know he feels insecure with me because he is always asking me if I love him. Once, I asked him what he loved about me and he didn't answer. However, in his many cards or notes to me he is always loving and generous with his praises. I know that I should ignore him and not allow him to make me feel guilty about doing the things i enjoy doing. Another issue is sex. He is a highly sexual person and always wants it, we’ve always made love at least 7-10 times a week. I haven’t felt like making love for years but I still participate with him. I know I'm only hurting myself by doing this. If I’m sick and don’t feel like making love, I hear I must not love him like he loves me and we must not be compatible.” I know he is trying to manipulate me to get his way but it is hard hearing this all the time. Any suggestions that could help support me in remaining strong would be greatly appreciated. Agree with him. Tell him, "Yes, we're probably not compatible." "Yes, I must be in denial." "If I don't take your advice, I must not love you. Hmmm... Why are you putting up with me?" Also, look here.

Thank you. Susann

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Dear Perdida,

The more I'm thinking about this, the more I question......could your ex be a 'commitment phobic"? These types come up with all kinds of crazy excuses to NOT be in a relationship. One of the classic ones is "you deserve better" or "its about my religion" (even though they knew you were a whatever when they entered into the relationship) -- lots of weird stuff out there--because they know they can't step up to the plate, so they have to make stuff up. And they really believe what they say to be true. They even get physically sick being in the relationship because they feel 'out of control' and then once they are out of it they feel better - but then the anxiety builds again just the thought of going back. Excellent, accurate observations Sharon.

Anyway, thought I'd share. There are some good books out there about commitment phobics, but I can't think of the titles right now. If I remember, I'll post them because I have read a few.

Love, Sharon

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Perdida,

I hope I'm not reading too much into your posts, but are you getting "reeled in" by some "if onlys" that may have been planted by seeing your ex?

If you are, I can relate. Haven't spoken to the STBX in over a week now. Totally letting his calls be handled by caller-id and the answering machine at home, and voicemail at work.

No real nastygrams, but still a lot of YOU's in the messages, like "YOU are making things harder by not talking to me directly", etc.. Then he has the nerve to leave one message that said "I'd like to take you out on a date. Maybe we can't live together, but well...it's just a thought".

He doesn't get it at all! I mean...a date? Hello??? There's a restraining order?! !

I found myself thinking about the "if onlys" for a little bit this week as he was complaining he has no money, and I need to help him pay the car insurance, cause he can't. I started thinking, you know..if only he realized how his drinking and raging were affecting his family, took getting help/therapy seriously, he would still have my support-110%. We could still be together, working toward a common goal.

Then the reality fairy kicked me in the butt and said "yeah...YOUR SUPPORT, but what about you? How can you even fall into that thinking again? I like the Reality Fairy! It's been 2 months since he's been out of the house, and he has done absolutely nothing! It's not like you have never been through this before in the last 5 years. He's still in denial, blaming, drinking, and still trying to use emotional blackmail. Where are you today? Not blaming, accepting your life for what it is, and you've worked really, really, hard to look forward! Look forward and be thankful for the good things that came out of the relationship, like the 2 wonderful children that you were blessed with. He should be more concerned with working on a relationship with them!

I saw my counselor yesterday, and she was really impressed with how I'm handling things, and almost said the same thing as Dr. Irene, which was don't dwell on my mistakes and guilt. Smart lady! (Giggle!) She even made me feel better about taking him back the last time (for some reason, I still expected an "I TOLD YOU SO"!). I agree that even though most people would've given him the old "heave ho" over 4 years ago, I most likely needed to give him a final "last chance". The boundaries were very clear for him to come back, and he made his own choices, which was to cross them. He knew the consequences, but most likely, he was expecting the "old" me to widen the boundaries as he crossed them.

Today I honestly feel I did everything to save our marriage, but it takes 2, not 1. Perhaps I had to go down this path to be where I'm at now.

Anyhow....enough on my part. I just hope you are okay with where you are at right now. This is where I am at most of the time and have to admit, it feels really good.

Peace,

L Peace.

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Dear Dr. Irene,

Sharon here. I read your response to one of the posts about Dr. Psycho and Dave joining me in a little fun and I just started laughing!!!!!!!! That Dr. Psycho man couldn't handle it!!! Giggle!

I liked your sense of humor - so thanks for the LOL!!

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Hi L,

Reeled in is right, with the ex wielding the fishing pole. If I get any more reeled in, Trubble will mistake me for his favorite food and try to take a bite out of me. He's so hungry these days, he might do that anyway.

I just can't see him or try to be friends right now, that's all. Working things out?? As you say, *Hellooo!* (but I'm saying that to myself...) After a swim in the lake ( a big fish swam right by me, speaking of fish!) and a cold shower I am okay with it all. But I am a little in shock because I feel manipulated and confused all over again and I need to clear my mind. I'm sad to have held a mirror up to my ex, but his denial is so thick I needed to put it in writing. I just don't want any more visits with flimsy pretexts and nothing productive accomplished.

I am even writing confusedly right now. Time to chill and forget.

L, you sound vibrant and together and I appreciate your responding!

Sharon, I'm not sure Dr. Irene was being funny... but maybe she was... Actually, I wasn't, but I'm glad it's too ridiculous an idea...

Off to chill, Love, Perdida

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Friday, July 20, 2001

Hey Sharon,

The ex might be commitment phobic, but it doesn't look like that. It looks more like he loves to be in a committed relationship so he is secure and sure that he has someone to talk to daily. It can even be a long distance relationship. He sometimes appears phobic, but I have often given him ways out which he has never taken. I actually think he has a problem letting go and moving on, especially after learning that his ex had been to visit even though he wasn't comfortable with that. It's like they never broke up. He may have a problem letting go of a source of narcissistic fodder or whatever is it, even though he wants out of the relationship in his heart of hearts, he is addicted to the strokes and nurturing.

But I don't want to analyze him anymore! You did a good job. BTW, I don't see a difference between a commitment phobe and your description. It boils down to fear... The inability to strike a balance between great need and great fear...

Perdida

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

Hi Cats,

My ex responded to my email yesterday saying that he was very disturbed by his own behavior and was trying to work through it. Good for him! It was the most open he had ever been, and I got very emotional because it made it possible to forgive him and to re-extend my support through friendship. Forgive, but don't forget. And watch out. You still seem to me to want his recovery more than he does. Does he also want it when he's not hurting?  I responded saying all that - then I never heard back from him. Not hearing back should have been okay, but it began to feel like a bait and switch, the same old stuff. I'm still a fish on the line, L! He says something moving (or hurtful) - I respond - he turns his back. As I read this, I can see that I am still engaging - and leaving him with all the cards. Has even his apparent openness "one-upped" me? Rereading his message, I also noted that he *started* to minimize biting me, that it was hyperbole to call it a bite because it didn't break the skin or cause reddening Yuk! (I guess he forgot the teeth marks I showed him) (and anyway, does he have to send me to the hospital before it's to be take seriously? which was where I felt we were going) but at least he minimized for less than a sentence. This is an advancement. At the end though, he said he was sorry we couldn't be friends because of all this and I don't know if he was echoing what i had said before he opened up to me, or if he has come to the same conclusion.

I realized that just like Asha said I would be, I am still very angry about how he treated me. Good. Let the Reality Fairy move in with you and teach how to let your anger be your friend. You should be angry! Let the anger protect you from the ease with which you get your hopes up... I had this great blaze of forgiving sunlight when he said he was working on these issues, and then a few hours later began to feel manipulated all over again. Why am I doing this? I forget. You want him to get fixed cuz you want it to work out soooooo bad. That wishful thinking may kill you... Tip: Pay attention to his actions; don't get caught up in his potential.

Maybe it's time to support from afar, like Mae. I don't need his presence to work on my anger about what has happened. I will just keep getting angry when he seems to be manipulating me, and that habit will be very hard for him to break. Being friends might be a lot of work with no payoff. He acknowledges some things that were wrong. I want to give him credit, that was big. But was it a big crumb? What does he want from me if not to manipulate and control? And now even the Great Breakthrough feels manipulative. What a mess.

I'm going back to Doing Nothing except maybe swimming.

Please point out all my misguided thinking and the other obvious things I can't seem to see right now. I gave him my copy of the V.A. Relationship and now I may have to go buy it for the 4th time. Giggle!

Love Perdida

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

I love it when I say that I don't give my ex doesn't have any control over my emotions. Ha ha ha! Hellooooooo! !Doh! Perdida

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

Perdida/Cats,

Old behavior patterns are hard to break. Perdida, he IS getting what he wants, which is a reaction, be it good, bad or indifferent. Your ex's behavior sounds like my STBX, or very much like a child who lacks attention. They will do anything to get it, even misbehave (albeit subtle).

There is a difference between caring and being co-dependent. As I am distancing myself with any contact with my STBX, I am starting to see the lines that seperate the 2 more clearly. Of course, some days are better than others-LOL! My counselor again gave me the demo of the piece of paper being right up in her face to demonstrate that when someone is too close to a person/situation, you don't see it the same.

My STBX has alluded to "being friends" too. Someday....but right now it's not practical. We both need space. Without it, both of us would get caught up in the old behaviors. That, and as mentioned, I did get a restraining order extended 6 months by a judge who said she "feared for my physical safety" (probably cause he destroyed an electrical panel w/a hammer). Even with it in place, he calls and leaves messages. He clearly doesn't want to see the situation for what it is, and even ignores the consequences of his actions towards me and his family.

DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP FOR FEELING! But also try to understand if these are true feelings, or if you are allowing your feelings are being to be manipulated.

You have every right to be angry about how he treated you. After all, they are your feelings, no one else's. I felt like a see-saw between anger and sadness for a long time. When I let go of the anger, and let him back in (or was it he "reeled me back in"?), BAM! He'd kick me emotionally just as the trust came back. That is why distance is now my greatest asset. No games, no guilt, just dealing with my real feelings.

Forgiveness IS a key to healing. I'm almost done reading this book, "Emotional Divorce", by Debbie Ford. My counselor was actually glad to hear I picked it up, because it is very good. While I couldn't relate to all of it (some of the relationship issues almost seemed trivial compared to what I was dealing with), there was one chapter that dealt with a woman that was emotionally abused by her ex. Point being, we all have people that come into our lives to teach us something. Even with the crap (my words, not hers), there are gifts that come from the relationship. E.G., I now know how much I abused myself more than anyone else with my internal dialogueYes. , and perhaps my STBX was a mirror of my own self-abuse. I now know the gift of coming home at the end of the day and not feeling the anxiety and fear of not knowing how he was going to come through the door if he was out with his buddies, or self-medicating down at his store.

We all have the power to turn our own lives around. Change is scary, and frankly, quite painful. But there is something to be said about growth.

I am feeling more empowered as I let go of the anger and look at the gifts I received in our 22 year relationship. I think I was afraid if I looked at any of the good, it would throw me right back into the grieving process again. Surprisingly, this hasn't been the case. Perhaps I am in the right "phase" right now to accept this as I should.

It's a process Perdida, and it comes and goes in different cycles for everyone. But right now, you might benefit yourself by allowing the gift of distance to feel your own true feelings.

Hang in there! Thanks L.

L

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

Hi L,

Thanks for your post. I definitely feel like I am on a see-saw, and what I hate is that I was fine before I came here to the States and had to get my stuff from his house, which started this whole dialogue with him. Distance being an asset really feels right. I am even confused as to how I got back ON the see-saw! That's why I am angry again about the manipulation. I am feeling like I have to break up with him over and over again and I don't know why it doesn't take - and I realize that I am responsible for it not "taking" by re-engaging. Caught that wishful thinking in action yet?

I guess I have been ambivalent about staying in a friendship and being supportive, or taking care of myself and really cutting it off. I have the comfort of knowing that I will be going back to Brazil for another year and will be physically removed again, which helps a lot.

What a painful, confusing process. But I agree with you, I can see that he is getting what he wants out of it just like he must be getting something out of his ex not letting go. I think I have to get stronger still.

Oy vey, Perdida  Oy vey!

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

Hi all,

jay again and hoping the internet thingy stays connected.

I have been trying to work out why I am feeling yucky...Jake and HKK finally went away and I have been doing a massive clean of the living room and now it is a big muddle!!!!!!-but cleaner...

Jake was rude and I replied....why on earth do I bother? At the time it seemed like I was stating my boundaries and now I wonder if just letting him do his own thing is the answer....I just wish I guess there could be a thaw......he will be in this kind of mood for a long time ....although I do think sometimes it is brittle.. yesterday he was pleasant for a few minutes as if he had forgotten,,,,perhaps I should just hang in there....   

I also am not enjoying being alone this time.......I wonder why as I was looking forward to the peace.....I suppose it sorts out that I don't want to leave! I think....the real trick will be not to react when he comes back and deliberately messes up what I have tidied,,,,,why would he do that? I know it happens every time - like he always puts the glasses where I don't want them and not on the dresser....I always move them and so a ridiculous dance goes on......I just can't see who is in the wrong on that one....  Nobody. Why fight him though? Who cares where he puts the darn glasses!

How do you live with a control freak and not become a puppet and not act out? Guess there is some way of doing it.......maybe they forget about being controlling if you just give in and give them nothing to fight against.....

Oh I don't know ....Latte sounds good ...Perdida If I ever get to visit, I want frothy coffee!

Dear Theressa, I am so glad you will keep on with the catbox..

I did wonder if you were kind of leaving it a bit prematurely-------but it is a good sign also to have itchy feet and want to move on because that shows you are healing...

Don't get too worried about sounding preachy...it will all sort out in the fullness of time...I t is about style; and I think also about wanting to help.....maybe try just to post your own needs for a week or so so you have a bit more time outside the catbox? It was great while I did that for a couple of weeks and now I seem to have more energy for others here and elsewhere again...

Sharon...where do you find so many men!????

love, Jay You are on track kiddo. Yippeee!

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

Dear Perdida

Maybe don't think of it as control and manipulation - that's where I think Patricia Evans goes a little overboard, at least the stuff I have read. You could think of it more as his "stuff" that he doesn't know how to deal with. That is accurate Asha. From the victim's perspective, his stuff feels like control and manipulation, is control and manipulation, but that won't really help you other than bring out your own victim rage. It is his stuff. And you can't do anything about it. Now stop, do nothing, and think: what do you do to make life better for you? What I mean mostly is that for *him* it's probably not about what he is doing to manipulate you. It's probably more like he just doesn't function properly.

I know how you feel because when Steve withdraws, it feels very punishing. Great Asha! You're really getting it!

Maybe your guy is punishing you, maybe not, but I say don't waste your energy on trying to attribute motives to him. Like me with Steve sometimes, you are probably expecting more than he can deliver.

I know that's probably not that reassuring but...

One last suggestion (remember when you said something to me about partitioning my mind so that I could enjoy the good stuff and leaving the bad stuff in some other place where I didn't have to look at it...?) - it's up to you whether you maintain contact with him, but this one small thing works to help make *me* feel better, so maybe it will help you too. I try to make conscious choices about Steve; that is I am *choosing* to work with him therefore I can't *blame* him for not living up to what I want him to be or whatever the particular issue is. You could make a "conscious choice" to maintain email contact (if you aren't sincerely ready to end the relationship altogether) and make it an exercise not to get entangled in his ups and downs. If that doesn't "feel right" then maybe you do need to just cut the ties completely.  Excellent!

I hope that helps.

Take care

Asha

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

Hi catbox,

Jeannie here. I've been doing well since my divorce. I'm clear with my boundaries and firm in not allowing them to be crossed. As Asha wrote in one of her posts, we all have different boundaries and what is acceptable to one person may not be to another. In a relationship, I'm learning to pay attention to what the other person's boundaries are and to respect them. When we're in a relationship, we don't just blurt out all the rules at once, so they must be learned. Also, I've found that I must evaluate and think about mine because someone new may come along and do or say something that makes me uncomfortable. Then I have to pay attention to my feelings and delve into the "why". Once I've determined the reason and establish a new boundary in my mind, I try to communicate to this new person what and how the boundary was crossed. Becoming upset about a boundary being crossed that has never been communicated is not productive, IMO. Good work!

I'm tentatively re-establishing a relationship with my mother. I've not seen her since she placed the false report with CPS last October. It has been very difficult for me to communicate with her without letting her "push my buttons". She has a very 'sideways' manner of insulting someone. When she disapproves of me (which is most of the time) I'm learning to ignore it, and not attempt to justify myself or try to convince her of the 'rightness' of my actions.  She has a right to disapprove and I have a right to make my own decisions. I actually talked to her last night on the phone for two hours. We spent the majority of that time discussing what happened between her and my dad when I was a child. Initially, she denied my EVER having seen any of the abuse. (I think she may have blocked a lot of it out/deliberately forgotten). She gradually recalled the events as I described my memories of them. She told me she intentionally would placate and give in to my dad so he wouldn't lose his temper. She thought this was the best way to protect me. We discussed how I had learned this behavior (co-dependancy) through observation and carried it with me into two abusive marriages. I think that overall the conversation was useful for both of us. Oh yes!

On another front, my ex-husband has a new girlfriend who's living with him. In talking with her (privately) she disclosed that she was previously in an abusive relationship and at one point had to obtain a restraining order against this man. Part of me wants to 'warn' her about the ex but another part says to stay out of it. After all, it's none of my business and she's a grown (although very young) woman. She did ask me if my ex had an anger problem and I answered with a simple "yes". She said she's seen evidence of it already and they've only been together for a month or so. I can only wish her good luck, I suppose. Excellent handling.

I've got to go catch up on my emails. Just thought I'd share some of what's up with me.

J

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

Hi Asha,

Thanks for your advice. I like thinking of "his stuff" rather than "being manipulated," and it feels less punitive and more loving to think that way. What I have been FEELING, though, is manipulated! I know it's his stuff and somewhere he learned to behave that way. After I stop being angry, I will be able to depersonalize it. Also, realize he CAN'T manipulate you. You have to participate fully in your manipulation. How's that for personal power!

I did end up cutting it off. In fact, I have cut it off three times in the last 24 hours. I'm too drained to relate how that happened. But part of it was getting angry and noticing how angry I was, and how I couldn't see anything BUT manipulation and one-upsmanship from his communications, and noticing I didn't want to be acting out for both of our sakes. So I asked for distance so I could let go of my anger. Good! You got out of the line of fire because it was hurting you. He said he didn't know I was angry! In the 24 hours, a couple of things have floored me - that he didn't know I was angry about the way he has treated me, and that when I said STOP trying to lay a guilt trip, he DID - and came clean about his behavior. I realized how angry I am when I started to see his steps into looking at his behavior as manipulative since he never told me any of that until I said I couldn't even be his friend because of it.

What a mess. I really DON'T want to cut it off but I have to. I'm angry, even an email friendship will keep me trapped and wishing it could work, he's not there yet - or at least I don't trust his process yet - everything he does and says appears calculated to keep me hooked in, whether it is in fact or not - and I want off the see-saw. The Reality Fairy is sprinkling her fairy dust on you.... It stings at first, then it gets much, much better...

Boo hoo, Perdida

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

Okay, Cats!

After another round of threats, bullying and insults, I have detached even more. he is saying the bare minimum to me, seems a bit wary of me in fact. My question: how do I keep from giving into this impulse I have to crawl into his lap and get him to hold me? Pay attention to all the things he does to make you angry. Pay attention to the emotional manipulation. It's there. Promise.

Becky

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Saturday, July 21, 2001

Perdida,

If the Editor changed your "nekkid" to "naked," though I am sorry to see your artistic touch disappear, none of the people who read "naked" are going to think you can't spell. It's only the Editor who may, possibly, think you can't spell. When the Editor changed my "tattletaling" into the curious "tattle tailling," any number of people who read that may be thinking I can't spell. Unless, like me, they decided it must be a witty reference to that long appendage that follows Trubble wherever he goes. This is so funny! Up to now I thought "nekkid" was a poetic form of "naked!" Trubble must have edited my spell checker....  Seriously, anybody having a problem with my changes, email me your post with the catbox number and the date and I'll fix it... The Editor

fma

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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Dear fma,

Thanks for the support about the cavalier way in which the Editor treated my creative license with that word synonymous with "unclothed." I just don't know what to do with Editors these days. They shamelessly take one's literary inventory.

Purrdidda (see if she gets THAT) Dear Purrrdidda... I like it! Love, the Cavalier Editor.

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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Dr Irene and all

Here’s what happened in my mind when you posted that line that said “Using your criteria Asha, almost every decision is a "big" one... “

When I first read that I heard a condescending tone that seemed almost abusive. I felt like, “well either she really thinks I’m a complete ditz or she’s pissed off with me for something”   I’ve been feeling like a wreck anyway, and I am admittedly hypersensitive about feeling subjected to “abuse”. David Burns in the "Feeling Good Handbook" has an exercise on “examining for evidence”, where you examine if a statement is true or not. I did that exercise. I thought – well, I can think of several decisions in the recent past when the decisions I made were quite small, and I then decided that the statement didn’t really have merit.

My immediate other thought was of Steve using that line to undermine my every “big” concern, since “almost every” one of my decisions qualifies according to Dr. Irene – a stamp of approval to use this one on me, with solid validation. Should he try that one Asha, let him. You won't be around to see it... So Steve has good reason to “never” take me seriously – oh great! I really felt like if this line of advice was going to continue, Steve would just be worse and that made me feel more powerless to be able to communicate with him.

I also wondered if I had pushed one of *your* buttons, and I thought you might be “acting out” yourself. I no longer “assume” good intentions from people, nor do I expect them to be able to know or “fess up” if they really are trying to “one down” me. Understandable, and to be on the lookout for putdowns can be a good exercise for you. Be careful you don't swing too far in that direction. That's why the "do nothing" stuff is the best. Really give you time to sense all your impulses, and examine them.

It also reminded me of a telephone conversation I had that ended a friendship. As the conversation continued my “friend” repeatedly cut me off, and ridiculed me but I continued speaking to her, giving her the benefit of the doubt that she was trying to help and had my best interests in mind. Finally she said “if you had any boundaries you would have hung up on me ages ago”. She was full of “almost everys” and “always’s” and other generalizations about me. I guess I “hung up” on you a little earlier this time because I didn’t want to subject myself to “abuse” – I didn’t trust that your intentions were beneficial for me. Yes, I assumed that you were “tossing a dig” as you say. I also thought you might have just had enough of me.  Wow! Excellent excellent self monitoring! And, thanks for having the courage to post this.

The reason I think fell into the “abuse” trap in the first place was because I *didn’t* have good boundaries – I didn’t listen to my gut feelings. Granted, those gut feelings at times will have me making “assumptions” that at times will be wrong. I just don’t want to be a target for abuse and maybe because of that feeling, I’m less trusting. That's fine Asha. That's exactly how you need to be just now. The trick is to sit with it. The stuff integrates. Promise!

I’m thinking about your gray hair analogy and whether I do feel badly about my decision-making capability. I don’t know yet. If you called me, as an example, a “shameless slut” or the “stupidest person you’d ever met” I would still feel badly because it came from *you* - someone I trust and respect. I don’t think it would be because I felt badly about being those ways, because neither are true. If I ever said that to you, I would deserve to have my license yanked!

I see what you are getting at though. For example, there was a new employee at a place where I used to work, doing the exact same job as me. He did exactly what I did, but every time he finished a job he would gloat about it and self-promote his “greatness”. As a result, people actually did think he was great, and while my work and others got little attention, his did get attention.

I felt he had this huge ego and was really into himself. But then I stopped to consider “why does this bother me?” “How is this hurting me in any way?”

I realized I was *jealous* of the attention. Excellent! I wanted to be the “great one” but I never called attention to myself. Was what he was doing so bad? Not really. He enjoyed the attention, got the good strokes he sought out and was energetic and enthusiastic about his projects. So he made things a little *bigger* than they really were at times – no skin off my nose, right? It was about me wanting the attention *he* was getting. By George, she's got it!

Now I look at this situation – do I feel bad because I do make things “bigger” than they are? I haven’t figured that out yet. You make things bigger when you react in the environment. Look at it this way: Many of us react emotionally when we're hit by something.  Normal. Good even, since your body is giving you lots of information. If you "hold onto" those emotions and "do nothing" until you re-center (which with practice happens faster and faster, instantaneous even), what those around you see is a more measured reaction. What comes to mind first and foremost is the thought that when you say that, Steve won’t take me seriously and I *do* deserve to be taken seriously. Absolutely you deserve to be taken seriously. But, whether or not you're taken seriously is up to Steve. That thought may interfere with the ability to look at this closer. Also the statement is so general that I don’t know even what to look at exactly. I *am* very sensitive Sensitive is good! , though I don’t think I make *almost everything* big. Maybe I could work on my sensitivities somehow, but I'm not clear if this is what you meant, or what I would do in that case. It's just about an impulsivity; a sense that something has to be done now to fix this; an anxiety or sense of discomfort. If you hold your reaction in and do nothing but sit with it, your mind has a chance to modulate the raw emotion. When you do act in the environment, your actions are more contained, more appropriate to the task at hand, more measured. Basically, I'm suggesting that your impulsivity gets in your way. My guess is that it is an anxiety based reaction that feels almost like a "press" to get it out/ fixed/ etc. Sitting with it and tolerating the anxiety (if that's what it is, though it doesn't matter, this works with anything), teaches you to tolerate those feelings. In time, you "handle" stuff better with less emotional reactivity. Your brain has had a chance to process the body's input, as well as had a chance to examine whether or not your thinking is rational.  Not that this is why you should try this, but a good "side effect" is that as you become more measured, Steve is more likely to take you seriously!

To be honest, I still don't really understand exactly what you were getting at. I am confused by this: the statement “Using your criteria Asha, almost every decision is a "big" one.” seems altogether different to me than “You often care more than the other person cares about the other person's business.”  It's about how you come across. Hopefully I've explained it above.

One seems to be about how I blow things out of proportion and the other more about caring for others. I’m having trouble seeing the connection between the 2.

Could you clarify this? (I just re-read that first statement and it still really doesn’t sound constructive to me)

Let’s not use the dog example anymore because for me that whole situation was about my feelings about what the *dog* was going through, not fixing things for Steve. Maybe we need to use other examples that make more sense to me.

I’m afraid to say this here, because it’s the one place I *have* been able to talk and not walk on eggshells and be so “careful” but, maybe I do rub people the wrong way when I talk about my personal stuff. I get the feeling sometimes others hear me and think “get a life”. Maybe they sense weakness in me. I think I do have a button about "being weak" so maybe I do feel weak.

I think people get tired of hearing about my inane relationship issues and I don’t really blame them. I'm sure I sound like a broken record. This depresses me because I feel like the only solution to that is to “shut up” and keep other people out of it. Well, sorta... Shut up, but for your own sake; to give your mind time to process what the body has given you! I have been working on my growth though and have made a lot of changes over the past couple of years. It makes me feel better to focus on what I have done and can do, than what I feel helpless about. As you practice this not doing stuff, watch what happens to you: you will become clearer and calmer. You will be more centered. The effects are immediate. You'll notice feeling clearer after each time you don't react. But in time, the effects are truly dramatic.

The other issue I have right now is my state of mind. I think I am depressed. I feel lonely and isolated and have been in limbo so long with my relationship and I worry about the future of Steve and our business together. I don’t know what to do or not to do really. I feel like I’ve been “doing nothing” forever and the answers just aren’t clear. You have been doing some doing nothing. Certainly, that shows with this email. In fact, you are getting clearer and clearer. Don't stop Asha; this takes a while... Over the past few months I started 3 major work projects and each one didn’t go through for various reasons. I’m running out of steam. I get irrational worry thoughts about my parents dying, my dog dying, no relationship, and being alone with no family, no job and no loved ones. I’m trying to work my way out of this mode but I just feel thoroughly exhausted and not very strong. I usually like to think of myself as a positive thinker, but I’m definitely not feeling centered right now. I feel like a big whiner even mentioning this. I know that there are far worse situations than mine and I don’t know what my problem is. You are not happy with your life and you don't know what direction to take it in. You and Steve can't work it out yet, but neither of you are willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater either.  Depression/ pain/ etc. is perfectly normal right now, as long as you don't find yourself sleeping round the clock or stuff like that. Think of what bothers you. Think of what you can do about it; stuff that involves no one else but you. But don't do anything until you know what to do. Think of this time as a sort of cocooning stage. You are transforming; you're just not quite there yet.

On that depressing note....

bye for now

Butterfly to be Asha

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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Hi Everyone,

It's Lisa. I was going along just fine until this weekend. I have been cleaning my house. Organizing and sorting. I felt this burst of energy this morning. Then all the sudden it hit me again. More grief. I guess I need more time to heal. I just start feeling better then all the sudden slip back.

My neighbors and friends are also having a difficult time knowing what to say to me. I can sense they don't know what to say. I am trying my hardest to hold my head up. I honestly wanted therapy to heal us. It was not going to work since he is not ready. After reading the misogynon website. That was exactly what I was dealing with. I haven't said much hoping that this was some phase that my husband would outgrow.  I am left here feeling abandoned. I am sad for my children. There is this big empty feeling in our home. I didn't want him here unhealthy. I guess I was hanging onto that hope he would do what was best for the family. Now, I am left with reality. I don't even know what to say. It's like someone has died. I just don't get to have a funeral service or the warm hugs. No closure. No explanations that make any sense. It's just this lonely empty feeling. The Reality Fairy strikes again... Remember, that fairy dust leaves you in a better place down the line... As rotton as all this feels, you can tolerate the pain. Use this alone time to make yourSelf the best Self you can be...

Now, he is gone out of town this weekend. He told my son he was going to Pismo Beach. I didn't want to know with who. I just know I have to let go. I was still sad. Part of me hoped he would be sitting with his feelings and then he would see what he has been doing to me and our children. It's the first weekend that I am alone. No calls. No stopping in. I haven't talked to him since last Weds. except to send a letter requesting that he stop withholding money for normal living expenses. I just found out he had spend $1300 in cash for entertainment in 20 days (not including paying our regular bills) but says he has no money for groceries, items for the kids, or my classes to update my work skills. After meeting with my therapist it was confirmed that he was controlling me through money. This is abusive. I am applying for aide for my classes and daycare. He did leave me a little money for groceries and gas last Thursday. After he received the letter. I know he figured out that I caught on to another lie. I called and verified this information at the bank. This won't look good in court. My therapist told me to do what ever it took to get the temporary orders in place so I don't have to beg for money. He is suppose to share the left over money after the bills are all paid. I contacted my attorney. It's not even the money. It's just this feeling like why does is he doing this to me? His stuff. Nothing to do with you; this is his own self destruction. Don't go there. I have never done anything to him except stay home and care for our children. Why can't he just stop wanting to destroy me? All I did was go get us some help and try to protect my children. Now, it's like he is hell bent on making me pay. I just want this all to stop. I swear I am trying to detach but it's still not easy when you actually believed that this person loves you and look what he is doing? Then, even if he didn't love me, couldn't he care about me as a human? I know I don't like what he has done but I care about him even after all he has done. I truly care and hope he finds peace someday. I don't even know who he is anymore? My therapist says I need my own space right now. He keeps violating my boundaries and my space. I just seem to get up on my feet and he comes back to kick me out from underneath. I am determined to protect myself. Start by not dwelling on "why." Accept that he has behaved very badly over a long period of time and therefore will likely continue to be yukky - because that's where he is. Instead, ask yourself "why" you would want to put up with all this junk!

I know I must be grieving over the illusion or what I thought was love. I still can't stop caring. I can't stop the feeling of wanting him to just "wake up" but after what I have read it's not likely to happen. It's just so hard to comprehend or take in all at once.....It's been 7 months of pure shock. I feel stupid at times because I feel like everyone else saw him for what he was and I was so blinded. I really believed him when he said he loved me. We built this family unit and it seemed so comfortable then all the sudden he went in self-destruction mode? He has been lying all along. I just did not want to see it. I really had no idea what misogynist or narcissist were.....This is news to me. I guess that's what happens when your mom shelters you too much from the world. My therapist told me that I never really left home. I know I have a lot to learn.

Emotional immaturity is my new revelation today. He is like the character in "Big" with Tom Hanks. He is this small child in an adults body. He has his heels dug into the ground and refusing to grow up. Me too. I was playing house. I wanted someone to just show me the way. I was willing to grow up and take on that responsibility. That's why I entered therapy.

For me I guess is that I was living in a fantasy world. I was so involved in building a home and raising the kids that I had no idea that my husband was about to cut and run....I assumed he was having a difficult time growing up at times....I rationalized that by thinking it's because we got married so young or started dating out of high school. I pictured us growing up and growing old together. This was really not in my mind at all?

Okay, enough of that for tonight. Yes. Please stop dwelling on this stuff. Make yourSelf ask You if he's right for You! I feel stuck at the moment but I know it will feel better in the morning. The sun will come up in the morning. Does anyone else feel more sad at night?

Tomorrow I will do my best to get taking care of me again. I do okay during the day. It's not easy when my day was already full but now we have all this extra attorney appts, therapist appts, and support groups. My goal is to work on setting up a goal for daily and weekly time management. My children are starting school next week. I have tons of unfinished business to complete. Monday I am making my follow up calls, etc. I am trying to update my workskills and find a job. I don't feel emotionally stable enough to interview. I feel pressured to perform. Plus placing my children in daycare is tough because they have always been home with me. They are not happy at all with the divorce. I know I sound like I am whining....I really am trying my best to strengthen myself. I challenge myself daily to try something new or accomplish something to be proud of. Even if it's trying the lawn edger or fixing the garbage disposal all by myself. I am doing my aerobic tape, and giving myself a pedicure. I am looking into creating a game night with my kids. I have tried to start some new family traditions of our own. I really am trying to stay strong but I just hit this grief at night after my children go to bed. Does anyone else feel this way? Many people. Many. Certainly those who have been left by cads.

Thanks for listening to me. I know life is not easy. Life is suppose to be difficult. Once in a while I do wish I could just take a long nap and really relax. Lately on 4 hours sleep and all this chaos I am just having a difficult time coping. It will get better......Any tips in the meantime? Four hours sleep? Hmmmm... Talk with your therapist if a course of antidepressants wouldn't be helpful for you during this time.

LisaMM

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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Hi Asha,

I noticed your new post saying you felt like you were whining. Me Too. My post is after yours.

I hope you don't mind a little humor. I was thinking the catbox crew is going to call the "WAAAMBULANCE" for us "Two down in the catbox, alert, alert!" I know this is a silly thought...I giggled....I am hoping to send a little comfort your way. I want to let you know you can whine and there are people who care :)

In all my grief I felt a little glimmer of my spirit. I can remember when my mom was going through difficult times she would put on music and make us rootbeer floats. In all the misery we would feel like we were in a bubble of her spirit. She may have been beaten down but she still had her spark.

I know this stuff is good for us to go through. It's very exhausting. I keep wishing I had some footprints to follow. I am left to figure it out on my own. I will....the answer is right here. I just know it.

Peace be with you.     

LisaMM           

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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Hi Cats/LisaMM,

Oh Lisa....I feel for you. I know exactly what you are going through. You are going back and forth through grief and acceptance. Your earlier posts clearly show you were in the acceptance phase. Today's post shows the grief, and you know what? That's okay! You will teeter back and forth, and believe me, one day you will find you are leaning more to the acceptance side, and the grief side will move further away.

You couldn't have let your husband stay home unhealthy. Or actually, as my counselor says, "you could, but you have made a conscience decision that you won't". It's a healthy choice! You are feeling the pain of change. It is like someone has died! It's the death of the dream ...and when our hopes and dreams are trampled, it's nothing short of earth-shattering.

I feel I can relate to so much of your post. I was married young too, and thought we had gone through so much growth and adversity together, there wasn't anything we could overcome. How could this have happened? Looking back, I can now see that while I was trying to raise our wonderful children, the STBX didn't want to grow up and dug his heels in too. He didn't want to be a team anymore. When he didn't want to take responsibility for his stuff, no problem...I CAN DO ANYTHING! Yeah...and I did. Fast track to burnout and resentment--I gave all my life energy away!

You are asking for advice, so I will share this. Baby steps....Focus on your tasks one at a time. Don't look at the big picture right now, because it's probably too overwhelming. Have faith. You have probably been doing a lot of things yourself for a long time, and you sound like an extremely capable individual. Grieve...it's part of the process. Part of your life is gone, and it is like a death. Let it go..cry, mourn, then pick yourself up for your sake and your kids. Forgive...it sounds like you have 2 wonderful blessings from your marriage (YOUR CHILDREN!). While it's not the family you grew up dreaming of (e.g. Mom, Dad, and 2 children living happily together), you are still a family! It's just not the "ideal" we all grew up with. Know...that you did everything to save your marriage and have a safe and secure home for everyone. If your husband made the choice not to participate, that was HIS CHOICE, not yours.

You mention your kids are not happy with the divorce. Okay, that's fine. No one is. But were they happy with the conditions when your husband WAS home? My children have told me that they don't feel like they are walking on eggshells at home anymore. My youngest has been in treatment for depression/anxiety, and her therapist says (and I agree) she is doing wonderfully with her father out of the home. There is nothing that creates more anxiety in an adult, never mind a child, than not knowing which person will walk through the door. The wonderful father/husband we love, or the angry/rageful father/husband that throws everyone's world into complete chaos.

You sound like a very stable person Lisa. You are providing your children with the gift of stability, and they love you for that. That doesn't mean life still won't dole it's share of problems, but they will be different ones. There may be a lot on your plate right now, but it sounds like you are handling things wonderfully. They are problems you can find solutions to. The problem no longer living with you wasn't yours. He made the choice to do the minimum, or possibly nothing at all. That is not a problem that can be solved by you.

I'm rambling because your post really hit a spot in my heart...I understand how you are feeling. But as you even say, "it will get better", believe me...it will.

Whine anytime. Let it out, let it go. We're here for you.

Peace, L  Peace to you too L.

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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Asha,

Just wanted to let you know that I don't hear "whining" in your post. What I hear is that you are emotionally exhausted and you have very little energy left to deal with all the intense emotions you have been feeling lately. Your last paragraph really spoke to me, because not too long ago, I too, felt so very similar to the way you describe.

Could it be that you feel drained and uncentered because you are expending so much of your energy on people and circumstances that are external to you, rather than concentrating on what *Asha* really needs in life?

Please allow me to elaborate. In that one paragraph you mentioned all the things you have been concentrating your energy on: Steve, your business, three projects that didn't go through, your parents, your dog. You mentioned that you worry about being alone without these things and these people in your life. Do you worry that your life will be empty without them?

What would happen if some terrible catastrophe occurred and all these things were stripped away from you? What would you have left in life? How would you satisfy your needs to nurture and to be nurtured? Who would acknowledge you or notice whether you are OK or not? These were terrifying thoughts for me to contemplate. It seemed as though my very survival was at stake.

And it was. And not because of other people, or other circumstances. It was because I spent so much of *my* energy worrying about these things that I had no control over. Because *my* energy was being used to nurture people and projects that did not nurture back. *My* energy was being drained as I searched constantly for someone or something that could satisfy my needs for validation. Validation of my own existence and of my own self-worth. I was looking to others to define *me.*

It's been my experience that living in an emotionally abusive environment damages the connection between a person's mind and their body. Between their heart and their spirit. And it can be such a lonely and isolating experience because it is so difficult to articulate these feelings, if one can even identify exactly where it hurts. Unlike a broken bone that can easily be identified with an x-ray, fractures in a person's identity cannot be so easily pinpointed. How do you mend a broken soul?

If any of this sounds familiar to you, Asha, you may need to ask yourself if you have anything in your life that truly nourishes your spirit, the part of you that belongs to *Asha* and not to anyone else. Do you have activities in your life that are truly satisfying to you and that leave you feeling calm and peaceful - something you can enjoy without anyone else needing to be involved?

Are you able to "do nothing" about the other people and things in your life by giving your mind a rest and concentrating your own energies into something that is truly satisfying to your own spirit and soul? Do you look for harmony within yourself before expending your energy on other people and things? I ask these things because a person can't give what they don't have for themselves, and I, for one, became very exhausted and depressed when I kept trying. Could it be that you are doing the same thing too?

Best wishes to you, Asha. Take care. Nellie  Thank you Nellie.

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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Dear Asha and Lisa, I am sorry you are both feeling so very down...

Asha, I wonder if it is that everything is seeming a bit larger than usual as you are depressed and maybe also a bit anxious.- now is definitely the time for some aromatherapy oils- try lavender and Ylang-ylang. Geranium is also good but I don't think I have tried that...also eat things with oats in and do one thong to spoil yourself each day. These things really help...

Dear Lisa, you would have to check this out with a homeopath; but ignatia is good for when you feel weepy and bereaved..my GP is convinced of this because she was doling it out to me i n abundance when I felt like that...(you need to check you get the right homeopathic treatment to treat you.

Dear Becky, I couldn't get through to write you a message yesterday: hang in there, you are loads stronger than you think ...I heard you needing to cry...remember bruised reeds are never broken.)

Dear L - I never seem to say hi to you. So Hi!

And Hi to everyone else.....

Jake and HKK are still not back yet and I learnt from one of HKK's friends that Jake is also planning to take him away next weekend...I think that I am going to have a party and ask my closest friends over and not get mad at him he hasn't mentioned this to me at all......

I did go out last night and totally amazed myself going alone and it was all ok as almost everyone else seemed to be at the party I went to without their partner for one reason or another and it was so nice to see some people I have seen in a really sick state being so well and to talk to about four different people about their research and see how things have changed from the days when people who have had breakdowns are ostracised...I have been writing something for some time now on how people who have been ill spend their days...actually quite normally and without two heads-it is meant to be a booklet. It struck me that many of the people there were actually possibly more healthy than the people who have never been ill as they really have looked at their own issues.....OOPS GIGGLE _I am on my soapbox..........

Trubble do you think your cat friends will tease you for having a mouse for a friend and also are you still grounded? He's no longer grounded, but he can't stop eating Fresh Salmon. He's uh, "grounded" himself in the potty...

Something has occurred to me lately; I know exactly what my issues are and can focus on them; but I can't work against myself any more. .I think my self esteem is rising as I no longer feel worthless-I used to have really high self esteem scores as I really worked on that when I was younger; then it crashed....I think it is time to play search the internet for questionnaires that will make you feel better as you know you can get a high score! (Never ever do that when you are low!)

Oh yes and my recovered codependent friend and I chatted earlier...now her husband seems to be regretting the divorce and starting to see some sense...believe me if you knew this guy you can say there is hope for anyone......I would not ever have wanted to swap him for Jake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Crumbs I am missing the toast! Sometimes Jake is better after a break so I am hopeful- Watch it! You're making him responsible for your happiness again... hope I don't get my hopes dashed though and I hope he doesn't play the now you have tidied the living room I will object to everything and mess it up game.... and that I can ignore him if he does! Exactly! love, Jay *who has now transferred the mess in the living room to the kitchen and hall......does anyone else have this problem? I tidy one room and every other room descends into merry chaos...never mind I am finding a treasure trove of interesting stuff .......(hehhe.. what does one do with balls of homespun wool.....???????-it will not make a great jumper and I already have a 20 year old unfinished weaving! I have a spindle and a wheel and it is time I used them again...now spinning is very soothing................jay Giggle! You'll be fine as long as you stay away from spinning webs! You sound good Jay.

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Sunday, July 22, 2001

To Asha,

P.S. I just reread your post and I hope I did not sound like I was telling you to just, "get a life." I was only trying to encourage you to LIVE your life - and through this you can find great strength to heal.

I sincerely was not trying to sound offensive, and I apologize if I did. Nellie  

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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Theressa, in that big discussion about buttons and what not, you made a great point that probably got buried with all the other talk going on around it, and it's worth bringing up again. It was helpful that you forgot to sign that post about fixing vs. supporting. Some people might have preferred a context for it, but the only context you might have given them was your name. Being a general piece of advice, why did it need a name signed to it? You could have signed it Ron, if Ron said it too. All that "context" means here is "give me a PERSON to hang this advice on." (so I know whether or not it's "safe." when in fact, safety resides within..) What difference would it make if you had put your name at the end? It might have told people a bit more about this person named Theressa, that she believes in this advice, but what about the advice itself? Then people start reading the advice in the light of what they already know, or imagine they know, about this person named Theressa. They say "oh, that's Theressa, so she must mean it this way or she must mean it that way"... then sometimes they get what you meant out of it and sometimes they don't... Others will say "oh, that's Theressa, I've heard her say things like this before," then they sort of ignore the advice as something they already know (about this PERSON named Theressa). They mightn't do as much with the advice. If you leave your name off, then they wake up and start questioning. It's like that water pot that somebody digs up in the middle of nowhere. What is it, what's it made of, where did it come from, what's it for, who made it, when, how, why, and what does it tell us about the people who made it? Can we learn anything new from it today, and what does it all mean anyhow? An unexpected potsherd may mean we have to rearrange some of our beliefs about people and history. Same with your fixing vs. supporting post. We couldn't say "I know, this is Theressa." We had to work backwards from the post. We asked ourselves what is it, what do we think it means, do we agree or disagree, does it need adding to, limiting, clarifying, how do we FEEL about it and why? Who made it anyway, when, how, why, what for, where were they coming from, what do we think it's telling us about the KIND of person who made it? That's a valuable exercise, not least because we sometimes find out later we were wrong.

An unexpected discovery like that may mean we have to rearrange some of our beliefs about people too. To fix our sensitivities to certain kinds of things said in a certain kind of way, which is what you said. To reason out new meanings behind them, and to broaden or reshape our assumptions about the kind of person who might be saying them and why. Otherwise if we go on dragging the old narrow assumptions back into our relationships, and worse, into a new relationship, we can get it all wrong about some people. Then we mess up, and blame them for it besides. It's better to find these things out before we start doing that.

Wouldn't it be fun if EVERYONE posted anonymously for a week or so? Then everyone would have to wake up and ask those questions all over again about everyone else. If talking about Dr. Psycho or having to see a man about a dog made it too easy for others to guess, some of us would have to find something fresh to talk about, which might be good too. Thanks for sharing all that, Theressa... Love, Anne O.

Thanks Anne. You are underscoring the importance of "everything is in the eye of the beholder." And, it is!

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