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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

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

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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!

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Comments for Abused Guy Wants Help

Comments for Abused Guy Wants Help

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: 207.198.211.32
Date: Tuesday, June 06, 2000

S1

test

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Remote Name: 212.140.124.33
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

David I think I am not the only one who will say "wow I wish my guy had had the moment of clarifying insight as you have had". This is so wonderful that you can face all that. I truly believe seeing that the problem is one HUGE step to recovery. Don't give up! I am sure your wife does indeed deserve the very best from you, but SO DO YOU! What I know from my own Ex is, that abusers are deeply unhappy within themselves. That btw is why so many co-dependents go through so much with their abusers; they think they can help them. Whatever you do to change should have one primary goal: YOUR recovery and your resulting happiness. I am sure that someone who is happy and secure within him/herself could never hurt another or in fact him or herself. Maybe think of your recovery as if you had broken your legs and are slowly relearning how to walk. Take it slow and step by step and just feel how with every step forward you are getting stronger and happier. Maybe your wife will come back to you and maybe she won't. Don't make your full recovery based on the hope that she then will. Change for you! Maybe I am the only one who feels like this I don't know but when I am given something by a friend I always look into their faces and search for happiness. When I see that my friend is excited cause it gives them joy to have chosen this present for me, the gift whatever it may be, becomes worth soooo much more. And on the other hand if I see that someone made a sacrifice for me out of some sort of duty and which actually doesn't bring them any happiness at all, whatever they actually do give me in that moment becomes almost meaningless. I don't know if this made sense, I am trying to say that all you can give isn't worth half, if it's not given with a joyous heart. And to have a joyous heart you have to be able to feel happiness within and with yourself first. Way to go David! I am rooting for you. All the best Trinity

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Remote Name: 207.115.63.25
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

Be patient and give your wife all the time she needs. As for your pain....feel it...it's a good thing. If you didn't feel pain, you wouldn't have anything to motivate you to change your ways. No pain...no gain.

It took 14 years for your wife to become fed up with your behavior, so it's going to take a while to repair the damage...and there's no guarantee that's it's repairable. But you won't know that till you do it. And don't try.....DO.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 4.48.85.90
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

David,

I applaud you! You finally "got it"! I wish my husband would "get it", too. You recognized, through all the fear you've experienced all your life, what you have put your wife thru and have made a conscious choice to change.

If my husband could do that much, I think we could save our marriage. But, alas, he says it's my fault that we're in marriage counseling (6 months and counting) and if I "keep this up, we'll end up hating each other!" That's sad, isn't it? Fear rules his life and I'm afraid that fear will kill him.

I'm not sticking around to watch it happen. I'm moving out and taking our daughter with me. I'm breaking a four generation cycle of women marrying men who control, manipulate and verbally abuse them. I have to set the example for my daughter (she's 13). I don't want her to do what I did....live life in a fog for 15 years and wake up at 43, wondering what happened to her life and how she let it get so warped. I want her to be able to recognize men like the man you were (and the man my husband STILL is) and RUN, not walk, the other way.

Any insight you can give me would be appreciated. I think that if he REALLY wanted to "get it", he would work hard trying to understand. He's too busy blaming me and I'm too busy not allowing his ridiculous behavior (acting like a 2 year old). He looked thru both of Patricia Evans' books and got mad because I brought them in the house. He says our daughter might see them. Afraid that she'll know his secret and not love him anymore.

Tell me, what does he think gives him the right to treat another human being which such contempt and disregard?

Thank you for your help, Trystan

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 4.48.85.90
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

David,

I applaud you! You finally "got it"! I wish my husband would "get it", too. You recognized, through all the fear you've experienced all your life, what you have put your wife thru and have made a conscious choice to change.

If my husband could do that much, I think we could save our marriage. But, alas, he says it's my fault that we're in marriage counseling (6 months and counting) and if I "keep this up, we'll end up hating each other!" That's sad, isn't it? Fear rules his life and I'm afraid that fear will kill him.

I'm not sticking around to watch it happen. I'm moving out and taking our daughter with me. I'm breaking a four generation cycle of women marrying men who control, manipulate and verbally abuse them. I have to set the example for my daughter (she's 13). I don't want her to do what I did....live life in a fog for 15 years and wake up at 43, wondering what happened to her life and how she let it get so warped. I want her to be able to recognize men like the man you were (and the man my husband STILL is) and RUN, not walk, the other way.

Any insight you can give me would be appreciated. I think that if he REALLY wanted to "get it", he would work hard trying to understand. He's too busy blaming me and I'm too busy not allowing his ridiculous behavior (acting like a 2 year old). He looked thru both of Patricia Evans' books and got mad because I brought them in the house. He says our daughter might see them. Afraid that she'll know his secret and not love him anymore.

Tell me, what does he think gives him the right to treat another human being which such contempt and disregard?

Thank you for your help, Trystan

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.244.73.84
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

i am going thrue the same thing i have known of the verbal abuse for about 3.5 months now . my wife and i are getting seperated now, after the sale of our bueatiful home .we are also hashing out custody of our daughter. i started counsling 3 weeks ago , why is walking away the only solutition for the spouse ? i have started to read a lot about abuse , and it seams to be basicly the same thing .the sponse reckonises it and then desides to leave . no marrage counciling , nothing!and it seams that the abuser (me) trys to get help.is that because of the kid's ? i have found it very hard to let go . i am still very emotional , and i still find myself tring to talk abont the relationship with my wife . witch leaves us both angry .my wife is starting to admit to being at falt also in the verbal abuse , but says she quit 2 years ago. she has said it (is over) more times than i can count . but i still push for her to say the D word. i realy want this to have a chance ,but i can't let go . can you help in that aspect?

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.244.73.84
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

i am going thrue the same thing i have known of the verbal abuse for about 3.5 months now . my wife and i are getting seperated now, after the sale of our bueatiful home .we are also hashing out custody of our daughter. i started counsling 3 weeks ago , why is walking away the only solutition for the spouse ? i have started to read a lot about abuse , and it seams to be basicly the same thing .the sponse reckonises it and then desides to leave . no marrage counciling , nothing!and it seams that the abuser (me) trys to get help.is that because of the kid's ? i have found it very hard to let go . i am still very emotional , and i still find myself tring to talk abont the relationship with my wife . witch leaves us both angry .my wife is starting to admit to being at falt also in the verbal abuse , but says she quit 2 years ago. she has said it (is over) more times than i can count . but i still push for her to say the D word. i realy want this to have a chance ,but i can't let go . can you help in that aspect? GBO

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 192.90.177.52
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

Dana, I mentioned to you elsewhere this "only three percent of abusers recover" business, but I'll repeat it here for the benefit of anyone else reading this--though without using the word "crap" this time. :) I don't know where this little "3%" meme comes from, and if you know, please let us all know, and what the context was. I don't who started it, what they were measuring, what methodology (if any) they used, and what it means--if indeed it means anything at all! Anyone should be instantly skeptical of anything as improbable-sounding as this, the same way anyone should be instantly disbelieving if they hear that "150,000 women a year die of anorexia"--which is four times the death toll from all highway accidents, and one in fifteen of all deaths from all causes! False beliefs can permeate whole communities and trap the unwary. One person makes an assertion, it gets passed on, and before they know where they are, a whole bunch of people start accepting it as "truth"--invariably due to the absence of anything to contradict it. The average person would be amazed to realize what nonsense sometimes passes for "accepted truth," even among communities of experts. This kind of demoralization does not give people like yourself, or anyone, the help they need. It's as good as saying "If you've got cancer, you might as well give up and die right now." Who needs that? Yet look at all the cancer survivors!

In any case it means nothing to you, because, as I said, it makes all the difference in the world if somebody doesn't like their own behavior and wants to change it. This is elementary probability theory. However low the chances are of being dealt four aces, they're immensely higher if you already have three aces in your hand!

Apart from that, I can't do much more than repeat what several other people, including Dr. Irene, have wisely said. Yes, if you are to succeed at rebuilding your marriage--and it's not a guarantee, but it certainly can be done, and has been done many times--it will take time. I think of this in terms of "track record." Unluckily you've built up a track record of certain behaviors in your wife's eyes. You might turn that behavior around and start acting quite differently today, but it still wouldn't make much of a difference to your track record right away. It will take time to attenuate the old track record and build up a new and different one in her eyes.

Meanwhile, it won't help your wife to keep asking her how she feels about you. As hard as it may be to resist doing that, she's only going to feel that as *pressure* on her right now, and pressure is just what she doesn't need, when she's no doubt felt enough pressure in other ways to last her a lifetime. I'm sure she doesn't know what she feels: "emptiness," as you said, "numbness" as someone else said. The shrinking away reaction is completely normal; it's one of fear. And remember what happens when we wake up from numbness; when we've been sitting on our leg, let's say. We get *pins and needles*. It's painful. If she starts getting angry at you, *let* her be angry. Sympathize with her anger, as well as supporting her in other ways.

You've mentioned the anger management and the hypnotherapy, but I haven't heard you say anything about your own family background, or the reason why you think you've been behaving the way you have. It should help you to get in touch with that as well. Maybe for some people, verbal abuse is just a habit they learn without thinking, by imitation. That's all the more reason to wake up and ask "What am I doing and why? Does it make any sense?" Habits can be unlearned. Still, it's more than likely something bad went on, way back when, that you're reacting against instead of just imitating, and you must have some buried anger about that. If you fall for negative beliefs about yourself, like that "three percent" stuff, that suggests a lot of negativity was dumped on you. If you can get in touch with your real anger about that, it's something you no longer have to dump unthinkingly on your wife. Instead, if she does gets angry at you, her anger is something you can genuinely *share* with her, and support her in, because you may both in a sense be joint victims of what was dumped on you (very possibly on your wife as well) from outside.

Above all, it will take patience on your part, which I'm sure you have. You may find it well worth going to www.divorcebusting.com, a recommendation I'd make to "GBO" above, as well. You'll get exactly the same advice there about having patience and giving your wife the space she needs, but you'll also get ongoing support through that long waiting period. Good luck!

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 208.248.116.206
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

I heard this phrase said the other day in an AA meeting and it has stuck with me like glue: "Don't let fear control your success rate." I'm sure I've heard it before and in different ways, but I really "heard" it this time to start applying it.

Good luck and keep up the good work.

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Remote Name: 146.145.96.5
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

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Remote Name: 152.163.201.71
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

David, I saw a book that might help you. It's called Winning Your Wife Back by Gary Smalley. It's not a book about abuse. It's about repairing a broken marriage. Right now your wife's heart is closed to you because she's been hurt so much in the past. She's afraid to open her heart to you because she doesn't want to get hurt again. The book talks about ways to soften her heart towards you. I wish you the best, David. A note to ladies: I read another book by Gary Smalley, Winning Your Husband Back, and it was very helpful.

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Remote Name: 12.75.130.243
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

David,

My name (for now, and for privacy reasons) is Richard. My story mirrors yours in some incredible ways. The letters I have written to my wife acknowledging my behavior have said all of the same things, I bear shame, guilt, and have been working incredibly hard on the tremendous and exciting changes I've been making and have been having much, but not enough success.

I accepted myself as an abuser as part of a process that began over three years ago when I dragged my wife into marriage counceling because of the pain in our relationship.

This should give you the first clue as to what my problem is.

You see, after almost three years of very painful soul-searching, 60+ hours with therapists, two major depressive episodes including one time I hospitalized myself, I now believe that my wife MAY be the primary abuser in our relationship. I need to find out if this is possible and I need to find out quickly, because she is on the verge of dismantling our marriage and family - because she is blaming all of our problems on me, has refused and continues to refuse counceling This may turn some of you off immediately, so feel free to tune out now if you happen to be in a place

But I have one very important topic that I want the entire group to consider and help me with.

Spending time lurking on this site over the past week or so (my wife showed it to me) I

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 12.75.130.243
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

It's "Richard" again,

Sorry for the incomplete post, I hit the send button by mistake...i will re-post as soon as I'm through with the entire letter.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.41.196.94
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

Dear David,

How wonderful for you to "wake up" and see what your actions were doing to your wife and family. I would give all I own for the man in my life to have this awareness.

I would like to hear more about how you thought before you became aware of your abuse. What were the messages you were telling yourself? How did you justify your behavior before?

My advice to you would be keep going! If I were your wife I would be watching to see if you were going to change back to the abusive person. It is time that will tell her the greatest message.

What is hypnotherapy? How does it work? I have not heard of this kind of therapy before.

I think it is positive that your wife doesn't want you to leave. Being empty is part of the hurt and pain she has been through. As she finds her path to recovery it is important to listen and mirror her words without adding your own needs. Harville Hendrix has a wonderful book called "How to keep the Love you find". His principles are wonderful and healing.

My prayers are with you and your family as you discover a new life together.

With Love,

Faith

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Remote Name: 199.100.49.121
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

Hello.

David, what an inspiring letter! You should be proud of yourself for admitting the things you have and the place you are at now. Listen to what Dr. Irene says about taking care of yourself FIRST before anything else. The other things will come later. I definitely recommend the book "Grow Up" by Dr. Frank Pittman. Without sounding like a cliche', I think you are half way there! Good luck to you and Yes, I do thing with therapy and hard work, people can and do change. Or at least manage their reactions to stressful situations.

:)

PS When I read this letter, I so wished it was from my husband. But he is not there yet!!!

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Remote Name: 204.60.9.31
Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000

S1

Dave, your letter could have been the story of my life! We have been married 10 years and have 3 little kids, 1/3/5 yrs old. I told my husband I wanted a divorce because I just did not feel anything for him. No love, nor hate. I did not want to waste my life being married to someone I do not love and do not want to touch me. He verbally abused me for years, and blamed me for his behavior ("If you didn't do such-and-such, I would not have felt compelled to act such-and-such; thus as long as you are perfect I will behave myself and things will be honky-dory!" HA HA, there is a setup for failure from the get-go!)When I told him I wanted out, he said "That is unacceptable, and I think staying married for the kid's sake is OK." Well, I do not. Low and behold, the next day I discovered Dr. Irene's web site and it opened my eyes. Funny, he had in the past told me to "stand up to him" but I would not because I was afraid of being "bitchy!" I now know how ridiculous that was, and take responsibility for the role I played in the dissolution of our relationship. Yes I should have set limits and shut him up years ago; I am doing it now and it is working. However, I still do not feel love or emotion for him. As one poster said, the abuse went on for years and the love will not immediately come back just because the abuse ends. Think of it this way, if you had a friend who beat the crap out of you on a regular basis, then afterwards said that it meant nothing personally and that he still wanted to be your best friend, well how would you feel about this so-called friend? Because of my husband's tough upbringing (parents divorced young, his mom remarried several times to jerks, father clueless and absent and remarried to a psycho), he adapted the learned behavior of NEVER allowing himself to be hurt. He always had to be right. And when someone wronged him (like I would do if I forgot to do something), he would become the even bigger jerk as a defense mechanism - he would not allow himself to be wronged/hurt, so he would lash out and twist the "blame" around. Whenever I would try to talk to him about his bad behavior he would "twist" my words around such that I always ended up apologizing to HIM! HA HA. And afterwards I would feel like a fool, thinking "How did that happen, I was mad at HIM and I ended up APOLOGIZING???" So I just stopped talking to him; I knew how it would end up, and it was pointless. Thanks to this site I have the tools to deal with him, and he appears to be willing to change. Hooray, right? But I do not love him and do not know if I ever will again. Thanks for letting me vent, Dave, and good luck in your recovery. I know how your wife feels. Give her space and don't nag. Maybe it'll work out, maybe it won't. If it does not, accept it and move forward in life with your newfound knowledge and a lesson learned. Good Luck! --Honey

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Remote Name: 172.166.50.124
Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000

S1

Thank you, thank you thank you to all who replied to my letter from Dr. Irene. Each of you are very kind, feeling, and wonderful. I wanted to reply to the responses sooner but I was having trouble with my computer. To Trinity, Yes besides the two broken legs my heart is also broken. It's so hard to not be able to be with her, to talk to her, have fun with her. We barely even talk and when we do it short and with terse words. Thanks for rooting for me. You are right when you said abusers are unhappy with themselves. I had a very low self-esteem and didn't like myself very much. I am working on changing that now but it will take some time. I know that her self-esteem is also very low but that she is reading the Patricia Evans books and using some of the excercises so I hope that helps her.

To D.O. Thank you for telling me to feel my pain. I have been not just feeling the pain but trying to understand why and what the pain is for. Is it self-pitty? Is it poor you. Look at what you are losing? Or is it you have screwed up a valuable relationship that you might never get back are you going to learn something from that to insure taht you will never do it again? Are you putting yourself in her shoes and feeling the pain you have caused her so that you better understand her feeling? That's the approach I am taking. No more poor me or look what happened to me. I want to get better.

To Trystan. Your words are very profound. To answer the question of how I finally "got it" is very complex but here is the best that I can say. For years when we would get into arguements we would start to say things to each other that weren't kind. Then stupid me would go overboard and start calling her names and belittling her. She would raise her voice and then cry and leave. Later she would apologize to me. I myself wanted to apologize but I was too stuborn to make the first gesture. Then one day during an arguement she was getting upset and suddenly said, "Do you realize that the way you are talking to me is verbal abuse?" I was totally stunned at the utterance of those two words. I had never nor ever will PHYSICALLY abuse my wife but I never considered that I was abusing her with just my words. Just my words.. How typical of an abuser. Anyway I never wanted to hurt her but at that moment I came to realize that I was and had been. I was silent. I haven't done it since. Why can't your husband "get it"? I never realized that I was REALLY hurting her with what I thought were just words. You know the old saying. "sticks and stones can break you bones but words can never hurt you." Boy do I know how wrong that is. Words can not only hurt but they can kill the spirit and the person as well. I think that if your husband looked at it from the prospective that he should treat his verbal terse words against you the same as if he actually physically abused you. Letting him know that the damage is at least the same or worse since your soul is involved. That is what keeps me alert to everything that I say to her now. When he looked through the two Patricia Evans books he probably saw what I saw... Myself and it scared him. I bought the book first and then showed it to my wife later. She bought the second book herself. I know that at first I was upset that the books kinda gave the idea that abusers can't be cured and there is some truth to that depending on the situation. I myself don't feel that I will ever be totally cured simply because of all that has happened in my early life and other events that have happened in my current life. I want to try and balance things so that I can become an equal and well-rounded person. One who care and doesn't blame. One who does not put someone down. That is my goal. I hope that helps in some way Trystan. You have already helped me. Thanks and the best to you and your family.

To the person of verbal abuse for 3.5 months and started counseling 3 weeks ago. You asked why the abuser is always the one who needs the counseling and not the spouse. I think that both should go to counseling IF that is something THEY feel confortable in doing. Prior to my separation my wife suggested we both go to marriage counseling but I wouldn't even hear of it. I thought it would be a waste of time and wouldn't solve anything. Also I am and was a very private person until now and didn't feel comfortable talking about me personal problems with a stranger. I wish that I could take back waht I said and both of of go to counseling. You mentioned about letting go and having a hard time and still being very emotional. That's me too 100 percent. I have been in love with my wife for 14 years. I don't want to lose her anymore than you want to lose yours. I have three wonderful children that I love very much and it really hurts that I won't be around all the time when they need me because we won't be living together anymore. I also kept trying to talk to my wife asking her questions that I should know full and well that I shouldn't be asking. The way I started dealing with all this was to start thinking about what SHE was feeling and be sympathetic and caring about what she is going through. She's been constantly hurt for over 10 years. I've been hurt for less than two months. I realized that by trying to keep talking to her about something that gives her great pain and suffering would only reduce any chance of us getting back together again. Don't misunderstand that it's very hard not to talk to her about it but the concequences are too great to keep poking at her. Like everyone has suggested.. She needs time to heal herself. I wish that my wife would admit that she abused me too but the only thing she will say is that because of the way I was treating her she probably did verbally abuse me too. I think that there is more to it than that but at this point it would serve no positive purpose to dwell on. It would only make things worse. As far as the "D" word. Funny you should say that. I too used to always ask her to say that. I think now that's a cowardly way to deal with so serious a situation. I'm obviously no expert but the advice I would give you if you want a chance with her is to leave her alone unless she talks to you, and even if she gets angry at you like mine does just be supportive and realize she is angry for more than one reason. That's what I'm trying to do. The other IMPORTANT thing is to continue to help YOURSELF get better. I am doing all I can to try and reach this goal. That way God forbid if things don't work out between my wife and I, I will still be a better person and not the person I did not ever want to be, to be able to start a new life and be happy. Good luck to you and your wife.

To Richard, I never saw your post of the important topic you were going to wire about one you had it completed. You said that my story mirrors yours. I understand what you are saying when you think that your wife might be the main abuser. At one time I had the same thoughts. I do believe that it takes two people to argue and two people to fight. I know that my wife has verbally abused me as I have her. But I did a lot of thinking and reviewing all the good and bad times in our life and I came to the conclusion that because of my behaviour and treatment of her I changed her into doing some of my own bad habits. I think she did this unknowingly as a defense mechanism. I will also let everyone know that I didn't come from an abusive famliy. My wife is another story. All her sisters and brothers have been married at least one and divorced. Up to now she is the only one who hasn't. Before meeting me she was severely under a boyfriend who not only verbally abused her but physically and mentally brainwashed her. She tells me over and over that that has no affect on what has happened in our relationship. I don't see how something so tramatic couldn't have permanently affected her in some way. I don't know if you can relate to that but it's something to think about. Still interested in your post.

TO Faith,

I hope that some day your husband will wake up and be fully aware of just what he is doing. The only way I can explain things is that those two words "VERBAL ABUSE" were like trigger words and went through my sole like a lightning bolt. That's how hard it hit me. Unfortunately it hit me too late. The damage to her and our relationship was already done. The best I can do now is to try and prevent it from ever happening again. Before I was aware of my abuse I basically felt that I was last in her life. There was never anytime for her and I. She would be with her sister or brother, friends from work or with the kids. I felt that there was no us. I try and tell her this and she says that she always puts herself last and the kids first. No mention of me. So I guess that I built up a lot of resentment towrds her because of that. The messages I was telling myself were that she doesn't care about me. I am nothing to her. She doesn't want to be with me. Why? The only way I could justify my behavior was the me me poor me. I was the one left out. I was the one not included in her life when I'm supposed to be second in her life. It was all selfish and wrong. But it was all I knew because she didn't care. I goofed when I said I was in Hypnotherapy. I have been reading about it while I was typing my original letter to Dr. Irene. I am actually in Anger Management and seeing a Psychotherapist. But to be honest I think that my one analysis of myself has helped more than the therapy. Don't get me wrong I think it's very important but I still feel that analyzing myself indepth is more beneficial than any outside help. I will look into the book you suggested and let you know my progress. I can tell by your letter that you are adeep feeling person. All the best and thanks.

To Gordon,

I never go by statistics anyway. They can be made to look positive or negative. Your comments are very true. I am going to try and develop a new track record with her but I'm not going to have unrealistic expectations on the outcome either. Regardless of the past and why and what, I have been hurt too. I have to do what is best for me now so that I can be the new me and not the old me. She has said some pretty hurtfull things to me and until I started building me self-esteem and dealing with my anger I never acknowledged before. Time will tell. I have refrained from asking her how she feels and am still trying to talk with her without confrontation. Unfortunately everytime we talk it seems that she has anger in her voice. My family background is that no one in my family was ever abused or divorced. I was a happy child. My wife grew up with her mother being divorced twice, all six brothers and sisters have divorced at least once and some have remarried three times. My wife was severely verabally and physically abused and brainwashed before I met her but she claims that has nothing to do with why she feels the way she does about me. I have been behaving this way simply because I didn't know that I was. I was a selfish me person. Thanks for the insightfull thoughts.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.166.50.124
Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000

S1

Hi this is David again,

I'm sorry that the last post I did was so long but I sincerely wanted to reply to each of you who cared enough to take the time to reply. There are a few more important people who posted replies that I would like to address now.

To the person who posted the phrase from AA... I have taken these words and posted them on my wall. Thank you.

To the person who suggested the book "Winning your wife back". I appreciate you telling me about this book. I really do want my relationship with her to improve so that I can have her back in my life. I will try and find the book and read it. Thanks.

To the person who suggested the book "Grow Up". I want to do all I can to help get myself better. I don't mind reading 10 or 20 books if it will help. Thanks for the suggestion and I'll let you know if I can find it.

To Honey,

I'm sorry that my letter could be the story of your life. You seem to be a very nice person just like my wife. In fact one sad revelation that I have found is that sooo many nice and good people have been hurt and their spirit and soul destroyed. And for what reason? What did they do to deserve the kind of life that they've had to live? I was the way I was because of my slefishness and fear of losing her to someone else. Well so much for that huh? I ended up losing her anyway. It kinda shows that being selfish and a "ME" person is only hurtfull not helpfull. I know now that I always blamed my wife for things that had nothing to do with her. Blaming anyone for anything never helps any situation... It only hurts. And I extend that past relationships into everything that we do in life. I don't see you as being a "bitchy-type" person. I have learned that boundries have to be not only said but enforced to get the other person aware that hey something you are doing to me is hurting me STOP!!!!!!!! My wife and I used to fight and then later she would apologize to me. Most of the time it wasn't even her fault and she certainly didn't have to apologize to me. I grew to expect that if we had a fight she would be the one to say SHE was sorry. Recently she told me that I have no empathy. At time time before my revelation I think that was somewhat true. I hate to admit it but it is true. Someone who has no empathy can't possibly care about another person's feeelings of being hurt. I know that now. It is one of the things I am working on to rid myself of the ME person.

When you say he appears to be willing to change can you elaborate further? Has he verbally admitted to you really beieve it in himslef that he is an abuser and wants help? Has he started reading everything he can on this subject and talking to other people or posting his thoughts on outstanding boards like this one? Or is he just saying it with words like I once did? When you say you don't love him and are not sure if you ever will again can you tell me why that is? This is VERY important to me. Could it be because you are worried or fear that if you let him in again that you will only be hurt again? Or that you have seen him for the type of person who he really is and that in your eyes he can't ever change? These are actual things that my wife has said to me. She feels that everytime in the past she has let me get close to her again that it has "ended up biting her in the butt". I am giving her all the space I can no matter how much it hurts. What hurts more is that the few times we do talk now she has so much anger in her voice that I think she really wants to bite my head off. She is very short-tempered and is being very condesending and rude. I don't know what to think other than it's her reaction to all that has happened. She keeps saying that she doens't hate me or is angry. But all that has happened lately I wonder what she really does feel about me. Good luck Honey and I'll be here rooting for you and hope that something that I said might in some way help you. By you and the others simply caring to reply is GREAT therapy!!!!!!!!!

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Remote Name: 204.60.12.199
Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000

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Hi Dave, Honey again. Thanks for answering the post. Your letter did help me a lot, thanks for having the guts to spill it! To answer your questions:

1) My husband appears to be willing to change because he has demonstrated this since I started setting limits for him. He would do/say something hurtful, I would set a limit for him and tell him that what he did was wrong, and INITIALLY he argued and disagreed; I restated my position and described what had happened in a "role-reveral" way -- i.e., "How would you have felt if I had done so-and-so?" And he agreed and apologized for his behavior. He also said that now the trick for him is to not get into the situation where he owes me an apology in the first place! We have not had a lot of opportunities to practice this limit-setting, but I do not hesitate to do it over ANYTHING, no matter how trivial it may seem.

2) Why do I say I do not love him any more? For a Readers Digest condensed version, our relationship had a poor foundation to start with - the old "opposites attract" thing; the initial spark has long since worn off, and now we are two people who have kids together, and not much more common ground. In a non-abuse relationship, perhaps this could work; we could perhaps cherish our differences and work to find more common ground. However, after all that has happened over the years, and with very little common ground, any real love that lasted after the initial spark wore off was whacked so many times by cruel words, arrogant attitude, etc. that it just died away.

Here's an example of how he would act: He would yell at me in front of the kids - I mean yell and scream! - over something very trivial. When I would tell him I did not like him yelling at me in front of the kids (Duh, huh!), his response was "Then don't provoke me." And I should love this guy, huh! I feel like a fool for not taking the kids and leaving him so many times before...now that he has committed to change, it seems kinda wimpy to leave now simply because "I don't love him anymore." I don't hate him either. He claims to still love me, as you still claim to love your wife. (Please do not be offended by my use of the verb "Claim" - I don't mean to infer that your feelings are insincere or false! Just can't think of a better word right now.)

Maybe this sums it up -- too little, too late.

Sorry to be a downer, Dave. Maybe you'll have better luck.

I have a question for you: If she ends up leaving and taking the kids, how will you respond? Will you still try to be a good dad to the kids and get along with your "ex" for the kids sake? Or will you make her life hell to punish her for taking your kids away? Or just say to hell with it and crawl into a hole somewhere? --Honey

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Remote Name: 172.144.109.157
Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000

S1

Hello again Honey this is David,

I feel that my wife has already made her mind up that there is no hope for us. It's interesting that she said the same thing you did. She said that with the exception of the kids we have nothing in common. That we are total opposites. The only thing that I can say to that is we stayed together for 14 years so we must of had something in common. Her answer to that was that we had just grown to be comfortable with each other over the years and just existed. I have done a lot of soul searching lately and I have found that I to was abused by her and her by me. I guess that's what we unfortunately had in common. Not a good thing at all :( Anyway in answer to your questions. I will always love my wife no matter what. I will always love my kids no matter what. I told her a long time ago that all I ever want is for her to be happy. If I am the one who hurts her or makes her unhappy then I would leave. NEVER in a million years did I ever think I'd really have to leave. Anyway fighting is not the answer. I don't want to hurt her any more than I want to hurt my kids. So no I would not try and hurt her or not pay my fair share to support her and the kids. In fact I already told her that I would move out and she could keep the house and I will continue to pay the mortage and other bills so that it will be less stressfull on her and the kids. I would never enter in to a custody battle over the kids. We both already siad that if it comes to a divorce ;( that it would be civil and uncontested. She said that she would never try and keep me from my kids and neither would I. I will never try and have the kids side with me or try and tell them bad things about their mother. Remember this is the woman I love so it would be self defeating for me to try and destroy her. I will miss her greatly and probably NEVER marry again. She says I'm not her soul mate but she IS my ONE and ONLY true love. She is the first and last girlfriend that I ever had. Until death do us part. Even the Bible says that one should never remarry. I am going to everything in my power to get fixed and at the same time try and cope with the realization that my life with the one I love the most is over. I hope that kinda answers your questions. How about you and your husband? Would you try and be civil to each other or would you try and do a revenge type thing? You don't seem the type so I doubt it. I still have a slim glimmer of hope that things will work out I hope so. But my faith in that happening is pretty much lost. Take care Honey and thanks for listening and helping me through the most terrible time in my life.

David

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Remote Name: 63.14.229.48
Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000

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Dear David,

The single best thing you can do for yourself, your wife, your children, and all your relationships, is to work on healing your own hurts. Never mind why they are there (except when it helps to understand how something happened). Just accept that you have some things you MUST deal with. And as you discover what those are, deal with them. Recovery is a slow process, and your wife has lost her trust in you. Only by showing her that you MERIT her trust can you ever really regain it. Your goals need to be directed toward becoming a man who deserves to be trusted--constantly ask yourself if what you are doing, or want to do, measures up to that standard. Do not be so hasty to win her back that you abandon your own needs and wants--but learn how you can decently meet these needs without forcing her to do it for you.

Best wishes, Gayla

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Remote Name: 205.188.200.48
Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000

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David, It sounds as if you are finding the right road. As someone who has been in your shoes I can tell you that it is not easy, but then again, hardly anything worthwhile is. Remember that the process of healing and losing this baggage that you carry is two steps foward and one step back. Thats normal, dont let it get you down. Its funny how you can live your whole life a certain way and not realize how much hurt you are imposing on others. But at least you have realized it. Many, maybe even most verbal abusers, will never realize it, and never see what a "normal" healthy relationship can be. So you are way ahead of the game. Like Dr Irene says, dont worry so much about helping your wife, concentrate on yourself. After all, you are not the "gatekeeper" of her feelings, you are responsible for your own feelings. As an ex abuser I thought I was responsible for everyone elses feelings. If they were unhappy, it was my responsibility to fix it. If they were happy, then I was happy. Thats not the way it should be. Good luck, I know you can do it.

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Remote Name: 62.2.95.46
Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000

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Dear David, You said something very interesting in your reply to my earlier post. You said "I had a very low self-esteem and didn't like myself very much." This made me think of my own Ex. He seems to think that being able to brow beat me in an argument makes him stronger than I. He has told me that I lose every argument with him cause I have low self-esteem and he does not. It is of course true that my self-esteem isn't all that great and that that is why I don't put my foot down more often and that I therefore lose every argument. My ex often verbally strikes out cause he fears to get hurt and blocks any possibility of hurt with that anger. So I wonder how strong he actually is… My questions to you now are, did you actually know deep down back then that you had low self-esteem? Or did you feel strong cause you were able to brow beat your wife and win the argument? Did you realise that you were this demanding of her time cause you felt insecure about your own self-worth and required "proof" by her undivided attention? Or did you think that she really treated you badly and inconsiderately and the problem was only hers? If so, was this something you thought ALL the time or where there moments of realisation during the years? I am trying to understand what might be going on in my Ex' head when he gets so mad at me. He often apologises for shouting at me and for using bad words but he never seems to acknowledge that he might have been wrong about the point we were fighting about . Maybe you and he are totally different but any reply from you could still shed some light I think. Thank you :o) Trinity

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Remote Name: 172.166.27.186
Date: Friday, June 09, 2000

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Hi Trinity,

Before I realized that I had a problem with verbally abusing my wife I did have a low self-esteem. I didn't like myself very much simply because of my poor relationship with my wife and I didn't know how to fix it or make it better. I am very successful in business and I feel that I'm a good provider and good father to our children. I just always felt that I wasn't good enough for her and that she was always going to meet someone else that she would like better. Very insecure but that's the way I felt. I never truely felt strong when I won an arguement with my wife. I've never believed that anyone EVER actually wins an arguement. I would feel very sad about upsetting her but then it was only out of guilt not being truely sorry. I was too stubborn to be the one to apologize. As far as demanding of her time I just wanted to be with her sometimes which just didn't happen. I didn't want to smother her all the time but throughout the years I missed being with her. She would go out with others but not me. She would spend more time with the kids than me. For about 10 years I have felt like a roomate to her. I guess that's why I got jealous, and upset over her being with other people and not me. To show you just how low and hurt I was, I felt that she paid more atttention to our cat that me and I would tell her so. So What do I think now? It was my own fault that she didn't want to be with me BECAUSE I was jealous and didn't trust her. This made her angry and upset. You know what is interesting is later I found out from talking with her one day that because I didn't trust her and knew that I didn't like her going places and doing things without me she would not have a good time just because she knew that I didn't approve of what she was doing even though at times I would tell her it's okay. She would say that I say one thing but mean another. She said that she purposely wouldn't go see her sister or brother because I wouldn't like it. Not true but that is how she thought. I have tried all within my power lately to get past all that and let her know that it is not my place to say who she can and can't be with and that she doesn't need to ask me if she can go anywhere. I also have been trying to tell her that it doesn't REALLY bother me that she goes out anymore. I have seen signs that she is starting to believe me but she still finds herself ASKING me if she can go places sometimes then scolds herself for doing it.

So in answer to your question did I think that she really treated me badly and that it was she not me that had a problem? Yes at the time I did and I resented her for it. I didn't think that it was unreasonable for a husband to want to be with his wife ALONE sometimes and not with the kids or family and friends. I was very insecure in our relationship and thought everyone was better than me and that's why she wanted to be with them and not me. Pretty selfish huh? And yes I thought about it all the time. It consumed a greater part of everyday. I couldn't understand why I was the bad guy. Why she didn't want to share any time with me. I constantly worried that she was going to meet someone else and leave me.

About your husband and the way he is. Speaking only for myself of course, You said that he often apologizes for shouting at you but that he is never wrong about the point you are arguing about. So in essence it is a 1/2 apology. I only apologized to her if I really thought that I might have hurt her feelings and she was crying or just to end the arguement with nothing resolved. I really didn't like arguing with her but the way I was brought up the MAN was always supposed to be the strong one and never look weak in the eyes of his family or friends. By your husband acting the way he does he follows this pattern. Don't know if it's right or not but just an observation. How many times has your husband ever cried in front of you? I have only cried three times in my adult life. All three of them had something to do with my wife. The first time was when she was going back to NY and I didn't think she was coming back. The second time is after a big fight that I felt I had lost her when she said that she didn't think that we were going to make it. Both of those times I cried in private. The third time is the day that she said it was really over between us. This time however I cried in front of her. I apologized over 20 times for crying in front of her and told her that I never wanted her to see me this way. It was seeing me cry that she for the first time thought that I could have empathy. I used to think that men do not cry and if they do it should be in private. What I found out though is that I was crying because I was mourning the loss of my wife. It was like she was dead and I was never going to see her again. I never had a feeling like that before. EVER! I felt better afterwards and realized that was something I should have done a long time ago. What does all this mean? To me if I had been more honest with myself and my emotions maybe I wouldn't have said some of the horrible things I said to her. Feeling sad and expressing that sadness in front of someone is okay. It releases stress and all the things that have been bottled up inside and worrying you.

Then maybe all the resentment and angry would have been eliminated or at least better controlled. I had to be right and she had to be right. That was our problem.

I don't know if that answered your questions right or not but I hope something that I have said makes sense.

Take care Trinity and I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks again for helping me. You are a pretty special person.

David

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Remote Name: 209.255.150.150
Date: Friday, June 09, 2000

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 192.90.177.80
Date: Friday, June 09, 2000

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Although I'm very sorry to hear about your situation, David, please don't beat up on yourself any more. I'd take a good guess from everything you've said that this is a long way from being all your fault. Far from being a lost soul buried in some supposed majority of "abusers who never change," you're already well on your way to becoming the man you want to be.

I should have picked up earlier on something you said in your original letter. You'd had a conflicted marriage, and one day in the middle of an argument your wife said to you "Do you realize this is verbal abuse?" Bang! Instant epiphany! You got it in a flash! I'm not pretending you hadn't been missing it for a long time, but you did see that this was not the way a marriage was supposed to be, or the way you wanted yourself to be. And so you stopped.

Trystan asks why her husband didn't "get it" too. I'd guess he found it a lot harder. Say the same two words, "verbal abuse," to someone else, and they'll at least make excuses for themselves, get very defensive, look for someone to blame, or even deny it altogether--to themselves as well as to anyone else. You went out and bought the Evans book yourself, learned valuable things from it, and gave it to your wife--even though there are upsetting things in it, and a few of them, I'll say frankly, are *unnecessarily* upsetting because they're not correct, or at best give quite the wrong impression. Too bad Trystan's husband doesn't even want Evans in the house--though that doesn't mean that he's incapable of changing either.

If you had a good childhood and weren't undermined in any subtle way you might be unaware of, I wonder why your self esteem should be low. You mentioned some unspecified things that happened in your early life; but one thing I'm sure of is that many processes don't just "happen right" by themselves. They have to be actively taught or shown by example, positively practiced, acquired through experience, or whatever. One of these is self esteem. Not that children can't feel good about themselves, but acquiring the self confidence, not to say the skills, to operate in an adult world is another matter. Among other things, your self esteem must have run down during the course of the marriage instead of going the way it should, if things weren't going well from your viewpoint.

If your wife is the first and last girlfriend you ever had, we all know what a beautiful, romantic ideal that is. If that works--and it can, and has--it's everybody's dream. Unfortunately what it may have done is to make you very dependent on your wife as a source of adult approval. I'd say this is exacerbated for men because of the way we tend to operate emotionally. We build self esteem in a particular sphere--our ability to succeed in the world of work--by practice and mutual advice, as well as by competing with one another and proving ourselves--but we're not always as good at validating one another emotionally in more intimate ways. Women often do more of that for one another. That leaves more men isolated, or emotionally dependent on a woman or women. But we also, irrespective of sex, build self esteem about our ability to succeed with an opposite-sex partner by practice and experience, starting usually in the teens. We try working things out with different partners--not necessarily in a sexual relationship, nor always even a close one--and may eventually reject some, or be rejected by others--but in the course of it we learn things about other people and about ourselves, and if this process works right (though that's far from always the case!) we end up with greater skills and self-confidence.

What if this trial-and-error process doesn't happen? Then I guess it's dumb luck at best. People might end up in a good partnership, if they're both doing their job. Still, coincidence or not, it's interesting that the only verbally abusive relationship in my extended family--that I've personally observed, I'm careful to add--is one where they were boyfriend and girlfriend since he was thirteen and she was fourteen. I've seen her tearing into him something rotten, while he just sat there and took it, though I can't say what if anything he might have contributed in other ways. All very sad, and significant too that unlike most of the rest of my extended family, all three of their children made disastrous marriages.

What happens if partners aren't doing their job? Your wife has accused you of "not having any empathy." Clearly this is untrue; you do have empathy, and plenty of it, though what's probably true is that you weren't applying it. Emotional support, especially in the face of anger, is something that has to be consciously extended and positively practiced, and from a position of self-confidence. It's not "natural" or "automatic" to respond sympathetically when somebody says unkind things to us. It's usually wise, but wisdom is learned, not inborn.

Still, the likelihood is that your wife, however much you rightly love her, wasn't doing her job either. Anyone might guess that from her family history, as well as the aftermath of the previous relationship she made. It could be that she was pushing your buttons in a lot of subtle ways you haven't identified. Even if she wasn't, the fact that "she put herself first and the kids last, no mention of you" is a whacking great clue. We can't do that! We have to put the marriage first, ourselves *and* the partner, because the marriage has to be strong to support the kids! So there's a good chance she failed to give you the emotional support you needed as well, at the very least. And at a time in your life when your self esteem should have been building, it was running instead in a downhill spiral, mutually with your wife's.

So don't waste time blaming yourself for all this. This is one of the places where Evans is dead wrong, and literally hasn't a clue what she's talking about, in spite of the enormous diagnostic value of her research. She imagines only a relationship in which there's an Abuser and a Victim, and her Victim (who in her mind is almost always female at that) is completely innocent. There are several things wrong with this, the major one being that in so many of these relationships both partners are abusing each other to one extent or another, which she explicitly denies. The only useful way of reading this is to say what Dr. Irene would say, that we're each responsible for own behavior, and not responsible for the way somebody else behaves toward us--but that sure as heck isn't the way Evans puts it. Another is that I don't recall Evans saying much about the need for partners to give positive support to one another in many ways: that the lack of it is at best neglect, at worst deliberate withholding, and in any case is bound to be experienced as painful, if not abusive. But a final point Evans never mentions is that even if we are "responsible" for ourselves, we are not "to blame" for what we don't know, and had no way of knowing. So many people do things wrong out of ignorance.

This by the way is a pet hobbyhorse of mine (I have a stable of them). We teach children formally in schools everything they need to know in life: how to read, write, count, do history and science and art and anything under the sun, *except* what they need to know most of all: about themselves, and about how to get on with other people. Especially difficult people. We leave them to pick that up in a catch-as-catch-can fashion. There are reasons for this that I won't go into here. But nobody ever took enough notice of Alexander Pope when he told us what the "Proper Study" was.

At any rate, blame is not useful on either side. Learning is. If your wife as well as yourself had some problems, whether it serves a purpose to dwell on those depends on *how* you dwell on them. It's not useful to blame her for them. It could be useful to take blame *off* yourself for problems you didn't know how to handle, and just got frustrated with. If we have to deal with anyone who's inadequate in some ways, it's useless to get angry at them, and then angry at ourselves in turn for our own inadequacies at dealing with them. It's all the more reason to take responsibility, to become more skillful, and to build ourselves up as we do so.

You may not have as far to go, David, as some people do in building up self esteem. You might have to heal some damage, but a lot of it may be just picking up where you left off fourteen years ago or so.

Congratulations too on resolving to keep a good relationship going for the sake of your children, as well as your wife and yourself. There is no other way to go. We may separate from a partner, but fatherhood is for ever. Certainly children see it that way. All the best to you.

- Gordon

P.S. I'd still like to know who's spouting that "three percent."

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Remote Name: 192.90.177.80
Date: Friday, June 09, 2000

S1

P.P.S. I just noticed: Dr. Irene titled your letter page "abusive_guy_wants_help." She titled your answers page "comments_for_abused_guy_wants." Freudian slip? All of us are no doubt abused in some way in life. The object is to deal with it.

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Remote Name: 206.29.164.36
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000

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I was just reading Gordon's post above, and must say his interpretation of Evans' book is different than mine was. Its the Blame thing again. I dont read her book as blaming the abuser - more as helping the the victim who has been blamed by the abuser and just takes it takes it takes it - to recognize what is really happening here. I think Evans' insights into "Power Over" and "Personal Power" are brilliant. I can understand how her books are most helpful to the victim. They clearly were written for the victim. Abusers need books written FOR them too, and there dont seem to be any specifically for them out there. Gordon claims Evans books are misandrous too. Gordon, just read even the Introduction again - you are missing the boat. -S

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Remote Name: 192.90.177.56
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000

S1

Evans does write a victim book, that's perfectly true, which is why victims like her so much--apart from the diagnostic value of her work, which is certainly high. She makes victims feel better, which is fine as far as it goes, and she does genuinely help them; but she doesn't say much about the victim's responsibility for allowing or even sometimes encouraging herself (or himself) to be victimized. There's nothing about addiction to "drama," for instance.

Not that there's anything wrong with writing a book only about women who are abused, and calling it that, as Engel did. But that's not what Evans did. A vital point to me is not just what people say, but what they don't say. Sins of omission can be as bad as sins of commission. False beliefs are formed, not necessarily because people make false statements, but very often because they leave out the other side of the picture entirely.

Evans's Introduction has no more than a token admission that "some" men suffer verbal abuse from their mates, which she promptly tries to minimize in the very next sentence. The reason she imagines so few men are victims of verbal abuse is that she hasn't looked for them, and in her second book she makes excuses for not doing so. She won't do it because she thinks she already knows which sex is the "real" victim, which is clear from the third paragraph of the Foreword. With a mind nailed shut, who needs objective surveys, which I'd expect to show a gender split as equal as that of domestic violence? In many ways, subtle and otherwise, Evans emphasizes what is done by men or to women, while minimizing anything done to men or (where she even mentions it) by women.

So it's not that she explicitly accuses men *as a sex* of being a bunch of abusers, though she tiptoes close to it on occasion, notably with her use of the P-word. Rather, she leads the reader to believe that while there's all this abuse of innocent female victims by males, there's next to none going on the other way round. What's a reader expected to conclude about the "badness" of men compared with women? It's all the worse for being insinuated rather than stated out loud.

I think this is all a great pity, because the book is so very useful. I'd like to see it rewritten with the biases taken out.

- Gordon

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Remote Name: 209.240.200.130
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000

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GOOD LUCK! ** BW

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Remote Name: 12.38.64.233
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000

S1

Victims have an addiction to "drama?" Get real.

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Remote Name: 172.140.192.204
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000

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I second that post. Claiming that victims are addicted to "drama" is blaming the victim, plain and simple. Frankly, Gordon, I am not sure why I am responding. Many of your posts make me very angry. That's my problem, though, not yours. And to that point, I don't know why I'm writing this. I will throw in my two cents that abuse is ABSOLUTELY a gender issue. Call me a dorky feminist if you will, that's my belief based on my knowledge. I'm not saying that men can't be victims and women can't be abusers- and I think women and men are equally controlling- i just think that our society teaches me to control in a different way that it teaches women to control. Hell, IMO, our society encourages men to be abusive. And by the 'P' word, do you mean patriarchy? That is what we live in, and it does, by it's very nature, foster misogyny against women. Which in turn fosters misandry against men. All this stuff is about control- that's really what it all goes back to. Actually, the need to control goes back to self-esteem issues, but I won't go there. Let's just hope that one day everyone here is so full of self-esteem and self-control that we don't need to control anyone! Sincerely, SatokoGirl "If you feel attacked by feminism, it's probably a counter-attack."

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Remote Name: 206.29.164.51
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000

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First - 3 cheers for David!!! Next - A note to Gordon and anyone else who does not believe that abuse is a gender issue. If Evans book were rewritten as you suggest "without the bias", it would not be about living in our society. Denial will not make "the P-word" go away. Your comments, Gordon, about victims being "addicted to drama" and "encouraging their own abuse" lead me to think - here is a mindset that is Locked. I hope you have not thrown away the key. It is beyond me how one could be a devoted reader of this site and still have that narrow & condescending view of victim people.

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Remote Name: 207.122.19.252
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene, I came across your website while I was looking for information on verbal abuse. I have been verbally abusive to my 4 year old daughter and I want to stop it because I know how much damage I am doing. While I was reading, I began to think about my relationship with my husband, which is terrible. I know he is verbally abusive to me, but I slowly began to realize how verbally abusive I am to him, too. I have long been the "victim", but now I see that I am a controller, too. The two of us have substance abuse problems, although I hide mine, since I've been in treatment before and everyone thinks I'm "better"now. The reality of the fact that I am abusing him too is causing me alot of heartache. I printed your tips to help the control freak give up control and I'm trying to cement them in my mind. My husband told me in the most hurtful way he knows how that he wants a divorce. I retaliated by letting him know how much his is not there for me, how wrong he is, everything I think he does wrong (which is everything) and the situation became uglier, as you can imagine. Then to make matters worse,besides doing all this fighting in front of our daughter, I started screaming at her and when she started crying , I told her what a crybaby she is, and yelled at her to stop crying! I need help. Please. Patti

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.214.5.177
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000

S1

I could have written most of David's letter. Our experiences are very similar. The biggest difference is that David is still living with his wife and I'm not. My wife left on May 1, 1999 and was with a new man by June 1, 1999.

It took me eight months to realize the best thing I could do is change myself. I have, and you wouldn't believe how good it feels. And that's my advise for David. Just work on yourself, and it will show and have a positive effect on those around you -- including your wife. She may not take you back, but at the very least, she'll feel better about you and you'll feel better about yourself.

Who knows where it will go from there? It's the only decent choice David has. The only other choice is to not make the needed changes and drive her further away and continue to torture yourself. I did that. It's dumb. I don't recommend it.

George

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 192.90.177.53
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000

S1

To clarify my point about "drama," Sis, what I said was that "There's nothing [in Evans's TVAR] about addiction to 'drama,' for instance." This is analogous to saying "There's nothing in TVAR about bipolar disorder." It's not to suggest by any means that *all* abusers suffer from bipolar disorder, but a few of them unquestionably do.

Yet in VASSO, as soon as some men reported being verbally abused, and two of them volunteered the information that their wives had been diagnosed "manic depressive," Evans did make a point of mentioning it, and immediately suggested that abusive women in general *might* be suffering, if not from bipolar disorder, then from some other neurochemical imbalance. I don't doubt for a moment that some abusers--of both sexes--suffer from something of the kind. Yet while Evans immediately turns the female abuser into a victim--of a disease--she doesn't do the same for male abusers. This is one of many examples of her sexism.

Similarly, to observe that Evans says nothing about "addiction to drama" is not by any means to imply that *all* victims suffer from this, any more than all abusers suffer from BPD, bipolar, ADHD, or whatever. But there's no doubt that a number of them do. Let's get real. Plenty has been written about this, by numerous authors, largely women at that. So here's a comment for "S" as well. It may well be that Evans describes your personal experience. Just the same, my mind is not "locked." To me you seem to be suggesting the opposite: that I *should* lock my mind and shut my ears to what many other women have observed, or said about themselves, and narrow my views down to the picture presented by Evans. My objection is precisely that Evans does not talk about the real world as a whole, only about a limited segment of it at most.

I also heard a personal confession about this from a woman I know very well. She came from an alcoholic family, and while her marriage, and her husband, both have some sterling merits, he has also been abusive to her at times, including physically, and unreasonably afraid of the possibility of her being unfaithful, quite without foundation.

These people are struggling against the greatest enemy of humankind--ignorance--and on the whole succeeding. Good for both of them! The husband has his own problems, not the least of which was being molested as a five-year-old child, by two young women--and in a church, no less! But I will mention that it wasn't the man who told this to me. It was his wife. We're far too dependent on women's voices to tell us what goes on in people's personal lives. This can lead to biases.

Just the same, during a conversation this woman said to me "I couldn't have married someone like you. It would be boring. There's not the excitement of dealing with all this conflict." I suppose some men would be offended by a woman telling them they're "boring." :) Luckily we're friends, and I only found it funny. Yet it can also be tragic.

Many people, I'm sure, are quite unwitting victims of abuse, who got sucked in accidentally by an abusive partner with no way of realizing it. Some are unconsciously attracted to abusive partners, and gravitate toward the same type time and again, though without understanding what's happening to them or why. Some take on an abusive partner as a "challenge," in the hope of "reforming" him (or her), and are constantly angered by their lack of success. And some are openly attracted to "dangerous" partners, will even say so, and would miss the excitement with anyone who wasn't.

One writer on this topic is Erin Pizzey, a fine woman now in her 70s who opened the very first shelter for "battered women" in England, in Chiswick, south London. Her writings are in various places on the Web; the full text of one of her books, "Prone to Violence," is at http://www.bennett.com/ptv/. Pizzey soon discovered the distinction between different kinds of "victims." Of the first hundred women who came into her shelter, 62 were fully as violent as the partners they had left. (If she'd opened a men's shelter instead, no doubt she would have found the same figures.) Of her cooperation with other shelters that opened later, she said "We sent them our 'battered wives'"--the truly innocent victims--"and they sent us their 'violence-prone women.'" One woman bit the top of another woman's finger clean off right there in the shelter. "Now will you admit you're violent?" asked Pizzey. Others started or provoked fights. But most of all, many of these women kept going back to the same violent partners they were addicted to, or finding equally violent replacements for them. They just couldn't stay away from the drama.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 192.90.177.53
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000

S1

SatokoGirl, welcome back! :) We do agree on a lot of things. I'd never dispute that "women and men can be equally controlling," or that men control in a somewhat different way--as a pattern--than women control. But given these facts, what's the obvious corollary?. That if women and men are equally controlling, there is no "patriarchy"; not, at any rate, if the term means that men as a sex somehow dominate women as a sex to women's overall disadvantage.

That's not to deny that many individual men abuse many individual women, but this is not typical of relationships as a whole, and just as much abuse happens the other way round, even if some of it takes slightly different forms. For one thing, if abuse is a "gender issue," and granted that abused children are likely to become abusive adults, we should take notice that women commit about two-thirds of all child abuse, and over half--55%--of child murders, of whom the victims are disproportionately boys.

If there is no "patriarchy," what I do believe is that there's a tendency for men and women alike to pretend that there is, for purely psychological reasons. Many men like to *feel* they're "in charge," especially of physical and material issues. Many women are willing to flatter men in this way, especially if it helps get them what they want from men. But all this takes little account of how women and men really influence one another, especially of women's power in the emotional sphere; or of how far women and men are really getting their own and one another's needs met--or of who, if anyone, is leading more satisfying lives overall.

So there's nothing wrong with this little "conspiracy"--until such a concept starts being used in a negative way instead, as a weapon *against* men to blame them for the entire "human condition" and to extort concessions from the male sex by manipulating them with unearned guilt. Then it's time to throw illusion out of the window and get down to reality.

I don't know why I *wouldn't* feel attacked by an ideology that has seriously claimed such things as "all men are rapists," and accuses me of being part of a sex that supposedly "oppresses" women at large, when the truth is that men *as a whole* have been bending over backwards to look after women's needs and demands. What exactly is it a counterattack for? If life ain't perfect, that's just part of the human condition; and like most people, I protest at being blamed for what isn't my fault. It is, quite literally, "verbal abuse" of men on an orchestrated, societal scale. Some men of course do the same to women, but almost never in the same purposefully organized way. As I've already mentioned, I see the underlying beliefs largely as a distortion caused in various ways by modern technology, especially media and communications technology; but it is a distortion I'd like to see corrected.

Now I do agree with you, as I said before, that misogyny and misandry go hand in hand and mutually reinforce one another. And there has always been *some* of both. But this has nothing to do with any "patriarchy." Its causes are obvious. Whenever any two groups of people have somewhat different feelings, values, interests, and roles in life, and sometimes misunderstand one another, there's bound to be some conflict between the two--and among some members, animosity. Yet on the whole this has been tolerable until recent decades. If they understood this feedback loop, why would large numbers of people, in the guise of attacking misogyny, promote misandry on a far more public scale, inciting backlash, and so ad infinitum?

Similarly, you've remarked on my approval of Gray. Yet this is precisely why I like Gray, and I think it's the major reason for his popularity: he teaches women and men to like one another better.

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.164.35.77
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000

S1

Gordon, I appricate that we can both agree in civil ways. However, I don't think it's in my best interest to get drawn into this arugment with you. I believe there is a patriarchy, and you do not. Nothing you will say will convince me otherwise, and vice versa on my part. However, you do appear to have a basic misunderstanding of the mainstream feminist movement. The mainstream feminist movement doesn't hate men, verbally abuse men, or think that 'all men are rapists!" there is a minute extremist faction that may purport such twisted idealologies, but the vast majority of feminists do not. Just as the extremist religious right can make all christians look bad, the extreme "feminists" (the "feminists" you describe would really be misandrists) make real feminists look bad. Feminism is a movement about making women equal to men. Of course, this may seem irrelavent to you, as you seem to think that there is no sexism against women. Well, it's your right to think that, and I'm not going to engage in codependent thinking and believe that I can try to make you think otherwise. I do wonder though, why you are here- you've never told you story. Were you abused by a woman? Or are you an abuser yourself? I'm not going to engage in the 'gender' discussion anymore, because a) it doesn't belong here and b) i feel it bringing out the codependnent in me, and I'm trying to avoid that. I wonder why you're so beyond willing to discuss this all to death, though, Gordon? I know why I am, but I'm dealing with those issues. Why are you so hell-bent on convincing me to see your point of view? -SatokoGirl

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 206.29.164.47
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000

S1

Well said, Satoko Girl! I agree that its pointless to continue discussion when Gordon believes there is no Patriarchy; was wondering the same thing about his motivation........ -S

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.138.45.99
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000

S1

Hi everyone this is David,

When Dr. Irene posted my messsage she sid it was to help me. I know that Gordon means well and I appreciate the guidance and information but the latest posts that I thought might be for me for my help seem to be otherwise. I seem to have been forgotten. I'm sorry if that sounds mean but that's the way I feel. I am going through a terrible time in my life and again ANY help would be appreciated. If I may... How do I cope with this or is what I'm about to say mean that my marriage it already over and I'm just still in the "hoping it will work" game? I have done everything in my power to be understanding of her wants, feelings and needs but she remains cold and indifferent. I am having a very hard time coping with the fact that the one I love won't so much as try to be near me, say honey or I love you, and no kind of kissing or hugging or not even gentle carresses. These are all things that we automatic with us before. Not to mean that it was a routine we did it was just natural because we were in love. I get very sick to my stomach when I see her kiss and hug the kids and not me or tell them that she loves them or when she kisses and hugs the cat(s). Not jealous not anger. It's a different feeling. I'm not talking spolied either. I'm just not sure what the proper words to explain it.I just feel so empty inside. Her brother comes over and she treats him like a king. Me I don't exist. When we go on family outings to the beach like today when she was near me or with me she would not laugh or joke or play. I tried to just have a good time and forget all the bad times. It served no purpose but to hurt me. The next second she would go to her brother who was with us that day and start cracking jokes or just laughing out loud very fast and long. If she saw something funny about a person walking on the beach (a rather plump man was in his BVD's on the beach......You don't want to know :) and she was looking at me then swam to my daughter and told her and them to her brother. I was completely left out. Later feeling as bad as I did I approached her and told her that I was just trying to have fun but nothing I did helped anything. The only response she had still puzzles me.. She said "I'm not fixed yet". I have no idea what that statement pertains to or where it even came from. She will not say I love you or call me the pet names we have for each other and I know that I'm supposed to be getting myself better but it's so hard not to be loved by my one and ONLY love. :( I was and still in a very depressed mood. I don't know how much longer I can take it. She isno longer kind to me or seems to give a hoot about me. I can't stay somewhere that I'm not loved. I love my kids but I'd still be able to see them if and when (soon) I move out. I think that somehow I now am the victim. It's like she's doing the same thing to me that I did to her. Does any of this make sense?? What is it that I should do? She obviously doesn't need or want me anymore. Should I stop trying? I love her and would do all the nice things I'm doing anyway but I just don't know if it's worth it anymore. Please respond someone if you know of some guidance or suggestions I might use to better cope with this total feeling of uselessness and lonelyness. At least I don't verbally abuse her anymore and she is at peace with that anyway. Thanks again Gordon and all for the posts. Please don't think that I'm ungratefull. There are several folks that I replied to that haven't given me a response. If you are still reading this could you take the time to answer my questions?

Take care all and remember that you are all very special to help me and others in time of need.

Sincerely,

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.140.104.160
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

David- I see where you might think you've been forgotten in these latest posts. While we're all sorry for the difficult time you're going through, don't you realize that your protesting ("hey, this is MY board!) is typical of an abusers self-centered world? I'm not trying to attack you here- I think you've made great strides and I'm sure you can learn not to be abusive! But one of the most frustrating things about dealing with abusers is even when they're not being abusive, it's still all about them. My boyfriend, who is a recovering abuser, is trying to deal with his world view (the world revolves around him!) and his insecurity/lack of self-esteem right now. (Having gotten mostly past his anger/abusive behavior, at least for now..) These boards often develop into something completely different than the topic they were meant to be. Accept that, and still speak your story and tell people about what's going on. You'll be responded to, but probably in a more positive way if you're not complaining that you're not the center of attention. (btw, most male abusers seem to have issues with women as a whole, so thinking about these gender issues may help you!) (although I do agree that this discussion, which seems to infect any board that gordon, sis, and I discuss in, is getting old, and I'm going on vacation for a few days, so that might be the end of it.) -SatokoGirl

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.156.169.218
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

Hi SatokoGirl, David here.

I in no way thought that this is a "me" board. In my orginal letter to Dr. Irene, at the end of my letter I said, "I hope that someone else out there can gain some insight and help them." Dr. Irene replied. "I'm very happy to hear all this stuff. But, please, David, this page is primarily for you. Learn to accept what is offered. That is part of your recovery." That's why I made the statement I did about ME. In retrospect though I see what you mean also and you are correct. Each of you has taken the time to write which has helped a great deal. I'm not fixed yet.. I just started. But I am trying. I might slip up once in a while. So I apologize for what I said. I didn't mean it to sound like it appears. Yesterday was just another really bad day and I was very depressed and I just typed what I felt at the moment which was that I was all alone. That's how I feel. This board and the therapist are the only things I have for support right now. Enjoy your vacation and Gordon and all. Thanks.

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 192.90.177.59
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

Hi SatokoGirl,

All right, maybe I'll never convince you there isn't a "patriarchy," and I know you won't convince me that there is. It reminds me of that old song:

"There's no good guy, There's no bad guy, There's just you and me and we just disagree."

I was amused by one thing you said though. If your attempt to convince me otherwise is "codependent thinking," does that make me codependent too? :)

I hope the answer's "no." People argue and discuss and try to persuade one another to their point of view all the time. It's normal. Better still, it's the way we arrive at Truth--eventually.

To answer your question though, no, I'm not an abuser. So why am I here? The immediate answer is that I followed a couple of people over here from Michele Weiner-Davis's DBusting board. Clearly I'm not the only one who did that; I've noticed a couple of other people mentioning that it here too, and it's a great site, run by another great lady. So I was happy to give it a plug to David, and I think it would help him in his present very painful situation. It's a tough row to hoe; ongoing support will be useful.

But this is a bit like saying "they told me there was this interesting little bar round the corner, so off I went with them to see it." I'm not divorcing anyone either. So on the larger question "Why was I 'out drinking' in the first place?" the real answer is in another statement I made to David. We do not pay enough attention to the Proper Study; and we ought to. Especially men, I'd say. Ultimately that works out to men's disadvantage just as much as to women's. Neither do we teach children about people, not the way we teach the "three R's"; yet it's just as basic.

Any personal experiences? One, anyway. I did have some difficulty a long time ago with a partner who indulged in "crazymaking" behavior. She was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. I knew about this, and sympathized because of it--especially when it came to sensitive issues such as sex itself, which was not the real problem; yet I never realized the effects it could have *in other ways*. I handled this badly to begin with. I got very angry at her. Later, when I understood more, I learned to handle it better. And needless to say, it's one more reason for not liking abuse. Yet as far as gender is concerned, any family history behind that involves both male and female. And as I look around me, I see the same, including a couple of stories I've mentioned on the site.

But it's far broader than any personal issue. The emphasis for me is on the word "learn." We can learn to do better. If we're lucky, we have good parents, who at least demonstrate how a marriage, or a family, ought to work. If we're unusually lucky, we may get into management, and may learn something about leadership, or human motivations, or conflict resolution; or into sales, where we may pick up something else about human psychology; all these things can be useful. But I'm sure vast numbers of people are left to bumble disastrously through life without a clue. We don't train people routinely to make a marriage, or to raise children. There's information out there, but people have to go looking for it. To do that, they have to know it's there in the first place, and also that it might help them. Often the people who need it most are the least likely to realize that. David turned down counseling. Nobody ever taught him, not convincingly, that counseling could help. Look at the people who come here and didn't know anything about verbal abuse, and certainly not what underlies it.

We're somewhat the same about medicine generally, but at least we've been putting an emphasis on preventive care and we do spread plenty of knowledge about recognizing the symptoms of diseases. We don't do the same about "diseases" of behavior, or of the soul, if you like, or about first aid for them. As a species, we seem to be incredibly stupid about all this--though I think there are reasons for that.

Now I realize that for people who are chronically abusive, and people who are chronically codependent for that matter--or some mixture of the two--it's not simply a matter of "learning" in the sense of freely absorbing new data. There's a block to new learning. There's a self-protecting, and self-perpetuating, false belief system about the self, and about others, all sealed in with a great plug of buried rage. It's hard to get past that. But that doesn't mean we can't. It doesn't mean we can't steer others away from going in that direction. It doesn't mean we can't teach many people to recognize what's happening with them, or at least with those around them, and how to handle it. If we do a poor job of reaching victims, we do a still lousier job of reaching abusers: and isn't the abuser the worse problem? We appeal to the victim's self-interest when his or her identity is too often intertwined with that of others. We appeal to the abuser's empathy when we should be trying to hook his or her self-interest. We can and should do better.

So that's one of my hobbyhorses; but what about feminism? Why did that come up? Did I pick on you and start arguing about feminism? If you'll look back, it started when I made a remark to Lou on the topic, and another to Amy, and you inferred from my disagreement with an *ideology* that I might possibly be a misogynist or an abuser. It was only natural to explain my position further.

I do recognize very well the distinction you're making between mainstream feminism and a bunch of crazy radicals. And yes, the same is true everywhere; I don't think the Reverend Fred Phelps for instance, of "godhatesfags.org," should be calling himself a Christian. :) I don't know however whether we draw the line in exactly the same place--that's one point--but my concern is how far the radical has contaminated not only the mainstream, but the attitudes and beliefs of the broader society, in ways that too many people may not see. For instance, the pretense that they represent "all women," and that to be opposed to something called "feminism" is therefore identical with being "misogynistic," is dogma that radicals especially teach. And to me it is relevant, because I don't see how we can possibly deal with abuse effectively until we stop calling it a "gender" problem and return to calling it what it is, a *human* problem, as Dr. Irene also does. If we don't do that, we're only dealing with half the problem in society at large; and like a reservoir of infection, it only keeps coming back. I could say a little more about my view of feminism, but perhaps it's better to do it on the Yak board when I have time rather than in David's space.

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 206.29.164.36
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

This post is primarily in response to David's latest post above. It was very touching; and I can empathize even though I am in a different situation overall, just because he is in pain and feels so rejected. David, I would re-emphasize that there is no way to avoid the pain. We love, and we feel pain when our love is not returned. Feel the pain, accept it, and do everything you can to help yourself. There is no guarantee that your wife will be able to love you again, or when. But whether she does or doesn't, you can learn and grow and be a better stronger person. As I said I am not in your exact situation, but an am a person who has been rejected recently and here is what helps the most for me: yoga, hot baths, accepting feelings but try not to dwell, St. Johns wort, The book How to Survive the Loss of a Love, creativity/artwork, build self esteem. It really sounds like you need help dealing with grief too now that you have come to grips with being a verbal abuser.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 205.188.198.184
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2000

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.197.83
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2000

S1

Hi David and Gordon:

I want to interject that, David, I did not find your comment about the thread deviating from the original topic as something a self-centered abuser would say at all! It's common with boards in general for offshoots of topics to occur. YOU are the topic, you came here for help, and I hope that you find some insight and solace.

As far as you Gordon, I do have something I have been wanting to say about your posts for a long time (the ones I have had time to read anyway) - I honestly feel that you are one of those rare individuals who is more BALANCED in your beliefs and theories. I have often seen you provide input from different angles which I think is great!

I would love it if more research was done and a concrete statistical study presented, because from my own personal experience I think men endure a lot more verbal abuse than women would care to admit, there's a great deal of denial there on both their parts. It's one of those "dirty little secrets" that needs to be addressed.

Are some victims attracted to "drama"? Certainly, I would think so. From the real life support groups I have been in some do appear to be addicted to the conflict on some level. All victims are individuals as are abusers, so of course there are going to be some out there who play a large role in their victim hood, whereas others do not.

Terri

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 192.90.177.55
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2000

S1

Thanks, Terri, I appreciate that.

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.144.102.222
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2000

S1

Terri, George and B.W. And All,

Thanks for caring and responding to my posts. Unfortunately things have gone from bad to worse. I am just waiting now for the final day (any day now) where she says goodbye. Although I have been trying to deal with my low self esteem, my anger and grief, trying to help myself start to get I don't think that I'm doing too well. Last night after I came home from my anger management therapy my wife asked me what it was that we talked about. I have been hesitant of telling her but the therapist said that I should discuss what we talk about with her. After talking to her she became very upset and told me that she is VERY angry at me and that she can't seem to let that anger go. She told me our marriage was over years ago but that she is strong and just went on even though she was feeling unloved. She says that I have never loved her. That I have never showed her any love or that I ever cared about her. I have destroyed 14 years of her life and now she getting older and there is no way for her to go back and do all the things that she wanted to do. I tryed to tell her that I always have loved her and cared for her very much. For some reason I just didn't know how to show it. I told her that I have had this problem all our marriage from past experiences and I just didn't realize that I was hurting her. She said that she didn't care about that. She said that she has always done everything in our marriage and that I have never tried to help her do anything or be an equal partner. I told her that I am trying to get better and doing all I can to not do these things again. She said that she's lost any feelings for me and doesn't think she'll ever get them back. She said that she didn't care that I was trying to get better, didn't care that I am going to a therapist, and didn't care in general about anything having to do with me. She said that she wants out if one more thing happens that upsets her or makes her mad. She said the kids are a big factor as to why she is still with me. She doesn't want to upset them or hurt them by changing their environment. She acknowledged that I have changed but too little too late. She says that she can't stop being angry at me and can't forget the past. Anything that I do that hurts her or upsets her makes all the past hurt anger and feelings come back.

She really hurt me last night by saying the things that she did. I don't want to lose her but for me to get better I keep wanting her to help me get through my treatment. It means everything to me that she cares that I am trying to get better. She has no interest and says that it's all she can do to have me in the same house with her and that I make her skin crawl when I talk to her. Then she says she has mixed emotions and that she doesn't know how to help herslef get better. She can't forgive me after she's done so a hundred times When she says that she doesn't love me it's like someone stabbed me with a blunt knife 100 times in the heart. I know that what I did was wrong and I never should have treated her that way but I had (have) a problem that prevented me from being the real me (non-abusive and loving) and I don't know why the hundreds of times she tired to tell me that I was hurting her with my words and actions that I didn't HEAR Her. If I had maybe she'd still want me and love me. I don't know what to do now. I'm not interested in helping myself right now, I want to get my relationship with my wife back. But I also know that unless I do change and start liking myself she isn't going to want to be with me for a wait and see what he does to hurt me next. How do I let go of the most important person in my life who doesn't even want to know of my existance anymore? How do I say goodbye to someone I love as much as life itself?

I'm hurt and confused and don't know how to cope and make things better. All I want is to stop herting her and try to repair our relationship. Thanks for listening.

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 12.38.64.58
Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

S1

Dear David,

Unfortunately, your wife has told you in no uncertain terms how she feels. She must have been terribly hurt in the past for things to progress to this stage. You need to keep focusing on changing yourself. If you start "chasing" her to come back to you, it will only make it worse. It sunds like she has made a decision that no matter what you do, it is too late for your relationship. If that is her decision, then please respect it.

I know how much you are hurting. It is very sad that you lost an important relationship, the consequence of your controlling behavior. Even though it's hard, try to accept that it may be too late to save your marriage--your wife seems to be saying that. You will have to work through your grief, and eventually your grief will end, you will feel better, even though that's hard to imagine right now.

Keep the focus on yourself right now. That's what will give you a happier life in the future. Work through your problems, and remember to be extra kind to yourself. Sis

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 192.90.177.86
Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

S1

Unfortunately this is true, David. This is part of what I meant about "if your wife is angry, then let her be angry." As painful as it may be, this is a time to be strong in yourself. Whether she will ever change her mind or not, what you need to do is the same: focus on bettering yourself, by yourself, without expecting any help from your wife. Don't try to "make" her get better either; just treat her well. If you can let go of her in your mind, if you behave *as if* you expect nothing from her--just give her space--that's something you'll need to do anyway if she truly has made up her mind the marriage is over. And if there is any hope left at all, it's the only way you'll ever stand a chance of mending anything. Hang in there.

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 63.163.206.120
Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

S1

Do what you're doing for you, not just to save your marriage. Although my husband "says" he doesn't want to lose me, he hasn't made any of the efforts that you, David, have. Consider this, the changes you are making within yourself will forever benefit your life and each interaction you have with someone else. Even if you should divorce, you will always continue to interact with your wife due to your three children. I, also am very angry with my husband. I, also told him the words "YOU ARE VERBALLY ABUSIVE" (after I found Dr. Irene's site). No wakeup call though. I'm glad it was with you. His wakeup call was when I dragged my suitcase out of the garage and started packing a few months later. He promised to change and I unpacked. I still live each day with one foot out the door. I have said "just one more thing" to him as well. I don't love him anymore and don't want to give physical affection, including sex, to him. I do it anyway just to keep the peace (my co-dependancy showing). My husband accuses me of not wanting to spend time with him and complaining that our three kids are always around keeping us from having time alone. I told him that if he wanted time alone with me to take responsibility for it - hire a babysitter, get a room on the beach for the weekend, take me out some night, whatever it took to get his time with me. Don't complain, don't blame me, do something! Only once, in six years of marriage, have I ever gone somewhere with friends, without kids/husband (to bingo)! That created such an ordeal that I never tried again. I NEED to get control of this, I NEED the space away from him without the hysteria and accusations. How long do you think it will take me to feel comfortable taking back this right which I have been denied for 6 years? How long will it take your wife of 14 years? Remember that it took a long time for her to get to this point and for the wounds to heal and the scars to be forgotten may also take years. Another thing, there have been times in my marriage when I was the abuser or we were both being abusive. I would sometimes fight back just to keep from feeling so stomped on and degraded. I have to deal with the fact that I lost control of myself. I don't like that and I don't want it to ever happen again, but I'm afraid that it will. So I don't trust him or myself. He says he loves me more than anything and never wants to lose me, but when I hear this from him, I also hear the echo from previous fights of him yelling "I hate you! I'm sick of you! I don't want you! You're a bitch!" and much ,much more. Those words left indelible marks on my mind and no matter how many I LOVE YOU'S I hear right now, they cannot be so easily erased. He tells me he loves me and I think "liar". Time is the only thing that will heal these wounds. My first marriage was physically and verbally abusive and it took 5 years after it was over to forgive him and feel at peace about him. It took me 8 more years to get into this marriage. (Can you tell I'm co-dependant?) Anyway, I wanted to tell you, David, the things your wife is feeling built up gradually and cannot be let go overnight. I get angry when my husband tells me 'I know you don't love me, but I love you' because he is looking at me expectantly waiting for reassurance. I tell him to "show me, don't tell me". Words from him are instruments of torture, actions speak louder. Actions I will believe. Give it time, show her you are changing. Maybe, eventually, she'll believe. But in any case, you will be a better, happier person for improving yourself. Good Luck!

Jeannie

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 4.48.85.56
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000

S1

David,

I wish that I could help you understand the different degrees of hurt that your wife is feeling. The things that she experienced happened over a 14 year time period. She's still in the "anger stage". Her anger revolves around the realization that you each came into the marriage with totally different objectives. She wanted love and affection, and you wanted love, affection and CONTROL. Since you "get it", you seem to beginning to understand this. I don't say this to be cruel, I speak from experience.

In this "anger stage", I sometimes wished my husband would drop dead and save me the trouble of divorcing him.:) He got on my nerves, I couldn't stand to look at him, and touching me was out of the question. I scrutinized EVERYTHING he said and did, trying to make sure that he wasn't "up to his old tricks". This got old and I got tired. Everybody has their own anger stage timeframe and you just have to be patient.

You must understand that in your realization of your abusive ways, you have forever changed the the person you were. I told my husband he was being verbally abusive and he told me that I "made him" act like that. His thoughts are so warped that if I change my mind or opinion about something, he considers it a lie and a personal affront. Of course, that was BEFORE I told him I would no longer accept his juvenile behavior. We've got a LONG way to go and I might get tired again and just leave. It's been 7 1/2 months (in marriage counseling) and he still has a lot of "I'm a Jerk!" moments.

Ask yourself what "supporting her" means to you. You may find that it doesn't mean the same to her. You sounded like you had a little bit of a narcissist in you, it may be that you don't know what it means to give emotional support. If that's the case, then you know it's something you need to learn.

Thank you for you insight. It has helped me see things from the abuser's point of view. Continue to learn and grow. Even if things don't work out with your wife, EVERY relationship you have with ANYONE will benefit from the work you're doing now.

Trystan

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 128.173.54.73
Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene, I read _The Verbally Abusive Relationship_ and told my boyfriend, who was verbally abusing me, about it. I felt very confused afterward because he is extremely intelligent and he deconstructed the book, pointing out that it framed all men as abusive and all women an the innocent victims. In this particular case, I am a woman and I am feeling verbally abused. I did not want the relationship to end; I just wanted the verbal abuse to end. My boyfriend is a wonderful person but he was verbally abused as a child and so I don't think I'm off in my assessment of what's happening. But he was able to argue quite convincingly that the book was unfair (he'd gone out and bought a copy immediately) and so I felt like I had no ground to stand on. I want to trust my perceptions of what's happening, but I also want to be fair. Is there another book on verbal abuse that does not paint a picture of the abuser as necessarily a controlling male? In other respects, my boyfriend is a very pro-feminist man. I'm a feminist--which does not mean I think men always victimize women; in fact I'm very critical of such views, which perhaps my boyfriend knows and is playing on?? In any case, what other book could I suggest? Thanks so much. --confused.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 63.208.240.210
Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2000

S1

yo david, i feel for you my brother. i must be a twin or something .i got the same stuff going down at my house. but if you dont let her go she is going to hate you even more. i personally dont know the answer to everybody's main question " how do you let go of someone you love more than life itself" i have been searching myself , and foundonly bit's and pieses . it seems the answer is finding piece inside of yourself . along with the cruel fealings coming from your wife . i feel it is coming only very slow. i cant begin to tell you how sorry i am for the verbal abuse i implemented on my wife and i think my daughter as well. it has been almost 4 months since i became aware of the abusive cycle.my wife explained it to me . and the raging hate inside of her still burns very hot. when i think about when the house is sold , i feel very empty inside and lonely .and it makes me cry .i look back and think i was in a drunken hase . and woke up 4 months ago,i hope and pray for the same things you do . except i only want the love of her back, i dont want the anger i got back "as a form of retalaition" .from my abuse! out of 13 years the verbal abuse only reared its head about every 6 months or so . as per my lovley wife.is like what is hapening is coming straight out of a texbook . almost word for word, and it got to overwhelming for me so i talked to my doctor about anti-depresents . but it was my theripst that had suggested it from day one. and i have been taking them for 2 weeks now . and i feel 60% better, i have been warned that the worst has not come yeat . because when we do seperate (at close of escro) that is when you will feel it the worst.depresion , hate , remorse, anger ,the works! i wish i could go back even 8 months ago and go to the counciling that she had sugested . but i was to aragoant, and to self centered to do that.and for this i will answer for the rest of my life. i am trying to open up a relationship with my daughter , witch is very hard . we seem to be friends not father & daughter. but this being the only human attachment i can cherish from this meaningful relationship. i will right this wrong , even if i die trying. i have been reading allot about verbal abuse, loving relationships , and co dependency. my soul drives me to search . for as the tin man said " now i know i have a big heart , because it is breaking" i refese to fight these feelings with alcohal and drugs. as i did in the past, i finally feel like an adoult . and i want to face this tragity head on.unlike everything i dealt with from childhood till i moved in with my wife at 19.i am now 33 and very succesful do to the support and guidance of my wife. she is also very sucessful , i wish i gave more support her way.she definatly deserves it!i think it was like a competion we both started at $4.00 hr each ,altho i started a year after my daughter was born (i am an asshole ,i know) but with each raise we went back and forth untill we hit the big money. it took about 10 years though well i got to get something to eat . i will post again this weekend. and david i would sugest that you move out , give her the space. you owe her that much. but i know how you feel , i think my time with her is limited to the sand in the hour glass . and i dont think she will ever see me get better. i think she will give up on me first. but i will always have the depest respect and love for the sweetest woman i have ever known. hang in there! GBO

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.138.191.196
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000

S1

Hi Sis,

It's been a long time since I have felt well enough to answer folks on this board. I have taken your and others words to heart to Focus on changing myself. I am being very aware of my actions and words around her. Even so it seems that everything that I say she misinterprets and the same for me. Anyway I am hapy to report that there hasn't been any fighting now for a week or any real upsetting moments. I know that a week isn't much but it's a start. She doesn't appear as angry towards me although she still maintains her distance. One of the reasons why I think things are better is because she has a lifestyle now that is so busy there is no time for us to be together much. She gets up at 6 a.m. to go to work, comes home and goes to the gym, works out for 2 hours, comes home takes a shower and goes to bed. She goes to lunch everyday with her sister who is a mess herself with three unsuccessful marriages. But I am trying to look at it as giving her the space she wants. I have not asked her how she feels about us or if there is a chance to get back together. I hurts like heck but I am learning to accept it. This weekend will be a big test because we are going out as a family and she says when we all go out something always happens that ruins the day. Not this time... Anyway thanks again for your observations and thoughts. This last two weeks has been the most stressful in my life but I have learned from the experience. I will continue to focus on controlling my anger and learning ways in which that she will not think that I am controlling her. She says that when I am upset I sulk and that makes her come to me and ask what's wrong, then she says she gets mad at herself for letting me control her. I can't seem to win. I never now or then wanted to control her. Take care Sis and any input or constructive comments are always welcome. I want to get better and I want my wife to get her self-esteem back and her confidence.

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.138.191.196
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000

S1

Gordon,

Sorry that I haven't replied to you any sooner. The past two weeks have been very hard. You have provided me with several things to try and try I have. I did let go of her in my mind and I have been treating her like I did when we first met. I don't worry about what she wears, who she is with or what she is doing becuase I know that is wrong. I used to make her feel bad though when I told her the clothes she wanted to wear showed her too much, or I didn't approve of some people she went out with. But those times are gone. No more. She isn't as angry with me as she was and she even gave me a short kiss this morning on the lips before she went to work. I don't know if she is testing me or if she is giving us another chance or she just feels sorry for me. All I know is that kiss made me feel a lot better. I don't pressure her with questions anymore and I have gone a good job lately of giving her the space she has always wanted and deserved. So Gordon thanks again and I'll keep you posted. I'm not going to jump to conclusions and think that all is well again but I am going to take this morning as a sign of hope.

Take care,

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.138.191.196
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000

S1

Jeannie,

I have read your post to me over and over making sure that I understood everything that you said. I'm sorry that your husband isn't making the effort that I am but if someone like me can "get it" he can too. One thing about yuor comment about saying to him, "You are verbally abusive". The way I was I probably wouldn't have liked you saying that to me and I would have gotten very defensive. The way in which I finally woke up and really knew waht I was doing to her was this. We were in an arguement. Not even a big arguement. I was very upset about something that she said and I proceeded to respond by calling her demented in the head, dillusional, and so on. She suddenly became very quiet, paused and said... "Do you realize that what you are saying is verbal abuse?" I said what do you mean and she said that the names that I was calling her really hurt her in much the same way as if I had physically abused her. BANG!!!!!!!!!!! I had a sharp feeling go through my heart like someone had just stabbed me with a 14 inch knife. I stood there silent and motionless. It wa then that I reflected back on all the other fights and arguements that we had in the past and I started to see how I had killed her soul. I don't know if that makes any sense to you but that is what made me finally realize what kind of a person I was and what damage I was doing to the one I loved. I just thought that I'd share that with you. You asked how long it will take for you or my wife to feel comfortable again after being denied the right for so many years? I don't know but I feel that it can and will happen if the stimulous that made your soul die in the first place is removed. i.e. the verbal abuse. I don't think that my wife will ever love or have the same feelings she had for me when we were first marrried. I think that I have destroyed that love. I think that if she ever loves me again it will be a different kind of love filled with guarded emotions and a wall of defense against any kind of words that would hurt her. If she loves me again and can feel comfortable with me it will be a very slow and emotional process. I was your husband when it came to accusing my wife of never wanting to spend any time together. I always thought that I was last in her life. I asked her to go out a couple of times but when she rejected me I just never asked again. She told me that I never asked her out and that she herself never asked anyone to go anywhere.. they always asked her. My wife says that I never initiate anything and that I am the man and she is the woman and she shouldn't have to. When we go somewhere she says she always makes the decsion. I always ask for majority approval but she feels again that I am the one who shold make the decision. Isn't this being controlling in a way if I make all the decisons? I am confused. Anyway thanks for your replay and I hope we can keep updated on each others life. Seeing things from the victims side is also very helpfull.

Take care,

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.138.191.196
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000

S1

Trystan,

You and Jeannie must be soul sisters. You both have excellent insight and provide someone like me ideas and things I can try to get myself better. I understand the different stages of hurt that she is going through. I am going through several different stages myself. I have taken considerable time to answer your question of what does supporting her mean to me. I think I have found at least part of the answer to that question. I have decided that I need to stop making excuses and feeling sorry for myself and STOP with the pushing of questions that she has very plainly told me she does not want to answer. I have decided not to try and run her life or tell her what she is doing wrong or that she is hanging with the wrong person. I'm not going to tell her what to wear just because I think what she wants to wear is too revealing. I will respect her for who SHE is NOT who I feel she should be. That was wrong. She is her own person. She has her own values and I have mind. I don't have any right to try and impose my values on her anymore than she does on me. I know now that I am not just the abuser in this sad situation I too am a victim. I too am co-dependent. She still however thinks that EVERYTHING that has happened between us is ALL my fault and that she has done NOTHING wrong. She says if she ever was vebally abusive to me it was because I was to her. I'd like to ask you a question that you might find strange. You say that you have been in marriage counseling for for some time. Do you do this together as a couple or separate? Do you feel that this is helping you to repair your marriage? I have been going to an anger management therapist and find that everything that I tell him I can tell myself. I feel that I have been doing better on my own. I still go to him though since every once in a while he does offer some ideas. I really appreciate you telling me things from your prospective. The more that people tell me about themselves and what their feelings of hurt are the more that I can better understand what some of my wife's feelings are and can take steps to stop the improper behavior before I do any further damage to her or myself. One good thing has happened though. This morning before she went to work she gave me a quick kiss on the lips. Also she doesn't seem as angry anymore. But I know that if this is a sign it's only the beginning.

Take care and I hope things get better for you too.

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.138.191.196
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000

S1

Dear confused,

I am not Dr. Irene but I can tell you some things about what your boyfriend thought of that book. My name is David. I have been unknowingly verbally abusing my wife for fourteen years. If you read some of my previous posts you will know my story. Anyway after my wife told me that I was verbally abusing her I bought the book your boyfriend did and read it cover to cover. I can tell you that someone who is an abuser would for sure hate this book. It cleary says though in the front that it was patterned more around women than men but that there were some men who are abused too but just not as many or not as many tell that they are. At first I firmly rejected the many chapters in this book. I thought the nerve of this woman. THEN I re-read the book trying to look at it from the victim's side and I got a whole new outlook on just what was happening. Then instead of hating the book I used it as something to help me realize who I was and how to start getting myself better. If your boyfriend and you would look at the book as a guide instead of the rule, ie. use it to try and relate it to your situation and then try some of the tools to stop the abuse I feel that it like this web site is an EXCELLENT tool to get better and stop the abuse. As long as I didn't take the book personally, I found it to be the one thing that kept me on track. On this web site Dr. Irene has many suggested books to read. Try and show your boyfriend that this book is a tool or an aide to help him understand what verbal abuse is not that it applies to him and therefore makes him offensive. Like me he alone has to see and acknowledge that what he is doing is wrong. It's like an alcoholic... He or she doesn't believe they are one if someone tells them. They have to recognize and accept that they are what they are on their own.

I hope this helps. You might want to try Dr. Irene's verbal abuse email boards and post your message there too. There are many like you and myself seeking help, compassion, and guidance. Good luck to you. I hope that something I have said can help you.

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.138.191.196
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000

S1

GBO,

Very profound words my friend. It does seem that my life is a small carbon copy of what you have been and are going through. I have made some progress since I wrote that letter when I was really feeling lost and depressed. I kow that you suggested that I should move out. I keep saying that same thing to myself. However since she and I have an understanding about me staying it seems to be working out. She said a week ago that is was getting harder for me to stay but that she still didn't want me to move out. I think it was more of inconvience than her feelings for me as she has none. Her words. I understand more each day why and so I have completely backed off with questions and pressuring her to say or make decisions she clearly doesn't want to. I am sorry that you have to sell your house and that it appears you are at the stage that I might be going to next. I still have hope though. She doesn't appear as angry to me. Yesterday we had a misunderstanding but thankgoodness is was over quickly. She gave me a short kiss on the lips this morning before going to work. I hope that she isn't just testing me or did ti because I wanted her to. I am doing all I can do get better and be a better person. I want to right the wrong that I have done to her. I know that there is still a high chance that we will break up but I am going to try everything I can to avoid that for the sake of my wife, kids and myself. We were happy once and we can be again. It will have to be each of our choices though. I will not try to influence her one way or the other. I too suggested couseling for us but at the time she didn't want to. Now I realize that was wrong but now she doesn't want to. Anyway I will continue to work on myself and also give her all the space I can so that she no longer feels threatened, or that she has to walk on eggshells around me.

Thanks for the reply and I hope things work out for you. I have realized one thing out of all this I am not alone. Other people are hurting and suffering the same loss I am. It makes it much easier to cope.

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 63.163.206.120
Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

David, thanks for your reply. I know I didn't present my discovery to my husband very well - very accusatory tone! He did get defensive ie; what do you mean abusive? I've never hit you! My husband won't read anything. period. So I couldn't try to show him what I meant via books or articles, although I read excerpts to him. I own 8 books from Dr. Irene's recommended list, including Patricia Evans. (English is not my H's native language. He can sure swear in it, but not read it very well.)

When you ask your W to go out, is it to do something that SHE REALLY likes to do? A counselor once asked a former partner of mine, think of all the things you do for her (me)that she REALLY LIKES, and do more of it. And do you know...he couldn't think of a SINGLE thing!

Have there been situations while you two were out that caused a fight when you got home (or even while out)? Maybe she is wary of being a part of it. My H has made most of our "dates" miserable. He'll get mad about something and because we're in public and he can't rant and rave, he'll either completely ignore me (makes me feel invisible) or he'll sulk by heaving great sighs, holding his head in his hands, refusing to participate in any activities (eat, drink, visit with anyone, watch whatever we're supposed to be watching,mumble and mutter under his breath, etc.) It makes me so uncomfortable and I can't enjoy anything (the whole point of his sulking). I rarely accept any invitations to go out and NO ONE wants to come to our house when he's home. Anyway, there are reasons I usually turn down my H's invitations and why I don't extend my own.

I don't feel that if one person truly has no preference and asks the other to make the decision, that either one is being controlling. Provided, of course, that they don't lash out at each other once the decision is made.

Counseling would probably be a good option (with the right counselor) but if your partner doesn't want it, what can you do? Mine refuses. I went alone and my counselor told me I had clear bounderies and was well-grounded. Bull----! I didn't really know what a boundery was until recently and still don't know how to enforce one. I tell him, I don't want to be talked to like that...STOP! and he says, why don't you come over here and MAKE me! ?????Then what???? What I said at the time was, you have control of your mouth and what comes out of it, not me. And walked away.

I hope you can work it out. At least you're trying to change and that is the most important thing. Maybe she is starting to see the "new" track record. Time is your friend. Be patient and live one day at a time. Cliches all, but sometimes they help. I believe everything happens for a reason and maybe this is happening to you because it was the right time in your life to learn this particular lesson about yourself. I'm sorry this is so fragmented. My life and my thoughts both seem to be that way currently.

Jeannie

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.158.145.96
Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

Jeannie,

One thing that I know for sure is that the way in which someone is told something that they wil consider an insult or make them mad since they don't think they're doing anything wrong should only be phrased in a non-accusatory way. Instead of telling your husband STOP what would happen if you instead said I don't like or appreciate what you are saying. It hurt when you call me names or say mean and cruel things about me. If you love me I would appreciate it if you didn't do that anymore. It really hurts. If he replies make me, all you have to say is: I don't want to make you do anything. I'll I'm doing is asking. You are hurting me with your words and the way you treat me just as if you had physically hit or abused me. Something like that. I think from my perspective the key is not to allow him to get into a defensive position where he will have no choice but to respond in the way he did. You should have boundries but sometimes I think that expressing your wishes in a non-offensive way may be the better way. They can't get angry if they have nothing to get a

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.158.145.96
Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

Jeannie,

One thing that I know for sure is that the way in which someone is told something that they wil consider an insult or make them mad since they don't think they're doing anything wrong should only be phrased in a non-accusatory way. Instead of telling your husband STOP what would happen if you instead said I don't like or appreciate what you are saying. It hurt when you call me names or say mean and cruel things about me. If you love me I would appreciate it if you didn't do that anymore. It really hurts. If he replies make me, all you have to say is: I don't want to make you do anything. I'll I'm doing is asking. You are hurting me with your words and the way you treat me just as if you had physically hit or abused me. Something like that. I think from my perspective the key is not to allow him to get into a defensive position where he will have no choice but to respond in the way he did. You should have boundries but sometimes I think that expressing your wishes in a non-offensive way may be the better way. They can't get angry if they have nothing to get angry about. Does that make sense or do you think I'm out of my mind?

About us going out... I have never been able to dance and feel like I would embarass her since she is an excellent dancer. Knowing that she likes to dance I took her out anyway. She said that she knew I didn't like the smoke or didn't like to dance so she can't have a good time and didn't really want to be there. I tell her that I don't care I want her to be happy and I want to be with her so I don't worry about the embarassment. By the way I would love to learn to dance because I think it's fun but I can't convince her of that. Any other time we go out it's with our three kids and yes disaster strikes every time. We always get into an arguement about buying so much food or toys or the kids act up giving us stress and then we take sides and so forth. UPDATE: Since my revelation though this doesn't happen like it used to although since our relations are strained we still get upset at one another. I told her that I want to go out and all of us have a good time.. Including with each other. She just gets quiet and stays a short distance from me with very little contact. We went to the beach last week and I tried to play with her in the water and just have fun. She did come into the water but had a sad face the whole time. The way she was acting I'm not sure why she even came to the beach. But in every instance where we were going to go out like to a movie the mall or someplace else it was a event that we both wanted to do.

Anyway I continue to not get in her way and do all I can not to get into any arguements with her. Even the slightest thing sets her off at me. She is so angry at me all the time. Also I've begun to realize that I too am a victim. And I've been co-dependent. I have had a lot of time to look at my situation and am coming to the realization that maybe I'm not the only bad guy. I've been able to even look at the possibility that I would be better off without her since I now have a better understanding of how she treated me much in the same way I treated her. Also the fac that she says she is totally innocent of anything that cause us to be the way we are shows that she hasn't cared about me then or now.

Keep in touch and let me know what you think about how to tell your husband to stop in a less abrupt way.

Take care,

David

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 172.154.100.132
Date: Monday, June 26, 2000

S1

Hi Dave, I hope things are going well. A little note in regards to saying that "They (abusers) can't get angry if they don't have anything to get angry about..." Actually, that's what abusers are all about! Abusers have a reality where things get twisted around so that they can have a "right" in their minds to let out some of their anger- anger which has been there for a long, long time. It's not caused by their current parner, it's years old. Suggesting that a victim could stop abuse by 'asking nicely' would work in non-abuseive relationships, but I bet all victims out there reading that laughed a little. Believe me, most victims have 'asked nicely' again and again! Suggesting that 'asking nicely' woudl stop abuse unfortuantely, is a form of blaming the victim. Whether I said "Please, honey, that hurts my feelings" or "Knock it off!" I'd get the same result. Actually, I'd probably get better results with "Knock it off!" because I'm not putting the abuesr in this position of power and 'asking' him to stop abusing me. You're not out of your mind- you're just still applying 'normal' relationship rules to abusvie relationships. I'm not trying to come down on you hard or anything- i hope you understand my point of view. -SatokoGirl

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.204.39
Date: Monday, June 26, 2000

S1

David wrote: "I was very upset about something that she said and I proceeded to respond by calling her demented in the head, dillusional, and so on. She suddenly became very quiet, paused and said... "Do you realize that what you are saying is verbal abuse?" I said what do you mean and she said that the names that I was calling her really hurt her in much the same way as if I had physically abused her. BANG!!!!!!!!!!! I had a sharp feeling go through my heart like someone had just stabbed me with a 14 inch knife. I stood there silent and motionless. It wa then that I reflected back on all the other fights and arguements that we had in the past and I started to see how I had killed her soul."

This is great insight on your part, congratulations for coming to terms with this realization. I have a relative who is abusive and I tried telling him, "STOP IT!" And he became even more irate. He responded, "DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!" So, I showed him a few books, in particular the Evans' book and he (taking the terminology from another) "deconstructed" it. He basically said, "Oh, for crying out loud. Everyone is abusive according to this. Anything someone says that bothers you is abusive..." Etc.

Well, I was running out of methods so one day I approached him with questions: How do you define abuse? What words/actions from another that are directed toward you, do you find upsetting? And so on.

By asking him questions he actually got to thinking and started talking more civilly to me. I feel a wall was broken down that day (well, a few pieces chipped away at any rate). I discovered he was not closed off to the fact that he was abusive, he was closed off to my approaches.

On the other hand, it's not my place to "fix" anyone anyway. So there is a part of me that resents having to be the one to keep seeking a solution or alternate method. I have concluded personally that some abusers you can tell to Stop It!, you can ask nicely, you can set boundaries, you can share abuse material with them - and on into infinity - and they will never get it because they just don't want to.

In which case, since that is how it was with my abusive ex, I determined I was asking the wrong person the questions. Instead of asking what I could to do "repair" the relationship and/or to stop his abuse, instead of asking him/telling him to stop the abuse, I had to change the focus onto ME.

Ask why I was with someone who treated me that way, ask what I could do for me to get away from destructive people like him, ask how I could take more responsibility for myself and my own life. I think some relationships are simply futile, but one of the hardest things for a Codependent to do is to accept that reality and move on.

I anticipate some people will think this is unusual, but a therapist once mentioned I need to stop my "self-abuse" which was a foreign concept to me. She said that in essence if I knew someone was abusive toward me and that they would most likely not ever change, I was abusing myself by remaining. She asked, "Why not try that Stop It! with yourself? Say, 'Stop abusing yourself Terri!' And get away from him?"

I have to add I was at a place where I did not take what she said as blaming the victim at all. In fact, it made perfect sense to me at the time because she also likened it to putting your hand on a hot stove. The first time you get burned it's an accident, but if you continue to put your hand on the stove it then becomes a form of abusing yourself. Since you now know the stove is hot, you know the consequences if you touch it, yet you do it anyway. Her entire emphasis was on taking care of the "self" - loving and cherishing the self enough to get away from toxic people who make you crazy and drag you down into their abyss.

Terri

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.206.156.94
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

David, Being a wife who has lived thru five years of verbal abuse, the best thing you can is give her space, give her proof that you are trying to fix yourself. And realize that you are not responsible for fixing your wife. You might have caused the damage, but the only way you can restore her trust in you is by working on your own recoverery. She might or might not regain her feeling for you. Listen to Dr. Irene. She is a smart lady who has much good advise. ANON.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 199.174.220.141
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

David, How are you doing now? I chuckled a little too when you said that asking nicely would work- She's mad at you. She has more reason to be short with you than you EVER had with her. She stayed with you, which means (to me)that sshe was patient with you. Be patient the same way. Understand that it's not what you're doing NOW that she's angry about. It's what you did THEN that she's trying to get off her chest. I'm not saying it's right for her to yell at you or hurt you, but try to say those things to her "It hurt me when you said that." "Please don't talk to me that way." Maybe try to be inoffensive in your requests, if she's mad? Then you'd know what's going on, because she'd see that she can hurt you, too, and stop. Especially if she is hurting too. I hope tthings are going well for you, and you are doing better. JG

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 199.174.220.141
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

David, How are you doing now? I chuckled a little too when you said that asking nicely would work- She's mad at you. She has more reason to be short with you than you EVER had with her. She stayed with you, which means (to me)that sshe was patient with you. Be patient the same way. Understand that it's not what you're doing NOW that she's angry about. It's what you did THEN that she's trying to get off her chest. I'm not saying it's right for her to yell at you or hurt you, but try to say those things to her "It hurt me when you said that." "Please don't talk to me that way." Maybe try to be inoffensive in your requests, if she's mad? Then you'd know what's going on, because she'd see that she can hurt you, too, and stop. Especially if she is hurting too. I hope tthings are going well for you, and you are doing better. JG

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 63.208.240.123
Date: Thursday, June 29, 2000

S1

wats up david, it sounds like from the posts that things are changing a little for you? is this true.for myself my focus is on letting go.and this is one of the hardest things i have ever had to do!i still love my wife very deeply,i dont think that will ever go away compleatly? i still find tears every few days when i think of the good ol days past.i miss the family life daily, even thogh we live in the same house. it seams like we are strangers in a lot of ways.i feel like i have lost something, and my soul is searching for it. at this moment i just dont know what it is.sorry about the last post , i seam to post when i am very angry or low. i ges i just need to vent.well i am off to the river this weekend , fianly i planed 1 myself.finally a first!well its time to go to work i will post later GBO.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 199.174.216.213
Date: Friday, June 30, 2000

S1

David, by the way, I wish my mean husband would wake up like you have. JG

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 64.12.105.161
Date: Sunday, July 02, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene,

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 64.12.105.161
Date: Sunday, July 02, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene, It has been almost a year since I wrote here. I lived with a verbal abuser and sometimes physical for l9 years. I am still struggling since our divorce. He has tormented me everyway possible. When will this end! When will he quit affecting me and the way I feel...He has moved in with a bimbo who is calling and harrassing me and has threatened harrasement charges against me! I have never called this woman but once in Feb, and was nice then. Then she turned around after I hung up on her and him and called back and tried to talk to my l6 year old. I'm so sick of the battles.. I thought when I finally got my divorce that all would be fine, but I'm beginning to realize I will be forever threatened or tied to this man because he refuses to go away. Anything and everything he can do to get under my skin is what he lives for. I guess he meant what he said that I will pay for anything I do against his wishes...(Divorce) I will pay l0 times worse if I do anything to defy him! Even in divorce he reaches me.. I need encouraging word and ways to get this man out of my life...Thanks for a wonderful site... Marla (PerkyHit@aol.com)

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 212.140.86.127
Date: Monday, July 03, 2000

S1

Marla you need to write to Dr Irene directly. This is just a reply board for one of such letters to her. I don't think she will read what you wrote here. If you want to submit a letter to her via e-mail then go to this page: http://www.drirene.com/e-mail.htm . Good luck to you.

Tiff

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 194.83.240.34
Date: Tuesday, July 04, 2000

S1

David,

I want to say congratulations for being so honest with yourself.

My partner knows he is controlling, he even calls himself powergen (power to control), he says I am too sensitive. He says I have an attitude problem. He blames me for most things.

Though he gives and gives to his family, but when he gives to me he has to keep telling me over. He wants appreciation but when its given its never enough.

What you can do David is to findout why you needed to control your partner/wife? Was it so you didn't have to feel your feelings. Subconsciously it could have been a way for you to keep your life in order.

Self heal. Get to know yourself. Allow yourself to feel. Remember all those times when you wouldn't allow your self to cry, to feel and feel them all. Cry, and cry until its all out. Then do your inner child work. See yourself as a child. See yourself as an adult, tell your child within you are going to love and care for it, tell the child its okay to cry, its okay to feel.

Then David you'll realise you don't have to make everything safe, you can handle things when they are unstable, and you feel upset.

YOU CAN ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL DAVID. YOU CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.204.57
Date: Thursday, July 06, 2000

S1

Dear David, My husband could've written your letter. Alas, he did not! Our circumstances are identical! We've been married for almost 14 years, we have three children and I have "left" him although I have not insisted that he move out. It's his house too! It's been six months since I ended it. However, unlike you, he has not recognized his destructive behavior. He refuses to take any responsibility for our failed marriage. It's up to me to fix it, as always, only now I don't care. My romantic feelings for him had completely expired. But every so often I feel a twinge of emotion that tells me there may be hope. (It felt like a cold hand reaching up from the grave!Ahhh!)I just want to say that you're doing the right things. Give her space, tell her she's wonderful. Even if she doesn't believe you, it's so nice to hear. Make her fall in love with you all over again. But be PATIENT. It will take time. You're on the right track. The key words in your letter were equality and partnership. If my husband understood this there would be hope! Good luck!

Incyndiary@aol.com

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 208.168.53.250
Date: Thursday, July 06, 2000

S1

The man suffers a severere case of "stinky think". Unitil he figures out that he is "awefulizing" everything about himself, he is just trading one form of mental instability for another. I suggest he read A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis.

AJ Abrams

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 208.168.53.250
Date: Thursday, July 06, 2000

S1

The man suffers a severere case of "stinky thinking". Unitil he figures out that he is "awefulizing" everything about himself, he is just trading one form of mental instability for another. I suggest he read A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis.

AJ Abrams

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 208.168.53.250
Date: Thursday, July 06, 2000

S1

The man suffers a severere case of "stinky thinking". Unitil he figures out that he is "awefulizing" everything about himself, he is just trading one form of mental instability for another. I suggest he read A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis.

AJ Abrams

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 63.23.64.241
Date: Monday, July 10, 2000

S1

Hi David, I too have been in the same mode as you for a few years now, and have finally seen the light that I must make some changes in my controlling behavior of my wife. Have you ever thought that "We teach our partners how to treat us?" I used to think that when my wife would make me see my errors in word or deed, she was just being too critical of me, so I began to resent her. As time passed it got worse on both our parts until she finally said, "Im leaving"!

This scared me a bunch as I surely did'nt want to lose her and my little family. So I got some help with counseling, and through that read and practiced Dr. Phillip McGraws book, "Relationship Rescue". Along with counseling this book is beginning to do miracles in my life, I highly reccommend it.

This is not the only therapy I'll persue. I feel I need some classroom training on how to communicate as I was never taught as a young man how to treat or respect a woman thanks to my fathers lack of the same. Hang in there, we'll make it and we will be happy.

Thought: Did you ever think of how much trouble and training we go through to obtain a Drivers liscense? Yet, it only costs us around $10, maybe a blood test and sign a form to get a Marriage liscense! No wonder we've made it this far in our relationships!........Eric.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.244.73.165
Date: Friday, July 14, 2000

S1

david, whats been going on ? i havent seen any of your posts latly. i am truly intrested, because my relationship seems to not get any better . altho i am still it thearipy ( for myself now) . 2 months ! the communication with my wife has all but ended. i moved into the spare bedroom a week ago . i had to quit tourchering myself at night. that was so hard to do, i hope i made the right disition ? i still love my wife very much ,i just wish i could tell her . my house hasnt sold yeat, so we still live under the same roof . she took my daughter to los vegas this weekend to see a friend. i dreed that this is going to be a lonely weekend . the river trip on the 4th just wasent the same witout the family.i pray that someday soon that the pain in my heart will pass ! for all . this hearts more than the death of my father and sister. boy am i codependent or what? my mother in law tells me that i will always be welcome, but to see my wife with someone else will distroy me. and i refuse to do that to myself , i need to be strong for my child.so i will spend my holidays with my friends , a small price to pay for sanity ? please re post or e-mail me , i am still looking for hope. GBO zinnmaze@hotmail.com