here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a
substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.
Steve - More ramblings. I would like to clarify something. I started my thoughts on Vietnam with the phrase, "As a woman." It would have been more accurate for me to say that I was really a young girl during that time. And even then, without the benefit of formal training or experience, I knew something was not right (for me) about the situation and many other situations I found myself in at that time. I think we are all born with an idea about what is best for us as individuals. I suppose it's along the same lines as the nature vs. nurture debate, and I believe that our lives start out being 100% nature. The real challenge is to overcome our obstacles regardless of the quality of the nurturing that we may, or may not have received along the way. It's true a person may have to submit to being "dominated" physically. Their spirit and soul, however, their true essence, cannot be taken away - only given away. Take care, Nellie
4th try - this post finally registered last night, then got wiped out again... Hi Becky – Asha here In case the paragraphs are still wrapping, which I think they still are, I’ve added a ****
where there should be a paragraph end so Dr. I, if you are editing, and wish to make these into real paragraphs – that’s where they should be. ****
What I felt was incomplete about the Patricia Evans books was the “power over” model of the abuser. I think that explanation is too simple. It doesn’t explain enough about the *cause* of the behavior. ****
What I think was missing is the part about distorted thinking; that abuse is a *symptom* and the *problem* is really about the negative *perceptions*; the “lack mentality”, the distrust about the world, the irrational negative thoughts that result in a real belief that you are “attacked”. ****
Some of the things Evans wrote in her book initially felt good to me – like saying “cut it out!” That feels empowering at first. **** However, I am finding there is something a bit unrefined about this, though initially maybe some people need to feel the anger enough at first just to be able to do something about the situation. Though it may “feel good” focusing on that victim anger, doesn’t really help the victim to heal in the long run, IMO. ****
From these books one might conclude that most acts by the abusive person are based on wanting control and wanting to “win”. I don’t think this is *always* the case. I think at times the person who is “acting out” is way too self-absorbed at times to think beyond their own dark thoughts and realize how they may come across as “punishing” or “controlling”. Many times, I don’t think their intention is to punish at all – sometimes the desire is to retreat, to hide, to escape, to fend off imaginary attacks, or dealing in the only way they know to what feels “out of control”; to take “power” in a world they feel powerless in. Sometimes that means treating other important people in their lives badly, because if those important people were to realize they deserved “better” then maybe they would move on.... often a big fear of the abusive person. ****
These are some of the issues which I think are missing from those books (though I haven’t read all of them), and has been important in my transition of understanding what has gone on in my own experience. ****
For myself, I am working on accepting that my feelings are okay and so are the feelings of the other person. If that person is angry at me - for whatever reason - then so be it. I can still be okay with myself and I don’t need to be angry back. Even when they attribute anger to me when I’m *not* feeling angry (this is when things often used to get convoluted for me and I would *end up* angry and frustrated), I don’t need to react to their beliefs about me. I can continue to feel okay, despite anyone’s belief about my state of mind. **** Yippeee!
Several nights ago I asked for guidance just before I went to sleep. In my dream a voice said “God knows things that man does not.” I found this very reassuring. What that meant to me was that my peace is between God and I, and no-one else. No-one else needs to “understand”. **** \
Becky, I think on some level your husband *doesn’t* know what he’s doing, because if he really understood, why would he waste his life in such a way, hurting those around him? That doesn’t mean you should feel sorry for him either. If you treat him for his potential and not for his weaknesses then you put yourself on even ground with him. That is; when he is unkind, you detach from him, because you know he is capable of better behavior and that you are worthy of respectful treatment. I’m starting to “get this” in an interesting way – that though someone may be at a different phase in their healing than me, that doesn’t make me better or worse than them. If I see myself as “better”, then there will always be someone “better” than me also. I want to see others as being in various stages of growth – none of which are “wrong” – some may simply be very dark and desperate places. ****
take care and good wishes to you and to the rest of the group. Asha
Hi Cats, I'm feeling pretty cranky and reactive. I am really sorry I engaged with Steve because I ended up feeling attacked and had to try to keep from defending myself and my position wrong or right. I'm also feeling pretty unsupported which I haven't felt before here. I'm going to take myself off and sort things out for awhile; look at where all these feelings are coming from. Excellent! Also, try to identify exactly what/how Steve said that felt attacking and how it is you feel unsupported. Cheers, Perdida
Hi, Kala here Perdida, I have applied for a part time job and I just found out I got the job. Gave my H the news over the weekend he took it fairly well. No major event just passive aggressive stuff. He has always been resistant to hiring anyone, even partime. I didn't discuss this decision with him, but did let him know it was my intention to do this. He was very surprised I got the job and a little taken back by it. I want him to hire someone to replace me because then eventually I could phase myself out all together. He says he is going to take over my responsibilities which would keep me working for him part time. I guess I will have to work on this issue. Simply quitting could be financially devastating. I have been "doing nothing" when he rages at me lately to try to improve my tolerance and practice staying calm and non-reactive. It is helping me to do this. Most of the time I can remain calm now. I starting taking St. John's Wart because I was crying non stop, it has helped me allot. I'm having trouble letting go and trying not to control the outcome of things. Example: Above I told him about the new job but waited for the right time in case he reacted strongly, to try an have a peaceful weekend. I know I am doing this but I am afraid not to. Post more on this later, work calls. You're taking back your power... :)
Where did the posts on #51 go that were here this morning? Trubble? Norma Burrrpppp!
Right now. every other post today has disappeared.- Perdida you are not supported - you are just support un-posted. I think. jay
LOL now there is no catbox 52 again! When this stuff happens, can somebody email me asap?
Ok one more try! Now there are posts I have never seen before in 51 and nothing is still showing on 52. Trubble?
Perdida, Don't stay offline too long! The way the posts have been hitting/not hitting, you may have had more support than you think! L
Hi again, I posted on this board on August 2nd. There are some things that happened to me this weekend that I'm concerned about. Like I said in my previous post my husBAND is verbally abusive. I failed to mention that its not just to me. He also talks to his mother that way and uses offensive language. He vents out on his employees and other people around him. I've tried to stand up to him lately but he talks over me. When I tell him how I feel and to drop it he says Don't ever talk to me that way again. I don't know how to stop him as far as the verbal abuse. He is very controlling and paranoid. He doesn't want me to go anywhere by myself or even to take our child to the mall or grocery store etc. I've found him getting into my purse here lately. The most troubling thing is what I found this weekend. Our child was playing with a tape recorder and she hit play and I heard one of his ex-employees talking at his office. When I confronted him with this he stated that he couldn't trust her. To go as far as tape recording someone without them knowing (plus his other behavior) is scary to me. My first impression is to get my child and get out. Am I over-reacting? He says I'm in a state of depression blah blah, blah. By the time he's done your wondering about your own sanity. I've been told by other verbally abused people to not believe him. He's trying to control you. I'm just scared because now I know just how paranoid a person he is. Who knows he could be tape recording me at home. Regards, WITHDRAWN AND cONFUSED Dear Confused: You're not... It's not OK that you're not feeling OK.
My story is not about me, but my younger sister. She is in an abusive relationship which she claims she's trying to get out of, but is making no efforts to do so. My concern is not only for her, but her three children. It seems my sister's judgment is so clouded and distorted by her abuser (who, by the way, isn't her children's father), that she isn't taking the best interest of her kids to heart. I feel so obligated to do "something", but it's hard to help someone who doesn't want to be helped or doesn't think anything is wrong with her situation. My sister was married for almost ten years to someone who verbally abused her and then ultimately ended up smashing her face into chopped meat. Now she's with this "poor excuse for a man" who verbally abuses her and her kids and has hurt her by throwing stuff at her and breaking things of hers that have value to her in some way. One of her kids complained to four of his teachers that he was in an unhappy home, and my sister went to his school and told the staff that her son was "telling stories" and that he lied. She covered for her abuser and left her son to feel that he had no one to turn to. My heart broke. I've offered for my sister and her kids to come live with me and my family until she can get her life squared away, but she will not take me up on the offer, as she knows I will not allow any contact with her abuser from my home either in person, or by phone. She is currently staying at the home of another sister, but still has contact with her abuser, sends her kids off with the abuser and also hangs out with him herself. She may as well still live with him at this point. Her pattern is to do these things and then eventually move back into the abusive home with her kids. She usually creates a spat with our sister and uses that as an excuse to move back. To compound the situation even more, my sister's abuser is an alcoholic and substance abuser, so she's dealing with someone who is not only volatile, but someone whose judgment is constantly impaired. Personally, I think his behavior is fueled by his substance abuse. He has inflicted his behavior on our family many times over the last four years and I've kept my own family away from family functions because of him. I have missed out on two years of family gatherings, because my family (parents/siblings) didn't have the wherewithal to talk to my sister like I did about getting rid of her "problem." They continued to support my sister's decision to stay with him and now two years later my family is looking to me and wanting me to help with the situation. Had they listened to me two years ago and stood with me as a united front and talked to my sister with me Instead of me being "the one on the outside" she may not be where she is today. (Two weeks ago, the police showed up on her doorstep because a neighbor heard a huge disturbance going on in her home and was concerned for her kids - that's where she is today. Exactly where she was two years ago.) I just want to say, that if anyone out there has a loved one in an abusive relationship, you must stick together as a family and approach the situation as a family. I unfortunately, didn't have the support of my family, because they were more concerned about hurting the feelings of my sister, instead of looking at the big picture and seeing what a complete disservice they were doing to my sister and her children. If there is any advice out there for me on how to help my sister and her kids I would appreciate it. I'm very concerned for my sister's safety and her children's safety, especially when her thought process is not rational. Her husband almost killed her. I don't want this sub-human being finishing off what her husband started. I just keep praying that the love my sister has for her children will someday be greater than the sick addiction she has to her abuser. D.M. Northern California
Asha, What you say makes a lot of sense--thanks! But I wonder if my husband, or any other abusive person, really would consider it a waste of his life to hurt others. I think there is a pay off of some kind there that makes hurting someone a good experience. The pay off is the sense of power, the feeling of having scored a point, the rush one gets when involved in a debate or confrontation (Point: my H will often use the word "debate" as in "I don't want to debate this," or "I can't debate you without you getting mad"). Actually I'm caring less and less about why he is the way he is. He doesn't seem to care...... Take care, all-- Becky If I may add to this, yes, power is a part of it,. but there is a difference between a slice and the whole pie. Also, how large is each person's slice? Also, when? Are you talking about "in the heat of the moment?" My goals for any victim is empowerment. It's too easy to make the abuser the Big Bad Wolf; that's also giving away too much power. Every now and then, the abuser really is the Big Bad Wolf, but, more often, the more each victim is able to face his/her own fears, the abuser loses power.
Becky – put it this way: Imagine a time when you felt hurt so badly by someone that you wished they hurt as much as you. Maybe that’s what your husband is feeling, with a distorted view that he is the victim. And I agree – understanding why he is the way he is doesn’t matter so much as much as accepting it. I wish more reformed “abusive” types could shed light on what goes on inside during abusive episodes. I just see it mostly as living in a state of darkness. Just remember it’s not about *you*. Asha
Steve here - Perdida, I am sorry if you felt like I was attacking you personally. I did not intend to at all. I just wanted to confront the myth(s) that drive me absolutely crazy. The ones that I feel contribute to isolating the sexes from each other. I value your posts here and find a lot of thoughtfulness and intelligence behind them. Please do not let me influence your place here. I am just a guy with some opinions...right or wrong, open to change (I hope) if it makes logical sense. Just try and put up with me, and don't take it personal. Even if it seems like I am being personal - that would be MY problem, not yours. You don't need to defend yourSelf, but I may, occasionally, ask you to rationalize your opinions. And you don't even have to do that unless you want to. I want you to stay, if that makes any difference. Steve Thanks Steve. I hope Perdida takes me up on identifying what you said to her that felt attacking and tells us. This could be an interesting and educational thread for all of us. I've got some ideas on what happened, but I'd rather wait to hear from Perdida. I imagine this will be OK with you, and know you'll tell us if it's not.
Asha, That was an excellent point regarding the abuser's perspective of being the ones that are being hurt. My husband actually thinks he is the victim. He says he is entitled to "do what ever he wants" because of what he thinks that I should be doing. Yes! And, I bet he's never questioned the assumptions around his (irrational) entitlement. He has unrealistic expectations of me. I am not allowed to notice his "mistakes" or lack of responsibility. He does not realize that it is my boundaries he is crossing. I will pull away when he suffocates me or I do not feel safe due to an action he has taken or behaving inappropriately. He does not hear the word "no". He makes me feel like I am responsible for his happiness. Time to question your (irrational) assumptions: you wouldn't have bought into this silliness if you didn't believe it too somewhere in the back of your (over-responsible) head...
He would blame me or try to guilt me constantly. Whenever I gave love it was never enough. I was just feeling a little pressured by his constant neediness. He would punish me when he felt hurt. I was left confused and feeling inadequate. Because you bought into the mindset that it was somehow your job to care for him emotionally. At first I use to feel guilty and try to "make up for it" until when I did give him all my time, attention, and affection - then he rejected me. I started really feeling put down and belittled no matter what. I realize now that it was not all my fault: he felt hurt when I did not intend to hurt him. He actually believes "It's my fault".
I was doing the best that I could. I did not try to hurt him. He just thinks I did. I wish I could hear from those who recovered too. I want to see what has changed in their thinking. What was the lighbulb moment that snapped them out of it?
My husband is starting to worry me about how much he believes that I am responsible for the consequences of his actions now. Every time he suffers a consequence, he blames me. I can remember a couple of incidents where he would blatantly get caught misbehaving then he would go over to his parents and blame them. In the very beginning he would actually call his mother and blame her that "It was their fault". He would be yelling at her, and trying to convince her. She would say I hear what your saying but "I don't remember" or "I don't understand". (Now I know where he gets it.) He would get very upset. That stopped one day. Then it was my fault. She even supports him in blaming me. Better you than her, I guess. Sad...
I can tell you as a person in thick denial. I had a "lighbulb moment". I was obsessing over and over about a thought. My therapist repeated it back to me, and BAM! I just heard it loud and clear. I remember yelling out "I am living with the monster, and it's in me!" I realized I was giving away my power and operating in fear. Bingo! I realized I was responsible for my happiness and my actions. I felt this amazing rush, and then grief a while after the session. My reality had just flipped upside down. Everything I "believed" to be true was not as it seemed. It's takes a lot of work to get to that point where you feel safe enough to just turn around and face reality. I admire those that have the courage to do it.
I am very relieved to know that I am only responsible for my actions and behavior. I can now relax and live in the moment. I tell you it was exhausting running around worrying about how everyone else feels all the time. I never realized how many people are wearing those glasses with a distorted view. I just let them figure it out on their own. I have faith in most people that they will eventually figure it out. LisaMM
Hello Trubble Mousie has been up late at night eating the posts. She thought Post was a cereal and needed a late night snack. But things should get better because Mousie signed up for weight watchers. Mousie saw you typing. Is that your new office? I guess the thong sales must be down since you have that part time job now. Mousie thinks it is because we ran out of string. Maybe you can get some of fakedaddy's socks and we can unravel them together. Trout must be very expensive since you are typing so fast. Mousie is crying about the dead kitty. Mousie knows how bad it feels. Mousie's parents both died last year and her sister died about a month ago. Oh Mousie... Mousie does not want you to ever die so she saved our picture on her hard drive. Nobody will see it so please do not sue Mousie and take her tuba because it is not paid for yet. Mousie can't find any trout but maybe she can scrounge a piece of pizza and pick off the anchovies for you to have, or do you hate them like Mousie does? Mousie, you take the pizza and I'll eat alllll the anchovies...
Steve - I posted this earlier and it disappeared, so I'll try it again. Burrrrrp! I admit, I have been frustrated by the gender myths too. Listening to your point of view helped me to get in touch with my own perspective more clearly. * Hey, thanks for responding back. It seems we have more in common on this topic than I thought we did. I've often felt that nobody cares if I am being "dominated" or not too. I've often been told (by men) that this is just my "place" in life - that I must accept it simply because I am a woman. Gee! I'm glad I'm a guy! And, as a person in this position, I've always felt very strongly about the "unfairness" of oppression and prejudice in any form, from anyone. * I've often been very curious about the motivations behind the *need* to dominate. Even as the daughter of a "feminazi" (which in my case, could probably be more accurately described as a "humanazi"), deep down inside, I have no personal desire to "make" anyone do anything, or to treat me with "entitlement," so I am most perplexed by this philosophy.
I think it's important for society to have rules that promote the survival of the "whole," yet at the same time I don't want anyone to do me any "favors" if they are going to be angry and resentful about it. * Steve, I am a woman in the USA who protested Vietnam and the atrocities that were committed there - by both sides. I did not want to see anyone sent to their death for the purpose of "domination" and imposing one's values on others. I think this is very unethical and a tragedy for all those who are involved. I know many fine men who fought there and are still dealing with the effects of being in this "insane" situation. If you personally had to experience this, then my heart goes out to you, as you have truly seen firsthand the depths of evil that can live in the human soul. * The animal deep inside all of us...
Also, Steve, as a woman who has her own identity and her own opinions, and who just happens to be bicultural, I am confused as to why some people do not see me for *who* I am. I have not ever, and would not ever, tell anyone they must be expendable for me or "berate" them for the acts committed by their forefathers. Nor do I lump them into a category based solely on their physical attributes, so I am most perplexed as to why some people think it's OK to do that to me. Do you have any thoughts on this? *
"Violence begets violence." Very profound words from a very wise man who knew all too well the meaning of prejudice and oppression. I believe that we all have the power to choose how we will treat others. And we have a responsibility to ourselves and to others to truly *live* the life that we choose, whether or not they see our point of view or agree with us. * Thanks for listening to my rant. Take care. Nellie Thanks Nellie.
Hi everyone: I made along post yesterday but it got ate so I'll try again. This time I'm saving it elsewhere first.
JoJo - You said your therapist tells you to feel sorry for your husband because inside he is a scared little boy. Your therapist also acknowledges that he is narcisstic, passive aggressive, makes excuses for his behavior and won't allow you to love him. He is also aware that your husband leaves bruises on you. You say that you feel guilty because you can't feel sorry for him. My opinion is DON'T feel sorry for him! I'm concerned that you feel guilty that you don't feel sorry for him...
My husband also likes to play the victim in everything and he relies on everyone feeling sorry for him to excuse his behavior or to get what he wants. He does this to his mother, me and even my son. When he has even minor health problems he makes them seem like life and death and uses these (at all the right times of course) to not have to do things. He has a difficult mother and a mentally ill father and they are fault for the way he behaves.
When our son was born he quit about 6 jobs and most of them he said was because the boss was being unfair in some way (victim again). He is always after sympathy. When his mother comes over you should see the way he holds his back and carries on. I think in the beginning I like having someone need me but after a while I got sick of having to take care of him, especially when it was never reciprocated (even on the few occasions when I really needed it).
At one point I said to him "It doesn't work anymore, I don't feel sorry for you; I feel sorry for me." I think that feeling too sorry for them will stop you from looking after yourself and keeps you being their victim. Take care of yourself JoJo.
Perdida - Don't leave. I think all females felt victimized here for a while. If it's a sin to over generalize I think that there is more than one guilty party here. Your input is valued. Trubble will be back later. Cat nap time! BTW, this is a Trubble-made chocolate.
L - Thanks for asking about our dog. He is a mischievous miniature black and tan dachshund. He was drooling and foaming at the mouth (had his rabies shots) for about 3 hours but stopped and was fine. I was told that he probably bit (or ate..yuck) at toad. My son would have been devastated if anything had happened to him so I was glad to see him recover. Hope your family is feeling better. Pets can be like family and it is so hard to loose them. LMM - Thanks for your replies. I agree when you said "You can never truly know how someone will behave until a moment of crisis occurs." I'm not sure how you meant that but it seems so true. This is when my husbands behavior seems the most bizarre. It doesn't matter who it is or how serious his main concern is still him. When I woke up from emergency surgery (I lost a baby) and was taken to my room he was hovering over me so closely that I couldn't even see my parents. The started to leave and I motioned them to stay but I think that they felt awkward. I remember so needing to see them). I'm pretty sure I acted kind of miffed because they left and he announced "Well maybe I should leave" and was horrible for the rest of the visit. I realize now that he was scared and that instead of comforting me I think I was supposed to be comforting him. On the way home from the hospital he asked irritably where he was supposed to get his money for work tomorrow. I hadn't been home to do the banking. I have so many more of these stories where I couldn't believe how "not there" for me he has been. Most of the time I can take care of myself but it really scares me think that if something really did happen to me and I needed someone to take care of me (and my son) that there would be no-one to help. Don't let your husband undermine your confidence. He sounds like he's afraid that you will make it without him. Your simply doing everything that you have to do to make it and your children are lucky that you are strong enough to take them out of an abusive situation. Maybe your strength is what is bothering him. I'd better go now but thanks to EVERYONE who has posted to me. I hope that this post stays (unlike my last one). Also I've ordered the Patricia Evans book and am looking forward to reading it. I've got to catch up to all of you smarties. Love Norma
I need some help here. I feel like an addict. Most of you seem to be able to stop focusing on changing your abuser but I can't do it. In my mind I'm still trying to figure out why he is the way he is. The last few days I have been telling him about what I read and how it applies to us but I suppose mostly him. He seems interested. I'm thinking this means I'm still trying to change him. Since I'm hoping to stay in this marriage then that means if he doesn't change I'm stuck with the same situation. How do you start changing yourself. I'm more aware than I was in what it is that I do that allows these things to happen but I can't change my thinking. I'm still working on his problems. Old habits die hard. I'm really struggling with this. Please, if anyone would share how it is they got away from this thinking please help. Love Norma
Hi Catbox, One quick "sanity check" question to you all and Dr. Irene. Quick story first, then the question. A very good friend of mine often asks me to lunch, to go on breaks during the work day (we work at the same place.) I go about 75% of the time when she asks and I will ask also ask her to go to lunch, etc., but she ends up being the one to initiate more. Lately, when I've been busier at work, and have passed on breaks or lunches by saying, "Thanks for inviting me, but no, thanks," she gives me attitude and sometimes asks me over again or gets huffy with me. She gets hurt by my refusals which only happen 25% of the time. This sounds like a small matter but it's turning into a bigger thing, because I'm staying tough when I don't want to or can't go to lunch, breaks and she is feeling angry and taking it personally as if it's a sign that I don't respect her. Also, this same friend screams disrespect when I change plans, even just a little bit. One night we had plans after work to go to a downtown outside concert. Her hubby was coming too. At 3 p.m. that day, I told her I had to work until 6 p.m. (an hour later than I had previously told her.) I told her that I would catch up with her and her hubby at the event in an hour. she got angry and said I was disrespecting her by telling her at that late hour that plans had changed. I thought it was no biggie, but wondered if I was really disrespecting her in some way? (I know, my insecurities are kicking in.) Also I like spending time with this woman. We have known each other a long time and she is a valuable friend. It's just when I change plans or refuse her invitations that she gets weird and it makes me want to back off from her. Any opinions? --DJ Given the great advice you give Norma just below, what would you suggest to you? This technique worked well for Theressa. Try it!
Nellie – hi – I enjoyed your post. If you’d like to email me contact Dr. I and I’ll ask her to give you my email address. It seems we have a lot in common. *************************************
Perdida – no words of wisdom, except that it’s kind of fun to watch someone else engaging with Steve (grin) – no offense intended!***** I think each individual attributes their own meaning to words like “feminism”, “patriarchy” etc. Words can be so inefficient at times to express meaning. I think we go further by focusing less on the particular words (which may push our buttons) and more on the intent of the words . There is a quote that says “Don’t just listen to what I say, try to feel what I mean”. I am actually directing this more towards Steve than you. I think “patriarchy” has a different meaning for you than it does for Steve. I find that Steve and I get into a war of words at times, when our ideas are not really so far apart as they “sound”... Too often words (and meanings attributed to those words) get in the way.
Mousie – I’m very sorry to hear about your losses. Losing family is the very thing I fear most. How are you handling this?
LisaMM – I think we all have glasses with distorted views to some degree. I was going through some old journals from my teenage years and realizing that I continue to rediscover universal truths that I thought I already knew. Like “choosing my feelings”. I have known for years that I have the choice of how to react to my feelings, but I continue to learn this again and again. I am beginning to think there are many subtler higher levels of every life lesson. For example, I can choose my feelings, but I do best when I don’t ignore my feelings. I also am learning that even those I respect and admire have their faults and their ugly moments, and that no-one can understand me all the time. I am learning that I can be absolutely misunderstood and still be at peace with myself. The source of my peace comes from the idea that the higher power does know, when no-one else does. That I am not “alone” in the universe. Norma – Talking to David, who wrote to Dr. Irene many months ago, helped me to understand why people act abusively. You can read his comments, starting at: http://www.drirene.com/forms/comments_buddha.htm *****
Once you truly realize that the greatest power you have to change someone else, is by changing yourself, I think you will naturally focus less on your husband's behavior and more on your own. And as a bonus, he may actually decide to change too - but usually not before a lot of effort in trying to get you to back dancing the "old" way. It's a process.... take care all Asha Thanks Asha.
Please don't put in long ************************** or other such stuff without breaks. It makes it hard to read the posts.
The problem is you can't put in paragraph breaks. That's what I was trying to do with the long **********
I find it really hard to read these posts all wrapped together, or to know where one section finishes and another begins. Any other suggestions to make this easier on the eyes since we can't do paragraph breaks anymore? Asha Oh Asha, I really want to find another board that won't do all this junk. Meanwhile, I'll just fix the stuff as I edit it.
Norma, I know it's hard to let go of your need to understand and help your partner with his problems. If you were like me, I was so consumed with my partner that I didn't even consider that I was neglecting myself. It's certainly not easy to change habits, especially thought habits. I think that's why cognitive-oriented therapy is so good. It helps teach you how to examine your reoccurring thoughts and examine them from a detached perspective and then catch yourself before you act on these thoughts. My advice: Detach as much as you can; be strong, even if it is a struggle to detach from him. When I say detach, I mean, do these things.
1) Stop reacting to his anger, abuse or neglect or non-help with kids or around the house. Just acknowledge to yourself that he's doing it again and don't complain, beg or chase him to get what you feel is lacking, whether that be emotional support or physical support (like watching kids or doing housework).
2) If you are sick or tired, just don't do the housework, period. Even if it bugs you to leave the dishes, laundry, whatever, don't do it, take care of YOU! (and your kids if he's not going to; you have to take care of the kids, but the housework can sit.) Go to bed early, lie on the couch, go to the local beauty parlor and get a manicure when you are stressed. Take care of YOURSELF a little bit.
3) If he complains or gets angry with you for taking care of yourself instead of doing the housework, do NOT engage him. Just say, "I'm sorry you are angry, but I am taking care of myself." and then DROP IT! Don't go into a long explanation of why you are changing or what you have learned, just SHOW him in your actions. Don't explain! If he rages, just leave the room or just nod and say OK, OK, OK after every statement he makes. Do not GIVE in to his rage by getting up and starting doing the work or by canceling a manicure appointment or whatever. And do NOT rage back. It is a trap if you rage back; then he can tell that you are too angry and you need help. If his laundry isn't done and he needs a certain pair of pants for the next day. Then calmly and without punishment in your tone, just say "I think those pants are in the laundry room if you would like to wash them." then go about your business or keep lying on the couch or whatever.
4) Get an appointment with a cognitive-oriented psychologist. Do it any way you can. If you don't have the money, charge it if you can. It's so much more important than anything else right now. Just get help and pay for it anyway you can. Make sure you ask for a cognitive psychologist! If you respond to this post and tell me what city or town you are in I can do a search for you for cognitive psychologists in your area. I am very good with Internet searches! Or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your information and I will do the best I can.
5)Try to spend more time thinking about YOU. What were your hopes and dreams before you married. What were you good at (music, cooking, playing an instrument, writing, dancing, did you like to take walks or run or exercise, did you enjoy going to concerts or events?, do you have old friends you haven't had time to connect with b/c you are so consumed with your marriage problems? Think about these things and the DO SOME OF THEM. This is part of shifting your focus from Him to YOU. It will be a process and feel like a loss to let go of thinking about him and how to help him and how to get him to change, but bit by bit, you will feel more esteem and see how futile it is to expend energy thinking and doing for Him. If you do all these things, and he suddenly gets better, accept the good treatment, but keep up your boundaries. Keep taking care of yourself, keep leaving the chores if you are too tired or sick, and sad as it is, Maybe keep a little disengaged so he has to chase you a little bit. Maybe that last part is manipulative. My former partner always treated me best when I was distant or occupied with other things. When I wanted him; he didn't want me. When I had other concerns; he wanted me. Messed up!
6) Decide if what this man can give you, what he is able to give you (the reality, not the fantasy) is what you can live with for the rest of your life. And find in yourself the answer. You have the answer in yourself if you should leave him. It will come as you shift slowly from the focus on HIM to the focus on YOU.
The biggest lesson I've learned in the process of trying to save my relationship and then finally leaving it -- is patience. Wait, and be patient, whether than jump to an action, and the calmness and answers will come. Always choose respect and honor for yourself over honor for the others wishes. to do anything else is a compromise of your soul. Your soul will lead you, I promise you that. Right now you are having a hard time hearing your soul the SELF and what youSELF is trying to communicate to you. yourSELF whispers; the worry and anxiety and helplessness you feel over you situation is screaming, so you can't hear the WHISPER of the SELF over the scream of the other thoughts. Your soul will lead you and the Catbox will be here for you! -- DJ Excellent!
Hi DJ, I agree with what you said about cognitive therapy being very helpful. Your way a head of the game if you can learn to change yourself, and challenge those beliefs. I am learning something new about myself everyday. As I do this I am finding that I am more at peace. My therapist is helping me hear myself and how irrational I sound. I am now aware that it is okay to take care of myself, and trust that my husband is capable of taking care of himself. My husband seemed familiar to me.
My mother used to send me messages that I was to blame for her disposition as a child. She still does it but I am aware that even when I give her suggestion that could help her change that she has no intention in changing. She just wants to complain. Now, see I complain but I am really running around looking for answers. I get frustrated when things don't come to me immediately. I "want it now!" I want to understand now too. I often sound like a 3 year old "why, why, why?". I am learning to delay gratification myself. I can see how I am handed this lesson to be patient. Sometimes I just need to accept "what is" and adapt to it.
I didn't realize that some people don't have this same drive. My husband would get offended when ever I would mention that something as simple as a home improvement. I would see something like a corner pantry and say "Oh, that would be nice in the corner or our kitchen." Somehow he would interpret that I was saying that what I have was not good enough or that he was not good enough? I was just really admiring how neat this pantry was. I have seen all kinds of different ideas. I am always looking for different ideas. Now, this use to drive my husband nuts. I did not realize that he was thinking completely different. I automatically thought it was me that was the problem. Giggle!
He kind of liked it this way. He blamed me for all his moods. Now, I see them as just "his moods". It's kind of nice to separate us. You know I use to be apprehensive about traveling around the world. I think one of my goals after things settle down is to take a trip somewhere I have never been before. I have some friends that are from Europe and Canada. You know I have never left the states. Heck, I hardly leave my state. I am just feeling this sudden desire to see what's out there. I guess this divorce stuff isn't going to be so bad. :)
I still have two little ones to support and take care of first but little bit here and there saved. I will make it a goal. You know my husband would never support me in doing something like this? It's sad I am starting to realize how much I allowed him to hold me back. I am walking around in my new freedom saying "Hey this is not so bad!" I really attribute this to my new thinking and slowly rebuilt self-esteem. Hang in the DJ! You sound like your doing great too! LisaMM
Norma, Very good advice from DJ. The more you take care of YOU, the clearer your reality gets, as your focus is shifted. When we spend too much time focusing on the whys of others and their demands, lack of help, aloofness, etc..we forget how to WE are feeling. I think we have all been there, that's why we're in the catbox! While trying to save my relationship and work on myself, it played out all on it's own. Unfortunately in my situation, my STBX got angrier I wasn't taking care of him, and he continued to do what he wanted (drinking, raging, friends always coming first), which resulted in me finally saying ENOUGH after the last incident! I can no longer live in fear of what would come walking through the door, and I was at the point where I knew I could not be satisfied with the occasional niceness thrown my way after he behaved badly. It was manipulation, using my caring, trust, and belief that because we had gotten through so much, we could get through this.
If I hadn't been working on me, I would still be where I was 5 years ago, which was thinking there was always something more that I could do to make the situation better, make him happier, etc.. Don't get me wrong, I still have days when I wonder why? Why can't he see what he's done? Why is he acting this way? Why weren't me and his children important enough? How come he's more concerned about impressing strangers, friends and customers with what a nice guy he is, then comes home the polar opposite? Then I stop myself and say ahhh.....giving away that life energy again! Even with researching, I do not always have answers for everything. I am asking questions that the other person should be asking. It is getting more infrequent that "I go there", and for that I'm grateful. It's a 2-way street. Contrary to "it takes 2 to make it or break it", I believe it takes 2 to make it and 1 can indeed break it. Yes. Both partners have their work cut out for them.
Focus on YOUR stuff. If he changes and you BOTH work to save your marriage, FANTASTIC! If not, you have choices too. You can only remain stuck if you choose to. BABY STEPS...taking care of you doesn't mean going out to the mall and buying whatever you want to fill your hearts desire and being a selfish person. It's taking time for you for the little things. Kick your feet back occasionally, give yourself a facial, read a book, take a walk, call a friend. You're probably doing the job of 2 adults even though you are one person. My Mom actually gave me some good advice years ago. She told me, "if you don't take care of you, what good are you going to be to anyone if you are constantly tired, or have your health impacted?" Keep posting. L
LisaMM, Wow...the more I read your posts, I am in awe of the similarities! My STBX would interpret something simple as home improvement as me saying what we had wasn't good enough, and somehow he wasn't providing enough! I love decorating, and have done lots around here myself, because I love to take something and make it better. Definitely works for home improvement, not people-LOL! Things such as this are part of many couple's normal conversation, but somehow he always made me feel it was "wrong" to have projects or goals. However, when it came to him, such as his business, it was "right". I too was impatient when I was younger. That's something he never let me forget, even though I learned things don't always come in our time, even with the best of planning. In our earlier years, he was the patient yet stubborn one (if he didn't want to do something, he wouldn't), but didn't let the little things rattle him. I used to refer to us as "a balance", and other people saw it too.
However, as we grew older, the balance shifted tremendously. I grew up and he chose not too. As I started to handle things differently, he didn't seem to like it. As the children grew into teenagers, he couldn't seem to relate to them, but only "when I was your age". If the world didn't revolve around him, then it was a problem. I could deal with a lot of those "quirks", but not the drinking and anger situation. The line was crossed far too many times. You're doing great Lisa...You are seeing some of the gifts coming out of a situation you didn't ask for. I'm there most days and have come to the realization that even though this is not the outcome I wanted, I will make the best of it! I am embracing the feeling of safety, the lack of the crazymaking (other than the answering machine), the stability for my children, and the choices I'm making for ME. Strange territory at first, but feeling more at home with it now. L
Dear Lisa MM, I do relate to what you say about feeling he is making you responsible for his happiness (or used to) and Dr. I’s answer to look into your own beliefs on that. I am starting to realise that for C. and me he could go on holding me responsible for his happiness, cause I really felt I was responsible for it too. I felt soooo responsible, and in that I made myself responsible and he just thought that was how it should be. It is a rather complicated thing how we do this, and I still find it very hard to counteract it. But experiencing at a deep level on how this really works for me (see one of my former posts) really makes a lot of difference. It makes it easier to check myself when I start doing it again. Did you read “Codependent No More” by Marjorie Beattie? I have read it lots of times and am starting again. It has some new eye-openers every time I read it. We buy into the fact that we should take care of other people and it is not just the other people who expect it from us. For me, the first step was to see nobody can hold me responsible for their happiness. When I got that, the second step was to see I should not hold myself responsible for it either!! And for me that was much more difficult, since for the first step I could sort of rely on my anger for being mistreated to support me. The second step is one you have to do all by yourself. Take care, and keep going. Love, AJ
Dear Cats- Boy, what a difference a few months can make. My grrrr-angry ex practically called out the army trying to contact me again, after a silence of four months. Giggle! Phone calls, e-mails, even calling and hanging up five or more times when I wasn't home (I checked *69). When we finally did talk, she began telling me how much she wants to see me again, how she missed me, etc., anything but apologize for the horrible abusive things she did. I was polite, never raised my voice, remained cool. I told her that she did a lot of things I was hurt by, and all my trust was gone, and I did not feel comfortable about seeing her. So what do you think happened? Of course, she turned it all around, and told me that I was hurting *her* simply by telling her she did hurtful things to me! That makes no sense to me; someone hurts you, betrays you, abuses you; you tell them you are hurt, and they get angry with you for being hurt!!! I think it's absurd, and I'm not buying the manipulation. It's so easy for me now to calmly set limits and stand by them, and she does not take too kindly to it at all. Actually she gets furious, and starts pulling out every trick in the book.
I have seen this pattern in many of the posts I read here. If you begin calling your abuser on their angry behavior, they will stop at nothing to shift blame, confuse you, turn it around, anything but apologize or make an effort to find common ground with you. Right. But in very few cases is this an attempt to manipulate you, though it has that effect. It's just their survival. Beware, don't buy into it! Yes! If the manipulation begins, just hang up, walk away, hold on to your beliefs, whatever. You'll feel mighty good, and be a lot better off. I easily remain detached, I trust myself, stand up for myself with dignity. It's easy! To any victims in the "confusion stage": Trust Your Gut! Don't let anyone tell you what you think or feel is wrong; it's a trick. Trust yourself, no matter what. XX.
Asha, DJ, L - Thanks so much for your advice. I'll keep working on it. What's confusing me even worse is were into the honeymoon thing big time. We have had counseling a couple of times before (briefly) and the same thing happened but at that time I really wasn't aware of what was going on that this new "attitude" and that it would not last. The counseling was brief because I started thinking that maybe things weren't that bad and he was acting so nice that I felt guilty telling the councilor all these things about my husband. If he would stay the way he is now which is being in a good mood, spending time with our son. This new mood corresponds directly with me finding this site and asking him to go to counseling again. I remember just before that I was wondering if he ever was going to come home from work in a good mood. Well I've learned that much anyway. Love Norma
Jay here, I admit I have really lost the thread of the posts since losing sight of them. I also posted some that just never turned up-oh well. I hope Perdida is back. Where is Sharon? Nothing much to say this end. I was wondering how to square up Jake's 'Its over but I won't divorce and I want you to stay here and all that - er, well I just read a wonderful term in Bridget June's diary that fits the bill, but I think Dr Irene would delete it try me! and my Christian friends be upset, so I will just leave everyone else to read the book!
Then I really sobbed my heart out to my brother in law...who has always been a good sort and told him all the idiotic things that were upsetting me. I am not sure if I should have done this, but it all came out... It's fine Jay. You've no secrets you need to protect. He reminded me how once after Jake and I had a blazing argument and he and his wife came to go somewhere when they were newly married, I had reacted by simply retiring and getting myself together and coming back downstairs saying 'arguments happen. Let's go. Or something like that. Gosh was I really so strong...... You were strong because time hadn't worn you down yet. Then
He said...you have to let time heal all these awful things that have happened and you have to regain a sense of humour about what Jake is doing. (Or words to that effect). Kind of get a life and leave Jake to God stuff and see the lunacy for what it is... Yes. Cuz there's nothing you can do about it. If you react, you just make things worse... Yesterday he was a real.................(it is very unlike me to use these words.) More politely he was just plain rude. And then, would you believe he came out and very nicely asked me if I wanted an ice cream? Yep. LOL we had been from 'the marriage is over to toast to 'ice cream!" LOL does he think you heal hurt emotions with ice cream - or is he thinking "I am a good guy I gave her ice cream." More like the second. Yikes 21 years later I realised I married a child. Yes! Jay
Thanks, Dr. Irene, for a your comments. It took awhile, but I realized finally, that as long as both my husband and i believe that his anger, disapproval, criticism, etc. are the equivalent of the wrath of God, there will be no balance of power in this marriage! Now that I'm setting and enforcing boundaries, less apt to just go along, he has stepped up the bullying. Yippeee! It scares me sometimes, but after I've removed myself, I see it for what it is: the raving of a man who's scared to death inside. Yes. See it, but don't fall for it.
More and more, my attitude is this: let him threaten away! I like to visualize Glinda saying to the Wicked Witch of the West: "Be gone! You have no power here!" He's back to being contrite, but as far as I know, has not made a therapy appointment, or picked up any books. I am still applying for fulltime work. There is an opening at the college where I teach. It's not a teaching position (sob!) but is something I'd enjoy as I'd still be working with students. We'll see. I keep reminding myself: I am in charge of how I'm treated; I am in charge of where my power comes from! Becky
Jay, He's saying it's over but I want you to stay here? Then it's not over. I think he's trying to bait you. If he really wanted it over, he would be making plans to go live somewhere else or be asking you to go live somewhere else, no matter what the situation (kids, mortgages, jobs, etc.) Just an opinion :-} --DJ And a good one.
Norma, Wow. Now he's in the honeymoon stage after suggesting counseling again? If I may be forceful, your job this time is to attend counseling with him and keep going (with or without him) when he continues acting perfectly. You must outlast this honeymoon period to see if it's really a guise to get you to back off and get comfy again before the same ol', same ol' happens. It's not a "guise." He's really trying to reform. It won't last because he does not have the skills to carry out his intentions. It is horrible that you have to go this route with the man who is your husband, the man who is the father of your children, the man you promised to love and honor, but that's the way it is. That's the reality. You can only go on his past behavior and that is that once you stop the counseling and drop the "issue," he returns to his ways awful quick. This time you must stick with it, not feel guilty about keeping your boundaries when he is acting perfectly. It's OK to accept and like his good behavior but check yourself. Make sure you don't fall into the old traps of doing for him, doing for everyone before taking care of you, worrying about if his mood is a cause of something you said/did, worrying about how he's acting, not acting. Keep going to counseling, even if he doesn't go. Wait this good behavior out. If it last four months then maybe some real change has happened but you still need to practice boundary making and assertive sharing of feelings/boundary crossing. You have to do this the rest of your life with him probably to keep it from slipping back to the same patterns. Nag, nag, nag!!!! Good for you for asking for counseling again. -- DJ
married 18 years, I feel confused about what and who I am. I have always felt my husband is better than me. He never responds to my anger or emotional needs. I feel angry lately. I stay because I am not sure how to work out leaving and because we have 3 kids. Sometimes I think I am just over reacting. He has told me this too. His response when upset is a predictable to "get over it." I know I am not the only one, but I feel pretty lonely. I am not looking for a fairy tale marriage just one where I feel significant. Any ideas. I have thought about consoling but it is not something he supports and I am afraid I already know the answers to my confusions and anger.
Hello. I have been sent a message from my estranged wife with a link to http://www.drirene.com/iman.htm We are currently embroiled in a divorce, and she has alleged that I have engaged in a consistent pattern of abuse, and sent me this link as an example of what I should know. We have three children, a nine-year-old and two- (and a half) year-old twins, all girls. I was the stay-at-home dad with the older one, until she started school. Nine months ago, we joined a new "co-housing" group (www.songaia.com), Laura's longtime dream, but they immediately reneged on the agreements they had made as a condition of our joining. (I am an horticulturalist, with gigantic collections of orchids, other tropical plants, and a huge collection of hardy plants, the envy of the U.W. Botany departmen, with which I have a "back-scratching" relationship), including a greenhouse and garden space on the 11 acres of the 13 condo development. They locked me out of the decision process (making unanimous decisions despite my objections) and subjected my children to dangers I objected to and was personally willing to pay to remediate (arsenic dust, lead-soldered pipes in the mess-hall kitchen, etc., etc.).
Laura and I argued a lot, because I just wanted to ditch and run from that place with their control, their shame-based discipline, their insistence on servility, compliance and BELIEF from us "Junior" members. Laura announced one night that I was "too negative" and that she had discussed this with her friends and they wanted me to leave. Because of a reaction that I am not proud of, I can't see the kids except every other weekend, 11-5, under supervision, and I have to pay 50% of my income for child support.
I have been in counseling Excellent!, and my counselor has suggested that I, the nerdy, flamboyant exuberant eccentric with the interests in botany, children and childhood education, social justice, geology and my career of electrical engineering, have a touch of Asperger's Syndrome (the symptoms of which include a great difficulty in comprehending emotional communications, social cues and such, and one or a few extremely strong interests).
I have to admit that I always try to get people to communicate with me RATIONALLY, and that I have been socially inept in many situations, among other things, so I have no problem accepting this as a diagnosis pending analytical confirmation. Anyway, I am accused of being an abuser, a verbal abuser, but I have been offered no examples, none that I can cite, of this abuse, and I don't understand how I can be accused of this. Not that I disagree, just that I don't understand. I know... The reason you don't understand is because you have "reasons" for how you behave. These reasons are perfectly logical to you. My guess is when your wife has tried to tell you, you have thought she doesn't understand and tried to explain yourself to her.
If I am guilty, I am perfectly willing to do whatever is necessary to be able to be a significant part of my children's life again, to see to their safety, to show them flowers and bugs and cook new foods for them and change their diapers and teach them words, dance in front of the radio, carry them up mountains, play silly games, take them trick-or-treating, roll down hills, "playground monitor" at preschool, give them blue (food colour) peppermint (extract) baths, host parties, wipe noses and rock them to sleep. Great! It's much easier than that. Start by listening and not defending yourself. Let others "not understand," or "be wrong." Whatever. Your job is to recognize that right or wrong, other people are entitled their point of view.
Here is the last (slightly edited) message I sent to my wife. (I am not allowed to send letters or call on the telephone for her or the children.) Laura, I still don't understand what it is that I said or did that was so abusive. I know I have asked you for examples before, and you may have tried to respond, but I still don't know. Please believe this. And this: I have never wanted to hurt you; I have wanted to be with you and do things with you and support you, but I was often angered when you would not (in my perception) discuss how to proceed, or nagged me to give things up, when, to my mind, you were inconsistent in fulfilling bargains we had made once I made the sacrifices. Sacrifices.... Stop making them! Plus, expectations of her. You can't accept that she is and will remain "inconsistent" and that it is fine that she do so.
Unlike the story you linked to, there apparently really IS no chance of resolving this other than our children losing their father and my humiliation and punishment and ruination. You, and the people in this story, just are not using language I can understand, words I don't know, and you berate me whenever I ask for help in understanding. It's like shouting when the other person doesn't understand English. It sounds like a child crying for water would be guilty of "manipulation" and "verbal abuse." Or a scientist offering a proof of a new theory. Or a chess instructor pointing out an end-game mistake. Or a peace negotiator. Is ALL expression of need, desire, preference or fact abuse? Is negotiation? You're explaining. Your perspective. Again. Memememememe.... That's why you don't get it.
You have made it clear that there is no vestige of affection, or even compassion left for me, but I have not within me the ability to either shrug off your accusations, nor to understand the reasons for my punishment. You tell me I am horrible, worse than Freddy Kreuger, but the reasons are secret, and my actions without intent. And I worry so much about my children. You will not answer the questions I ask, in the contexts that would help me understand. You won't critique or comment on what I say to you, you just keep saying I should freeble the gilganock. You say you can think of examples, but you don't tell me what they are. Isn't this the same strategy you have been using for so long that doesn't work? "If you don't know, I won't tell you." And are you sure you have had no responsibility for our problems?
If so, is the difference in allocation based solely on gender? As I have said so many times before, and won't say again, I miss you, and I still love you, but I don't understand, even if I am supposed to. I never wanted to hurt you, and I am willing to do whatever is necessary, consistent with honorability and justice, to make up for it. I am sorry, but I don't know what I can do, and you have not helped me to know, but I guess I am speaking in a way you cannot understand, just as you do to me. I have not been to your women's groups, to your rituals, to your advice sessions. You seem to be assuming I have the knowledge that I would have gotten there, and my not having it is yet another example of abuse, maybe the only kind. Yuk yuk yuk! I would have crossed this all out, except people tell me they can't read it, and I want them to. George: You want her to understand you. But you don't understand her. All you have to do is understand her perspective, like it or not, and accept it; not try to change it. Think about it... George ----Original Message Follows----
From: "F, Laura R." <email address> To: "George K You know G, you're way out of your boundaries. You put your wife's full name and email address in. Did she say it was OK? I don't even want you putting your own full name in! (E-mail)" <email@example.com> Subject: Computers etc. Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2001 16:20:57 -0700 Perhaps it would be easier if I bought a new computer and you took the current one (along with all the old ones). You would then have the Access program to work with your databases. I need fewer of the stored files and old programs than you do, and could possibly get another copy of Access from work if I needed it. Also, you could have the stereo - I would actually be happy with something smaller; we could get by with Natasha's boom box for a while. Regarding our problems, I will repeat again that they go back much further than any association with Songaia, at least to the time Natasha was a toddler, although I can think of some examples from MIT days. Of course I remember good times, but the pain and suffering is not worth it. I put so much effort into trying to help with your problems with Songaia, negotiating for your projects, defending you, pleading your case Go read this; some of the similarities to our situation go beyond the man's name, although he is starting to get a clue. http://www.drirene.com/iman.htm <http://www.drirene.com/iman.htm> Regrets, Laura As you can see, we do not meet, we do not communicate, and I am losing, every time I try. I have lost my home, my job, my lifelong commitment to keeping the plants (many I had had since 13, other survived only because me, and a few others (fewer than 10) kept these extinct-in-the-wild species alive). I have also lost meaningful contact with my children. I would do anything to be a significant part of their lives, ANYTHING. I have affidavits from 'most all our old neighbors, Natasha's teachers, her friends parents, my friends, my college professors, that I was an extraordinary parent, but that didn't help. Oh, God, George: Listen, accept what it, and - don't react.
Hi, I'm a man who is controlled by his wife. You must do this. You have to do that. etc., etc. She gets irritated at the slightest thing I do. Lately, she came home from work and criticized me for forgetting to do things. This time it was forgetting to get milk. She needed it for her home-care client, whom she serves breakfast to. I had so much to do that day that I forgot, even though she reminded me twice. Maybe you really didn't want to get the milk... She bloody well exploded. Such ferocity I have never seen in the fairer sex. I have been unemployed for about 8 weeks, however, she is carrying the can at the moment.
I treat her like a princess, massaging her feet every night, telling her she's beautiful, etc., etc. When I married her I took over the father duties for four children by other men. She turns into a bloody raving lunatic at times, accusing me of leeching off her. She picks away at what I see as trivial faults (the milk thing). She told me that I have forgotten to do things too many times. Again, hmmmm. I think you're mad at her and don't realize it; you instead act it out. It's called "passive aggressive." Of course she's pulling her hair out, even though it's not OK to blast you, by the way.
It's the little irritations like that that can ruin a marriage, she told me yesterday. (we have only been married a short time and she knew I was a little absent minded when she said, "Yes") I told her that the matter was trivial, but she demanded I change. She was six years as a single mom. She bolstered her argument about the milk by saying: "I had to organize a household alone. If I forgot stuff like you do, my family would have been in a sorry state." That may be true, but I told her she needs just a wee bit of counseling. She blew up again!!!! For crying out loud, what did I marry. She's a bloody bear during the day, but then turns it on at night. She's the most unpredictable women I've met. (I know the fairer sex is unpredictable, just like men, but this one is a humdinger.) You could both use some counseling.
My total life seems to be in turmoil. I'm in my second marriage of 4 years. I'm 36 years old with 4 children ranging in ages of 17 years to 2 months. My first husband was killed 8 years ago and that left me to raise our 2 children alone. I met my current husband 6 years ago and we were married and have 2 children together. BTW, he's 31. Every since I've met him, he's had an attitude but I apparently discounted it for one reason or another. He's progressively gotten worse over time and it's to the place he's getting unbearable. He calls me names, throws things at me (whatever's in his hand at the time) That's physical abuse. not every time hitting me but sometimes it does. He uses very foul language in the presence of my/our children (including calling me names and throwing things). The ages of my children are 17/m, 12/f, 2/m, 2 month/f. My 2 year old is now calling me and his sister a Bit*h, he's throwing things when he gets angry. He's mimicking his father is the best way I can describe it. My husband always discredits my feelings and opinions on issues, especially when it deals with him and his attitude.
I've tried talking to him about how important it is that we control ourselves so to teach my/our children to do the same, only for him to get mad at me and call me names, threatening to leave and so on..... Why don't you leave? The latest little instance would be on Saturday. He took a nap and he woke up not in the best of moods obviously. I was busy doing something else and our baby was fretting (not crying) and he stormed into the room and gave the baby a pacifier and huffed...I asked him what was wrong and he blew up at me. He told me he was sick of my games...he thinks that if he has to attend to the baby then i'm trying to teach him a lesson about how hard it is attending to a baby and a 2 year old. I told him I weren't doing anything wrong and he threw the towel he was holding at me and began calling me a bitch and how he wished he had somewhere to go, that he'd leave me. I told him he was more than welcome to leave with his attitude and he told me I was the one leaving he's not going anywhere... Well the argument continued for a few minutes after him slamming doors, saying vulgar words, and throwing things. .I told him he must be afraid to leave because he knew he wouldn't get back in if he did..and he told me he'd show me he'd get back in and he walked out...I LOCKED THE DOOR. He began kicking the door, slamming the door to my car (telling me he hit it) and threatening me from outside of the house.. What he did next was frightening and disturbing. He hit the window of our door and his arm came through. He cut his wrists bad..Blood was pouring (1 1/2 inches long and 1/4 inches deep) he cut a vein but not an artery. I let him back in and called 911...we got that taken care of and came back home. He would then make jokes about it all saying things like "I got what I deserved didn't I?"...he was saying in an egging me on way...wanting me to tell him how I feel so he could only get pissed at me again...HE DOES IT ALL THE TIME. That's how alot of our argument start.. He'll ask me what's wrong with me or how do I feel and then gets mad because I answer. I could go on and on about things here but it wouldn't make things any better, I've just said that little thing so you can get a general idea of how he is...my question is................... IS THERE HOPE OUT THERE FOR MY MARRIAGE OR WHAT IN THE WORLD CAN I DO???????????????? I'm so confused 99% of the time. Answer quickly, I feel I don't have much time!
truuuuuuuuuuuble........the posts are back at Monday again!!!!!!!jay Burrrp!
And if I go back and post again I get a different post as the last one still Monday!!!!!!jay We're going to call the new board, "Jay's Board!" Giggle!
Hi L, I know what you mean about "a balance". I was "nice" and he was "Oh, that's just Greg". At first we complimented each other. We seemed to understand each other. We both came from dysfunctional families so I thought we would both work at "not being like our parents" together. Before children we were both goal oriented and we had our fun but shared a common goal to succeed. Then as we got older I grew up and he tried to stay the same. This is typically what happens. You finally realize you're getting no bonus points in being the good guy all the time.
He wanted the family but wanted his cake and eat it too. I really believe that his anger and alcohol addiction is what has changed him. He is not the same person. Yes he is; he just let himself get sicker, looking for the easy way out. He blames me but then in the same breathe says "I know you are a good person." So, I know he is aware that I am not intentionally trying to hurt him but that he is self-destructing. I was just trying to stop the train from crashing. I was always told I was my husband's savior. I did feel over-responsible (as Dr. Irene mentioned). His parents and friends would say "If it were not for you then he would be dead or in jail."
I could see we both did not know how marriages and healthy families lived but since I could relate to "not knowing" and wanting to figure it out. I assumed he would figure it out too. I did not realize that we still had to go back and resolve our childhood wounds before we could move forward. He use to be big on saying, "I am just fine, I know my what my parents did was wrong. I am lucky I turned out this good." and "OH, big deal all kinds of kids are abused by their parents just get over it!" I kind of thought that this was minimizing his experience. Trust your body. I could not believe that after the incredibly cruel abuse he suffered that he could not be hurting.
I bought into his facade. I tried it out. It did not work for me. I needed to go back and resolve my past childhood wounds. I needed to dig it up, look at it, deal with it, and accept it now that I am adult. It was too overwhelming for me as a child or teenager. I wanted to get it out of me once and for all. I worked really hard to get where I am at now. I wanted him to do the same. I pushed (by trying to convince him) which now I realize was a big mistake. It's OK to try and educate him in the beginning. You just can't persist. I actually intended to set limits in the beginning. I thought if he saw that I actually wanted to improve myself and accept responsibility, then he would be happy for me. Only if he doesn't lose out in the process, which he will.
I hoped he would come around when his behavior (like your husband's) escalated! Same things the rages, alcohol, and his friends being first. The more I tried to "reach him" or attempt to be what he wanted the more angry he got. It did not make sense to me. Okay, I am accepting it's not rational. It probably does not even make sense to him. I am still moving forward. I had a pretty tough day today. My attorney is working out all my orders with his attorney. My husband is doing exactly what I expected. I still get sad that it has come to this. My husband is filing for a motion to force the sale of our home. I know since I have been at home with the children and dependent on him for 8 years while I raised the children that they will allow me time to update my work skills and probably award me the home to keep the children in the home. It's still just upsetting (which is what he is trying to do).
He's not going to like the consequences of his actions. He is attempting to create a diversion. I guess if he keeps us focused on the issue with the home we are not suppose to notice he is in anger management, addicted, and behaving inappropriately. He has really crossed the line with his children's well-being. I am just anticipating the attempt to provoke me. Just when I think I have him figured out he pulls another stunt! My mom calls it "The Greg Show". Last night he showed up at 8:30p.m. with his mother. The children were getting ready to get into bed. He opened the front door and yelled to them to "come and let's go, we are going to Wal-Mart". I was caught off guard. (That was the idea.) I quickly told him "No, they are not going to Wal-Mart. They are going to bed. It's a school night." I told him that he needed to call their therapist because we need to establish a visitation schedule and the children are not getting enough sleep. I was willing to let him read them a book and visit briefly during the week, but he was coming in at their bedtime and acting unpredictable. Yuk.
He just ignored me. He asked my son if he wanted to go. My son responded, "No, I am tired, it's a school night, and I need to go to bed." My husband says, "Oh, I understand your mom won't let you go." He tosses my 5 year old around. Then he says he is leaving and coming back with dog food and goldfish (for our turtles). I tell him, "Please don't; the kids need to go to bed." He says, "I will be right back." When he came back I was at the door and told him not to come in. Good! He proceeded to toss rocks at my son's window after 9p.m. Can you call the police? My son was upset and could not sleep. He has been told not to do this. His therapist was going to talk to my husband's therapist to establish boundaries, and limits for the children. It won't matter; he won't listen.
I updated my attorney and he will rush the orders. Good. All you can do is play it by the book, and not give him any breaks at all. I am just hanging tight until the limits are in place. Well, thanks for the encouragement L ! I know in my heart I am doing the right thing. I am doing the best I can. And you're doing a good job! It's just not easy sometimes. Meanwhile, I am reading about my codependency and trying to balance out my schedule. I am learning how to mow the lawn, teach my daughter to ride a bike, attending school, and running around like a mad women. It's really not much different than before. I am not use to getting help with household chores but I do have 2 upset children to comfort. I am trying to help them adjust but at the same time I am aware that I can not "make it better". I just tell them that "It will get better" and "I will get better at this." You hang in there too! LisaMM
Hi Cats, Okay, Doctor Irene, I am trying to look at the recent engagement with Steve and bring what bothered me to the forefront. Yippeee! She's back! First, I had two very close friends who were ex-boyfriends. We had been friends for years, and they both evolved over time into those kinds of guys who go to weekend retreats to try to learn how to deal with "man-bashing feminazis" and learn how to be the bosses in their relationships again and retake their masculinity. There are companion retreats for women who want to learn how to be good little women and submissive and "feminine" and they expect to find husbands in this way. Okay, fine.
Sorry I can't remember the names of the seminars. Anyway, my friends whom I had enjoyed for years evolved into raving masculinazis (the male version of feminazis) Giggle! and I could no longer have a conversation with either of them because they sounded just like Steve. So my conversation with Steve reminded me of the loss of two joyful carefree pals (who evidently felt like they had to find some other way of dealing with the women of the world). What exactly did Steve say (quote it) that upset you? By the way, I can't really have a conversation with a raving feminazi either. Giggle! That's the problem with zealots, they're hard to talk to. Not much range there. Perdida, I think what happened is that Steve's "tone" bothered you; from there you took it to the masculinazis. If you can identify exactly what bothered you about his comment(s), you can let him know.
Second, I felt like Steve and I were talking TOTALLY at cross-purposes. The fact is, the things Steve was complaining about are also the products of the patriarchal *system*, and if he had slowed down for a second he might have seen that we were actually in agreement. I tried to point it out but he didn't hear me. It seems it is a knee-jerk reaction for some men that when a woman says the word "patriarchy," some men hear "male-bashing." Look where you're taking it again! You're making a mess of assumptions about Steve based on your past experience. I think all you can safely assume was that Steve was on a roll (which I think had to do with his history with his ex, etc., and had nothing to do with you). (It's OK for him or you or anybody to be on a roll; it's temporary.)
OK, now you're on a roll with the next paragraph. This is not the case at all, and men are equally prisoners of the system as women are. Steve's example of men having to go to war. The women and children thing of the Titanic, although biologically I agree with Nellie (was it you Nellie? Norma?) about the procreation thing and that is probably where the women and children first custom had its origins (customs usually are developed for very good reasons related to the survival of the species and those origins are buried and out of memory).
Anyway, Steve's reaction precluded his noticing that we were agreeing. So, I felt like I was getting ranted at for no reason at all. I was also annoyed with myself for ranting back. Giggle! The fact is, I have an academic bias - which is NOT to say I feel smarter than anyone - it's just my training - by the way, did you blip my nasty comment about web pages that I wasn't terribly proud of after making it? No. Really! - anyway, my bias made me feel that I hadn't done the research to argue intelligently, and I didn't think Steve had, either. So it was a highly charged, highly emotional discussion full of fightin' words between two under informed fools, and I hate those types of discussion because you can't argue a real point and you can't come to agreement or even any rational common ground, or see the other person's side - you can only see who screams the loudest and most emotionally. Wow!
No one needs to make sense. It was a miasma of BS. I also didn't like it that Steve got personal and ascribed feelings to me that I didn't feel, like that I was a "victim." I didn't like it that Steve started the discussion, then sneered at me when I disengaged from a stupid discussion that was going nowhere, saying that I was trying to "get out" of something that I "started" after having my views "challenged." I don't think he even HEARD my views. I felt tricked and it seemed like he wanted to attack, get a reaction (which, damnit, he did) and then pretend that he was Mr. Cool, "watching" but not "preaching." One-up. Steve? I agree with Perdida's analysis and think she has good stuff to teach you - if you want to look at it.
The polemic vocabulary suggested that Steve was angry about something else and reacting to something entirely other than what I had originally said. I like that you are being nice and specific. Very good! Gordon also was very sarcastic. And he doesn't think he's angry. Giggle! It's not possible to have a meaningful dialogue with people who are polemic and sarcastic, throwing around hot-button words that mean very different things to different people (= meaningless). I wasn't very well-behaved either but I shut myself up faster than Steve did. (Forgive me, but, "So what?")
I thought of Asha and imagined her getting a kick out of the whole thing... I also got a taste of what she has been dealing with... :) But I actually didn't know that Steve had had a negative experience with family courts a horrible, horrible experience..., and this explains the button that he showed he has in terms of family court. I was sorry to hear that. I think custody battles or even mere custody decisions must be just horrible and gut-wrenching, and I am sorry Steve had to go through that. This is a guy who adores his kids, with an ex who makes his anger look minor. Steve, can you see how you were on a roll too?
In sum, I didn't feel like I was being allowed to have an opinion. I felt like I was being deliberately misunderstood (just like my ex used to do) because of an agenda belonging to someone else that had nothing to do either with me or with what I said, and yet I was under attack for the sake of this foreign agenda. Not fair. I felt unsupported because hardly anyone said anything - but who could blame them?? It was a mess! Who would even know where to start?
And finally, Trubble, what the heck IS that thing you left me? A home made chocolate that *I* made 'specially for you with my cute, fully little paws! Is it... a helmet? or... a pile of something...? Um... Thanks... Are you dry yet? I do so love wet cats. Workin' it out, Perdida Thanks Perdida. For taking the time to write out your analysis (more "proof" of the good stuff that happens when we pull back and stop reacting!) as well as giving me a good laugh with - the, eh, cat.
Hello again, O dear, there are NO paragraphs in the seriously long post I just sent. No one is going to read it. I forgot to thank Steve for his post the other day. I thought it was really sweet. Love, Perdida :)
Steve here. Irene, how am I giving up my power by pointing out a myth(s)? Or, bringing submerged facts to the surface? I don't think I'm giving up my power at all. I'm just saying that almost any man I talk to today, believes that he is a second-class citizen. He doesn't walk around in a victim-mode, he just assigns it a variable (or constant) to be used in a mathematical equation. He *acknowledges*. I can think of a few men who do feel victimized by their spouses (or institutions), but by and large, the men I know just see it as a situation of our society. I did NOT say that men are not equally capable of being abusive. If being "empowered" means "keep a lid on it", I'm not interested. I believe the first step to empowerment is awareness. To be aware, the myths need to be dispelled.
So, Irene, I think you error perchance this time... Dear, dear Steve: It's not about content. It's about wasting energy getting all worked up over stuff you can't do anything about - and ignoring the stuff you CAN do something about. Society is messed up. Granted. How is agreeing with the guys going to empower you? Wouldn't your energy be better spent recognizing specifically what people in your life say to you/ do to you (that make you feel so powerless), so you can figure out just how to handle the given comment/ situation? The problem now is you don't fully recognize when you are upset. So you dump it on broad issues. Think about this before you tell me I'm wrong. Please.
I would like us all to be aware. So, I say what I say to that end. Even for you Irene, because, at times you do appear to have a button when I talk about these kinds of things. Now don't take that personal, I'm just fishing around for what it is that has you feeling this way. You know you are still my personal heroine. Read this again Irene..."Steve, YOU are the one walking around feeling disempowered. You are victimizing yourSelf. And, you are in good company; many men feel likewise." Do you see what I mean? Do you see what I mean?
Do I see a button here? "That keeps you powerless since there is nothing you can do about feminism, society, "feminazis" or whatever." Nooooo....not at all. I can change society, I can help the awareness, we all can. Yes. But: What will give you the most power is to change yourself to learn the skills you need to handle situations that leave you feeling (even slightly) yukky... I don't feel powerless at all. Pay attention; it's there. Promise. The more knowledge and *accurate* information I can get, the more powerful I know I become. Exactly! I'm pointing out a new level of awareness for you. A more subtle level of same 'ol.
"Ps: You know the women you have a hard time with? The ones who agree with each other and empower each other to blame men in general? Well, when you yak with your buddies about feeling shafted in this society, aren't you doing the same thing?" I don't believe I am. I am assessing the situation. We don't talk about *feeling* shafted. We talk about *being* shafted. Facts - not Myths. We talk about what we can do to change things. So nobody gets shafted. Not men, not women, and especially not the kids. You're on the right path Steve. But it's time to go forward even more. If you had the awareness and the skills to take even better care of yourSelf, you would not be shafted. Therefore, you would have nothing to complain about.
There are many many individual issues that should be addressed to make this a better world. Division is number one. While we are so divided, dealing with all the other issues become very elusive. We are divided by race, sex, class etc and it's all very damaging. It's great for our rulers, Machiavelli would be grinning in his grave. Part of the reason that sick Pres we have is able to sacrifice the future for the present is precisely because we are so divided and "comfortably numb". Did you know the "Snows of Kilmanjaro" will be gone in 15 years? http://www.earthfiles.com/earth216.htm An ice-field that's been around for thousands of years (and the Andes, and the Arctic etc) is going to be toasted because us humans are divided and squabbling over who's the worstest and who's the bestest...
I'm not going to pussy-foot around here, or hide under a rock, when there are facts that wish to be free. Irene wrote: "I'm anticipating your reply: "But I really got shafted in court."" But Irene, I didn't get shafted in court. My X was so bad that both times in court (she took me to court both times) she lost. So I guess I can't say I was *victimized* there. Not the reply you were anticipating. I'm not as predictable as I should be, is I or Isn't I? No matter Steve. The whole fiasco was a major hassle, an expense you didn't need, and had you been dealing with a more reasonable person, would not have happened. That's the shaft right there. In the end, it's the kids who usually get shafted. Yes. "Each and every time you feel someone, anyone has stepped on your toe (male or female), ask them if they meant to... By calling attention to your boundaries, you set them. " Now that is something I can chew on. That is very good advice Irene. You always have a gem for me. "Ring the bells, that still can ring. Forget your Perfect Offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen. PS. Irene, for some good bbs: software check out http://cgi.resourceindex.com/Programs_and_Scripts/ Thanks; I'll check it out. Have you heard of Snitz? I think that's the one we're going to end up with. It's made for use with access or sql and it's native to a Windows2K environment... - Steve
Dear Perdida, Steve and the rest of the Catbox, The discussion between Steve and Perdida really got me thinking on how we view the world around us is influenced by internal issues and vice versa. It's amazing how much we bring our history with us. The more we become aware of how we "connect" stuff that is not connected, the less we need fall into a trap that wastes energy and hurts us. In this discussion it was mostly inside issues that influenced Perdida’s and Steve’s outlook on a general issue. Yes. Though Perdida sees that while Steve is fighting looking inside at it. I know, at least for me, it can also be the other way around. I started to remember during the war in former Yugoslavia when the news came out of the camps and of women being raped as means of humiliating them. I really got sooo mad, and I could not think I would ever want to have sex again. I got mainly mad because of the fact that for these man apparently sex could be seen as an act of humiliation and I got mad at C. that he did not get mad too. Giggle!
It was not that he would agree with these rapes, but he refused to ‘see’ it was a general fault in men.... I realised I was going overboard, that I was generalizing things some men did to how all men would think and feel. Still, the way these issues come out in the media sure have a way of putting people up against each other, even though we all have our own responsibility in the way we react. Yes. The media wants to engage you at an emotional level. More revenue. I myself oftentimes find it hard to divide these things, to realize that one for all does not go. Yet to make the world a little more comprehensible, one does need to make certain generalizations. I am still stuck as to how to deal with this. Any ideas?? Yes. First differentiate what's you and what's not you with all those generalizations. Once you've made the subtle distinctions, the integration will flow... Isn't that what we do here? Love and hugs to all, AJ
Dear Steve, I posted a comment on your discussion with Perdida, and found your post regarding the same. I agree with you that we should not let these important issues like male-female polarization or racism or pollution be ignored. I do feel however that the first and foremost obligation we have with respect to these issues, is to look into ourSelves and see what We can do, instead of crying out lout that something should be done.
I have seen it happen may times and have been guilty of it too Who hasn't?: when you call people to these issues, they feel belittled and they get defensive. Real life is actually not so much different from our partner relationships :-) There are a couple of things you write, i would like to comment on: “I'm not interested. I believe the first step to empowerment is awareness. To be aware, the myths need to be dispelled. So, Irene, I think you err perchance this time... I would like us all to be aware.” When you state things like this, I, at least think: yeah, sure, you want us to be aware of what you think is the right thing. I know by now that you are a bit more open-minded then that, but still, it is an impression that people could easily get and would make them defensive.
"Ps: You know the women you have a hard time with? The ones who agree with each other and empower each other to blame men in general? Well, when you yak with your buddies about feeling shafted in this society, aren't you doing the same thing?" I don't believe I am. I am assessing the situation. We don't talk about *feeling* shafted. We talk about *being* shafted. Facts - not Myths.”
Woah, that’s a bad one for me: it tells me (gives the impression) you feel that when women talk about these issues they talk about irrational things while when men talk they talk about fact....... Big Ouch!!! It's a stereotype. here I am finding lately that a lot of confrontations between people are not so much about what we think as about the way we present it. Of course we may differ in opinion, but it does get easier to talk when when are not so much challenging opinions as more exchanging them. It’s like what Becky said about her H wanting to discuss things and that it felt like a power struggle. It is a power struggle and when you want to get results you need to be open to opinions and not let yourself get into a power struggle about who wins the war (like who has the best arguments). Belief me, I was very good at it... Hope you will not stop fighting for good courses. Maybe you could use a different strategy though..... :-) Love, AJ
Steve here. Perdida, we appear to have different dreams when we speak of Patriarchy. I tend to envision a male-only dictatorship that rules over women. You seem to see a male dictatorship that rules over women *and* men (correct me if I'm wrong). I personally don't see either of our visions as being in vogue. On a lower socio-economic level perhaps there are some indications of patriarchy and matriarchy but when it comes to who rules, it's those with the gold. Always has been. Gold buys guns. Guns rule. Biggest gun rules all. The law of the jungle is still around, though it hides behind meaningless words like democracy. However, even the biggest gun is scared ***tless when the mob gets smart. Have you heard Bruce Cockburn? See the lyrics of the first song on this page: http://www.things.org/music/bruce_cockburn/lyrics/world_of_wonders.html Oh, I think I just found an mp3 of it: http://sites.netscape.net/retepames/sounds/bruce.zip (You'll have to unzip it with winzip or something like that) Steve
PS, yes Asha has to deal with me, but I have to deal with her too. Giggle. I'm tempted to say "Now I know what Perdida's X had to deal with..." just so you know what it comes off like...grin. Why are you tit for tatting? Two wrongs make a right? In a perfect world, all you would have to do is tell Perdida that her analogy was hurtful to you. Oops, I just did. Well, there you have it. A mirror in the sky. We all could see a lot in that mirror I bet. Thanks for your in-depth and clarifying reply Perdida. Steve
Steve here. Hi AJ. I just saw your post before I posted again. I see what you mean when you think I am saying men talk facts and women talk irrational. I don't mean that. I was referring to specific earlier myths (what I believe are) that I mentioned some pages ago, that Irene had indirectly responded to. I was trying to address Irene's assertion that I am steeped in victimhood. I still think you are, albeit much less than you were. But, I agree, it came off wrong. But AJ, you know I would never mean something like that. That would be totally sexist - AND - a myth. It is late here. 1AM and I am not very coherent.
I think what I was trying to respond to is the part Irene said about the "The ones who agree with each other and empower each other to blame men in general? Well, when you yak with your buddies about feeling shafted in this society, aren't you doing the same thing?" I was seeing this as Irene saying I was myth-making. No, this is Irene saying you are wasting your breath. Therefore, I tried to say I was "factoiding" and NOT myth-making. Does it make any sense yet? Yes. If not, I give up for awhile. "the first and foremost obligation we have with respect to these issues, is to look into ourSelves and see what We can do, instead of crying out lout that something should be done."
I agree AJ, to a point. If, once we look inside, and discover some things that *can* be done, and if those things include screaming from the rooftops, or lighting a lamp on a hillside, I think we may consider them as options. Then we need consider if we're talking about a sane option. If the watchman (or watchwoman) sees the enemy approaching, it may be prudent to alert the villagers fairly soon rather than continue a internal debate about what he/she can do...What do you think? Does that make sense? You are always so perceptive and profound AJ. Sometimes, I am surprised that you have a problem in your relationship. Your advice to others is almost always flawless. Thank you for responding. Steve
Steve here. It's now 2AM here. Nellie, you said "Nor do I lump them into a category based solely on their physical attributes, so I am most perplexed as to why some people think it's OK to do that to me." I am thinking it may be a "schooling" instinct that makes us form into groups. We look for protection because the world is seething with predators. We tend to overlook the shortcomings of our group in order to gain their protection. Much like the schoolyard where kids will form into cliques. We do this as adults also. You bet! Like animals, humans also do the "pecking order" thing...
There is an instinct for survival that still burns strong in all of us. I watch fish in my fish-tank who have eaten all they can, and they will still intake more food, churn it up into small particles which the other fish will find to small to eat, and spit it out. I *think* there is an instinct that tells animals that the less competition they have the better. It is our nature to compete. For food, for mates etc. So, belittling others, abusing others, may all be part of the competition game, at a much more advanced level. I would like to think that the true evolution of our species will be on a more spiritual level but sometimes I just fall right back to Darwin. Of course I could be way off but I often think about it when I watch my fish... Steve
Hi Steve, As it is really quite early here yet (about 9 am) I am still wide awake and can tell you how things really are without you being able to answer me back. Great. You are always so perceptive and profound AJ. Sometimes, I am surprised that you have a problem in your relationship. Your advice to others is almost always flawless. Yeah, I’m great, ain't I. (Of course, quoting this, is just a way of getting it in Catbox one more time!) Giggle!
Serious, I am learning to get things in a better perspective and so it seems is C. Sometimes the right thing seems absurdly easy to do and I cannot for the life of me understand why I ever did it differently. Still, knowing and doing are two hugely different things..... :-( And, yes, I know, you would not mean something as sexist as saying women are irrational and men are not, but I meant to say that the way you put things, would suggest that. I also think we all have our own responsibility to put things as clearly and accurately as we can, and should not rely on other people to ‘know’ what we mean. Not meaning we have to walk on eggshells of course. Hope you are getting a good nights sleep and are having nice dreams. Hugs, AJ
Hi Steve, Want to know something? Look how we agree: I am so frustrated by the changes in our society that make men and women unsure of how to relate to each other! The things that you say, about feeling shafted and abused - I know many men feel that way and I feel really bad that you feel that way. I feel bad that the feminist movement veered away from getting equal pay for equal work, which would be a real achievement. I reject the rhetoric that bashes males as a monolithic group, and I think this has seriously wounded any possibility of achieving concrete equality (like wages) or parity (like subsidized child care, etc in the workplace) for women. I am frustrated that men feel bashed. I don't want them to feel bashed! The feminist movement to me has a lot of problems and lost its focus a long time ago. Gaining equality and parity should not mean demeaning and devaluing the other gender. The fight is to me PERSONIZED rather than GENDERIZED. Yes...
I am really sad that you feel slammed, bashed, shafted and abused. I think it's wrong that you have come to feel that way. I want my two guy friends back too. I'm upset that they feel the same way you do (not at them, but at the circumstances that made them feel the way they do). I am angry that I as an individual can't really do anything about your (collective) feelings. I think this gets to the core of my reaction last week. Perdida
Hi AJ, I share your feelings about the war rapes. When I heard about it, I felt a rage that I didn't know what to do with, and I felt that only enlisting in the military and going to war in the Balkans would make me feel better. I didn't, of course... Steve, yes this is what my ex had to deal with! He dished plenty out too. At least I have a logic - his need to control is completely irrational. I wear my "challenging and difficult female" label with pride. To date, it seems that my partners and friends have all found dealing with me worth the effort! kiss, kiss, Perdida
Dear father of three, botanist, Laura's stbx...
You sound bewildered and lost as to why you are in the situation you are in. Yet I believe there is something missing from your post. I am guessing there was a very big over-reaction on your part which must have involved violence of some sort when your stbx asked to you leave. That is why you are not allowed to see your children or have any contact with your stbx. He pretty much admitted to something along those lines.
Also, as a person in your wife's shoes at one point, I can guess that it doesn't matter if she gives you examples of times when you verbally abused her or not - you will defend yourself and twist things around to explain things as her fault or the fault of your kids. He's not twisting things around. He is trying to get you to understand his perspective, which he need not do. And the more she tries to explain things to you, the bigger the argument will become. Please take a good look and accept responsibility for your actions and words. YOU have made mistakes.
Continue with counseling, learn how to control your temper, learn to accept responsibility for your actions and your words. Accept Laura's decisions even though you don't agree with them. Let HER have control of HER life. Kathy
Dear Life-in-turmoil: Take a good look at your life...re-read your post...what would you tell someone who just posted that? Do you really think you can live like that for any long length of time? Have you read through the drirene website and recognized your husband in the verbal abuser stories? Are you the one in the house that's always trying to smooth things over? That was me! Ha! Trying to fix everyone and everything and have a peaceful life!!! Doesn't work. Nope... First step is to just observe.....you may want to write things down in a journal so you can look back and see how this man is truly treating you. Take a step back - be a fly on the wall. Try not to argue with or defend yourself to him...just observe. Then think things through before making a decision or taking action. Best wishes to you...Kathy Excellent advice!
Dear all, Sharon here, Well, I have some tidbits on the Dr. Psycho home front. First off, I'm about an 8 (1-10) scale of getting over the pain of our breakup. Yay! I haven't written because I've been too busy doing other stuff to even feel the need to vent or process things. One big thing that stands out in my mind about this whole relationship is what a nightmare it really was. He is a disturbed man, an abusive personality, and definitely someone who is an extremist. I am not saying this out of anger - its just how I see him now on an objective level. I no longer make it a point to check to see what's going on over there at his house. That part dwindled over time. When I drive by, I don't think I've even looked over within the last week to see what's what.
However, over the course of the summer, there have been women over there and these are the women that he complained about and 'trashed' and I've seen these women before - haggard-looking, not well kept, very, very unattractive. So, the only thing I surmise from this is that these women are nothing more than his ever need to keep up his narcissistic supply. He has his ads out - complete with lying about his age (says he's 44, he's really 53) and pictures of him that are 12-15 years old. I'm still taking super-care about myself and making new friends.
No, haven't found what I'm looking for - because I really don't know what I'm looking for. However, I do know what I don't want! First and foremost, I'm making friends with myself - and that's been alot of fun. I constantly am laughing at myself for the stupid things I do, and don't take myself seriously these days! Its a far cry from how I used to be when I was with Dr. Psycho: scared, withdrawn, quiet, walking on eggshells, afraid to speak up. Now, the old Sharon is coming back! Found out some really good news yesterday - went to the doctor with my mom. Last week they did a cat-scan on her liver. The results are in - the lesion is getting smaller! Plus, her CEA levels are lower (8 to a 5). PTL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yippeee! Hope everyone is happy, healthy and well! Love, Sharon Now that life is calming down, check out how it is that you became obsessed with Dr. Psycho in the first place...
Steve here. It's morning. Yes Perdida, I am starting to see we do have some similar feelings. I was being a little tongue-in-cheek when I pointed out your "what Asha has to deal with" statement. It's interesting how words on screen are devoid of tone so we all put our own "slant" in other's words. "To date, it seems that my partners and friends have all found dealing with me worth the effort! kiss, kiss, Perdida." I have already found dealing with you worth the effort. In some ways, you remind me of me. And a big kiss (and hugs) for you too! Steve
Hi Perdida--- That mound of brown stuff is chocolate! hehe. I thought it was some kind of a helmet too at first or...., but then I right clicked the image and the title was "chocolate". Good thing you didn't make any quick negative assumptions!! giggle. Asha Giggle! Nothing like a computer savvy woman!
Dear person with Asperger's Syndrome (possibly)-although I am not totally sure that that is the diagnosis they will come up with. Your post is so sad...but I think you need to see a few things...your preoccupation with the plants in the post almost outweighs your preoccupation with seeing your family. Also it does seem like you are taking responsibility for some act that has meant you are not allowed to see your children-it is not reasonable to expect that you would be released quickly from that-whatever it was has to have been very serious.
Do you see you say, "I am not proud?" This is saying, "I am not happy with how things affect my feeling about me." You are not saying the things you need to say (and feel and be), "I am sorry. I am ashamed. I am determined to do all I can to improve and make sure it doesn't happen again. I don't mean you should stick in that phase; but when most of us mess up we feel pretty bad about it. We are more than just "not proud." A person who is sorry is also accepting of the consequences of their actions.
This is EXACTLY how my husband reacts...it is never about being able to take a view of yourself that admits you have wronged the other person and harmed them. You see, you want to have it all explained rationally; but the part of you that needs to be opened up is the emotional and empathic side. You will need a lot of help with that. This is not your fault; you have somehow not been given those qualities in any abundance and learning to see how another person may be feeling is going to take some work. Yes. You can even overcome the Asperger's stuff, just in case you saw it as a hard and fast "reason" for your inability to communicate.
What truly amazes me and gives me hope for you is that you will look at these things. I think you have the capacity to 'get there' whatever happens to your marriage. I saw so many of my husband's traits in your post; but be encouraged. You are further on the way than him-you do know there is something that you need to change - even if you are groping round in the dark asking for questions that you will have to learn to answer for yourself. Yes.
It involves taking the one step you fear, and looking inside you. That said: I think when women get involved in these militant type of groups they do become so anti men that it is hard for the men. I posted somewhere about our local militant lesbian group- all the hurt form men they have felt gets kind of pooled until all men start to be the enemy- or it does happen that people with the same politics/lifestyle take on this mentality.
But you will have to ask why your wife is there. She won't be able to tell you-but she is probably feeling you ignored her emotional needs. Yes! The stance of the group will suit her anger at feeling she is a victim of abuse. That said; I also wonder if you need to see that your wife is being manipulated by this group... It comes across as if they are telling her what to do and I would suggest to her that she should spend a while away from it just to check that her feelings are her own. If she still decides the marriage is over then that is because she really has reached that decision.
I think all you can do at present is to work on you. Please post here a lot as I really know how hard it was for you to do so.. my husband cannot do it.
Dear "married to a humdinger wife.' Your wife sounds both stressed and abusive. She probably does feel that she is carrying the can but the way she is treating you is not right either.. when she goes on and on, walk away. I suggest that you have a notebook and write down stuff you need to remember and make sure you really are putting in 50% to the marriage and if after that she is behaving so abusively you do not massage her feet. etc.. She has you controlled because she gets just what she wants...and if you don't break that pattern now you will be a nervous wreck. I would forget suggesting the counseling just now and work on boundaries.. further down the line when she is less in control she may be able to agree to it....
dear person asking if there is hope for their marriage. .my goodness! Do you really want someone like that in your life? What are the kids seeing. You need to talk to a DV counselor urgently. Throw him out and get an injunction.. he is dangerous and I have a feeling your kids would be seen as 'at risk and you implicated for letting this continue.'
Dear Perdida, I think I have had that kind of reaction on the patriarchy word...I guess we forget words are subject to both semantic change and also to different interpretations outside the academic context.. Was it anthropology you studied? I think you are really brave being so honest in looking at what happened.
Dear Steve, I once wrote a very long (and er.. well boring dissertation on myths.. the one thing that I remember is writing that myths were truths to the people who believe in them. Not making any point-you just reminded me of it! There are cracks in everything...the women's lib movement in the extreme makes catsmeat Catsmeat??? out of men and some men accept it, The anti feminazi lobby want women back to subservience and the dark ages and the women who are in between waver between unthinking submissiveness and never doing a thing a man would like them to..... In other words we have lost our way. The reason is because nobody seems able to sit down and think for themselves what boundaries they want. If people stopped and were true to themselves about what they really want from life then they would adopt not the way of a group; but within the confines of any religion where that figured the way they best wanted to live in relation to the other sex. That might mean there are groups with similar beliefs; but it would mean that the rationale for choosing them was honesty and not fashion. It is actually pretty hard to stand up for yourself these days without being shot down. Round here there are assumptions made- like you must agree with rampant feminism...you must not say it is not ok to have an abortion- you must think that this way is the ONLY one to bring up your kid...you must ........Definitely you can't be human if you believe the teachings of the Christian Church Somehow society has lost respect for individual belief. And yet the only really sane thing to do is to look at one's own self and boundaries. 'To thine own self be true.'
Dear AJ I know what you mean- that you wonder why you ever did things differently; me too...now the way forward seems so clear and simple I wonder why i ever complicated it or took insane options- GIGGLE so we were both not posting so much........ Dear Sharon. Great now you are not looking for him! Look out completely for you. It will be over the day it crosses your mind you have not thought of him for a week.
Dear Lisa and L you both seem so sorted. Norma you are ok too. Please......a pantry in the corner??????how do you mean 'a pantry in the corner. To us in the UK a pantry is a little room off the kitchen in a big house to store food in.
Sharon I am glad there is good news about your mum. Is PTL praise the Lord?
Asha - hugs......thinking of you.. As for me.... Well all I have to share is that I seem to be going through a pretty good time internally. Feel very strong again. Not without some tough moments.. I keep seeing areas where I was in the wrong with Jake that I can't excuse by saying "I was the victim.' But it is ok as I really feel as a person I know the way forward..
DJ - you may be right. I don't know but I am simply going to make a life for me
hear and see what happens. I feel like I am finally ME and not an extension of Jake and that makes it easier to cooperate.
I guess that when you detach you don't just see what the other person's stuff is -you also se your own.
jay -who has yapped enough for one day! And who is relieved to find that she can finally get into the
Oh No! Trubble-- you HAVE to find some fish.. No paragraphs again! I guess the above post was you Jay!
Hi, I have been so crazy busy I haven't even had time to keep up with the board. I hope everyone is staying cool and doing well. My therapist did an EMDR session with me yesterday. With the court case against my abuser, that has been dragging on for almost a year, it has been bringing up old feelings. As I learn more about his abuse and lies, it is like reliving it again and again. I was feeling victimized again, because this case is costing me thousands of dollars, and it makes me so angry. At the same time I feel empowered by holding him accountable, and other women who have been victimized by him have approached me for help with cases against him. The hardest thing to deal with is the guilt I feel for having let him be a part of my son's life for 4 years. I felt like I didn't protect him enough and that I was a bad parent for staying. The EMDR really helped me heal the guilt - to forgive myself, feel God's forgiveness, and know that now I am a strong woman and a great parent for my son. It's amazing how long lasting and deep the affects of abuse are. Yes... Take care, Suzanne
Hi Asha, Wow, what a relief! Trubble didn't dump on my monitor! but he IS trying to get back at me by making me fat (ter). But how sweet, Trubble. I'm sorry I didn't know what it was, but I tried to click on it and it wouldn't click. I think my computer doesn't like the heat here in the Midwest with no air conditioning. It's melting but at least the chocolate isn't! Asha, do I remind YOU of Steve? Should I thank Steve for the compliment or do some hissing and spitting? Giggle! (hold that thought, Steve, I am getting a reality check... be with you in a moment...)
I am driving to California tomorrow and it will take me four or five days. I will be back online or maybe I will stop at Kinko's Out In The Middle of Nowhere. I was supposed to leave Sunday or next week, and I will get the heck out of here before my ex, two hours away, realizes I'm GONE!! If he should even care. Which maybe he really really doesn't, in which case I am really really free. HI SHARON!!! Love, Perdida
Hello-Catbox & Dr. Irene- well my husband has been on his best behavior for about 2 weeks now (treating me respectfully, buying me flowers, affectionate etc). However, on Monday we were taking his mom to dinner and he acted like a bully towards her and this little girl who lives with her. That same day he yelled at his cat (never ever has before) and last night argued and hung up the phone on my father (never done this before either) in fact used to always be concerned what my parents think about him. From my previous posts i wrote that my husband lives a very stressful life and even breaks out in rashes all over his body). It looks like to me he is losing control and transferring his anger onto everyone but me. He told me last night that he doesn't want to have anything to do with my parents that they are not his family. He feels betrayed because 2 weeks ago i told them about our problems and they supported me instead of him. I told him what do you expect they are my parents and care about me their daughter and I wouldn't expect your mom to side with me. Anyway last night he said that if we had children they don't deserve to be around them. I told him he better not think he could monitor my visits with them if we had kids. My mom called me this morning and she and my dad are perplexed why he is acting this way. After soothing her and trying not to make her worry i was upset at my H. I try not to diagnose but it seems like he is transferring all his pent up anger from people who have used him or not appreciated him in the past (unfortunately there have been plenty of these including his own family) and putting it us. Even though i know he had a very dysfunctional childhood (parents divorced several times, sexual abuse when young) I'm getting sick of dealing with his anger and problems dealing with life and his whining how no one believes in him and appreciates him. Last night he tried to convince me that i was in denial about my parents and that they are not good people etc. After trying to explain/defend why this was not so I stopped myself and finally said "you believe what you want to believe". (Surprisingly, he remained very respectful towards me and apologized for putting me in this awkward position with my parents). I'm angry at myself for putting up with this behavior. I wish i didn't love him so i could just move on with my life. I'm tired reading about verbal abuse and codependency and having to learn/understand this type of behavior. I'm sorry for venting and taking out my frustration, but it does feel better posting to the board. I pray every night hoping to find strength and guidance. I'm thankful that i am at least able to sleep fine at night. Susann
Steve here. Jay, I want to repost this section of your last post because I think it deserves to be reposted. It is very thoughtful and I tend to agree with you... "In other words we have lost our way. The reason is because nobody seems able to sit down and think for themselves what boundaries they want. If people stopped and were true to themselves about what they really want from life then they would adopt not the way of a group; but within the confines of any religion where that figured the way they best wanted to live in relation to the other sex. That might mean there are groups with similar beliefs; but it would mean that the rationale for choosing them was honesty and not fashion. It is actually pretty hard to stand up for yourself these days without being shot down. Round here there are assumptions made- like you must agree with rampant feminism... you must not say it is not ok to have an abortion- you must think that this way is the ONLY one to bring up your kid...you must ........Definitely you can't be human if you believe the teachings of the Christian Church Somehow society has lost respect for individual belief. And yet the only really sane thing to do is to look at one's own self and boundaries. 'To thine own self be true.' " This is highlighted cuz it's so cool. Thanks Steve. And Jay.
Catbox, So nice to see everyone back! Perdida--I was wondering about what Trubble left you too! Kinda looked like a "pile o dung" to me-LOL! Giggle! I guess Trubble should stick to cakes...
It's nice to look at the respectful/intellectual posts you and Steve have going.
LisaMM--Your Mom sounds like she has a good sense of humor (re: The Greg Show). Something one has to maintain in these times of trials and tribulations. You hit the nail on the head when you said the alcohol addiction changed him. It sure has a way of doing that. I actually had a conversation with the plumber that had to come to my house today (the 3rd nuisance around here in 2 weeks--1st the fridge, then the kitten, now the faucet in the tub). He's shared he is 3 years into his recovery. We had a great conversation about denial. I didn't get too detailed with my situation, but he kinda chuckled and said, "yeah...nothing was ever my fault! It was everyone else's!".
I've heard lots of recovered addicts who came into speak at Alanon say that too. Unfortunately, for most of them, it's after they have lost everything and everyone who truly cared for them. I look at myself as being in recovery too. I will get better at this, as will you. I've surrendered to the fact that life will always have it's challenges and problems, just different ones. It's still better than living with the crazymaking. Suzanne--it's great to hear your sessions are helping you let go of your guilt and look at your strengths and move forward. Knowledge is power, and it sounds like you are empowering yourself. The affects of abuse are long-lasting. I guess that's why even Dr. Irene says "forgive, but don't forget".
Norma--co-dependency is like an addiction. If you start working and changing yourself (your recovery), you will not remain stuck.
Jay, DJ, Asha, and everyone else--hello! Still trying to read through some of the posts that had no carriage return! L
Hi L, It's funny you mention that you have stuff breaking around the house. I am having this same problem. My battery in my car died, my vacuum, dishwasher, and now the belt in the dryer is starting to sound really bad. It's next. I keep looking up and saying, "Okay, I get it. It's just a test, right?" I have tooth that needs a root canal. I can't seem to keep up. Oh, my mother has always had a sense of humor. She made her fair share of mistakes but is now making peace with herself. She is learning it's okay, and I do love her anyway. She is a survivor herself. She knows the in and outs of dealing with alcoholics and abusers. She has really come in to help me out lately. I always wonder sometimes how we could find humor in the craziest situations. I know I have to laugh to keep from crying. I think that's what kept us sane during the real crazy stuff when we were children. You sound like your doing well in spite of your STBX too. I think it's amazing to see the changes in everyone after we take that power back. It's hard sometimes to see clearly what the lesson is but I know it all make sense someday. Hang in there! LisaMM
Perdida I don’t know if you remind me of Steve. Maybe you just turned over the other side of the coin, or he did, or something like that. Hiss, spit or give thanks however you wish! I enjoy discussions about gender and other issues, like what a “victim” or “abuser” really means and whether it even matters. I don’t think there is ever a “one size fits all” description of either. -------
I also find it interested to see how others interact with Steve, purely from an observer's vantage point, offering no input whatsoever myself. I’ve been doing a lot of observing lately. Makes me wonder if I’ll ever feel like “doing” anything again. Giggle! I could be quite content like this (except that I’m finding work and other obligations to be a rather irritating interruption to my peaceful state).-------
Have fun on your trip!-------
Hi to everyone else------- Asha
What will happen if I try to post? Jay Well, AuntieJay, that depends on how hungry *I* am!
LisaMM--Talk about weird, in my daily reading this morning from "Until Today", by Iyanla Vanzant, and I quote: "...it may seem that as you get better, the trials become greater. The truth is, the best students always get the hardest tests because they handle them!". Before reading this, I slipped temporarily into "old mode" by thinking I was getting punished (irrational guilt). Then I was a bit upset that while I'm dealing with all the responsibility (as usual), STBX is just flitting through life with little responsibility at all. Then I stopped myself and thought, I'm in a much better place emotionally than he is, so apparently someone up there thinks I can handle it-LOL! I'll take it as a compliment! I'm not superstitious, but "bad" things do seem to come in 3's, so if that's the case, I'm out of the water for a while-LOL! Also looking on the bright side, the faucet in the tub has finally been fixed properly! That thing acted up at least every 6-8 months, and after seeing how damaged the part was, now I know why! Peace, L (a lifetime student)
L, I love Iyanya Vanzant's books!!! I have read "In the Meantime" several times at different points in my process of healing from abuse. I especially like the story about Geri. Every time I read it I see things in a different way. It's always a helpful read. Have a blessed day, Suzanne
Catbox, Suzanne-- Wow! I must be shooting for valedictorian! This morning, my 2 year old car wouldn't start! The tow truck lost my call, and I'm still waiting. Well....guess that breaks the "3" rule-LOL! Again, looking on the bright side, at least it happened in my driveway and not next week when I'm driving 680+ miles!! That and it's still under warranty. Had Enough Life Lessons for awhile....L
I don't know where this post will go...I have given up posting till I can see where the posts are as I am sure the posts don't really stop at Thursday.. Hi to you all hidden from my sight!!! jay
So, I'm looking for a new board cuz I don't want to feel even a tad responsible for Jay's pulling her hair out. The ThreadBoard is up now but it's not fully configured and I don't think we're going to keep it. Don't put real posts there yet.