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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

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 6

Comments for Catbox 6

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   Copyright© 2000. 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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B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene,

I will bring back presents for Trubble. I'm holding you to that! I'm switching to Auntie Mame for a week and my grandson and I are going to watch Football! Rah! Rah! Yea! Then I'm bringing him back to his home and the rest of the family is going to have an early Christmas/Thanksgiving. Log on, I already threatened to be giving the come hither to borrow one. I'd best try a little restraint. Not easy for me.

What do you mean mistake? Huh? I loved it! Don't you want it known here? If not I'll take it to my Tombstone and have "that" inscribed on it! Love, Lynn And Thank you.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

Greetings Gang. This is Trubble and the Doc. Just a note to let you know that the "regular" computer is at Dell for repair and the back-up just crashed. See you guys in about a week or so. Hopefully less. You're on your own!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

Dear Family Members,

First off, a little comic relief. As I was re reading the posts, Lynn asked if she could help. I said no thanks. She got a piece of duct tape, cut a hole in it (for her cigarette) and placed it over her mouth. We both roared.

I just finished getting her suitcase ready for her trip. I had to use the duct tape to close it. If we ever traveled and used proper suitcases, there would be a weather change to beat all changes.

To Asha,

Thank you for your concern, and thank Steve, no I'll thank him myself.

I am happy that things are working for you both, and I for see a very probable happy ending for you both. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, I'm sure that your parents will be glad to see you both.

I also concur that the terms abuse and victim raise a fear and bad images to the uninformed public. I always felt pity for the victim and malice for the abuser. Now though, I realize that, speaking as the abuser, that I held the wrong connotation. When the shoe fits, it's not a very pleasant feeling. (unless you're Cinderella, I'm not). You didn't pick your biology and you didn't pick your family of origin. You were a kid, helpless but to take what you got... Every abused adult was once an abused child... You learned to block it out - to survive.

I agree with your thought on power and pain and would like to add this to it, we not only give pain the power to hurt us, but we also give it to those who would inflict it, intentionally or not. Lynn and I did this with my mother, we gave her supreme power. Me because, I've done it all my life, and Lynn because she was my mother. Mom ate it up.

To Steve,

Thank you for your concern. I think that I can speak for everyone here when I say that we harbor no ill will toward you. We are happy that you have posted and look forward to more.

Standing back and looking at yourself, or looking at yourself separate from your body, is the easy part. It will get harder, and then easier. Like crossing a stream, going from land stepping on slippery stones, (we will slip, guaranteed) then to solid ground again. The hard part about slipping is that you can feel it happening but there is no way to stop. Look past it, and go on from there. The sensations that you spoke of will become emotions, as I look into my childhood, I can feel both the emotions from that time and the emotions that I feel now. I also find myself not only feeling these emotions but showing them as well. Becky's' post last night for example. You are identifying the grief from way back. Identify it well. That will make it easier to put it back there, where it belongs, the next time something kicks it up.

Dear Becky,

I am glad that you are fine today. Let's you and I make a pact, I won't feel bad because of your posting that you are sad and vice versa. That is neither one of us will beat themselves up for the feelings of the other. Hallelujia! I guess that means each of you is allowed to feel however each of you feel despite what anybody else feels... Hmmmm. Sounds good to me!

Our old therapist had me go back to when I was a kid, and let young Danny know that there was someone to take care of him. I chose the 9 year old Danny since that is the time that distinctly stays in my mind. I went by Danny back then. It was starting to help, but me in my infinite wisdom felt that things were going good between Lynn and I so I stopped. So please do try it, the results can be uplifting.

I can associate about what you said of others knowing, it was (for me) like Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, imprinted on the forehead.

In one of my posts to you last night, I allowed you, wrong choice of words, I surely didn't let you, who am I to permit you. I guess that this shows how upset that I became after reading your post.

Dear Dr Irene and Trubble,

You don't have to tell me about beating myself up, I did another good job of it last night, making myself responsible for Becky's feelings. Great! The more you see yourself doing it, the quicker you will become at stopping it! I knew last night that I was doing it, but there was just no denying it. Reading the posts today, I saw just what you have been telling me. My following post might explain what I was feeling, and why I was feeling it, because of the close association of Becky's and my experience with the belt.

Trubble, I fooled LOCO last night, he thought that he was getting salmon and got chicken instead. He purred his thanks to me. LOCO's lying because he doesn't want you to get mad. He's a codependent cat!

Dear Lynn,

Thank You, Thank You, for being there for me last night and Talking with me about my being upset, and convincing me that I should post it to better understand what I was not facing. I Love You.

Theressa, Astrid I missed posting to you but will make up for it next.

6 pages, maybe we should be called the Chatty Cats.

Hugs for All

Dan

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

hehe, OK guys, who broke the computer?? Not us. We're only on page 6. Doc, we're the intense therapy group. Hurry back we miss you already. We're back!

Trubble, I saw you, you ate the mouse, didn't you?  YUM...

Lynn and this is my final goodbye, I think......

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

Bad things happening here, folks. Very bad things.

I can't talk long right now but any hugs and happy thoughts and kitty snuggles would be WELL appreciated. *sigh*

-Astrid the very worried.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

How are we going to work this? The first one who posts is "Doc for the Day" ???

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

Astrid,

(((Hugs))) Prayers & lots of Love.

 

HUGE Embraces, Best Wishes

Lyn & Dan

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

I suppose I should explain a little more...

The guy who ODd is out of the hospital and has been for a while. I apparently found out about it after the fact. Of course, it apparently hasn't stopped him from doing drugs. Unfortunately. :(

The other bad thing that is happening: I'm on AIM with my ex right now (no, that's not it, we're civil to friendly by now), and apparently just missed our mutual friend (that's not it either, well not entirely).

Apparently, one of their friends (someone I haven't met yet but have heard lots about and want to get to know) just attempted suicide. This is not going to be good. And I can't call people at this hour. I worry. Not really entirely my place, but I worry nonetheless. :(

I'm going to try to stay online in case my friend comes back onto AIM and needs anything, but I eventually have to work and sleep, and if I'm scarce for a few days it might be due to playing crisis hotline with folks here (something I tend to end up doing quite frequently).

I know, I worry too much. And I'm overprotective of people I'm close to. But this worries me. *sigh*

Astrid   Dear Astrid, Your friends are taking up too  much space in your head. That is room that should be delegated to the Self...

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 04, 2000

S1

Hi Everyone, (TRUBBLE INCLUDED)

Thanks so much for the welcome!!! Well you all seem SMART here, so maybe I can join in this wonderful growth going on here.

Now you asked LYNN about me. Here goes: I look to meet people, I read stacks, and love learning now I've got NEARLY past my defensiveness THANKS TO THE WONDERFUL LADY on this site, Yes we know her well (Dr I give her a large cheer!!!) Aw shucks... My problem is I've only just cottoned on to SMART selfishness. Not sure if you know what I mean but if you don't here goes my interpretation. In every action or interaction, we get some satisfaction from in some way a PAYOFF. We need to decipher what the payoff is for our behaviour. An interesting way to look at it...

I used to change the way I acted in public to be LIKED, I thought you had to attract people actively, I never knew you could just be you and attract some of the people some of the time, COS you can't attract all of the people all of the time, so why try!! My ex was a big time critic, he still is!!! Not just with me, with himself, our daughter, anyone who lives and breathes. (His childhood categorized by shoulds.) Sad...

My friend when I was 7 years old, she had a big sister, brother, I didn't; I was the oldest of three girls, am the oldest!!! My friend had the latest fashion clothes money could buy, she was a bully, don't know why really!! or rather I do: she wasn't so smart academically so she tried to make up for it by looking pretty and showing me who was boss. I cringe when I think back to those days she'd say, "Do this, or do that or else, if you tell my mom I'll beat you up on Monday". She was a good fighter, I never was. I didn't like hurting people!!! I still can't stand bullies, if I see them on the NEWS or hear of them in the NEWSPAPER I cringe. I hate BOXING, JUDO, fighting in general. I hate those in the world that go to war and hurt little children.

Anyway my friend told me what was what and told me I had to do what she said. SO I stopped thinking for myself!!! YUK!!! YES AND Double YUK!!! There on I never made any decisions without asking someone else's opinion. I was always so afraid of disapproval that in schools plays etc I was too self conscious to join in. I can't sing LOL and Dancing I find it hard to relax and just go with the rhythm. BUT when I met my husband he exasperated things further. YES I TOLERATED HIM!! The pay off was 1) he took me away from my family home which had no respect or boundaries and I was so frustrated. Which was why the bully girl was able to prey on you in the first place. 2)he made all the decisions for me A relief at a time you didn't know better... 3)He helped to rein enforce my LOW LOW SELF ESTEEM. 4)Because I let him be totally responsible for me, I gained his approval. And protection and a place to belong to. That's all you knew to do...

I just wanted to be loved. BUT I now know that I actually sought functionality with my partner, someone to guide me, someone to lead me, some one YES to take care of me. Though at the expense that I owed him more than I could ever give, I gave him myself, I lost thy self completely. I was like a robot. No more!

Didn't I realize, my BODY did, though I ignored HER!! I wanted fairness, my partner wanted for HIM!!! I asked and asked for him to share money, childminding, value the housework I did.

BUT I realise now my BODY spoke loudly to me. He never valued the housework, thus, MY BODY Stopped doing so much housework, I was criticized HARD but my body still stood justified!! I'd say I am not having you not sharing, YET I STILL SHARED MY MONEY WITH HIM (silent message: he deserve me to share, I didn't DESERVE him to share with me, because this message is spoken in my actions!!) 

SO my BODY spoke, I denied it, why? I didn't want to be on my OWN!!! You didn't know how to! Nobody ever taught you the building blocks you needed! If anything, you learned that the world was a dangerous place given growing up in a home with no respect and no boundaries...

Now somewhat I still hang on. HOW? my partner comes every night to see our daughter at my house. I try sometimes not to upset my ex in case he stops coming. That would mean I would be ALL alone every night (depressed!!!) so I enable him to keep coming. Have you considered an antidepressant? Or St. John's wort? Seriously, adult survivors of abusive homes develop a propensity towards anxiety and depression, even if not so inclined biologically. YUK!!! YES I know but how can I not feel so LONELY???? An antidepressant can really help. Talk to your doc. even if you go with an herbal remedy since there are some interactions with other drugs.

I can't get out much because of childminding, my ex won't mind our daughter much. So what option do I have spend every night alone forever, STUCK in the house????? Friends? Neighbors? Babysitters?

I work as a secretary, I have done one course after another, but GOODNESS for years I hated feedback. Now I welcome it somewhat!! I've read lots of books, Words that hurt, Road less traveled and beyond. I am reading mindworks currently. I am doing a degree with open university on Social Science my 1st year just finished. (5 To go). I am 26 years old. Yipppeeeee! This will help your self esteem and independence.

I am talkative, I love comedy (the dafter the better), I like all music that is music, not rave, or noise LOL. I am not so practical. DIY not my strong point.

Speak to you all later, must get some work done. One of my weaknesses is getting side tracked, I love to meet people and get chatting and well time flies.

Love to you all my new family Theressa    Love and purrs to you too Theressa...

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 04, 2000

S1

Dear Theressa,

Lynn here, Hi and bye group. I will be following you all faithfully in my heart. It's time for me to do a bit of reflection (((Steve & Asha))), watch these. I think there should be a whole new set of terms for recovering couples. This goes for Becky and B, too.

You are in good hands, Theressa. There is a lot of love here.

This is not a joke (mine are sometimes a fine line) My tombstone should read, "She Went For It" Thanks Doc.

Don't forget, Love, Laughter and Tears, I've loved you all, laughed with all and cried with all,

Lynn  

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Hi Chatty Cats. This is Trubble making trouble on Daddy John's Mac, having fun trying to crash it, like I crashed Mommy's. heheheh! MommyDoc2, I'll miss you! Daddy Dan, you really didn't fool LOCO. He was just hungry. Astrid, my paws are crossed for your friend, Try giving him Salmon. AKasha (one of mommy's favorite vampires in the Anne Rice series) and Steve: Meow! (Steve: next time she is a bad girl, don't let her back in the tomb.) Theresa, doc said to tell you that you won't feel alone once you find yourself inside. Well, I don't know about you, but when I look "inside", all I see are my sharp, pointy teeth. Oh oh! There's the doc! She's gonna kill me! Bye! I'm back and this really was me!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Opps! My tail hit "send". Gotta say Hi to Becky and David and B. Please send Salmon to me! Love & Purrs, Trubble

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Opps! My tail hit "send". Gotta say Hi to Becky and David and B. Please send Salmon to me! Love & Purrs, Trubble

Doc messed that one up. It was Her tail that hit "send." hahahahaha

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and Cat Box Family,

I haven't much to say this post, I got home and looked at the posts and lo and behold the only posts were from Theressa and Lynn. No one wants to fill in for Dr Irene, I guess. As if any of us could. We can listen and give our opinions but learned advice, no way. (I don't think). I do! I do! I'll fill in! My rate is a pound of Salmon or Trout per word.

Dear Theressa,

I really feel that I understand what you say about loneliness, who wants to be lonely? None of us do, we just have to change the lonely to being alone, there is a difference. Lynn is going on vacation and except for our critters, I will be alone and lonesome but not really lonely. One way of getting over this is to find yourself a hobby that you can do, and you don't have to excel just do it. Reading is a good one, but you mentioned a couple of self help books which are good, but reading for the enjoyment of reading is fun to. Reading turns pictures on in your mind as I read in the Family Circus comic strip one day, so true. You mentioned your daughter and doing things with her will combat the lonely feeling. If you can even find a friend, male or female, who you can talk to or visit will also beat the lonelies.

Give yourself a chance and eventually these feelings will be a thing of the used to be's. You said that your partner criticized you which didn't enhance your feelings about yourself. If he is your ex, then perhaps allowing him to spend the evening visiting isn't helping you better your feelings of self worth. Absolutely not! Better give him up so you get real lonely. Then you might be motivated to do something more constructive about it.

You said that you were working toward a Social Science degree, that in itself speaks for your abilities. Higher education is a job and a task but well worth it when you finally get the degree.

We do have something in common, we are both the eldest sibling. Do you get along with yours? I do now but when we all were younger no way. If so, perhaps you can call them or email them, this will also help with the feelings which you are experiencing.

Just remember that you are who you are, and by being yourself, not what someone wants or tells you to be is one way to enable people to know you. If a person does this then they are looking out for themselves and don't care about you.  

You can meet people in many ways and places, they all won't be your friends, but there will be some who will be honored to call you friend just because of who you are.

Dear Astrid,

Sorry to hear about your friend, and please don't berate yourself if there isn't more that you can do. It sounds to me as though you did all that you could do. Just being there (spiritually if not physically) is sometimes enough.

Once again I'm going to show my ignorance, but could you explain what AIM does and what the acronym is for? My job uses a lot of them and I'm still at a loss with many of them.

Being unable to call anyone close to you and your friend must be doubly hard because I'm sure that being able to talk to someone would have eased your mind somewhat.

Anyway be sure that my best wishes are with you.

Dear Becky,

I just read a post that Lynn sent me titled Rules of My House. As I read it, I could see my mother to a tee, and exactly how I was raised, because there were some things there that pertained to me and the way that I have acted. These rules were on one of the boards of Dr Irene's'. I don't remember which one. Me neither.

How are things going in school? With Halloween coming up I bet the younger kids are checking out a lot of spooky stories. Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, comes to mind. I'm not into to many kids books anymore.

Huge hugs

Dear Asha (and Steve),

I hope that the day to day arena of life and work has improved for you both. I posted earlier Asha about pulling a Diane Keaton in First Wives Club on Steve, and I'm retracting that statement now, because as Steve's journey gets further along, I'm sure that you both will need each other very much, just remember to keep working on Self when these times become more difficult.

To All,

Lynn leaves tomorrow and I now that I am going to miss her immensely. I am still going to work on Self and trying to dig up some childhood memories, both good and bad. Good constructive use of your time Dan.

Dr Irene and Trubble,

Your spirits are with us and we know that Dell will get your computer fixed quickly. Dell did a pretty good job. Had it back to me in 3 days! Bless them; best company in the world as far as I'm concerned.

Trubble, I think that you might even enjoy paddlefish, they're big enough to feed you for a year. Oh Daddy Dan, I dunno 'bout that. I'm a growing boy! I wanna be as tall as you! LOCO and I will do a good job on this fishie, I'm sure. 

Hugs and Best wishes

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

The above post was mine. I'd know my Daddy Dan anywhere!

Dan

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Trubble,

Your Doc is not using a MAC is she? Only when she's stuck LOCO. They've got a mixed marriage: He's a MAC devotee and she's a Windows nut. You should hear them go at it! I'm trying to finish Dan's keyboard but it won't respond. You mean finish it off? Easy! Take a big glass of real sugar soda... I wish he'd get a mouse. Oh little brother, you don't need Daddy Dan to get you a mouse...

Mommy Lynn is leaving so I don't have anyone who will take my picture so I'm not going to smile till she comes back, hopefully with Salmon! I betcha Daddy Dan will be even more upset than you. Better curl up with him and keep his feeties warm. I love ya LOCO.

LOCO

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Trubble dear,

Watch the games Sunday, I'll wave to you from the crowd. I'll be the one with the sign that says Cat Box. MommyDoc1 and JohnnyMac invited my 6 cats over while I'm gone. This is so daddy can get in some Quality Time with LOCO. He really can smile ^_^ And stay warm...

Love,

Football fan 1, MommyDoc2

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Dear MommyDoc and JohnnyMac,

Purrfect Parents! Are you on this side of the posts for a reason and just waiting for the "Doc for the Day"? Get it fixed quick and get out the salmon. We have company for dinner!

Introduce yourselves Cat Box, don't act like you have the manners of alley cats. Hey!

Welcome aboard,

Trubble and Loco

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Dear Group,

Trubble, send Loco back home! Shame on him. Look what happens when I turn my back for a minute. hehehehe!

A quick one on my stage of Reflection: Who am I. Easy. I am Lynn the bartender. That is truly who I am, the self at it's best. I had to fight for this though. Remember the parents who "wouldn't" let me join the Peace Corps. They didn't like me bartending either. They sent me to college. I didn't finish one semester. Went back to bartending. Then I went to vo tech and became an architectural draftsman. Got a job with a firm and bartended 2 nights a week. My takehome $ from the bar was more than from the "real" job. I went back to bartending. My parents had a friend who ran the unemployment office in our town. He got me an interview (I didn't ask for one) with an utilities company. The job was mine. I smiled and thanked the guy. Locked in an 8 X 10 room for 8 hours a day putting peoples utility bills on microfilm, I didn't care what the pay, would have made me slit my throat before I got my first paycheck. Mom and Dad were soooooo disappointed. I had such potential. I went back to college. I didn't finish the semester. 

Somewhere here abouts I realized Lynn was meant to be a bartender. I worked in a nice place, I got good pay, I had a great boss and I Loved the people...... And it shows...

Almost the end of that stage of my life (middle aged by this time). I knew who I was. I felt confident there, I was comfortable there. What more can a person ask out of life?

My dad gave it one more shot after my late husband died (I still worked "on call". He thought I should go back to college. I finally got it!!!!! Sun lamp!! No 100 watters for me. Dad I said If you want to go to college why don't YOU? He sad no, that it was too late for him, but he always regretted that he didn't. That's why it was so important to he and mom that us girls both got a college education. That was his dream, not mine......... 

I'm glad I stood my ground. It wasn't easy, but that's who I am and where I was meant to be and I loved every minute of it.

I have learned somewhere along the line that I am as comfortable with the country club set as I am with the Rescue Mission bunch. That's because I know who I am. Lynn the bartender. Nothing more, nothing less. Just enough, huh Dan!

With that, we had a weather change and it is chilllllly, I am going to put away my "grandmother" suit and put on a pair of jeans and my denim jacket and my Calamity Jane boots and head for the airport. I have a plane to catch.

No time to edit, Love to All and if I'm not mistaken, Trubble, who knows who he is, is here. Thanks Doc ^_^

Bunches of Good Stuff,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Dan,

I've read the "rules" post as well, and could sure identify with it, not only in relation to my childhood, but to my present situation as well. It's all about control and power, about one person wanting the advantage by being the one that sets (and changes) the rules to suit him/herself. The result for the rest of us is confusion and insecurity.

When I saw my therapist (maybe I'll refer to her as Dr. Z from now on--easier than typing therapist) I told her that I just cannot understand how a man could see his wife cry, could hear her ask him, even plead with him to stop saying cruel things, and STILL look at her with rage and disgust on his face. How can he intensify the hostility as though her tears were fuel? I don't understand! I don't get it! Because there is contempt for weakness Becky. Contempt and anger and hatred for the weak parent who did not protect them; care for them...

She said that some people are just that way; they can't feel empathy for another. OH! But people who want to can learn.  They just aren't capable of it. Those who really, really want can become capable... I think that's an awful defect, because empathy keeps us within boundaries. those who can't feel it inflict pain, break the rules, and walk away unaffected. Or maybe they aren't unaffected. Contrary to any outward appearance, these people are very much affected. The soul knows. That's why it is so common for an angry person to feel so deeply pained when first coming to grips with his or her poor behavior. It's my belief that when we die, we carry with us who and what we were while on earth. If we have a disease of the soul, it will not only make our time on earth less wonderful than it could have been, it will make our time in eternity less as well. I'm not expressing myself too well; I'm trying to say that who we are is eternal, and that being the case, shouldn't we work to be the best we can be? Yes. And, you say it very well.

It's interesting that you mentioned scary books. One of the students asked me yesterday for Stephen King, which we don't have. I tried to convince him that Dracula is very scary, but I don't think he believed me. I read it for the first time a few years ago, and was surprised at how scary it is! But you know kids: if a book was written "in the old days" it can't be any good!

I'll say goodnight to everyone. G'night all! AKasha (giggle) and 'specially Steve, come say "HI" to me! Pleeze?

Becky

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 06, 2000

S1

Hi Dr Irene & Trubble and the rest of the gang.

We had some computer troubles too. Thought I had a computer virus, but it turns out that luckily I don't.

Also, the real world of work and various mundane tasks that have been put off over the last couple of weeks are beckoning... that's okay, because I feel like now I have the energy to tackle them.

I'm looking forward to receiving the books you recommended (they take a while for shipment) and taking a little time to relax and read as well. Plus, I've now started some of my classes - one of them is a tyebo class - lots of karate moves and kicks which would be great for venting frustration if I had any, but I'm really feeling very peaceful these days.  :)

Just wanted to say that I'm still here, that things are going better than ever from my perspective, but that I have to get some work projects back on track so that's why I haven't been posting quite as much.

Nice to see the "blue pencil" again though.

Take care everyone. Talk to you soon.

Asha (AK)

p.s. It's quiet without Lynn...  Yeah

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 06, 2000

S1

Hi Catbox family,

Where is Lynn off to? Oh geezzz I only just got to superficially know her, drat and double drat, will she be back?? 2 weeks.

Dr I, I don't like taking MEDS and I don't trust the experts in the medical field too much. You use a med and ten years later find out the RISKS, that they calculated didn't mean SAFE!!!! St John's Wort I've recommended it to lots of people since I've heard so much good stuff about it, but I've always cautioned them to seek advice from other sources first. Right. I had antidepressants some years ago when I was bullied at work. (GOODNESS WHEN I THINK BACK I FEEL SO ANGRY, I TOLERATE THE HUMILIATION AND THEN FELT GUILTY THAT I MUST OF DONE SOMETHING WRONG TO THESE SONS AND DAUGHTER OF A *****S.)

I want to share my realization (DREAM) the night before last. I had a dream I sat on a sofa and next to me was a guy and a girl next to him, across the room was an armchair and a guy sat on it. He went to my old high school (His name was Paul). The guy sat next to me, although nice, I didn't fancy him, he leaned across and tried to put his arm around me. I shot up and went and sat on the arm of the chair besides the guy on the arm chair. As I leaned over to talk to him he said "You're a dog, move". I felt so humiliated and shot of out of the room. I went off to find the bathroom. (I was in Sara's house, she was a girl pretty girl from my high school, very popular) I went upstairs to find the bathroom, though the lavatory wasn't in there. So I went back down stairs and she told me the lavatory was downstairs. [MY DREAM ENDED HERE!!]

On my way to work after having this dream whilst I was sat in my car I saw an old friend (a guy who asked me to date him before I met my ex. Paul bought me gifts a few times) though I didn't want to go out with him. His friend was more popular, so I went out with him. (Though he wasn't serious, especially when he found out I didn't sleep around.) So I guess I did have some boundaries and self respect after all!!!!  :)

Then as I was still sat in my car, my mind saw David.  I used to work in a shop when I just left school and some what before I left school. Anyway, David used to come in many times to buy a bag of sweets. He was a bit older than me a few years, I'd guess. He bought me gifts, but again he wasn't very popular. Then I saw Jason.  Funny, but when I first saw Jason, I thought he was nice ( he was having driving lessons at the same time as me, though our instructor used to pick me up and then take him home). Though, when I went to meet him for our first and ONLY date I saw him walking towards me in MAC. What's MAC? I just didn't like him. He looked girly, pathetic, he was too polite, he was too nice, clingy. I feared this clinginess. No one had ever paid me this much attention. Jason hung on my every word; he listened to me' he gave me his whole self. (His parents were going through divorce at the same time!!) I feared him because I felt smothered. What was even worse, he told me I was wonderful, and he was so glad I turned up - since he didn't expect me to. He said he hated girls who messed him around when he treated them so well. As we left the pizza hut panic struck me, I felt scared and I said "Gotta go catch my bus; see you. [I didn't contact him ever again. Nor did I give him my telephone number to contact me]

I then whilst still sat in my car (RUSH HOUR, SLOW TRAFFIC LOTS OF TIME TO THINK LOL) I saw Lee in my thoughts, Lee asked me out (good lucking guy from school) quiet, kept himself to himself, not a loud mouth. Very like me. He tried hard to talk to others but they didn't see him. (Like me!!!) He asked me for a date. I said "No" because he was in my class, my friends might not approve, they might laugh at us; I was scared of getting attached. I saw some of my friends ending up pregnant at 15 years old. No way did I want this!!! [I was more bothered about what people would say, "tart" perhaps? as they called these girls.] Though after Lee asked me and I refused, I regretted it. I did like him, though he wasn't fancied by my friends. I thought they'd think he was a drip!!!

I was sat still in my car when I saw the connections loud and clear!!! They all like me [I'm likeable! Lovable, even! Then I thought, why didn't I know this before now??] I didn't try to be anyone else with these people, PERHAPS I DID, I tried to avoid what was best for me. Didn't I, I sold out for my friends approval didn't I??

Then I saw my friend Donna (An old friend) she looked so free and easy, she still is. (She has slept with more men than I've had hot dinners, but they never treat her right, they use her and abuse her, she tolerates it, she even gave up three children to be free, though she never learns. She got caught pregnant a couple of years ago, then she left the child's father - said he was too smothering. Then she met a guy half her age, recently, and now he's gotten off and left her pregnant. She is so popular with guys WHY? Does she attract them??? She dresses really pretty ("tart" my ex called it; he said she's like flies on sh*t. She's so easy, that she's an easy target. Men usually take what is given on a plate.) I said, "That's cruel." He said, "Well, she offers it, so why shouldn't they take it? If she cares so little for herself, its her fault." I mean guys may think I've gotta have her to be popular (have something in common with other guys). My ex was straight forward as you can see, but I guess there is some truth in what he says. Yes.

I attracted sincere people but discarded them since they didn't reinforce the part of me that thought I wasn't good enough. Is this correct?? Yep. The sincere people who were attracted to me, even though I didn't know me, perhaps they saw me - even when I didn't what do you think??? is this possible?? Yes. They didn't care about my looks, (I am no Marilyn Munroe, but don't want to be either.) The guys didn't act free and easy either. (This is perhaps why they weren't so popular? Not sure. Could be.) WHY did I discard the ones that were probably better for me?? Were they really better for me or did they also have low self esteems and this is why they wanted to smother me??? Not sure; maybe.

Does like attract like?? Often, yes it does.

I missed this point. I do remember in the past my sister saying to Paul, my ex, "Why do you like Theressa?" She told me he said because she has such a young innocent face. (YEAH DRAT, MEANS I HAVE TO USE ID EVERY TIME I ENTER A BAR LOL) Lucky girl! Because Theressa is so changeable and every day is different with her. (I am a Gemini star sign, and although I am not into horoscopes when I was a kid I read them, I do have mood swings a lot.)

Why did all this happen!!! the dream the day dreams?? I think its God's way of showing me that I am okay!! what do you think?? I am loveable and to stop changing things that make me who I am, ME!!! and are not flaws as some my ex for one tries to say they are. God is showing me I do not need to keep looking for approval. I agree. About time you woke up. Keep it up!

Thanks for listening you guys, any insights on my post are more than welcome.

I do like to read, though its been difficult recently since doing my degree course. I am not so organized which makes me less effective, I have to work on this. Side tracked so much by all the wonderful things around me. I love variety.

Take care all of you. Lets keep on moving, growing, don't stop!!! Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 06, 2000

S1

Theressa

Hi. I don't know about the dreams/daydreams, but I do know that as long as you depend on outside approval to validate your self worth, you will be restricted. Encouragement and support are great, but when it's not available we have to learn to encourage and support ourselves.

I think that once you know deep down that you are "okay" that you will tend to avoid people that don't make you feel okay, and will be drawn more to those who do see you as being "okay".

By the way, Lynn is just on vacation. She'll be back, no doubt.

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 06, 2000

S1

Dear all I'm posting here, because I read all your stories, and you feel so close. I wanted to post before, but felt sort of out of place, a stranger coming in. Please don't feel out of sorts! You're welcome! Still do, but decided to give it a try. I've been through the anger, I've been through the panic and hurt, the loneliness, the beating myself up and the realizing it was not all my fault. Even been through the feeling I no longer loved him, that too much had happened. 

Now I agreed to see him. After almost one year of separation He left, second time in three years, the last two and a half without seeing each other. He called twice before in these last months. The first time I wasn't home and didn't return the call. The second time I did answer and told him I didn't want to see him; I needed to feel the anger and I needed to do it alone. He told me how important I was to him and I said he was important to me too He thinks he can speak for you, huh?, but that I still wanted to be alone. I even told him I probably still loved him, but I needed to be alone, and would call when I was ready. This week, one month later, he called again. I had been thinking all weekend that maybe the time had come the contact him. When he rang and said could he please see me. I said I wanted to think it over. It was so weird. Both times he called I had just decided that I might talk to him, had written in my diary that I would answer the phone should he call. Some kind of telepathic thing.

Don't know whether I did the right thing to agree to seeing him. I said I needed to think it over, and am very glad I did. Then I decided I really wanted to see him, I didn't want you run away anymore. On the phone I told him a little about what I learned over the past few months. About abusive behavior, about his intimidating me. He says he wants to hear. I said I want to tell him, but may find it hard. He says you don't have to tell everything at once. Says he want to read Beattie's book about codependence too. Says he's feeling like a total jerk, but is trying to forgive himself, and, since I was very angry, did I hate him? I said that I was angry, every now and then, that I felt that I needed that, never could allow anger (neither could he)... But that no, I didn't hate him. We both are codependent. He has always been very dependent on me (came from another country and didn't know the language at first, also no money, no family nearby and no friends. Go figure.) I was controlling I guess, and he was mainly mad at me and the whole world (not necessarily in that order :) for not performing like he wanted us to perform). We both have really big border problems. That is: no borders whatsoever. Didn't have a clue what they where. I found this site, read When to say yes, when to say no by Cloud and Townsend - and the lights went on. 

He found out with the help of a therapist that due to his childhood (very abusive, alcoholic father, codependent mother and lots of other really bad stuff), that he felt he needed to rescue everyone. He was so busy rescuing, he forgot to take care of himself. And I was so busy rescuing him from the after effects of his terrible childhood and all the problem his family had, and making excuses for his not participating fairly in the relationship, that I forgot to take care of me. Problems big time. I don't know what will happen now. I know I still love this man, I want to try to work things out if he is willing to commit to that. I feel very fragile, know I am taking a big risk, because right now my life is OK, I feel secure and peaceful on my own. I don't ever want to go back to where we were, but I don't want to miss the chance to work it out. Like Lynn said in one of the earlier posts, I just don't want to do this whole getting used to someone business again. I love the man, I even like him, though he really acts crazy at times. Seeing the progress made here by Lynn and Dan and AK and Steve, helped to make the decision to give it just one more try. We're seeing each other on Wednesday. Please say a prayer for us, we'll need it.

Sorry about my English, I'm not a native speaker (and have no English spelling check :)), and logging in from Europe (Dr. I, you got yourself an international site!) :)

Love to all, even though I don't know you, your stories meant a lot to me.

AJ

PS: Do any of you have any suggestions on how to get your cats NOT using the computer while you try to work on it? Help on both the human and the cat issue is appreciated! Giggle!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 06, 2000

S1

AJ

You have my prayers.

I'm by no means an expert, but one thing that may help in choosing whether or not to take a chance with this guy is the decision to make "conscious choices".

What I mean is that you don't deny that you are taking some chances and you don't deny that it may not work out the way you hope. You take a conscious risk, that you won't blame him or anyone else for, if you decide to try to work things out. And, you are likely to learn from the experience.

For me, this helps to distinguish whether I'm being influenced from outside or from inside.

I also know that the influences from outside on *not* getting back together with someone after awful things have happened can be strong. Don't confuse those influences or his influences with your own real feelings (sometimes hard to do).

I'm still learning myself how to stay "safe" and where to have reasonable boundaries without swinging the other way into "dictator/controller". Also, to still know that my feelings *are* important and that, if I'm going to be in a relationship, I want my needs to be considered. Finding the balance is a little tricky at first.

hope that helps.

Asha (AK)  Hi AKasha-Mommy!

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000

S1

Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and the rest of the cat box family.

Big Welcome to AJ. Don't worry about any posting mistakes or improper use of terms as even those of American heritage have a hard tie with English.

Lynn's gone and it seems that the animals miss her already. Kittie has done nothing but whine, the cats are acting like every high spot is hiding her and Sweetie is going to the door and then back into the house. And I'm going nuts. Lynn left yesterday and already it seems like a month, after two weeks I don't know what shape I'm going to be in. We think it will get easier. And mommy made a picture of me special for you Daddy Dan. I'll keep you company while MommyDoc2 is away. Look on the home page! (It will be posted for the month of October.)

As I posted before Lynn asked me who I was. I'm still working on that but I think that I'm someone who cares about people more than I care about myself

I told in an earlier post, I think, that I sent money home while I was in Nam. My mother said that she never received it. I knew when I was over there that there wasn't any money put into a savings account for me, because I contacted the bank for some money so that I could go on R & R to Australia. I got a reply back that no such account existed. I then called by phone to ask where it was and told her that I needed some money. When the time came for me to go, I still hadn't received it, but the guys in my platoon got together and loaned me the money. It took 3 weeks after I returned for her to send me the money. It was $300 and I had sent home around $1000. Big Ouchhh. Your mom's antics never cease to amaze me. When I returned, I was using my parent's car, and my dad wasn't very happy about that, so I decided to buy my own. Once again I asked for the money, I was told that I had to wait. My dad loaned me the money for the car 3 days after my mom came up with the money. Of course she got it back because I had to give it to my dad. I figured out later that she had went to a finance company and borrowed the money. I have brought this up to her a couple of times; the last time she hung up on me, but she says that it never got to her. I have tried to write this off but must admit that it still bothers me. If she needed it for whatever, all she has to do is say so, not lie about never getting it. No wonder you were in such denial about your mom Dan. She is an incredibly selfish and opportunistic woman. I think she is a sick woman. Your job is not to take her treatment seriously. It is a function of her and her illness - and has nothing to do with you!

Also as I told you she is very good at letting people know that she has or does loan money to her kids. I have to admit that I have borrowed money from her in the past, long past. She even told Lynn that she had to make a house payment (my first wife and I had bought a house) for me. I gave her the money and asked her to send the payment in for me as we were going to be out of town. From this came the story that she made my house payment. A couple of years ago, I asked her how much I owed her, she gave me a figure and I paid her. Not one word has been mentioned that I paid her back. After my first wife and I had separated, I gave my mother two chess sets as collateral for some gas money. I was taking my daughter fishing and didn't have enough for gas there and back. I've repaid her, but the chess sets are hers. They're in her house. so consequently. "What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine." Ugh.

I posted to Becky earlier about regressive therapy, and that old therapist had used it with me but that I hadn't kept at it. I see now that this was a mistake, because I don't think that I really contacted young Danny. That part of me is still locked and crying for the childhood which was being taken away from him at the age that I chose. I think you're getting there Dan...

At the age of nine one of the houses my family lived in a two bedroom house, so they slept in one room and my siblings and I slept in the other. There were four boys counting my baby brother and my younger sister. Every two years we would move. We did live in one neighborhood about 6 years, not all at one time, so that is the neighborhood which I claim to have been raised in.

Dear Dr Irene and Trubble,

Today I made somewhat of a breakthrough, I think. I pulled a error which someone without my experience might pull, and I just said to myself, mistakes happen. No kicking myself, no berating, no nothing. I saw where I made my mistake and made the best of it. I was breaking someone in, and used it to show him what not to do. !!!!!!!!!! YIPPPEEEEEE!!!!

Hugs

Dan

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000

S1

Hi Dan.

It amazes me how well you've turned out despite the things your mother has done. Where did you get all that caring and helpfulness from? He was trained to take care of mom from the time he was in diapers. (At his own expense, of course.)

Maybe you can use your time alone without Lynn to do something special for yourself. You deserve it.

Asha (AK)

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000

S1

Dear Asha and Dan,

Thanks for your welcome. It feels good to be welcome. Asha, thanks for your thoughts on ‘making a conscious choice'. I think that is what I tried to do when I made the decision to see him in the first place. I waited for three days before calling him and say I would see him. I just wanted to be sure that I WANTED to see him, that I didn't feel obligated or pressured. My mother-in-law, who is a very very dear friend (I call here my soul-mother) said, "You have to realize that if you refuse to see him now, he may not call again." I said I knew, but still needed to feel sure that if I agreed, I would do so because I wanted to - and not out of fear of loosing my last change to reconcile. Is that what you mean sort of? I like that!

I know it was a hard thing to do for me, because I kept thinking, maybe if I wait this long he will get mad at me, and then I said to myself: if he gets mad again about something like this, I don't want to be with him in the first place. But still, the nagging voice is hard to ignore. And I know this will be my biggest task, to keep taking my time before I make any decisions, and not to act on impulse and loose myself again in the process. Yep.

As for the pressure of not going back, I know what you mean. My sister especially says the only way by now is a divorce. At first she felt it was OK to try to get back together, but after a while, she said he just can't chose between wanting his freedom and you. She was right then, though I think/feel he might be ready for some commitment now. If not, I just hope I will be strong enough to get out immediately and tell him to go think a little longer, as I don't want to be near him if he doesn't really want to be near me! It hurts to much. Excellent. Just pay attention to your body. If something inside hurts, pull away! 

When we separated he used to tell me he loved very much all the time, and I was so very important to him, but he he needed to learn about himself and even started an affair in the process of learning. An affair is not about learning about the self; it is about indulging the ego. I sort of understood. I don't. Needed maybe to feel strong and wanted. Women fighting over him or something like that. See, ego. I refused to fight though. Good. Later on when the affair ended, he kept saying he really wanted us to be back together (had said that all the time by the way), but was so very, very afraid. When I said I didn't want to see him for some time because it hurt too much to be near him, it only took him two weeks to be sure he really wanted to be with me. He wants what he can't have. It lasted 6 weeks. Cuz that's about how long it took to "get" you. It really made me so very insecure. Don't want that anymore. That's why you have to be willing, ready and able to pull back at any time. Even in 6 months. He will test you. I can understand his fears though, made me wonder whether I might be the abuser, but I don't think so. I asked him lots of time whether he thought I controlled and arranged too much. He always answered "no" and if anything I was too loving anyway.  And had I been less loving, he would have been gone years before (we've been together for 15 years, both first marriage). 

Am I to harsh in wanting a commitment? No. You deserve a commitment. I'm not so sure this man will be able to commit once he is certain that you are committed. Until that time, he will want it. It is not that I expect, or even want him to move back in with me on any short notice. Just that I need his commitment to try, and if not, I feel I need to protect myself and get out again. Am I controlling in not wanting to be with him if he wants or needs total freedom? Absolutely not! If he wants freedom and you want commitment, you would be silly and unfair to yourself to stay with him! 

Asha, I figured out Steve is sort of a writer. My husband © (the computer made the copywrite sign all by itself!!!. I just wanted a C between brackets, but I rather like it. Me too. Each of us is unique and copywite protected after all :) ) is a painter. Think being an artist has some connection to their difficulties? :)  

 

Dear Dan

I had to laugh (happy laugh) at your comment about making mistakes. I distinctly remember when that happened for the first time for me: making a mistake (rather important) and just correcting it as far as possible and not making a fuss about it, not beating myself up. It felt great. It will get easier, once you learned the trick!! I have a question for you about Vietnam, though maybe it's more for Lynn (know she isn't there). I don't know about Vietnam, I don't know about being in a war and have never experienced my life being threatened for any prolonged time. I know C has been in situations like that for a big part of his youth. He told me a little about it, but I just could not relate. Some time ago we talked a little more, and he said he really had wanted to tell me when we met, but it had been so hard, and I just didn't seem to understand. Is there anything I can do to make the talking easier and to understand more.

Sun's shining her and I hope the light and warmth will find you all as happy and secure as possible.

Trubble, my cats don't ever get salmon. Just tinned food and only (sorry) in 4 varieties. One of them ran away this summer and didn't come back. You think I should buy Salmon? You bet! If you fed them fresh Salmon and Trout, you would never loose a cat!

Hope to hear from you again

AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000

S1

My family's cat when I was a kid used to love the "juice" from tuna fish cans, so we ate tuna fish sandwiches or tuna casserole at least once a week (usually 2-3 times) for the cat! Even though I was the one who wanted the cat (my father used to actively despise cats, and my mom's more a "dog person"), my parents were absolutely devastated when she died. We grow on you, huh? I was away at college and had wished I could have come home and seen my kitty one more time -- since I'm an only child, I sometimes felt almost like the cat was my sister.

I feel like the ones I have now are my kids, sometimes. They're wonderful. I've been a cat person from birth and nobody knows where I got it from :) Nobody seems to know, either, how two extremely introverted parents ended up giving birth to a moderately extroverted child who really didn't enjoy the isolation of living out in the country. (When I was four years old, Mom would see me wandering around the front yard, pouring some water mixed with food coloring on the ground. When asked what I was doing, the response was "making a sidewalk!") I now live in a moderately large city, about a mile and a half from downtown, and I love it here. My mom still does some mumbling about it supposedly being a bad neighborhood, but I've lived here for three years and the worst problem I've had was the crazy guy who was punching windows out of people's cars. My next-door neighbor ran after him, I called 911, and the police came right away. I have comprehensive glass insurance (thanks Dad!) and so it was only a very minor inconvenience. I really like it here. :)

Been a challenging few days. I backslid a bit last night -- my ex and I have been on friendlier terms, and he stopped by for a visit then went to give someone a ride. He came back, unexpectedly, and we ended up in bed. (Well, actually on the couch, but you know what I mean *wry smile*) And subsequently we ended up having a bit of a nasty argument. He wants me back, but just as a casual girlfriend with the right for both of us to see other people. My response was "Oh, you want to have your cake and eat it too. You want me to go on sleeping with you and taking care of you without having to change any of the things that made me want to leave in the first place." He wasn't pleased with that, said that I "always" twist his words into things he doesn't mean that make him sound like a bad person. Translation: "You untwist my words so my true meaning becomes obvious." This went on for a bit, and I told him (as calmly as I could but I was in tears) that it seems like he doesn't understand that I'm angry with him if I'm not actively screaming and yelling. But I'm still angry and hurt about things that have happened, and I do want for us to be friends but I can't take him back, I'm not comfortable with continuing to sleep with him (yes, it was fun, but it's more trouble than it's worth at this point), and when one of us finds something more serious this is just going to make a horrendous mess out of things.

I'm a bit annoyed with myself both for sleeping with him again and for the fight, but it's too late now to undo, so I'll put the effort into making sure this doesn't happen again. A lesson. And today when I went down to the mailbox, there was a lovely card from my father. I ended up telling him about what was behind the breakup the last time we talked (maybe a week ago). The card has a cat falling through the air on the front cover, and the inside says "Don't worry -- you'll land on your feet. Hang in there." And there's a little written message from him that says he thinks I'm doing the right thing and hopes I'm doing well. Yay! Dad gets it! (Shouldn't surprise me -- when there's a genuine crisis he always does. The little stuff is sometimes not so good but points when I've faced something that could potentially REALLY screw up my life he's been there for me and been wonderful. My mom's the exact opposite.)

I will, indeed, land on my feet. I always do. :)

*hugs* to Theressa, I've seen you post elsewhere before. Welcome in. I hear you about meds, but I (with some reluctance) decided to take St John's Wort last winter and had the first winter in five years that wasn't constantly impaired by inability to concentrate. I've got about a month before I should probably go back on. I'm one of those people who just does not deal well with winter.

Welcome AJ. :) I know somewhat how you feel about wanting to stay alone and stay angry. That's sort of where I'm at right now. Got a bit of a false sense of security going and that wasn't a good thing for me.

One of the most difficult things I'm dealing with in the transition of trying to have a friendship with my ex is that I now see where kisses and hugs and "I love you" covered up a lot of not knowing what to say or how to talk to each other. I made him go home last night even though I know he really wanted to stay (and part of me would have liked that too). Part of me wants to be angry and cynical and look at his motivations in the worst possible light, part of me wants to believe and work things out, but most of me misses what we had, knows there was good, knows that mistakes were made on both sides and this relationship SHOULD be over, and wants to move on.

Hope Lynn's having fun on vacation, and good to see that computer problems are over. :)

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000

S1

Ick. "Ick?" We like! Something else that's been going on here, not sure if I'm looking for an answer or just venting:

I hung up on my mother last night. (In fact, that might have set the stage for what happened later ... I was already feeling rather icky thanks to that.) She called to tell me that there was a job available as a junior high math teacher and it looked like the place might be desperate enough to take anyone with a bachelor's degree and a few credits in math (I made it through Calc I, don't know how, and had to drop Calc II because I was failing since I hadn't really understood Calc I; in slightly different circumstances I possibly could have gone further with it). "Mom. I'm in grad school for ENGLISH. Not math. I do not want to be a math teacher." "Well, I just thought... and there are all these other teaching jobs you could get with just a bachelor's and they'd let you get the full credentials later, if you'd just move somewhere else." "Mom! I am NOT MOVING!" On and on it went for about ten minutes, when I made up some excuse just to get her off the phone. Ick.

I am furious about this. I know what it comes from, but I am so sick of her trying to realize her and her sister's dreams through me! So, stop giving mom so much power in your head! She is who she is; no more, no less. Background: the feminist movement came a bit too late for Mom's older sister. She took a career aptitude test in high school and was told "Hahahahaha! This says you'd make a good engineer and YOU'RE A GIRL! Isn't that just the funniest thing you've ever heard? Hahahahaha!" The sister ended up working as a bookkeeper and marrying the first man who asked her, and having various and sundry nervous breakdowns throughout her adult life.

Mom says she doesn't have a "mind for math" the way her sister, or my father, or I do. My interests lie in the humanities -- I write, I sing (though not as well as I'd like), I'm very interested in theater and I was considered one of the best DJs on the college radio station. Mom is always always always trying to push the math on me so as to "show them a woman can do it!" She coordinates skilled-trade apprenticeship programs and keeps telling me I should become an electrician. "You'd make more money than you do as a secretary!" Yes, I know. I don't have any intention of being a secretary forever -- why do you THINK I'm in grad school?! And I don't want to be an electrician, or a junior high math teacher, or an engineer. I want to be a writer and either a high school or college English teacher/professor.

I am so furious with her right now. It's MY life. Mine mine mine. Of course! It never belonged to anyone else, except perhaps in your head...

She also, in a previous conversation, seemed to feel the need to tell me that I'm going to be a very difficult person to ever find someone for a lasting relationship and maybe I should just get used to the idea of being a single career woman. Argh. "Arg" is another one we like. I know she doesn't like the societal expectations of marriage (nor do I), but *I* want someday to make a home with someone, I want children, and I want my children to have two parents in the home. There is still the chance that it might be Mom1 and Mom2 rather than Mom and Dad, but I wouldn't intentionally become a single parent. And young as I am, there are moments I already feel the biological clock at work. Probably comes from being surrounded by people and info about people who already had a kid or two (or even three!) at my age and find this normal. Even my parents were married at 20, though they didn't have me until they were 28 (and as my mother has told me before, she wasn't sure she wanted me then -- I am the product of failed birth control, apparently).

Part of me still sometimes feels like a failure, that I made a commitment to someone and couldn't keep it. I know where some of that comes from. I'm bisexual. I don't need "one of each" but gender isn't a consideration for me when deciding who I'm interested in dating. I tend to date men, both because it's easier to find men interested in women than women interested in women and because most of my friends are male (and why would i want to date someone I wasn't friends with?), but if the right person happened to be in a female body that wouldn't bother me.

There are a lot of people who wouldn't have a problem with me if I were straight or gay, but who think that I'm automatically going to be a crazed sex fiend and cheat on anyone I date since I'm bisexual. In some ways, this has put pressure on me (both in this recent relationship and with my ex-gf) to stay long past the point when I thought I should go, because I didn't want to add fuel to the stereotype.

It's frustrating when my mother just refuses to "get" things. We had this out about my housemate about a year after I moved here, right before my ex and I got together. "Why can't you two just get married like normal people?" "Mom. He's gay. He doesn't want a woman." "Well, maybe he's not completely gay, and he seems to really care about you and I know how much you like his family." "But he's gay! He's my best friend and I love him to bits, and if he liked girls at ALL I might have married him. But he doesn't so that's that!" "But..." "Mom? It's not going to happen."

*wry smile*

Similar stuff about my religion. "I think religion does a lot of bad things, but if you had to get religious couldn't you have at least been Christian? It would save you a lot of trouble." "I appreciate your concern, but that's not my path." "Well, what do you get OUT of it?" [The ultimate impossible to answer question from someone who isn't religious; I get this one from my ex, too.] Etc. She's asking common sense questions. Calm down and try responding to her as though she was not your mom - maybe a stranger you just met.

Sometimes we have really good conversations, and she actually seems to respect me. Other times.... *shakes head*

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000

S1

Happy Saturday, everyone, and welcome to AJ and Teressa!

AJ, something you asked struck a chord with me. You asked if you are being controlling by wanting him to commit to you. In my opinion, absolutely not! You have a right to expect someone else to meet your standards, and if those standards include being faithful to you, then he should do that, or leave you alone! If he's trying to make you feel guilty, don't fall for it! Yippeee!

I have always had trouble not feeling guilty for "requiring" things of people. When I began teaching, I always felt a twinge of guilt every time I gave an assignment, or put a low or failing grade on a paper. When I graded, I did everything I could to justify giving undeserved points because I didn't want the student to feel bad.

Gradually I began to realize that I wasn't doing them any good by doing this; that while I can be fair, and take circumstances such as a learning disability, or a student who's just learning English into consideration, I need to give them an accurate assessment of their progress.

Where men are concerned--I never felt I really had any rights. I'm sure this was a result of my family background, where the women pretty much "put up and shut up." There was a feeling of powerlessness: If "he" doesn't want something, you don't get it. If "he" doesn't want to go, you don't go. If "he " wants to go, and you don't, you go anyway." Always the fear of making "him" mad, as though a man's anger was the most powerful force in the universe! Ick. Arg.

So, if I felt uncomfortable or offended by what the man in my life did or said, I usually kept quiet, or if I didn't my protests were helpless-woman in nature: crying, feeling depressed.

I'm working very hard to change that! In my present marriage, I'm setting some boundaries and everyday I have to screw up the courage to stick with them. I want my husband to work on understanding why he thinks and behaves the way he does, instead of blaming me for it. I refuse to get too close until he does, because I've been hurt one too many times. I feel guilty sometimes, but I know that's the "old" me who believes that because he's a man, I have to go along, and give him what he wants. No I don't! This is not about punishing him; it's about protecting me. This is what you are doing, I think; protecting yourself, and that's good! You are looking for reciprocity in your marriage. You deserve to get what you give.

I need to get off the computer and cook some dinner--I'm starved! Trout?

I'll check in later,

Becky

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000

S1

Dear AJ

Yes, I think you do understand what I meant. What I'm saying is that regardless of what your mother-in-law, sister or anyone says to you, don't be influenced by fear, or by what others think. It has to be the right decision for *you*, no-one else. If you're not quite ready, then don't rush.

Personally, I think that for any relationship to work there has to be a solid commitment by both partners to work things out. If you are still at the deciding stage I would suggest being honest to him that for you to commit to working things out, you need to know that he has the same level of commitment.

If you are afraid you might not be strong enough to "get out immediately" when things are turning nasty, then you might not want to jump back in too quickly. If he wants "all or nothing" from you (not that he necessarily does), then I would tend to suggest "nothing" until he can accept what you feel comfortable offering. i.e. perhaps rekindling the friendship, dating etc. until you feel more sure. The last thing either of you need is to be moving in together, then moving back out just as quickly.

<<<Am I to harsh in wanting a commitment? It is not that I expect, or even want him to move back in with me on any short notice. Just that I need his commitment to try, and if not, I feel I need to protect myself and get out again. Am I controlling in not wanting to be with him if he wants or needs total freedom?>>> S/he who controls themselves is not controlling.

I think that a commitment to working things out would be safer than a commitment to "forever" if that's what you mean. You aren't controlling in not wanting to be with him if he wants/needs total freedom - you are being *honest* to yourself. What do *you* really, sincerely want? Chances are if you feel like you are being controlling under these circumstances, you are putting his feelings above yours. Your feelings are important. And you won't do him any good at all by disregarding your feelings. Putting his feelings above yours is basically being dishonest to yourself and to him as well.

Yes, Steve is a very creative, ambitious thinker type, which is what I love about him. I've always thought that "tortured souls" are often the most interesting of us humans.

I'm learning that it does no good to try to "fix" people, and also, it's insulting to them! As well, I now refuse to allow pain to take so much of my energy. I have too much to do and to achieve in this lifetime to be wallowing in it!

take care AJ and good luck

AKasha

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000

S1

Hi Astrid

It sounds like your ex does want to have his cake and eat it too. And unless there is a desire to change on his end, I would stand firm as you are doing.

<<He wasn't pleased with that, said that I "always" twist his words into things he doesn't mean that make him sound like a bad person.>>>

Probably because when you clearly tell him what he's doing, he feels like he *is* a bad person. That has nothing to do with you. Right Dr. Irene? Right. He is responsible for his feelings.

As as far as meds go, I am personally really wary of them. I wouldn't use them myself, but I haven't had a need to. I know that in some cases people have chemical imbalances which can be helped with meds, but I know a few people now who have used medication to numb their pain and went on to continue the same negative patterns. I just think that they may be best used as a "last resort" and I suppose every situation is different. St John's Wort might be okay if it's from a reputable company.

I prefer to use meditation, sometimes aromatherapy (really does seem to help me), reading books or helpful information, setting goals, and focusing mainly on negative self talk, catching it and consciously feeding in new more productive thoughts.

Astrid, it sounds like your mom's trying to "fix" you. Even doing some guilting, which probably would explain where your feeling of "failure" comes from. I think Dr. Irene's posts about not engaging probably apply here. Yes. Even "explaining" these things can add fuel to the fire as I've learned. What if you said something like "I appreciate your concern Mom, but this is my life and my choices and I would just ask that you respect them. I just want you to accept me as I am." Something like that, maybe? And just keep repeating it if she keeps asking for further explanation.

Becky:

I relate to your feeling guilty for "requiring things of people". I think this comes from being more aware of others feelings than we are of our own. And not thinking that our feelings are important. This is different than wanting to get your own way. It's knowing that something feels deeply right or not right, and getting to the source of that inner truth.

<<<I want my husband to work on understanding why he thinks and behaves the way he does, instead of blaming me for it.>>>

Little hint (what I've learned from Dr Irene): Stop wanting so much for your husband to work on understanding etc. and just work on you. Wasn't it a good lesson? It's much more productive for both you and him and it actually speeds up the whole process. i.e. rather than trying to press your ideas on his "healing" etc. work on what you can do for yourself to make life better and just let him be, unless he asks. Work on stuff like finding out what makes you feel safe, letting go of guilt, trusting your feelings and realizing that it's healthy to have some boundaries.

You mentioned something in an earlier post about a better after-life if you are a better person in this life. My philosophies on this are based on what Dannion Brinkley (sp?) ?? talks about in some of his books. He had 2 (or maybe 3?) near death experiences, when he actually flat-lined and was considered dead. He went through a "life-review" and felt all the ripple effects that impacted other from all the actions he had chosen to take during his life. I often think about this, and consider the "ripple effects" before I act.

By the way I had a wonderful dinner with Steve and my parents yesterday. We are progressing at what feels like a very comfortable rate for me. I am very proud of him for his choices over the past week. He is such a lovable person when he just lets himself feel, and lets things unfold naturally. People don't change old patterns overnight, but I do sense a real commitment to change from him, and that's important if we want a solid relationship in the future. Yay Steve!

Hi Dan - hope you're doing well, and not missing Lynn too much. Sometimes it can be nice to have time alone. Anyway, take care.

see you all later.

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000

S1

Dear all. Thanks for the support

Dear Becky and Asha

Thanks for you comments. You know the funny thing is, I really think that C wants to commit, he doesn't want to run around and have total freedom. He just refuses to tell me so. He says he doesn't want any *rules* (which is one of the reasons I am afraid to be controlling, together with him telling me he is sooo afraid. Think I might be the bad gal, abusing, controlling all the time.) I am not quite sure what he means by rules. Every time I used to ask him about commitment he would get angry and say that I was imposing rules again. And really, imposing rules was as far from my mind as possible. But that's why I am very insecure about this This rule thing has been one of our major problem for a long time. I find it very hard to put a finger on it. Sometimes I really feel I used to put rules on him, like wanting him to be faithful, like asking him to help in the house, or asking him to tell me whether or not he might be home for the evening. But As I am learning about borders I think that I was maybe trying to draw lines for myself and he was just very upset about that. Also that his freedom is my captivity. Don't know really. I'd hate to be controlling, but I also feel I need to take care of me. Though line to walk. For all of us probably. Has anyone experience with this?

As for jumping right in again, I really don't want that. We did that twice before and, as you predicted Asha, jumped out again just as soon. So I do want to take things slowly this time, But I also know I cant be *just friends*. That for me would mean I would have the be happy if he found someone else to be with, I and won't. So no *just friends* for a while jet. It's either some sort of commitment or staying away from each other a while longer.

Dear Astrid, don't get mad at yourself for sleeping with your ex. But I think you're right to stop it, if you're sure you don't want him back anyway. And even if you would, it probably is not the right time, since he doesn't want to commit and you would get yourself in the same place as before again. Look who's talking. I slept with my ex lots of time after we where separated. Sort of thought that would magically make everything all right. :) Well, doesn't. You just get hurt more, cause its harder to keep your distance.

<<<I know somewhat how you feel about wanting to stay alone and stay angry. That's sort of where I'm at right now. Got a bit of a false sense of security going and that wasn't a good thing for me. >>>>>

Yes, I know. I wasn't even angry all the time, but it just felt good to be on my own and not having to think about what he might want for a change. But I know, it was a kind of false security too, like shutting him out of my world, I just refused to acknowledge he still existed I And I defenitly didn't want to acknowledge that he might not be as bad and horrible a person as I needed to make him right then. It's easier to keep your distance that way. But I know I can't keep that up forever, so I am very cautiously coming out of my casttle to see wether the war is still raging or if maybe we can discuss new borders between our king (queen) doms :).

As for the medicine discussion: I do think medication helps. You just have to be very wary not to become dependent. I used an antidepressant for maybe 3-4 weeks at a low dose and it really helped. It was sort of the push I needed to get back on my own two feet again. The way I see it is that when things like this happen to you, you get so stressed, that your biological system gets all confused. You brain chemicals are not in balance any more and all you do by taking medication is restoring the balance. After that you can do it on your own again. Another idea for plant medication: I take Melise tea (is this English?). ?? It works and it's more mild than St John's wort. As for meditation I totally agree with Asha. It helps. Problem is, that if you feel real bad it is hard to get in the mood. Anyone has any experience with Reiki? Can also be of help.

Keep up the good faith, all of you. Hope Lynn is having a wonderful Christmasgiving, with lots of love, gifts (I love gifts, doesn't matter what they are) singing and hugging. And Dan, hope your not feeling to lonesome. Missing is supposed to be good for the relationship (probably is)

See you all later.

AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000

S1

Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and the rest of the family.

I'm going a little stir crazy, here with Lynn gone. I'm kind of at a loss for what to do. I've got some Honey Do's which I am working on but I don't really seem to be making much headway. Danny Dan, did you find my pix for you on the home page?

I got some bad news last night, one of my nephews died. I didn't know him very well, but his father, mother and I are fairly close. It was strange because two of my younger brothers called to let me know. Our mother had called them and told them but didn't see fit to call me. She is always saying that she wished that we talked more often. I guess she lost my phone number again. Must be.

Lynn used to get hang up phone calls and when I asked her about them she denied it, and so I told her that I was going to have a tracer put on my line, the hang ups stopped and she told everyone that I had changed my number and hadn't given it to her. When I asked her about the number she told me, "I lost it."

I have been sitting here thinking about Danny and just what kind of man he would have been if he would have been raised in a functional family. Wishes are free. And Danny is now learning to reparent himself. Loving Danny is free.

I have accomplished two of my dreams, I've got a degree and I am working at a job which I love, although it isn't in my degree area.

My getting a degree as an educator is something which never occurred to me in my younger days. When I got out of high school there was no way that I wanted any more schooling. I did get a scholarship to an commercial artist school, I filled in one of those matchbook draw me ads, and heard from the school. I would have had to provide my own board and room but it just wasn't what I thought I wanted. After getting my degree, I signed up to substitute teach at my old high school. The first day I ran into an old teacher who asked if I was there about one of my children. I said that I only had one, in grade school and I was there to teach. He looked at me in amazement and said, "You, a teacher!" Gives you an idea what kind of student I was. Funny thing but when I started high school, I was making B's and C's, I quit at the end of my sophomore year, but went back. My grades after that were C's, D's and F's. I just didn't care what I got for a grade, I was just putting my time in.

Oh, I guess there is another accomplishment in my life, I swore that I would not spend any time in prison and I haven't. I have been in jail though, but not in the last 25 years.

As a kid and as a young man, I also swore that I didn't want any kids because I had raised my younger siblings, but I met my first wife who had a daughter, fell in love with them both. I adopted my daughter after about 1 1/2 years of marriage, and haven't had any regrets about doing so. The only thing is that I would like to be as close to her as I feel I am with Lynn's children. I'm sure that day will come, when she's ready.

I was doing a little putting stuff away and happened to glance at a collage of pictures of me that Lynn had put together. I always seemed to be smiling. I would like to know just what I've locked up inside that now it takes a lot for me to smile. Lynn has said that I'm to serious and that she hasn't seen me smile much with pure enjoyment until we got LOCO.

As I think about it, I guess that I have become a very serious person, I guess that I have forgot how to have fun.

I'm going to digress here for a minute, sometime in high school I started to enjoy drawing and felt that I was pretty good, thus the matchbook draw me ad. The funny (?) thing was that when I drew a self portrait, it was of the famous monster put together out of human body parts. I've always claimed that he was my mascot. Another picture that I drew a lot was a vulture. I thought that when I grew up that I would have it tattooed, I never, as a matter of fact the ideas of tattoos are for me a yes I would like one, no I wouldn't. Some days I am tempted, other days I ask myself what I'm thinking about.

Dear Astrid,

I know how you feel about teaching especially in an area which you aren't good at, for you and me, it's math. I always felt that if you didn't show an interest in a subject that the students would know and you weren't helping them or yourself. Stick to your own dreams even though it doesn't sit well with your mother. I know where she is coming from, because I went to school in the era that if you were a girl and showed an aptitude for math, everything was done to dissuade you from that interest. I took bookkeeping and typing in high school and most of the teachers were astounded that I would take electives such as those. Of course, I thought that they were easy classes and that is what I was looking for. Bookkeeping wasn't that easy either. I think that I got a D.

As for sleeping with your ex, don't kick yourself to much, just remember that we will slip, grab yourself by the seat of your pants, pick yourself up and walk down the path.

Dear Asha,

Glad that your dinner went well and that work is progressing. It sounds as though you have really made progress with who you are and what you want.

Dear Steve,

Way to go, and I hope that you will enlist our help, advice, and support whenever that you need it.

Dear AJ,

About your question to Lynn and I about my time in Nam and how to get C to open up about whatever he was through. There is no way that you can get him to tell you'll just have to wait. When he's ready, he'll talk about it. I still haven't told Lynn about a lot of my stuff on Nam, it's one of my inner issues that I have to deal with and that's when I'll be able to tell Lynn.

Please don't let others influence you on how to deal with C. Follow your own guiding light. You'll know what to do and when to do it.

Dear Becky,

I'm so glad that you are doing better and I can understand about giving of oneself to please others. I think that it is one of the hardest things not to beat oneself up over. To much and you soon lose your identity. I think that I have lost the art of truely giving and have turned it into taking and expecting. I expect that Lynn will do this or that because.......

Dear Dr Irene,

So glad that your giving feedback again, because there are days that I feel that I'm combating this I know that I'm on the right track reading your posts to us all.

Dear Trubble,

It's almost spawning season, so the salmon should be very tasty. I hope that you get your fair share. Thank you Daddy.

Hugs

Dan

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000

S1

Hmm. Been a day of weird and off the wall conversations.

Mom called again. This time I didn't hang up on her, but the conversation took sort of a strange turn. She said "the more I'm around other people's kids, the more I appreciate what a good kid you were." On the one hand that feels like a compliment, on the other hand it makes me feel kind of icky. I'm not sure why yet -- maybe because I was "expected" to be "good" all the time? Weird. Stop looking for her approval; you don't need it. Maybe you expected you to be "good" all the time...

Also talked to my ex, who told me about something he did that I just thought was STUPID. I told him as calmly as I could, "that really wasn't a smart thing to do; burning your bridges isn't usually a good idea." Apparently, his last night at his old job that he was originally planning to take a leave of absence from for the semester, he lost it and said "F*** you!" to a customer who was aggravating him. And after I told him that I thought this wasn't bright, he said "I should have known you wouldn't understand and you'd yell at me!" Um??? I did not yell. I did not raise my voice. I told him it wasn't a bright thing to do, and he has a history of walking off jobs in various not-bright fashions. One of our earliest major fights was when he just stopped showing up to work, and lied to me and to his mother about it, and expected me to "poor baby" him after his mother caught him! I told him, just as calmly, "I wasn't yelling. I'm just saying that I don't think that's a good idea, and you have a history of that sort of thing. I know it's not really any of my business now, but you can't expect me to approve." This did not sit well.

He also felt the need to tell me all about how much fun he had getting stoned with his RA. Ah, college life. *smirk*

Talked a lot today to the bitter/cynical guy, who was last night running drafts by me of his final "do not contact me again" e-mail to his ex-girlfriend. (Long story, but I'm glad he did it. This chickie has far too many psychological problems -- she accused my friend of consorting with demons, for one thing, thanks to the influence of the guy she was cheating on him with.) He's doing OK, all things considered. I'm hoping it never comes to quite that point with my ex -- I hate to completely kick people out of my life, even when they annoy me. If I'd done that with my ex-girlfriend, I'd have lost a very important friendship.

Life is messy, but at least the cat box is clean and I have clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat off of. And I got sleep this weekend. :)

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000

S1

Dan,

I'm sorry about your nephew. Us too.

Also, I'm curious: given that your experience in school wasn't all that great, why did you decide to become a teacher? I disliked school, was an average student who occasionally got an above average grade, had a small circle of friends, felt intimidated and nervous most of the time. I have my own thoughts about why I ended up working in an environment that I disliked for 12 years of my life, and would be interested in hearing your thoughts about yourself.

Becky

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

S1

Hi all.

AJ:

<<Every time I used to ask him about commitment he would get angry and say that I was imposing rules again.... But As I am learning about borders I think that I was maybe trying to draw lines for myself and he was just very upset about that. Yes. Also that his freedom is my captivity... Has anyone experience with this? >>

Yes. I have. Ask yourself - do the "rules" you "impose" come from your ego or from your higher self? What will life be like for *you* if you don't "impose rules" (translation - set boundaries)? Do you have a right to ask to be treated well, to want give and take and mutuality? Be clear and honest with yourself. You don't sound controlling to me. My mistake was putting my H's feelings above my own. This did him no favors. Once I myself became clear on my own boundaries changes started to happen. If having boundaries isn't acceptable to him, then it's doubtful that the relationship will be acceptable for you either.

Dan:

You sound so sad. Cheer up!! Well okay, facing pain is important, I know. And when you are alone it's harder to escape it. But don't give that pain too much power, 'kay? Give yourself credit for all the work you are doing now. You should be proud. Besides all your pets need double the attention with Lynn gone! Yeah!

You said you wondered what you would have been like without the dysfunctional family, but I think the experiences that we have no control over are gifts from God challenging us to gain strength and knowledge.

<<<I think that I have lost the art of truly giving and have turned it into taking and expecting.>>>

Yes, but you are acknowledging that and I think that is wonderful! And from what I see on these boards, you are giving back now.

Becky - Astrid and I posted some stuff on the Buddha board which you might find of interest. Just thought I'd tell you.

take care all.

AKasha-Mommy

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

S1

Dan:

I'm also very sorry to hear about your nephew. I'd forgotten that you said that when I posted. That explains why you're so down. Still, I hate to see you so sad.

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, October 09, 2000

S1

Dear all,

Had a kind of interesting dream last night about a scorpion (C.'s astrological sign is Scorpio). There was a pink en apple green scorpion (strange coulors) in the house and I told my sister and mother to take care, cause scorpions could kill people. Then it was gone all of a sudden and popped up in the living room again. I remember saying in my dream, it must be some kind of ghost or demon to be able to do that. My mother picked up the scorpion and put it outside, didn't want to kill it and I agreed, sure it has a right to live too (usually I hardly ever agree with my mother, lot of anger there!). Then I too went outside and sat on top of a table, cause the scorpion was still there and I didn't want it to bite me. I was not afraid, just cautious. It bit me anyway. I wiped it away, got up and walked inside the house, saying, you'll have to call and ambulance cause it bit me. My mother said are you going to die now? I said don't think so, only black scorpions kill people. In the hospital they bandaged my foot and I asked the nurse: was it swollen very much. She said, no, you'll be OK, not a big problem. Cool: He bit you; it hurt; you took care of it and will be fine!

At first I thought: it's a warning, I have to take care, he'll bite me. Then I thought, I was feeling so peaceful, not afraid, and I did just what I had to do, didn't panic and everything really was OK. Then it felt rather good, like OK he may bite me, but even then, I'll know just what to do, and I'll survive and I can put boundaries without having to kill or hurt (like putting the scorpion outside without feeling the need to kill it. I also didn't feel anger when it stung)

C. called today to postpone our appointment. He had some work he needed to do in Paris urgently and would I mind very much. I said what if I would, and he answered: I wouldn't have take the assignment. So now I'll be seeing him Saturday. I don't really mind. Gives me a little more time to get used to the idea. And I did think it rather sweet that he would have cancelled his Paris-trip for me. (Getting soft already, am I? Well, I really don't mind postponing and it felt good having the power to let him stay for me and not using it.)

Dan, sorry about you nephew. People as young as that are not supposed to die, are they. It must be hard that your mother didn't see fit to call you. I suppose thing like that keep hurting, we keep trying to get blood out of a rock, don't we. Cheer up. Lynn loves you. Thanks for you're comments about the scary periods in C's past/ I know, I can't force him, don't want to anyway. He'll talk when he's ready, and he already did a lot of talking. It's just I have such a hard time understanding, because it's way out of my experience.

Asha, thanks for your input on the ‘imposing rules' question. I think you're right, I do need to set boundaries, because if I don't I'll just loose respect for my self. I used to run away when anyone said *booh* to me. Gradually I start realizing that there are no boundaries without conflict and that if I need and want to set boundaries I will have to accept the conflict. Don't feel very elated about the prospect though.

My sister just called and though I didn't want to tell her that I was going to see C., I just did when she asked whether I had anything to tell (just nicely asked). She reacted as predicted, said she didn't believe in him changing, that she really liked him, but felt he would just upset me again, but that I had to do what I felt I had to do regardless. It still made me doubt and I hate it when people make me doubt my decisions. Guess I'll have to learn and sit with that too, won't I Doc? You bet!

Love to all and happy, sun filled thoughts.

AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2000

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Dear Dr. Irene

Don't tell Trubble this, but I think he has a Mommy/Daddy complex. Maybe because something bad happened to his real parents. I don't want to break his little heart though, so let's keep it to ourselves. Oh yes. You're right on target (as usual.) Read the blurb about when the as-yet un-named cat made his appearance on the site. He had a very hard life and a real identity crisis that was resolved somewhat here. It's good of you to be kind to him and indulge him, as long as he's not being destructive..

love AKAsha-Mommy ;)

Trubble - I *love* your Halloween costume - this has to be the best Trubble pic so far (laughing). And when Halloween is over, you can eat the costume!!! Giggle! I hadn't even though of that!

I just did a search on Akasha and Anne Rice to find out who this Akasha character is. Couldn't find it though. I used to tell Steve's kids I was a vampire. Still do sometimes. They were skeptical. Call me anything you want, just don't call me "Surely"... or "Kay". :)

take care everybody

Asha Maybe I'm remembering her name incorrectly, but it's something like that. Anyway, she is a very old and very powerful vampire in one of the later books. I'll have to check. Someday...

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Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2000

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To all When I posted last night, I was upset about talking to my sister. She sort of got me into defending C. and saying that I thought he might have changed. I really felt upset about it, doubting myself very much. Them this morning I wake up and I realized I was upset, because in talking to her, it was all about him again, how he would act and feel. I so easily got into that again and forgot that the reason why I feel safe to see him is that I have changed, at that that's the point. It didn't even cross my mind to point that out to her. Just went on defending C.

AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2000

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Dear Lynn,

B. here. I have been meaning to write you many times, but now that I've seen your GREAT Trubble & trout I really had to tell you how impressed I was.

As a matter of fact, while editing my posts for Dr. Irene to "publish", I omitted something that was of no interest to others, but it could be of interest to you: What started my becoming an interactive mail was your story! You remember that your posts begin with a post from Trubble? Well, mine should have been the first after that. I wrote you a long post about you and about the parallel with my story etc. etc. - and all of it got deleted, since I happened to send it while the Doc was editing. I got so upset that I had no energy to re-write everything I wrote to you. So I wrote Dr. Irene instead, telling her how my post to you got lost and all that. She answered me, and somehow my "board" emerged from this incident (I went and compiled older posts etc.). Funny world.  :)

I've read your post again, and I plan to go read all the posts here, with your updates (quite a lot!). I'm really happy for you! And I think I feel the same change as you: how someone you've actually given up on, returns to become your true partner.

OK, I just wanted to say "way to go" and encourage you. And BTW, at the end of this month is my birthday. I'll be 39 :-) I can't believe it. Only yesterday I finished high school, you know? I also look in my twenties and have a young child, so I have this illusion that I'm "a young girl"... I do wish I had discovered all this when I was younger (as you said it), but I know it's a process, and I needed to live and learn all those years in order to learn more and more. I'm becoming a better person, and that's encouraging, even though it takes such a long time! I plan to be wise and "perfect" by the time I reach 70... Love, B. You are already wise. Purrrfect? Well...only cats uh...never mind. For those of you who don't know "B," I asked her to compile her posts because she struck me as one smart cookie with a healthy dose of common sense, which I'm partial to. The lady has so much sense, she was able to single-handedly turn her marriage around. Yippeee! Dr. Irene 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2000

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Dear Trubble,

Have been thinking, cats are really great therapists. They can teach you a lot about self-esteem and boundaries. Me thinks God put cats into the world just for that. And to eat Salmon of course. And Trout. By the way Lynn, about the cat boxes, you said in your initial post that you could clean them yourself. Sure you can, but if you can have someone else do it.....think twice before leaving. :) Hey, I don't care which one of you guys cleans it; as long as it's clean.

Dear dr. I, thank you for your comments. I know, C. wants what he can't get, he likes yoyoying. He once said he needs to miss me. I've never before set any real boundaries or even told him what I wanted. Like Becky I just felt that his anger would mean the end of the world . I did set boundaries once or twice the past year and at the time it worked out great. For instance he would be very good at not making a definite appointment, just said something like: I might drop in on Saturday. I once said: either we have a date, or we don't and if we don't and you decide to drop in, I just might not be there. We set the date, and he came, looking his best and all loving and nice words. So I know it worked to be clear and withdraw a little and set boundaries. Though at the time I had no idea that was what I was doing and I just didn't know then that I would have to do it all the time!!! Frankly, I don't think I want to do for the rest of my life, but I know I have to be absolutely firm and clear for now. And being clear to him also helps me to be clear to myself about what I really want and need. Yes. And setting boundaries is good for yourSelf - but it also creates a space for him to fix himSelf. Win-win, you know?

About the Melise, I found out in English it's officially called Lemon balm and it really works, so do Lavender and Rosemary (take care with Rosemary if you have a high blood pressure though.)

He Theresa and Steve, where are you?? Yeah! And Dan? And David?

Astrid, about your mother: She's like mine I guess. Nothing you ever do is quite good enough and all your choices have to be debated. I also always feel very defensive around my mother, even when she doesn't overtly say anything annoying. Just waiting for her to start at it again. Take care and stay close to your own feelings, no matter what Mom says (you can listen to MommyDoc 1 & 2 though if you feel like it :))

Dear Asha, I absolutely think you're right about Trubble's Mummy/Daddy complex, but I'll promise to keep it quiet. Think it's contagious? Nope. By the way, where does your story start? I read most of the old posts, but I have an idea that you were here before before posting at Cat box.

B., Ah, I think as for the ‘wise', you'll make it before 70.....Perfect, you'll probably never be. Hope it isn't to big a put down.

Funny thing, you're probably all sleeping when I am writing and vice versa. Glad the world isn't that small after all. Love to all (and me too :))

AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2000

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Anyone care to summarize the last two months of posting on this thread? What is a "can box" anyway? :)

David

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2000

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Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and the rest of the family,

To All, My sister-in-law called to let me know that they got my message. It seems that my nephew had an enlarged heart and went to bed last Wed and never woke up. When I asked if there was anything I could do , she told me that I had already did, just by calling. That made me feel pretty good. Oh Dan... Sorry...

Trubble, I love your picture, and I really appreciate the costume. Lynn will probably enjoy it too. Did you notice MommyDoc2 on her broom flying away on vacation? That part was my idea.

Dear B,

Lynn's on vacation right now but I'm sure that she will drop you a post when she comes back. I want to thank you for the compliment, I feel that it is one.

Dear Becky,

Hope all is going well for you. I'll try to answer you question. I have a brother who is 8 years younger than I, and he stayed with my first wife, daughter and I when he was in Junior High. One night he was reading Peter Rabbit to my daughter and he had to sound out a lot of the words. He quit school after the 9th grade because he couldn't read or write. He could sign his name and that was about it. His teachers kept passing him because they didn't want to put up with him again. I was very disgusted and thought that maybe I could make a difference. Don't know if I succeeded or not, but do know that a lot of the students who gave me trouble remember me and will greet me on the street when they see me.

It was about 7 years after before I went back and got my degree. I haven't regretted it at all. As I said before, I like working with kids.

Dear Theressa,

I haven't seen a post from you for a couple of days. I hope everything is going well for you and you are meeting new people.

Dear Asha and Steve,

I will address this to you both as I feel that you are really working on self.

The animals are fine, although I think that they miss Lynn very much because they are doing things which is very unlike them. Dogs are messing in the house and cats are climbing on shelves knocking things down and breaking things. I am amazed at this because they do it when I'm home.

I haven't checked out Buddha lately to see what you have posted there, probably will when done here.

Dear Astrid,

I don't have much more to add that I didn't put in my last post but I do agree with Doc, your mother will only give you approval on her terms and you won't get far seeking it. (Paraphrased) This I speak from experience, because I know that is one of my major issues.

Dear AJ,

Don't down play yourself to much, for defending C in your conversation with your sister, I don't know but I think that there is backsliding on the reciever's part also. Stick by your convictions about your life with or without C. You will know if he is truly trying to change or not.

Boundaries aren't just for protection against those who hurt but also those who don't mean to, i.e. your sister.

Weak or no boundaries are similar to a wire fence. They will do no good unless we give them the support which we need to strengthen them. Of this I can speak with conviction because as I posted earlier I didn't know anything about boundaries until I went to a therapist.

I think that I'm going to go into something here which has had me feeling guilty for many years.

I posted that I had a younger sister. In 1964, she died of suffocation, in a refrigerator. She was 6 years old. I have always cried when I talk of this, and I may again tonight. I was a sophomore in high school and had went to school that day. When I came home, I was sent to get her as she had went out to play. She wasn't at her friend's house so I started scouring the neighborhood for her. I didn't find her and so after I ate, I started pedaling my bike around the town. I got home about 1 A.M. In the morning I went down to the cop shop and asked to see the juvenile officer, he and I were on more than speaking terms, the desk sgt told me to go home, but the juvenile officer came out and asked me what was wrong. I told him and he had the place jumping in nothing flat. I then went back looking for my sister. I came home for lunch and he stopped me as I was leaving and told me. I had made myself a sandwich with my switchblade, and still had it in my hand, I stuck it in the floor between his feet. He took it. Offered me a shoulder and actually showed that he cared. My dad was on the road and we sent a message that she was missing. He arrived home and asked for any news. Mom was at the house where my sister was found, and so it was up to me to tell him. He didn't take it very well, I don't blame him now but I did then.

The last words that she spoke to me were two nights before she was found, as she was going to bed she said, "Good night you big bully." I was babysitting that night, I don't remember where my mom was.

I don't remember getting any support from my parents during this time. The wake and the funeral. I have had it explained to me why I feel as I do but it still doesn't ease the pain when I tell the story. Dan: why do you feel guilty about her death? Can you identify your over-responsibility and how it developed?

I'm starting to break up again so I am going to sign off for now. I want to Thank you all for your condolences for my nephew.

Hugs

Dan

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

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Dear AJ

I think I first posted to David's Buddha section around the end of August, and then started posting here at the cat box around "read the posts 2". I had been reading and following the website since June of this year.

David - It's not "can box" it's cat box :) - you know the litter boxes that cats use? If you read Lynn's letter on the very first page, it gives you some background. As you can see, Dan is here posting so things are a lot better for Lynn and Dan now. I don't think I can summarize - too much has happened. Someday, if you have nothing else to do you could scan some of the old posts. But don't worry about that, just read the current posts if you are interested. Personally, I would enjoy hearing your input. And a note, I have that book "The Solo Partner" too. Didn't finish reading it tho. Maybe I will now. What did you think of it?

Dan - are the pets trying to tell you something that you're not hearing? My dog has certain signals that mean "I gotta go - now"! You could also spend some time reassuring them, and tell them not to worry, that Lynn is coming back. I think animals understand far more than we give them credit for. They probably *are* worried about Lynn, but you can tell them what's going on. Honest, I really believe this helps. And take care of you too.

Hi to B. Look forward to hearing more from you.

I'm too tired to say much else, so g'night all. Talk to you later.

Asha    G'night Mommy3

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

p.s. Dan - I don't think your sister would have wanted you to remember her by her last words to you. It was her 6 year old ego talking. You did the best you could with the knowledge and experience you had at that time. Most kids have said things like that, and have just been lucky enough to have life continue on. Forgive yourself, and forgive her and let go of the pain. She is free now. Interestingly, I was born the year she died. So you see life is always renewing itself.

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

Hi Dan, B. here.

I'm sorry too for your nephew (as you can see, I've read some posts...). I was also very sorry to read about your sister. I too have a younger sister, born 1964. I can't imagine losing her. I really hate death (well, who doesn't). Just this week I went to a funeral of a dear old friend and colleague, who died of cancer after a long struggle. She was one of those people that make you say the cliche "only the Good die young".

The first one who ever died on me was my beloved cat. I think I loved him best in the whole world. I think he was the only creature in the world that I believed in his love for me. We used to buy him cod fish especially for him. He also loved eating grass (regular garden lawn grass), green peas, my grandmother's cakes and other weird stuff. 

I agree with one of the posters here (sorry, forgot who), that we can learn a lot about boundaries and self-respect from cats. I love cats because they live their own life, you know, and do not accept abuse. But, we can dish it out!Dogs, on the other hand, are classic co-dependents. They still love you and serve you even when you abuse them. I really don't like that (ha ha that tells a lot about me, I guess). My husband adores dogs. He can't stand cats. He feels they aren't loyal...

Dr. Irene and AJ, thanks for the compliments. What I meant by "wise" was, to always keep my cool, never say even one unnecessary word, never "engage", always keep my boundaries and "see" what other people are, always respect each and every one, no matter what. So in that respect, I am not there yet... I wrote "perfect" between inverted commas because I was grinning, of course. Only Old Zen Masters from books may stand up to this ideal (REAL Zen Masters probably lose their cool sometimes too...). 

However, a part of me, that I'm aware of, truly secretly still measures me according to this ideal, and truly does not accept that I am allowed to be HUMAN. I think growing up in a home with constant corrections and criticism sticks to you.

Lately I noticed my little girl (3 years old) corrects other people's language mistakes and other mistakes. I realized I correct her and I should ease up on it - not because it offends her (it does not), but because it will make her unpleasant to other kids, and might make her a perfectionist too, and that scares me.

So AJ, it's not a put down that I'll never be perfect... I had a therapist for a short while 11 years ago, who gave me "homework" to say out loud every day, several times a day: "I don't have to be perfect in order to be loved".

OK, I think it's time to go do my homework, folks, how about you? Love, B.

P.S. Just a few weeks ago I was surprised to discover that I fell in love with my husband not just because of his "good" qualities (as I had previously thought), but no less because of his weaknesses and "shortcomings" (to me, because you know that what seems like a shortcoming to one may be a virtue to another). It was even before I left him. I also realized I expected him to love me only for my "qualities" - so I actually did not trust him to love ME, but some "perfect image". What a surprise. I love the hurt little boy inside him. I love the angry guy inside him (it's his abusive behavior I don't like). I never suspected I did. I thought I loved him "because" he is sweet, honest, loyal, trustworthy, kind, generous etc. etc. I wonder what you all think about that. B. I think your hubby is a lucky guy!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

Dear B., I didn't figure you were planning to be a Saint when you said you hoped you would be wise before 70. Otherwise I wouldn't have said you'd get there in time. Don't try to be a Saint. I tried that for a while too, and then someone told me: don't do that, saints are boring, humans are much nicer. Of late, I tend to agree. As for the cats: they do lead their own lives (all nine of them), don't they? You can throw them of your lab for as many times as you want and they NEVER take it personally Aha! That proves it; I'm really human. and it doesn't seem to harm their self-esteem (or is that just co-dependent behaviour, being pushed away and coming back for more?)

About realizing you fell in love with your husband partly for his ‘shortcomings', I think that's great, cause I feel it means you are and always were willing to accept him and love him for what he was. That's probably why you can still keep working on your marriage. I wonder, did you tell him this, and if so, how did he react?

Dear Dan, I do hope you didn't feel too bad after your last post as a result of remembering your little sister. You sure did have a lot to cope with when you were young, didn't you? I am not sure I understand what your feelings are over this. Do you feel in anyway responsible for it somehow? What kind of relationship did you have with her? The way you went looking for her all over town and the way you still grief, I think you probably loved her very much, and I am sure she knew that. That might be something to bear in mind. If I am impertinent in asking these questions, please say so, accept my apologies.

You wrote: Weak or no boundaries are similar to a wire fence. They will do no good unless we give them the support which we need to strengthen them. Of this I can speak with conviction because as I posted earlier I didn't know anything about boundaries until I went to a therapist.

I didn't have a clue about them until maybe two months ago!! I thought boundaries might have something to do with yelling I WANT....... ( which I didn't feel like doing) I can tell you it was a revelation worth every bit of pain and hurt I went through to gain it. I felt like stepping into a new world, like I was learning to walk all over again. It felt great. Of course later on I found out that learning to walk didn't mean I was ready to walk the New York marathon yet. Which was rather a disappointment. Dr. I wrote somewhere on the site: boundary stuff should be taught in schools and I think she is right.

Dear Becky, I missed news about how you are doing at the moment would love to hear from you about you.

One last remark: I started a sculpture class. Working in stone is great for patience and there are no guarantees. You may work for weeks, make a wrong move and its over... All you can do is work to the best of your abilities and learn the skills. I know I wouldn't have been able to start a ‘slow' project like this a year ago. I am learning.

Love to all, AJ    Purrr

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

B.

I do sort of understand what you mean.

Maybe it's because imperfections in others make us not have to feel so perfect. And of course, if we value ourselves as fixers, what good would we be with nothing to fix? :) Personally, I think there is even a higher reason that we might be attracted to the "shortcomings" of others, because often we don't even realize them to be shortcomings on a conscious level at first. I think that we are attracted to the lessons we know we will learn from the experience. And that's a good thing, if we don't avoid or deny the lessons.

I don't want to "fix" anybody anymore except myself. I will offer help when asked or to those who want my input, but have discovered that it's a total waste of energy to offer "help" when it's not desired. In fact it's actually a form of control. You can lead a cat to salmon, but you can't make him eat. :)

I'm a dog lover. I think it's really horrible when dogs are abused, but their ability to forgive and love unconditionally is amazing to me, as well as the ability to trust again after being treated poorly. Cats are better about boundaries, but I think that dogs can teach us something about forgiveness. I like cats too though, Trubble, I notice that cats don't seem to hold a grudge. What's a "grudge?" A new, super slippery fish?

Here's a little story you might enjoy:

It is reported that the following edition of the Book of Genesis was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. If authentic, it would shed light on the question, "Where do pets come from?"

And Adam said, "Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked with me everyday. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me."

And God said, "I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will know I love you, even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish and childish and unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself."

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam. And it was a good animal. And God was pleased.

And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged his tail. And Adam said, "But Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and all the good names are taken and I cannot think of a name for this new animal."

And God said, "Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."  

And Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and loved him. And Adam was comforted. And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that Adam's guardian angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam has become filled with pride. He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved, but no one has taught him humility."

And the Lord said, "I will create for him a companion who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The companion will remind him of his limitations, so he will know that he is not worthy of adoration."

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam. And Cat would not obey Adam. 

And when Adam gazed into Cat's eyes, he was reminded that he was not the supreme being. And Adam learned humility. 

And God was pleased. And Adam was greatly improved.

And Cat did not care one way or the other. 

****

take care Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

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Just read your letter to Dr. Irene again dear Lynn from the cat box. I'm J or forgot to leave a name. Tonight acknowledging that I too, though unlike you, I am verbally aggressive about it. I get the covert abuse and am asking myself what I sold out for. Answer the opposite: being thought unable to clean the (metaphorical) cat box. I am only fit to Hoover (see the message board under you to laugh!) At least I get the payoff of a clean house. I am in a really good mood tonight having got the all clear from the psych about depression which all grew out of the verbal abuse problem between me and my husband. Love, J  You can Hoover my cat box anytime!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

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Hi everyone! :)

David, you don't have to follow along as closely as all that if you don't want to. It's good to have you here though. And welcome to the other newcomers -- make yourselves comfortable, find a cat to curl up with (between Trubble and LOCO and my little fur-children, and I'm sure there are more cats in here that would love the attention).

New book recommendation: Judge Judy's Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever. Great stuff. The personal anecdotes about her own marriage are priceless. Especially when she talks about re-marrying her husband after they divorced, and how she said to him "I take you for better OR FORGET IT!" I like that. :)

Speaking of cats, mine are demanding quality lap time, so I'd better sign off for now. :)

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

Hello, everyone,

I'm in one of my rare headache-free moments so thought I'd take advantage of it and post. The last few weeks have been awful. So many headaches, some really severe and not very responsive to the medication. I'm on my second box of Imitrex within a month, and at 128.00 for nine pills, these headaches are costing me!

I had a good case of the guilts earlier; Dan, maybe you can help set me straight. After another relatively sleepless night, I woke up with another headache. I began getting ready for work (Wednesday is parochial school day) wondering how I was going to handle junior high kids --I would be teaching today, rather than doing just library work. I began to get dressed, but just collapsed in tears. I'm physically and emotionally worn out from being in pain almost all the time. I felt that I couldn't do anything but crawl back into bed, so I did.

Turns out that was the best thing--every time I tried to get up I got dizzy, and I'm running a bit of a fever. But have I felt guilty! I've been "shoulding" all over myself: I should go to work, I should tough it out (I've done it before), etc.

If someone else were writing this, I'd tell them, "Hey! Cut yourself some slack!" But I can't be as understanding of myself. I'm so used to putting on a happy face and carrying on. And I guess I'm used to invalidating everything about myself! Glad you see it!

I realize that the headaches, which have gotten worse the last few months, are in part a symptom of the stress I've been under. Certainly stress will not help, but please do not assume a psychological origin without thorough physical assessment! I told my husband this morning that I am very unhappy, and live every day afraid that he's going to turn on me again, especially since he isn't really doing anything to address his problem. He just seems to be willing to coast along, "trying" (whatever that means) to "do better" (again, whatever that means). Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with the feeling that I want to run, to get away from the insecurity, the abnormality and confusion. Even when things are going well, I don't trust it. I've learned that underneath, he has a simmering anger and resentment that will eventually be directed my way. He didn't say much about this, but was sympathetic about the headache, and didn't give me grief about staying home.

So--any tricks I can learn to help me not feel guilty for being human? Also, has anyone had the experience of waking up during the night and not being able to go back to sleep because your mind starts going a mile a minute? What can I do to stop obsessing about things at 2:00 a.m.? This is a symptom of a clinical depression. Consider treatment. Depression only adds to your stress. Even worse, guilt is a symptom of depression. If you are guilty to begin with, your depression only exacerbates the guilt. If you haven't already had a comprehensive physical, have one now. Then consider psychiatric as well as psychological treatment for your depression. You owe this much to yourself.

Trubble, I didn't cook trout the other night; I made steak. And tonight I had sweet and sour chicken. So, I guess you might not like to hang out in my kitchen--sorry! Meow...Gee, ya think no Trout is also caused by depression?  

Becky

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and cat box family,

Welcome David.

I would like to address the ego-self posts to Buddha. My idea of them is relatively short. Ego is when you need and want the pat on the back from anybody for a job well done. My closet door fiasco is an example. Self is when You know that you did a good job and you don't need anyone but yourself to appreciate it. My running my department is the example here. Bingo!

Dear Asha,

I would like to tell you about our pet thing. We have bells hanging from the door knobs on both doors and when the dogs and cats want out they just ring them. The nights that they messed, they had been outside a couple of times during the night.

The cats, except for Loco and one other don't come around me much just when I feed them or when they want attention. Tonight the new kitten, Little One, decided that he didn't like a plant in the planter and dug it out. He can be very obnoxious when he wants to be. Worse than Loco. I've been training both of them.hehehehe

I loved the post about dogs and cats. I think that the reason, that most men don't like cats is because a cat is what a man would like to be. Independent with someone to care for them, and an air of Royaldom. This I think comes from their heritage dating back to the pharaohs.

Dear Becky,

I'm sorry to hear about the headaches, I don't have them very often so I really don't know what it's like to suffer from them all the time.

I don't know if this will help you feel better about missing work, but I also suffer from the guilties when I miss work. I Have To Be There. Over-responsibility to the detriment of the Self. Hmmmm, sound familiar Dan? This can be worse than being sick, because the feeling that things aren't going to go as smoothly if I'm absent is very predominant. Tell yourself NOBODY is indispensable. I just have to tell myself that I have capable people working for me and the job will get done. I'm sure that you had a very capable sub so that whatever your lesson plan was for the day was at least touched by her/him. Being sick and giving yourself grief over it will only increase the feelings of stress. Yep. You are doing something very important for yourself and your students. Taking the sick day is allowing you to heal and helping your students know that you are human and get ill also. Please repeat, when you have these moments, "I'm allowed to be ill. I'm not shirking my responsibilities." Good advice. 

My Questions to the Over-Responsible: Are you so powerful? Do you really think that you have soooo much influence or control over (fill in the blank), that it is up to you to make things right? Are you sooo omnipotent that responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders and nobody else's? Oh my, aren't you arrogant! Do you really think you have the answers - or does your solution simply lower your guilt, sense of obligation, and/ or anxiety, allowing you to "rest"? So, whose feelings are you taking care of when you "selflessly" work so hard to manipulate other people or situations?  Get the picture?

You said that stress is one of the reasons that you have these headaches, well the only thing I can say is that even though you know that your H is going to boil over, perhaps you should take a little pressure off yourself. I think that perhaps by waiting, you are forgetting about Self and are looking to engage (you may not realize this though) when he does finally let go. This will enable the stress levels to rise thus putting more stress you. You don't have to defend yourself to him. My opinion.

A couple of you have asked about the grieving for my sister. I'll try to answer, I think the reason that I have taken it so hard and carried it with me, is the feeling that I didn't protect her as a big brother should. She was more or less a responsibility that I had all her life, and this not protecting her was a way that I had let her down and foregone my responsibility. I had been her everyday father figure all her life, and I took this very seriously. I know that I could not have prevented her death, I know that her last words to me were not being mean or degrading, I know this as an adult, but I have to know this as the 16 year old. This will take some work, especially since I had thought that I had the grief over and done with. I also think that if my parents would have allowed that I was having a hard time dealing with her death at the time it would not have stayed with me for 36 years. Yes. Time heals all wounds they say, but there are wounds that have to be healed through facing the cause of the wound. Yes. I think Dan in part you have not properly grieved because it is only recently that you began to see the errors in your parent's ways, and especially in your mother's ways. I don't know if you get yet how profoundly abused you were as a child. Your parents dumped their parental responsibility on you, a child...  

Steve,

Keep up the good work, I know that you are working on the problems that caused the present problem and I'm behind you all the way.

You all have given your ages in one way or another through these posts and I must say that Lynn and I are the elder statesmen, at least thus far.

Hugs

Dan

I finally tracked down the name, "Akasha." She is the Queen Mother Vampire from Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned. Don't tell Steve!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2000

S1

Dear Becky,

I am very glad you posted again to tell about you. I'm so sad though you're not feeling too well. As for the obsessing at night: I used to have a trick. When I was really obsessing about work or my relationship, I would get up and write it down. That way I sort of got it out of my system and after a while I usually would be able to get back to sleep. There's some sort of special peacefulness about getting up at night when everybody sleeps and no one's there to bother you. It's just you and yourself. I don't very often do it anymore, don't need it thankfully. But it always helped. Hope it helps for you too. Take care and please follow the Doc's advise and have a checkup. There's no use in feeling worse than you have to.

Love and lost of hugs and good feelings, AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Dan - the bells on the doorknobs are a novel idea. how did you train the pets to ring them?

Dr Irene - what exactly was your question to the over-responsible? Did I miss something? Nope. I did. It's fixed.

Hi everyone else.

I'm feeling very low today. Just thinking that Steve and I seem to be on different paths, seeing things very differently, and it's not the outcome I'd hoped for. I love him, but it just seems like when I let myself feel whatever it is I'm feeling, that it doesn't jive with what he's feeling, and we end up arguing. We're back into the perplexing "communication problems". I've decided not to fight my feelings anymore though, and when something feels wrong or right to me, I have to be honest to both him and myself. It may just be that we will never see eye to eye. You don't have to. I don't like fighting. No reason to; OK to disagree. I want to be able to express myself and not be interpreted as attacking him. Of course.

I have been somewhat impatient and irritable. The only way I can expect nothing from him is to withdraw completely. Or to put yourself first and to stop obsessing about Steve.

I enjoy our work together very much and I think there is a lot of potential in it so I hope we can continue a positive relationship there. But I feel the only thing left for me to do in the relationship is withdraw, because the things I have done in the past don't fix anything, and I'm tired of being in constant conflict. Right. Why are you making withdrawal sound so sad? It's not a loss. Both of you are already lost in each other. What each of you need to do is to each find him or her Self.

I guess if it's meant to be it will be, and if not there will be another higher purpose for me. I'm just feeling very sad and tired right now. I feel secure in myself though, and I feel like I've done everything I could do to try to make the relationship work, other than give up my core Self, and that wouldn't solve anything. If Steve wants the relationship to progress, it will be up to him now to find solutions. I hope you have given up. You or Steve don't stand a chance until you've given up.

I'm not putting him down in any way. He has his own point of view. This is just how I feel.

If you can spare some good thoughts, please send them my way. Lots of Good Thoughts!

Thanks

Asha  

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Hi to All.

I want to share some current observations on my own situation.

I see that AK has posted her views. Now you can read mine.

Whilst thinking about "boundaries" I have begun to realize how weak my own are. I was very concerned about not going beyond the boundaries of others, and I believe I forgot to set some of my own. Absolutely!

During an introspective process of deep personality scanning, such as I am attempting, I think we can end up feeling like a crustacean which has left it's old shell, seeking a new one. At this time, we have a soft body, which can be easily disturbed/confused - especially if we know nothing about boundaries. Very nice analogy.

I think it is very important that while we are in the stage of molting, we stay extremely vigilant over our own "reactions" to the "actions" of others. This is about self-knowledge. Very good. Even more so, if we are in the company of one who knows we are vulnerable. In my case, I feel as if AK is treating me like a subject rather than a person. I'm sure that is exactly how it feels, though, I doubt that is her intention Steve. Doesn't make it right though, and that's why I ask her to give up. She can't help working overtime to "fix" you and to "help" you. 

Abuse can be given, AND received, by the same person. Surely no-one would disagree with that. I am finding that by recognizing when I am "abusive" (I hate that word, it is so general and not what I mean at all. I am going to try to come up with a better word), I hate it too. I also can now recognize it easier in others when they exhibit similar behavior toward me. Excellent.

It's not a game. No. It's not a competition of who's been "abused" more. It's just a process of understanding how not to give AND receive useless, destructive "fear-based" actions/words. Yes.

Intention and what those same intentions feel like to the partner are huge sources of misunderstanding. This is vastly oversimplified, but you two are stuck in this type of pattern: 

Victim works overtime trying to fix, help, remind, etc. abuser. Victim needs Abuser to feel "whole." Victim's intentions are honorable and Victim cannot understand how his or her very giving thoughts and actions are "misread." Victim is frustrated and may slip verbally. Abuser interprets Victim's actions as controlling (boundary breach), judgmental, or otherwise objectified / abused. 

Abuser recedes internally to look at what's going on; after all, Victim has made some good points, but when is Victim going too far? Abuser's intentions are honorable but Abuser has difficulty knowing what is "real" and what is Victim's stuff. Abuser recedes further in an attempt to feel safe. Abuser is frustrated and may slip verbally. Victim interprets Abuser's recession as "shut out" feeling emotionally and / or verbally abused; Victim feels unloved, misunderstood. 

What seems most difficult, is jumping off the merry-go-round once you've jumped on, regardless of whether you jumped on first, or someone else invited you to join them. It's also very difficult to solve a situation where someone wants you to join them, and if you refuse, you risk being labeled the "bad one". The problem seems to be, in how one carries out the "act of refusal". The usual ways of removing one-self from the situation, seem to incur the wrath of the person I am detaching from. In this case, AK.

There is another issue, bound to be extremely controversial around here, but I need to talk about it. I can't talk about it with AK.

It's that taboo 3 letter acronym: PMS

PMS is not an airy-fairy notion It's a very real physiological condition experienced by 1/2 the population. I am fascinated by it, yet fearful at the same time. It can appear like the person with it is on some type of amphetamine or adrenaline-mimicking steroid. They can become very powerful and extremely difficult - if not impossible - to reason with. At least, that's how I feel right now when observing AK's behavior. You have identified the source of your problem: your fear of her power. Easier said than done, but start going in the direction of there is nothing to be afraid of. You can't do this until you have settled the internal boundary issue you brought up before. Questioning yourself, you put your how-to-live-life rules aside, giving up the only control you know. Feeling the ground is torn out from under you is terrifying - even though there is nothing to fear. One of your major goals is to give up the rule book and let yourself be guided from within. 

I cannot discuss this taboo "condition" with AK. She is very defensive about it, even when she isn't "under the influence". Of course. PMSing women often don't recognize how overemotional and nutty they can be. Plus, you've catastrophized her PMS with your fear of her power, so now there is an "issue" you two can polarize over.

And because I am in a vulnerable state - that is, my partner is viewing me as the only one with problems She doesn't see how her strongly she is pulled towards micromanaging you.  That is a big problem. - discussing anything remotely to do with her "self's problems" is just proof to her that it is I who has the problem and I'm just trying to avoid facing it by focusing on her problem(s). Yeah. Because avoidance has occurred in the past when you didn't want to examine yourself. And since you're not entirely comfortable letting her in where you haven't finished exploring the territory feels dangerous, there likely is some avoidance, even now. And around we go. Are you dizzy yet? I am. Of course.

I am weary of keeping this underground. I believe PMS needs to be considered. I've talked to many women who say it's a huge factor in how they communicate with others. Of course it is. But, you are making it bigger and you don't have to - but you can't help it right now.

I know I have problems. I am working on them. But it's very hard to feel safe when someone is more aggressive than usual, and they have in their arsenal of verbal weapons, your own admission of guilt - which they can wave in front of you at anytime, "See? It says right here...You have all these problems. You are the guilty one. You said so yourself. You signed the confession." That is very unproductive and will just make you more defensive. That's what happens when she's frustrated and at her wit's end. She's hurt and she's trying to hurt you back. Don't personalize this stuff. It's not about you. It is entirely about her. When you personalize, you empower her in your head! 

So, she will almost always believe that I am just "crossing her boundaries" or "abusing" her, ESPECIALLY if I dare to address what MY concerns with HER are. And PMS is a huge concern for me. The only options I have are to endure her behavior or avoid it. I find that enduring it is almost self-abusive, while avoiding it seems to reward me with more black marks on my record. I understand how you feel. But, both of you are making the same mistake: you are each engaging emotionally with the other. Not worth it! If even one of you were able to pull away when this type of stuff happens recognizing that the other person is having a hard time, you'd save both of you grief.

I've worked hard (and still am) at trying to recognize when I am being irrational. I may find that I am being hyper-sensitive to this issue. But I am determined to get to the bottom of it and see what the "real" is. Good. You'll find you both do and say dumb things when feeling frustrated by the partner. I'd like to get you guys get to the point where you can laugh about this stuff - because it's really not important. 

In this situation, am I being abusive or am I being abused? I think you are each disrespectful to each other. It's good to see you working so hard Steve. Yes, you will blow it; yes, you will recede too much for most tastes at times. But, you are asking good questions and I don't sense that you are avoiding looking at yourself.   Do I just need to start paying attention to my own boundaries - or lack of them? Yes to both. 

I thought if I "fixed" my behavior, everything would be fine. Now I believe, even when I have truly come a long way in my journey, it won't be enough to save the relationship. Because there are other issues over which I have no control. I can only adjust my own behavior. Yes. That's all you have to worry about. When she "cares too much" and hovers or micromanages, even though she does it with no malice, you let her get to you. Yes, that stuff is her issue. I've said that to her here and elsewhere. She knows. Just like you mess up, so will she. Especially when she's PMSing. Let her - and watch her begin to heal...

What really concerns me, is the life-changing decisions AK makes when "under the influence". She has every right to do as she wants, but it's sad for me to watch a relationship, that I felt had finally been moving on a higher road, fall victim to a drug, even if it is a hormone produced by her own body. Stop dramatizing. Now you're PMSing!

There's absolutely nothing I can do. Correct. Accept that. Let it go. Don't let this issue take up so much space in your head. It feels like trying to wrest the car keys from a drunk before they drive off into the rainy night. They truly don't believe they are too drunk to drive. 

I cannot help her. I am the last person who can help her. I am the person with all the "problems". You both have problems. Her problems are generally easier to fix.  

Advice, opinion and insight is highly welcome. 

Steve

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Dear Asha AND Steve, I feel I want to address both of you in the same post. I am so sorry that things are getting difficult again, for both of you. It's clear you both really want to work things out, so please keep that in mind when thinking about each other. Both partners need to disengage and focus on the self. They can do this whether they are physically together or not.

Asha, I know the feeling of "The only way I can expect nothing from him is to withdraw completely. "  In this phase you both need time to heal, and I think a lot of healing needs to be done on your own, without the pressure of feeling you have to come up with some sort of solution. You don't. Just detach. Yep. Easier said than done, but I also know of my own experience it can be done. You're on some sort of emotional role coaster and you need to get off. I relate very much to your saying I don't want to fight all the time. So don't. Yep. You don't need to engage, you can detach. But I think, that in the end, setting boundaries is about ‘fighting', about confrontations. It's scary if you're not used to it (at least it scares the hell out of me), but it's the only way. But you can take a breath some times, cut yourself some slack, give yourself some time to heal from the hurt. Give yourself permission to stop looking for a solution for that time. Exactly! He won't fix it as quickly as you want, and probably won't do it the way you want, but let go and you facilitate his recovery - as well as yours. Let him be, let him fight his own battle for a while, he needs time to heal too and just concentrate on enjoying life again. As you said yourself, if it's meant to be, it will be (you might like to read my post to David, it's about letting go also).

Steve, I don't know about PMS (thankfully it never really bothered me mentally), so I won't address that issue. I do relate to your feeling of the merry-go-round. C. and I used to be very good at it. We somehow were not able to distance ourselves enough from the problem, to see things more clearly. I think you are right about setting boundaries. In my opinion recovery is not about the abuser becoming a victim and vice versa. It's about both of you learning to rely on yourSelf, your own judgement enough to set healthy boundaries. And it's about both of you learning to identify bad behaviour in yourselves and others, and not to put up with it. Yes! You're both in such a hurry to find THE solution. As I said to Asha: cut yourself some slack. So, maybe you are the bad guy, and sure you need to work on it, but you don't need to feel guilty all the time. If you feel you need to withdraw, by all means do so. But think before you do that whether you are running away to punish, or out of fear, or whether you really are withdrawing because you need time to fix yourself. (see Dr. I.'s article on Ego and Self). I think I'm going to hire you AJ!

Dear Steve and Asha, hugs and love to both of you, you have my prayers and I'll take some time this evening to send you some extra energy and good wishes. Hope you'll get trough this together, but remember that it's all about getting through things with yourself intact in the end.

AJ 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Dear everyone, I would really like to join in here. One of the side effects of depression is it makes you very selfish and wrapped up in your own problems, so having recovered, I kept the selfishness and didn't even notice how things were ongoing here. But I have developed a major Dr. Irene site addiction and its time to get a bit more interested in being part of something. Lynn, thanks for your love and prayers and If I knew where your catbox was I would Hoover it!!!

Sorry Trubble no cats here, too near a main road.. Plenty of fish in the garden pond though. Love, J.   

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Hello Steve, hi everybody else.

From inside the situation, I am the last person who can offer advice to you Steve, but I do want to offer my thoughts and feelings. (And for anyone reading this, including Steve, please understand that I am not writing this with any feeling of anger whatsoever.)

Maybe if you aren't clear on boundaries, you sometimes feel attacked when my intention is nothing like that. Correct. Admittedly, at times I am more irritable, but my feelings and thoughts are no less valid at that time. Perhaps I also sometimes have less tolerance to express my feelings "nicely". Correct; that is hard for Steve.

I get very frustrated because during "that time" I still have real feelings and concerns and it seems like they don't get taken seriously because you interpret it all as symptoms of PMS. Of course you have real feelings and concerns, probably blown up a bit. When we lived together your pattern was to avoid me during that time and to sleep downstairs. Ouchhh! This may have been a solution for you, but it made things worse for me. Sometimes I feel that your expectation of a mood from me, creates a mood. It was such a pattern during our relationship that I dreaded that time regardless of how "hormonally" I felt. And when I did feel rotten, it was not a good solution for me either. I don't know, on my part, how to break that pattern in a positive way. You need Steve's help. As he disengages, you will have the space to heal yourself.

My feeling is that I do sometimes experience PMS, but not always. When I do experience it, basically it intensifies whatever feelings or anxieties I am having at that moment. Right. It isn't for a set block of time (say 1 week without stopping), it's more like it comes in waves. I am not "irrational" at that time, but I do experience my anxieties and feelings more intensely. Also, I sometimes experience extremely painful cramping, and that contributes to my lack of patience. All, I can really do at that time, is try to make you aware of how I feel. What I would actually like, just like if I was feeling any other kind of "sick", is support and understanding. Right.

Steve, you are vulnerable, but I am very vulnerable too. I don't think of you as a "subject" - I think you're projecting how you feel here. He's just talking about how he feels... In fact I've been really more focused on how I feel, which I haven't been fully in tune with for a long time. Keep it up; it's the right direction. I just know when something feels wrong for me, and this recent string of arguments around "PMS" feel very very wrong for me. Yes. 

I'm not totally clear on the "merry-go-round" thing. I just know that some of what we argue about doesn't seem real. It's not; it's about silly stuff. As I said before, I feel like anything I say won't get taken seriously at "that time", and I find that very frustrating. 

you said: <<<They can become very powerful and extremely difficult - if not impossible - to reason with.>>>>

That's exactly how I feel I get treated. Like a being who "can't be reasoned with" therefore, why try. It feels very disempowering to me.

<<<I cannot discuss this taboo "condition" with AK. She is very defensive about it, even when she isn't "under the influence". >>>

I am not defensive about the "condition". I am defensive about the "impossible to reason with" stuff. In the past I felt like you sometimes used this time as justification for your own moodiness and reactiveness He probably has at times. , basically by pointing out that it was "that time" and that I wasn't perceiving things correctly. This has become a major "button" for me. Then, AK, it becomes your button to pull back in. That's what I mean when I say you two have polarized and created an issue that doesn't have to be. Each of you need to pull your buttons in.

I don't view you as the "only one with problems". I just am tired of discussing "my" problem, as we did in the past, again and again. It didn't address your involvement in the problem. And I feel that's what we went back to doing. I had phoned you seeking reassurance and telling you how I was feeling - worried that things weren't progressing. Correct. You hit an anxiety button AK. He knows how hard he's working and your statement felt like an attack ("not doing enough") even though it wasn't. Somehow that seemed to get interpreted as an attack. Then all we talked about was "my" pms problem and "my" interrupting and so on. This just doesn't address both of us. Correct. Steve's button to pull in. I'm not counting; I'm attempting to give each of you guidance as to where to go.

<<<And because I am in a vulnerable state - that is, my partner is viewing me as the only one with problems - discussing anything remotely to do with her "self's problems is just proof to her that it is I who has the problem and I'm just trying to avoid facing it by focusing on her problems.>>>

I feel you are projecting onto me again. I don't see you as the "only one with problems" or "proof" or anything like that. Read what I said above, if you want to know what I feel about discussing "my" problems. It's been an unhealthy pattern that I'd like to break. I think because Steve is in a vulnerable state, he is prone to defensiveness. That's OK. AK, you could help him more if you didn't use pointed words like "projecting," which may be true, but nevertheless have an angry connotation. If he's defensive, why in the world would you want to attack him? It will only make him more defensive. Each of you needs to attack less and disengage more.

<<<it's very hard to feel safe when someone is more aggressive than usual, and they have in their arsenal of verbal weapons, your own admission of guilt - which they can wave in front of you at anytime, "See? It says right here...You have all these problems. You are the guilty one. You said so yourself. You signed the confession.>>>

Steve, I feel this is projection again, it's not true. This is not what I want to do at all. This is not helpful. You are trying to be "right" or show him the errors of his ways. All you need do is disengage and let his reaction pass.

<<<So, she will almost always believe that I am just "crossing her boundaries" or "abusing" her, ESPECIALLY if I dare to address what MY concerns with HER are. And PMS is a huge concern for me. The only options I have are to endure her behavior or avoid it. Or pull your PMS button in, as per above. I find that enduring it is almost self-abusive, while avoiding it seems to reward me with more black marks on my record.>>>

On my own part, I can't take a drug that will ensure that PMS is not a factor in my tolerance level. An antidepressant would increase your tolerance. In fact, both of you would be less touchy. I don't know of anything I've done during PMS that was incredibly unreasonable, but I do have less patience for things that normally bug me, but I put up with normally. If I do sound less patient or am more snappy, wouldn't it then be a comfort to you to know that it's a symptom of my not feeling good, and not an "attack"? True. The problem is you are asking Steve to correct implicit, underlying thinking, which he does automatically, in the blink of an eye, and without awareness. Steve: If you think about this when you are calm, you will see how you could have jumped the gun on misinterpreting her tone of voice. You may not like it as much when she is PMSy, but I think you can separate out that her irritability is internal, about her, and not about you. My guess Steve is that you had a critical parental figure who taught you to carry them around with you in your head. Check it out; you don't have to do this. Still, even if I'm having a problem expressing my feelings when under extra emotional or hormonal stress, that doesn't invalidate what I feel. My feelings are true, I may just be having a problem expressing them. I am reading the book "When Words Hurt" right now. Maybe I'll find some tips that can help. Best tip: Disengage!!!

<<<In this situation, am I being abusive or am I being abused? Do I just need to start paying attention to my own boundaries - or lack of them?>>>

If your boundaries involve ignoring, avoiding me, or treating me like your "attacker", then this relationship will not work for me. AK: Why would you assume that Steve's boundaries are about treating you badly? You are mad and venting. I don't think he's being sarcastic here; I think he is really asking a question. Steve needs to learn ways to help you feel OK when he's receding, but he can't do that yet. Try to differentiate between when he is into himself and ignoring you because he feels hurt and when when he is into himself to punish you. Lots of times there will be overlap. But, that's no different than when your anger overlaps your "not accepting his abuse," as I pointed out in a couple sections above.   The point is: you both blow it. 

<<<I thought if I "fixed" my behavior, everything would be fine. Now I believe, even when I have truly come a long way in my journey, it won't be enough to save the relationship>>>

But Steve what worries me is that "fixing" is a process, not something that happens overnight. I would like to join you in the process of healing, but I don't believe that anyone can "fix" a lifetime of negative patterns overnight. It's impossible. I don't think he said he thought he could fix himself overnight. I take what he's saying more along the lines of you don't appreciate the changes he has made. By the way, this is normal. When change occurs, the self will notice it way ahead of others - because only the changing individual realizes how he or she would have behaved yukkier in the past.

Thank you for posting Steve. It feels good to get some dialogue happening, and I'm hoping that others will have some helpful insight. A note for Becky - though I know this stuff may look like an online argument, it's not intended to be. I feel like the intention of both Steve's and my posts are in the spirit of resolving something. Some yukky stuff has come up, but I think it's good for both of us to address that, and this feels like a safe forum to do so. (And Becky I do hope your headache has subsided) Me too Becky.

Asha (AK)

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

p.s.

I'm thinking that one thing that Steve and I have in common is a misunderstanding of boundaries; not knowing what they are and how to use them... we seem to get each other's feelings enmeshed in our own all too easily - just an observation. A good one; why you are both advised to disengage.

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

AK, I love you but...grin.

Steve: <<<I thought if I "fixed" my behavior, everything would be fine. Now I believe, even when I have truly come a long way in my journey, it won't be enough to save the relationship>>>

AK: "But Steve what worries me is that "fixing" is a process, not something that happens overnight. I would like to join you in the process of healing, but I don't believe that anyone can "fix" a lifetime of negative patterns overnight. It's impossible."

Shucks. Ooops Steve... The sarcasm is showing! Boy you two really do it to each other! You didn't read correctly, sorry. Look at the tense. "When", not "now that I have". "Won't" not "isn't". 

I meant "when"...  

I do understand it's a long process AK. Give me a little credit please. I thought your communication was clear. AK jumps the gun and "inserts" negative stuff just like you "insert" criticism. You guys have had far too much of that stuff.

AK: "I get very frustrated because during "that time" I still have real feelings and concerns and it seems like they don't get taken seriously because you interpret it all as symptoms of PMS."

No AK. Not "ALL". Some though. Yeah. Try to stay away from words like "always", "never" etc. because they approach character assassination vs. a specific statement about what bothered you. Also, very few things are "always" or "never, etc.

AK: "When we lived together your pattern was to avoid me during that time and to sleep downstairs."

I slept downstairs at other times as well. There were many different reasons at many different times. Too many to go into here. But more of the same junk, I'm sure, powered by lack of communication and gobs of misinterpretation and hurt feelings on both sides.

AK: "I just know when something feels wrong for me, and this recent string of arguments around "PMS" feel very very wrong for me."

Very very wrong for me also. Not just the recent ones. This is where I think I need to look at setting my own boundaries. Yes. 

AK: "That's exactly how I feel I get treated. Like a being who "can't be reasoned with" therefore, why try. It feels very disempowering to me."

If you think it feels disempowering to you, put yourself in my place. Maybe you feel you get treated that way. Both of you are doing it. I feel that you are acting that way Yes., so I guess I could be treating you that way. Yes. But if I feel like I can't reason with you, and I truly do, then what else can I do? DISENGAGE and let her be imperfect. She'll get over it! Promise! I feel completely paralyzed. There's a wall I can't get through. You haven't tried this one; both of you take each other's words personally. You each get so defensive and are so angry, you miss where your partner is really coming from. My words become meaningless and I feel like I'm just wasting more of my life away. It's like coming to the end of a dead-end street. I can stop there with the motor running, but eventually I'm going to run out of gas. That gas, is my life. I do have an expiry date. THIS is DIS-EMPOWERED (at least for me). Yes Steve. All the more reason to stop engaging. Am I being clear? Do you two understand how this conversation you've been having is nothing more than each blaming the other? You each point out very real faults in your partner, but doing so in a blaming way only makes your partner angrier and more defensive. You guys don't have to do this. Disengage. Let the other person be who they are. Your job is to learn to tolerate and be OK with aspects of your partner you may not like. Live and let live. OK? I'm going to jump forward now. The rest is just more of the same guys.

AK: "I just am tired of discussing "my" problem, as we did in the past, again and again. It didn't address your involvement in the problem."

If you recall AK, during this recent "uprising", I said at least 5 times, I want to talk about my problems. I said "We can talk about my problems for hours and days and weeks - I want to do that. I need to do that. But then I said I would like reserve a time when we could talk about your problems that concern me. You refused to hear me.

Steve: <<<And because I am in a vulnerable state - that is, my partner is viewing me as the only one with problems - discussing anything remotely to do with her "self's problems is just proof to her that it is I who has the problem and I'm just trying to avoid facing it by focusing on her problem(s).>>>

AK: "I feel you are projecting onto me again. I don't see you as the "only one with problems" or "proof" or anything like that. Read what I said above if you want to know what I feel about discussing "my" problems. It's been an unhealthy pattern that I'd like to break."

Look at what you just said AK. I am projecting onto you again. This is exactly what I am talking about. It's my "past, unhealthy problems" that are at fault. My "record" is on trial always, so there's no way to break through that for me.

As I said to you many times, I am willing to discuss my problems until the cows come home. However, if I need to address a communication problem I feel you are a part of, how will it ever come about? You absolutely refuse to address it on the grounds that I am just "projecting".

Let me just explain what I see as the sequence of events leading up to...

First, I begin to detect your increased impatience.

Then, you begin to talk faster and faster (AK is a fast talker even at her most peaceful moments).

Soon, you are talking so fast I tend to become dis-oriented.

Then, you hit the wall, where from that point on, you rarely let me finish a thought without interrupting me. You don't seem to hear my actual words. What I do say gets repeated back to me completely distorted - like it's been involved in that game where you repeat a short story around a circle of people and see how the last version compares to the first.

Then, when I try to point out how you have changed my words, you get very very defensive.

You perform the same function on your own words so I have a difficult time keeping up to what you really mean. I try to address your words, and you change them. Then, I try to address the change, and you change them again. It's a never-ending quest for me.

The nice thing about this forum is, I can cut and paste your exact words. You cannot change them on me over and over again. And, you cannot change mine either. They are there for all eternity. Grin.

 

Steve: <<<it's very hard to feel safe when someone is more aggressive than usual, and they have in their arsenal of verbal weapons, your own admission of guilt - which they can wave in front of you at anytime, "See? It says right here...You have all these problems. You are the guilty one. You said so yourself. You signed the confession.>>>

AK: "Steve, I feel this is projection again, it's not true. This is not what I want to do at all. "

AK, look at what you just wrote. Then look at my part above, that you are referring to. Can you not see what I mean? You are again, claiming I am projecting. A perfect example of what is frustrating me so much.

Is there ever a time when I am NOT "projecting"?

AK: "If your boundaries involve ignoring, avoiding me, or treating me like your "attacker", then this relationship will not work for me."

AK, read your sentence again...think about how you are phrasing that.

On another note:

AK and I have a major difference in the following situation:

I wanted to create a climate where either one of us could withdraw to a place of safety, whenever we felt too uncomfortable to withstand any more of the other's (or our own) behavior. I had a great deal of difficulty trying to convince AK this would be good for both of us. She refuses the idea, and believes that if SHE wants to continue riding "the merry-go-round" I should have to keep her company until SHE decides it's ok for me to get off.

AK, you are still in this mode. I am unsafe in this situation. I need to have an escape. As I've told you many times, I feel like a trapped animal in a cage with someone poking a stick at me.

We've never had a chance to put this to a panel of "experts" like we have in the catbox.

So now, let me put it to them.

What do you all think? Should an individual be able to withdraw from the merry-go-round (an argument, debate or whatever you call it) whenever they feel unsafe? Or must they wait for permission from the other before they jump off? Of course you jump off. But, you can jump off coldly, or you can jump off in a way that does not lead your partner to feel shut out. 

AK has said before, that if I would just "jump off" nicely, it would be so much better. I told her that in the heat of the moment, I can't always jump off as elegantly as she requires. No, you can just do your best and try to improve for the next time around. I have to jump off whatever way I can. Even when I try to do it elegantly - "I need to take a break AK" as opposed to "I'm outta here", she will still be highly offended. My, what a tangled web we weave...

This has been a huge difference in philosophies between AK and I from day 1.

I believe it can be very damaging to continue a discussion that has degraded to a mud-throwing competition. 

I see when it's happening, and I want out.

This is one of my new boundaries. If you don't like it AK, that's your choice. I respect it.

Interestingly enough (smile), when the reverse happens, when she wants out, she will run upstairs, slamming the door, yelling and swearing, and it's fine for her. You were doing OK till here Steve. And you know, I don't really mind her doing that. I just want to have the same choices (well, I don't really want the slamming doors, yelling and swearing - I just want to vacate the situation quietly if possible). 

Wheww....that's enough for now. I have to get out in the sunshine...

To AJ: Thank you for very very good advice/insight.

Steve

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Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

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Steve

Forgive me if I'm engaging (I don't *think* I am), but I want to point out some things I am observing here.

<<<AK, I love you but...grin.>>>

Why grin?

This comes across to me as belittling. I hope you will look at your real intention here. This is the source of the problem I feel we have; that you don't see me as an equal.

Basically, I feel that you continued this tone while addressing my other comments. Sort of feels like you want to "put me in my place", rather than really try to understand what I was saying.

<<<But if I feel like I can't reason with you, and I truly do, then what else can I do? I feel completely paralyzed. >>>

This is where we are "stuck". You feel at these times you can't reason with me. And I feel I invalidated by your treatment of me as someone who is "unreasonable". Don't know where to go from here, except to withdraw. Disengage. Let the other person do whatever they're doing; feel however they're feeling without thinking it's about you!

<<<I said "We can talk about my problems for hours and days and weeks - I want to do that. I need to do that. But then I said I would like reserve a time when we could talk about your problems that concern me. You refused to hear me. >>>

What doesn't make sense to me is that I want us to each to be responsible for our own problems. Mine and yours. I don't understand the above statement, or the argument we had about this. I am really confused here. I don't want to "blame" either of us. I want to get to the crux of what needs work, and do the work. So what is going on here? I don't feel I was refusing to hear, but this conversation did not "feel" right.

<<<My "record" is on trial always, so there's no way to break through that for me.>>>

I know that there are patterns from the past that I'm unwilling to repeat, and so yes, I am watching carefully. I forgive, but I can't forget. I need to know that change is solid and permanent for my own health.

<<<As I said to you many times, I am willing to discuss my problems until the cows come home. However, if I need to address a communication problem I feel you are a part of, how will it ever come about? You absolutely refuse to address it on the grounds that I am just "projecting".>>>

It doesn't really matter whether you are projecting or not. I'm not refusing to address anything. But I'm still not clear on what needs addressing. I can only tell you what *I* experience and what *I* feel, and your descriptions of what you feel I'm doing don't fit with my reality.

<<<...Then, I try to address the change, and you change them again. It's a never-ending quest for me.>>>

I feel that what's important, is not *words*, but *intention*. I try to get across my intention through whatever means possible. I try to understand your intention as well, and perhaps at times I misinterpret this. Still, somehow we seem to lose the thread of what the core issues are when we get into this "word game" of sorts. There has to be a better way of communicating.

<<<The nice thing about this forum is, I can cut and paste your exact words. You cannot change them on me over and over again. And, you cannot change mine either. They are there for all eternity. Grin.>>>

I don't understand what you are thinking. I have no intention to want to change my words on this forum; only to be understood, which is my intention in speaking to you as well.

<<<AK: "If your boundaries involve ignoring, avoiding me, or treating me like your "attacker", then this relationship will not work for me."

AK, read your sentence again...think about how you are phrasing that.>>>

I don't know what you're getting at. We both have problems with boundaries; that seems clear to me. I am speaking of how I feel about the present situation. This is not a threat, it is a reality. If we could learn healthier ways to retreat when we need to I am fully open to that.

<<"I need to take a break AK" as opposed to "I'm outta here", she will still be highly offended.>>>

This isn't true. Read my post here, dated August 31, 2000

http://www.drirene.com/ego_self.htm

This is about all I have to add, without launching into my typical non-productive "defense" pattern, which I am trying to drop. I hope I haven't sounded too defensive above. I'm trying not to be. Just want to add clarity to the issues, and some of my own questions.

Thanks

Asha

 

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Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

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To AJ, Thanks for the suggestion and the kind words. I sometimes think that I ought to just get up and not try to force myself back to sleep, and I do that sometimes on weekends. But when I have to be up at 6:00 a.m., getting back to sleep is a major concern. I usually get drowsy again about a half hour before I need to get up! I am due for my annual visit to the Dr., so will bring it up with him.

The discussion about PMS hits a button! Whenever I want to discuss our relationship, or express any unhappiness about it, my husband says "Is it that time of the month again?" This is so offensive to me, because it implies that my concerns are trivial, just a by-product of raging hormones, and therefore can be dismissed. I do get more emotional at that time, and things bother me more, but that doesn't mean that I'm overreacting to the marriage problems: they are serious no matter what time of the month it is!

Phil McGraw was on Oprah the other day, and he said that "Men have to quit running for the hills" every time their wives say "Can we talk?" I think the same goes for the PMS situation. I wonder how many guys read up on the subject, and ask their ladies what THEY need from THEM to help them through this time. I wonder if they realize how miserable we can feel. As I've gotten older, some of the PMS symptoms have subsided, but I still get weepy, I sometimes have what I call "awful thoughts," i.e. my children being killed, I usually have monster headaches that nothing alleviates. It's no fun for us, either! Yet so many guys act like this is something that's being done to them, and that attitude "excuses" their "run for the hills" behavior, and their condescending dismissal of their wives/girlfriends feelings and concerns. (By the way, I do what I can to help myself through this time, so I DO take responsibility!)

As I said, this is a major button pusher, because my husband, who has no respect for women anyway, uses PMS as a weapon against me, and another excuse for him to not take our problems seriously.

Don't apologize for using this board to express your thoughts to Steve, Asha. I understand that doing it this way can be very helpful. I wish my husband would talk, write notes--something! Me too.

Hello everyone else!

Becky

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Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

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Hi Steve, good to see you back. Hope the conversations continue productive.

I don't think I particularly have a problem with PMS, mentally (about all that happens is I want lots of bread and butter and chocolate, and my face breaks out). But I do have a physical health problem that directly affects my moods -- I'm mildly hypoglycemic and tend to get very cranky if I haven't eaten recently. This can be a real problem for me, and I'm trying to watch it more carefully. But I can remember picking some incredibly stupid fights with my ex and coming partially to my senses when he looked at me and said "hon, have you eaten?"

OTOH, sometimes whatever I was upset about was legit but aggravated by my general cranky low-blood-sugar state. Hard to tell sometimes.

Astrid

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

 

Steve :<<<AK, I love you but...grin.>>>

AK: "Why grin? This comes across to me as belittling. I hope you will look at your real intention here. This is the source of the problem I feel we have; that you don't see me as an equal. Basically, I feel that you continued this tone while addressing my other comments. Sort of feels like you want to "put me in my place", rather than really try to understand what I was saying."

I'm not at all surprised that you have interpreted my simple little statement this way. I grin all the time. Ask my friends. They don't think I'm belittling them. It's merely a way of saying...there's something more to it... I don't want to put you in your place. That's your job. But I do want to try to be accurate. Your above statements reflect a lot of what I'm trying to get at. Saying I don't see you as an equal - what can I do with that? Nothing. So I won't. Everything you've said above is exactly why I can't get through. Even what I'm saying now, I feel won't get through.

AK: "I know that there are patterns from the past that I'm unwilling to repeat, and so yes, I am watching carefully. I forgive, but I can't forget. I need to know that change is solid and permanent for my own health."

Normally, this would push a button on me. Because it makes me feel isolated. Like I'm the only one to be "forgiven but not forgotten". It is all my fault. Again the familiar repetition. Wait, it IS pushing a button. I'm not comfortable with it. I need to set my own boundaries on your reality. I will accept only what I am responsible for. I won't accept any more. I need to consider my own health. I will forgive, AND I will forget. If I set my boundaries correctly, I won't need to replay all the hurtful words that came from you, just to remind myself of what I wont accept.

I too need to know that you are changing. I plan on changing regardless, but to continue having hope in our relationship, I need to know that YOU can look at yourself. I feel as though you are just looking only at what you've "allowed" to hurt YOU that came from ME. That is all you feel you need to change, by "putting up some boundaries."

Yet, you are refusing to look at the possibility that YOU may have a problem in the way YOU treat ME. Not how you treat me because I treated you first. This is how you're accustomed to looking at it. You feel you only exhibit bad behavior after I've "forced" you into it with my bad behavior. And you've said this much to me many many times. You continue to say this with your above statements.

Sometimes AK, you do initiate.

Steve: <<<The nice thing about this forum is, I can cut and paste your exact words. You cannot change them on me over and over again. And, you cannot change mine either. They are there for all eternity. Grin.>>>

AK: "I don't understand what you are thinking."

I can see that. Double Grin.

AK: "I have no intention to want to change my words on this forum; only to be understood, which is my intention in speaking to you as well."

I never said you DID want to change your words on the forum??? Where did you get that from???

I was pointing out how great it is to not have to go through the cat and mouse game of trying to sort out what was really said by you or I. The forum makes it stick.

I too wish to be understood AK. That's why I'm starting to realize the real value of this forum. There's no changing of the words. I need that kind of environment to view things clearly. It feels much safer than in a place where words and meanings change all too easily, at the discretion of the changer.

Also, having the words carved in cyberspace, means I can continue to re-evaluate some of my own thoughts and feelings.

 

To Becky:

I realize that talking about the PMS thing gets many women upset. Believe me, men are fully aware of this. It's a catch-22 situation. If we bring it up, we are discounted because it's assumed that we are just trying to squeak out of our own dumb talk/actions. So if we believe it DOES affect perception of reality AND judgment - as I do (I've done some research and spoken to many females who agree) - then you may consider me as someone who has no respect for women and won't take responsibility for my own behavior.

I can't speak for your husband, but I know for sure, that I do not use it as an excuse to "not take things seriously".

You said: "Phil McGraw was on Oprah the other day, and he said that "Men have to quit running for the hills" every time their wives say "Can we talk?"

I'm not a huge Oprah fan, because I believe she is a little too selective in her approach (mind you, her audience is 99 percent female). However, this is very interesting to me Becky, because I believe the same may be true in reverse. Women appear to be "running for the hills" whenever their mates say "PMS".

PMS is so taboo. It's like a dirty little secret that women feel must be hidden, minimized or denied, or they will become vulnerable. I think the opposite is occuring. Women become MORE vulnerable because they condone and take part in, the suppression of inter-sexual discussion regarding PMS.

They know, deep inside, that THEY are "heading for the hills".

Women may actually end up, subconsciously, feeling ashamed for even being a woman. PMS is nothing to be ashamed of. It should be out in the open. I believe there would be a lot more compassion from men if they felt they were not being accused of "making it up", exaggerating the severity, or ducking from their own responsibilities.

Every situation is different. I know some men DO use "PMS" against their spouses in a vindictive way. But this doesn't mean it's not real. It's unfortunate that these men are unknowingly making it more difficult to bring it out of the closet.

Our whole society is terrified to talk about it. I'm tired of taking part in the suppression. I'm tired of having to duck if I say "PMS".

PMS PMS PMS PMS PMS - there I feel better. Grin. (Gee, there I go with that grinning again...maybe I DO have a problem).

I'm not saying this at all to ridicule or belittle anyone. Please don't take it that way Becky.

I just want to be able to speak freely about anything in the world. I don't want to be intimidated by a climate of fear and suppression.

As I said to AK, I want to talk about MY personality faults, I need to. I want to always be looking at myself from now on.

But I want to take the veil off the rest of the world also.

I think Oprah should have a week-long series dedicated to bringing men and women together - with researchers - to discuss PMS. What could it hurt? Isn't this how women and men can get closer? Little by little?

Does my need to talk about PMS always have to mean that I'm trying to avoid addressing MY problems?

If so, it's really really sad.

Steve

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

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Steve: <<"I need to take a break AK" as opposed to "I'm outta here", she will still be highly offended.>>>

AK: "This isn't true. Read my post here, dated August 31, 2000 http://www.drirene.com/ego_self.htm "

AK, I read it. In my opinion you weren't entirely clear in that post. It was great advice, but it was an extremely rare occurrence with us.

We debated this one over and over again.

I maintained that one needs to be able to escape "NOW"! No ifs ands or buts. Because if one feels trapped, they may react very defensively and say words that burn bridges.

I believe it is far better to leave when you "feel it". You have to leave on YOUR terms, not someone elses. YOU set YOUR boundaries. You can't allow someone else to set your boundaries for you. Otherwise, those boundaries become a cage. And it feels horrible to be an animal in a cage. At least, I feel horrible when I'm in that cage.

I disagree with Dr Irene's statement: " Moving away angrily feels like an attack because it IS an attack! " Steve, it is an attack because there is no reason for the angry behavior. Your objective is to get out of the line of fire. What does it add to show your hostility?  

I believe that the attack is from the cager, not the cagee. Yes, the cagee is, in all liklihood, "angry", but attacking? No. They are desperately seeking safety. At least that's what I'm doing. I was attacking and defending while IN the argument. My escape can be considered anything you want, but whatever you consider it, it is very secondary to my immediate need for sanctuary.

I know myself, that just because I leave on my terms, it NEVER means I don't wish to discuss whatever we were arguing about ever again. That is your interpretation AK. I disagree with you on this 100 percent.

Steve    Can you guys please stop this; think about what I said & let me know what you're both thinking.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and he rest of the cat box family,

Welcome J, I'm not sure if I had welcomed you before.

I would like to start out by telling you what happened today. One of my crew is in the National Guard and he asked me a question about Viet Nam. I answered it like it was everyday conversation and went on to explain about how different armies over there treated the Viet Cong (Charlie), and how the American troops had their hands tied more or less while fighting. Something which was done away with during Desert Storm, I'm happy to say. I caught myself and almost stopped but then I knew that he really wanted to know and it started to flow like water. Am I really getting to the bottom of some of my issues? I think, maybe at least where Nam is concerned. I may try to explain to Lynn a little more when she comes home, that is if I don't freeze up again. Either way is fine Dan. Give yourself permission to freeze up too. OK?

I may not be posting as often as before but I do check out the site everyday and then I re-read it before I post.

Dear Becky,

Please ask your Dr about your headaches as Dr Irene suggested and if necessary get the full battery of tests, I don't know how many sick and personal days you get but if there is a chance of cutting down on them it may just be worth it.

I will now post to Steve and Asha.

Forget the PMS thing. You are trying to bring a new issue into play before you have worked on the old issues. Right Dan. You see how they make anything into a power struggle, don't you. This may be an old issue as far as past behaviors are concerned involving you both, but I think that this is a smokescreen. I think that you both are forgetting that to resolve anything you have to be comfortable with Self, and your leaving that part of you out when discussing whatever.

Reading both your posts, I am getting the strong feeling that you both are forgetting just what you want to work on and are bringing in something (old) new.

If posting here is the only way that you can talk to each other right now, do it. Lynn and I did just that. Duct tape on the mouth so to speak. Yes. But I would like to suggest they post after thinking about this stuff.

Steve, I am puzzled by your post... I Love You but....(grin) What's the grin? Especially when you go on to explain about your lack of boundaries and other issues. You also said that Asha keeps bringing up you admitted your guilt. Face it, you admitted to it and it will be with you until the road gets better, and for sometime after. This is one of the slippery rocks I spoke of. Your past behavior is closely scrutinized as well as your present behavior, one could say that the behaviors are compared. I know what you're saying about wanting to get away and think about whatever. One way that Lynn and I have is to call a time out. You said that Asha goes stomping upstairs, slamming doors and cussing. Lynn would go into the bathroom and take a bath.

I feel that there are still issues which you have to look at concerning yourself and maybe when they are faced you can discuss them with Asha.

I also hate the term abuser but I have accepted that my behaviors have been just that. I question myself every day to come up with the answer to the question, What did I expect from Lynn? I know that part of the answer is that I wanted her to remedy what I didn't get from my mother, and when she didn't, I blamed her for what happened in my childhood. Look inside and see just what your wanting from Asha. You said that you can't see your relationship getting better. It will; it will just take both of you, not just one. These aren't my thoughts, Lynn first spoke these words to me a couple of years ago, and I'm just getting the meaning.

Asha,

I feel that you are doing a little co-depending with Steve, you seem to be forgetting Self, although you say you know what you want, you seemed (in your posts), to be defending yourself for your feelings and your feelings are dependant on how Steve is acting or reacting. If you are uncomfortable with discussing whatever with Steve, perhaps you have to start taking a timeout when you both are getting to the point of no return.

Both Steve's and your posts remind me of the, she stuck her tongue out at me, well he pulled my pony tail. Did not, did to. Perfect analogy Dan!

As for the misunderstanding of what is/was said perhaps you both could try the mirroring technique, you repeat what he says and he repeats what you say. This doesn't work in the heat of an argument, because anger misconceptions can lead to even more misunderstanding.

These are my thoughts on your posts and I am not intending any degrading or demeaning to either one of you. Neither am I when I blue pencil each of you.

I really would like to see you both work out your differences and enjoy each other for many more years of life together. Yes.

Please accept my not using quotation marks because some of the things I couldn't remember the exact wordage.

We have Web TV and I haven't learned how to cut and paste on it yet.

Dear Dr Irene,

I don't know if I used the right word when I started the post about my sister's death, that is "guilty."

I think that I have been unable to accept the feeling that I failed in my responsibility. I know. And that's exactly my point. Your parents had no business dumping their caretaking responsibilities on a young kid. Not only did they dump on you, they did not nurture you to prepare you to caretake others in adulthood. This is child abuse. And, you feel responsible for letting your sister down! Don't you see, you never should have been given responsibility for your sib in the first place! I know that this is kind of a self flagellation type of reaction. I must admit that after posting it here, I have felt better about it than whenever I have talked about it before, including with Lynn. I don't know what I was expecting of Lynn when I told her, I know that she sympathized for me, but it still felt like something was missing. 

I had always thought that I had a normal childhood NO! , agreeably some of my friends had it a lot better, but I thought, those were the breaks, you got parents who didn't expect their children to be raised by the oldest or you didn't.

I have a brother who ended up in the juvenile detention home for boys. His counselor asked my parents who I was. When they told him, he explained that my brother hated me more than was normal for a sibling. He asked some more questions and after they answered, he told them that I was a brother not a parent. This was after I had moved out and had my own family.

This brother and I have a fairly good relationship now. I am proud of that as I never foresaw it happening. I'm glad for you.

To those in the family whom I never personally posted to, my thoughts are with you.

Trubble,

I'm going out now and fix myself a tuna casserole  will save you some as I can't fix just enough for one. Five days and Lynn will return. Dan: Trubble is not here right now. He went to spend some time with Lynn and the grand kids. Last I heard, he was on his way to you: Should be there by late Saturday. He is requesting "Trout Soup" and catnip for dessert. Let me know if he behaves. Thanks much.

Hugs

Dan

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Hi Astrid.

Thanks for your good wishes.

Your post was very candid also.

I know that I too am subject to mood swings, more dependent on my current or recent environment/experiences than a hormone, but moody just the same. That's why I think the two of you should consider an antidepressant or St. John's wort assuming your doc is OK with it. It will make doing this stuff easier.

I want to understand it when it happens, I want to look at the variables that are contributing to my distorted perceptions of reality. I know that I sometimes make decisions/judgments that are different, perhaps more rash, than I would make when I am in a calm state. Exactly why the old adage says: "When hot under the collar, zip your mouth shut, look straight ahead, hands at your sides and walk, walk, walk until you chill..."

I compare it to the effects of marijuana, which I used to partake of in my younger years. I didn't realize until after I quit, just how subtle the distortions were. But it was that very subtleness that made them so powerful and life altering. Exactly. And, a PMSing woman is not much different. Heightened emotions make for increased sensitivity.

Ah...serenity...empty beach, soft surf, primordial sounds of gulls and ravens...Tomorrow I am going to revisit my secret beach with one of my sons. If I can get a fire going, we may even go for a swim in the frozen Pacific.

Take care all.

Steve

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Hi Dan.

Dan: "Steve, I am puzzled by your post... I Love You but....(grin) What's the grin? Especially when you go on to explain about your lack of boundaries and other issues. You also said that Asha keeps bringing up you admitted your guilt. Face it, you admitted to it and it will be with you until the road gets better, and for sometime after. This is one of the slippery rocks I spoke of. Your past behavior is closely scrutinized as well as your present behavior, one could say that the behaviors are compared"

Wow, I am amazed how people are so caught up by my grinning. It's a smile type thing on my face. It's like - I love you AK but you're not ALWAYS correct.

And Dan, I AM facing my past (present and future also). Despite what you choose to believe. You were doing great up to the word "Despite." Can you guess why I say that?

Dan: "I feel that there are still issues which you have to look at concerning yourself and maybe when they are faced you can discuss them with Asha."

I guess I can't expect you to give me credit for knowing what seems obvious to me. (Rephrased: "Yes." Can you guess why?) Of course there are still issues. Of course. Why do you and AK both seem to think I am claiming to be an overnight cure success story? Oh oh, now your buttons are going. Dan never said that you were claiming cure. Neither did AK/Asha/Akasha.)

Does it make you feel more justified in your approach? I really am curious because nowhere have I ever stated " Behold! I am healed! I was blind and now I can see!" Ooops! Sarcasm!

Dan, most of your post seems to be one of defending AK at all costs. You don't seem to be making an attempt at understanding both sides. I've sensed this from almost every post you made that referred to our situation. Even before I got here, you had already made up your mind that I was a jerk. I don't believe you've changed it. That is YOUR problem. Not mine. Steve: Stop. What are you telling yourself that you are distorting Dan's words so - and making yourself angry?

You appear to be of the firm opinion that I performed 100pct of the abuse and therefore we only need to work on me. No Steve. I think Dan is just relaying his experiences and is trying to help you feel comfortable with the recovery process as it has been for him. I think a more appropriate and perhaps accurate statement that respects your boundaries and your Self is more along the lines of: 

"Thanks for your suggestions Dan. I realize you're trying to support me, but it's not working. I'm not having the same experience you are; and when you try to support me or guide me, I feel defensive and talked down to, although I'm not saying that that's what you're doing. Can we instead agree that you will lend support/advice when I ask for it, and keep the rest light?"

Sit with it a while Steve and let me know how close I am to your experience.

You and AK are in agreement on that perhaps. I am not. I said before, I will accept what's mine. But no more. 

Steve

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Dan - thanks. 

<<<I feel that you are doing a little co-depending with Steve, you seem to be forgetting Self, although you say you know what you want, you seemed (in your posts), to be defending yourself for your feelings and your feelings are dependant on how Steve is acting or reacting.>>>

This could be true. :) When I called him because I was worried that he wasn't "progressing", I put myself in a position of relying on his progress for my feelings. Excellent! Now you got it! I have to accept that his choices are his own and not feel the results so intensely. Yes! This is what disengaging is all about. I think that distance is the key right now Emotional disengaging does not require physical distance when you know how to do it well. In the beginning though, physical distance helps because it acts as a safety net., if we are ever to consider a solid future relationship.

<<< If you are uncomfortable with discussing whatever with Steve, perhaps you have to start taking a timeout when you both are getting to the point of no return.>>>

I agree. In fact at one point Steve and I discussed time-outs and we both agreed on this. Some of our discussions seem to go nowhere though, when discussion is resumed after the "time-out". No doubt, given how you two interact.

<<<Both Steve's and your posts remind me of the, she stuck her tongue out at me, well he pulled my pony tail. Did not, did to. >>> Giggle!

It does seem like that. I wonder if I shouldn't post my responses at all. No, by all  means please post. But try to use this forum for practicing new skills. Think about what you want to say before you dash it off. Don't hit "send" if you are still angry. Learn to recognize your anger. This goes for both of you and anybody else who has issues like these. But I don't know if that would help or hinder the process. I'm trying to avoid "engaging" and "defending", but obviously I'm not doing everything effectively just yet. I want to offer input, but maybe I am still trying too hard to make Steve "understand". I think I am still entrenched in that pattern, though I seem not to realize when I'm engaging in it. Yes. That's why you need to take all the time you need to think before you post.

take care

Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

AK - Distance. I'm ok with that.

"I'm outta here"...GRrrrIN! Meow.  No Steve! :(   :(   :(

:)

Steve

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Hi, Steve!

Hey, I'm not afraid to say it, either: PMS! :-) I agree--there should be more dialogue between men and women on the subject, and that dialogue should be for the purpose of understanding what's happening and why. I'm sure that my perceptions have been fuzzied at times because I'm overly jittery or emotional. But that doesn't mean that my husband has an "out" or the right to dismiss me. I belong to the God Help Us list, and tonight there is a discussion of this very subject. It seems to be common for abusive men to say something derogatory pertaining to their wives' cycles whenever they cry or otherwise get upset at disrespectful treatment.

As a woman, and PMS sufferer, I'm more than willing to admit that I get testy, overly emotional and nervous sometimes. I don't believe that makes me bad, inferior, untrustworthy or unstable. But the common belief is that it does, and I think that's why women are reluctant to talk about it. It's like if you admit that you have it, you're giving men (and women who don't have it) ammo to use against you. Maybe it's because I live with a man who seems to look down on women, but I get very upset at the idea that anything having to do with being female is something to be ridiculed and discounted. If you think that AK is being over sensitive or is acting out because of PMS, and you tell her this, she may feel that you are discounting her and trying to trivialize her feelings. I guess I'm trying to warn you against sounding condescending or judgmental, because believe me, no woman wants to hear "Oh, you're in your PMS mode again! I ought to just move out for a week!" (My husband has said that to me when I'm nowhere near my "PMS mode!") You've both got to talk about it, as you said!

Re: Oprah--I think it's a shame that most of her audience is female, because she does have a lot to offer PEOPLE! (That includes men, by the way!) Again, when a person becomes defensive--as my husband does--when a man (Phil McGraw) calls a male verbal abuser "a coward and a bully," that tells me he's hearing something he doesn't want to hear--like the truth! And he'll avoid watching. He's not alone. From what I hear, Oprah is not popular among abusers.

I almost deleted that last statement, but I'll leave it, and point out to you that no, I do not think that every man who doesn't like the Oprah show is abusive!

Becky

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