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Comments for Ending Abusiveness

Comments:  Ending Abusiveness

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.

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Monday, March 01, 2004
07:17:09 PM

Dear Dr. Irene, It’s Andrew here. I thought I’d update you on how I was doing. It still hurts, of course. I know people will say the pain is a constant reminder of my wrongdoing, but this is a lesson I will never forget, and right now I just want the pain to stop. :(

It is getting better though, slowly. Last night was the first night since the break-up that I didn’t cry myself to sleep. I still find myself having to wear myself out before I’m able to get any sleep, but I figure that will get better with time too. Yes. Yesterday I came to the sudden realisation that my self-pity was not getting me anywhere, and was probably not reflecting me favourably in Anne’s eyes with respect to getting her to take me back.  Excellent!This doesn’t mean I’m all better now, and occasionally I still find myself spontaneously bursting into tears or having feelings of almost tangible regret and sorrow. I know that at these moments I’m falling back into the pity pot, but I try to get myself out now, instead of wallowing there and making myself feel even more miserable. It's important to allow yourSelf to feel your pain - but without making it into a "poor me" scenario. Just pay attention to your thinking, and you will catch it - as you did. I have a lot of lessons to learn (we all do...), and right now the hardest one is knowing that the best chance I have of a reconciliation is to let her go, and to feel fine and confident about doing so. Well, you need to look at it this way: "Why in the world would I want to be with someone who does not want to be with me? I deserve to be with a woman who thinks I'm The Best!"

I also realise that “letting her go” doesn’t mean never speaking to her again and ruling out all hope of us getting back together. Right. It's the emotional work of letting her go that counts. There's a paradox here though: if you think of her as not "ended," it kind of keeps you tied in. Best to consider it "over" in  your head, and what will come will come.

We are still talking every day, and it helps me to talk about this stuff to her, although I know I probably shouldn’t do so too much – she probably doesn’t want to hear about every little baby step I’m making in the way of progress. I suppose it comes back to my need for wanting to show her what she means to me (slight co-dependency issue perhaps or slight love issue :P), but is that so bad so long as I don’t expect anything in return? No. It's just very difficult to truly expect nothing in return. She has not said we will never be together again, and I remain optimistic that she will one day learn to trust me and love me as she did once before. I don’t expect that to happen overnight, and I know I am not ready myself yet, even if she were willing (I wouldn’t want to hurt her again the way I already have), but I have also said to Anne that I will accept and respect whatever decision she makes, whether it involves a life with me or without me. It was very hard for me to say that last part, but deep down I love her and want what is best for her, and if she will be happier without me, then as much as it hurts me, I know that I will have to move on, even if I think I can provide her that happiness. You got it. That's the truth...

Her friend Karen has already said she would never approve of us being together again, and much of her cynicism comes from being in a previously abusive relationship herself. I totally understand where she is coming from, and I don’t resent her at all for disapproving of me. After all, I screwed up in a major way, and just because I said “I’m sorry, I won’t do it again”, I can’t expect her to believe me, because that’s just what her abusive partner said before he reverted back to his old self. Having said that, however, I hope that Anne will be able to come to her own decision and give me another chance one day, as she does know how much I regret what happened and how hard I am trying to change my life. I see that. One point you made was “"Letting off steam" was "normal" family behavior for you, witness your mom.” Yes. While I am not trying to excuse my behaviour, I will say that it probably took me until now to try to address this problem because it was never a problem (in my eyes) before. Right. My first relationship lasted almost seven years, and during that time my then-partner and I got into many spats. Our way of resolving them was to yell at each other, sometimes fairly vehemently, for a few minutes, and then once we had “got it out of our systems” we would be able to calm down, make up, and look at it rationally. It was never relationship-threatening, not even close, and I think that lulled me into thinking it was acceptable behaviour. Well, if nobody is complaining, it is acceptable behavior for the two of you.

I now unreservedly acknowledge that it isn’t, and can only say I didn’t know better until now. Think of it as more skillful behavior; more evolved. You said “Don't do it for anybody else you become involved with; tackle it for YOU! Your life will work better when you deal with it.”, and I know that ultimately it IS for me, but right now the incentive for me is that I may one day be reconciled with Anne. I know... How will I know when I’m ready for a relationship again? When you can stand on your own two feet and feel complete, you are ready. I don’t want to do the same things I’ve been doing again, but as you say, it’s possible my good behaviour is due to me making a conscious effort to stop doing it, and as much as I tell myself and others now that it’ll never ever happen again, I admit I may possibly relapse once the pressure is off. Yes. But keep practicing and will yourself not to stop practicing. Know that new habits take time, effort and practice to establish. Will it suddenly click and I’ll know when I’m ready, or is it one of these things where I have to take a chance when I think I’m ready? Well, you're talking about two things: 1. Being over Anne and ready to start again, and 2. Gotten into better anger management habits.  On 1.: You'll be ready once you are OK by yourSelf and no longer miss a partner. Nevertheless, you'll probably date before then. I have already begun working on my anger issues, mainly by taking a deep breath and saying nothing when I usually would have snapped at somebody (I remember having to do that once at work and at least once on the train). On 2.: Good! You are learning new skills and you're already practicing the lessons! Think of this as learning a new language. Keep at it and you will get there. I will try noting down emotions and feelings the next time it happens, as you suggested. I have ordered the The Anger Control Workbook which I hope to receive soon, and have my first session with a Christian counselor on Tuesday. Excellent!!! Thank you for looking out for us abusers as well as the victims, Andrew.

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Monday, March 01, 2004
07:19:02 PM

Apologies for the formatting of the above post... it didn't come out *exactly* as I had intended (my paragraphs disappeared). Andrew. Yes... I know. The software takes all the paragraph formatting out. :(

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Tuesday, March 02, 2004
12:15:34 PM

I think that it's important to say that yelling in and of itself is not abuse. One could yell their position- THIS IS WHAT I THINK, THIS IS HOW I FEEL. That is not abuse. Abuse is blaming someone else for how you feel, calling them names to punish them, saying things that put them down so you feel one up, feeling threatened by another person's differences and trying to change them to what you want, feeling entitled to change them to suit you. This is what abuse is about, it's not just yelling, it's what you are yelling about. Some abusers don't yell at all. They in a very quiet way tell their partner how they disapprove of them, what they don't like, how they are not living up to expectations, ect. What is it you were thinking when being abusive- was it about stating a position or feeling or about making her feel bad, controlling her, or blaming her for how you felt? Good questions. Thanks.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2004
09:26:33 PM

Andrew here in response to the previous comment - I realise that yelling does not in itself constitute abuse, and I know I will have to do more than just stop yelling to address my abusiveness, but I think a large part of it comes from the anger. I am not trying to deliberately abuse or manipulate anybody, it just happens when I get angry and my instinctive reaction is to lash out. Yes.  I never wanted to or tried to change her into what I wanted, because, to me, she's pretty perfect already, but I *was* guilty of yelling at her when she didn't do something the way I wanted it done, and I think it is that which constituted abuse rather than the yelling itself. I didn't respect her boundaries, and let my anger control me instead of the other way round. The trick is to figure out what the thinking behind the anger is. Each time you feel angry, what's going on in your head that's making you feel that way?

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Wednesday, March 03, 2004
12:11:45 PM

Hi Andrew, Your words strike quite a few familiar chords. I've been with my husband for six and a half years and most of the time it's been a struggle. I have struggled with my own "issues" while he has struggled to cope with his expectations not being met; we have struggled to just "get through to" each other -- and on and on. I'll bet you could fill in the blanks!?! In any event, I'm moved by your expression of your determination to "rewire" yourself -- I have spent countless hours trying to do the same. I've realized that no matter how "right" or "abused" I think I am; that and $4.25 will buy me a triple venti, nonfat, no whip mocha to sip on while I go through stacks of self-help books at B. & N. and scratch my head over what to do next. That little-big-word, DO, always seems to get me into trouble. In all my efforts to "act my way to success" it never quite became clear to me how I was attempting to control my circumstances without exercising healthy SELF-CONTROL.

One day I was hanging out right here on Dr. Irene's site, and I found the page on boundaries. Now, many're the times I've believed myself to be having the proverbial, "light bulb moment," and upon each of my brilliant discoveries, I've attacked like Teddy Roosevelt charging up San Juan Hill! Bully!! I was bound and determined to FIX myself and my relationship by whatever means were necessary. Slowly, however, it has finally sunk in that nothing I could DO would make a bleedin' bit of difference. I was spending an enormous amount of energy trying to pick a direction in which to GO. Finally, finally, however, I think I'm beginning to learn the virtue of just being still. I've closed my mouth and opened my eyes and ears. Holding back without witholding is tough. I tend to like to talk -- a LOT, just one behavior pattern out of many that frustrated my husband to no end. When he expressed his frustration or became angry with me over something, I accused him many times of "not helping." What I didn't realize was that: ILOVEYOUWHATDOYOUWANTI'LLDOANYTHINGILOVEYOUILOVEYOUILOVEYOUILOVEYOU--Why don't you love me? (whimper)" wasn't helping a whole bunch either! Giggle! Excellent mindfulness (i.e., paying attention to the stuff in the back of your head.) Well. What do "They" say -- "Being crazy is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results?" Another way to say it is, "Life will continue to teach you the same lesson until you learn it." Oh yes, hehe... I've learned (I think...) that doing nothing is not necessarily being inactive. Yes. It's one thing to respect the boundaries that other people set or even learning to spot them -- huge steps in the right direction and way easier said than done -- BELIEVE ME -- I know!!!:-)  :) My point -- at least I think so -- is to learn to set boundaries with yourself -- to sit down and have a talk with your Self, in effect, saying, "Self -- here's the deal: you're not helping! Chill out, will ya? The world will keep turning with or without you, so LET IT. Hang back, go easy and quit [insert behavior here] -- you might just learn something!" Do you remember one of the Superman movies where the Man of Steel had to fight the "bad" Superman? Before I can get to Self-love, Self-respect, Self-improvement, Self-actualization or any of that good stuff, I'm gonna have have to learn Self-discipline, Self-containment, Self-control.... Oh yessss.... Like weight training, gets those "control muscles" really strong... O.K. -- I'm sure you get it. There I go again -- blabbin' on! (What was I saying about self-control...?) Keep yapping please. I like. Anyway, I just wanted to try somehow to send some empathy and encouragement your way. I do hope that the sentiments I've put down here aren't out of line with the discussion -- I've never posted before. I also really do hope that peace, joy and lasting love will be a part of your life -- alone OR with someone by your side. Best Wishes, LeeAnn Thank you LeeAnn.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2004
01:12:18 PM

"I got angry when she didn't do things the way I wanted them done". Very good insight, that it was what you felt she wasn't doing for you that was the heart of it and not the yelling or anger per se. For example, if someone beat you up and you were angry about it that would be a normal, natural and expected thing. Anger itself is not necessarily the issue, it is what you are angry about. I say this because a lot of anger management programs are aimed at controlling anger, not the underlying rationale, which is the heart of abuse. In an abusive relationship the problem is the underlying rationale. You felt that it was her job to always please you. That you were entitled to perfect behavior and treatment from her according to the way you think things should go. On the one hand you said you thought she was perfect as is, but your behavior contradicts this entirely. If you thought she was perfect as is you would have never felt the need to lash out. The main focus to recovery is on what it is that you are responsible for and what is it that she is responsible for. Number one belief that needs to be changed- no one is responsible for your happiness or owes you or should be expected to do anything the way you want it to be done. That is for bosses and parents, not for love relationships. By getting angry when she didn't do things the way you wanted you were treating her like an employee or a child who has to live up to your standards. Getting rid of that you owe me or you should do for me thinking is hard but can be done. A good behavioral anger management course never ends with simply controlling anger. Anger is viewed as a signal that something needs your attention. In these programs you are typically asked to revisit the thinking behind your anger - when you are calm.

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Thursday, March 04, 2004
07:12:30 AM

LeeAnn, Thank you for your words of encouragement. It means a lot to me. I agree that in some cases doing (or saying) nothing is often better than acting, especially in the heat of the moment. Of course, my rational self which is speaking now would have said this anyway. It's only after I've calmed down after I've "lost it" when I have the presence of mind to analyse and regret my actions, by which time, of course, it's way too late. I have to learn self-discipline and self-control... you're exactly right. :)  Learning these values is an important goal to me, and will fix part of the problem - any relationship I have would be much more productive if I could just walk away when I got mad, took my time to calm down and then discussed the problem in a rational and level-headed manner. I don't expect to be able to change 27 years' of instinctive behaviour overnight, but I am trying, and I hope counseling will help in this area. Andrew.

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Thursday, March 04, 2004
07:41:54 AM

In response to the anonymous post, once again thank you for offering your insight and advice, it's greatly appreciated. You said, "You felt that it was her job to always please you." Perhaps not always, but certainly when I felt I needed it, I did expect it to be given. The problem was that I did not take into account *her* feelings, or that she couldn't telepathically tell what I needed and when. Yippeeee!!! He got it! I agree that she shouldn't be responsible for making me happy or pleasing me all the time. Actually, any of the time. YOU please you. She never pleases you. Watch: If she does something you like, you make yourSelf feel happy (yes, promise.). If she doesn't something you don't like, you have the option of harping on it :( , or despite not liking what she did, letting things be and getting on to the next thing life brings. I suppose that in those circumstances, I have a right to be disappointed, but not to be angry or abusive, and that I have a right to express that disappointment in a calm and collected manner. Right. But don't expect your expression to change her mind; it's fine for her wherever it is, even if it's clearly "wrong." Then perhaps, if she felt so inclined, she could do things the way I would have liked, but even if she didn't, I would have no right to expect or demand it of her. Right. You'd especially never want to demand anything of her; why would you want her to do something she really want to do? Easy to say now, of course, but before coming to this site, this was not the way I thought. "Getting rid of that you owe me or you should do for me thinking is hard but can be done." Yes. - again, I don't expect this to happen overnight, but I think the thing that makes it slightly easier for me is that I never *intentionally* set out to abuse her. :)  Your attitude brings you one giant step closer to attaining your goals. It would be much, much more difficult had you actually set out to hurt her. In your case, it's all about getting out of your own head long enough to remember that she has as much right to her thoughts and feelings as you have to yours. This does not excuse my behaviour, and I am not trying to hide behind this, but having read many other posts here, some abusers seem to choose victims who are susceptible to abuse and use a specific M.O. to prey on them, drawing them back time and time again just to revert back to their old ways once that trust has been rebuilt. Yes, but - most or many of these people just do this "automatically," not realizing what they set out to do. I am not one of these people, and the abuse that I have inflicted on Anne was wholly unintentional, and the regret I have for hurting her is genuine. That's what will make it easier for you.

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Thursday, March 04, 2004
09:21:22 AM

Yes, you could have just expressed your feelings, even emphatically and that would be ok. This is how I feel- period, without any expectation that she solve it or take responsibility for it. She wants to know how you feel just like you want to know how she feels. Yes. But, she can't take the blame for it. Yes. It is so easy to actually believe that other people make us feel a certain way, when in reality it's a combination of pre existing expectations coupled with reality that bring on how each of us creates these feelings. Changing expectations is everything. Yes, I think a big part of the problem with abuse is lack of empathy for the other person and what you are putting them through. Often it's not empathy that is lacking but attention. Even if one is an empathic individual, one has to get out of their head long enough to notice there is another person there. Not making their feelings or needs as important as yours. There are two ways in which an abusive person approaches their relationship 1) is like a child who believes their mother is there to be the be all end all. A child never thinks about how mother feels. They only think about getting their needs met. The other approach is as the parent (abuser) who is critical of the child (the SO) who is not living up to their expectations. In either case there is an underlying belief that the SO is solely responsible for meeting the needs and expectations of the abuser and the idea of shared partnership and negotiation is missing, the idea that these are two adults is missing. Since you are not really a classic abuser/controller and have a lot of motivation to change I think you do have a lot of potential to change. Most abusers don't even admit they have a problem let alone try to deal with it. Lee You are correct Lee. Let's also keep in mind that abusive thinking/behavior is corrected much more easily in some than in others. Not all abusive individuals are "hard-core." I certainly don't think Andrew is.

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Thursday, March 04, 2004
02:43:07 PM

Lee, thanks for the encouragement, and I will do my utmost to turn my potential for change into a reality. As Dr. Irene says, I have been viewing the world through a pair of very dark glasses and have not been able to see the whole picture until now (where previously it was just me me me). It feels like those glasses have been taken off me though, because suddenly I see what everyone is getting at, and how I have purely been concerned with myself and not with the feelings of my partner. :P Without this confining view, I feel I can tackle the problem so much more easily. Unfortunately though, I suffered a bit of a setback today. I have been getting better, slowly, day by day, but I do still suffer occasional slips back into the "pity pot". Of course; that's normal.  Unfortunately today I suffered one such slip when talking to Anne. While not exactly begging her to reconsider her decision to break up with me (I promised her I would not ask her to take me back until I had fixed my problems), I did plead with her not to dismiss the idea of us ever getting back together one day, and to consider the possibility that this could make our relationship stronger than ever before. I know I should have given her the time and space that she needs, and that pressuring her into making a decision isn't going to help my case at all, but when the despair sets in, I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness and regret. No matter how many times I replay the events of our last argument in my mind, hoping somehow to change the way I acted, I can't of course, and at that point it's hard not to hate myself for the way I treated her and for ruining our relationship, and harder still not to try to convince her that I can change and that it's worth taking another chance with me. Not very positive, and not very Self-loving, but it's hard to just shut these emotions out as if I didn't feel a thing. If anybody has any advice as to how I can deal with the sadness in a more positive way, it would be very welcome. Thanks, Andrew. Andrew, I think what you said to her is fine. Getting your thoughts and feelings across is a good thing, otherwise, how can she know how you feel? Plus, from what you write, I don't see any coercion or manipulation in your words.

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Friday, March 05, 2004
09:02:03 AM

I can see where you are coming from. To a large extent what you told her was perfectly normal and expected. You are grieving from the loss of the relationship, you don't want it to end, you want her to give you another chance. Who wouldn't at least make this effort towards something that was important to them, something that they took for granted and now realize is so valuable that they will have a hard time living without it. These strong feelings are GOOD. Even though they feel bad. :) They are good because they let you know that you do value something beyond yourself. :) That this person is important and the next time you have the chance to be in a relationship, whether it is with her or someone else, you may not be so casual about their feelings and your insensitive actions. The thing you have to do now it is pull back because you put the ball in her court and now she has to do what she will with it. Yes. This is the hard part. I know that bothers the heck out of you because you are still so addicted to control. When it's in her court it's out of your control. Why be addicted to control? One big reason - LACK OF FAITH AND TRUST. You lack faith and trust in things working out for the best. You see the glass as only half empty and are not looking at any of the positives here. First step is to see what positive there might be in taking a step back and not being in a relationship for a bit. Figuring out who you are and getting used to being ok with not trying to control someone else. Try if you can to believe in a positive outcome regardless of what that might be. It could be that there are underlying reasons why you two didn't suit, weren't compatible. Why did you have so many issues with her? Was she really the one for you? Were you truly compatible? Important things to consider now you have the time to take that step back. See this as an opportunity for growth and becoming the best person you can be rather than the end of the world. IF you can change your perspective, you will change the way in which you approach your relationships.  Good common sense...

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Friday, March 05, 2004
10:12:00 AM

Forgot to sign that last post, it was Lee

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Friday, March 05, 2004
10:32:50 AM

"You lack faith and trust in things working out for the best." -- yes I do. There is always a pessimistic side of me that views the glass as half empty, with the view that if I'm expecting a disappointment, it won't be as hard to swallow as if I'm always optimistic and then hit those same bumps in the road. Then I came here and read about the Self and the ego, and while the ego may take a battering when things turn rough, having a positive outlook on life is better for the Self than a negative one. Another lesson I am trying to learn but am still in the early stages of dealing with. "Take a step back and not be in a relationship for a bit." -- this is exactly what I'm doing. I know I have issues that I have to resolve right now, and I know that just because I acknowledge my problems and am trying to fix them doesn't mean I am now cured. I don't want to hurt anybody else, especially Anne, while I am still in recovery, and that is why I promised her I wouldn't ask her to take me back again until we are both ready. Believe it or not, the person you could hurt most - is  you. This is boundary stuff again. Only Anne is responsible for Anne. So if she chooses to go back with you prematurely, she is responsible for her own pain. Get it? Especially if you will be seeing a Christian counselor, this is the boundary book to get: Cloud & Townsend's  Boundaries: When to say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life I don't think there were any underlying reasons why we didn't get along - as I said in my original post, we had gotten very serious and I thought things were going very well. I didn't have "so many issues" with her, the only issue she couldn't and (understandably) didn't want to handle is the issue of my abuse. I'm not trying to belittle this issue, as it's the reason I'm here, but I'm just saying yes, she's still the person I want to be with and yes, I do think it can work once I've resolved my problems, which is why I'm still hopeful for a reconciliation.

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Friday, March 05, 2004
11:16:20 AM

Sounds good!!! The reason why I mentioned compatibility is because there are things that she was or was not doing that got you angry. One thing I have noticed is that often times when the angry person is away from SO, they forgot why they got angry and focus only on what they love about the person. Especially when they are not there in person. Fantasy takes over. It doesn't hurt to really think about these episodes and whether or not there is a pattern to it. The abuse occurred because you were being me me, but you also had reasons for getting angry, for feeling she wasn't on the same page as you. Just something worth thinking about. Good luck. It sounds like you are really moving in the right direction. Lee Excellent feedback Lee. Thank you again. And, Andrew, please forgive me for being late with my input this week. I will be around next week on time, just before or at the start of the weekend. Dr. Irene Sunday, March 7.

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Monday, March 08, 2004
09:40:01 AM

Best Andrew, "dr. Irene" and Lee As I try the third time today to get something down here and not losing it before sending, I will keep it short. (PS. kind of :)

1. Thank you very much - for everything I can learn through your conversation/correspondence. I know it will be for the better, having come to this page/site through http://www.naturalchild.org/home/ (I was looking for some information/mind altering thoughts, struggling with "yelling" and needing some "control-shift": 'control angry outbursts while changing the underlying thinking', says "Anger that hurts" at amazon.com.

2.I see the first date of writing is end February. Not long ago. Change needs time, but also: one cán grow quickly too. The thing is too change is true every time you make (DO) it true, by acting differently from the worse behaviour of before. One needs patience with oneself. A lot :) - so I will call it Grace!

3. I will take the whole matter (also LeeAnn's) in prayer to God over the next couple of weeks when thinking of this, asking for Assisting each of us, and also for whoever comes across, benefit-ing of this genuine sharing of good and life changing thoughts. And for Anne. (When two becomes three and more, behaviour-issues become BEHAVIOUR-problems in a family (and worries and also hurt. Ask me. No nead to mention; I think we all know this.)

4. I find it quite marvelous that you, Andrew, being in this "situation", having people like dr. Irene and LeeAnn talking to/with you. But they sure "profit" too. You sound me a special person by the way you think and express yourself, and any impatience you may have (especially with yourself), is understandable and normal. But love yourself, although you hate some of your ways - thinking no hate. Because you have to forgive yourself to free yourself/get freed from acting/reacting this way; admitting the "wrong" of that what you did - and will do again perhaps = VENTING (not that I want to discourage you) - but it wíll get better and better over time, tested by situations in life that will beg you to FLARE! (Sorry for my English - it's not so fluently as my thoughts.) Best wishes! & thanks again. - Rita :)

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Tuesday, March 09, 2004
12:35:52 PM

Hi all, Thanks again for your comments.

Lee - You're right about it being something she was or was not doing - as I explained in my original post, she didn't do something I would have liked her to do for me. However, I accept that I can't expect her to do things that will please me 100% of the time, and nor should I expect her to. I think now that I am trying to be more reasonable and respectful of her boundaries, I will also be more tolerant of her not doing things exactly the way I would like them done. Or done at all!  But, as you say, it's something worth thinking about and it's something I am keeping in mind. Thanks again.

Rita - Thank you for your input. I know that just wanting to change isn't enough, and that I have to make a conscious effort and not expect things to happen immediately. There have been times when I've been angry but haven't responded like I normally have, but I also know that because the hurt is still there and fresh in my mind, it's somewhat easier to control right now, and only when the pain goes and I am back to "normal" will the true test begin. Think of controlling angry displays as a lifestyle issue. Something you will always do. After a while, it becomes easy, like breathing. But I am not doing this just to be reconciled with Anne, I am doing this for me regardless of what happens. Yes. For you. I guess it's like looking in the mirror after working outside for the whole day - you suddenly realise you're covered in dirt and want to clean up and change, not just because there are guests coming to dinner, but because you feel dirty yourself. Okay, not my best analogy, but we'll move on regardless.

You're absolutely right, I cannot thank yourself, Lee, LeeAnn and not least Dr. Irene for the help and support they have given me without being too harsh and negative on me the abuser as it's all too easy to do, and also to Anne for showing me this site (although I have no idea if she is keeping up to date with this particular thread). It has been therapeutic to talk about this, and I have learned a lot.

Dr. Irene - I'm really making a conscious effort to be upbeat and optimistic. I think it is making Anne feel more comfortable and at ease talking to me when I do so, and I feel better myself for doing it too. Yes. Fix the Self, and the rest flows from there. I still get sudden "sadness attacks" but I try to keep them as short as possible if I can. Of course you do. You are grieving your loss. Feel the pain and learn from it, but try not to dwell on it with "what ifs" or "if onlys."

In response to your comment "Why in the world would I want to be with someone who does not want to be with me?", the answer is simple. I still love her. I know. I cannot fault her for not wanting to be with me after what I said and did to her, and I hope that in time she will learn to trust me enough to want to start again. "Best to consider it "over" in your head" - this makes sense but I'm not sure if I'm able to do this, it may be the hardest thing to do above even controlling my anger or anything else. Plus, I'm trying to remain optimistic here! If I consider it truly over, that isn't very positive thinking, is it? I'm not talking about "positive thinking." I'm talking about identifying your thinking and examining it for thinking patterns that make you depressed / put you in the pity pot. This is a cognitive modality. If you decide to go via this very effective route, you will probably need some help learning these techniques. This is preferably accomplished with a cognitively-oriented therapist or with an appropriate work book. But all roads lead to Rome and you need to follow the roadmap your therapist sets out for you.

I know it's hard not to expect anything in return, but while I'm not *expecting* anything, I am *hoping* for something in return - our eventual reconciliation. That's fair. That, for me, is enough for me to make the effort. With regards to "Being over Anne and ready to start again", I assume you mean once I've given her enough time to make up her mind and she says no... Right. I know that if she says no, it will hurt and I will have to make sure I don't fall into the "pity pot" again, but I have made a promise and I'll stick to that regardless of whether it's what I want or not. But I know if she says "no" then I'll have to move on regardless. Why not just assume that right now the two of you are split up and make few projections for the future. That way you'll be more likely to "train" yourself to do your work for yourSelf.

I don't know if I'll date before then, I still love her and until she's made a decision one way or another, it would still feel like infidelity to me do date again before she made her mind up. That's fine, though it's really better for you if you did not include Anne in your equation. Independent of Anne, it is best if you don't date her or anyone else until you feel centered and on your feet. If you leave Anne in the equation, you risk doing it "for her" rather than for yourSelf.

"Each time you feel angry, what's going on in your head that's making you feel that way?" I honestly don't know. We're focusing on that right now during counseling and my hope is to get to the bottom of it and eliminate it. A lot of the lessons seem obvious and easy. I don't want to get complacent, and I will be mindful of this, but because my eyes have been opened to this so suddenly, it's remarkably easy for me to say, "Of course. Why haven't I seen this all along?" Some of the lessons are harder, and letting her go is one of the hardest. I want to thank you all again for your input and support. I come back here to re-read these pages whenever I feel down, and it always strengthens my resolve. God bless, Andrew. I'm so glad you're in counseling now! And good for you for beginning to learn about what is going on inside your head. God bless you Andrew! I'll be back next week. Dr. Irene, 3/12.

 

Nothing else here... I guess you guys are all done. Good luck to you Andrew and may God bless. Dr. Irene 3/19/04.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2004
06:49:25 AM

Dear Dr. Irene, It's Andrew here. Sorry for the lack of updates, I was on holiday for the past few days and didn't really get a chance to respond. A little update on what's happened since, and it may seem like we're completely ignoring your advice about thinking of the relationship as over, but love doesn't always follow the rules... I'm sure you've come across that before! Anne and I have talked about our relationship and she's not adverse to giving it another try somewhere down the line, although right now she wants to keep her distance and allow both of us to "fix ourselves" - specifically her needing to define her boundaries, and me needing to respect those boundaries and to control my anger in a more effective manner. I completely agree with her as I don't want a repeat of what happened before - another such incident could well ruin our relationship beyond repair, and I want to make 100% certain that is not a possibility before we start getting serious again, so right now we've decided to be "friendly friends" :) Thanks again for all your help. I don't know if we would be here in this position right now if it wasn't for your advice and input. Hugs to all, Andrew.

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Sunday, March 28, 2004
08:50:09 PM

Dear Andrew You are a brave soul, i have similar problems also learned in childhood and am working through them. I was suprised to hear about my behaviour from my girlfriend, I knew i had some problems but she really showed them to me clearly. I didn't realize my expectations of her were unreasonable. I do know that I was making little comments about here that were demeaning. I am so happy to find the site and that you shared your story with everyone. Thank you Geoff geoff_trek@hotmail.com

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Friday, April 02, 2004
05:05:13 AM

Hi Geoff, it's Andrew here. I hope you manage to sort things out with your girlfriend. I'm not really in a position to give advice, but all I can say is keep working on it and don't let your guard down and let it happen again! It's good that you acknowledge the problem though, that was a big step for me. Good luck to you. Andrew.

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Monday, April 05, 2004
01:42:38 PM

Andrew, Avoid material by Sam Vaknin.

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Monday, August 08, 2005
02:25:40 PM

dear dr.irene feel s bad for breaking up with my ex and don't know how to get him back.what do i do?

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005
02:18:42 PM

Andrew et al, what do you think of this letter, from an abuser trying to communicate with his victim after about two months of separation? "I am so sorry. I know I’ve said it before, but never from this perspective. I have so much respect and admiration for you, for recognizing that I had become an abuser and that you had become a victim, and for stopping it. Thank you. Your courage led to my breakthrough. I felt the isolation, the anger, and the pain described in the abuse literature. I didn’t understand why, and I certainly didn’t understand how to stop it. You did. Now I do. It comes largely from not being mindful of the present, from an intense need for validation, a need to be correct about everything, to be perfect. Much of it comes from my experiences with my family. I am no longer a slave to these damaging experiences. Again, thank you. Still, when you left, it came to me as an ice-cold shock. I have been in therapy, at least twice a week, gaining insight into my past and making concrete behavioral changes. I continue to research abuse. I have a problem, a horrible self-destructive problem that has compromised the single most precious relationship in my life. Reading cases of verbal abuse has been like staring into a mirror. I had been ashamed and guilty, embarrassed that I had behaved so horribly toward you, that I turned my greatest ally into an enemy. You have every right to be resentful and angry toward me. You knew first hand the good I could do, and yet, in the end, I was mostly giving you the bad: how insulting. I only hope, for both of our sakes, that the damage I have done is not irreparable. Now I have accepted others and myself as imperfect human beings who do not deserve to be raked over the coals for every false step. I am strong and confident that I am working to make a better life for myself and for those who keep my company. I have realized that your decision was spot-on. I have realized that I didn’t want the relationship that had developed between us anymore than you did. I want the kindness, the gentle, loving, patient exchange of which we both know we’re capable. I know that I am a trustworthy man, but I know that I have lost your trust. I know how difficult it is to regain that trust, but, if you give me the opportunity, I know that I can, and that I can keep it. I understand that when someone abuses, he casts himself into a catch 22, designed to protect the victim--very appropriately, very understandably--but horrifying for the abuser, who is likely to be a loving, caring human being with a terrible psychological problem that can be treated. This catch 22 is that any true progress that the abuser makes and expresses might be misinterpreted as an attempt to coax the victim back into a terrible relationship, a part of the cycle of abuse, even though the new relationship could be the most loving, wonderful, unique relationship if it were actually given an opportunity. No doubt, a relationship that persevered through a hardship like this could blossom, with the work of both partners, (work necessary for any relationship). Of course, if the abuser does not say or do anything communicative, then the perception can be that he has neither recognized his problem nor done the necessary work to acknowledge that it will always require work to stay beyond it. He unnecessarily vanishes from the victim's life, which can be a great disservice to them both. If you allow me to, I will show you that I continue to do the necessary work, and that I am a much better man than I was in June, a much better man than I ever was, and very uniquely suited to you, having learned so much from our experience together. If you cannot allow me this opportunity, I understand, and I know that we will both be fine. But we will miss out on the great joy we can bring each other. That would be a tragedy. Understandable, given the way I treated you, but no less tragic. The work I do is my own. I'm not working on anyone else. I have never thought of you as a guinea pig. You are quite simply, in my eyes, one of the most wonderful human beings I have ever known. If you are willing, I would like you to be in my life on your terms, and taking very slow, steady steps. I love you very deeply. Please know how much your feelings, your dreams, your interests, your priorities mean to me. Know how ready I am to listen—to really listen—to you, to make you and your thoughts a priority, how satisfying it has been for me to respect the boundaries you have set, the space and the tone you have requested. Know how ready I am to continue to put my desires aside, so that I can better support you. Know how ready I am to continue to grow when I am alone and when I am with you."

Submit
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
02:19:35 PM

Andrew et al, what do you think of this letter, from an abuser trying to communicate with his victim after about two months of separation? "I am so sorry. I know I’ve said it before, but never from this perspective. I have so much respect and admiration for you, for recognizing that I had become an abuser and that you had become a victim, and for stopping it. Thank you. Your courage led to my breakthrough. I felt the isolation, the anger, and the pain described in the abuse literature. I didn’t understand why, and I certainly didn’t understand how to stop it. You did. Now I do. It comes largely from not being mindful of the present, from an intense need for validation, a need to be correct about everything, to be perfect. Much of it comes from my experiences with my family. I am no longer a slave to these damaging experiences. Again, thank you. Still, when you left, it came to me as an ice-cold shock. I have been in therapy, at least twice a week, gaining insight into my past and making concrete behavioral changes. I continue to research abuse. I have a problem, a horrible self-destructive problem that has compromised the single most precious relationship in my life. Reading cases of verbal abuse has been like staring into a mirror. I had been ashamed and guilty, embarrassed that I had behaved so horribly toward you, that I turned my greatest ally into an enemy. You have every right to be resentful and angry toward me. You knew first hand the good I could do, and yet, in the end, I was mostly giving you the bad: how insulting. I only hope, for both of our sakes, that the damage I have done is not irreparable. Now I have accepted others and myself as imperfect human beings who do not deserve to be raked over the coals for every false step. I am strong and confident that I am working to make a better life for myself and for those who keep my company. I have realized that your decision was spot-on. I have realized that I didn’t want the relationship that had developed between us anymore than you did. I want the kindness, the gentle, loving, patient exchange of which we both know we’re capable. I know that I am a trustworthy man, but I know that I have lost your trust. I know how difficult it is to regain that trust, but, if you give me the opportunity, I know that I can, and that I can keep it. I understand that when someone abuses, he casts himself into a catch 22, designed to protect the victim--very appropriately, very understandably--but horrifying for the abuser, who is likely to be a loving, caring human being with a terrible psychological problem that can be treated. This catch 22 is that any true progress that the abuser makes and expresses might be misinterpreted as an attempt to coax the victim back into a terrible relationship, a part of the cycle of abuse, even though the new relationship could be the most loving, wonderful, unique relationship if it were actually given an opportunity. No doubt, a relationship that persevered through a hardship like this could blossom, with the work of both partners, (work necessary for any relationship). Of course, if the abuser does not say or do anything communicative, then the perception can be that he has neither recognized his problem nor done the necessary work to acknowledge that it will always require work to stay beyond it. He unnecessarily vanishes from the victim's life, which can be a great disservice to them both. If you allow me to, I will show you that I continue to do the necessary work, and that I am a much better man than I was in June, a much better man than I ever was, and very uniquely suited to you, having learned so much from our experience together. If you cannot allow me this opportunity, I understand, and I know that we will both be fine. But we will miss out on the great joy we can bring each other. That would be a tragedy. Understandable, given the way I treated you, but no less tragic. The work I do is my own. I'm not working on anyone else. I have never thought of you as a guinea pig. You are quite simply, in my eyes, one of the most wonderful human beings I have ever known. If you are willing, I would like you to be in my life on your terms, and taking very slow, steady steps. I love you very deeply. Please know how much your feelings, your dreams, your interests, your priorities mean to me. Know how ready I am to listen—to really listen—to you, to make you and your thoughts a priority, how satisfying it has been for me to respect the boundaries you have set, the space and the tone you have requested. Know how ready I am to continue to put my desires aside, so that I can better support you. Know how ready I am to continue to grow when I am alone and when I am with you."

Submit
Monday, January 30, 2006
01:40:29 AM

my name is rachel and i am 26 and so is my boyfriend. we have been together for 8yrs and he is a verbal and emotional abuser. We have split up a couple times briefly during our relationship but I always take him back. I often feel like the more I am with him the less I feel like I have to give the world. I dont know if it is because the abuse that he has inflicted on me during the duration of our relationship or what? I feel like my spirit is crushed, for example; I used to love being around children and used to love taking care of people and I feel like all my passion for life is gone and I'm just going with the motions. I love him with all my heart and I know that his abuse is not intentional, but I dont know how this relationship will play out if we have children in the future. I dont know how to get out of the reltionship when I am still in love with him. He constantly communicates with me when we are not together even when he is the one who ended the relationship. If I change my cell phone number he will come to my apartment, if I dont answer my door he comes to my work, etc. And the hard thing is, is that I love him, and when he comes to talk to me I cant say no. what can I do to help my situation???

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Monday, January 30, 2006
01:42:25 AM

my name is rachel and i am 26 and so is my boyfriend. we have been together for 8yrs and he is a verbal and emotional abuser. We have split up a couple times briefly during our relationship but I always take him back. I often feel like the more I am with him the less I feel like I have to give the world. I dont know if it is because the abuse that he has inflicted on me during the duration of our relationship or what? I feel like my spirit is crushed, for example; I used to love being around children and used to love taking care of people and I feel like all my passion for life is gone and I'm just going with the motions. I love him with all my heart and I know that his abuse is not intentional, but I dont know how this relationship will play out if we have children in the future. I dont know how to get out of the reltionship when I am still in love with him. He constantly communicates with me when we are not together even when he is the one who ended the relationship. If I change my cell phone number he will come to my apartment, if I dont answer my door he comes to my work, etc. And the hard thing is, is that I love him, and when he comes to talk to me I cant say no. what can I do to help my situation???