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1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

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

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6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

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

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

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

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

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

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Catbox 53

 Comments for Catbox 53

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

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

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Friday, August 10, 2001

Hello Asha That was very nice of you to speak to Mousie. Mousie will speak back to you but if she doesn't say things right don't everybody get all upset. She only knows how to talk to Trubble. But anyway, you asked Mousie how she was dealing with her family members dying. Mousie is sad when she thinks about it but does okay except when her husband says he is glad her sister died and it saves him from putting a bullet between her eyes. He also hates Mousie's mother and keeps griping about her even though she is dead. He always refers to Mousie's family as your f---ing family. Mousie apologizes for writing that, but that is what he says every day about the remaining members. That is why Mousie had to stay away from them. But Mousie did not go to the funerals and she just pretends that they are back at the house so she is doing okay. Mousie cannot say what she would like to do to her husband when he says those things. But Mousie does not kill people so he is not in any danger. Mousie does not read everything so if anyone else spoke to Mousie, she is not snubbing you, she just missed it because she gets headaches if she reads too much. Mousie would leave you a nice little picture but Mousie does not think this message board takes them so just pretend you got one. Bye Love Mousie Mousie, why are you staying in this marriage? Yeah AuntieMousie. He sounds like a - a dog - or something like that. Love, Trubble

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Friday, August 10, 2001

Mousie --- I don’t know enough about your situation to give you appropriate advice, but I will send good vibes your way, and I hope that will help a bit. Please take care of yourself. I have posted this before – when Bernie Siegal, in one of his tapes, talks about how to cope with losing loved ones, he says “you find new people to love”. That may not be helpful to you, but I think there is a light at the end of every tunnel, and I think things happen for a reason. Whether this is true or not doesn’t really matter to me because it helps me cope and to see purpose in my life. do take care ~Asha  Thank you Asha.

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Friday, August 10, 2001

Dr Irene--I don't think the other board is working or I'm doing something wrong. I posted and it showed my post as successful, but I could not see it. I clicked "browse all", but all I can see is a note in red that says "this is a test" and no other posts....? Maybe I'm missing something. ~Asha  You're not missing a thing. It sorta works, but not really.  I wanted some feedback about the basic format. The board I think I want to use is not working at all, but it's similar in some ways. 

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Friday, August 10, 2001

I think the reply button worked though...Asha

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Saturday, August 11, 2001

Hello Everyone, I have been reading your posts and MAN!!! I am at the right place. My marriage was an emotional abuse hell!! I really thought I was going to go crazy!! My husband would do just about everything everyone talked about. He was the world's greatest at turning around everything on me. I would get so frustrated! Well, this evening or Friday evening, I left him. I have 4 children, no job, no car, no nothing. I am with my mother. He decided that on his trip to go get a paper, that he just wouldn't come back till the middle of the night.

Of course I was angry for him not telling me his plans. I was worried and mad at the same time. Actually, I was mad because I knew I would go through hell for doing the exact same thing. But the excuse was, that I shouldn't be mad, it was no big deal, and that the other reason was because I talk to my ex too much!! Then after that I just decided to leave it alone, so the rest of Friday I was tortured with rude comments on how the house was a mess, I was lazy, I was a terrible mother because I didn't want to cook supper that night, and so on and so on. It drives me nuts.

 I am always nervous. He especially hounds me about my ex not paying his child support, he thinks I'm not doing enough to get it, and that I just don't care. So he wants me to tell my ex, that he can't have the kids unless he starts paying. I have no friends left. He has basically narrowed my choices for stress outlets. I feel so controlled. To set the record straight, I have 3 children, eight, five, and two from my previous marriage, and I have one that is 7mo. with my current husband. We have only been together for a year and a half, so things went downhill really fast. I know I'm not perfect, but I am not a control freak. I was actually feeling slightly suicidal about 2 months ago. But thank the good Lord, I got out of that.

I hate staying at my mother's with four children, it is so crowded, but I just couldn't take it! He was really pushing my sanity. It feels like mental torture, that's how I describe it. I feel stuck with no way to get away from the pain. I just feel terrible for one reason, my children from my previous marriage are so attached to him, that's the only thing he seemed to do right, was to be patient with them and has never hollered at them. But now I wonder, was it love and patience, or just a way to win them over to control me, and also that he knew that they could tell someone if he was being mean to them?

This is the first time I have left him. In a way I am nervous because he is one of those revenge types that will make sure they get you back, for whatever they think you did to them. So it makes me wonder, what next? I'm also afraid that I will go back, just because I do love him for the other "good" qualities he has, or were they just for show? I don't want to do the wrong thing!! Need Advice Soon. Thanks, Ladytriumph92  Regardless of what happens to your marriage, you've got to get yourSelf together. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other, what do you have to do to stand on your own two feet?

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Saturday, August 11, 2001

Hi Everyone, This sight has helped me put into words what I have been experiencing for years in my marriage. After 10 years, we are divorcing. I think that I am so used to "coping" with this living situation that sometimes it is hard to remember why we are divorcing. The list of signs of emotional abuse fit us to a tee. It is so very subtle but also very strong!

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Saturday, August 11, 2001

Ladytriumph92, Welcome! It sounds like you are going through a tough time, and a lot of us can relate. Now that you have left him, are you thinking of going to counseling or attending some kind of support group? Yes! Would he consider counseling? While you are apart, that might be a good thing for you and him to consider separately, if you are BOTH looking to work things out. You mention about your children "the only thing he seemed to do right, was to be patient with them and has never hollered at them". That's good, but even so, did they see him mistreat you? Kids aren't blind, and they have a much different perspective on the situation than you would think. They can experience anxiety and stress not knowing how someone is going to come through the door. I'm sure he had some "good" qualities too, or you wouldn't have been with him.

Unfortunately, in this type of situation, too many times the "good" qualities only come out after an incident, to buy back the trust, only to slam you later. This is why it would be good for you to talk to someone, hopefully adept in these type of situations. No one can tell you if you are doing the "right" or "wrong" thing. But clearly, something inside you senses something is "wrong", or you wouldn't have left him. Listen to your "inner voice". If you've only been with him 1 1/2 years, and you are questioning your inner voice, can you imagine how much more you would question it after 5, 10, 15 or 20 years?

Take care of yourself and educate yourself so you can learn to trust what you are feeling. Also understand what you are feeling can vary one day, or even sometimes one hour to the next, like an emotional roller-coaster. If you are feeling he is a "revenge" type, talk to someone at a domestic violence center about protecting yourself and your children. You don't mention any physical violence, but even if he throws or destroys "things", it may be enough to secure a restraining order if you fear for your safety. Keep posting.. L

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Saturday, August 11, 2001

I posted two test subjects in the new catbox, but my two replies did not go thru. I replied to one of my test posts and to Dr Irene's test post. Sis Hi Sis!

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Saturday, August 11, 2001

Ladytriumph92, Hi and Welcome! The first thing to do is just become aware of what is going on. Do not try to convince him at the moment. Educate yourself. Start with reading Patricia Evan's Verbal Abuse book and read everything on Dr. Irene's sight. Personal Responsibility and Empowerment is the key. Yes! Contact a local Battered Women's Shelter and to obtain counseling for yourself, and your children. They provide a wealth of information to help you deal with your abuser and provide information to help you become self-sufficient. You do not have to be physically abused to obtain this information from the shelters. This is to prevent Domestic Violence and give you the skills to cope during your recovery. You can come here to vent and join the support groups listed on Dr. Irene's sight. They have helped me tremendously! I can not tell you how much stronger I feel now that I have taken my power back and started taking care of myself. I hope this is helpful. I look forward to hearing from you! Sincerely, LisaMM

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Saturday, August 11, 2001

HI PERDIDA!!!! Hugs and lotza lattes, Sharon

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Saturday, August 11, 2001

Anybody else having trouble posting to the other board? --I tried posting twice and it showed as "successful" but the post never appeared... except when I replied to Dr. I's test post. ~Asha Don't worry about it; it's not working. Thanks.

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Saturday, August 11, 2001

I'm replying to Becky's response to me...(I'm not asking for anything on my person's post who is being raped, she STILL has to want help, in my opinion)... Becky, I spent a week with a wonderful man, but somewhere along the way he got really 'nit-picky'. I do NOT understand why because he is one of the most wonderful human beings I've ever known.... I've shared a lot of his poetry and I have to tell you, no one can ever express their love as well. I am very dumbfounded, because love, to me, is an an amazing gift and he's given it to me.... Stormy

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Sunday, August 12, 2001

Asha, I'm having the same problem with the new CatBox. I've tried 3 times, each time said I was successful, but I don't see my posts. Becky

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Sunday, August 12, 2001

Stormy, Maybe we don't have to understand "why" they are the way they are, just that they "are!" He is nitpicky and you are very uncomfortable with that. If that doesn't matter to him, and he remains nitpicky, and you can't live with it (which is okay, you know) you don't have to. Could there be a guy out there who can give you this amazing love, AND not pick at you and the kids about toilet paper, etc? I'll bet there is; I know there is! Just as I know that I don't HAVE to stay in a relationship that makes me a nonentity. I'm sorry you are going through this ! Becky You owe it to yourSelf to tell him exactly what he does that bothers you. Always start there; nobody's purrfect.

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Sunday, August 12, 2001

The "new" Catbox seems to be taking replies, but not new posts. L

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Sunday, August 12, 2001

I've been coming to this site for a while now. I've really learned a lot about my situation. Everyday I think about leaving my husband. He makes everything so tense when he's here. One minute he will be affectionate and then he can change into a very nervous, abusive, accusing person the next. I never know when he'll change. I've been with him for six years and we have two little boys, almost 3 and 5 years. I feel very sorry for him. I think he may have a mood disorder or something mentally wrong. He spanks the children, sometimes very hard. This I don't approve of and I tell him. I stand up to him but he doesn't stop. He used to throw and break things. Now he yells a lot and gets upset over anything, I never know what. I think about leaving everyday. I read the classifieds everyday to look for a place to live. Everything is so expensive now. But I keep trying. If he hit me I could get a restraining order. But he doesn't do that. I wish he would so I would have some proof of his behavior and the boys could stay in their home. He's really scared me before. I'm afraid he will hurt the children or the animals. He has thrown things at the dogs in the middle of the night when he woke me up angry, which he has done so many times over the years. It scares me when he spanks the kids in anger or frustration. I'll just keep trying to find a place I can afford. He's going to be devastated when he comes home and we're gone, along with half the furniture. He will not get help. We've tried that in the past. He was ordered by the court to go to anger management. But he just went through the motions. I'm sorry for rambling. Thanks for listening. Monica  Monica, if you are afraid when your husband is yelling, or spanking the kids too hard, consider calling the police. He has a history of anger and of throwing things, so you're not coming out of nowhere. If nothing else, maybe he'll get the message or you'll start the ball rolling.

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Sunday, August 12, 2001

Monica- Sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds like you are choosing not to remain stuck. You mention your husband was ordered by the court to go to anger management. That would indicate to me that there is some sort of "prior history" of DV. My STBX went through the motions on that too. The guy running the class basically labeled him "self-righteous" at the end of the 6 weeks. Silly me at the time believed my husband that the guy running it was a jerk, and I dropped the charges. I found out recently that even someone throwing or destroying things could be grounds for a restraining order (at least in my state). If your husband was ordered to go to anger management, that may even be enough too. You're not rambling. This is a great place to "let it out". Hang in there! --L

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Sunday, August 12, 2001

Dear Jeannie. It doesn't matter as I only went there to post the phone number of international social services in case it helped in the case of the girl who was being abused but I note you have locked me out of your site. oh well life is too short to bother (about this not the girl). Now I wonder what will happen if I post and if it will go through.. at least I finally got to read the posts..... Perdida that sounds a long drive....Gosh that would be one end of the UK t Lands end t John O Groats several times I think!

Asha I really identify with that doing nothing feeling. It takes ages to move out of I think! Jake still behaving stupidly but I am ignoring it....... Recognize it's about him, not you. not much else to say......anyway I what to find out what happens to the post ........and they are putting Babylon %non again...lol now I have seen the entire series twice and I wonder if we will have it a third time Trubble....thank goodness she finally fed you :) YEAH!

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Sunday, August 12, 2001

I have been living with a husband who is very controlling and sounds like some of the other men (and women) that I have read about on this board. He said that he would try and change after I blew up and said that I had had enough. He has changed in some aspects. He doesn't throw things at me anymore and he doesn't yell at me when I do something that he doesn't like. He does still yell at our son who is 3 years old and he has a bad temper. I feel like I am constantly being watched and I have to watch what I do and who I am seen with. I try and "tread lightly" around him and not do anything that I know will upset him. I let it go too far. I don't think that I love him, at least not the way a wife should. I have to go for now, he is coming in the house.  Well, well, well! Look what happened when you upped your expectations and said "enough!" Seems to me you need to do more of that, especially around issues with your child!

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Monday, August 13, 2001

Dear Mousie, Do you have any friends you can go to, when your husband is being nasty to you? Talking on the internet is good, but a shoulder to cry on is a different kind of good. I hope you still get the change to see some of your family, even though your husband does not like you to. They can maybe help you out if needed. It is nice talking to Trubble, isn’t it, even thought he can be very very naughty. Hmphhh! But he also is great fun. Watch out for a cat on a broomstick, he might come visiting after all the nice things you said about him...... I sometimes get headaches too, especially reading the Catbox too much. I guess it’s heavy stuff to digest :-)

Dear Asha, I think this ‘not-doing-phase’ you describe is a great place to be. It might give you the much needed rest from all the doing and trying to make things ok that went on before. I hope you are feeling ok and are enjoying the good times, gardening and warm sun. I myself am getting into ‘doing’-mode again, and I do not like it. With C. in the house, I find not-doing much harder then before. Why? Guilt? Also the weather has been bad, so my usual escape route to the garden is closed. I for me am not sure where I am at. I am tired, like C’s sucking the energy right out of me. The problem with this stage of recovery is, I feel I cannot even blame him, cause I see only too well what I am doing to let it happen. It’s mostly me being influence by his being tired or withdrawn. I feel so sucked into his problems and have a very hard time ‘not-doing’ anything. Excellent AJ! Deal with the feelings that come up. Are they rational? I also noticed that somehow I do want everything to be ok all the time, event though I know it is downright impossible. But I simply can’t stand seeing him down. I still somehow need him to be happy. Look at it this way: Can you love and respect him enough to allow him to feel what he feels? When I am not with him, it’s ok, I do not obsess over him, but seeing him unhappy, makes me want to do things, and it makes me feel like I am in the wrong, cause he is not happy. When will this pass????? When you no longer take on responsibility for another person and make your happiness contingent on his. The good news is, then you can give all you want cuz you won't be on "autopilot."  Love to all, take care, AJ

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Monday, August 13, 2001

Hi All, Theressa here I am back now!! Welcome back! Gosh so much has happened whilst I've been on holiday. And I feel famous now I finally got on the interactive posts LOL This means alot to me, THANKS DOC, THANKS TRUBBLE!! Gee whiz, you're easy to please!I have tried to skim over the posts, I survived two weeks and have lots to tell. ONE excellent thing I did was I danced like no one was watching, with Melissa. I was a real mommy. I said "To hell with who is watching; my little girl wants to dance!" In the past I'd have said "Goodness No someone might see us". Giggle! I just concentrated on enjoying the time with Melissa my partner was there to (filming) and he didn't comment on me showing him up as he'd have done in the past. Though he had bad feet so he didn't dance.

I heard some Hard core House and realised I am getting old, it was awful. The Drifters I heard on Thursday were much more up my street. I am a soul fan. I do have some things I want to share but one thing in particular, the rest will have to be tomorrow. My thing to share: I had two holidays, No 1 - on my own with my partner. No2 - with me, my partner and Melissa. I decided not to speak up a few times on the holiday no1. why? well my partner had the key to the safe where our money was kept. Holiday no2. I also didn't speak up a few times. Why? My partner drove us all the way down south and there is no way I could have driven all that way back. To top it all we went in my car so if I'd have gone back on the train I'd still have had a problem getting the car home.

SO how do you deal with times like these when your abuser has total control?? You know the answer... You become less dependent, more self-sufficient...

THE REST WILL KEEP UNTIL TOMORROW, I haven't managed to read all the posts, mainly the blue pencil. AJ I think it is great we meet up YOU, ME and Jay, it would have to be preplanned though so I could take the time off. Take care, and thank you for all the encouragement on my Interactive. The support I feel here and in therapy is the secret to success. Take care, glad to be back. Theressa

Perdida I get ya, Focus, focus, focus, One foot in front of the other and see the distance behind me. (I got that!!!!! thanks)

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Monday, August 13, 2001

Sorry folks my message seems to have not formatted the paragraphs, hope you can still read it. Hehehehe... Take care Theressa

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Monday, August 13, 2001

Hi all and welcome back, Theressa. Well this is very strange. HKK and Jake have gone away until next Monday and I am all alone. I can't decide if I am ok about it or not. I kind of enjoyed it until just now and then felt stupidly deserted. Times like this a pet would come in handy.....just about everyone I know is away this week..seems to be THE holiday week....so it really is a case of getting to know my own company. And this is what confuses me.,,,,I am missing them both, I said have a good time this morning and Jake mumbled soI couldn't hear something that HKK thought was tha t I should have a nice time...DJ I think you are right. I thik he has said something and does not know how to undo it.....oh well, maybe the break will do him good. It is certainly peaceful round here. I went to a strange kind of seminar today. It was on mind and mindfulness...which translated into psycho speak was 'attention focus control.' I feel as if I have spent a large part of the day thinking how my feet feel.... Axtually it seems to be something non religious developed from zen and to be about focusing your attention onto the present and living it. Dr Irene probably knows about it because we were told it is being used a lot in conjunction with cognitive therapy and really helps. Anyway you kind of lie there and focus on what your body is doing which gets your mind into the present.....so nbow I know that my mind is still like a butterfly..you do it wifh some breathing..it was too hard to explain but now at least I think I understand what people mean when they say they medidtate..even if I did keep faling asleep! Mousie, that its awful that you lost both your parents and sister. I haven't lost mine but I have lost people I loved dearly in the last two years and I know how much it realy hurts ....sometimes only we know how much, But your husband shoud not be saying those things to you. They are not just horid, they are downright wicked..I think you should leave and find someone nicer..If Jake said that kind of stuff to me I think I would leave immediately. Dear Theressa, I think sometimes we are just stuck with situations to ride out. If you wanted to go home you should maybe have told your partner though and ask him otherwise you are making assumptions about how he would react..also I think I would always keep some money in a different place as a backup... Dear Monica, i have nbothing to add, justhugs and hugs to evreryone else to..that is one day over before they return! jay

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Monday, August 13, 2001

Hi, Catbox. DJ here. I've been catching up on posts. Norma, how are you? Are you out there? And LisaMM? Jay, I'm thinking about you in your state of limbo with your partner. Dr. Irene told me to give myself advice on the question I has asked about a girlfriend who is crossing my boundaries. I copied the post below but don't know how to italicize it or otherwise distinguish it from the rest of my post, so I hope Dr. Irene can do that for me or give me a quick lesson for next time. In thinking about my dilemma, I think the best way to respond to my firend would be to say "I'm feeling scared and apprehensive about telling you this, but I need to talk to you about your reactions to my passing on breaks and lunches and making changes to plans. I would like to be able to occasionally pass on these things or change plans without hearing that you feel disrespected. How do you feel about this? or Can you help me find solutions to better deal with these things?" That would be my advice to myself. To be assertively forthright about my boundary and my needs and NEVER EVER compromise my integrity to give her what she expects (which is 100% dedication all the time or so it seems to me). I need to stick to my guns but not be rude or over-aggressive or pull my own stunts like avoiding her instead of facing it head on assertively with the intent of working it out. It seems that our expectations are out of balance and I think I need to tell her what my expectations are and reiterate that I enjoy going on break and doing things with her but I can't be bound to it every time she asks. I feel like launching into a big tirade about how she can NEVER do anything without a freind to accompany her and how she always thinks everyone else at work doesn't like her so she never asks them to go out on a break, but I don't think that would be good. :-) I just have to let her find her way or find new "break" friends and not worry about her discomfort. I just feel guilty sometimes because she is always "there" for me, especially when I was going through my break-up with my ex. She listened endlessly to my ramblings on the situation. I mean she was a saint! I've told her so too. I feel guilty b/c she has brought up that she was "there" for me for that and I can't even go on one measly 10-minute break with her. So the guilt sets in and the resentment builds. We've fought about this before but now it's coming up again. I guess I have to take my own advice and talk this out the best we can! Keep strong all of you (us) in the Box! *******Here's my post from last week: 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!

 

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Monday, August 13, 2001

Okay, Here's my story. I don't feel that I'm any different than any other teen. I think that do use a tone with my parents, but other teens would too at the same time. Such as when yer parents bug you or keep asking questions or dumb questions after you tell them to stop nicely. But lets say I don't. Lets say I am a brat. My father says that I don't do what he tells me to do. But I do and my mom knows this. So keep that in mind, but remember I'm really rude and disrespectful to him. If I'm rude and such, do I still deserve to be told I ruined his life, I'm the cuase of him wanting to kill himself, he wants to send me to boarding school, I'm just like his sister whome he won't speak to anymore, he hates me, I'm a failure etc. But later say he doesn't hate me I just get him aggrivated. This is just a brief view. I don't include the endless amounts of curse words used, or the red angered face, or the throwing of chairs, breaking of doors, etc. Any replies?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Dear Theressa, Glad to have you back. Hope you had a nice holiday(s). And just look at the things that happened as another opportunity to learn new things. So, now you noticed, you hold back things you want to say to your partner, cause you feel dependend on him for driving you back. That will help you to see the need to get less dependend on him. Just think, when it would really come to a big conflict because of something I wanted to say, I would find a way to get both my car and melissa and me back home. When what you wnt to see is really very important to you, you can say it and trust yourself, you will find a way to handle the consequences. BTW, they might not nearly be as bad as you imagine, like Jay also said. I am experiencing that more and more in my relationship with C. I find myself pannicking, fearing his reaction, but still I experiment with going a a little bit more beyond my fear everytime and mostly his reaction is not half as bad as I imagined it could be. It’s the old saying: face your fears...... I think we might be able to work somethings out. Either you bot come to Holand or I come to England. Then we need to find a place to meet that would be more or less easy for all of us to get to without it being too expensive. In Holland you can stay with me, in England I leave it up to Jay and you to find some common ground to meet. Dear Teen, I’ve been just going through a new period of problem with my mother, and I am 43. Guess what, she did the same things, more or less your father is doing, the critizizing and putting down. I am slowly strating to relaise it probably had to do with her being enxious about me, but still it does a lot of harm. Try to not buy into his putting you down, try talking about it o you mom, or other people you trust. Tell them how it makes you feel, do you feel unwanted, or upset, angry? His putting you down is not about you, it is about his own insecurities. Try to remember you are not responsable for his happiness and if he feels his live is ruined, he himself is the only one he can blame and the only one who can sort this out. Take care, your not a failure and do not let him get you to think you are one!!!! Dear Jay, Sending wran thoughts (just had a pizza the other night, but nothing left, sorry) -:)) Hope you are doing ok without jake and HKK. Enjoy the quiet and the fact you can do anything you want to, even make your own breakfast, or clean the kitchen or hoover..... Wooh, what a time of freedom! Don’t waste in on moping. Can you call them, if you miss them very much?? Take care all, love and hugs, AJ

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Hi DJ, Your advice sounds great. I just have one bit to add if I may. Please don't stop doing the house work to get back at your partner in revenge. If you are genuinely tired, ill, have other priorities fine, but if you are doing it to get back at him it won't work. It does actually drive a bigger wedge and more resentment between you. Basically you have to look at what you realistically would do if you lived alone. You wouldn't want to live in a pigsty would you? So what I am trying to say is do what you would do to take care of you regardless of him. Why do I say this? Well I heard similar advice and I interpreted my way and ended up not doing any housework and thus, I suffered. I had to also live in an unclean environment. NEVER EVER DO ANYTHING TO GET BACK AT ANOTHER, HOWEVER TEMPTING, WHAT GOES AROUND SURELY COMES AROUND. Take care Theressa

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Dear W.S, You need to look at your thoughts firstly. What you think about what happened? Then you need to try to forgive those who didn't have any better skills. Then you need to learn assertive skills to set boundaries and limits so no one mistreats you again. One good way to work alone is to get a blank journal and write in it. Write your thoughts and then pretend you are a stranger and write back to yourself how you'd rationally tell them to handle it.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

hey wont it be great when we can all have children from test tubes,,,,and then we will be like the amazons,,,no problems in the world,,,,everything will be great,,,course we wont be able to do anything,,,work on cars,air conditioning, construct buildings or discover innovations in medicine or advance in any area other than home decorating, pie baking and such,,,,but ,,,hey,,,,we will be in touch with our inner selves,,,and it will be like the age of aquarius or something,,,i can hardly wait

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

I read with interest the interactive email with Danny. Some of that rang home from what my controller blurted out to me. If on a few occasions, even a one time thing I did not meet my controllers expectation, I have heard I was a "never", it was zero, nothing. This extreme was that he believes he did everything. I thought for once in 24 years he chose to pay the bills because of trying to be more involved, responsible. In his head he did it becausse I would not. Apparently the times in our life he did chores, bathes, a bank deposit or go to the store was "because I would not, would not feed the children (even if it was drink boxes absent from the cupboard). Interesting to me, when asking the family what they wanted from the store, I did not hear, "Don't forget drink boxes, or "when you go to the store tomorrow..respectful requests". He did not listen, trust, nor did he ask, speak up. Apparently he walked around burdenened only seeing and hearing what fit being the victim. After much marital chaos, shattered self esteem and depression on my part, I strived to look terriffic for his arrival home...freshly made up, dressed up, hairdo, meal, lover woman..after 4 children at home. He saw it as she is depressed and does not bathe all day, no hygiene all day...how would he know what I looked like during the day while at work. Yes there were some inertia days, but how sad and victimizing to misperceive and portray. In this blasphemous hindsight, now the insensible behaviors, rejection, passive aggression makes some kind of sense. This guy just became verbal in his reality after the 24th year. There was not cooperation, what he said, volunteered was not real, he acted agreeable but operated from his distorted reality blaming and shaming me in his head...a double bind to have trusted what he said. Rather than ask, he makes up reality, expects what he lived in his home. he believes he does not expect much from others...true in regard to positive expectations. He does not seem aware of what he expects in reality: nothing, interception, deprivation, no, etc, all the things he does to prevent others doing to him what he expects. He said he told himself not to expect much so he would not be disappointed, bingo master manipulator because he is human and has needs and wants. This is so deeply rooted, expecting maleovolance, no one will meet my needs, doing to "get" insidious coercion and only hearing, seeing, remembering what "fits" the negative expectaations...which, I suppose can "prove" he is right. No contract, nothing in writing, no words, I have found nothing that he does not "fit" to construe his victimization when he is a perpetrator. It is craziness I resigned not to fight, address his distorted reality anymore. This person has rejected a good 80% of me, our life, my person, motherhood, partner, lover...to "fit" what he expects. He truly believes he is the victim, did everything and is guiltless, controlled by me, others and I was the target of oppression while he goes, went all out for others for approval. he will not let go of finding things to "fit" his victimization, acts it out, denies it, lost it, even physical aggression, abuse of me and saying I wanted to do it to him. The divorce is proceeding the same way. Accusing me of legal fees resulting from his agreement to mediate, but to him that is taking away his choice, so he avoids, ignores letters, sets us both up, seeing no connection by his nonresponsse to necessity to send him more letters or go to court because he will not follow through, my fault again. Writing this, I am now aware I had overly optimistic expectations to compensate for the pessimism and I experienced his disappointment, feelings, and even his depression too...codependant with a twist.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Sis here. I need a place to dump some feelings, and what better spot than the CatBox! Last March my brother was arrested for driving while ability impaired. Over ten years ago he spent three years in prison after being convicted of killing a woman on cycle while he was driving drunk. In 1993 I turned him into the police for threatening me. He had a handgun and drugs--spent another three years in prison. Foolishly, I let him move in with me when he got out of prison. He knows I will call police, so I'm not worried about physical abuse, but he is certainly a verbal abuser. I've also enclossed the living with doors and locks, my sanctuary. We inherited the family home; I prefer to move, but right now am disabled and in the middle of a lawsuit. Don't have the cash or ability to get out, but I'm slowly making progress on finding another place. The feelings I need to dump here are all about feeling sorry for my brother, grieving a sibling relationship that will never be--not the kind I want, anyway. My brother has a long history of arrests and jail time. He has been diagnosed with a personlaity disorder as a paranoid. I and others who know him well have always seen the narcissim, too. After finding Dr. Sam's website via Dr. Irene's site, I believe my brother is a narcissist. Narcissits can be paranoid--the description of him is perfect. I also joined Dr. Sam's email list--very helpful. My brother's life is miserable. I feel no need for revenge, only pity and sorrow. Dr. Sam says that's how victims get sucked into the abuser's web, so I know enough to just sit with these feelings. It does break my heart to see my brother try to cope with his disorder. He has big posters on the walls in his room proclaiming that strong men are islands, they don't need anyone else. Females and male friends never hang around with my brother--they all walk away, and he doesn't know why he is constantly rejected. One year he told me he didn't understand why no one ever sent him a Chrstmas card, except his family, of course. He is not married and has no children (thank goodness). He wants to lead a normal life, but he is always fired from jobs, women leave him, he is repeatedly in trouble with the law. He is his own worst enemy and doesn't know it. I've given up trying to help him years ago, but I'm still stuck with these yukky feelings. It is hard to watch someone suffer so much. He does have some good gualities. Whenever he is mean and hateful towards me, it no longer hurts my feelings. Yes, I get angry, but I think of all that I am doing to get away from him; that helpm me fell better about not putting up with his crap. Yes, I do put my foot down, but who wants to live like this forever? Not me. I try to accept my feelings of grief and sorrow for him, I think they are normal. But, it's important not to get sucked into trying to help him, that's how he has manipulated my family and I in the past. It feels like a relief to set these feelings aside in the CatBox. I certainly can't share them with my brother--he would instantly recognize an opportunity to manipulate and control--in other words, he would see a sucker. His court appearance is coming up soon, and he will spend at least ten days in jail. Am I on the right path?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Dear All, I've had a lot of time to think over the past two weeks and I need to share my troubles, so here goes: I was asked by a friend what I define as nonsense since I was discussing with her that close family told me I spoke alot of nonsense. What do I define as nonsense? Well nonsense is usually when I talk about others problems issues, lives and my partner says I start to judge them. Then I start to compare me to them. It is my need to feel a space with chatter. I find some people my supervisor he would stay silent and not speak much. That is uncomfortable. (NO urm, ar, yeah etc - that help you know a person is listening) AND it is also when I don't think first, this seems to be with people I feel insecure with. For instance the other day my sistering law of (whom i am not so keen on since I feel she always looks on me as a dopey person.) was at my mother in laws and my partner said "There is one day between me and my nephew." I said "No there is two" He said "I think you'll find there is only one." I said "How?" He said "There is one day between the 8th and the 10th and that is the 9th day." Well I was surprised such a simple thing, I was thinking 8 + 2 = 10 My sistering law looked at me as if I was thick. She told my partner i am false. I don't think first before I say things. Why do I not like her? You guessed it because she points out things I am worried about, I know I don't always think first, especially when I am around folk like her who I feel think I am inferior to them, just a bit of a kid. It appears to me those older than me treat me like someone who doesn't know much. It is always said by my partner that I am not very wise at life. He said "You never think first" This upsets me, I do want to be wise and think first and not look so silly but i don't know how to. Any ideas??? Also my sister in law seems to avoid speaking to me much, she sort of passes me off. I really know little about her only superifically and she only knows what she has heard about me. She did admit to me when me and my partner began living apart as we do still that she couldn't understand how I tolerated "P" for so long, even though he is her brother. Though I get the impression others think I am a bit dopey. Even Dr Irene said I am child-like. People at work say I am a breathe of fresh air since I don't worry about hierachies etc I just dive in there. Friends have said "Theressa you are so innocent, goody, goody" I don't want to be child-like, I want others to take me seriously, but I also don't like it that others seem to think I take myself too seriously. For example if I am doing a diet plan I do it 100% my teacher said "When you do it 100% you take the fun out of life and also it makes it harder for others since they can't reach 100%". I thought the goal was to do your best. Then I thought back to what Jay said about enjoying life and balance. Though on the one hand I am told I take life too serious and on the other I am told I don't take enough responsibility. SO I guess what they mean is that I need to drop the less important things but take responsibility for the serious issues. Like my self discipline. THEN again that confusses me since I was totally self disciplined in my diet and was told I was too self disciplined. YIKES it is that balance thing again. So as you can see I am fed up of being child like, a breathe of fresh air, goody goody, and not being taken seriously. Any ideas how I can achieve this?? Take care Theressa

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Theressa, Hi. DJ here. I agree with your post about how you can't stop doing housework as a punishment. I don't think that was clear in my big, long advice to Norma. Housework is a "button" for me as my ex used the housework I did or didn't do, the frequency I did it, the method I did it (if I washed dishes "his" way I was doing it "right;" If I did it "my" way it was "wrong") and the overall quality of the specific job, as a barometer of my worth as a wife. Also sometimes if I did things the way and the frequency he liked he would be in a better mood; although sometimes it didn't matter. Suffice to say that sometimes I did the housework on the chance that I may get some apprciation and respect and admiration from him for a night, instead of coolness, aloofness or outright meanness. when I think about that, I am so flabbergasted at my way of thinking back then and how much I bought into his "reward" system with the housework. I had so sense of myself. So, housework is a "button" for me, as you can see. I agree wholeheartedly with your advice to never ever punish your partner, that it can only backfire. I also know firsthand how hard it is to do that!! I guess if you start out resisting punishing 50% of the time and go up from there, your doing pretty good. I'm not in a relationship now, so I don't (thankfully) get a chance to practice the detachment and deflecting of abuse firsthand anymore. (sometimes with friends or families but it's not the same as with a romantic partner.) Anyway, I have a lot of friends who feel it is their obligation to keep up the house, work full time, do the majority of child care and family scheduling, even if they are sick, tired, run-down, on the edge of a breakdown, and that's what I want to advise to all of us out here. That housework can wait; but your health and sanity can not. And I warn against getting caught in the trap I did that it was my "duty" to keep up the housework or my husband might not love me anymore or might leave me or would reject me even more then he already did. I gave him SO MUCH power over me when it came to "womanly" duties (child care, housework), yet still worked full time, paid half of everything, etc. I just got caught up in thinking that if I took care of the housework I would benefit from him giving me a good mood or an appreciative hug, when really I would have gotten more predictable and lasting benefit from sleeping in or taking naps or going away for the weekend. Instead for the last three months of my time with the ex, I had a HORRIBLE throat, nose sinus infection that didn't allow me to have restful sleep and plagued me without help from medication for a full three months (nose running constantly, stuffed up constantly, sore throat most days). Amazingly, the day I made the concious decision to leave my ex; the day my soul finally go through and I knew what I had to do, is the day all the symptoms of this sinus infection disappeared. I swear; it was the strangest thing. After that, I became a true believer in the mind-body connection. There's no doubt in my mind now that my turmoil and constand anxiety over the relationship and his mood and if he loved me was physically manifesting in my nose and throat and sinuses. Have any of you other Catboxers had something like that happen?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Hi Cats, I have seen The Middle of Nowhere... and it is Wyoming... (also South Dakota, Idaho and Nevada). I'm not all there yet after driving 12 hours a day for 4 days, especially when a fire closed the freeway and I had to drive 5 hours around Lake Tahoe yesterday, very nice but I didn't get home for dinner... Yes, Dr. Irene and Steve, I got into our nice little talk with ALL of my stuff and my history right at my side ready to be thrown like rotten tomatoes at a bad vaudeville act. MOre later... here comes my dad... Love, Perdida

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

hey wont it be great when we can all have children from test tubes,,,,everything will be great,,,course we wont be able to do anything,,,work on cars, air conditioning, construct buildings or discover innovations in medicine,,,,no problems in the world, ecological that is, no trucks ships mining quarrying factories chemicals gas electricity telephones piped water or schools hospitals or houses to pipe it into,,,,and it will be like the age of aquarius or something, the water carrier from the nearest stream,,,,no plows fences axes or spears, no farming or hunting, only foraging,,,,but, hey,,,,we will be in touch with our inner selves, and with nature too,,,,and advance in areas like pie baking over a driftwood fire made by rubbing two sticks together,,,,home decorating with chalk on a cave wall, and such,,,,and then we will be like the amazons, armies of women fighting,,,,over berries, scraps of carrion and anything to survive,,,watch those wolves wendy, too late, and what do you mean rachel the test tubes just ran out,,,,meanwhile back in stepford, where nobody needed women to have children any more cos they all had test tubes, crafty scientists were cloning a new breed of companion for themselves,,,,they could hardly wait

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Theressa ---funny how other people can be so good at pinpointing our buttons and zooming in on them. For example, a very long time ago my schoolmates would tease me and say I was uncoordinated. I used to laugh along with them and agree, though self-consciously. This became an ongoing thing until I realized that it bothered me and that my clumsiness was much more in the spotlight than it needed to be. It was my belief that I was “uncoordinated” that made me even more that way. The next time I was teased for being uncoordinated I let it be known that I no longer wanted to hear this. The teasing ended, and so did my focus on what a “clutz” I was. As a kid, I also felt that I wasn’t worthy of being listened to or taken seriously by adults. I didn’t know what to say around them. I decided, at a certain point, to “act” as if I was worthy of being taken seriously; to pretend that what I said had merit to those who were older and wiser. At some point, the acting subsided and it just became the way I was. I think that the more we focus on those things we are self-conscious of, the more self-conscious we become. If we take our own focus off of those things and reframe the thoughts to say “I *am* worthy... My voice *is* as important as any other” we start to act differently too. Like my mom used to point out, the “Desiderata” says: “even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story” Theressa if you appear child-like to anyone on the catbox, it is maybe because you are younger than most here, and your perspective is just different – that is not a bad thing!! How old are you again, 24 or something? Most people would be probably shocked at how wise you are for your age. Maybe you appear young because you *are* young! And don’t worry, until you are into your 90’s there will always be those with more life experience. ---Also remember Theressa, that people who are positive will always get flack from those who are negative. Just listen to the tape “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” by Susan Jeffers. She describes being called “Pollyanna” for her positive outlook, or being told she’s not “realistic”. What makes negative more "realistic", especially when it comes to how we frame things? I would rather be “innocent” or “Pollyanna” if it gives me a higher quality of life! Good for you that you give your diet plan 100%! Maybe that’s threatening to others, but so what! As long as you are giving 100% for *you* and not just to please others. I think you need to stop trying to fit someone elses’ mold for you – because you never will fit – there are too many different molds out there and it would be impossible to please everyone. take care.... back later.... hi AJ, Jay, and the rest of you.... will post more in awhile... gotta go now! ~Asha

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Hi Catbox, DJ here. If I may subject you to the details of my story.. here is something I wrote two months after I left my abuser. I was VERY angry at the time, although most of this still holds true. Just thought I'd share. NOTE: I wrote it from the perspective of my abuser, what he would say if he could be honest about his behavior. Sound familiar, anyone? I should avoid emotional closeness, because it leaves me vulnerable and open to hurt. I will adopt an attitude of aloofness and indifference to keep my partner from getting a piece of me. Besides, if I let my partner get into my head, I will be under her rule and will be smothered. I will lose myself. To prevent this, I will subconsciously and consciously distance myself from my partner to keep her from overtaking me, while giving her fleeting moments of tenderness to keep her near me. Here's how I'll go about it. I will put off her requests for closeness, for talks and for time alone together. I will interrupt her and dismiss her opinions. I will show little interest when she wants to share an insight or a story from her day, and I will not share mine. When she hears me share something with someone else and asks "Why didn't you tell me that?" I will say "I didn't think you'd be interested" or "I forgot." I will scoff at her interests as well as her choices and habits. Also, I will make sure I don't miss a chance to point out - with a tone of superiority and "rightness"-- how opposite or different her choices and habits are from mine. This helps prove that any attempts at "working" on our relationship will likely fail, since we are so different and thereby gives me more reason to distance myself. I will spend my time at home on house projects, watching TV, reading magazines or playing with the kids - anything and everything to leave no time for us to have a private moment. I will stay up each night later than her to avoid any closeness when we go to bed, then tell her she needs too much sleep. If I want to have sex, I will wake her from her sleep and began touching her, knowing she'll respond because I've minimized affection and she's craving any intimacy I'll offer. When I am not at home avoiding her, I will pursue activities outside the home and not include her or "forget" to tell her about my activities until the day of the event, thereby leaving little possibility that she can attend with me. To keep her within arm's reach, I will occasionally throw out a "we should do X…" I may even really mean to do something with her, but I won't ever make it a priority so that other "things" I have to do will always come first.. I will leave my schedule open to attend whatever event I want, work on any project I want, or go out with friends (without considering that I should find a sitter because I know she'll be home). But I will raise a fuss when she decides to take a night off from the house and the kids without getting my OK. After all, she always checks with me to see if I'll be home, so if she doesn't check, she must be punishing me, and I will call her on it. I will evade suggestion from her for a night out together or will commit to a night out grudgingly and without any sign of enthusiasm. When she stops initiating dates for us and then later complains about our lack of "fun time," I will (with irritation in my tone) remind her that she needs to initiate it - I can't always be the one initiating. If she asks that we have a "talk," I will put on my game face of mild irritation at her demand that I share. I will let her run the talk, not offering much input and not validating her opinions. If she pushes ANY buttons or requests any changes in my behavior, I will unleash my rage and feel it is my entitlement to cut her, criticize, accuse her of "riding" me and then leave the room or the house, so that she can't continue "talking" to me. Her "talking" is just a cover to get a chance to bitch at me anyway. When she sets up a session with a counselor, I will go so that no one can place blame on me for not going. Then I will tell the counselor that the reasons we have problems is because we are "very different people so we can't communicate with each other." Once in a while, I will throw her a crumb and share a thought or a hug with her. Or, at the spur of the moment, I will decide -- without asking her first -- to take her out to dinner so that she can't say to her friends or my family "He NEVER spends time alone with me." I will subvert any attempts from her to talk about us spending more time together during these rare occasions when I do spend a night with her. I will show disgust at her lack of confidence and insecurities. Then I will bring up her tender spots (insecurities) whenever it helps me gain the upper hand or control in an uncomfortable situation. That way, the focus of whatever comes up is shifted away from me and onto her unreasonable insecurities. When she reacts to any of this with anger or other high emotions (yelling, getting hysterical, crying, bawling, or walks around joyless and bitter), I will offer very little comfort, concern, reassurance or attention. After all, she is trying to punish me with all her hysterical and depressing emotions, and I don't need the hassle. Her anger and emotional reactions provide "good reasons" to keep distancing myself from such an intentionally hurtful person. I will make sure I tell my friends and family that her only moods are depressed, hysterical, joyless and bitter, and nothing I do is ever enough for her. That way I can make an ironclad case that proves to everyone, including myself, that it is her fault when she leaves me. DJ

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Hi all, Wow Perdida - now I really want to see Wyomng and Lake Tahoe! I love being in the middle of nowhere- This is not easy in England. Theressa. Remember that you will go overboard when learning a new skill and it will seem that is all there is to concentrate on and then gradually things become more balanced. Responsibiity is not the opposite of not being intense. Not being intense is not being so preocupied with responsibility that you forget to/can't relax and enjoy the moment....live in the present moment. and all will be well. I just has an odd experiece reading the catbox. I really do care how everyone is but I just thought - I have spent a whole year thinking about abuse. I need to not leave the catbox but to have time thinking about other things.my eyes kind of glazed over so I couldn't seem to read or assimilate and I think maybe it was my brain saying to me it is time to stop overloading it and do a bit of living. I think I have got things sorted into the present. I don't have tothink things are any other than Jake's stuff and when the same ol comes up I know what it is. DJ is right it is not over and I need to accept that it is not good but neither of us is ready to finish the relationship.so it is not over....it may be worth waiting for a resolution. One thing I do think is this week is good for me.. I am seeing how well I do manage on my own. I think I hadn't realised how reliant and helpless I was. I have also been realising how lucky I am. If I can get where I am after all that has happened to me then I am not weak. I have some kind of internal strength. I am not in denial and I am able to cope with the yucky thoughts.......that is some move forward...... I guess somewhere I found the way back to being alive..jay

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Gigggle...these questions are for Trubble based on a news item I saw on TV this morning. Trubble...I know you see a human psychotherapist because you see Fakemommy all the time; but has she ever taken you to a cat therapist? Also I now know that in New York you have all sorts of things for cats and dogs. Even a medium for them..please tell me you haven't visited one of those?-and don't! Did you go off Trout as recently you had a phase talking about Salmon instead? love, AuntieJay

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

D.J. Your letter regarding how the abuser behavior and actions is exactly how my husband behaves. Boy, did that stir up some familiar memories. I am not sure if this is what they are consciously "thinking" or if they are reacting out of fear and insecurity. Almost in a auto pilot mode for survival? Perhaps it worked so well before? It's not with ME anymore. I know he is manipulating and pretty convincing when he puts on his "show". I know most of my friends and family are not buying it any longer. I keep asking him "Who are you trying to convince me or Yourself?" It appears he wants to abandon his family with out being blamed. Oh, how I wish there was something I can say. But, okay, I can't. ( That's about how long I am thinking about it now a days :P ) I am still working on my "stuff" inspite of how he behaves now. I can't tell you how much it has helped me to "accept" who he is and just adjust to the adversity as it comes. I hardly notice his comments to "hook" me any longer. Well, I notice them but I do not take them personal. I just "think"... "Yep, I am not perfect." I am growing stronger and stronger every day. There is not alot he can do lately that comes as a shock. We are not done yet. He is dragging out the divorce proceedings. Which from what I understand is typical. He is not looking forward to having this all documented in writing any where. He was "in control" but now he will have to "con" a lot more people into buying his story. I am pretty sure they have heard it before. The victim in me thinks: It's just comforting to know he will take himself with him so I don't have to deal with him any more! But the healing survivor in me thinks: I really do hope he gets the help he needs someday when he is ready. Not for me but for him. LisaMM

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

p.s I saw the mediun lady on TV. She communicated with two dogs...so they would behave on their 'walkies'. Then they showed them on the 'walkies' next time..chasing squirells up a tree....Giggle the lady actually said that it was difficult to know if you had made contact with an animal...I would say'only in New York...but it probably happpens in London too.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Hi Cats, I have seen the Middle of Nowhere, and it is Wyoming... (also South Dakota, Utah and Nevada). I've made it to CA although a fire closed the freeway and I had to drive all the way around Lake Tahoe and didn't make it home for dinner, dang! (a 5-hour detour) Yes, Dr. Irene and Steve, I brought all my issues and my history with me to Steve's and my nice little chat, laid out beside me ready to be thrown like rotten tomatoes at a bad vaudeville act. Stop me if I am repeating myself, but Trubble ate my previous post. Are you still mad at me, Trubble? I am still eating the chocolate... Love, Perdida

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

HEYYYYY!!! My previous post just reappeared and so did ten or twelve other posts! Boy do I feel silly. I feel like one hand clapping in the forest or something. Perdida

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Tuesday, August 14, 2001

I wanted to share my story with you. I was married to a verbal and emotional abuser for 15 years. I have two wonderful children and have endured countless comments about how stupid, fat, incompetent, etc. I was. I was screamed at when I drove with him in the car, told I was an idiot because I selected the wrong chips at the store, told that I didn't keep the house clean enough, criticized for buying expensive ice cream (which I paid for). Basically, I ended up feeling horrible about myself, suffering anxiety and depression, and felt like I could do nothing right. My ex husband bought me expensive jewelry, cried with me at sad movies, got tears in his eyes when he talked about retiring with me and having grandkids. Told me when I was pleasing him, that I was a "good girl", and a "good wife". I went for 7 years without sex...my husband told me that he loved me, but I wasn't a turn-on for him because I was too fat. He would look at me with a discusted look on his face and just shake his head. When he did things like that, it hurt me so deeply, because I knew he loved me and couldn't figure out why he would intentionally hurt me. I figured it was because I really was horribly ugly and fat and that anyone else would feel that way too. In fact, he made a point of telling me that he was probably the only man who wouldn't have cheated on me, and I believed him. He called me a cu-t, because the stove was dirty underneath the burners, called me a fuc--g bit--, repeatedly, in front of the kids and told my son when he was two that if he wasn't good that mommy and daddy were going to leave him at daycare and not pick him up. He told my daughter that she was stupid because she didn't understand her math and was abusive to our dog. You would think after all of that, a normal level headed person, would not have stuck around that long, but I did. I stayed in my marriage for 15 miserable years, and I felt guilty for leaving and have to admit that I still do feel guilty for leaving him. I look at a man who broke down and sobbed when I told him I wanted a divorce, and my heart aches for him, because I truly believe that he did love me. I think the hardest thing for an emotionally abused partner, is that the abuser has a wonderful, loving, side to them that endears you to them, making the abuse appear to be less than it is. I was so desperate for attention, that I met someone on the internet. This is not something I'm particularly proud of, especially since I do not feel that going outside a marriage is the right thing to do, but in my insecurity, I needed someone else before I could leave the marriage completely. I re-married three years ago. The marriage is great and he is wonderful with my kids, and doesn't call me names, but I feel so much guilt for leaving my husband for him. I know that I did the right thing in leaving him, and do not regret remarrying, but realize that the way I left was not the right way to go about it. I have so much guilt gnawing at me deep inside and I'm not sure it will ever go away. This guilt is causing me to resent my new husband at times, because sometimes I feel that he took advantage of me when I was at my most vulnerable period. I know this probably sounds ridiculous, but I have moments where I feel very scared of my new life. Camille

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Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Hi All, This as you may have guessed is a big issue in my life and something I need to sort out. Close friends and family say I talk too much. I totally agree, I find silence hard for long periods of time. Why? Well firstly I find it uncomfortable. Here is an example. I went on holiday with my partner and I ended up being so judgemental and talking about everyone elses faults etc I went through all my family and then all his. WE JUST HAD lots of time to fill and I just didn't know what else to talk about. I would lie by the pool and look at the trees and take in the background musics and relax but I felt I couldn't just be quiet for a whole week. I am very confussed at how others who don't gossip get connected and let the other person know you are not gonna just ignore them all week. You see I wouldn't dream of invite someone around and not talking to them. Nor would I spend a weeks holiday with them and not speak at all. I would feel they might think I am ignoring them. SO if I am not to gossip and judge and talk about others lives, what am I to do to connect to others?? Take care and thanks Theressa

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Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Dj, I to have a button on housework but I recognise it and so I know that I must be careful that I do not pass on my button to others. DJ well done on getting your life sorted out. Mine may get there eventually when I have dealt with myself. My partner still has alot of influence in my life. He helps me quite alot and he knows he does. Right now I am not ready for him to completely be uninvolved in my life. Maybe that time will come. Take care and thanks Theressa

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Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Dear Camille, Feeling scared of something new is quite normal. But I think you need to look inside why you are feeling scared? Why do you feel your husband has taken advantage of you for courting and marryig you in a periode you were very vulnerable. Why do you resent him. Are you holding him responsable for your guilt about the way you left your previous marriage, or is he not as nice to you as you hoped you would be? You say you married this man about 3 year ago and I find it a strange thing you are still calling it a new live. Try to take some time for yourself and figure these things out: what are you realy scared of?? It might be your new husband will turn into someone like the old, it might be loads of other things. Try and listen to yourself and do not simply ignore your fear: it’s there for a reason......... Dear all, I am trying to figure out the problems I have with my mother. Yesterday I finally talked about it in therapy, cause my sister and me had, again, a long talk about my reluctance to visit my mother. My sister feels I should go, how difficult can it be. But I get sick in my stocmach if I have to go, I usualy feel bad for days after and feel very uncertain and scared. After talking for a while my sister validated what I felt, said she could understand it, but still thought I should try to sol;ve it and like in a phobia visit my mom to get over it. Still, she also said it might be better to talk things over with my therapist. Which I did. My therapist, A., said I should not let myself feel obliged to go visit, mother’s have to earn their children wanting to come over and when I was feeling as angry as I obviously was, paying a social call was probaly out of the question and I needed time, without pressure to work this through. The anger is just getting to the surface. I think all the things I went through with C opened my eyase to what really happened: years of putting me down, criticizing, never saying a nice thing. Last Newyear I stayed with my mother in law, who feels more like a mother then my natural mother does. We were talking lost and lost about ourselves and during the conversation looks came up and she said, you look pretty and I started crying. My mother never said that to me and I always felt I was the ugly duckling who would never turn into a swan.... I am gaining confidence, but I think this incident has been the strat of the end of denial. I always thought I was ready with my mother, what she had done and said (like, I wish you were never born, it’s a good thing you don’t have any children, for example), but apperently, I am just starting. I find it very hard and find myself extremely resentfull and full of anger. It might not have been done on purpose, sh just says these things, she deosn’t think and she is exetremely insecure herself. OK. But on an emotional level, I still could not cope. I am getting a crlearer understanding of why I feel so bad about seeing her: I feel like a small child desperartley wanting affection, but I can never get it right. Love was very conditional: I had to had to go to the beautyparlor to do something about my pimples, to go to a speektherapist because I was stammering and all the time the message was, you are un-ok the way you are now, but perhaps we can improve you. I know she probably tried to help, but she did make it worse and worse and worse. And that’s what I feel when I meet her. I hated her, but I also felt I was not supposed to hate her: honor your father and mother. I am not sure yet how to tackle this. I am sure however time has come to do so. I am growing defenitly abusing with regard to the way I am with her, i the way it makes me feel about myself. It does make me more understanding how this whole phenomenon of abuse works: I desperatly try to get her of my back, to stop her from invading my space and all she does is push harder. The only thing I feel I can do is to be more obnoxious (?) all the time: maybe she will get it. I tried telling here I do not feel happy seeing her, I feel she is pushing me, I feel she never lets me be myself. But it does not seem to register. So all I can do is say it louder and with worse words... i hate this. And it get more clear every minute that this at the botom of my relationship problems with C., he could never get me to believe he really loved me, or that he thought I was pretty or smart. i simply could not believe it. And I did the same thing my mother did to me: criticize, control, advice and warn about how bad the outside world was (: stay with me!!!) It’s a strange thing, notice that in writing this, my langusge and the way I write and not like my normal posts. I think I react like the chikld I feel like when I am even talking about her. Thanks for letting me go on like this. I think more will follow. As I said, time has come. A part of me would rather have it any other way, but it’s been in there too long and it need to get out. It will get out, any way that needs be. My therapsits tell me to try to write about what I feel, and if I need to trow up, trow up, It’s ok. It feels good to have her validate me and what I feel adn to hear her say what I feel is ok, feeling angry at my mother, hate her, wanting to kill her etc is ok. I guess this is victim anger at it’s bet (or worst). What I felt with C. was peanuts compared to this seeping hate. With C. things are moe or less ok. New lessons coming up, but things apperently have levelled out enough for me to have room for this new class I have to take. Wish me luck... Love and hugs to all, AJ

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Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Dear Theressa, I recognize alot in your post about feeling the need to talk.... I have this too, especially when I am not feeling comfortable. I think talking in these situations is a way of not having to deal with my feelings: as long as I fill the gap, I can walk on watter without getting wet. But I have to keep w(t)alking. It has, for me, also to do with the idea I am supposed ton entertain people. I feel overly responsable for there wellbeing and happiness and I somehow think talking to them will entertain them, I feel very stressed doing it, cause I am constanly afraid i am not witty or funny enough and they will not be entertained. It’s a big load to carry. I am learning to tolerate the silence when I am in the company of someone else. In learning that, I am letting go of my overresponsability for the quality of the conservation and I give other people a change to say something and see they have a responsability too. Some people need more time to strat talking, and when you do all the talking for them, they will never start, and you end up frantickly (no idea how to spell it, hope dr. I does better ;-)) filling the gaps and getting all worked up cause you feel rejected for them not talking. Big waste of energy and, as you have noticed, not working. As for gossiping and judging, I thins thats what you resort to, when you run out of things to say. The normal thing to do when you run out of things to say, would be to stop talking. But since you feel you have to talk, to make a connection and feel everything is ok, you start gossiping and talking about other peoples problems. At least, that’s how it works for me. A s I said, for me, it’s mostl;y when I feel uncomfortable anyway. With some ther hardly ever is a problem: we can talk for hours about lots off different things, sometimes about other people, world economy, nature, holidays, gardening, art, whatever either of us starts talking about and the other connects to. When we are through, we are through, as simple as that. We take a last glass of wine, cup of coffee or whatever and we say goodbye and see you next time. You cannot talk all the time. And when there are new things to tell or talk about, we start all over again. There’s hardly any tension there. Tension comes in when you feel too responsable. Also, it can be very nice just to sit side by side, enkoy the trees and the birds or people passing by, making an occasional remark about something that catches your eye or mind. No need to talk then. Hope this helps, love AJ

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Thursday, August 16, 2001
03:14 AM

Dear All, Maybe you can help me here??? I realised the main people i gossip with. To be honest I don't gossip a great deal really. When I see "CL" my friend I mainly end up saying things such as "I don't know how you afford to go out since you earn xxxx and so do I and I can't afford to." Or "I wonder how xxx can afford to go out and I can't" Or "I wish I could put makeup on like xxxx." Or "I wish I could find fashionable things to wear you seem to always find them at a cheap price". My friend never pulls me up about this but I am sure she gets fed up with the comparisons, that is one reason why I looked at her lifestyle yesterday in my post to put to rest all the comparisons. I think perhaps I'd do better to ask "when you put makeup on do you cover the whole eyelid, do you start off darker in the eye socket and then go lighter with the color etc?" thus, learning instead of comparing. Or I could say "do you fancy going shopping and then find out where she does shop?" I also usually ask what her other friends have been up to, or what she's been up to, or how she is feeling. I do listen to her and she says she values that I tell her the truth. I try to show her two sides and then leave it up to her to choose. (THIS IS A RECENT THING, as used to be so stuck in my own relationship I'd be telling her endlessly about things that happened with my partner) she also says she likes that I have a different perspective. THOUGH I mainly gossip with my partner. Why? well firstly he doesn't talk much so we could sit for long periods of time in total silence, unless it is about something he is interested in and then he expects me to listen to him. He doesn't like psychology which is what I am studying, if I mention any contents of my course he says "I don't want to know what them freaks say, they just muck up peoples lives." He has had a bad experience of social workers, child psychologists etc all through his childhood. He says that they only tell you what is common sense anyway. And no one should have an other ruling their life. (REALLY I thought, isn't that what happened with us!!) I believe my therapist/counsellor of whom I no longer see since he left the practice I went to and now I am on a waiting list. He gave me some direction, he helped me to look at the way things were. Also I visit Dr Irene's catbox and along with here on I am responsible I have learnt alot. I felt that this board, the catbox and my therapist and all the reading gave me a GOOD ROLEMODEL of which I never would have gotten if I hadn't sought out healthy people to teach me healthy ways. SO AS you guessed I can't discuss my psychology course of which I am very interested in. Further he isn't interested in the new things I've been learning to better myself. He doesn't want to discuss anything that I discussed in therapy. He further is not interested in any books about self growth I have read. He doesn't share my interest in spiritual perspectives. Okay we like the same music, we enjoy the same comedians, we both are ambitious. Though he likes war films and I like more novel sort of films. Where people have romance etc. I like the soaps and he likes documentaries. He is very logical and I am more creative/Arts sort of lateral thinker. I like English and he likes Mathematics. WE have our daughter she is a common area we share. I work in an office (he can't stand shirt and ties), he works as a truck driver. ** So basically we have music, comedy, Melissa our daughter, and family we both know about SO it is any wonder why we talk about these??? I find I do talk about things I've learnt even though he doesn't always show much interest. Though on the whole if we are together for a full week most of the time, like we were on holiday I really run out of things we could talk about. I did speak of the sights we'd seen (we did go on a boat trip) and what was happening around us. Though he also doesn't like sightseeing much. We sunbathed which I found boring. We basically ate out alot which I enjoyed, watched the hotel cabarets and sunbathed. It was too hot. (I feel sorry for those in hot countries, in England it is not hot and yet I complain when it is cold and raining. I wish I could find a moderately warm place LOL) During the day when we sunbathed I found it easier to lie back and listen to the back ground music. Though in the evening from 7pm to 4am I found it hard. We both agreed it is hard if there are only two of you, since after a few days you've said all there is to say. Next time we thought we might ask some others along. THOUGH most nights if my partner comes around I end up talking either about what Melissa as been up to or what someone said at work, or again gossiping about family. What does bug me is it is always me asking my partner questions and he will answer but it is as if I am expected to always take the initiative to start up a conversation. The same when I go to my friends she hardly ever starts off the conversation. My boss he talks very little, infact I feel very uncomfortable with him, since I know little about him. Though the other day I was on the phone and was telling him what was happening, he never say "Yeah, right, okay, I got that, really". He stay silent and of course when I tried to stay silent he still didn't speak. How do you handle these sorts of people??? SO how can you spend time with someone who talks little so you end up making the effort and not talk but still stay connected with gossiping??? Thanks Theressa

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Thursday, August 16, 2001
07:04 AM

Dearest AJ, I can't begin to understand how horrid you feel about your mother, I do know I wasn't very close to mine but she never critisised me, I think you are very brave for working through this. I am sure though you will be able to stand up to your mother eventually. I thought I could never love my partner, but despite all his bad bits, I know everyone has some good bits, they are just very badly broken like your mom. I do not know how you begin to build any sort of relationship with your mom, only by maybe working on yourself so you know inside you are okay. Once you realise and acknowledge you really are okay, then what others say will not shake you. You will perhaps then as Ron said to me be able to take the bits that are good about others and set limits on the bad bits that are broken about others. May God give you strength, we are all here for you. Take care, God bless Theressa

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Thursday, August 16, 2001
07:07 AM

Dear All, I have something I need to share: I do have a big decision to make and it is gonna be hard living with the consequences which ever choice I make. I have been having lots of problems with my neighbour in the flat below me. The housing department have no solution other than to put up with it. Anyway a biggy for me is making decisions. I don't like making them, never have. I always don't want to loss either way. I know this is natural, you can't have everything and that every action has a consequence but I don't like consequences, none of us do!! Anyway my partner as you know lives alone in his own house (rented from the local council) and I live alone in my flat. (rented from the local council) HERE IS the big decision: He asked me if I would like to move into his place, thus I could save the rent money and pay off my debts. We'd have separated bedrooms and the house would be mine eventually as he plans to move once he is on his feet financially. Though he'd have to get my name put on the tennacy so it would be joint. He just wants to use the kitchen and have the back room of the house. All the living room will have my stuff in. Sounds okay doesn't it?? My partner or rather now we are not a couple my friend, thinks we can live like lodgers. Why do I sound pessimistic? Well my goal is to become independent, okay!! I need to stop relying so heavily on my partner for small decisions, infact all decisions. I need to stand on my own two feet. My partner gave me the whole household contents from our other house apart from some expensive stereo, tv set he bought. He set me up by giving me some money to buy my stove, he did what a father would when their child left home. I was very grateful. Only he tells me frequently that he helped me and I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for him, my mother who minds my daughter. Granted I probably would not, but most successful people have had support. Right? Any way, the idea sounds promising doesn't it? I'd be a fool not to want to pay less rent and so pay off my debts, on top of that get away from the noisy neighbour. Wouldn't I? Why don't I feel okay about this? Well if I give up my flat there is no guarantee the council would put my name on the tennacy, not especially since I just gave a tennancy up, and not especially since they know the history of me and my partner. I was given the flat after I told them of our domestic situation (abuse etc). He doesn't know this quite. He knows I told them we had a relationship breakdown but that is all. Also the biggy for me is I know I need to not go back and be dependent like I was before I grew this far. In addition I do not believe he could not get over involved in running my life. And over involved in telling me how to live. My goal is I need to learn to work out for myself what is right for me, I know I could not do this if he was their. As I revert back to being co-dependent when he is around. I do this when I am driving. I drive like I did when I first past my test, I make sure I stay near the kerb, indicate well in time etc. When I stayed at his house for 4 days he couldn't handle it as I told you before. I relied on him far too much. I checked simple things with him. I felt like he watched me the whole time and was ready to correct me. I can't imagine him being able to step back and let me live my life my way. I said "P how are you gonna cope with my untidiness?" He replied "I am not bothered". I don't agree if I was leaving the place untidy and he walked in the first thing he'd say is "I paid for all the wall paper, carpets here and you disrespect them" You see I am in the process of getting self disciplined but I have some way to go yet, I know this. I used to not be able to relax when I lived with him last time, now I can totally relax in my own flat. ON the other hand, a part of me doesn't want to lose out, if he leaves the flat all them carpets, curtains, decoration for free would be lost. It is tempting to run and take what is on offer, that way I don't have to suffer the loss. Also it is tempting taking on a house and knowing it has a garden for Melissa. OH I just don't know what to do? Thanks for listening Theressa

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Thursday, August 16, 2001
07:07 AM

Dear All, I have something I need to share: I do have a big decision to make and it is gonna be hard living with the consequences which ever choice I make. I have been having lots of problems with my neighbour in the flat below me. The housing department have no solution other than to put up with it. Anyway a biggy for me is making decisions. I don't like making them, never have. I always don't want to loss either way. I know this is natural, you can't have everything and that every action has a consequence but I don't like consequences, none of us do!! Anyway my partner as you know lives alone in his own house (rented from the local council) and I live alone in my flat. (rented from the local council) HERE IS the big decision: He asked me if I would like to move into his place, thus I could save the rent money and pay off my debts. We'd have separated bedrooms and the house would be mine eventually as he plans to move once he is on his feet financially. Though he'd have to get my name put on the tennacy so it would be joint. He just wants to use the kitchen and have the back room of the house. All the living room will have my stuff in. Sounds okay doesn't it?? My partner or rather now we are not a couple my friend, thinks we can live like lodgers. Why do I sound pessimistic? Well my goal is to become independent, okay!! I need to stop relying so heavily on my partner for small decisions, infact all decisions. I need to stand on my own two feet. My partner gave me the whole household contents from our other house apart from some expensive stereo, tv set he bought. He set me up by giving me some money to buy my stove, he did what a father would when their child left home. I was very grateful. Only he tells me frequently that he helped me and I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for him, my mother who minds my daughter. Granted I probably would not, but most successful people have had support. Right? Any way, the idea sounds promising doesn't it? I'd be a fool not to want to pay less rent and so pay off my debts, on top of that get away from the noisy neighbour. Wouldn't I? Why don't I feel okay about this? Well if I give up my flat there is no guarantee the council would put my name on the tennacy, not especially since I just gave a tennancy up, and not especially since they know the history of me and my partner. I was given the flat after I told them of our domestic situation (abuse etc). He doesn't know this quite. He knows I told them we had a relationship breakdown but that is all. Also the biggy for me is I know I need to not go back and be dependent like I was before I grew this far. In addition I do not believe he could not get over involved in running my life. And over involved in telling me how to live. My goal is I need to learn to work out for myself what is right for me, I know I could not do this if he was their. As I revert back to being co-dependent when he is around. I do this when I am driving. I drive like I did when I first past my test, I make sure I stay near the kerb, indicate well in time etc. When I stayed at his house for 4 days he couldn't handle it as I told you before. I relied on him far too much. I checked simple things with him. I felt like he watched me the whole time and was ready to correct me. I can't imagine him being able to step back and let me live my life my way. I said "P how are you gonna cope with my untidiness?" He replied "I am not bothered". I don't agree if I was leaving the place untidy and he walked in the first thing he'd say is "I paid for all the wall paper, carpets here and you disrespect them" You see I am in the process of getting self disciplined but I have some way to go yet, I know this. I used to not be able to relax when I lived with him last time, now I can totally relax in my own flat. ON the other hand, a part of me doesn't want to lose out, if he leaves the flat all them carpets, curtains, decoration for free would be lost. It is tempting to run and take what is on offer, that way I don't have to suffer the loss. Also it is tempting taking on a house and knowing it has a garden for Melissa. OH I just don't know what to do? Thanks for listening Theressa

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Thursday, August 16, 2001
07:08 AM

Dearest AJ, Thanks a million, "Over responsibility" yes in the wrong things and not enough in the right things. I realised with some people who are the silent types whom with I seem to do all the work I can be brief. For example my boss. I know what happens I feel anxious and I end up repeating myself a few times and he still doesn't say goodbye on the telephone, if we are in person he will stand their and say nothing I feel very anxious then. I've decided on a new strategy: *State arrangements or what I propose to do *Summaries the issue (what I need him to do, or what I intend to do) *Then say "I will leave it with you (passing him back the responsibility - since it is usually him who needs to make the final decision but alot of the time he makes me go the extra mile for no apparent reason, like I keep on explaining but he gives no indication that he understood, or that he is listening and taking on board what I am saying. *Then I will say "Hopefully you will get back to me today" (Telling him what I would like) I think this would be more controlled and healthy. What do you think? Sometimes I feel really overwhelmed and just want to tell someone but i end up telling them a whole string of things. Ron my therapist used to say sometimes it is as if I have so much to get out that he felt pushed up against the wall. There seems to be so much I don't know. I just want to know. All this about conversations no one ever told me. I just sometimes was so glad to have Ron or the Catbox to give me some answers. I hate making decisions for example so I will talk on and on about the injustice but won't make a decision. Yesterday in the local housing she was asking me if I wanted to go for Mediation or not? I went on and on about how badly this all was. She kept saying but what would you like to do? I didn't want to make the decision and suffer the consequences. I knew I didn't want to go to mediation since I've tried talking to my neighbour for 12 months now and she totally denies to the local housing being a nuisance, so I was saying it is unlikely she is going to change, however, much we talk. The other thing is she is gonna be thinking once more she manipulated me. So I wasn't gonna go to mediation. Though I wouldn't say so. I kept on for 30 minutes about the injustice I'd suffered. I need to learn to just make decisions and deal with the consequences. don't I? Thanks for listening Theressa

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Thursday, August 16, 2001
08:22 AM

Hello Cats DJ here. LisaMM - I'm glad to hear from you. I thought my story might affect you since your posts had struck me too. It seemed we had similar experiences with our partners. Constantly aloof partners are a breed of their own. You never know where you stand with them. I'm sorry the divorce proceedings are being dragged out too. That must be extremely difficult and saddening each day. After re-reading the thread of posts lately, I'm getting the impression that many view me as so "together." And I thank you all for saying that. It's such a compliment. I am pretty "together" and sane now but I want you all to know that it was a long haul. I'm a year past living with my abuser now or almost. It will be a year on Sept. 7. I would say I was a walking wreck until about February of this year and then after a vacation to San Francisco in March and lots of reading, contemplating, practicing skills and even practicing detachment and acceptance and forgiveness and maintaining personal integrity while dealing with my ex (because we still have to interact because we have a 2 year old son), I got a lot better. Also, b/c my abuser didn't ask for me to stay or put up any fight when I left (he just said he didn't want to break up the family but nor did he want to work at "us," he just wanted to sit in a pity pot and not decide and force me to decide while he kept the atmosphere of the house miserable so I wouldn't want to stay --whew, I have anger still there!!). Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, in some ways, it may have been easier for me b/c I didn't have to deal with the back and forth, back and forth. Once I moved out, that was it. He wasn't calling me to "discuss" the relationship. I wasn't calling him to "discuss" the relationship. We just talked about our child and that was it. So I didn't get pulled back into it and my gains in my growth stuck without too much risk of fallback. IF there was any fallback, it was b/c of me and my still working out my emotions and feelings and inadequacies, not b/c we were still interacting inside a romantic relationship. I just wanted you all to know also that I was never married to my abuser legally. We lived together and had a child together and it felt like a husband-wife relationship (I think I have even referred to myself as the wife just to simplify it) but I didn't have to go through the courts for a divorce and also we were mature enough to work out the child stuff so far without involving the courts (That was touch and go for awhile but it's working out now.) My ex was always interested in our son; he just wasn't interested in me, like I thought he should be, and his neglect and anger were too much for me to take. But he is a good father. I feel lucky that he is so involved in my son's life and I know he treats him well and I can trust he's getting good care at his dad's house. It also allows me to have a life more than a typical single mom would have since my ex has my son 50% of the time. This works out b/c we live a mile from each other and our day care is right there too. Also, I didn't have the financial constraints that many people who are leaving their marriages have. We had very little joint property, we didn't own homes or cars together and I have a good job and have always been good with personal finances so I didn't have that worry when I was leaving. Still though it was VERY tough emotionally and I was in counseling for several months and was probably a burden to my friends and family while I was getting "better." A year later, my co-workers, friends and family can't believe how much back to normal I am and they say I even have more confidence and am more compassionate, understanding, less judgmental, more flexible, more able to tolerate discomfort/helplessness, less self-involved now (all things I struggled with before) than I was before. So that's nice to hear. (although you wouldn't know I am much less self-involved by all these long posts about MEMEMEMEME!J)The silver lining in all of what I went through with my ex is now I have faced my co-dependency and my tendency to be attracted to aloof men and I know how to steer away from those old habits. It takes courage each time I have to set a boundary or call someone on crossing a line, but I don't want to get sucked into the mindset I had before and that gives me the courage to protect myself and take care of myself before all others but also realize that with that comes the responsibility to not cross other's boundaries also and to respect and think about it when someone points out my infractions. AND continue working b/c I will always have farther to go, and more understanding to gain about mySELF and others to have more harmonious relationships. -Thanks to the Catbox and Dr. Irene. This site was one of the main reasons I am so much better, more sane and more confident and more centered today. I wanted to also express that I don't have the disadvantage (advantage?) of being mired in the relationship each day that affects your mental state. If I were emotionally tied up in an ongoing relationship, I would not come across so centered and self-assured at what to do! It's easy to say "do this, do that" when you are on the outside, but when you're in the middle of it, it's so much harder. --DJ

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Thursday, August 16, 2001
08:23 AM

Theressa, DJ Here. I've included in the next post an article by Dr. Harley of "His Needs, Her Needs" fame on making good conversation with your spouse, but I think it could apply to friends and family too. Dr. Harley, in my opinion, assumes balance of power in a relationship, thus much of his advice doesn't apply to verbally abusive relationships, but this article gives many examples of what to ask your partner or friend or what to do to get conversation started. I guess the bottom line is though, if your partner or friend doesn't want to talk or share, then they don't, and if they don't like your chatter or seem interested in it in the least, then it may be best to just quietly read or think or do knitting or crossword puzzles or any other activity. Or, you may find that you are better matched with a partner who likes to talk more. The less you talk, the more they will likely talk. Strange but true. People always seem to chase what they don't have to get to an acceptable level, but then don't do a very good job at maintaining that level, that balance. So one then one person goes overboard trying to get the other to share, to talk, and the other person gets more and more withdrawn, then person A tries and chases even harder, then Person B withdraws more and might even shutdown. Another tactic to take when you feel the urge to fill a silence is to repeat to yourself I CAN STAND THE SILENCE, I CAN STAND THE SILENCE. Repeat 100 times in a row if you have to (silently of course J) Your friend or partner isn't making you uncomfortable in the silence, you are making yourself uncomfortable in the silence. His or her inability to talk has NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with him or her! Anyway here's the article in the next post.

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Thursday, August 16, 2001
08:24 AM

Friends of Good Conversation There are ways to make your conversation great. I call these the Friends of Good Conversation. If you incorporate these friends into the conversation you have with your spouse, you will get out of your rut. The first Friend of Good Conversation is using conversation to investigate, inform and understand your spouse. You and your spouse have not begun to exhaust all there is to know about each other. But, for some reason, you have stopped investigating. Your conversation has become predictable and uninteresting as a result. I suggest that you investigate the facts of each other's personal histories, present experiences and plans for the future. Also investigate each other's attitudes and emotional reactions to those facts. You are bound to each other, through marriage, in a partnership that requires you to navigate through life with skill and coordination. It's important for you to see each other's mental control panels so you can keep your crafts flying together without crashing into each other. Why investigate? Why not just inform? Well, most of us don't just offer personal information about our deepest feelings. Someone must show an interest first. If you don't investigate with a genuine curiosity, your spouse is unlikely to share those feelings with you. Your curiosity about your spouse's thoughts and feelings is essential to her revealing them to you. But curiosity is not all that's required. Trust is also essential. Your spouse must trust you with her personal feelings before she will expose them to you. I'll talk about building trust a little later when I get to the Enemies of Good Conversation. Once personal information is requested, you should both inform each other of the facts of your personal histories, present experiences, plans for the future, and your attitudes and emotional reactions to all of those facts. To withhold accurate information about your inner self prevents intimacy and leaves the need for meaningful conversation unmet. After you have investigated and informed each other of personal activities and feelings, you are in a position to understand each other. What motivates you and your spouse to do what you both do? What are your rewards, and what do you find punishing? What are your beliefs, and how are they put into practice? What are your most common positive and negative emotional reactions? What are your strengths and weaknesses? The list goes on and on. There is so much to know about each other, you will never get to know it all. By reaching an understanding of each other, your conversation will break through the superficiality barrier. You become emotionally connected to each other, and able to bring out each other's best feelings, and avoid the worst. "Hidden agendas" are not possible because neither of you hide anything from each other. The Second Friend of Good Conversation is developing interest in each other's favorite topics of conversation. Topics drive most conversations. We usually talk about something and these topics keep your conversation going. But we all like to talk about some topics better than others. When you were dating, you probably tried to discover your wife's favorite topics of conversation, and she tried to discover yours. And then, you probably developed an interest in those topics so that your conversation would be more enjoyable. But interests change. Topics that may have interested your spouse when you were younger may have lost their attraction. And topics that were once completely boring, you may now find fascinating. Besides, you are encountering new topics almost every day. You may have had compatible interests when you were first married, but have you kept up with each other's changing interests? Once you may have been able to talk for hours about mutual interests, but now you may find yourselves struggling to find anything you have in common. If that's the case, you must return to the mind-set you had when you were dating. In those days, you made an effort to talk about topics that your spouse found interesting, because you knew it would deposit love units. To make the conversation more interesting, you may have spent some time educating yourself on those topics. What may have started as an effort to be loved, may have turned into a genuine curiosity about subjects that interested your spouse. I suggest that you make a mental note of subjects that interest your wife today, and educate yourself about those subjects. The same thing goes for your spouse, too. She should try to develop an understanding of some of your favorite topics of conversation. But what if both of you try to educate yourselves in each other's interests, and still find yourselves bored with certain subjects. There's no point in faking an interest in something that is truly boring to one of you, and there are literally hundreds of subjects that both of you will find interesting. So I suggest that after an initial effort, you abandon subjects that you do not find mutually interesting. The Policy of Joint Agreement can help you create an inventory of subjects that you both enjoy discussing (never talk about a subject without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse). The Third Friend of Good Conversation is balancing the conversation. Conversation is a two-way street. But if you try to turn it into a one-way road, it becomes a speech. Conversation is meant to be interactive. But there are important rules of conversational etiquette that must be followed when you talk to each other. For one thing, don't interrupt or try talking over each other. For another, make sure that you both have a chance to finish a thought before the other person responds. Another rule is that if you notice that one of you is talking more than the other, the more talkative spouse should pause to give the less talkative spouse a chance to talk more. Balancing the conversation simply refers to the importance of equal participation from each of you. Any effort you make to insure balance will make the conversation much more enjoyable, and more interesting. The Fourth Friend of Good Conversation is giving each other undivided attention. Some people feel that they can do several things at once, so while talking to their spouse, they try to do something else, too. But you can't have an intimate conversation when you divide your attention. It leaves your wife feeling that she is not important enough for your full attention, or that other tasks are more important than she is. --from Willard Harley's Marriage Builders Web Site www.marriagebuilders.com

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