How to get Dr. Irene's Advice: Look here!

Ask The Doc Board

The CatBox Archives

 

(Archives)

4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

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

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

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

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

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

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

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

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

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

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

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for A Recovering Abuser Speaks

Comments for A Recovering Abuser Speaks

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
 

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 216.237.19.2
Date: Tuesday, August 01, 2000

S1

Bill, I want to commend you on your accomplishments, and your wife's. As I read your letter I wanted to cry for all of us who have been victim or abuser. I have only posted once and I think it was to the letter you said sounded like it could be your wife. I am in the process of separating from almost 14yr of marriage, we are having to sell our house; neither could afford the payment alone. My husband is in counseling and I think he posts on this site. The problem with my husband is, I think, he is just learning manipulation better, even with his therapist. I'm sorry...

One week ago after all his supposed change he started accusing me. I have accepted responsibility for my actions, but he was the abuser, not me. I tried to explain that sometimes the victim also becomes an abuser, but I believe it is almost a form of self defense until we can realize what is truly going on. Yes. Unfortunately, it is self-defense that compromises your integrity. I myself am co-dependent and I am scared for my daughter. Not only has she been exposed to my codependency, but he has verbally and emotionally abused her as well. I don't even think he wants to admit that. She is starting counseling next week. Good! She told me this morning that she does not want him to go to her first session, only me. My intentions are to let the counselor know the main points, tell her the behaviors I am noticing in her, and see where we can go from here. 

I hope for your sake that if your wife truly does choose to end your marriage that you accept it, I see this weird smirk on my husbands face almost like he is calling me names in his mind or thinking how he can keep me. My husband never did hit me, but as my daughter reminded just last week, he did display violence more than just once and broke lots of personal things as well as himself. Bill if you make changes - PLEASE do it for you, not with the intentions of it fixing your marriage. I know that I am making my changes for me - I want to be whole, healthy, strong and one day have a true healthy adult relationship so my daughter can experience that side of life as well, and for me of course too. I wish you the very best. Nuts She's right Bill. If you make changes for yourself, everything else just falls into place.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 216.229.172.101
Date: Tuesday, August 01, 2000

S1

Perhaps you might try meditation, or Yoga, or some type of martial arts. That might appeal to your athletic side, as well as giving you an opportunity to explore your mind and feelings. Not hard on the knees, and you would have a safe place to do your mental exercises. No matter what choice your wife may make, keep on working on yourself, for your sons sake, grandkids, but mostly, for your own peace of mind.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.207.76
Date: Tuesday, August 01, 2000

S1

I believe it takes courage to type what your feeling. I pray and hope everything works out for you and your wife whatever the outcome is together or not!  Yes...

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 192.12.230.85
Date: Wednesday, August 02, 2000

S1

It is interesting to note the total lack of interest in this post. (Compare to the instant cheering section when the abused spouse writes in.) It seems that the abusers aren't the kind of people we can really embrace or empathize with. I find that so sad... But, then again, I'm not surprised given that this site is visited most often by victims - who are often too angry to be empathic. This is a stage in empowerment that typically passes.

It would be great if a completely recovered abusive man could write in with an actual game plan about what he did to achieve peace of mind, or God forbid, to actually get his wife and family back. I know this doesn't happen too often, but if us abusive men had an actual detailed proven game plan to follow (that covered all of the issues such as how to cope with the new boyfriend, loneliness, guilt, despair, the children, frustration, etc etc), might there be more healed marriages?

Who knows?

PJM  Hi P. I'll ask one man I know in that position if he'd be interested. Irene

 

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.207.209
Date: Thursday, August 03, 2000

S1

Hi PJM:

I think you have a valid point in that there are so many complaints to the effect of, "Why aren't more abusers willing to work on change?" Yet, when some do really make an effort they can be either completely dismissed or even be the recipient of hostility. True, but no reason to give up. Ya hafta do what ya hafta do...

I know I can't really speak for others, but since the majority of the posters here seem to be victims, I think the major crux of the issue is that so many have been in relationships where they felt they gave, and they gave and they gave. They really tried to be supportive and sympathetic toward their abuser at one time or another but they are simply drained by now. There is a "me" period that can follow this, the feeling of, "I lived your life for years and allowed you to hurt me, manipulate me, control me, abuse me (etc.) and now it's time for ME. Now I want to talk about my pain, and my anger and my losses."

In which case it can be trying when you are involved in your own abusive relationship as a victim to extend a hand to an abuser. It can be a lonely path for both the victim and the abuser at times. So why don't fellow angry people post? I know why, but come on guys and gals! Apart from that, one of the goals of this site is to help victims understand abusers. When you can recognize their pain and see how they are their own victims, it becomes easier to lend a hand. The victim also becomes stronger and more whole because of their understanding - understanding without engaging, that is.

I read Will's post and I couldn't really think of anything to add because Dr. Irene did such a brilliant job already with her input and the resources she presented. The most I could even really think of to say is that I admire him for coming forward and I do hope that he heals and is able to have a better life someday. Aw gee...

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 12.38.64.83
Date: Thursday, August 03, 2000

S1

This letter to Dr Irene from Will or Bill was also posted on the Yak Board by "Bob." They were tons of responses on the yak board to this same letter with lots of interchange between Bob and individuals who replied. Check it out on the Yak Board. This post did receive a lot of support! Great!

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.232.167.107
Date: Thursday, August 03, 2000

S1

I'm glad he finally realizes that words hurt - and I mean hurt deeply. I am going through a verbal abuse (my first and hopefully my last) situation as I type my comments to you. However, the thing that helps me is the relationship that my parents had. My dad never talked to my mother the way some of these men do their spouses, girlfriend etc... But one thing thing I know, is that I am not all those things he has called me. My self-esteem came from my loving, nurturing parents who died several months apart. Had I not had the parents I had, no telling how I would be. I made up my mind to leave this person, because he was not healthy for me and I feel sad, but peaceful. Good for you for removing yourself from a situation that is toxic to your well being.

Even though he continues to call my pager, I never return the call. I remember some of the great advice my mother told me, she said, "the apples don't fall far from the tree". I say that because his mother acts the same way. Nasty language and a recovering crack cocaine user. Even though she has a fairly decent job at the post-office, she's still not with it. When two people have sex and a child is conceived, that child had no choice in picking its parents. You get who you get. I was so lucky to have the parents that I had, because they taught me that no one owns no one. We don't even own ourselves. God is in control and he is the only one that can change a damaged heart. So now I rely on their teaching they taught me a a young lady. After, I read Bill's story, I initially had no sympathy for him, because of what I've gone through. But some people just don't need to have children, because they grow up to be people just like bill that hurt innocent people like me. Exactly. And a victim's ability to regain empathy for abusive people, without permitting abuse in his or her life, is a good indication of health. Certainly a goal to shoot for!

 B1: Submit
Remote Name: 12.38.64.117
Date: Friday, August 04, 2000

S1

And you make a good point that not all victims come from abusive backgrounds. ANYONE can be fooled by an abuser. They are typically very nice when courting, then once they know they have you, whamo! This type of behavior would confuse even the most normal "together" person. Good for you for doing what is best for you. Sis   Whamo! I like the word.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 12.46.84.62
Date: Saturday, August 05, 2000

S1

Right on, Sis. All sorts of different situations can and do occur. I had not ever been in a verbally abusive situation before my last relationship. But now I see what the "hook" for me was. My parents were emotionally distant, especially my father. My bipolar ex could be very close and passionate. Probably much more so than the average guy I would guess....but then he could be the opposite too.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 199.174.161.164
Date: Sunday, August 06, 2000

S1

Why does it take the total and complete destruction of the relationship for the abuser to want/get help? Is it denial? Is is their realization that the abused person is emotionally exhausted, drained and beyond participation in the crazy dance. My abuser has sooooooooooooo much empathy for himself. Yet... his strongest empathy for me is shown when he is "kicked out" of the house. Would it surprise you to know that many, many abusive people have no clue when or how they are being abusive? To them, they are just acting "normal." Call it "denial" or call it "not knowing any other way." The reasons abusive people are the way they are are really no different than the reasons victim people repeatedly fall into their self-destructive behaviors: denial and knowing no other way. 

A DVC, (domestic violence counselor), told me that for some couples, while deeply enmeshed in the violence cycle, the abuse almost has a life of its' own. Not to negate any persons' responsibility with this point, but the couple may have little conscience thought regarding their actions and reactions, that occur during the abuse cycle. Exactly. Thank you. It is all each person's knee-jerk, reactive, auto-pilot behavior pushing each partner along.

I do understand my co-dependence, denial, the and floating feeling of total detachment, (that accompanies the abuse I suffer*). I am/have participated in the following:

One current and two previous, weekly women's group counseling sessions, held at a domestic violence center and shelter. Counselors complete rigorous domestic violence training.

Attended with my abuser, four marital counselors inexperienced in domestic violence. Two were completed fooled my my abusers cavalier and charming ways, I was then double abused by my husband and EYE ROLLING counselor. Oh boy... The other two counselors challenged and begged me to leave him, (I wasn't ready to leave and ended the counseling due to panic/denial/fear). You have a good understanding of how it works. With few exceptions, neither partner wakes up in the morning and says, "I think I'm going to be a victim today." Or, "I think today is a good day to abuse my spouse." It just happens; it is an unconscious dance set to the music of each person's underlying personality, style, habits, etc.

 

* Suffering, Oh I have loved it so!

 B1: Submit
Remote Name: 64.12.105.186
Date: Sunday, August 13, 2000

S1

William-

You probably don't think this yet, but your wife is a very lucky woman.

If my husband, also named Bill, had even ONCE intimated that part of the problem in our marriage was his verbal and emotionally abusive behavior and decided to "work" on it, we might not be apart now.

I wish you much healing.

jannabeth   Thank you Jannabeth; you are so right.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.0.130.9
Date: Thursday, August 17, 2000

S1

I am happy for you William...Good luck in your recovery.....you're a very lucky man. You bet!

 

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.201.208
Date: Sunday, August 20, 2000

S1

Congratulation!! I am so proud for you and hope you have great success in beating this problem. I wish it had been YEARS earlier, but better late than never. I hope you get your marriage together, not AGAIN, but NEW. Just don't push it, OK? May God bless you richly, Connie Thank you  Connie!

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.240.220.222
Date: Sunday, September 03, 2000

S1

i'm a 37 year old male been married 16 years been togather 20years.have four kid's 3 boy's 1 girl,my wife left me and kid,s week ago.she is saying i mentely and physicaly abused her.when she first heard it i thought she was making it up but as i red this letter i reailized she's right. this sound's like thing's i am doing to her.i've been trying to control her thought's her action's the way she feel's etc.i don't want to be like this.and i did'nt know i was doing this to her.it make's me feel 2feet tall.it was stupied,why did'nt i see what was going on. thank for sharing this with me it has opened my eyes.i reailze i have a problem i need to get help any recomendation's.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.240.220.222
Date: Sunday, September 03, 2000

S1

i'm a 37 year old male been married 16 years been togather 20years.have four kid's 3 boy's 1 girl,my wife left me and kid,s week ago.she is saying i mentely and physicaly abused her.when i first heard it i thought she was making it up but as i red this letter i reailized she's right. this sound's like thing's i am doing to her.i've been trying to control her thought's her action's the way she feel's etc.i don't want to be like this.and i did'nt know i was doing this to her.it make's me feel 2feet tall.it was stupied,why did'nt i see what was going on. thank for sharing this with me it has opened my eyes.i reailze i have a problem i need to get help any recomendation's.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.240.220.222
Date: Sunday, September 03, 2000

S1

i'm a 37 year old male been married 16 years been togather 20years.have four kid's 3 boy's 1 girl,my wife left me and kid,s week ago.she is saying i mentely and physicaly abused her.when i first heard it i thought she was making it up but as i red this letter i reailized she's right. this sound's like thing's i am doing to her.i've been trying to control her thought's her action's the way she feel's etc.i don't want to be like this.and i did'nt know i was doing this to her.it make's me feel 2feet tall.it was stupied,why did'nt i see what was going on. thank for sharing this with me it has opened my eyes.i reailze i have a problem i need to get help any recomendation's.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.92.156.127
Date: Friday, September 22, 2000

S1

Yes, I have a comment. I did not read the entire communique, but I think that the commenter has some pretty substantial control tendencies herself. And seems capable of some really condescending stuff.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.24.117.116
Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000

S1

Can you please define "quick fix" (giving as many specific examples as you have time for).

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.240.172.73
Date: Wednesday, December 20, 2000

S1

Wow, Bill's story sounds a lot like ours. I am reading about the abuser to better understand my husband. Since I left, he has finally, after 23 years of being abusive, started to look at himself and has done a lot of work. I think I gave up on the relationship 10 years ago, because he would not consider counseling or even read a book. Now I am faced with just not having any feelings for him..there is nothing there, no love. He may be able to change, but I don't think I can ever regain any feelings for him and going back feels like such disrespect for myself. Plus, I feel joy in my life again and can't imagine compromising that after so many years of keeping myself in a cage for this man.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 63.228.29.180
Date: Tuesday, October 02, 2001

S1

Hi, my name is Mark. I'm a 50 year old with years of dysfunction under my belt, and am trying to recover. The work is difficult, but well worth it. I have been a controlling, abusive person myself. A comment on the about: I read alot about the reasons why. Ok, so do something about it! The reasons why are much less important than (HONESTLY) accepting yourself for who you are right now, and changing your own actions. You cannot (and are not responsible for) change the other persons actions. Let go of it. Two things that have been of tremendous help for me: "Healing the Shame That Binds You", a book by John Bradshaw; and healing in a group. The book can help lead the way. Thanks for this site!

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 216.177.25.26
Date: Saturday, February 23, 2002

S1

My husband quit drinking about three months ago.He just recently moved out and want's nothing to do with me.He says the way he feels right now that he isn't good for eitherone of us.I asked him if he want's a divorce but he say's please don't start.What should I do?

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 205.188.197.182
Date: Tuesday, June 25, 2002

S1

hello....

I just finished reading the letter from the recovering abusive man. He seems to be getting it. It has helped me to see the behavior of my X. We are still only seperated. But the paperwork has begun on his part. I stopped allowing him to controll me the last year and half of our marriage. It took alot of courage, but instead of him trying to work with my stronger self, he said he wanted a divorce. I moved out and he replaced me real quick. In fact I know from hind site that he had been lining this new chick up for a while. I guess he didnt even want to look at his behavior towards me. instead it was easier to controll a new person. sHE has no kids and is a few years younger. she lives with her sister and family. she also works with the family restaurant. she has never ventured anywhere else as far as i can see/ a defnate perfect cannidate for him to controll. he can give her more than she can give herself (so she believes/as i once did). It makes me really angry that he didn't care enough to come to terms with his mistreatment of me. instead he saw my new strength and self respect/confidence as a problem in our marriage that he could not live with. He blames me for our marriage not working. Yes of course. godforbid that i love myself and set my limits. He would not tolerate anyone to have limits except him......i am happy and jealous of this woman who was married to william. I wish my x would see my pain, and be nicer to me. He still doese not even talk to me, unless it is to demean me. so i just stay away, but not perfectly... i still break down into the old codependent behavior and call him.....i hate that part of myself... thanx bert

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 67.80.154.10
Date: Monday, January 27, 2003

S1

It was a good story, I am alittle more of the controlling in the relationship I don't wasnt to let go off. In some way he wants to leave me and not be with me. He also seeked out a friendship with another woman from work and he wants to end it with me and not end it with her. So he is spending time with me so I leave her alone. I need help any suggestings. Want Jim back from Greenwood Lake,NY State

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 66.222.252.205
Date: Sunday, March 30, 2003

S1

My name is Bruce, aged 45, in my third relationship (second marriage) and verbal abuse has all but killed this one...I'm in very much the same place as this fellow is....this is Day 1 for me as a recovering (and eventually cured) verbal abuser. This letter, and other items on this site are helpful in identifying the problem areas and providing some tools to help me and my wife...

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 198.81.27.15
Date: Monday, April 07, 2003

S1

Yes, I am an abuser to my husband and 2 children (boys) ages l5 and ll. I have gotten to the point of yelling and irrational behavior. Point is, I recognize this and need help but don't know where to go or who to go to as counseling has not helped. Given my age, husband and 2 children, counselers feel this is normal to feel anger and frustration but the degree has increased and the harm to my children is already done and they are coping with their anger in unhealthy ways. I have self-loathing at this time, the only thought keeping me going is what my total (rather than emotional) absence would do to my husband and children.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 198.81.27.15
Date: Monday, April 07, 2003

S1

Yes, I am an abuser to my husband and 2 children (boys) ages l5 and ll. I have gotten to the point of yelling and irrational behavior. Point is, I recognize this and need help but don't know where to go or who to go to as counseling has not helped. Given my age, husband and 2 children, counselers feel this is normal to feel anger and frustration but the degree has increased and the harm to my children is already done and they are coping with their anger in unhealthy ways. I have self-loathing at this time, the only thought keeping me going is what my total (rather than emotional) absence would do to my husband and children.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 12.80.5.235
Date: Saturday, April 19, 2003

S1

damn i love my childs father and I forgive him and I fell sorry for him.Seperation is good because I need help myself

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 136.226.254.148
Date: Friday, May 16, 2003

S1

I wish I were shown this site 2 years ago. I believe it would have saved my wife a lot of pain. I hope it is not too late now. I am sincerely sorry that I ever hurt her in any way. I am an abuser. I have been married to my 2nd wife for 3 years. During the last 2 years we have been having more and more arguments with yelling, calling each other names etc. It is not all the time and usually we are quite civil to each other. During the beginning of our marriage I would constantly hassle her about her job at the hospital working long hours, her shifts etc. But she worked the long hours and shifts so that she could be off when I was off. We have fun being together lots of the time, go out together, exercise, etc. But during a couple of arguments I have called my wife a f’ing bitch. She said the last time if I ever said it again she would be gone. But even though I never said it again it was too late. The damage has been done. I never realized how frustrated she was until I came home one day and she was gone. She thought the situation was pointless. I talked her into coming home 3 days later and we moved away to a new place. I read her book about controlling one week later and wow, what an eye opener. I was a controller. I did have several unacceptable behaviors. I tried to go over my thoughts and feelings about the book with my wife, but she was very detached. The more I brought up the issues I thought I had to work on, the madder she got. ‘Why didn’t you see these issues before?’ I don’t have any excuses for my behavior and I don’t know why I didn’t see these poor behavior problems before. I guess no one ever brought it to my attention or maybe I didn’t want to see. I asked my wife if she thought counseling would be a good idea – duh – she has been saying it all along. So I arranged for a marriage counselor who we have seen once together and then a couple of times separately. My wife still wasn’t very happy and when I left for work this time, she left our home again, packed up all her clothes and drove clear across the country to be with her family. She said she needs time to consider whether or not she even wants to be married at all. While I was away I was reading over all the issues at this site and I was emailing her revelations I was having about needing to be in control of my response to my own emotions, telling her she had nothing to do with my behavior, and there was no excuses for it, I would get professional help, and basically pleaded for the chance to show her that she could trust me and that I was sincere. My wife says she feels very guilty right now because for the last few weeks I have been sincerely making every effort to correct my behaviors and she is not interested in contributing. I tell her she is just angry with me and has a right to be. I have arranged for abuse/control counseling and group sessions while she is gone. I have just about read every page on this site and on a couple of links. I really want to be a better person and never hurt anyone again. But I truly hope that my wife decides I can be part of her life again. I want to learn respectful 2 way communications, learn to give and accept love and be involved in a healthy relationship with the woman I originally married. She is truly a beautiful person and I hope its not too late. I hope to find out her answer on May26. Stay tuned.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 198.26.120.13
Date: Saturday, May 24, 2003

S1

although some of the details are different the main flow of the story mirrors my past 18 yrs right down to the abuse of my 17 yr old daughter. I never physically abused my wife, but the withholding of emotion, the yelling, the total lack of empathy. I ask myself why? Because I didn't know any better. Thats why I came to this site I wanted to know why. My eyes have been opened. the only one I can control is my self. I have to take responsibility for my own actions. With the help of God and the resources on this site my future no mater how it turns out will be better for all, including my 4 children and my wife who I wish all the happiness in the world. thankyou again Dr.Irene