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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Confessions

Comments for Confessions

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

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 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

  Date: Friday, September 22, 2000

S1

Dear G,

Thank you, too, because if it weren't for Dr. Irene we would probably not be together now. You'd be together; you'd just find another "excuse." Giggle!

Our Love, too, Dan & Lynn

  Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000

S1

G

I think that the term "abuse" scares some people away from looking at their own "mis-behaviours", because as a society we have a view of "abusive" men as wife-beaters and basically hopeless monsters.

When I speak to my partner about the way many men are conditioned to hold in their anger, not show their feelings, and then finally act out, he agrees. If instead, I label his behavior as "abuse", he feels threatened. I think that if we begin to strip down the label of "abuse" and instead see it for what it is - an act by an angry person, we are more likely to reach these people and help them know that there is hope.

Personally, I don't like the labels of abuser and victim because I think there is a bias in society which says abusers can't be helped, and that victims are innocent. However, angry behavior patterns *can* be changed, if the angry person is motivated to change them. I'd like to see more focus on that.

Just my thoughts.

AK

p.s. Will we ever hear Dr. Irene's personal story? :) Not necessary.

Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000

S1

http://www.angelfire.com/tx/recoveredmemories/index.html

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000

S1

Dear G and Dr. Irene,

Hi AK. Is Trubble taking a cat nap? Are we reading this right? Is that the reason you became a therapist? Who? G, Trubble, AK, or me? Here is the correct read: G became a therapist as he reclaimed his life and recovered from alcoholism. (This guy is some therapist too!) If so, good. We need to go back, forgive and then forget, don't we? We, ourselves have been hiding the past and looking for a magic cure to a better "life." There isn't one. Just a lot of hard work.

AK, I agree kinda. I was married to a very physically abusive man. I told Dan in one of our fights not long ago that I felt as though I had been beaten. It ALL hurts. I agree that society confuses the term, yet I think abuse can escalate if left to go on.

Dear G,

A very truthful story. Your honesty and candor is inspiring to those of us here. This is the "magic" door to the future, isn't it, Dr. Irene? Thank you all so much.

Love and Prayers, Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000

S1

Um, what precisely was the purpose of posting that "recovered memories" link?? Someone trying to start a flamewar here?

Yes, I agree that False Memory Syndrome is a real problem for many people, and that the recovered-memories "industry" has done a great deal of harm. (If you want a good, rational discussion of the problems involved, go to www.religioustolerance.org  and read their writings on Ritual Abuse and recovered memories.) And as a member (and as of last month, a leader) of a non-Christian religious community, and someone involved in hobbies that are frequently misconstrued as "satanic" (even though many of my fellow participants in these hobbies are devout Christians), I have a lot of experience dealing with the people who think Michelle Remembers is a true story and that I'm actually some kind of dangerous cult leader. So, I've got very little patience for Satanic Panic-ers.

However, this site seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Apparently, therapy is bad because it takes people away from God? What of those of us who have been through physical and sexual abuse? What of those who have a chemical imbalance in the brain? Should we refuse to give insulin to diabetics because that is "unGodly"?

And love for the self is always bad? Seems to me that attitudes like this from the religious community provide wonderful amounts of justification for both abusers and victims. The victims stay put because they are taught to put everyone else above themselves, and the abusers are justified in continuing their abuse because they think the victims (though somehow, not themselves) SHOULD be self-sacrificing because that's "God's will." This seems to go double if the abuser is male and the victim is female.

Whoops, sorry. I'm soapboxing, am I not? :) But this is something that I have so VERY little patience for. I don't pretend to have all the answers; I'm fully aware that I don't. But the whole concept that people should hurt themselves (or anyone else!) in the name of the Divine to "prove" their own worth in the eyes of the Divine just repulses me.

-AngryGirl

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000

S1

Dear G's group,

Oh oh, AngryGirl, you got my attention. This is Lynn. I'm going back into some of my story because I used to be a bartender. I've seen so much damage done to some people with the therapy that uses blame and confrontation. The "I'm this way because you" school of thought. I've never agreed. To G, One thing I thought years ago was if we solved our problems there would be no abuse of alcohol. I often thought that there was a cause and effect type of thing going on here. This came from many of my customers and many of whom became friends of mine. Many who worked things out and then quit the drinking. A cheap fix to feel good?

Two instances when my customers were in ICU and dying. One was an older guy who's family couldn't get here in time and I spent the day with him. The other was a guy who's family was in town and I spent weeks with him until he died, I never met one member of the family at the hospital. What I'm getting at is that it was sad to me then and it's sad now, that their bartender was their best friend and the one they were closest to at the time of their death.

Very telling to me and if we could find our own way we wouldn't get into these messes we can get ourselves into. The key word here "ourselves." Who are we? Why are we? Where do we want to go? What are our aims and goals? When we figure out what we want, then we can hopefully find a mate who wants to walk the same path with us. (Or alone if by choice) But until we know who WE are I think we can spend years spinning our wheels hoping for a magic cure and for someone to make it better for us and make all our fears and hurts go away.

That's what I like best about your type of therapy Dr Irene. The life choices are mine to make and you firmly lay this on my shoulders. A month ago I wrote how unhappy Dan was making me. Nope! I was making myself unhappy. I had choices. I could have gone. I feel like I chose to tell Dan where I was and he chose to come along the path with me. We still have a long way to go, yet I don't think the path will lead to porn, booze, gambling, pills or some quick fix it. One of my least favorites is "God will not give you more than you can bear." Turn that around and it doesn't mean stay stuck there. To me it means God gives us choices and when we can no longer bear it Do something about it!

Good for you G. You sound like a great person. And maybe you should consider yourself a recovering abuser. I really don't think any of us intentionally mean to hurt those whom we love. (Or those whom we don't either).

Dr. Irene, Did you see Dan's last post? It was written after he read G's site and AK asked him a question. See, you guys can tell your stories without losing your "manhood" I think that showing feelings .......[Dan is finishing this for me. Love and Prayers, Lynn]........ of this type is the true test on whether a person wants to become an ex-abuser. Dan

No wonder so many abuse alcohol. I had many customers who quit drinking and still were more comfortable with the bar crowd. The cue was, "Lynn, give me my regular," and they got a glass of ginger ale.

As for the therapy. I sometimes knew more about these people than their own families did. I couldn't fix anything, just listen. Sometimes an opinion. But the saddest thing about this was/is that many many people with problems could find no way out. No way to get better, so they muddled along as best they could/can and when some couldn't cope anymore they climbed further and further into the bottle.

Here's where I agree with AngryGirl. God or Scientists or the Great Spirit gave us the tools to remedy some of the cures for our illnesses. Like insulin, or antibiotics or whatever. So what is wrong with applying the same towards curing our selves? I myself like the firm approach. All of us have different ails so all of us need different cures. I think some of the more radical ones are a shield to cover our illnesses rather than to make them better. I've often thought this was true in all aspects of life. If someone is not so sure that what they are doing is right they try to get more people over to their way of thinking and then it makes them feel better.

These last two paragraphs were up in the middle somewhere and ended up down here, but I don't think I'll try and fix it.

Thank you all and especially you G and Dr. Irene (Trubble, too if he's awake yet ^_^),

Love and prayers to all of us,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000

S1

Hi G, and thank you. I wish I could hear your words being spoken by my ex-boyfriend.

I didn't know how to let him know that he was abusive without him abusing me. When I talk to him every now and then, we never discuss our relationship or what the problems were.

I have a question. Is it possible for me to say something to him, or is it best to let him discover how angry and abusive he is for himself?

n

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000

S1

Hi G.,

You have described very well your childhood and how you were actually "raised" to be what you are, but you said very little about your relationship with your wife, and even less about your work now, to heal yourself. I am impressed with your honesty and clear sight of your self, your family and your life, and I'd like to hear more about what you are doing now with your rage.

I have discovered that the more I manage to "activate" new ways of reacting to "upsetting things", and the more "love" my husband and I manage to show each other throughout the day - the less rage I experience. It's as if by building these other paths of living it no longer happens, or - to be precise - it happens less and less often, less and less severely, both to me (a co-dependent victim, mostly) and to my husband (an abuser, mostly).

It is almost like RAGE is simply the expression of "no control", that hides behind our attempts to control everything. This fear of "letting go" combined with our blindness to it and with our lack of ways to handle distress is what breeds rage.

My therapist told me last week, that what we have to do as grown ups is to let go of our pain for the parents we should have had but never did (we needed parents who would support us emotionally but never got them, so we remain children who need this support) - and to grow, or raise, our "parents" (or mother) inside us. When we finally have inside us this parent we should have had "for real", then we will have this support within us, and we will be able to let go of the pain and rage that comes from the lack of SECURITY that you talked about.

I wish you all the best. B.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000

S1

Dr Irene, I read in the post of a woman who speaks of an abusive relationship but when she talks to him they do not discuss the problems they had in the relationship, she was afraid to tell him of his abusive nature for fear of him abusing her. This is how it is in a lot of relationships with abusive partners That is how is for me, no physical abuse, emotional and mental (with holding affection) leaves no visible wounds or scares but the damage is catastrophic to the one who endures it . Telling them is a dangerous thing. My partner found out by reading a book I gave him on "When love goes wrong" and he said "I am not the monster in that book" but he is. Denial is a very big thing . He feels because he does not act like his Father did that he is not abusive, well he is, I am the one who suffered , drank, had an affair, lost respect for myself and let my life run me. I am the one who is in therapy now, for all that I have allowed to happen to me. She needs to tell him he is abusive and she needs to stay away from him until he gets help, it is no easy task I assure you. I am still working on it. Best wishes to you all.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene and G:

This post is a great start I guess, but where is the payoff? What did you do or are doing now to get well? Spell it out for me.

With the abused woman, it's so clear if you read this website. In fact it is simple in the extreme. I was abused, then I couldn't take it anymore then I left. It's hard and I don't have much money but I am putting my life back together and every day I get stronger, etc. etc.

With the abusive man, as this post especially points out, the testimonies always have the ring of I don't have a clue as to what went wrong, what I could have done to prevent it, and what I should do now. 

Let's have a few posts where the man figured it out and is now healthy already - and he can tell us all exactly what he did!!! And also in simple terms if that is possible. There has to be someone like that out there. G is pretty healthy. What he did is look inside...

PJM

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

God Bless You for having the courage to tell your story. So many people in teaching/ministerial positions find themselves in the same boat and not able and/Or not willing to see this in themselves.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

Hi G,

WELL DONE!!!!!

You show us out of adversaries we can grow. You show such great courage. So you got to your 50's you've got a good 20 or 30 years of living if not more. Its the quality not the quantity that counts. SO for the next 20 or 30 years you are fully awake, well boy that is living if I ever saw it before.

Its not what we're given its what we do with it. You showed us all here that mistakes are learning points. No matter how long we've made mistakes (you took responsibility for yours here!!!!) we can grow and learn from them and make a life we really want!!

I give you the thumbs up, your one hell of a guy. Or would you rather I said one heaven of a guy LOL

No more to say only, KEEP on Walking don't stop!!! Take care T.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

G,

You have so much insight, and tremendous courage. I have ended a 4 1/2 year abusive relationship. My son is now 11 and had to endure for 4 1/2 years. I am trying to get over the guilt and help him process what happened.

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you have for helping him. He is a great kiddo, does well in school and athletics, and has a great personality. We have talked about  feelings a lot, and I feel he still has some anger to deal with. Is there anything I can do to help his process?

Thanks, Suzanne

 

  B1: Submit
Date: Monday, September 25, 2000

S1

G, Gee whiz! Your tale shows that it's never too late to reach down deep inside to determine what's eating you, and that even professionals need help working on themselves. Did you find your work as a minister to hinder somewhat your ability to explore inwardly? I would suspect so. You mentioned "alter boy", then "wife". Was there a religious change sometime in your adult life? Until you mentioned it, your tale gave no indication that you were a "man of the cloth". On a side note, the "angelfire" raving nonsense link reminds me of the old concept that even the devil can quote scripture to suit himself. And something about Matthew 6:5-6 comes to mind.....

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2000

S1

Well G, its a long road to enlightenment, but all of the suffering brought you to a place of consciousness, living a conscious life is far better than living an unconscious life and being led around by our unexpressed or felt feelings and survivorship patterns. good luck and god bless, please continue looking inwards for this is your true path to the divine

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 29, 2000

S1

Yes, I'm still here. Or I suppose you could say, I'm back. Looks like I missed quite a lot. :(

My ex doesn't know I'm here. I wasn't comfortable talking to him about this site (probably a sign of what's wrong between us anyway), and when I first went looking for stuff on "verbal abuse" it was because MY mouth was running out of control (was it ever!) and I was tired of going into attack mode and wanted to fix my own verbally abusive tendencies. For a while, we had this pattern: He'd say something that I took offense to (for whatever reason), I'd get very cutting and sarcastic and condescending with him, it would go back and forth and eventually he'd scream something and storm out. He'd come back in (if we were at my apartment or in my car) or I'd eventually go out there (if we were in a restaurant or something), and there'd be a lot of apologies and tears and holding each other and putting ourselves down and saying "I don't deserve you." And I'd feel guilty about being nasty to him and try extra-hard to be nice, but sometimes whatever it was that I had blown up about in the first place WAS serious to me and was still stuck in the back of my mind. But he would think nothing was wrong anymore and things were all shiny and happy.

I started trying to pick my battles better, and not to actually blow up when something upset me. So for every fight we HAD, I figure there were five or ten we didn't have because I didn't want to make a big deal about nothing (a la Dad).

But there was some stuff that was too big for me to ignore. Like when he came to me PROUD of having "defended" me by hitting his younger sister when she made an insulting comment about my weight. Considering that about six weeks before that, he had actually raised a hand to me in anger (but dropped it after I ducked and screamed), this seriously freaked me out. He didn't get it. I'm naturally a jumpy person as it is -- some of my friends joke that even my aura is ticklish! He took this to mean I was "afraid" of him (well, frankly I WAS starting to be) and was furious with me.

Another contributing factor: my best friend/housemate (well housemate for a few more days) was in a physically abusive relationship for almost three years (I don't know exactly how long the relationship was physically abusive but I do know it started in the first year). This particular abuser was ragingly jealous of me and had threatened to kill me, broke into my house (before I was living with my housemate) to make sure we weren't having sex one night when I had him staying with me because there was a loud party going on in his house (my housemate is a gay man -- what part of GAY didn't his then-boyfriend understand? sheesh), and generally made our lives hell. This made me "paranoid" about being "controlled" by anyone, to the point where I didn't (and still don't, but am working on it) know how to distinguish between what's normal concern in a relationship and what's smothering or controlling. I thought maybe it was a good thing that I was putting up with stuff from him that I wouldn't have in the past -- all the more a sign that we were "meant to be together" etc.

For instance, my ex expected me to come home from work and call him when I got in, and would be "worried" if I didn't. He even "worried" when I was gone for three hours to do laundry! He wanted to follow me to my fencing practices, which made me uncomfortable since he doesn't fence and it seemed like "well, I want to make sure my lady doesn't do anything behind my back" TO ME, while he said "I just want to spend time with you!" The end result? I stopped fencing. I ran interference between him and people in my circle of friends that didn't like him, and made sure HE would be comfortable. First time we went to visit the southern contingent (several of my friends moved a few states south of me three years ago), we were going to order in Chinese. He announced "I don't eat Chinese food!" So we had to go out of our way to get HIM a pizza. This did not impress my friends. It bothered me, but I did the best I could to let it go, and made sure after that that we all went places where HE could get something HE wanted to eat. (Pizza, burgers, maybe pasta, MAYBE tacos if they aren't too spicy, some breakfast food but no eggs.) This was a very irritating constraint; I still don't know why my friends, who love to go out to ethnic restaurants and to cook weird food, put up with this junk from me on his behalf. They must really love me. :)

And just when I got used to revolving my whole social life around him this way, Cheech and Chong moved in across the street. And EVERYthing went downhill from there. Suddenly, he wanted me to have an independent social life, but he also wanted me to stay up late and hang out over there. I work normal business hours! I can't stay up till 2 AM every night!

Worse, for THEM he would go to plays. He would go to dance clubs (something I'd been wanting to do for the past, oh, YEAR AND A HALF at that point)! He would eat a stir-fry that one of THEM cooked. He would pay his own way when he went out with THEM.

None of this held true for me. I was Old Reliable, I guess. I told him, several times, "I would appreciate being shown the same basic courtesy you show the rest of your friends!" Didn't happen. Now that we're not together anymore, it's starting to. He knows I won't put up with being mooched off of, for instance. (And I'm sorry, if you can afford cigarettes and pot, you can bloody well afford to pay your own way at Denny's!)

Whoa, that meandered a bit. :)

I guess I can understand to an extent where Steve is coming from. Though what I've posted here is mild in comparison to what I've said in particularly heated moments to a few of my RL nearest and dearest, he'd still be very hurt. And I don't know how well he'd deal with it.

That, and self-improvement is yet another interest we don't share. *wry smile* If he blundered across this site, he'd know it was me posting, and nothing I've said here was *untrue*, and he'd know that. He'd be annoyed that I'm airing our dirty laundry in a public place, even though I don't sign my own name to these posts (which is more out of consideration for him than for me, really). And we might have had a situation like AK and Steve -- some of our AIM conversations immediately following the breakup were very like that. Some were downright ugly. We're being civil again, but he wants to confide everything in me and I *don't* feel comfortable reciprocating, so it's weird.

Some days (today) I'm dealing fairly well. Others not so well. Last weekend, I woke up expecting him to be next to me, then I remembered. And cried. A lot.

Something else surprising: my parents both have most of the story of what went wrong now and they're both being very understanding. Yay! As is usual lately, my dad more so than my mom, but it's good to be supported regardless.

I'll probably have more to say later ... just wanted people to know I'm still around and doing OK. :)

-AngryGirl

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000

S1

Dear AngryGirl and Hi G,

Lynn here, I love the ticklish aura bit, how great. Very sensitive.

Had a comment to this post. I agree with you 100% on lending money. If one can afford to smoke and drink, I don't feel they need any money. I call this "Let's get our priorities in order." Now if the bills are paid and some responsibility is shown I'm good for a couple of bucks, but usually not when asked. I think this may be another of the who am I answers in my life.

I hear you loud and clear,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

Dear G, In many respects your story sounds much like my husband's- whom I left two and a half years ago. I did not realize he was alcoholic until late in the marriage. Batter women's' groups that I attended explained that alcohol and battering are two distinctly different problems. There are many drinkers who are not abusive and many abusive individuals who don't drink. It sounds like you have found a gift through your pain by sharing your story with others and helping be a mentor. Good luck with your future. Try reading "The Emotional I.Q.", it is very informative regarding rage etc. Awareness is just the beginning.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

I found this site on a day when I had to face my own behaviour and take responsibility for my actions even if I feel I am also a victim of abuse. Yes.

For that reason I am not going to talk about who has abused me. That is very hard for me as I have been saying I have felt abused for years. Note that I said felt; not that I said I have been.

Nor am I going to talk about the situation I am in. I have talked about it a lot and got a lot of sympathy. That has been helpful but now is not the time to judge others

I have been verbally abusive and sometimes felt so wound up by those I saw as abusing me that I have physically attacked one of them on more than one occasion.

Following depression I got abusive to anyone who seemed in my way. It all felt so justified and I was treated badly. I do not have to excuse anyone else's behaviour. But that does not mean I can continue to excuse and justify my own.

But over the weekend I said and did things that were worse than anything anyone has done to me. I have been verbally and sometimes physically abusive before.

I am fortunate that the people I did this to me love me.

In particular, one of them has loved me enough to say he will call the police if I become physically or verbally abusive to him ever again. I care enough about changing to have that check on my behaviour.

I have reported him in the past for far less. But the inescapable fact is that it doesn't justify my actions. I have to deal with me; a part of me I feel very ashamed of right now.

But to leave it like that would be to put the responsibility for change onto someone else. I need to learn not to get out of control. I wrote myself a list of ways that I could deal with my anger and how that person could help me. He refused to read it and I threw a tantrum (let's not mess around adults throw them too.)

But why should he take responsibility for my actions? I thought I was doing well in writing the list. No! I have to use it and learn self control. Not to ask someone else to control my behaviour.

My list is not punitive. It tells me I must continue to work on self esteem and remember that because I have been ill I am still fragile.

It tells me to walk away for five minutes if I am getting angry. `And to work through a chapter on anger management and counseling with a counselor. That means I have to stop now telling her what is wrong with others and make me concentrate on me. That is going to mean listening and asking her to shut me up. It is also going to mean stopping avoiding what she has to say.

Changing also means that there can be no more controlling tears. It means accepting the person I love has been right not to talk to me when I use them and that I have not been in such great need of his love and sympathy that he must always stop everything for me. It means accepting my tears are controlling - I really hate to do that.

But now I've chosen the changes I need to make and read through this site and literally squirmed with shame at what I have been I am also going to be tough on myself in another direction. I have acted in ways that have made me lose my self respect. But I have faced myself head on. Any wallowing is self indulgent and has to be seen as self abuse. So I am going to ask to be forgiven and forgive myself. I am going to be hard on myself in the areas that need changing but I am also going to remember that I also have really good qualities to work on. To refuse to do this would also be abusive to those I love.

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

Dear Cat Box Family,

Lynn here, and I think this will be my last post until I return. I have a lot of reflection to do anyway and I cant afford "excess baggage." This may be a good time for me to do some healing of myself.

I've been making notes so I don't have to post 6 consecutive times.

Asha, if that isn't on your tombstone, it won't matter, because you did. As for me not "liking your name"....AK, I love your names, and if I have the power to rename you I'll save it until our next incarnation. You can come back as my child and then I can call you anything I like. Speaking of reincarnation: I think you and Steve better get it right this time if you can. Talk about Soul Mates, you'll only have to come back and do it again.

Steve, this is what friendship is all about. I've called the women here my sisters in law (I already have a sister), so I'd like to have someone like you as my chosen brother. I'd like a brother.

Look up victim and abuser in the dictionary and thesaurus.... there has to be a term.

Astrid, I'm not like Dan. (hehe) I volunteered in a branch of emergency services for 11 years. The dead were always at peace for me. I think I knew that was beyond my control. The hurt of the injured.. I got ok at, but never good. I have a way of taking on their pain. Normal run of the mill emergencies with no people involved... I loved it!!!

We've had various references to closets here. I have 2 stories: When the kids dad used to beat me I'd lock my self in the closet. It represented a safe place. The other I think stems from maybe to big of boundaries with/about my body. Dan will swear (go ahead and ask him) that I still dress and undress in the closet. Another one that we do laugh at. We may be in bed, we may get romantic and we may end up with our clothes off. Then we both get up, re dress in our pajama and get back into bed. We sometimes look at each other and laugh because we live alone. Probably a quirk, but we have enough to work on without worrying about that one. And Dan, concerning your dream actresses, I think you better find another one. "Rachel Welch" said NO! :)

Dear Dr. Irene, I read Patricia Evans. I found instances where I was getting angry at Dan all over again. I dropped it. That's behind us now, I didn't want to go back there. Also, is confusion one of the signs of recovery? Another fun one for you I hope. The therapist that I had for years (He knew me well), well, my late H and I went to him early in our marriage. I was flapping my arms and generally being me. He heard me out, sat, thought, pondered and looked me square in the eye and said, "divorce the bum." Once this sunk in the laughter from all 3 of us was contagious. I had forgotten, too. He used hypnosis with me. Early day SSDR? Truly Dr. Irene, thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Dear Becky, I still don't know what to say to you so I won't even try. You are in my thoughts and I hope you were able to cry some of the pain away and put it behind you. I think Dan has some stuff to work out with you if you are both up to it. His "allowing" you and he's reread it 2 or 3 times and still hasn't heard what he wrote.

Theressa, did we lose you here? Your feelings are important to us, too. Jump in if you are comfortable.

Trubble, In a perfect world Doris Day would have married Walt Disney.

I'm going to miss you all, but to put the ending on a happier note, I can hear my nightly calls to Dan, "OK, so how's Becky doing? Have you heard from Steve? Is Astrid getting any sleep? Is Asha still hehe-ing? Did Theressa return? What's Trubble been eating? and the best for last, Dr. Irene, For the rest of our lives you are going to be lurking somewhere. Mission Possible!

Now I'm going to get on my football sweats and say bye bye in Spanish,

Love, Laughter & Tears,

Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

Dear "G's" site and G,

Sorry, disregard that last post please. It makes no sense here. Trubble, can you re deliver this letter to the cat box?

Sorry and love to all of you, too. Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Dear G and Dr Irene" I put something on here on October 3rd but forgot to leave a 'name'. I am the person who had to face her own behaviour, Or rather has to. I've got some more to say. To the person who said that this site might be a way of avoiding religion. I am a Christian. Dr. Irene's site was what I found after a night where I cried out to God and it has been God's way of talking to me about things I could never face thinking about before. I think that God saves sinners and that he will use whatever it takes to get us to listen. A lot of Christians could use this site to advantage and I do hope they will. My Christian friends are likely to want to visit.

I am in no way just now going to be soft on myself. I was thinking this morning about the concept of 'tough love.' Dr. Irene's site is just that. But I wonder if verbal abusers when they get to the point of admitting this could not use this concept in thinking about how to change their own behaviour.

My example of this is that I have managed for years to tell my story and get sympathy. For me to tell it just now is not going to be good for me. Although I may some day because it might help someone else. I do have things I can rightly feel angry about, but I did not , for example, have the right last week to shut at someone who was helping me professionally. He lifted the phone to call the police and would have done if I had not left as he requested. I was shouting louder and louder to tell him what mistakes he had made. Then I came back and got his sympathy for all sorts of things that weren't really the issue at all. The issue was that he had challenged my verbally abusive behavior and pointed out that it happened more often than I wanted to admit. Somehow quite neatly, it got to poor old me and I managed yet again to avoid the truth. Tough love for me was going back and making an apology without justification. Previously I would have added "but". (tough love) was agreeing with myself that I was going to take responsibility for my unacceptable reactions. The result was he apologized for the mistakes and we parted on good terms, I think I got back a little of my self respect through this.

Another example of 'tough love ' is that I am going to ask my therapist to stop me from talking about what others have done to me and make me concentrate on me.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Dear Forgot to leave a Name,

Love and Prayers to you.

Misplaced Lynn from the Cat Box PS. The kindest, nicest and most devout Christian I ever knew, never went to Church. She believed in her heart.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

How can I be so daft as to not leave a name again! Just in case I forget again I will call myself J as if my friends visit they will know more about me than I want them to. (Still to ashamed of my behaviour for that) and sorry about submitting twice. Anyway thanks misplaced cat box Lyn.

I am a bit confused as to whether this is a discussion board and I should be posting things elsewhere but o the other hand, G has started a debate, I think and it helped me because I am also supposed to be a professional helping others and couldn't see my own faults. I've had a few other 'tough love thoughts and at the risk of talking too much am going to share them. Then I think I had better shut up and listen for a while!

People like me could be described as overtly verbally abusive. We literally lose it and then have no idea about how we affect other people. It is hard to see how we have affected them as we feel so justified. So perhaps it can be useful to hear ourselves and consider what it would be like to be the other person. I think that carefully used perhaps with a therapist it could be useful to use a voice activated recorder in a room in the house and listen back to the interaction looking at how it went between you and whoever. I suppose video would in some ways be even better as then you would see the body language. I am going to use this with the ground rule that I will never use what is recorded to score a point over someone else but only looking at how I am. And ask myself questions like if this is how someone talked to me how would I feel.

With a therapist it might be helpful for some people to do role plays and rehearse a more appropriate way of communicating after looking at or hearing the tape. I wonder what Dr Irene thinks of this? Or G or anyone else.

Also, I wanted to share a thought on anger from past events. I was thinking this morning about an indent from my schooldays where I have always felt angry. The scenario was I truanted a lot. The other part of the incident was that things were awful at home my father was sick and shouted all the time. My parents found out and told the headmaster and so I got called into his office. I remember repeating over and over again my father was sick. I got no sympathy and was threatened with the cane. Somehow I managed to avoid any punishment but I got no help either. I have always felt angry I didn't get help and angry about the threat of the cane. This morning I thought that I was right to feel angry I got no help; but the truancy issue was actually different. I wasn't truanting because of my home I just preferred not to go to school. The message I should have had is that if you skive off there are consequences. (I don't use the cane as I don't think physical punishment is a good thing) but the two issues were really separate (I know you could argue I was truanting because I was having a bad time at home but it really wasn't like that.) realized I had to halve my anger. The headmaster was doing his job. It was his place to deal with the truanting issue. I have had no right to hate him for that. If anything, I should have been cross with him, knowing the places and difficulties my truanting got me into that he let me get away with it.

The point I think I am trying to make is that sometimes we may need to 'reframe' events we are angry about so we see them in terms of what is right and what is misplaced anger.

I don't mean you should remain angry. Forgiveness however, to me does not mean you say what someone has done wrong to you is o.k

Love J (I will be quiet now for a bit! And at least I signed off this time).

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene and G. This is where it all started, so I'm posting hear again. The abuser who had to take responsibility for her own actions and then forgot to leave a name. The "yes" meant so much to me when I found it tonight. The site does get read! Still not telling the story, and still no sympathy seeking but I just had to tell you the follow on. I started to post on the message boards and have now been able to see, with the help of my psychologist and a few straight words I hated from a family therapist who wouldn't take the family on until my husband and I sorted ourselves out (ouch!!) that there is a cyclical pattern going on. My husband abuses me and then I abuse him. Both equally guilty and destructive to each other. He will not listen, so I guess I have to be grown up and break the cycle. This is scary. I do not want to leave. That would destroy our son. He (my husband) is a control freak and I am carrying all the emotion. Now I'm working on if the husband is passive aggressive and the wife is mainly and ashamedly verbal aggressive, how does the verbally aggressive wife break the cycle. Whatever I try it ends up in being even more controlled. So I guess I have to disown that feeling , right? and say that the control problem is his. I do have to handle my feelings and not react back but that controlled feeling is not one I have to accept. This is muddled thinking out loud thinking but I wouldn't have got this far without G's confession. It is a relief to see what is going on.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

Without trust there is anxiety and shame instead of security and self esteem. This statement you made describes where I am now in life. Thank you for stating it so well. The way I see my troubles is spiritual. When I can trust in God more, the result is feeling more secure.........God is always there. Through feeling more secure, my self esteem will rise. You know, you can tell how a person feels about themselves depending on whom they are around. Avoid toxicity. Thanks for sharing, Sunshine

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, October 13, 2000

S1

A comment and question (or two). G, you grew up in a sterile environment. It sounds like your parents (particularly your father) took the road that was available in his day and age - that of safety for the sake of family. In his day, "insight" wasn't as available - being able to be introspective has only been a luxury available to the masses in the past two decades or so. This means that I think he did the best he could with the set of circumstances he was given to work with. If he would have known better, he probably would have done better ... don't you agree. And, G, you are an ordained minister? This explains to me why you are being so very hard on yourself. I understand the doctrine that teaches us to judge ourselves lest we be judged, but sometimes we servants of the Lord, must learn to lighten up with our own selves and forgive our own short-sightedness, in order to be able to function and serve others. We all make mistakes. Perfection is a process - not an overnight application that we can put on and then wake up and be 100% cured of our personalities and issues. It takes time. That is why we have been given the gift of 'grace' and forgiveness. And you must learn to use these in your own life. Don't' be so hard on yourself!!! It sounds as if you have, in spite of all you've been through, been able to help some others along the way. We are not perfect, G. I don't negate the wisdom that has come from being able to examine your life and see where you were and why you missed the mark. But, now that you have, you could and should let it go. At 54, with the wisdom you have acquired, you still have the ability to move forward and find true happiness and joy before you leave this realm. It's as if your pain has been a gift - a gift that will eventually lead you to a beautiful experience in life. In time, you can heal the distance caused by your controlling behavior between you and your son - if you want to. I know you must miss him - but that is where prayer comes in. Prayer can go places your personal reach cannot. It can connect the heart of a father with that of a son. I know - cause as the ACOA father and a co-dependent mother, I grew up trying to control everyone and everything and even when my children all swore that they couldn't wait to leave home, I never believed it because I KNEW I had given them everything they could ever want within my means - - but I learned later, everything except trust and freedom to grow. And they demanded it and took it - and for a few years, I had to face my own demons. Much like you. I learned what was pulling my chain and through the grace of God, I have learned to surrender those things I cannot change to Him. And, you know what? He has changed them (as He changes me). So, hang on in there, G. Read some of the joyful messages that the Bible holds. Forgive yourself - then move on. Yesterday's gone but tomorrow is forever!

A Fellow Traveler

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 06, 2000

S1

Hi G,

I hope your recovery is going fine.

What makes a guy or gal want to become vulnerable and work on themselves?

I know from my point of view as the SACRIFICER in our relationship I wanted to when I saw what I was missing out on. ME!!

Though what would make an abuser want to sit up and sort them selves out??

Thanks Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 08, 2000

S1

Hi G. I hope it is going well too. I started off on your site so this is my site home.

In answer to Theressa's question, I think we all at some time get an insight into ourselves, but most abusers choose to ignore it. Or, although I later learnt that I was really the victim in the relationship, the person dishing out abuse does something that jolts them into action.

I just didn't really know that I was reacting. But whatever, I think something happens so big that it can't without a huge effort be ignored.

I also think people are generally totally unaware of how they are and it takes a lot to become aware. Often a third party needs to step in.

Or I suppose there is genuine religious conversion: but that doesn't always stop the abuse straight away if the patterns are unconscious.

Love, jay

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 08, 2000

S1

Hi G. I hope it is going well too. I started off on your site so this is my site home.

In answer to Theressa's question, I think we all at some time get an insight into ourselves, but most abusers choose to ignore it. Or, although I later learnt that I was really the victim in the relationship, the person dishing out abuse does something that jolts them into action.

I just didn't really know that I was reacting. But whatever, I think something happens so big that it can't without a huge effort be ignored.

I also think people are generally totally unaware of hoe they are and it takes a lot to become aware. Often a third party needs to step in.

Or I suppose there is genuine religious conversion: but that doesn't always stop the abuse straight away if the patterns are unconscious.

Love, jay

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 10, 2000

S1

hi I'm cactus!!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 10, 2000

S1

Cactus, are you my son again????? (He has been trying to post silly things all week. Apologies to cactus if you are not my son! Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 10, 2000

S1

Hi Jay,

Please stop accepting responsibility for your son;s behaviour, he is seeking undue attention, cuz he feels uninvolved. He feels lost and doesn't know what else to do to get your attention. TRY asking him if he wants a hug. Or you to just sit close to him, maybe not even in the same chair but in the same room. Just tell him that your there for him and love him, even though you don't like his behaviour, and he can have your love however he behaves. (Unconditional love, accepting where he is at)

This might help also: There is a book on this site called Positive discipline for teenagers http://www.positivediscipline.com

Also a tip, teenagers like to feel some control of their lives so ask him to help plan routines for the family, if you ask for his help, and don't criticize him. Maybe you could say I need a hug. Let him help you. He really only wants to belong and feel he is okay, he just is using the wrong tools, to get his intention to be loved met. He fears being close cuz it might mean getting hurt. So be gentle and slow, that is why I said perhaps involve him in decision making first and build up to perhaps saying I love you, even though you behaviour in ways that hurt me. Then later perhaps you could build a relationship of trust, LOVE starts with friendship.

Jay see your son as a hurt and frighten kid which is what all abusers and victims are.

 

Disrespectful Behavior an excerpt from the book Positive Discipline: A Teacher's A-Z Guide

Discussion

When a child is disrespectful to teachers or classmates, the first source to consider is the behavior of the adults in this child's life. Children who aren't treated with respect have no model for respectful behavior. Joe's parents call each other names, belittle Joe, and sneer when he objects to anything. When Joe behaves similarly at school, it is unacceptable. Joe needs training, experience, and examples of respectful behavior.

Self-respect is the other important aspect here. The teacher who passively allows a child to belittle her or call her names isn't modeling respect for herself. She must tell the child, "I won't continue to listen to disrespectful language," and then calmly walk away. Please note that the teacher does not say, "I won't allow you to call me names." The former statement clearly states what the teacher will do, not what she will try to make the child do or not do. The difference is critical. With the first response, the teacher shows respect and models self-control without trying to control the student. It is likely to produce improved behavior, especially if followed up with a dialogue when both teacher and student are calm again. Contrast this response to lecturing, blaming, and threatening, and then decide which response you would prefer if you were the student.

For another important clue to the source of this misbehavior, consider how widespread the displays of disrespect seem to be. One wise administrator said that if a classroom has two or three problem children, then there are probably two or three children with problems; if a classroom has five, six, or more problem children then there may very well be a problem teacher. A wise university professor stated that all teachers have problems with students. Conversely, all students have problems with teachers.

Every teacher knows that some classes are more difficult than others. Whatever the situation, a teacher's best tool is control over his or her own behavior.

Suggestions

1.Model respectful behavior. Before approaching a situation that's making your blood boil, take a moment to calm down and regain your composure. 2.Give lessons on respectful behavior. Demonstrate respectful ways to approach and respond to others, and let the children practice them. 3.Encourage children by letting them know when you notice their efforts to practice new behaviors. Be specific: "Mary, you explain to Susan how much her whistling during lunch was annoying to you. That shows respect for Susan as well as respect for your own needs." 4.Use the mistaken goal chart to decode what a child's behavior is telling you. A teacher's intuition may offer the best clue. Typically a child who is hurting others is feeling hurt herself; the goal then is revenge. Some children may be disrespectful to get attention or to show power. Identifying the likely hidden message helps the teacher figure out the best way to respond. 5.Avoid lectures, shaming, and blaming children. Such adult tactics incite disrespectful responses. 6.Practice mutual respect. That means remembering to respect your own needs as well as the students' needs.

 

 

Planning Ahead to Prevent Future Problems

1.Take time to connect with your students. It's easy to be disrespectful to a person you perceive only as an object of your control or manipulation. Similarly, it's difficult to be disrespectful toward someone who is an asset to you or who sees you as an asset. Middle and high school teachers who use positive discipline class meetings have discovered that taking time for giving compliments, appreciations, and encouragements contributes to a mutually respectful atmosphere in their classrooms. 2.At a class meeting, discuss the students' understanding of disrespectful and respectful behavior. Share your own thoughts. Identify and role-play ways in which people can behave respectfully in specific situations. The class might formulate a plan with a chosen focus, such as ways in which they can show respect for one another when standing in line waiting for lunch. In a few days or a week, students can discuss how the new plan is working. 3.Take time for training. Role-play a problem situation with a child individually or during a class meeting. Allow the child to play the role of the adult and to practice both unacceptable and acceptable responses. Then encourage the child to express the feelings he experienced when in the adult role. Reverse roles, and go through the process again. 4.Develop an atmosphere of trust by helping children to see that you are more interested in solutions to problems than in identifying or punishing those who misbehave. 5.Learn to trust the process of working with children rather than trying to control them.

Inspirational Story

Stephanie, a new teacher at the Frazier preschool, came into the program director's office in despair. Several of the four-year-olds in her class were hitting her and refusing to obey her, and this week two children had spit in her face. The director asked Stephanie how she had handled this behavior. Stephanie said she had told the children who hit and disobeyed that she didn't like it when they behaved that way. When the children spit at her, she had been too stunned to know how to respond. Finally she decided to stay out of the range of children who spit, and whenever anyone hit her the whole class had to miss recess.

The director asked Stephanie whether or not she was willing to try something new. Stephanie replied that she definitely was, because these kids were so disrespectful she couldn't imagine finishing out the school year.

Together Stephanie and the director developed a plan. First of all, Stephanie was going to model self-respect by taking care of her own needs. If a child hit her or spit at her, Stephanie would turn away from the offending child and remove herself from the child's range. When both she and the child were calmer, she would sit down with the child and spend some time getting to know him or her. They would then discuss what had happened and how each of them felt about it. Together they would discuss how they might solve this problem between them. They would work on it as a team.

One week later, when Stephanie reported back to the director, she was astonished at what was happening. Ever since she had begun getting to know the children personally, she had felt herself relaxing and approaching each day with less stress. The atmosphere of tension and resistance in the classroom was changing as well.

By winter break, Stephanie found it difficult to believe that the cooperative and respectful children in her classroom were the same people with whom she had begun the school year. They were still far from a perfect class, but Stephanie enjoyed being with them. Stephanie had learned the power of mutual respect.

I hope this helps.

Love Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000

S1

G, Wow! What can I say...? Ask and thy shall receive. I have been tossing back and forth the idea to return to my husband, whom I swear a younger version you have described here, whom is in the toils if his misery and rage. He doesn't see it though. I left to save my son and I...though only I know this...no one can really know who have not lived it. I have been praying and praying about the right thing to. It is on my mind 24 hrs a day...gratefully in my quiet space. This morning I just threw in the words to search for some guidance via cyberspace...and there you were. Older, wiser, open and honest...from the other side of the mountain I am treading. His anger has affected me much deeper than I had realized. Now, since I had left, physical manifestations of my suppression of our secret life have surfaced. I have developed Rheumatoid Arthritis and am working on a healing plan however am lacking the funds to do what is necessary so I am considering returning for health reasons to be able to afford treatments. Please offer me your advice...I am so exited about actually communicating with someone on this private painful topic. Thank you in advance. My email is (deleted!) God Bless You. Love, Starr

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 29, 2000

S1

I just want to say how powerful I found this story... I have been abused by a man that had so much rage even I couldn't love him enough to help him... It's amazing, truly amazing

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001

S1

This is a great site! I am a recovering victim. My husband is a recovering abuser...and doing really well at it! We had about 14 years of marriage under our collective belts when I realized I was incredibly unhappy and was able to admit that he had a problem...then after about 3 years of my standing up to him and him being more abusive than ever (verbally) I figured out that I had to get myself fixed and he would either come along...or not. He chose to come along. We have been married for 22 years now and things are going really, really well for us as a couple. We continue to counsel together. He is working on his isssues with the VA and the Vietnam war, and I am still dealing with my own issues concerning our "bad" years together. He totally validates my feelings now, but it took him 3 years to acknowledge that I had any feelings and another 3 or 4 years to acknowledge that his behavior must have been as bad as I said it was or I would never have reacted the way I did. I am now dealing with the issues of having been verbally abused by my beloved pastor. The only reason I recognized what he did to me was because of my experience with my husband. I am confronting him this week after waiting in fear and avoiding him for two years. I just couldn't face his denial, but now I'm ready for whatever. Thanks again for this site! CW

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002

S1

Cool story. It gives me hope. I am being abused by my husband. Sometimes I'm so confused I think that I'm the abuser. Very confusing time. All I know is that my childhood was one of the worst sexually of anyone I've ever known. And my marriage is marred with tremendous pain. All I want is inner peace. A gentle tranquility to help me through life and maybe help a few others out.

Sometimes my faith in God is zero. I think Descartes might have been wrong about God. I rant and rave to God. But right now I hear a choir singing on tv and think about your love of God and I think "I can make it through this. I do believe."

Thanks

Jenny

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2002

S1

Cool story. It gives me hope. I am being abused by my husband. Sometimes I'm so confused I think that I'm the abuser. Very confusing time. All I know is that my childhood was one of the worst sexually of anyone I've ever known. And my marriage is marred with tremendous pain. All I want is inner peace. A gentle tranquility to help me through life and maybe help a few others out.

Sometimes my faith in God is zero. I think Descartes might have been wrong about God. I rant and rave to God. But right now I hear a choir singing on tv and think about your love of God and I think "I can make it through this. I do believe."

Thanks

Jenny

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, July 23, 2003

S1

That was courageous. I wish a friend of mine age 53 now would find the courage to leave her abuser, the way G has had the courage to face his inner rage. I salute you G. God Bless and keep you strong. I've been a victim of the kind of abuse you've described and its taken me a lot of prayers, an ocean of tears and a deeply loving family to finally get to a point where I am not content with myself again, healed to some degree and learning to put one foot in front of the other on a path of trust again. Each step is a scary one for me but I hope that with faith, my courage will not desert me. Thank you for writing, it helps victims immeasurable to know that there can be some change if someone actually wants to change. More power to you.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, July 25, 2003

S1

I am the wife, and my husband has alot of these same problems. He will not listen, I am scared....I do not want to lose my marriage. He has said he would rather live in a cardboard box than with me. I am the only problem he has. He says no one else has a problem with him. My Dad was an abuser, my ex was an abuser, I thought I was safe this time and their is no way out this time. He says I am jealous of his work and others. He will not talk to me, he is obsessive and is in denial about alot of issues. I don't know what to do. He has his own free will. He will say he only had 4 drinks, when thats all he remembers he had. It is encouraging that you got yourself straightened out....I guess I have to wait for my husband to do that.....no he will leave me because he thinks I am nothing.